1. Firewood. Using this to cook watwat is a well-known Igorot practice and that it must not be shunned. It has been said that there is a certain delightful taste emitted by any food cooked with firewood. Hence, there is no other way to bring out the best flavour of ‘the watwat’ but to use the above.
￼2. The siliasi. The traditional use of these wide-mouthed, heavy metal cooking pots has been steadfast. They have always come in handy during Igorot feasts or large family gatherings. They may have been blackened with soot, but that was never a problem. Rather, it is an indication of how useful they have been.
3. The paddles.
Take notice of the enormous wooden spoons on the photographs. They were improvised by the locals to make stirring in those big pots more convenient. Indeed, a clever idea. I have been told that they are now commercially available. This a proof that the use of the siliasi has kept up with the times.
A few years ago, I have gone back to my hometown of Kapangan and held a simple feast to commemorate the first death anniversary of my mother. Personally, it was more of a thanksgiving celebration. I felt that it was a timely way to express my gratitude to all of those who have helped my family get through our moment of grief.
Thus, the watwat.
It all started with the procurement of a native pig apt for the occasion.
Watwat is commonly described as a slice/slices of boiled pork that is distributed or shared as part of the meal of an Igorot feast.
However as a host of one, it was more than that. The chunks of meat were laden with a heartfelt ‘thank you’.
I have read others’ experiences about this topic. It turned out to be varied and individualized. But, there is a common ground. Watwat is a valuable aspect of a tribal tradition that bonds families and the community together.