Nilubok: traditionally milled rice

By on November 9, 2012

nilubok - cooked

Just when I started to cut down on my carbohydrates, my dad recently sent me a few kilos of nilubok – a traditionally milled rice characterized by its uneven grains. It came from somewhere in Zamboanga del Norte, although rice of this kind is common in the Cordilleras in Luzon and other highland communities in the Philippines.

If you could see from the picture above, the nilubok’s grains do not look pretty. This is perhaps due to the fact that these were milled by hand. The painstaking process is done by a contraption that looks like a large mortar and pestle. I gather that the incessant pounding is calculated, careful and requires a lot of patience too to ensure that no grain falls off the ground.

nilubok - front page

What the nilubok may lack in aesthetics, it has more than made up for its fragrant aroma, nutritional value and taste. The first time I cooked the nilubok rice, I immediately noticed a wonderful smell wafting from the kitchen. The scent is akin to that of pandan or that of thedinorado rice. How it got that smell is beyond me though. Maybe because of the pounding or because of its variety or because no fertilizers were used when it was planted.

My dad also added that the rice tasted so good, you won’t need any viand or dish to come with it. And true enough, he was right. I could easily finish a bowl of this rice even if it is paired with pork tocino and scrambled eggs, which are just a few of my favorite dietary concessions every now and then.

nilubok - box

The nilubok came in a small box a few weeks back. My father said that it was a belated birthday present of some sort and that he hoped that it would be sufficient for me. I told him that I would never go hungry, or at least for the remaining months of the year.

This heartwarming gesture reminded me of the many times I brought with me a few kilos of rice from our home to Iligan City, where I studied in college. Now that I am based in Metro Manila, I smiled at the thought that are just some things that would not change even with my imaginary resolve to embrace a healthier lifestyle. Rice is definitely one of these, and it will definitely continue to occupy a space in my kitchen cupboard wherever I find myself next.

  1. Reply


    November 9, 2012

    And I will definitely go to the Baktin's kitchen cupboard should I get a chance to raid his crib.

  2. Reply


    November 9, 2012

    And I will definitely go to the Baktin's kitchen cupboard should I get the chance to raid his crib. 🙂

  3. Reply


    December 12, 2012

    And how sweet it was of your father to have thought of sending you nilubok. Pina-courier pa talaga.

    Your post brought me back to the days when my family lived in a barrio. During summer, I would look forward to harvest season when the whole barrio would smell of pinipig and I would hear the incessant pounding of bayo and lusong.

  4. Reply


    December 28, 2012

    Hi Ms. Nortehanon, welcome to Baktin Corporation! 🙂

    Looking forward to more of your N.Samar posts!


Brennan Mercado
The Philippines

Brennan is an electronics engineer by profession. From time to time, he gets to travel beyond his office cubicle, try new restaurants or catch up with his terribly long list of unread books. He likes museums, spicy food and talking with habal-habal drivers. For now, he's still deciding on whether to play Pokémon GO or not.

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