Pinakas (or Pakas) is a trademark of a Culasinhon which is widely produced in the island of Batbatan and all coastal towns in Antique. Culasi is a town situated in the northern portion of the province of Antique. It’s a costal town, aside from farming, business and government, one of the livelihoods of the people is fishing. It is also considered as one of the fishing centers in whole Antiques because of the presence of the three islands and it is part of the Tuna Highway, in where tunas migrate as well as other fishes.
Pinakas is the oldest traditional way of preserving fish: it’s a a dried fish split open (though they may be left whole), gutted, salted liberally, and sun and air dried. The product name came from the root word pankas which means “to split open” or “to half”.
This product represents the oldest traditional way of preserving fish. The making of pinakas is just a simple process but as in every process, itis very tedious and meticulous. The entire process is carried out by fishermen and their family. Water is usually removed by evaporation: air drying, sun drying or wind drying. Bacteria, yeasts and molds need the water in the food to grow and drying effectively prevents them from surviving in the food. Traditionally, pinakas is prepared by hanging fish on wooden scaffolding or lying on clean cliffs or rocks near the seaside. Any fish can be prepared as pinakas. The species of fish used is usually identified through local name as guma-a, bulaw, marut, sulig, san Vicente (flying fish) or hawol-hawol.
Originally, it is a preservation technique, as salt inhibits the growth of bacteria, allowing fish to be stored for long periods of time (up to 2-3 months). It is usually common during summer season (March-May).
Pinakas can be prepared as appetizer, dipped in a vinegar or pure calamansi juice. This adds the balance in the sourness and the saltiness of the fish and can also be used as viand with rice in a meal, or other dishes that need a little flavor boost. Can be prepared in buffet and usually one of the menus in the boodle fight― a type of meal in which food is piled on top of banana leaves laid out on long tables where certain people gather and share eating with their bare hands and all cutleries and dishes are dispensed. Pinakas was initially considered as poverty food due to its relative cheapness but has gained popularity in Philippine culture as comfort food.
The local fishermen are responsible for both catching and processing of the pinakas product. Usually sold in packs by street vendors and/or sold in market and grocery stores.