11 June 2008

Tasty Filipinos

Photo: Ivan About Town blog

Ever heard of tasty Filipinos? I first came across this edible variety when it caused a controversy in the Philippines several years ago. Before you get any cannibalistic notion about this, I am talking about the biscuit snacks that are sold in Spain under the brand name Filipinos. I came across this snack food again when I recently checked out Ivan Henares' blog. He was visiting Spain when he spotted with amusement the biscuit snacks sold alongside such world famous brands as Oreo and Chips Ahoy.

According to Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, the standard Filipinos is ring shaped and comes in several varieties coated in either milk chocolate, dark chocolate or white chocolate. It also comes in two other forms, Filipinos Agujeros and Filipinos Bigsticks. The biscuits were said to be inspired by the "rosquillo" biscuits produced in Iloilo and Negros but given a Spanish twist, i.e. coated with brown or white chocolate. Thus, the name Filipinos given to it. I think these "rosquillo" biscuits is similar to the "rosquillo" produced in Cebu, which I have tried and is a favourite snack of mine back home. Ivan attested that Filipinos biscuit taste very good. Obviously, this biscuit will be on top of my buying list if and when I visit Spain!

About the controversy, the Philippine government then filed a diplomatic protest because it took offense with the use of the name "Filipinos," a term that usually refers to the people of the Philippines, to market cookie and pretzel snacks. It also demanded from the manufacturer to stop selling the product until the brand name was changed. The protest was filed despite initial reluctance from the then Foreign Secretary, who saw nothing wrong with the use of Filipinos as a brand name, noting that Austrians did not felt insulted that small sausages are called "Vienna sausages."

My personal take on this controversy, then and now, is that the government then was overly sensitive about this matter when they filed the diplomatic protest. There was no need for it. After all, it was just about a biscuit snack, and apparently, a damn good one at that!

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