Local Legends: A Reflection of Romblomanon Culture

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 26 2018 03:21 PM | Updated as of Sep 15 2019 04:46 PM

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Dubbed as the Marble Capital of the Philippines, Romblon does not boast only of its marble finds, white beaches, and natural playgrounds, but also their signature dishes that only Romblomanon can cook.

The islands of Romblon are flanked by both sea and agricultural land that gives them a variety of local produce. The province’s agricultural way of life led to the creation of recipes that use homegrown ingredients. This turned many locals to cooking dishes as a source of livelihood.

One of the popular local dishes is “sarsa” — ground freshwater prawns (ulang), mixed with coconut meat, chili, and garlic, then wrapped in coconut leaves that emit supplementary pungent aroma.

The sarsa  may be paired with rice or eaten as an accompaniment to alcoholic drinks.

Azon Manato, sarsa maker for three decades, has been relying on her cooking for the family upkeep. Given the difficulties in making sarsa , Manato makes sure she does a good job.

“Mahalaga 'yun sa akin kasi ayaw kong mapintasan 'yung sarsa na niluluto ko. Iniisip ko talaga na ang sarsa  ko ay mabibili agad kapag ako ang gumagawa,” she said.

Over time, the sarsa  is said to have become a reflection of Romblon’s culture. For Sherwin Perlas, Romblon State University professor, it is imperative to keep the traditional way of cooking this dish. Perlas claims that for Romblomanons, sarsa  is like rice for Filipinos — one can’t live without it.

“Ang sarsa, bilang salamin ng kultura ng aming bayan, ay napakahalagang ipagpatuloy ang pagluluto nito. Puwede ka bang tawaging Pilipino kung hindi ka kumakain ng kanin? ‘Di ba hindi? Pag kumain ka, may kanin. Kaming mga taga-Romblon kapag kumain kami, may sarsa. Ganun kahalaga 'yun,” he said.

Catch the second season of “Local Legends”, which airs new episodes every Friday at 8:30 p.m. on ANC and ANC HD.

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