Archive for November, 2007

Chocolate Goodness from Tablea

Thursday, November 15th, 2007

By Issa G. Gayas*
        

Having a hot cup of tablea brings back old memories with my grandmothers in Guimbal, Iloilo during school breaks. One of my grandmothers would make these cocoa tablets from the cacao plant in their backyard. She would serve tablea for us during breakfast especially during the cold month of December when we would go there during Christmas break. She would also give us tablea to bring back home to Talisay City, Negros Occidental.
In the Philippines, tablea- drinking has long been a tradition. Chocolate drinks have been around since the Spanish times. It was brought by Spanish colonizers who probably influenced the growing of cacao trees and the processing of the beans into cacao tablets and the cooking of the chocolate beverage. During the Spanish era, the drink was usually served for breakfast especially on special occasions. Even our national hero, Jose Rizal, wrote about tsokolate in his novel, Noli me Tangere. He observed that the friars served two kinds of hot chocolate- tsokolate e (expresso)  for special guests and the “watered down” version called tsokolate a for ordinary guests. It was also said that a suitor would know if he was liked by the family of the girl he is courting by the type of chocolate drink served to him by the matriarch.
Today, the chocolate drink may not be well-appreciated by the present generation because the grocery-bought instant choco drinks like Milo and Ovaltine. But still, nothing beats the warm frothy goodness from pure, organically grown chocolate.
Tablea or tsokolate as some locales call it, are blocks of pure ground cocoa made from cacao beans. It comes in the form of circular tablets but could also be formed into balls. The process of making tablea is quite easy. It involves removing the fresh cacao beans from their pods and peeling the skin. It is then dried under the heat of the sun, after which these are roasted (like coffee) and then ground. Brown sugar is usually mixed with the ground cocoa to temper the bitterness of pure cocoa. The mixture is finally formed into tablets, thus the name tablea.
During my search for tablea in the Miagao Public Market, I came across two tablea makers. Emma Nilmar, 65 years old and resident of Bgy. Palaka. She started making tablea in 1993 in order to make herself busy and recover from her daughter’s demise. Nang Emma, who also makes peanut candies, delivers her tablea to native food sellers in the Miagao public market.

Another tablea maker is Violeta Piedad, a resident of Bgy. Kirayan Takas. She has a stall at the public market where she sells different kinds of native goods including tablea. Her tablea is slightly bigger than a five-peso coin and about a centimeter thick. Five tablets go into one pack priced at P20.00. Having learned the art from an old couple, she started making tablea in the early 1980s. Nang Violeta usually makes around 3 kilos of tablea, several packs of which she also distributes to other tinderas at Miagao market. She also said that some buyers place their orders to bring as pasalubongs abroad.
I bought a pack of Nang Violeta’s tablea and was quite excited to try it not having tasted tablea for a long time. The cold weather was also good for drinking a cup of hot chocolate. No offense to Nang Violeta, but it was not like what my grandma used to make. Well, the tablea was sweet and it can actually be eaten directly like a candy. But as a chocolate drink, it was rather grainy and with a smoked taste. Perhaps that was how Miagao tablea really tasted. I’m not sure though. What is certain is that I miss my the tablea my lola in Guimbal used to make.
Making hot chocolate with tablea is easy. You just put some tablea and water in a pot and use a batidor (a wooden stick with carved rings on one end) to mix. The wooden stick is spinned between the palms to make the drink frothy. Keep mixing as the chocolate starts to thicken. Tsokolate is best served with puto, ibos and other native delicacies. Broas and churros (fried dough, pastry- based snack) are also good with the tablea drink. However we enjoy it, our love for the chocolate drink is another testament of the Filipinos’ passion for food.

———–

*Issa G. Gayas is a second year BA Psychology student at UP- Visayas and currently stays at Balay Madya-as. She enjoys reading books and magazines, watching TV and having movie marathons.

Lakatan bananas

Wednesday, November 14th, 2007

lakatan-copy.jpg

The lakatan is considered the elite of the banana varieties, the preferred  kind to be served on the buffet table.  The lakatan is also the banana for fruit salads and banana splits and shakes.

I understand bananas in Manila are already sold by the piece.  Here in Iloilo, we can have it per kilo.  Lakatan bananas sourced at the public markets of Iloilo, such as the historic Jaro Market, sells for P25.00 to P30.00 per kilo. 

