Luz Ocampo: Wrap Artist Par Excellence

pabalat ng pastilyas

The first thing that comes to mind when I hear the word Bulacan is pastillas de leche, those sugar-dusted pillows of carabao’s milk casually wrapped in white. As a child of the North, I routinely, quietly wished for them each time my mom and dad were out traveling.

Exploring Bulacan with the FoodPrints food travelogue show was more than a wish come true. Once there, it was the seemingly dying Filipino traditions that I wanted more to digest. One of them is the art of pabalat ng pastillas de leche, the endangered art of wrapping milk candies with billowy colorful paper cut outs.

Luz Ocampo

We met Nanay Luz Ocampo, an octegenarian who has made a mark in pastillas paper wrapper design and cutting. Hers are done in elaborate Filipino motifs, handcrafted laser cut-like patterns from the mind, inspired by her environs in San Miguel. Her artistry that started as a hobby when she was 12 years old was recognized by the Cultural Center of the Philippines, in books and in art and culture exhibits such as the University of Santo Tomas Likhang Bayan.

Pabalat ng Pastilyas

Skilfully cut tails in a kaleidoscope of colors add to a more festive spirit, making a conversation-worthy material. If they seem familiar, the elongated paper artworks have an uncanny resemblance to Chinese tomb decorations.

Daughter Naty tries to follow her footsteps. She traces her mother’s stencils on layers of papel de Hapon ((Japanese paper) and uses a pair of sharp point tip scissors to cut out holes. To sustain the fading craftsmanship, occasionally, they put to use the mastery to lecture in Bulacan and in other parts of the country.

Among Nanay Luz’s prized possessions are photographs of her art by prominent artist Jaime Zobel (top frame in photo below).

Luz Ocampo ResidenceThe Ocampo ArtCarved Dayap

Another story of mother Luz’s meticulous artistry is fruit carving she developed as a teen during WWII. In the same vein as she snips out shapes in paper, making intricate designs on fruits such as dayap or suha requires a profusion of love and serenity.

Fruit Carving

Mrs. Luz Ocampo 83 Inang Wika St., Malolos, Bulacan, Philippines (044) 791 5657

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

FoodPrints with Sandy Daza Across Bulacan in 5 Days


What’s Sandy Daza up to these days? He’s just added a new dimension to his love of food. The credible and respected chef and food columnist explores the country’s nooks and crannies for gastronomic experiences worth sharing via the food travelogue series FoodPrints about to air on the Lifestyle Network on Sept. 21, 8:30 PM.

Chef Sandy Daza

In the Bulacan episodes, be prepared to get fired up with the Bulakeño way of preparing exotic oysters straight from the Pamarawan oyster farms. What’s more? The best of the province’s carinderia fare and pasalubong stores, pork  like no other else and  heritage dishes threatened by time. Chef Sandy will also take you to the indigenous kakanin makers. And surely, Bulacan is not the same without the sweets. There’s more to the local cuisine than meets the eye.

FoodPrints, Sept. 7, 2013, 8:30 PM, the start of the 1st season on the Lifestyle Network

Enjoy and drool over the pics:)

FoodPrints Pamarawan BTSPicture 373Oysters AdoboGoto with TalabaDulce LecheLuz  OcampoSapin-SapinLeche Flan at JuiceTsokolateMorconMargaux Salcedo and Sandy DazaPancit AlanganinSinusoGoto TalksSandy Daza sa GotohanHalo-HaloPancit PalabokHamon BulakenyaEmpanada de Kaliskis

Bulacan’s distinct empanada de kaliskis.

FoodPrints Bulacan BTSSandy Daza with Tita DotieSinigang sa Bayabas at Buro at MustasaBulacan ChicharonHalo-Halo TuronMorconFoodPrints at Kulinarya ng Bahay na TisaBangus with Shitake MushroomsFoodPrints Barkada
Photographed by Blauearth © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2013

Finally, Bulacan!

