Sunday, December 17, 2006

Southern Food



Shanlag, the South’s alternative to rice

by: Nadjoua Bansil


SHANLAG is an exotic delicacy enjoyed year-round by most natives of Zamboanga. It’s a cassava-based all-occasion food popular among the Tausug, Samal, Badjaos, and Yakan tribes.Shanlag is also sold at local markets at around P5 pesos each. While to most Filipinos, bread is an alternative to rice, shanlag is a better substitute. Shanlag is a good source of dietary fiber and is not synthetically made or produced. Therefore, it is healthier and has a higher nutritional value than rice.


How it’s made

Shanlag is roasted and it is considered as a basic food . Shanlag may be the healthiest fried food on the face of the planet. It’s made of cassava, a root crop that is ground and mixed with coconut milk until well blended. The mixture is poured in a pan and cooked, with occasional stirring, in low heat until it turns yellowish brown and hardens. The “frying” part may be due to the way in which oil is rendered from the coconut milk as it cooks. But shanlag contains no additives, coloring or preservatives.

Coconut trees are abundant in Zamboanga and they are organically grown. Coconut milk is believed to have short-and medium-chain fatty acids that are easily and quickly assimilated by the body. They aren’t stored as fat in the body like the long chain triglycerides of animal byproducts. This alone makes shanlag rich in protein and healthy fats.While rice is bland, shanlag leaves a bitter, faintly acidic aftertaste. Bitterness often means that potent healthy nutrients are present to bolster the body’s immune system.


The wonders of shanlag

I remember visiting a Bajao community in Taluksangay, some 17 kilometers from the city proper of Zamboanga. I saw young and old Badjao women and men with skin so firm and toned, it was no exaggeration to say I had a difficult time telling apart an 80 year-old from a 40 year-old. I even met a man who said he was 110 years old and who looked healthy as a horse. I could not believe my eyes but it’s true! They eat shanlag with fish and agar-agar (seaweeds). Most Badjaos don’t eat meat; they would rather trade it for shanlag. Though many factors may have contributed to the longevity of the Badjao man I met, shanlag appears to play a big part. So forget smart technology and the seduction of artificial flavorings. The age-old methods of old folk still work.

Since shanlag is made purely from cassava and coconut milk, it is a high source of fiber that produces of their own fatty acids when eaten. Fiber flushes out toxins which could prevent cancer, cardiovascular diseases and even diabetes. It also keeps the body warm that keeps you feeling full longer.Shanlag slows down both digestion and the release glucose in the blood. This process maintains the blood glucose in a normal state. “Thus, the body keeps its normal weight. Meaning, you do not get fat; however, your body gets muscles because of the rich fiber,” explains Ms. Mary Rose Mohammad, a registered Dietary Nutritionist of Universidad de Zamboanga Medical Community.


So shanlag works not just a delicacy but also boosts one’s health. Just check out how the Tausug, Samal, Badjaos, and Yakan tribes remain healthy, lean and fit. If you’re headed to the Philippines and plan to visit South, discover shanlag for yourself.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Imprints of young Sama Di laut children exhibit held at ADZU


By Linda Bansil

The Lumah Ma Dilaut center for living traditions mounted an exhibit entitled Limpah tangan: a collection of Art –in-stories by Sama and Sama Dilaut children in the Exhibit room of the Ateneo de Zamboanga University last November 30 to Dec. 5 .

The exhibit featured art works of Sama Dilaut children who are learners at Lumah Ma Dilaut Center for living traditions with the theme “Islam is Peace and Islam is Green”, the message which the Sama and Sama dilaut want to convey in the artworks.

With the guidance of caring adults and parents, the art was a gallery on how these children can show another facet of Islam. This is the Islam as seen from the eyes of children. The interconnection of life and spirituality; that Islam that encourages critical understanding and careful reflection of the doctrinal dogmas, that enjoins Taqwa, the conscious and intelligent awareness and loving remembrance of Allah and reflecting that in our care and compassion for human kind and communion with nature.


The works were paintings and sketches with story accompaniments which talked about the experiences of the Sama kids as they express spirituality and their way of loving Allah as the most beneficent (Ar-raheem ) and compassionate (Ar-rahman) God .

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Muslims welcome Ramadan with a film dubbed in Tausug

ZAMBOANGA CITY (Sep 12, 2006) – Something old becomes new again. The 1976 Anthony Quinn movie, The Message, will screen in the city when Muslims observe the holy month of Ramadan beginning September 23 or 24, but the original English and Arabic language movie will be dubbed in the Tausug dialect.

Peace Loving People (PLP) Productions, a community based independent production group spearheaded this project. PLP in good faith thought of translating the film so that the locals can appreciate and understand the legacy of the Prophet Muhammad, which is what the film is about. PLP believes that breaking the language barrier and making the movie accessible to the masses will better convey the essence of Islam in this day and age. The movie will screen on the first week of Ramadan.

The holy month of Ramadan is the 9th month of the Islamic lunar calendar and is the fasting month for all Muslims. It is a special time in Islamic history in which Allah revealed in the Qur'an that the reward for good deeds, acts of charity and acts of worship are multiplied in this month.

