February 3, 2023

Let’s start with a prayer: “Father, Your love is as wide as the oceans, as deep as the sea, and as tall as the heavens. May Your spirit rise like a mighty wave and come and restore those who are ill. You are the water of life, You are a fresh spring, You are healing rain. To all those who are in need. Come Lord.”


Filipinos just love their meat, with pork being up there on the totem pole of cholesterol-rich delectable favorites. No party or celebration is considered complete in this beautiful archipelago without the ubiquitous “lechon” or roasted pig in all its glistening glory at the head table. Just writing about it makes this near-sighted Ibaloy writer salivate with delight.
Even the late chef Anthony Bourdain dec-lared in his CNN TV show that our very own lechon is the best pig dish he had ever tasted. Coming from a worldrenowned culinary legend, that’s saying something. Maybe lechon should be our national dish instead of adobo or sinigang since most of our honorable members of the House are addicted to pork, anyway, both the animal and other kind? Just a thought.
However, there seems to be a problem in the country’s supply of pork lately with the dreaded African swine fever (ASF) reportedly affecting our swine population especially in Luzon. Obviously, as night follows day or McDo follows Jollibee, pork prices would soar with less supply while demand remains as strong as ever. Basic economics.
Here’s hoping that our government through the Department of Agriculture headed by Dr. William Dar will immediately find solutions to this serious problem that not only affects consumers but also hog raisers everywhere, especially those with tiny backyard operations. And to think that we are still amidst the grips of the Covid-19 pandemic that started in Wuhan, China. Kung Hei Fat Choy!
To digress a bit, Dar was a colleague of my lovely mother Dr. Emma Keith at Benguet State University (formerly Mountain State Agricultural College) many years ago. So there.
Moving on, maybe we could buy more fish, fruits, and vegetables in the meantime. Besides, medical studies have proven that eating more of these is healthier for us and even allegedly better for the environment as compared to having a steady diet of meat. Besides, our bodies would also look better. Just ask the vegetarians and vegans among us whose number, though still in the very tiny minority, seems to be growing. I could be wrong since I continue to love meat and not practice what I preach in this regard. Oh, well.


Here’s “Kafagway, Part II” by Gabriel Baban Keith: “Baguio is an Ibaloy paradise lost./ Others have taken over./ Those who are more united, aggressive,/ than Bag-iw’s ‘shy mangu’, divided,/ sons and daughters./ Nothing is spared in this once proud/ Ibaloy heaven./ All is sold or squatted on./ Only faint memories remain./ Where does the Ibaloy go from here?/ Lay down your solibaos and gangsas./ Empty your jars of tafey./ Baguio is an Ibaloy paradise lost.”


May our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ continue to bless and keep us all safe.

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