In the lowlands especially here in Pampanga, meat is cooked in various ways and in several different dishes that sometimes, the genuine taste of the meat is lost.
The natives of Taloctoc are usually vegetarians. There are special occasion however, that the butchering of pigs, carabaos and cows are considered appropriate. These are during marriages, peace pact agreements, and village fiestas.
Before the animal is butchered, certain prayers are done first by the “mandandawak” (village’s quack doctor.)
Then the animal is cleaned through the use of direct fire and a sharp knife to scrap the hair out of the animal’s skin.
The “message” of the gods is then interpreted from the arrangement of the lobes of the animal's liver.
The blood of the animal is also spread through a portion of the ground as a symbol that the people are honoring the gods.
The meat is cut into medium-sized pieces, and then placed in a big "silyasi" (wok.) These are boiled in water until tender, over a stone stove making use of firewood collected from the nearby forest.
There are no condiments added; no salt, no vinegar, pepper or whatever flavor enhancers that we usually add to meat.
Rice would also be cooked in a big pot.
After everything is cooked, all of it is placed in banana leaves, where everyone would then squat to eat.
There are no plates whatsoever.
Everyone eats from the two, big serving plates - the banana leaves. One for the rice and one for the viand (meat).
I can tell you, I have never tasted meat so pure in form and flavor.
Photo by Hulagway