Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Benguet: The strawberry fields of La Trinidad

After an exhausting day the other day, and since I was on vacation, I decided to wake up late yesterday. Ching was up early since she had errands to do and meet some friends too. At 10 a.m., I passed by for her and Joyce at the Baguio Cathedral and from there, we drove to La Trinidad, Benguet to check out the strawberry fields of the Benguet State University.

We easily found the place. You simply made a left in front of the last gate of BSU where a large sign pointed you towards the strawberry fields. We had planned to pick strawberries but since a lot of people had visited the day before, all the ripe strawberries had been harvested already. If you picked your own strawberries, the price at that time was PHP200 per kilo. Anyway, we just walked around the fields and took photos.

Of course, the strawberries there were relatively cheap since they were in season and you were buying them at the source. One kilo of small strawberries was just PHP60. I got the larger strawberries for PHP80 a kilo. There were really large choice strawberries at PHP100 a kilo. I regret not buying more to take back to the lowlands.

The day before, while waiting for the parade, we had strawberry flavored taho on the street. Taho vendors added strawberry bits and syrup to it. In the BSU area, the sorbetero naturally had strawberry ice cream with strawberry bits. Yummy! I also bought a serving of fresh pinipig (or duman to us Kapampangans) which I had been munching on since this morning.

From the strawberry fields, we went the Benguet Provincial Capitol to meet up with Ryan. Before lunch, he brought us to the store of the Entrepreneurial Project of BSU to buy some local treats.

Aside from the staple peanut brittle, strawberry jam and ube jam (their ube jam is quite popular), you had pure arabica mountain coffee (PHP50 for 250g); honey products such as creamed honey, raw beepollen and propolis, and honey wine with herbs; yacon and bignay wine; yacon and lemon grass herbal tea, powdered roasted soybean drink; chayote champoy, santol candy and pineapple-papaya jam among others.

We then walked across the street to this hole-in-the-wall type of place for lunch at the Strawberry Fields Arcade at Gladiola Center in front of BSU. Jolly Yan Meals is hidden in one corner but people flock to it since meals are cheap but tasty. The “meat plus meat” package (two meat dishes or your choice) served with mountain rice and soup was just PHP45. Another option was “meat plus veggie” just for PHP35.

Anyway, I had to rush back to Pampanga to do some work. So after our trip to the store, we drove down via Kennon Road since we wanted to check out the scenery. Kennon Road is actually a heritage road and its stunning natural scenery should be protected from unsightly urbanization and vandalism.

And sadly, election graffiti was all over the place. Shame on ANC party for painting their initials on every single rock along the road! Same goes to candidates Defensor, Osmena and Pimentel whose names are also painted all over. Mike Defensor even has his non-biodegradable paraphernalia nailed to trees! I hope the Comelec acts on this immediately and issues an ultimatum to candidates and parties to remove the paint before other candidates follow suit as a result of their inaction. Let’s spare Kennon Road and the environment around it from all this election trash!

More photos in Multiply.
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