Mila’s tokwa’t baboy in Pampanga has the best ‘sisig’–and Mila, by the way, is my ‘lola’By Julie Ann E. Gomez
Philippine Daily Inquirer
When I was younger, I thought the only sisig that existed was that which my grandparents cooked. But now that I’m a college student in Manila, I’ve realized that this signature Kapampangan dish I have loved since childhood comes in various kinds. Some of these I have tasted, including a mouthwatering pork sisig with mayonnaise as the main dressing, sprinkled with onions and green chili peppers. Other versions are topped with egg or crushed chicharon.
But despite these different versions, my heart and my taste buds still long for the best sisig ever—my lola’s homemade sisig at Mila’s Tokwa’t Baboy.
This humble eatery started in 1986, from the original sari-sari store managed by my grandparents, Milagros Gomez and Ruben Gomez. Customers often asked if they had available pulutan to accompany their drinks.
One time, Tita Morgina, a Chinese-Australian sister-in-law of my grandfather, stayed with us for vacation and heard what the customers wanted. Since she had run a restaurant in Hawaii and Hong Kong, she gladly shared the recipe of her own pulutan, which was composed of tofu with soy sauce.
When my Lolo Ben followed this recipe, he spent around P300 just for one serving. So he experimented with more viable ingredients, and he and my grandfather began serving their version of the dish to customers.
It started with four people a day enjoying the dish; the next thing they knew, droves of people were asking for it. This recipe of delicately fried tofu, homemade soy sauce, chunks of celery stalks and chopped pig’s ears was then named after my grandmother’s nickname, Mila. And that’s how Mila’s Tokwa’t Baboy was born.
Despite the name of the eatery, my grandparents also whipped up their own version of sizzling sisig. Pork meat was boiled first, then deep-fried until roasted. Afterward, it was chopped, seasoned with secret ingredients and finally served on a hot sizzling plate.
My grandparents’ sisig also became a huge hit. Many customers say the P200 serving of it is “sulit na sulit.” Through word of mouth, our simple eatery became well-known even outside Pampanga. Celebrities such as KC Montero, Mike “Pekto” Nacua, Jon Santos, Joy Viado and chef Gene Gonzales have dropped by to have a taste of this sisig.
Aside from the sisig and tokwa’t baboy, my grandparents’ eatery eventually began serving other bestsellers such as Paco Salad (ferns with tomatoes and onions, relished with salted egg and homemade vinaigrette), Chicharon Bulaklak, Pork Barbecue (grilled pork tocino), Plain Sisig (chopped pig’s ears in a kilawin style) and Tidtad Babi (dinuguan in Kapampangan).
Those craving for these Kapampangan delicacies need only travel one to two hours from Manila to Angeles, Pampanga. To get to Mila’s Tokwa’t Baboy, take the Nlex road going to Pampanga and exit on McArthur Highway. Along McArthur Highway (the highway passing through Angeles and San Fernando), you will see a Honda Motorcycle store; beside it is an arch that reads Brgy. Sto. Domingo.
Enter that street and turn right at the very end. Congratulations! You have now reached Mila’s Tokwa’t Baboy—where the best sisig ever can be had.