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ROUGH CUTS | That unforgettable El Niño

Here is something for the local Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) to look into and possibly investigate what is or are its causes.

Some two weeks ago we observed that the cooking oil that our household was using smells like some burnt rubber is in it. The undesirable odor starts emitting once the oil is brought to a near boiling point. The bigger problem is that the odor rubs in on the food being cooked and the smell is quite noticeable even by those who eat the cooked food or whatever.

Our household buys our coconut cooking oil from retailers in Calinan who also have their source a local bigtime dealer of the cooking product.

We thought for that we were the only household in our place that noticed the unusual odor in the cooking oil. However, it turned out that our neighbors and several others were also complaining of the same problem. And they shared with us their experience of having used the oil for cooking their food.
We have no idea where this odor came from and what made it a component of the coconut cooking oil that Calinan and nearby residents have been using for some time.

We have no doubt that this phenomenon is worth the inquiry of the local FDA. That is, if they truly do their job as required of the office.


It is more than two months now since this very dry season has festered Davao City and possibly the rest of Mindanao.

Now we see farmlands mostly those of the unirrigated rice fields, already having cracks on the soil surface. The grasslands mostly on mountain slopes are already balding and what remains of the once green grasses are already brownish and getting riskier for a possible grass fire.

Creeks are drying up and the water of Davao City’s primary rivers like the Davao River, the one in Toril that exits in Lizada, the Matina Pangi River, and the Lasang waterway is literally getting shallower by the days.

Unpaved roads in the rural barangays are now getting dustier and could easily conceal any plying vehicle from the sight of roadsides by-standers, or from passengers of vehicle immediately following.
In our own estimation if this dry spell will continue for several more weeks, or months perhaps, we will sure see a Davao City or a Davao Region reminiscent of the 11 months El Nino days in 1981 and the 7-months drought in 1994.

In fact in that 1994 dry season the company that we used to work conducted relief operation in Davao City’s remotest barangays in Paquibato district the farthest of which was Barangay Tapak.
We brought for the company two truckloads of rice, canned goods, dried fish, rice noodles that we distributed to the families in those areas that we went to. And the vehicle we were riding on did not have any problem crossing the same river (Lasang) at least three times because there was hardly any water flowing.

And from the residents in those villages mostly natives and a few Christian settlers, we learned that the fowls and other domesticated animals they raised were already gone as these were disposed for them to be able to buy the staple food.

They said they could not anymore rely on hunting wild animals as these were already gone to the fastness of what remains of the jungle because they have no more forest to shade and to foray for food.
But no, it was not our engagement with the highland residents that was the most unforgettable experience we had in that sojourn to the wilds.

It was having eaten for the first, and hopefully the last time, cooked noodles that was part of our relief assistance having been mixed with some chicken-testing meat as part of the dish. When we asked what meat it was since our hosts claimed they do not have any chicken anymore, our stomach had a revolution due to the answer.

What we ate was a dish composed of noodles mixed with meat of what they call in dialect “Ibid.” We had a bum stomach for the next two or three days after we returned in downtown Davao City.


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