Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Our Foods from Gubat, Sorsogon, my Town II


Rustic Gastronomy

I remember my childhood years in my town in Gubat, Sorsogon in the 50s and through the 60s. I was living with my grandmother with fond memories of the many foods that I have grown with and loved to eat. These are prepared from our bucolic kitchen in our ancestral home in Mabini Street. . . . My maternal grandmother, Lola Nila Acuna concocted her culinary skills handed down from her parents. She could have learned also from the traditional way of cooking that we Gubatnons followed for a long time. In my growing years, we simply followed a healthy living by eating a simple flair in our daily meals on our antique Narra table; it may consist mainly of fish, shellfish, chicken and the many vegetables grown in our backyard or bought from the "Maritatasan" (vegetable stalls) in the Market. Coconut was our primary delectable catalyst in preparing most of our dishes. Coconut is endemic to our place and one of the main livelihood of the Gubatnons. Expect a coconut concoction on every meal and dessert prepared on our table. 

In those days pork and beef were only prepared on Saturdays and Sundays. It is a special treat of every family or on special occasions like fiestas or weddings. Everyone can reserve for a piece of meat to their meat vendor in the Market Plaza early in the morning. I usually ordered our beef for our "bistek," (a delicious beef recipe) from Tio Piping Esporlas who was a relative of my dear Lola. She used to make a delicious "Tapa," tied up to a rope at the post near the ceiling. When she liked to cook some, she just cut a piece of meat prepared for our meal. She also prepared an adobo recipe without the vinegar, packed in a bottle with lots of pork fats preserved for a long time. We also had a huge antique "tapayan" (chinese vase) that my Lola preserved her Santol jam or salted "Kuyog" (small Siganid or Danggit fish)


Our kitchen's design was of a simple construction traditionally seen on every kitchen of Gubatnons in the olden days. It was made from a suspended wooden pit covered with soil plus the accumulated ashes from the countless burnings of firewood from the clay stove at the center. Above the kitchen pit, was a shelf connected to a wall stocked with clay pots and casseroles of different sizes. Underneath was a supply of firewood and dried coconut shells gathered from our farm brought by my cousins or bought from the market. A "bakay" (pandan basket) with half full of pili nuts taken from leftovers of "linanta na pili" placed near the corner of the kitchen. These Pili nuts were a treat on my afternoon snacks. 

Above the stove was a rattan basket tied to a wooden beam at the extended kitchen ceiling where my Lola used to keep our leftovers at lunch or at dinner. It is interesting to note that this idea could be very efficient in those days when refs were still scarce. Food will not spoil for safekeeping that neither rats nor ants troubled us at all. Beside the kitchen, to the right, was our "banggerahan" (kitchen sink) with bamboo grills and water faucet. There was a bowl that we used for cleaning the dishes that we would discard the soiled water down below to the ground. This was also the place where we stored our cutlery, drinking glasses, kitchen accessories and the "Biso" (Water Vase) where we stored our cold fresh drinking water.



Our breakfast consisted mainly of a choice of rice, dried fish, eggs, pan de sal(popular filipino bread) with mantekelya(margarine), coffee with milk or hot chocolate made from tablea(chocolate balls). Sometimes binut-ong, suman, ibus or puto(different foods made from rice) could be prepared from our table brought by relatives or made by my grandmother. My lola would make a delicious garlic fried rice that our neighbors would often smell its delicious aroma. We always stored dried fish of tunsoy or herring that would match the fried rice and coffee. I always bought our pan de sal and mantekelya at Escoto Bakery in the center of our town at the plaza.

I liked my eggs cooked sunny side up or a 4 minute boiled egg (malasado) which my lola would prepare in a boiling pot biding her time carefully. At one time when I was in grade 2, a farmer from Ariman, at the edge of our town would deliver to us a bottle of fresh carabao's milk everyday in the morning just before going to school. It had a sweet taste but I hatedf the smell which made my Lola stopped the supply. She made tablea(chocolate balls) once a while which was my favorite breakfast drink as cacao nuts were readily available in our town. My most unforgettable favorite coffee from my memory was to buy a freshly brewed robusta blend of coffee in the morning from the "karehan" of Tia Biyay Endeno near the Encinares where they also made the famous "tayuba"(stewed fatty pork cooked in soy sauce and vinegar and garlic).

