BALER: The Food Lover’s Paradise
The senior college students of the I-HOTELEIRES department had a culinary tour in Baler, Aurora last September 18-20, 2014. In partial fulfilment of the requirements of their Food Merchandising course, the students, and accompanying professors, had the pleasure of having a gastronomically profound adventure that pleased the sights, smells and tastes of everyone. Although met by harsh weather, this did not stop the students from enjoying every step of the way. Each day, demonstrations of popular dishes that were uniquely Baler were done with volunteers more than willing to jump in for a chance to get hands-on.
As a participant myself, I will admit that I was rather anxious prior to the trip. I’m not the adventurous eater. I like to stick to what I know and like. If something doesn’t appeal to me in one way or another, be it by the way it looks or by the way it smells, it’s most certainly not going in my mouth. But this culinary tour taught us participants to resist that instinctive reflex and go ahead and swallow. And much to our surprise, we ended up liking most of the dishes. The beautiful seaside, picturesque with sloping hills and rock formations that would remind you of Coron, showcased a wonderful array of seafood (like shrimp with crab claws), vegetables (the famous pako, a kangkong-like seaweed, is served with basically everything), and Asian fusion dishes, which proves that although the small city craves to keep up with the changing times, it never loses sight of its traditional cuisine. Baler, from the food lover’s perspective, is definitely one of the places one should visit to sample authentic, and sometimes even creative twists, to the comfort food we are familiar with here in Manila. The tour, in its entirety, was a good exercise in courage, food appreciation and patriotism.
By: Divina Shewakramani