Sunday, July 31, 2011

Balat Sibuyas ka ba?

We Filipinos are very complex, and somehow our ancestors have mapped out our psyche. Our language has been equipped with terms that pertain only to traits unique to us Pinoys, and some traits although common too with other cultures, we have our own terms to call it. Among them is "Balat-Sibuyas."

Photo from Renatoely
Sibuyas or Onion, one of the world's most popular cooking ingredient, thrives plenty in the Philippines. The skin is very thin and and easily removed, and upon this observation the popular idiom came from.
You will probably hate the people branded as balat-sibuyas. Its not the same thing as being sensitive. Well yeah, somehow being sensitive is connected, but in a very wrong way. Balat-sibuyas persons are so sensitive almost to the point of paranoia. Tell them something, they take it very seriously, or misinterpret it totally. Most of the time, you will be very, very careful when talking in front of such a person.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Friday is Munggo Day

Photo from Allan Reyes
Go out and eat at the karinderyas  all over Metro Manila, I'll bet my right hand that on a Friday, majority of these eateries are serving munggo! Hmmm, maybe 2 fingers would do instead of the whole hand.

Dubbed as the poor man's dish, ginisang munggo is still one of the best tasting food in the Filipino Cuisine. Well, if its gonna be eaten once every week, it won't seem as great. Cooking it with just monggo beans and sauteed garlic and onions is boring, but if you include shrimp, pork, tomatoes, chicaron, tinapa and dahon ng sili...WOW!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Davao's Clean Drinking Water

I've been hearing a lot about Davao lately. It has been in the news every now and then. Aside from the luscious fruits and the fantastic weather all year round there, you can't miss the low crime rate and the mayor beating a sheriff of court. Maybe the reason for low crime rate there is because the mayor is very "hands-on."

But as they say, Davao is still a fabulous place. Fruits, beaches and clean drinking water. Yup, clean drinking water is in Davao. As claimed by many, it is the second cleanest in the world.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Juan Tamad

Juan is a popular name in the Philippines, but I have my doubts if more moms have been naming their children Juan nowadays. Aside from it doesn't sound sophisticated, the name has had a bad reputation because of Juan Tamad.

Juan Tamad or Lazy John was a term popularized in the 1900's  and still famous today because he waited for the guava to fall into his mouth rather than getting it. For some reason he became the representative of Filipinos and every foreigner looks at every Juan to be Juan Tamad.

We can't blame them, but we can't be blamed either! After being colonized for hundreds of years, where do you think our practices came from? 

Juan Tamad is actually an insult to us. Many see us stupid and guillible. Well, guillible, true, but stupid?!? The fact here is, we Filipinos are very nice and trust easily. We believe in the benefit of the doubt, yet...we get fooled. What's worse is...we get fooled again. Stupid? No, we're just easy to convince.

The best example of that? Look around you. You will not see Juan Tamad. Most Filipinos work so hard even if the returns are small. Is that Tamad? Absolutely not. Most really just lack the motivation. With such bad opportunities here in the country for everyone, I myself might take the "guava option" instead of wasting my time and energy. Maybe Juan Tamad is not the right term for us.

You do agree that Juan Tamad is just a myth, right?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Askal, The Pinoy Dog

They roam around, bark around and sometimes chase children snarling and growling. They are dogs of the streets.They are the Askals.

Askal is a street term of Asong Kalye. The Philippine Mongrel is usually a stray dog, found in the streets scavenging on garbage and leftovers. And usually they are smelly. These resilient dogs, most of the time adopted as pets, outlive the pedigree breeds. Loving and very loyal, most Pinoy families remember housing an askal as a pet.

These dogs have been here in the Philippines since time immemorial, and theoretically, they are closely related to Dingoes of Australia. The difference is the askal is very domesticated and very comfortable living near people, maybe because of the free food or just being part of the pack. Either way, these dogs have been a deep part of the daily life of a Pinoy.

And since they have been around for ages, some localities were eating dogs for a long time too. In Benguet, it is culturally allowed to consume dog meat, but on other parts of the country, it is not encouraged. Still, asocena remains very popular. Maybe the issue here is that dogs are too cute and too close to us to become food. We would have the same sentiments for pork if somewhere along history, pigs became household pets all over the world. But too bad for pigs, it isn't. Also, pigs aren't cute.

Monday, July 11, 2011


The legend of the Yo-yo says that hundreds of years ago, it was used as a weapon. Who would ever thought that this toy was a weapon before? But it doesn't stop there, because the guys who were said to use this as a weapon Pinoys! Imagine Filipino warriors screaming while attacking with spinning yo-yos in their hands, with one doing a walking-the-dog trick to smash the foot of his opponent. Funny stuff isn't it?

Well, it shouldn't be really making much of a difference if it was used as a weapon before. After all, the history of the yo-yo dates back even to the Egyptians, so we can't own the origins of it. But what we know for sure is that it was a Filipino who made the mass popularity of the toy possible. It was Pedro Flores, an Ilocano immigrant to the United States, that started this worldwide craze and led to innovations of the yo-yo. He became rich at the time of recession in the US. Talk about ingenuity.

But enough of this Pedro guy. Here's a video of how the world would look if a yo-yo is still being used as a weapon...

Sunday, July 3, 2011

The Anahaw

Who ever thought of making this plant the National Leaf of the Philippines has got to be joking! Even the people who was convinced must be crazy. What merits does this plant have to become a nation's symbol?

Honestly, there is nothing significantly historical or distinct about the plant. Nothing really special about the plant since it grows also in other regions of Asia. As of the moment, no wow scientific discoveries about the plant like cure for cancer, or AIDS or help in stem cell research. So why is the Anahaw a National Symbol?!?

Perhaps it is because it is a symbol of resourcefulness for us Filipinos. Why? Making something extraordinary out of an ordinary thing is distinct. This plant could probably be ignored or treated as an ornamental only. But no, we made it a part of our lives. 

We made so many things out of something common. Our ancestors has been using the Anahaw as part of our shelters as the roof and sometimes the walls. The leaf has been used as pambalot (food wrapper) for tikoy, or as a makeshift lunchbox for children going to school since lunchboxes were very expensive before. 

It has been made into Abaniko (fan), which is very beautiful and a work of art. A relief on a crowded place, or simply a refreshment from a hot, humid day, the colorful abaniko is an indispensable item in a Pinoy's everyday life.

Its really not about the object itself. That's why its called symbol. Its what the object symbolizes. And for the leaf, it symbolizes our ingenuity and resourcefulness.