Savoring Baliwag’s Culinary & Heritage

Baliwag or Baliuag is a first class municipality within Bulacan province with an estimated population of about 150,000 as of last year . Baliwag is host to almost quarter of a million people during day time.

We normally would have some pit stop in this town on our way to other towns in Bulacan . Our itineraries would composed of visiting some farms , The Greenery and old Baliwag church .  Lakad Pamana , WalkwithChan and a couple of blogger and media group were fortunate to have a chance to have a quick visit of the historic town .

People are normally are familiar with Baliwag Transit , Baliwag lechon manok , Buntal hats and her rich lenten festivities which made the town famous . But there is still more waiting for those interested with Baliwag’s innate charm. Baliwag is also the first town in the country to have an election .

courtesy call Hon .Ferdinand V. Estrella  : photo by Mr. Gerry Suva

A few days ago, Our small group of bloggers and media practitioners were able to tour the culinary heritage of the town . The town is known for her rich orchards , farms and ancestral houses too.

courtesy call to Hon. Ferdinand V. Estrella with Mr. Gilbert Dino and the author   : Photo courtesy of Mr. Gerry Suva 

Our group had made a courtesy call and a mini press conference with the current town Mayor Hon. Ferdinand V. Estrella  , He had been in public service for about 20 years and his achievement is remarkable . His government service tagline ” Pusong Baliwag ,Pusong Makatao ”

free ride service ( photo courtesy : Mr. Gerry Suva) 

One of the commendable projects is the libreng sakay ( free ride ) within the main town plaza . Since tricycles are banned within the main plaza , senior citizens , people with disabilities are the main priorities , but any person can avail of the free shuttle ride. This is one of the most visible projects that the administration is doing .

portion of Baliwag Museum – ( this part used to be a court tribunal )

We were assisted by the municipal tourism office  led  by Ms. Lhan Marasigan Cruz ( office of the mayor) Tourism Office: Edwin Bautista ,  Jose Rizaldy TomaCruz , Cloud Trinidad ,  Gel Labao- President Of Baliwag Historical Society .

Mayor Francisco Gregorio Library- first mayor of Baliwag  ( Photo from Mr. Gerry Suva)

 Our group started the heritage tour with the visit to the old Baliwag Municipal Building which dates back during the late Spanish and early American era. A commemorative marker from the National Museum and National Historical Commission of the Philippines can be seen on the old building entrance.

group photo

Baliwag tourism office also had an office and a small museum and library is located at the second floor. Prominent people who hails from Baliwag had their personal memorabilias and photos hung within the main halls of the museum.

Some of the well-known personalities who contributed a lot to the development of the place like Bert ” Tawa ” Marcelo, Alfonso Ponce Enrile , Mariano Ponce , Roman C. Carreon, sculptor and artist and “Pepita” – Josefa Tiongson y Lara Bulwagan (JOCELYNANG BALIWAG, Kundiman )  among others.  A portion near the window, General Lawton posed a souvenir shot around early 1900 when his troop went to the town , a commemorative plaque serves a reminder of his visit. What is nice about this quaint museum and library is that anyone can visit this museum for FREE , they needed just to register their names at the log book.

Culinary Heritage

Baliwag pandesal

Baliwag pandesal is similar to the ones we have tasted at the adjacent town of Bustos . The pandesal is smaller compared to the regular pandesal and there are several known makers of these town’s specialties . Mr. Gerry Suva also recounted that they would always buy them en-route to other towns of the province.

Some of the iconic bakeries are Tony’s bakery , Lin Mer’s which are famous for their homegrown biscuits like camachile and pandesal .

Baliwag Pasalubong Center 

Baliwag is also known for her fried cornicks, chicharon , pastillas and some of  them are suppliers .

Kalahi Pastillas de Leche

The author have bought the last remaining box of Kalahi pastillas de leche- Php 60 per box

Being an agricultural town – Baliwag is also known for her puto and putong bumbong which are by- products of sticky rice.

Aling Luring’s Carinderia

Aling Luring’s Goto Carinderia is a quaint home style restaurant within the town , She popularized the serkele , it taste like a combination of dinuguan , papaitan and tinumis.

Heirloom Family Dish

In the late part of the 1960’s  , Aling Leonila “Nanay Luring ” Castro -Trinidad would love to cook for her family, her passion eventually turned into a home-style family eatery . Through word of mouth and encouragement of family members and neighbors.  She eventually opened a carinderia to the public in 1972 or 45 years ago .