The Message, directed and produced by Mustafa Akkad, chronicles the early history of Islam as well as the time before the advent of Islam when most Arabs were not monotheistic and worshipped a number of male and female deities. The Prophet Muhammad changed all that when he began preaching Islam, the religion that believes in one God and respects all the prophets He had sent .He also encouraged the people to stay true to the five pillars of Islam, namely faith, prayer, fasting, alms-giving, and pilgrimage.

Handling a delicate issue

While it is forbidden in Islam to depict the Prophet Muhammad in anyway, the movie sidesteps the delicate issue by not directly showing a physical representation of the Prophet. Instead. actors talk directly to the camera. This avoidance of the use of images depicting or representing religious figures in order to maintain the mystery and respect their holiness is called aniconism.

According to the Internet Movie Database, the film was made in both English and Arabic with two different casts. Scenes were shot back to back in both languages. Initially, the movie was said to have been banned in many Middle Eastern countries because religious leaders were averse to the idea of having Prophet Mohammed's story made into a motion picture.

While the movie was beset by production problems, it went on to receive an Oscar nomination for the musical score of Maurice Jarre.The film also shows how peace can be obtained. Muhammad reveals to thepeople that He will not go to war unless it is in defense of the people and cautions them against going on the offensive against anyone. In the story, Muslims were also shown being welcomed by Catholics in Ethiopia – clearly demonstrating the unity and religious tolerance between Muslims and Christians during those times.

The practice of Ramadan

Coming as it does just as the Ramadan begins, the movie becomes a meditation on Islam and the way of the Prophet, who fasted for a month from water and food and abstained from sexual intercourse. The Ramadan is a time to be in tune with the faith and 12-year-olds are initiated into the practice of fasting, one of the five pillars of Islam. The other four are Traditionally, most Muslims in the Southern Philippines spend the first day of fast doing away with distractions from the outside world. This includes watching television, listening to the radio, reading magazines unless the media is related to Qu'ranic verses or prayer sermons.

Restaurants owned by Muslims are closed during the daytime and open thewhole night for those who wish to break their fast during Iftar (meal in the evening) and Suhoor (a meal before the sun rises). During these times, traditional Tausug, Yakan, Sama and Badjao food can be enjoyed.Aside from shutting out outside factors, Muslims also work on obtaining inner peace. Everyone avoids speaking or thinking ill of anyone and repent for bad actions done in the past. After Muslims break their fast by eating and drinking after the sun sets, they then go to the mosque to pray the Tarawih. It is the next valuable step to perfecting Ramadan evenings.

‘The Message’ on TV

PLP Productions also plan on broadcasting the film on local television channels in Zamboanga City as well as Basilan, Tawi-Tawi and Sulu. The film will also be shown in schools after the Eidl Fitr, the festival that ends the fasting month. The festival is celebrated through a prayer in the mosque followed by sumptuous neighborhood banquets. Like the Christian practice of Christmas, generosity fills the air and kids get goodies from their kin. The celebration aims to thank God for his mercy, the renewal of one's faith and the dedication to doing good and avoiding evil.

With The Message dubbed in Tausug (it’s been translated into 12 other languages, according to the IMDB), Muslim youths can easily relate to and learn about Islamic history. It will also make them aware of a universal truth – that we are all brothers and sisters and must love one another.This seals the message of the Prophet Muhammad.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Meeting Tausug Musicians


Abdellah Sali Daul has only finished his 3rd year in grade school but his musical prowess have bagged him around 250 songs . His songs are known in the community of Tausugs, Yakans and Badjaos around ZambaSulta (Zamboanga , Basilan and Sulu and Tawi -TAwi).


He strums his guitar in a corner - people call as Boracay in Mariki. This is where the waves join him in a trance of love ballad and slow rock songs that he composes in a quiet day sitting on wooden planks and stilts. We (my sis and I ) had a chance to see him perform in an old garage where his old band (SIDZNIE) practiced and jammed. We got to meet the rest of Sidnie band and their manager. I shot their performance with a digicam and also interviewed them about their music and their influences. They were all so warm and accomodating, with some adamance at first. This would be our new digital video documentary about the Moro Underground Music in the city of flowers. As we headed home Abdullah and Mans Hapil (guitarist) rode a jeep towards the the city we call "pueblo" , their fans notice them and start smiling. Abdullah starts to blush and gives them a smile back...."I'm shy", he blurts.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

September 16, 2006





Today I needed to submit photographs for my article on Muslim's celebration of Ramadan , actually I already asked a friend of mine Romina Pada her past photographs and told her I will credit her name for it. However my editor told me that high resolution photos are needed and what I submitted was actually a low one. I ended up borrowing a video camera and was supposed to give to Honelylin Alipio my friend whose really good in photoshop, but my schedule turned into a whirlwind and I had to find some other ways to run after my deadline. So I had to borrow my friend Fancis' digital camera for this. So I told my friends (Karla ,Farida , Sheena and Nash) to tag along with me to Sta. Barbara Mosque.

