Ano Ulam Niyo? The Independence Day Edition

Cover of the Malolos Banquet menu displayed at the Xavier University Museum in Cagayan de Oro

When I was asked to make an Independence Day menu for the June 12 episode of “Andar ng mga Balita”, it didn’t take long to let the magnitude of the task sink in my head. That’s because what I was supposed to recreate is actually something from the depths of Philippine history, so to speak. I’m talking about the Malolos Banquet, the menu served to the Founding Fathers of the Philippines.

The menu required not only extensive research, but a lot of planning as well. Besides, how was I supposed to present seven appetizers, seven main course dishes, and a myriad of desserts? Nevertheless, it was a great idea to work on.

But let me backtrack a bit.

Historian Ambeth Ocampo says the Malolos Banquet was served on in a feast held on Sept. 29, 1898. This was when the declaration of independence in Kawit, Cavite was ratified in Malolos, Bulacan. 

The menu was in the form of a Philippine flag with the words “Solemn ratification of Philippine independence.” Inside the menu is the date of the party, and the words “Libertad,” “Fraternidad,” and “Igualidad,” the rallying cry of the French Revolution of 1789. 

It is said the chefs of the old Barangay Sulipan of Apalit, Pampanga had a hand in cooking the banquet. (I believe Chef Gene Gonzales, who recreated the Malolos Banquet in 1998, is a descendant of one of the delegates.) The strange part is that the food were in French. Everything is grander and sexier in French, anyway. In layman’s terms, these would be:

Oysters, prawns, buttered radish, olives, Lyon sausages, sardines in tomato sauce, salmon with Hollandaise sauce

Main courses 
crabmeat in its shell, filled pastry shells, chicken giblets, mutton chops with potato straws, stuffed truffled turkey a la Manilloise, beef fillet a la Chateaubriand with green beans, cold ham with asparagus

cheeses, fruits, jam, frosted strawberries, ice cream

Wines: Bordeaux, Sauterne, sherry, champagne
Liqueurs: Chartreuse, Cognac
Coffee, tea

National Artist Nick Joaquin describes it thus: “The menu is a culmination, like Malolos itself, and should stand side by side with the Malolos Constitution.”

When I asked Ocampo whether it’s possible these were stylized names of local delicacies, he replied, “I’m almost sure the Lyon sausages were imported because if you look at the ads in newspapers at the time they had all the liquor and other ingredients for such a meal.”

Despite having this much info, I had to make do with the little I have, and there were a few adjustments along the way, but we ended up having a grand feast worthy of emulating the Malolos Banquet.


The Andar version of the Malolos Banquet is as follows:

Shrimps cooked in butter, Spanish sardines

Prawns are usually part of the main course, but I presume that back then, these were served as finger food. The same goes with the sardines, though if we served sardines simply slathered with tomato sauce, we might as well buy the canned ones.

Main courses 
Crab omelet, chicken giblet adobo, beef steak

Cooking torta de cangrejo (crab cakes) is complicated, but making omelets out of them isn’t (the one we ended up making is actually similar to crab foo young).

Coco jam with crackers, bibingka a la mode

Having jam as dessert is plausible, though I presume this was served with crackers or biscuits along with coffee and tea. As for the ice cream, Ocampo said this would not be readily available until the 1900s when th first ice plant was built in Manila, but it was possible the ice itself was imported.

Now what’s bibingka doing in the menu? Emilio Aguinaldo is said to have a personal bibingka maker, and its salary came out of the revolutionary government.


Someone has yet to find out what our Founding Fathers had on June 12, 1898. It is possible they had lunch or even snacks, not to mention that snack treats such as bibingka and puto are a staple in Cavite. I wish there’s a way to find out. Come to think of it, the Malolos Banquet itself raises many questions about the history behind its dishes, but I will save that for the experts.

Food plays a great role in the history and culture of a country. The Malolos Banquet boasts to the world that the Philippines is a country with a rich culture and a civilized citizenry, and that it deserves independence. Also, it shows that our ancestors know how to wine and dine and party hard.


Tune in to “Andar ng mga Balita” every Monday to Friday, 6:30 to 7:30pm on Aksyon TV Channel 41, for your daily dose of news, information, and FOOD! XD


Ano Ulam Niyo? Week 4

Sorry for the late post. The siblings and I just watched “The Avengers” over the weekend, and I still couldn’t get over it. Can’t wait for the sequel in 2014. I wish they showed the after-credits scene where the Avengers were eating shawarma (apparently, it’s a US-only scene).

