Archive for the ‘Buhi’ Category

Buhi-Malinao road ushers in more commerce for Bicol

February 27, 2009

Linking communication is the most obvious benefit of having a road between towns and villages. Alternative routes of trade and commerce are made easy. These are expected in the recent completion of the 35 kilometer road (about half of 66 kilometer highway) which connects the 2nd and 4th districts of Camarines Sur to that of 1st district of Albay.

Leading to the port area of Tabaco, Albay, the highway makes it easier to reach Catanduanes Island in Bicol. Travel from Manila will be shorter than before.

The new road starts from Hanawan Ocampo, Camarines Sur onwards to Barangay Burokbusoc and Sagrada in Buhi, Camarines Sur, reaching up to Malinao, Albay. It is heralded as an accomplishment by LV Castaneda of the Department of Public Highways, (DPH.)

But Buhinon Jesus Valenciano (in a letter to Bicol Mail’s editor,) writes to question the integrity of the road. He fears that the “all-weather road” in some sections need cementing or asphalting. He says, without good maintenance, this road can easily fall into disrepair. —-Bicol Mail (02/19/09; 02/26/09) (Photo Credit: http://www.freewebs.com/infocenterbuhi/) =0=

===========================================================

Buhi’s tabios—world’s smallest edible fish still suffers excessive predation

February 8, 2009

Despite protective ordinances to help tabios thrive, the smallest edible fish in the world (Mistithys luzonensis) is still threatened by extinction in Camarines Sur. Also known as sinarapan, the fish is still under strain in its natural habitat in Lake Buhi because of over-grazing and changes in its fresh-water home.

“Ronilo H. Leal, lake management officer of Buhi town local government unit (LGU), pointed out to the rampant use of motorized post nets in the 1980s which he said totally banished the sinarapan from Lake Buhi in the 1980s.

Going by the 10 percent fish-cage occupation required by the zoning provision of RA 8550, the proliferation of fish cages here have exceeded what the law requires, occupying some 20 percent of the 1,800-ha area of Lake Buhi (located 300 ft. above sea level), according to Leal. —-Bicol Mail (02/05/09, Escandor J. Jr; Davila, J. R.)

Aside from excessive hunting by local fishermen in Buhi, Camarines Sur, the construction of fish cages to raise commercial tilapia altered fish habitat, decreasing and crowding the small tabios. The edible goby which measures about 10 mm. and inhabits the 18-hectare lake in Bicol is a delicacy in the area. It also thrives in adjacent fresh water sanctuaries like Lake Bato, Manapao and Katugday.

Sinarapan almost disappeared in the 1980s and the local government resorted to setting free tabios fries on the lake to augment its population. Though the program had been so far partially successful, excessive fish harvest persisted. Natural predation by other fish species continued to pose problems against the fish survival.

Collective effort to save the fish is on going, but unless measures to protect sinarapan are implemented, extinction (though conservation urgency is low at this time,) is still possible. (Photo Credit: Nindy2008; Lake Buhi, PD x2) =0=

============================================================

The Old Roads Of the Naga-Legazpi Corridor and Dialectal Variations Along Its Way

November 18, 2008


When I was growing up I always wondered how come there are big barrios in our upland areas with a labyrinth of roads connecting them. Later I learned that the revered Naga-Legazpi road with its long straights and sometimes running in the middle of rice fields was not the original artery in the early days. I came to know that it was the secondary roads and the mountain roads that were the original roads of the past. With that I began to understand better the dialectal and sub-dialectal variations along the Naga-Legazpi highway.

The old road connecting Camalig and Guinobatan is the road going to Tagaytay, Camalig. In the areas along this way a spider-web of roads connects the upland barrios of Daraga and the “S-3” area of Sorsogon (which refers to Donsol, Pilar and Castilla). The upland roads also connect Jovellar and Pio Duran [Malacbalac]. These upland areas were then serviced by the yellow-orange CAL buses until the late ’60s. All these areas speak the Eastern Miraya sub-dialect. That was when I began to understand why these areas speak the same tongue.

I have long wondered how come the Bicol of Polangui is so similar to Eastern Miraya when along the way Ligao and Oas speak the Oasnon dialect. The centro of Polangui and its northern portion (the Napo and Ponso area) speaks the Western Miraya sub-dialect. Some eastern barangays of Buhi along also speak the sub-dialect and so do portions of Libon (the triangular area from Matacon to centro and back to Polangui).

