It was literally along the street of Tuguegarao City where I first had my taste of the region’s famous pancit batil patong noodle dish.
We arrived in the city’s downtown area around eight in the evening, bought a few cans of Red Horse from a grocery store, and before going back at Pensione Joselina where we were staying, we passed a makeshift, hawker-style eatery set along one of the main avenues of the city. And since it looked quite popular with the locals, we decided to try it out for ourselves.
The rest, as they say is history.
|EVENINGS AT TUGUEGARAO CITY|
During our recent visit to Tuguegarao, we were determined to find this guerilla-type pancit batil patong stall again, not only to relive that first moment where I tasted my now ultimate favorite noodle dish in the country, but also to have another taste of their offerings.
|THEY STILL USE KARITELAS IN TUGUEGARAO|
The streets of Tuguegarao are quite busy during the day, but once evening strikes, count just a few hours and everything closes down on cue.
Our watering hole of choice was at Anne’s Restobar, and after downing a few bottles of beer, we headed along the now deserted Bonifacio Avenue to look for the anonymous panciteria we ate at a couple of years ago.
|MAKESHIFT HAWKER STALLS INVADE THE SIDEWALK AT NIGHT|
It is not unusual for street food vendors to set up tables and chairs along the sidewalks of Bonifacio Avenue after the establishments along the road have closed down. And one by one, we checked them out, looking if they were the ones who sold us our first pancit batil patong.
|WE FINALLY FOUND IT!|
Eventually, we found it. I still remember the plastic bags of uncooked miki, the cheap colorful tablecloth and the plastic Orocan chairs. The aroma of stir fried noodles being cooked came to us, beckoning us to sit and order a plate.
|COOKING PANCIT BATIL PATONG ON THE STREET|
I spoke with the guy cooking the noodles on a steaming vat as we waited for a place to sit; the place was packed with locals. It turns out, he owns this noodle outfit.
Rogelio Bunagan, he introduced himself. I told him how his version of Tuguegarao’s pancit batil patong made me a convert. How I have been searching high and low in Manila where I can get that same flavor we had in his stall. He smiled, humbly thanking me in a quiet voice, continuing with his cooking as we conversed.
|MANG ROGELIO’S HUMBLE PANCIT BATIL PATONG HAWKER STALL|
He related how his stall has managed to put his children through college. He, together with his wife and kids, has been serving the locals of Tuguegarao this same dish for 18 years every night. And they don’t pack up until each and every bag of miki they brought with them has been cooked and sold.
I looked at his supply and saw that it wouldn’t take long before they’d be going home that night.
|MY FIRST TASTE OF PANCIT BATIL PATONG, TWO YEARS AGO|
|AND FINALLY, ANOTHER TASTE OF MY ORIGINAL PANCIT BATIL PATONG PLACE|
Soon, a table was cleared and our order pancit batil patong arrived; the usual egg drop noodle soup and onion garnish, accompanying it. This time, I can’t help but compare it to other panciterias we recently tried in Tuguegarao. Mang Rogelio’s version of this noodle dish doesn’t have as much flair as say those of in Jomar’s, lacking much in the lechon carahay department, but once I took my first forkful, I remembered what made me love this northern noodle dish so much. Thank you Mang Rogelio.
Mang Rogelio’s Pancit Batil Patong
Address: In front E-Plus Technology Enterprises,
Bonifacio Street, Centro, Tuguegarao City, Cagayan
Pancit Prices: Php50.00 / Php60.00 / Php70.00
Open Hours: 8:00PM to 1:00AM
GPS Coordinates Map: 17°36'47.7"N 121°43'46.1"E