Binabak | National Museum WV, @natmuseum.wv

No, it is not suman; it’s binabak of Pandan, Antique. It is a tangible expression of a community’s connection to nature and the taglugar (elementals or environmental spirits) that inhabits it.

Binabak is a traditional dish in Pandan. Its main ingredients are freshwater shrimp called urang (Macrobrachium rosenbergii) and bangi-un or coconut that is more mature than botong (young coconut or buko) but not as mature as the niyog (mature coconut).

The two are combined with young batwan leaves, luy-a (ginger), salt, onion bulb, and leaves, and garlic by pounding using lusong (mortar) and hal-o (pestle), wrapped in tagikhik (Phrynium minutiflorum) leaves from the plant family Marantaceae, and slow-cooked in boiling water with salt.

Today is International Sustainable Gastronomy Day. The UN recognizes gastronomy as a cultural expression related to the natural and cultural diversity of the world.