Archive for the ‘sili’ Category

Feeling the loss of Maogmang Lugar’s market fire

November 14, 2008

by Pitoy Moreno

The big fire that gutted Naga City Supermarket has been quickly extinguished but the magnitude of the loss is incalculable. Those who shop in the market now find the vendors displaced, selling their goods in Igualdad and General Luna Streets. There is confusion— something that’s expected when a calamity gets into the lives of the people. For having a “super” market, Naga suffers a “super” loss.

Fondly referred to as “Satuyang Sa’od,” the Naga Supermarket was at one point the largest public market in Asia. It had been a source of pride of the Bicolanos. During its construction in the early 1970’s, the impressive concrete edifice rose with two large covered floors and an open roof deck, occupying two city blocks. The supermarket was one of its kind until the mega Malls became popular.

Two underpasses cross the belly of the building assuring easy mobility of pedestrians and tricyles. At the center, a spiral ramp was designed to allow wooden carts and vehicles to bring merchandise directly to the top. Huge stairways service the commercial edifice for the convenience of sellers and shoppers alike. Natural breeze aerates the sturdy building.

The supermarket is a major hub of activity in Naga City. At the break of dawn people flock to the place to start the busy day. Early “birds” in search for the proverbial “fat worm” are drawn in the commercial paradise where an eclectic mix of merchandise and service thrive. Off-school children and teenagers eager to earn cash help moms and pops tend their store. The market isn’t just a place to buy and sell, it’s also an interesting place where people congregate and socialize in Maogmang Lugar.

In specified sections of the supermarket, fresh fruits, organic vegetables, choice meat, and an array of farm harvests are sold hand-in-hand with locally made home furnishings and native products. There are carenderias, flower stores, beauty shops, and bakeries that keep business at fever pitch all throughout the seasons.

Known for its plebeian openness and domesticity, the supermarket is never short of exciting activity. Seafood are hauled from places like Calabanga, Pasacao, and Cabusao and sold in the market at mark down prices. Farmers from Pacol and Carolina bring baskets of balatong harvested from their gardens. Those from Panicuason and neighboring towns bring sacks of freshly harvested corn, talong, coconuts, and edible greens to the delight of shoppers. As far as Tinangis at the foot of Mount Isarog, they come with their fresh produce to sell. That’s why as a matter of habit, store-owners in the city and neighboring towns rely on the supermarket to keep their trade going.

Shoppers love the market for the tuyo, badi, tocino and longaniza they buy for their families, but it is also a place where they meet their friends and relatives. Pili sweets are mainstay favorites enjoyed by their visitors. Young and old, they enjoy the ukay-ukay and the ready-to-wear clothes stalls which sell copies of big name brands of fashionable apparels at low prices.

Newpapers and magazines are sold in the first floor. In the market’s upper levels, vendors offer familiar Bicolano foodstuffs— red hot sili, bawang, kangkong, petchay, sibulyas, laya, and kamatis. The tempting aroma of Bicol cuisine fills the air. Rows of eateries serve ice-cold fruit juices and halo-halo to banish the tropical heat of summer. Native calamay sweets, balisoso, dila-dila, and ibos are available for hungry shoppers. Puto, bokayo, latik, pinuyos and baduya never frustrate the taste of those who seek them in the market.

It’s no wonder why Naga sorely misses the market that has been razed by fire. Many ask how long it will take the government to restore the place to its original ambience. As one can imagine, the supermarket is the truly the heart of a vibrant city where businesses flourish and the soul of the people dwells. (Photo Credits: bingbing; hellochris; hellochris) =0=

Mayor Jess Robredo Meets Naga Fire Victims

In a gathering at the site of the fire that gutted the Naga Supermarket, Mayor Jesse Robredo explains to his constituents the measures he will take to tackle the problems that follow the displacement of vendors and shoppers of the market. According to Bicol Mail, an estimated P70 million worth of goods and property were lost. (Photo Credit: Bicol Mail, Movember 13, 2008)

RELATED BLOGS: “Naga Public Market (Supermarket) Burns Down” Posted by myty555 at 11/07/2008; “Huge Loss in Naga Supermarket Fire” Posted by mesiamd at 11/09/2008;”Fire brings woes to Naga City market vendors” Posted by mesiamd at 11/07/2008

UPDATE: Inquirer (11/17/08, Escandor J.) Announced by Sen. Joker Arroyo and Budget Sec. Rolando Andaya, the national government will release P70 million to finance the reconstruction of the city’s three-story public market. Fire damage assessment was upped to P100 million from the earlier reported P70 million reported.