Here now is Week 4 of our Andar ng mga Balita’s food segment “Ano Ulam Niyo?”.

Featured dish: Papaitan
Papaitan is an Ilocano specialty soup dish made of goat or beef meat and innards flavored with bile, chili peppers, ginger and tamarind. (The amount of bile may be lessened if one isn’t a fan of bitter food.) It’s a favoried among liquor drinkers because it warms the stomach after imbibing too much alcohol. It’s also proof of the Ilocano skill of maximizing possible food sources for their cuisine. 

Featured dish: Galunggong
Galunggong is a type of oily fish that is well known in the Philippines. This fish is rich in Vitamins A, D, and Omega-3 fatty acids.
Ironically, galunggong is known as the “poor man’s fish” because it’s supposedly the cheapest seafood the poor (read: those below the poverty line) can afford. It is also used during elections as a symbol for the current situation of the masses.
A kilo of galunggong is currently worth around P100.

Featured dish: Spare Ribs

Spare ribs are an inexpensive variety of pork and beef ribs used in cuisines around the world. They are cut fom the lower portion of animal such as the belly and breastbone, and behind the shoulder. There is a covering of meat on top of the bones as well as between them, making it a good choice for finger foods (i.e. dimsum), soups, and barbecues. This is mostly enjoyed in South America and China.

Featured dish: Tocino
Tocino is Spanish for “bacon”, but unlike the American bacon, the tocino is meat that cut thick and cured in various condiments and spices such as anise wine, annatto, water, salt, sugar, and saltpeter. Kapampangans serve this as fermented pork or “binurong babi”.
Tocino is mostly seen served in the combo set meal tosilog (“tocino, sinangag, itlog” or tocino, fried rice, and egg).

Featured dish: Kilawin
Kilawin is similar to ceviche, a seafood dish popular in Central and South America. This comprises of raw fish pork, or goat meat marinated in vinegar or calamansi with chili peppers, onions, pepper, and garlic.
Variations of this include “kilawen” or ceviche with bile for the Ilocanos, anchovy (dilis) ceviche in Southern Tagalog provinces, jumping salad (live shrimps) in La Union and Pangasinan, and ceviche in fruit juice in Visayas.

I’m taking a break from posting stuff about the food segments for a while to give way for some research.

Tune in to “Andar ng mga Balita” every Monday to Friday, 6:30 to 7:30pm on Aksyon TV Channel 41, for your daily dose of news, information, and FOOD! XD

