The year 2013 is a significant year for the foodservice industry in the Philippines. I’m guessing you also noticed the booming emergence of new restaurants and concepts from left to right, from adventurous to sophisticated, especially in Metro Manila. According to Unilever’s research, local cuisine is taking the spotlight when you talk about the growth of Philippine tourism as more and more people, both locals and foreigners, plan their destinations and itineraries around “food”.
Unilever Food Solutions is very much aware of this booming of restaurants in the country. Weeks ago, Unilever took journalists to a van driving all the way to the culinary province of Magalang, Pampanga. Specifically took us to the home of Larry Cruz’ family, also known as “Abe’s Farm”. The visit’s primary objective was to launch Unilever Food Solutions’ series of online videos named “Food Trends” available at their website
If you’re a restaurant owner or at the back of your mind wants to jump to this industry, this is for you!
Seanta Reyes, UFS Philippines Marketing Manager
“As the food service arm of Unilever, we at Unilever Food Solutions believe it is our mission to keep chefs and restaurant operators, big or small, equipped with the knowledge and skills to run their food business successfully,” according to UFS Philippines Marketing Manager Seanta Reyes.
Chef Carlos “Pipo” Aluning
One of the chefs, Chef Pipo, gave us an understanding of  how trends on Food Tourism, Serving Portions and Dish Innovation apply in restaurant practices.
Unilever Food Solutions Team – Chef Paulo, Seanta Reyes, Chef Janice and Chef Pipo

Abe’s Farm

To make the afternoon more interesting, a long drive from Makati to Pampanga was worth it as I took my Filipino palate to another level by“Tasting the Philippines in a Day”.
Abe’s Farm, a lifestyle destination away from the busy and noisy streets of Metro Manila, was our quick getaway for an afternoon of relaxing food and atmosphere.
In the foothills of the dormant volcano, Mt. Arayat, there you will find Abe’s Farm owned by E. Aguilar Cruz, “Abe” or known as “Son of Magalang” in their hometown. E. Aguilar was a well-known writer, artist and bon vivant and for those of you who knows Larry J. Cruz, this man is the father of this LJC Restaurant Group founder.

The Food:

Paco Fern & Tomato Salad, Stuffed Frog and Spicy Sisig Pampanga
While listening to the speakers, I was served a plate of this Pampanga specialties. Paco Fern & Tomato Salad stood out with its refreshing dressing that covers up the heat of the afternoon inside Abe’s Farm only ventilated by electric fans and fresh air.
Binukadkad na Pla-Pla (Php 395)
Balo balo relish took over to make this crispy tilapia be more noticed. The presentation of letting the fried and crispy tilapia stand sideways had everyone’s camera ready for picture. As I looked at it, nothing seemed new to me but its Balo Balo relish emphasized its flavor that gave it a good kick
Bicol Express (Php 265)
Bicol delicacy took its place beside these Capampangan specialties. The richness and fullness of thick coconut cream had me scoop over the sauce for my Bamboo Rice to be more filling.
Pork Liempo (Php 250)
A Filipino home never loses its appetite for Pork Liempo. Abe’s Farm cooked its pork meat that you don’t wanna stop forking for more.
Knockout Knuckles (Php 595)
Food writer Madhur Jaffrey and his family got knuckles for this Knockout Knuckles. Traditionally cooked Crispy Pata can win any person’s heart by a single shot. Just be careful of your heart, these knuckles don’t want to be blamed for your heart-attack.
Pinakbet Capampangan (Php 265)
Fresh garden vegetables that balances out too much meat on your plate, simmered with shrimp paste and fish meat.
Kare-Kare (Php 595)
Abe’s Kare-Kare rocked my afternoon! I fell on my knees as I took my taste in action for its sauce and a small piece of meat. Real bits of peanuts and richness of its peanut flavor sabotages the whole bowl of Kare-Kare. It was difficult for me to switch to the next dish as I can’t remove my spoon and fork on this Kare-Kare.
Bamboo Rice (Php 250)
Shrimps, wood ear mushrooms and bamboo shoots steamed in a Bamboo shell make up a packed Bamboo Rice that looks like the rice I eat when I was a girl scout. With all the Filipino dishes served to us, a bamboo of rice fits the company to complete the “Taste of Philippines in a day”, as what the hosts call the afternoon.
Sikreto ni Maria (Php 165)
What’s the secret? Well I don’t really know. All my tastebuds know is the mango and slimy coconut cream are inseparable to me. Enchanted with a scoop that I thought I couldn’t finish a bowl. To my surprise, I wanted to ask for more!

The Ambiance:

Feel at home in the 4-hectare farm and ancestral home that turned resort by the Cruz family.
Ifugao Huts
Hut A – maximum of 2 persons – Php 2,990
Hut B – maximum of 2 persons – Php 2,990
Hut C – maximum of 4 persons – Php 4,500
Regular Room
Regular room good for 2 persons – Php 3, 200
Deluxe room good for 2 persons- Php 4,800
Family Suite
Family Suite good for 12 persons – P 15,000
Family Suite Loft, good for 8 persons – P 10, 000
Family Suite Ground Floor, good for 4 persons, P 6,000
Additional head at P750 (with breakfast)
*Rates are subject to change without prior notice.
All room rates are inclusive of 12% VAT and 10% service charge and come with free breakfast, served from 7am to 10am.
Bringing of food is not allowed. Abe’s Farm restaurant serves a variety of dishes for lunch, merienda and dinner. Guests who desire to take their meals late in the evening must place their orders before the restaurant closes at 8:00 PM.
Renew, de-stress and re-charge at Abe’s Farm with their facilities not only to entertain but to relax your stressed out muscles. The farm features a spa for your full body massage, foot therapy or head & shoulder massage.
Going back to the reason why I traveled my way to Abe’s Farm in Pampanga, Unilever’s presence is all about helping this country’s food industry grow.
Because of this evolving food and restaurant industry in the country, Unilever wants to add more success to your kitchen by providing this resource, Food Trends online video series.
Simply CLICK away for the latest trends for your kitchen.
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Pray, Eat and Love.
The Food Scout
Unilever Food Solutions
Abe’s Farm
Location: 98 Livestock Village, Brgy. Ayala, Magalang, Pampanga, Philippines
Contact: (+632) 506-8140/41; (+63) 917-808-5187