When some of us thought of launching a Filipino food blogging event in the tradition of Is My Blog Burning? 1, all I was concerned about was the theme should be something that coincided with Philippine holidays or festivals. Since our Independence Day in June had passed, I thought the next holiday was Ninoy Aquino Day of 21 August. Clearly, I wasn’t using my mind.
When one introduces a stranger to a certain cuisine, it has to be something enjoyable. It has to be something remembered. Usually, we Filipinos introduce our visitors to our food during feasts and these are always joyous events. When I thought of the theme for this event, I didn’t realise how much angst and tension was about to be dredged up from the sands of time.
However, when we introduce food to our visitors, it is implicitly an introduction to a way of life. To eat with someone is an intimate activity shared by friends and loved ones. When we share our food with strangers we forge bonds, forming a certain kinship which eases the acceptance of the one who used to be a stranger.
Thus we share with the world our food, our lifeblood, albeit virtually. Just like when we eat face-to-face, we share our thoughts on a very significant event for the Filipino nation. By articulating our feelings about a tumultuous period in our history, when our will as a nation was tested, we open ourselves up and hope that we are better understood. If it is said that the theme for the launching is too heavy and not fit for a food event, we can only smile and ask if something like that isn’t part of life. And we do share life stories when eating. We can neither hide nor run from it. At the end of the day, all our pain and suffering, our small triumphs, dreams, pure laughter and much love is shared around the dinner table. After all, these are what make up the story of the Filipino nation.
Now we present the entries2 for the first Lasang Pinoy Filipino Food Blogging Event in all their shapes, sizes, tastes and textures:
From Korea, Annabanana writes of her role in the EDSA 1986 uprising in Remembering Ninoy and the People Power Revolution. It is her own story of
growing up in troubled times, dealing with adolescence and an emerging political consciousness, among other things, and how her mother’s cooking helped free the Filipino nation. Heartwarming, very Filipino indeed.
In mellifluous Tagalog, Atinna takes us back to the day Ninoy died, when several student activists converged at their house before proceeding to join the crowd who was to welcome the Senator. Three years later in 1986, she found herself making Peanut Butter Sandwiches to share with those keeping the vigil in EDSA. Remembering Ninoy is on Atinna in TokyoKuni. Atinna blogs from Tokyo. English translation included.
CeliaKusinera over at English Patis was a teenaged working student in August 1983. She vividly recounts the events that ensued after Ninoy’s assassination – the half-day long funeral, the protest marches and the ‘yellow rain’ along main thouroughfares in Makati. For the launching of Lasang Pinoy, Celia was inspired to cook Yellow Confetti Pancit Molo.
In 1983, LadyCharlie over at What’s Cooking? and now blogs from the UK, was in Grade 3 at a public elementary school. She says: “I also remember that they usually fill the nutriban with coco jam. It was a very thin layer though. I think it was an effort to put flavour into the nutriban.” Although she didn’t like nutriban, she somehow has a fondness for Coco Jam. Read what she says and her readers’ comments on her entry Coco Jam on Nutriban.
During Sen. Aquino’s self-exile in the US, he had numerous speaking engagements with Filipino communities abroad. In one of these meetings, across the Canadian border, Cora remembers talking to Ninoy about how they used food against him in prison.
Dexiekins over at Ilocana Chef cooked Pritong tilapia at kamatis na sawsawan (Fried tilapia with fresh tomato and onions salsa) and Sinigang na Baboy (pork sour stew/soup). She considers Filipino food her comfort food. Dexie is a Filipino-American blogger who uses food, among other things, to keep in touch with her roots.
Iska in Beijing found out about Lasang Pinoy on the day of the deadline but lost no time in posting her entry. The years 1983-1986 make her recall days of student activism and political disagreements within her family. For her entry, Iska offers us Okoy or Shrimp Fritters as a practical Filipino dish. Iska blogs from Beijing on Edible Experiments.
A Tenderfoot’s Foodventures is run by JeyC, who is also a relatively new blogger whose culinary curiosity seems boundless. For this event, JeyC went back to her Bulacan roots to come up with Biko na May Latik and found an able and willing instructor in her mom. Head over to JeyC’s blog and read about her interesting interpretation of why Biko is a good entry for this month’s theme.
JMom blogs from North Carolina. She remembers the horror and shock of finding out Ninoy was killed. She likens him to JFK in the sense that people remember where and what they were doing when he faced his tragic fate. For the bittersweet period of 1983-1986, this Filipina-American of Ilocano descent prepared Pinapaitan as a comforting soup. Read her wonderful interpretation on her blog In Our Kitchen.
ChiChaJo a.k.a. Joey is one of the newest and most creative food bloggers in the country. Breakfast is her favourite meal of the day which is why no one wonders why she named her blog 80 Breakfasts. For Lasang Pinoy, Jo whips up a traditional recipe with a fantastic twist. See what she did to come up with Yellow Ribbon Turon.
