If I were smokinâ€™ on some vapid game show, having answered 18 questions in a row correctly, with perhaps Kris Aquino as the host, and I was down to the MILLION PESO question and it was something like â€œplease translate the first line of the following Filipino popular folk song to English and/or define what each word meansâ€â€¦ drum roll pleaseâ€¦ What is SITSIRITSIT and ALIBANGBANG??? I would immediately think, but not blurt out, that it was a native remedy for loose bowel movements. I would furrow my brow, jump up and down, sweat would break out on my scalp causing me to scratch uncontrollably, my jaw would drop, irises rise to the top of my eyeballs and I would scream : â€œI HAVENâ€™T THE FOGGIEST BLOODY IDEA WHAT A SITSIRITSIT OR AN ALIBANGBANG IS!!!â€ And I would lose my million peso prize as I scurried off stage, mortified and utterly embarrassed that I didnâ€™t know what those two rather memorable words actually meant! That is, until todayâ€¦
After I got all the seafood at the Nasugbu market, I went over to the vegetable section to get some leeks or green onions and I came across this vendor selling some leaves. Curious, I asked her what they were and lo and behold, ALIBANGBANG. I bought a bunch for PHP5 only because I had never seen them before and I wanted to photograph them for this post. The vendor said to boil them with beef; I immediately assumed they were a tenderizer, but that isnâ€™t correct. The leaves are from a bauhinia tree (there are dozens of different bauhinia trees) and they possess a citrusy fragrance and apparently a sour taste when boiled. Alibangbang (Bauhinia Malabarica) is also used for medicinal purposes and is consumed in India, Indonesia and Thailand, among others. As for the sitsiritsit, my best guess would have been snow peas, but it turns out it refers to children or munchkinsâ€¦is that right???