By Leonardo V. Micua
SYDNEY, Australia –Do you know ” Boy Bawang”?
If you don’t, “Boy Bawang” is the crispy and crunchy garlic-flavored cornick made from corn grit that is a favorite junk food of young and adults in the Philippines and surprisingly, Filipinos in Australia.
Imported from the Philippines by Sunnation PTY LTD at Orange Groove, Liverpool, New South Wales, “Boy Bawang” cornick can be bought in Australia from any of the many Asian stores located in Blacktown which is admittedly the biggest concentration of Filipinos in Australia.
At Tongli Supermarket inside Westpoint Mall in Blacktown, one can buy not only “Boy Bawang”‘but a host of other manufactured Filipino food and condiments like Rufina Patis, Mang Tomas sauce, fish paste (bagoong), sardines, Dole and Del Monte pineapples, nata de coco, “pandesal”‘, bangus belly not from Dagupan but from Sarangani and many others.
Also in that supermarkets are packed “gabi” to be made into “laing”, a Bicolano food; malungay and ampalaya leaves. The list includes deboned siganid (danggit to Pinoys), dried fish (“tuyo”) and dried salted squid.
All these passed the stringent standard of the Australian government as to quality, tastes, salt and sugar contents and others given the strict biosecurity they have in all ports of this country.
Dole and Del Monte pineapples as well as Skyflakes and Fita biscuits, all from the Philippines are a by-word in every supermarket all over Australia and even in New Zealand.
At the back of Westpoint Mall are Filipino take out food shops called in the Philippines as “turo-turo” that serve, various Filipino, delicacies like “dinuguan”, “apritada”, “adobo” “kalderita” and snack food like “bibingka” ” which is sold at five AU dollars each, and ” fresh lumpia” at two AU dollars each.
These shops are being mobbed by Filipinos longing for home as their biggest come-on is the shows in Filipino overseas channel of GMA and at times of ABS-CBN.
There are also some white people, mostly Australians, dropping by at these ” turo-turo food shops and buying bagful of the delicacies for take home to their families for a few Australian dollars. The storekeepers are Filipino women donning aprons and wearing chef’s hats, talking in Tagalog if they see their Filipino customers
One Filipino woman said smiling:” When you are in Blacktown, it is as if you have not left home. Name any Filipino food and you can have them here”, she boasted.
Filipino familes in Sydney often travel to Blacktown, which is by car or by train, to buy their provisions such as rice which is not often available at Sydney and to feast on their favorite ” “dinuguan” with “puto” on the side which they had long been missing since leaving the Philippines.
It is not a surprise at all to see children of Australians married to Filipinas now also eating “dinuguan” with rice which they call ” chocolate meat”.
There is plenty of fresh meat of different cuts that can be bought in Australia but it is only in Blacktown where there is “dinuguan”, cooked by Filipinos who transported to Australia their natural savvy in culinary arts.
Blacktown is a quiet city northwest of Sydney which is about 30 kilometers via the motorway. It is here where many Filipinos chose to settle, rent homes for a while and eventually bought their own abodes after years of industry and sacrifice.
Some are in the fields of medical care like doctors, nurses and physical therapists; construction, engineering, information technology, business, butchers and also in the government service.
Many of them toiled hard to reach the ladder of success, such as this Filipino couple, both doctors by profession, who migrated to Australia with their three kids, some two decades ago.
Unable to practice their profession in the new homeland and desperately wanting a job to support the family, the husband willingly accepted the job of janitor. With his income, he was able to finance the reschooling of his wife in the medical school till her review and passing the medical board.
When the wife got employed in a hospital, it was her turn to send her husband to the medical school till he also got a license to practice his profession.
The couple doctors now own the biggest private clinic in Blacktown patronized by fellow Filipinos, Australians and by different nationals living in the country Down Under.
The story of sacrifice and industry of the Filipino couple who now have expanded their clinic and employed fellow Filipino doctors and nurses is now serves as an all-time inspiration to many other Filipinos who came to Australia to strive harder so that they will succeed in life too.