I only understood this when I knew that there was an old secondary road connecting Guinobatan (the western terminus of Eastern Miraya) that passes through the major barrios of Masarawag and Muladbucad in Guinobatan, Nasisi, Herrera, Barayong and Busay of Ligao, Balogo of Oas and exiting into the Napo-Ponso area of Polangui which is then connected to the centro of Polangui. This road was serviced by ALATCO through its Consolidated Auto Lines (CAL) subsidiary up to 1968 when mudflow (lahar) damaged the bridge connecting Muladbucad and Nasisi. This secondary road is now passable again to motorists and is asphalted.

It must be noted that instead of curving westward there’s also an old road that passes through Maninila, Guinobatan that passes through Quirangay and Sua of Camalig before exiting just east of the centro. This is the old northern connection of Guinobatan and Camalig.

The old road that connected Ligao and Oas passed through the low hills of Tula-tula in Ligao and Pistola in Oas. And the old road that connected Oas with Libon bypassing Polangui is through the barangay of Mayao. Aside from Oas and Ligao portions of Libon speaks Oasnon. However its mountain areas up to the coast speak Rinconada.

Whatever, since the road that connects Ligao to Oas to Polangui and even Libon and Matacon all passes through rice fields it can be assumed that it is probably a road of recent vintage. The Matacon road that directly connects Matacon to Polangui which bypasses the town of Libon was only constructed in the mid-60s.

From Libon there is an old road that connects to the barrios of Bato along the southern shores of the lake. This same road connects through Nabua via Tandaay. Here the predominant dialect is already Rinconada.

I do not know if the road that connects Nabua and Bula is an old road. I am also not sure if the Masoli road connecting Bato and Iriga is the old road and not the current road that connects to Nabua to Bato. But it is entire possible since it was all rice fields that separates Iriga from Nabua and majority of Iriga’s old barrios are at the foot of Mt. Iriga.

Whatever, it is the Rinconada-speaking peoples who inhabited the rice-growing plains drained by the upper reaches of Bicol River from Lake Bato up to Minalabac. Aside from rice this is also the areas famous for carpa and talusog. The foothills of Mt. Iriga defined the upper reaches of this dialectal area and this stretches up to the coastal area from Pantao to Balatan up to Jamoraon Bay. It is possible that it is the river and the lakes that connected the Rinconada-speaking areas.

The road connecting Iriga and Pili is probably an old road skirting the shores of Lake Baao and hugging the foot of Mt. Iriga. Pili is a melting pot of Central Bicol and Rinconada dialects though in the old days it is predominantly Rinconada-speaking.

I am not also sure if the current Pili-Naga road is the old road. It is possible that the old road is the Pacol road since the current road passes through old rice fields and haciendas.

Whatever, further research is needed and it must be done soon since old people who can be primary sources are no longer numerous. There aren’t too many people now who were born in the 1920’s that are still alive.

Grandma’s Yummy Favorites in the Bicol Kitchen

August 4, 2008


1. Ginota’an na Natong (Laing) is probably the most popular Bicolano food. It’s made of fresh or dried natong (dasheen bush leaves) bathed in gota (coconut milk.) It’s flavored with pork bits and spiced with superhot siling labuyo(chili,) garlic, ginger and shrimp.

In places like Iriga City, Ginota’an na Natong includes fresh libas leaves which give a tasty sourness to the dish. Ginota’an na Natong, also called Bicol Express, comes in many versions in different Bicol provinces. Green hot peppers, squash, young squash leaves and flowers, curacding (mushrooms,) balatong (string beans,) eggplants, lambo (bamboo shoots,) and langcawas tubers are ready natong susbstitutes.

2. Gulay na Lubi-lubi is a special treat from the tropical forest. The uncommon wild young lubi-lubi leaves are cooked in coconut milk with minched tinapa (smoked fish) and a cube of flavorful roasted dina’ilan (shrimp) from Camarines Norte. Similar gulay can be made from green papaya, jackfruit, marigoso, calunggay or young cassava leaves.

3. Because of environmental conservation, Kinunot, a dish made from sea turtle may recede in the background. That’s because pawikan, the endangered sea turtle is now a protected species like the tiny tabios (sinarapan) fish found in Buhi Lake. When cooked in coconut milk, chili, black pepper, salt and vinegar, sea turtle meat is as yummy as pating (shark) and pagi (stingray.)

