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In this issue

As I write my Editor’s Note for July, I am astounded by how much I still don’t know about our National Hero, Jose Rizal. Since this issue was produced in the latter part of May to early June, it is around the same time that festivities celebrating his birthday are underway in his hometown of Calamba, Laguna. Our family used to spend weekends in Calamba—my mom’s hometown—when I was growing up. Every week, we’d pass by Rizal Shrine and a few times we’d go in, especially when balikbayan cousins are around. That was pretty much all the extra knowledge I had about the man, above what we were required to study in school. Having just joined the Culinary Historians of the Philippines (CHOP) this year, I was eager to learn more about Filipino cuisine, especially the food from faraway provinces and towns. I had very little interest on Calamba, thinking there was nothing worth finding. Last month, I was tasked by friends from CHOP to organize a “Food of Jose Rizal” lunch and tour in Calamba. Unlike other towns and provinces, Calamba isn’t really on anyone’s culinary map. Even I had no idea what the local food was, apart from a dish which I hated as a child—Sinigang na Kanduli sa Bayabas. What will I serve the CHOP group, what will I say about Rizal’s Calamba? After a bit of research, assistance from relatives, tourism officers, and no less than Rizal Shrine Curator, Ms. Zarah Escueta and Calamba native Chef Kathy Sion, the lunch and tour pushed through. I had to say something during the lunch and thanks to Felice Sta. Maria’s book, “The Foods of Jose Rizal”, I had enough trivia to share. History is something we often take for granted. We go about our daily lives, pass by monuments, visit places and read historical and cultural markers and that’s usually it. If only we dug a little deeper, read a little more and visited a little longer, we’d find so many interesting things about our past—things that might even help us with our present and future.

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