Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Philippines..My Home Sweet Home (Part One)

Here are some of the many wonderful things and activities which anyone can enjoy in my country, the Philippines.

There is really have so much fun in the Philippines and around its islands.

Riding on a bamboo raft in one of the 7 Lakes in San Pablo City, Laguna .. the Lake Pandin

Picking up Santol fruit. Santol is one of the fruits in the Philippines

Visit one of the hidden family-owned resorts in Laguna and still be able to pick fresh fruits in the backyard

Grilling Eggplant (Talong in Tagalog) and marinated Pork Belly (Liempo)

Enjoy freshly grilled foods while enjoying the company of the family for a weekend in many of its quiet resorts

Ride the colorful  jeeps (jeepneys) and the tricyles and enjoy the view while on traffic or the company of other passengers 

The Lake Pandin, with its clear waters. located in San Pablo City, Laguna. Just of the the city's seven (7) lakes

Carabao of the Philippines. I had the privilege to ride one when I was 16 , many summers ago and it completely changed my life ...it was my last summer before entering a big university in Manila

Travel farther north of the country and spend time with the natives of the area ... then they will let you ride their carabaos and enjoy the river in  Nueva Vizcaya.

Visit some of the wet markets and mingle with the locals and later cook fresh seafoods which is abundant in the all  over the country. My nephew already having fun in the market with all the fresh foods around

One of the luxuries, you and I can truly enjoy in my country is a personal visit of professionals to give massage, pedicure and manicure right in your own home. 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Pinakbet or Pakbet : One of the Best Ilokano Foods

Here are some of the ingredients needed to make a delicious Pinakbet or Pakbet , a vegetable stew cooked with assorted vegetables with a bit of water, sliced Onions (Sibuyas), Tomatoes (Kamatis) sometimes Ginger (Luya)  and Fermented Fish (Bagoong Isda).

Some of the vegetables used for making Pinakbet are  Kamatis (Tomatoes), Talong (Eggplant), Okra (Ladies Fingers) , Ampalaya (Bitter Melon/Gourd), Sigarilyas  (winged beans) when they are in season, 

What Foods Heavenly Boracay Has to Offer

Boracay, one of the mots populat beach destinations in the Philippines with clear water and clean white sand where everything is under one roof - food, fun, water games, people to meet, everything that one can enjoy on a beach holiday.

Below are pictures of the sugary white sand beach of Boracay... just so heavenly place to visit

There are so many international cuisine and food which can be enjoyed in Boracay, but of course what else is the best when at the beach, but seafoods.

Below are some of the Filipino seafood dishes Boracay can offer to any visitors of this lovely place.

Sinigang na Hipon - a cross between a sour soup and a stew made from Sugpo (big shrimps), soured with Tomatoes with vegetables like Talbos ng Kangkong and green chili.  Sinigang  is an easy to cook food, just put together water, souring agent, like Tomatoes, Guava, Sampalok, or Batwan, a bit of salt,  the meat or seafood like shrimps, and when the shrimp is cooked, add the preferred vegetables, like Sitaw, Talbos ng Kamote, Kangkong, and other preferred vegetables.

 Sinabawang Tulya (Venus clam), actually this is a variety of seashell.  I can not remember the name, but it is a variety of edible seashells harvested in Philippines seas. It is just boiled in water with some spices, like slices of fresh Ginger and plenty of young Leeks. Venus Clam is called Venusmuschel in German; Praire or Palourde in French; Almeja in Spanish; Vongala in Italian

Steamed Alimango (big crabs in Filipino) and Pritong Tanginge (fried tuna)

Grilled Scallops (Lat: pecten jacobaeus, Pecten maximus) still on its shells topped with spices and melted cheese. Scallops is called Jacobsmuschel or Pilgermuschel in German; Coquille Saint-Jacques in French; Vieira or Concha del Peregrino in Spanish ; and Capasanta or Conchiglia di San Giacomo in Italian

Chinese Small Wonder: Dimsum

The Chinese Dimsum, one of the best Chinese Cuisine have contributed to the world of food.

