By Krencelou Gaile O. Briones*
It was the year 2007 when I entered college in University of the Philippines- Iloilo City campus. It was also during the same year when I was introduced to kumos-kumos. I was with my friends talking when our stomachs called out for food. “Gigutom me ug tinabi.” (Hehehe, that’s Siquijor language for “we are hungry from talking.”) It was then when they mentioned about kumos-kumos. I was so naive then when they brought it up to me. I thought it was just a popular food eaten by the students in the university. But, it’s not. It is actually a way of eating rice packed in plastic and partnered with a viand, usually barbeque.
Kumos, an Ilonggo word actually means to crumple in English. It was from that word where kumos-kumos came from. And the story of kumos-kumos goes like this.
Kumos-kumos started in the year 1997. It was introduced by the UP High School students as they found out that rice can be eaten even if it is served in plastic. When they started going outside the campus looking for food, they found alternative ways to eat rice served in plastic. And so they come up with the practice kumos-kumos. Later years, the college students also used the term kumos-kumos. There were also other names used to refer to kumos-kumos like “chupe”; but it didn’t last as long as the term kumos-kumos did. Now, kumos-kumos continues to be practiced by the CM students. (CM stands for College of Management).
Kumos-kumos is known by a lot of students in the university and is continuing to be introduced to every student who enters CM. Why? First, the way it is done is interesting. One doesn’t need to have a plate and a spoon and fork. One can just eat anywhere in the campus or even outside the school. Popular “tambayans” of students are the “mushrooms” and “umbrellas”. (These are called such because the structures of these “tambayans” look like mushrooms or umbrellas.) You see, we UP students really like giving names to things. Usually, people find it weird. Another place where kumos-kumos is usually done is in classrooms. Students doing group projects or assignments in classrooms prefer to buy rice and viand and just do kumos-kumos there. This way, they can save time and effort going to “carenderias” or food stores and have their meals there, the second reason why kumos-kumos is mostly done by students. Third reason why kumos-kumos
continues to be popular is that the rice and viand are affordable. One can have rice and two “inasal” for just P19.00. See? That’s how cheap it is. Lastly, it is interesting because of its uniqueness. It is unique in the sense that it is done mostly by the students in UPV- CM and not by those in other schools found in Iloilo.
However, UP students influence other students. How? It is through bonding in dormitories and boarding houses. Example of such is that of Grizelle ladies dormitory. Grizelle is a ladies dorm just beside UP. Since most of the dormers come from UP and often do kumos-kumos during weekends, they influence other students who also live there.
The packed rice for which kumos-kumos is done is usually bought in food stands where barbeque is also sold. And mind you, many food stands of that kind surround UPV-Iloilo City campus, one of which is located in “Fonts.” “Fonts” is a place just near the UP gate, wherein a group of food stands can be found. These food stands sell different kinds of food for snacks and even for meals. These food stands are open during weekdays, sometimes even Saturdays; but with fewer food stands selling.
Now, let me teach you how to do kumos-kumos. Given that you have already bought rice in plastic, you can now follow these steps.
1. Make a hole at either of the corners of the plastic by tearing the corner with
your teeth. This would release the air inside and will allow you to form the rice into the shape you like.
2. Crumple or squeeze the rice to the form you like for it to be eaten easier. It could be in a form of a mountain, a cone or a corn. As for me, I usually make it into a mountain. However, it changes to other forms as I get through my eating.
3. Make the hole you made earlier bigger through your hands.
4. Start eating the rice. Of course, alternate it with your viand. You can take a bite of your barbeque after the rice; or you may take a bite of your barbeque first before eating the rice.
5. Finally, you just have to repeat the process of eating rice alternate with barbeque until it’s through.
That’s how to do kumos-kumos. It is easy right? Oh! Please, really, don’t forget your viand. First timers have the tendency to forget their viand as they do kumos-kumos. “Bason mawili mo pagporma sa luto dayon kalimot namo kaon sa inyo sud-an.” (Maybe you’ll be so much enjoying doing kumos-kumos that you’ll forget to eat your viand.)
My name is Krencelou Gaile O.Briones, a BSA-II student from the College of Management. Many of my friends call me Bebe. I come from Siquijor and I am currently staying here in Iloilo for my studies. I love experiencing new things at the same time learning from it. Although kumos-kumos is no longer a new experience for me, I still enjoy doing it.