Sunday, June 17, 2012

Banana leaves make the most practical food wrapper.

Dr Abe V Rotor
Imagine if there were no banana leaves to make these favorite delicacies:  suman, tupig, bucayo, bibingka, patupat, puto, tinubong, biko-biko, and the like.  We would be missing their characteristic flavor and aroma, and their indigenous trade mark.  So with a lot of recipes like paksiw na isda, lechon, and rice cooked with banana leaves lining.  Banana leaves have natural wax coating which aid in keeping the taste and aroma of food, while protecting it from harmful microbes.

Banana leaves as wrapper of tamales.

In the elementary, we used banana leaves as floor polish.  The wax coating makes wooden floors as shiny as any commercial floor wax sans the smell of turpentine. Banana leaves when wilted under fire exude a pleasant smell.  When ironing clothes use banana leaves on the iron tray. It makes ironing cleaner and smoother, and it imparts a pleasant, clean smell to clothes and fabric. 

This is how to prepare banana leaf wrapper. 

1. Select the wild seeded variety (botolan or balayang Ilk.) and the tall saba variety.  Other varieties may also be used.  

2. Get the newly mature leaves. Leave half of the leaf to allow plant to recover. Regulate the harvesting of young leaves as this will affect the productivity of the plant.   

3. Wilt the gathered leaves by passing singeing the leaves over fire or live charcoal until they are limp and oily. Avoid smoky flame as this will discolor the leaves and impart a smoky smell (napanu-os).  

4. Wipe both sides of the leaves with clean soft cloth until they are glossy and clean. 

5. Cut wilted leaves with desired size, shape and design. Arrange to enhance presentation and native ambiance. 

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Senile Mango Trees

Abe V Rotor

Century plus mango trees, San Luis, Batangas, 1985

Twice the lifetime of man, three generations span,
these pioneer  trees grew sans plan,
but providence - until the emergence of modern man,
cleared forests to farmland to urban.

And soon their genes decline, and they'll be gone,
and new varieties are up to come:
dwarf and tame, their fruits in golden, red to tan,
engineered by the genius of man.    

Nature needs no genius, as long as there's the sun,
the elements, not even a Green Thumb;
for millions and millions of years in that great span
she has managed well without man.  

Goodbye to these old sentinels as they are known,
dying gradually season after season,
dying with Mother Earth in waste and greedy boon,
prelude to man's following soon. ~

Monday, June 4, 2012

Evolution of Faith

Dr Abe V Rotor

                                         Neo-Gothic church, ParaƱaque

Move over Baroque, once bastion of the ancient
world, evolved from the underground and grassy hut,
into mighty fort for war and worship - a kingdom,
until Gothic took its place - ah, freedom!

Soaring into Heaven, scaled not by walls or stairs
but by spires rising like swords piercing the blue sky -
until smog hid its view, and took away its purity,
no longer a rod to fear, pointing at eternity.

High rise buried Baroque and Gothic, with billboards
around; Gregorian chant turned to rock and pop,
in time passing, not by the clock but by the car,
and space a catacomb of concrete and steel bar.

Make way for the Messiah, make haste, we are told;
but who would he or she be? Of what race and tongue?
manger we no longer find, find the star by the Google chart;
does faith make any difference in science and art?

The world did not really change, but we - we did.
Creation, we're but a part - never the Creator, forbid. ~