Saturday, July 16, 2005

Inlambong

Boiled pork in English. Another "delicacy" from the Igorots. If I had to rate this from easy to difficult as far as preparation is concerned, I would rate this not just easy, but super easy. You see when I was young, my mother had to serve in the rural areas of Benguet. That meant we had to live in the community ourselves and interact with the people within the locality.

My mother was not an Igorot but we were welcomed as part of the community and they treated us just like one of them although I can tell that there was this very thin line that separated us when it came to observing their traditions.
In a canao, even if you were an ultra rich Igorot, you would cook all your meat the same way as a poor Igorot would if he had to hold a canao himself. Although food is important to them, the highlight of the canao is the dancing. I could be wrong but that's how I saw it.

I could only speak of one particular tribe with fondness. The Ibalois are natives of Benguet. When I was young, there was this very rich man who owned a lot of cows. You see, in that place, cows were loose and could graze anywhere like the whole barrio was their ranch. I was then a little girl, about 6 years old when one day I saw a lot of people going after these cows. I later on learned that the rich man's daughter was getting married and she was going to have a "boda" for 7 days. Yes, depending on how rich you are, pre-wedding celebrations are celebrated endlessly.


Each day, they would butcher 5 pigs and a cow. They have this tradition to distribute to each house in the area a piece of meat, of about 2 lbs. We were not that many in the community then and we all knew one another. Although my father had a little Igorot blood, he did not practice as an Igorot because he basically grew up in an urban setting. Besides, he was pre-dominantly Chinese and Ilocano.

Everytime we got our share of the meat they called "afag", he would shake his head and say how much meat the host was wasting. Father cooked the chinese way and he came up with too many dishes from our share with nothing else but chinese spices.

You see, Igorots do not cook their meat like other people do in a party. All they do is burn the pig, butcher it, slice it into small pieces and throw them into a big, big pot of boiling water. Once done, they put the cooked meat in a big basket and serve them to the people with salt and chilies. Together with the meat would be basketfuls of rice and boiled yams.

Now, this does not only happen in weddings. Even in funerals, people distribute meat to the community as well. My parents were very much concerned about hygeine but I guess it was the community's least concern. I cannot remember any instance when their food has gone bad or anybody getting sick in their celebrations.
It is so nice to remember all those things. I have to admit that I miss that community. When my brother went home to the Philippines, he set aside a time to go and visit the people there. Some of our parents' contemporaries have all been gone. However, my brother met a former classmate who was still there and is now a teacher herself. My sister who is a nurse herself did a community service there together with her husband's classmates' wives.

9 comments:

stefoodie said...

hi ting, just wondering where you were in benguet. my mom-in-law is/was an optometrist and she worked there a lot while my hubby was growing up. baka magkakilala ang families n'yo ah!

bugsybee said...

Hi Ting - What a coincidence. Last week, I saw a documentary on the National Geographic Channel. It was about Marco Polo's travels. They were retracing his steps. Unfortunately, I caught it in the middle so I wasn't able to find out if they were talking about China or Tibet but it must be either of these two. Anyway, the guy reached one community at the top of the mountain which Marco Polo had also visited. The people also burned the pig - they said only to sterilize its skin - then it was butchered so the flesh was still raw and that's how they ate it! The host tried it and said it was good (also served with chilies and some sauce). He said that although we believe that eating raw pork is unsanitary, everybody in the community was healthy. I thought it was unique ... until I read your piece about the Ibalois. As for me, I'm not very adventurous so I don't think I'd have the guts to try it.

ting-aling said...

ah, siguro nga Stef.

Bugsy..well, in Benguet, they boil their meat naman pero that's about it. I know it could look scary. My parents were scared as well for fear na merong massive contamination and we could be part of it. However, I can never remember a time when that happened. I hear now that maraming food poisoning happening in the Philippines pero wala pa naman akong narinig na nangyaring ganyan sa kanila.

At an early age, we were taught to respect other people's traditions, and we had to live with them as well.

Now you got me started. I also had the chance to get a peek on the Kalinga tradition but that will be another post.

When i was in Baguio, I worked for an NGO and that's how I got to learn all the different tribal traditions.

dexiejane said...

this is why i love coming here. i learnso many things :)

schatzli said...

very educational ate ting.. about time I renew my friendship with my friends from the benguet area. Marami sila dito eh kasi since I started travelling and I only come back here in Athens few weeks a year I sort of lost touch with them.... I used to sit down with some manangs and listen to their stories...

Beng said...

Mommy,

how are you doing? We are I think parehong busy at the moment. By the way, Mutti...you are tagged by me. Please visit my site to see the details :)

beso beso

Mec said...

my colleague had his immersion in the ifugao region... he told me of this one time when... a fattened pig was like, just thrown into the fire... and then butchered in half... and then served to them na...seemingly raw pa din...

of course, they had to eat them kasi ganun talaga eh...

he's also experienced eating while a corpse is tied to a post in the middle of the house (old pinoy tradition)...

cool ng culture natin no? ahehe...

anyway, your post reminded me of his experience...

ting-aling said...

thanks Dexie.

Hey Sha, they're all over the place. They hold big canaos wherever they are.

Mutti, thanks. Oo nga busy ako masyado ngayon. Sige, I'll visit your site soon.

Mec, ah Ibalois and Benguets have a lot in common but there are distinct differences din. About the corpse naman, I think that is more of Bontoc Tradition.

Karen said...

Ting, native pigs are cleaner naman eh. They're mostly vegetarian, di ba? And at least the meat is boiled. In any case, we don't hear too many people dying from eating steak tartare! Hahahaha! For all my assertions of being adventurous that is something I might have a hard time eating.

This is as wonderful as the previous entry. Just shows how diverse our culture is. Beautiful! Kankana-ey story soon? :-)