Our Awesome Planet

Our Awesome Planet


23 posts categorized "[Travel] PAMPANGA: Culinary Capital"

Viajeng Cusinang Matua: Top 10 Things You Should Know Before You Join

Viajeng Cucinang Matua
Viajeng Cusinang Matua: A Kapampangan Culinary Tour (bigger version)

"Kapampangan cuisine is highly regarded as one of the most delicious variety in the Philippines. Discover the secrets of the locals and explore the rich culture of Pampanga through this one of a kind cultural culinary experience."

We joined the second run of the Viajeng Cusinang Matua last May 5, 2007. I will blog about the entire experience in the Viajeng Cusinang Matua Blog Series (5 posts), to give you a virtual tour of what this Viajeng Cusinang Matua is all about. Before you sign in for the 3rd run on June 9, 2007, let me give you our perspective about this tour.

Top 10 Things You Should Know About Viajeng Cusinang Matua

1. Viajeng Cusinang Matua literally translated as Tour Kitchen Old which means tour of the home-cooked kapampangan cuisines. The tour changes every time so that one could join the tour as many times as possible. It is also a good excuse to refine the tour to weed out what doesn't work and improve it over time.

2. The people behind the tour are Karlo De Leon, one of the travel bloggers in our country and Tracey Santiago, Alquimista, Inc. a Pasig Jaycee who conducts tours and field trips for schools and institution. Both are not Kapampangans, so they have to work with their Kapampangan consultants: Lilian Borromeo: Cooking Show host and Famous Kapampangan Culinary Expert; Karen Shih, Kapampangan Food Blogger (The Pilgrim's Pots and Pans) who lives in Sta. Rita, Pampanga: and Willie Carpio, Restaurateur in Sta. Rita Pampanga.

3. It is great that the tour is designed to go into the old houses of Kapampangans and you cannot go there on your own. This is one of my motivation to join the tour. I wanted to really know what Kapampangan food taste like because I truly believe it is one of the best if not, the Filipino food of the Philippines. If you have been reading my blog for a while, this is my 4th culinary tour of Pampanga. Also, we were excited to check out the famous Sta. Rita Sansrival.

Related Post: Pampanga Food Trip- A Culinary Tour of Pampanga 1.0

4. Overall, it was a very good experience but there's a lot of improvement areas. We thought that it was not well researched and the highlight of the tour is eating and the church / furniture visits seems like a good excuse to pass the time between food stops. It was a long tour and at the end of the day, you'll feel physically full but intellectually lacking of information. We would have like to know more of why the Kapampangan food are very tasty and much known. They should have explained the Kapampangans do not scrimp on ingredients because they want it to be a rich culinary experience.

5. Unfortunately, it did not deliver its promise of a delicious Kapampangan Cuisine. The food served are high-end Kapampangan food which is not your usual kapampangan comfort food like the ones you'll taste in Abe, Serendra or the Sisig of Pampanga. We missed eating the famous pampanga Sisig, or the Inihaw na Hito with Buro or the exotic Camaro of Pampanga. The only memorable food are the Kilayin of Lilian Borromeo, and the Cocido and Almondigas at the Gosioco house. And we love the buco sherbet during lunch! We had several servings of it and it was almost bottomless! It is a good thing that in their 3rd tour, they are putting in Everybody's Cafe to serve the everyday comfort food of Pampanga. Check out my previous post What a Spankadventure: The Very Best of Pampanga Cuisine!

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February 13, 2007

A Fantastic Balloon Fiesta

I just recuperated from the Balloon Fiesta activities. We definitely had fun and it was nice to meet new friends last Saturday. We had a large group last Saturday and I did not bother to count. There were the bloggers group, flickeristas, photo club from SSS, photo enthusiasts, travel writer and even some foreigners. I finally got connected with my grade school classmates in Bene and I do hope to meet most of them in the near future. I'll be posting our Balloon Fiesta adventures in the next couple of days.

