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[Ponderings] Don’t Touch My Birdie… and Don’t Mess With My Adobo!

By Philip Suzara

Pondering… as I sit here at the edge of my mythical life pond.

One can see many things happening at the edge of life’s pond, as in any pond. Decisions are made there, life changing decisions, defining moments… to get in the pond, or not. The pond is encircled by its edges in different forms and kinds: straight, jagged, rough, rocks, pebbles, sand, soil, or mud. Very much like people. No matter the differences we have, we all belong there… around the life pond, inside, outside, at the edge, but there.

Let me share a beautiful event I am experiencing of late. A lovely looking hummingbird has been bumping itself quite regularly on the glass of my bathroom window, a panoramic bay window that takes the full length of my bathtub, beginning from its rim, and up to the ceiling. We planted jasmine arched in a nice trellis around the window providing me some cloak of decency, it is beautiful. I have a nice view of my Zen garden’s greenery from there and, save for the glass, I bathe al fresco in full abandon – I don’t know, nor care, if my neighbour delights if they do see me at all.

Here it comes again, my hummingbird. I hear another bump and I check it out, I see it quite abuzz with activity - it is building a nest in the jasmine growth. A lovely sight to behold as it makes me feel that I am sensed to be friendly with the birds and other animals, excluding the undesirable politicians, of course! I have also seen wild pigeons in the garden and, at one rare time, a big white bird on the wall which looked like a crane.

This happens daily, the little birdie would bump the glass a few times – I suspect that it says hello to its reflection on the window panel, goes to its nest and flies away to the trees and then back to its nest. I was never fortunate to take its photo - I would either be going about my morning ritual or taking a shower, and always, was never with my phone.

I will let them be. I will let nature be. I am blessed enough to be witness to nature unfolding before me. It is a heart-warming and soulful experience. I implore others to let them be. Don’t touch my birdie!

Parokya ni Edgar’s 1997 hit, “Don’t Touch My Birdie” comes to fore…

“Don't touch my birdie! (Don't touch my birdie!) Resist temptation, please! You don't have to grab my birdie Just call it, and it will come”

You don’t grab something because you love it, they belong to nature and it is enough that you are there to experience it. You don’t pluck a flower because it is beautiful, it will be a beauty much longer for others to share if you let it be.

So, don’t you dare touch my birdie!

It is close to lunchtime and I’m gearing up to cook my adobo for lunch, I endearingly call it my P.I. Adobo – I will beg for your pardon and perhaps leave you to speculate what P.I. would stand for. You’d know for sure when you taste it.

I get a good part of pork shoulder (kasim) with marbled fat and connective tissues (litid) cut into medium-sized cubes, and then cut slightly smaller cubes of either pork or calf liver – ratio would be 4 parts of pork to 1 part of liver in a wok. Now comes the marinade, this is where it gets a little sophisticated, but not really for those who cook and love to cook, the romance starts here. You pour some good vinegar – I use a mixture of a little sinamak and some good cane or coco vinegar, add some amount of soy sauce for taste and colour, some salt, ground pepper, a bay leaf or two, and then crush a few heads of garlic. I would mash everything until thoroughly mixed, then put it on the stove for a slow cook. I remove some liver when it has hardened and pound it almost to a paste leaving some chewable bits and put it back in and let it simmer. When it has settled, I take aside half the sauce and wait for the mixture to dry up with the low fire until you get to smell wafts of burning garlic, then, little by little, you pour in some of the sauce that you set aside, cover and let it simmer, then the smell of garlic again, pour some more and cover till sauce is thick and done. Kaboom - P. I.! Great adobo, I tell you.

I just took you to have a peek at my romance and love affair with my P.I. Adobo, my very own. I tweaked my Lola Rita’s adobo which my Mama regularly cooked for us and we always looked forward to. A family recipe modified, adding to the thousands of ways to cook adobo – and, mind you, this is just for pork adobo alone. Think of so many more, of chicken, of beef, of fish, of veggies and what have you. Food is food and the variety will go as far as the available resources, your creativity, and your palate takes you.

Now, hold your horses;

“The Department of Trade and Industry-Bureau of Philippine Standards (DTI-BPS) has created a technical committee on Filipino dishes (BPS/TC 92) that will develop Philippine National Standards (PNS) when it comes to cooking adobo, sinigang, sisig, lechon, and other popular native dishes.

Whoa, I simply kenat! WTF? Why, DTI? Why, Chefs and Foodies? Why did you ever agree to meddling with those – standardizing taste, really? Let a thousand flowers bloom… let a million adobos flourish, I don’t know of any country whose government has set standards for their staples, their cuisine and other home-grown treasures. Romance is romance, nobody tells you how to make love – you just discover and innovate, much like cuisine. Each home probably has their own adobo specialty. Have you ever eaten meals with a number of Ilonggos at one table? I tell you, each one will mix their own dip and not one will taste the same as the other.

For DTI, there are many other matters that need standardizing if you really want to help the people; why not standardize the lids and tubs of disposable food containers, and better yet, how about creating standards for good governance?

And DOLE, “Let’s remove Board and Bar exams” Huh? Goodbye professionalism! Whatever happened to protecting the public with proper professional regulations and keeping them up to date with state-of-the-art technology and learning? Whatever happened to ending contractualization? Gosh, you guys must have a lot of idle time on your hands.

In the meantime, don’t touch my birdie… and don’t ever mess with my adobo!

Pondering… as I sit here at the edge of life’s pond.

Philip Suzara

Creature of God. Child of the Universe. Global Citizen. Lover of Life. Freedom Fighter. Agent of Change. Lone Wolf. Occasional Consultant for Strategic Communications.

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