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25
Aug

Young girl is honored by Filipino government for saving the flag during typhoon

Jalena Arcos Lelis recently became the first Filipino child to be honored by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP). The governmental branch that promotes and preserves Filipino culture and heritage recognized Janela's brave effort to rescue the national flag from floodwaters that swept through her hometown of Albay during the Juaning typhoon, according to the Inquirer Global Nation.

She was given a plaque, a Philippine flag pin to wear as a reminder of her courageous act, a new national flag of her own and P20,000 in cash. The president of the Pinoy Power Coalition of Volunteers, Dr. Ofelia Samar-Sy, told the Philippine Information Agency that the organization purchased food, supplies and clothing for Janela and her family, to help them recover in the aftermath of the typhoon.

Many Filipino people who are working abroad will also send remittance to their families and friends to help them recover from the damages incurred during the storms.

NHCP executive director Ludovico Badoy called 12-year-old Janela's deed a "selfless act of courage, reflective of her love for country and a constant reverence to the national symbol," the news source reports.

The young girl braved rushing floodwaters that were at chest-level to retrieve the flag, later telling reporters that she was taught to respect it and to never let it get dirty. Janela also said she was motivated by her brother Kuya Edcel, a 19-year-old color officer of the Citizen's Army Training in Manilao National High School – fearing he would be in trouble if anything happened to it.

"To the 12-year-old girl who saved our Philippine flag, certainly that's a very commendable act," Deputy presidential spokeswoman Abigail Valte told the Manila Bulletin. "It's an indication of something greater that resides on the person."

The Philippine Information Agency reports that many people are reaching out to help Janela and her family in their time of need. Philanthropist Mariel Tolentino promised to give the family P200 every day for at least a year to help them get back on their feet and recover from the typhoon's damage.

People around the world will send money to the Philippines to help others who were affected by the storm.

22
Aug

Bubble and squeak: A British breakfast favorite

Bubble and squeak is an English dish that is traditionally served with breakfast, and was popularized during the Second World War. The dish consists of leftover vegetables and potatoes all mixed together and reheated in a frying pan, which was a great way to help the war effort and make rations last longer. It gets its name from the bubbling and squeaking sounds it makes as it is cooked.

The earliest known recipe for bubble and squeak is found in the Maria Rundell cookbook from 1808. The recipe book itself was the most popular of its time, and sold more than half a million copies in the U.K. and America, according to The Guardian.

Bubble and squeak's major ingredients are potatoes and cabbage, but the dish often includes other veggies – such as Brussels sprouts, peas, carrots – and chopped meat has become a common ingredient, although Maria Rundell version calls for it to be served over "raredone beef, lightly fried."

This dish is easy enough to prepare, as long as there are some leftover vegetables available, and many people who are working in other countries can make this meal to quell homesickness. Jamie Oliver, a Food Network chef, recommends that the recipe should be a bit more than half potatoes. The dish is simple, especially since the ingredients will likely already be cooked.

If you are starting from scratch, you will need to cook the potatoes and vegetables together in a pan for about 20 minutes. Then, heat some olive oil in a pan and throw the mixture right in there. Mash everything together so it forms a thick, veggie-pancake. Flip it in pieces and mash it back together until the whole thing is crispy and golden brown.

You can add in chunks of sausage, bacon or whatever meat you desire or you can serve them separately. Making this dish with leftovers can also be a good way for Brits to save some extra cash to wire money to their families back home.

A variation of the dish was even served at the royal wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton in April. The bubble and squeak was wrapped around a confit shoulder of lamb to make it more elegant and royal wedding-appropriate.

It was only one of many canapes offered to guests of the wedding, according to CNN. Other bite-sized treats included Cornish crab salad on lemon blini, pressed duck terrine with fruit chutney, miniature watercress and asparagus tarts, chocolate ganache truffles, miniature Yorkshire puddings with roast fillets of beef and horseradish mousse and smoked haddock fishcakes with pea guacamole.

16
Aug

Flower stew is perfect comfort food for South Africans

When most people think of edible flowers, they tend to picture using them as garnishes or to top salads, but some flowers are more versatile and can be used in other dishes. In South Africa, flowers are used to make a stew called waterblommetjie bredie. When the Dutch first arrived in South Africa in the 1600s, they relied on local vegetation for the first few years, while they tried to introduce their crops to the African soil. They worked together with the indigenous Khoikhoi to develop the stew and other culturally diverse foods to bring a unique flavor to the South African menu.

