Adobo has been part of Pinoy diverse culture. All regions of the archipelago have their own version of “adobo”, the unofficial national dish of the Philippines. This is due to the fact that although we have one narrative as a Pinoy, the Philippines is a group of islands and thus we are still a state of multiple cultures and different languages.
The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), in their press release on 9 July 2021, has announced that the department has established BPS/TC 92, the technical committee on Filipino Dishes. They will develop the Philippine National Standards (PNS) on popular Filipino dishes such as Adobo, Sinigang, Lechon, and Sisig.
The standards development process is headed by BPS/TC 92 Chairperson, Chef Glenda Barretto, founder of Via Mare Corporation, and Vice-Chairpersons Chef Myrna Segismundo and Chef Raoul Roberto Goco from Food Writers Association of the Philippines (FWAP) and Hotel and Restaurant Association of the Philippines (HRAP), respectively — this is capitalism and Manila imperialism glaring at our very own eyes.
Albeit institutionalization or standardization of cultures may be of good purpose to preserve its original version and its corresponding cultural identity, I am not really fond of legalizing or standardizing multiple cultures into one. This will create a superiority of the chosen recipe. Different Adobo recipes should be treated equally because those are manifestations of the cultural context of each region.
Reducing into one multicultural thing is an elite narrative. This is to say a trope in which a privileged character, in this case, the committee headed by capitalists, rescues the underprivileged characters (the Adobo recipe by our Lolos and Lolas from the rural areas) from unfortunate circumstances –the fear of losing the cultural identity of Adobo. With the standardization of the Adobo recipe, we are excluding other narratives and different Pinoy cultures.
Maybe this is just an exaggeration. That this is just me trying to be politically correct but I don’t really fancy the idea of legalization and standardization of culture. I cannot bring myself to trust selected persons who come from privileged backgrounds to tell me what is and what not as if they suffered what I experience as a part of laylayan.
How about you? Are you in or out of this agenda?
Abdullah M. Edris, a frustrated creative-persuasive writer, is a legal researcher and a fourth-year law student. In college, he graduated cum laude in 2017 with a Bachelor of Science in Engineering Technology Management at MSU-IIT. He was a college journalism awardee. This nonbinary and gender nonconforming lad loves language, literature, and culture. He is one of the writers at The Nexus.