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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First Filipino Christmas of Arziolo

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…

cuteness overload of Arziolo

Looking forward to seeing the first Christmas celebration of my first grandnephew, Arziolo.

Mas mukhang  eksayted ako kesa sa batang yan!

Getting Lost In The Right Direction

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…

Ameysing!

Dear Terrence Romeo

I totally disagree with the pretext, depth and perspectives of your tweet. It is sad to note that a lot of Filipinos agree, liked and shared your unwise tweet.

Translation: To those athletes who express that we were embarrassing, we don’t care whatever you say. My team needs to support one another in the court. We cannot just disregard one another. If we are embarrassing in your viewpoint why can’t you just convert to being Australians?

I love underdogs that is why I was drawn to liking Gilas Philipinas in the past. But it is unfortunate to note that last night’s basketball game (July 2 held at the Philippine Arena against Team Australia), the charismatic underdog Gilas Team seem to have transformed into some confused and rabid mongrel.


Let me then inform you that my being a Filipino and staying as a Filipino is not anchored on how the games of Gilas Pilipinas play its game! The affairs of your team may it be compassionate or rabid towards your opponents is not going to be the fundamental foundation of my staying as a Filipino. Lastly, the size of your prefrontal cortex will not be the basis if I will stay as a Filipino or convert to becoming an Australian.

You being one of the star players of the team, guess what? A simple tweet apologizing to your fans could have been better, more mature and more sportsmanly act as compared to what you tweeted.

Ang hashtag Puso naging hashtag Balunbalunan!

Fast Fantastic Food at Estero

Last Sunday, I woke up wanting to go to Ongpin, the Chinese Capital of the Philippines.  As soon as I opened my eyes after a long and quiet sleep, my katawang lupa (flesh and corporeal being) just suddenly crave for the look, the noise and the smell of Ongpin. 

Thanks to super friend Willie, he accompanied me and made my silly craving a reality.  My longing was really plain and unchallenging.  I just wanted to walk the super busy street of Ongpin, buy a snack and then leave.  But thank goodness I was with itinerant Willie because he knows a very good eatery in this old and hoary part of Manila.

We dined at what is known as Estero.  It is a non-air-conditioned diner that is right beside a creek and a tidal channel used as drainage canal in the overly populated area of Manila. I was at first so tentative and doubtful about the place.  But when the gentle lady manning the eatery approached us and handed the menu, I knew that I was into some exciting gastronomic adventure. 

estero (if I was the owner, i would call it “estuary” para sosyal)
classic yang chow rice and the surprisingly good hototay soup!
joyous version of their mung bean sprouts
buttered chicken is love
happy tummy!

Estero is tagged as a fast food on the internet but it is unlike the usual fast food that items were pre-prepared and placed on a heater display.  Estero food are only cooked upon ordering.  Maybe the reason why it is called fast food is because the kitchen is equipped with high pressure burners and the cooks prepare their dishes so fast.  In a haste, the server was already serving our freshly cooked Hototay and the surprisingly crunchy Stir-Fried Mung Bean Sprouts.

Aside from the very good food, Estero’s price was surprisingly cheap.  Total bill of all the fantastic dishes we ordered was roughly around 8 (US) dollars.

Yam yam!

Pinoy Elements in Villa Escudero

If I am to choose a place where to bring a foreigner-friend so as to fully immerse him to the culture of the Philippines, I would choose Villa Escudero in Tiaong Quezon. 

team langit in front of the museum

Villa Escudero seem to contain and characterize a wide assortment of a true Filipino culture.  Employees from engineering, to servers, to housekeeping and receptionists are all comfortably dressed in the traditional “patadyong” for the ladies and the colorful “camisa de chino” are worn by the guys.

The structures of Villa Escudero room accommodations are all native, characteristic of the traditional Filipino house known as “Bahay Kubo”.  Villa Escudero also boasts of a marvelous museum collection, majority of which are about the rich Filipino religion, clothings, history and even fauna.

