Monday, August 20, 2012

Good Morning Pateros!

It's been quite a while since I walked the streets of Poblacion early in the morning. Weekends are the only days that I can afford to do this, but the sheer number of people and vehicles crowding the streets on those  days dampen my resolve to go back to this old habit.

Then one day I told myself I'll check out the scene and see what's new. It was a long holiday weekend, and the prospect of taking a walk in a less crowded street on a weekday was a good enough incentive. So off I went for an early morning walk - or more precisely at eight in the morning (that's early enough for this late sleeper =:) True enough, there were few people on the street, and even less motorists. Call it a miracle, but I actually had a leisurely walk along B Morcilla St. My destination and mission: breakfast at McDonald's.

There were only two open counters, and the first thing I noticed was that the line leading to the priority counter for senior citizens was longer than the regular lane. I took a position at the regular lane, together with a group of senior ladies who appeared to have come from an aerobics activity judging from their attire and all-too-perky conversations. Women being women, they refused to fall in line in the senior citizens lane.

Sausage McMuffin with egg, hash brown, hot apple pie, freshly brewed coffee, a copy of the day's newspaper - too bad they don't make Twister Fries until ten-thirty in the morning. I got myself a good corner table by the glass panel window in the second floor dining area, with a good view of the road below and the imposing bell tower of the parish church. A few tables away were the same ladies, now joined by more of their kind. They occupy a long table that sits around twenty. The hall was filled by their lively chatter and laughter.

I also saw families taking breakfast together. A group of old men were huddled together in one corner table, enjoying their coffee and lively banter. There was a noisy bunch of kids enjoying themselves in the play area. Across the street were Erika's and Aling Tessie's lugawans, which were both almost empty of customers. Just a few years ago, these two eateries would be full of people waiting for their turn on the few tables to eat lugaw, tokwa't baboy, pritong lumpia and puto.

I thought only the landscape of Pateros have changed with the times. My breakfast at McDonald's was an eye opener. People have changed as well. Fast-food outlets like McDonald's and Jolibee have taken over the iconic eateries of yesteryears. Back then we have Paris and Dos Hermanas restaurants, the Pateros Ice Cream House, Aling Tessie's and Pili's lugawan, and the row of carinderias by the side of the parish church. These are the places where people congregate, where old timers have their small talk, getting up to date with each other's lives - and those of others as well. It was then what Facebook is to us today.

My one hour-McDonald's breakfast showed me that people of my beloved hometown still keep the bonds that bind them since the days of old. They may have levelled up on the venue, but they have managed to keep the warmth of personal interactions alive - as warm and comforting as the freshly brewed coffee I so slowly sip as I take in the scenes of my little town.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Moving On

I have decided to move my political advocacies to a Facebook public page, so that I can focus on anything and everything about FTP (Food, Travels, Pateros) on this blog.

I will leave the old political posts here, but will henceforth write new ones on the new FB page. Hope to see you there. You can follow this link:

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Araw ng Kalayaan, Tawag ng Kabayanihan!

San man tayo naroroon ngayon, tayo ay mananatiling dugong Pilipino. Ito ay ang dugong ibinuhos ng ating mga ninuno habang sila ay naninilbihan sa ilalim ng mga dayuhang mananakop. Ito rin ang dugong ibinuwis ng ating mga bayani at mga martir upang ang ating kalayaan ay makamit na ng tuluyan. Ito ay ang dugo ng kabayanihan na patuloy na nananalaytay sa ating mga ugat at dumadaloy sa ating mga puso at isipan.

Ibat-iba man ang landas na tinahak ng bawat isa sa atin, sa puso at damdamin nawa’y manatiling wagas ang ating pagmamahal sa bayang ginigiliw. Nagbago man ang kapaligiran, mamutawi man sa ating mga labi ang mga banyagang salita, sa ating diwa nawa’y patuloy na nag-aalab ang marubdob na pagnanasa na masilayan ang isang umaga sa ating bayan na tigib ng pag-asa, pagkakaisa, kapayapaan, katarungan at kaunlaran para sa lahat.

