Charcoal Stove for Cooking Bibingka

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This is the “charcoal stove” being used to cook the “Bibingka” or the Filipino Traditional Christmas Rice Cake.  They are are handmade from either clay or cement.

The preparation of Bibingka is very time consuming.

  • A specially made clay pan is lined with banana leaf then placed on top of this kind of stove with pre-heated charcoals.
  • When the clay pan is a bit heated, the Bibingka mixture will be poured into it, then another piece of banana leaf will be placed on top of the mixture to cover it.
  • Another “pan” of pre-heated coal is placed on top of the clay pan of bibingka mixture. The “pan” of coal is usually made from scraps of galvanized iron.
  • The heat from the burning coals should be balanced and just enough to “bake” the bibingka gradually to the desired sponge-like texture. A slightly charred Bibingka is acceptable and is sometimes preferred by buyers.

This charcoal stove is very popular back in the days when the LPG gas stove is not yet available.  People prefer to cook food using charcoal instead of firewood because it does not produce smoke as much as the burning firewood.  Smoke from firewood sometimes affect the food taste and also cause coal stains on the pots.  In spite of the popularity of the LPG gas stove, most household still have this charcoal stove especially in the province, because it can be used anytime that you run out of LPG.  It is also being used for broiling.

Bibingka (Traditional Christmas Rice Cake)

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Bibingka is a traditional Christmas food usually being sold outside of churches during the Christmas season after Simbang Gabi / Misa de Gallo (Dawn Mass) along with the “Puto Bumbong”. The Bibingka in this photo is newly cooked topped with margarine and salted duck egg.  It comes along with a grated coconut and a free hot tea.  I bought this just outside a church right after the eight Dawn Mass (Simbang Gabi / Misa de Gallo) at PhP 50.00 (US$ 1.19). 

The price of Bibingka depends on the ingredients and toppings.  The basic ingredients are rice, flour and milk, or coconut milk or water. The common toppings are butter or margarine and salted duck eggs.  It looks like a spongy cake that is usually charred on both surface and infused with the unique smell of toasted banana leaves which makes it more appetizing.  It is best served hot.

Busy time for Bibingka vendors selling just outside the Sta. Clara de Montefalco Parish Church during the sixth Dawn Mass. 

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A charming and funny signage posted in a stall of a Bibingka vendor.  I took this photo after the third Dawn Mass at Our Lady of Sorrows Parish Church. The price of Bibingka here is PhP 30.00 (US$ 0.71) only.

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Today, there are more modern ways of cooking Bibingka such as baking them in actual oven in an ordinary cake pans, but the Pinoys (Filipino) still prefer the traditional way of  cooking Bibingka in a terra cotta pot lined with banana leaves atop a charcoal stove.

Parol (The Filipino Christmas Lantern)

This photo is taken from the grounds of an orphanage for gravely sick children. The group of miniature set of Parol hanging in this tree is one among the most ordinary kind of Parol.100_8429

This is taken from a churchyard wherein the Parol is planted in the soil through a stick instead of hanging it.  The Parol in this photo is a bit modern.  It has a built-in bulb that illuminates the star-shaped figure.

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Christmas in the Philippines would not be complete without the traditional Filipino Lantern or “Parol”.  “Parol” for Filipinos symbolizes the star that guided the Three Wise Men in search of Baby Jesus.

In the early days, Parol is traditionally made together by family members (not bought).  It is usually made from a thin bamboo frames created into star shape, then covered with Japanese Paper or “Papel de Japon”.  Two tails is also added that symbolizes the rays of the star.  Sometimes the Parol is being made from recycled materials such as foils from cigarette packs or chocolate wrappers, used plastic materials, soft drinks straws, disposable plastic cups and the likes.  They are also made in different shapes but the star-shaped Parol has always been the popular one. .

In the modern times Parol making has evolved and there are different materials being used.  A ready-made Parol became a common merchandise during the Christmas season, thus Filipinos just buy them instead of making them at home.  You can find all kinds of Parol anywhere made from low cost materials to the more expensive ones like Capiz.  Parol that are made from Capiz are usually being exported and the Philippines is well known for this.

