Category Archives: Essays

On Cooking an Egg (Properly)

A few years ago, I bought a cookbook called Kulinarya: A Guide to Philippine Cuisine (ed., Michaela Fenix, Anvil, 2008). Gorgeously photographed by Neil Oshima, Kulinarya is a distillation of the wisdom and know-how of six of the country’s top … Continue reading

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End-of-Summer Blues

Among the bounty of summer produce—zucchini, eggplant, tomato, corn, all kinds of berries, peaches, cherries—I’m tempted to say that I love zucchini the most. There are so many ways to cook it: diced and lightly fried with minced garlic in … Continue reading

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Last week, I cooked Spam. I opened the can, slid the rectangular cube of pink meat out, sliced it into thin slabs, and fried them lightly. I served the slices with white rice and some leftover braised lentils. The last … Continue reading

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56 Years a Slave

The posthumous publication of Pulitzer Prize-winning Filipino-American journalist Alex Tizon’s “My Family’s Slave” has provoked much discussion and some controversy. Many readers were moved by the plight of Lola Eudocia Tomas Pulido, who was eighteen years old in 1943 when the … Continue reading

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The Literary Kontrabida

Although the rich, the powerful, and the pretentious are stock villains in Philippine literature, one would be hard pressed to count the truly memorable kontrabida on the fingers of one hand. The reactionary Padre Damaso, in Jose Rizal’s Noli me … Continue reading

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A Pasta Obsession

Cacio e pepe, literally cheese and pepper, is a dish so simple that it’s hard to get right. Recipes for this dish abound, many of them with as few as three ingredients: pasta, grated pecorino Romano, ground black pepper. Some … Continue reading

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When in Rome

It’s hard to escape pop culture in Italy. We trooped through the Colosseum and I recalled scenes from the Russell Crowe movie Gladiator. We climbed up the Palatine Hill overlooking the Roman Forum and I remembered the opening scene in … Continue reading

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Kill the Pushers

The death toll for Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs, now entering its fifth month, is said to exceed four thousand. Dubbed “The Punisher” by Time magazine, Duterte has projected the kind of macho persona that Pinoys often associate with action … Continue reading

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