Lunch and Dinner

We are blessed with the produce of the vast resources of the Pacific Ocean to the east. We have exotic specie of fish that thrive on the northern portion of our town in Bagacay. It is called "Angul," a soft scaly brown fish that we loved to eat, fed from a rare sea plant that abound in the bay. My father-in-law, Alex Fajardo regularly brought us this delicious exotic fish. Cooked in a clay pot just before leaving our town and brought the pot as well for us to eat it as soon as he had arrived on an early JB line trip from Gubat together with the many "pasalubongs"

One of my favorite, the Salted "Kuyog" (siganid) packed in a bottle especially made by Tata Rustom Fajardo, where a mild mixture of salt and a generous "sanaw" (rice liquid) to blend with the fish that would be a favorite of my children for a dip with our "Linanta na Pili" (ripe Pili fruit soaked in a lukewarm water.) There was "Dalu-Dalo" (Conches), seashells cooked with sliced green papaya and coconut milk that we loved to suck at dinners with our mouth. The sucking noise would definitely excite everyone of us for a competition for who could be the fastest sucker of all.



Robert said...

Nice wistful foods from our town. I crave on kinis and shrimps cooked by traditional cooking. You forgot mentioning lechon which is very popular also on fiestas. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Wara sin madaog san Linanta na pili isawsaw sa kuyog. Very good story of our foods in gubat.

alfonso ereve said...

Thank you for your nice comments. Please visit also my other stories of my town, Gubat, Sorsogon in my blogs. You can reach Gubat and Rizal Beach by riding on an Air Con Bus at the Bus Terminal near Ali Mall Cubao or at Pasay in Edsa and ask for the daily trips to Gubat. The best time to leave is at 7 or 8 pm and arrive at 7 or 8 in the morning just in time for the opening of Rosita's Cafe and the many Eateries in the market. There are no hotels in Gubat but I am sure there are houses or rooms that are available for rent for a a daily rate basis. Pls ask assistance from any Gubatnon or you can contact also my wife's aunt, Mrs Elisa Fajardo Marasigan and Ms Rowena Fajardo, the local civil registrar for assistance. Thank you!

Eric said...

Hi, nice story. Thanks!

Michelle Manalo said...

Hello Sir...Nice Blog...I love doing blogs myself and I have been searching for a wonderful blog about Sorsogon since I was planning to relocate there. My husband is from Sorsogon, Sorsogon and my step mom is from Barcelona. I am kind of doing some research since I grew up in the city for almost 25 years of my life. I wanted to learn the language too coz we want to settle there. I hope you could be of great help. I know I could easily adopt the language coz I know how to speak Bisaya and some of the words are from there, right?Thanks for doing the blog...It's a big help for me...

Oscar said...

Dear Mr. Ereve,

Very nice stories reminds me of my childhood in Gubat. We used to live in front of the plaza (market) and I do remember before JB line came into being there was Setran. My late Aunt, Nellie Zuniga, used to own a beauty parlor in town.The owner of JB line is i think Oga who also owns the cinema. My memories of gubat is heightened when I smell smoke coming from tricycles or the smell of brown sugar as I use to frequent the plaza while playing with my childhood friends. There was halo halo which is served in a big bowl with all the trimmings plus brown sugar. We used to eat it with a sort of biscuit that for some reason they call supas.


alfonso ereve said...

Thanks,Oscar. I just love those early days in Gubatin the '60s. Remember the Erla's Cool Spot? It was razed by a tragic fire and never opened again - It really broke my heart. Next to it was Enorme's Eatery. Both were serving the best Pancit Luglug and Halo halo.I Loved to go there during meriendas with my friend Ricky Ervas.

How about Biyay Endeno's eatery in the middle of the market. She brewed the best coffee in town plus the best Pancit served with Pan de Pagong. Very nostalgic. Thanks for the visit!

Anonymous said...

Nice blogpost for a nostalgic past. Greetings from Northern California. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I'm a Gubatnon but is now based in Ormoc. Style of cooking and dishes in Ormoc differ from Gubatnon's particularly when it comes to "gulays". In Ormoc, they seldom do the "linompan" food. They prefer the "sinabawan" type of dish. Of course I'm already adapted to and have loved Ormocanon's food. But still, I miss the foods which I have known and made a favorite since I was young, lalo na an "kinonot", be it "page or pating".

Thanks Al for featuring these specialties which identify Gubat/Gubatnon. Though I'm now a resident of Ormoc, I would like to say I remain a Gubatnon and very proud to be one. Regards.

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