Last weekend, I and my whole family celebrated Nengkoy’s 82nd birthday. And every year, we make sure that Nengkoy’s birthday is celebrated in a grand way. The whole family would spend overnight in an opulent resort out of town.
But this year was a little different. Though it was still an overnight out of town, it is now held not in a luxury resort but at a more private place. The venue this year was a little different and a lot farther from Manila. It was a 5-hour travel by land. We held it at the super huge and lavish house of Thatcher and Alexis, my niece and nephew-in-law or the two of the plenty grandchildren of Nengkoy.
And like every other year that was, this year’s celebration was a blast. And an addition to the already huge family has joined us, our little boy Arziolo joined the fun filled celebration.
Nengkoy gave us a scare last year when she suffered from some numerous serious ailments. We hope that this year would be a very good year for Nengkoy health wise. The whole family only has two wishes for her. That would be good health and continuous luck in her mahjong exploits.
My family is so nutty like a fruitcake! It has been weeks that some members of my family were contemplating on revisiting and spending the weekend at Okada Manila, the iconic oceanfront integrated resort here in Manila. We then decided to visit one Saturday.
And while everyone was fixing and getting ready to do the “pasyal” (translation: stroll) everyone were suggesting what to do and where to eat while inside plush and lavish Okada. That is until I raised the idea of dropping the plan of going to Okada and we should instead go to S&R where unhealthy American food are available. My nephew Luis reinforced my idea when he expressed that he is craving for some delicious Clam Chowder which Nengkoy also loved and never misses to order every time we dine there.
While we were in the car heading to sophisticated Okada, everybody then decided to do a detour. We agreed to replace the long-ago-planned weekend destination, that is, from the grand and luxurious Okada Manila to the huddle-filled and unsophisticated food court of S&R membership-shopping store!
I ended up enjoying the Clam Chowder, a big chunk of pizza and two pieces of crispy fried chicken! And since we are there, I decided to buy a tray of huge muffins and a big bag of toilet paper rolls. While munching on the greasy pizza, I contemplated that my crazy family’s detour to S&R food court was in agreement to Leonardo Da Vinci’s notion that “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”
We have now reached the time of the year when we start to reflect on the year that was. The compilations are starting to come out for the best songs, movies, Facebook and Instagram posts, fashion and all other bests for the year.
It is also the time for reflection on a personal level: new people we met, new food we have tasted, amazing new sites we’ve visited, new skills we’ve learned, virtues we’ve acquired or maintained as well as the surprising circumstances we have encountered along the way. It is also the time when we reflect how we’ve been as a human being and what we want to be in the next year.
As for me, I guess all I can do is be the best person that I can be to those who need me. And to those who don’t need me, just wait and see because sometime next year you would realize that you do crave and long for me. Hahaha! I may not have a new set of resolutions but I will definitely do my very best to stay out of the treacherous waters that would be swirling around next year.
It is the end of the year and it feels like a lot of people are tired and need a break. I hope that next year would be more peaceful, meaningful and fruitful for everybody. Let us hope for the best!
Happy New Year and lots of love from me and my mother, Nengkoy!
Like any other Christian family, my family every year is at the heart of Christmas. 2018 Christmas celebration is no different from the yearly revelry that occurs at Nengkoy’s abode. This year though is a little different because there is a little additional member of the family, my 8-month old grandnephew Arziolo.
And as usual, I am the designated person to take photos of the party. There were so much photos I took last Christmas Eve that I was able to create a short video out from it. Enjoy watching…
From Nengkoy and my whole family, let me again greet everybody a very Merry Christmas! And since this post covers a YouTube video, let me express how vloggers would invite viewers by saying: “Hi guys!!! Don’t forget to press the like button and subscribe in this channel!” Hahaha!
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!
I just have to chronicle this delightful experience! Me, Nengkoy and a couple of my beautiful relatives were treated to a delightful movie all paid for by my nephew Luis. I just have to blog post this event because this is actually the first time that Luis paid for all our movie tickets. And the treat was not just in any other ordinary movie house it was in an affluent and more luxurious venue, the Director’s Club in SM Aura Premier Mall.
The comfortable mechanized la-z-boy seat and the complimentary bowl of buttery popcorn added up to the pleasurable delight of the movie we chose to watch. It was the Mama Mia 2. Like the first version, Mama Mia 2 again made me tap my feet and sing along with the popular tunes of Abba. Some of the songs included in the movie were semi-hit in the Philippines yet I felt silly that I was able to sing along when these semi-popular songs reached the chorus.
Delightful would be the best word to describe Mama Mia 2: Here We Go Again. Though the movie was not as fun and as merry if compared to the first version, which included more popular tunes and more comical scenes, the treat by that of my nephew Luis made this movie unforgettable!
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!