Sunday, March 27, 2011

Malakas and Maganda

by Jebbie Barrios
Who could have imagined that we came out of bamboo? Well one guy thought of it. And thus, was Malakas and Maganda.

According to legend, a bird in its frustration snapped at a bamboo and inside it was Malakas (the strong one) and Maganda ( the beautiful one). Talk about being born in frustration. Anyway, maybe because of this legend that as a kid, I was always looking at bamboo and kept thinking how can a man and a woman have fit inside. Maybe it was a really, really huge piece of bamboo and a really, really huge bird involved. Houses shouldn't be a problem if those extra large bamboo exist.

According to a renowned Filipino Anthropologist of the University of the Philippines, Felipe Jocano Jr., before the Marcos era, Malakas was known as Sikalak and Maganda used to be Sikabay. Talk about change of names. Just like changing the names of roads here ain't it? Maybe next administration they'd change it to the name of a general and his wife. =))

Our story of creation sets us apart. No other culture tells of man and woman being of equal, yet distinct from each other. In other words, for Filipinos, man and woman complement each other but neither is dominant. It also depicts that we are part of the world. If the world grows sick and disturbed, so will we. Hopefully more reason for us to take care of our home...

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Colt M1911 or the "Kwarenta y Singko"

7 rounds. Calibre 45. Destructive. Effective. This weapon became standard issue for US Warfare because of the battles in the Philippine-American War.

The Philippine Moro Warriors were just unstoppable. Using the environment and high battle morale to fight the Americans, one warrior even took 33 bullets before dropping. It was as if bullets don't faze these people. No fear. So it was needed, a weapon with more stopping power. Thus, the Colt M1911.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Adobo ulet, anyone?

As if we can't get enough of it. Almost everything becomes adobo-ized. Pork adobo, chicken adobo, beef adobo...adobong kangkong! Every eatery in the Philippines serves their own version of this magnificent dish, almost every family has a secret recipe and a secret way of cooking. Some like it dried, some like it masabaw. One thing is for sure, if its adobo, sira ang diet mo! (your diet becomes ruined)

As promised, how to cook adobo is what will be featured now. Please note that due to diversity in the Philippines, there are hundreds of ways to cook adobo. This will not be a recipe of exact measurement because taste preferences differ greatly especially in the Philippines. What I encourage everyone is to experiment and be not afraid to try different styles and techniques. Adobo is the best way to start learning how to cook because almost nothing can go wrong with it. And if ever something goes wrong, your cooking won't be sooooooo catastrophic. Here's the list of ingredients:

Pork or Chicken Meat or combination of both
Vinegar (any available vinegar)
Garlic (crushed or sliced doesn't matter)
Peppercorns or Pamintang buo
Bay leaves (laurel)

These are the basic ingredients of a functional adobo. In pre-historic times, it is only salt and vinegar cooked with meat but during the Spanish colonial times, spices were added to add to form the more common adobo. Soy sauce is not in the ingredients since it is only a recent addition, so that it appears brown without the long process of cooking. Soy sauce is basically a shortcut.

How easy to cook adobo? Combine all ingredients in the pan and fire it, after boiling add some water. Wait for the sabaw to reduce or dry up and the oil of the meats come out, then its ready. Just don't burn it ok?

A more complex way of cooking, put everything in palayok, fire it up and add water when it boils. Cook it really slowly in low fire for about two hours. Meat will be really soft during this time and all the flavor is perfectly balanced in the dish. If you can't stop yourself anymore, go ahead and indulge. But if you still want the better flavor, put everything in a glass garapon and make sure it is covered in its own fats and oil. Let it stay in room temperature for a few days. The adobo is habang tumatagal, sumasarap (the more it is aged, it tastes better). It will not spoil, so as long as its covered in its oil and fat, and because of vinegar and spices. After a few days, fry the adobo. On your first bite, its gonna be heaven.

Friday, March 4, 2011

The Unstoppable Warriors

Ferocity. Fearlessness. These are the words that would describe them. These are what you see looking at their eyes. They claim they were unconquerable, they are the Pinoy Moro Warriors.

Centuries and centuries ago, all throughout the world, the Moro warrior has that fearsome reputation. The Moros against the Crusades, Moros against the Spaniards, Moros against the Philippine colonists. Didn't they ever learn?

Panglima Hassan
It is the question that runs in mind. Why are the Moro warriors unconquerable? They are known not to give in, proud, and very traditional and perhaps there lies their strength and durability. Imagine hundreds of years of resistance of Spain in Mindanao. There was no Spanish occupation, only years of war. Even Americans. When they said "Halt!" the guns say halt too, but the Moro warriors kept going!

According to stories, during the American campaigns in Mindanao, it took a lot of bullets to stop a rushing Moro warrior and most of the time taking an enemy with him when he goes down. Panglima Hassan, as historians say was stopped on the 33rd bullet that hit him! Had he not been hit on the head, he would have charged on and on.

He should have retreated after being hit by the 20th bullet. So he can claim being "bulletproof." It would scare the hell out of those Americans when he attacks next time.