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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

About Sinarsa, Budbud, Siniguelas, and “Bago Leaves”: Top 12 Foodies I Miss in Sibuyan Island

When you're far away from home, there are moments when out of nowhere you just miss the food that you used to eat during childhood days and growing up.

And as a regular guy who grew up in a remote island of Sibuyan, moments like such always sink in. As a result, your mind will once again transport back to those early years of your life where simplicity reign, where food is simple and out of culinary standards - in short "native preparation" - hahaha!

Perhaps calling it remote now isn't appropriate already since there were several changes that had occurred during my decade's absence. Somehow, internet access is kind of available already. Well, I say kind of because it’s not that fast in terms of speed of downloading and of availing its services. Blame it also to the fluctuating signal of network providers.

On the other side, it still fall under the category of "remote" for me since presence of malls and shopping centers are nowhere to be found. We still have the basics of the basic. The only major changes that had impacted to me is my former school upon which from a simple technical courses being offered before it had earned few years  back a status of a university.

It has been around 12 years of me being gone in my home town.

Okay, here's the deal, since food is the topic, I will give you a run down of the different (exotic to some extent I guess) that are used to be served on top of our wooden table, or every household or in town in general. Eto yung tinatawag na sariling atin, sariling gawa (sariling imbento - hik! hik!).

Earning the highest honor for me is:

1. Bago Leaves – This native and homegrown kind of wild veggie is one major reason why I miss my hometown. Masaya na ako (kami) if some of our barrio folks would successfully bring in this kind of wild veggie from the uphill forest of “Layag” Usually, it is always coupled with “dried fish” commonly called in our Hiligaynon dialect as “pakas or bayuy”. Others would prefer it to be joined with “sinaksak na langka” I don’t know the proper term eh. Eto yung young jack fruit picked and prepared as a veggie by shredding / cutting it into tiny bits (Uggh! Struggling to describe this langka Lol). Meron pa kayang “bago leaves” pag nag bakasyon ako. If not I would dare climb “Layag” just to taste it again. Hahaha! (feeling superman lang). Usually, ginagataan siya.

Looks pa lang edible na. 

Pag natikman mo to' done in gata wow..sarap talaga
2. Sinarsa – This one is classic yet the best and most hunted kind of native food of our town in San Fernando. Kung may best seller sa mga resto, eto rin best seller sa mga Sibuyanon - it’s really famous. Lucky are you who can prepare this kind of food without buying it from those who sell it regularly. And fortunate enough that my family and relatives know how to prepare this kind of viand. I am not sure if I can classify it as viand since when I have it, I usually eat it like a snack –hahaha..But certainly, it must be coupled with fresh from the “kaldero” hot rice or a “bahaw” (left over rice) would do. Hehehe! How’s the taste? Awesome and mouth-watering. The not so spicy flavor makes it special that people who eat it would drool to take another one down. It is usually made of shrimps, kinudkod na niyog and chilli.

Look like "shit" right but this is the kind of shit that is yummy. 
3. Suman and/or Budbud – a native delicacy prepared out of cassava or sweet potato. Usually served during snack time in the afternoon. Inilalako pa eto nga mga vendors sa amin house to house which makes it unique. Pwede ring i-order mo na from the makers.

4. Ginataang Langka – Wow! While writing this blog entry, I can’t keep myself from salivating. The thought transported me back to my hometown right through our house and imagined I’m having lunch with ginataang langka na may pork or “dried fish” termed as “pakas or bayuy” A cup of rice is an understatement. LoL..Maybe a kaldero of rice would do to me…hahahaha..lamon epek lang hahahaha.

5. Ginataang Tambo – a term we coined to describe “ginataang labong” or bamboo shoots”. As far back as I can remember, it is always in pair with sea shells or shells from ponds –like that of the elite “escargot” ( pronounced as “es-kur’gow) pinasosyal pa anak ng tinapang tapa ‘ kohol lang pala hahaha.

6. Saringgwelas –  that's how we say it there (walang basagan ng pronunciation) in tagalog term it’s called “siniguelas”. It’s abundant in the barrio of Azagra –southern part of our town usually during summer season.

