Sunday, April 28, 2013

Bibingkang Kanin

A few weeks ago I mentioned in a Relief Society gathering that before I went home, I really wanted to learn how to make Bibingkang Kanin. It is probably, without a doubt, my favorite Filipino dessert. I first tasted it at the mission home a few weeks after arriving and have been exposed to many versions over the past two years. However, we went to a birthday party a month or so ago and when they served it there, I was IN LOVE!! It was the best I had and asked Sister Franada if she would teach me how to make it so I could make it for my family. Now I know it won't be exactly the same because there are things that can be purchased here that we do not have in the US but I think I can substitute and recreate after my 'training day'. I took pictures [many] to help me remember the recipe and the process so will share with you all. Bet you wish you lived close enough to us that you too could have a taste in a few months.  MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM...delish!!!

Sister Castro is starting the fire-everything is cooked outside [these women
do not have stoves and ovens and are master campers!!]

Sister Navarro is making sure it has just the right amount of fuel.

You know this goofy lady-

This is fresh ground coconut. It needs to be squeezed and squeezed to extract
the coconut milk. I was stiff and sore the next day---such a wimp!

The coconut milk will boil for about 20-30 minutes then cooked rice is added.

Fresh coconut water will be used for the drink that the sisters are preparing. And
the coconuts will be shaved for the topping.

Tarzan with his machete.

The water is drained.

Sister Navarro and Sister Castro adding the rice for the base of the cake.

In preparation for the topping, the fresh coconut is scraped out and collected.

A banana leaf is used to smooth the rice base into the pan. I LOVE this pan
and want to bring one home-so cool!!!! Like a huge fluted cheesecake pan.

The fresh coconut is sprinkled on the top and then a smattering of
grated cheese is added.

The final topping is the rice/brown sugar/coconut milk mixture that was
made first.

They do not have ovens here but have developed a way to 'bake'. Coals
are placed on the metal siding and then placed on top of the
cake in the pan. There is heat coming from the underside also-like
a huge Dutch Oven.

The finished product. Wait until you taste it!! It is called Coconut Cake in English or
Bibingkang Kanin in Tagalog. Anyway you say it, it is delicious!!!

Friday, April 26, 2013


When my youngest son was small, I loved reading to him at night. He would join me in my waterbed and we read many classics as well as some children's church books. 'Trumpet of the Swan' and 'Charlotte's Web' were two of his favorite [I love E.B. White's books for kids]. Every now and then we would just have a fun read night and his all-time favorite were the 'Where's Waldo?' series. I think that we owned all they made and we had such fun racing through the pages trying to find the little character with the funny hat.

The thing that made those books so entertaining were the visual stimulation factor. You looked and looked and in the searching process, discovered so many interesting surprises. That is a little like our lives here-there is visual stimulation everywhere. The island that we live on is Luzon. Square miles, it is half the size of Nebraska or Utah but the population is twenty times either of those states. I snapped a few shots this past two weeks of our 'Where's Waldo' lifestyle. Have fun..

We are among the most incredible people in the most interesting country. This experience is one we will cherish and remember the rest of our lives....

Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Masters of Cement

These folks are the 'Masters of Cement'. I have never seen people that can manipulate cement into such fabulous creations. They build all of their structures from 'hollow block' or as we can it cinder block and rebar. It is amazing to watch.

Last fall, we noticed some new roadside decor in the making and within a couple of months and many man hours of craft, the following two 'welcome to' signs appeared on the highway. They are so intricate and colorful...just thought maybe one of you might be missing your lifetime calling-a designer of cement creations. Enjoy!

This shows a carabao pulling a cart laden with bags of rice while two workers
unload and carry.

This is the opposite side of the road of the first picture-a people
proud of their heritage and work.

Close up-notice the eyes of the carabao, the sculpture and designs on the front of
the base and the definition in the muscles of the worker-amazing.

 Ilagan is the city with the 'normal' grocery store in our area-Savemore. It almost reminds us of a store in the US. These next pictures are welcoming travelers to Ilagan. Also remember everything is done by hand and is done with cement!!

An amazing craft made by amazing people. Pictures do it NO justice but you will need to travel 16,000 miles to see it in person so enjoy...

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Only in the Philippines....

A few more random shots of things that we find only here in this great country...

With NO OSHA laws...

There is a section of the National Highway in Nueva Vizcaya where 'free flow' water allows people to pull off and wash their vehicles. The enterprising residents will charge for the use of their water [they have installed the hook-ups for the motorists] and they become entrepreneurs...

Trees in a variety of shapes and sizes..

Strange looking men with rags on their heads to protect them from the heat...this guy is kinda cute though..

Spiders the size of a small cat! This one is on the wall next to our huge floor vase, just for size comparison.

Instant showers occur along the roadside-the children and adults bring their shampoo and soap and take advantage of the free flow water systems...

Fifty foot pigs???? Really???

Cement being mixed directly on the pavement...then scooped into a bucket and carried to the area where it is needed.

Scaffolding being held up by a wing and a prayer

Colored plastic bags tied to long loads to warn the other motorists of their existence. 

Crazy winter hats worn at all times of year and in all types of weather

Free hanging suspended bridges with people running across them like squirrels

Animals and passengers hauled as one parcel

Crazy socks worn year round by all ages of women-these are on a 86 year old woman for a church activity. She is a hoot!!

Children and adults alike walking arm in arm. There is no fear of ridicule or embarrassment for affection here-this country is proud of the love they have for one another. Other countries could really learn a valuable lesson from them. Love is not ashamed...