Varieties of Dimsum offered in one of the Chinese Restaurants in the Philippines.

Fruit in Philippines: Rambutan .. my least favorite Philippine Fruit

Rambutan .it is cheap and in season starting July to October in Philippines. In San Pablo City, Laguna where there are very much trees and farmers of Rambutan it is available for a cheap prize of even lower than 30 pesos per kilo when in full season. The farmers informed me that there are 2 varieties of Rambutan, one called Tuklapin which skin is easily removed from its seed, once the flesh is  bitten, the flesh is removed at once from the seed and the other one is called Supsupin because the flesh must be sucked out from the seeds. The Supsupin variety is sweeter, but harder to eat. It needs lots of patience to get all the flesh out of the seeds. But the other variety is very less sweeter and not juicy at all.

Funny how the people in  my hometowm call the varieties of Rambutan,

In Germany, where I presently reside, Rambutan is not easy to find, They are usually imported from Thailand and based on so many shows I watched, just no one dared to use Rambutan in preparing desserts, some Asians who joins the show even just use them for decorating the desserts.

Here shown, below, pictures of Rambutan during my last visit to the Philippines in 2014

Fruit from Philippines: My favorite ...Langka (Jackfruit)

Jackfruit/Chakka/Langka Tree in the backyard of my Aunt in the Province of Marinduque, Philippines

One of the most delicious fruits in the Philippines with its exotic taste and tasy smell and one of my favorite fruits of all times. It is called Langka in the Philippines and Jackfruit in English. In southern state of India, Kerala, its Malayalam name is Chakka and a beloved fruit there, too.

Separating the main meat/flesh of Langka from the white meat surrounding it and also the seeds.

My fresh Langka flesh/meat is now ready for eating as is. With me around, it will never reach the pot for making preserves. I love eating Langka as is

Lucky enough to be able to spot a Langka vendor while enjoying my trip to San Pablo City, Laguna wet market. Some vendors just put up a table along the side streets and sell whatever produce the harvest from their backyards.

In my hometown and other parts of the Philippines, mostly in the provinces where Langka fruits are mostly grown in the backyards, Langka can be bought whole or in small slices. I bought this 1/4 sliced just to try if its already tasting sweet. I find buying them in slices in the markets along the side streets not hygenic because of the presence of flies which are attracted to its smell, but mostly the slices are wrapped  in plastic bags. 

Nowadays, Jackfruit is made into an ice cream flavor together with coconut. In groceries, bottled Langka Preserves  are always available also in big supermarkets. 

The meat or flesh is cooked in sugar and is one of the best ingredients for Philippines sweet delight called Halo-Halo and made as a filling together with Saba (cooking banana) for a traditional Filipino snack called Turon (cooking banana and a sliced of langka wrapped in rice wrapper).

When I was young, my mom would gather the seeds and boil them with a bit of salt and it is to die for. The good old boiled Buto ng Langka (boiled jackfruit seeds) brings back so many happy memories of past gone by with my siblings. 

Here below are pictures of Chakka from the district of Allepey in Kerala, India where they eat almist all parts of the jackfruit. The seeds are made into delicious Curry, the meat is made into Chakka Bajji (battered and fried Chakka flesh) and the white part which we throw in the Philippines is made into chips which is good for tea snacks. 

In the district of Allepey in the southern state of Kerala, India, they are sold in whole along the side streets of the main roads so people can spot them easily. Some mobile food shops are also put up to make and sell battered and fried meat/flesh of Chakka called Chakka Bajji. This Chakka Bajji was one of the Keralan food that I ate before I departed from  India to enjoy my 6 months vacation of the Philippines. 

Chakka Chips from the white flesh of Chakka are sold in some bakeshops in plastic packs and sold as snacks and seeds are  available in small variety stores so housewives can access them easily for making everyday dishes out of Chakka seeds.