Dr Abe V Rotor
However, there are specifications of the kind of chicken to be served.
First, it must be native chicken. Karurayan is the term in Ilocono for a pure white native chicken which does not bear any trace of color on its feathers. It is preferably a female, dumalaga or fryer, meaning it has not yet reached reproductive stage (virgin). It is neither fat nor thin.
Usually the herbolario chooses one from recommended specimens. He then instructs and supervises the household in the way the karurayan is dressed, cut, cooked into tinola (stew with green papaya cubes and shoot of siling labuyo (pepper) tops, and served to the convalescent while piping hot.
The herbolario, who is usually an elderly in the village, does not ask for any fee for his services, but then he takes home one or two of the specimens that did not pass the specifications. The more affluent the patient is, the more chicken (rejects) the herbolario takes with him.
Chicken soup as a convalescent food is recognized in many parts of the world. Because of its popularity, chicken soup has become associated with healing, not only of the body – but the soul as well. In fact there is a series of books under the common title Chicken Soup - for the Woman’s Soul, Surviving Soul, Mother’s Soul, Unsinkable Soul, Writer’s Soul, and the like. Of course, this is exaggeration, nonetheless it strengthens our faith in panacean magic of this winged descendant of the dinosaurs that once walked the earth.
Try chicken soup to perk you up in these trying times - with all the rush, tension, various ailments, and expensive medication. Ika nga, bawal ang magkasakit. (In short, to get sick is "prohibited.")
But first, be sure your chicken does not carry antibiotic residues, and should not be one that is genetically engineered (GMO). By the way, I was a participant in the rituals made by this good herbolario. I was then a farmhand and I was tasked to get the karurayan. Our flock failed the test, but I found two dumalaga with few colored feathers. I plucked out the colored feathers and presented the birds to Ka Pepito, a balding old man. Both specimens passed the criteria.
Three days after I asked my convalescing dad how he was doing. “I’m fine, I’m fine, now.” He assured me with a big smile.~