Calle Natong: Naga City’s populist way of naming a street

August 27, 2008


In earlier days, ill-descript Bagumbayan Interior, in Naga City, Philippines could barely be regarded as a street. It was a short and dusty alley close to Ateneo de Naga University (AdenU) campus. The name gave a hint of a semi-wild location where planks of rickety wood served as elevated platforms—like toy bridges over muddy ditches behind the main road leading to Canaman, Bombon, Quipayo, Magarao, and Calabanga, not far from Universidad de Sta Isabel University (USI) and Camarines Sur National High (CSNHS.)

The unpaved alley’s name stuck for years. No one raised any objection or asked for a law or ordinance to change the village path’s name where zacate grass and snakeheads (talusog) in muddy pools grew wild. Maybe, it’s because Bagumbayan Interior is secluded. The alley with very confusing boundaries had a neutral reputation. There was no major historical meaning in the street unlike the old great Calle Via Gainza, named after Bishop Francisco Gainza, but later renamed as Penafrancia Avenue.

In the 1970’s, ordinary people started calling Bagumbayan Interior “Calle Natong,” a populist reference to the wild taro plants (dasheen bush) which grew aplenty in that marshy locale. We, the few low-brow barangay residents, didn’t object. Calle Natong was just the right name to keep us reminded of our favorite, Bicolano dish, the spicy ginota’an na natong (laing, sinilihan na katnga) when the proverbial green leaves of the dasheen bush got burning hot with bedeviled red peppers (lada,siling labuyo.)

The informal appellation took root and tricycle drivers who rode the peaceful place knew where Calle Natong was. The building of homes much later altered the course of the street and the landscape. It didn’t take long when more people settled in the place, Calle Natong gave way to a more urbane, but unfamiliar name: Seminary Road then later becoming the Mother Francisca Street, perhaps because a convent was there in the area.

These were confusing changes we didn’t understand. Natong which we held dear being our celebrated Bicol regional plant—the source of nourishment of Handiong‘s children, was waylaid on the side. After our street was renamed, Calle Natong, was never the same.=0=

Grandma’s Yummy Favorites in the Bicol Kitchen

August 4, 2008


1. Ginota’an na Natong (Laing) is probably the most popular Bicolano food. It’s made of fresh or dried natong (dasheen bush leaves) bathed in gota (coconut milk.) It’s flavored with pork bits and spiced with superhot siling labuyo(chili,) garlic, ginger and shrimp.

In places like Iriga City, Ginota’an na Natong includes fresh libas leaves which give a tasty sourness to the dish. Ginota’an na Natong, also called Bicol Express, comes in many versions in different Bicol provinces. Green hot peppers, squash, young squash leaves and flowers, curacding (mushrooms,) balatong (string beans,) eggplants, lambo (bamboo shoots,) and langcawas tubers are ready natong susbstitutes.

2. Gulay na Lubi-lubi is a special treat from the tropical forest. The uncommon wild young lubi-lubi leaves are cooked in coconut milk with minched tinapa (smoked fish) and a cube of flavorful roasted dina’ilan (shrimp) from Camarines Norte. Similar gulay can be made from green papaya, jackfruit, marigoso, calunggay or young cassava leaves.

3. Because of environmental conservation, Kinunot, a dish made from sea turtle may recede in the background. That’s because pawikan, the endangered sea turtle is now a protected species like the tiny tabios (sinarapan) fish found in Buhi Lake. When cooked in coconut milk, chili, black pepper, salt and vinegar, sea turtle meat is as yummy as pating (shark) and pagi (stingray.)

4. Tabios, the diminutive endangered fish from Lake Buhi is wrapped in banana leaves, cooked over hot rice, and flavored with lemonsito (calamansi) juice. A yummy alternative is to cook it fried with cornstarch just like ukoy.

