Monday, August 1, 2016

The old kiskisan lives on

Dr Abe V Rotor 
A typical village kiskisan rice mill cum bodega still dot the countryside.  Improved types are slowly replacing the original kiskisan which are invented in the late 18th century.
 Two components: Mill proper (left) and prime mover. Author (kneeling) explains the working mechanism of a pre-war one-stroke engine donated by miller Bonifacio Tambot of Binalonan (Pangasinan) to the Grains Industry Museum in Cabanatuan (NE) in 1982. The museum, showcase of Philippine Agriculture, was closed down following the EDSA Revolution in 1986.

Kiskisan continues to dominate local rice milling in spite of its poor recovery rate (about 50 percent), as compared with modern rice mills which deliver as high as 68 percent rice. But why is this late 18th century machine still popular?

It is because the kiskisan is simple and practical to operate. It leaves no waste, unlike the cono or the rubber roller mills which separate the rice hull (ipa) which constitutes 25 percent of paddy rice or palay. With the kiskisan, the milled rice is simultaneously separated from the by-product which is a rich finely ground mix of bran, rice germ, hull (ipa) and binlid or brokens, a complete animal feed ideal for village use.

This is not the case with modern mills. The rice hull is thrown away, so with partly filled grains.  The binlid is separated and the bran comes in two grades, requiring a complex operation and higher cost of milling.  Besides, these mills rarely operate on small scale.  The kiskisan does. Just feed into the hopper, say one-half cavan of palay, and pronto you get your rice, and you may leave the by-product behind as milling fee.

Visit a kiskisan.  It has become a mini-mall of sort, barangay style, that is. Surrounding it are a parking place of jeeps and tricycle, a flea market (talipapa), barbershop, variety or sari-sari store, and drugstore (botica). It is a meeting place (kita kits sa kiskisan, in modern parlance), where you pick up news and share stories. It is a center you sell, buy or exchange (barter) products and services.  You find your everyday needs, including the naturally rich kiskisan darak for your backyard chicken and pigs.  

Acknowledgement: Internet photos 

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