PAMPANGA -- If you’re driving up north, you may want to consider a detour to Magalang town. There, hidden within the heart of Pampanga, you will find Abe’s Farm.
It is located some 45 minutes from North Luzon Expressway’s Dau exit, near enough for a quick drive, but far enough for an escape from Manila.
The lifestyle destination is beautifully nestled at the foothills of Mount Arayat, bringing day-trippers and overnight guests closer to nature. Sprawling over four hectares of lush greeneries, the homey farmhouse offers plenty of spaces to dine, de-stress and disconnect. It houses a restaurant, a spa, a museum and a number of recreational areas.
The concept was actually a love letter for a father. Larry J. Cruz, famed founder of the LJC Restaurant Group, had dreamed to dedicate the space in honor of his father, the late artist, Emilio "Abe" Aguilar Cruz. After all, LJC’s chain of Abe restaurants named after the same have been a success.
Sadly, the younger Cruz did not live to see the realization of the dream. Thankfully, the LJC Group pressed on to bring to life Abe’s Farm. Today, the Magalang restaurant celebrates the acclaimed father and son who are both proud children of the Kapampangan town.
The entrance to Abe's Farm. Photo provided by author
The restaurant at Abe's Farm. Photo provided by author
Inside the restaurant at Abe's Farm. Photo provided by author
The spa at Abe's Farm. Photo provided by author
Paco fern salad. Photo provided by author
Bamboo rice. Photo provided by author
Sinigang na hipon. Photo provided by author
Binukadkad na plapla. Photo provided by author
Kare-kare. Photo provided by author
Sikreto ni Maria. Photo provided by author
THE BEST OF PAMPANGA
As with any LJC restaurant, food at Abe’s Farm is a treat to the senses. This one in particular specializes on authentic Kapampangan cuisine. Among its bestsellers include Bamboo Rice, Sinigang na Sugpo, Paco Salad and Binukadkad na Plapla with a side of mustasa leaves and buro. Also on the menu is the cheeky dessert Sikreto ni Maria, which is best paired with freshly brewed coffee.
Once filled with gastronomic delights, guests here need not hurry back to town. A stroll around the property offers visitors a chance to enjoy the museum filled with works by Mr. Abe himself. There are also plenty of opportunities to commune with nature or bond with family.
Those looking to rejuvenate just before their drive back can meanwhile make a stop at the spa located inside an air-conditioned Bahay Kubo.
In all, the restaurant destination is a microcosm of the best of the province. From its cuisine to its art, Abe’s Farm is a testament to Kapampangan’s rich heritage that is deeply intertwined with the Filipino culture of love for family.
Abe's Farm is located at 98 Livestock Village, Barangay Ayala, Magalang, Pampanga.