We hope to have more hometown food bloggers like her – insightful and with a flowing writing style to complement her food finds. Kai of the newly-minted blog Bucaio remembers “as bright as day, that in the afternoon of Aug. 21, 1983, our neighbor rushed to our house and told my mommy to burn whatever documents she had because Ninoy was dead. Upon hearing this I remember feeling relief. Perhaps, Ninoy was branded then as an enemy of the state, and I, being a child, had accepted that to be true.” Read how she relates this to frequent visits to Manaoag in her entry Sotanghon Sabaw at Manaoag Puto.
Whose entry is this? Hmmm… :fishgold: My own: of meals I saw eaten during protest demonstrations where people from all walks of life – farmers, doctors, fisherfolk, students, etc. – were in solidarity and broke bread together. A recipe for Daing Bangus is included.
Ladygoat blogs with her husband at Foodgoat … something tasty every day. She tells us of a Filipina-American’s predicament in the “Vast Whiteness” of the American Midwest. She talks about missing California where Filipino stores abound. As of this writing, she must be there recharging with her family. For Lasang Pinoy, Ladygoat cooks Polvoron for us for “a little taste of Filipino-ness” anywhere in the world.
In 1983 the whole country was in shock and Lani over at Worthless Anik-Anik tells us of a love that sprung during that time. It was not meant to be but she picked the habit of eating Pinakbet from her then suitor.
Louie remembers his family carrying a gigantic jug of hot coffee and snacks they distributed to the people in front of Crame in 1986. This was during the EDSA uprising, which can be said to have built up faster after the 1983 Aquino assassination. For Lasang Pinoy, Louie recreates Pork Austere which seems to be an original family recipe from those other years of belt-tightening. Louienep/food is a blog from Manila. Check his site and find the creations of this “gourmand slash gourmet” with an “adventurous palate”.
Luchie in Singapore runs the blog THE BEST THING IN LIFE IS FREE. She remembers Ninoy and her brother who both took to defending the oppressed and were imprisoned for it. Luchie has fond memories of her brother’s pride in Filipino products, including pre-packed Filipino mixes to cook Kare-Kare, which have somehow become essentials for Filipinos abroad.
Marketman who brings us Market Manila tells us in detail his journey into political awareness. His is the typical story of the Filipino student abroad during troubled times at home. But what makes it not so typical is that he lived just a stone’s throw away from the Aquinos’ Boston home! It’s a revelation among his readers that Marketman worked in a fast food restaurant. Read all about it in his entry Blond and Brunette Adobo a la Marketman. Make sure you greet him a belated Happy Birthday if you haven’t yet!
Around the time of Ninoy’s homecoming in 1983, one of Mell’s uncles also arrived from the US. A huge family outing was held out of town and on the way back to Manila, Ninoy was already gone. The news made people angry. Road access was restricted. Read about Mell’s thoughts on Ninoy Aquino and the Lechon in his blog Divergent Poles.
Head over to Lafang-List and read what Minnette wrote about Barbecue as Zeitgeist. A highly informative entry about the Philippine barbeque scene plus anecdotes on how she was introduced to street food as a child. See how Adidas, IUD, Walkman and Betamax fit into the picture.
Nick, that new father at Watson Online doesn’t have any food associations for the turbulent year of 1983 but in his admiration for Ninoy Aquino and what he died for. He relates this pride and admiration to the Filipino habit of sharing their food as typified by their regular impromptu neighbourhood ‘picnic’. Watson says: “Filipino food and the Filipino trait of sharing is just one of the many things that make me truly proud of my heritage.”
On Queenkv’s Brainpickings, is a story of a Filipino-American child’s political awakening on the events in her parents’ homeland. On the playground, Queenkv debated with a Marcos granddaughter on what would happen during the snap elections of February 1986. To remember those years, this blogger who is getting married in a few days, has recreated the Pancit that she remembers her parents cooking. Best wishes Queenkv!
San Miguel Beer may be a long-standing world-class beer but there was a time when it was anathema to many in its own country of origin. Ninoy Aquino’s death triggered the emergence of many forms of protest and one of them is a boycott on that particular brand of beer. This is what Sassy Lawyer a.k.a. Pinoy Cook goes back to in her entry. She tells of how it was a big issue to beer-drinking law students which ended in the barricades of EDSA in 1986. Sassy blogs from Antipolo.
Scanns is a relatively new blogger at SCANNS: Straight from the Heartland. She is into mathematics and took a refreshingly light approach to a serious topic. This is a very Filipino trait, to find mirth in everything, including the most serious of circumstances without losing sight of the bigger picture. Scanns writes about being a student activist and her memories of pandesal, that Filipino breakfast staple. Read more about her reflections on Philippine society 22 years after Ninoy’s death on EDSA, Protest Rallies & Healing!
Schatzli, blogging at For the Love of Travel and Food is busy at work plying the Mediterranean. She loves joining online food events but is sometimes pressed for time to send an entry. But for the launching of Lasang Pinoy, she vowed to participate wherever she’ll find herself in. In fact, she has one of the earliest submissions. It’s no wonder for this month’s theme is close to her heart. The events surrounding 21 August 1983 even shaped who she is now. Read her story of having to seek political asylum and why Champorado holds meaning for her and sister, much more than it does for most of us.
