Sweets haven in Bulacan

Looking for sweets treat this Christmas season? Then go buy assorted pastillas de leche in San Miguel, Bulacan and savor them alone or with your love ones.

Pastillas de leche is basically a candy made out of milk and sugar. It is rolled into thumb-size pieces, wrapped in white paper and then packed in different colorful papers.

The best thing about the pastillas de leche is that once popped inside the mouth, the partaker finds the grits of sugar and the slow, gentle melting of it in the mouth and offers a heavenly goodness of pure carabao’s milk. It gives not just sweetness but also creaminess and softness of a candy that one would crave for more.

Coming in different varieties, this delicacy in San Miguel town has become an addiction to travelers and most especially to its locals.

A gateway to Nueva Ecija and Cagayan Valley region, San Miguel town is a favorite stopover for travelers who crave for mouth-watering pastillas de lecheout of carabao’s milk.

According to Rafael Payawal, popularly called as “Ka Ape”, who is one of the oldest living residents in San Miguel, the pastillas industry in the town traces its history to the Spanish period.

“San Miguel as an agricultural area has many carabaos. Because of this, people thought of capitalizing it for other uses aside from farming activities. And so they came up with collecting its milk and developing it into pastillas,” Payawal said.

Due to growing demand, pastillas has become at par with farming as the main livelihoods in San Miguel.

Now, the number of commercial pastillas makers is growing in number. Among these are Ocampo Sweets, Sevilla Sweets, Andrea Sweets, Garcia’s and Ricmar’s. Their common secret? It’s the freshness of the carabao’s milk, which is pasteurized immediately upon delivery and uses it for pastillas making.

The Sevilla and Ocampo sweets products include the following:

  • Pastillas de leche. Soft and creamy milk candies made of pure carabao’s milk and sugar. Available in boxes containing 25 jumbo pieces and plastic bags with 24 smaller pieces.
  • Flavored pastillas. Pastillas de leche with langka (jackfruit), cheese and ube (purple yam) flavors. These are packed in plastic bags with 24 pieces each.
  • Assorted pastillas. An assortment of flavors in plastic container, namely; pastillas de leche, pastillas de yema, pastillas de ube, pastillas de langka, and pastillas de keso.
  • Ube pastillas. Thumb-size morsel rolled in sugar and wrapped in clear cellophane with ube as its main ingredient made tastier with carabao’s milk.
  • Pastillas de yema. A sweet, sticky delicacy made of condensed milk, egg yolk, cheese, sugar and lemon. Available in plastic bags containing 24 pieces.
  • Pastillas stick. It is composed of 12 sticks of yummy pastillas bound by festive yellow ribbon.
  • Cheese candy. Consisting of 12 sticks of cheese-flavored tied with yellow ribbon.

Other products include special polvoron, polvoron de pinipig, assorted polvoron, assorted macapuno balls, dried fruits, cashew tart, pili tart, lengua de gato, turon de casuy, pacencia white, uraro, and minarka.

Aside from being used as a favorite dessert on the locals’ and travelers’ tables, the pastillas products are also used as a present (pasalubong) or a gift during special occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries, weddings and Christmas because of its delicate, colorfully wrapped goodies.

“These milk products continue to live because of the strong patronage of the locals in San Miguel,” says Mayor Roderick DG. Tiongson.

In fact, Bulacan celebrated the first Pastillas festival on May 5-7, 2005 which highlighted the importance of pastillas in the lives of its locals. According to Mayor Tiongson, the province of Bulacan will set another pastillas festival in May 2011.

In 2008, San Miguel tried its best to be included in the Guiness Book of World Records for producing the “longest pastillas in the world”. The efforts involved the use of 12,800 liters of carabao’s milk and 1,600 kilos of sugar that produced a 200-meter long, five-inch diameter pastillas. The finished product, when cut into pieces, resulted in 500,000 thumb-size pieces morsels.

The effort, though, was not officially recognized due to some reasons.

Nobody can really claim where pastillas has originated.

But according to Caridad Sevilla, her mother-in-law Olympia Sevilla, more popularly known as “Lola Impiyang”, was said to be the very first resident of San Miguel who started the pastillas business.

Caridad relates that Lola Impiyang was then a vendor of coffee with fresh carabao’s milk. At the end of the day, she still has overflowing liters of milk. With this in hand, she applied what she has learned from her ancestors, and that is cooking the carabo’s milk into pastillas. At first, she would just give it to her neighbors but eventually turned it into a family business when more and more locals became patrons of her pastillas.

Today, more than 200 households in San Miguel town are engaged in pastillas making. They sell their products in the town and other places.

