Pampanga is the region north of Manila, once its’ breadbasket and home to the “heart” of the Pinoy kitchen. The principal city, Angeles, is home to Mary Ann Quioc and Claude Tayag, bon vivants, authors and operators of a range of food service venues. Claude is part Julia Child, James Beard and Michael Stattlander, devoted to maintaining the pilot light of traditional Filipino cooking while exploring his own imagination through painting, sculpture, furniture design and collecting old kitchen tools. He has a deep connection to heritage and knows that the centre of family activities is always around the kitchen table. Over lunch, Claude was reciting an old folk song message where the voice says:
“I had a ring that my family gave me
I tucked it away for safekeeping and it got lost
I’d do anything to get it back, please help me find it”
Of course the “ring” is the Filipino culture, in a sense, “tucked away” while the influences of foreigners take over, i.e. American food and lifestyle. He know that he must maintain the old tastes, the techniques, the traditional farming methods or they will be gone in just a generation.
Angeles is home to the former Clark Air Base, operated by the US government until the 90s. The occupation left a deep mark in the area in many ways. Enjoy the photos.