04 Apr2009

Snippy Over Snipes…

by Marketman


The word “sniper” alludes to a hunter who had to be a great marksman in order to nail a snipe. Shooting a small but appetizing bird from a hidden location evolved over the centuries to mean a sort of “sharpshooter,” now more associated with a police (or alternatively an evil-minded) “sniper” from say the top of a building or hidden in the garden bushes when attempting to immobilize say a kidnapper, hostage-taker, human bomb, etc. So I would rather refer to my latest “controversial” or “heated” comment(er) as an on-line “sniper” of sorts. “Flying V” aka “Birds of a Feather,” whose comment(s) I let it in on the pitaw post because I felt like responding to them in greater detail. I could just have as easily zapped/ignored the comments, but it’s a slow Saturday afternoon, I am in a jet-lagged fog, and I thought it might be time for me to learn a little bit more about snipes…


My earlier post on pitaw was meant to be nothing more than a quick post on a delicious native delicacy which we obtained while on a trip to Bacolod a few weeks ago. It was described to me by locals as adobo style “rice field birds”. I instinctively compared them to agachonas or snipes because of the texture and taste, but I didn’t know that link for a fact, nor was I curious enough, to do anything but mention the association with agachonas or snipe. I did a quick review of my desk-side food reference books but hit a blank wall; I did a quick google and got nothing under pitaw or pitao or rice field birds that seemed informed enough to refer to. So I intentionally left the post as is, a light review of a wonderful tasting “rice field” bird…

Well, it seems at least one reader felt strongly about my eating pitaw, and left this comment, under the name “Birds of a Feather” and I quote:

“Why eat migratory birds when there’s an over supply of chickens?
Shameon you!”

To which I responded, and I quote:

“birds of a feather, have you seen how commercial chickens are raised, do you think that is any less offensive as eating a bird caught in the wild? Both are offensive to animals, but I am a carnivore. And I would argue plants have feelings too. And if I am aware an animal is endangered, I certainly try to avoid it to give it time to repopulate its ranks. But I eat fish caught in the wild, so why wouldn’t I eat fowl caught in the wild? Oh, and btw, I am curious where you discovered they are migratory, as I haven’t found much information on pitaw in my reference books or the net…”

My answer was par for the course Marketman, I would think… why should I be particularly concerned about eating birds if chickens are, in my opinion, probably even more cruelly treated? I have made my dietary choices and I am a carnivore that enjoys all types of other foods as well. I don’t go out of my way to torture an animal I am going to eat as food, but I recognize that I am eating a dead animal. I am most certainly not a vegetarian. And if I am aware that a food is endangered, or illegal to eat, I do try and steer clear of it. I was simply being logical and factual in that if I eat a fish caught in the open sea, I would feel no shame about eating a bird or deer or boar caught in the wild, and now that I think about it, when it is a food that lots of people have enjoyed for several generations, and not a strange one-off whim to munch on a living creature that I have somehow captured. And my final question in my response to that comment, is exactly that, a question asking birds of a feather where he/she got their information on pitaw as I hadn’t so readily found any…

Instead of commenting again as “birds of a feather,” I believe the same reader, based on the IP addresses, left a far more “irritated” comment, now by “Flying V” that prompted me to write this post, and I quote their comment in full, here:

“How arrogant and conceited you are! You can hide behind your money and education but you can’t shed the FILIPINO in you.
This blog is nothing but and EGO trip for you. Flaunt your Narcism.
Forget about apologizing even when you’re wrong… that’s not the filipino way!


Identifiable as a Gallinago snipe by its cryptically-patterned black, brown, buff and white plumage, but is not easily distinguished from Swinhoe’s and Pin-tailed Snipe in the field, though it is slightly larger.


Breeds mainly in Hokkaidō in northern Japan, with smaller numbers on Honshū, the eastern Russian mainland and, historically, Sakhalin and the Kurile Islands. The entire population migrates and spends the non-breeding season principally in eastern Australia, where it is the commonest Gallinago snipe. Recorded on migration in Taiwan, the Philippines and New Guinea, and is a rare straggler to New Zealand.


Breeding habitat in Asia: alpine moorland, grasslands, rough pasture, young tree plantations and cultivated areas. Non-breeding habitat in Australia: shallow freshwater wetlands of various kinds with bare mud or shallow water for feeding, with good nearby vegetation cover for shelter.


Latham’s Snipe is an omnivorous species that feeds on seeds and other plant material (mainly from species in families such as Cyperaceae, Poaceae, Juncaceae, Polygonaceae, Ranunculaceae and Fabaceae), and on invertebrates including insects (mainly flies and beetles), earthworms, spiders and occasionally molluscs, isopods and centipedes.


Display flights and drumming by the males. Nests on the ground, concealed in vegetation, with a clutch of four eggs.


Internationally, Latham’s Snipe is considered to be a species of Least Concern. In Australia it used to be hunted as a gamebird but is now completely protected.”

Geez. Get a grip “Flying V” and “Birds of a Feather” and “CA” and whatever other names you have used in the past. If I have traced this back reasonably well, you are a vegetarian, upset over my documenting the frying of live eels, possibly upset over my enjoying a bunch of beef bones with delicious bone marrow, and now unable to contain yourself over my having tried and enjoyed pitaw, a native delicacy, which I did not actually know were snipes, but certainly thought they tasted very similar. So thank you, I have actually learned a little something from you, but since you opened up the topic, let’s delve a tad deeper, shall we? But first, such vitriol from a sniper upset over snipe consumption… really now, how could this have suddenly led to arrogance, conceit, education, money and being unable to shed my “Filipino-ness” (duh, I don’t get it, I AM FILIPINO and proud of it). Ego? Narcissism? Apology? Huh? Were you having a bad day? In need of medication? Partially fried by your hair-dryer while you stood on a wet bathroom floor?

