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LECHON AND BINAGOL FOR THE POPE
The Palo, Leyte menu is no grand affair, just simple fare that showcases Filipino flavors—plus lechon.


LUNCH WITH THE PONTIFF. Pope Francis' visit won't be complete without Filipino's traditional fare. Pork adobo from Sentro1771 (Facebook/ sentro1771)
The five-day visit of His Holiness Pope Francis to the Philippines starting today will be attended by millions of Filipinos here and watched by many more on TV. More will follow each event on social media. Among those interested in the details of the visit are foodies, who wonder what the very popular leader of the Catholic Church will be served for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. CONTINUE READING...
 


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Lechon and Binagol for the Pope
The Palo, Leyte menu is no grand affair, just simple fare that showcases Filipino flavors—plus lechon.

MANILA, JANUARY 19, 2015 (MANILA BULLETIN) by Sol Vanzi - The five-day visit of His Holiness Pope Francis to the Philippines starting today will be attended by millions of Filipinos here and watched by many more on TV. More will follow each event on social media. Among those interested in the details of the visit are foodies, who wonder what the very popular leader of the Catholic Church will be served for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

After months of speculation, the first confirmed menu came last Monday via Father Chris Arthur H. Militante, information and social communications officer of the Archdiocese of Palo.

Fr. Arthur said the simple lunch to be shared by the Pontiff with 30 Yolanda super typhoon survivors from Samar and Leyte would feature lechon, pork adobo, and a vegetable dish containing malunggay leaves. Dessert will star two of the Waray region’s sweets. One is binagol, which is made from grated gabi (taro yam) and steamed in mature coconut shells. Binagol comes from the root word bagol, a Visayan term that literally means coconut shells. The other one is moron suman, a chocolate-flavored ground rice pudding steamed in banana leaves.


Lechon belly from Three Little Pigs (Image by Pinggot Zulueta)

Survivors’ Comfort Zone

Fr. Rex Ramirez, executive secretary of the local committee on the papal visit, explained that Pope Francis wanted familiar comfort food to be served during his visit to Palo, Leyte so Yolanda survivors need not step out of their comfort zones. “Majority of those at the lunch are Filipinos, therefore the dishes that will be served are those they are familiar with,” Fr. Rex explained. Although international food was earlier considered, there were apprehensions that survivors might be unfamiliar with them and may feel uncomfortable.

Leyte Lechon

Although Pope Francis had requested that all arrangements for his visit be kept simple, lechon will be served because “no Filipino gathering is complete without it.”

“When you say lechon, it connotes something special,” Fr. Rex said, adding that the dish would be chopped when served.

Cebuanos will definitely argue that the Pope should be served lechon from Cebu, not lechon from Palo, Leyte. After all, did not celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain claim that Cebu’s lechon was the best “of all the whole roasted pigs” he had had?

Binagol Home Recipe


Binagol (image by Ivy Lisa Mendoza)

To make binagol at your own home. Follow these instructions:

Mix one cup of pure coconut milk, 3/4 cup of grated raw gabi, and 3/4 cup of brown sugar in a pan and cook over low-to-medium heat for 17 minutes. Stir constantly. Add half a can of condensed milk and cook for another 20 minutes over low heat. Check constantly to prevent scorching.

Spoon mixture into four cleaned coconut half shells, making a well at the center, for one egg yolk in each. Cover egg yolks with more mixture, filling the shells to the brim. Wrap the filled coconut shells with banana leaves that had been wilted over fire. Tie the banana leaves tightly over the shells to prevent leaks. Steam for 30 minutes. Home cooks without empty coconut shells can use metal or ceramic bowls instead, and aluminum foil in lieu of banana leaves.




Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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