Waterblommetjies means “little water flowers,” which is appropriate for flowers that grow primarily in ponds and swamps. The small white flowers are harvested between June and September, before they bloom. CookSister.com suggests that the waterblommetjies have a texture similar to artichokes, but with a more subtle flavor, similar to green beans with a hint of citrus.

They are used to make waterblommetjie bredie, a stew that combines the flowers with lamb, potatoes, onions and wild sorrel – a sour plant that is toxic in large quantities, but harmless in smaller portions. Sorrel can be difficult to find, but it can be substituted with different ingredients, such as white wine and watercress, to achieve the same flavor.

The flowers are native to South Africa’s Western Cape, but have been transplanted and grown successfully in France and the U.K. Even though you can’t find fresh waterblommetjies in these places, South African stores throughout the world generally sell canned flowers so you can cook up a tasty stew that will remind you of home if you moved away for work. You can also send money to South Africa so your loved ones can buy the ingredients to make the waterblommetjie bredie as well.

The stew is made by first browning the lamb in oil. Once that is done, you can heat up onions, garlic and spices until the onions are translucent. You also need to cook up the potatoes with some lamb or beef stock before adding everything to the casserole dish and popping it into the oven for about an hour. Traditionally, the stew was cooked in a pot over a fire, but work with what you’ve got. After the hour is up, it’s time to add the waterblommetjie and the wild sorrel or watercress. Bake the stew for another 15 minutes and it will be ready to serve over rice, mashed potatoes or whatever you desire.

15
Aug

Happy Independence Day, India

Today is the 64th anniversary of India gaining its independence from British rule, and the events are symbolized by the raising of the national flag at the Red Fort in Delhi by the Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh. He then delivers a speech that pays tribute to the figureheads of India’s struggle for freedom, while using the opportunity to discuss the nation’s accomplishments since the previous Independence Day.

Throughout the country, similar ceremonies take place at the capital cities of Indian states, where local government leaders will raise flags at state buildings. Educational establishments carry out flag raising rituals as well. Indian people will flock to these events, and many people will wire money to their families so they can afford to attend the celebrations.

In Bangalore, young students reenact battle scenes from the freedom struggle, according to MSNBC. Family members of students who participate in these events will send money to India to help the kids pay for their costumes. Reenactments aren’t the only events that take place on this holiday – many people fly kites on Independence Day in India, filling the skies with bright colors.

Costume parties are a regularly observed tradition as well. People dress in outfits that reflect the Indian culture and heritage to get together and honor their nation.

14
Aug

The city of Davao prepares for the week-long Kadayawan Festival

Every August, Filipinos gather in Davao to celebrate thanksgiving at the Kadayawan Festival. The festival was once a ritual performed by tribes to thank the gods for a bountiful harvest, but it has been adapted to include other cultural celebrations. The festival is still a time to give thanks for the harvest, but it now also encompasses the diverse culture and rich history of the city of Davao.

The term ‘kadayawan’ comes from the Mandaya word ‘madayaw,’ which is a friendly greeting that means good, valuable, beautiful or superior. The festival was given its current name in 1988 by Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, but it had been known as Apo Duwaling until then. The former name was a culmination of Mount Apo (the tallest mountain in the Philippines), Durian the king of fruits and Waling-waling, the queen of orchids.

Kadayawan is a chance for the people of Davao to celebrate their community. Davao has one of the lowest crime rates in the world and the Davao City Police Office is always the front-runner for the best force in the Philippines. The city has some of the best tap water in the world, and has never been hit by a typhoon, according to the festival’s official website.

On August 15, the festival will kick off with the opening ceremonies in the People’s Park. The father tribes of the city will perform music and dances to honor their cultures as well as this year’s harvest. Once the festival begins, Roxas Avenue will be closed to traffic and open to the public from 6 p.m. to 3 a.m., and there will be plenty of local and national bands on the scene to give the crowds something to dance to as they celebrate in the streets.

