(I lost two and a half days worth of photos, mostly food shots. Will do my best to give you a fun and enjoyable post.)
Celine and I invited ourselves to the hometown of Mayette in Balanga, Bataan for the Holy Week. It was so nice of her and Jon, her husband to accommodate us. Hehehehe ... lucky us! They picked us up on Thursday night.
Bataan is where you will see the Cross at Mt. Samat.
We had our first stop over at SnR, San Fernando, Pampanga but when we got there, they were not selling snacks anymore. We went to the next pit stop which was the Shell Gas Station. We went to this small restaurant called Bubusok.
We ordered the....
Sizzling Chicken - Thigh part
Sizzling Chicken - Breast part
Sizzling Tuna Belly
Fried vegetable lumpia
We were so hungry and it hit the spot.
When we reached Balanga, we visited two churches.
and St. Claire.
When we woke up, every body said they will observe FASTING. I said, WHAT????
I brought out all our breakfast food... it was only Celine who had bread and water but the rest of us had pan de sal which we bought from the Capitol Bakery the night before.
Imagine, it was already 11:30 pm and still, a lot of people were buying bread!
I love this brand of sardines, Porthos.... bought it at Landmark
Sardines from Portugal given to me by the friend of PD who works at the Philippine Consulate in Portugal.
Oatmeal packets but it was only Mayette who ate it.
That was her personal stock.
We also had Chocolate Chip Cookies.
Mayette brought the cookies I gave them the other day.
Coffee and milk.
We watched the Senakulo at Samal.
My first time.... it was only a re-enactment.
Since we were supposed to be FASTING, we just bought Tuna Pie from Jollibee... two pies each!!!
Jon brought us to an off road path...
Half way ... the Patrol we were riding could not get through the narrow lane
so we started walking.... going up the mountain!
It was so ... off the beaten track ... the view was breath taking and new to a city girl like me.
We had our late Tuna Pie lunch at side of the dirt load leading up to the mountain. I was standing up while eating. LOL So afraid of the creepy crawlies going inside my very short shorts!!!
Celine, Mayette and Jon did not have that problem.
We continued our trek ....
I got left behind because I was so slow plus I had to stop several times to take pictures.
Amazing vista when I reached the top!!!
And mighty proud of myself. We were not dressed for hiking but for the beach!
It was not a difficult climb.
Although the sun was really high and up, we did not feel the heat. It was actually a little cool.
I just had one more mountain to climb. We were up in the middle of nowhere... ergo ... no toilet!!! I do not know how to pee in the bushes, unlike Celine and Mayette hehehehe.
I tried ... I already had my shorts and knickers down, went to the bushes but I could not do it!!! LOL
I did not want to be defeated .... so on our next stop, I found a clearing!!!! I was afraid to go to the bushes because Jon said there were cobras in the mountain!!!! Hahahaha. I think he was just teasing me.
I had to leave my shorts in the Patrol... told them not to look and to distract themselves with the bounty of Mother Nature.
And did they listen to me?!?!?! Of course not!!! They took pictures while I was doing my business!!!!
I was having a little problem... when I started to get up, I could not stand up straight because my legs were cramping!!! Remember, I just went hiking up and down the trail. So, for a few precious moments .... I was mooning the other side of the mountain!!! Hahahahaha ... Pity the person with a pair binoculars!
Hahahahaha That was the highlight of my vacation. A big First for me! I can proudly say, I know how to pee in the wilderness!!!!
The scenery going down was also beautiful ....
They even went wildberry picking.
Mayette and Jon were invited for dinner by Jade, their friend from GCF, Celine and I tagged along.
We cooked Sinampalukan na Tilapia and brought it as our dinner contribution.
It was sooooooooooooooooo delicious! Mayette taught me how to cook it.
Sinampalukan na Tilapia or Shrimps
1/4 k. green tamarind
2 C. water
1 k. baby tilapia or shrimps
1 T. rock salt
2-4 T. fish sauce, to taste
4-8 T. cooking oil
Boil the tamarind pods in water until the skin breaks.
Mash the tamarind and remove the skin. Add the fish or shrimps, salt and fish sauce. When the fish or shrimps are cooked, drizzle the oil.
Really super YUM if you like your food sour and salty. I cannot wait to cook it for my family this Saturday.
We went to Sinagtala Farm Resort in Orani where Jade and her family were staying for the holy week.
They had garlic shrimps, tinapa, egg rolls and fruits! They even had fresh coconuts.
Mayette invited them to her Forest Green Farm for lunch.
She and Jon are just beginning to develop the family resort.
They recently built a 2-bedroom little cottage.
It is a work in progress... new additions every time I visit. Jon told me that they are having a tree house built. Cannot wait for it!
In the meantime.... we were doing our cooking and washing of stuff outdoors!!!
Imagine cooking under the tree .....
I did not even have to stand!
I had my own throne!
