The Exotic Deep-fried Locust

The Exotic Deep-fried Locust

By Apolinario Villalobos


Locusts (apan in Bisaya; balang in Tagalog) contain a high level of chemicals known as phytosterols that could control heart-related diseases. The chemicals block the absorption of cholesterol, a chemical which increases one’s risk of getting cardiovascular diseases. This exotic delicacy is also loaded with fatty acids, minerals that boost immunity, fights cancer and prevent the onset of inflammation in body organs, aside from protein.


These insects are patiently caught in the evening during which they rest on the ground. The gatherers use flashlight to light their way around, practically, picking up the sleeping locusts from grassy fields.


The first step in cooking is by killing them through suffocation in sacks after which they are cooked in tamarind leaves enhanced with a little vinegar, after which they are sun-dried. When they are thoroughly dry, deep-frying follows which takes from forty minutes to an hour, to ensure crispiness.


The locusts thrive on leaves. Woe then, to bamboo groves, trees, rice and corn fields that they spot along their path as they darken the sky with their vast number. Interestingly, the locust is mentioned in the Bible as part of the diet of the Chosen People.


A small plastic pack of deep-fried locusts costs Php20 in the public market when it is in season. In southern and central Mindanao, the sources of this exotic delicacy are Polomolok, General Santos and Isulan.



Ang Bayan Kong Polomolok

Ang Bayan kong Polomolok

By Sheche Dorilag-Bernardo


Halimuyak ng iyong paligid aking naamoy t’wina,

Sa bawat paligid kahanga-hanga ang aking nakikita,

Puno, bukirin, talon at mga prutas, sagana dito

Kaya halina dito sa bayan kong Polomolok, halina kayo!


Mga mamayan ng bayan ko ay iba-iba,

Ilonggo, Tagalog, Bisaya at B’laan ang makikita,

Subali’t magkaiba man sa mga pananalita

Mga puso at isip naman ay nagkakaisa.


Ang bayan kong Polomolok ay kaiba

Napapaligiran ng malawak na taniman

Ng matamis at makatas – masarap na pinya,

Bukod -tanging  uri, dito lang matitikman.


Magagandang estraktura dito’y makikita,

Liwasan, mall, palengke, municipal hall

At simbahan na lahat ay  kaaya-aya,

Pinakamayamang bayan ng South Cotabato,

Na karamiha’y mga Romano Katoliko.


Sa paligid ay mayroon pa ring mga gubat,

Mga burol at luntiang kabundukan

Sa hindi kalayuan ay ang Mt. Matutum,

Kung saan ay marami pa ring mga B’laan.


Dito ako lumaki at nagkamulat ng isipan,

Kaya habang buhay ay di ko kakalimutan

At ang natanim sa aking isipan dahil sa kanya –

Magkaiba man ang mga kultura

Ay pwede palang magkaisa!


I Can’t Change Everything…

I Can’t Change Everything…

By Sheche D. Bernardo

(the poetess is from Polomolok, South Cotabato, Mindanao (Philippines)


I cannot change everything

Persons, animals and things are having their own changes in life.
If a man is sad I cannot change him into happy person.
Even the chirp of the birds I cannot maximize their loud chirp everywhere,
The roar of lion and tiger I cannot change by its demand to minimize their sound.

I cannot change the life of a beggar to renew his or her life to normal,
And also the sky up there, I cannot change its floating moves above.
I cannot change the weather if it is rainy day into sunny day.
I cannot change the persons who have a blue eyes,
because he made us with unique in the eyes of God.

God can only change us, not me.
All I can change is my future not my good conduct at you.
And there is no reason to change myself on you.
It’s because you have been part of my life since then.