During Christmas season in the Philippines, different kinds and sizes of multi-colored Parol can be seen everywhere.  From ordinary household, to business establishments, malls, buildings and even in passenger jeeps.  You can find streets and avenues ornate with a long stretch of Parol.

Truly, Parol represents the Filipinos passion for the Christmas tradition.  It has been the most recognizable Christmas decoration for Filipinos.  My brother who lives in Canada once told me that, when you see that there’s a hanging Parol in a house in Canada, there is no doubt that a Filipino is living in that house.

25 Centavo Coin

 

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This photo is taken on December 1, 2011 in front of the Quirino Grandstand, Manila Philippines during the second day of the event titled “Barya ng mga Bayani : The Power of Small Change” An event organized by The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Officers’ Club and Employees Association and the Kabayanihan Foundation.  Filipinos from all walks of life donated 25 centavo coins and volunteered to string the coins by themselves.  It is also known as the Philippine’s World Record Breaking Attempt for the Longest Line of Coins.   

The stringed 25 centavo coin is photographed here drenched in rain water because it rained the night before. The volunteers came in the early morning of the second day of the event to fix the rain-damaged parts and to continue with the chain. By the end of the day, the Philippines believes it has broken the Guinness World Record for having laid out the longest line of coins in the same denomination, when it completed a 73.02-kilometer line of 25-centavo coins.  It is still awaiting the nod from the Guinness World Record.

Here’s a trivia on the development of the 25 centavo coin

ENGLISH SERIES

Diameter 23.5
Composition Nickel Brass
Edge Reeded
Obverse Lady Liberty Striking an anvil with a hammer and Mt. Mayon, year of Minting
Reverse Bank title and coat or arms
Issue Date 1958
Withdrawal Date 1967

PILIPINO SERIES

Diameter 21.0mm
Composition Nickel Brass
Edge Reeded
Obverse Juan Luna
Reverse State title, coat of arms, year of minting
First Minting 1967
Withdrawal Date 1974

ANG BAGONG LIPUNAN SERIES

Diameter 21.0mm
Composition Nickel Brass
Edge Reeded
Obverse State Title, Juan Luna, value
Reverse “ANG BAGONG LIPUNAN” BSP logo, year of minting           
First Minting 1975
Withdrawal Date 1983

FLORA AND FAUNA SERIES

Diameter 21.0
Composition Brass
Edge Reeded
Obverse State title, Juan Luna, year of minting
Reverse Value, Graphium idaeoides   
First Minting 1983
Withdrawal Date 1990

IMPROVED FLORA AND FAUNA SERIES

Diameter 16.0mm
Composition Brass
Edge Plain
Obverse State title, Juan Luna, year of minting
Reverse Value, Graphium idaeoides   
First Minting 1991
Withdrawal Date 1994

CURRENT SERIES

Diameter 20.0mm
Weight/Composition/First Minted Yr. 3.8 g / Brass / 1995
Weight/Composition/First Minted Yr. 3.6 g / Brass plated steel /2004
Edge Plain
Obverse “Republika ng Pilipinas”, value, year of minting
Reverse Logo of Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas   

Belen (Nativity Scene) at the Home of Joy

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This photo was taken at the grounds of the Missionaries of Charity Home of Joy for the Sick Children.  The simplicity of the nativity scene and all the other plain decorations surrounding the place reflects the purpose of what this place is for.  Here are some details about the Home of Joy.

    • The Missionaries of Charity is the order of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, located at 1030 Tayuman Street, Tondo, Manila, telephone number (+632) 255-0832 and contact person is Sister Anselm.

    • It is an orphanage for gravely sick children, those with Down’s syndrome, hydrocephalous, and the likes.

    • They also take care of sick but not abandoned children from vey poor families who bring their sick children to the nuns so the nuns can take care of them and provide them food and medicines.

    • They need donations for their mission.

