I keep circling back to the question of why all this ruminating on Filipino food matters. I'm coming around to the realization that the best way to tell the story I want to tell is to tell it!
Why am I so obsessed with learning about food in the Philippines? Does learning about its history really help me understand my own place in world, internally and externally?
What I do feel is that I can better understand myself as the person I am and want to be, when I'm sated with knowledge about something I really care about - and I care a great deal about peoples' relationships with Filipino food.
You can examine it by class (people with barely pennies eating packaged instant noodles every single day, versus North Americans who travel to the Philippines specifically to learn about its food) or examine it by era (with research into the ingredients and cooking techniques of pre-colonial, Spanish, American and today's Filipino kitchens).
I am in the midst of planning for a 3 week trip to the Philippines in early March to gather research for my Filipino food blog. That's approximately 8 weeks from now. Alarm bells are ringing, as I've still got so much to do! I need to hammer out an itinerary, start getting in touch with people I'd like to speak with and visit, figure out how much to allocate for expenses, figure out how to get around - on top of dealing with my battered schedule at work and keeping myself in good physical and mental shape.
I am crazy excited for this trip. I look forward to setting foot in Mindanao - to visit Cagayan de Oro, Bukidnon and Davao.
Kyle from Becoming Filipino recently wrote on his Facebook page, "Next year... just take a few days. Open yourself up to the Philippines. Talk to to strangers on the street. Head out on that adventure you were debating over. Go somewhere you have never been in the country. Try something risky! Throw a SMILE on your face, bring some positive enthusiasm with you and...Let inspiration find you."
Thanks, Kulas. I hope to do just that!