Galay Recipes: Burong Mustasa

While the Galays have a wide array of buro (pickle) recipes, making buro out of mustasa (mustard leaves) is unique to my branch of the family, as my mother cooked it more often than her siblings and my grandmother does not remember cooking it. Over time my aunts and uncle would learn to love the dish too.

Part of the reason why this is a distinctly Galay-David dish is the fact that my mother’s original source of burong mustasa in Kidapawan was the father of her friend, tita Elaine Palo, who sold vegetables in Kidapawan’s Mega Market. The Palos are a Kapampangan family,  making this dish one of the many cultural influences on our mostly Tagalog family cuisine. When tita Elaine’s father died, my mother lost her only source of the stuff. So with what little descriptions of the process she can remember and with a lot of help from the internet, she successfully tried her hand at making buro. Today she is the only member of the family, and probably one of the few from Kidapawan, who can make burong mustasa.

Here is how she makes the stuff.



Mustasa (mustard leaves)


Rice wash





Cooking oil





Making Buro

  1. Wash mustasa leaves and separate each leaf stalk. Optional: Dry leaves under the sun briefly
  2. Rub each leaf with salt
  3. Arrange leaves carefully inside a clean, empty bottle
  4. (Optional: Add crushed garlic)
  5. Fill the bottle with rice wash (My mother’s innovation: boil glutinous rice and drain liquid. Allow this liquid to cool down before pouring it into the bottle instead of rice wash)
  6. Allow the leaves to pickle to desired duration (3 days to 2 weeks)




Cooking Buro

  1. Take the pickled mustasa leaves out of the bottle and drain.
  2. Wash the leaves thoroughly and squeeze to prevent it from being too salty
  3. Chop the pickled leaves into small pieces
  4. On a hot frying pan, sauté garlic, onion, and tomatoes on cooking oil
  5. Add the chopped pickled leaves on the sautéed mixture. Leave on heat for a while
  6. Add beaten egg on the mixture just before turning the fire off. Mix thoroughly to coat the mixture in egg.
  7. Add salt and seasoning to taste
  8. Serve

Traditional sawsawan and partners

This is a very versatile side dish with no usual sawsawan, so it works well with almost any other dish. But usually we eat it with the following dishes:


Las-lost (working title)

Bello, Lolo J, Bello.
You were wrong of course. Against the sword
perhaps, but your pen stood no chance
against Spanish firing squads.

Today your death
is taxidermied, curated,
heroed down our throats by teachers
by Maxipeel or Bello.

Your martyrdom we memor-
ize, like our jingles about nutrition
that we dance to every July
with eggplants dangling from our uniforms

Sisyphal calvary.

Teasing our hair back to Igorot
when we can simply Rejoice it
to bouncy straightness, or bangs
to look Bieber, or Big Bang. Itchy
Barong too is now only
for the rotting and the rotten.
For streets, hoodies and jerseys.

While we still say punyeta
and leche when we see officials
like you did,
Bud Dajo taught us English, the way
Hiroshima taught the Japanese
to be peaceful.

And Pinoy nights, Dr Always-ready,
are star-spangled now, or moon-crested,
or maple leafed, or Bauhiniaed –
Rancid, fishy dreams to you, maybe. But herring
or salmon, or maybe camel, or any imported
longing murmured in a classier tongue that
TV or Facebook have taught us better
than Teacher Tocino in Sibika could ever teach us
to love this overgrown sandbar
you wanted to be a Spanish province.

Because you cannot caress identity
like some lana, or murmur it
like some oracion.
Teacher GMRC had to rattan
the Jenny out of Junjun, the way frayles
latigoed mea culpa on our brown backs
to exorcise us of our
sinful Indiohood.

As I said, lolo J.: Bello. Being
is lanced, bayoneted. If it will be you
it has to sting.

And in the stinging we have bled you already.
Matchstick-splinter, tome-papercut, chalk-choked.
But we have peeled off.
the scabs of your palabras now, knowing only the pain
that left your white absence, scars mapping
crossroads you could not even imagine.

Proof that Davao Filipino is observable in Kidapawan

From my brother’s friend, who likes making these crazy pranks. Tongue-in-cheek, but authentic language!


Poetry: Sosyal Media

If I find myself teaching Philippine Literature again, I would definitely teach this!

Durian Writer

May sabihin ako sayo

Yun ganing gipost mo sa Facebook

Feeling ko ako man yung ginaparinig mo

Nung gisabi mo gud na puro pagwapa lang

Ako man talaga yun ba

No offence ha

Wag ka sana masyado maki-alam

Kasi Facebook ko man yun

Kung gusto ko mag selfie araw-araw

Wala ka mang magawa

Bakit ka man mag deny

Na ako yung gina-mean mo

Hindi man siguro ako tanga

Kasi sa lahat ng posts ko

Ikaw lang man hindi naga like

Kung gusto mo, i-unfriend mo nalang ako

At tsaka, next time kung magparinig ka

I-sure mo ha na walang mapintas sayo

Kasi ang grammar mo,

Funny baya masyado

Wag ka masyadong righteous uy

Parang as if ikaw lang tama

Nakalimutan mo siguro

Pag naga shot kayo ng friends mo

Grabe ka baya kung hubog masyado

Nung naglamutakay kayo

Nung guy na taga upper year

Baka gusto mo pati…

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On ponds and riverbanks
the kuhol make the reeds bear fruit to