Taking of photos of the sick children and their ward facility is strictly prohibited but it is allowed around the grounds only.  My husband took this photo during the simple Christmas program of the lost and abandoned old people who are housed just across the street from the Home of Joy.  It was the first time we visited the Home of Joy.

Gat ANDRES BONIFACIO sa Baryang Sampung Piso (Andres Bonifacio in Ten Peso Coin)

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This post is dedicated to one of Philippines great hero Andres Bonifacio who’s birthday is November 30.  The bust image of Andres Bonifacio can be found in the ten peso coin together with Apolinario Mabini, another Philippine hero.

Here are some facts about Andres Bonifacio:

REAL NAME: Andres Bonifacio y de Castro

BORN: November 30, 1863 in Tondo, Manila
The feast date of Saint Andrew the Apostle whom he was named.
He is the eldest of five children.

FATHER: Santiago Bonifacio, a tailor and a former “teniente mayor” of Tondo

MOTHER: Catalina de Castro, a worker at a cigarette factory

SPOUSE: Gregoria de Jesus (also a Philippine hero)
Gregoria de Jesus is his second wife whom he married on 1893.  They had a son but died in infancy.
He was first married to a certain Monica who died of leprosy.

DIED: May 10, 1897
Died from execution at Maragondon Cavite City at the age of 33

KNOWN FOR: Philippine Revolution

He joined Rizal’s La Liga Filipina an organization which called for political reform in the colonial government of the Philippines but was disbanded after Rizal’s arrest and deportation.

He founded the Katipunan on July 7, 1892.  Katipunan is “Kataastaasang Kagalanggalangang Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan (“Highest and Most Respected Society of the Children of the Country).  A secret society seeking independence from Spain through armed revolt.  His pseudonym was “May Pag-asa” (There is Hope).

He is also considered by some Filipino historians to be the first President but he is not officially recognized.

EDUCATION: no formal schooling
He dropped out from school to support his siblings after his parents died

JOB EXPERIENCE:
Sold canes and paper fans he made himself and made posters for business firms.

Worked as a “mandatorio” for the British trading firm Fleming and Company

Worked as a “bodeguero (warehouseman) for the German firm Fressel and Company

A part time actor in “moro-moro” plays

 

More details about Andres Bonifacio here

Summer kids, lollipops and a song

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I took this photo one summer Sunday morning while doing a leisurely walk along the bay in a popular park in Manila.  The summer temperature is probably the reason why the mother of these kids let them play without shirts.  The innocence  in the faces of these shirtless kids with lollipops reminds me of a song from a Filipino folk/rock band “ASIN” titled “Masdan Mo ang Mga Bata”.  

MASDAN MO ANG MGA BATA

Ikaw ba’y nalulungkot
Ikaw ba’y nag-iisa
Walang kaibigan
Walang kasama
Ikaw ba’y nalilito
Pag-iisip mo’y nagugulo
Sa buhay ng tao
Sa takbo ng buhay mo

Ikaw ba’y isang mayaman
O ika’y isang mahirap lang
Sino sa inyong dalawa
Ang mas nahihirapan

CHORUS
Masdan mo ang mga bata
Masdan mo ang mga bata
Ikaw ba’y walang nakikita
Sa takbo ng buhay nila

Masdan mo ang mga bata
Ang buhay ay hawak nila
Masdan mo ang mga bata
Ang sagot ay ‘yong makikita

Ikaw ba’y ang taong
Walang pakialam sa mundo
Ngunit ang katotohanan
Ikaw ma’y naguguluhan

Tayo ay naglalakbay
Habol natin ang buhay
Ngunit ang maging bata ba’y tulay
Tungo sa hanap nating buhay

Masdan mo ang mga bata
Ang aral sa kanila makukuha
Ano nga ba ang gagawin
Sa buhay na hindi naman sa atin

CHORUS 2
Itanong mo sa mga bata
Itanong mo sa mga bata
Ano ang kanilang nakikita
Sa buhay na hawak nila

Masdan mo ang mga bata
Sila ang tunay na pinagpala
Kaya dapat nating pahalagahan
Dapat din kayang kainggitan

Try to look in the eyes of a child and you will understand the message of this song whatever language you speak and whatever race you belong . 

