Thursday, December 22, 2011

Massive Disaster Relief for Victims of Typhoon Sendong is Launched

Massive Disaster Relief for Victims of Typhoon Sendong is Launched 

Richel Umel/AP
 Redwood City, Calif. (PRWEB) December 20, 2011
ABS CBN Foundation International launches an international disaster relief effort for the victims of Typhoon Sendong in Mindanao island, the southern region of the Philippines, through Sagip Kapamilya. Tax deductible monetary donations are now being accepted to provide immediate aid. Cheques can be made to “ABS CBN Foundation International: Typhoon Sendong” and sent to the nonprofit’s offices at 150 Shoreline Drive, Redwood City, California 94065. Donors can also contribute online via
On Sunday, Typhoon Sendong brought more than a month of average rainfall within 12 hours to Northern Mindanao, the Visayas and Palawan. Hard hit are the southern coastal cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan. Unaccustomed to major storms, river systems and homes specifically in these two cities were massively destroyed. Raging waters have put the toll at 927 killed and hundreds more missing, as reported today by ABS CBN News. Most of the dead are women and children.
Typhoon Sendong is now considered the world’s deadliest storm for 2011.
While mass graves are being dug for its casualties, survivors continue to ask for help. Body bags, food, water, medicine, blankets, kerosene lamps, etc. are urgently needed in evacuation centers where the ABS CBN Foundation volunteers are stationed.
“Typhoon Sendong is especially devastating to all of us because it affected some of our poorest families just a few days before Christmas,” said J. Robbie Fabian, President of the ABS CBN Foundation International. “We will be on the ground until more missing persons are brought to safety and all our survivors are given immediate attention. As always, the commitment of Sagip Kapamilya is long-term community rehabilitation.”
The Sagip Kapamilya—Typhoon Sendong campaign appeals to the global community to assist the Filipino people in this time of dire need. To address the urgent needs on the ground in the quickest possible way, and because shipments of in-kind goods take 45 days to arrive in the Philippines, ABS CBN Foundation International will only accept monetary donations at this time. ABS CBN Foundation International is committed to remit 100% of donations to the Philippines within 24 hours of the donation.
ABS CBN Foundation International is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of disadvantaged Filipino children and their families in the Philippines and around the world. Its flagship program, Bantay Bata (Child Watch), is a child abuse rescue operation that responds to an average of 15,300 calls for assistance a year. The program assists more than 21,000 children and families in relocation communities and feeds at least 4,400 severely malnourished children a year. Its education program serves 4.2 million elementary school children and their teachers.
In the United States, the organization partners with Filipino-American organizations and associations in addressing community issues--youth truancy, housing, issues affecting the elderly, health, and emergency needs. For more programs and information, visit

Please help the victims of typhoon Sendong

Residents of two southern Philippine cities battered by a storm that left over 1,000 people dead and displaced hundreds of thousands started the hard work of reclaiming their lives as authorities buried dozens of bodies in concrete vaults on Wednesday.

The head of the national disaster agency, Benito Ramos, said 1,002 people were killed and dozens more remained unaccounted for on Mindanao island after landslides, flash floods, and falling logs triggered by typhoon Washi swept aside homes and roads as people slept in the early hours of Saturday.

Washi was one of the deadlist typhoons to hit the country since 2008 when Fengshen killed 938 in the central Philippines, according to the national disaster agency. The worst typhoon was Thelma which struck Ormoc City on central island of Leyte in 1991, causing flash floods that killed more than 5,000 people.

Most of Washi's casualties were in the cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan, with more than 275,000 people homeless, many now sheltering in dozens of evacuation areas.
Some of the displaced headed back to their villages to reclaim their lives and rebuild destroyed houses on Wednesday. Television footage showed residents shoveling mud, washing furniture and hanging clothes to dry under the sun.

Washi brought more than 180mm (7 inches) of rainfall over a 24-hour period over northern Mindanao, more than the average of 113 mm (4.5 inches) for an entire December month in the area, Rosalina de Guzman of the weather bureau's climate data office told Reuters.
It was the worst typhoon in northern Mindanao in more than 50 years, or since November 1958 when 227 mm (9 inches) of rain fell, de Guzman said.

