This Saturday, May 9, 2009, sometime around 8:30 pm (it’s a bit erratic, could be later) GMA 7, “Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho” will do a feature on Philippine lechon, a reaction to the Time article published last week. The feature will include lechons from La Loma, Balayan, and of course, Cebu. :) We shot a segment yesterday in Cebu, and despite the very nice GMA film crew of three who flew in from Manila for the day, I was as uncomfortable as ever in front of the cameras. And they requested that I try and speak predominantly in Filipino and I can tell you I screwed that up big time. My parents were both Visayan, we never spoke Tagalog, now Filipino, in our household, and I left local schools from Middle School onwards. If there was one subject at school I was always at risk of failure, it was Filipino. And as an adult I deeply regret not ever attaining fluency in our national language. I know a few people who speak Filipino fluently and it is a joy to hear them express their thoughts with such clarity and style. Unfortunately, I think in English and I am pretty sure my answers on the program (unless completely edited out) will make some or many of you laugh, in a nice silly kind of way.
So there. I said it first, don’t give me any further grief about “Kasi, kailangan malutong yung skin, ay balat, you know?” Hahaha. For folks with access to this program, either in the Philippines or North America when it shows on cable channels there, you are in for a full description of how to make a Marketman lechon from start to finish. We gave away all the secrets, for everyone to enjoy and develop their own wonderful lechons. And the particular lechon we made yesterday was possibly even better than the one we did for Mr. Bourdain. It was crisp as can be on nearly every visible surface of skin. We also made a lechon sisig and a lechon sinigang. So mark your calendars, and if you are sick of lechon by now, watch it instead for the amusement factor of my trying to formulate answers in Filipino with obvious difficulty… Again, thanks to our terrific crew in Cebu who did all of the work behind this episode… we have an internal bet to see which crew member gets a starring role when asked to taste and comment on the lechon!
P.S. My problem with languages may not be limited to Filipino. I have also taken several years of Spanish, French, Japanese and Bahasa Indonesian and I can only barely communicate verbally in Indonesian, and maybe now, not even that.
P.P.S. And a final word on wardrobe and profuse sweating. I was sweating partially due to nerves in front of a camera, which was literally stuck 4-5 inches from my nose. Besides wondering if my nose hairs would be plainly visible to the viewing public, I also happened to be cooking right beside the actual lechon pit. The sisig and sinigang were not only over the very hot coals, but the lechon was right next to it. I suspect the temperature ranged from 400F++ and it was very, very hot! One of the cameramen was so dedicated, he stood for some 45-60 minutes right beside the lechon pit and let’s just say he looked like he was “cooked” after the experience. :)