Wednesday, 16 April 2008


Post 28: Lolo Ramon's Story

If I would be asked of things I remember most about my grandmother, it would be her tapey(rice wine), her childhood memories, her cooking and her great faith in God.

Back when I was eleven years old, My Lola Meding found me sited on the bench near the "dalikan" or "pugon" (where to cook making use of fire-woods) as she enters her kitchen backdoor. She just came from helping my dad in putting the chickens into their cages. She also made sure that my dad had sent all of us kids to go and play elsewhere away from her house.

"Ngantoy wada ka dyay"(why are you here)?", she calmly asked. I was expecting her to get angry at me for sneaking into her kitchen when I was suppose to be with my sisters. I didn't answer but stubbornly sat there and firmly showed her I'm not lifting my butt away from her bench. "I-aagit mo ngarud"(be quiet) and just watch she told me as she added more wood into the fire.

After neatly tucking in her hair into her knitted brown cap, Lola started to boil the red rice for the "tapey"(rice wine) she's going to make. It is for the canao (a traditional Igorot feast) we're soon going to have. This specific traditional feast we call "panayaw" is for my Mama who just died few months ago. Its our way of having our "babang luksa" (end of mourning) where we butcher pigs, cows or carabaos. The highlight would be for our departed to have "tayaw" (Igorot dance) performed by any of the immediate family. It is our belief that in doing the "panayaw", we're helping our newly departed's soul cross over into the next life.

When the red rice almost lost all it's water, my grandma poured it into the "bigao"( winnowing basket-tray ) to cool down. She then sprinkled the pounded "bubod"(local yeast)on it and mixed it thoroughly with his two big wooden ladles before the rice finally lost all it's heat. Then she covered the mixture with the banana leaves she had soften earlier by burning it a little directly into the fire. When all was set, she brought all the "bigao" inside the spare room where it was cool and dry. After four days, she will fill all the "coli"(jars) with the "sinaig"(the mixture:3 to 5 days old ) and seal it tightly to ferment further. After two months, these would be opened serving as our wine for the said Canao.

When she came back from the room where she stored the "bigao", I asked her, "Ngantoy kailangan yu a ikulong idama manok?" (Why do you have to cage all the chickens?). She explained that no one must fight, animals and people alike nor make some loud noises when she's making the rice wine so that when during the canao, there will no fights and all would be serene.

My father also added during my last call yesterday that during the tapey making, there should be no love making for the chicken nor dogs. And for the house hold members, no sex till the "coli" is sealed. It is an old belief that when this is not followed, any spouse member of the household might commit adultery.



Why is it that when it comes to Lolas, we always remember at least one kind of food :)


Ciao Tahn,

Food power (lol)! That's their simple smooth way of bribing. They know it works all the time.


i also remember my lola blowing on our stone oven to start a fire :D

KK aka Tina

wow! I haven't had the chance to meet my Igorot side grandma. I missed out alot on my father side and never learned how to make Tapey. I wished I was able to learn how to make it. Made me want to have some Tapey now. Do you know how to make it Lovelyn? I'm kicking myself for not having any the last time I went.

So interesting to learn that animals and people have to behave themselves while the wine is being made.

bill bilig

Very interesting about the silence thing. I would have never thought that it has significance like that.

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