January 5, 2013


natak – (na-t'k, na-tâk; Maguindanaon pith & flour) [n.] pounded sago palm pith; A crudely pounded pith of sago palm tree. It is often used as ingredient in making the Maguindanaon version of minatamis na guinataan.

Natak in the Cotabato City's Super Market (not Supermarket).

Natak in the Cotabato City's Super market.

Natak is mixed with water and shaken in plastic bag and the juice it produced is strained and then used in cooking the guinatan

The pounded natak is sold in the public market of Cotabato City stuffed in woven sago palm pouch

The browned and darker natak palm wrapper is made with strips of old sago palm, while the greener or lighter colored natak wrapper is from young sago palm.

If natak is processed finely it becomes flour which can be used readily in making pastries or as thickener in lugaw or ginataan, made into sago pearls, or added as extender to boiled rice. 

Natak in the Cotabato City's Super Market, a public wet market or flea market.

To do it, the squeezed milky juice is set to stand undisturbed in the container for about a day or till sago sediment has settled at the bottom. The liquid that floats on top is decanted or scooped out and discarded away. The  sediments are collected , dried, crumbled, then sieved to become a very fine sago flour.  
A Maguindanaon vendor selling natak in Cotabato City's Super market.
The collected flour is then dried thoroughly by sundrying (under intense sunlight) or  by heating and stirring it in the pan on medium fire keeping it away from getting scorched or from becoming browned. When very dry, it can be stored for a year or two.

Personal notes:

I just realized after my many interactions with our Muslim brethren in Mindanao and in Metro Manila that there are vowels in some of their words that they normally don't pronounce when they utter that word. "Natak" is one of them. It is pronounced as nat'k, with silent "a" in the second syllable. In particular, the Maranaos are fund also of keeping the vowel "u" and "e" silent in their dialect.

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January 1, 2013

sweet tuba

sweet tuba - (swet tu-bâ; Pangasinese sap/drink) [n.] fresh toddy of raffia palm; It is the freshly gathered toddy of buri palm (raffia).

tuba or tuba ng buri in Tagalog and Batangueño
a.k.a. tuba in Pangasinense

When freshly gathered in the morning, it can be taken as a naturally sweet refreshing drink. 

A serving of sweet tuba in a glass filled with cracked iced. It is sold by bottles (using recycled softdrink glass bottle) in Balongao, Pangasinan
Passing motorists, locals, and tourists would often come and stay for while in a cluster of roadside stalls, such as this one, along the highway in Balongao, Pangasinan to savor or try the taste of refreshing sweet tuba.  It is refreshingly tasty like coco water with distinct aftertaste closely similar to that of a ripe rambutan fruit

Sweet tuba needs to be chilled in ice or stored in freezer to extend shelf life for few more hours, or to last for at least late in the afternoon. By early evening the toddy will start to sour despite employing the chilling technique

While still fresh and sweet, the Pangasinenses would boil the sweet tuba till thick and sticky, as in the way they used it as their sticky sweetener in making the Pangasinense patupat (glutinous rice in square-woven strips of coconut palm).

In Batangas, it is made into Batangueño pakaskas (raffia sap jiggery, which is now replaced with juice extracted from sugarcane), or processed into bagkat (raffia sap taffy). Sweet tuba will not last long in a day. By afternoon, or past noon, the toddy would start to sour that by evening it becomes a lightly soured vinegar. 

A serving of sweet tuba in a glass filled with cracked iced. It is sold by bottles (using recycled softdrink glass bottle) in Balongao, Pangasinan. Bottles of sweet tuba have to stored in styrofoam box filled with water and cracked ice to chill the bottled toddy. Chilling will help extend shelf life to few more hours before it becomes sour.

In few more days, it will be a full-pledged vinegar  known in Ilocano as sukang buli (raffia palm vinegar) or tuka silag in Pangasinense

A serving of sweet tuba in a glass filled with cracked iced.in Balongao, Pangasinan

A serving of sweet tuba in a glass filled with cracked iced. It is sold by bottles (using recycled softdrink glass bottle) in Balongao, Pangasinan


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