I had a good deal with the girls ... I will do the cooking while they were in-charge of cleaning and washing.
Finally!!!! I was able to make the perfect Binagoongan na Baboy!!! Simply the best!!!
The secret is the fresh alamang (magaspang) from the Balanga Public market.
It is the cleanest market I have ever seen.
1/2 k. pork, cubed (best to use liempo)
2 C. water
4 pcs. ripe tomatoes, cut into wedges
1 C. fresh alamang magaspang
1/3 C. vinegar
2-4 T. white sugar
1- 2 C. water
2 pcs. green chili pepper (optional)
Boil cubed pork in two cups water until the liquid has evaporated and fat is rendered from the meat.
Then add the garlic, onions and tomatoes. (Do not remove the meat.).
Saute until the tomato wedges are wilted.
Add the alamang and the vinegar. Do NOT stir until it starts to boil. Add water and sugar. Slowly simmer until the pork pieces are tender.
Garnish with green chili peppers if desired.
Best served with grilled eggplant and steamed white rice!!!! I am super dreaming about this!!!!!
The rest of the girls grilled the pork tadyang and the eggplants. They also steamed the small alimasag we bought at the market.
The mom of Jade cooked mixed vegetables with tofu, carrots, togue, kinchay and chicharon bits!!!!
And then.... this is the part where I lost half of my photos.
We were invited again by Jade and her family for dinner. This time at Pahinga Tabing-Ilog Retreat House, Bagac http://pahinga.com/ where they spent the night.
Again... another beautiful place... peaceful ... where you can just hear the rushing water of the river... so quiet that it was quite sinful to laugh hard or talk so loudly or boisterously.
We brought a couple of lechon manok from Saroy.
The best I have ever tasted! Mayette and I will start our own here in Manila soon! LOL Hopefully.
Perfect to eat it with the Mulawin Pan De Sal - uses the oil in which Jollibee chicken was fried.
The family of Jade prepared grilled pork, grilled pusit, grilled bangus, shrimps and fresh fruits.
After dinner, we visited the Auntie Charet of Mayette at their sprawling farm. They have a beautiful manicured garden, a huge pool in the center fed by natural spring water... they have a floating hut on their fish pen where you can catch very big Tilapia fish.
They were preparing for a medical mission for the Veterans the next day, Bataan Day. We went to the kitchen and they offered us Bringe, Dinuguan, Singakamas with bagong and Celina did not decline the offer of Adobong Alimango!!! Super dooper delicious! Buttery! Artery clogging aligue sauce!
When I woke up, Tita Dely of Mayette was in the farm and brought us suman and ripe mangoes for breakfast! YAY!
We heard mass at the chapel of St. Claire. It was a very LONG mass. But I got blessed with Holy water! Nothing bad can touch me now because I am with Team Jesus Christ!
We had our lunch with Tita Dely at Wanam Chinese Restaurant.
Our usual order of ...
Fried Chicken!!! Chicharon Bulaklak!!! Lumpiang Shanghai!!! Pancit Bihon!!!! Fried Rice!!!
We went to Morong for a joy ride. George, the former family driver, drove for us. Plus, he was the only one who knew where the beach front property of Mayette and her family was located.
Along the way, we made a short stop at the Casuy hut... bought Adobong casuy as pasalubong for my Kuya. But it was so good, I hid it in one of my drawers.
I also had my very first taste of Cheers Orange soda. It was better than Royal or Mirinda!!!
Too tired to go anywhere ..we just had dinner at the Blue House. They had al fresco dining areas in the garden. We ate at a gazebo surrounded by lush greenery. I just ordered a Beddar Cheddar sandwich. I am going to look for it in the grocery.
We woke up early ....
so nice to wake up to the chirping of the birds and the sun barely peeking through the trees.
Another trip to the market to buy our pasalubong ... I bought different kinds of tinapa and daing, fresh alamang for my Binagoongan and sauteed bagoong for green mangoes or singakamas.
Our last lunch, we had it picnic style under the canopy of trees. Since the Sinampalukan na tilapia was so good, we made another version using shirmps!
We could not stop eating, it was really soooo delicious! And the sauce!!!! We were pouring over rice and alternately sipping from our bowls.
We also had crispy tawilis which I fried, Saroy Lechon Manok. and sliced green mangoes.
We went home late in the afternoon. Our last stopover for the night was in San Fernando, Pampanga to eat BBQ at Jun-Jun Bibingka and Barbecue.
Whew! What an adventure! I probably gained several pounds. Before leaving for Bataan my belt was hitched at hole number three but when I went home, the ends did not even meet!!
Even though we were having a grand time, we did not forget that it was Holy Week and that Jesus died for us so that we could enjoy the gifts of our Lord.
Another fun memory to deposit in my HAPPY bank.
Thank you so much Mayette and Jon!!!!
Until the next time we invite ourselves again! Hehehehe!