Stef, my co-host for this month’s Lasang Pinoy reflects on her relatively sheltered life back in the Philippines. She relates how the political and economic instability in the early 1980s pushed her family to decide to migrate to the US (she currently blogs from Pennsylvania). Now a mother of four, she strives to make her children more conscious of their heritage. Eating Filipino food is one way. I like how she said it: “Pinoy food is the tether that holds us close to the heart of our â€œpagka-Pilipinoâ€ (Filipino-ness). And for us who are away, Pinoy food becomes the most important avenue by which we hang on to and pass on our heritage to our children.” Read how she relates this to Beef Spareribs and Ice Buco.
In 1983, although still a Philippine resident, Stel saw for herself how Filipinos in the US East Coast would flock to anywhere Ninoy went. So taken were they with the alternative vision Ninoy presented that even Stel’s recuperating Lola (grandmother) took her chances to meet him. Like Ninoy, Lola was a fierce fighter and it is this experience which brings Stel closer to the memory of Ninoy. It is but fitting that for this event, featured on Baby Rambutan are a meal combination Lola cooked – Homely Escabeche and Monggo Guisado. Read Stel’s wonderful prose Joy and Pain. She blogs from Boston, the city where Ninoy was exiled.
Thess is a Filipina who writes her food blog Eet smakelijk! from the Netherlands. She writes about how she only found out who Ninoy Aquino was after he died because one of her classmates came to school crying. Ninoy was his uncle. Read how this then became a personal experience for her and her classmates. For her part, Thess recalls the food scene of the time by cooking Tapsilog (TAPa-SInangag-itLOG) for this event.
Ting-Aling of World Class Cuiscene (oh that almost rhymes!) how it was in Manila on Ninoy’s arrival day got everyone tense and agitated, even ordinary citizens like her mother – who was not able to prepare her lunch – and Atching – the owner of the cafeteria where she usually eats. Atching gloomily sat down, uncharacteristically unmindful of her customers. Ting’s account captures the mood of the day and she cooked Achara for Ninoy’s death anniversary because it reminds her of how Atching was so concerned about her cabalen’s fate.
Svelte Rogue writes about her EDSA soirÃ©e. From being forbidden to attend rallies and all through the nights of the People Power Revolt, Svelte captures the thoughts running through her mind at those crucial moments. It seemed like a street picnic. Little did she suspect her life changed while she sipped on her balut.
Ajay’s Writings on the Wall is written by Annalyn, who happens to be the Manila Bulletin’s Blog-o-Rama columnist. Her roundtable discussions featuring food blogs catalysed our efforts into talking about a Filipino food blogging event. For Lasang Pinoy Ajay shares her Kwek-Kwek recipe.
Phisch doesn’t specifically remember 21 August 1983 but recalls that it got tense in the succeeding days especially when members of her family found themselves in opposite camps politically. See her offering of Comfort Food on her blog In That Number.
I forgot!!! This is my other entry especially dedicated to Ninoy – his love for this food, among others, was legendary. This delicacy is something he missed in exile. To others it may be exotica but for Kapampangans, it’s just like any food they find in the fields. For Lasang Pinoy I present Camaru: A Sumptuous Meal!
On Gura’s Blog, she talks about coming to the Philippines for a month when she was a child, getting the news of Ninoy’s assassination from Philippine News and Cory Aquino reminding her of Peking Duck more than her yellow dresses. Gura writes about her coming of age as a child of two cultures.
Katipunero‘s musings about Filipino food. He writes so vividly about our food culture, like shared meals being a “catalyst for interaction among one’s peers as well as strangers”. Katipunero blogs from California.
In Hawaii, Reggie over at KAUKAU TIME! writes about growing up Filipino-American (Ilocano-Visayan-Hawaiian), going through a confused period observing the rift in the Filipino community after Ninoy Aquino’s assassination and then through the Marcoses’ Hawaiian exile. Through it all, he talks of “a deep longing in my heart to learn more of my roots”. It was his two grandfathers who taught Reggie how to cook and his Kapampangan wife who expanded his repertoire of Filipino cuisine.
OrganaMonster writes the blog Ang Sarap! She talks about belatedly understanding the significance of Ninoy’s assassination and understanding what it means to be Filipino. OrganaMonster presents her version of Laing in New York. Very innovative!
Kirk at mmm-yoso!!! – a full-blooded Japanese who eats like a Filipino
Note: Volunteers to host Lasang Pinoy are very much welcome. Please leave a comment below or e-mail me if you’re interested. Make sure not to publicly disclose your suggested theme.
- Is My Blog Burning? is an international monthly food blogging event conceptualised by Alberto, blogging at Il Forno, when he realised there was a synchronicity in bloggers’ cooking. From the time Alberto announced his idea in January 2004, it seems to have caught on fire with food blogs. It has then inspired several other themes, such as Sugar High Fridays, Wine Blogging Wednesdays, Does My Blog Look Good In This?, Paper Chef and several local events such as Lasang Pinoy (Jeanne at Cook sister! has a comprehensive list). [back]
- Please inform us if there are entries which were inadvertently omitted from the list above. Entries are still accepted. Leave your permalink on the comments box below.[back]