Tuesday, August 16, 2005


I have to admit that had I known Karen was going to come up with this, I should have paid more attention to this history when I was young. I was one young girl rarin' to finish my career so I could hit the highway so to speak.

When I first heard that Ninoy was coming home from his exile, we were at the cafeteria by the university campus having our lunch. I was on my 2nd year in college. It was one of those days my mother was not able to prepare lunch for us. She was agitated with the fact that the whole nation was expecting something untoward was going to happen to Ninoy.

It was a day I had to have my lunch at the cafeteria of a dormitory owned by a Kapampangan. I loved the way she prepared her Achara with Barbecue. Kapampangans love to add a lot of sugar to their meat dishes. Atching was one of them.

Atching at that time just sat down not minding her customers. She was worried herself because a cabalen is coming home and she knows that as soon as Ninoy's plane touches down, he'll be dead. The nation just knew it. Indeed, a lot believed that Ninoy's homecoming was going to change the potical situation of the country. Twenty two years after, I still could not tell where our country has gone from there. Well, that's all I can remember folks but I could definitely remember atching's anxiety.

My post therefore is not directly related to Ninoy's death but something that reminds me of his death because of how a cabalen truly felt for him on the day of his death. I should say something about a particular song. Remember "Tie a Yellow Ribbon"?(hum if you do..come on..). That's how yellow has become the prominent color at that time and why most of Ninoy's banners are in yellow. I stand to be corrected of course. It might just have been a coincidence. And oh, Kris Aquino was such a very young kid at that time. Such a naive kid in her long hair often seen with Cory praying not only for Ninoy but for the whole nation. I often felt bad that she lost a father at an early age. And Times Square, yes Time Square was a street inside Phil-Am Subdivision in Quezon City where Cory lived. That house has become a symbol of refuge at that time. Peace Rallies usually started there to Sto. Domingo.

Back to Atching and her faous delicacy. Acharang Papaya (Pickled Papaya) is a kapampangan delicacy if you ask me. And I love mine sweet. It goes well with Barbecues just as the sauerkraut is with kielbasa in Polish. Here's how I do mine as taught by a kapampanga friend Manang Olivia.


1 kilo of unripe papayas, cleaned and shredded
1/2 of medium red pepper, julienned
1 piece of medium carrot, thinly sliced (with designs if you're artistic)
100 gms of pearl onions
3/4 cup of white sugar
2 cups of cider vinegar
1 tbsp of coarse salt

Achara is a good accompaniment to Tocino (also a kapampangan delicacy); barbecues of any kind; longganisa and other meat products.

In a saucepan, add the sugar, vinegar and salt and let boil. Let cool for about 2 minutes and set aside.

Mix the vegetables in a bowl. Fill washed, clean jars with the vegetable mixture and adding the vinegar mixture allowing a head space. Remove air bubbles with non-metallic utensil before applying lids and screw bands. Allow at least a week for the recipe to cure. i would recommend curing achara inside the fridge.


Mec said...

ay alam mo....

for years...it was my task to make the achara for the fiesta feast in Lipa... i'd have bleeding fingers after hours and hours of grating them in makeshift/crude graters (think yero na binutasan ng pako... kasi they say mas maganda yung pino nung papaya pag dun ni-grate)

so far

wala naman nalason :D

Karen said...

Another classic Lasang Pinoy entry! You captured the tension of those days, Ting!

Di baleng pinawisan ka, it's all worth it naman. :-)

celia kusinera said...

My aunts do a lot of acharas and they squeeze and dry them before boiling in vinegar and sugar. There was a time that they got tired of the squeezing as it took a lot of effort. My tatay had a brainwave to help them. So now they spin dry the papaya in a washing wachine - no sweat. Hahaha! And it works!
Love the achara, Ting. Ubos na ang supply ko. *hint hint* ;)

ChichaJo said...

I really got involved reading your post Ting...you can feel the tension nga. So nice to hear everyone's personal thoughts and experiences...

Hmmm...achara, yum! I have never had anything but store-bought though. You make it sound so simple and easy...baka kaya ko na :-)

drstel said...

i've been craving some...i have to go find a green papaya right now.

