Provinces of the Philippines and Local Markets
Tapsilog is a popular Filipino dish commonly served for breakfast. The term is coined from combining the Filipino words tapa, sinangag, and itlog which are the main components of the dish. We chose to show how tapsilog can be geographical because we want to emphasize that anything can be geographical, and tapsilog, a common Filipino dish is usually not the kind of product that people would associate with geography. As mentioned, tapsilog is made up of tapa (dried meat), sinangag (fried rice) and itlog (egg), but it doesn’t stop there.
Each ingredient is also made up of even more ingredients that we have traced to have originated from and traveled through different places in and out of the country before it reaches our plates. This further supports the idea that tapsilog, like every product, is geographical. Tapa, the first and main ingredient, is made from beef marinated in different spices. The beef is usually bought at the nearest local market by most cooks, but before reaching the local markets, it is first brought from a farmer’s market which is locally called bulungan or bagsakan.
One example of this bagsakan is the Farmer’s Market Cubao from which its name was derived from. Slaughter houses and cow farms from different municipalities sell their product to the said farmer’s market. One of the biggest sources of cow meat in the Philippines is Padre Garcia, Batangas, the cattle trading capital of the Philippines, where they have the best temperature here in the country for raising cows. Cow breeders ensure that their livestock are bred well by supplying them with good feeds and steroids. Their diet usually contains well-grown grass and corn.
The marinade consists of a blend of sugar, garlic, pepper, and salt, which are locally- found ingredients. The sugar comes from sugar mills like the San Carlos Bio Energy Inc. in Negros Occidental, while the sugarcanes are provided by small sugarcane farmers from Bukidnon, Misamis Oriental, Negros and Panay, or by large agricultural companies like Del Monte and DOLE. Pepper is mostly from small and big exporters from Batangas, Laguna, Quezon, Negros Occidental, Zamboanga and Davao. Garlic usually comes from Sinait, Ilocos Sur, the garlic center of the Philippines where they celebrate the Sinait Bawang Fest.
Like the beef, the spices are brought from its respective farmer’s market before reaching the local markets. Sinangag is the term for Filipino fried rice. Rice, the main ingredient of sinangag, is also bought from local markets that got their stocks from the National Food Authority. The NFA serves as the biggest warehouse or post harvest facility here in the Philippines. Before reaching the NFA, rice is harvested from rice fields, especially in the province of Central Luzon or sometimes imported from Vietnam. Farmers exert effort in tilling the lands for their crops to grow and watching the seasons to find the best time to plant and harvest.
Like tapa, sinangag is also composed of the spices discussed earlier. Egg, the last main ingredient in making a tapsilog, is also bought from local markets. Like the other ingredients, eggs are brought from farmer’s markets before reaching local markets, or sometimes large companies or poultry farms like Bounty Fresh Inc. , which is located in Bulacan. They directly deliver their egg products to local markets to maximize profit. Maintaining a poultry farm requires water, chicken feeds, hormones and supplements, and machines which are commonly imported from Japan.