Vigan Longanisa and a Quick Stroll at the Hidden Garden

Saturday, April 12, 2014

If I haven't mentioned in my previous entry that it takes approximately twelve hours to get to Vigan from Cainta, well then, here you go. Believe me, that sort of car ride can not only give rise to hygienic issues (walang ligo, dre) but also to gastronomic concerns. So after our visit to the Bantay Bell Tower, we headed off to the Hidden Garden for breakfast.

Who's up for some local cuisine?

Serious House Envy.
Although I can eat like there's no tomorrow, I can, if need be, also go for days without taking in food. I'm like a camel that way. At that time, my stomach was not yet pestering me so breakfast wasn't my utmost priority. (Hard to believe, I know.) I think I was heavily relying on adrenaline. Also - go ask my friends - hyperactivity is my natural state, whether hungry or not.

But I really wanted to try the famous Vigan Longanisa and the prospect of having it for breakfast made me a tad more enthusiastic about the idea.

Cool, eh?
So after several minutes and a couple of turns, we parked in someone's front yard, beneath the foliage of mango and chico trees. Upon getting off the van, we were greeted by a beautiful capiz house. It was inside a lot where many flowering plants and trees abound. It made me think of the time when life was simpler. I'd choose to live in a house like that over a mansion any day. Sigh.

I digress.

It was a short walk from where we were parked to the entrance of the Hidden Garden. I saw a number of vehicles parked along the length of the street where the restaurant was located. I figured this was the usual breakfast stopover for tourists.
Paper decor along the entrance

The walkway was lined with curiosities and bits and bobs. Everywhere you look, you'll see something interesting. So I guess the phrase "your eyes get to eat as well as your stomach" applies to this place. Well, if you name your restaurant "Hidden Garden", you better own it and live up to the expectations. But as far I was concerned, I thought they'd achieved what they were going for.
Piso for the Buddhas to make your wish come true

On our way to our table, we passed by several interesting things: a row of Buddhas, a wall of pictures of the owner with famous personalities, and a foaming fountain. Those are some pretty serious customer magnets, if you ask me.

We took a couple of pictures of and with these attractions before we agreed to first have the most important meal of the day before going about having pictorials. We'd have plenty of time to explore the rest of the Hidden Garden anyway. 

So we settled on our seats and found ourselves in the presence of a waiter wearing what I would call a mambubukid costume: a white shirt with a red neckerchief and a straw hat. I thought it was cool because a) it adds to the theme of the place (which was a hodgepodge of rustic, country, and farm life) and b) what's life without whimsy, yes?
Feeling celebrities
The "soap" fountain
So we gave out our orders. Some opted to have tapsilog or the more diet-friendly bangusilog. But I, of course, went for the only logical choice: longsilog, featuring the much in-demand Vigan Longanisa.
Great breakfast buddies

I was so excited that I remembered to take a photo of it after I've almost eaten everything. 
Almost done!


I'm going to lay all my cards on the table: I found nothing special about the Vigan Longanisa. Yes, it was chunky and tasty and garlicky and everything they said it would be, but I wasn't blown away by the flavor. I did, however, find the meal enjoyable and satisfying. So, you know, hurrah!

As agreed and as the title of this post suggests, after our meal, we went for a quick stroll at the Hidden Garden. Again, there are lots to see in the place. It was like a park, and it reminded me of Sonya's Garden in Tagaytay - with all the plants and benches and little nooks for great photo ops. There's even a bonsai garden on the far end of the place. It was fascinating. And oh, they also sell plants for you with green thumbs out there.

Anyway, here's how we managed to burn down the hearty meal we just had:
All boys!
And now, girls!
Sir Donnie with the rickshaw
Ate MJ, Camille, and Ma'am Jo
Here's me trying to embody one of my favorite animals - the carabao:
I love this shot
Now here are some pictures with the flora and the fauna (Hoho):

The "ibong adarna"

The "fauna". Hehehehe.
And for the finale, the lovers:
Roy and Ching
Sir George and Tita Maylin

We got so engrossed in the many interesting things in the area that we lost track of time. This prompted Ma'am Jo to request Kuya Al (our tour coordinator) to inform us how long we can stay in a certain stop. We were worried we might squander the rest of the day by taking too many pictures. Hehe.

At any rate, I sure enjoyed exploring the Hidden Garden. I love places like this; places where nature seems to effortlessly coalesce with the eccentricities of Man. Why can't all establishments be like this? Well, the whole harmony-with-nature shindig... I guess that's the appeal of the Hidden Garden. 


Now that we've been fed and recharged, where to next?

Stay tuned for the next adventure!

PS: A wink to Sir George for the SLR photos. :)

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