“Sing a song of Birthdays full of fun and cheer and may you keep having fun for many a happy year.” Anonymous
“Good fellowship and friendship are lasting, rational and manly pleasures.” William Wycherley
Every year, we celebrate without fail, growing closer through the years. We used to just meet up for dinner but lately our celebrations have become more special, more memorable, enjoyable. We have the fortune of having our birthdays close to each other (well, ok a 3 month span might be pushing it?) affording us to celebrate together and more recently a bit more grandiose as we can split the bill 5 ways. Now why didn’t we think of that earlier?
Previous years’ celebrations would bring us out of town, an overnight even. Each and every one of them special in its own way. Our love for each other triumphs over any arguments or disagreements (and yes, we have a lot of those). And these out of towns are our Mighty Bond.
This year’s birthday bash brought us to Angeles, Pampanga. To Bale Dutung, Claude and Maryann Tayag’s residence. Here, we celebrated our birthday in a grand way. A 4-hour lunch specially prepared by Claude himself while Maryann served and entertained us. It was such an experience, a first for everyone. The menu was mainly Kapampangan with a twist, Claude’s twist. There were more appetizers/starters than main entrees but the variety provided us a chance to sample more dishes. Truth is, the food was a little too much and by the end of the course, our bellies would only allow a few spoonfuls
of the Seafood Kare-kare, which unfortunately was so yummy. Oh and the dessert (christened Paradiso by the late Doreen Fernandez) was HEAVEN. We actually had to take a break before dessert. The hosts graciously toured us around their lovely home. Bale Dutung, meaning “House of Wood” (or “Wooden House”?) had Claude’s sculpted masterpieces tastefully scattered all over the house giving it so much more character. And the papers, magazines, books etc added to its lived-in charm.
Can I mention again that the dessert was lip-smacking delish? It’s a little bit of crème brulee, yema (creamy candy made of egg yolks, sugar and milk) and halo-halo (it had a bit of ube, macapuno and camote) put together. That combination + the bittersweet crunchiness of the caramalized sugar… perfection! I heard that the secret to its creaminess (not so secret anymore) is Carabao’s milk! To. Die. For! Can you tell I have a sweet tooth? Heard that they normally serve this only to larger groups as it is not easy to prepare and that milk is not always available. So Mr. Tayag, you just made one girl verry, verry happy!
Note: will have to mooch pics from Irene– mine’s too blurred to post Gotta get a DSLR! Promise to be back with more pics.
Update: As promised, here are more pics… many thanks to Irene!
Thank you too Claude and Mary Ann Tayag for opening your wonderful home to us. The food was exceptional, but the hospitality… matchless! Thanks again… sniff!