Pig Roast in the Philippines

My family, my partner Mai and my son Dave, together with Mai’s sister Dexie and Dexie’s fiance Richard Fink of Jacksonville, Florida, traveled to the family home of Dexie and Mai in the municipality of San Augustin in the barangay of Sto. Nino, in the province of Surigao del Sur on the Island of Mindanao in the Republic of the Philippines.

We live in Davao City. It is several hours to Sto. Nino so we started our journey early on the morning of Wednesday, April 18th. We left my house at 6:30 AM. We traveled through Panabo and Tagum then on to San Francisco where we stopped for lunch. We had been on the road four hours and it was good to stop for food and very good to be out of the truck.

After lunch we stated out again towards Barobo where we filled the truck with diesel fuel and had a bathroom break. About a hour later we arrived in Lianga where we purchased ice for the cooler and walked around the town market.

We arrived in St. Nino about ninety minutes later and we were all glad to be finished with the driving for the day. After much passionate discussion we found accommodations for the night and proceeded to greet all of the family, friends of family and anyone in town who had ever met the family or friends of family. Ok, that may be a slight exaggeration on the number of people we met but only a little exaggeration.

The next day, April 19 we were taken to the mother of Mai and Dexie to witness the preparation of a lechon baboy. Lechon baboy is a suckling pig which is roasted whole. This particular pig had been raised in anticipation of our visit to the family home. We were proudly told that our family had taken great care to keep it clean. It had never been allowed to walk on the ground but had instead been raised in a bamboo cage.

The preparation of the lechon began with a group of men carrying the pig to a stand, much like a saw horse in Illinois, where he was firmly held by several men while being washed. One of the remarkable things about this process of preparing the pig was the gentleness with which the pig was handled. Even thought the animal was being prepared for slaughter he was treated with light hands.

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kids look on

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The pig is now ready. The men have washed him and now the throat is about to be cut. It is a precision cut. The point of the knife goes into the throat and the artery is severed. The blood is caught in a cup held by the young boy for use later. The blood is cooked and used in a number of dishes prepared according to local customs.

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You can see the point of the knife entering the vein here.

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A small pit was dug and a wood fire was built in that pit. After the wood had burnt to coals the pig was suspended near the heated coals and cooked for about four hours.

The animal is a delicacy. It is a special treat to prepare and an honor to have one prepared in your honor. The skin is especially tasty.

The process of preparing an animal for the table had many similarities to the farm life of my childhood. The bleeding was different as in my childhood we did not save the blood and mostly killed larger animals. The boiling water and scraping of the hair from the animal were generally the same.

Here intestines, blood, pretty much everything except the hair and feces is cooked and eaten. The intestines are delicious deep fried. Bon appetite!

A traveler in Mindanao.

Gene Wilson
Oblong, Illinois and the world.


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