Quantcast
Latest Stories

Country Cooking

The best crispy ‘pata’ we ever tasted in the country

By

Ka Sayong Pareño tossing (hinahalabos) miki

Evincing sense of pride in her province, Cecille Esperanza finally showed off the Marinduque that she could only talk about before through its products which she would bring to us to taste.

To go to Marinduque can be daunting. The short air trip is expensive. The cheaper way is long because it requires a four-hour trip to Lucena in Quezon, where from the Dalahican port, one rides a ro-ro to land after three hours at the Balanacan port in Mogpog town.

It will take another 90 minutes up several mountains to get to Sta. Cruz, a first-class town that was to be our base, with its hilly contour and where you can still hear the rosary on the radio being recited by grade school students.

Of course, Marinduque is always highlighted whenever Holy Week is around the corner because of the Moriones festival. This is when the community wear Roman costumes from the time of Christ, reenact the life of Longinus, the centurion who thrust a spear through the heart of the crucified Jesus. The “centurions” have their own “clubs” in several towns. They add a folksy touch of antics to entertain the locals and tourists.

While we wanted to witness this folk tradition, we also wanted to taste Marinduque food—without the big crowd. So here is a preview of what to expect in case this is your first time.

It was obvious to us from day one that women are at the forefront of the cuisine in Sta. Cruz. They provide the ingredients and the finished products.

Ka Sayong, or Rosario Pareño, is known for her fresh miki, noodles made of flour, water, salt and food coloring of lemon yellow. She paid a Chinese noodle maker to teach her and this has provided a living for the family since 1970. We witnessed how it was made and learned that the name of tossing the noodles to dry it a bit and mix it with some oil is called hinahalabos.

Ambo (Ambrosia Reynoso), who is hospitality personified, plied us more than once with the best crispy pata we ever tasted in the whole country. The goodness of the pata starts with the ingredient: hock from pigs that are not bulls or inahin (mother pigs). Ka Ambo is uncompromising and will not cook pata that isn’t up to her standards, something she has learned as meat vendor when her late husband, Tirso Reynoso, a kusinero de campanilla or cook-for-hire, was still alive.

Chef Eddie Rey with cooked manakla or crayfish

The business sent their 10 children through school. Most of them were there to help her entertain, showing us that ties are strong in the Reynoso family. I still dream of Ka Ambo’s crispy pata, the skin truly crunchy, the meat soft and tasty and the tendons very milky.

‘Uraro’ cookies

Uraro cookies are pasalubong items in Marinduque. I had never seen the uraro plant (arrowroot, Maranta arundinacea) or its tubers. When I was shown one, the plant looked familiar and the root crops were like white thin carrots. That was in the processing plant set up by Carmelita Rejano Reyes. She is a third-generation owner of the Rejano Bakery who decided to continue the family business instead of remaining a chemist at Marcopper, the local mining company that has been closed for 15 years.

The processing plant assures supply of the arrowroot flour and encourages farmers to grow them. The process starts with the cleaning and sorting of the uraro, the extraction of the juice that is dried to become flour.

Another uraro cookie maker is Elisa Regio who, before she retired, did her products’ branding, as Lea’s in between teaching in the local school. Her big wood-burning oven outside town are kept going daily only during the high season of the Moriones, the fiesta and Christmas.

Cecille said that some dishes are not what we expect. For example, their kare-kare is like bopis because the pieces are pork innards and banana heart mixed with blood. They call the kare-kare we know as simply kare.

Humba is made of pork skin and fat only mixed with black beans and a bit of peanut butter. Those and a lot more were cooked by Eduardo Rey,  who used to work in the kitchen of hotels like the Mandarin and Makati Shangri-La, but who decided to go home to Marinduque to be with his family. There was chicken in coconut milk with turmeric.

Shell fish

And to stress how the waters around the province yield a rich array of seafood, chef Rey also steamed capiz shells and manakla, or crayfish. He made a soup of punaw or big clams called imbao elsewhere, and red-eyed crabs called bigoy in coconut milk.

