Thursday, September 29, 2011

Paano ba talaga mang-Harana?

It is a very puzzling thought when you realize that a lot of people try to talk about harana, but no one seems to know much about it. We know it is singing to a woman, but do we really know how it works? Probably the harana most of us had seen was from the movies, which is quite far from reality. In short, we really don't have a clue.

Harana is a social thing, with some friends supporting the suitor, dressed up in their best. But it isn't just singing under the window of the maiden. I have read in haranista Florante Aguilar's blog that in Cavite, a serenade is a ritual with several stages and I'm thinking it doesn't get completed in one night all the time. Subtlety and respect apparently are champion virtues here, so if you're going to harana, don't leave home without it.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Lechon Baboy

In all cultures there will always be a roasted pig, except of course with our Islamic brothers. Somewhere in the world there will always be a pig roasting, but never will it be as popular like it is here in the Philippines.

Falling in love with this dish is very easy. Its crisp, light skin and soft, juicy and delicious meat is hard to ignore when set on the table. Litson or Lechon is almost always present in all feastings and celebrations all over the country.  People are looking forward for the next time they will be able to taste. A friend of mine, a lechon fanatic, always gets lit up whenever lechon is served. Why is there so much anticipation and excitement over this? Mainly because of two things: its taste and its price.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


Drawing by Romeo Tanghal Sr.
I bet not all Filipinos would recognize the words Tanan. Most of those who "were" familiar with the word might have forgotten it already because it hasn't been used for a very, very long time.

We've heard of stories from our parents and grandparents. Our old and wrinkled lola recalling lolo and her maiden days with "kilig" in her eyes. Chances are, they ran away with each other. Chances are, Lolo said to her "mag-tanan na tayo."

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Chasing Filipino Cigarettes

The Philippines used to be the largest exporter of tobacco in Asia, all thanks to the tobacco monopoly in the 1700s. Those were quite harsh times for Filipinos, and it seems that era had almost left no traces. We are not starved of tobacco anymore. Look all around, American blend cigarettes are everywhere. American blend! I asked myself the question, why a foreign blend? Isn't there a Filipino blend?

Apparently there were. Aside from our grandparents wrapping their own tobacco in leaves and lighting them straight up, there are cigarettes Pinoy style. I remember visiting provinces of the North and South Luzon and seeing old ladies smoking dark long sticks of tobacco with the lighted end in their mouth. Classic right? Well, those are hard to find in Metro Manila.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

I want Siesta

Imagine it is sooo hot outside. Not a soul is moving, not even the dogs of your neighbors are active. Only the leaves of plants and trees moved by the wind seems to stir. Typical afternoon. Typically, the best time to ZZZZzzzzzz, specially if you're staying in the province. Ride a duyan or a tumba-tumba while holding an abaniko, its gonna be like an escape from the country's tropical afternoon heat. I miss sleeping in the afternoon. I miss siesta!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Pinoy Gang Weapons

From Sidney
There has been gang wars everywhere in the world. Our country is no exception. It is a natural phenomenon that people with similarities group together and fight for its members when threatened or abuse. Not a surprise that Philippines became home to a few of notorious gangs.

A Filipino is by nature a warrior. Ask a foreigner about Filipinos, most likely what he'll answer is either a smiling hospitable Asian or a fierce fighter. They think of Filipinos as a person who has a knife hidden somewhere in the body ready to stab anyone foolish enough to get us pissed. Our heritage says it all, we are fighters. The boys who killed Magellan, the north Luzon Head Hunters, the Moro warriors who don't seem to care about bullets and of course Manny Pacquiao. These are guys fighting for a worthwhile ideal, but for the pinoy gang fights, I can't really say what their ideals are.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Filipinos and Rain

Its been a while since I saw the sun shine brightly. No, I didn't got locked up in prison. It is the rainy season here in the Philippines, the storms have arrived and the sun went into hiding. The weather gadget in my laptop shows more rains ahead, and honestly, I don't know if I'm gonna be happy about it.

The past few days you wouldn't survive without an umbrella. Given the amount of rain, there has been flooding in different places in the Philippines.  It was wet everywhere. Kept me wondering how Filipinos of old deal with the elements.