Ilocos Recipes

The new millennium will bring us newness in so many things. Technology itself and its improvement are beyond imagination. Prices will certainly go up but question is, shall we be able to afford all these?

I am not trying to suggest that the novelty of the third millennium will be round in all these; food, justice, politics, technology, happiness, etc. These are our old problems. There is really no newness in them.

The newness, the real one, as the Claritian sisters of the Claritian missionaries say will appear as a result of our own journey. It has to be worked out every day in the interaction with our brothers and sisters, with nature, with God.

However, we can not escape the thought of one who will ask us. But where shall I get my food? This reminds me of my father’s story as to how the Ilocano survived during the Second World War. His explanation goes this way:

The Ilocanos in the rural areas, particularly those who live near a river and the mountains have a rich knowledge of other sources of food. They are likewise adopting in gathering and in preparing them for the table. In the river they gather mollusk, shells, crustaceans, water plants, and several other edible things. They catch shrimps, freshwater fish, frogs and other protein sources. In the forest they dig out several kinds of root crops like: “camangeg”, “tugi”, “gabi”, “panarien” etc. in the forest too, they gather “iplog ti buos”, “diro” and other plants that are edible.

In the Philippines, there are 2 edible seaweeds known. Among all other provinces with a sea-coast, excluding Ilocos Norte, only four edible weeds are being utilized by the people to supplement their food supply. The best preferred among these are the “gamet”, “pucpuclo”, “ar-aragan”, “cul-culot”, “caw-cawayan”, “laslasuna”, “lablabig”, “pan-panaw” and “palpalsiit”.

The indispensable daily recipe of the Ilocano is “inabraw” also called “dineng-deng”. This is any vegetable combination boiled in water with “bugoong”, as its principal condiment. Very often a roasted fish, a roasted piece of meat or chicken, chicharon or shrimps are added to improve the flavor. For a poor family, a sufficient amount of “dinengdeng”, and plenty of rice would be a square meal. Molasses or banana is served for desert. This illustrates that in the absence of abundance, the daily need of an Ilocano in his subsistence can easily be met as his principal product is rice, his basic food.

The Ilocano use for shampoo – the extract of a bark called “gogo” that of vine called “lipay” or that of the ashes of the burned straw known locally as “toro”. To these extracts they add the juice of a lemon. These nature shampoos do not allow dandruff to occur.

Hereunder is a list of seaweeds available in the Philippines showing exactly where they can be found.

Scientific NamesWhere AbundantVernacular Names
Catenella nipaeIloilo, Rizalkolongkolong (Visayan)
Caulerpa freycinetti or serrulataIlocos, Cagayangalgalacgac (Ilocano)
Caulerpa racemosaIlocos, Albay, Catanduanes, Iloilo, Zamboanga, Cebulato (Bikol)
ar-arusip (Ilocano)
Caulerpa sertularoideaIlocos, Cagayansalsalamagui (Ilocano)
Chaetomorpha crassaIlocos, Cagayankawat-kawat (Ilocano)
Chondra armetaSorsogongulaman (Bikol)
codium geppiliIlocos, Albay, Catanduanestambalang (Ilocano)
codium tenueIlocospuk-puklo or pupulo (Ilocano)
diginea simplexIlocosbodo-bodo (Ilocano)

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