Friday, November 25, 2016

A Delicate Balance: Batanes Food, Ecology and Community Book Launch

Wazzup Pilipinas!
"It's a food book, but it's not a food book." - Marian Pastor-Roces
Nature and people are intimately connected. Over thousands of years, people have interacted with, have formed, and have in return been shaped by, their environment. A closer look at food reveals a story of the delicate balance that can exist between nature and us.

Chimuchimusén, Chinavulés, Tambubu, Uví, Lunyis, Arayú, Maridá. Have you encountered these words? If you've been to Batanaes, and have mingled with the residents, you probably encountered a few of them during the trip. If you're new to them but would like to know more in preparation for a trip (or simply curious), get to know more about these words when you get a copy of A Delicate Balance: Batanes Food, Ecology and Community.

I was fortunate enough to be with the authors (Corazon Alvina and Marian Pastor Roces) of "A Delicate Balance: Batanes Food, Ecology and Community" during their book launch held on November 9, 2016 at the Bayanihan Center in Mandaluyong.

The authors gather in this handsome volume the work of many distinguished academics and Ivatan culture bearers, whose explorations into the Batanes Islands offer insights into an extraordinarily resilient food culture.

Aside from the stories, there are also a lot of amazing photos in the book, including the cover photo, taken by renowned photographer Neal Oshima with his assistant Yohan Guache.

The book tells us that Batanes is more than just a weekend getaway for exquisite scenery. It also details its food as part of an intricate ecosystem involving nature and culture. And of course, its communities like the Ivatans who have preserved their lifestyle and traditions for thousands of years. You'll get to see how the Ivatans continue to foster a unique relationship with nature in this beautifully illustrated book.

Every page of the book attempts to explore the magic of Batanes, home to some 17,000 Filipinos and where typhoons are known to visit often. It showcases the breathtaking sights and also features mouthwatering delicacies that have been enjoyed by the Ivatan people for generations.

You would learn that the Ivatans eat well, have an intricate system of cooperation, and maintain a respectful relationship with their environment. They have a core diet that is exactly the same as what their ancestors ate 4,000 years ago. Archeologists find remains of the same species of fish as that eaten today.

Visually exciting and intellectually stimulating, this 300-page hardbound book will shed light on the intricate relationship between nature and culture. It will explore the past – how the ancestors of the Philippine archipelago lived with the micro-ecosystems of their unique geography – as well as sustainable futures.
Read the excerpts here:

The A Delicate Balance: Batanes Food, Ecology and Community book costs Php3850.

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