Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Yet again, I meet a cross road.

I don't want to actually call it a dilemma. The word sounds negative to me. I guess it's one of those times I need to think, re-think and make a sound and intelligent decision.

I'm one of those lucky ones who have a parents and a kind-hearted brother who fully support me. Those times when I was in despair and sorrow in a previous job (and tried my best to endure and keep silent, afraid to disappoint my family should I ever decide to quit), my brother literally rescued me.

We were in a plane on our way home from Boracay, when Kuya Ariel talked to me. He said he noticed how unhappy I was. And that if I resign, it was okay for him. He knew I was planning to take Post-Graduate studies ever since I started working (unfortunately, my load at work made studying impossible) so he gave me an offer I could not refuse: he will fund my Masteral studies. I knew my brother just wanted me to be happy and alive again. I thought about it and finally decided to give it a go.

But then, Ondoy destroyed our home.

The sight of our tattered house, our appliances and furniture soaked to the brim, mud water trickling from our ceiling were enough to turn my head three-hundred-sixty degrees. Those two days when our home was submerged in mud water, we wept-- my sister, my mother, my brothers and I. We couldn't believe it happened to us.

So I deferred my studies and without informing my family, I scouted for work. I was lucky I got two job interviews the week after Ondoy and both companies hired me. But I chose, of course, the one which was closer to home, located in Ortigas.

For this, I have no regrets. Even though my brother was disappointed. On my fulfillment with work, I would have to devote another blog entry. :-)

June is fast approaching and I find myself in another crossroad. My brother hoped my KCh. stint was just a summer-long deal. He brought it up again:" study full time first, you're not getting any younger."

It's a privilege that I have. As my Mommy said, any girl, any person, would grab the opportunity to study full-time, with a full allowance.

But right then, I paused. I thought it over, toyed with the idea.

I remembered my Mom. How she worked full time in radio parts factory just to finance her education, studying journalism in UST. How she nodded her head during classes, exhausted from overtime work. How she scrimped on her allowance so she can take more units in school. How she worked for 35 years in a simple office in a state university, because she was aware she needed stability to raise us -- a brood of 6.

My mom-- she has sacrificed so much in her life, just so me and my brothers and sister could live a good life. Without her, I would not have the privilege that I have now.

But would I be a brat and take it? Or would I rather be like my mother, who, forty plus years ago, rode jeepneys and broke a sweat, read piles of books and hand outs at past 12 m.n. and woke up at 6 a.m.?

I wish I can explain this to Kuya Ariel, who would surely scratch his head in confusion.

I wish there was a way to tell him what kind of woman I want to be, and am becoming.

I miss blogging!

Ever since we moved out of our old house and since I've temporarily bid our wi-fi connection goodbye, it hasn't been the same between BLOGGING and me.

I guess we're undergoing a sort of cool-off. Yes, just like high school sweet hearts. So, yeah, until our house is fully renovated, I would have to make do with our mediocre Sun Cellular broadband connection. That means waiting forever to open my email, reading the newspaper or cleaning my nails while waiting for Facebook pictures and comments to load. And of course, lying low with my internet bestfriend -- www.blogspot.com.

There are so many things I've been raring to write about. I've been meaning to write about Tiu Dy, my work in the Knowledge Channel, the perks of meeting people in Masteral class, my niece Andeng and her smart, naughty ways (and oh-- how she can talk now! At less than 3 years, she can speak in complete sentences already!), about Eve Ensler's books, Sonya's Garden in Tagaytay. Bancheta in Ortigas, etcetera, etcetera.

So, baby, blogger, soon....I shall write....very, very soon!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Sweet-toothed summer: iskrambol, ice candy & other thirst busters

So you placed two electric fans side by side, turned them full blast, and yet you still felt beads of sweat trickling down your face and neck. You tried to catch siesta to sleep the afternoon away, but all you succeeded at was to take cat naps as you are wakened again and again by a – gasp! – thirst that couldn’t be quenched. You end up with a headache as unrelenting as the furious sun.

You remembered the PAGASA public advisory to stock up on sun block and lots of water to get ready for the summer heat that has just registered its highest, at 36 degrees Celsius (as of April 6). But after drinking a pitcherful, water had become so blah and bland and boring you could just barf.

So you quit trying to sleep and get up to get out and go for something more exciting in summer "samalamig."

Just the thought alone of the glasses of summer coolers awaiting you just outside your home made your head a bit clearer and your soul less oppressed.

This is exactly what I did last weekend – dabbed sun block, grabbed an umbrella and rounded up the best palamig in town.

Halo-halo ni Nanay

Think summer cooler and you cannot but think of halo-halo. You and I have our own favorite halo-halo. It seems to be a toss-up between Chow King and Digman's. But there are those who would swear by Aling Taleng's halo-halo in Pagsanjan, Laguna that Metro Manilans make dayo for, because it had halo hard to find: buwa ng niyog and crisp dried kondol. Priceless!

But why go the distance and shell out more pesos when just a block away, rght in your neighborhood, there’s a halo-halo stand?

On Ilang-ilang Street, in our barangay in Pasig, Nanay Rosa yearly opens her halo-halo store soon as the schools are out. She offers a very good deal. Bring your own container, no matter what size, and she’ll fill it up. But since I forgot to bring my tall Selecta pint container, which I recycled as a glass at home, I had to make do with an ordinary plastic cup. Nanay Rosa spooned sago, gulaman, sweetened banana, langka, pinipig and melon strips into it, while her son quickly shaved ice. For just fifteen pesos, my halo-halo even had ube and leche flan. Sure, there was more ice than "halo," I guess it's par for the course with neighborhood halo-halo.

But the halo-halo to beat is our own home-made mix-mix. Time was my Mom would stock up on bottled macapuno, sweet beans, kaong, nata de coco, and halayang ube. We could ask her to put a bit more of our favorite halo into our glass. She would often oblige on condition that we shaved our own ice. The nice thing about our halo-halo was that we could put as much milk into it as we wanted. The best thing about it, we could ask for a second glass (not always granted, though). The weird thing about it: my mom would sometimes put fresh fruits into it, like cayomito, ripe mango, guyabano, and avocado. Eww!


At Goto King in Libis, I ordered a glass of guinomis. I guess I spoke too loudly, for the elderly woman behind me at the counter asked her son, "What’s guinomis?" and the son answered, "Hindi ko po alam."

Guinomis is in a sense a simpler version of halo-halo, still with the shaved ice on top, but with specific and fewer ingredients: sago (the tiny pearls), gulaman, and toasted pinipig. The caramelized sugar, sago and gulaman are cooked with pandan leaves. But what makes guinomis especially tasty is the gata (coconut cream) that takes the place of evaporada in halo-halo.

The first time I tasted guinomis was in my freshman year in UP Diliman. At CASAA, a stall whose specialty was sizzlers sold guinomis as well. It was so good I went back again and again. Nowadays, when I eat out, I always look for guinomis on the dessert menu.

The mother and son behind me, out of curiosity, ended up buying guinomis as well. I hope they were not as disappointed as I was: Goto King’s version had cornflakes instead of pinipig on top. And worst – that was no coconut milk they used as cream!

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