Bitter Gourd Monologues is so Me

It’s been uncounted number of years since the time I last finished reading a book written in my native language, Filipino.  This long streak of non-sense convention is finally over.  And I am glad to announce that the Filipino-language book I finished is sooo me.  Its entitled Ampalaya Monologues written by “spoken word” genius, Mark Ghosn.

Ampalaya Monologues is so me!  Ampalaya for those who don’t know is Bitter Gourd in the Filipino language or metaphorically defined as “bitter”.  There are 27 characters in the book that features varying idiosyncrasies of heartaches, heartbreaks, eccentric longing, quirky hopes, emotional struggles and of course romanticized bitterness.

This I guess would be the very first book written in Filipino that made me cry and laugh out loud at the same time.  I literally was laughing at a lot of lines and thoughts in this book for I am so bitter, I can totally relate. Here’s the top six monologues I loved and totally enjoyed!   

 

I haven’t see or talked to the writer yet Ampalaya Monologues seem to have entered into my realm.  It was as if Mark Ghosn has entered my cranium and cerebral cortex and wrote what he has seen inside.

According to some write ups, Ampalaya Monologues (like The Vagina Monologues popularized in the past in the western side of the planet) are actually staged and performed by actors in front of big audiences.  But I guess reading the book would be a totally different experience.  It was as if the character was merely talking to the reader and no one else like in a big crowd.  Thus, reading the book I guess would be more intense and can definitely hit you right at your very core.

I love every piece of the chapters/monologues yet the last part was actually the most fitting for it makes you realize that for every tear, every heartache and bitterness a reader felt and experienced in the past, such sufferings will eventually make a person fervently mature and emotionally stronger.  I believe in the ultimate message of the book and that is for bitter people like us, there is still a chance to move on and some freaking flicker of hope is awaiting for all of us. 

Ang sabi nga sa libro, mas mabuting maging bitter kesa fake!

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Chilin at Shilin Night Market

Taipei, Taiwan based on travel blogs seem not in the top list of places to go to on the planet.  But I along with Nengkoy and elder sister Ester nevertheless adventured into seeing what Taipei has to offer.  Actually, yesterday we were back to Manila and actually just arrived from Taipei.  And before the lazy bug bit me, let me showcase an awesome experience while we were there.

taipei morning
a beautiful taipei morning

Night markets in Taipei are quite popular.  Shilin Night Market located near Jiantan train station is considered the largest is actually the most popular among tourists.  This is the night market that Nengkoy, I and my sister chose to chill at and visit during a very short stay in Taipei.

Shilin Night Market is known to offer various food and nonfood items.  Aside from a couple of cool t-shirts I purchased, I got to try two amazing stuffs at this lively, brazen and well-admired night market.

The Ampaet Drink

First, I got to try the white bitter gourd juice.  Bitter gourd is known as Ampalaya in the Philippines.  Here in my country, Ampalaya is green in color and never used as a juice drink flavor.  Because of its bitter taste, it is one of my most hated vegetables.

white bitter gourd display
inviting ampalaya display!
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this drink is so me!

But in Taiwan, they got a white/albino variety and they use it for a refreshing juice drink.  Upon learning that such is mixed in a cold drink, it got me curious.  I even thought that the albino variety would be a redeeming version of the green-colored variety.  I was expected that it would be sweet to the taste.   So as to end my pondering, I ordered a tall glass.

As for the taste, it was a disappointing bitter taste same as the green version.  And same as the green variety, I hated the white kind.  It was not my type! Ampaet! (Translation: so bitter!)  But as a consolation, I nevertheless will no longer have to brood over on what the taste was of such a rare drink when I get back to Manila.  To get rid of the bitter after taste, I, Nengkoy and my sister decided to gulp on a very cold bottle of pure and freshly squeezed sugarcane juice, which is also a popular street drink in Taipei!

The Uncut Cutlet

Second, Shilin Night Market shall be for the record the place where I actually had the largest piece of chicken cutlet.  It was so big I thought it was an ostrich!

There was a long queue at store called Hot Star.  I actually don’t know what people were queuing up for.  And since the line is very long, I assume the food stuff that store was selling must be amazing.  I just decided to fall in line and only got to realize that it was a humongous filleted chicken cutlet that was being sold when I was already paying for it.

hot star chicken queue!
hot star: the chicken that sells like hotcake!
hot star chicken cutlet
that piece of chicken is even bigger that the face of its seller
hot star chicken and neil
enjoying my humongous piece of chicken

Hot Star chicken cutlet was surprisingly very good and very tasty!  The chicken meat is evenly coated with a crunchy deep fried golden brown batter.  Before the ginormous cutlet was handed over to me upon payment, it was sprinkled with flavoring powder which I believe (based on the whispers of my taste buds) is composed of white pepper, sea salt and special spices.  This chicken cutlet was surprisingly tender and juicy.  It was so ginormous I shared it with Nengkoy!

These are just two of the million or more possible stuffs that people can try when they visit the vibrant Shilin Night Market.  There is a cornucopia of stuffs that visitors can taste when they chill at this amazing night market.  Try visit sometime and prove to yourself that Taipei is actually worth a visit!

 Kakaiba ka Shilin!