Marketing tip:  Don’t shun the blemished lakatan.  Those are the organic ones, naturally grown.  The really clean ones have undergone “dermatological” treatment (pesticides as the astringent).  These are the ones grown in huge plantations in Mindanao.

Potmaker of Pavia

Monday, November 12th, 2007

potmaker_of_pavia.jpg.

Hibao-an or Jibao-an Pavia has long been known for its tradition clay flower pots and stoves.  Await our entries from guest Ilonggos

Chicken Inasal–Bacolod style

Monday, November 12th, 2007

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Just opened blog stats and found out that yesterday, four people were searching for the chicken inasal recipe.  (Don’t laugh; four is better than none.  Maybe someday, it will be  4 with many zeroes.)

I posted some weeks ago the chicken inasal –Iloilo style.  Yes there is a difference.

Actually, I have a faint recollection of what the Bacolod style is, having spent my early years there.  There had to be the calamansi or langgaw and the sprite…  But here’s the complete recipe as relayed to me by my brother.  He learned the right ingredients from his manug-inasal friend working in one of the chicken inasal restos around.  We had it for a couple of dinners and yes, it was the Bacolod version alright.

You will need:

1 kilo “45 days” chicken (that’s the white leghorn or bantress variety) cut up into barbeque slices (the best of course is still the native chicken or what we call as bisaya)

asin (salt)

dalisay nga langgaw (pure coconut vinegar)

ahos (garlic)

luy-a (ginger)

kalamay (sugar. white)

sprite or 7-up (small bottle will do)

calamansi

istiwitis oil (atchuete oil) * in a frying pan, put in cooking oil and fry in about a tablespoon of atchuete seeds till the color comes out

How to:

**Actually, the technique varies.  Others rub the chicken with salt and pepper, place them in a bowl and add in the rest of the ingredients except the atchuete oil which will be used as basting sauce.  My brother said (as told to him by his manug-barbeque friend) that a better way would be to thoroughly mix all the spices first in a bowl, tasting it to get the combination right before placing in the chicken slices to marinate.

As I’ve said in my other food entries, we Ilonggos normally don’t measure ingredients, say 1 tsp. or 1 tbsp…it’s all by estimate.  Try it that way; don’t be afraid to make tantya (estimate) and your Ilonggo cooking will be authentic.

P.S.  Share with us your experience of making the chicken inasal.  We would like to hear from you ha?

Andrea Bagarinao–budding Ilongga visual artist

Monday, November 12th, 2007

By Diana Mae R. Bebelone*

p9140264.jpg

Indi ko sapatos ang Art,tiil ko siya”

                                                      — Andrea Bagarinao

 

I often wonder how it is being an artist. How would it feel to hold a brush at the tip of your hands and paint with such graceful strokes, to create such musical harmony from the heart with a piano or violin, or to sing with so much emotional power?

 

It really astounds me to see diverse faces of art expressed with such subtleness. And that’s the reason why it really excites me to think of the moment that I myself would personally interview an artist. By fate, I was fortunate enough that for my Humanities 1 class, I have found for myself just the right artist to interview—Andrea Bagarinao, a third year BA Literature student of UP Visayas. I know she isn’t really that famous, but I believe in her artistic skills, being impressed by for her works at her young age. Anyway, before I forget, she’s actually a friend of my friend—which means that we weren’t really that close. So during my first interview with her, I was a bit shy for the first few minutes, but after that, everything just flowed freely and we had a great time getting to know more of each other.

 

The first thing that I asked her was to explain what art is to her. Interestingly, with such straightforwardness, she just replied Indi ko sapatos ang art, tiil ko siya”(Art is not my shoes; it is my feet).

 

I was dumbfounded for a second. Such deep and vague statement has to be processed and interpreted as immediately as possible by my brain’s neurons. Having dug for its meaning between the lines, I now seem to understand and appreciate how much she puts importance to art. Something she would always consider a part of herself, her identity, her being and humanness—not just a mere separate entity with the option to possibly abandon it.

 

During the entire conversation, I was surprised to find out that both her parents have artistic backgrounds. Certainly it’s no wonder how Andrea got such a great genetic make-up. I also learned that although both of her parents are artists by heart—who later became her personal critiques—it was her Aunt Virgie who made a great impact on her artistic development.