Off to Bulacan

Hello, everyone! I thought I’d be hibernating from all the excessive pork in my first food adventure outside of Ilocos with FoodPrints, on tour exploring, and about to share their food finds. I first met the show’s host, kind and super kalog Chef Sandy Daza, and the welcoming key people of Lifestyle Network, Red Balloon and The Cinematic Studio in Laoag while they were filming the first two episodes of the food show, set to air on the Lifestyle Network this coming Sept. 21, 8:30 PM (not Sept. 7, folks, like I earlier wrote).

Pastillas de Leche

It was almost flooded in Ilocos and thank heavens the rains stopped before I left for the south, As a blogger, it’s been a dream of mine to explore Bulacan’s sweet gastronomy. Little did I know that there’s a whole lot more provocative than (my fave) fresh and tostado pastillas de leche. Well, I found out there are many varieties of pastillas and guess what? I also got to meet the original pastillas pabalat artist, CCP awardee Mrs. Luz Ocampo, and her daughter, who’s happy continuing her mother’s kind of intricate art. The Bulacan outing was so full of surprises! A real pig out! I can’t wait to write about the food and all the people behind the interesting finds. I also have two Bulacan heritage recipes for you. For now, the post is all about my personal account. A selfie post. Actually.


Getting to Bulacan from Laoag by bus was an adventure on its own. 5 transfers with a trolley and a heavy backpack and no celfone to Nory’s Restaurant in Sulucan from Marilao via tricycle was worth all the beady sweat as it turned out. Thanks to the very helpful manong tricycle driver who assisted me all throughout until I saw Ms. Jennie Celdran, FoodPrints co-producer, hop out of Nory’s. I owe all my fruitful 5-day Bulacan experience to Jennie for inviting me. Not to forget Mr. Sandy Daza and the FoodPrints crew for wanting me around. It’s a most cherished experience.

FoodPrints creaw and Sandy DazaAgatha Resort, Guiguinto, Bulacan

At Agatha Resort in Guiguinto where FoodPrints was based.

Chef Sandy Daza eating Monloi chicharonSandy Daza eats tahoMatching Wellies

Ready for the wet shoot in Panasahan Fishport and Pamarawan Island: Iggy Bilbao and director Cris Sevilla-Bilbao in matching wellies.

DICAPackBoat Ride to Pamarawan Island, Malolos, BulacanHolenSidecar na hindi sidecarBahaBancaPicture 276-02Chef Sandy Daza

Sandy Daza is also the chef behind Wooden Spoon along Katipunan Avenue in Quezon City. His new Rockwell restaurant just opened. I heard from Doc Glory Caluya, they serve real appetizing food!

River VillagePanasahan FishportSt. Augustine Church, Baliwag, Bulacan

St. Augustine Church in Baliwag, Bulacan.

Breakfast at the Reyes ancestral home

A guest in the Bulacan episode, food columnist and blogger Margaux Salcedo prepared a lovely homecooked traditional breakfast for FoodPrints. I will write a separate post soon. In behalf of the group, thanking Margaux for the pleasurable spread!

Over hot tsokolate FilipinoMeeting foodie writer/blogger Margaux Salcedo1877 Bautista Mansion, Pariancillo St. Malolos, Bulacan

Throwback 1877: The Bautista Mansion on Pariancillo St. in the kamestisuhan of Bulacan. The resident of the heritage house is no other than Dez Bautista, a food historian, a professior and a production designer. I asked him a few questions, so that will be another story.

with food historian/set designer Dez BautistaHamon Bulakenya and Atcharang DampalitRoly Marcelino and and Jhem de Jesus

Roly Marcelino and Jhem de Jesus of the Malolos Tourism Office usherd FoodPrints from start to finish. (Thanks so much, loves!)

Bistro Maloleño

Just in case we would not be able to get near the Barasoain Church.

Barasoin Church

But we did!

Barasoain Church, Malolos, BulacanBarasoian Church, Malolos, BulacanBulacan Food Adventure

Til the next post. Miss writing really!

Photographed by Pen Mulingbayan, Melanie de Leon and Blauearth
© Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2013