Ano Ulam Niyo? Week 3

Week 3 of “Ano Ulam Niyo?” is up! Busy, busy, busy… No time to make food trips…

~~~\( O_O)/

Featured dish: Tapsilog
Nobody knows for sure  who came up with the idea of serving “tapsilog,” the combo set of tapa (beef jerky), fried rice, and fried egg. What we do know is that the name was popularized by the comedy trio (Senator) Tito Sotto, Vic Sotto, and Joey De Leon, through the sitcom “Iskul Bukol.”
Anthony Bourdain calls tapsilog the local version of the American steak and eggs breakfast… except that tapsilog is now enjoyed any time of the day. 

Featured dish: Binagoongan
Bagoong is a Philippine condiment made of partially or completely fermented fish or shrimps and salt. The country has several varieties of bagoong, such as bagoong alamang, bagoong Balayan (Batangas), and bagoong Terong and Monamon (both made from fishes and served in the Ilocos Region).
Bagoong is also used to enhance the flavor of food. Dishes that prominently use bagoong include pinakbet, kare-kare, and bulanglang (a vegetarian soup).

The National Kidney and Transplant Institute held a blood donation drive here at TV5 last Wednesday, so I gave some of mine.
A blood donor should eat iron-rich foods such as dark leafy vegetables, eggs, bread, and cereals. One may also snack on water-rich fruits such as watermelons, bananas, and strawberries.
Before donating blood, make sure one is properly hydrated (drink eight or more glasses of water). One should also avoid caffeinated drinks, fatty foods,  and alcohol before donating and at least eight hours afterwards.

Featured dish: Pancit Sotanghon
Sotanghon (known as Chinese vermicelli, cellophane, or glass noodles) are noodles that are made of starch, and looks like bihon noodles (these are made of rice). Like rice, this is a staple ingredient in Asian dishes, though it is cooked mostly with soup or as a noodle dish (pancit).

Sotanghon noodles are rich in carbohydrates and fiber, making it an alternative carb source.

Featured dish: Sapin-sapin
Sapin-sapin originated in the province of Abra, but its recipe spread quickly to other places. It is now a popular dessert in festivals alongside leche flan and puto.
This dessert is made of layers of rice flour, yam (ube), food coloring, coconut milk, and sugar; which is topped with latik (toasted coconut curds).


Tune in to “Andar ng mga Balita” every Monday to Friday, 6:30 to 7:30pm on Aksyon TV Channel 41, for your daily dose of news, information, and FOOD! XD

Ano Ulam Niyo? Week 2

Here now is Week 2 of our revamped food segment “Ano Ulam Niyo?”. I promised to feature dishes enjoyed during fiestas, so here they (or most of them) are.

At the moment I’m not making any food raids due to budget and schedule concerns (as well as other circumstances). These have been difficult times, but it’ll change soon. I can’t wait.

Featured dish: Goat Meat Kaldereta
Kaldereta is a meat stew recipe that we learned from the Spaniards. This dish is made with tomato sauce, olives, potatoes, chili and bell peppers, liver, and your choice of meat (beef, chicken, or pork).
Kaldereta lovers in Northern and Central Luzon use goat meat (kambing) for their stew. This is also known as their favorite beer mate.
Incidentally, goat meat is lean red meat; it’s loaded with good cholesterol and protein, and has less fat and calories.

Featured dish: Menudo
This menudo has nothing to do with Ricky Martin. The menudo dish originated from Mexico, except that they use beef tripe and cook it as a soup dish. The Filipino menudo is a meat stew that uses pork, hotdogs, bell peppers, raisins, liver, potatoes, and tomato sauce.

Featured dish: Pancit Palabok
Pancit palabok is named such because of the loads of toppings on it. This consists of orange shrimp sauce, eggs, green onions, chicharon, shrimps, tinapa (dried fish) flakes, tokwa, chopped pork, and toasted garlic. “Palabok” is synonymous to add-ons.
Pancit palabok is sometimes mistaken for pancit luglog, which is basically the same recipe, except it uses thicker noodles.

Featured dish: Boneless Bangus
Bangus (milkfish)  is a fish that is raised in most parts of Asia, most especially the Philippines. Bangus is a popular agricultural product in Pangasinan, so much that the province celebrates the Bangus Festival to promote the milkfish industry.

Featured dish: Puto
Puto is one of several types of rice cakes. This is a sweet, fluffy and bread-like dessert frequently paired with dinuguan (blood stew). Among the provinces that specialize in puto are Bulacan, Laguna, Pangasinan (Calasiao), and Negros Occidental (Manapla).
There are different versions of the puto, such as puto bumbong (purple rice cakes that are popular during Christmas), puto lanson (made of cassava), puto pao (rice cakes with fillings), and puto maya (twice cooked violet rice cake).


Tune in to “Andar ng mga Balita” every Monday to Friday, 6:30 to 7:30pm on Aksyon TV Channel 41, for your daily dose of news, information, and FOOD! XD

Ano Ulam Niyo? Week 1

Before anything else, I apologize if the posts from Weeks 10 and 11 look like they came out just recently. For some reason, my posts were reverted to drafts and it took me a while to notice they were gone. A lot of things happened too…

Just to reflect the changes from our “slight” reformat, I’m changing the name of my segment’s posts to its official name, “Ano Ulam Niyo” (still technically means “what’s for dinner”).

Featured dish: Chicken Tinola