But first let me say, since you started flinging the mud, you could have just saved yourself a lot of retyping and paraphrasing and avoided the potential designation as a “plagiarist” (had you been publishing formally) by simply quoting your likely source for snipe information as wikipedia’s entry under “Latham’s Snipe“. It is certainly more information than I had, but then again, my original post wasn’t terribly scientific, and wasn’t intended to be. So while my first reaction was to sit up and learn from the scientific information in your comment, I would now take a wild guess that you aren’t any more of an ornithologist than I am. I remembered that I still had a bottle of the pitaw so I went to the pantry to retrieve it to review the picture in detail. I am not a bird-watcher, so I don’t really know for sure what variety (of many possible) snipe is in the bottle. Apparently, it could easily be Latham’s snipe (gallinago hadwickii) as you confidently assert, or a Pin-tailed snipe (gallinago stenura), Swinhoe’s snipe (gallinago megala) or several of other common snipe in this part of the world, according to several googled sources, including this, this and this one. Latham’s is also known as a Japanese snipe, while Swinhoe’s as a Chinese one, another is a Mongolian one, and all do indeed migrate south to Australia, some over Papua New Guinea, others Indonesia and presumably a few over the Philippines… but I still am not sure which particular snipe it is… and a quick google of Latham’s snipe and pitaw does not yield anything useful links. So maybe Flying V has better sources that definitively links Latham’s to pitaw, or perhaps is a real bird watcher/lover… And while I now acknowledge that Latham’s snipe and many of its cousins are migratory birds, NOT ALL snipe are necessarily migratory.

I did read some of the materials on snipe and what was most interesting to me is that they are NOT CONSIDERED ENDANGERED OR EVEN CLOSE TO IT. While it may upset you that I and many others in Bacolod would eat a MIGRATORY BIRD, let’s look at this with some appropriate perspective. First, they have been eating these birds for generations, and it is considered a delicacy, not some bizarre one-off thrill of consciously munching on a migratory bird. It is, in fact, delicious. And it is a protein source. Often caught in rice fields (I was told by locals) by farmers who paired it with their back-breaking-ly planted and tended rice crop. And to my knowledge, it is not illegal to eat it. And frankly, if I were in the farmer’s shoes and thought the snipe were eating my tended grains, then I would feel even less guilt about killing and eating them (think reason for scarecrows in cornfields and flapping fabric flags in rice fields). And if you are like many Filipinos dependent on protein from the sea, then eating a fish caught in the sea is just like eating a wild bird.

I realize you did not directly assert that the bird was endangered, and do say it is of “LEAST CONCERN”, but I am sure some readers may have felt that the crux of the issue was that I was eating or enjoying an endangered species… and this is simply not true, even though I admit I hadn’t the foggiest clue at the time that I ate it. In fact, here are some interesting quotes regarding Latham’s snipe from one of the internet sources that appears reasonably well documented:

“The numbers of Latham’s Snipe that migrate to Australia each year are suspected to have been stable over the past 30 years (Garnett & Crowley 2000).”

So even a suggestion or allusion to waning numbers is not supported by research.

“Latham’s Snipe could easily be confused with the Pin-tailed Snipe Gallinago stenura or with Swinhoe’s Snipe G. megala. All three species visit Australia and are very similar in size, shape, appearance, behaviour and habitat preferences. It is possible to distinguish Latham’s Snipe from the other two species, but identification requires careful assessment of a range of characters, including slight differences in size and structure, and separation is sometimes impossible (Higgins & Davies 1996).”

Pinpointing that pitaw is a Latham’s snipe without more scientific proof, a photo or actual specimen of pitaw, is something I cannot be certain of. And the experts agree there are lots of close relations, all of which appear to be migratory birds.

“The current major threat to the species appears to be the ongoing loss of habitat. The wetland habitats occupied by Latham’s Snipe are threatened by a variety of processes including drainage, diversion of water for storage or agriculture, development of land for urban or other purposes, and land management practices such as mowing of habitat during summer can render it unsuitable for several months (Frith et al. 1977; Garnett & Crowley 2000; Naarding 1981, 1985; Weston 1995). The habitat is also potentially threatened by vegetational replacement: on Cape York Peninsula, grasslands occupied by snipe on migration are being replaced by Broad-leaved Tea-tree Melaleuca viridiflora woodland, although the current rate of replacement (5% per decade) is not sufficient to threaten the species at present (Crowley & Garnett 1998; Garnett & Shephard 1997; Garnett & Crowley 2000).

There do not appear to be any other major threats to the species at present.”

“The long-term survival of Latham’s Snipe in Australia is dependent upon the maintenance of its wetland habitats (although predation may be an important factor in the survival of the species outside of Australia) (Naarding 1985, 1986; Weston 1998).”

It seems the current major threat is not a bunch of Ilonggos trapping pitaw, but the loss of habitat in their summer hideaway in eastern Australia. So if I were to draw my conclusions on limited data, I would say Australians could potentially be more to blame or are a greater threat to the species than adobo and those that eat it…

“No recovery, conservation or threat abatement plans have been prepared for this species.”

The last quote leads me into my final paragraphs on learning exactly what “LEAST CONCERN” designation is with respect to snipe… In the heirarchy of least at risk to extinct, LEAST CONCERN is the lowest category (above no or insufficient data), which means that the species has been reviewed by an internationally recognized group, but it was found to be of “LEAST CONCERN”. That doesn’t mean we can be flip about the species at all, but it also doesn’t mean that it is any where NEAR the endangered category. There are thousands of other species in this category, including white tailed deer in the Northeast United States, which they seasonally allow the hunting off, or controlled culls to keep the population at bay. That’s why I also do not flinch at the suggestion of eating venison.

