ma mon luk

5:06 PM Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Feels like just yesterday, when I used to haunt this place known for starting mami as we know it... located in the dangerous area of Quiapo, my then bf and I used to be regular patrons... so regular that we fell in love with a waiter... and gave him a Christmas ham one time... just because his service was good.

Anyway... their mami prices doubled... gasp, shock! P85 for an order of beef mami... good thing that their siopai only increased by P5.

I bought four. Not that am going to eat them all... but I sure intend to enjoy them tonight.

bacon, sorsogon (no pics)

10:01 AM Monday, March 28, 2005

Travelling to Bacon [ba kon], Sorsogon is not a walk-in-the-park... because it generally requires some 12-14 hours via landtrip through the zigzaggy roads of Quezon and Bicol region... the BITUKA part was not called that for no reason... and the QUIRINO HIGHWAY challenges the behinds (and usually results to bumps in the head) of those travelling on private cars... because even the best-suspensioned (?) cars just can't help but 'bow' and 'submit' to the cracks and holes and ditches of this highway stretch.

Which is why, though I didn't really have problems with motion sickness... it took me 16 years to return to the land where I was born... where my maternal grandmother walked seawalls on early mornings with me cuddled in her arms...

That 'visit' was in 1998. I've returned every two years or so to the place.

And it's not the lush picture of trees and plants that beckon to me... not the swaying, majestic coconut trees that give rise to Bicol's copra production... not the powerfully beautiful Pacific Ocean that rages in the slightest suggestion of rain... nor the carabaos lounging in mud that pepper vast expanse of ricefield upon ricefields that convinces me to travel for the better part of two days to and fro...

It's the bountiful harvest from the sea that will forever hold its sway over me... enchanting me forever to be awed by how great-tasting the food there is... how immeasurably incomparable all other seafood are... how wonderfully nature has made sure that vegetables will grow far more tasty and delicious to maintain the sanctity of fish harvested from the Pacific Ocean... cooked without needing salt nor msg... and eaten while sitting on bamboo benches under trees...

That was the heaven I found when I was 21... and that is the heaven I look for whenever I visit.

I didn't know what happened. All I knew was I recharged my batteries but when I loaded my spare, my camera suddenly gave this "Memory Card error" alert. Half of me wanted to go to a camera shop immediately and just forego the trip, because half of me couldn't stand not having my baby, my pet, my toy, my joy... in good working condition. But the other half of me, albeit disgusted and disappointed and frustrated and sad, and the wiser half of me if I may say so, enjoyed the LRT 3 trip to Santolan. I was able to get to Antipolo from Manila in just a matter of 1 hour. We left Antipolo Tuesday night last week, 2 cars filled with kids and expectations of great food and tan.

Mom made her famous buko pandan and spaghetti. My parents and two uncles also kept trying to out-buy each other with good finds from the market and produce from their farms... and out-cook each other...

And so it came to be... that though I didn't exactly binged on food 24/7 (especially since I wasn't into rice cakes and other native delicacies, and is forever turned-off by the cake I bought from Graceland, ergo... no snacks in between meals), I was in food heaven for 3 days at least.

Most fish sold and enjoyed in Bacon cannot be bought nor found here in Manila... or in other provinces. Also, they say that Pacific seafood taste better than China Sea seafood. I couldn't beg to disagree since I was already eternally fascinated and bewitched by Bacon's bounty...

Even my parents don't know the Tagalog translation... or Tagalog counterparts of the fishes they served. Wednesday, we were served with KETONG, cooked cocido-style without veggies, and with veggies. There was also this weird-looking fish that was fried. And of course, there were crabs. I ate 3 huge ones in one sitting.

My parents also went out of their way to find a BULANGAWAN, a kind of tuna that is again best cooked cocido-style with lots of tomatoes, that I fell in love with back in 1998. The one we bought weighed two kilos... who knew how much of it I ate...

We had so many different kinds of tuna actually... the only popular one being the yellow-fin one. Most, again, are not to be found anywhere in Manila.

We also had liswik... this shell (crustacean?) type of food that requires a pin for you to get to the meat part. It's best cooked ginataan-style with fresh kangkong (my uncle's kangkong's stems are as big as the ZAGU straws... but they are far crunchier and crispier and tastier than the regular ones you see in wet markets). Liswiks sell at P20/tumpok (and believe me, the tumpok is more than enough for 5 people).

