Opinion

Winter in Marawi: of Sulabay, Apang, Banggolo and Barrio Paypay


Bits and Pieces

Jahara A. Solaiman


I know, we don’t have the 4 seasons like other countries with temperate climates do, but the weather here in Marawi and Lanao del Sur has become crazily cold lately, which is not good news for those with respiratory illnesses and those who hang out their laundry to dry.

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ML Lhuillier is at almost breaking point with all the Starpay people lining up to encash.  I overhead some people grumbling outside a branch because it had run out of cash. Next time, hanapan din ng mas ok na sistema, kawawa pareho ang mga tao sa loob at ang mga customer.

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If this were the Marawi of old, this weather would have meant one thing: Sulabay. This thick porridge with sweet starchy bits used to warm many a cold person who lined up to pay 10 pesos for a cup of the steaming-hot breakfast food. Hard to prepare but heavy on the stomach, this would have started the day for a lot of people. But with Marawi still on its knees and the food hubs like Banggolo and Barrio Paypay wiped off the map, this once common dish is now hard to find.

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Speaking of Banggolo and Barrio Paypay warming many a Marawi resident’s stomach, let me.jog your memory.  Remember the inihaw stalls in Barrio Paypay selling orange-colored chicken barbecue? Or how about the walang kamatayan na pancit that sold for 5 pesos a glass? No one in living history remembered seeing more than onion bits and pancit noodles in their 5 pesos’ worth of an afternoon snack. If you were early, you’d even see some cooked Meranaw viands in pots for sale outside a few stalls. Such was the life in that stretch of Osmeña Street.

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If you happen to mention Palao A Apang, Ralyn’s, Al-Kauthar, or even Pacasum Square, you mean one place: Banggolo. It may not be much compared to the commerical hubs of other cities but for the Marawi citizen worth his sulabay (ooops, I meant to say salt), it was the place to be. Most will remember Banggolo being lit alive during Ramadan after sundown. The older generations remember it as a place where people met to have coffee and conduct business in. Still for others, it was the place to eat that steaming hot apang with a yummy egg in the center. For the more sophisticated, it would be the chicken pancit at Ralyn’s. Younger generations of Meranaws will sadly not be able to experience these.

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Students who are “graduating” this semester, advance congratulations. You may not be able to match up the stage, but at least in spite of the challenges posed by this pandemic, you still were able to achieve all this. May this be the start of something brighter and better for you.

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Congratulations to the MSU placers and passers in the Social Work board exams! Galing ninyo! Continue shining! JAS

Categories: Opinion

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