Category Archives: Philippines

Baguio City Centennial Celebration

I was born in the mountains. The mountain city of Baguio in the Philippines, to be exact. Although I was only there for the first decade of my life, it has indelibly stamped itself into my psyche as home. When people ask me where I’m from, this is the first city that comes to mind before I realize they really meant where do I live now as opposed to where I was born.

On September 1st, Baguio will celebrate its 100th year as a city and various celebrations are being planned to commemorate this event stretching into the end of this year.

nullFor a short history of the city, here is the condensed version from the Baguio Centennial website:

Baguio city, Benguet prov., NW Luzon, the Philippines. Baguio is the summer capital of the country. Originally settled by the Spanish, Baguio developed only after the American occupation, when a modern city was laid out (1909) by Daniel H. Burnham and roads were built (the first in 1913) to connect it with the main highways. The city was captured early (Dec., 1941) in World War II by Japanese land forces. Baguio City was established by Americans in 1900 at the site of an Ibaloi village known as Kafagway. Baguio City was designated by the Philippine Commission as the Summer Capital of the Philippines on June 1, 1903 and incorporated as a city by the Philippine Assembly on September 1, 1909. There is a presidential mansion, as well as supreme court and legislative offices in Baguio. Baguio is the seat of government of the Cordillera Administrative Region. The name of the city is derived from the word bagiw in Ibaloi, the indigenous language of the Benguet Region, meaning ‘moss’. The city is at an altitude of approximately 1500 meters (5100 ft) in a moist tropical pine forest conducive to the growth of mossy plants and orchids.
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Best Pig EVER in the Philippines

Thanks to Our Awesome Planet for the heads up on this: No Reservations – Philippines. Ever since we took cable TV out of our home I have been out of touch with the going ons of my favorite cooking and travel shows.

I subscribe to the OAP feed via email and it’s my way of eating through the Philippines vicariously through Anton and family’s dining adventures. So today I opened my subscription expecting to read about another delectable restaurant I probably will never get to try out, I instead found out that No Reservations has been to the Philippines and the show (episode) aired just a couple of days ago on the Travel Channel. The show went there because Augusto Elefano managed to convince Anthony Bourdain to take No Reservations to the Philippines with this video.

I was also excited to find out that Anthony was hosted by Joel of Market Manila, a food blog that I have been a great fan of for years. If anyone can talk ‘lechon’, Joel is the man. The guy is as obsessed about pork as Bourdain. He’s built his own roasting pit and has been cooking up one pig after another in his quest for the perfect lechon, after all!

I am excited to learn that the video of the show is in YouTube. Yeay, YouTube! So I’ll rush home later and watch the whole thing! I’d watch it now but I’m at work 😛

Anton of OAP was kind enough to compile the links below for related articles about this episode.

No Reservations Philippines in You Tube uploaded by mrfhardy in 7 parts.
Pressure Drop by Anthony Bourdain’s Visit in Manila
Bourdain’s Hierarchy of Pork by Anthony Bourdain
“The Best Pig Ever” by Market Manila
Wok-king with Anthony Bourdain by Ivan Man Dy for Inquirer

A Mother’s Lament

Mom & Pop with AngeOne trend in Philippine society, because of its lagging economy, is for its people to seek employment abroad. The government boasts that its greatest resource is its people. The income generated by OFWs, Overseas Foreign Workers, is said to account for a sizable percentage of the national income. Not only do the worker’s families benefit from the income earned abroad, but the nation’s economy is boosted because of this.

So mothers and fathers leave their children behind in order to give them a better future. My parents were among the millions who have been doing this for generations. My father left to work overseas the very same day that my youngest sister was born. He barely caught a glimpse of her before running off to catch his flight. This is the only way he could have supported a family of three children. His civil servant position did not pay enough to support us. He knew that.

A few years later, his contract over, he returns home to find his youngest child afraid of him. It took her a while to warm up to the father she didn’t recognize, and it broke his heart.
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Happy Slip in the Philippines

My daughter discovered Happy Slip not too long ago and she has been addicted. All she talks about sometimes is what Christine and KevJumba have been up to like they are old friends she’s been catching up with. At home, all we have to do is mention Bicks (Vick’s vaporub) and Basilin (Vasseline petroleum jelly) and we’d be on the floor laughing. Does everyone have a grandma or an Auntie like Christine’s? Does everyone have a mom who always reminds you not to forget your ‘happy slip’ every time you go out the door? If you’re Filipino, I’m sure you know what I’m talking about.

Christine Gambito, is a truly talented actress and comedienne. I think it won’t be long before we start seeing her in mainstream tv or cable at least. It isn’t any wonder then that she was asked to visit the Philippines, courtesy of the Department of Tourism so that she can produce her hugely popular video logs that will be posted both on the tourism site and on Happy Slip. She has returned home from that trip and has started to put together the video logs of her trip. This tourism video is different from her usual, funny Happy Slim monologues, it is a bit more serious. It is touching to see how visiting her homeland has affected this second generation Filipino American.