Grad FeastApril 6, 2008
In the Philippines, the March-April period rivals the Christmas period with respect to food consumption.
There is a parade of parties during this period hosted by proud parents who are thankful that their son or daughter has finally made one more step ahead in the Philippine educational system. In fact, I think this period is perhaps the only period in my country when Christians and Muslims celebrate and feast at the same time. Muslims don’t celebrate Christmas so they usually don’t eat that much at that time, and the vast majority of Christians do not even know Eid ul-Fit’r is! And even if they know about it, they couldn’t in good conscience celebrate such a religious Muslim holiday.
During the March-April period or the graduation period, the members of both faiths simultaneously feast in good conscience, and sometimes they may even feast together. Of course, proper prescriptions are observed. Since Filipino parties are usually of the buffet type, Christians who invite Muslim guests must prepare a separate table wherein no pork products are placed. Christians can take food from this table, but Muslims usually won’t take food from other tables. Christians, however, are free to take whatever food is offered in Muslim parties. A multi-religious feast, however, is rare in the Northern Philippines considering that Muslims are usually from the Southern Philippines.
My sister and our neighbor just graduated from their courses. Both our parents agreed to have a joint party. This was a practical thing to do, considering that both our houses go to the same church, and thus have similar social connections. I wouldn’t go to the details of the party. I didn’t even take pictures of them! Suffice it to say that it was over, and it was very filling. Btw, there were no Muslim guests around so pork products were not segregated.
Here, however, are a few pics of the food we ate the next day along with a pic of lechon:
This a lechon. We ate one such as this yesterday. Lechon is delicious if prepared in the right way. I’ve eaten lechon prepared in Luzon, and I almost barfed fro it! It lacked spices, and its meat felt funny and slimy as it slid down my throat. To be on the safe side: EAT ONLY CEBU OR ILIGAN PREPARED LECHON!
This is lechon paksiw, or simply paksiw for Cebuanos. Tagalogs call a host of other dishes paksiw. I don’t know why. Paksiw is prepared from leftover lechon. Cooking lechon with vinegar and some spices preserve the meat before it turns stale.
This is grilled fish. ‘Nuff said. One type of fish here is a tuna. I don’t know what the other one is.
This is kinilaw. It is prepared from raw fish mixed with vinegar, lemon, a strange fruit whose name I do not know of and is otherwise inedible, along with spices. It is very popular in the Southern regions. Tagalogs also have something similar to this. They call it kilawin. I don’t know the ingredients of the this variety, but since I haven’t seen it around in their restaurants, I’m guessing that even Tagalogs are not fond of it.
This is caldereta. It is prepared from goat meat, tomato sauce, spices, carrots, and potatoes. Btw, the neighbor’s goat was killed for this food to be prepared. She was a regular feature in our neighborhood. Our neighbor cried before she was slaughtered. At first, I was a little hesitant to eat her. I eventually did, and in fairness she actually tasted good!
This is rice. The Philippines is under a rice shortage crisis. Experts predict that its price is going to increase soon. This is partly brought about by an increasing demand from Westerners, and this is my message for them. STOP EATING OUR RICE! STICK TO YOUR BREAD AND POTATOES. LEAVE RICE TO PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN EATING IT FOR CENTURIES!