A melody of flavours, voices and music: Philippine cultural events in the Hague

….in its unique and flavourful dishes traditionally cooked, the angelic choral voices of children, the powerful melody of a chamber music choir in June 2017; and a world-renowned piano virtuoso in September 2017 …


The Philippine Embassy organized on 13 June The Netherlands’ leg of a Filipino culinary roadshow dubbed “Kulinarya” by top Filipino Chefs led by Chef Myrna Segismundo with Chef Raul Ramos, pastry Chef Jill Sandique and writerauthor Ms. Michaela Fenix at the Orchard Restaurant of ROC Mondriaan in The Hague. The full-packed audience at the cooking-demo with food sampling and diners at the curated dinner were delighted to savor the exquisite richness and unique, variant flavours of “adobo” sampled during the cooking demo and the fivecourse dishes at the dinner with “kinilaw” and fish fillet, coconut cream with crabfat sauce as top favourites, capped with a buffet of Philippine desserts paired with ‘’Batangas-arabica” coffee. After the cooking demo, ROC Mondriaan Chefs decided to include in its curriculum “Philippine adobo” as one of the dishes to be taught to its Dutch and international culinary students. Ambassador Jaime Victor B. Ledda and Mrs. Gina Ledda warmly welcomed all guests from all sectors of the Dutch society including from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, host families of “au pairs”, food bloggers and travel specialists to these twin culinary events. These events have helped raised the level of consciousness, appreciation and interest among the largely Dutch and expatriate audience on Filipino cuisine and its ingredients.

What is Filipino food?

The Philippines is a country located in Southeast Asia made up of more than 7,000 islands, with three big land masses, Luzon in the north, Mindanao in the south and a cluster of islands in the middle called the Visayas. Because the Philippines is an archipelago, regional food preferences developed period. Filipino cuisine is a sum of Philippine history, from the indigenous food of the prehistoric era – when seafood was cooked not with fire but with natural acids in vinegar or other sour fruits, as in kinilaw; to the influences of Asian cooking brought by migration and trade – from the Chinese traders, as well as early settlers from Southeast Asia; singgang of Malaysia, Thai’s kha nom chant, are respectively similar to the Philippine sinigang and rice cakes, sapin-sapin; To the colonial influences brought by conquest – Spain’s 400-year rule brought in from Mexico various ingredients, annatto, arrowroot, chayote, peanuts, tomato, corn, chili, cacao and coffee. The 4-decade American rule brought salads, sandwiches, cakes and pastries.

Filipino food is cooked simply – roasted, fried, steamed, boiled, braised, stewed. But there is a deep and complex taste that has been described as linamnam, literally “deliciousness”. It is the root of the word, “malinamnam”, which is how a Filipino might describe the different flavors that vie for attention of the plate. Filipinos have a penchant for tangy flavours and sourness. The major souring agent is suka, vinegar made from diverse sources as the sap of palm trees, sugarcane and fruits. There are major ways of cooking sourness: paksiw, stewing; kinilaw or kilawin, pickling; sinigang, boiling. Adobo, which has Spanish origins, is a Filipino way of cooking using vinegar, salt, garlic and peppercorn by braising or frying. The Filipino bistek or beef steak mixes soy sauce (salty) and calamansi (sour) to create its distinct flavour.

Coconut milk is obtained when the meat is grated from the mature coconut or niyog then squeezed. It is also a sweet counterpoint to the sourness of the vinegar and is a major ingredient when making rice cakes. Sugarcane is an important product that is made into many sweet concoctions, like the turron where a cooking banana is rolled in a rice or flour wrapper coated with caramelized sugar. Filipinos will always have ready a variety of condiments to suit personal taste preferences. These are the sawsawan (dipping sauces) that are fermented like fish and shrimp paste, fish sauce and soy sauce.

Children’s and chamber music choirs

Also in June 2017, a children’s choir from Loboc, Bohol (Visayas) and a church-based choir in Manila magnificently serenaded both members of the local and expatriate communities in The Hague and Hoofdorp. The merry and harmonious mixed of voices, songs and music by the Loboc Children’s Choir and the Manila Chamber Music Choir, Kammerchor, respectively in June 18 and June 27 filled the halls of the Church of Our Savior in Koningin Marialaan, The Hague and De Meerse Theatre in Raadhuisplein, Hoofdorp, to the absolute delight of the audience. Both choral groups have participated in and won various Philippine and world choral competitions. These choirs were hosted by the Filipino Community in Rotterdam and the United Filipino-Dutch Association.

Filipino concert pianist virtuoso

On 28 September, the Philippine Embassy in The Hague presents the country’s top concert pianist, Mr. Raul M. Sunico at Diligentia, on the last leg of his 2017 European swing that will include France (Bordeaux and Paris) and Italy (Milan). Mr. Sunico finished his Master of Music degree from the Juilliard School in New York and a Doctor of Philosophy degree, major in Piano Performance from the New York University. Mr. Sunico holds the singular distinction of being the only pianist in the world to perform the four piano concertos of Sergei Rachmaninoff in a single evening, and later the three piano concertos of Tchaikovsky in a similar setting. Information on Mr. Sunico’s concert available at: http://www.thehaguepe.dfa.gov.ph

“Philippine adobo with lots of vinegar and
garlic…surprisingly all good”

– Marjolein de Bruin, EchteGerechten;
“… the most exciting discovery: Pilinoten. ”

– Janneke Vreugdenhil;
“…krabvetpasta, so incredibly delicious;

dessert turon….wonderful”
– Helena Smit, Eating Habits ;