Kusina Adventures: Mr. Ahab's Latest Cooking FAILS

I am the cook in our home for more than a week now since My Beloved Wife started having morning sickness due to her third pregnancy. The morning sickness happens all throughout the day so I do the cooking, the laundry, and all the house chores. I also had to take care of our two makukulit toddlers.

The last time that I cooked seriously was years ago when I was living alone in Thailand. I cooked pork adobo and afritada that time. Now it was more challenging. My Beloved Wife asked me to cook meat and fish dishes.

In the morning I usually cook breakfast for the kids. I cooked their favorite noodles, hotdogs, and these sunny-side-up eggs…

My messed up sunny side up eggs

...which didn’t look appealing.

My uber fail is this fried chicken:

My charred chicken

Those are not coal but burnt chicken.

This was the result of me multi-tasking house chores. I forgot that I was cooking dinner.

Another FAIL is this fried dalagang bukid.

Murdered Dalagang Bukid

The fish no longer look like a dalaga.

It was not all doom and gloom during cooking time. I actually cooked a boiled tulingan dish. And my scrambled eggs are good too.

Another good result of my kusina adventures is that I learned new skills and knowledge, my favorite of which is learning about the cooking jargon: julienne.

Julienning is the process of cutting ginger root into small strips, like this:

Julienned Luya

Aha! I didn’t expect that they have a term for this kind of cut.

Also, I cooked (I think) well some dishes like this nilagang tulingan.

Yummy Tulingan

One of My Beloved Wife’s fervent wish is that I cook for her. Unfortunately, I am more of an eater than a cook. However, with morning sickness, her wish had come true.

Let's Go to Baguio (Part 5): Picking Strawberries in La Trinidad, Benguet

Picking Sweet Strawberries at Strawberry Farm in La Trinidad, Benguet

After enjoying the serenity and rest provided by Baguio Cathedral, our family continued our tour and decided to go out of Baguio City to pick strawberries. My Beloved Wife, the one who is responsible for our itinerary, thought that the kids would love going to the farm. Also, she wanted to buy fresh strawberries. So, off we go to the town of La Trinidad, which is touted as the strawberry capital of the Philippines.

How to Go to the Strawberry Farm (from Burnham Park or Baguio Cathedral)

From Baguio Cathedral, we walked to Baguio Center Mall where the terminal of jeepneys going to La Trinidad is located. We paid 13 pesos per person and it took us around 45 minutes to reach the entrance to the Strawberry Farm. We easily found the path to Strawberry Farm, not only because I used Google Maps, but also because it is conveniently located across Benguet State University and it has this big sign:

Sign to Strawberry Farm in La Trinidad, Benguet

I read in other blogs that jeepneys going Strawberry Farm also pass in front of Baguio City Hall, which is just across the northwest end of Burnham Park.

Jeepneys to Strawberry Farm also pass near two tourist spots, namely, Bell Church and the colorful Stobosa Hillside Homes. I suggest that you go these spots first before proceeding to Strawberry Farm. If you do otherwise then you may be carrying baskets of strawberries and other goodies while you visit these places.

Going back to Baguio City is easy because jeepneys pass along the highway in front of the big sign of La Trinidad Strawberry Farm or just across the Benguet State Unversity.

Our Strawberry Farm Experience

We followed the sign and after a few steps, the kids were surprised and amazed upon seeing the biggest strawberry!

Giant strawberry in Strawberry Farm in La Trinidad, Benguet

It was so big that the Samuel and Samantha were too afraid to get near it. :-P

Of course we did not pass the opportunity to take selfies with the giant strawberry.

A few steps away is another big strawberries on a "cake".

Twin strawberries of Strawberry Farm in La Trinidad, Benguet

The strawberry farm is amazing. The plantation of strawberries, lettuce, cabbages, and other veggies extends far beyond what our eyes can see. How I wish that we live near this farm so that we can eat fresh vegetables every day.

Strawberry Farm in La Trinidad, Benguet

Benguet State University developed Strawberry Farm, which is used as a sort of "laboratory" where the best ways to grow strawberries and vegetables are being studied.

BSU welcome sign of Strawberry Farm in La Trinidad, Benguet

Now, the farm is source of livelihood and pride to the people of La Trinidad.

Farm Directory at Strawberry Farm in La Trinidad, Benguet

I am glad to know that there is no entrance fee to Strawberry Farm. We were only required to follow these rules while inside the farm: (1) No eating inside [the farm], (2) No entrance fee, and (3) No pets allowed.

Simple rules in Strawberry Farm in La Trinidad, Benguet

Sorry dog and cat owners. Your pets are not allowed inside the strawberry farm. I guess the farmers are enforcing these rules to prevent the dogs from destroying their strawberries and other crops.

The farm is divided in the middle by Sweet Charlie Road. I don’t who he is and why he is considered sweet. Maybe he is the sweet hubby of the farmers here. :-P

Sweet Charlie Road of Strawberry Farm in La Trinidad, Benguet

Our eyes feasted on fresh vegetables! It was very rare for us to see such freshness.