 

Learning to use pencils and crayons at the age of three, Andrea’s artistic potential, in time, was enhanced through constant practice with her aunt. She then learned to appreciate sketching human forms. Hence, in her first two years at the Kinaadman Elementary School at Tigbauan, Iloilo, she made a compilation of her own short stories complete with illustrations. By third grade, she developed a central theme for her artworks—horror. Based on that theme, she created her first comic strip booklet entitled “Capiz Troubles.” In her fifth grade, having developed the love for Japanese anime—she started sketching a few of those “manga” series anime. Up to now, she still has that same strong passion for drawing human figures. In fact, as her major breakthrough, she made two key artworks; “Handumanan” in 2002 and “Mga___sang Ugsad” by 2005. From simple comics and “manga” Japanese series anime, she then learned water color techniques and eventually mural painting from her secondary education at the Special Arts Program of the Iloilo National High School. Through constant practice and mentoring by their artist-teachers in high school, her innate artistic skills were fully developed.

 

p9140280.jpg

As part of her thesis production entitled “Pinta-Sulat-Bata”, she produced in 2005, three major artworks in polychrome: “The Laborer”, “The Unemployed”, and “The Tenant Farmer” which earned her major awards from INHS. Eventually, these outstanding works were exhibited at SEAFDEC’s Fish World Museum in Tigbauan, Iloilo.

 

In 2006, that same museum commissioned Andrea to do a mural painting. Andrea came up with “Sinabawan.” Just early this year, the same museum hired her to do another mural on fishes.

 

To personally witness this obra maestra, I went to the Fish World museum. Coming face to face with Andrea’s work, I was certainly struck by such awesome beauty. It was such a huge mural painting that I couldn’t make it fit into my camera’s frame. So, I just focused on the details.

 

Much to my surprise, I realized that indeed it is true that her artworks don’t contain any blue or gray hues. As I toured the museum, I found out that her past water color paintings have been replicated on t-shirts. One design shows a strong Japanese and Chinese influence, a manifestation of her passion for anime art.

 

I left the museum aesthetically satisfied and promising myself that I would come back.

 

Aside from painting, drawing and writing short illustrated stories, Andrea is also a stern environmental advocate. She loves to be with nature (although she rarely does landscapes) and cares a lot for animals including the much-feared snake. Don’t think however that she is an eccentric teenager for she also loves to do things typical teenagers do, such as singing, dancing, watching TV, and (interestingly) acting.

 

Asked about her favorite visual artist, Andrea admires Zeshin, whose techniques she wants to adapt, as well as Manga artists. At present she likes . simply replies “Zeshin…siya ang may techniques na gusto ko guid i-adapt…mga manga artist pa guid! Subong sila Watsuki(Rkenshin) kag Arakawa(Hagaren)—story and graphics”. (Zeshin…he has the techniques I really want to adapt…and also Japanese “manga” artists. Presently, I like Watsuki(Rkenshin) and Arakawa(Hagaren)—story and graphics.)

p9140282.jpg

 

Calling her work as “chiaroscuro- paired- with- Chinese luminescence,” Andrea plays most of the time with dark and light effects, a technique she learned in high school which she then combines with her own innovations.

 

Perhaps, it may not be Andrea’s perfect time to shine yet but definitely—with her passion, ideas, and skills —she will get there. Andrea Bagarinao , a budding Ilongga visual artist.

———————–

p9140266.jpg*Diana Mae R. Bebelone is a third year Political Science student at the University of the Philippines in the Visayas. She loves writing melodramatic poems and she optimistically hopes to be a musical artist someday.

Andrea Bagarinao–budding Ilongga visual artist

Monday, November 12th, 2007

By Diana Mae R. Bebelone*

p9140264.jpg

Indi ko sapatos ang Art,tiil ko siya”

                                                      — Andrea Bagarinao

 

I often wonder how it is being an artist. How would it feel to hold a brush at the tip of your hands and paint with such graceful strokes, to create such musical harmony from the heart with a piano or violin, or to sing with so much emotional power?

 

It really astounds me to see diverse faces of art expressed with such subtleness. And that’s the reason why it really excites me to think of the moment that I myself would personally interview an artist. By fate, I was fortunate enough that for my Humanities 1 class, I have found for myself just the right artist to interview—Andrea Bagarinao, a third year BA Literature student of UP Visayas. I know she isn’t really that famous, but I believe in her artistic skills, being impressed by for her works at her young age. Anyway, before I forget, she’s actually a friend of my friend—which means that we weren’t really that close. So during my first interview with her, I was a bit shy for the first few minutes, but after that, everything just flowed freely and we had a great time getting to know more of each other.

