April 26, 2011

Ginataan! (A Good Friday in Palo, Leyte)

I spent my Good Friday in Palo, Leyte with my high school friends. It was our fourth time to spend the Holy Day together and climb Guinhangdan Hill to light candles on the cross and pray to our Lord Jesus Christ. The Palo Cathedral and its yard is flocked by locals and tourists alike by the thousands to witness the reenactment of the Passion and Death of Christ. Penitents called Tais-Dupol (distinguished through their hoods, Tais meaning pointed for single men and Dupol for married men) are famous in the place. Details of the Pamalandong tradition were from PIA VIII. The finale would be the procession around the town of Palo. 

So I went to my friend's house first, our assembly area, around 11:00AM. They scolded me for being so late, because we agreed that we were to meet around 9:00AM but I got stuck watching Dragon Ball Z on GMA7. We then, in a hurry went to Purisima where Guinhangdan Hill is rooted. We were surprised that the line of people waiting to climb the hill was so long that we almost reached the gate of Sitio Caloogan, the next village to Purisima. We waited in line around 30 minutes before we can even see the entrance to the hill. Organized by volunteers and fraternities, people with ropes assist pilgrims like us to climb the hill safely. It took us around another 30 minutes to reach the cross because of the human traffic. 

When we reached where the cross was, we bought candles, lit it and placed it on the foot of the cross and prayed to the Creator for penance, thanks giving, and our own intentions. After the prayer, we saw an Ice Candy peddler and had some, mentioned previously in my blog. Resting for a short while, we decided to climb down the hill and have lunch around 2:00PM at my friend's house which we usually do on Good Fridays. At last, what I was waiting for, I'm gonna taste Ginataan. Technically, from the root word Gata meaning coconut milk, Ginataan is Filipino food cooked with coconut milk. It can be of various dishes and ingredients, from pork, fish and to vegetables. 

But the ones I love is the Ginataan as dessert and the Ginataang Bilo-bilo, known locally as Mola-Bola which is another form of ginataan but contains solely of glutinous rice balls. The ginataan consists mainly of the cooked coconut milk,  cubed sweet potato, taro, sliced plantain, and tapioca/sago pearls, all sweetened by brown sugar. Our lunch menu was ginataan, ginataang bilo-bilo, pandesal, fried fish and rice. Meat, except fish is a cultural taboo for Catholics on this day as part of penance. 

The ingredients for Ginataan are,

1. Water
2. Gata (coconut milk)
3. Brown sugar  
4. Cubed Kamote (Sweet Potato)
5. Cubed Gabi (Taro)
6. Sliced Ripe Saba (Plantain)

7. Tapioca/Sago Pearls (This is optional)
To make one is as follows,
1. Bring to a boil the coconut milk, water, and sugar then lower the heat.
2. Then add the kamote, gabi, saba, and sago.
3. For about 15-20 minutes, cook them over low heat while stirring frequently. 
4. When all is rightfully tender, serve hot!
5. Enjoy!

Making Bilo-bilo is similar with the original Ginataan recipe. This recipe is my friend's mom, and they say that this is how people in Palo make Mola-Bola (Bilo-Bilo). Ginger gives the bilo-bilo its distinct and tangy taste.

Ingredients are,
1. Glutinous Rice Flour
2. Water
3. Ginger
4. Coconut Milk

The procedure is, 
1. To make the glutinous rice balls, mix the flour with water then shape into balls.
2. Then boil the rice balls, ginger, water, and coconut milk.
3. When it has boiled, simmer it for 15-20 minutes or until the rice balls are cooked.
4. Serve and Enjoy!

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