Found something more interesting than a monstrous Narra butaka (armchair) in Butaka City, otherwise known as Ilagan City, in the province of Isabela. I heard a man say, “binanlay man.” I had to check what I heard ‘coz I’ve heard about binalay before. Anyways, the lady said it clear, “Binanlay.” I asked for one and she passed me a bundle. I opened one of the neatly folded banana wrappers and sampled the shiny white content. I thought it would taste like our very own tupig, but it was more like bilo-bilo. Maybe she read my confused reaction, so she handed over a tiny plastic bag with thick brown sauce.
She was right, the rice cake had to go with a dollop of panucha, like Ilocano inkalti.
According to my Ilagan insider, binanlay is an Ybanag specialty.
They also had patupat.
Photographed by Blauearth Copyright © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved
A big whole carabao was roasted for the fellowship night of the Tuguegarao off-road race. It is a specialty of Ilagan, Isabela. Mike Nazarene’s Lechon is said to be the best in Ilagan when it comes to lechon. They also prepare lechon baka (cow), lamb, pig and turkey. The dipping sauce is like thick toyomansi (soy sauce and calamansi). It is very different from the sauce of Laoag lechon baka, which is a mix of brandy, Worcestershire sauce and hot spices.
The tired tough drivers and their crew were happy men with the lechon and their Colt 45s. The lechon kalabaw was gone so quick.
Mike Nazarene’s Lechon San Felipe, Ilagan, Isabela CP No: 0920-501-7143/ 0927-628-7328
Photo by Blauearth Copyright © Blauearth™ ALL RIGHTS RESERVED