Last Friday, the Philippines were struck by the super-typhoon Haiyan, or Yolanda, as we Filipinos call it. It brought sustained winds of 235km/h (147mph), with gusts of 275 km/h (170 mph), with waves as high as 15m, bringing up to 400mm of rain in places. With many roads impassable, no power, and no phones, we still don’t know the exact extent of loss and devastation it has left us. But one thing, I know. Lives have been lost. People have been hungry and thirsty for days. They have lost their homes, their belongings, and endured the most terrifying situation of their lives. I live in Manila, and we had been fortunate to be spared Yolanda’s wrath.
I am grateful to be alive, to have a roof over my head, food, clothes, and my loved ones well. I realise everything else is gravy. Yet, there is a huge knot on my throat. Every time I see on TV or the internet how my fellow Filipinos are suffering, I want to cry.
For the past two days, I have been asking myself what I can do. Yes, I have gone through my clothes, my bedsheets, my towels, and picked out a few I can donate. I don’t have many funds to donate, so I was thinking a fundraising could be good. But I asked myself, “what can I do as a food and travel writer?”
With several deadlines to meet at the end of the week, thought there was nothing I can do. “It’s too bad, I’ll be in Indonesia,” I thought to myself. I can’t pack, or put together a fundraiser. But I realised I too was away when Ondoy struck [the tropical storm in 2009], because I was living in Singapore then. Right that very moment, I could only pray. But a few weeks later, my Filipino friends at St Francis Xavier Choir and the Religious of the Cenacle sisters mounted a recollection/concert to raise funds for Ondoy. Through faith and song, we raised money for our fellow Filipinos in need. I do know what it feels to be away from your countrymen, feeling helpless, and wanting to help.
I realized there is something we can do. I call it Adobo AID. Our national dish is Adobo. It is a resilient dish. With vinegar, it does well without refrigeration. It does not spoil easily, and can keep for days. In fact, it even tastes better the longer it stays in your freezer.
So here’s what I propose to the over 10 million Filipinos, living all over the world. Come join me on November 23, for Saturday dinner. Invite your friends – Filipinos and non-Filipinos alike! Cook a simple dinner of your favorite adobo recipe. It can be pork and chicken adobo. It can be adobong pusit, or if you can’t cook even adobong mani will do.
Serve it with hot steamed rice and an ensalada of your choice. Do let your friends know it is a fundraising dinner. Pass around the hat at the end of the meal, so they can donate any amount they wish. Whatever, you raise please send it to the organisation of your choice.
Please tell me how your Adobo AID dinner turned out. Share your photos, recipes, and tell me how much you’ve raised on Facebook page This is a great way for Filipinos, anywhere in the world to help.
I am calling on all my friends and contacts who are foodies to please mount an Adobo AID Dinner wherever you are, even if you are not Pinoy. To people all over the world, employing Filipino domestic helpers, please have an Adobo AID dinner where you can ask your helper to cook her best Adobo Recipe, and invite your friends.
Whatever your friends donate, you can donate to her beloved countrymen.
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Maida’s Adobo Recipe
1 Kilo Chicken
½ Kilo Pork
¾ cup white vinegar
2 heads garlic (I like it extra garlicky)
3 pcs bayleaf
1 teaspoon rock salt
¼ cup toyo (soy sauce )
1 cup water
Mix all ingredients in (except water) and let it marinate for two hours.
Add the water. Let it boil until meat is tender and vinegar has evaporated.
(Some people stop at this step and serve it). But I recommend frying it to get that extra texture. Return to the sauce, let it simmer. Then serve.
Serve with steaming hot white rice, and a side dish of ensalada of your choice: ampalaya salad (pickled ampalaya/bitter gourd , radish, and tomatoes) or green mango salad (green mangoes, bagoong (shrimp paste), and tomatoes).
Kain Na! (let’s eat!)
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