How to Eat in a Town Fiesta

Born and raised in Manila, I never really had the chance to experience a real town fiesta. Do not pity me, our parish does have fiesta in honor of our patron saint. However, it is not as fun as how other places celebrate it. By “real” fiesta, I mean house hopping and getting stuffed with dishes every house has to offer.

I believe I mentioned in the previous blog something about learning from experience (late aircrafts, ugh), and from the town fiesta experience I had in Cantilan, Surigao del Sur just two weekends ago, here are some notes and tips on how to survive eating in a town fiesta.

  • Give your tummy an ample room for the (eating) activity. A cup of coffee or tea may already be enough in the morning. If you have a pretty large storage, a few slices of bread would be fine too. You know when they say “pinaghandaan ko to” (I prepared for this)? It’s the most appropriate for this.
  • Skip rice. Isn’t this already the rule of the thumb? Bet you have done this in buffets or all-you-can-eat restaurants. But if you really can’t say no to carbs, take less than a cup. Or mull over the space it will occupy in your stomach. Feeling guilty now?
  • Get food in small portions. Do not hoard ulam (viand). Sample each dish in small amounts and make papak (to eat with no rice) instead. If you like a dish, you can go back anyway. This is also a good way to not make flavors too empowering.

 Clockwise: Fried chicken wings, fish fingers and honey mustard dip, ginger prawns, Lechon, and Menudo.

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  • Get minimal portions of dessert. In the same household as plate number 1, desserts were individually served and equally distributed: a slice of chocolate cake, a square brownie, and a cup of buko salad. I would have wanted to say no to the chocolate cake and brownie, but I had to finish the dessert plate since it was served in front of me. I already felt a little bloated that time. I wonder how much starch and glucose that was!
  • Opt for greens, or dishes with vegetables. It was a blessing the second house had a make your own salad bar. I would have skipped the dressing, but the veggies needed a little more zest. Also, yes, that’s a lechon rib, because that’s a freaking lechon and rib in one.

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  •  Variety. Get at least one dish for every kind of meat. Get at least one dish for every kind of cooking or taste. From the choice of meat below, note that there are no two dishes of the same meat. Also, I kind of picked them out from the way they were cooked or seasoned. I had something dry (pork), something sweet and bony (chicken), and something smooth but savory (fish), so I wouldn’t get umay (feeling overloaded after consuming too much food or flavor) from similar taste.

Clockwise: Rubbed and deep fried pork spare ribs, roasted and glazed chicken, Fish Escabeche

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  • Skip carbonated drinks (and beer), if possible. I mean, with all the flavors exploding and inhabiting your mouth, you may rinse and burp it out a little with a glass of Coke. However, it is not necessary to gulp it down in every household. Refer to plate number 2, you think soda would go well with the salad, no? You can always request for water anyway.
  • Kill time before or after eating. Drop the little you’ve gained by walking from house to house, or engaging in a chit chat before delving into your food. If you are visiting distant relatives, it’s best to converse about family matters, and good old memories. If you’re dropping by homes of friends of friends, you can tell them about your stay and ask if there are places in the vicinity they suggest you to visit.
  • Do not be shy to ask for a to-go. If you are really really stuffed, you may ask to skip the meal and make pabalot instead. In the last house we visited, we were already too full to function (aka eat), so our Tita Tess asked for a to-go from her niece instead. The to-go landed the dining table the next day and we didn’t even have to say no to the host.
  • Be courteous and well-mannered. Not because it is a buffet sans the fine dining atmosphere means you have to let go of your table manners. Be mindful of your kubyertos, the area you take when eating, and the noises you make. Smile (even when your tummy’s already aching) to everyone you are being introduced or acquainted with. Be courteous when asking for extras like water, table napkins, etc. And lastly, return them hospitality of the hosts by greeting and thanking them warmly.

There, the town fiesta’s ways to a happy tummy.

Lakbayan

I wish the world was flat like the old days
Then i could travel just by folding a map

I have read about this guy who put a tattoo of a world map on his back and inks the states/countries he has already travelled to. Unfortunately for me, I do not have the guts to undergo such procedure, and even if I make “magmatapang” I have skin asthma anyway, so, boo!