We have seen green lettuce…

Fresh lettuce in Strawberry Farm in La Trinidad, Benguet

...red lettuce..

Lettuce farm in Strawberry Farm in La Trinidad, Benguet


Sunflower in Strawberry Farm in La Trinidad, Benguet

...and rows upon rows of strawberries!

Growing strawberries in Strawberry Farm in La Trinidad, Benguet

The best thing to do in La Trinidad Strawberry Farm is to pick strawberries. So, after much consideration and negotiation with a lady farmer, My Beloved Wife allowed our little kids to pick strawberries.

Strawberry in Strawberry Farm in La Trinidad, Benguet

We were told that the strawberries that we picked from the farm costs 450 pesos per kilo. This is much expensive than just buying the strawberries at the stores outside the farm. The lady farmer said that it is more expensive because they already factored in the possible damage that we might inflict to the strawberry plants. The lady farmer gave us a small basket where we can place our harvest.

Before we entered the farm, the lady farmer reminded us to just follow her lead and do our best not to damage the strawberry plants. She also taught us how to choose the ripe strawberry and how to pick it.

The kids very much enjoyed strawberry picking! They almost wanted to pick every red fruit that they saw, including the unripe and the overripe ones. Good thing that the lady farmer is patient with kids and she really helped them in picking the right strawberries. She even carried my little son on her back!

Lady farmer give Baby Ahab a piggyback ride at Strawberry Farm in La Trinidad, Benguet

We were lucky because we went to La Trinidad during the strawberry season. I read horror stories of tourists who visited the Strawberry Farm during the Ber months when it is off season for strawberries. They just went their gawking at strawberry plants without any fruit.

My Beloved Wife and the kids filled the small basket in no time. The Little Ones truly enjoyed their strawberry picking experience. My daughter didn’t even want to let go of the basket full of strawberries.

We went out of the farm and then went to the nearby shops.

Pasalubong shops in Strawberry Farm in La Trinidad, Benguet

The shops, of course, sell farm produce. There are loads of strawberries, lettuce, and broccoli. They also sell favorite pasalubong yummies from Baguio like strawberry jam, ube jam, peanut brittle, and lengua de gato. What caught my fancy, however, are the different fruit wines for sale. The vendor humored me and allowed me to taste all the wine that they sell.

They gave me a shot each of rice wine, strawberry wine, blueberry wine, and bugnay. I became tipsy because of so many wines that I drank. Some of the wine that I tasted have strong alcohol content while the others taste sweet and smooth.

Fresh strawberries and fruit wines for sale in the pasaliubong shops of Strawberry Farm in La Trinidad, Benguet

I read from PNA that the town of La Trinidad also pride itself as the winemaking center in of the Cordilleras. In fact, they launched the brand La Trinidad as the formal name for strawberry wine that the town produces.

My Beloved Wife bought one bottle of rice wine for 120 pesos. She planned to use it for cooking. I wonder what yummy dishes will she concoct using this wine.

Tips for a Very Good Strawberry Farm Experience

Lettuce farm in Strawberry Farm in La Trinidad, Benguet

I mentioned that some visitors were disappointed because they went were not able to experience the fun of picking strawberries. Well, you don’t need to feel the same disappointment if you will follow these tips:

1. When is the best time or months to go to La Trinidad Strawberry Farm? I recommend that you visit Strawberry Farm during the strawberry season, which are months of December to February. January, I think, is the best month for strawberry picking because it is right in the middle of the strawberry season. March to November is off season for strawberries and also typhoon season so is a big no no for visiting the farm.

2. Typhoons can also damage the farms in Benguet thus there is a possibility that you cannot pick strawberries even during the strawberry season. My parents and siblings visited La Trinidad Strawberry Farm last December and there were no strawberries. The farmers told them that Typhoon Ompong destroyed their strawberry plants and other crops.

Farmers busy with their strawberries in Strawberry Farm in La Trinidad, Benguet

3. Follow the instruction given to you before starting strawberry picking. The farmer will help you distinguish unripe and overripe strawberries.

4. Early morning and late afternoon is the best time to pick strawberries because it is not too hot.

Our lady farmer guide at Strawberry Farm in La Trinidad, Benguet

5. Make sure to keep the stem attached to the strawberry so that he fruit will last longer.

6. Strawberries get bruised easily so you should handle them properly.

All in all we had a very good time at the strawberry farm. I also had a good time drinking the authentic fruit wines of La Trinidad. If we will ever go back to Baguio, I will make sure to visit the Strawberry Farm again.

- - -

Read more about our adventures in Baguio City:

Let's Go to Baguio (Part 1): The Family Adventure Begins
Let's Go to Baguio (Part 5): Picking Strawberries in La Trinidad, Benguet
Let's Go to Baguio (Part 6): Underwhelming Experience in Mines View Park
Let's Go to Baguio (Part 7): A Savory Lunch of Baguio Bulalo at Cinco Antonios Bistro
Let's Go to Baguio (Part 8): Buying Our Favorite Good Shepherd's Ube Jam