On Tuesday, Aquino declared a state of national calamity and ordered an investigation into the disaster. He said Manila would use more than 1 billion pesos ($22.79 million) in calamity funds and soft loans from multilateral lending agencies such as the World Bank for reconstruction.
The disaster agency said nearly 1 billion pesos worth of infrastructure, schools and hospitals were destroyed in floods. The Agriculture department said more than 15 million pesos worth of crops, mostly rice and corn, were damaged.
($1 = 43.8750 Philippine pesos)

Monday, December 19, 2011

Noche Buena: Pulled pork adobo sliders on homemade pandesal

Nochebuena, (literally "Good Night"), is a Spanish word referring to the night of Christmas Eve. In Spain, Cuba, Latin America, and the Philippines, the evening consists of a traditional dinner with family. In the traditional Filipino household, this dinner is enjoyed right after the late evening Christmas Eve mass. Growing up, I always looked forward to celebrating Christmas. It meant seeing all my cousins, opening gifts and watching all the adults do their gift exchange. You could call it a mini family reunion. Crackly Christmas music would be playing on the turntable, which I would always seem to scratch...DJ in the making right! But, what I looked forward to the most was all the food waiting to be devoured on the dining table. The ham, lumpia, pancit, empandas, hot chocolate, and every dessert imaginable. What I also remembered was my uncles and aunts drinking their hot chocolate and coffee with fresh from the oven pandesal (pan de sal). The toasted buttery smell was very intoxicating and somehow made for a scent that would always remind me of the holidays.

I recently joined the Kulinarya Cooking Club which was started by a group of Filipino foodies living in Sydney who are passionate about the Filipino culture and its colourful cuisine. Each month they showcase a new dish along with their family recipes.This months theme and challenge, was to share a Noche Beuna dish. This was going to be somewhat of a challenge for me. How could I make just one dish and not feel bad about leaving the other delicious recipes behind? So, I went back and forth with my wife and brother in-law trying to figure out what we were actually serving for Noche Buena on the 24th. We really haven't narrowed the menu down as of yet, so the challenge was getting more and more challenging. This was my first post, so I wanted to have a good time with this one.

So I decided to combine two dishes into one, making a perfect snack for both young and old. If pandesal and pork adobo decided to make a food truck, this is what they would serve...naturally. So my offering for the Noche Buena challenge is pulled pork adobo on homemade pandesal, or pandesal sliders for short. I haven't attempted to make pandesal before but Jun Belen of Jun-blog, Vanjo Merano of Panlasang Pinoy, and Malou  of Skip to Malou, provide enough inspiration to help guide any novice baker. Click on the links for their complete pandesal recipes. I decided to make my version with Splenda, to accommodate for the no-sugar dieters in my family. I was actually told by Amy Besa, co-author of Memories of Philippine Kitchens, that pandesal, from the Spanish pan de sal, means bread of salt and "should not be sweet. It is an aberration when people put a ton of sugar in it." Thanks Amy for the info. Now I feel better about making my version without sugar. But, I guess if you insist on the sweetness but can't have the recipe is ok.

Pandesal ingredients (adapted from Panlasang Pinoy)
  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup white sugar (I used Splenda instead)
  • 5 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/4 cup fresh milk, warm
  • 1 pouch rapid rise yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 piece raw egg
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil
Directions (adapted from Panlasang Pinoy and Jun-Blog)
Combine the yeast, 1 tbsp sugar from your half cup, and warm milk and stir until the yeast and sugar are fully dissolved. Let it stand for 10 minutes. You should notice that the yeast is active if it doubles in size. Combine the flour then the sugar, salt, and baking powder in a mixing bowl and mix until you achieve a consistent texture. Now add the egg, melted butter, cooking oil, and yeast-sugar-milk mixture in the mixing bowl with the dry ingredients then mix again until a dough is formed.

On a flat dusted surface,  knead the dough for 8 minutes to achieve a smooth elastic dough. Mold the dough into a round shape and place in a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap for 1 hour. This gives you a chance to prep and start your pulled pork abobo. (continue to recipe below)

Put the dough back to the flat surface and knead it once more. Next divide into 2 equal parts and roll into rectangular sheets and then roll the sheet into a log, about 20 inches long and 2 inches in diameter. Now slice the dough into 1 inch thick pieces, place onto a cookie sheet cut side up, and sprinkle your bread crumbs onto your pieces. Make sure to leave enough space for the your your pandesal to expand.

Let the dough sit and rise for 15 minutes while you preheat the oven to 375 degrees
Pre heat the oven at 375 degrees fahrenheit for 10 minutes. After, bake your dough for 15 minutes. Pretty simple and definitely not a hard as I thought.

For the pulled pork adobo, I use a pressure cooker to make sure my meat is tender and separates nicely. My pressure cooker is electric and gets the job done very fast, so please adjust your times accordingly.

  • 4 lbs of pork shoulder cut into large cubes
  • 1 cup of low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup of cane vinegar
  • 1 tbsp ground  pepper
  • 1/3 cup of freshly cut garlic
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp of powdered cumin
  • 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil.