We also had ginataang langka, with talangka. I loved the talangka because I don't eat langka. Since the moon was on the full side, crab harvest was good and the price (P150/kilo) was really cheap. I think I ate one big crab and 4 small crabs.

And I don't think there are words to describe how gastronomically interesting and how heavenly delightfully all these tasted. And I can't deny how being unable to take pictures of them pained me.

San Juan is a barrio in, or past Rawis. Mom asked my dad to drive us there so she can show us an old watering hole, so to speak... It's 7 kilometers away from where my Mom lived (kalye Paalam) and about the same distance from the school where my Mom taught (it was in kalya Banal, next to our street). Mom reminisced how her students would walk that great distance everyday just to go to school... and how she would retain them and have them sleep with her in my grandparents' humble abode during storms.

SAGURONG is the falls that end on the beach of San Juan. The view from the barrio was majestic... with the rolling, almost-always angry waves crashing on the beach... as if seeking to pull anyone and everyone playing on its sand back with it to the ocean. Mom lost a classmate to this ocean. They say this sea has taken a lot of lives already which is why it was respected.

One would counter that, among the thousands of people who swim and play in this sea over the years... having a so-so number of people drown in it is actually inconsequential... trivial in fact.

But not, as my Mom said... when dead bodies return to its beach all lined-up as if they were purposely laid there... as opposed to the haphazard discarding of a corpse or a coconut or seaweeds or garbage on a beach.

Again, pictures would have proven how great the view really is/was... but alas, you'd just have to take my word for it.

It lasted for over 30 minutes... attended by more than a thousand-strong of Bacon's population... some even travelling to the mainland via tramping vessels from the islands surrounding Bacon. Children come with their parents and grandparents... braving the rain that came to stay since Friday morning and the rough seas. I failed to count how many statues/images (for lack of a better term) were paraded in their resplendent outfits with the praying public, but it ended with the image of Christ lying on a glass coffin.

Such statues/images are usually kept, maintained, dressed, and protected by the more prominent families of the barrio... their outfits embroidered to perfection, using the finest materials.

After the procession, the VIGIL for each patron house started... and then the SOLEDAD (I don't know why it's called that, but it's the SEARCH FOR THE FINAL RESTING PLACE), another procession starting at 10 PM would be beheld... attended by people clad in black... with only St. Peter, Mother Mary, Mary Magdalene and another Mary statue the only ones being paraded.

Of course, we missed the SALUBONG... where typically, women of the barrio would walk with Mother Mary's statue...while the men would walk with Christ's statue... Mary would be veiled... the two processions would meet in front of the Church... and fretful pretty girls dressed as angels will be lowered down to remove Mary's veil and 'reveal to her that Christ has risen' as they sing.

I am not very religious... but it was in such times that I couldn't help but marvel at how tradition and religion has been so preserved in our country... and how it has sooo united our people over centuries...

Some might say that it has been reduced to pomp and nothing else... but seeing Filipinos come together will always be exquisitely touching for me.

For pictures, as I have none, you might want to check out Sassy's post.


The new parish priest in Bacon banned the SIETE PALABRAS... another procession.

I also missed the PENITENSYA... a procession where you walk barefooted throughout the barrio... while some of the more religious/fanatics whip their backs raw.

Because we felt the long drive would frustrate him, we left him behind with his father. And everytime we saw a carabao... we thought of him. How he'd have loved the beach. How he'd have chased the ducks. How he'd have tripped and fallen running about. How he'd love the kids who'd play with him there.

And how he'd have loved the fish. Sigh.

Inasmuch as we really enjoyed the food... every meal was marked with a thoughtful silence, wondering what he's eating... and how he'd be fattened up in no time if he came along, because the fish was just really that good, he was sure to eat a lot.

As it happened, his Dad gave him a haircut. Now he goes around saying... "Away ako bak-la". Yes, the haircut was awful and he cried a lot.

I have often asked myself if I, in my self-designated role as official photographer, am inadvertently taking away from my own experiences... after all, I do get to spend more time looking tbrough my LCD projector rather than participating in games and what-nots.

Anyway... that may be the case.

And though I still feel bad about not having pics to share... after all, it is the last time i'd go there as a single woman (ahh... sooo many lasts this year... but that's another entry in itself)... maybe it was for the better.

Because I got obssessive in taking in the details... the scent... the feel... the taste of everything.

And I can still feel the fresh saltwater air of the barrio where I was born.