And now that I have read through a lot more material on species designations, I have learned that some types of lapu-lapu or grouper have been rated “Vulnerable”, (closer to endangered) according to this link and other internet sources on Australian rock cods, etc., making certain types of lapu-lapu EVEN FAR FAR MORE VULNERABLE than the snipes we discussed above. So on the positive side, as a result of writing this post in response to Flying V, I will probably now pull back on purchasing certain vulnerable lapu-lapu to help rebuild natural stocks… but if I were to apply the rankings logically, then eating snipe shouldn’t be anywhere near as “shameful” as eating some types of lapu-lapu. Now as for eating those chickens of which there is an “over supply,” and which are raised in fairly despicable conditions (excluding the few percent that are free-range), that could be the subject of another post entirely.

And finally, if reading about folks eating animals really upsets you, then why bother to read this blog at all, why return to it several times over the past few months? Why try and hide under the guise of several different commenter names? Then take potshots at the author as though you know Marketman intimately enough to use such specific derogatory adjectives that seem a bit histrionic, at best? Why not spend your time reading less carnivorous posts/blogs and perhaps explore vegetarian ones with more zeal? This isn’t about me, this is about you having a problem with folks who don’t share your same beliefs with respect to the choices you make regarding your source of sustenance. And as I site a practical example in similar discussions, if you were over at our house for dinner, and you made those two comments above, I would have given you the same response I did here, with just a bit less overkill. And probably never invite you back. It is you, “Flying V” and “Birds of a Feather” that should be closer to being extinct on this blog… Now if only there were a few humongous animals that culled the human population selectively.



  1. eej says:

    Hopefully FV/BoaF get the drift and flutter his wings to the horizon. Buzz off!

    Apr 4, 2009 | 10:41 pm


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  3. lenlen says:

    I am true blooded negrense! I am not conceited nor rich but I have been eating this bird since I was kid and I dont see anything wrong with it. After I read your post and also that of another blogger ( heart to hear) about this native delicacy, I was able to have my friend bring me some to California. The pitaw and even the chorizo pudpud are gastronomic delight! sorry to those people that think they are better than us because they dont eat the poor animals! well, I am a dog lover and I treat him like my son but that does not mean I have to be a vegan. I respect what people do with their life and they should do the same.

    Apr 4, 2009 | 11:02 pm

  4. Rona Y says:

    MM–I thought you looked a bit tired when I saw you at Salcedo Market today. I almost said hello, but I thought even famous people liked their privacy now and again. ;-)

    Poor Flying V. All racists are ignorant, but not all ignoramases are racist. Unfortunately, Flying V is both!

    Apr 4, 2009 | 11:05 pm

  5. akosigundam says:

    Perhaps you should’ve put more vitriol to your reply, MM. These myopic, self-righteous sockpuppets won’t learn. Not to mention dense, too.

    Apr 4, 2009 | 11:10 pm

  6. PPC says:

    My wife sent me a link to your blog and this post specifically. Before the obvious, I would like to congratulate you for a very nice blogsite..the kadios w/ batuan is a favorite of mine.

    Now, kudos! to you Marketman for a very lucid and thorough defense. And like EEJ, I emplore FV/BoaF..do as birds do..and migrate to another blog! Looking forward to more of your delicious posts!

    Apr 4, 2009 | 11:10 pm

  7. aiden says:

    sound rebuttal indeed

    Apr 4, 2009 | 11:17 pm

  8. Jun b says:

    Very good indeed MM, This might have been qualified as the longest blog topic that you have written. Very educational too.

    I myself have done a lot of googling on pitaw and snipes but haven’t got any concreate evidence that they are in danger of extinction. In fact the most interesting one that I have read is that birds are becoming extinct because of the destruction of their habitat not because they are being killed for food.

    Apr 4, 2009 | 11:39 pm

  9. mrs. a says:

    And the nominees for the 2009 fishpan award are…

    Apr 4, 2009 | 11:49 pm

  10. betty q. says:

    Very well written, MM! I concur with Jun B as well…your blog is FOOD FOR THE BRAIN as well as FOOD FOR THE SOUL and TUMMY ( can’t forget that!). My brain must have gained at least 1 pound assimilating the info about pitaw…

    Yes, indeed the destruction of habitat contributes to the possible extinction not just birds but others like the HONEYBEES! Sorry to go off topic, MM…but I do feel strongly about this too, if you would allow me please to make a plea! Since researchers and scientists cannot pinpoint the exact cause of the BEES DISAPPEARING, they could be near extinction! I could write a whole thing about it for that is what I am doing now…doing a research paper on it. I feel strongly that PESTICIDES in combination with Pathogens rank first in the causes. ….take for instance, the greener the lawn, the mostcompliments peole will receive! But at what expense ? Yes, weed killers will do the trick (so no dandelions or clovers) but then say the odd dandelions comes up and still has the toxic chemical in their root and plant sysytem and the odd honeybee sniffs and colllects the pollen….POOR HONEYBEE has ingested that toxic chemical! ….she (yes, the workers are ALL FEMALES!) will not be able to navigate her way back to the hive.

    So, please guys, it is not hte end of the world if there are dandelions on your lawns…I pick mine by hand! It is also a stress relief…when the boys are driving me nuts, I go out in the garden and pick by hand the weeds growing among the flowers. I don’t spray my roses with anything to get rid of aphids . PLANT GARLIC between them…it works!

    Thank you very much , MM for allowing me to invade your space off topic! I know you reach so many people out there….even a little thing like planting more flowers, try digging weeds by hand…the BEES WILL COME BACK! I need not elaborate why we need BEES!

