A month before taking my vacation last year, I’ve booked two local tours. One of which is the Ultimate Kapampangan Tour. I really looked forward to this tour organized by fellow blogger Anton Diaz, with Ivan Man Dy, Ivan Henares and Spanky Enriquez.
The tour is being arranged ideally for 30 persons. We met up before 7:00 AM in Makati and the bus left on time heading to Pampanga. Since this is a culinary tour and that we were warned that we will be eating a lot throughout the day as intended, I did not take breakfast at home. True enough, just as the bus was still parked near 6750, Spanky handed crispy ensaimada to each of us. It is uniquely delicious that I tried to source it before returning here, but I didn’t find one. Also, Ivan handed a bayong (I like it so much that I brought it here, I’m attaching different scarves to it) to us. In the evening, it was more than filled out of Kapampangan goodies.
We first stopped in Everybody’s Café in San Fernando, Pampanga. Aside from the accommodating owner and staff, a super Pinoy/kapampangan breakfast welcomed us. It was intended to be a light breakfast since a five-hour lunch in Angeles City awaits us. The pandesal, rebuelto, kakanins and the freshly prepared batirol were good. This was when Anton approached me, “You’re wits and nuts, right?”, which was a bit surprising because I provided my real name in the registration without mention about this blog. The nicest thing about the organizers is that they took care of us very well and made us feel comfortable with the group since the first hour.
After the breakfast, we toured around the old houses and churches in Betis and Bacolor (details in succeeding post). While on our way to Angeles City, trivia and games were conducted by the awesome guide Ivan Man Dy. We were also served a home made buko sherbet (available in Brgy. San Jose, San Fernando, Pampanga). It’s not too sweetened that you would really like it. I actually had two servings. Yum.
5 WAYS LECHON BY CLAUDE TAYAG
One of the highlights of the tour is the five-hour lunch in Bale Dutung (House of Woods) in Angeles City. This is the residence of the multi-faceted artist and chef Claude (pronounced as “Clawd”) Tayag. He and his wife arrange a wonderful dining experience for selected people. The organizers of the tour are known to them. Hence, we were accommodated. He prepared the five-way lechon for us.
At least three long tables were arranged, set in a Filipino dining style. I went to the tour with no one I personally know. Starting with the breakfast, two gracious women of my senior became my consistent dining mates, whom later on I learned are sisters of a known wellness consultant. All in all, it was interesting and fun to have spent time with all the people who joined in the tour – primarily because they also love to eat, explore stuff, and take photos.
At 12 noon, we were served crackers with crab meat, pesto dips, and buro as appetizers. The dalandan juice with muscovado was a killer drink (I want more!). In between the five-way lechon, pako (fern) salad, lumpiang ubod (the best with chilli sauce), and chicken inasal were served to us.
Now, here’s the exciting five-way lechon:
(1) To enjoy lechon skin with liver sauce
(2) Piniritong lechon (or Prichon) with soft tortillas, assorted condiments (includes kimchi), with Claude 9 oriental sauce
(3) Sinigang na lechon with assorted native vegetables
(4) Inasal na lechon ribs with grilled eggplant boat
My most favorite!!!
(5) Inasadong lechon pata with assorted buttered vegetables
It’s very interesting to know how to fully and properly enjoy lechon. Now, what to do with the aftermath?
I was chronicling the time of each serving of dish and the lunch really happened in 5- continuous hour pigging, err, eating. At 5:00 PM, two desserts were served to us: two types of suman and creme brulee (I absolutely liked!).
If you’re wondering if anyone of us got awfully bloathed, none. Gladly, Anton gave us tips on how to properly enjoy the long hours lunch. But it’s actually amazing, since the food were intentionally served in moderation and per batch, pigging out became manageable. In addition, Claude’s place is very relaxing that you can freshen up and roam around to give ample time to digest a bit.
We left Bale Dutung at 5:30 PM and we were headed back to San Fernando to watch the Giant Lantern Festival (details in last of the series of this post). On our way there, the organizers distributed some of Kapampangan specialties (there’s no need to buy pasalubongs) such as Nathaniel’s puto, Aurely’s inverted brazo de Mercedes and Imang Salud’s ensaimada (I forgot to take a photo).
It was a wonderful dining experience. Great food, great place, great company, great hosts and tour organizers, everything in it is good.
The next Ultimate Kapampangan Tour will be on 14th of February to coincide with the Hot Air Balloon Fiesta. Make your reservations now by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For Bale Dutung experience alone, you may inquire from Mary Anne Tayag through email@example.com and she can be reached at 0917-5359198 or (045) 888-5163. Strictly by reservation, minimum of 12 persons at P1,500 each.