Rest In Fish: Tawilis

Originally authored on January 26, 2019

No photo description available.

What really caused the steady decline of endemic TAWILIS?

The proliferation of fish cages is way beyond the established carrying capacity which should just be 10 percent of the 94,000 hectare lake as against the current of over 60 percent occupied by big fishing companies. Of course, this caused the lake to reach the point where conservation efforts would no longer be effective.

The inventory of 76 migratory and endemic species were now down to 15 or less. The catch of the most endemic, TAWILIS dropped to more than 80 percent.

Image may contain: outdoor and food

In 2012, Supreme Court released the Writ of Kalikasan to stop the further issuance of clearance to fish cage operators. There was an unsettling issue in 2014 of Pusod Taal Lake Conservation Center where 28 commercial and backyard piggeries were illegally discharging animal wastes down Lipute River which is a tributary of Taal Lake. “Whatever happened to environmental laws?”

Barring the quality of water in Taal Lake, do the present overcrowding of approximately 6,000 cages located in different municipalities surrounding the lake spark the deterioration of TAWILIS quality if not, its mortality?



* – credits to the owner/s for the pictures

The Silence of The Cauldron

Originally authored on June 5, 2016

Peddling nostalgia is a walk through the ancestral home of Dr. Alejandro Roces Legarda and Ramona Hernandez Legarda along San Rafael Street in Manila. This was where the moneyed gathered along the elegant neighborhood of art deco houses built during the Commonwealth era. You will find yourself caught in a time warp.

Buzz surrounds La Cocina de Tita Moning as an example of efficient re-purposing of old houses, thanks to a granddaughter, Suzette Montinola, who followed the global trend in historic adaptive reuse and devotes herself exclusively to make the house come alive again. Foremost is the planning and supervising of the meals that taste of the 30’s when the Legardas gave many dinners in this house.

Culture is indeed ingested well through the belly. The meal becomes the showcase of Filipino culinary artistry and the promise of an old world dining experience. The dishes are Tita Moning’s heirloom recipes. When she married into a family of cooking prowess, vowed to excel beyond them, and she did.

The Rock Star Lechon


Lechon is the food that defines the Philippines. It is the most celebrated dish especially around Christmastime. Regardless of the reason for celebration, lechon remains constant in a Filipino party which serves as the highlight of the event.

Tracing back to pre-Hispanic life, roasting of pork had been practiced in our country . Spain cannot stake a claim to be our source. From the personal account of Antonio Pigafetta, he described the religious rituals exclusively performed by women, presided over by the high spiritual priestess called Babaylan.

While the women danced on a cambay cloth to pay homage to the sun while chanting, sipping wine and playing reed flutes, a live large hog fattened for the purpose lay abound on a grass mat and sacrificed by a Babaylan who dipped the tip of her flute in the hog’s blood and marked the natives’ forehead with it.

The feasting then began after the Babaylan was awakened from her trance while the hog was butchered and roasted for the natives’ celebration.