Many-splendored gifts of fields and forests (and shores, plains, hills, mountains…)

This piece is for all those who hold Philippine vegetables in low esteem—out of ignorance. “The variety is so limited,” complained one American. “Puro ginisang gulay,” said a Filipina. “Why don’t Filipinos eat salads?”

Variety we certainly have—all year round. Vegetables vari-shaped, multi-textured, multi-tasted, are available in supermarkets, wet markets, talipapa, tabu, sidewalk stalls, and backyard gardens. The Filipino, being part of an agricultural community, usually knows what vegetables are available at what season, and how best to treat them. And so deep is the knowledge that classifications do not mean much. Continue reading