    Apr 5, 2009 | 12:49 am

  11. kurzhaar says:

    I’ve posted on this in the past…if you choose to eat meat (as I do), I believe you should try to be aware of the source and respect the fact that eating meat means the death of an animal. I most certainly agree with Marketman in preferring to eat meat from a wild animal that at least lived the life of a wild animal, rather than meat from a domesticated animal whose life was short and nasty and focussed entirely on the quickest conversion of commercial and often antibiotic-laced food to meat (battery-raised chickens, feedlot-raised beef, “production” pork, confined veal). I’m not saying that the life of a wild animal is easy (generally it’s far from easy), but it is *natural*. I eat meat and fish (though not all that frequently) and I do in fact hunt both non-migratory game (pheasants, quail, rabbit) and migratory game (doves) as well as fish occasionally. As I’ve said before, the experience of taking the life of an animal has made me much more aware of what it means to eat meat, and perhaps ironically it was after I began to hunt that my meat consumption decreased.

    Apr 5, 2009 | 2:14 am

  12. Alan says:

    Hi, Betty q.! Is the problem with the bees affecting Asia as well? Is it only honey bees or bees in general? Actually here in my home there are two wild hives which I have tried to protect from my brother who sees them only as pests. The bees just appeared here making their home in the holes in our wall. It started out with just one, a few years ago and another one made a home in another hole a few meters away maybe three years ago. Though there has only been one incidence of stinging but that was because the bee was stepped on.

    Apr 5, 2009 | 2:21 am

  13. betty q. says:

    Alan: to date, researchers found that In Asia, China is affected….started some 3 years ago. This syndrome scientists at University of Pennsylvania named as COLONY COLLAPSE DISORDER started to surface in 2006 in the US. It is different from that BEE DWINDLING DISEASE IN 1949 and 1960 in that the colony with the bees in the hive collapse due to pests like mites. But this one COLONY COLLAPSE … THE BEES DISAPPEAR! THEY FLY AWAY TO GATHER POLLEN AND NECTAR BUT DO NOT RETURN TO THE HIVE!!!!!! Bees in Australia, Europe are also affected. Though it is predominantly affcting honeybees, native pollinators are also affected though not as much YET!

    Alan are you sure they are bees and not wasps?

    Apr 5, 2009 | 4:10 am

  14. jenny says:

    hey MM, qouting from Andrew Zimmern, of the travel channel ” IF IT TASTES GOOD, EAT IT “

    Apr 5, 2009 | 6:03 am

  15. sanojmd says:

    whoaa! a very long and educational rebuttal for such a plagiarized post of flying v.. hmmm, is she going to reply again? maybe she already migrated! just like her migratory birds! hahaha

    Apr 5, 2009 | 7:19 am

  16. Marketman says:

    bettyq, there was an email I received from a reader, Katrina, about the concerns re: bees here in the Philippines… so I suspect this is not a local problem at all. And yes, if bees aren’t doing their thing, there will be huge problems in the production of fruit, etc.

    Apr 5, 2009 | 7:27 am

  17. betty q. says:

    No, MM it isn’t a local thing!…it is a worldwide thing affecting several countries now. Several years ago, it was in France that did research on what was affecting their bees. They somehow concluded that a chemical IMD which is being used to control pests was most likely the frst and foremost cause of this….almost found in everthing in your local HOme Depot weed killers and such, France reduced the use of that chemical. Slowly, the bees came back. Of course, there are also other variables such as climate change, pests that develop tolerance to the insecticides being used and other pathogens just now surfacing like the IAPV (Israeli Acute Paralysis Virus) which weakens the bees’ immune sysytem. So, all in all, KAWAWA NAMAN SILA!!!! Imagine, such a tiny creature having all these ailments! Whatever is ailing them, they are at the MERCY OF HUMANS to help them for they cannot fight back on their own!

    Apr 5, 2009 | 8:22 am

  18. Artisan Chocolatier says:

    MM, hahahaha..I like this best!!!… “Were you having a bad day? ……..Partially fried by your hair-dryer while you stood on a wet bathroom floor?”

    But you must be really jet-lagged, you did not subject the new “fishpan” nominees to the wok burner. Where have you and family been? Can’t wait to read your blog about it.

    Apr 5, 2009 | 8:45 am

  19. Marketman says:

    Artisan, it was a 3 day trip to the other side of the big pond. It was on personal business and I didn’t do much foodwise, so there is only one typically local post from that trip, coming up soon…

    Apr 5, 2009 | 8:53 am

  20. marissewalangkaparis says:

    Ha ha ha Marketman! Welcome back. I have been opening my computer every morning and evening since April 1 and was wondering what the next topic would be…whoa…what a long one!! Atta man MM!!
    It’s your site after all.

    Bettyq,your BEE sharing has aroused curiosity in me. I didn’t know even a small but powerful insect could be so affected by pesticides. Hope all the countries help ebb this problem.
    This is really an educational site. To those who don’t like it…hahaha…stay away or make your own. To each his own. I have not really eaten those snipes,but I know each one is entitled to his “likes”…happy weekend to all.

    Marketman,I look forward to your new blogs on where you’ve been and what food adventures (ot otherwise you’ve had). When is the next eyeball…hope I can join that…..

    Apr 5, 2009 | 9:12 am

  21. anton says:


    Apr 5, 2009 | 9:33 am

  22. ECC says:

    MM, I wonder if your trip was to attend the wedding of your niece. I seem to recall Sister mentioning that she was preparing for the wedding of her daughter. I bet it was a beautiful wedding.

    Apr 5, 2009 | 10:11 am

  23. Marketman says:

    ECC, no it wasn’t, that isn’t for some time yet. Sister bakes her fruitcakes months in advance so that they develop their flavors and “ripen”… I think she mentioned some 180 individual giveaway cakes + the wedding cake… EGADS, I couldn’t do that without help!