Ninoy's tragic homecoming is one of those indelible memories, "where were you when...?" that we can all share when we're sitting on rocking chairs telling stories to our young 'uns.

dexiejane said...

YUMMMMMMMMM. sounds easy too. :)

ting-aling said...

if ever mec, hindi sa yero sila malalason kundi sa bleeding fingers mo..hehe..I remember those graters. My father used to make them.

Thanks Karen

Celiak, I was taught to squeeze them too pero in my mind, if you cook papaya with tinola without squeezing them first, bakit hindi sa achara. Also, I use the lukewarm (or even hotter than that) to "cook" the papaya. So far okey naman. Hey, 'will send you a jar. hehe

ting-aling said...

Hey Joey, really? It's so easy. Easier in fact than you thought. Kaya mo yan. Dagdagan mo ng art mo and I'm sure you'll be in business.

ting-aling said...

Stel, stel, I wish I could send you some. I need your address pero hindi papasa sa border, sigurado, hehe.

Dexie..try it.

schatzli said...

naku atchara.... iba iba talaga ang memory natin sa araw na yon but we were all tense werent we?

looks like karen and stef pulled it through will all our team work ;-)

greetings from france

Atinna said...

Hello MommaTing, my mom puts pasas in her achara, well, come to think of it, she puts raisins in anything hahaha...ang mahal ng papaya dito sa Japan tapos puro hinog pa. alam mo sina-substitute ko? daikon (japanese white raddish). syempre di magkapareho lasa pero pwede na rin.

Beng said...


Kumustamos? Hindi ako masyadong mahilig sa Atsara pero tumulo laway ko ng makita ito. Alanganin nga pala akong mag comment dahil puro "Chefs" ang mga commenters :). Feeling out of place baga.

Best greetings,

ting-aling said...

Hi Sha, looks like you are really having fun huh?

Atinna Baby..pasas, oo nga..will try it next time. Daikon is good too..

Mutti..of course, Lasang Pinoy is for everyone..hindi lang para sa kanilng mga chef..

watson said...

Ah yes. There's always a bit of achara in the packed lunches of Binalot. :-)

Nakaka-relate ako kay Mec. Buti na lang may plastic version na nung grater na yun!

Sassy Lawyer said...

Tingggggggggg!!!!! Naglaway ako sa bbq pic. Ano ba yan? hahahaha

JMom said...

Ting bilib talaga ako sa mga memory ninyo! You guys just describe the times so perfectly.

My dad used to make achara all the time, and that was my part time job too, is to grate it to shreds ;-) I say part time cause I always find an excuse to do something else once the novelty wore off :-)

Sadly, green papayas in another rarity her in NC :-(

ting-aling said...

Watson, huwag mong sabihin na pati ikaw nagku-kuskos din?

ting-aling said...

Sassy..laway away..haha

JMom..I used to do that too when I was young..now I know how my kids feel like..

bugsybee said...

Ting, you were in 2nd year college? I was enjoying my second year of teaching when they shot Ninoy. I was in fact dressing up for the JPIA Induction ceremonies when I heard it on the radio and I vaccilated between going and not going. I thought that surely there would be trouble (which came in 1986 pa naman pala). When I got to the hotel, nobody was in a festive mood. There hang an air of uncertainty and gloom.
The only food I ate was fruit salad - sweet in contrast to your sour (but yummy) achara. They had lechon but nobody was in the mood to eat lechon. They were more interested in debating about "what's going to happen next?"
In the next few weeks, the hottest topic was the boycott of San Miguel pale pilsen. Somebody said that one of the biggest sales of SMC beer is in Negros.

stefoodie said...

oh, my papa loves this!!! he even makes his own to this day -- kung ano lang ingredients ang available -- great post, ting! sarap nga 'to with barbecue and anything inihaw. yum!

ting-aling said...

Bugsy, sayang yung ibinayad mo sa JPIA if you haven't eaten much..haha

I was taking my CPA Board Exams when Tita Cory came into power. Actually, when I was in Manila, it wasn't as "magulo" as they pictured it in the papers. In fact I lived a few houses away from Rotunda Quezon City where a lot of the actions happened.

Sayang, it was so dead na by the time I was there.

ting-aling said...

Hi Stef..o di ba?