The Boodle Fight Experience

Have you ever been in a boodle fight? No, not like the violent Pacquiao-Algieri boxing fight last weekend, but the this-is-so-not-fine-dining-but-that’s-fine-because-the-food’s-hella-delicious military-style dining experience that’s becoming ever popular nowadays in the Philippines.

The boodle fight was first practiced in the Philippine Military Academy (PMA), wherein traditional Filipino food is prepared following joint military exercises or to welcome visiting politicians or high-ranking officials. Instead of the food being served in separate dishes, everything is laid out on banana leaves for everyone to “attack” with their bare hands.

It has since gone a long way from solely being a Philippine military eating tradition to becoming a unique and festive part of the Filipino eating culture.

Many restaurants in the Philippines and everywhere else in the world where there are Filipino communities are now bringing the “boodle fight experience” to the public.

If you aren’t close to one, you can host your own boodle fight at home!

Photo Credit : Flor A. of California a Filipina friend

3 Ingredients To A Successful Boodle Fight Experience:

1. The People – Family and friends willing to pig out on delicious homemade Filipino food. This is the vital ingredient that makes the whole dining experience heartwarming and festive – eating with people you share a deep connection and friendship with. Do not invite people who gross you out (kidding here, but barely) because of ingredient number 2!

2. The Eating with Bare Hands – This is what truly makes the boodle fight exciting and uniquely Filipino. Remember, in a boodle fight, there are no plates, spoons and forks. People will be eating with their bare hands, and food that doesn’t go into their mouth falls back to the uneaten pile of food on the table.

This may be a turn off to some, but it is what makes the boodle fight an experience of camaraderie, fraternity, and equality.

3. The Food – No boodle fight is complete without rice. Whether it’s plain rice, java, or garlic rice, it’s a must-have on the table. There are no holds barred when it comes to the viands. Some of the most common ones include lechon, grilled chicken, fish, squid or pork, shrimp, kinilaw, salted egg, pancit, lumpia, crabs, and almost any traditional Filipino viand. Of course, don’t forget your sauce or sawsawan.

I had my first boodle fight early this year and I can say it was one of my best dining experiences to date. How about you? Have you been in a boodle fight? How was it? Let me know in the comments below!

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A Feud at Sea : Philippines vs China

The Philippine government, after filing 12 diplomatic protests against China, is now escalating the territorial dispute concerning Scarborough Shoal to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS). This is amidst the advise of international law experts that, this plan may seem futile since China does not recognize the jurisdiction of the said organization.

In my humble opinion, this whole maritime standoff with the economic powerhouse is scary. Let us face it, most of the products sold in our markets (and the rest of the world) are imported from China. If the tension intensifies for the worst, where will that leave us?

Here is a sample – a Philippine flag made in China

A Philippine flag made in China

Happy Fiesta, Cagayan de Oro!

How could I forget the festive and colorful fiesta of my homeland, Cagayan de Oro City? Known as the City of Golden Friendship, this place never cease to amaze foreigners and tourists with its smiling and accommodating residents. Really, without expecting anything in return.

How could I forget my weeknight at the Night Cafe in Divisoria, devouring the sumptuous lechon (roasted pig) matched with puso (steamed rice wrapped in coconut leaves)? Indeed, a staple in a traditional Filipino feast.

How could I forget the array of okay-okay (used clothing) stalls, carrying imported brands? I wonder – are these the same clothes that the generous people in the USA donated to the Philippines? Read: should be FREE. Sigh. 

How could I forget the pirated music CDs and movie DVDs displayed openly to the crowd? This is illegal, right. But I guess, not in the Philippines.

How could I forget this “no-work” holiday? Thanks to the Filipinos’ commitment to Catholicism. St. Augustine, hats off to you!

There is so much more that I miss, but the list goes on and on…might as well stop. Care to share?

Filipinos in the Medical Field vs Filipinos Who Are Married to Americans

Why is it that most (if not, some) Filipinos in the medical field are not enthusiastic in meeting or being in the same circle with other Filipinos who are married to Americans? Are they thinking that these Filipinos, particularly Pinays, are lesser than them? Or is it just me that thinks of this?

Most of the Filipinos employed in the medical industry came to the country based on a working visa. Having a medical-related degree like a 4-year degree nursing, physical therapy, medical technology, etc. as we all know is hard and expensive to get in the Philippines. It is either you can afford it or you are smart to pass it. Meanwhile, Pinays married to Americans do not need to have an impressive educational degree or money to spend on immigration fees to get stateside. You maybe the dumbest and the poorest in your barangay, you can still pass for a visa. All you need is a supportive US citizen spouse.

In my personal opinion, it boils down into one factor – common interest. Even if all Filipinos come from one nation, one culture and one heritage, everyone is unique.

If you are the type that likes intellectually stimulating conversation, then most likely, you will look for friends that are equally intelligent and educated. If you are the type that talks about other people’s business, then look for friends that like the same. Remember the sayings – birds of the same feather flock together.

Black Friday Shopping Galore

Do you know the biggest shopping day in the US? It is the day after Thanksgiving Day, which is always a Friday. It is called the Black Friday. Isn’t it weird? The color black is always associated with sadness and negativity, but obviously, this day is never a bad day for people. Stores, including Internet-based  entities, all over the US are giving the shoppers a good time by having the best deals and discounts in town. This maybe a very commercialized celebration, but people patronize it. Even as early as 6:00am, shoppers swamp these stores to get the products of their desire. This is because, the number of items on sales are always limited. However, if you want to cut the chase, go online and visit the website of your favorites stores, who knows, you may find the best buy of your life.

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Thanksgiving Day Is Here!

In the midst of economic turmoil, today, the typical American households celebrate the happiest day of the year, the Thanksgiving Day. It is a day to acknowledge the kindness of people around us and life in general. The sense of gratitude is magnified and radiated. It is a day to reminisce the good things that happened in the past year, and be thankful of the bad things that make us stronger. Families gather. Families laugh together. This is what Thanksgiving Day is.

What started as a fellowship of the native Americans and the English colonist in 1621 has become a hundred-of-years of tradition. Truly, up to this days, the thrust to keep the harmony and love alive has prevailed. Thanks to a day of celebration.

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Tea Party: What Is This?

My daughter received an invitation from one of her classmates for a tea party. Funny may it seems , but I do not know what this party means. I have never been to a tea party in my whole life. Is this a party with all kinds of tea? Is it a party with no beverage other than a tea? I asked my daughter about it, but she is also oblivious. It will be her first. Well, she said something about “table manners”, other than that – no more. Nevertheless, she is so excited and has watched the clock strikes minute after minute. In two hours from now, another new experience is added to her “first” list.

Update: 11:31PM

Time to give an update to my daughter’s tea party.

We arrived at the classmate’s house around 12:40PM. It’s really a nice , big and very dainty house. It reminded of a elegant English country-side house. A dream house – if I may say. The house is too huge that I had to figure out on where the main door is. Anyway, I and my daughter rang the doorbell, and her little blond classmate opened the door. She was wearing a nice ivory “princess dress” and stunning jewelry. That very moment, I was totally embarrassed. My daughter was basically under-dressed. She wore something very casual, just like what she wears when she goes to school. Actually, it was her choice. She wanted to wear her simple green dress, and I did not defy her wishes. I felt so bad for my daughter. I could have researched about what a tea party is and be prepared, but I did not. We left her there for good three hours, and when she came home, she had a wide smile on her face. She enjoyed it a lot. The host house had extra princess dresses for the guests, so my daughter wore one. They were basically acting like little princesses during the whole party, beautify their selves, made some cupcakes, took pictures, and of course, drank tea.