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Sunday, March 2, 2008

The Superkalan: Is this a Grill or a Heater?

Two years ago, the DH and I chanced upon an odd-looking gizmo that was on sale at Festival Mall in Alabang. You see, occasionally, the Exhibit Center would showcase products from different areas or provinces in the Philippines. And on that particular day in January, 2005, it was La Union’s time to shine. There were plenty of the usual: woodcrafts, tupig, woven blankets, etc. etc. Well, somewhere in the middle of the Exhibit Center a few people were milling 'round a stall that had this gizmo.

From afar, it looked like a heater-device reminiscent in old American homes’ basement. Well, the device did emit heat but it was a cooker or stove and not a heater. Called the Superkalan, it was touted as a multi-fuel stove generating savings of up to 70%! Oh really now? Well, I’ve always been fascinated by energy-saving devices and clever inventions and this I gotta see.

Upon closer inspection, the guy manning the exhibit opened the front cover and yup, there were glowing coals inside. The guy claimed that the stove would take in essentially anything that burns! Sample fuel included dried leaves and twigs, rice husk, corn cobs, corn husks, firewood, any paper, and yes, even charcoal. :)

But how could an air-conditioned mall allow a cooker with burning embers inside its premises? Well, the device had a 4-foot long chimney and surprisingly, there was NO SMOKE! Yup, you read that right, no smoke. With the rising costs of cooking fuel, especially LPG or Liquefied Petroleum Gas, we decided to buy one. The cost of the Superkalan unit at that time was Php2,400. The sales guy said it’s made of cast-iron aluminum. It’s quite hefty but an adult person is able to carry one.