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ensaymadas and barong tagalogs

i am googling for a good ensaymada recipe. last week, after spending 2 days with a Fil-Am family Francis has been friendly with since last year, i found out that the Fil-Am community in Richmond is in love with this “bread with sugar, butter and cheese on top”. most of them don’t even know what it’s called. shameful isn’t it?

anyway, we spent the weekend with them after attending their “fall Filipiniana night” whose only association with the its root word “Filipino” is the fact that some men were wearing barongs, some women were wearing baro’t saya and an old man with a military accent was vaguely explaining the history of our native costumes while playing the role of an emcee. oh, we got to sing “Lupang Hinirang” also, but only after their poignant rendition of Star-spangled Banner and while a young girl desperately tries to sing in Tagalog while her grandparents were cheering her on as if being able to sing our national anthem was an “act”.

i don’t have any pictures of the event. i didn’t bring my camera, which was a relief despite the match of the bag strap with the black dress i wore. i was hoping they could at least have some native songs and dances for entertainment (just let the evening have a glitch of national pride) but no, we had the mexican dancers do a group salsa and a feisty tango while we were digesting our dinner of roast beef and green beans.

forgive me if i’m painting a wicked picture here. they are nice people. they could still speak Tagalog (i just can’t have Filipinos who seem to have forgotten how to speak our native language just because they have been in the US for x-years in my table) and are very friendly. but it just makes me sad (to the verge of frustration) how these fine men and women have outgrown the sense of nationalism that should have been the very fiber of our being. i am not asking them to go back to Philippines and leave their settled and comfortable lives in Richmond, but as true Filipinos, they should at least know that helping the country is not a matter of being its charitable sponsor – but by simply BEING PROUD TO BE ONE. and one way to show how proud you are is by showcasing the culture, knowing its true history, which is beyond the pinya barongs and colorful sarongs. they should at least EMBRACE the fact that they are STILL FILIPINOS – and it is their duty to their children to teach them OUR BEING, to not let them forget.

yes i could always bash how we never seem to learn from our mistakes as a race, how we go gaga over noon time shows and how polluted Manila is right now. but for me, i say and realize these with a heavy heart, not to condescend. Philippines for me is not just a word i write in forms next to “place of birth” – she is a living, breathing entity, whom i will always love and cherish wherever i am. a place that i will go back to – when the right time comes – because it is HOME. and it is part of  my dream to one day find a way to help.

so until we get that chance to go back home, i’m looking for an good ensaymada recipe. because ensaymadas are not just the  dry “bread with sugar, butter and cheese on top” sold at Asian bakeshops, overpriced, horded by FilAm families and kept in refs for weeks near expiration. ensaymadas are sweet breads that are freshly-baked,  a melt-in-you mouth goodness topped with grated Queso de Bola, eaten hot (which i prefer) or cold with a strong Batangas coffee. to some this maybe a tradition. but for me, this is a habit. a habit i won’t give up just because i am not in Manila.

Categories: others
  1. December 22, 2006 at 9:22 pm

    I featured the how-to’s of making ensaymada in my blog, but kept the recipe off the net because my sister requested that I do not post about it. A co-worker at the nursing home had a taste of it when she brought two pieces to work, and would have ordered from my sister. So she came home that day and asked me to make them again, and this time, she would learn how to make the ensaymada herself. She is considering selling them for a sideline, hence, I offered to my blog readers the recipe through snail mail if and only if their physical address is far from Burnaby, Canada (where my sis lives; I was just visiting her then; I live in Maine). So if you are interested, email me your physical address and I will send you a copy. Not only are these better eaten fresh from the oven, they are indeed overpriced and have preservatives when bought from Asian/Filipino bakeshops.

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