    Apr 5, 2009 | 10:23 am

  24. Franky says:

    PETA! People Eating Tasty Animals…forgive the crassness.

    Apr 5, 2009 | 11:26 am

  25. millet says:

    haha..proof that snipes abound – both the avian and homo sapiens forms.

    i wouldn’t have given this post a second thought except for the “You can hide behind your money and education but you can’t shed the FILIPINO in you” comment. so it was not about you or about snipes, MM…it was about/against all of us Filipinos.

    tsk, tsk…money and education cannot take away the inner ignoramus in some people.

    Apr 5, 2009 | 11:33 am

  26. toping says:

    The Jerk Magnet strikes again! ;-p

    Apr 5, 2009 | 12:43 pm

  27. myra_p says:

    Millet, same here… When it gets personal, gloves off. Poster definitely stepped over a line when making blanket statement that are, yes, racist and anti-filipino. MM, based on IP address, is the poster from the PH?

    Apr 5, 2009 | 12:47 pm

  28. Dodi says:

    Flying V and Birds of the Same Feather are of the same ilk who advocate sleeping with and making pets of Ebola virus-infected pigs rather than humanely killing them so that these won’t spread the germs.

    Apr 5, 2009 | 1:27 pm

  29. PanchoA says:

    Marketman, welcome back! As you can see, we all missed you.

    As for those posts, just hit “delete”. No more, no less.

    Looking forward to the kind of fish dishes you’re cooking up for the lenten season. As a non-practicioner of that tradition, I’m free to indulge, but I’m still curious as to how appetizing you’re going to make this “fishy” break taste like.

    Once again, Welcome back and more blessings!

    Apr 5, 2009 | 1:45 pm

  30. Isagarch says:

    Ducks and geese are migratory and oh so yummy!

    Apr 5, 2009 | 1:50 pm

  31. Isagarch says:

    Ps. I am certified bird lover. I breed parrot, work with birds of prey and eat chickens, ducks, geese etc. I like to think of myself as an equal opportunity kind of bird lover.

    Apr 5, 2009 | 1:53 pm

  32. Lex says:

    MM, I love it when you get upset. Your creative juices with words come out. :-}

    Apr 5, 2009 | 3:20 pm

  33. Alan says:

    betty q. Yes I am 100% sure they are bees. Last year a hive moved to two stacked old garbage cans that are made out of tires. They made a big nest but was invaded by ants so they moved out. I think I still have some of their honeycombs. I asked if it was only honey bees, because sometime ago I saw a program about bees and that the European bees were having problems due to Veroa mites(not sure of spelling). Apparently they could not fight off the mites BUT native bees had developed a social mite picking behavior wherein an infected bee would shimmy a certain way and some of its sisters would go and pull the mites off. I think they were Asian bees that had this behavior. Do you know what kinds/breeds of bees were being observed for the COLONY COLLAPSE DISORDER? I heard from a National Geographic program that the Africanized bees are a spreading menace there in the US, isn’t that contradictory to COLONY COLLAPSE DISORDER?

    Apr 5, 2009 | 4:31 pm

  34. aiden says:

    i was checking out some spanish restaurants to go to when i come to manila. saw in their menu that casa armas serves snipes, flaked adobo-style. can anyone verify how is it or if there are other restaurants serving this? if it’s really that scrumptious, can we declare that it is snipe season for now :)(to flying v’s chagrin)?

    Apr 5, 2009 | 4:49 pm

  35. izang says:

    Flying V / birds of a feather; do you not know the meaning “Live and let live”? You cannot impose your beliefs on others…I believe that can start a war…

    Very well written MM. Hope he never comes back. But these instances does make a topic juicy, doesn’t it? hehehe…

    Apr 5, 2009 | 5:55 pm

  36. Joey Pacheco says:

    Hi MM! A wise friend once told me: “the best way to handle negative people is to ignore them”. Apparently, he believes that any form of response reinforces their behavior… Sayang ang oras mo :-) You will always be bookmarked… More power MM!

    Apr 5, 2009 | 7:44 pm

  37. Joey Pacheco says:

    And oh yes- I enjoyed eating snipes whenever I flew to Legazpi and that was quite often during my domestic cabin crew days… nagpapa-balot pa nga ako along with authentic ‘bicol express’!

    Apr 5, 2009 | 7:48 pm

  38. maddie says:

    MM, I have 2 bottles of that same “pitaw” in my pantry. Have you tried it? was thinking of having it after I have my blood test taken. I was told mataas daw ‘to sa cholesterol. I don’t know if there’s any truth to that.

    Apr 6, 2009 | 12:35 am

  39. Ariel says:

    MM, you are a good writer.

    Apr 6, 2009 | 1:38 am

  40. marc medina says:

    basta may pakpak na hindi ipis o eroplano pwedeng kainin…

    Apr 6, 2009 | 1:40 am

  41. myra_p says:

    marc, gross. lolol

    Apr 6, 2009 | 2:16 am

  42. Lava Bien says:


    Yes they are, I don’t eat lechon anymore (haven’t been for about 13 years) so the closest I get to the pig skin is the skin of ducks and geese on occasion heheheehehe yummy indeed!


    Puñeta sya(Flying V etc) pards hahahaha!

    Apr 6, 2009 | 4:50 am

  43. Lava Bien says:


    Correct ka dyan! sa Imposing.

    Imposing religion = WAR
    Imposing democracy, commmunism, socialism ( imposing any -ism or -ity) causes wars.

