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November 07, 2005

Sheafs of Green and Red by Karen


No, I'm not working on a rice post. Well, not yet. I just want to show the pictures of what I found out earlier.

The photo on the left is of regular lowland irrigated rice while the one on the right  is rainfed lacatan malutu or red-husked glutinous rice used for duman. These were taken months apart but the sheafs of grain are approximately of the same age.

In most, if not all Filipino languages, we use different terms to distinguish unhusked rice from milled and then cooked grains. In Kapampangan (a language of Central Luzon), these are palé, abias and nasi respectively (palay, bigas and kanin in Tagalog). There would even be other terms for cold rice, crusty rice found at the bottom of the pot, and so on. But for now, we'll stick to the first three terms mentioned earlier.

Now, this is where we enlist reader participation. What do you call rice in your language(s)? Are there different terms like those mentioned above? Let us know, we'd love to hear from you!

October 30, 2005

Duman Festival: Celebrating Tradition by Karen Shih


Life goes on in a small town in rural Philippines. All manner of modern conveniences are embraced to make life easier. Once a year however, specifically when the winter winds from Siberia blow down on the tropical islands, the townsfolk pay homage to the traditional way of producing a light golden green rice cereal from half-ripe red-husked glutinous rice called lacatan malutu.

What has turned into a grassroots festival is steeped in the Filipino culture of bayanihan (cooperative effort between neighbouring farms) during harvest season where singing and guitar-playing accompany the rhythmic pounding of the mortar and pestle. The task that is by nature arduous is lightened by camaraderie and merry-making.

For our first post on Ya Rayi, in typical Filipino fashion, we extend our hospitality to our readers - with our hearts wide open. We invite you to know us better by joining in on the preparation for the festivities. ('We' and 'our' because there are two Filipinas on the Ya Rayi roll now.)

I wrote about last year’s Duman Festival on my blog. This year, I’m making good on my promise to document the process of bringing it from the field to the table. In fact, I was out taking pictures of the lacatan malutu yesterday, with my two companions comparing (regular) rice leaves and stalks with those of the lacatan. Most of the documentation will be on the festival website but I may update this entry from time to time.


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