And yes, I didn't necessarily go home without. Because i also re-discovered a childhood favorite... the BAO or AMIS, a pure-sugarcane candy shaped like a bowl... the candy I enjoyed all those years ago with my grandparents...

A vivid memory of me sitting by the stairs, my Lola cutting me several slices and handing me one... with only this oil lamp on the table...

The gift of memory is truly a blessing. The gift of good memories a true privilege. And as I am again taken back in time to early memories of being loved and happiness... I cannot help but smile through the lump in my throat and my watery eyes...

How can there not be a God indeed?

Meanwhile... check this baby out. In my dreams... bwahahaha

Hope your vacation was just as refreshing and recharging as mine

1:46 PM Monday, March 21, 2005

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We had a mini-celebration involving a lot of food and a lot of relatives... so I guess hindi na sya mini.

Anyway... my godson Kyle was FIRST HONOR in his class... kaya super proud ang parents (pati mga ninang!).

My fave baby Ela was there too...

Bonita, of course, watched the cake like a hawk until I allowed for them to be cut. She wanted the Choco Mousse cake... and so of course, I sliced a length at the edge (because nobody else wanted cake pa, what with 9 gallons of ice cream).

I cut her a slice, put it on a saucer and gave it to her.

She looks at me and says:

"Ang gusto ko yung may sulat."

I already forgot which blog I passed by that contained a similar entry... anyway, watching the reality show has preoccupied me since the Holidays...

For this season, am rooting for the old married couple... and the gay couple. Gosh, I love them!!!

And heaven help me, that Rob guy is sooo annoying!

Oh, Oh, but I digress...

1. I am not an adventurous eater.

2. There's a strong possibility that I would want to stop and take pictures of the sceneries, the animals, the local people...

3. I cannot, for the life of me, swim.

4. I am so bad with directions.

5. I am bad with map reading.

6. I have this habit of drinking a lot. And having to piss a lot. I have this fear of being dehydrated.

7. I can be real quick-tempered.

8. I am not really competitive. Or rather, I would compete but I'd get bothered if someone I like is losing. Chances are, I might even give way.

9. I am too proud to ask strangers for money.

10. When in Europe, I am 100% sure to stop for white chocolate shopping. Ergo, I would spend all our money.

11. I am not always patient.

12. Travelling to different countries will likely trigger my allergies.

new family

2:53 PM Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Blogging has brought so many interesting, lovable, wise people into my life. Some of them, I already really love because their blogs have been a source of daily inspiration.

One of them has even played a small but very defining part in my lovelife.

And now, I am amazed to be part of a BLOGKADA, composed mostly of people a lot older than I am, who seem as young as I am (or younger even) at heart.

Every (week)day fills me with excitement as I connect with them in SOC ways as we tackle feminity, mortality, decency, apathy and family.

Every day brings with it belly laughs from wacky, doctored photographs to insane hirets.

Every day also brings with it serious topics to really ponder on...

Sometimes, some of us even shed tears as we tackle motherhood and loss, sickness and vivid memories of growing up.

One would think that blogs are already personal... and yet we managed to get more personal.

And it fills me with this warm sense of security that I am accepted and liked for who I am, in the same way that everyone acknowledges each other's similarities and differences... each other's pet peeves and limitations... each other's issues and battles and quirks and idiosyncracies.

And i look forward to more... of them. Come April, the Queen of Pansitan and Mr. Spidey will both be here in the country... and it's sure going to be one great laughfest.

And foodfest.

I cannot wait...

Meanwhile, I hope you have read my Blogkadahan ENTRY.

a mourning dad

9:37 AM Monday, March 14, 2005

and so you weep
for an unborn child
who, in the first place
you did not want
yet, you loved him
and dreamed
dreams for him
in the midst of
all the confusion
and unpreparedness
God must have thought it better
to give you more time
to prepare yourself
for His gift
i believe He loved you
and your child, so much
that He postponed for a while
your meeting
but you, my darling
blamed yourself
for what was unplanned
and your very human reaction
to a thing unknown
and you shed tears
and mourn
for what never was
and never could be
you ache
longing for his little hands
to reach out to yours
yearning for his cries
and laughter
but, things are just
as it should be
the short span of life
that he lived
was all that it took
to bring you God's message
of love...

You, who was scared
and who fretted years ago
can do this
are made for this!
you never needed to question
your capacity to care
and nurture
and give that unborn child
that haunts you
You too were made in His love
You too are on your way to
changing a life...

Parenthood will come soon...

Mec 5-04-2001


I had intended to blog about something else today...