All answers to life’s questions can be found in the eyes of a child.  They are the ones who hold the truth, they are the ones who are truly blessed.

Siling Labuyo (Chili Pepper)

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Siling Labuyo or Chili Pepper (Scientific Name: Capsicum frutescens) is a common backyard plant in the Philippines especially in the province.  Its plant growing to a height of 0.8 to 1.5 meters only, thus the city people or those who doesn’t have a garden or extra lot can cultivate them in a flower pot.   The leaves (dahon ng sili) are known source of iron and calcium and Filipinos use them as vegetable and a popular ingredient to Filipino dishes such as “tinola” and “monggo”. 

The pepper fruit (sili) grows numerously per one stem and are in bright red when ripe.  It grows to 1.5 to 2.5 cm long.  Filipinos believe that the smaller and the brighter the red color of the pepper fruit is, the stronger the chili taste is.  Filipinos love to eat them raw like crushing them in vinegar sauce or mix them with other condiments or make them into chili sauce.  They also mix them in dishes especially with “ginataan” and to almost all kinds of appetizers.  They are most popular in the Bicol Region.

These photos are taken from my sister’s backyard in my provincial home.  My sister grows the Siling Labuyo plants along with the camote crops, malunggay, pandan and other backyard plants and harvest them for daily cooking use.  She said that she just threw some dried pepper to scatter the seeds in the backyard and the pepper plants grow by themselves.  The Siling Labuyo are just annual or short-lived perennial plants. The pungent smell of the Siling Labuyo can be smelled in the air while I’m taking these photos and my husband and son were picking the pepper berries.  We brought a bag of fresh Siling Labuyo to our city home and I made it into a chili sauce.  In the province you can ask a handful of siling labuyo for free from your neighbors where they grow in abundance.  In the city, a few grams of the Siling Labuyo costs around PhP10.00 (US$0.24).

Coin Bank from Dried Coconut Fruit

Digital image

These coin banks are made from coconut fruit usually from the rejected class or the ones that are fallen down from the tree.  They are naturally dried and hand curved into different (usually fun looking) figures.  The lot in this photo is patterned with the different faces of monkeys.  The coconut husk is designed as the hair and the coconut shell is the actual coin bank.  I took this photo from a souvenir shop in a house museum in Cavite City, Philippines  where they are being sold at PhP 30.00 – PhP50.00 per piece (US$0.71 – US$1.19). The white pieces of paper on top of the head of the figures are hand written price tags.  They can also be found from other souvenir shops in Manila but the price is more expensive.

Hello World and I mean it!

“I just have this simple thinking that whatever bit of good I share to the world will make the world a bit better to be in.”


Hello World! and I mean it because this is something for the world to see! 
Welcome to my blog presented in the simplest way. 

Apart from my loving to write, I also love taking photos about anything that I find amusing.  They are photos randomly taken from an ordinary camera, no professional photography applied,just simple whatever, anywhere, whenever photos.   cam These photos are filing up and it would be a waste if I just keep them along with the amusing thoughts I find in them.  So here I am sharing them with you through this photo blog.

The photos here are especially selected with the purpose of sharing with everyone the amusing yet simple things (or simple yet amusing things) about Filipinos and the Philippines.  While most informative media uses highly sophisticated tools in delivering their topics to capture the interest of their audience, I chose to deliver mine in a manner that I have always known and used to doing, simple and straightforward…the way how life should be.

“Pinoy” is an endearment term for “Filipino” and “Anik-Anik” is a Filipino/Tagalog word which means “ano-ano” made into a cutely slang sound thus the “anik-anik”.  Doubling a nickname or a word is one unique character Filipinos are known for.  Say, if your name is John you will be nicknamed “John-John” or if your name is Jen, you will be nicknamed “Jen-Jen”.

As unique as it sound “Anik-anik” has no exact English translation.  For Filipinos it simply means “everything” or “whatever” or a “mixture of everything and whatever”  Read along and be amused with the mixture of everything and whatever about Filipinos.