Lechon. No fiesta in the Philippines is complete without a lechon or sumptuous roasted pig.
In our province, we have this tradition of roasting a pig in time for the town fiesta. As kids, my cousins and I would pray over the pig to be roasted. One cousin would even cry while I, on the other hand, would sincerely whisper “sorry, pig, I’d have to eat your tail” before I dig in. Call it ironic, weird, barbaric, but you’ll never really understand the feeling unless you’ve actually tried it.
They say the best lechon in the Philippines can be found in Cebu. CNT and Zebuchon are the most famous brands. Zebuchon was even featured in Anthony Bourdain’s food and travel show.
But exactly a year ago, I discovered that aside from Cebu, an irresistibly good lechon recipe is being served in Iligan, Mindanao! It’s from Jaime’s Lechon Bayug.
I am so lucky to have met the owners of the quaint lechon place right across Gaisano Mall in Iligan when I was there for a Watsons Store opening.
I posted a shout-out on Facebook asking friends for recommended places to eat at in Iligan and my friend Kaye Estoista-Koo told me about Jaime’s lechon.
I found out that Jaime’s Lechon Bayug is different from other lechon recipes because you can eat it even without the sauce or sarsa. It’s sooo good, you’ll forget your name for a while after one bite! 😛
Iligan is at least an hour plane ride from Manila. So imagine my joy when a few days ago, Marc, the son of the owners of Jaime’s lechon told me that he was going to send me lechon from Iligan! He just celebrated his birthday and he wanted me to I guess partake of the “handa”. Thank you, Marc, for making it happen. Glad to know I’ve gained a friend even from as far as Iligan! 🙂 Cooldetour.com might just be a food blog as well after this!
I’m really surprised that even after enduring a plane ride, the lechon’s skin is still crispy and tasty! I guess this is the edge of the Iligan lechon over Cebu’s lechon.
And as with any good lechon, the leftover can also be turned into lechon paksiw, just add vinegar! 😛
MEMORIES OF ILIGAN
My trip to Iligan came at a time when I was kinda sad. So imagine my delight when it turned out to be one of my best local trips ever!
I met new friends thru my Gawad Kalinga network. They brought me and my officemate Lou to see the beautiful Maria Cristina Falls. We dared each other to try the zipline that spans across the waterfalls! And we visited the stream that leads to a public swimming pool. We ended at another good Iligan restaurant destination: Enang’s. We joined the live band on stage then continued the singing at the GTC karaoke place across.
I’d like to thank the Geronas and friends, Mayor Lawrence Cruz, and the Abitagos for making my visit to Iligan a grand one!
It’s really more fun in the Philippines!