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!