CAMILING: A TOWN THAT CHICHARON SELLS
by Atty. Daniel Balaoing Valdez*
a first-class town in Western Tarlac made famous by Leonor
Rivera, Carlos Romulo, Cezar Bengzon and (Gen.) Paulino
Santos (the city is named after him). It started as a barrio
of Paniqui (not Bayambang as earlier believed) and became a
town in 1838 with the influx of immigrants from the North.
That explains the dominant Ilocano dialect in a locality
surrounded by Pangasinenses and Kapampangans.
the districts of the town proper are “Caviganan”
which, as the names imply, started as small colonies of
migrant Ilocanos. One of these settlers was Esteban Valdez,
my father's grandfather who left San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte
sometime in 1830. Today, one still hears there of ubiquitous
surnames like Gorospe, Yadao, Lorenzana, Corpuz, et al. The
town, by the way, has 3 Ilocano satellite municipalities -
San Clemente, Mayantoc and Sta. Ignacia.
Camiling is not only known for its illustrious sons. Part of
its Ilocano heritage is a delicacy consisting of a 24-square
inch parcel of fried pork known as “Camiling Chicharon”
- a cousin to Vigan's "bagnet".
Camilenios attest to its
distinct crispiness and yummy taste re-enforced by a
mouth-watering aroma. Partly soaked in Lingayen
with green mangoes, patis with calamansi or big curly native tomatoes
; vinegar con sili
; or spicy banana ketchup,
the mix is irresistible. Sliced, it is ideal as
pulutan finger food with wine) and as ingredient to indigenous
vegetable dishes like
balatong. Health buffs
have only to vary
the proportions of its salty and veggie/fruit components to
suit their needs.
town's bet in the national government's
(OTOP) project, this endemic food favorite has enjoyed
almost 2 centuries of consumer acceptance . Actually, its
marketability is enhanced by its nearness to Metro Manila.
But it doesn't stop there as its disciples abroad fantasize
its nostalgic taste through their hi-tech ovens, turbo
cookers and auto-timed grills with little, if any, success.
Unbelievably, some pursued maidens (or their reluctant
fathers) admit it may have mesmerized them !
is cooked is demonstrated during the town's
held every late October. The date, wisely set by the local
immediately precedes "Piyasta Ti Natay" (All Saints Day) of
November 1st when Camilenios are drawn home to pay homage to
To Manaoag pilgrims and tourists bound for the Alaminos's Hundred Islands,Bolinao and Sual's new international
seaport, the delicacy is available from the
or traditional meat vendors/small businessmen at the town’s
public market. Supply is augmented to meet increased demand
during Sundays, the Camiling town fiesta of May 7-8,
(Christmas), Dagupan and Binmaley's
in May, and
summer's "Bantay Kalbaryo" (Holy Week),
If fried chicken built a
house, here's fried pork selling a town ! - *
City Legal Counsel (2001-2004); Secretary, Sangguniang
City Council (2004 - ), Taguig City, Metro Manila