Pastil: versatile one dish meal
Of Muslim Filipinos
By Apolinario Villalobos
If you have ventured into a Muslim community, you may notice a delicacy neatly wrapped in a banana leaf. It is called “pastil”, a special kind of rice with a spoonful of viand on top– either fish or chicken. While the fish takes a shorter time to cook, the shredded chicken takes more, for as long as two to three hours to ensure its softness. The fish is flavored with “palapa”, a hot chili and shallot- based condiment, while the chicken is cooked in its own oil enhanced with a small amount of coconut or vegetable oil, toasted garlic, and with shallot and hot chili as optional ingredients.
In Manila, the place to go for this one-dish meal is the Islamic Center in Quiapo. While it can be partaken as is, some prefer to have other dish to go with it. At the Islamic Center’s halal carinderias and sidewalk eateries, the choices for other main dishes are chunks of young jackfruit cooked in coconut milk, red beans in coconut milk, broiled tuna, mudfish or tilapia, boiled eggs, stir-fried vegetables in herbs, and chicken cooked in thick coconut milk.
For dessert, one can have the Muslim version of “fruit salad” which is a soupy combination of gelatin and fruits in season flavored with milk and sweetened with brown sugar. It is different from the “dry” version of fruit salad which is topped with ice cream and shaved ice.
Variably, “pastil” is also called “patil” in other parts of Muslim Mindanao, and the preparation varies according to the added spice or condiment. The price however, does not vary, as the price is fixed at ten pesos per wrap.
A Friend Gave Life to My Blogging
By Apolinario Villalobos
A friend who is also a blogger in her own right, based in the United States, but a Filipina, gave life to my blogging when she gave me her smart phone, after finding out that I have no camera which should be an important tool of a blogger. I told her that most of my blogs need no photo to support them.
It took me a very long time before finally deciding to use the cellphone, but only its camera because it has not yet been “opened” for local use, being registered with a Telcos in America. Most especially, I have no heart in spending a big amount just for that purpose because I am very much comfortable with my old basic phone.
Of late, I found out that the cellphone is indeed a big help in supporting my blogs, especially, events such the recent Feast of the Black Nazarene of Quiapo. Also, for people with amazing and inspiring virtues, so that viewers will know how they look like – such as having a seasoned face due to hard work, stooped body due to almost 24/7 toil for the much needed cash, and also for strange sounding names of food. But the said contraption is still a no-no for my random acts of charity.
When the same friend read the blog about my laptop lacking a key cover for letter “M”, she immediately sent me a message of her plan to send over a laptop which I respectfully declined because I have no habit of getting rid of things that are still useful to me.
My friend is Perla Buhay….by the way, for foreign viewers, “buhay” means “life”. Coincidence?…God works in many splendid ways. Perla also gives life to her financially “dying” relatives and friends, also intellectual nutrients to children “starving” for knowledge with her book donations. So now, viewers know why I keep on praising the All-Knowing God although, I criticize to high heavens His people on earth who “badly manage” churches and manipulate the faith of innocent people.