Sira-sira store: A toast to iconic foods

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Friday, May 30, 2014


I JUST heard about two national celebrations toasting some of the more familiar snacks and drinks we know.

The site Holiday Insights noted that June 10 is celebrated as the National Iced Tea Day. In the US it is the National Hot Tea Day that they mark each year. The other food holiday is National Ice Cream Soda Day that falls on June 20.

The tea celebration falls on the official start of summer in the US, Holiday Insights noted. It’s a good seasonal mark, I think.

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No reason was given why tea is being celebrated as the iconic drink for June, but my source said that iced tea can bring down the summer heat—as if we didn’t know but technically, I am not the expert and this is why I turned to the Internet for my wisdom.

Tea is a versatile drink and perhaps deserves the honor. My source also said that tea has medicinal properties. Green tea has purportedly anti-cancer value, but I have also read news from The Associated News disavowing this claim. Only to be refuted once more by another study that says, yes, green tea helps people with cancer—and then it is demolished by another study saying that green tea has no medical value.

Whatever they say, green tea is a good drink, especially after a heavy meal. Holiday Insights notes that tea has possible or known medicinal applications in alleviating stomach ailments, sore throat, heart disease, cancer and tumors.

The other holiday is Ice Cream Soda Day, a cold treat that Filipinos have come to like.

Flavors have become more imaginative as the years go by. There are not only vanilla, chocolate and caramel flavors, but also bubble gum, peanut, strawberry, hazelnut and mango.

When it comes to flavors, the Filipino can’t be left out. Our country does have iconic food celebrations.

Vigan, Ilocos Sur, celebrates the Longganisa Festival in January. Baler, Aurora, hails its suman in February. March shines brightly for Sta. Cruz, Laguna, with its Kesong Puti Festival. Guimaras, Iloilo, is known for its sweet mangoes and duly boasts of its goodness during the Manggahan Festival in April.

I heard that Camotes Island has a Cassava Festival held from June 10 to 11. The root crop is used as a staple to go with meat or vegetables, and in making sak-sak (grain mixed with cubed sweet potatoes or cassava), steamed cupcakes, baked goods and other snack items.

Also in June, Balayan, Batangas, lifts up the lechon in a tasty festival.

Crabs found in estuaries and mangroves are locally called alimango. The delicious crustacean is the main feature of the Alimango Festival of Sta. Margarita, Samar. It happens in July.

Cordova, Cebu, boasts of its bakasi (eel). The slippery sea creature is legendary for its aphrodisiac properties. The festival is celebrated in August.

And what better way to end this column than to cap it with a good slice of lechon. Talisay City holds the crown as the Queen of All Lechons. The Inasal Festival coincides with the city’s fiesta on Oct. 15 (I hope I got my date right).

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 31, 2014.

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