FOOD AND PHILIPPINE CULTURE: A STUDY IN CULTURE AND EDUCATION
Chapter Seven: The Meanings of Food
Author of the Book: Asther Manuel Caboteje
Malnutrition is one of the primary problems dedicated eduactors, nutirionist, health workers, medical practioners are concerned with. There are a lot of factors one must understand about the Philippine context to be able to come up with a better education health programs in the local community. Series of studies, surveys and fieldworks have been conducted in Dologan, Bukidnon, the area of study of the book. Although there are elaborate studies on the production and food consumption, little knowledge is known about the underlying beliefs, attitudes and values of the locales when it comes to dealing with their food. There is a need to look at the malnutrition in the ...view middle of the document...
As we grow old, we give many meanings to food. Is not only a source of nutrition, but contains already ideas, tradition, culture and beliefs. In the case of Dologan, Bukidnon, the community sees food in five ways: symbol of Godâ€™s grace, symbolf of love, food and social status, symbol of security and food and their â€œimageâ€.
Agriculture and production of corn is prevalent in Dologan and the local believe that it is God who is responsible for good yielding crops. The locales sees food as a grace from God and should be eaten with gratitude (food is not wasted). Food is also seen as a form of love between family members. Hinagbuan also known as pasalubong is often anticipated by children when their parents go to town and comes back home. In Philippine context, pasalubong is a way to show other people we care. Also, food is a social status for the Dologon community. Certain foods hold prestige that only the rich can afford. The poor people eat corn grits for their starch while the rich man have white rice. When there are guests, the locales, as much as possible, do not serve vegetables to their guests, for it is a staple food in their community. In special occasions, they serve meat to their guests. As for symbol of security, the people of Dologan give importance to their land, where is the main source of their food. Land is, of course, a symbol of power, especially to the landlords owning the hectares of land. And lastly, food hold certain â€˜superstitiousâ€™ beliefs, where certain foods cannot be eaten in certain occasions. Certain food contain propoerties which are not good for the body. For example, the banana are not to be eaten by children as this will cause indigestion.
Through this chapter, we can see that food, if seen in a social context, vary from place to place. Food is just another instrument to decipher and understand societies better. We cannot genalize that there could only be one universal truth about food, beliefs and tradition.