Garlic blues

FILIPINO staples include rice and garlic. Foreigners find it incomprehensible that almost every Filipino use ginisa (fried) garlic for cooking our food.

In Negros Occidental, we either have plain or garlic rice. Our chicken inasals go well with sinamaks that have garlic to go with vinegar, chilis, and ginger. Garlic (Allium sativum L) is an important food seasoning globally. However, because of its many other uses, demand of this crop is continuously increasing.

Aside from being an indispensable recado (ingredient), garlic is also a plant-based medicine to cure athlete’s foot, hypertension, or for heart conditions. Garlic is often used in organic farming as insecticide or repellants for insect pests.

Attaining food security in the Philippines is incomprehensible without rice and garlic – and yes, even onions. You would think that of a staple, there should be enough farmers producing garlic. All of a sudden, garlic suddenly is all over the news. Price have skyrocketed. Garlic as a political commodity becomes stark clear.

When I do the groceries, I go for the native varieties. Nowadays, I’m hard put to find the native varieties grown in Negros Island, especially from Kanlaon City.

Now I have to buy the imported garlic. Whenever I’m in Northern Luzon, I make it a point to buy the native varieties. Last year, however, I found that even in Nueva Viscaya the venders sell the imported ones we buy in Negros Occidental.

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