Then again, i'd like to dedicate the poem I made above to Julian's Mom and my wonderful friend G, who has suffered losses I can never hope to comprehend... and I pray, I may never have to go through.

I originally made the poem for JRA (and we're celebrating our ANNIVERSARY today), who I know will forever love that first child he didn't ever get to know... or hold in his arms.


Incidentally, it's my Dad's birthday today too... and I love him and I know he loves us, and I can never be thankful enough to have had a man like him for a father.

two years...

5:45 PM Thursday, March 10, 2005

IS A LONG TIME... for tears, for sorrows... for lying awake at nights, wondering where you stand with someone... for second-guessing someone if he likes you or not... for disciplining yourself to act like a friend when you know there's more to the friendship than just friendship... for reeling your emotions in whenever they seek to be expressed... for feeling unworthy, or being made to feel unworthy... for texting back and forth more than 30 times each day... for preventing yourself from making plans... for putting your life on hold, breathlessly awaiting a period or an exclamation point... and hating the question mark that is defining your days...

most of all... two years is too long a time to be ashamed that you're in love... mainly because it was "untimely"... which may have been just a euphimism for "unwanted"

two years IS A SHORT TIME... for shared snacks... and late-night conversations.. for dancing cheek-to-cheek to songs that embody your sentiments... for poems exchanged and songs sung together... for movies and concerts and love stories... for playful banters and corny jokes and childish reminiscences... for love to really bloom... for trust to be established... for plans and dreams to be realized...

most of all... two years is too short a time to say that you know a person well... mainly because it's "impossible"... which may also mean that it was being "denied"


i find it to be both natural and irrational to find sadness in the fact that a former "lover" has found somebody else... or several of them...

and i can't help but find it sadder that i've spent the better part of two years loving and hoping and waiting, when he could have simply said... "Don't take it personally, but I really can't see myself committing to loving you."

at least, i would have been free... perhaps not yet to love someone else... but at least free to understand and explore the possibilities of knowing where i stood

and then to find out now that he's committed to someone else... cannot help but break a heart...

and break my faith...

am sure that girl was special... and i feel no envy nor jealousy

and i'm taking into account that hearts CAN change...

it's just that... the truth would have set me free


written a very long time ago... i think sadness and pain has eloquence that will always be beautiful... even if it is about sadness and pain and loss and disillusionment...

bless them...

8:21 AM Wednesday, March 09, 2005

I was checking my mails when my boss, Len, who's come back from retirement maternity leave turned to me and said... "Kwento ko na sayo... hmmm, si Chino (3rd child, youngest son) kasi me assignment na magre-recite daw sila ng bugtong. Eh si Abbie (2 month old baby) sinusumpong nung isang gabi so nakalimutan ko na yung assignment ni Chino. Kagabi nagkwento na lang sya na sya daw yung last tinawag..."

LEN: Eh anong ginawa mo?

CHINO: Eh di gumawa na lang ako ng bugtong!

LEN: Anong bugtong mo?

CHINO: marami...!!!

Isang Prinsepe, nakatago sa baso (tubig)

Isang pulang kabayo, nagagalit (apoy)

Akala mo kapatid mo, ikaw naman pala (salamin)

Pag nakatalikod, babae. pag nakaharap, lalake (Intsik na lalaking mahaba ang buhok)

LEN: (dismayed) Eh... anong sabi ni teacher?

CHINO: Wala.. pina-recite lang kami tas dapat hulaan ng classmates namin.

LEN: Eh... meron bang nakahula ng bugtong mo?

CHINO: Wala!!! Yung mga classmates ko nga, pare-pareho mga bugtong eh... ako lang walang kapareho!

(Chino is in Grade 1)


My bro brought Pyro his first squeaking pair of sandals last night. And the tot couldn't be denied walking and stomping and jumping about, filled with glee that every step produces noise.

He greeted my sister by calling her name... "Grace"

We ask him who my Mom is... he answers "Carmen"

We ask him who my Dad is... he answer "Lolo Indo" (and yes, he can pronounce the words as is)

We ask him who I am... he answers Tita. He can't pronounce my name and nicknames. But he can pronounce SEXY :)

He calls his Tita Tin... unfortunately... Ti-Ti :D

And then last night I heard him pre-empt the telenovela's theme song by singing... "Diba....ahhhh... ahhh" (diba, ako'y tao lang na nadadarang....)