    Golden Rule , the Law of Karma, the saying of the prophet Muhammad (Wish for your brother what you wish for yourself)

    We should NOT impose period. Manila Empire should not impose their lifestyle in Mindanao and vice versa. Enjoy the beaches of the Visayas! (summer pa naman hehehehe)

    Apr 6, 2009 | 4:58 am

  44. sonia says:

    from the delights of eating pitaw . . . to education, money, narcissism and being filipino! what a stretch. i look at the upside — we all learned from what you researched on snipes.
    thanks and keep the blog going!

    Apr 6, 2009 | 5:38 am

  45. Connie C says:

    Hi Betty Q, I didn’t know you are into bees as well. Yes pesticides create a lot of environmental and health problems. Did you ever wonder why we don’t see fireflies anymore either? I used to anticipate their coming at night as a child.

    And speaking of natural predators to bees, the ants can wipe them out. A friend in Calamba Laguna was anticipating collecting honey from a beehive that appeared in her garden. One morning, she woke up to find all the bees gone and the hive emptied of honey….by an army of ants in an overnight operation! It was scary to think that this could happen just like that!

    The pitaws are not quite in danger yet, but yes, we do have to be concerned of how every species react to each other and how human behavior ( as in pesticide use) affects the balance of nature.

    More positive energy coming your way, MM!

    Apr 6, 2009 | 6:45 am

  46. bagito says:

    FlyingV or BoaF or whoever you are… if you have nothing nice to say, just don’t say it. Besides, if you have a history na pala of not liking what’s posted on here, ba’t balik ka pa ng balik? Shoo, fly!

    Apr 6, 2009 | 6:51 am

  47. tipat says:

    I dont get these people, if they don’t like what they’re reading, then dont read it! Its your blog and you should be free to write whatever fancies you. If they have opinions of their own, why not create their own blog. Geez, these people probably can’t seem to find a life.

    Apr 6, 2009 | 8:37 am

  48. marissewalangkaparis says:

    Hahaha Marc Medina…gross…glad to see you’re around….

    Apr 6, 2009 | 12:15 pm

  49. Katrina says:

    I’m wondering now if pitaw is the same or related to pinitaw, which is a dish we ate in Bacolod that was described as beef adobo flakes. Or maybe it’s called “pinitaw” because it’s beef that’s cooked the way pitaw is (as adobo and flaked)?

    Aiden, snipe isn’t that common here, but the few times I’ve had it, it’s been at a Spanish restaurant. Delicious with garlic rice!

    Apr 6, 2009 | 3:36 pm

  50. Bea says:

    Being a veg and a fan of gastronomy-related biodiversity, I should commend Marketman over the scope of his blog.

    The Philippines has one of the most abundant species of plants and animals (especially birds and fish). We too often look abroad for regional, heirloom ingredients, when they are just in our backyards.

    There are few, locally, who speak about what are technically termed “underutilized crops”, or “regional” plants/animals that used to be part of people’s everyday, diversified diets. You are of them, MM. To create a connection between species and people (this includes food e.g. anecdotal correlation between entry of sinigang-ginisa-what have you mix, and the disappearance of trees and herbs for seasoning.) is a way of creating a high-diversity environment– one that goes beyond a moralistic appeal and reminds us that we are, instinctively, connected to nature.

    You are right about the harvesting aspect, MM. Where I live (Paranaque), things like bato-bato and snipes were regularly hunted (or harvested, as I see it) to be part of everyday meals as recent as 30 years ago (before subdivision mushrooming). Now the old folk make trips out to Cavite to hunt these small birds (which we just had last week, adobo). Fish are “harvested” in a similar way along coastal communities.

    This pattern of consumption is consistent with our tropical nature. Large monocrops, large pastures, and etc. are just not suitable to our soil and climate.

    To make a factory to breed commercial, chemical, non-native chickens, in the Philippines usually means building over a wetland, small forest, or productive polyculture area, and then poisoning surrounding land with waste, etc. How small-minded to prefer this to keeping a healthy ecosystem and “harvesting” different plants and animals in moderate amounts.

    So if some people think saving animals is about eating the “oversupply” (thus spurring more unsustainable production) of another, get a grip. This is like saying to save an endangered medicinal tree, we must all begin ingesting chemical medicines. It is about stepping back and taking a systems view, knowing species interconnections, and designing our habitat and harvesting around this.


    Again, Marketman, many thanks for posting about Filipino herbs, dishes, veggies, and animals, and going beyond the usual industrial crap. Keep it up :)

    Apr 6, 2009 | 5:53 pm

  51. lee says:

    i saw this bottle at ANP Showroom earlier today… I came, I saw, I did not buy yet.

    Apr 6, 2009 | 6:54 pm

  52. home economist Lee says:

    some honeybee farmers leased our backyard last year. they said the bees would also help our mango production. unfortunately the honeybees had a problem with some big wild bees. they were attacked i think. and the population dwindled.

    Apr 6, 2009 | 8:21 pm

  53. j. says:

    As someone who hunts regularly for quail (mid January was the cutoff date)& rabbits (can’t wait for July to start!), and other upland games. I can tell you that people have forgotten that all animals we eat are not standard commodities, but are LIVEstock. We seem to have forgotten that anything we eat has a life (even vegtables!). As often as I can, I try to buy meats that are as close to the “wild” as possible- free roaming, etc… because of several reasons, one being the meat has more flavor, and their quality of life (albeit a short one) was better. I agree with your assessment.

    Apr 6, 2009 | 9:03 pm

  54. belle says:

    come on MM it’s not worth it..

