Month: July 2013

Someone Almost Slapped Me

Balut Egg or "Balot"

Balut Egg or “Balot”

So, okay. I promised the last time I posted “isaw” as one of my comfort foods that I would be posting an entry for Balut eggs. Here it is.

The last time I ate a Balut egg, I took a photo of it and sent it to five of my foreign friends over WeChat. As expected, I got to read fairly different responses, which I figured were made with too much discretion and too much honesty that they probably would not dare look at any other photo I send them of exotic foods ever again. The worst one, and perhaps the best and funniest one at the same time, that I got was from (again, I mention you here, Philippe) Weiss, my Croatian friend. 

Apparently, he showed the photo to his mom, who said that someone should slap me for eating little animals. Boy, was that a very first. I laughed aloud upon reading the comment and with all honestly, it did not even cause a sting. I completely understood where the words came from. After all, it is not every day we meet people who would enjoy exotic foods.

Then again, a Filipino or an Asian would not consider Balut eggs an exotic food. It is even considered a comfort food like every other street food there is.

So what is it? Balut is an eleven-to-eighteen-day old fertilized duck egg with a partially developed embryo covered by the yolk. 

Balut Egg's Yolk and Duck Embryo

Balut Egg’s Yolk and Duck Embryo

It actually does sound disgusting, especially when you try to imagine the under-developed body parts of a baby duck swirling around your mouth as you chew. In fact, Chris Kilham wrote on foxnews.com, “Balut is fear itself. Though a snack much beloved in the Philippines, balut to us is a torture of an item, a bizarrely-conceived if not abjectly demonic dish.”

But balut is really not as bad as it sounds. It tastes a little like a regular hard-boiled egg but with a creamier zest to it. The tricky part, and perhaps the most feared part of it, is the crunch of the embryo, which does not even taste that fresh at all since balut eggs are actually boiled for 20 to 30 minutes and are advised to be eaten while warm. 

Amazingly, you can get calcium off of it, apart from calories, fats, iron and protein. It is also an aphrodisiac. 

Here is how you eat it:

1. Crack the egg on one side. We usually check which part is wider – top or bottom.  

2. Sip off the its juice.

3. Season the yolk and the embryo with vinegar or with just put plain salt. Most albumin are too hard to be eaten so you can just throw that away. 

4. Munch, munch!

Yeah. Not as easy as it seems, especially the munch! munch! part. But please take my word for it. If you happen to visit the Philippines, please do try and eat one. After all, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!

 

 

 

 

My Dance

Tonight I dance like it would be the last

As the rhythm of the music starts to blast

But in my heart I hold memories of the past

When all of my life’s torture is strong and vast

 

With every smile on my lips their eyes I steal

And with every breath, my pains they feel.

Then what of my mask if my hands reveal

That sweet picture of courage so unreal?

 

These, the lights, I have come to earn

Might not be enough for me to yearn

That foolish love I have come to burn

Keep flaring up my heart’s painful turn

 

At the sight of him, my tears start to fall

His sweet touch, an addiction through it all

And as I dance with this dear friend I call

Our lives are shared in a world unknown by all

 

Slowly my mask wears away

By his love, to nothing it is turned

That bittersweet music all turns to gay

For his rhythm becomes a lesson I must learn

 

And now my dance all got its strength

Now that his hands show more than care

With him, I swear I’ll take each great length

The warmth of it to the world shall flare

 

Might it be the first, the last?

The dance I have now makes me feel high

Might he stop this music, this dance, I’d cry

And the music of my soul would then surely die.

Take Me to Croatia

(www.lonelyplanet.com)

(www.lonelyplanet.com)

It often times takes a very wild imagination to see lands that seem so far beyond what our minds could reach. A deep breath and a long sigh, hinted with a sweet smile on the lips, are but what it takes to feel that the world might really have a lot of treasures waiting to be explored. Then it takes a comfy pillow, a cold weather and an hour to get to where you want to be, to be where your heart could take you without needing for a second to fathom.