Tinola is a ginger-based soup dish. The soup is usually cooked with chili leaves and papayas, though sayote (chayote), potatoes, and/or other leafy vegetables have been added to it. Chicken, pork, tahong (mussel), or fish are used for its meat.
Chicken tinola is mentioned in the novel “Noli MeTangere” as the favorite dish of the main character Crisostomo Ibarra.

Featured dish: Chicken Pork Adobo
Adobo is the method of cooking meat in vinegar, soy sauce, bay leaf, garlic and peppercorns. While it is actually a Spanish invention, in time our version became more distinct from the cuisine we derived it from. The most popular varieties of this are chicken, pork, and chicken pork adobo.
The year 2012 is now known as “The Year of the Adobo” because of Filipino cuisine’s rise to fame in the culinary scene. Food critics in the US have particularly recognized adobo as a signature dish of the Philippines.

Featured dish: Sisig
Sisig was created in the kitchens of Angeles City, Pampanga using discarded portions of the pig’s head and offals. Restaurateur Lucia Cunanan has been credited for inventing the sisig, and her restaurant established Angeles City as the “Sisig Capital of the Philippines.”
Cunanan’s sisig was developed around 1974. The recipe consists of boiled and chopped pig ears and cheeks seasoned with vinegar, calamansi juice, chopped onions and chicken liver and served in hot plates.

Featured dish: Lechong Kawali
Lechong kawali or twice cooked pork belly is a dish that is boiled and deep-fried until golden.  The liempo or pork belly is used here because it is fatty, meaty, and juicy. This is an alternative to roasted lechon, and is frequently served in parties.
Bagnet is a version of lechong kawali that is popular in Ilocos Norte. The difference is that it is very crispy and well-seasoned, and tastes like chicharon (pork cracklings).

Featured dish: Leche Flan
Leche flan is the Filipino term for caramel custard, an egg-based dessert that originated from Spain. This is a favorite treat during holidays and festivals.


Tune in to “Andar ng mga Balita” every Monday to Friday, 6:30 to 7:30pm on Aksyon TV Channel 41, for your daily dose of news, information, and FOOD! XD

Ano’ng Ulam Mo? Week 11

Catholic devotees who are abstaining from meat may instead eat vegetables, fish, seafood, or tofu. Soft foods such as these can also help one prepare for fasting.

Because it’s already Holy Week and we’re still at work, “Andar ng mga Balita” is featuring food that’s fit for the Lenten season.

Featured dish: Ginisang Togue (Stir-fried bean sprouts)
Bean sprouts are a common ingredient in Asian cuisine. Common dishes that may use sprouts are fried rice, spring rolls, egg drop soup, and hot and sour soup. They may also be simply stir-fried.

Featured dish: Fish paksiw
Paksiw is a method of cooking meat and fish with a souring agent. Fish, pork, and left-over lechon may be cooked in this manner.
A variant of paksiw is “paksiw sa gata” or paksiw with coconut milk. The coconut milk adds flavor and thickens the broth.

Featured dish: Vegetarian Pizza
Pizza is defined as “a type of bread and tomato dish, often served with cheese, that has existed since time immemorial in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine.”
Once known as food for the poor, pizza consisted of a flat bread with red sauce on top. It was after the 16th century when tomatoes were used as a topping for pizza. Still, the only toppings used include herbs and spices, cheese, olive oil, or anchovies. Adding meat on pizza was a late innovation.


This food segment is definitely heading for a fresh start next week. In the meantime, we hope you can take this time to reflect and observe the Lenten season.

(goes off to meditate)

Ano’ng Ulam Mo? Week 10

Before we observe Holy Week, “Ano’ng Ulam Mo?” featured some interestingly rich and sumptuous Filipino dishes. Let’s just say I was in a sort of celebratory mood, especially that Monday…

Featured dish: Lechon
Lechon is a roasted pork dish served in feasts and other special gatherings. It is recognized as the Filipino national dish, and the world’s best roasted pig (as per Anthony Bourdain).

Featured dish: Bulalo
Bulalo is a specialty soup dish that consists of slowly-cooked beef shanks.  The secret of a great-tasting bulalo is in the meat, bones, and marrow, which enhance the flavor of this dish.
Batangas is known to serve the best bulalo, mainly because the best beef known in the market can be found here.

Featured dish: Grilled Pusit
There are many different ways all over the world to cook squid.
For example, the Portuguese cook what they call “Lulas Recheadas” or stuffed squid. Spain has what they call “calamares en su tinta” or squid stewed in ink. Koreans, on the other hand, serve squid live and raw as an apppetizer (“san ojingeo”), though it is also served dried or steamed. Indians have “kanava” or squid cooked in different spices, while the Chinese serve them stir-fried.

Featured dish: Laing
Laing is a signature Bicolano dish made with gabi leaves cooked in coconut milk and chili peppers.It is also known as one of the hottest local dishes in the region.

Featured dish: Steamed fish fillet
Legendary Filipino musician Heber Bartolome came to our program to try out our feature dish. Fish is one of many dishes one can eat during Holy Week.


Tune in to “Andar ng mga Balita” every Monday to Friday, 6:30 to 7:30pm on Aksyon TV Channel 41, for your daily dose of news, information, and FOOD! XD