Contrary to the date of this post, this food tour actually happened on August 10, 2013. I’m so behind.

Pampanga, to many, is the mecca of food. Many of our well-loved dishes are kapampangan so it only makes sense that professional food tours are offered for this culinary province. My kabarkada, Nic, was in town from the States so we decided that we would all get together and bond over this day of food. See below how our day of gluttony went. In bold are the itinerary items c/o our tour organizer, Travel Factor.

06:00 AM Meeting Time at McDonald’s El Pueblo (Ortigas Center)
06:30 AM Departure to Pampanga
We got up way early and met at McDo St. Francis Square. What was supposed to be a group tour turned into a private trip because the other participants backed out. We made full use of the van.

08:00 AM Breakfast at Everybody’s Cafe
We got there around 7:40am. We were their first customers. Exotic Food Sampling at the famous Everbody’s Cafe. Way too early to be playing Fear Factor if you ask me but we were game.
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Of course we have to instagram it!
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Our breakfast – frog, mercon (mystery meat), crickets, longganisa. Nothing special. Try it just to brag to your friends how brave you are. The crickets are actually good though, if you can wrap your mind around the fact that you’re eating crickets.
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Does hot chocolate aka Batirol go well with frog?
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10:00 AM Visit San Fernando Cathedral
We actually got to the Church around 9:30ish and stayed a only a few minutes.
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10:30 AM Morning Snacks: Kabigting Halo-Halo
We drove all the way to this far place just to have this. Supposedly the best. Honestly though, there are SO MANY variations of Halo-Halo that it’s tough to really claim that any halo-halo is the best. All their ingredients may be commercially bought so it’s tough to differentiate.
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Outside the halo-halo place. It’s just a small stall actually. But they are building a huge restaurant expansion beside it. Are they really that popular?
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12:00 NN Buffet Lunch at Cucina ng Atching Lilia Borromeo, San Nicolas Cookies Cooking Demo
Since we were ahead of schedule, they had barely set up the buffet yet. Their staff was busy with a photoshoot with Chef Sau. Atching Lilia is the one in white. beside me.

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By around 130pm we were ready for the next stop but we sat around just hanging out because we were so ahead of schedule.
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Selfie
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They were doing a shoot in this space so we didn’t eat here. We were glad because it looked dark and dusty.
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This is where we ate instead. Her place badly needs a renovation.
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Phone Charger Station
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We were also expecting the Cooking Demo for the cookies that was in the itinerary but this didn’t happen. We are not sure what happened and why it didn’t push through. No one offered us any explanations.
Shown here: their pandan water and the San Nicolas Cookie. It was good. Tasted like Shortbread.
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EJ Made a friend.
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03:00 PM Visit Betis Church
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It’s a beautiful church. I was in awe.
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Are you talking to me? Said Jesus.
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Killing time at the Church with Asian Peace Signs
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Pasalubong Shopping at Susie’s
When you are pretty full, it’s difficult to buy pasalubong especially when most of it is food. I just picked up some tibok-tibok for my family.

03:30 PM Afternoon Snacks: Historic Camalig Restaurant
I had no idea what to expect here. I thought it would be more Filipino food but to our surprise, it was PIZZA. And really good PIZZA at that. By the way, the name of the restaurant is actually Armando’s Pizza & Pasta. The Camalig is the name of the building, which used to be a camalig back in the day.

This is the Armando’s Best
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Menu full of Pizza
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Our Guide, EJ checking out the creepy rocking chair in Historic Camalig
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I liked these antique fans.
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Exploring the restaurant. So dark.
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The interior of the restaurant is creepy and dark. Not really the best setting for an Italian restaurant. Hardly a match for the yummy food it serves. I guess that adds to its appeal though?
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I’m half expecting ghosts to appear in my photos. Here it’s just Nic. I think.
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07:00 PM Dinner at Aling Lucing’s Sisig
We arrived there around 530pm. Our guide, EJ, was very nervous about because it’s actually an inuman place and people can get quite rowdy. He was worried that if a bunch of rowdy, drunk men tried to start trouble, being the lone guy, he wouldn’t be able to protect us. IMG_5066

At 5:30PM it wasn’t so bad. There were a bunch of people drinking but it was still bright out.
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Shortly after we’d ordered our food, there was a commotion. To our surprise, Bong Revilla & Lani Mercado came in with an entire posse of family and bodyguards. They created such a clamor that the restaurant had to be closed.
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Taking a picture with the former action star and fellow pork (sisig) lover
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He was sitting so near us that I had to take a selfie! Lani Mercado is in pink and Bong Revilla is in black.
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Just having more fun with Revilla while he eats Pork…. sisig!
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We got shut in with them. Our guide breathed a sigh of relief. With so many bodyguards there, he wouldn’t have to protect us anymore.

The commotion when we left
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Around 7ish, we started our drive back to Manila.

If you are interested in doing this tour, please check out www.travelfactor.org

What you must know:
1) This is purely food. There is no cultural aspect to this tour, there is no explanation nor background about the food, restaurants or any other stops. So you literally hop from place to place just eating. My friends an I unanimously wished they injected some cultural stories or narrations to our meals as a way of explaining the food and its meaning in kapampangan culture. It would have made it so much more interesting.
2) No you will not be too full because they give you small portions of food just to try.
3) Bring an umbrella just in case it rains.
4) All the walking you will be doing is from the car to the restaurant and that’s basically a few steps. If you so choose, you can wear your favorite pair of Jimmy Choos.

The Cost: Php2,400 per person. Expensive. Considering all the sights (Churches) were free. The food places, am sure were not expensive at all. Everybody’s Cafe, I can’t be sure of.. but the Halo-Halo was only P60/per person. The Buffet couldn’t be more than P500 per person. The Pizza was P350ish for the entire pie, which we all shared. The Sisig was under Php1,000 for all 5 of us. I think the van charter and driver must have cost the most. I know a business has to make money but I think we definitely overpaid on this.

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2 Responses to Foodtrip Pampanga

  1. nicole says:

    oh memories! that was fun! i probably would never have gone to any of those places without the trip. thanks for organizing!

    i think EJ was probably overreacting about the whole “danger” thing. Pffft.

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