Luckily, I found this app/website which features the map of the Philippines and a checklist of provinces. The colored ones are the places I’ve been to. Apparently, I’ve travelled most to the north – because I love the north.

I’m a C-. Well, I haven’t listed Puerto Princesa and Surigao yet. I still have hope. Vying for C+ at the end of the year!

I think I will have to do this every year just to inspire myself to go new places.

Also a reminder that my passport is expiring in 2 years, so I better go to a foreign land again.


My Lakbayan grade is C-!

How much of the Philippines have you visited? Find out at Lakbayan!

Created by Eugene Villar.

The Skinny on the Skinny, The Flat on the Flat

I am skinny. I was a skinny girl who grew up to be a skinny woman.

***

Puberty arrived a little late in grade school. I was already awkward then when all these growing up things occurred, which just made me even more awkward. I was a bit envious of my gradeschool friends who already looked like full-grown women. Their bodies already have shape, they have already grown breasts, their hips have widened and their bottoms have become plumper. I thought I’d be the same come my period. But nothing happened, even after years of monthly bleeding.

My mother was alarmed of my health. My weight was no longer proportional with my height. She had me eggs every day, aside from the smoothie (?) she prepared which consisted of raw eggs, chocolate, banana, and milk. It tastes good you know, but it kind of wears you off knowing you are basically fine and wasn’t sick or something but had to do/drink it anyway.

***

I remember wearing my first brassiere in high school. It did not fit me well. The A cup size was already too large for me, but my mother insisted that I should start wearing because that’s just what a growing woman should do. I came to school the next day and people thought I grew boobs overnight. I was teased – that it was all pad and air inside. They asked me if I had put in pieces of bread to make up for the hollow spaces. I hated these jokes. Aside from the fact that these are corny Pinoy jokes, they were all just mocking me.

I hated that they associated flat chested-ness with me. I hate it when flat chested comes up their thought bubbles when they hear my name. I hate it that they made fun of what I didn’t have or what I partially had. I hated people because I was aware that I am more than my lack of boobs. I’m smart and witty. But this was the idea of me that stuck to them. I mean, come on! This is puberty people, you learn this in school, along with GMRC, so be nice to those having this kind of bad phase.

Good thing, I was not the type to dwell on physical things. I give credit to my parents for always telling me that I have my brains to boot and nadaaah to what other people say about how I look. Flat-chestedness did not become an insecurity. I was no longer looking at other girl’s boobs. I mean, what do I get from comparing anyway? The story went on, and I made it through high school skinny and flat.

College came and the people I knew were less judgmental. Must be the carefree environment of the university, or the theoretical and serious approach of the academe, or must be my course’s focus on thinking and problematizing, or maybe we were more drawn on what appeals to the mind rather than the physical.

Adulthood came and I still had the same body type. I don’t remember anyone mock me as much as in high school. Or maybe they do, but I just shrug my shoulders and that’s it. I met a lot of people, men and women, and not even one dared to take make a big deal out of it. Well, except for my current boss who thinks I have the perfect model type body (at size 0 or even smaller); he even transforms me to a mannequin at times. And honestly, that is kind of gratifying, knowing finally, someone takes high regard of what others have made you feel terrible about.

I guess it’s just that people really get into dirty and awkward phases, or worse, never get out of it. My story is no less different as those who have been mocked and laughed at most of the time because of what they lacked. It’s a struggle, but it’s just a matter of acceptance – of knowing and being aware of who and what and how you are and turning everything around for your own good. After all, what people see is in you is what you pass on to them.

Recent Reading

It’s been seven months since I started Roland Barthes’ A Lover’s Discourse and I am not done with it yet. I’d like to think it’s because I juggle it with J. D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye and Tracy Chevalier’s Girl with the Pearl Earring, but truth is, I have not dedicated hours and days to reading anymore.

It’s a shame I haven’t given as much time to novels. These days I’d rather spend the entire day at the office getting exhausted of Social Media matters which Forbes recently deemed, not an actual career. Sucks, I know. And on weekends, I do errands like grocery shopping, walking my pet to the park, girlfriend duties, etc.