I have never been out of my hometown for anything but training and seminars. As I grew older, I began realizing that I was one of those few people who would rather stay inside her bedroom and stare at a computer screen for hours, waiting for the voices inside her head to finally speak to her so she could pretend to work. I have always locked myself away from the world.

It isn’t that I do not communicate with the world. I do. Oftentimes, I do it publicly in the most acclaimed social sites there is to let others know that I was still alive. It isn’t that I do not envy people who travel and get to have adventures out of their comfort zones. I do. Oftentimes, I just do not wish to do it myself even with my friends begging me to do so.

I guess I am a nerd in my own way. I create stories and poems, play simulation games, eat in front of my laptop, read and then write, and then read again. I barely go out.

But there is this one picture which a foreign friend of mine sent to me that had me going crazy. I began feeling the needs to get out of my comfy camisole house-dress, get into my jeans and finally beg for a stamp in my passport. I began to feel I wanted to actually travel. And here is why:

(justthetravel.com) THE PLITVICE LAKES

(justthetravel.com)
THE PLITVICE LAKES

The Plitvice Lakes National Park is the oldest national park in Southeast Europe and the biggest in all of Croatia because of its sixteen lakes arranged in perfect cascades. Not only the blue-green crystal clear waters makes it so surreal, but also the fact that the waterflow is separated by dams of travertine barriers surrounded by  the greenish plants. UNESCO World Heritage protects this fantasy-like park.

(www.exploro.hr) Over a million visitors are recorded each year to be visiting this world wonder

(www.exploro.hr)
Over a million visitors are recorded each year to be visiting this world wonder

(www.areatraveldubrovnik.com) The Plitvice Lakes during Winter

(www.areatraveldubrovnik.com)
The Plitvice Lakes during Winter

The lake is not at all the reason I wanted to visit. I fell in love with the special “Greetings to the Sun”, a large solar-powered light show that is activated after sunset to illuminate the dim and romantic port of Zadar. It charges by day and gives out meaningful messages that are unique to those who care to watch at night.

The Greetings to the Sun (I do not own this picture)

The Greetings to the Sun
(I do not own this picture)

The Greetings to the Sun sits right beside the Sea Organ, an architectural musical instrument by Nikola Bašić which plays the most soothing of tunes by the way the sea waves move and the wind that blows through its concealed system of polyethylene tubes and resonating cavity.

(wendylady1.livejournal.com) The Sea Organ

(wendylady1.livejournal.com)
The Sea Organ

I am most certain that there are places and wonders that I may need to mention to completely convince you that it is a place worth spending money on but for me, these and the the cities of Croatia, along with its beaches, are enough to keep me dreaming.

(www.adventurebash.com)

(www.adventurebash.com)

(hdnaturepictures.com)

(hdnaturepictures.com)

I am most definitely going to try and visit soon. PHILIPPE WEISS, a true Croatian by heart and by mind, thanks for the information and for offering me a place to stay if I get to live this dream.

OF WORDS BETTER LEFT UNSAID (An Open Letter)

I have always written you letters that are not made to be sent. But now it seems that this one is meant to be given to you.

As you read it, word by word, line by line, I shall be on my way to convincing myself another chapter in my book has already found its end; that my dream has long been over, though I find it hard to accept.

I’ve had sleepless nights like this before. And I know they’re all for one purpose – to think about my life and what has become of me the moment I learned I had to grow up. Tonight, it is different. As I stay awake through these cold hours of dawn, I fight to see the break of day. I fight to see a real life changed in words I have longed to say.

I do not know where to start and if I should. But it has to be of your knowledge from now on that as everything seemed so perfect in my life, I have this one thing left for me to regret.

I always knew you would guess what it was, or shall I say who it was. It is, however, a sad thing to admit there are things better left unsaid in this world. Maybe that was why we never came to any sound conclusion before. I was always quiet about things that mattered. I do regret the fact that for the past two years I have loved you more dearly than I had anyone else and I never said anything about it. For the past two years, it was you I had thought of before I went to bed. 

As I speak now with you of being free, I mean to ask you a favor.

