The holiest month for the Muslims is Ramadan. The Muslims believe that it was during this time that Angel Gabriel appeared to Mohammed and revealed to him the teachings of God “Allah” as written in their holy book the Koran. Ramadan is a month long fast which shifts yearly based on the Muslim lunar calendar. During Ramadan nothing can be eaten during sunrise to sunset. Fasting reminds them that there is more to life than earthy things. Breakfast should be eaten before dawn and dinner must be taken after sundown. Eid-il-fitr is a feast to celebrate the end of Ramadan.
In Metro Manila there is a shopping center called Greenhills where a lot of our Muslim countrymen trade, have set-up shops and live in harmony with all other sectors of society. Their children now go to the nearby main stream schools and peacefully co-exist with the city folks. So yes “peace” it can be done.
It broke my heart to hear about the fighting in Magindanao right next to Iligan city. Magindanao is the second largest of the Muslim cultural-linguistic groups of the Philippines and has now become a war torn area.In the summer of 2007 the school sent Chef Jenny Redito and myself to Iligan to do a series of cooking classes. At that time both Brothers Dennis Magbanua and Ken Martinez were assigned in La Salle Acedemy. (Today Bro. Dennis is president of La Salle Zobel and Bro. Ken is now president of La Salle Canlubang). They were gracious hosts together with Bro. Rey, Chef Tom Fresnido and Beverly Widmeir. We spent 10 days touring Mindanao during this road trip…. I just fell in love with the
warmth and hospitality of both the Muslims and Catholics, the pristine waters of Tinago falls, the white sands of Camiguin Island, and the very beautiful and serene stretches of the Cagayan de Oro river during our whitewater rafting. Indeed one of the most beautiful places in this country is Mindanao.
I came to teach but came home learning more than I taught. I learned about their cuisine and culture. My Muslim students even brought me their dishes seeing how enthusiastic I was to learn about their food. Here are some of them:
Tiyatug – A Maranao delicacy of rolled rice noodles, deep fried with sugar
Dudol -A Maranao delicacy similar to kalamay, made form pilit (violet rice), galapong(rice flour), cooked in coconut milk and sugar
Browa -A Maranao delicacy that tastes quite similar to the western Madeline cookies or a tagalog mamon