Stuffed in Baguio

About this time last week, I was nursing a headache over sleep and ingested two paracetamol tablets over at The Manor Hotel in Camp John Hay, in Baguio city.

Dessert after lunch at The Manor Hotel, in Camp John Hay, Baguio City

No, it wasn’t exactly a vacation.

I was invited as a delegate to the Carnation Family Food Trip Tour organized by Appetite Magazine. The invite was a starred email for sometime over my Gmail account, until I realized that the event will be held in Baguio, and that it starts on a Friday, ends on a Saturday, my official days of rest from work. I’ve been meaning to go back to Baguio for some time now, since my last memory of it was spending the night with the family in the car en route to Ilocos years ago.

The first stop was a the Lenox Hotel in Dagupan, where we had past-noon lunch. The Peppercorn Crablets were easy, delicious targets, and the Steamed Milkfish  in Cream Sauce was another highlight. Photos? Oh I’d refer you to the sites of the other bloggers who attended the event. I couldn’t find the mood then to go on photographer mode.

Entering Baguio was a welcome visual experience. The rain, the fog, and the odd fact that most of the commuter stops usually had two people seeking shelter: a man and a woman. Right then I dearly wished I just wouldn’t be spending one night in the city.

The tour’s itinerary involved a city tour which didn’t push through due to the bad weather. We were left to rest and wait for dinner, prepared by the former Le Soufflé executive chef Billy King. The press -including the bloggers- were told that we could interview him, but he did not make an appearance. Personal highlights of the dinner was the satisfactory Malaysian Goat Curry, and the Fruit and Crepe Flambe. The rest of the meal offerings, as expected, were all cream-based (with Carnation Milk as substitute): due to this, however, there wasn’t much of a flavor variation for the palette to experience.

After dinner, the rest of the bloggers and myself decided to call it a night, and I went ahead of roommate Anton Diaz (of the OurAwesomePlanet blog, and fellow PinoyTechBlog writer) back to the hotel. This was when I had room service deliver the paracetamol tablets, and let my mind numb over the girls parading on a yacht over at Fashion TV.

Breakfast was hotel breakfast, and it was the first time I relished white rice and fried breakfast standards. By this time it was sinking in that this was my third consecutive buffet meal, and there’s still lunch to relish. After breakfast, the delegates had the option to go along with the aborted city tour the day before. Since I didn’t feel like rushing, I caught up with the group over Minesview Park via one of those infamous cheap taxi rides. The only other stopover in store was for the palengke, which I later found out people wanted to go to because of the wagwagan. I decided to break away from the group at this time, and see if I can take street photos of the place. I probably snapped a handful of shots with my panoramic film camera, but never really bothered to take out the DSLR or rangefinder film camera for anything else. Its been pretty obvious by then that the photographic mood-state was too elusive, but my tummy was happy so I can’t really complain.

Back at the hotel, lunch was ready, and I readily wolfed down on the Marinated and Fried Maya-maya in Tomato and Green Mango Salsa, the Beef Adobo Cannelloni, and the tasty Brazos de Mercedes and Creme Brullee. This was considering breakfast wasn’t digested fully yet, but we were leaving Baguio shortly, so I guess it was best to have that full stomach.

There was one last stop, and it was back at Burnham Park for the Grand Handaan event, where food will be served for the delegates and the locals as well. Booths were set up and were divided into the major provinces of Northern Luzon, where their respective specialties were served. The Pangasinan tupig was a hit, but my eyes veered towards the minced guts-and-meat (sisig, papaitan, etc.). Yes, I was bloated, but I found this tasting was necessary.

The ride home was relatively uneventful, save for the bus tire-repair, and the funny thing that the delegates did over at a gas station store: a good chuck of the group bought loads of salty junk food.


Entries from the the other bloggers who were there (with photos):

Dagupan’s Milkfish Cooked with Carnation Milk
Chef Billy King Prepares Carnation Milk-Based Dishes
Carnation Family Food Trip at Burnham Park in Baguio
Bloggers’ Baguio Food Trip
Carnation Family Food Trip 2008

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