7. Makopa –  we address this fruit as "tambis" in our native dialect. This reddish fruit is usually a target of children eyeing to taste it when its season hit the town. I, for one, am also one of those who would do a sling shot just to eat one. It's best when dip in rock salt

8. Kinilaw na Puso ng Saging – good thing we have plenty of banana shrubs at home and craving for one isn’t a problem since there are plenty of fruit bearing bananas around our house. Of course it accompanies the idea that if my bagong bunga ang banana, may puso na makukuha hehehehe. At may ilalaga at gagawin kinilaw hahaha.

9. Laing – Our version of laing is totally different from that of the famed Bicol cuisine. We have our unique way of preparing it. We usually include the root crop of it and we don't usually go for a super spicy one like that in Bicol. Just a mild one would do so putting a piece of "chilli" is enough for us. Best during cold season or any weather would do.

10. Nilupak – We call it "nilumak or linumak" in our town. It's a delicacy made of mashed cooked cassava or cooked "saging na saba". To make it more delicious you need to garnish it on top with "margarine" (uso pa noon yun, walang kokontra) or butter now. hahaha

11. Duhat – We usually call it as "lomboy" in our native tongue. This is particularly abundant along hilly side of the mountain. And to boast a bit, there are many hectares of this wild fruit in our barrio in Taclobo. Usually the season of duhat is during summer time - from month of April until the rainy days of June. This is our equivalent to the plums being sold in the supermarket. And always mistaken as "grapes"

12. Limbok – commonly called as "pinipig" in Tagalog. This is usually done by pounding the freshly harvested, unpeeled raw rice. It’s like cereals when done.  But you need to exert hard labor of preparing this nibbler. It requires rigorous up and down pounding of new harvest rice unpeeled through a “lusong and bayo” in our native dialect. It's like a giant mortar and pestle (wooden version). I simply just don't know how to describe it hahaha. pardon me guys! It's crispy and aromatic and perfect to nibble while watching "betamax" lols..hahaha..during those times haha.

While finishing this post, it's like my cravings already stopped. I just contain myself viewing them in photos. Di bale, pag nakauwi ako next year, ipi prepare ko talaga ang mga eto.. These above foodies were our source of physical strength (naks physical strength talaga hahaha) during those times. I am proud to have eaten all of these. I am a proud SIBUYANON.


  1. halos lahat ng native food nato natikman ko na ata ;-)

  2. this post is yummy. Of all the foods I haven't tasted Bago leaves yet.

  3. The best ang kinilaw na puso ng saging!

  4. I love nilupak with lots of margarine or butter on top! :)

  5. wow! ginutom tuloy ako... halos lahat ng nakapost like kong kainin...

    Naalala ko mahilig ang lola ko sa Pinipig...

  6. Wow, yan ang masarap sa mga probinsya eh. peyborit ko jan yung suman, siniguelas, duhat saka ang tagal ko na din di nakakatikim ng makopa.

    ang sarap din nung ginataang langka at labong.

    btw sir, grab your award at my blog.

  7. favorite ko yang lupak grabe kakamiss
    ung ginataang langka at laing the best dame ko nakakain kanin pag yan ang ulam
    ung duhat at makopa dati dame nyan dito ewan nasan na sarap pa naman

  8. Bago sakin yung Bago leaves, hehe. Ngayon ko lang nalaman na Limbok pala ang isa pang tawag sa Pinipig. Lahat ng food sa taas ay nasa town nyo? where is Sibuyan Island? Mukhang interesting at maganda dun.

    Isa mo na pala akong bagong reader at tagahanga :)

  9. Jay, the moment I stummbled upon this post I did not think twice to share it in my group's wall. It was then that my friends from CCA culinary school noticed the intriguing "sinarsa." We are now interested to know the recipe of this dish. Someone from CCA made a special request for it. I hope you can help us have the recipe. Our warm regards and MABUHAY!

    You can find your blog post that we shared here with this link

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Hi Edgie

      Thanks for visiting my blog. It's an honor knowing that someone has paid attention to my blog even under hiatus.

      And I am quite elated seeing your comment in my inbox. And Yes, I will try to provide you the recipe of it. Just give me quite sometimes because I have some workloads deliverables that needs to prioritize as of the moment. But surely, I will get back to you. Thanks again and God bless.


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