By: Sam Escolano
Welcome to the first Northlink Food + Trip, where we feature food trip ideas and tourist destinations!
One of the advantages of having NLEX and SCTEX as one is that destinations up north are easily accessible. In celebration of our National Heroes Day, we give tribute to our fallen heroes by visiting Capas National Shrine, dedicated for our Filipino and American troops who joined forces in defending the country. Like our Build as One, our and the Allied troops’ union ultimately benefitted the Filipino people.
Capas National Shrine
Capas National Shrine is dedicated to the Allied troops who died at Camp O’Donnel, subject to the forced labor at the concentration camp after their excruciating Death March. The shrine commemorates the end point of the death march through a huge obelisk surrounded by a circular wall where the names of the soldiers who went through the Death March are engraved.
Capas National Shrine is a 54-hectare land, thirty-four hectares of which was planted by rows of trees dedicated to each single person who has died there.
Elvin and I tried to get a feel of a lengthy walk under the hot noon day sun at the National Shrine’s long avenue of raised flags. Halfway through, we already have our umbrellas. One can imagine it as a statement on the long march our soldiers took – if 500 meters is enough to compel Elvin and I to use an umbrella, what is a hundred kilometers?
A 20-minute drive from the Capas National Shrine will take you to the Capas Death March monument, where another memorial to the Allied troops is situated.
TILL DEATH DO US PART. The Capas National Shrine is a memorial for the Allied Forces who went to the horrendous death march. One of its key feature is the obelisk surrounded by the engraved names of the Death March victims.
VES Food House
After paying tribute to our soldiers, one will find that delicious meals and a homey appeal await those who eat at VES Food House. Adorned with wood, décor, and warm lighting, VES Food House exudes a cabin appeal, allowing guests to eat comfortably.
Elvin and I ate baby back ribs, kalderetang kambing, pinaputok na bangus, and kare-kareng seafood. VES Foodhouse’s meals tastes homemade, i.e., hindi tinipid. The cheese of kalderetang kambing was evident, and the sauce and mix of the baby back ribs was sweet but retaining the beefy taste of its meat. Pinaputok na bangus is adorned with burro, and kare-kareng seafood was generous in giving shrimp, fish bits, and mussels.
Being homemade, though, has some limitations. The kalderetang kambing was a bit hard, and the pinaputok na bangus tastes a bit bland. Those, though, are minor as to what VES offers.
Located at Concepcion-Capas Road, VES is within the city’s busy district. If you happen to be at the area, do try eating there.
VESt Foods. Eating at VES was a treat! The baby back ribs (top left) was sweet and beefy. The kalderetang kambing (top right) was generous in its portion of cheese.
LOVE SAYS “VES!” The homey appeal of VES Foodhouse is nothing short of both amazing and relaxing.
A CUP FOR YOUR LOVE. The Northern Cup is a relaxing place to treat your loved ones.
If you’re craving to take your bae to a coffee shop, Northern Cup is a must-try! Also located at Capas, Tarlac, Northern Cup is adorned with caricatures of national and international icons, a band area, and comfortable lounges.
One would immediately notice that Northern Cup, even during lunchtime of weekdays, is full of people as it also offers pasta and rice (silog) meals aside from its coffee and shakes. While delicious, one will find ordering at Northern Cup a bit time-consuming due to the large volume of people.
I and Elvin tried mocha and melon shakes-in-a-lightbulb. It was quite refreshing, though not at par to the fresh fruit shakes. However, at PHP 89.00 each, it’s quite a deal considering the place.
Side Trip: Belenismo during Christmas
Tarlac is not one to be left behind in celebrating the birth of our brother, Jesus Christ. During Christmas, Tarlac prepares its belens to compete for the Belenismo title against other Tarlac towns. It will surely be be a worthwhile town-hopping during Christmastime.
UNITED FOR BELENISMO. Tarlac towns participate in the annual belen-making contest, the Belenismo, showcasing their beautifully-crafted belens.
Just as our heroes, the Allied forces, joined arms in fighting our conquerors, the joint operation of NLEX-SCTEX allows us to reach beyond our previous boundaries. Previously taking a long time, Capas, Tarlac is now reachable for about an hour and a half from NLEX Balintawak. There is definitely freedom, and progress, in unity.