Exceptionally memorable food and nature trail trips

By Anthony A. Araos

“Ifugao folks, teenagers, ought to be taught to eat, nutritious and delicious food. This task surely starts right here. Everyday fine dining starts at Nandong Restaurant and Café.”

Imagine enjoying a nature trail trip to Mayoyao during the Holy Week vacation. Instead of heading straight for the much-awaited nature trail adventure to Barangay Nattum in the scenic town of Mayoyao, you make a brief stopover in Lagawe for lunch.
The visitor should be so lucky in dropping by Nandong Restaurant and Café in the capital town of Lagawe for a brief rest and a sumptuous meal by noon.
That’s actually a real scenario thanks to this great restaurant, a place owned by Jonathan Biwit that turned out to be a business venture much more successful than anticipated.
At any given time of the year, your all-time Philippine favorite dishes are available for lunch and dinner.
Residents and visitors from other provinces of the Philippines and other countries have extra special meals awaiting them. Management promises a high standard of service and, therefore, a memorable dining is in the cards. At Nandong Restaurant and Café, excellence in preparing and cooking these Philippine food delights for avowed food lovers is a top agenda. Try its tapsilog special. Short orders are perfect choices of Nandong Restaurant and Café’s signature gems for a very good reason: it is an excellent example for a simple dish done well. Take my word for it. Nandong Restaurant and Café is a good place for gathering dining and celebrating.
Ifugao folks, teenagers, ought to be taught to eat, nutritious and delicious food. This task surely starts right here. Everyday fine dining starts at Nandong Restaurant and Café.
Tailored for the busy professional and high-end tourist, Nandong Restaurant and Café is indeed an ideal place for a food meal stopover on your way to Banaue, Mayoyao or Sagada in Mountain Province. Make an effort to drop by this restaurant. It is centrally located at the main section of the town’s Poblacion area, just along the main highway.
Lagawe needs to modernize. The town is out of step with other capital towns in the Philippines when it comes to tourism even accessibility of fine dining restaurants. Nandong Restaurant and Café undeniably has a good record for others in Lagawe to emulate. Other restaurants here should take this talk and recognition of Nandong Restaurant and Café’s splendid record in this field not as a threat, but as a challenge and lead Lagawe to modernize the way money and tradition coexist in daily life. After all, it is a beautiful and challenging life!
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Now, back to Nattum- a picturesque and unspoiled village of Mayoyao, and it is time to think of its natural wonders. Here nature and land are connected by trails. Walk or trek in the cooler setting this time of the year. Trails easily take visitors through lush, forested landscapes populated by flocks of colorful birds. I highly recommend these trails for the adventure-type traveler. If I’m the governor, I’ll really work for the construction of cabins here to boost the tourism industry. A well-paved drive with tall Benguet pine trees should lead the tourist into this great setting. Rolling terrain is a perfect site for camping. There is abundant wild life in the village as well as in other villages of Mayoyao. Well, it is good that I’m not the governor because I shall set a good example on how to run the government effectively and efficiently. I liked it better from this vantage point!
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The “news” that Banaue Mayor Jerry Dalipog has withdrawn from the race for governor in Ifugao has been the “talk of the province” for several days. Of course, it wasn’t true. Fortunately, the news was dismissed in a matter of time by the educated populace.
Well, it occurred at about the time former presidential spokesman Harry Roque announced his “withdrawal” in the senatorial race due to a medical reason. The implication was clear: Despite pronouncements of many Ifugao folks that elections here are better and different from other places in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), politicians here are heavily engaged in black propaganda. While the “news” of the alleged withdrawal of Mayor Dalipog is “highly laughable” it played well to the less educated, uneducated and gullible folks.
Purveyors of these “black propaganda” items could do worse than listen to the tale of a moneyed politician who is running for a high position in another province. His opponent went out to spread the “news” that he has withdrawn from the race. Well, it is true that the wealthy politician has indeed “withdrawn.” He went to the bank and made a withdrawal of two million pesos to add to his campaign kitty. He he he!
I expect more black propaganda in the fringes of this campaign period with some type of comic relief. The result will be a continued deterioration of the Ifugao electoral system. This is a dangerous escalation of below-the-belt tactics of erring aspirants with the intent of getting more votes. Ifugao is on edge, and living on a prayer that politicians will see the light and ease up on their game plan of confusing and misinforming the electorate, most especially the less-educated and uneducated ones.
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Run out of ideas to promote Ifugao’s tourism, I asked recently former Asipulo Mayor Eladio Bang-ud, who is running for councilor under the ruling PDP-Laban party, to consider prioritizing the tourism agenda in 2019 to 2022.
I have not given up on the province’s tourism industry. As the tourism industry deteriorates due to ineptness of the provincial government, the argument for an overhaul of the tourism program will increase. In short, the answer now lies in the hands of incoming officials.
For starters, if elected, Bang-ud would be in a position to promote and conduct a Food Festival (featuring popular “bakley” products) and a Weaving Festival.
