Sol Jose Vanzi: TIME TRAVEL IN PUERTO GALERA 

PHOTO: STICKING TO THE BASICS Clockwise from top: Boiled taro for dinner; Feathery sikdot wild mushrooms with bago leaves; Mang Pinding, a fit and agile Mangyan elder (Images by Kyle Victor Jose) --The sun was sinking behind Mount Malasimbo in Oriental Mindoro when a dead ringer for actor Morgan Freeman walked out of a clearing lugging two days’ worth of food for his family: a giant elephant ear taro called San Antonio, feathery clusters of wild mushrooms, edible leaves from towering forest trees, and dozens of tiny unripe green bananas.

Iraya-Mangyan elder Federico Garcia (Mang Pinding, as he is fondly called) was returning from his regular food-hunting expedition, a major task for men of his tribe. Besides food, his nito vine woven basket also contained a fist-size lump of sahing, gelatinous amber-colored resin or sap from the native palsahingin tree. Generations of Mangyans have used sahing as their only source of light at night.

At 78, Mang Pinding is fit, agile, alert, and willing to share his way of life with researchers, scholars, and ordinary city folk interested in learning about the native people of Mindoro. The Iraya is only one of eight indigenous peoples collectively called Mangyans on Mindoro Island. We were among a few female journalists invited to a Puerto Galera tour that went beyond the beaches and tourist haunts for a journey that took us back in time.

Mang Pinding, who was our host during the tour, heads one of 81 families provided with two-bedroom palm-thatched homes within the Ayala Foundation’s Mangyan Village in Sitio Talipanan, Puerto Galera. He speaks Tagalog fluently, the language used by Mangyans when communicating with each other. Before preparing dinner for his large extended family (five children, nine grandchildren), Mang Pinding pinched off an egg-sized lump of sahing and wrapped it in forest leaves. He lit one exposed end using a flaming piece of firewood from the stove then carefully laid the burning sap in a coconut shell so the sahing lamp could be moved from place to place as needed. * READ MORE...

ALSO from the Ayala Foundation admin: The beautiful nito baskets of the Iraya-Mangyans 

It takes a certain skill and patience to weave and work on a nito basket, uniquely designed by the Iraya-Mangyans of Puerto Galera, Oriental Mindoro. Taking dried nito grass and forest vines, the women Iraya-Mangyans labor over a woven basket that is not a little over 22 inches in height for about three months. It’s a meticulous and patient process of weaving, taking the thick, dried forest vines and slowly weaving the sturdy nito grass through it in a circular motion. Their nito baskets carry intricate woven patterns that some say are unique to them. In the Iraya-Mangyan Village of Talipanan, Oriental Mindoro, one can see women huddled together under the hut early in the morning, painstakingly weaving their baskets. For many, it’s a practice that they have known all their lives.
“Since we could remember, there had always been basket weaving in our culture,” shared Lita Garcia, 26, while weaving her basket. She added that since she could remember, she had been weaving baskets all her life.
“It was our parents who taught us how to weave,” said Myrna Tulyo, 30, adding that it was a practice that was handed down from generation to generation. * READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Time travel in Puerto Galera


STICKING TO THE BASICS Clockwise from top: Boiled taro for dinner; Feathery sikdot wild mushrooms with bago leaves; Mang Pinding, a fit and agile Mangyan elder (Images by Kyle Victor Jose)

MANILA, AUGUST 4, 2014
(BULLETIN) by Sol Vanzi - The sun was sinking behind Mount Malasimbo in Oriental Mindoro when a dead ringer for actor Morgan Freeman walked out of a clearing lugging two days’ worth of food for his family: a giant elephant ear taro called San Antonio, feathery clusters of wild mushrooms, edible leaves from towering forest trees, and dozens of tiny unripe green bananas.

Iraya-Mangyan elder Federico Garcia (Mang Pinding, as he is fondly called) was returning from his regular food-hunting expedition, a major task for men of his tribe.

Besides food, his nito vine woven basket also contained a fist-size lump of sahing, gelatinous amber-colored resin or sap from the native palsahingin tree. Generations of Mangyans have used sahing as their only source of light at night.


PHOTO FROM MANGYAN CULTURAL HERITAGE. MANGYAN 'NITO' BASKET MAKING.

At 78, Mang Pinding is fit, agile, alert, and willing to share his way of life with researchers, scholars, and ordinary city folk interested in learning about the native people of Mindoro.

The Iraya is only one of eight indigenous peoples collectively called Mangyans on Mindoro Island. We were among a few female journalists invited to a Puerto Galera tour that went beyond the beaches and tourist haunts for a journey that took us back in time.

Mang Pinding, who was our host during the tour, heads one of 81 families provided with two-bedroom palm-thatched homes within the Ayala Foundation’s Mangyan Village in Sitio Talipanan, Puerto Galera.

