Tunnel Vision

Max's, Vigan

On a roadtrip to Abra in the Cordillera Administrative Region with Leehua and Marion, stopped by Vigan for maka-tulo-laway Filipino food at Max’s. You will see Vigan bagnet, kare-kare, tokwa’t bagnet (a take on tokwa’t baboy), pakbet (that is more like bulanglang) and pinaputok na bangus (milkfish). Because I grew up in Ilocos Norte, I am biased to the bagnet we call chicharon in Laoag, yet Vigan bagnet entices just the same. The skin is not as “nakarsi” and “nasarangsang” as Laoag’s, but the fat part is chewy to the bite, sweet and very malasa, perfect with the subtle flavors of the bugguong they use at Max’s.

BagnetTokwa't BagnetPakbetPiinaputok na BangusLight at the End of the TunnelMarion and LeehuaAbra

Abra. Will post beautiful designs of centuries-old impaod, the abel of the Tingguians of Abra next.

Photographed by Blauearth © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2014

Guaranteed Authentic Ilocos Empanada, Bagnet, Pinakbet, Longaniza in Metro Manila


If you’re from the Metro and want to discover what makes Ilocos a popular food adventure destination. Check this out. Pinned the ultimate Ilocano food porn from the FB page of Fariñas Ilocos Empanada. I guarantee the purveyors are genuine Ilocanos.


Bagnet (chicharon) and longaniza meal.


Their pancit bagnet and dinakdakan (not in photos) are likewise making me drool bigtime.


On the shelves of the empanadahan are basi, bawang, Ilocos suka, cornik and a lot more.


There’s a fresh, relevant twist to this original empanada. Other than the fact that Fariñas Ilocos Empanada uses Ilocos produce like balatong (mongo) and grated papaya, rice powder and genuine Ilocos longaniza and salt, they fry the empanadas in 100% organic, cholesterol-free oil. Hmnnn.


Fariñas Ilocos Empanada has branches on 56 Visayas Ave, Project 6, Quezon City (12noon to 10pm), 140 Kalayaan Ave cor Mayaman St., Diliman (10am to 8pm), Maysilo Circle, Mandaluyong City (11am to 10pm), Tomas Morato, Lansbergh Condominium ( 11am to 10pm ) Short Horn Corner Road 20, Project 8 (11am to 10pm ) 77 Stotsenburg, 10th Ave. Kaloocan, 58 Katipunan Road White Plains ( 12noon to 11PM) Mobile: 0917 817 314.

Photos courtesy of Fariñas Ilocos Empanada

 © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2013

Ways to enjoy Chicharon aka Bagnet

Chicharon, or bagnet (a more popular term for the non-Ilocanos), is a deep-fried pork dish best eaten with KBL (kamatis, bagoong and lasona) or fashionable nowadays, particularly among kids, with Mang Tomas lechon sauce. At 400.00 php/ kilo, chicharon costs an arm and a leg.  There are several ways to stretch the peso though. Mind you, these chicharon dishes are stars in their own right.

Chicharon fried rice is my family’s favorite.  It is cooked just like any basic fried rice, but with more  soy sauce. KBL is optional. Clear broth, like fish ball soup, is a must to complete the meal.

Balatong (mongo), camatis, parya (bittermelon) ken chicharon a ingisa. Utong, in lieu of balatong, is equally yummy.

Pinakbet with chicharon. Others call it Bagbet. Here’s a recipe.

Chicharon is also an excellent topping for pancit and miki, and an important ingredient to bring out the fine exotic flavor of young garlic bulbs when cooked pakbet style. Dinardaraan (chocolate meat) becomes all the more interesting when chicharon bits are mixed in.

Photos by Blauearth Copyright © Blauearth™ ALL RIGHTS RESERVED