Love and light in a ‘happiness’ farm

Puerto Princesa City—I went all the way to Palawan just to renew my passport. Anyone who had a hard time getting a passport here in Manila would probably understand why I had to resort to this. The extra expense and the inconvenience annoyed me. That was my initial reaction. But I refused to let this inconvenience control my mood. So, instead of whining about this “injustice,” I reframed my mindset, and transformed this “enforced” vacation into an opportunity to visit Bahay Kalipay.

Australia, New Zealand decision on Golden Rice sets tone for GM food approval

In December 2017, the Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) issued a directive allowing the commercial sale of food derived from genetically modified (GM) rice line known as GR2E. FSANZ said food derived from GR2E is considered to be safe for human consumption. It also requires manufacturers to label their products as “genetically modified,” in line with Australia and New Zealand’s guidelines on food labeling and to give consumers an informed choice.

We need a food revolution to change our unhealthy diets

Call me dilawan, but I still believe in celebrating the 1986 Edsa Revolution if only because it shows how Filipinos have the capacity to demand for change and oust a despotic leader. I have other reasons, too, but that is more suitable for another (and more political) column. What I want to focus on is the need for another revolution—a food revolution that can change our eating habits and how we view individual diet, health and the environme

We are all stakeholders in our local farming systems

I first learned about Peranakan cuisine while living in Singapore more than a decade ago, and where I had my first taste of mee siam. It reminded me of palabok as it has vermicelli noodles soaked in a shrimp-based gravy, topped with tofu and shrimp. But mee siam was a bit sweet, spicy and soupy. Later, when I visited Penang for a personal food trip, I managed to have for a tour guide a true-blue Peranakan who introduced me to other Peranakan delights as assam laksa.

Can a plant-based diet save the planet?

My answer is “yes.” This, even if I’m happily (and guiltlessly) snacking on Greek yogurt and cheese and pepperoni pizza while writing this column. But I will qualify that answer by saying that one doesn’t have to be vegan/vegetarian to enjoy a more environment-friendly diet.  What we can do instead is to eat more vegetables—preferably seasonal, local and organic vegetables—and reduce meat and dairy consumption.

Rebuilding Marawi one dish at a time

Food is memory. That’s why we consider as our comfort food is usually the food that we ate when we were growing up. We wanted to savor again the happiness and contentment that we felt while eating this comfort food with our family and old friends.  Researchers said we are also biologically wired to have a sense of food nostalgia as flavor and aroma are processed by our olfactory bulb, which is linked to the hippocampus and amygdala—the part of the brain associated with memory and experiences.

The new year ushers in a new style of farming and dining

“Food is the one central thing about human experience that can open up both our senses and our conscience to our place in the world.”— Alice Waters Instead of writing down resolutions for the new year, I prefer to set intentions of the year and move forward for there. For this year, my intentions will be the same as 2017’s: Trust my intuition and manifest abundance. These intentions will continue to guide my actions this 2018, hence my continued advocacy for sustainable farming and dining.

Sustainable sushi for beginners

Canned tuna is my definition of fast food—cheap, no fuss, delicious and hearty. I always have several canned tuna in my pantry as I usually open a can when I’m either too tired to cook anything more elaborate or too broke to go to a nearby restaurant. With a bit of oil and onions, I can sauté a can of tuna and give myself a tuna-mustard sandwich spread, a more filling salad of tuna and greens or plain ulam for leftover rice.

Old and new technologies support climate-smart agriculture

SILANG, Cavite—True to my calling as a journalist, I spent one afternoon digging dirt. Or at least my interviewee—renowned Indian agronomist Dr. Julian Gonsalves—was literally digging dirt to look for earthworms and explain to me how the presence of earthworms prove that the soil remains moist and fertile. Meanwhile, I was busy taking down notes and avoiding the big, fat earthworm that he has just dug up and dangled in my face.