Barbecue (BBQ) in the Philippines and Among Filipinos in Italy

In the Philippines it is all about food and the expressions kumain ka na? (“have you eaten?”) and kain ka (“have some food”) or “meryenda ka” are the expressions that immediately follow kumusta ka? (“how are you?”) when you visit a Filipino home.

This happens both in the Philippines and among OFW in my country.

Filipinos love food and every street in the Philippines is lined with food stalls and eateries.

Both in the Philippines and in my country Filipinos have social gatherings or salu-salo as often as they can.

In winter salu-salos take place indoors while between spring and autumn Filipinos who live in Rome take advantage of the fact that Rome has plenty of parks and that the weather is, more often than not, ideal to gather outside and mag-ihaw or prepare barbecue marinade.

The basic ingredients used to make barbecue marinade, at least the way they do it here, and the way my Filipino wife does it, are soy sauce, ground black pepper, lemon juice, banana ketchup, garlic, onion and brown sugar.

Filipinos just love it.

The problem is that, for most Filipinos here in Rome, BBQ is something that they cannot afford to do as often as they do it in the Philippines because they live in apartments and, although most apartments here in Rome do have a balcony or a terrace, chances are that neighbors will complain if Filipinos dare using their balcony to BBQ, as Italians like hanging their clothes on the balcony and they hate wearing “smoked” clothes.

The only Filipinos who can BBQ on their terraces or balconies are the ones who have the luck to live on the last floor of an apartment building, in a penthouse (that can be hard to find in Rome and pretty expensive).

A typical apartment building in Rome

What’s the solution then?

There is no other option then than either wait for warmer days and BBQ in a park or buy an electric grill, one of those that can even be used indoors.

My wife and I have one and it does its job, this way my Filipino wife’s cravings for BBQ are satisfied all-year-round…

Filipinos and Italian Food (Multi ethnicity in my Kitchen)

Pinoy food
….and more Pinoy food
My wife’s cutting-edge lasagna

This is more or less the way my kitchen looks like on Saturdays or Sundays.

One thing that I have found out in my 20-year long relationship with a Filipina is that Filipinos easily learn how to cook (quite proficiently) the foods that are typical of the country they work in.

My wife is not the only Filipino migrant in Italy who excels at preparing Italian dishes (as Filipinos usually work for rich and demanding employers) but, when it comes to lasagna, she does a pretty amazing job.

From time to time I try to fool around with lumpya and pandesal and I have a crazy idea to come up with my own version of halo-halo.

The best is yet to come….

“Nanay Tatay Gusto ko….isang “Tagay””

Two of the Filipino songs that I used to listen to at the start of my journey with the Tagalog language are “Leron Leron” and the one that goes “nanay, tatay gusto kong tinapay. Ate, kuya gusto kong kape….lahat ng gusto mo ay gagawin ko”

It seems like the lyrics of “nanay, tatay gusto kong tinapay…” need to be slightly modified, based at least on what I am reading in this article

Drinking is hazardous to youth’s health

The article says, in part:

The cases of alcoholic drinking among the youngsters [between the age of 13 to 21 years old] have reached an alarming level compared to the recent past,”

This is indeed very alarming. “Philippine law sets the minimum legal drinking age at 18 but underage drinking is widespread,” wrote Joyce P. Valbuena in a report for Health Action Information Network (HAIN). “Most young people get alcohol from home with or without their parents’ permission. They know how to obtain alcohol—they are able to get it from friends or they can discreetly buy for themselves.”

What is even more alarming is the fact that more and more youngsters are now drinking than in the recent past. In a survey conducted by the University of the Philippines, 60 percent of Filipino youths today are drinking alcoholic beverages.

Even at a young age, Filipino teenagers are already drinking. A study conducted by the East-West Center (EWC) in Hawaii showed 11 percent of boys began to drink by age 15. Only 4 percentof the girls commenced to drink at that age

So it seems like many young people in the Philippines are no longer singing “nanay, tatay gusto kong tinapay” but rather “nanay, tatay gusto kong isang tagay” (“shot”) and even the final part of “Leron Leron” imbes na “isang pinggang pansit ang aking kalaban” ay nagiging “isang baso ng gin ang aking kalaban”…..

Sa Panaderia ni Eduardo

Ang aking espesyal na pandesal

lapit mga kaibigan at makinig kayo ako ay may masarap na pandesal galing sa bahay ko, nais kong ipamahagi ang mga kwento at mga pangyayaring nagaganap….sa kusina ko.”