Hindi pa lubos ang kalayaan, di pa sapat ang kaunlaran, mailap pa rin ang kasaganahan para sa lahat. Ang pakikipaglaban na sinimulan ng ating mga bayani ay di nagtatapos sa kanilang mga huling hantungan. Ang tunay na bantayog ng kagitingan ay hindi gawa sa bato o sa metal, kundi sa mga mumunting kabayanihan ng bawat isa sa atin. Bawat isa sa atin ay bayani, bawat isa ay Pilipino!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Dear Sister Flory - Part II

Dear Sister Flory,

You did not make it to the witness stand as I have prayed hard for. I thought God must have other plans. And I am happy to be proven right.

I hope that Cristina Corona’s gesture last Friday, no matter how self-serving, will somehow be the start of healing in your family. Somehow, we found affinity in the discord among your kin. We saw our country’s own problems in a microcosm in your struggle for truth and justice. Isn’t that our biggest problem in moving forward is ourselves? Not only do we have the talangka mentality of pulling down those who are able to move up ahead of us, but we also have the nasty habit of getting ahead of others at all cost, even at the expense of innocent people.

I know you have not ceased praying. You surrendered to the will of God a long time ago, but you did not surrender your hopes and dreams for justice to be rendered. Forgiveness and reconciliation based on truth and justice. No one would have said it any better than someone who has gone through the gauntlet for more than thirty years. You persevered, knowing in your heart that God will not forsake you and your family.

We may have surrendered EDSA a long time ago, but we have not surrendered our aspirations for a country that is free from the debilitating scourge of corruption and self-aggrandizing governance. People who think the silence of the majority is a sign of apathy were wrong. Just when they thought they can get away with anything and everything, they did not see what was coming to them. Out of nowhere you came, bearing the torch of truth and decency, inviting us to come out of the dark and follow the righteous path.

Thank you, Sister Flory for speaking up at a time when we seemed to have lost our voices. Thank you for hoping and trusting in the wisdom of God when we have become cynical that change is still possible. Thank you for showing us that forgiveness is possible even when truth and justice are not negotiable. Thank you for proving that truth will stand on its own while lies and deceit will do nothing but expose the real character of those who hide behind them.

We may have won the war today, but the real battle has just begun. There is still so much that needs to be done to put our country back in the path of recovery. The arrest of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, the resignation of Merceditas Gutierrez and the impeachment of Renato Corona are little victories that must inspire us to what we can achieve as a people united in our struggle for a just and progressive society.

Seeing you standing up for what is right even in the twilight of your life, I find comfort in knowing that miracles do happen to those who believe in them. You taught us to believe in miracles, and God delivered. Please continue to pray for our country, we shall do the same for you and your family.

God be with you always. God be with us in this difficult but necessary struggle for a better country. Mabuhay ang Pilipinas!


Thursday, May 3, 2012

Pateros Red Eggs Go Chic

It was a pleasant surprise to find our Itlog na Pula, or Itlog na Maalat on the news today. And in a big way,

The local business community has been abuzz lately about the lavish dinners that will be simultaneously hosted by nine prominent families of the country for the visiting dignitaries attending the ADB meeting in Manila from May 2 to 5. And what has our little red egg got to do with it? It will figure in at least three of the nine sumptuous food spreads ever to grace Filipino tables in a long time.

The menu for the feast at Taipan George Ty of Metrobank specifically list Pateros Salted Duck Egg as part of the ensemble of regional specialties that will bring VIP guests to a veritable food trip around the Philippines in one evening.

Doris Magsaysay-Ho's sit-down dinner will feature an organic salad of fresh pako leaves with itlog na maalat from Pateros with Palawan honey dressing. It will be a PPP (Pako, Pateros Red`Egg and Palawan Honey) fit for a light banter on another PPP (Private and Public Sector Partnership) that will surely be a topic on the table.

Sandy Prieto-Romualdez of the Philippine Daily Inquirer will host a Filipino Barrio Fiesta in her home, complete with a Bahay Kubo for a dessert bar. And what would be a Filipino dessert without freshly cooked Bibingkang Galapong topped by Itlog na Maalat? Foreign guests will go home with memories of steaming creamy rice cakes with the contrasting but delectable combination of butter, grated coconut and salted eggs.

Hopefully, our Itlog na Maalat will find its way to the other six dinner spreads tonight. Too bad they did not consider serving the more famous delicacy of Pateros - the Balut. It would have been a most unforgettable evening for our foreign guests had they done so.