I miss the luxury of laying down in bed, leafing through the pages, meeting characters, and getting immense sympathy for them to the point of investing emotions and bawling in tears at their expense. I can only recall how much I loved Salinger’s detailed conversations in Franny and Zooey that I actually played the scene on my mind the moment I was reading it. I can only remember the feelings the unnamed characters endured in David Levithan’s  A Lover’s Dictionary in order for them to keep the relationship. I can only recollect becoming victorious and infinite with Charlie in Stephen Chbosky’s Perks of Being a Wallflower. With Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye, I find joy in picturing Holden Caufield and his relationships and conversations with schoolmates which reminds me of my years studying far from home and not being somewhat aloof to the new people. Yes, I have not yet moved from that part of the book.

As for philosophical reads, I take more time to digest them as compared to fiction. I try to relate and ponder at every chapter and identify myself with the text. Yes, I recall instances of my life and compare and relate to what I have read. Think: Antoine de Saint Exupery’s The Little Prince, Blaise Pascal’s On Human Happiness, and letters and writings of Kahlil Gibran. These are the kind of books that are not just as easy to read. I mean, I always feel like reading into them means more than reading into them, like there is a whole lot of message you need to understand.

And right now, I take the same particularity in reading Barthes. You see, the problem with reading his text is that, knowing he is a semiologist, I tend to read, let’s say a paragraph, all over again thinking he embedded somewhere between words some sort of sign. It is kind of confusing how familiarity brings about complexity in reading. Or, am I just being too critical? Ugh.

Oh well. Bottomline, I need a time off and save a date for a date with these books lined up on my bedside table.

A Not-so-Grown-Up Birthday Wishlist

It’s been a week since my birthday, but since it’s always a month-long celebration, I’ll be sharing my (insert LULZ kind of adjective here) birthday wishes.

1. As most friends are aware of, I’ve fully developed Atopic Dermatitis aka Skin Asthma in layman’s term this year after days of sun exposure at La Union’s surfing site. This happened April but I am nursing my dry skin until this moment. I am really hoping that Skin Asthma leaves me for good soonest so I can bask in the sun again next summer.

2. In relation to number 1, I’ve spent grands and bucks to have my skin treated. I swear! I wouldn’t want to spend way too much on medicine, creams, and lotions ever again. Also, please, no breast cancer scare for my mother.

3. I miss my father dear so much, so I hope his business in Bohol ends soonest so he may be back here in Manila or that we may visit him there.

4. Because I’m a retard who loses mobile phones 3 times a year, I am fervently praying that I may not lose a single phone for n years starting now. Or fine, at least not have my phone lost or stolen. I may consider mobile phones dying of old age.

5. PATIENCE.

6. Since I am a loser in the kitchen, I hope find a way to redeem myself and my infamous corn soup! I wish to learn to cook and prepare delectable food other than Yakult Soju, brownies, fritatas, and frozen desserts. Good Housekeeping, yes.

7. This may really sound funny but I am actually wishing that my bunny lives as long as I have kids. I want my kids to get acquainted and remember their uncle Clyde whom I treated my baby for n years before they were born. And also because Clyde will be the ring bearer of my wedding.

8. As I have started Fiction category in this blog, I am hoping to have more creative juices out of my head, oozing out through the pen, err, keyboard. I also hope more art related reads and ideas as I am starting a writing job for a gallery. And of course, more romanticized posts for the boyfriend.

9. THIS: I wish to have more money I can spend exclusively on food and travel.

10. As impossible as it may seem, I really really really wish to see Sara Bareilles and Stars in concert. I’ll file my leaves, buy front-row tickets, and sob to each of their songs.

*Additional: I hope the boyfriend never gets tired of his makulit, maldita, bipolar, and bitchesa girlfriend. I hope he continues to enjoy every random, shallow, and nonsense thing they share. I hope they spend more birthdays together.

2012’s Gameplan

Keeping up with the dates

Happy New Year and Happy Birthday to my WordPress! YEY!