The Lumadnong Gama: Indigenous Peoples Crops and Crafts Trade Fair will be held throughout the week-long event. The many different tribes of Davao will be selling souvenirs, crafts and other goods. Many families are counting on their relatives to send money online so they can take part in the festivities and be able to buy something to remember the Kadayawan Festival. There are also cultural demonstrations, street-dancing competitions, exhibits of Filipino traditions and floats made from the native flowers of the area.

14
Aug

The city of Davao prepares for the week-long Kadayawan Festival

Every August, Filipinos gather in Davao to celebrate thanksgiving at the Kadayawan Festival. The festival was once a ritual performed by tribes to thank the gods for a bountiful harvest, but it has been adapted to include other cultural celebrations. The festival is still a time to give thanks for the harvest, but it now also encompasses the diverse culture and rich history of the city of Davao.

The term ‘kadayawan’ comes from the Mandaya word ‘madayaw,’ which is a friendly greeting that means good, valuable, beautiful or superior. The festival was given its current name in 1988 by Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, but it had been known as Apo Duwaling until then. The former name was a culmination of Mount Apo (the tallest mountain in the Philippines), Durian the king of fruits and Waling-waling, the queen of orchids.

Kadayawan is a chance for the people of Davao to celebrate their community. Davao has one of the lowest crime rates in the world and the Davao City Police Office is always the front-runner for the best force in the Philippines. The city has some of the best tap water in the world, and has never been hit by a typhoon, according to the festival’s official website.

On August 15, the festival will kick off with the opening ceremonies in the People’s Park. The father tribes of the city will perform music and dances to honor their cultures as well as this year’s harvest. Once the festival begins, Roxas Avenue will be closed to traffic and open to the public from 6 p.m. to 3 a.m., and there will be plenty of local and national bands on the scene to give the crowds something to dance to as they celebrate in the streets.

The Lumadnong Gama: Indigenous Peoples Crops and Crafts Trade Fair will be held throughout the week-long event. The many different tribes of Davao will be selling souvenirs, crafts and other goods. Many families are counting on their relatives to send money online so they can take part in the festivities and be able to buy something to remember the Kadayawan Festival. There are also cultural demonstrations, street-dancing competitions, exhibits of Filipino traditions and floats made from the native flowers of the area.

10
Aug

Fairy bread and Boston buns: Australian sweets for young and old

People who are living or working outside of the country may often get homesick, and one of the best cures for homesickness is indulging in favorite foods from home. People can send money online so that their loved ones can prepare the same dishes at home, and even though they are separated by great distances, they can still share a meal, or even a quick snack or dessert.

Fairy bread is an Australian treat that is often served at children's parties. The snack is simply bread and butter covered with nonpareils, or sprinkles. While the exact origin of this colorful food is unknown, it may come from a short poem by the same name, written by Robert Louis Stevenson in 1885.

A more grown-up treat, Boston buns are large spiced pastries that have a healthy supply of coconut frosting on top, and often contain dried fruits. These goodies, often served with tea, are unique because they are made with mashed potatoes.

The dough is made by combining mashed potatoes and sugar until they are smooth, then adding flour, fruit, milk, baking soda and salt, according to New Zealand Women's Weekly. The dough is baked in shallow sponge pans, and while it is in the oven, the frosting can be prepared. It's often a standard butter cream with coconut shavings pressed into it after it has been smoothed over the cake.

8
Aug

Filipino Dragon Boat team secures first gold in World Championships

The Cobra Philippine Dragon Boat Team broke world records when they won the first men’s small-boat 1,000-meter race at the World Championships in Tampa, Florida, on Friday. The Filipinos paddled across the finish line nearly three seconds before the Australian team, and Hungary was awarded third three seconds after Australia claimed silver.

“We trained under the same weather and on the same placid water conditions,” Michelle Evio, a Cobra squad paddler, told The Inquirer. “But I guess we got inspired because there is no garbage here.”

Private investors, such as Philippine Airlines, are currently funding the team’s operations with international money transfers, after the Cobras lost the financial support of the Philippine Olympic Committee and the Philippine Sports Commission, the news source reports.

The financial instability makes this story more of an underdog victory, as the team was unable to practice small-boat races prior to the competition. In spite of the setbacks, the team managed to secure a world record time of 4 minutes and 57.13 seconds. The nation already holds world titles from the 2007 and 2009 championships, and this win may be the first on the Cobras’ path to victory.