Tag Archives: tradition

Balut

Featured on the TV show Fear Factor, balut, or a fertilized chicken egg, boiled and served to eat is the Popeye’s spinach of the Philippines, said to make you grow strong. If balut came with a nutritious facts label it would boast high quantities of protein, alongside a warning: may contain beak or small bits of feathers, hence the tendency for foreign visitors to squirm a little at the thought of consuming an embryonic chicken.

For John’s Despedida, or going away party, eating balut was a rite of passage.

John was really excited about this idea!
John was really excited about this idea!

Step 1: Crack the egg and peel away a bit of the shell so you can suck all of the warm juices out. Arguably the most delicious part!!

Notice Miel in the foreground enthusiastically sucking her balut juice. She was genuinely excited for the snack and hers disappeared before John had even removed the shell.
Notice Miel in the foreground enthusiastically sucking her balut juice. She was genuinely excited for the snack and hers disappeared before John had even removed his shell.

Step 2: Remove the rest of the eggshell and sprinkle salt.

IMG_1976

Step 3: Bon appétit! Eat the white and yellow parts avoid black or any feathered bits.

Delicious!
Delicious! I ate half of it too.

The white tastes similar to a hard-boiled egg but is more dense and tough. For all the apprehension prior to eating, fertilized chicken eggs are a challenge I would gladly accept if I ever find myself on Fear Factor. It was actually pretty tasty!

The remains
The remains

Superheroes & S’mores

Looking for a fun activity night for all ages?!

SUPERHEROES: Each participant got 10 balloons and an oversized long-sleeve shirt with instructions to transform themselves into a superhero.

A Clan of Heroes:
A Clan of Heroes: “The Fearless Fameros”
“Jaw-breaking John” demonstrating the Superhero Activity Challenge
Spiderman meets the Hulk for
Spiderman meets the Hulk for “Colossal Coco”

S’MORES: We took an intermission break from the evening’s movie premier showing of “The Incredibles” for a delicious merienda and simultaneous lesson in American culture: indoor s’mores!

The ingredients. While Americans pronounce
While Americans pronounce “Graham” as “Gram,” Filipinos say, “Gray-ham,” an important clarification when shopping for ingredients.
Fork-skewered mallows roasted over the stove… still tastes like a campfire
Fork-skewered mallows roasted over the stove… still tastes like a campfire
S'mores may have been the highlight of the night. We ate around 5-6 a piece.
S’mores may have been the highlight of the night. We ate around 5-6 a piece.

The National Anthem (Pambansang Awit)

The Philippine flag, flown with blue on top if at peace and with red on top if at war.
The Philippine flag, flown with blue on top if at peace and with red on top if at war.

“Bayang Magiliw…” meaning “beloved country” is the first line of the Philippine National Anthem entitled “Lupang Hinirang”. Any Filipino knows this national anthem by heart and can sing it on a moment’s notice. The anthem is sung at the start of any formal meeting or event and every Monday morning at my office, along with flag raising. Singing of the national anthem is done by the collective group, meaning that everyone actively sings (rather than mouthing ‘watermelon’ in the background like grade school chorus concerts).

This brought to attention some cultural differences during training, when all of us Peace Corps trainees were expected by Filipinos to follow their “Lupang Hinirang” with the Star-Spangled Banner as an honor to America. However, only an estimated 40% of all Americans can recite all of the words. And because our national anthem ranges three octaves it is particularly difficult to sing. Furthermore Filipinos never clap, following their anthem contrary to our American practice.

I have had many conversations in Tagalog where I explain these cultural differences to surprised Filipinos. American citizens do not know the words to their own national anthem?! And it is only sung at sports games!?!!

So for those of you now interested to learn more about our national anthem, here is a program from the Smithsonian Channel (http://www.smithsonianchannel.com/sc/web/show/3407072/a-star-spangled-story-battle-for-america), but feel free to find your own video on YouTube and practice singing to your computer to ensure that you fall within the 40% of anthem-capable Americans. Props to Nikki, my Canadian friend, for being able to sing O Canada on a moment’s notice. Finally, my younger sister Breanna is currently available to anyone requiring a national anthem vocalist at any upcoming parties, events or games!