My greeting’s pretty late since my internet connection at home has zonked out during the holidays and I can only resurrect online through my office PC.

I won’t be pointing out a long flashback of 2011. It was great, ok, and I have sort of written about it and my learnings on my birthday blog. Or maybe I lied, I might do a generic 2011 survey in a separate post.

This is the first time I shall be writing my plans for 2012 for the netizens to see. And here it goes:

Turn my tadpole belly into hot abs. My bulging tummy doesn’t compliment my stick thin body. I do not want to stick with that body type either! So I better excercise and discard carbs off my diet. This sounds a lot unlike me, but La Union and my new shoes better be my motivation.

Travel. I don’t have concrete plans yet except spending Holy Week at La Union. I don’t know if I’d get to Mindanao and/or Visayas again, but I’d be more than willing to be a little help to my father when he visits his hometown in Bohol. Also, I am still lusting over Vietnam and Cambodia.

Decide whether to get a new job or take MA. Will speak to my father about this over the weekend. Will ponder about this for a longer time. Adulthood, omigahd.

Write more. I am just very excited for an upcoming group blog with C and D. We haven’t finalized details though as we are discussing them via profound and relevant email exchanges aka online penpal-isms. And yes, love letters shall always be sent to you.

Save. Adulthood issues again. I’d opt for a new bank account and a new piggy bank. Plus maybe, an accounting sheet. 😛

Read more books. I got more pending books on my shelf in 2011 compared to all the past years. I haven’t succumbed to reading for I was more of a sleepy slug. I just hope to finish everything in my shelf and borrow more books from friends. Suggestions and interesting titles are very much welcome.

Learn to cook. Just because I’m getting older and not gaining credits in the kitchen. Hope by the end of next year, I get to whip up a sumptuous holiday dinner for the family. Ok, mama, papa, and Mr. Snooze, I need your help.

Get adequate sleep time. Simply no oversleeping nor lack of. This seems quite impossible, but will have to try.

Include patience in my dictionary. I should have earned this thing in my younger years so I can use it by now. Tssss.

Be creative. Do more weekend projects and/or gift projects for people. Ok, to make this quite easy, include creative blogging/writing in this category. I’m already sort of cheating when I haven’t even started yet.

Learn to be more girly. Wear a little more make-up. Dress like a woman. Take care of my skin and go through some sort of beauty regimen. Well, I shall start simple like using a toner, a moisturizer, and sunblock. I use sunblock everyday anyway, I already have cookie points! 😛

That’s it for now. I shall add to the list as the year goes on.

Have a happy 2012! 😀

This is NOT a Birthday Blog…

…because this is about me, my dear love for writing and our years together.

I have been writing for god-knows-when-time I started holding a pencil. The first I wrote was a story entitled “The Sad Fish” in red-blue-red sheets of paper, which I believe my mother kept in some buried place of the house after showing off to my aunties and uncles how genius I am. Until now, they all believe I’m good in writing.

However, I don’t think I am utterly gifted in writing. I am no Shakespeare and I know no rules in writing (except for grammar, of course). I shied away from Language and Literature in college because I didn’t like writing to be a chore and I don’t want to be too critical of myself when doing so. I write when I want to write. I write what I like to write. Shallow or contemplative entries, that’s what have been keeping my pen alive these years.  My former blogs can attest to that. Yes, that was my premature writing phase when my blog was a compilation of love-hate relationships with this and that. Add the fact that I don’t consider capitalization in most posts, but I’d rather say those entries are allusions to ee cummings.

But there is growth and a lot more to it. Like keeping journals to myself then, to lifting the pages, publishing and sharing them on the internet now. There might just be a few who care to read and listen, and that’s enough. Not everyone needs to know about everything, while I too, curate my own pages and decide what to put into writing. It’s a matter of privacy. I’m no sister of the president, you know.