Directions (modify if you are using a traditional pressure cooker or pot)
Heat your oil for a few minutes then saute your garlic. Next, add your pork and brown for a few minutes. Now season your meat with the pepper and cumin and add your bay leaves. Last, add your liquids and cover your pressure cooker. After 40 minutes, your pork will be nice and tender.

Separate your pork from your liquids and pull your pork apart with your hands or by using two forks. Continue to separate until completely shredded. Keep your sauce on the side and add it to your pulled pork depending on how juicy you want your sliders.

Now if your timing is perfect, your pulled pork is finished, and your pandesal is ready. So slice into that freshly baked bread and generously add the adobo pulled pork to complete the ultimate Noche Buena Street food snack.

But Noche Buena would be complete without a few other dishes. Here are some of the other dishes that we will be having for Noche Buena:

Arroz caldo
Crispy adobo wings
bibingka cupcakes
Cassava cake
Whatever you decide to share with your family and friends for Noche Buena, make sure to have fun in the kitchen as well.  I think it's great to share the experience of cooking with the next generation of Filipino foodies and chefs.

I am so honored to be a part of the Kulinarya Cooking Club and can't wait to see what challenges 2012 will bring. Please make sure to visit the rest of the members blogs to see whats cooking in their kitchen. God Bless and have a happy New Year.

Resources and Credits
Kulinarya Cooking Club - Website
Panlasang Pinoy

Friday, December 2, 2011

Recipes from home: Bibingka cupcakes with salted egg and cream cheese

Sometimes, good things come to those who wait. In my case, I finally convinced my mom to pass down her famous bibingka recipe. In my culture, it's rare to share our recipes with each other, especially those special dishes that people rave about. But, I think that plays a big part of why Filipino food hasn't gone mainstream or better yet...recognized by the masses. If it was up to me, Filipino chefs, cooks and foodies around the world would collaborate to make one UNIVERSAL cookbook. One book to rule them all! OK maybe not rule, but instead be a base for all recipes. It's probably an impossible task but it's my goal to push for it. 

With that being said, I do believe my mom's bibingka recipe is my favorite. I'm sure there are great recipes out there but I would definitely lobby for parts of it to be included in "The Universal Guide to Philippine Cuisine" There, I named it...I said it first, and hopefully it goes viral someday.

I knew when my mom was cooking bibingka when I was younger. The aroma of the banana leaves filled the house and the I could just taste the buttery, cheesy and savory goodness that was in my near future. She only made bibingka during Christmas time and it made the experience even more special.

So why wait till Christmas to enjoy this ever so popular savor pastry? Bibingka is perfect anytime of the day. Great with your morning coffee, afternoon snack, and pairs well with vanilla ice cream.

Now everyone loves, cupcakes, so I thought it would be cool to make a bibingka version. Easy right? Cut up some banana leaves, place them in cupcake pans, pour in the batter and viola...bite sized heaven. Well it wasn't that easy especially since I am no baker. It's a science, and I really didn't do that well in chemistry. Even the cutting of banana leaves took a delicate hand. But after some trial and mostly error, I think my attempt at baking went well.

Mama Honey's Bibingka
Ingredients for 2 dozen cupcakes
1 cup of bisquick mix
1/2 cup of rice flour (not Mochiko Sweet rice flour. I used Bob's Red Mill unsweetened stone ground)
3 tsp baking powder
1 cup sugar
1 1/4 cup of milk
4 eggs
1/2 cup of grated cheese
1/2 bar of unsalted butter
tsp cream cheese per cupcake
2 salted eggs chopped

Mix bisquick, rice flour, baking powder and sugar in a mixing bowl until smooth and consistent texture. Now mix in eggs 1 at a time. Add your melted butter followed by your grated cheese. Continue to mix until smooth.

Next, scoop into individual banana leaf cups. Before baking put your salted egg, if desired and cream cheese on top. Bake in your preheated oven at 375 degrees and bake for 20 minutes.

These bake faster than normal due to their size and my mom's original recipe calls for mini pie pans for 30 minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes then take the cupcakes and place on a cooling rack.

You can serve these guys as is or finish them with cream cheese frosting. If you do, cut back on the powdered sugar to reduce the sweetness.

You never get it right on your first try, and I'll have to refine my banana leaf cutting skills. Try it with Mochiko if you prefer. Remember, it's all about sharing, and making things better. I hope we can all get on board this notion of a The Universal Guide to Philippine Cuisine. I believe that it will only make our food better and more consistent, and also build a community of great Filipino food lovers. I just wanted to say thank you to my mom for sharing her recipe with me. Also, thanks to all of you who take your time to follow my Filipino food adventures. Salamat.