The celebration with my host family complete with a huge birthday banner.
On the day of my birthday, a Wednesday, my entire office spent the day cooking an elaborate and delicious meal which we then enjoyed at the Fish Ponds, where I frequently help with aquaculture field work.
I learned how to kill, de-feather, chop and cook a chicken – this chicken!
Cooking a chicken does not mean removing it from the bone, that is the task of the eater. And chicken’s feet are a delicacy here and were included in my bday stew. Notice the cell phones in the background. Free time here is spent playing games on phones. Filipinos may eat chicken’s feet, but some parts of life are not so different!
We seined these fish from our fish ponds. Then I learned how to gutt them. Fish are cooked whole, thus it is also the responsibility of the eater to separate meat from tiny fish bones.
This was the freshest meal I have ever eaten: a chicken I killed, fish I caught and gutted, vegetables collected on site at our garden. The furthest items were from the local market, yet still grown within Odiongan.
The Office Celebration!! (The second huge pot is full of rice, a meal is not a meal in the Philippines without rice – quite literally because a Filipino will instead regard it as a snack and be hungry for more food shortly after)
Finally, many thanks to my fellow PC Volunteers who decorated my room with fish and filled my bed with a balloon ocean.