Saturday, July 31, 2010


I have this shameless sense of affinity with the humble sundot-saging. Those from the Big City will, of course, probably not recognize the term. Ditto those below thirty, even if they are denizens of this province…

But they will banana-cue…

This latter term, if I may hazard a guess, was probably once a Pinoy’s attempt at equating the barbecue with the saging na saba, if only for the reason that both may be cooked spiked into a stick with a sharpened end.

But that is where the similarity ends, because the barbecue – or at least how some people prefer to do it – is strips of flavored pork strung together along a stick for cooking over a charcoal grill. The banana-cue is skinned saba covered with brown sugar and deep fried in oil until the sugar caramelizes.

In jest, sometimes we here in Batangas say banana-kwe, a humorous and Filipinized pronunciation of the word “cue” and probably also an unconscious indictment of why so humble and so Pinoy a delicacy has to be Anglicized in name.

I just call it sundot-saging by force of habit, even when I draw incredulous stares from youngsters who are hearing the word for the first time. There is, in fact, nothing mysterious about it. It is totally self-explanatory.

Eh di baga sinusundot ang saging?

I am perfectly happy eating it as a mid-afternoon snack and do not care what people think. Once, the Litel Gel saw me emerging from the cafeteria with a sundot-saging in one hand and a Fit-n-Right in another.

She doubled over in uncontrolled laughter, as though there was something totally scandalous about my eating it. Shame on you, Litel Gel!

This afternoon, Felina – one of the characters on campus – even gave me an unsolicited psychoanalysis about why I love the sundot-saging so much. “You were probably poor when you were young, and that was when you developed your fixation for the food.”

Quack psychoanalysis, of course, and utter snobbery!

One must never underestimate the role potassium plays in one’s health, not to mention disposition. Go ask Malou, whose husband was in and out of the hospital for potassium imbalance.

And one gets enough doses of the chemical, I would imagine, from the humble sundot-saging – all for 10 pesos! Not to mention the fact that it’s filling, it’s tasty and is probably the right snack before I go scrimmage with lads who scamper like rabbits all around me!


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