I'm proud to be Filipino and always fulfilled after feasting on a hefty bagnet (crispy pork belly) meal, an original Ilokano favorite. When I sojourned in Ilocos Norte for four straight days, I did not pass up the chance to sample one at Pagudpud's Pannzian Mountain Resort. Little did I know that in Metro Manila (my New Self base), particularly in Marikina City, there's an unpretentious nook that prepares the classic bagnet. Yohel's Bagnet Station in Concepcion Uno was where I sampled the delicious treat. I also got the chance to sample the restaurant's other selections of bagnet-inspired dishes such as kare-kare, dinuguan, and Bicol express.
Bagnet is like a decadent cake, something that I need to have at least once a month. For some, it's a weekly diet. What it brings me is a departure from my healthy fish and vegetable diet that I have come to seriously apply. Just like how it was prepared in the old days when unused parts of the slaughtered pig were stored for frying after being initially boiled and fried in a large wok, the delicacy is always is rendered with effort.
Gastronomic travel tip: SDS Hospital, as landmark, is just across Yohel's Bagnet Station in Marikina City, Philippines.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY JOHN CACHOLA
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