A dirty kitchen is so common in the Philippines, you can pretty much argue that a Filipino household isn't complete without one. Although they're mostly found in the provinces (the countryside), it's still an essential for your typical city-dwelling families.

Photo of Dirty Kitchens: A Filipino's Multi-Purpose Paradise

Dirty Kitchens: A Filipino’s Multi-Purpose Paradise
by Ewemiz C. Insigne

Imagine hearing a friend or colleague proudly proclaim "I love dirty kitchens! I even have my own!"

Before you immediately go all out in lecturing them about the importance of hygiene and cleaning routines, take a moment to ask them if they're Filipino (or Kuwaiti, Buhraini, or West-Asian) — because if they say yes, chances are that their "dirty kitchen" isn't literally a dirty kitchen — instead, it's a smaller and messier kitchen, usually built outside the main house, and is considered an extension of the ever-tiny Filipino houses. It's where all the dirty work comes into play: mass cooking (when there's a fiesta in your barangay or if your relatives from the U.S. are coming to visit), broiling some meat or barbecue, washing tons of pots and pans; heck — even laundry! It's the be-all-end-all of multi-purpose rooms.

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A dirty kitchen is so common in the Philippines, you can pretty much argue that a Filipino household isn't complete without one. Although they're mostly found in the provinces (the countryside), it's still an essential for your typical city-dwelling families. You'll find your Filipina mom in here about 80% of the time, cooking and cleaning and cooking some more. Your dad will come briefly to store some of his tools as a cousin of yours rummages through the Balikbayan boxes to look for her old toy bear from when she was three. Almost always, you’ll find Filipinos with some close memory associated with their dirty kitchen: whether it be cooking some chicken adobo with their parents or cutting their anak’s hair.

Photos of dirty kitchens; often comprised with a sink and a lot of clutter. Top photo credit: Kirsten Dianne Delmo; bottom photo credit: Ewemiz Insigne.

COOKING IN THE DIRTY KITCHEN

It's a pretty hot place in the Philippines, and it's not exactly pleasant to have smoke everywhere inside your house when it's as humid and warm as it is. This is one of the primary reasons why people prefer to cook things that often produces a lot of smoke, or broil in the dirty kitchen. A lot of Filipino houses (specifically those that aren’t well-off) aren’t ventilated properly, and more often than not, the house is just going to be filled with, if any, one or two small air-conditioners hidden away in rooms while the rest of the house is plagued with small and large electric fans. Because of this, the vapor and smoke coming from cooking inside can sometimes stick around longer than it should. In order to avoid all of those problems, Filipinos just cook outside where the fumes don’t have to stick around anywhere.

CLEANING THE DIRTY KITCHEN

There's also the notion of cleaning: while a dirty kitchen should be relatively clean, it’s normally a lot dirtier in comparison with the main kitchen, so having stains on the sink and a mess of a cabinet is pretty forgivable. There's no pressure on having to keep it spotless, since it's usually a "backstage" of sorts, often accessed by those who need to cook or wash dishes. Clutter is often just piled up in organized stacks: there’s a pile of old balikbayan boxes that hold toys from years past; a few shoe racks of old shoes that are too worn out to be recognized; maybe old books whose pages are torn and inks too faded to be read. This is where a lot of Filipinos often just dump things either too sentimental or too broken to be given away.

LAUNDRY IN THE DIRTY KITCHEN

Another big problem about Filipino households is that their houses or properties are small. There’s no expansive backyard or front yard to hang out all our laundry clothes; heck, you’ll probably find some households hang their laundries on the rails of their windows, sometimes inside the house. There’s not enough space inside for a laundry room; a lot of houses and apartments have to make do with the space they have, which is why you’ll often see a washing machine or a bunch of labadors or palanggana stacked at the side somewhere in the dirty kitchen. This is also where you’ll find the laundry wires, where everything is left to dry: towels, baby clothes, polos, etc. That being said, a dirty kitchen is basically an essential to a Filipino household, and a nice addition if you really want to make do with what small space you have. There are tons of things you can do in the extension, and really, it’s up to you and your family to make the most out of it. Be it playing outside with your anak, washing the dishes with ‘inay or ‘tay, or barbecuing something for your kaibigan at kapamilya, beautiful memories can be made in the humblest of places when you’re with beautiful people.


