08 Aug2006


If I were smokin’ 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 “please translate the first line of the following Filipino popular folk song to English and/or define what each word means”… drum roll please… 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 : “I HAVEN’T THE FOGGIEST BLOODY IDEA WHAT A SITSIRITSIT OR AN ALIBANGBANG IS!!!” And I would lose my million peso prize as I scurried off stage, mortified and utterly embarrassed that I didn’t know what those two rather memorable words actually meant! That is, until today…

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 isn’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 munchkins…is that right???



  1. Maria Clara says:

    I thought it was a title of a folksong SITSIRITSIT and ALIBANGBANG. We used to sing this when I was in grade school. I learn something new everyday.

    Aug 8, 2006 | 7:13 am


  2. Notice: Undefined variable: oddcomment in /home/marketman/marketmanila.com/wp-content/themes/marketmanila-v2/comments.php on line 33
  3. Maricel says:

    I first came across alibangbang when I married a Novo Ecijano. They use alibangbang a lot. It as a souring agent for their version of pinapaitang kambing which unlike the Ilocano kind does not contain bile but tastes more like sinampalukan. They also use it for fish pinangat.

    Aug 8, 2006 | 7:32 am

  4. millet says:

    HAHAHA…that first paragraph is so funny. i was laughing so hard that i realized i did not understand the rest of the post. goodbye, one million pesos! MarketMan, isn’t alibangbang the bisaya term for butterfly? makes sense, because those leaves are butterfly-shaped, and if i remember correctly, another name of tha tree is “butterfly orchid” – i am assuming that we are referring to the same plant – i’ve seen leaves like those in your picture, and they usually come from a small tree with deep pink flowers that look like orchids. i think somebody had a comment about that in an earlier post. i’ve always heard about alibangbang leaves in pinangat, though, but never thought this would be it. so these are edible? when used for cooking, are these used for just wrapping and/or flavoring fish (like banana leaves, for example), or are they eaten, too (like mustasa)? as for sitsiritsit, is it supposed to mean anything at all? i thought it was just gibberish in the song…

    Aug 8, 2006 | 7:45 am

  5. connie says:

    I knew what alibangbang was, but sitsiritsit, I don’t have a clue, nada! I also do remember the two space aliens from Batibot named Sitsiritsit and Alibangbang respectively, they were the Batibot version of Sesame Street’s purple Two-headed monster.
    Also, does anyone knows what Pen Pen de Serapen means? Are they anyway related to Sigiripit or sigiripat? LOL.

    Aug 8, 2006 | 7:52 am

  6. bettina says:

    From what I understand from the song, sitsiritsit is some form of calling the alibangbang , like PSST :) And yes, alibangbang is butterfly :)

    Aug 8, 2006 | 8:02 am

  7. CecileJ says:

    Ayyayay! Everyone is so funny today, ha? In a previous post on sinigang, alibangbang was mentioned as pang-asim for beef sinigang. Sitsiritsit does sound like LBM sounds! Eeeeuwww! and I “LOLed” at bettina’s comment that sitsiritsit was a call to the alibangbang or butterfly! BTW, do butterflies have ears?

    Aug 8, 2006 | 8:41 am

  8. Apicio says:

    Well within your field of interest would have been the culinary quiz that David Rosengaten hosted at the food channel a few seasons ago around the same time Phil Regis was all the rage in primetime. A remarkable one was depicted by Woody Allen in Radio Days where his young maiden aunt successfully indentified different effigies of flat fish in a radio quiz grandly staged at the Radio City Music Hall, all of it thanks to his uncle who turned them to ichthyologists through all the fish he bummed from fishermen landing their catch close to their home in Brookline.

    Aug 8, 2006 | 8:44 am

  9. aboy says:

    if kris aquino asked me what SITSIRITSIT and ALIBANGBANG is, assuming i dont strangle her in front of a live camera first, i would probably say they are names of 2 veteran nightclubs (aka a-go-go dancing as they say back then) in cubao. but thats just me.

    Aug 8, 2006 | 9:51 am

  10. oscar says:

    no wonder the alibangbang girlie bars in cubao had butterflies as logos.

    but this is so off the topic.

    Aug 8, 2006 | 11:04 am

  11. skymermaid says:

    we have a lot of alibangbang trees in the cemetery in our province. they have very pretty deep pink colored flowers that do indeed look like orchids. i remember my aunts telling me that in some places in luzon, they eat the flowers in salads. i never knew you can eat the leaves too. thanks for the info, marketman!

    Aug 8, 2006 | 11:27 am

  12. Jean says:

    SHEESH. now i know were “YOU” come from. ;) lol.

    Aug 8, 2006 | 12:23 pm

  13. Bubut says:

    the whole song goes “Sitsiritsit, alibangbang, salaginto’t sagubang, ang babae sa lansangan, kung gumiri parang tandang. Mama, mama namamangka, pasakayin yaring bata, pagdating sa Maynila, ipagpalit ng manika. Ale,ale namamayong pasukubin yaring sanggol, pagdating sa Malabon, ipagpalit ng bagoong. ”

    More power to you, MM!!

