The benefit of being with your mother is that you are allowed to simply be yourself and say whatever you like to the point of throwing tantrums. That is what I exhibited when my family was travelling back to Manila after an overnight stay at the hometown of my father in Pangasinan last weekend.
And as usual, just like any rural adventure that my family would carry out from time to time, Nengkoy never fails to stop over and shop at the local palengke (wet and public market) of the rural place we visit. Our journey would not be complete without Nengkoy buying the local produce of the province or the countryside we visit – bushy-tailed vegetables, freshly caught fishes, newly slaughtered meat, brightly colored fruits as well as local indigenous delicacies. She wouldn’t just buy a piece or two just to satisfy her shopping passion. She would buy tons of it!!!
This usually makes me cranky and grouchy. This is because I and the whole family need to spend considerable amount of time at the border and perimeters of the wet market doing nothing but wait while Nengkoy finish her procurement. My considerate and selfless brothers and sisters are so used to Nengkoy’s habit they would sometimes join her in penetrating the labyrinthine passageways of the palengke to locate the freshest produce and help her out carry the loads of her purchases. I, at all times refuse to join the pack but instead just wait and wait and wait. Did I already say that I impatiently wait?
Anyway, while we were in Manaoag, Nengkoy purchased local delicacies of Pangasinan: bags of puto calasiao (local rice cakes of Calasiao, Pangasinan) and tupig (charcoal-grilled glutinous rice and grated coconut wrapped in banana leaves).
While we were in Dagupan, she purchased tubs-full of fresh bangus (milk fish), oysters, large shrimps, a bag full of mangoes and large bottles of the local bagoong (a brown, murky yet tasty sauce made from fermented tiny fishes).
We also made a stopover in Villasis where she bought heaps and oodles of locally grown vegetables – malunggay (fruits of moringa tree), talong (eggplants), sibuyas-pula (tiny red onions), bawang (garlic), kalabasa (pumpkin), and even bouquets of bulaklak ng kalabasa (squash blossoms).
All throughout these panic purchasing moments, I did nothing but wait and complain. Grrr! We literally could no longer move inside the car for it was full of the local produce of Pangasinan. Out of madness, I even cried out loud to everybody inside the vehicle traversing the highways of North Luzon on our way back to Manila that we are already like “Umaandar na Bulanglang!” (a rolling Bulanglang – a stew made of fish and mixed vegetables seasoned with bagoong that originated from northern Luzon).
Pagdating sa bahay ni Nengkoy, ako din naman ang kumain ng mga yon. ‘Yan si Nengkoy walang kupas. At ako, walang pasensya.