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Aug 18th
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Siamese Traders Introduced Thai Cooking and the Muaythai Boxing to the Philippine Region of Bicol

By Lolo Bobby M. Reyes of Sorsogon City

W hy is the Bicol (pronounced "Be cool") Region the only place -- out of 13 regions in the Philippines -- that uses a lot of pepper in its cooking? This was the question that a fellow member of the Philippine History Group of Los Angeles (PHGLA), Copper Sturgeon, asked me in 1998. I told Copper that I honestly did not know the answer. But I ventured out a guess: I said that perhaps settlers from India must have taken with them their fondness for spices and pepper. A former distinguished congressman from Sorsogon Province, the late Vicente Peralta, was of Indian and Indonesian descent. But then Indian migration came mostly after the British invasion of the Philippines and their occupation of Manila from 1762-1764. The use of pepper must have occurred earlier in the history of the Bicol Region.

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