Should Have Sang Don’t Stop Me Now!

my mom, my sister & me with the deadly bangs!

What are some of the songs you were exposed to during childhood?  Like Zoey Clarke of the musical tv series, I got quite a lot. Try recalling your childhood playlist.  It is believed that the songs and music you heard during your early years, in some bizarre way, shapes your personality today.  But do you have a song that you regret not singing during your carefree childhood?  I got one.

I can lucidly remember during my elementary days every time our teacher is suffering from a terrible migraine, a cruel dysmenorrhea or bouts of laziness to teach, she would robotically call for a “program”.  A “program” is a short spontaneous talent presentation inside the classroom in which the teacher would assign the class President to act as the emcee and call out the class Sergeant at Arms to list the names of students on the blackboard who has gone talkatively noisy during the program.  These raucous students whose names are listed on the board will later be castigated by the teacher when she’s feeling better.

This brief talent presentation would always comprise of singing, storytelling or rendition of a poem.  I don’t know why the patriotic yet very boring song “Ako Ay Pilipino” (translation: I Am Filipino) is always performed by someone.  Other Filipino 70’s classics were also commonly sung during a program, the likes of Mamang Sorbetero, Mr. DJ, ABaKaDa and Bato Sa Buhangin.  Another habitual and regular number presented is the rendition of the classic poem Trees by Joyce Kilmer.

my love for hugging trees may be attributed to my constant early development hearing of the joyce kilmer poem

Each time I am called to perform, I am prepared to either sing a song or tell a story.  I no longer remember the number of times I would tell the tale about the Alamat ng Mangga (translation: The Legend of the Mango Fruit) or the Alamat Ng Pinya (translation: The Legend of the Pineapple). 

I seldomly sang.  But when I am coerced to croon, the usual song that I would sing is not a Filipino-melody but from Annie’s “Tomorrow”.  Yup, bet your bottom dollar, I can hit those high notes when I was a kid!  I love the message of hope that Tomorrow conveys, but I have one regret though.  Back then, I should have studied and memorized Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now. And added it to my very limited repertoire. Haha! 

This song could have been so appropriate because it’s singing and storytelling at the same time! Aside from its fun and exuberance, it also conveys self-worth and self-regard.  For sure, singing Don’t Stop Me Now would give further head ache to my teacher and my singing could have been such a show stopper!  And since the tune is super bouncy, I am pretty sure at the end of my singing, every body’s name is listed on the blackboard.

Driver’s License Bare Version by Morisette

One of my bases to consider if an internationally released song is a big hit in my country is when an able singer here in the Philippines get to do a cover of the song.  But since everybody here in my country is an able singer, let me reclassify that basis.  That is, if a song has been covered by a first-rate mainstream professional singer in my country, then such a song is a big hit.

And because of this, let me formally declare the sad and moving love song entitled Driver’s License originally sang by Olivia Rodrigo a big hit here in the Philippines.

Here’s the fabulous “bare” and moving version by the gorgeous Morisette Amon:

Morisette is so damn good! The vocals are so raw and emotional, she seems like living and feeling the song! She can tell such a sad love story through this rendition.  Super impressive!

And that’s how I sing in the morning by the way! Haha!

I Missed My Locale

This morning while the tropical sun is still mild, I dragged myself out of bed and decided to step out to give myself some pretty good cardio drill.  And while taking a break to catch my breath every so often (no thanks to the pandemic) only then did I realize that it has been a year that I have gone outside within the local vicinity where I live.

So in between the fast walks and jogs, I would stop and take a number of photos of the area.  It was the morning that I got to appreciate the aesthetic attractiveness of the spots and places where I live.  It felt like I missed my locale!

manila morning

fresh!

quiet…

i love this minute jungle in this part of the city

In the past, I have always been the kind of person who would rather chuckle and laugh at strangers (visitors and tourists alike) who would marvel, appreciate and take photos of the areas near my place.  I have been so used to how my nearby vicinity looks like that I find it weird for strangers to admire and gape at the charm and appeal of the area.

a cool morning in manila

And when the morning started to get too hot and while I walked my way back to my unit, I realized that people need to leave in order to miss their place and had to travel so as to realize how precious and beloved one’s starting point was.

Have a beautiful day everyone!

Me, Anthony B. and the Vicious Sisig

A couple of years ago while on a 6-hour pit stop at Incheon International Airport on my way to San Francisco for some exciting solo adventure, I can clearly recall that I chose to sit at a very quiet portion of the airport and a tall white curly-haired gentleman sat across from where I was.  He too was quiet and seem so engrossed with his mobile phone.  My hazy brain tells me that the guy looks like Anthony Bourdain.  When the guy looked at me and realized that I was staring at him and seem to have noticed that I know who he was, he stood up took his leather bag and silently left.

