Monday, November 21, 2011

Why Should I be the Ultimate Sooo Pinoy Blogger?

Long before blogging and budget airline were in vogue, I had already began my food trip around the Philippines. My delicious journey eating my way around the archipelago officially began in 1998, when I was hired as one of Lakbay TV’s first writers. My very first assignment was Laguna. There I was under an umbrella, capturing the story of how Lambanog was made. The next day, I was intrigued by Uraro cookies made from arrowroot flour, shaped into lovely floral designs, using antique moulds.  Fascinating!  I was hooked by the creativity and genius of small home-based food businesses.  But it was not foreign to me. I too grew up in close proximity to a mother, who made and sold the best Pinoy-style Siopao and Cuapao, for Chocfull of Nuts.  At age 5, my little hands learned my mom’s kitchen secrets in cooking and baking.  Food ran through our veins, our conversations, and our thoughts.

Eating my way around the Philippines became my enjoyable job since 1998, shifting my focus from TV to contributing to food and travel magazines.  I hopped from one kitchen to another meeting fascinating people who make Filipino food: Aling Candelaria who makes noodles in Lucban, to Sosing in the heart of Manila famous for her Bulalo, to the railways of Angeles for a taste of Aling Lucing’s Sisig, and even gate-crashing a traditional tribal wedding in Sagada witnessing a feast for an entire barrio. The memories are numerous. My only regret is that I did not have a digital camera to capture these delicious memories.  And yes, in 1998, I have not yet discovered the joy of blogging.

sagada tribal wedding feast-- rice for a barrio

The author eating the original sisig at Aling Lucing's in Angeles, Pampanga

Bicol's halo-halo with cheese

After eating my way around the Philippines, I got my MA in Gastronomy (yes, there’s such a degree).  Add that to my varied experiences with food: cooking, baking, selling, styling for TV and magazines, advertising food, writing, and eating lots of it, I am now more credible than ever to talk about food. My hunger for food and travel brought me to work in Australia, Singapore, and Hong Kong. You can take a Pinoy out of the Philippines, but you can’t take the Filipino out of the Pinoy. Pinoy and proud, my love for Filipino food did not wane. My dissertation was on Lutong Bahay among Filipino brides married to Australian men. I gave talks on Filipino cuisine at the National Museum of Singapore. On weekends, I feasted on Crispy Pata and Kare-Kare along with Filipino homesick for these.

Yes, I still write about Filipino food for magazines.  But if there is one reason I should be the Ulimate Sooo Pinoy Blogger, it would be great to be reunited with these men and women who kindly opened their doors and hearts to me many years ago. After hours of talking about food, they treated me like a long lost relative and sending me off with a bag of goodies as pabaon.  This time I have a digital camera and yes, a blog to capture the delicious memories. 

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