 

The first thing that I asked her was to explain what art is to her. Interestingly, with such straightforwardness, she just replied Indi ko sapatos ang art, tiil ko siya”(Art is not my shoes; it is my feet).

 

I was dumbfounded for a second. Such deep and vague statement has to be processed and interpreted as immediately as possible by my brain’s neurons. Having dug for its meaning between the lines, I now seem to understand and appreciate how much she puts importance to art. Something she would always consider a part of herself, her identity, her being and humanness—not just a mere separate entity with the option to possibly abandon it.

 

During the entire conversation, I was surprised to find out that both her parents have artistic backgrounds. Certainly it’s no wonder how Andrea got such a great genetic make-up. I also learned that although both of her parents are artists by heart—who later became her personal critiques—it was her Aunt Virgie who made a great impact on her artistic development.

 

Learning to use pencils and crayons at the age of three, Andrea’s artistic potential, in time, was enhanced through constant practice with her aunt. She then learned to appreciate sketching human forms. Hence, in her first two years at the Kinaadman Elementary School at Tigbauan, Iloilo, she made a compilation of her own short stories complete with illustrations. By third grade, she developed a central theme for her artworks—horror. Based on that theme, she created her first comic strip booklet entitled “Capiz Troubles.” In her fifth grade, having developed the love for Japanese anime—she started sketching a few of those “manga” series anime. Up to now, she still has that same strong passion for drawing human figures. In fact, as her major breakthrough, she made two key artworks; “Handumanan” in 2002 and “Mga___sang Ugsad” by 2005. From simple comics and “manga” Japanese series anime, she then learned water color techniques and eventually mural painting from her secondary education at the Special Arts Program of the Iloilo National High School. Through constant practice and mentoring by their artist-teachers in high school, her innate artistic skills were fully developed.

 

p9140280.jpg

As part of her thesis production entitled “Pinta-Sulat-Bata”, she produced in 2005, three major artworks in polychrome: “The Laborer”, “The Unemployed”, and “The Tenant Farmer” which earned her major awards from INHS. Eventually, these outstanding works were exhibited at SEAFDEC’s Fish World Museum in Tigbauan, Iloilo.

 

In 2006, that same museum commissioned Andrea to do a mural painting. Andrea came up with “Sinabawan.” Just early this year, the same museum hired her to do another mural on fishes.

 

To personally witness this obra maestra, I went to the Fish World museum. Coming face to face with Andrea’s work, I was certainly struck by such awesome beauty. It was such a huge mural painting that I couldn’t make it fit into my camera’s frame. So, I just focused on the details.

 

Much to my surprise, I realized that indeed it is true that her artworks don’t contain any blue or gray hues. As I toured the museum, I found out that her past water color paintings have been replicated on t-shirts. One design shows a strong Japanese and Chinese influence, a manifestation of her passion for anime art.

 

I left the museum aesthetically satisfied and promising myself that I would come back.

 

Aside from painting, drawing and writing short illustrated stories, Andrea is also a stern environmental advocate. She loves to be with nature (although she rarely does landscapes) and cares a lot for animals including the much-feared snake. Don’t think however that she is an eccentric teenager for she also loves to do things typical teenagers do, such as singing, dancing, watching TV, and (interestingly) acting.

 

Asked about her favorite visual artist, Andrea admires Zeshin, whose techniques she wants to adapt, as well as Manga artists. At present she likes . simply replies “Zeshin…siya ang may techniques na gusto ko guid i-adapt…mga manga artist pa guid! Subong sila Watsuki(Rkenshin) kag Arakawa(Hagaren)—story and graphics”. (Zeshin…he has the techniques I really want to adapt…and also Japanese “manga” artists. Presently, I like Watsuki(Rkenshin) and Arakawa(Hagaren)—story and graphics.)

p9140282.jpg

 

Calling her work as “chiaroscuro- paired- with- Chinese luminescence,” Andrea plays most of the time with dark and light effects, a technique she learned in high school which she then combines with her own innovations.

 

Perhaps, it may not be Andrea’s perfect time to shine yet but definitely—with her passion, ideas, and skills —she will get there. Andrea Bagarinao , a budding Ilongga visual artist.

———————–

p9140266.jpg*Diana Mae R. Bebelone is a third year Political Science student at the University of the Philippines in the Visayas. She loves writing melodramatic poems and she optimistically hopes to be a musical artist someday.

