Carnation Family Food Trip 2009, Part 1

Like last year in Baguio, I was invited to join Appetite Magazine and Carnation’s Family Food Trip last Wednesday, this time down south in Batangas.

Fried Tawilis
Fried Tawilis from Batangas

Being just a few days away from my birthday, and scheduled on my exact weekday work restdays, the promise of another food tour was very timely. Except for the part that I was deadset on my diet by that time, which involved eating a lot less red meat and processed food, adding the same amount of brown rice to white rice, and generally eating healthier than usual.

A compromise was taken without any hesitation. It’s also been too long since I took pictures.

Peanut Brittle Making at Taal
Peanut Brittle Making at Taal, Batangas

The tour’s first stop was Taal, which I didn’t know was a Heritage City, same as Vigan. The cozy provincial vibe, the narrow streets, and the old churches reminded of a town further south: I spent summer vacations as a kid in Tayabas, Quezon, and I always wax poetic about those times. The ancestral houses, however, was a different thing, as they were scattered around the town, unlike Vigan. Most were in a semi-dilapidated state, but it was still a welcome sight that they still do exist. We were informed that there was a conscious effort to keep fast-food establishments out, but I couldn’t help noticing the 7-11.

Candle Vendors at the Our Lady of Casaysay Church
Candle Vendors at the Our Lady of Casaysay Church

Boy Reciting Luwa
Luwa is a religious ritual in Taal that sees four young boys reciting a eulogy in verse as an offering to the patron saint.

Lunch was served at Escuela Pia, where I picked Sinaing na Tanigue, Adobong Batangas (Chicken) from the buffet table. Yes, my mind was still on eat-helathy mode. It was my first time to try Batangas’s version of adobo, but this time it had milk in it. Not impressed though, but I must make this a special case: I have not eaten any version of the adobo I liked, as I’ve always preferred pork.

We also paid a quick visit to a few local factories of Taal products: peanut brittle, balisong, and embroidery. Parang field trip lang talaga.

Balisong Maker

By mid-afternoon, we were off to Talisay for Club Balai Isabel, where the group would have dinner, and stay for the night. The group would be the first tenants to stay at one of their lakeside buildings, and, surprised and confused, I also found out I had a room to myself. The elevator wasn’t functional yet, and my room was on the third floor, which wasn’t really a big issue as I only had an overnight bag and a camera bag with me.

Room was cozy, was so glad to be cooled off from a tiring day, as well as this awesome early evening sight:

And this one:

So I changed, and swiftly went down to catch the sunset over Taal Volcano, on Taal Lake:

Dinnertime. I was early, and they were offering refreshments, or so I thought. It was punch. See, I don’t drink, and have no intentions of doing so that night. It was a vodka and rum punch. I probably spent less than an hour just outside the venue, finishing hot coffee, as I was feverish and ripe-tomato-red. Just as the tour photographer snapped me for documentation.

So forgive me if I can’t recall much of the night’s fare, but I remember the pumpkin soup. And the showband that didn’t quite sell, I’m assuming here, with the crowd.

I called it a day by retiring early in my room, catching up on local news, and my alarm set to sunrise so I can shoot some more.

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