Bang-ud is ever committed to show the world the wonders of women weaving and the intricate art of weaving in Asipulo.
Bang-ud is a God-fearing, hardworking, dedicated and highly-respected public servant. He is a model of kindness and compassion. He is willing to face the problems of his town on agriculture, education and health. His dedication to the cause of uplifting the lives of the poor continues to have a positive and lasting impact on the quality of life throughout Asipulo.
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To this time, Lagawe is still a fourth-class town. Sadly, the capital town got stuck in this rank for so long.
The positive news for residents is that there are some well-meaning and competent candidates who are running for councilor in Lagawe, thus, prompting a reassessment of choices among voters for the incoming Sangguniang Bayan (SB). It is my fervent prayer that majority of the SB members will be new faces to replace the nonperforming ones.
To achieve this, voters should consider seriously bringing back Manuel Tuguinay Jr. to the municipal council.
Jun (as he is fondly called by many here) Tuguinay is seen to provide “strong leadership” to the municipal government. When I think of all the problems faced by Lagawe, I am especially awed by the legislative abilities of Manuel Tuguinay Jr., now lacking at the SB. He is widely lauded and now sought for due to his unrivaled trait of tirelessly dedicating a great deal of time in improving his legislative craft. It is my fervent hope that Mr. Tuguinay will be one of the partners for change in this crucial moment as concerned residents lay down the foundation for a better and prosperous Lagawe. He is running as an independent candidate.
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Public school teacher salaries have not kept up with inflation over the past five months or so, but the high cost of living has. Our mentors put their lives on the line to mold the minds of the young. More and more, overworked but underpaid teachers couldn’t cope with the spiraling costs of goods and services. And more and more, are demanding salary increases. These people in high places don’t seem to understand the tenuousness of the lives of cash-strapped teachers. If the officialdom doesn’t act swiftly and decisively on this issue, expect the administration PDP-Laban senatorial bets to learn a harsh lesson on May 13, 2019.
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Nothing attracts coffee farmers in Ifugao like having a coffee processing center. Hardworking coffee farmers are bound to thrive with this much-needed facility. Plus the infusion of more funds for them and other incentives to augment their earnings. Let us not forget that coffee is a high-value crop. It has the potential to give coffee farmers more income.
Despite Ifugao’s abundance of coffee trees, its residents remain poor. Where does the problem lie and what should be done to address this? A query I’m raising to candidates for Governor in Ifugao, namely: Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat Jr., Banaue Mayor Jerry Dalipog and Vice Governor Jose Jordan Gullitiw. In turn, coffee farmers and their beneficiaries shall easily make up their minds on who should get their nod.
Thus, a forum with coffee farmers in attendance should be conducted within the campaign period for the benefit of stakeholders.
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For the Chinese Lunar New Year, I recommend buying hand-sewn traditional Chinese dresses called cheomgsams for gifts. You may seek for a custom-made design. The best place is located at 38 Cochrane Street, Central in Hong Kong.
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For our food delights corner: Still on the Chinese Lunar New Year celebration, it is just nice to have Char sui barbeque, abalone and bird’s nest for lunch. Cantonese dishes are also lovable for dinner. Or treat your family to truffle dumplings and crab souffle’ broth for dinner. The best place to eat this fare is in Taipei, Taiwan.
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Let me continue with my good food vibes this year, instead of making my life miserable with some incredibly stupid folks out here. I’m not looking forward to a lousy day with them even for just a while. I always find eating “jicama” or “singkamas” worthwhile. It is good for the health. It contains vitamin C (serving about 44% of daily nutritional value), minerals (like copper, magnesium, iron and manganese) that strengthen the immune system, soluble fiber which lower cholesterol and stabilizes blood sugar levels, vitamin B6, which promotes healthy brain and nerve functions, helps form red blood cells and synthesizes antibodies. There is also inulin, which enhances calcium absorption from a number of food products and prevents osteoporosis. Likewise, it promotes the growth of good bacteria that result in a healthy colon.
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Congratulations to Norice Dulnuan who emerged champion at the Electrical Installation and Maintenance category of the prestigious National Festival of Talents. Dulnuan, a grade 12 student of Hapid National High School Annex in Kiangan, Ifugao, represented the CAR in the said competition. He bested 16 other regional finalists at the annual festivity held recently in Dagupan City in Pangasinan. For the feat, Dulnuan brought home a medal and a plaque.
Dulnuan, 18, credited his success to his teacher and coach Noel Calingayan and principal Honorio Pumihic.
Some legislators are quick to ride on Dulnuan’s accomplishment. A resolution commending him for his triumph is one thing, giving him a college scholarship is another.
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Finally, some thoughts for our readers: “I will give you power over the enemy and nothing will hurt you.” Lk 10:19
“I will strengthen your inner being by the power of My Spirit.” Eph 3:16**

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