We pretty much followed the itinerary except the one after Subic. Waking up early in the morning took its toll on our bodies and we were tired by 3pm. My body was screaming to get some sleep. The group decided not to go back to Clark anymore and just enjoyed Subic. For us, we had to go back because we were staying overnight in Fontana. It was so traffic going back to Clark, we wasted a few hours and we had to endure the exit traffic.

Thanks to all who joined last Saturday in the Balloon Fiesta and Zoobic!

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January 26, 2007

Balloon Fiesta - 11th International Philippine Hot Air Balloon Fiesta

10th Balloon Fiesta (Feb. 12, 2006) - 21

Our Awesome Planet and Pinoy Travel Blog presents OAP and PTB Live in the 11th Intl Phil. Balloon Fiesta in Clark Field Pampanga!
Just join us if you want to witness these Awesome Balloons and have fun with photo hobbyists. Here are the details:

What to expect?
A Day Trip full of fun and laughter with Photo Enthusiast and Travel Addicts
FREE Photography Lessons from Anton of Our Awesome Planet
This is a Photo-travel-cum-food trip in Pampanga. Let me tour you to sample the best of Pampanga cuisine :)
Bonus side trip to Zoobic in between the Hot Air Balloon departure/ arrival

How to Join?
Simply put a link to this post from your blog, multiply or friendster site expressing your interest to join us this coming February 10, Saturday. Call or Text me @ 0928 558 8500, Anton (for further questions)

You can cut and paste the html code below:

<a href="http://anton.blogs.com/awesome/2007/01/balloon_fiesta_.html">Philippine Hot Air Balloon Fiesta </a>

Travel Itinerary

Meet up: 3.30am (Yes!) at Shell North Luzon Expressway, February 10, 2007 Saturday
4am enroute to Omni Aviation, Clark Field Pampanga
5.30-7.30am Hot Air Balloon Takeoff Shoot out
8.00am - Breakfast @ VFW along Friendship Road (a secret cozy american place in Clark)
9.00am -- Enroute to Zoobic in Subic
12.00nn -- Lunch @ Meat Plus in Subic
3:00pm -- Go back to Omni Aviation, Clark.
5.30pm-7.30pm Hot Air Balloon Arrival and Night Glow (Bring your tripods!)
8:00pm -- Dinner is a surprise :)

What to bring:
Jacket (it is freezing in the morning)
BYOT - Bring your own transpo -- we don't plan to arrange a common transpo we will do convoy throughout
Photo Camera and preferably Tripod (if you have one)
PAYO - Pay as you order -- you manage your own expenses. Bring 1,000/ head as a budget for this day trip event.

10th Balloon Fiesta (Feb. 12, 2006) - 17

Check out the Photos below. Simply Awesome as Sidney would agree :)

Related Posts:
Balloon Fiesta - 11th International Philippine Hot Air Balloon Fiesta
[10TH Hot Air Balloon Fiesta #1] The 5am Balloon Fiesta
[10TH Hot Air Balloon Fiesta #2] All Balloons Pumped Up, Up, Up and Away!
[10TH Hot Air Balloon Fiesta #3] What to do in the Balloon Fiesta?
10th Philippine International Hotair Balloon Fiesta (PIHBF) @ near Clark

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December 17, 2006

Giant Lantern Festival - Awesome Lantern Competition, Only in the Philippines!

Giant Lantern Festival 2006 - 45

First of all, Merry Christmas and advanced Happy New Year to all of you!

One of the reasons I love the Philippines is because of its awesome Festivals like the 76th Giant Lantern Festival in San Fernando Pampanga last night. I'm a newbie to this festival which is locally known as Ligligan Parul. We were glad that Ivan Henares hosted us and even gave us free guest passes in the reserved seating section. "Ivan is a travel freak, frustrated historian and heritage activist. A member of the Board of Trustees of the Heritage Conservation Society, he is a feisty advocate for the preservation of Philippine architectural heritage" (-quote from his Ivan about Town blog). Aside from this, Ivan has a very popular post about Pampanga's pride. Three years ago, he was the chairman of this Giant Lantern Festival in 2003 so he was able to gave us all the juicy details about this festival. If you haven't seen this, this is one of those moments where you will be proud of the Filipino's creativity and hard work.

