Camalig Albay and Pinangat

From Tabaco, Albay we proceed to Camalig, Albay to taste one of Bicol's finest delicacies - Pinangat. Camalig actually boasts of the Pingat Capital of the Philippines. The town is holding an annual festival called Pinangat Festival to promote tourism and trade in Camalig, Albay. 

St. John the Baptist

But before we taste the meal we went first to Camalig Church or the Church of St. John the Baptist (San Juan Bautista). The century-old church is made entirely of volcanic materials and took 6 years to complete from 1842 to 1848.

We asked some locals where can we taste the best Pinagat in town and they all pointed us to the main highway. The first restaurant that we saw was Rayben's Place and we decided to hit their menu immediately because my mouth was already watering and my tummy was shouting. Rayben's is frequented by the tourist because of it presentable atmosphere.

Later on, we found out that there are rows of small and big restaurants, and even sidewalk stalls, selling Pinangat. Pinangat costs about Php30-Php35 per piece.

Pinangat is known in Manila as Laing as most literature would say. The only difference is that Pingat is served in a cube of leaf but the taste is practically the same.

The main ingredients of Pinangat are taro leaf or gabi leaf, coconut milk, and of course chili of all kinds. Some restaurants like Biggs Diners in Naga puts some meat on them. I am a carnivorous person but Pinangat is an exemption. I love it and will definitely land in one of my favorite.

To compliment my carnivorous appetite, Bicol offers another delicate dish which is very popular in the Philippines as well - Bicol Express. Small chunks of pork cooked in coconut milk, shrimp paste, and a lot of chilies, Bicol Express is a Filipino favorite that originates from Bicol Region.

A bonus to our quick stop in Camalig is the row of Ancestral Houses along the main highway. My eyes got big when I first saw the first house located near the church and my camera did not stop clicking when I saw the row of old houses being used and maintained by current owners.  

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