Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Ginamos for Sale

Warning: This post is not for the demure :).

“Order ka ginamos? Just text us, we deliver.”

This is what I imagine selling of ginamos would be in the near future. As time and society change, product selling is no longer limited to the stores, tiangge, or display houses. The internet today has now become one of the strongest marketing tools in any industry and any business that is not able to adapt to this change will have hard time keeping up.

And so I predict that even in this so-called “facebook” generation, Anahawnons will always love this humble delicacy that we inherited from our ancestors many generations back in our history. Even those who have reached the furthest islands in the country, or those who have now achieved certain levels of success and are enjoying the greener pastures in the first worlds would, at times, crave for and hope for their love ones back home to send them scoops of ginamos. In fact, I believe that any Anahawnon who does not love ginamos have no absolute bragging rights of being an Anahawnon :).

Most of the "tragic" stories, however, is that ginamos seldom gets through airports and is often confiscated as banned substance :(. I heard though, that with proper packaging, airport authorities may be more tolerant and allow you to check in this most precious merchandise.

As a bio-process engineering major, it is pretty easy to understand why our ancestors resorted to salting rather than cold-storage. Well, first we don’t have winter season so there is no way for our ancestors to discover that fish could be preserved under cold storage, not until freezers and refrigerators arrived in our islands some decades ago. On the other hand, salt is always abundant and cheap; so it is presumed that salting has become the easiest, quickest, and cheapest way of preserving the fish. Then our taste buds got used to the salty taste and we started loving this food.

There is no way to be sure whether our ancestors salted the fish to preserve it and learned to like the taste; or it might be the other way around: they may have salted the fish to improve taste and discovered that it could then be preserved by over salting it. There are, however, good reasons to believe that the main purpose of salting is to preserve due to the seasonality of good catches. During summer season, or when it is relatively safe for fishermen to go out into the ocean, there would be plenty of catch, presumably even more than what the people can consume, resulting to surplus. On rainy or stormy seasons, or when the ocean is not so friendly, there would be scarcity. Therefore, there is the need to preserve fish during abundant seasons so they would have food during times of shortage.

Judging on how Anahawnons and people in nearby towns and provinces treat ginamos as a special delicacy, it does look like there is good potential for ginamos in terms of commercialization. We just have to take care of some practices that threaten its very existence. As people become more health conscious, it is then necessary to improve production process, often considered unsanitary, not only by the demure but even by some ordinary consumers. Quality needs to be consistent, scientific studies need to be conducted regarding its implications on consumer health; and with a market that is scattered not only throughout the Philippines, but also in every country in the world where there are Filipinos, there is also the need to overcome the bigger challenge of logistics and packaging.

Enter technologists, entrepreneurs, and investors!

Unja… pila man ka salmon imo? :)