He speaks Tagalog fluently, the language used by Mangyans when communicating with each other.

Before preparing dinner for his large extended family (five children, nine grandchildren), Mang Pinding pinched off an egg-sized lump of sahing and wrapped it in forest leaves. He lit one exposed end using a flaming piece of firewood from the stove then carefully laid the burning sap in a coconut shell so the sahing lamp could be moved from place to place as needed.

* The unpeeled taro had been boiled in plain water, ready to be eaten as a substitute for rice. Unripe bananas were peeled, skewered in bamboo sticks and broiled.

Young bago leaves were set aside to simmer in coconut milk. Sour young leaves of the very tall bilukaw tree were simmered in salted water with dried anchovies (dilis), resulting in a very novel and flavorful sinigang.


Mangyan are mainly subsistence agriculturalists, planting a variety of sweet potato, upland (dry cultivation) rice, and taro. PHOTO COURTESY OF THE MINDORONIANS BLOG.

But the star dish of the simple supper was sikdot, wild mushrooms that resemble very rare and expensive chanterelles. The delicate mushrooms were simmered in rice water seasoned with nothing but sea salt. Sipped from enameled tin cups, the soup was heavenly, lightly thickened by the rice water, scented by the mushrooms in a classic broth that defies time and place.

It is Mang Pinding’s favorite dish, which he cooks in the forest in tree bark or bamboo segments over fire started by briskly rubbing together dried wood sticks. He takes joy in watching his children and grandchildren enjoy the food of their ancestors and tries to take them on his thrice-weekly mountain forage trips.

“We abandoned our nomadic ways and moved to Mangyan Village houses so the children would be close to school. Education is something our people know can help us. But our own ways should never be forgotten by the new generations,” Mang Pinding said like a prayer.

FROM THE AYALA FORESIGHT BLOG

The beautiful nito baskets of the Iraya-Mangyans Posted by admin in Ayala Foundation, Our Programs | 0 comments


The beautiful nito baskets of the Iraya-Mangyans

It takes a certain skill and patience to weave and work on a nito basket, uniquely designed by the Iraya-Mangyans of Puerto Galera, Oriental Mindoro.

Taking dried nito grass and forest vines, the women Iraya-Mangyans labor over a woven basket that is not a little over 22 inches in height for about three months. It’s a meticulous and patient process of weaving, taking the thick, dried forest vines and slowly weaving the sturdy nito grass through it in a circular motion.

Their nito baskets carry intricate woven patterns that some say are unique to them.

In the Iraya-Mangyan Village of Talipanan, Oriental Mindoro, one can see women huddled together under the hut early in the morning, painstakingly weaving their baskets. For many, it’s a practice that they have known all their lives.

“Since we could remember, there had always been basket weaving in our culture,” shared Lita Garcia, 26, while weaving her basket. She added that since she could remember, she had been weaving baskets all her life.

“It was our parents who taught us how to weave,” said Myrna Tulyo, 30, adding that it was a practice that was handed down from generation to generation.

* In the Iraya-Mangya village, normally it would be women who would spend the day weaving baskets while the men take care of farming and other chores. But these days, as demands for the beautiful Iraya-Mangyan baskets have increased and basket weaving is gradually becoming a viable source of income for the group, even men are now seen weaving baskets.

Baskets woven at the Iraya-Mangyan village in Talipanan are sold in Metro Manila though tourists visiting the village may also purchase the baskets locally. Sales of the baskets go directly to the families who weave them. At the village, weavers have little showrooms to display their woven goods, which include baskets of various sizes, plates, bracelets, and even little key chains.

The Iraya-Mangyan Village is one of Ayala Foundation’s programs under Sustainable Livelihood. For the past years, in partnership with the Sisters of Charity of St. Anne, the foundation has committed to providing education and skills training for the indigenous Iraya-Mangyan community.

You can visit the Iraya-Mangyan Village at the foot of Mt. Malasimbo, at Sitio Talipanan, Puerto Galera, Oriental Mindoro.

These beautiful Iraya-Mangyan baskets are also available at the third floor of Greenbelt 5, the Ayala Museum Shop, and Glorietta 1.

SOL JOSE VANZI'S CORNER
LIFESTYLE COLUMNIST OF THE MANILA DAILY BULLETIN & PANORAMA
'TIMPLA'T TIKIM'


Sol's profile avatar at Manila Bulletin
Lifestyle/Food

http://www.mb.com.ph/author/sol-vanzi/
Panorama
http://www2.mb.com.ph/a-fil-am-love-story/


1997 Photo: EDITOR -Philippine Headline News Online (PHNO) http://www.newsflash.org/staff/solvanzi.htm


2005 Photo: PHNO Travel & Leisure
http://www.newsflash.org/tlframe.htm


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

© Copyright, 2014 by PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE
All rights reserved


PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE [PHNO] WEBSITE