Venturing into social enterprise, the Kristiyano-Islam (Kris) Peace Library (www.krislibrary.com) peace and literacy advocacy group is bringing to Manila the spicy Satti food brought here by Arabs; popularized by the Filipino Muslims; and embraced by the Christians in Zamboanga City, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi.
“By introducing Satti to the national palate, we want to show that there is more to Western Mindanao than bombings and kidnappings by the Abu Sayyaf and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front,” said Kris founder Armand Dean Nocum, adding that the social enterprise project is their group’s answer to the fresh bombing in Zamboanga that killed 3 and injured 27.
A former journalist-turn-public relations executive and peace advocate, Nocum said although Zamboanga’s image is “down in the pits, things are not hopeless because we can fight the perception war by aggressively showing the good things about the city like its exotic foods, white-sand beaches; and undisturbed caves and waterfalls, among others.”
“We from Mindanao should join hands in getting the good news to drown out the bad news,” said Nocum, adding that Satti one is one “undiscovered food” that can attract adventurous tourists to go to the city to have a taste of the food people in Manila call “pagkaing apoy (flaming food).”
According to Nocum, Satti is similar to the satay or sate food attractions that are famous in Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. All these foods originated from the Arabian favourite food shish kebab in Turkey. But unlike its Asian counterpart where satay is eaten as gravy, Satti comes in the form of thick soup eaten with beef, chicken and “puso” or rice cooked in coconut leaves.
The Satti sauce – made mostly of silly and peanuts and 15 other ingredients – is a closely-guarded secret among Muslims but which Nocum’s Muslim wife Annora obtained in Zamboanga. The Nocums had the Satti sauce processed by the Department of Science and Technology to come up with the Satti Hot Chilli Peanut Ketchup.
Apart from changing perception, Nocum said Satti can fight terrorism and rebellion in a concrete way since the part of the profit from the bottled ketchup will go to the building of more Kris Peace Libraries in Mindanao, educate poor Christian and Muslim scholars; and allow them free use of donated computers and the Internet so they will get hooked to computers and not fighting.
The Kris advocacy was started in 2001 to “flood Mindanao with books, not guns,” stop the rise of child soldiers; and counter the culture of guns in Mindanao. In 2008, Kris started building five libraries, the first rising near an Abu Sayyaf jump-off point in Zamboanga City; and two more were established near an MILF camp in bombed-out Zamboanga Sibugay. There are also Kris Peace Libraries in Quezon City and Rodriguez, Rizal.
There are now 101 Kris scholars, half of them graduating valedictorians, salutatorians and with high honors last year.
“I hope people all over the country will make our Satti product part of their personal and corporate gifts this Christmas to help us battle perception, terrorism and rebellion in Mindanao,” said Nocum, adding that Kris ventured into social enterprise to cope up with the high cost of maintaining the five libraries.
Satti ketchup can be bought at the Kris Library-Quezon City at No. 9, Don Antonio Heights, Diliman, Quezon; and at Dean & Kings Legal Public Relations, Suite 300, Kimvi Building, Maria Orosa Street, Ermita, Manila (pls check maps at http://www.krislibrary.com/contact-us.html).