Happy birthday Jay-jay. May you find GLORIA all kinds of weonderful too. Ahihi...

he's growing up...

9:32 AM Monday, March 07, 2005

Image hosted by Photobucket.comWhen he goes over his Bible book and sees this picture of an angel... he starts chanting... Ha-luyah, ha-luyah.

He calls JRA Ni-nong, Dodo

He greets my cousin Tin... Tita Ek Ek? (Tin's bf is named Eric)

He hums, sings that "Shine, shine... shampoo commercial with a jingle sang by Regine.

He now has a concept of moo-moo and ipis, things he's scared of.

He says Bok-bok and immediately puts out his tongue and starts panting. (Bokbok is my Dad's dog)

He calls our neighbor Andy, Dugong

He now claims ownership... Aken!!!

He now can support himself by saying Engeeee... or pabi-le

When he passes by any of Jollibee's pictures, no matter how small, he goes Ja-bi. And when he sees this yellow arch, he says, Mak-Do.

He can identify fish... and prefers paksiw na tulingan. He says hus for horses, and calls carabaos kaw-bao.

All hotdog-shaped pillows are unan.

He even has this song with words going like, ang buhay, pabili, sabi, sabi, pabili.

He already reports kagat... even lies about it now, when he's asking for attention...

And i've forgotten all the other words that he's been saying and attached meanings to.

And he's just really so darn talkative now... and you can see from his expression how absorbed he is when making kwento to you...

We can even ask him to throw garbage now... and we can ask him to share food... and finally, he's easier to coax into drinking milk now...

And he still generally sleeps thru the night...

Sniff, and he's really fast growing up now, I can't stop myself from hugging him tight sometimes...

(and of course, to say that his verbal capacity is way above than what can be normally expected from a one-year and eight-month old child will be very much an understatement... and yes, am one proud AUNT)


I shall miss my students.


11:28 AM Friday, March 04, 2005

I finally found your IDs, the ones you gave me when we were first going out, almost 5 years ago...

100 lbs. and up to 11 years ago, you look really cute. You're still cute and very beautiful now... for there is that chinky-eyed, mischievous grin still, and your face has stayed the same...

The one I was destined to love.

I just hope... we can start really communicating though.

I just hope, you'd be the last person to even think bad things about me... or the last person to make me feel this way.


9:53 AM Thursday, March 03, 2005

Some 20 years ago, a phone call during supper heralded the bad news that my Mother was hit by some car.

Some 15 years before pagers and cell phones, we didn't know where and how to contact her... all we could do was wait... worry... and pray.

And then, after two hours or so... who really knows for how long, time either stood still or we all were placed in a vacuum where it doesn't exist... knocks on our door announced the fact that my Mom was somewhere near our then BLISS apartment in Taguig... actually, she was sprawled in the sidewalk, near the waiting shed for jeepneys...

I was still very much a child... my older cousins living with us, teenagers... We all rushed to where Mom was and I didn't know what to make of the situation... the sight of her lying on the sidewalk, supported by all these strangers... blood all over her legs...

Again, I was still very much a child then. My cousin, with the help of the strangers, brought my Mom to the house.

Weird that I can't remember her being brought to the doctor... or being confined.

I also don't remember her bedridden for days... or hobbling about with a cane...

I'm wondering now if my memory blocked those days... although I highly doubt it.

Weirder still that my Mom was supposedly hit somewhere in Cubao, and yet she managed to come home to us in Bicutan, unable to walk as she was that night.


This is the memory that forever haunts me whenever I see really old men and women travelling on their own.

Offering an arm to help them board jeepneys, or to sit, or to fill up an information form... I do very much automatically...

Mornings would often find me with someone old in the same jeep am riding... bound for PGH for check-ups or whatever... Sometimes, accompanied by their child, or their granchild, or a younger sibling, or their spouse. Sometimes not.

And in the times when they're alone, I can't help but wonder where their progeny are...

And I can't help but utter a silent wish that I hope, when my parents grow old and start going about all crooked and wrinkled... alone... some strangers would take it upon themselves to be kind... and offer them a hand.


It may be self-serving that I actually go out of my way to be kind to old people, as a karmic investment for others to be kind to my folks. Not that we shouldn't be kind to people in general...

It's just sad how, from what i've observed, kind strangers are becoming an endangered species... and I fear for my parents because despite their imperfections, they really haven't done anything to deserve rudeness from strangers.

Everybody now seems just too preoccupied with their deadlines and worries and concerns... most people are just masungit...