Thursday, May 13, 2010

How to Cook Pinikpikan

When you hear the word, Igorot, you will always associate it to the pinikpikan food.  This is perhaps the most delicious food that the Igorots could offer to other people of different race.  Most people who have tried this love the taste and aroma of the food.  It has a smoky taste that makes it different from other chicken dishes because of the way it is prepared.
Here’s how to do pinikpikan:
Live chicken
salted pork (optional)
salt to taste

You will be surprised that there are no other ingredients.  This is because cooking the Igorot way does not need all the food enhancers and additives that are common in commercial cooking.  We love healthy cooking so we are against food enhancers and food additives.  This is the reason why our forefathers had lived very long lives.
Hold the legs of the chicken firmly including the neck to avoid the chicken from moving and creating noise.  Slowly beat the chicken wings lightly with a piece of stick.  This will take a few minutes until the chicken dies.  The purpose of this beating is to allow for blood coagulation in the wings.  This provides for the different taste of the chicken.  This is why it is called pinikpikan because the chicken is beaten. 
Remove the big feathers before burning the chicken on fire.  This method of burning the feathers will give the smoky taste of the chicken.  This is what makes the pinikpikan different from other chicken menus.  Make sure that the feathers are well burned but not the skin.  When the feathers are burned, clean the burned feathers well then singed the skin until it is light brown to give the smoky aroma to the dish.  Wash the chicken very well to remove the burned skin so as not to make the dish bitter in taste.  Then cut the chicken to serving pieces and set aside.
Prepare a boiling pot of water with a little salt.  If you are adding salted pork then you have to control the salt you add.  Remember also that pork is harder to cook so you have to pre-cook the pork before adding the chicken meat.
Simmer then put off fire and serve hot.
Igorot dishes are that simple to cook.  They don’t need so many additives because just like a simple life, Igorots also have simple dishes.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Tailed Igorot; an Anecdote

This anecdote was related to me by my first cousin who is now a Police Coronel. This cousin of mine has a habit of going home by bus during weekends when he was still a captain. His family is in Baguio City (Summer Capital of the Philippines) but his job is in Manila (Capital of the Philippines).

During one of his many trips, he overheard two young women talking about their bonus from their employer. These two young women work as maids for a rich couple in Manila and are going to Baguio to spend their Christmas Holiday because they have been given a bonus and a leave from work. To the ordinary Filipinos, having a vacation in Baguio City is considered classy and these two young women are excited about their trip to the place. Baguio City is very famous among tourists because of its beautiful geographic location, the cool weather and the vegetables and crafts plus an interesting people; the Igorot inhabitants.

During the conversation my cousin overheard one of the young women say, “I wonder how Igorots look like.”

To which the other woman laughed and said, “You mean, those tailed Igorots living on trees? Perhaps we could see them in Baguio. I haven’t seen one either.”

My cousin could not contain himself and stood in front of them. “What a pity. You haven’t seen an Igorot yet. You are quite lucky because you are looking at one now. I am Cpt. Daskeo and I am an Igorot.”

The two young women turned beet red.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Igorots discriminated in Their Own Country

Would you believe that Igorots are discriminated up to now in their own country? 
I have experienced being discriminated as an Igorot as soon as I left my hometown and went to college in another province.  That time in the late 70s to early 80s, my classmates and even some teachers thought we were still living in tree houses   There was even a classmate of mine who didn’t believe I was an Igorot because I was doing good in school.  They looked at me as someone who didn’t belong to their group.  They were surprised with my academic achievements. 
What I cannot forget was a professor of mine in my English subjects, who was so intelligent and I loved him for being so effective in teaching the English subjects yet he was the only teacher who understood me and inspired me.  I owe my being a writer to Mr. Estanislao Caldez, he is a writer in the Philippines.  I know he writes for different new papers.  He was the only professor who told me to write for my people when the right time comes or go home and teach my people.
I had been thinking of his words for some time and now that I am an aspiring online writer, wherever he is now, I want him to read what I am writing today.   The memories of him are my inspiration because I believe that I can be a good writer too some day.
Up to now that it is computer age, some people still believe that Igorots are the primitive people of yester years.
I couldn’t believe it when one man said, “Igorots live in the jungle with the wild animals.”  They think Igorots are still the G-stringed people just like the aetas.  Even aetas are now going to school and they have houses in communities, not in the jungle.