KBL: Uniquely Ilonggo

Monday, November 12th, 2007

By Joi Asuncion Gruy*

kadyos.jpg


As a kid growing up in Antipolo, I used to be dragged along by my aunt or parents from one reunion to another. Be it weddings, baptismal, birthdays, funerals, and especially fiestas, they make certain that our family makes an appearance, saying that these are the only times that Ilonggos gather in one place. And at almost every table we’ve been to, I particularly remember this soupy, purplish black dish that’s always first to go. Whenever I ask what’s so special about it, people always come up to me and tell me that it’s called KBL (no, not Marcos’ political party Kilusang Bagong Lipunan!)  KBL stands for kadios, baboy kag langka (No, not Marcos’ political party Kilusang Bagong Lipunan). It is probably their most scrumptious viand and proudly-Ilonggo to boot. I was even told to take note of the owners of the houses that serve KBL. My parents say that they either hail from Iloilo or have Ilonggo blood down their line. Grown ups used to joke about how KBL is a must during another KBL–Kasal-Bunyag-Lubong buffets or the three big celebrations for Filipinos: Weddings, Baptisms and Funerals .
According to my lola, this mouth-watering dish is easy to prepare though the cooking time might leave you feeling impatient. More often than not, they resort to multitasking so as to reduce the long hours of preparing it. This is the classic way of cooking KBL.  (In the short-cut version, the baboy is no longer broiled but directly stewed.)batuanclose-up.jpg

We will need:
1 “samon” (cup) of kadios
1 kilo langka cubes
1 kilo pork (pig’s feet/rib area)
5 pieces batuan
2 liters water
1 medium sized onion
4 garlic cloves
1-3 tsp oil
batuanclose-up.jpgbatuanclose-up.jpglangkasliced.jpg
Procedure:
1) Broil the pig’s feet or rib area (the best cuts for KBL) over charcoal to get the “smoky effect” in the stew later. Then cut into small portions.
2) Boil the kadios until soft.
(Ilonggos commonly use the black type though the color of the beans ranges from red to white or black to brown.   My lola said it’s better to use the fresh beans than the dried ones because it takes a shorter time to boil)
3)On a separate pot, start boiling the langka (jackfruit, unripe), sliced into small cubes, until it is a bit soft.
4)Add the broiled, already chopped pork to the langka. Bring to boil until the langka and pork are soft.
5)Mix the kadios, langka and baboy in a big pot (including the broth) and season with salt, pepper and vetsin (monosodium glutamate). Soy sauce and fish sauce are optional.
6)Add batuan, the typical “pampa-asim” in Panay (the counterpart of sampaloc/tamarind in Manila). Kamias, libas leaves or commercial flavorings could be used as batuan substitute.
7)Add tanglad or lemongrass to bring out an added nuance to the flavor. Bring to boil.
8)Finally, add the katumbal/sili (hot peppers). Simmer for a few minutes more and remove from the fire. Now 6-8 people could enjoy this!


Presently, I’m enrolled here in UP Visayas and in staying here I get to taste this specialty more often than when I was in the metro during special occasions. I tried asking the locals what’s the secret of KBL that it’s the most requested dish during buffets.
Almost all of them are in accord that it may be because of its unique taste. The flavor of langka, baboy and kadios soured with batuan (no other pang-aslum can work best with KBL) perfectly complement one another. It is a superb dish that makes one reminisce the good times back in their hometown. They are very proud of this specialty and they told me that serving it on special occasions is their way of showing their warmest welcome to their guests. Also, the locals say they don’t mind preparing KBL since the ingredients are readily available and one could come out with great servings sans excessive expense.
For the information of readers, India is the largest kadios producer in the world. Scientifically known as Cajanus cajan, it is also known as pigeon pea, Congo bean and tur. It is probably one of the oldest cultivated plant, a fact attested by its discoveries in various ancient Egyptian tombs dating back to 2200-2400 BC.

In the local backyard, Miagao is one of the top kadios producers in Panay so year-round availability and price are not a problem. A gantang (a big can of pineapple juice) of dried kadios costs more or less P100 while the fresh (still in the pod) costs P25 during its season, which falls on September. The price plays P250 for the dried peas and P 150 for the fresh ones when not in season. On the other hand, batuan sells at P20/kg at season and up to P150 when supplies are scarce.

