Saturday, January 5, 2013

Oh how Sweet it is to Go Mango Picking in Tarlac, Philippines

Concepcion, Tarlac, PHILIPPINES -I am biased but I still think the Philippines has the best mangoes in the world. My father is doctor. But we do call him, M.D, as in Mango Doctor, for his sweet love for the mangoes in his hometown farm in Concepcion, Tarlac. He grew up seeing his father tend to their mango trees. Many years later, this hobbyist farmer and full-time gastroenterologist still finds time to visit his farm. 

Mango picking in January

Dad wanted to show his grandchildren residing in the US a sweet taste of farm life. Despite the mango season usually happening in the summer months, dad somehow organized an early harvest this year in time for the visit of my sister and her family. 

Sharing my sweet memories of the day... 

First, fortify the mango pickers with an authentic Pampango spread for lunch....

first we started with a hearty, authentic Pampango lunch thanks to dad's friend Cesar at the farm

Perfectly fried hito (catfish) with burong isda (fermented fish and rice)

the best Kilayin I've ever had, with freshly slaughtered pork, liver, onions cooked in vinegar, salt and pepper

Asado with Chicken and Tongue

Barely three years old, little Alex appreciates the cuisine of his Lolo's hometown

Tidtad or Kapampangan style Dinuguan (soured by Kamias not vinegar)

More pork, with grilled pork chops

Hats off to the cook, Aling Mely, who has been with tito Cesar's family since she was 12. She's now 70!

Dad, mom, the Franks, and I all set to pick mangoes

Alex starts pickin

Matteo (right) celebrating his first birthday is in awe of the mangoes hanging above him

Matteo can't contain his excitement with the mango

He claps his hands in glee....

Matteo couldn't resist, he took a bite

Dad all geared up with his hat and rubber boots, looking at his trees, with trusted Mang Sesyo

"I've eaten and tasted mangoes, but this is my first time to see them on trees," says my brother-in-law, Andy

all smiles for mom

the sweet fruits dangling above, and my parents sweet love below the mangoes

The  Franks enjoying the day at the farm

Three generations of mango-lovers! how sweet!

Andy tries his hand at harvesting

That's me all smiles at the fruits of this sweet, sweet day...

A day spent with family, feasting on home-cooked fresh authentic Kapampangan cuisine is a treat, followed by the joy of picking mangoes. We came close and marveled at farm animals: goats, cows, and chickens. But the sweetest joy is witnessing the love between parents, children, siblings, grandparents and grandchildren, and friends.

Thanks for reading and celebrating the Maida's Touch, delicious moments that spark a journey within! 





  1. Hello Maida,

    Your brother-in-law shared your blog with me and as I sit here watching the snow fall in New Hampshire (3 inches and counting) I am transported to your beautiful farm. If only I were munching mangoes with Matteo! Thank you for the lovely "visit".

    Best regards, Holly

  2. dearest Holly,

    Thank you so much for checking out my blog and dropping me this message. I'm so glad this post warmed you up a bit in freezing New Hampshire. I've had my one and only skiing experience in Keene, New Hampshire when I was in college in MA. Cheers and hope you keep reading the blog. Stay warm.

    Hugs, Maida

  3. Dear Maida,
    Hi there! Rissa sent this link to me the other day and it was fun looking through the pictures.
    Embarrassed to say I've eaten hundreds of mangoes but never seen a mango tree, like Andy. What a fun way to celebrate Matteo's birthday! And the food absolutely look delish. Thanks for sharing.
    PS. Who's the serious farmer in boots?:)


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