Saturday, December 12, 2009

Bacolod Dance Academy's Tribute to the Filipino Music

Bacolod Dance Academy presents: A Tribute to the Filipino Music, a classical ballet presentation at the University of St. La Salle Coliseum, December 13, 6:00 p.m.

After a major presentation of ballet classics (Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker) last year, Bacolod Dance Academy headed by its directress, Marichit Arrieta-Hofilena, goes Filipino this time, paying tribute to beautiful classics such as Matud Nila, Ngayon at Kailanman, Ikaw, Tuwing Umuulan, Sa Libis ng Nayon, Parang Kailan Lang, Iduyan Mo, Anak, and many more.

A sharp contrast from last year's major presentation complete with major production concerns, the 2009 presentation is free from frills, so minimalistic in costume and stage design that the dancers' lines can be appreciated even more.

The all-Filipino music also tugs at the heartstrings, be it a touching ballad or a fast number, from opening to curtain call. Each number, even still only rehearsals, never fail to cause goosebumps at the back of my neck. I remember their first day of practice, a tear trickled down my face as the depth of emotion of original Filipino music gripped my heart.

Surely this is another visual-musical-performance treat that is truly food for the soul, served in all its simplistic minimalism by the Bacolod Dance Academy.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Bugnay: Miracle Fruit?

Bugnay as it is called in our part of the Philippines, is a kind of sour berry that is ripest when it is at its blackest. Bugnay comes in clumps of some 30 or more berries clumped together in various degrees of ripeness, making a colorful bunch of light green, pink, red to black berries. It is also called bignay in Tagalog.

I once read a newspaper article where a couple cultivating bugnay fruit claimed that the bugnay is also called miracle berry which has a taste-changing property, turning the next sour thing you will eat sour. However, when I researched more about the African miracle berry (synsepalum dulcificum), I have my doubts because the miracle berry looks different from our bugnay (antidesma bunius).

I would have wanted to try it for myself but the tempting sour-sweet black berries were soon wiped out and there was no other sour thing to try my tastebuds on. Oh, well.

The bugnay tree is medium in size and is easy to climb.

White Carabao Just Gave Birth!

White carabao -- albino water buffalo -- is not considered sacred like the white elephant. Back in the ricefields of Ma-ao, Bago City, this beast of burden, normally black in color still gets to work like everybody else.

It was a particularly lucky day when we arrived in Ma-ao and chanced upon this white carabao that just gave birth to a white carabao calf. Too bad we came just moments late from the actual giving birth.

As can be seen in the picture, the mother white carabao's birth canal is still oozing with fresh blood and placenta.

The interesting about the baby carabao is that, like baby horses and other babies of the same family, they can already stand on their wobbly feet to reach out to their mother's breasts.

Out in the fields, the carabao has a symbiotic partner, the tulabong (tu-LAH-bong) or egret, some hovering about, and some actually riding atop the carabao's back. It's an you-scratch-my-back-and-I'll-scratch-your-back arrangement. The tulabong "scratches" the carabao's back by feeding on the flies pestering the carabao to its relief.

Carabaos have "birth certificates" called credentials, sort of like land titles showing the name of the owner. Instead of thumb marks distinguishing one person from the other, carabaos are identified by their unique nose prints.

Atay-Atay: Fancy Pinoy Bread

Atay-atay (a-tahy-atahy), a kind of bread which, although literally means (liver-liver), has nothing to do with liver.
Atay-atay is just one of those fancy Pinoy breads with streaks of red, pink, yellow, or in this example, purple.

The atay-atay that I know had red fillings and perhaps they were called such because they look like liver insides when actually they are just food color.

The atay-atay is still popular among the lower-income bracket, and so I was surprised when one day this bread was being sold, direct selling style, and so I bought two pieces.

Surely, memories of old never fail to flood our minds when things like this show up in our present time. It always brings out the child in us, days when things were a lot simpler, like when we just used to eat simple breads such as the atay-atay.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

How to Pick the Best Banana

The tip in picking the best banana: the perfect banana must look small, has black spots all over, and imperfect in every way. The blacker the skin, the better.

My mother would always buy this ugly looking tordan banana. Not only is it cheaper, it is also sweeter than the more famous, exported lakatan banana which is bigger, longer, has a brighter yellow color, smoother and more flawless skin. While the more familiar food-for-the-gods lakatan has its own merits, the more exotic food-for-the-monkeys tordan is locally more preferred by banana experts, the mothers. For inside the thin, ugly black skin, is a firm, flawless, white, juicy and sweet banana flesh.

As the saying goes, "The proof of the pudding is in the eating." This means that the tordan banana can only be judged sweeter when it is tasted.

Thus proves true another saying, handed from mother to daughter down to generations, the golden banana rule: "Don't judge the banana by its skin."

Monday, December 7, 2009

History of the Parol

Parol (pa-ROL) is the Filipino pronunciation of the Spanish farol or lantern. Its design is derived from the pi├▒ata which itself originated in Italy then was brought to Spain, to Mexico, then finally to the Philippines.

In the Spanish period when the Misas de Aguinaldo (Gift Masses) and the Misa de Gallo (Mass of the Rooster) were held during the wee hours of the morning or before midnight, lanterns lit the way to and from church.

As the parol evolved throughout the ages
from candlelit or kerosene-fueled lanterns to the electric-bulb glowing stars, the ever creative Filipino finally incorporated the now classic design after the Star of Bethlehem that guided the shepherds and the wise men to a stable where the Baby Jesus was laid out on a manger.

Today, these lanterns adorn homes as well as public places, heralding the joyous Christmas season, highlighted not only by a gloriously decorated tree, but also by the brightly lit parol.

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