The trip to our lunch destination, the Historic Camalig Restaurant in Angeles City, took a full hour and for once during our eight-day tour of Luzon, the Lakbay Norte team was actually hungry! The excitement-filled trip to Puning Hot Springs must be the culprit for this strange sensation in our tummy. It was something we haven’t felt for quite sometime, and it was totally unacceptable! So eat, we must!
The heat was intolerable as we boarded down the comfort of our air-conditioned bus. Good thing the grounds at Camalig were well-shaded by huge trees.
The restaurant is a real camalig or rice granary, or used to be one in another lifetime. The hundred year-old grain depot was converted by its owner, historian Marc Nepumuceno, in 1980 into its present state. It reminded me somewhat of the houses in the historic corridor of Las Pinas; wood trusses, wrought iron window grills and adobe walls with brick highlights.
Inside, wooden tables mixed with red chairs litter its dark halls. A mezzanine of sort rises in the middle where the main dining area is located. Brick-a-bracks are scattered throughout the restaurants; hand-woven baskets, faded photographs, potteries, vintage appliances, kalesa wheels, old carved chests, books and sculptures.
It came as no surprise then that they serve Filipino dishes here, although not really straight traditional Pinoy fares. Pans of pizzas, fried chickens and bowls of spaghetti awaited us as we filled the main dining hall.
Their line of Armando’s Pizzas, named after the owner’s father, is one of a kind. Dubbed as the Pambansang Pizza, I learned it takes six hours of slow cooking to prepare the special sauce for their dough.
We were able to sample their Marco’s 3-Way which has a mix of tuyo, tinapa and chicken adobo topped with sun-dried tomatoes and kesong puti; Doy’s Kapampangan which is topped by Kapampangan longanisa, salted duck eggs, onion and pickle relish; and their All The Way pizza which is the most traditional of the three, with heavy servings of pepperonis, ground beef, green peppers and mushrooms.My favorite of the three is Doy’s Kapampangan, the combination of the longanisa and salted egg just clicked with my palate. Or it’s just might be that I really love longanisas.
Not to be outdone by the pizzas, Camalig’s spaghetti and chicken wings are also excellent.
Their spaghetti took me back to birthdays when I was a kid; it has this sweet Filipino taste that only home-cooked spaghetti’s of the 80’s have. I’m still comparing every spaghetti I’ve tasted up to now to that of Camalig’s, I can’t seem to find anything like it.
There must be something about the Lakbay Norte crew and fried chickens as Camalig’s version was also a big hit with the guys. It was gone faster than a clock can chime four o’clock. It tasted very home-cooked; no breading, just plain tasty deep-fried chicken goodness.
Our excellent lunch was concluded with servings or iced teas, sago con yelos and kamias shakes. The shake was interesting but I didn’t dig it that much, I prefer their sago over it which I gulped in seconds.
Historic Camalig Restaurant delivered excellently in my book; beautifully old world interiors and interesting Filipino dishes make for a great combination. Let’s all be glad that the owner of this place decided to convert an old tired shed into a one of a kind Filipino restaurant.
The Historic Camalig Restaurant
292 Sto. Rosario Street
Angeles City, Pampanga
Telephone: (045) 888-1077 | (045) 322-5641
GPS Coordinates: 15.1352,120.589231 | Click to view location on Google Maps
How to get to Camalig Restaurant: http://www.camalig.com/map.html