It’s September and Finding Tom basically said everything I want to say about Christmas here in the Philippines. Watch this….
To add to what Tom Finding said in his video, I would like to say that Christmas in the Philippines is also for the children. Though it is also for the children, I however, could no longer recall when was the last time I bought a Christmas present intended for a child.
In fact, my youngest twin nephews are in their freshman year in college while my youngest niece is in her senior high. Though it has always been a blast, there has been no baby around Nengkoy’s house for the past eons of years during Christmas.
But Christmas this year would be a little more special because of this kid…
Looking forward to seeing the first Christmas celebration of my first grandnephew, Arziolo.
Mahjong is my family’s game played in Nengkoy’s house very Friday night. The shuffling sound of mahjong tiles reverberating inside my mother’s living room area every Friday night is literally a weekly occurrence. Every child of Nengkoy (including me) does in fact know how to play this old and traditional Asian game.
And every member of my family seated to play this game would in some way transform into someone different. We would be more focused, more fierce, somewhat smart and strategic as if in a funny attack mode. This is especially true with Nengkoy. She would be so engrossed, she would not mind a word you say if you try asking her what she has done all day or what food has she prepared for dinner.
With our being so well versed with Mahjong, it was easy for us to process and easily understood the mahjong scene representations made by the director of the movie Crazy Rich Asians when my whole family watched this groundbreaking movie last Saturday.
In that mahjong scene between the characters of Rachel Chu (the NY-based Asian-American) and Eleanor (the overbearing matriarch and fearsome mother of Rachel’s boyfriend), we right away understood that Rachelle did the ultimate sacrifice when she let Eleanor win the mahjong game. Rachelle gave up her love, would-be wealth and basically her future with Eleanor’s son. She picked the needed 8-sticks tile to win the game yet she threw and discard it away so that Eleanor could win.
My whole family laughed when we heard Eleanor (played by Michelle Yeoh) uttered “Pong!” The scene would have actually been better if the characters can do the “sinasalat” act. It is a classic mahjong act in which players would be able to determine the tile they picked without looking at it but by merely using the sense of touch, i.e. by sliding the tile’s character through the player’s finger tips.
If in other Asian movies the fight scene can be so literal – in the form of Karate, Judo or other martial arts – I consider the mahjong scene in Crazy Rich Asian as the ultimate fight scene between the protagonist and the antagonist of the story. This scene actually unleashes the dragon in Rachel and ultimately tamed the bitchiness of Eleanor.
I was seated beside Nengkoy inside the movie house when Rachelle picked her “puro” (the needed tile to win). I heard Nengkoy say, Todas na Sya! Bunot Pa! (Translation: she wins! and with a higher pay).
And since mahjong is played by my family every Friday night, the mahjong scene in Crazy Rich Asian even made me further love this delightful film. The movie was definitely a Todas! Bunot! All-Up! and Syete Pares!
Me and my younger sister Joie last night saw the Manila leg of the Irish pop band Boyzone world tour and farewell concert. And since the songs they performed were so familiar to my ears, the general feeling after seeing the whole show was like catching up with an old bunch of friends who visited me and my sister after a very long time.
I had the ultimate fun watching Ronan, Shane, Mikey and Keith perform! The show was no longer about their youth, no longer about their looks and no longer about the winking of their eyes to the screaming audience. The concert was more about their music, it was more about their friendship and it was more about their appreciation towards their fans and the audience in this side of the planet. And the feel-good vibe kind of interaction with the audience was very delightful. It was more of a grown-up affair.
Since this now-mature boyband amassed numerous hit songs (unlike bands with only one or two recognizable songs throughout their repertoire), a Boyzone concert will always be sulit (translation: a good deal and worth every penny) that the audience paid for. I and my sister were actually singing along all throughout the show!
Boyzone may no longer be a boy-band that get their fans’ hormones intensely soaring but since their music will always be part of my past, this Irish pop group seem to have transformed into some bunch of good old friends who has been gone for quite some time.
At dahil piling ko prends ko sila, gusto ko na silang utangan.
“Your unexpected detour could lead to unexpected moments of beauty that otherwise you would have missed”
This is how I would summarize my thought after I and my friend-colleagues has gone to Laiya, San Juan in the province of Batangas to scout for a venue for our upcoming company’s post-summer outing.
We basically checked-out, visited and inquired almost all of the major sea-side vacation lands in the area but in each of the resorts we visited there seem to be something lacking. We have gone to seven leading resorts yet we still were not one in deciding which to choose. This until, we decided to get lost and do a little detour before heading back to Manila.
And here is what we found!
It really feels good to be lost in the right direction…
At exactly 3:18PM I received a phone call via Viber app. The caller sounded like a lady with very foreign accent. With very poor English speaking skills the caller seem to tell me that I was so lucky because I won. I told her to speak clearly because I can’t seem to understand her English. She dropped the call.
Then all of a sudden here is how our Viber messaging transpired and won my Two Million Pesos…
After sending my ATM, she never called or message back. Oh, by the way “Gago!” is a Tagalog word meaning “You Idiot!”
My palatal experience and taste for the Classic Pudding has come a long way. It progressed from being derisory to being lavish. My lunch today with Nengkoy and a few of my relatives at Medley Buffet in first-class hotel Okada Manila made me realize this.
When my sister Joie took a heap of the Classic Pudding as her dessert, I told aloud that Nengkoy (my mother) at one occasion made a Classic Pudding when we were still very small. Nengkoy upon hearing this smiled and nodded her head. But what is so memorable with Nengkoy’s Classic Pudding I told Joie is that it was made from left over breads most especially from the staple of the Marcos regime’s feeding program in the ‘70s called Nutribun.
I can still recall that Nutibun given to us students in the 70’s were so big, so dense and were so filling. It was so compact, that if you fail to consume it and let it stand for a day it will turn so hard, eating it would be next to impossible. I remember not eating those bulky Nutribuns and instead bring those home. This kindled the parsimony and thriftiness in Nengkoy. Instead of throwing away those rock hard Nutribuns, I remember she turned it into a hot delicious Classic Pudding.
After telling that story, I excused myself, went to the abundant and over-the-top buffet area of Medley Buffet. I also took a big bowl of their Classic Pudding for my dessert. While enjoying my dessert and washed it down with champagne, I silently reminisced about the taste of the pudding Nengkoy prepared for us when we were still kids in the seventies.
Parang walang pinagkaiba anf pudding ng Okada at ng Nutribun. Yummy! Hahaha!
I grew up in a Catholic family. My father was Catholic when he converted to being a Born Again Christian back in the late 80s. Ironically, his conversion happened in the Islamic country of Saudi Arabia where he was based as an overseas worker.
When my father retired and decided to stay for good in the Philippines with my family, he was one active member of his church. He even attempted to convert every one of us in the family.
Too bad for him, he started with me. I actually commend my father for trying. His strategy to start with me was so genius. He knew that if I will be converted, it would be very easy for the rest of the members of my family to become Born Again Christians.
Up until the last days of my father, he never stopped in convincing and converting me. I guess he knew that I am really the one who needs to be saved from the fires of hell. Hahaha! I can still remember the funny and humorous intellectual debate we had about how to be a true Christian while he was in the hospital.
It has been years and my father has gone to heaven. He may have failed to convert me, yet I am pretty sure that in spirit, he still looks after me, Nengkoy and the rest of my growing family. He has always been my Christian Warrior.
I guess my father’s failure to convert me is really not a failure after all. Because a true Christian Warrior will simply let you be the seeker of your own Truth. And that is one of the multitude of impacts and contributions of my father to me.
Happy Father’s Day Tatay! You got one proud son here…