Garlic Bread and Circuses : The Philippines garlic shortage

Smuggled Garlic crushed

Smuggled Garlic crushed

Delicious longganisa served for breakfast

Delicious longganisa served for breakfast

Imelda to prophet

Imelda the prophet

Dahlings, During my trip in Philippines, I got to do something that reminded of times of old – I read the paper versions of the newspapers that were delivered daily to my room. Since I had quite a few moments of no connections, I took time a read to see what is going on with the Philippine chattering classes.

If you didn’t know that the gentle people from Philippines all have nicknames, then the headline story about “Bong being turned in” would make you question what on earth is going on. The actual story was of politicians being busted for fraud and embezzlement.

However, what caught my attention was another ongoing story: a shortage of Garlic. Apparently this was more important to the people on the streets. Even one of Cleo’s Filipina managers, mentioned it. A story about customs seizing a ship full of Garlic made front page. It was even an editorial in there under “Imelda was right”.

Why is this some a big deal: it is a key culinary ingredient of Filipino food. For breakfast, garlic rice. For Lunch also. Guess what then is for dinner?

It is not just rice but Garlic is of course used elsewhere. I got to eat delicious Philippine breakfasts for 5 day in a row. A favorite was the longganisa. Yummy. Philipine star had this as a main story: Garlic prices push cost of ‘longganisa’.

The good news is that the shortage will likely end after the rainy season.

I let out a sigh of relief . With such Garlic shortage, I was glad I was not visiting the Carpathian mountains in Central Romania.

Ciao for now,


Previously Queen of Egypt and being romantically linked to both Julius Caesar and later Mark Antony, Cleo is master of social politics.. No stranger to courting scandal, Cleo is Roam’s commentator on society and travel. Her Unique 'BC' viewpoint and friends of everybody, Cleo brings a fresh 'AD' way of looking at travel that stodgy old travel media cannot bring.

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