Suman Bulagta Forever!

Posted by on Dec 26, 2012 in Capampangan, Filipino, Rice | 1 comment


The Christmases of my childhood are memorable for the variety of rice cakes that we had, most of which were given by relatives and friends. From the barrios of pangulû were brought different calamé and suman tílî.

At home on Christmas Eve, my grandmother would sit down and make the ‘easier’ suman bulagta (suman sa lihiya in Tagalog). I was the one designated assistant to cut and wipe the banana leaves, measure the lijia (lye water) and arrange the wrapped rice in the clay pot, ready to be cooked on the wood-burning stove. The last time I did that was 27 years ago.

Read More

Bibingka Notes

Posted by on Nov 12, 2008 in Baked, Biscuits, Breads & Cakes, Eggs, Filipino, Rice | 6 comments

The modern bibingka

One of the things that I have wanted to do since even before I started food blogging is to recreate the old-fashioned bibingka. Today’s rice cake is quite fluffy, almost like bread. I still dream of the bibingka from Da Luming’s stall, beside the San Vicente Chapel (in Sta. Rita, of course). It was thin, used pure galapong (ground rice), didn’t have much eggs and some didn’t even use any baking powder. The cake was chewy and light.

More than a year ago, I interviewed someone from Becuran (my grandmother’s barrio) who knew how the old-style bibingka were made. She confirmed that they indeed didn’t use much eggs, if at all.

Soon, soon… I hope to get right back to the research. I’m digging up all my notes now.

Read More

Lelut Tugac (Frogs in Rice Soup)

Posted by on Feb 26, 2007 in Capampangan, Fauna, Rice | 8 comments


Tuesday evening, I get a phone call from an excited Mrs. Lillian Borromeo. A leading TV network will be taping a segment at her home in Mexico, Pampanga and she needs a few one-pot meal recipes that make use of rice as a main ingredient.

Rice, the staff of life in this part of the world. How very Filipino, how very Asian. We find no difficulty listing recipes and then proceed to eliminate those that are too common and those that require too much effort. The eminent people on the dining table (meaning my mother and aunts) help us with the listing, perhaps giving us a wide range of choices that date back to the Second World War. You can imagine how long a list we had – given the length and depth of history we had collectively, hehehe!

Rice is known to have been present in the Philippines since pre-historic era. From that time to this day, rice is not only an everyday staple, but figures in our major celebrations and rituals.

Rice is such a versatile ingredient that it not only serves as backbone of every Filipino meal but can be found in different forms: as a contrast to savoury food, dessert, snacks and what have you.

For the taping, Mrs. Borromeo and I decided on the classic celebratory biringhe, the less common lelut tugac, the historical quisa and a few others. For today’s recipe, we bring you lelut tugac, which is said to be a restorative for those who are sick since it is rich in carbohydrates and protein.

Read More

5th Duman Festival (2006)

Posted by on Nov 9, 2006 in Capampangan, Rice | 6 comments

5th Duman Festival 2006 Sta. Rita, Pampanga

Come visit my hometown and be our guest!

On 2 December 2006, Saturday, Sta. Rita, Pampanga shall hold its 5th Duman Festival. This year, the festival organizers have adopted the theme Duman: Bunga ning Masayang Sipagan (Duman: The Fruit of Joyful Industry). True to their origins, the activities for the festivities are simply what have been customary but on a larger scale. In the place of troubadours who sang to those who pounded and winnowed the unripe glutinous rice, a world-class production of Capampangan music and dance accompanies the rhythm of the pestles hitting the mortar. Where street food and other light refreshments were served those who toiled and watched, a full food fair at the festival grounds features traditional dishes for merienda and dinner.

We should have a full press release soon but in the meantime, below is the detailed schedule of activities.

1 Dec – 12:00 nn – Duman Exhibit (soft opening)
2 Dec – 8:00 am – Holy Mass (Parish Church)
9:30 am – Turung Design Contest (old convento)
6:00 pm – Awarding of the Contest
Food Fair
7:00 pm – Kapampangan Musicale by Arti Sta. Rita

For a background on duman, here’s the most comprehensive post in my archives. Don’t forget to watch the short video clip!

Read More

LP VII: Nasi Inambulang Gatas Damulag (Gising na! ALMUSAL!)

Posted by on Feb 28, 2006 in Aquatic, Dairy, Lasang Pinoy, Rice | 31 comments

Carabao’s milk poured on steaming rice

Breakfast is perhaps the simplest of the day’s meals but just like Joey, this month’s Lasang Pinoy host, it has a very special place in my gut, er, heart. :D My problem though was what to post for Gising na! ALMUSAL! not for a lack of ideas but for having too much!

The traditional Filipino breakfast is quite flexible in that it can consist of the previous day’s leftovers, something cooked especially for the day’s first meal or odds and ends procured from early morning vendors. It has to be ready before people go out to the fields or to the sea. This has been the case for centuries, it is still true at present. Nowadays though, factories and offices can be added to the list of workplaces.

Read More

Duman: Epitome of Artisanal Food

Posted by on Dec 30, 2005 in Aquatic, Capampangan, IMBB?, Know Thy Food, Perfectly Sweet, Poultry, Rice, Spicy | 17 comments

Second of two parts

How did this tradition of harvesting unripe rice begin? Could it have been an experiment during the early period of agriculture? Traipsing along the fields one stormy day in early November got me thinking it could have been a similar time centuries ago when the rice plants had to be saved from wrathful weather way before harvest season.

The town of Santa Rita, Pampanga is known for its turrones de casoy, sans rival and other sweets but towards the end of the year, starting in November, everything is eclipsed as the town anticipates the Christmas season with the sweet smell of duman in the air. A delicacy once known only to a few has now caught a lot of attention during the Duman Festival, partly to revive a vanishing tradition and partly to celebrate life after devastation.

Duman is a seasonal rice cereal still produced the old way in our town. This may have been in existence in pre-Hispanic Capampangan society since duman was already mentioned by Fray Diego Bergaño – “El grano del arroz tierno cerca de madurar” – in Vocabulario de la Lengua Pampanga originally published in the 1700s. It could have happened other towns produced duman in the olden days but Sta. Rita’s is what has endured.

Read More