 Glossary of Filipino Terms
(in order of first appearance within the article)

Barangay – officially considered the smallest local government of the Philippines; can also be considered as a ‘village’ or ‘neighborhood.’

Balikbayan boxes – literal translation: “boxes that return to the country”; these boxes are often one of the most looked-forward to of any event in a Filipino’s life when they have a close relative (usually a tita, or aunt) that brings a box full of stuff (books, clothes, food, etc.) from where they work/live, which is usually either in the Middle East or the U.S.

Anak – child.

Chicken adobo - the national food of the Filipinos, truly iconic to the Filipino cuisine.

Labadors/palangganas - basins, can be either big or small; usually used to wash clothes.

Inay/Tay - shortened forms of Nanay and Tatay; Mother and Father.

Kaibigan at kapamilya - friends and family.

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Photo of Dirty Kitchens: A Filipino's Multi-Purpose Paradise

Dirty Kitchens: A Filipino’s Multi-Purpose Paradise
by Ewemiz C. Insigne

Imagine narinig mo sa kaibigan mo o colleague na nagsabing,: “I love dirty kitchens! I even have one!”

Bago mo silang lecturan ng hygiene at cleaning routines, tanungin mo muna sila kung sila ba ay Filipino, (o Kuwaiti, Buhraini, o West-Asian) – because if they say yes, chances are ang “dirty kitchen” nila ay di literal na dirty kitchen. Instead, ito ay maliit at maraming kalat na kusina. Nakatayo ito sa labas ng main house at isang extension na maliit na bahay ng mga Filipino. Dito ginaganap ang karamihan na gawain sa kusina, tulad ng mass cooking (kung may fiesta sa barangay), broiling some meat or barbecue, paghugas ng malalaking pots and pans – kahit sa paglalaba! It’s the be-all-end-all of multi-purpose rooms.

Ang dirty kitchen ay common sa Pilipinas. You can pretty much argue that a Filipino household ay hindi kumpleto kung wala ito. Although makikita ito mostly sa mga provinces, it is an essential for your typical city-dwelling families din. A typical Filipina mom ay makikita mo palagi sa dirty kitchen, about 80% of her time is spent sa pagluluto, paglilinis at pagluluto ulit. Itinatago ni tatay ang kanyang mga tools dito, kasama ng mga balikbayan boxes kung saan ang laman ay mga old toys ng cousin mo from when she was three. Almost always, you’ll find Filipinos na ma associate nila ang kanilang memories sa kanilang dirty kitchen: whether nagluluto ng chicken adobo, o nagputol ng buhok.

Mga larawan ng maruming kusina; madalas na binubuo ng isang lababo at maraming kalat. Nangungunang kredito sa larawan: Kirsten Dianne Delmo; credit sa ilalim ng larawan: Ewemiz Insigne.

COOKING IN THE DIRTY KITCHEN

Mainit sa Pilipinas, and it’s not exactly pleasant to have smoke everywhere sa loob ng bahay mo when it’s as humid and warm as it is. Ito ang isang rason kung bakit ang Filipinos prefer na magluto sa dirty kitchen kung maraming smoke, o nag-iihaw. Karamihan ng mga bahay (lalo na yung mga di naman masyado mayaman) are not ventilated properly, and more often than not, ang bahay ay may, kung meron man, isa o dalawang air conditioners lang, at ang ibang rooms ay may malaking electric fan. Dahil dito, and vapor at smoke na nagmumula sa pagluluto can stick around longer than it should. Para maka-avoid ng problemang ito, Filipinos just cook sa labas, where the fumes don’t have to stick around anywhere.