I was a little bit nervous because I was thinking that the people in the mosque might not want to see someone like me poking a camera infront of them. Although ,this is an initial feeling I have when I do something like this. But I remembered that times like this I need to do my introductions well not for luck but for respect. I headed to the back of the mosque and looked for some authority to talk to and asked permission to take photos. I told them I am a maguindanao and they started to show me a smile, not that they wouldn't otherwise but because perhaps meeting a fellow muslim who is a journalist is something favorable and a breathe of fresh air for them. They told me to come back incase I needed to interview anyone, so I told them perhaps during Eidl-Fitr. Everyone was just cooperating I felt so welcome. Today I snap photos with pride. Its a beautiful day, as beautiful as the call of prayer ringing in my ears.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Muslims welcome Ramadan with a film dubbed in Tausug Plus a few words about the holy month of fasting


by Linda Elouali Bansil
Exclusive to One Philippines

ZAMBOANGA CITY
(Sep 12, 2006) – Something old becomes new again.  The 1976 Anthony Quinn movie, The Message,
will screen in the city when Muslims observe the holy month of Ramadan beginning September 23 or 24, but the original English and Arabic language movie will be dubbed in the Tausug dialect.
Peace Loving People (PLP) Productions, a community based independent production group spearheaded this project. PLP in good faith thought of translating the film so that the locals can appreciate and understand the legacy of the Prophet Muhammad, which is what the film is about.  PLP believes that breaking the language barrier and making the movie accessible to the masses will better convey the essence of Islam in this day and age. The movie will screen on the first week of Ramadan.
The holy month of Ramadan is the 9th month of the Islamic lunar calendar and is the fasting month for all Muslims.  It is a special time in Islamic history in which Allah revealed in the Qur'an that the reward for good deeds, acts of charity and acts of worship are multiplied in this month.
The Message, directed and produced by Mustafa Akkad, chronicles the early history of Islam as well as the time before the advent of Islam when most Arabs were not monotheistic and worshipped a number of male and female deities. The Prophet Muhammad changed all that when he began preaching Islam, the religion that believes in one God and respects all the prophets He had sent .He also encouraged the people to stay true to the five pillars of Islam, namely faith, prayer, fasting, alms-giving, and pilgrimage.

Handling a delicate issue
While it is forbidden in Islam to depict the Prophet Muhammad in any
way, the movie sidesteps the delicate issue by not directly showing a physical representation of the Prophet. Instead. actors talk directly to the camera. This avoidance of the use of images depicting or representing religious figures in order to maintain the mystery and respect their holiness is called aniconism.
According to the Internet Movie Database, the film was made in both English and Arabic with two different casts. Scenes were shot back to back in both languages. Initially, the movie was said to have been banned in many Middle Eastern countries because religious leaders were averse to the idea of having Prophet Mohammed's story made into a motion picture. 
While the movie was beset by production problems, it went on to receive an Oscar nomination for the musical score of Maurice Jarre.
The film also shows how peace can be obtained. Muhammad reveals to the
people that He will not go to war unless it is in defense of the people and cautions them against going on the offensive against anyone. In the story, Muslims were also shown being welcomed by Catholics in Ethiopia – clearly demonstrating the unity and religious tolerance between Muslims and Christians during those times.

The practice of Ramadan
Coming as it does just as the Ramadan begins, the movie becomes a meditation on Islam and the way of the Prophet, who fasted for a month from water and food and abstained from sexual intercourse. The Ramadan is a time to be in tune with the faith and 12-year-olds are initiated into the practice of fasting, one of the five pillars of Islam. The other four are
Traditionally, most Muslims in the Southern Philippines spend the first day of fast doing away with distractions from the outside world. This includes watching television, listening to the radio, reading magazines unless the media is related to Qu'ranic verses or prayer sermons.
Restaurants owned by Muslims are closed during the daytime and open the
whole night for those who wish to break their fast during Iftar (meal in the evening) and Suhoor (a meal before the sun rises). During these times, traditional Tausug, Yakan, Sama and Badjao food can be enjoyed.
Aside from shutting out outside factors, Muslims also work on obtaining inner peace. Everyone avoids speaking or thinking ill of anyone and repent for bad actions done in the past. After Muslims break their fast by eating and drinking after the sun sets, they then go to the mosque to pray the Tarawih. It is the next valuable step to perfecting Ramadan evenings.

‘The Message’ on TV
PLP Productions also plan on broadcasting the film on local television channels in Zamboanga City as well as Basilan, Tawi-Tawi and Sulu. The film will also be shown in schools after the Eidl Fitr, the festival that ends the fasting month. The festival is celebrated through a prayer in the mosque followed by sumptuous neighborhood banquets. Like the Christian practice of Christmas, generosity fills the air and kids get goodies from their kin. The celebration aims to thank God for his mercy, the renewal of one's faith and the dedication to doing good and avoiding evil.
With The Message dubbed in Tausug (it’s been translated into 12 other languages, according to the IMDB), Muslim youths can easily relate to and learn about Islamic history. It will also make them aware of a universal truth – that we are all brothers and sisters and must love one another.
This seals the message of the Prophet Muhammad. รค