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.