    Aug 8, 2006 | 1:52 pm

  14. VMA says:

    In our town, alibangbang leaves are used as souring agent for sinigang na DALAG (mudfish) and CHICKEN for sinampalukang manok recipe, in place of young tamarind leaves, whenever alibangbang leaves are in season. How to use it? Pick the leaves from the stems, wash, and cut in thin slices. You will have to use leaves from 2 big bunches to get the desired sourness for a kilo of fish or meat. Mash with salt, using your fingers to bring out the katas (juice). Add the bruised leaves to the boiling hugas-bigas, and proceed with the usual sinigang recipe. Altho it is a must for me to include gabe, labanos, sitaw, kamatis & kangkong for sinigang sa alibangbang. MM, you need to try this, it’s very delicious!

    Aug 8, 2006 | 8:49 pm

  15. Marketman says:

    VMA, thank you for that detailed approach, I will try it the next time I see the lady selling alibangbang, it is my personal desire to try as many sinigangs as possible…kamias, guava, green mango, tamarind, alibangbang, kalamansi, etc.!!!

    Aug 8, 2006 | 9:03 pm

  16. corrine says:

    Thanks to Bubut! My hubby and I had to sing to recall the words. Should have read the comments sooner. I love the bauhinia flowers. I have a rare one that has smaller yellow flowers. In fact the deep pink orchid-like flower is the national flower of HK. That’s according to a friend who collects flowering plants. I never knew one could use these leaves in sinigang! And yes, maybe, the sitsiritsit is a way of calling not only the butterflies but also the salaginto at salagubang…there’s a comma there, see? lol re. the girlie bars in Cubao…haha…very informative feedback!

    Aug 8, 2006 | 10:09 pm

  17. acmr says:

    Ang galing ni Bubut, what a memory! I could just hum the rest of the lyrics after the first few lines! Thanks!

    Aug 9, 2006 | 12:50 am

  18. Sandra says:

    Alibangbang is an Ilonggo word for butterfly. You can find a lot of bauhinia trees in South Forbes Park. All the streets in Forbes, both South and North, are named after trees — Bauhinia, Mahogany, Pili, Narra, Ipil, Jacaranda, Flame Tree, Tamarind, Balete etc.

    I did not know that bauhinia leaves are edible. We only gorge on the tamarind during the season. We hardly see pili nuts.

    Aug 9, 2006 | 3:17 am

  19. Marketman says:

    I don’t think ALL BAUHINIA TREES/LEAVES are EDIBLE and I do not suggest you head out to Forbes and start clipping off leaves. Alibangbang is from one type of Bauhinia tree, of which there are dozens and dozens that all look similar. I would rely more on the expertise of a market vendor that has presumably sold it several times before and knows where the right kind of trees are. Hmmm, have to incorporate alibangbang to my evolving South Forbes Diet…

    Aug 9, 2006 | 5:09 am

  20. Apicio says:

    I have two other souring agents for you then from our parts when in roughing it out situations; an extremely tart bulbous fruit that closely resembles onions but are actually fruits from a tree called katmon and a plant that grows among ferns along mountain brooks called pingol bato which is actually indiginous decorative begonia.

    Aug 9, 2006 | 7:43 am

  21. Marketman says:

    Apicio, that is so cool. Never heard of either. There’s probably enough material for a book just on sinigang with the different souring agents. I hear batwan is also used down south…

    Aug 9, 2006 | 8:05 am

  22. Dodi says:

    Hi there! Guys, the name of that cubao cabaret has been changed to BANGBANG ALI! But a lot of guys still go there!

    Aug 9, 2006 | 3:26 pm

  23. millet says:

    this post is getting funnier by the minute, can’t help but keep returning to it just to read everyone’s comments ;->

    Aug 9, 2006 | 4:30 pm

  24. izang says:

    i remember my father using a very maasim round fruit for sinigang na baka…i just don’t recall the name, but sounds like it’s the same as what apicio describes….

    and grabe…natawa tlga ako s 1st paragraph….lalo n s comments about the nightclubs… favorite place cguro….hehehe

    Aug 10, 2006 | 1:00 pm

  25. millie gayle says:

    As far as i know,the root bark of alibangbang tree can cure liver problem. Anyone knows what should be make in this bark to test it? Is it need to boiled and drink after?

    Aug 21, 2007 | 11:14 am

  26. raymond says:

    tnx sa mga nagpost ng comment..research aoe bwt alibangbang..

    ..naktulong mga comment nyu guys..ty..

    Dec 30, 2008 | 1:09 pm


Market Manila Home · Topics · Archives · About · Contact · Links · RSS Feed

site design by pixelpush

Market Manila © 2004 - 2021