Balikbayan Padaya

Umami lunch

I knew more or less what Tita Sarah’s Fine Foods would be serving at my balikbayan cousin Samantha’s birthday lunch. After all, Tita Sarah (a bilas, our husbands are brothers) inherited most of my husband’s mom and dad’s specialties, and put her own touch. So what else to bring than Lynne’s (my talented cook’s) sushi and sashimi platter? She’s so creative that she rolled some in black and white lenga (local sesame seeds) instead of say roe.

Sam’s relatives in Ilocos like the Lazos, Fabicos and Enriques were there.

MirinBlauEarth's Kitchen Sushi and Sashimi PlatterBlauEarth's Kitchen Sushi and Sashimi PlatterUntitledLeft to right: Tita Sylvia, Tita Josie Carlson, Tita Sipin Fabico, Samantha, Tita Aunong Enrique and my Ninang Leoncia Cu.Fresh LumpiaThere’s my mother-in-law’s fresh lumpia, which is also now one of Lynne’s specialties. Besides Asian-influenced Filipino food, Tita Sarah prepared Ilocano dishes such as imbaliktad (half-cooked beef and offal with papaitan) and there was also crispy pata. Breaded FishAmpalaya con CarnePancit SotanghonImbaliktadMia and JaniceMay and I went to the Holy Spirit Academy of Laoag, but she migrated to the States when we were just starting elementary school.Mia and TinyMia and Tiny 2

Photographed by Samantha Jackson and Blauearth.
© Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2015

Drew Arellano gives Doorah a sandwich at the La Paz sand dunes

GMA News TV Pop Talk production people were not yet actually done with their La Paz shoot and GMA Network’s AHA starts to roll their camera. Doorah, a funny flamboyant fellow tries his luck on a LEAD Movement sandboard, fails, but regains control faster than I can blink. Riot!

The aircraft carrying AHA host Drew Arellano flies over us. He arrives on the set looking fresh in cool blue. It’s his second time in a La Paz shoot and he still amazingly remembers LEAD’s Benny Arce.

LEAD’s 4X4 expert, MC Manangan, gives Drew an instant off-roading tutorial (a part of the shoot), and then Drew gets the wheel and vamooses in the sandy air. Check out who he meets along the way.

GMA Kapuso AHA's Direk Jepoy Mejia.

Doorah explores the Laoag La Paz sand dunes.

Comical and clever Doorah is Bobay Torqueza Valbuena in real life. An Abreño, he speaks fluent Ilocano.

LEAD Movement with honorary member Samantha Jackson of Los Angeles.


After the hot, hot day at the dunes, we invited the AHA people to have a delish carinderia lunch at Katrina’s near the BJMP. Show host/businessman/triathlete Drew brought out his organic red rice (or was it brown?) to eat with endemic Ilocano food. They ate what we ate, such nice unfussy guys!

Katrina's (aka BJMP carinderia's) Ilocano imbaliktad and insarabasab with papaitan.

Direk Jepoy's pink obsession.

AHA airs Sundays, 9 AM, on GMA Kapuso Network.

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Photographed by Blauearth © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2012