I recalled this vivid experience because of my recent visit in an eatery at the culinary capital of my country where the late Anthony Bourdain once dined. I was at Aling Lucing’s, a humble eatery in Angeles City, in the province of Pampanga. A two-and-a-half-hour ride from Manila.

anthony bourdain with the sisig queen during his visit (framed memory posted on the wall of the eatery)

I chose to dine in this modest eating place for its original dish called “Sisig”.  This too was the same dish that drove Mr. Bourdain to dine in this eatery because the tasty Sisig has been established to be one original Filipino food. 

I consider Sisig to be in the same league of other scary savage Filipino dishes like the Dinuguan (black-colored pork blood stew); the petrifying Balut (steamed fertilized duck egg); Betamax & Helmet (grilled coagulated pork blood and grilled chicken head respectively); Tuyo (the dreadfully stinky dried fish); and, the lewd Soup No. 5 (soup made from bull’s balls & wiener) to name a few. 

sisig!

these other food selections clearly complements the ferocious sisig! steamed tilapia, grilled eggplant, salad with pink shrimp paste, balo-balo dip (another savage dish made of fermented rice sauteed in shrimp & tomatoes)

a collage of photos i took during my visit

Sisig for me is vicious and ferocious because it is the ears, the face and sometimes the brain of the pig that is the main ingredient – grilled, chopped into pieces and served on a hot sizzling plate!

Sisig has gone a long way since the time this has been created by the Sisig Queen herself, Aling Lucing.  In fact, during that solo trip in San Francisco, I had the chance to eat Filipino Sisig in burrito form! Click here to learn about it: Sisig Burrito.

According to Mr. Bourdain “Your body is not a temple, it’s an amusement park.  Enjoy the ride.”  And one unique culinary ride that one must take is by trying the vicious, un-elegant yet very tasty Sisig.

Winter Feels???

I have long learned from grade school that Venus is the hottest planet in the solar system.  And when I grew up, living in one of the hottest nations where the fiery hot sun is up every day, there are boiling moments that I would start believing that my muggy sweaty beach-weather country is not on Earth but in burning Venus!

winter cold: the tropical country version! hahaha!

But not today!  At a temperate 24 degrees Celsius, my country now must be in a winter season status! Haha!  And it actually takes a cold snap in Korea, Japan and India before my country experience such a clement kind of temperature.  

gone crazy!

We don’t have winter but now that it is a little cold, I should pull out my winter gears! I don’t wanna experience frostbite!  And yeah, I am happy and gone nuts because of this beautiful weather!

A Swanky Kakanin

In my country, there is a ton of silly cultural and superstitious beliefs that needs to be kept and observed during the New Year.  From wearing polka dots, to ensuring 12 types of fruits on the dining table, to jumping when midnight strikes and to making sure all lights are on inside the house, all these and other insane beliefs are observed by Filipinos when New Year happens.  Failure to do so would result to some wicked curse, a good amount of misfortune and a handful of bad lucks the whole year.

Two of the silly beliefs my family did last New Year’s Eve was the tossing of heaps of coins inside the house (for prosperous fortune) plus the serving of classic “kakanin”.  From the amalgamation of two Tagalog root words kain meaning “to eat” and kanin meaning “cooked rice”, kakanin are varieties of sticky and glutinous Filipino delicacies whose main ingredient is rice.

It is an inane Filipino belief that eating something glutinous and sticky during the New Year like kakanin will bring good vibes in terms of relationships within the family.  Reason for eating something sticky will result to a greater bond, affirmative ties and optimistic connection among members of the family which for my family is very important and essential.

My family settled for having the “biko” as this new year’s kakaninBiko is a classic kakanin made of glutinous rice cooked for hours with fresh coconut milk and brown sugar usually sprinkled on top with brown coconut curds! And since I am pretentious, nitpicky and ostentatious, I pushed on levelling up this new year’s family Biko or Kakanin

I had our classic biko topped with dark brown coconut curds, drizzled with rich coconut-cinnamon caramel syrup served with slices of ripe and succulent peaches! Yum!

our swanky kakanin! yum!

Aside from hoping for a continuous upbeat sticky bond with my family, with this swanky kakanin, my hopes are high for a chic, swish and affluent New Year ahead!

Face Cover Fashion

Aside from tourism, airline and restaurant industries, one of the badly hurt industries smacked by the ongoing pandemic, I believe, is the lip-cosmetic industry.  With the mandate (at least in my country) that everyone needs to wear facemask and face shield when in public, only a few people would venture into putting lipstick on.  Also, my poor country being at the end of the queue among the countries where Covid19 vaccine would be made available, a totally different apparel has evolved during this time of contagion. 

The style and fashion of wearing face covering has been born!  Sorry to those who still do not believe the existence of Covid and would aver and persist for their freedom to choose not to wear one, I particularly is in favor of wearing a face covering.  It is not for the mere fact that it prevents the spread and snagging the virus, it is also the thought of having to wear a stylish kind of facemask and face-shield.

