THERE are a lot of things we can be thankful about since armed conflicts in Moro areas reduced. But the most telling sign for me is “palapa”.
Palapa is a mainstay condiment of Moro people made of minced sakurab or native scallions, ginger, chilis, and garlic in oil. I’ve enjoyed that condiment in the past only during visits in homes in conflict areas. No meal was complete without palapa. Now, they are sold in bottles and are regularly seen in trade fairs. There are even at least two brands that I saw in a mall supermarket. Palapa has been mainstreamed, and I’m happy.
The introduction of palapa to mainstream market can be attributed to peace programs that encourage Moro area to become entrepreneurs and make products that are distinctly theirs. Of course, there are other entrepreneurs who produced palapa for the mainstream market even though they were not part of these programs, but marketing are not as massive as those joining trade fairs. You only get to know of these individual endeavors through friends helping friends market.
Food is a powerful instrument for peace such that we have the term “breaking bread” that we encounter several times in the Bible. To break bread is to share a meal, and to share a meal is difficult if not impossible when you are in conflict. Thus, there is the implied environment of peace when one is breaking bread.
It’s human that when you share a meal, you are coming in peace.
When you are invited to a meal, especially in a private household, you get a taste of the household’s preference. A part of their being is shared with you. That was what I was experiencing in those days when I gorged on palapa in the homes of Moro people.
It wasn’t just palapa and a good meal they shared, but a peek into their culture and stories shared around the dinner table about palapa and all their other specialties, their ancestors, and a longing for peace.
Like music, food has the power to draw people together and talk. Experiencing the addictive spiciness of palapa brings you to stories about the Moro people and their hometowns, and in the process, greater understanding is spawned. There is peace...
All these because I’m gorging on yet another bottle of palapa. Thank you for bringing out your special condiments to us.