Unfortunately for the residents of Manila, finding kadios or batuan will more likely be hard and the price could be downright shocking. Now that I thought of it, I can say I’ve finally understood why, when our relatives from Iloilo visit our home in Antipolo feel the need to bring at least a box of kadios and batuan, never mind the “excess baggage” problem.
KBL. It really is one of a kind. For those who’re planning to visit Iloilo, don’t forget to try this pride of Ilonggos. It’s a sumptuous food trip that’ll surely leave a mark on your taste buds!

—————–

*Joi Asuncion C. Gruy is a Bachelor of Science in Biology student in the University of the Philippines Visayas and is now on her second year. She loves sports and music. Her roots traces back to San Joaquin, Iloilo from both parents’ side but having been born and raised in Manila, she still has trouble speaking in Hiligaynon fluently.  Email Address: rainetng@yahoo.com.

Father of Kinaray-a Music

Thursday, November 8th, 2007

By Jamie Phill R. Duldoco*

As I listened to the song “Daw sa Kanami Lang,” I began to wonder how Kinaray-a music started. I went to ask Dante Beriong, who is the singer of the song. I asked him how he was able to compose songs in Kinaray-a. Tito Dante, a multi-awarded Antiqueno artist, told me that he gets inspiration from the person who first started writing Kinaray-a songs. I then became curious about who the man is. I again asked Tito Dante about this man who started it all and found out that it is Mr. Bernie Salcedo a true blooded Antiqueno from Anini-y.
Bernie Salcedo is regarded as the “Father of Kinaray-a Music” because he is started the trend of composing Kinaray-a songs. Although a mechanical engineer by profession, Bernie Salcedo loved to compose songs. He began writing Kinaray-a songs when he was just a teenager way back in 1969. He composed Kinaray-a songs without anybody telling him to.

His first composition was “Daw sa Kanami Lang” that talks about commitment through friendship and love and how it makes relationships worth keeping. It was followed by “Mamingaw nga Mata” which is a slow, soft, nostalgic song about the things that we leave behind in the past and remember when we grow old. He also wrote a song for Antique’s hero, Evelio B. Javier, entitled “Ang Bata.”

Bernie is inspired by so many subjects, themes and topics. He has written songs about his wife, on friendships and the sentimentalism of the Antiquenos as a people. He also tackles issues about the environment and social realities like poverty and oppression. In 1977 he wrote the first part of trilogy about the history of Antique which he entitled “Maragtas.” In 1982, he wrote the second and third parts of the story. The musical was done from 1984-1988 and most songs were revised in 1998-1999 when the plot in the script was updated.

Another reason why Bernie Salcedo is considered as the Father of Kinaray-a Music is that Bernie practically influenced the Original Kinaray-a Music (OKM) writers with his music. Because of him, many OKM artists rose like Dante Beriong, Sammy Rubido, Mark Quintella, Noel Tabo-tabo, Noel Alamis and Edmund Infante. “He started it, we followed,” says Dante Beriong who really salutes Bernie Salcedo. “It was really Bernie who endeared us, OKM artists, to the power of Kinaray-a music.” Although Bernie is not as prolific as most of the OKM songwriters, his compositions are so rich and unique in their style. Only Bernie can compose songs that other artists cannot. Even if he uses dalum nga Karay-a (native Karay-a), people are able to understand and enjoy his songs. He is even considered by the urihing tubo (the young generation of artists) as avant garde because his melodies being complicated are difficult to imitate.
The reason why Kinaray-a music is flourishing in Antique is primarily because of Bernie. Kinaray-a music has grown to an artistic proportion that Antiquenos of all ages like, appreciate and enjoy it. Kinaray-a music can be heard in any house not just in Antique but also in Iloilo. Sound system operators also have copies of the songs and the radio stations in Antique play the songs on-air. Kinaray-a language has been expressed as music which is a very powerful medium.

Many Antiquenos all over the globe visit www.kinaray-a.com, the official website of Antique, and there they would relish Kinaray-a music. Listening to OKM somehow diminishes their longing for Antique. And we have to thank Bernie for that. “We pay tribute to the person who started it all. We take off our hats to Bernie Salcedo” adds Dante Beriong.