    Apr 6, 2009 | 9:31 pm

  55. betty q. says:

    Alan: just like snipe, there are many different subspecies of Apis mellifera (honey bees)…Eurpoean honeybee. African honeybee, Asian honeybee…one most commonly used and bred by beekeepers are the European honeybees….less aggressive than African ones. A colony is comprised of the queen, the drones (male), the workers (the ones that go out and forage), the nurse bees ( the ones that “clean the workers” when they come back from foraging) and the guard bees (the ones that protect the hive from “undesirables) when the workers aren’t there. The nurse and the guard bees are all workers. The shimmy-ing thingey is typical social behavior of Apis (uunahan na kita, Lee!…not ipîs, Lee!) classification.

    Currently studies are done on the honeybees from an economic standpoint. Honeybees….used primarily for polllinating single crop like the million dollar industry California almonds as well as fruits. So it is the honeybee beekeeper that noticed the dwindling size of their colonies for no apparent reason. Usually, when the workers go out on their foraging trips, the other bees or insects take advantage by helping themselves to the honey. BUT WITH COLONY COLLAPSEDISORDER, THE HONEY IS LEFT UNTOUCHED!!!!!

    The wild bees such as the African ones, can truly create havoc. One must remember that if the honeybees line of defense is already weakened by the varroa mites, IAPV, they do not stand a chance against the aggressive African bees.

    Apr 7, 2009 | 12:13 am

  56. Roberto Vicencio says:

    It is a big blessing for me to have a place where I am able to bag some snipes for my favorite adobo. I do abhor reckless decimation of whatever specie. My Candaba relatives used to start hunting game birds December for our birthday party in January. It is always a welcome treat for everyone. As only kapampangans can do it, those birds are very savory.

    Apr 7, 2009 | 7:50 am

  57. paolo says:

    the supply of these birds here in negros has declined as our “suki” supplier of pitaw does not sell us a lot of these anymore.
    we sometimes use quail for out pitaw but quail is a bit bigger. if you shred it adobo style, you would not know the difference except for the size of the head ( my favorite part! ).

    Apr 7, 2009 | 8:42 am

  58. alaric says:

    i think Flying V has a legitimate point to make.

    his (or her) mistake was that he made it personal. it’s possible to have a dissenting opinion without creating any fallout by sticking to the point and the facts and leaving the personal attacks at the door.

    Apr 7, 2009 | 12:23 pm

  59. millie k says:

    i have been alternately amused and amazed at how a bottle of pitaw could have caused an avalanche of diverse opinions. let me assure you that our pitaw is not near extinct yet…i cannot reveal trade secrets but we have found a way to make sure our catch does not estinguish them totally and they will still keep flying around for a few more generations. certainly eating our pitaw is not a sin against life. we carefully limit the quantity we produce, and that is why you do not see our brand plastered around all supermarket shelves…except in sweet greens restaurant in bacolod which serves favorite family recipes, or through the casa carmela kitchen website. we are also gradually building up supply for the negros trade fair at rockwell tent sept 11-16.

    and no, katrina, pinitaw are two different things. pinitaw is shredded adobo of any kind, and pitaw is the bird that is usually cooked adobo style. i guess the term pinitaw has evolved because cooked pitaw adobo, coming from such a small bird, always looks like shredded adobo.

    in my province, we do have a way with words..as we do have a way with food. some people say we eat only once a day…because we start eating in the morning and we never stop! join us live the good life….loving food does drown out problems, recession anxieties etc. the best food need not be expensive, you only need to look as far as your lola’s recipes.

    Apr 8, 2009 | 7:05 am

  60. lee says:

    hi millie.
    sadya na di ang comments section sang marketmanila. I was at sweet greens two days in a row for coffee and bibingka with friends and if you ask the folks at ANP I am quite addicted to the calamansi piaya of casa carmela.

    Apr 8, 2009 | 9:39 pm

  61. Apicio says:

    I was certain I knew everything there was to know about the birds and the bees until I read this post and the comments.

    Apr 8, 2009 | 9:46 pm

  62. millie k says:

    hi lee…
    you were at sweet greens two days in a row and you resisted the controversial pitaw? haha.
    have more crispy piaya citrus flavors coming..you might like them too

    Apr 9, 2009 | 8:16 am

  63. Divine G says:

    Are birds of the same feather and flying v the same person as that one who I already forgot the name made some nasty comments here last year? Just wondering…….They or he/she are mean. They need some good stimulus plan to make them feel better to be not so mean.

    Apr 9, 2009 | 9:46 am

  64. Lava Bien says:


    Check it out, very interesting.

    Apr 10, 2009 | 4:00 am

  65. Pia Mac says:

    Hi MM, I just saw that old movie “Gigi” starring Leslie Caron. In it she was served a bird dish, “ortolans”. I got curious and googled it, and was surprised that the French eat the whole bird! As in bones and all! Naalala ko lang dahil sa snipe article.

    Apr 10, 2009 | 8:04 pm

  66. Apicio says:

    Ah isn’t that where Maurice Chavalier sang Thanks heavens for little birds…

    Apr 10, 2009 | 9:04 pm

  67. Marketman says:

    Pia, and you have to cover the bird while you eat it out of respect for its having surrendered its life for your eating pleasure. Francois Mitterand is reported to have enjoyed Ortolan (illegal to sell it, but not to eat it in France) at a meal (last supper equivalent) he organized for himself and his friends about a week before he passed away. Apicio, yay, you are back home by now I suppose, and to wintery weather still I gather from our recent foray into your general neck of the woods…

    Apr 10, 2009 | 9:46 pm

  68. Apicio says:

    Actually, you cover your head with a hood folded from a large napkin they say to concentrate the cooked bird’s aroma though other’s claim to hide your shame from partaking of the tiny birds which were traditionally blinded first to induce them to gorge on their feed to fatten them up.

    And remember the crunchy heads of the quails in their puff-pastry coffins in Babette’s Feast?

