Archive for Alpha Sanford

An Ilocano Living with Buro in New England

Burong Isda or Fermented Fish

Burong Isda or Fermented Fish

When making my “Ano ang gusto mong pasalubong?” request, buro (fermented fish) is my usual answer. Why buro?

  1. It is my favorite food, of all time, of anything!
  2. The longer that you preserve it, the better (So, you won’t even have to worry about getting it stale- never! In fact, at one time, my Nanay Aning bought a huge can of buro and I was making sure it would last me for a year and miraculously, it did – even better, actually heavenly!)
  3. It is what it is: fish and rice – both cheap and easy to buy in the Iloko region of the Philippines
  4. The immigration won’t confiscate it as long as you declare it – unless you have a stop over in Hawaii and chances are, the people who are working there are Ilocanos who are also in great need of such buro supply, so there might be buro MIA case for you.
  5.  Where else on this land of fried chicken, RAGU and pasta will you ever buy buroby the tin can? Nowhere – so why not buro for pasalubong!

Buro is rather rare!

But buro has something unique, hmmm…a raunchy smell!

And buro, makes my neighbors cringe to their stomach and maybe grind their teeth.

I like to cook buro with a lot of onions and garlic. So, one autumn day, I was sauteeing the ingredients for my buro when one of our neighbors rang the doorbell:

SHE said: I’m sorry, but we were just wondering if there was an electrical line burning in your house. We have been smelling this burning smell.
I said: Oh, that was my food!
SHE said: Oh, I’m sorry I thought something was burning.
I said: You want some, it’s buro – my favorite!
SHE said: Oh, NO thank you!

Then she left as I enjoyed my buro with a plateful of rice, eating with my bare hands.

Eavesdropping American Husband

baby_girl-talking-on-phone

Ilocano wife phone chats with her sister in the Philippines as American Husband listens in the background

Ilocano wife: Hay na adiay kua ket madi met nga malmalpas sen. Madik kuma ngarud nga kayat ngem adiay kua da met ket sige met lattan.
American husband: Hmmm…(thinking to himself)
Ilocano wife: Wen ah, diay kua ket nagpintas nga taltalaga. Umay ka met nga agbisita nu kwa a.
American husband: Hmmm…(again thinking to himself)
Ilocano wife: Wen – basta nu umay ka dittoy ipasyar ka diay cua da Maricar tapno makitam met nu kasanu iti kasasaad da met ah.
American husband: Hmmm…(again thinking to himself for the third time)…Honey (signaling his wife to stop)
Ilocano wife: Okay sige ngarud kabsat, tu maminsan manen. (hangs up the phone)
American husband: Honey, who is Jay Cua that you keep talking about?

Siak Ket Ilocano, an Ilocano Poem

ilocano ak
    •  SIAK KET ILOCANO
      Wen Manang, Ilocano ak.
      Madik nga mai-lemmeng.
      Uray pay nu kuna da nga estetsayd ak kon.
      Ket adda met iti nagbaliwan iti kudil kon
      Siak iti pudno nga pay laeng nga Ilocano.Wen Manang, Ilokano ak.
      Nu iti rupa siguro, madim nga malasin
      Ta pimmudaw ni kabagis mon
      Ngem nu denggem nak, Ay na Manang ko
      Mai bagam nga dis oras – awan nagbaliwakWen Manang, Ilokano ak.
      Nu agsarita-ak, ammo mon nu ampay.
      Nu maibittaw ko, “Diay bangir, baket!”
      Anda pay iti kadwa na natibkir nga sao
      Ammo mom Manang ko, nu ampay.
      Nu kunak kenyam ket, “Diay kua, ngarud!”
      Ammo mom nga agpapayso ak nga Ilocano.
      Umasideg ka kenyak, iyarasaas ko,
      Ammom kadi appay nga Ilocano ak?Wen Manang, Ilokano ak.
      Isu iti napigsa nga pammatik.
      Isu iti kabibiag ko.
      Isu iti biag ko.
      Isu iti indakkel ko.
      Siak ket Ilocano.Ken maipasindayaw ko.