[Post by Kah-Ty-Ah Lawrence]
I am going to the Philippines. As the departure date draws closer, my interest in Philippine culture grows. I am reading an array of books, one of which expands on cultural differences between the United States and the Philippines. In a country that is dominated by machismo culture and the Catholic religion, one book says, a woman’s most important role in life is being a mother.
While standing at the bakery in New Ibajay, Palawan, looking at the shelves of bread and treats of all shapes and sizes, the connoisseur in me has absolutely no idea what to pick. Trying to make an extremely calculated decision off of nothing, I turn to my Pinoy crush and ask for his opinion on what I should choose. After much translation he finally suggests the pusong mamon and says, “This is the heart of the Philippines!”
The group slowly files back into the Jeepney after filling their orders of treats and sweets from the bakery. As I sit down and open my bag of mystery treats, I bite into the pusong mamon having no idea what it is going to taste like. It’s delicious and firm but, soft with very subtle sweetness to it.
Although a Pinay woman’s most important role in life is seen as being a mother, it is a highly respected role. I have come to learn that pusong mamon is the symbol for the Pinay mother. She is a woman who slides easily from the high demands of a husband to the needs of young children and disciplining teenagers so gracefully. She is a woman who is firm when she has to be, yet soft and sweet on the inside. I was warmed by the connection between women and this food to understand how representative pusong mamon is of the Pinay woman. She is going to change, but she is going to maintain her traditions as a 21st century woman.