Lately, I take a special interest watching this TLC feature called “Eskimos in San Diego.” You can imagine what this TV program is all about: a reality show narrating the fun and adventure and difficulties of a small group of Eskimos from Alaska who came to San Diego (with the unfamiliar sun and beach site at that!), all in the name of adapting to change and later on adopting the new culture and environs. I love the documentation process — from the food they eat, the change in get-up, to their sudden transformation as city dwellers, a far cry from their igloo and hunting realities back home.
That reminds me how as travelers we also also bring in the host place our usual ways of doing things, like eating and food preparation. In other words, our own food preferences. But this is a different story: Just very recently, we discovered at Pagsanjan, Laguna a local resto that specializes in Ilocos foods. The place is called Balai Ilocos. The name is a give away. Here they bring in the host town the foods travelers usually partake in a culturally rich area such as Ilocos!
We are told the place is being rented from an old clan in the town — The Llamas. The house is old, and the way we often call houses of this type: ancestral. With little renovations, the house is able to retain its old, traditional, bahay na bato ambiance. The foods are a great mimic of Ilocano foods too: igado, bagnet, papaitan, Vigan longanisa etc.
We’ve been here twice. Once as a family; then second time with graduate school friends. Short of saying, I recommend this place to food lovers who adore native cuisine, who have special taste for the Ilocano concoctions. The resto structure is a photo op site too! There is also a cafeteria down the old house, for tired travelers who crave for coffee or fresh pastries.
The place accommodates events. I love celebrating my birthday here! I am marketing this resto free of charge. I hope they’ll be able to read this and give me discounts the next time I visit there. LOLz!!! Seriously, this place is worth a visit.
(NOTE: There is a photo album I created at FB detailing the place. It is labelled “Road Trip.”)