4. Tabios, the diminutive endangered fish from Lake Buhi is wrapped in banana leaves, cooked over hot rice, and flavored with lemonsito (calamansi) juice. A yummy alternative is to cook it fried with cornstarch just like ukoy.

5 Sinanglay—tilapia, karpa or puyo (martiniko) fish garnished with chopped onions, ginger, tomatoes, and sour iba (kamias.) The fish is wrapped in fresh dasheen bush leaves and cooked low fire with thick gota (coconut milk) and a dash of hot peppers.

6. Baduya (Sinapot) is very popular with the children. Ripe native bananas dipped in cornstarch are fried. Versions like caling-quing (Bicol camote fries,) tinanok (boiled camote,) and banana/camote cue and linabonan na camote (boiled sweet potato) are excellent meriendas.

7. Sina’sa , common in Rinconada towns like Baao, Nabua, Iriga, Bato, and Buhi is made from charcoal-roasted freshwater fish like puyo (martiniko,) talusog (snakehead) or tilapia. It is garnished with finely chopped tomatoes, ginger, fresh onions, red peppers and a dash of vinegar.

8. Bokayo—young coconut meat, cooked brown with sankaka, sweet caramel prepared from sugar cane.

9. Paksiw na Casili—fresh-water eel (burirawan) cooked in vinegar, ginger, onions, pepper leaves, and black pepper. Paksiw can also be prepared from fish like mirapina, tuna, carpa or tilapia. Frying the eel and fish are good cooking options.

10. Tinuktok na Hito—a soup dish of chopped hito fish and young coconut made into fish balls with garlic, ginger, onions and red peppers; fresh camote tops or breadfruit slices (ogob or og-og.) are added.

11. Piga nin Carpa—carp ovaries and eggs sautéed with ginger, onions, garlic and marigoso (bitter melon.)

12. Adobong Orig—cubed pork meat cooked slowly on its lard with rock salt to taste and black pepper.

13. Tinolang Manok—hot soup of native chicken with lemon grass, fresh green papaya, sayote, calunggay (moringa) and pepper leaves.

14. Ogama—small boiled crabs dipped on salted vinegar, sili ng labuyo (tiny red peppers,) garlic, and onions.

15. Pinuyos—sticky rice with coconut milk and a dash of salt wrapped in banana leaves also called Binugtong. Ibos, a similar version is glutinous rice wrapped in young coconut leaves.

16. Sinabawan na Carabao—hot soup made from young tender carabao or beef meat with taro roots, pechay leaves, cabbage, and red pepper.

17. Lechon—roasted pig of Bicol is usually flavored with rock salt and tamarind leaves. It is served with a brown sarsa (sauce) made of roasted pork liver.

18. Balaw—baby shrimp fries, wrapped in banana leaves, flavored with generous lemonsito (calamansi) juice and cooked over rice.

19. Pancit Bato—noodle dish flavored with chorizo, slices of fish cake, pork or chicken meat, and wrapped in banana leaves.

20. Miswa—hair-thin white noodle soup with hibi (dried baby shrimps) and sliced green patola.

21. Sinugbang Talong—charcoal-cooked barbecued eggplant with a dash of lemonsito (calamansi) juice and salt. Talong can go with fresh garden tomatoes, dina’ilan with lemon.

22. Balaw—shrimp fries sautéed in oil, pork meat, green peppers, and lemon juice. Balaw goes well with blanched camote tops, kangkong, or upo (white squash.)

23. Linubak—boiled green bananas, taro or camoteng cahoy (cassava roots) pounded with grated young coconut, milk, and sugar.

24. Su’so—fresh water spiral black snails or river clams boiled with coconut milk, bamboo or pako (fern shoots,) onions, garlic and ginger.

25. Dila-Dila is sold by itinerant vendors on the street together with suman. It’s made of grounded glutinous rice, deep fried and topped with glazed sugar cane caramel (sankaka.)

Bicol cuisine is mainly dominated by the use of coconut and its derivative products. Scrumptiously hot with fresh siling labuyo and black peppercorns, the native Bicolano food is a fusion of Asian-Polynesian influences as demonstrated by the use of exotic lemon grass and tropical edible plants like dasheen bush, libas, lubi-lubi, kangkong, and calunggay which grow abundantly in the region. =0=