I don’t even know what’s the point of me yakking about this, actually. Well, it might be because I don’t write creatively now. I’m not pertaining to rhyming poems, ok. But to writing short stories and the like. I must have forgotten since I got busy with work. Yuppie thing, yes. However, work afforded me to more ideas and possibilities I’d rather plant on myself than to fictional characters. Thus, I might stick, or let’s say write majorly about myself and what’s going on rather than incorporating and inventing. This makes me feel so mature I’m sticking to reality, come on! But hey, I’m serious.

So, 23’s going to be a year all about me and whoever’s around.

Again, this is not a birthday blog, just a little glance upon me and my dire passion of sorts with writing. Birthday blog will come soon, perhaps when the month ends. My birthday is always a month-long celebration anyway.

Oh yes, birthday blogs – personal tradition aka annual writing project. Good thing, every year, something significant comes up. 🙂

Dear 12-Year Old Ted,

Some ten years (and so-so months) ago, I used to be a bratty yet boyish, sheltered and secretive girl. It’s a pretty weird thing how I came up to be this big me. And since I am this big girl writing, maybe I could give the young pre-teen me a mean set of pointers.

  • Do not be pressured of getting into a Science high school or an Art school. Enrolling will neither make you an astronaut nor a National Artist. You’ll learn the basics of Science in a normal high school anyway, and art? You’d better go for that in college.
  • Do not let go of writing. Your grade school folio is only an annual publication. Do not rest your pen after the deadlines. Write at the margins of your notebook and at the clean sheet of Math scratch paper. Ask your aunties for journals as presents.
  • Appreciate your baon. Your mother will rarely do that for you in college and you’ll surely miss that.
  • Remember boys from the Honor Section. Two from which will sweep you off your feet. Thus, start drafting their records.
  • Hoard more books from the library. Read more classics so that they won’t have to interfere with your studies in the future. Don’t mind the extra charge of a new Borrower’s card, it’s just worth two days’ snack.
  • Do not be afraid of dogs. They’re one of the cutest and most adorable creatures on earth.
  • Do not fear your teachers, even the “terror” ones. They’re supposed to teach, not to traumatize. You can always tell your father about them, and he’ll show them who’s more of an RSA.
  • Take real good care of your hair. It will be the hardest to maintain when you get older.
  • Cherish every moment you spend with your father. One day, his presence will be rare. Or maybe, his voice will be just as good as his presence.
  • Earn patience now. You’ll have to use tons of it later in life.

Day 14: Dear MALFB,

You have a treasury of photos, mixtapes, notes and poetry. You have lists of dreams, confessions, realizations and to-do’s. You even consider these things your closest friends.

Haven’t you realized you have a problem? You have always mistaken temporal things as permanent matters. That simply explains your abysmal disappointment and utmost pain on plans that do not push through, on supposed to be happy endings and on subtle/sudden detours.

That even makes memories even more even more problematic. You are very much aware of their temporariness that you immortalize them as they become words inscribed in paper, images frozen in time, and music saved in a record. You rely in those materials to make you go around in pretty stupid circles. First, you think of both good and bad memories. Next, you try to feel grateful that everything existed. Then you romanticize and fall in love in love with it all over again.

Lately, you have wished to discard this certain character. If ultimate opposites be labelled optimist and pessimist, you said you would situate yourself in the middle and call yourself a realist. You promised not to hold on to hopes brought about by romanticized memories springing from stuff buried in dust. At the same time, you swore not to immerse yourself in the fear of the dark, unknown future. You vowed that you would rather stay somewhere in between.  You wouldn’t go drowning with too much love on the past only to become passive of the good things that come your way. You would opt to stay somewhere you would be free of chains – the fear of taking risks and holding fire in your palm.

Somehow you need to know which is which. You need to discard and discriminate. You need to learn and be reminded that today is defined by certain conception and acceptance and impression of now.

You know it’s too hard conversing with yourself and telling that person in front of the mirror what and what not to do because in the end, you end up doing what you truly wish to anyway.

These that you have mentioned are not pretensions. These are not the hard candy to your gooey center. These are pointers, guidelines to somehow help you cope with your delusion of the past, present, future, fantasy, reality and whatever else.

Today is the 14th of February, hope this letter gets to you just in time. Hope this saves you from marching back to the graveyard of memories.

Love,

MALFB