Khok: For the love of adobo

Ober Khok
·2 min read

Crimes, petty or severe, are committed sometimes because of drunkenness. The cause of the crime? For the root of some crimes is the love of adobo when one imbibes a bottle of cheap wine.

I read with horror the news about a stepdad who came home soused with alcohol. It doesn’t matter whether it was cheap or dear. He doused his stepdaughter with boiling water after she served him a plate of vegetables, instead of adobo, for his dinner (SunStar Cebu, similar head, Feb. 3).

He said he loves to have pork dishes after a hard day’s work as a trisikad driver. He said someone stole the humba he had hidden for dinner.

Let me digress. Humba is a Visayan version of abodo, a dish built on soy sauce. The Visayan adobo per se is tender, full of umami, but hardly has any sauce. Another type is pork slabs, fried till the rind is sinfully crispy delicious.

FAVORITE. Why did I pick up this news as a topic for my tiny store? It relates to two favorite subjects used in food columns, blogs and vlogs: humba as the iconic dish associated with Cebuano cuisine, and alcoholic drinks with social events or milestones.

THE BAN. I’m not being a holier than thou bloke, as I do drink socially, and to a limit, at home during birthdays in the past. What concerns me is the liquor ban starting Feb. 3. Page 2 of SunStar Feb. 3 reported Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella’s Executive Order 117 allows groceries, convenience stores and sari-sari stores to sell liquor, but disallows consumption of it anywhere nearby. “This can only be consumed inside the customer’s house” and “only in-house guests (for) hotels and other accommodation establishments.”

KIND BUT. This is a kind EO for allowing businesses to sell liquor, but my other concern is the humba and tagay that would follow.

OBEY. The semi-ban does a balancing act or maybe puts on a leash around Tagay Masters (tagay or drinking session) while keeping the negosyante (businessman) happy.

During a tagay, usually on a sidewalk or a homeowner’s front yard, huge quantities of sumsuman, such as peanuts, grilled pork or humba, are eaten to slow down the work of the alcohol.

I digress. Sumsuman in Cebuano is food taken with liquor. Some websites translate this as snack, finger food, and hors d’oeuvres, which my nephew Pannon pronounces as “horse de overs.”

It’s funny, but not when “hors de overs” is used as an idiom. Sumsuman also means being the fodder of gossip or the talk of the town.

So my friend Khokies, I know it took me a long time to get to the point, so I’ll be brief: Obey our mayor, and follow the Covid protocol, if you don’t want to be the next sumsuman. Don’t blame alcohol or humba for it.