The market vendors laughed when I told them that the bigoy was nicknamed adik-adik (addict) in Infanta, Quezon. Pretty soon, they said, that will also be their name for the crab.

Carmelita Rejano Reyes drying uraro flour

In the market, we ate at the carinderia of Helen Palermo where we tasted sweet and sour pork which, again, is not what you think it is but innards cooked paksiw-style with vinegar.

We also had a regular pinapaitan—innards stewed in a bit of bile, and tinaphang pata, or pork hock that is smoked before being cooked in a broth soured with adwas or the libas leaf and with gabi or taro that is called “San Fernando” or “Singapur” in Marinduque. No one can tell me why.

The tinapha, or smoking method, is also applied to beef shin for a different take on the bulalo, for which Dewey restaurant is known.

We met our Moriones who gamely put on their costumes for us to photograph and prove that we did go there. We were accorded the ultimate welcome by pretty ladies, including this year’s Miss Marinduque, Jeanlie Mendoza, who performed the putong, a ritual where we were sung to, offered flowers, showered with coins and crowned like royalty.

For that wonderful stay, we thank our hosts Sta. Cruz Mayor Percival Morales and those at the tourism office—Shirley Fajardo, Samson Padernal and Nida Querubin—and Lilia Rellin, who let us stay in her guest house.

E-mail pinoyfood04@yahoo.com.


Follow Us


Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: crispy pata , Food , Lifestyle , Marinduque , Summer food philippines

  • ikabod_bubwit

    Add to that their hospitality. Was in Marinduque a few months ago. The main road in Boac was closed to traffic kasi “fiesta” pala, so traffic was heavy. We decided to park beside the roadway to wait out the jam. We got into a conversation with an old lady who promptly invited us (5 of us) for lunch at her house. And what a feast! We got to eat lunch before her invited guests came. NOW! That’s hospitality!

    • Iggy_Ramirez

      If the food was dirty or had something in it, Now! that’s Hospital!

      Just kidding. I don’t mean to cast offense against the little old lady. I just had something in mind about the play on words.

      • Ulipur

        MANILA, Philippines—Thirty-two people were reportedly poisoned Tuesday after eating suman, or sweet rice cake, in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said Wednesday.

        The victims, mostly employees of the Palawan Provincial Capitol, experienced nausea, dizziness, vomiting and abdominal pains after eating the suman sold in the Capitol, the NDRRMC said in a report.

        The victims were identified as Daisy Tubi, 32, Rosita Garcia, 55, Neila Sadet, 55, Sonia Alaska, 39, Melissa Rambawa, 43, Anes Castor, 54, Rosalie Baldanaza, 40, Arlene Samarita, 39, Miguela Carbronero, 53, Cecilia Melendrez, 55, Joraine Balcosantos, 39, Judith Sarol, 42, Monaliza Bacosa, 27, Maria Lampitoc, 53, Ely Laurente, 55, Malou dela Cruz, 47, Cristina Parcia, 57, Lolita Morales, 39, Florabel Baldenosa, 54, Rosalina Natulla, 54, Sonia Segonia, 43, Vanessa Ustares, 41, Aisy, Gallego, 22, Laudencia Bonggat, 65, Hely Karl Villaver, 16, Michelle Semblante, 23, Nicole Semblante, 4, Wilson Capitulo, 45, Emmanuel Bonggat, 34, Nerio Semblante, 30, Wendy Basco, 21, Gabriel Basco, 3.

        Local health authorities have interviewed the victims as well as the vendor of the suman.

        Food samples have been collected and sent to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the place where the suman was made was inspected by the Provincial Health Office of Palawan, NDRRMC said.

  • Iggy_Ramirez

    I am planning to go to Marinduque to try the best Crispy Pata in the world (if it is the best in the country, it is the best in the world).

