Our Daily Rice

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Rice. Many Filipinos will not survive a day without it. A meal is not a meal without it.

This is true in our household. Yes, we have even brought our reliable electric rice cooker when we go camping. And in campgrounds that has no electric outlets, we cook our rice in the public shower where there is electric outlets. Of course we could have cook rice in the campfire, but that is too much of a hassle.

Our American friends just don’t understand why we eat rice in all our meals. I told them that this is so engrained in our culture that we even have different words in our language for the different phases of rice.

When rice crop is grown in the fields, we call it palay. When it is harvested and milled, we call it bigas. When we cook it and is ready to eat, we call it kanin. The leftover is called bahaw. Compare that to the English language that has only 1 term – rice.

For Filipinos, even our prayer is different…… Lord, give us this day, our daily…rice.


  1. This reminds me of the oft quoted fact here that “Eskimos have xyz words for snow”. This is referring to the concept that they look at snow in a different way from those who do not dwell upon it every day of the year. Actually, there is no one Eskimo language so this is a gross simplification but the point is valid: Important things in a culture are given emphasis in the language. I knew that rice was important for Filipinos since I’ve been told how it’s served at every meal many times. The way this links to language I didn’t know so thanks for illuminating me.

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