Today, August 31, we’re celebrating National Heroes Day—a day where we commemorate the valiant efforts of our heroes who fought for our independence.
Oftentimes, we celebrate this special day through parades, wreath-laying ceremonies, programs, and other large gatherings that give honor to our Filipino heroes. But with the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s still a big no-no to gather in large numbers and stay outside our homes, so how can we celebrate this day?
If there’s one thing Filipinos love and are good at, it’s food and cooking. So why not celebrate National Heroes Day by preparing our heroes’ favorite dishes? (Read: Dr. Jose Rizal’s Quirkiest Dining Habits)
We found some of their favorite ulam which you can recreate, cook, and put your own twist to today!
For Melchora Aquino: Tinolang Manok
Melchora Aquino, better known as Tandang Sora, is known as the Mother of Balintawak and the Grand Woman of the Revolution because of her age when she joined the revolution. She took care of the Katipuneros during the revolution and the fight for Philippine Independence—she fed, looked after, and cared for them, especially those who were injured or sick.
According to literature, Tandang Sora would always feed the Katipuneros her favorite tinolang manok na Tagalog which was made with native chicken and chicken blood. The revolutionary would always whip up a serving of it for her comrades when they were feeling under the weather.
For Andres Bonifacio: Litsong Manok
Andres Bonifacio is undoubtedly the most known among the Katipuneros—he was the face of the revolutionary, earning him the title “Father of the Philippine Revolution.” He founded the Kataastaasan, Kagalanggalangang Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayanor KKK during the Spanish colonization and also served as president of the Tagalog Republic. (Read: 4 Modern-Day Martyrs Whose Deaths Changed the World)
But did you know that aside from his love for the country, Bonifacio also loved to eat litsong manok? His favorite is the litson manok sa saha ng saging, a version of the dish where the chicken is wrapped in saha or banana leaf to prevent smoke from coming out and alerting the guardia civil.
For Jose Rizal: Bistek Tagalog
Of course, we would not forget about our National Hero, Dr. Jose Rizal.
Despite being a penny pincher on food, Rizal loved to indulge in a plate of bistek Tagalog every now and then. He has other favorite dishes, but the bistek Tagalog is said to be his “most favorite” among them all. It is also said that he would eat it every time he would write for his novels El Filibusterismo and Noli Me Tangere—proof that the dish always gave him the extra boost he needed!