Here in my country, in fact, the type or quality of facemasks and face-shields one wear characterizes his and her social status.  The more stylish and expensive it is, the higher that you belong to the social hierarchy! Hahaha!

With the dawn of this new gear and apparel, I have actually amassed quite a quantity already.  These are either personally purchased online, bought from a department store, gifted by a friend/colleague or shipped from (no less) abroad!

got these to choose from! i use a “mask bracket” for easy breathing!

my face shields! i think, it is only here in my country (the Philippines) where face shield is required to be worn aside from the face mask

While I await the available vaccine, which would still be way way far away in the future (no thanks to the slow government bureaucracy here and no thanks too to the President, his security group and his cabinet secretaries who were the first to get injected with illegally smuggled vaccines here), I would rather enjoy the wearing and the flashing of some chic and stylish facemasks and face shields in public! Haha!

Thank You For The Rescue

A dear friend who regularly watch out and read my blog posts asked if I again ceased on writing and putting entries in this blog.  I answered no and not yet.  I explained that I cancelled writing about my take on Starbucks’ release of its Christmas holiday cups.   I annulled writing about my suggested technique on how to baste a turkey.  And I refused to write about my rants of not being able to shop during the 11.11 (Nov 11) online sale.

And though I wanted to praise on how blue looks so good on both the states of Georgia and Pennsylvania after the US American elections, I decided to keep quiet.  Reason behind this is because I do not have the gull to write about all these trivial and fun stuffs when my country is experiencing a horrendous devastation brought about by a string of super deadly typhoons.

a huge flood! 

I decided to be a little more sensitive towards the agony felt by my country towards the recent devastations brought about by not just 1 but 4 strong typhoons (named Quinta, Rolly, Siony and Ulysses) that hit my country consecutively in a matter of 2 short weeks.

Its sunny and dry now; the floods have started to recede now; and, the winds are gentler now.  But there are a lot of cleaning, clearing and fixing that needs to be done. I guess I am a little relax now and can write something again now.

My last 2 posts were about saying thanks.  Let this be my 3rd consecutive showing of gratitude then.  This time, let me extend my warmest praise and thanks to the rescuers who put their lives on the line in saving the people who got trapped by the big devastating floods brought about by these typhoons.

thanks paps!

i love this photo!

Their extra ordinary heroic bravery is truly worth all the praises! Thanks for your bravery. Thanks for your service.

Touched by Disney UK!

Disney UK got a cool and heartwarming Christmas advert!  I am particularly touched and moved by this video ad simply because it features bits of the Filipino qualities and culture. 

Mano:  the gentle placing of the back of the hands of your elders to your forehead is a unique Filipino gesture to show sign of respect to elders

Parol & Parol-Making:  a lantern which is made of bamboo sticks and colored paper is a major Christmas symbol of every household in the Philippines.  And it is a common practice that grade school students would create one as a school project during Christmas season so as to have it hanged in their respective houses.  I made a horrible-looking one myself during my young school days!

Simbang Gabi: a Filipino-Catholic tradition of attending midnight Mass at a nearby Catholic church for 9 consecutive nights prior to Christmas Eve.  And since I am wicked, this is one Filipino tradition that I never get to complete!

Recycling of an old cookie tin can:  Lola-s (translation: grandmothers) around the nation would never throw away metal cookie cans.  These would instead be re-used either as a jewelry box, a sewing kit container, an old photos or greeting cards chest or other similar charms, trinkets and mementos that a usual Filipino lola wants to keep.

Thanks Disney UK!  You moved me.

Thanks EU!

No thanks to the geographical location, my country is the customary pathway of strong and deadly tropical storms and typhoons on the planet.  The storm-track here seem so idyllic, we are no longer amazed if three storms would pass by in a week.  Tropical cyclones seem so at home during the rainy season, an average of 20 storms would pass in a year and 25% of which are usually destructive.

Because of these, my poor country is a common recipient of international aid.  These supports usually in millions of dollars would typically come from rich opulent countries.  Just in the recent deadly category-5 tropical cyclone Rolly, the European Union has announced its provision of humanitarian aid funding amounting to 1.3 million euros to affected families in my country.

I don’t know if someone has relayed a huge “thank you”, so let me be one of the few.  Maybe we are so used to receiving international emergency relief assistance that we already forget how to express our gratitude.  Or, maybe it is because we are too busy rebuilding our lives again after a series of destructive natural phenomenon.  Please pardon us if we missed saying thanks.  So, in behalf of everyone here (and since a big chunk of readers of this blog are from there), let me express a giant, full-sized and humongous, Thank you EU!”

One grateful soul here! Warm hugs to all of you.