Well, iba yata ang lyrics ng song (“lapit mga kaibigan at makinig kayo ako ay may dalang balita galing sa bayang ko…”) pero dapat ninyong tikman ang aking espesyal na pandesal (whole grain version, mas healthy…)

Sa Pilipinas ay may “Pan De Manila”: gusto kong buksan ang “Pan de Maresca” (Maresca ang apelydo ko: hindi ako si Glock 9 na “wala siyang apelydo”)…..

Gaano Karaming Alak ang Masyadong Marami?

Sinasabi ng ilan na walang problema kung ang isang tao ay umiinom ng isang baso ng alak o isang lata ng beer lang.

Totoo ba ito?

Bweno, depende sa:

Kung gaano kalaki ang baso ng alak

Kung ano ang “grado” ng isang lata ng beer

Mas matapang yata ito kaysa sa Red Horse

May pagkakataon na kahit ang isang baso o ang isang lata lang ay nagiging pampatunaw (…ng atay)….

Kung Papaano Pumayat sa Loob ng Maikling Panahon

Ako noong 2009

Ako ngayon

Paano nangyari iyon?



Magic pills?


Mga magastos na produkto na binibili online?

Hindi rin

Ito ang solusyon: maraming kamatis at ibang uri ng fresh vegetables at whole grain lang ang mga tinapay o kanin at kaunti lang…hindi pala alak ang nasa bote kundi ….. juice ng ubas

Gusto ba ng sinuman sa inyo pumayat sa pamamagitan ng magic pills habang patuloy na kumakain ng maraming tsitseria, kanin at baboy at umiinom ng maraming soft drinks?

Walang pag-asa…..

Roman Style “Lechon”

Very close to Rome there is a hilly area known as Castelli Romani.

The area is characterized by hills covered with forests and there are two amazing lakes known as Lago di Albano and Lago di Nemi.

There are also pictoresque towns like Frascati, Albano, Ariccia etc.

The town of Ariccia is known for “porchetta”, a slow-roasted pig that is very similar to the Filipino lechon, except for the fact that the Roman version is much more spicy.

Yesterday we were at “La Selvotta” (the forest), an eatery situated in the middle of the woods where they serve the typical “porchetta di Ariccia”.

Many Filipinos whom I know love the place and I often go there with them although I prefer to stay away from baboy and meat in general as I am more into veggies and healthy eating.

The atmosphere is unique, the wine is great and the weather is always cool even when in Rome the temperature reaches 40 Celsius degrees.

If you come to Rome try visiting the hilly area of Castelli Romani, you’ll fall in love with it!

How can “Alak” be both “Pampagana” and “Pampatulog”?

Filipinos say that alcohol or alak is pampainit, pampatunaw, pampagana and last but not least pampatulog.

There is little doubt that alak, especially hard drinks, is pampainit or “it warms you up”. Also, there is little doubt that it is pampatunaw (it has a melting effect): I’d say that it is pampatunaw ng atay (liver….)….

As for pampatulog and pampagana I am honestly a little confused:

If I need some pampatulog I may use something like this:

If I need some pampagana I’d use something like this:

This means that if I take pampatulog then I have no gana (energy or drive) and if I take pampagana then I cannot matulog (sleep).

How do Filipinos reconcile that? Only Filipinos know….

“Kaunti-container”: the “Average” Alcohol Consumption per Capita in the Philippines

The Tagalog expression for “much” or “a lot” in Tagalog is marami while the word for “a little” is kaunti.

“Just a little” is kaunti lang.

However, when it comes to wines & spirits, Filipinos use the expression kaunti-“containerwhich tells you everything about the “average” consumption of alcohol per capita in the country.

For Filipinos abroad, especially those who live in cold countries, the container is even larger as in cold climates that Pinoy are not familiar with, Filipinos need maraming “pampainit” (“heater”).

There are actually relatively cool parts of the Philippines where masarap mag-shot-shot dahil malamig ang klima (“it is nice to have a few shots because the climate is cold”).

In addition to Baguio City and the Cordillera, a popular malamig place near Manila is Tagaytay and, because the Tagalog word for “shot” in Tagalog is tagay, an ideal place for kaunti-container is Tagaytay where Filipinos can do some tagay-tagay sa Tagaytay.

In my articles I often mention the relationship of Filipinos with alak.

The reason is that, if you are a Western husband of a Filipina, whether you drink or not, alcohol will always chase you like a shadow that never leaves. You will find it at every Filipino party, sometimes even concealed in a bottle of juice (called juice na timplado or “mixed” juice) or hidden in the trunk of a car in the parking lot of the facility where the party is taking place.

The ancient Israelites were promised that they would be led by Moses to “a land flowing with milk and honey”.

Well, if you marry a Filipina you too will inherit the “promised land”, namely the Philippines, a land flowing with “gin and more gin”. Not marami though: kaunti-container lang!