Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Unique, Delectable Dishes of Taloctoc, Kalinga

The dishes in Taloctoc several years ago when I was a kid (now, don’t ask me the exact number of years, lol) are totally different from those of today.

Dishes then were fresh and simple. What you can taste is the genuine quiddity of the food being cooked.

Take for example fish; fish which we caught with our barehands from the Chico river, were not mixed with any ingredient which could mask the taste. They were simply wrapped in banana leaves, placed in small bamboo poles and then cooked over slow fire. This brings out the real taste of the fish.

If you are able to taste this, I know you would agree that nothing could beat the savory taste of a pure, unadulterated fish dish.

Luscious, green leafy vegetables which we plucked from our nearby gardens were just cooked in boiling water. The broth that comes out from the freshly harvested vegetable dish tasted like no other.

Nowadays, the broth from a vegetable dish are so full of condiments, you could not really savor the vegetable flavor in it.

There were rare times that the old folks wanted something fancy; they would add then a little coconut oil or coconut milk to the dish and sprinkled it with pepper. That tasted like a "blast"!

Native folks often said: “Mampiya, impon agammo de amam.” (It’s delicious; you could forget your father-in-law.)

I have watched also how men butchered pigs and cows, cut them into pieces (I didn’t see it gross at that time) and just boil them until they were tender. No salt, no condiments, nothing whatsoever – just plain water. And, my! It was one of the best tasting meat dish I have ever tasted; natural, pure and savory.

At times during summer, the men went monkey or deer hunting. This is in preparation for the rainy days. They cut the meat into small, thin slices and allow them to dry under the sun. This will make the meat, dry and preserved.

When rainy days came, all they did was to cook the meat until tender and then mix vegetables, or sometimes they just roast it. Even then, the natural taste of the meat was still intact.

What was amazing was that, no one ever got sick of cancer. It was most probably because what of people ate. The dishes that were cooked came directly from nature without any preservatives or food colorings added. These preservatives and additives have been proven to have ill effects on people, so be wary of what you eat.

I miss these Kalinga dishes. Perhaps, in the near future when I can find time, I would visit Taloctoc and once again catch my fish in the river and cook it in the riverbank with my bamboo poles!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Hello Guys, Let's All Welcome My Sister!

Let’s all welcome my sister to the blogging world!

She has 2 blogs: Candid Mom Reviews and Diary of a Start-Up Mom. My sis Marylyn is the sweetest of the lot; she’s not as “talkative” as I am, but she’s definitely smarter!

But I don’t mind, as it makes me proud to know that she is doing well in whatever goals she sets herself to achieve.

Her Candid Mom Reviews is a blog about almost anything under the sun, from groceries to her kid’s daily adventures.

The other blog is the Diary of a Start-Up Mom which deals with internet resources and opportunities.

Do pay a visit to her blogs.

Friday, October 3, 2008

My First Trip Through Kalinga‘s Winding Roads

I was finally going to the City of Baguio for my college education.

It was a totally upbeat experience for me and the night before I left, I could barely sleep because of excitement.

I was fifteen at that time, and for the first time in my life, I would be traveling alone.

Morning finally came and all the native folks came to see me off at the Chico River.

There were native cakes and sweets that they brought along supposedly for me to bring along, but my mother gently told them I had enough luggages to carry on my 6 hour trek to town.

I had hiking companions but they had their own loads to carry for they were also studying in town in the Convent's High school.

My mother repeated her advices which I heard a dozen times. “Keep your money safely tucked away.” “Don’t wander away from the others.” “Be friendly but careful.” etc. etc.

I gave my parents, siblings and relatives one last hug and waded through the knee deep water.

It was still summer and the usual raging currents of the Chico River was only a gurgling flow for a change.

The trek to town went well, except for my tired muscles.

But this was soon forgotten as I boarded the bus finally for Baguio City.

It was a long, arduous trip and we had to sleep overnight at Bontoc before we could proceed to Baguio.

I marveled at the beauty of nature as our bus chugged and roared its way along the narrow winding road of Lubuagan to Bontoc.

Photo by Mendhak

The road was so narrow that they had to erect checkpoints where the road was wider, so that when another bus was on the road, it had to wait for the other oncoming bus at the checkpoint, to avoid head on collision.

The towering, verdant mountains were majestic and awesome as we slowly inched our way amidst them.

I watched as beautiful flora and fauna passed before my very eyes through the bus window.

The dizzying precipice made me faint and weak so I tried to look towards the mountains instead.

At nightfall, we arrived at Bontoc. I was surprised to find out that there was only one hotel available for all of us (4 people to a room), and I was not used to sleeping with strangers, so I selected one tiny room apart from the rest.

What happened next was unexpected. While I was sleeping, I heard a tiny scraping sound.

I was startled when I looked up for there was a man climbing through the small aperture that divided my room from the others.

He was grinning and was motioning for me to open the door and we’ll have a night cap.

I knew then he had other intentions in mind.

I couldn’t move or even scream. I stood there just looking at him with so much fear.

When I was able to gather courage, I spoke in a croaky voice: “If you’ll come down there, I’ll scream.”

“I just wanted to talk to you,” he stopped.

“We can talk in the morning,” I said, pretending to be brave, but my knees were trembling and I tried to control the tremor in my voice.

I was only 15!

I breathed a sigh of relief when he finally said: “Okay, I will talk to you tomorrow. I like you.”

I could not sleep for the rest of the night. If only the room that I stayed on was safe then all I would have done was to lock the door.

The man attempted to speak to me that day but I had stayed close to a friendly woman who gladly gave me company for the rest of the journey.

I arrived in Baguio the following evening with so much relief and gratitude that nothing untoward happened that night.

The University’s ladies’ dorm was my first home away from home, where my adventurous stint in college began.

From then on, whenever I travel, the first thing that I made sure of was the room where I would be sleeping.

I heard that presently, there are several hotels there already; and that visitors could have a pick of the best accommodations comparable to the Baguio City Hotels.

After retirement, I plan to travel to Europe to visit my daughter in Spain.

I found this free site - Hotel Combined - which provides access to the different hotels abroad in almost all countries.

I was happy to discover that I could compare the prices of hotels and lodgings just in this site alone.

Holiday Inn Atrium Hotel Singapore

I plan to go via Singapore and then perhaps drop by Paris and

then Rome and finally Spain.

Wouldn’t that be exciting? It has been a while since I traveled last. Anyone who would like to join me?

And I would never forget that long, troublesome evening in my teenage life, for as long as I live.