The production of pastillas de leche in San Miguel, as a business enterprise, is expected to grow, not wane, as the years go on.

https://joahnadiyosa.wordpress.com/2010/12/16/sweets-haven-in-bulacan/

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Another fun Friday and wistful weekend get-away

April 15-16, 2011

Everything started from a spark of excitement brought by bonds developed on our way back home inside Alexis’ ever-accommodating car one Tuesday night.

Being the free-spirited and adventurous young bloods that we are, we came up of doing something unusual but exciting activity to keep the flame of friendship among us flicker more. And to give ourselves a break from the daily routines in the workplace.

Charged with an impulse to do so, we came up of having a Friday night out and weekend escapade in Alexis’ hacienda.

Right after office hours, I and my friends-officemates went in this seemingly welcoming place—Digdig, Carranglan.

While all the others are searching for fire woods and setting-up the camp tents, I, together with these lovely men and women, busied ourselves preparing the vegetable fillings for the fish set to be grilled off.

Having talented guitarists and singers with us, we opted to sit down while waiting for the foods to be cooked and letting the sounds of music provide us the appetizers.

Though our ears were full with entertainment, we just can’t wait to be filled with the sumptuous, palatable, and lavish eatables on the table ready to be partaken by hungry stomachs.

And when I tell you it’s lavish and palatable, I mean it’s really a table of over-flowing foods and deliciously cooked by our ever-dedicated cooks headed by Venus.  And the most exciting part of this food partakes? Boodle fight! Who says we can’t hand-eat? Toothsome, isn’t it?

And because we just can’t contain ourselves with this dazzling place, we took some poses for mementos to bring home and immortalized them in photos.

Since we are conking on the riverside, the air is just as cold, but smooth-touching, as the waters in it. The bonfire was just not a warm and light provider but it also fired up our excitement for a night camp. Coupled with acoustic trips, bon fires are really enthralling!

To heighten up the fun, games likepinoy henyo,‘di ka makararating sa paroroonan kung di lilingon sa pinanggalingan’, and other exciting, mind-boggling puzzles were funneled. And the anticipated beguiling and hilarious night was indeed granted.

And guess what? The games lasted until 2am! Yes, we just can’t get enough of it. Forgive us but big laugh among us is just inevitable!

As the atomic blast of laughter and side-hurting burst of fun sink among us, we savored and enjoyed the infinite display of dazzling, awe-inspiring tiny bright lights in the sky. The stars seem to twinkle more indefinitely as they conspire to join us in our engrossing and exciting night. Star gazing is just captivating!

The morning comes so wake up sleepy-heads! Time for our water escapade! 😀

Who can say we were not excited and ready for our swimming excursion? These dahlins are simply fresh-looking and super lovely! Aren’t we?

Our nerves were so much filled with tingling excitement as we rode off in this inflatable tyre-turned-floater. And we called it…water rafting! Haha!

We were not only captivated by the river’s crystal-clear water and coldness but its giant rocks too that are as beautiful and breath-taking as these two women are. Agree!

Finally, taking with us another memento—a pose in this tree-turned-bridge. The view here is simply magical! And it’s not every day that we get to cross a river through this big, sturdy tree, yeah?

What seemed to be an unplanned get-away turned a very memorable, full of fun (and I mentioned the word ‘fun’ very often), and undeniably jaw-drop beauty only nature can offer. To encapsulate everything about the excursion (though I already used a lot of adjectives here), is that it was another FUN FRIDAY NIGHT AND A WISTFUL WEEK-END get-away!

https://joahnadiyosa.wordpress.com/2011/04/27/167/

The pristine beauty of the South

Tagaytay City, Cavite, Philippines 

I have always been a lover of natural wonders and a great fan of adventures. Since I was a child, to have my feet stepped on the lands on places which offer such was a profound longing.  The fact that I work with people who are equally enthusiastic of such happenings, we packed our things up, grabbed our cameras to complete the ensemble of our getaway, and geared for a three-day exciting and riveting escape to the south.

Having with us two great photographers, our spellbinding side trip to Tagaytay City was immortalized in impressive, worth-displaying photographs, and are indeed worth bringing home as a priceless memento.

The gateway to the People’s Park in the Sky. The sky seemed to dance in a halo as it welcomed us to this beauty bound place.

This place can’t get any fuller having these three lovely dahlins gracing its pathways to the sky of breathtaking scenery.

The stunning sky connived with our photo shoot made possible of course by a master photographer, Kuya Carlo. This scene brought us to the Pantheons in Rome.

And there we go, the sole evidence that we were at the People’s Park in the Sky!