    Apr 10, 2009 | 11:46 pm

  69. edee says:

    i’ve seen jeremy clarkson in telly eating ortollan in france, and just as how apicio described, with their heads under a large napkin….and i remember him saying that it was good….and i remember being fascinated with the way they eat it……

    Apr 13, 2009 | 7:48 am

  70. Apicio says:

    For anyone with lots of web time, there is an interesting fourteen minute radio coverage of an ortollan experience from the PBS Chicago program This American Life. Click on Full Episode and when the radio screen comes up, move the timer to the 18 minute mark to catch the broadcast at the beginning of the segment:


    Apr 13, 2009 | 10:08 pm

  71. corrine says:

    MM, I understand your being upset because you really put in a lot of effort in this blog. You are generous with quality information. Flying V is really sniping you, huh?

    bettyq, I read about the disappearing bees in Discovery Magazine and it’s quite alarming! Suddenly, I realized, I haven’t seen bees in my garden. I live in a subdivision with lots of trees and some of them flowering…but no more butterflies, dragonflies, or bees around. Ohhhh my!!! The loss of the bees will have a disastrous effect on food production. My son said the Bee story is true (is that a Pixar or Disney animation?). Really sad that bees are actually being used to manually pollinate farms and are transferred by truck from one farm or plantation to another because there are few bees nowadays!

    Apr 13, 2009 | 10:42 pm

  72. betty q. says:

    Yes, Corrine…isn’t it scary? Canada is not so much affected yet. So we need to PROTECT AT ALL COSTS WHAT WE HAVE HERE (our honeybees and other subspecies!). One time, Corrine I was driving and waiting for a light change and I saw this bumblebee hovering around the car. I wanted to take her home and release her into the community garden so she won’t inhale all those car emmissions!

    Are you talking about the BEE movie by Jerry Seinfeld? Though I enjoyed watching the movie , I think Jerry Sienfeld should have called the POLLEN JOCKS(the bee squad that goes out on foraging for pollen and nectar)…..POLLEN BABES!!!! since they are ALL FEMALES…the drones or the males just stay at home in the hive and sit on their — DOING NOTHING!!!! except going out with the QUEEN BEE!!!

    It is not all that bad the the honey bees are used for pollinating trees or orchards. The thing to remember though is that beekeepers take care of their hives and the orchard farmers need to stay away from using any form of insecticide so the bees will not ingest the toxic chemical once they snifff the blossoms. Honey bees are used to pollinate the orchard since they are the effective species for doing so. They won’t be as effective in pollinating say for instance squashes or tomatoes and some other vegetables since if the honeybees even try to pollinate these vegetables, they are usually BONKED ON THE HEAD by the stigma …it vibrates and poor honeybee gets BUKOL ALL THE TIME!!!! KAYA the native pollinators like bumblebee does the job well since they can withstand all the noggin on the head!!!!…they are much bigger than the honeybees!!!…OK, guys this is TRUE! I am not kidding!!!

    Besides being the HARDEST WORKING CREATURES besides the ant. they are also smart. Small as their brain is, they have the ability to learn …they can navigate their way through from the hive and back using solar dirrections and communicate it to their sistersin the hive. They are also guided by their acute olfactory sense. So, to bring back the bees to your garden, Corrine, try planting very fragrant flowers! You want to attract THAT SCOUTING BEE and one she finds your garden, the REST WILL COME!!!!

    Apr 14, 2009 | 12:55 am

  73. corrine says:

    bettyq, that was very interesting info. I love fragrant flowers. In fact I have several planted by our bedroom windows and I feel so relaxed when I smell their fragrance! But I haven’t seen the bees. We are surrounded by many trees and some of them are huge flowering trees like the caballero. At least, there are butterfly farms…but bee farms? I hope the bees return. *sniff*

    Apr 17, 2009 | 8:59 pm

  74. betty q. says:

    Do you like raw honey, Corrine? If you do, I will try to save a small yogurt container for you and try to bring it back with me provided it is not confiscated at customs. I am a sucker for raw honey ever since I tasted it some 20 years ago. I used to belong to a community garden in vancouver where they had beehives as well. Early spring and mid summer, we collect the honey. I like the honey collected fromspring since it has a hint of perfume from the flowers, very fragrant honey compared to the one collected in late summer….more of a blackberry perfume and dark as well. Just so, I have more than enough to last us through the winter, I used to volunteer collecting the honey since the volunteers are given free honey for all our efforts. But now, that I have moved, I still can get honey for I know the old lady in charge of portioning them. In fact, it is about this time that I know I will start getting reminders from friends and neighbours not to forget them when I get the honey.

    The odd thng you know Corrine, is that this commnity garden DOES NOT somehow feel the absence of the bees. Their beehives are alive and well and the bees are happy campers…mainly because this garden is an ORGANIC GARDEN and the surrrounding area as well within a 10 mile radius. That’s why the bees around there are happy for they can only fly between 2 to 2 1/2 miles when they go out to forage and back to the hive and out again. However, the entire colony can cover an area of 15,000 acres given that there are about 40, 000 to 60, 000 bees in a healthy colony….amazing isn’t it?

    Apr 18, 2009 | 5:06 am

  75. gino says:

    well put…that should shut them up. i hunt them when in season. adobo and deep fried…yummy! just discovered this site…good info for recipes

    May 27, 2009 | 12:50 pm

  76. emsy says:

    MM, about your ortolan comment, I read online (Wikipedia) and it said that diners drape their heads with a napkin to savor the aroma of the cooked bird, and not eat the meal with the bird covered (which is what I understood from your comment). The whole draping part is to better enjoy the smell of the food rather than some moral reason (although Wikipedia said that “some” say it is done to hide from God). I also read the same thing here http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9687163/page/3/

    Jan 5, 2010 | 3:21 pm


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