Balinsasayaw:The Master's Secret

Location

       Almost all kinds of swiflets live in caves because caves provide a better place to live in. In caves, they can make they nest that is far from the threat of most carnivorous animals. Also, caves help them protect from the threat of destructive human activities.

       The cave which is found in Barangay Subabasbas is enclosed to a private property, thus, making it away from the greed of people who wants its saliva. Also, the cave is preferable to live at because the birds could easily get their food because of the trees surrounding the cave.

Advantages

       Having a cave with species like the Balinsasayaw is very lucky because of many benefits that it gives to them. The saliva of the Balinsasayaw is very costly that it is bought from 50,000 to 200,000 for only one kilogram of it. So, anyone who lives near or owns a place at where the Balinsasayaw are living would certainly become wealthy. Also, his or her place would have become a tourist spot for people who are interested about the bird. He/She could also build a restaurant in which its main ingredient is the saliva of the Balinsasayaw.

Stunning Saliva

     Balinsasayaw is a type of bird that is commonly found on the Island of El Nido in Palawan. Celebrated the bird because their saliva as do they nest, and valued as an ingredient of the famous Nido soup. Many different types of Balinsasayaw, but not all do that nest is comestible. Only five simply types of Balinsasayaw is able to produce quality saliva:

  • White-nest swiflet (Collocalia fuciphaga)
  • Black-nest swiflet (Collocalia Maxima)
  • Grass-nest swiflet (Collocalia esculanta)
  • Mossy-nest swiflet (Collocalia vanikorensis)
  • Himalayan swiflet (Collocalia brevirostris)

      The most preferred specie where they got the saliva is the white-nest swiflet that has the length of 12 centimeters and weighing 15-18 grams.

      Authentic bird's nest soup is made from nests of some species of swiftlet, mainly the Edible-nest (or White-nest) swiftlet (Aerodramus fuciphagus) and the Black-nest Swiftlet. Instead of twigs, feathers and straw, these swiftlets make their nest only from strands of their gummy saliva, which harden when exposed to air. Once the nests are harvested, they are cleaned and sold to restaurants. Eating swiftlet nest materiatem. It is also believed to strengthen the lungs and prevent coughs, improve the constitution and prolong life. The nutritional value of 100 g of dry nest includes 49.9 g of watel is believed to help maintain skin tone, balance qi ("life energy") and reinforce the immune sysr-soluble protein (including amido nitrogen, monoamine nitrogen, non-amino nitrogen, arginine, humin, histidine, lysine and cysteine), 30.6 g carbohydrate (glycoprotein and mucin), 4.9 g iron, 2.5 g inorganic salt (including potassium, sodium, calcium, magnesium, sulfur, phosphorus, silica and other trace elements), and 1.4 g fiber (Dictionary of Traditional Chinese Medicine, The History of Chinese Medicine and the Nutrition Table).

      The energy contained in 100 g of swiftlet nest is 345 kcal. The nests are often served simmered in chicken broth.

      Authentic bird's nest soup is quite popular throughout Asia. It is also extremely expensive; many western restaurants serve a less expensive version consisting of soup with noodles shaped to resemble a bird's nest.

      Swiftlets or cave swiftlets are birds contained within the four genera Aerodramus, Hydrochous, Schoutedenapus and Collocalia. They form the Collocaliini tribe within the swift family Apodidae. The group contains around thirty species mostly confined to southern Asia, south Pacific islands, and northeastern Australia, all within the tropical and subtropical regions. They are in many respects typical members of the Apodidae, having narrow wings for fast flight, with a wide gape and small reduced beak surrounded by bristles for catching insects in flight. What distinguishes many but not all species from other swifts and indeed almost all other birds is their ability to use a simple but effective form of echolocation to navigate in total darkness through the chasms and shafts of the caves where they roost at night and breed. The nests of some species are built entirely from threads of their saliva, and are collected for the famous Chinese delicacy bird's nest soup.

Origin and Harvesting

        The bird's nests that are harvested come from select species of the swiftlet, a tiny bird found throughout Southeast Asia. These birds inhabit dark caves, and the males construct the nests on the cave walls. Instead of using twigs, straw and other plant material, the swiftlets utilize their own saliva to create a small, shallow basin attached to the rocks.

        The nests have high levels of calcium, iron, potassium, and magnesium. They are traditionally believed to provide health benefits, such as improving the voice, easing digestion, alleviating asthma, raising libido, and strengthening the immune system.

        The most heavily harvested nests are from the edible-nest swiflet (Aerodramus fuciphagus) and the black-nest swiftlet (Aerodramus maximus). The Aerodramus fuciphagus is found in the Philippines, with the local name of balinsasayaw. The birds are found in El Nido, a region in Palawan whose name literally translates to “the nest.” Even before the Spanish occupation, Chinese travelers and herbalists were documented as having explored the area just to harvest the rare delicacy that the balinsasayaw produces.

For centuries, El Nido residents have looked at the harvesting the nests as their livelihood. The nests are highly prized, such that one kilogram can fetch prices of up to 1,000 USD.

Other Southeast Asian countries, such as Indonesia, Thailand, and Malaysia, are also chief producers of bird's nest. Hong Kong and the United States are the largest importers of the product. 

Culinary Use

       Authentic bird's nest soup is made from nests of some species of swiftlet, mainly the Edible-nest (or White-nest) swiftlet (Aerodramus fuciphagus) and the Black-nest Swiftlet. Instead of twigs, feathers and straw, these swiftlets make their nest only from strands of their gummy saliva, which harden when exposed to air. Once the nests are harvested, they are cleaned and sold to restaurants. Eating swiftlet nest material is believed to help maintain skin tone, balance qi ("life energy") and reinforce the immune system. It is also believed to strengthen the lungs and prevent coughs, improve the constitution and prolong life. The nutritional value of 100 g of dry nest includes 49.9 g of water-soluble protein (including amido nitrogen, monoamine nitrogen, non-amino nitrogen, arginine, humin, histidine, lysine and cysteine), 30.6 g carbohydrate (glycoprotein and mucin), 4.9 g iron, 2.5 g inorganic salt (including potassium, sodium, calcium, magnesium, sulfur, phosphorus, silica and other trace elements), and 1.4 g fiber (Dictionary of Traditional Chinese Medicine, The History of Chinese Medicine and the Nutrition Table).

       The energy contained in 100 g of swiftlet nest is 345 kcal. The nests are often served simmered in chicken broth.

       Authentic bird's nest soup is quite popular throughout Asia. It is also extremely expensive; many western restaurants serve a less expensive version consisting of soup with noodles shaped to resemble a bird's nest.

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