Sheche D Bernardo

Success Story of a Hardworking Family…this is about the Balili Family of Polomolok, South Cotabato (Mindanao, Philippines)

Success Story of a Hardworking Family
…this is about the Balili Family of Polomolok, South Cotabato
By Apolinario Villalobos

Aside from Manny Pacquiao who hails from South Cotabato), there are other personages whose lives have made a successful turnaround in that province, waiting to be encountered and shared, if only to inspire others. The province is replete with opportunities offered by the fertile land, and the proliferation of commercial establishments, especially, the Dole-Philippines, with its vast pineapple plantation and cannery. But of course, one must be diligent enough to be able to enjoy the opportunities, as I believe in the adage that one must work hard to achieve success.

One such guy is Cecilio Balili who is married to Mildred Palabrica, a diminutive beauty from the neighboring city of Tacurong. Cecil, as he is fondly called by friends, practically toiled his way through college for a course with specialization in Accountancy. On the other hand, his wife, Mildred had to live with a well-to-do relative to save on board expenses from high school until college. She finally finished her Bachelor of Science in Education in Notre Dame of Tacurong College.

After graduation, Mildred joined the Department of Social Welfare (DSW) in Tacurong City. During one of the seminars in Davao City, she met Cecil who became enamored by her beauty. Cecil was then struggling with his college studies while employed at the DSW Regional office as a casual employee. It was hard work combined with diligent studies that developed in Cecil the strong resolve to succeed in life. Earning a diploma for his chosen course was the start of another struggle, this time with Mildred.

Despite odds, they decided to get married, and settled in Polomolok as Cecil was hired by the flourishing Dole-Philippines. Just like the rest of other couples who struggle to build a home, they also laid the foundation of theirs with plenty of sacrifice. In the beginning of their struggle, Mildred also had to work but stayed home when their blessings started to arrive one after another. Their children did not disappoint their parents, as all of them are able to finish their studies and are now gainfully employed.

The eldest among the their children, Inday Mitch works as a supervisor in the Sasa branch in Davao City of To Go, a cargo forwarding company; Bing, Jun and Joyjoy are with the Dole-Philippines, the first two mentioned being Team Leaders while the third is with the engineering department of the same company; and Greg, another engineer is connected with an Asian offshore oil company; and the youngest, Jojo teaches in the Gensan City National High School.

At the time of his retirement from the Dole-Philippines, Cecil was holding a supervisor position, in-charge with stock inventory. He made use of such expertise when he was asked to join the Polomolok Parochial Economic Council, to handle financial matters. Aside from his parochial duties, his time is also devoted in helping people in the organization of their cooperatives, being the Vice-Chairman of the core group based in Polomolok. Highlighting his varied community services is his involvement in the activities of the Knights of Columbus-Polomolok Chapter, a Christian organization that reaches out to all communities regardless of their faith.

On the other hand, his wife, Mildred is an active mover of the Catholic Women’s League in their locality, particularly, Polotana, aside from being a coordinator of the “Gagmay nga Kristiyanong Katilingban” (Small Christian Groups). On the side, she grows exotic flowers and herbs in her garden that she shares with friends every time they come for a visit. This hobby gives her the needed solace while spending precious time at home to cook for her children and keep their home spick and span.

The Balili family is the epitome of what a Christian family should be, strongly bonded by love and unselfish tendency to share. Cecil and Mildred always look back to their past from where they derive inspiration. Their favorite advice to their children is that, they should always keep their feet on the ground no matter what, and success should be treated as a blessing and not a material gain. The couple proved that deprivation is not a hindrance in one’s struggle to achieve success. They also proved that life can still be inspiring after retirement, if it revolves around the Lord!

Ang Pagsisikap sa Buhay…para kay Greg Andrew Palabrica-Balili

Ang Pagsisikap sa Buhay…
(para kay Greg Andrew Palabrica Balili)
Ni Apolinario Villalobos

Hindi madali ang pagpunyagi, ang pagsikap
Upang makamit ng isang tao ang kanyang pangarap
Maraming bagay ang isinasang-alang
Lalo na ang pagmamahal sa magulang.

Ang paglingon ay pagmahal sa mga magulang
Lalo’t nagpapasalamat siya at sa mundo’y isinilang
Dahil kung hindi nga naman dahil dito
Hindi niya mai-enjoy ang life sa mundo!