After a glorious Filipino buffet lunch right in the middle of a river with a man-made waterfalls as a backdrop, guests will get to enjoy and watch a Filipino show inside a humongous pavilion.  The show features various uniquely Filipino dances, costumes and customs.  I particularly loved the energetic TInikling dance, the funny vignette about Sabong, the robust and brawny Maglalatik and of course the singing of the song Filipinas at the end of the show.  The show boasts about its authenticity for it was conceptualized and choreographed by the late Filipino National Artist for Dance, Mr. Ramon Obusan. 

Then later in the afternoon, guests would get to enjoy and listen to a “harana” (a serenade).  In the old days in the Philippines, a way for a suitor to woo a lady is by having a visit in the lady’s house.  But prior to being allowed inside the lady’s abode, the suitor needs to sing by the lady’s window otherwise known as the Harana

If the young lass showed up through her window, it means that the admirer will be welcomed inside the house after he finish his singing.  But if the lady refuse to show up and face the singing dude by her window, it signifies that she is not interested towards the guy singing outside. In Villa Escudero, their male employees get to sing old and traditional Filipino song in front of the houses where guests are billeted as if they are doing a “harana”.

But what I am most impressed about the authentic Filipino element present in Villa Escudero was its excellent food selection during breakfast.  Never have I seen a buffet breakfast as Filipino as that of the selection of dishes served in Villa Escudero! 

pinoy breakfast!

It seem that all remarkable Filipino breakfast dishes are featured in their buffet.  Aside from the usual fruits, yogurt, cereals, jams, milk and eggs, there were Filipino breakfast varieties like Champorado, Singangag, Lannganisa, Lugaw, Gatas Ng Calabao, Suman Sa Lihiya, Bibingka, Crispy Danggit, Crispy Dilis, Quesong Puti and of course Kapeng Barako.

Why do I know all these?  It is because Villa Escudero was again the chosen venue of Nengkoy for her to celebrate her 81st birthday.  Six years ago, this was the same venue for Nengkoy’s 75th birthday.  Villa Escudero no matter what year we visit still has the same authentic Filipino elements for everybody to enjoy.

nengkoy having buffet lunch by the water falls
i love it here…

Ay Lab Bilya Eskudero…

Tessa & Scott Makes Me Wanna Be Canadian

There seem to be no good news in the Philippines for the past 2 years.  Everything on the news concerning the situations in my country were either so bad or gone worse.  Like any other ordinary citizen living in the Philippines, I long for some good news!

Because of the present economic, political and social circumstances of my country, I’m jealous and envious towards the citizens of progressive Canada. These feelings of envy was further reinforced when I saw a YouTube video of the winning dance skating performances of Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir in the recently concluded Winter Olympics. 

Though the Philippines now send delegates, I don’t normally watch the Winter Olympics held every after four years.  Maybe it is because my country does not have a winter season that is why winter sports are so foreign and unfamiliar.

But when I clicked on a recommendation by YouTube about a couple of weeks ago while I was searching for good news about the Philippines in the net, I suddenly wanted to become Canadian while watching Tessa and Scott’s performances. 

My foolish admiration towards Tessa and Scott further intensified when I learned (also from Youtube) that they have been partners in the sports of ice dancing since their cute childhood days.  This made me further admire and fell in love with Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir. 

They seem so pleasant and amiable that is so typical of a Canadian. I totally admired them to the point that after the day this tandem won their Olympic gold medals, I Facebook-messaged a friend and former colleague (Chef Onille Pitogo) who is now based in Canada, I told her to say hi to both Tessa and Scott if she happens to bump unto this lovely couple. 

I thought that my wanting to become a Canadian would eventually wear off.  But this was again revived and revitalized when I saw a homecoming video of this ice dancing legends when they arrived back in their home country.

Can some nice Canadian adopt me until the next Philippine presidential election? Hahaha!  I badly need some damn awesome news about my country.  And while I await for such moment, my heart continues to melt towards this lovely Canadian couple.

Inggit much grabe! Ay wana be Kaneydiyan!