FAITH and FOOD: For God, Country and Family

FAITH is to the heart and the soul while food is for the body. Each one complements the other and both feeds the mind and the spirit to nourish one’s whole being towards wholeness and growth. 


Since the beginning of time, human beings have sought and fought to survive and gain understanding on how to best travel this earthly journey with the least difficulty, discomfort, hardship and pain.


This temporary sojourm has resulted to many wanted and unwanted experiences that left lessons in our lives, with most of them teaching us about what are those that are really essential.


For all of us, food tops the list of our hierarchy of biological or physical needs. While this is also true for Filipinos, there is this unquestionable truth to be considered as well – for most Filipinos, faith remains as the one enduring anchor for their resilience, fortitude, perseverance, humor, humility, joy, gratitude, sacrifice and service.


Bicolanos, whose unfathomable devotion to Ina (Our Lady of Peňafrancia, Patroness of Bicolandia) is a clear reflection of this deep faith, are not strangers to a life rooted on a committed love and belief in God, who gives them courage and strength, often beyond human comprehension. 


But even with this kind of faith, the Bicolanos are not exempted from suffering of all sorts. Yet, for them, the struggles and challenges of daily life with their loved ones – families, relatives, friends and co workers – become more meaningful and relevant to the purpose they believe God has for them. This unrelenting faith always hope for the loving goodness of God to prevail in all their circumstances, even in the darkest and most sorrowful ones. 


This kind of faith is somehow interwoven with the Bicolanos zest for life and the celebration of it in all its colors, sights and scents. I suppose this is why we Bicolanos have fiestas in honor of our patron saints, a tradition we inherited from the Spaniards.


And I believe no one can question the fact that for all of us, all celebrations would mean gathering around a table to feast on a variety of food and enjoy each other’s stories, and of course each other’s company. I surmise that the food we choose carefully to prepare during these moments are mostly those well loved favorite recipes to satisfy both the young and the old – recipes preserved and passed on from generation to generation  that have stood the test of time and fashion.


For this year’s September fiesta in honor of our Ina, let’s celebrate it, amidst COVID 19, with a renewed vow to always remember God’s love is a more enduring promise we can rely on . 


To a simpler, more reflective, profound and prayerful celebration, we salute you and your love ones – VIVA EL DIVINO ROSTRO! VIVA LA VIRGEN!
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May this column be a sharing of life’s blessings of faith and food, an avenue of fun rememberings for those Bicolano families, far and near. We would like to invite all who would like to tell their stories of faith and food – for their love of God, family and friends.


You can send us one family recipe that your own family often prepared in all your gatherings of then and now and why you think this recipe is always on the dining table whenever you celebrate and eat together as a family.


If your recipe and story”fits the mold”, it will be included in a different kind of recipe book we will be coming out with soon.

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