Luzon: Sites, Thoughts and Tinola

All journeys have a beginning and I would like to say that thanks to the new NLEX, north Luzon journeys now start with a pleasant cruise.

Mt. Arayat as seen from Nueva Ecija.

Every trip is an opportunity for pleasant discoveries. This is what I am constantly reminded of. No matter how many times I've passed these roads I realize that if I open my eyes, there will always be something beautiful and new that I've never seen before. And if life was a journey and we're all here to adventure, I'd love to be a hunter, stalking life's beauty like a prey, keeping my eyes wide open so that I never miss any golden opportunity to be awed and be thankful. (at least I really try my best to)

I can just imagine these plants being tiny paintbrushes reaching up to paint the beautiful heavens.

The rainy season brings to life these secret streams that are nowhere to be seen during the hot, dry, summer. A reminder that no matter what drought life may bring, in time, it's bounties will surely come rushing in. No matter how you try to mask beauty, its splendor will definitely be revealed with unabashed glory.
Cascading down little cracks and boulders on the face of Nueva Ecija's mountains, I am mesmerized by its calmness.

Dropping by Quirino Province on business and to see a friend, I was fortunate enough to get invited to an authentic native lunch complete with this little kubo to eat in. It's amazing how the kubo seems to insulate well from heat and sucks in the country breeze to cool and pamper its occupants like a gracious host.

Famished and tired from a long drive, this sight made me excited about the coming meal.
My favorite sili comes in stalks. Wooohooo!

Of course every Ilocano meal should have the bagoong isda (which I lost no time crushing the chili into).

Having taken care of the sili and bagoong, we then proceeded to the main course --Tinola of native chicken (served piping hot from the pugon). Basically an Ilocano soup cooked with chicken, ginger, green papaya, patis and sili leaves. This particular tinola however was made extra special by the egg inside the native chicken which made the broth slightly yellow and very tasty. The meat of native chicken is a bit more dense than the broiler kind and a lot more flavorful. The freshness of the veggies (harvested right before cooking) was very evident specially in the green papaya which was sweet, crisp and juicy. I couldn't help but exclaim praises with every mouthful.

Dripping with food induced sweat, we concluded our authentic Ilocano lunch, with freshly plucked bananas which just seemed like the perfect way to end the feast.

There you have it. A week of travelling, life and tinola.


Drew said...

This brought back lots of good memories of my travels in northern luzon.I spent most of 2004 going back n' forth there due to my work at Globe Tel.I used to spent so many nights in different hotels/inns and like you tasted some of their specialties.
(such a nostalgic post)
I will definitely go back there!

Ruy said...

Cool! Yeah, the specialties are always something to go back for.=) Just remember to watch out for highway-crossing chickens and carabaos if you're ever driving.

KC said...

I've been to Nueva Ecija twice. I love the lush greenery. Ay naloka ako sa sili. Medyo nangilo ako sa dami ng sili because I don't like spicy food. Hihi. Peace out. =)

Litzie said...

Oh boy I LOVE native Tinola. In fact, that what we ate for lunch yesterday. Daddy and Mommy went to Batangas and went home with a dead native chix. LOL.

Liv said...

Ruy, do you know that my lolo cooked my pet chicken as Tinola when I was a kid? ...TRIVIA!!!

Ruy said...

KC: Where in Nueva Ecija did you go I wonder. Yup, it's very refreshing to see the greens left and right carpeting vast expanses of earth. It's nice too when the rice is about ready to be harvested and the greens turn into gold. =)

Ruy said...

Litzie: Native chicken from Batangas! Cool... Tapos you cooked it in your beautiful, brand new kitchen.=) Coolest!

Ruy said...

Liv: Was your chicken by any chance named Machang? I remember Machang from Marimar who got cooked by Corazon... Poor chicken...



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