Hot-Aw sa Albay
I've lost count of how many times I've been to Albay,
but my most recent trip was particularly special.
As soon as I got off on the tarmac, I was overwhelmed by majestic Mayon. I've never seen her like that--naked, cloudless, jaw-droppingly beautiful!
|Yes, I know about the local belief that when you can no longer see Mayon's peak,|
you've seen other 'more interesting' things :)
We ate at DJC so that we could have their famous halo-halo for dessert. My colleagues and our partners must have mentioned this more than a dozen times during our breaks that I had very high expectations already. Good thing it lived up to the good reviews. At P75, this summer chiller is definitely a yummy steal!
Every (diet) rule I (am now) breakin'
It's the risk that I'm takin'
I ain't never gonna shut you out //
It's impossible to talk about siling labuyo, the Philippines' ultimate red, hot, chili pepper of choice, without thinking about Albayanons or Bicolanos in general. Their ability and fondness in consuming these little spice devils have become household knowledge throughout the country. It was fun to discover that they have kept this tradition alive through the said contest.
If I remember correctly, the chili-eating competition is already on its 15th year (talk about staying power!). It's one of the highlights of the Magayon Festival, a month-long celebration of all things bright and beautiful in Albay.
It was originally handled by the Department of Agriculture, and contestants used to be given pure chili to eat during the competition's earlier years. Back then, some people would pass out, overwhelmed by the spice. The LGU, recognizing the need to make this as safe and enjoyable for everyone, decided to hand the reigns to the Provincial Health Office (PHO).
Since then, slight modifications were made. Male and female categories were set. Careful screening of participants is implemented prior to the contest, with select PHO staff conducting physical exams to check medical history and overall health. Instead of pure chili, the PHO now makes use of chili-laden viands such as Laing and Bicol Express.
When I heard that as a treat, the PHO would allow me to taste these viands (if I wanted to), I stared into the full pot. Bicol Express, the viand of my choice, really looked like it had a lot of chili. It even smelled of chili. Naturally, it must taste a lot like chili! Basta, maanghang/maharang!
I was hesitant because even some PHO staff refused to give it a go. I like spicy food myself, but only in moderation.
Warning: I look absolutely hideous in this video (we had a packed consultation/facilitation meeting all day--haggard! haha, excuses), but hopefully, it will give you a better understanding of what I tried.
While watching, I gorged on fishballs, kik(yum!), and cotton candy. I miss fiestas where one could just get lost in a crowd, celebrate traditions and be with great company.
We also passed by the public plaza for some pasalubong shopping. Aside from the province's famous pili, my workmate bought bayongs (colorful native bags) while I got this statement accessory from one of the booths.
|*insert Paris hilton voice here* that's hot, haha =p|
For me, Mayon province is not just a tourist attraction but a traveler's destination. :)
- Mental Diarrhea is the online home of Rhea Alba. She aims to fill this space with pockets of sunshine and occasionally, a few dark clouds (i.e. incoherent thoughts and rants, haha). You've been warned! ;) Contents are mainly written for family and friends, but if you're a random visitor, feel free to roam around, open your mind, and share your thoughts.
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