Why Tinapay

Glutinous rice cake common in Asian cultures that may have resembled the original ‘tinapay.’

The word tinapay is one of the most identifiable Filipino words associated with Christianity mainly due to the usual usage in the New Testament, especially by Jesus Christ Himself, to denote food or identify Him as the food that would fill every one. But then Antonio Pigafetta, the Italian chronicler who accompanied Ferdinand Magellan when he visited the Philippines in the 16th century, noted that the tinapay is a kind of rice cake with the root word tapay as having commonality with other Austronesian languages.

As a people that is quintessentially Asian, ancient Filipinos would have rice as the staple ingredient, and wheat was not yet in vogue. This was changed as the Spanish colonizers subdued the archipelago and instilled their own practices, especially the use of wheat flour to make bread. Since the ancient tinapay may have used kneading processes, this resulted in bread being called tinapay and is identified in most languages around the country.

While both grains are made to be fermented to bring out the flavor, these musings see Jesus Christ as what He is, the Bread of Life. But going back to the ancient tinapay, Christ could still be identified as universal and relational. These musings reflect a Filipino outlook of spirituality while holding on to the tenets of evangelical Christianity. Yet as the Tinapay ng Buhay gave His life for all, so is the message that I aim to present reflecting His glory and salvation.