The Shrine of Our Lady, Mother of Fair Love came to life as we allowed ourselves get engrossed in this historical, holy place.

We were totally mystified at the sight of this place seen from the view deck of the park. It made me feel like wanting to have my rest house built here. The ever-lovely green landscape is just enchanting!

And yes, this place is a perfect place for a photo shoot for any occasion! I might even have my pre-nup here one day!

Finally, the most anticipated spellbound panorama, the stunning, jaw-dropping splendor, Taal Lake!

And here I am, completely engrossed with this wonderful gift of nature. Lovely, isn’t it?

More photos from the South coming soon that will surely entice you to put these places on your list for your next backpacking tours!

https://joahnadiyosa.wordpress.com/2011/05/13/the-beauty-of-the-south/

There’s no other perfect place but the beach (Lemery, Batangas)

Being the adventurous and free-spirited that we are, I and my family decided to take a week-end get-away to the beach which is also a celebration for my brother’s 24th birthday.

The beach presented itself a grandeur formation of crystal drops that are seemingly coming from the hovering grayish-blue sky above. The sun, on the other hand, seems to be over friendly as it hides it scorching heat sparing our skin to get burned.

Even though it wasn’t a white-sand beach, at least there’s a li’l boat that can be used for some wave adventure. Plus the view from the other side is just equally magnificent.

What’s also good about being in the beach is that you can write anything with your bare feet and it looks utterly cute and dainty.

My slippers are having a good time, too.

What else is good about the beach is its being so friendly with kids who can freely play around and while being constantly amazed why the waves keep getting back and forth.

And yes, how about some kicks and acrobats in the water?

These folks just caught a school of fish! Yipeee!

No, these fish did not come from the beach. We bought it from the market. We could have tried fishing, though. But we’re just too busy playing and enjoying the waters that we didn’t mind getting to the middle of the sea to catch fish. Plus, it would be impossible anyways.

And what else is more fun spending a week-end trip with family?

It’s also a perfect place to just stare at the endless horizon of the sea while allowing the waves to be the only sound echoing through. It’s simply magical and a wonderful breather.

And of course, it’s also a perfect place to take some pretty pose. After all, I’m on a vacation.

https://joahnadiyosa.wordpress.com/2011/10/14/there%E2%80%99s-no-other-perfect-place-but-the-beach-lemery-batangas/

At Enchanted Kingdom, the magic lives on

As a getaway to the south away from the subtle and bustle of office routines, I and my friends (who are also my officemates) planned to give a surprise visit for our dear friend (ex-officemate) in time for her birthday last June. Alongside with this, we also went to the Enchanted Kingdom (EK) to fill our bloods with exciting treats.

EK, as most describes it, is a perfect place to visit for another level of excitements. The place enthralls the throng with its seemingly magical kingdom. It is engulfed with various venues where the height of exhilaration keeps on going a notch higher with every experience.

Let the magic begin…

The gateway to the magical kingdom. Our friend, Leslie, celebrated her birthday with us here at EK.

Upon entry, EK greets you with its stunning fountain.

We also had an enchanting moment with Eldar the Wizard and Princess Victoria.

Anchor Wat. One of the best rides ever! I kept on roaring during the entire ride I nearly lost my voice! It was uber fun, nevertheless.

Flying fiesta!

Roaming around the kingdom and feeling every inch of magic flowing through our curious nerves.

It also offers exciting games where you can shoot exciting prizes such as huge, huggable stuff toys. My friend here just won a cute giraffe.

The giant ferris wheel!

For exciting mumble rides, Rialto is the way!

They also perform live shows when the moon starts to peep through the kingdom.

The Space Shuttle Ride

I was nervous, and twitchy, and scared beyond words! It was the first time in my life that I literally felt my soul departed from my body! For the whole duration of the ride, I was praying hard saying: God, if I won’t make it out alive today, please take good care of my family and please, please, let EK management burn this shuttle ride to save more lives! I was cursing the whole time my life was in peril!

So glad we made it alive! And I realized I just had the ‘bestest’ ride ever!

Bump cars!

Where there is magic, there is treasure.

And oh, the lovely carousel…

The EKStreme tower ride. So extreme I didn’t dare to ride. I’ll try it when I gain enough courage though. I am crossing my fingers and toes.

The magic was in full circles as fireworks splashed through the dark sky. It was simply captivating.

We bid goodbye to the magical kingdom. Our fantasies which ran free in our dreams for years were made real. And as the EK motto puts it: The magic lives on. And so it does.

