Tag Archives: Cebu

#310 Puso


Photo from: One Filipino Dish a Week blog


Puso (Hanging Rice) is an ingenious if not an eco-friendly way of packaging cooked rice. Puso is popular in the Visayas region particularly in the provinces of Cebu and Leyte where one often sees them being sold by roaming vendors to travellers in bus stations, ship harbors and public marketplaces.

A handful or fistful of rice is poured into a woven heart-shaped bag or pouch made of young coconut leaves and then carefully cooked or steamed in hot water. The cooked rice, which has expanded, fills up the pouch and the package of rice is eaten by slicing open the woven pouch. This traditional packaging obviously predates the modern use of Styrofoam and plastic boxes, and recalls those nostalgic days of pre-Tupperware days when nature (read: leaves, stalks, bamboo, etc…) provides the main materials in food packaging.

Puso may look like a simple pouch of packaged rice but the cooking process is tricky since one has to correctly estimate the water contents, cooking time and amount of rice to avoid overcooking or undercooking the rice, or worse, using too little rice. It takes experience and technique to master making a puso of rice. But the efforts are worth it to impress your ecologically-conscious friends.

Long live native Pinoy packaging methods!

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#154 Fort San Pedro

Main entrance gate to Fort San Pedro

Fuerza de San Pedro or Fort San Pedro in Cebu City (Visayas, Central Philippines) is a military defence structure built by Spanish and indigenous Cebuano labourers under the command of Spanish conquistador, Miguel López de Legazpi (from Wikipedia). Date of the fort’s construction remains unclear but some historical accounts refer to the original structures around 1565.

The fort is located near Plaza Indepedencia in the pier or port district of Cebu City, considered as the oldest city in the Philippines. Within the fort complex is the smallest, oldest triangular bastion fort in the Philippines built in 1738 to repel Muslim raiders. At the end of the Spanish era in 1898, the fort served as a stronghold for Filipino revolutionaries. During the US colonial period the fort was turned into a US military barracks and later as a school during World War II. By the end of the war, the  defeated Japanese forces later used the fort as a hospital for the wounded.

After World War II the fort served various uses and housed both government and civic offices. In the 1950s then Cebu City Mayor Mayor Sergio Osmeña Jr. angered the public when he announced plans to demolished the fort. A public campaign forced the mayor to abandon the plans but a religious sect was given approval to manage a small zoo within the fort. Original structures were demolished leaving only the facade and some ruined fort towers.

Today, after years of expensive and labor extensive reconstruction work, Fort San Pedro is now a historical park managed by the city government. It houses a museum, which displays the city’s colonial legacy in paintings, documents and sculptures from the Spanish era.

Mabuhay ang Fort San Pedro!

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