When I went to ask Bernie Salcedo about what it feels to be regarded as the “Father of Kinaray-a Music,” this I what he told me, “Being tagged as the Father of Kinaray-a Music, wow! I never imagined that what I started would get such appreciation. I am proud, happy and vindicated. I feel that what I started brought back the dignity of every Antiqueno. To the urihing tubo, they must continue what I have started and must bring it to a higher level and they must be proud to be Antiquenos.”

—-

* Jamie Phill R. Duldoco is a Bachelor of Science in Biology student of the University of the Philippines Visayas and is now in her second year. She is a ballet dancer, a theater actor and an avid fan of Sidney Sheldon. Witchjamz_05@yahoo.com.

Utan nga monggo

Thursday, November 8th, 2007

dscn7237-copy.jpg

Our sud-an for lunch. Monggo (mung beans) is another staple of the Ilonggo kitchen. Actually there are many possible combinations with monggo.

Monggo with alogbati, latoy & tinuktuk nga karne (what I’ll share today)
Monggo with langka
Monggo with ubad sang saging

Ah yes, people in Manila have this dish called ginisang monggo na may dahon ng ampalaya, not so popular with us Ilonggos.
Monggo is protein-rich. Monggo is also cheap and can feed many. In the market, we buy monggo by the salmon (an empty evaporated milk can) or already packed in plastic. Another of monggo’s virtues is that you can keep it for months.

Here’s monggo recipe no. 1 now.
UTAN NGA MONGGO
(MONGO NGA MAY ALUGBATI, KALABASA KAG LATOY)

You will need:
2 cloves garlic
cooking oil (about a tablespoon)
1 small Bombay (onion)
a handful of ground pork (you can also have dried fish or shrimps)

salt to taste
alugbati
kalabasa, cut into cubes (squash, cubed)
latoy (string beans)
monggo (green or yellow)

How to:

1. Boil your monggo in about 2 cups of water until the seeds soften and break (you get just a slightly mushy consistency). Set aside.
2.Saute the garlic, then onions. Add the ground pork. Stir for a while to bring out the juices.
3.Add the softened monggo (include the water it was boiled in). Bring to a boil. (You can add the salt at this point. Taste to see if acceptable. Others add the salt towards the end of the cooking.
4.Add the kalabasa cubes.
5.Add the latoy.
6.When they’re soft (don’t overcook), add the alogbati.
7.Mix for a few minutes, remove from the stove and serve.

Actually I have trouble giving the dish a title. We don’t call our utan nga monggo by specific names. “Anu sud-an ta? (What’s for lunch? Dinner?) We don’t answer “Utan nga monggo nga may alogbati, kalabasa kag latoy.” That would be pretty funny. We just say, “Monggo or utan nga monggo.”

Unlike western dishes which have specific names, our Ilonggo viands just go by generic names. When we say utan nga monggo, for instance, it can have a variety of vegetables to go with the monggo. I think this is the ability of Ilonggo’s and the Filipino people in general to be flexible, to be able to adapt to circumstances and availability of ingredients for that matter. The rural Ilonggos would simply check what’s available in their garden to add to their monggo. If they have an alogbati plot, then they’d use some. If they have a fruiting langka tree, they’d probably use it too. Of course times are changing. People don’t plant that much anymore perhaps for lack of time, space or zeal. So off they go to their public markets or nearby talipapa to buy the vegetables for their utan.

Kasag (crabs)

Tuesday, November 6th, 2007

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My favorite food. (Who doesn’t like crabs anyway). Unfortunately, I have to abstain from eating this now because of allergies. Probably, all those years of feasting on kasag have taken their toll. Yet, the hardheaded me still couldn’t resist the sight of really fresh crabs at the market that I just have to buy and cook them using my special recipe. I call it Deep fried Spicy Crabs. I discovered that by frying crabs, the sweet flavor is sealed in and the crabmeat texture is better.

Of course, there’s the more traditional way of cooking crabs in Iloilo (as far as I know) and that is to drop them into a pot, sprinkle in some salt, put just a little water, cover and let cook till they turn orange. It won’t be complete without the lugu–shaking the pot (sorry, I can’t find the right term for now), up and down, up and down to cook the crabs evenly. Ahh, the aroma of cooked crabs permeates the air, more so if they’re left to burn by some busy cook.

Buying tip for really fresh crabs: Buy crabs early in the morning. If you still have them somewhat alive, they’re surely delicious. But then, the question of whether they’re tambok or niwang , (fat or thin) is another thing to consider. I’ll get you a crab expert next time. It’s getting late. Have to get home to the kids.