According to family members , the serkele recipe is at least 50 years, definitely  an heirloom family recipe .An order of serkele cost Php 50 which is ideal for 1 to 2 person, 1 puto cost Php 10.00 , It is cheaper to buy per pack .

serkele with puto

Unfortunately Aling Luring died few years ago and family members got her recipe , which still continues her culinary legacy . The quaint eatery had a capacity of about 20 to 25 people at any given time . Our group is just fortunate that it was mid-morning that we have visited the carinderia. Eventually there are some restaurants which are also serving this dish , thus a visit to the town is not complete without a taste of serkele .

Aside from serkele , Aling Luring is also known for her goto ( Php 20.00 per order) goto extra ( Php 35) ,Lugaw Tokwa Baboy (Php 35.00 per order) , Lugaw plain ( Php 12.00 ) , Chicken Mami ( Php 25 ) Lumpiang Prito ( Php 10.00 ) and Palabok ( Php 35.00 )

Address : JM Basa , Concepcion Street , Baliwag , Buacan province 

Instruction – from Baliwag bus transit terminal , just 1 tricycle ride to Poblacion

rustic nipa hut 

Baliwag Chicken Inasal or Baliwag Inasal , This is another version of the famous inasal of Bacolod , However – they do not have annato oil or achuete oil to accompany the marinated grilled chicken .

We also liked their suka ( vinegar ) we used the vinegar for dipping the marinated chicken and pork barbecue .  A few slices of calamansi , soy sauce and chilies will surely bring out the taste of the grilled foods.

chicken inasal

Baliwag Inasal also have good selection of menus which range from fried itik , gising gising , beef tofu sisig ,pinaputok na tilapia with rice , inihaw na hito , pancit and okoy .

pork barbecue

The rustic style had a sitting capacity of between 50 to 100 persons at any given time with wide parking space for those planning to bring their families and friends. We love the chopsuey vegetables and their barbecue .

menu board

The restaurant also does catering services ,  chairs and table for rent , car rentals .

Address: Baliwag Inasal -Pinagbarilan , Baliwag , Bulacan

Contact Persons : BY 0922-850 -1134 , Richie  0932911-1901 , Elsa 0923-8470449

Buntal Hat Industry

Tita Rosario ” Rosie ” Q. Bautista

Tita Rosario ” Rosie” Q. Bautista had been one of the few remaining proprietors making Buntal hats , she showed the group the tedious process of  making the hats , from sourcing them in Quezon province to the actual weaving of the hats .

colorful buntal hats

One hat cost anywhere from Php 1,000 to several thousand of pesos, considering that the materials are hard to come by , buntal hats weavers are also in decline . There is also the intense competition by China made ” buntal hats ” which are far cheaper buy lesser quality compared to the local buntal hats.

Those people who would like have their hats custom made must make appointments before visiting her address. It can takes several weeks or even months .

Some of her hats were worn by royalties in Europe, Asia , Middle East and grace fashion shows in Paris , London , Milan and New York .

Ms. Rosie Bautista- Proprietor Baliwag Buntal Enterprises

Address: 541 Alido Subdivision , Phase 1 -Virgen de Las Flores , Baliwag , Bulacan -Philippines 

Contact : Home Telephone ( 044) 816-8101 / Office Telephone ( 044) 766-1402 

Cellphone : 0943-4699771

Ancestral Houses 

Baliwag is known for her ancestral houses and monuments , Here are just some of the ancestral houses that we visited .

Don RonaRico Amang Cruz Ancestral House– This is not part of the extensive property which included a private school (VICRIS ) and an old warehouse .

old warehouse

The ancestral house was estimated to have been built around 1850’s and had a lot of intricate wall carvings . This is one of the oldest and most opulent house in Baliwag . ( since this is a private residence – the owners does not allow photography inside the residence )

Dr. Zotico T. Centeno Ancestral House 

Dr.Zotico T. Centerno Ancestral house was bought by the present owner in the mid-1970’s ( around 1975 ) from the grandmother of Charo Santos- Concio . The 900 sqm property was carefully preserve and is a private residence of Dr. Centeno and his 2 children .  It was bought at around Php300,000 to Php 400,000 at that time .

bedroom

The furniture inside the house are old about 40 to 45 years-old made from wood with bone inlaid . We paid a courtesy visit to his ancestral house and have an afternoon of chit-chat with the owner , who is 87 years-old . The current owner do not have an idea on how old the ancestral house , but he would estimate that the house was built late American colonial era. Due to the private nature of the ancestral house and respecting the privacy of the owner. ( we only post photos of the main sala area  and bedroom without the owner )

The house had a nice manicured lawn and garden.

We still have a couple of places that we visited , but i decided to blog them on my next article .

Lakad Pamana will be conducting a heritage and culinary tour on February 18, 2017 at the town of Baliwag . The public are invited to join this experience.

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