9.315 Lechon na Baboy


16 (Fri) November 2018

Lechon na Baboy (WHAT)


at Balay Dako (WHERE)

-Tagaytay, Cavite, Philippines-

with health systems colleagues

Our annual division retreat started yesterday with a quiet reception (see 9.314 Grilled Chicken Wings), but the main activities were held today.  This year, the theme was all about healing and recovery – not for the people that we serve, but for ourselves – about putting the trauma behind us and moving forward stronger.

RD dropped by to give us a few words of wisdom.  He noted that people who retire should ride quietly into the sunset, referring to his own upcoming retirement from WHO in a few months.  Everyone was hoping that the advice would be heeded by someone else in the room, who hasn’t been so ready to let go.

Balay Dako is a Filipino restaurant.  Part of the famous Antonio’s Group.

As the lead organizer of the retreat this year, I insisted that dinner be hosted at a Filipino restaurant.

Last year, tasked only with arranging the dinner, I had chosen a Spanish restaurant (see 8.315 Paella Verdura).


Lechon na Baboy is a Filipino dish.  Whole pig (baboy), stuffed with aromatics and spices and seasonings, roasted (lechon) for several hours on a turning spit over live coals, chopped into pieces, served with liver sauce.  A special occasion in the Philippines is never complete without pork lechon, even if just part of the pig.  (Filipinos love to celebrate everything, so the dish is fairly common.)

At the parliamentarian meeting earlier this year, pork lechon was served both at lunch and at dinner (see 9.231 Lechon).


Sorry to say, but I’ve never been a fan of pork lechon.  I get confused by the textures, which range from hard/crunchy shards of skin to soft/mushy globs of fat, with bits of flesh in between.  The flavor profile varies widely depending on the source, but they all involve a blend of tangy/herbaceous/bitter/sweet flavors, which my palate can’t seem to appreciate, as yet.  I did enjoy the pork lechon from the chain restaurant Zubuchon, which I’ve encountered only that once (see 5.121 Lechon).

In case the main photo isn’t clear, that’s a wad of banana leafs shoved up the ass.

The rest of the food at Balay Dako was fine, though not as good as the owner’s reputation would suggest.


As part of the program, everybody voted on staff “superlatives.”

In a landslide, our unit won the BEST CONVENER award for organizing the Fourth Meeting of the Asia-Pacific Parliamentarian Forum on Global Health (see 9.230 Grilled Prawns with Laing in Coconut), which makes perfect sense, because it was in fact the best meeting of the year.


To my utter shock, I was also a co-winner of the ALL-AROUND AWESOME award, which makes no sense, because my assistant tells me that everyone in the division pities her for having to work with such a monster.

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