5 Sinanglay—tilapia, karpa or puyo (martiniko) fish garnished with chopped onions, ginger, tomatoes, and sour iba (kamias.) The fish is wrapped in fresh dasheen bush leaves and cooked low fire with thick gota (coconut milk) and a dash of hot peppers.

6. Baduya (Sinapot) is very popular with the children. Ripe native bananas dipped in cornstarch are fried. Versions like caling-quing (Bicol camote fries,) tinanok (boiled camote,) and banana/camote cue and linabonan na camote (boiled sweet potato) are excellent meriendas.

7. Sina’sa , common in Rinconada towns like Baao, Nabua, Iriga, Bato, and Buhi is made from charcoal-roasted freshwater fish like puyo (martiniko,) talusog (snakehead) or tilapia. It is garnished with finely chopped tomatoes, ginger, fresh onions, red peppers and a dash of vinegar.

8. Bokayo—young coconut meat, cooked brown with sankaka, sweet caramel prepared from sugar cane.

9. Paksiw na Casili—fresh-water eel (burirawan) cooked in vinegar, ginger, onions, pepper leaves, and black pepper. Paksiw can also be prepared from fish like mirapina, tuna, carpa or tilapia. Frying the eel and fish are good cooking options.

10. Tinuktok na Hito—a soup dish of chopped hito fish and young coconut made into fish balls with garlic, ginger, onions and red peppers; fresh camote tops or breadfruit slices (ogob or og-og.) are added.

11. Piga nin Carpa—carp ovaries and eggs sautéed with ginger, onions, garlic and marigoso (bitter melon.)

12. Adobong Orig—cubed pork meat cooked slowly on its lard with rock salt to taste and black pepper.

13. Tinolang Manok—hot soup of native chicken with lemon grass, fresh green papaya, sayote, calunggay (moringa) and pepper leaves.

14. Ogama—small boiled crabs dipped on salted vinegar, sili ng labuyo (tiny red peppers,) garlic, and onions.

15. Pinuyos—sticky rice with coconut milk and a dash of salt wrapped in banana leaves also called Binugtong. Ibos, a similar version is glutinous rice wrapped in young coconut leaves.

16. Sinabawan na Carabao—hot soup made from young tender carabao or beef meat with taro roots, pechay leaves, cabbage, and red pepper.

17. Lechon—roasted pig of Bicol is usually flavored with rock salt and tamarind leaves. It is served with a brown sarsa (sauce) made of roasted pork liver.

18. Balaw—baby shrimp fries, wrapped in banana leaves, flavored with generous lemonsito (calamansi) juice and cooked over rice.

19. Pancit Bato—noodle dish flavored with chorizo, slices of fish cake, pork or chicken meat, and wrapped in banana leaves.

20. Miswa—hair-thin white noodle soup with hibi (dried baby shrimps) and sliced green patola.

21. Sinugbang Talong—charcoal-cooked barbecued eggplant with a dash of lemonsito (calamansi) juice and salt. Talong can go with fresh garden tomatoes, dina’ilan with lemon.

22. Balaw—shrimp fries sautéed in oil, pork meat, green peppers, and lemon juice. Balaw goes well with blanched camote tops, kangkong, or upo (white squash.)

23. Linubak—boiled green bananas, taro or camoteng cahoy (cassava roots) pounded with grated young coconut, milk, and sugar.

24. Su’so—fresh water spiral black snails or river clams boiled with coconut milk, bamboo or pako (fern shoots,) onions, garlic and ginger.

25. Dila-Dila is sold by itinerant vendors on the street together with suman. It’s made of grounded glutinous rice, deep fried and topped with glazed sugar cane caramel (sankaka.)

Bicol cuisine is mainly dominated by the use of coconut and its derivative products. Scrumptiously hot with fresh siling labuyo and black peppercorns, the native Bicolano food is a fusion of Asian-Polynesian influences as demonstrated by the use of exotic lemon grass and tropical edible plants like dasheen bush, libas, lubi-lubi, kangkong, and calunggay which grow abundantly in the region. =0=