Thank goodness I celebrated my birthday with a waistline way below my age. It’s a tall order when you passed the age of 30. What I am now is not a product of a huge bank account or a result of a liposuction clinic. Fortunately, every part of me is but a genetic gift.
Treating all people equal and the same has been a challenge. Trying to understand and be mature enough about things and situations is a huge accomplishment. I have been a work in progress. Maybe it’s the age. Maybe the long years have finally paid off.
With my age, I have long mastered the art of being alone in solitude and enjoy what my simple life has to offer. Whatever it is, I love what my life has been and I am looking forward to more blessings… big, small, round, square or whatever shape it may be.
Meron akong two hundred twenty three pesos sa wallet ko ngayon!
For the past month, every time I would go out for a dinner with friends I suddenly find myslef ordering for a Tortang Talong (translation: Eggplant Omelet for the regular folks, Eggplant Frittata for the affluent mortals). These dining experiences from various restaurants in the metro enabled me to compare the tortang talongs I have binged. At the end of each scrutiny I rated each omelet, five spoons being the highest.
Gilligan’s Island (location: Nakpil corner Orosa, Malate) – it is nothing but eggplant and egg. It is the cheapest among the bunch. Tomato catsup is needed to appreciate it. Its small portion is good enough for the peso that you will pay for. A typical cafeteria-like dish… Rating: 2 spoons
Bistro Remedios (location: M. Adriatico corner Remedios, Malate) – the biggest tortang talong! It is made of 2 eggplants cooked into one big serving with ground pork filling and finely chopped tomatoes. Too bad, it looks like the eggplant was not grilled when getting rid of the skin. This is obvious because the eggplant does not have any burnt or charred portion and the smoky flavor is barely present. It was so spotless you would think that the eggplant was boiled to peel off the skin. Due to this, Bistro Remedios’ tortang talong is best dipped in toyo (soy sauce) with calamansi instead of the usual catsup. Rating: 4 spoons
Mario’s Kitchen (location: SM Mall of Asia and Robinson’s Ermita branches) – the tastiest among all the other tortang talongs! It is so scrumptious you need not add catsup. The dish was perfectly cooked. Also stuffed with ground pork, you would feel that the eggplant was actually grilled from direct fire or charcoal to get rid of the skin. This charbroiling technique enabled the eggplant to gush out its natural oil which added more to the tasty flavor. Grilling also added the smoky taste. I didn’t notice the portioning if it is small or just enough since after finishing I was still craving for more. Rating: 5 spoons
La Mesa (location: SM Mall of Asia) – the gaffe among the identified tortang talongs in this writing. Aside from the snail-like speed in serving the food items in La Mesa, the limp goopy eggplant was disintegrating from its egg covering layer. The chef obviously did not bothered to dunk the skinned eggplant into the beaten egg prior to frying. There’s nothing amazing in this stuff. It’s like prepared and cooked by a person who was just starting to learn. You need a lot of catsup mixed with Knorr seasoing (MSG sauce) to appreciate it. Rating: I’d rather have another dish! No spoons! Grrrr!
It was that day when I craved for a Calzone stuffed with ham and cheese from Sbarro. When I finally got one, I shared a portion of it to Ariel (an officemate) since I normally cannot finish the whole thing. He told me that such chow is so darn filling and heavy in the stomach like the popular bread served during our grade school days called “nutri-bun”.
Nutri-bun sold compulsory to all students during break time made me recall some possessions I had when I was in my grade school days. Being the 5th child, it’s quite hard to possess an item during my childhood that I can actually call my own since I am part of those jackass creatures who benefited from the very cost worthy hand-me-downs.
If these items are still present, these can be considered vintage by today’s generation. Some of which are…
1. Superman T-Shirt
I still remember I was with my mom buying this piece of clothing at Harrison Plaza. Harrison Plaza during that time was the hippest mall then. She let me chose the color. I pointed the light yellow colored one.
2. PanAm Bag
This light blue colored bag was the one I used and brought to school when I was in my 3rd grade. My parents allowed me to use it. My father got one in the 70’s as a giveaway from the PanAm airline when he went back from Saudi Arabia from one of his annual vacations from his job.
3. Game & Watch
When I was eleven my mother purchased me this handled electronic game unit. You will be considered one of the cool dudes in school if you own one. Mine was the Octopus game with a clock and an alarm. After a little more than a month, I got so familiar with the game that the score would go back to zero when you reach the score of 999.
In the office this afternoon, busy and stressed with work – opening 5 restaurants this month, running a training center, operating the HR needs of 14 existing restaurants – I suddenly hear myself humming a rhythm. While working focused on something at the computer, without any clue and external clout, I was uttering the lyrics and humming the haunting classic Pinoy song "Payapang Daigdig" (translation: Peaceful World).
Ang gabi’s payapa
Lahat ay tahimik
Pati mga tala sa bughaw na langit
Kay hinhin ng hangin, wari’y umiibig
Sa kapayapaan ng buong daigdig.
Ay diwa ng buhay
Biyaya ng Diyos
Ang gabi’y payapa, lahat ay tahimik
Pati mga tala
Sa bughaw na langit.
This song as I researched from the internet was written in 1945 by the great Philippine National Artist Felipe De Leon. It was originally not a Christmas hymn but was written in "the morning after thousands have died and saw that bombs during the Second World War had leveled the entire city of Manila".
At first I thought I was just buzzing it because Christmas is nearing. But after learning this significant fact, I knew that my subconscious is actually trying to convey that after all this demanding, stressful and taxing condition in the office peace and tranquility will soon follow.
I guess it’s my spontaneous way to avert my nutty self from imploding!
I have watched a load of movies this year. A lot of it has actually moved and impressed me. But my most preferred motion picture this year was never shown on cinemas and theaters. It is a 15-minute film and was only shown on TV (on ABC 5) and I think is available on mobile phones.
I am talking about the romantic comedy entitled “Sugar”. It starred Rafael Rosel and Bianca King. This unfussy yet delightful short-film was directed by Mark Meily. “Sugar” tells the tale of lovers who’ve reached a plateau in their relationship. Gone grumpy and complaining on her boyfriend’s frosty treatment, the girl decides to spice things up by assuming a secret identity. She purchased a mobile phone SIM card and conducted a text-message affair with her boyfriend.
In the coffee shop with her best friend, while exchanging text messages with her boyfriend in her new secret anonymous SIM & cell number, undecided of what name to give, she by chance saw a pack of brown sugar on top of their table and assumed the name “Sugar”.
Thus, the dude didn’t know that his text-mate is actually his girlfriend. The problem gets complicated when the guy starts to fall for Sugar after a long period of sweet, pleasant and engaging exchanges of text messages. He decided and invited Sugar for an EB (eyeball or meet).
The scenes on the date of the EB were hilarious, nerve-wracking, intense, stressful, distressing yet lovely, charming and definitely moving.
This movie is not an epic, not a period movie, do not have big stars in the cast, only runs for 15 minutes, did not call for millions to produce, no Oscar winning moments, no typical Pinoy “sampalan” melodramatic scenes. The message was simply portrayed yet strikingly beautiful.
Indeed, great things come in small and simple packages. No sugar coating needed! Ang galing galing!