(https://joahnadiyosa.wordpress.com/2011/10/26/at-enchanted-kingdom-the-magic-lives-on/)

Pahiyas Festival 2011

Okay, so this may be out of date by now. I, however, am still compelled to make a blog about this as I first planned six months ago. Six months ago?! Wow. That’s way too aged now really. So before the calendar turns its leaf from 2011 to 2012, I am fulfilling my promise to one day make a blog about the various carabao (buffalo) festivals here in the Philippines that I was able to experience myself.

But before peeping through the photos, here is a brief description of what Pahiyas Festival is all about. The following photos will describe further.

Pahiyas Festival is one of the biggest, most tourist-studded festivals in the Philippines. As the month of May approaches, the townspeople in Lucban, Quezon are already on their feet for the big feast as it is thronged with thousands of people, tourists and residents alike.

Every single house passed by the chosen route of the year is draped with colorful, must-see chandeliers and other art decorations out of vegetable fruits and mainly with “kiping”. Kiping, on the other hand, is the famous Lucbanin decoration made of rice dough. When the grandiose showcasing of the arts that only Lucbanin’s can expertly handle starts on the 15th of May, the streets can be barely passed by a vehicle either big or small. Not even people at times.

And of course, the star of the festival kneeling upon the onlookers’ request, the carabao.

Plus the cute, little children who made the festival more charming as it has always been.

I have to have a photo here too. At my back is the Church of Lucban which was first built in 1595 and was ruined in 1629. The second church, according to accounts, was constructed between 1630 and 1640 but was seriously damaged in 1733. In 1738, this church was finally rebuilt and completed in 1738. So you can guess how old this church is. Pretty interesting.

And when I said that this festival is thronged with thousands of people, I was serious.

These people, like me, just don’t want to miss every single detail of the big affair. The displays and art works are simply stunning and jaw-dropping. And as the sun comes down, the displays just got even brighter as lights transcended and illuminated from each house delicately decorated.

These are just some of the photos about the festival but there are a lot more than the displays like the Lucban’s longganisa and pancit habhab which are really sought-after dishes. I promise to make a blog on this. Promise.

After a winding day taking photographs, running here and there, I and my boss finally took some rest. We were exhausted and drained snaking through the crowd to get some good shots. Nonetheless, the efforts were worth it. In fact, when you experience this yourself, you will surely tell yourself, just like my boss put it: I’ll keep coming back.

(Thanks to my boss Weng for some of the photos here.)

(https://joahnadiyosa.wordpress.com/2011/11/18/pahiyas-festival-2011/)

My Durian-eating challenge in Davao

Davao City is known to be a dazzling cornucopia of things to see and do. It offers a wide range of exciting and extraordinary adventures and activities that any tourists, even locals, won’t dare to miss.

Davao has been very well-known in housing the tallest mountain peak in the Philippines which is the Mount Apo. It is also home to the very rare and exquisite orchid—the waling-waling. Aside from these, it has also been inherently identified as the haven of the Philippine eagle.

But among all these treasure-trove offerings, the most exciting and must-try experience (for me) is eating the durian fruit. In fact, Davao City has been dubbed as the “Durian City of the Philippine” for this exotic fruit grows abundantly in this city.

As to why eating durian became a very extraordinary and really a-need-courage-all challenge for first-timers is because of its foul odor that would make you puke the moment it is stuffed into your mouth. The odor is like a fume from the unknown jungle (I might be exaggerating here but really the odor is no good at all). After eating, too, the smell in your breath won’t give up that easily. It would last until the morning even after having mouthwash or bubble gum.

I have observed from the durian eaters, though, that they would eat the fruit with their bare hands. This, they said, makes durian-eating all the tastier. Of course, I thought, the odor of the durian would stick on to their hands. The folks, though, gave a very simple hint that could wash the odor away. And that is by pouring water in the durian’s shell and washing your hand in it. Same thing goes with relieving the smell from your mouth. Pour water in the durian’s shell and use it as a gargle.  I did not try this tactic but these folks attested its wonders. I might try this when I get a chance to eat another durian fruit. I promise! It is not the most appetizing description to a fruit, yes, but certainly a Davaoeño favorite. In fact, it’s Davaoeños famous dessert.

And to give you an idea how this durian fruit looks like and how I struggled to stuff it into my mouth with all the super powers I can summon, take a look at the photos below.

I was able to finish four huge chunks! Yehey! And for an adventure-seeker, must-try-it-all person that I am, this is one of the challenges I’ll forever cherish. It wasn’t really easy to keep stuffing it in your mouth but indeed it’s worth a try.

After surpassing such challenge, for sure you’ll say: One more!

(https://joahnadiyosa.wordpress.com/2011/12/07/my-durian-eating-challenge-in-davao/)