CLEANING IN THE DIRTY KITCHEN

Nandiyan rin yung notion sa paglilinis. While ang dirty kitchen should be relatively malinis, it’s normally a lot messier in comparison with the main kitchen, kahit magkaroon ng stains sa sink o mess sa cabinet ay okay lang. Walang pressure to keep it spotless, since nasa likod naman ito ng bahay, parang “backstage,” often accessed by those na magluluto o maghuhugas ng pinggan. Clutter is often just piled up in organized stacks: nandiyan yung mga balikbayan boxes na may laman ng toys from years’ past; mga shoeracks of old shoes; at mga lumang libro. Dito tinatago ng mga Pilipino ang mga bagay na may sentimental value sa kanila, o mga patapon.

LAUNDRY IN THE DIRTY KTICHEN

Isa pang problema about Filipino households ay ang maliliit na bahay at properties. Walang malawak na backyard or front yard para ma-isampay ang nilabhan na damit; heck, you’ll probably find some households hang their laundries sa kanilang mga bintana, minsan sa loob ng bahay. Walang space para sa laundry room; a lot of houses and apartments have to make do with the space they have, kaya makikita mo ang washing machine o a bunch of labadors o palanggana sa loob ng dirty kitchen. Makikita mo rin ang laundtry wires para ma dry ang mga towels, baby clothes, polos, etc.

That being said, ang dirty kitchen ay essential to a Filipino household, and a nice addition if you really want to make do with the small space you have. Marami kayong magagawa sa extension place ninyo, and really, it’s up to you and your family kung ano pa ang mga ito. Maaring gawin ang paglalaro with your anak, paghuhugas ng pinggan kasama si ‘inay o ‘tay, o mag-barbecue kasama ang mga kaibigan at kapamilya; beautiful memories can be made in the humblest of places when you’re with beautiful people.

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Photo of Dirty Kitchens: A Filipino's Multi-Purpose Paradise

Cocinas Sucias: El Paraíso Multiusos de un Filipino
por Ewemiz C. Insigne

Imagínese escuchar a un amigo o colega proclamar con orgullo: "¡Me encantan las cocinas sucias! ¡Incluso tengo la mía propia!"

Antes de hacer todo lo posible para sermonearlos sobre la importancia de las rutinas de higiene y limpieza, tómese un momento para preguntarles si son filipinos (o kuwaitíes, buhraini o de Asia occidental), porque si dicen que sí, lo más probable es que su "cocina sucia" no es literalmente una cocina sucia; en cambio, es una cocina más pequeña y desordenada, generalmente construida fuera de la casa principal, y se considera una extensión de las siempre diminutas casas filipinas. Es donde entra en juego todo el trabajo sucio: cocinar en masa (cuando hay una fiesta en tu barangay o si vienen de visita familiares de Estados Unidos), asar carne o barbacoa, lavar toneladas de ollas y sartenes; diablos, ¡incluso la ropa! Es el final de todas las salas de usos múltiples.

Una cocina sucia es tan común en Filipinas que prácticamente se puede argumentar que un hogar filipino no está completo sin una. Aunque se encuentran principalmente en las provincias (el campo), sigue siendo esencial para las familias típicas de la ciudad. Encontrarás a tu madre filipina aquí aproximadamente el 80% del tiempo, cocinando y limpiando y cocinando un poco más. Tu papá vendrá brevemente a guardar algunas de sus herramientas mientras un primo tuyo rebusca en las cajas de Balikbayan para buscar su viejo oso de juguete de cuando tenía tres años. Casi siempre, encontrarás filipinos con algún recuerdo cercano asociado con su cocina sucia: ya sea cocinando un adobo de pollo con sus padres o cortándose el pelo de anak.

Fotos de cocinas sucias; a menudo se compone de un fregadero y mucho desorden. Crédito de la foto superior: Kirsten Dianne Delmo; Crédito de la foto inferior: Ewemiz Insigne.

