I’m back! I spent a couple of blissful weeks in Manila with Matt. I’m jetlagged, dehydrated, exhausted from almost 30 hours of travelling, and already missing #vacationlife. But, I relished every minute with family and friends, ate everything I’ve been craving and more, and had the time of life. Plus, lechon.
Vegans and vegetarians can look away now, but no Filipino celebration is complete without a whole roasted pig, fragrant with lemongrass, renowned for the succulent meat and golden brown crrrispy skin. Anthony Bourdain said it, and he’s oh so right: it’s the best pig ever.
I typically go home to the Philippines during the holidays but lately I’ve tried to extend my vacation to also spend my January birthday there. This year, Matt and I (our birthdays are two days apart) were lucky enough to celebrate together, and my wonderful parents threw a big birthday/ engagement/ wedding party for us. With lechon, of course. Throughout our trip, we hopped from one dinner to the next, getting in a couple of spa days, eating rice almost every day for breakfast, and even jetting to Japan for a few days with my family. My belly was so happy, and my heart was so full.
Here are some highlights of our Manila vacation:
spending time at our beautiful house with my family | typical Filipino breakfast with longganisa (breakfast sausage), tomato, sinangag (garlic rice) and a fried egg | incredibly sweet mangoes
priceless time with my family | our house turned into a dinner party venue | friends I’ve known for decades | my lovely sisters | our family’s helpers who have become extended family | my favorite green couch in the living room (it’s soooo soft, you really just want to sink in and nap forever)
Pampanga is considered the culinary capital of the Philippines and my dad’s hometown, and we had some very good meals there!
Downtown Cafe in Angeles (photo by Matt) | sisig (chopped up and sizzling pig face with chili) | homemade biko (rice cake with a caramelized custardy top) | stuffed bangus (milkfish, a fish native to the Philippines) | fresh baked dinner rolls from my family’s bakeshop
the villa at The Spa | pool view at the Edsa Shangri-la (Matt and I stayed there for my birthday, I stole this pic from his instagram) | more gatherings with friends | lemony shrimp pasta | more family dinners | the best parents in the world | more (dried) mangoes (also the best in the world)
I am quite lucky to be surrounded by so much love and joy, and I think our trip set the tone for our 2017. I wish the same for you, dear readers. I’ll be back soon to share our Japan pictures!