    But, what is the name of this restaurant?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_AS7ZS3RG454EKLDPVX3UR3MLGE rick

    tikman niyo rin yung analisa’s crispy pata



Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
  1. 12 other things you can do at Pico de Loro Cove
  2. Lover’s quarrel linked to hunger – study
  3. Encounter with a ‘Mangkukulam’
  4. ‘Kamias’ for fever, ‘siling labuyo’ for headache–first aid in the kitchen
  5. How Vitamin B can be a remedy for ‘manhid’ and neuropathy
  6. Summer treat for your aspiring astronomers
  7. Sarah Geronimo and Matteo Giudicelli sing ‘All of Me’–and we all swoon
  8. Marcos grandson to wed beautiful Rocha scion
  9. 90 percent of Filipino households don’t practice proper toilet hygiene, sanitation
  10. ‘Heaven is for Real’: Nonfiction book on life after death reaches screen
  1. Dominique–Gretchen and Tonyboy Cojuangco’s daughter–now an endorser
  2. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?
  3. Marcos grandson to wed beautiful Rocha scion
  4. France makes work beyond 6 p.m. illegal
  5. Sarah Geronimo and Matteo Giudicelli sing ‘All of Me’–and we all swoon
  6. South Koreans crave Asia’s smelliest fish
  7. Ever heard of HydroBob?
  8. How Vitamin B can be a remedy for ‘manhid’ and neuropathy
  9. 90 percent of Filipino households don’t practice proper toilet hygiene, sanitation
  10. Prince William fuels speculation of second royal baby
  1. Mary Jean Lastimosa is new Miss Universe Philippines
  2. Did Angara ruin Pia Wurtzbach’s chances at Bb. Pilipinas?
  3. Dominique–Gretchen and Tonyboy Cojuangco’s daughter–now an endorser
  4. Manila in shock over model Helena Belmonte’s death
  5. Vinegar test helpful vs cervical cancer
  6. From Jeannie to mom of suicide victim
  7. San Vicente beaches hidden but not for long
  8. Borgy and Georgina are back; others are off–again
  9. Sen. Angara: I thought Pia Wurtzbach gave a good answer
  10. Ex-Givenchy model fights for ‘Yolanda’ survivors

News

  • More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  • NATO ups military presence amid Russian threat
  • DOH issues official statement on confirmed case of MERS-CoV
  • Aquino to stay at home during Lenten holidays
  • Man charged with hoax near marathon finish line
  • Sports

  • Tenacious Iran frustrates Qatar to retain Asian Club volleyball crown
  • Floyd Mayweather is ESPN’s top-paid athlete
  • Pistorius trial: Judge sets 2-week adjournment
  • China, Taiwan rout foes for 3rd, 5th places in Asian Club volleyball
  • Ginebra’s new import Freeman arrives, makes PBA return vs ROS
  • Lifestyle

  • Are your favorite malls open this Holy Week break?
  • Celebrate Easter Sunday at Buddha-Bar Manila
  • Moriones feast: A slow, steady transformation
  • Weaving ‘palaspas’ a tradition kept alive in Tayabas City
  • Finalists announced for best translated books
  • Entertainment

  • Filipino rock icons to hold silent concert
  • Mommy Dionisia Pacquiao’s greatest hits
  • Deniece Cornejo posts bail—report
  • Miley Cyrus hospitalized, cancels US concert
  • Otaku Summer Jam 2014: Summer’s hottest J-rock/Cosplay event
  • Business

  • Russian economy hit by Ukraine turmoil
  • PSEi firms up ahead of Lenten break
  • I-Remit teams up with Lakhoo for remittances from Oman
  • Megawide nets P1.4 B in 2013
  • Longer TRO sought on rate hike
  • Technology

  • Smart phone apps and sites perfect for the Holy Week
  • Tech company: Change passwords or suffer ‘Heartbleed’
  • Filling the digital talent gap
  • SSS to shut down website for Holy Week
  • Another reason to quit social media this Holy Week: your safety
  • Opinion

  • We may never know
  • Couple of things
  • Mommy D’s magic
  • Stop bizarre and bloody Good Friday rituals
  • Holy Week taboos
  • Global Nation

  • Netizens welcome Japan’s visa-free travel plan
  • Visa-free travel by Filipinos to Japan still a proposal
  • Visa-free travel to Japan could boost tourism
  • 2 PCG men ordered arrested over Balintang Channel shooting
  • US Embassy closed on Holy Thursday, Good Friday
    Marketplace