Giant Lantern Festival 2006 - 47
There were 12 giant lanterns during this year's festival which makes this the biggest festival so far in terms of participation. It was held at the back parking lot of SM Pampanga. All the giant lanterns were lined up in front of two tents where the different celebrity and prominent judges were seated. There is no entrance fee to watch these giant lanterns but the place is too small for 100,000 people that it is literally a shoulder-to-shoulder crowd. The giant lantern competition usually starts at 8pm+ until 11pm to complete all the three rounds of competition. The different barangays are competing for barangay pride and there is no cash prize.

It is advisable to already be in SM Pampanga at around 3-4pm so that you can find a parking space in the parking lot nearest the exit. This is an important strategy that Ivan shared with us, make sure to park in the parking space in front of Watsons, also near the Toll gate and near the exit of SM Pampanga. Otherwise, due to the large crowd, you can wait for an hour just to get out of SM Pampanga after the competition is finished at around 12mn. Once parked, you can go around SM Pampanga and you should definitely try the P109 Eat-all-you-can Pampanga Merienda Buffet from Party Land in the Entertainment area. After eating your heart out, you should start finding your way to the venue at around 6pm to reserve your seat or spot.

Giant Lantern Festival 2006 - 39
These lanterns are 18 feet in diameter and it just gets bigger and bigger each year, last year was 16 feet. Each segment in the lantern usually have white japanese or paper cover having 3-4 bulbs behind it with different colors. It is like the Red-Green-Blue (RGB) configuration in our computer monitors. Of course, each lantern has its own unique design and creative purpose. Just imagine how complicated it is to create these giant lanterns and coordinating the switching of the colors. During the competition, the lanterns need to dance and showcase its lights to the tune of the Christmas songs.

Related Posts:
Ligligan Parul and more from Pampanga from Ivan. He even has the 5 minute video of the third round of the competition where all the lanterns are dancing posted in youtube! You should watch that show to give you a first hand experience of the Giant Lantern Show.

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September 11, 2006

What a Spankadventure: The Very Best of Pampanga Cuisine!

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(Left to Right, Back to Front Row) Ajay (annalyn.net) with son Paolo, my brother Rommel, my sister-in-law Clauds, Spanky Enriquez (spankyenriquez.blogspot.com), Bal the driver, Nina (justwandering.org), Kendrick Tan, our good friends Maong and Luisa, my lovely wife Rache, my son Aidan, and yours truly. Taken in Everybody's Cafe in San Fernando, Pampanga just before the Pampanga feast!

Related Post: Pampanga Food Trip- A Culinary Tour of Pampanga 1.0

It was a foodie dream come true!

I have always dreamed about the day that I would get to explore the very best of Pampanga food. Once again, that dream came true last Saturday night during our pampanga culinary adventure 2.0 led by Spanx. We ended the food trip with a kapampangan feast that we will never forget. From Mely's Sisig, to Jun-Jun's Barbeque and the popular Everybody Cafe's authentic Pampanga food. Of course, the meal will not be complete without the unique Pampanga dessert treat of Doren Tayag's Decadent Cake with Caramel Sauce and Aurely's Special upside down version of Brazo de Mercedes.

You won't be a certified foodie if you haven't tasted this cuisine. I will try my best to share with you our experience so you can be inspired to seek out these authentic Pampanga delights on your own time. I assure you can't find these types of food in the Metro and yes, you have to travel to San Fernando, Pampanga for a taste of all of these. Thanks to Spanky for another successful Pampanga Culinary Tour!

It would be difficult to top this trip because every tour gets better and better. We are thinking of a final Pampanga culinary tour 3.0 which will be the last of the Pampanga Culinary Trilogy. I do hope you can come and I'm sure that it would be one food adventure you will never forget. Watch out for this in October and I'll try to put an invite earlier so that you can block your own schedule.

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