COCINAR EN LA COCINA SUCIA

Es un lugar bastante caluroso en Filipinas, y no es exactamente agradable tener humo en todas partes dentro de tu casa cuando está tan húmedo y cálido como es. Esta es una de las principales razones por las que la gente prefiere cocinar cosas que a menudo producen mucho humo o asar en la cocina sucia. Muchas casas filipinas (específicamente aquellas que no son acomodadas) no tienen ventilación adecuada, y la mayoría de las veces, la casa solo se llenará con, si es que hay alguno, uno o dos pequeños acondicionadores de aire escondidos. en las habitaciones, mientras que el resto de la casa está plagado de ventiladores eléctricos grandes y pequeños. Debido a esto, el vapor y el humo provenientes de la cocción en el interior a veces pueden quedarse más de lo debido. Para evitar todos esos problemas, los filipinos simplemente cocinan afuera donde los vapores no tengan que quedarse en ningún lado.

LIMPIEZA DE LA COCINA SUCIA

También existe la noción de limpieza: si bien una cocina sucia debe estar relativamente limpia, normalmente está mucho más sucia en comparación con la cocina principal, por lo que tener manchas en el fregadero y un gabinete desordenado es bastante perdonable. No hay presión por tener que mantenerlo impecable, ya que generalmente es una especie de "backstage", al que a menudo acceden aquellos que necesitan cocinar o lavar los platos. El desorden a menudo se apila en pilas organizadas: hay una pila de viejas cajas balikbayan que contienen juguetes de años pasados; algunos estantes de zapatos viejos que están demasiado gastados para ser reconocidos; tal vez libros viejos cuyas páginas están rotas y las tintas demasiado descoloridas para ser leídas. Aquí es donde muchos filipinos a menudo simplemente arrojan cosas demasiado sentimentales o demasiado rotas para regalar.

LAVANDERÍA EN LA COCINA SUCIA

Otro gran problema de los hogares filipinos es que sus casas o propiedades son pequeñas. No hay un patio trasero amplio o un patio delantero para colgar toda nuestra ropa de lavandería; diablos, probablemente encontrará que algunos hogares cuelgan sus lavanderías en los rieles de sus ventanas, a veces dentro de la casa. No hay suficiente espacio en el interior para un lavadero; muchas casas y apartamentos tienen que conformarse con el espacio que tienen, por lo que a menudo verás una lavadora o un montón de trabajos o palanggana apilados a un lado en algún lugar de la cocina sucia. Aquí también encontrarás los alambres de la ropa, donde todo se deja secar: toallas, ropa de bebé, polos, etc. Dicho esto, una cocina sucia es básicamente un elemento esencial para un hogar filipino y una buena adición si Realmente quiero arreglártelas con el pequeño espacio que tienes. Hay muchas cosas que puedes hacer en la extensión y, realmente, depende de ti y de tu familia aprovecharla al máximo. Ya sea jugando afuera con su anak, lavando los platos con 'inay o 'tay, o asando algo para su kaibigan en kapamilya, se pueden crear hermosos recuerdos en los lugares más humildes cuando está con gente hermosa.

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Glosario de terminos Filipino
(en orden de primera aparicion en el articulo)

Barangay – oficialmente considerado el gobierno local más pequeño de Filipinas; también se puede considerar como un "pueblo" o un "barrio".

Balikbayan boxes – traducción literal: “cajas que regresan al país”; estas cajas son a menudo una de las más esperadas de cualquier evento en la vida de un Filipino cuando tiene un pariente cercano (generalmente una tita o tía) que trae una caja llena de cosas (libros, ropa, comida, etc.) desde donde trabajan / viven, que generalmente es en el Middle East o U.S.

Anak – niño.

Chicken adobo - la comida nacional de los filipinos, verdaderamente icónica de la cocina Filipina.

Labadors/palangganas - lavabos, pueden ser grandes o pequeños; generalmente se usa para lavar la ropa.

Inay/Tay - formas abreviadas de Nanay and Tatay; Madre y Padre.

Kaibigan at kapamilya - amigos y familia.

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