The favor I wish you would do for me is not an easy one – on my part and perhaps not yours. I wish you to forget me – my face, my smile, my voice, and my name. I wish you to think of your past as one which does not have any place for me. That when you think of all the places you’ve been to and all the women you have gloriously shared bed with, there would not even be a single trace of my existence. For when it is done shall I have the choice to say I only dreamt a long and sad dream. That when I wake up, I shall have the life everyone dictates of me and take it as if it is my own and my choice.

I ask of this for one and only one reason – of my realization that there shall be no place for me or for you in one story in the future. Soon enough you will find that one person you seek and choose. As the same, I shall be where my destiny takes me.

And perhaps that is the reason we never came to be in the first place. I believed in destiny; that if you were the one, even when I did not do anything to hold you tight you would still be with me. You believed otherwise; that when you were waiting for someone to care for you, you believed in nothing else but the choices every girl around you was willing to make. And that made all the difference.

I love you, I always had and I always will. But as the world turns, it becomes even more apparent that the distance between us grows larger and larger. With that I take there shall be nothing more left for me to cherish and fight for.

I have always thought I was the one who can love you and care for you the way you wanted to be loved and cared for. I always thought I was the one who can understand every inch of your life. It turned out, you could not even consider me because you’ve always been blinded about our friendship.

Friendship. Everyone was right about what ours really was. I was just too scared to admit I knew deep inside of me that it was a lousy cover for all the pain I was burdened. It was a lame excuse for a life – hoping you would soon realize you have in front of you the answer to all the prayers you utter at night.

Then again it all clashed into my face – it turned out the answer wasn’t me, not even close. It was someone from within my class, or someone right at the next building, or someone I had brushed shoulders with at the crowded mall. It turned out I could never really be that one person to stand out from the rest of them; for even as I try, you were not ready to accept me.

Do you know that I kept that very first thing you bought for me? It was so stupid. I kept the label of the bottled water you handed me right before you sat beside her for the start of a movie. Was it The National Treasure?  I barely remember. Do you also know that I kept your shell necklace and wooden bracelet? Oh do I smell them each time I want to remember what it felt like to be in your arms. I still smell, until now, your Benetton cologne. Each time I do that, a tear falls from my eyes.

But you do not need to know that now, do you? You always told me you have a lot in your mind, which a young girl like me should know nothing about.

I used to always tell myself I have to grow old with you; I have to be with you for the rest of my life whatever it may cost, whatever the world judges me to be. But  it has been over two years and I am running tired of waiting and hoping for that one special thing I wish to have even in my dreams. And that is you telling me you love me and want me and care for me and maybe that you desire to be with me.

That dream is long gone now. I learned I had to wake up. I learned I was no longer a part of a love story. I was no longer Zoey and you were no longer Scott for the longest time I had been blind.

So with this I end. As the words continue to run out of my heart, so will the memory of you and your voice, your lips, your smile, your eyes, your touch, your name. In the next days, I will know I have just woken up from a dream and that it is again time to live the life I am offered right now. It is time again to journey the path I am destined to take.

As you end your reading, I know I shall be crying and wishing I have never given you this. But the world shall never turn right if I do not. I have endured over 600 days of tears; I can endure more just to see us both with a life.

But to be fair with my love for you and my hopes that I shall have you in the next, I shall make the wish of crossing paths with you again in the years to come. Not now, not soon. Maybe when all these become nothing but a mere memory of how one great love never had the chance. Maybe by then, I could see you in that one special place and one right time – ever-waiting, ever-handsome. Maybe by then I could meet you – and start all over again.

*************************************************************************

October 06, 2008                                                                                                                    01:57AM

BOY MEETS GIRL… Then What? (One of My College Days Feature Articles)

Note: I do apologize but article is in Taglish (Tagalog-English). Words in quotation marks are actual interview answers of fellow and random college students in my Alma Mater. Have fun!

Uso_pa_Ba_ang_Harana__by_MayJasmine.jpg (MayJasmine.DeviantArt.com)

Uso_pa_Ba_ang_Harana__by_MayJasmine.jpg (MayJasmine.DeviantArt.com)

***************************************************************************

Everyone knows courtship comes even after a few days of formal introductions. Mabilis ba? Sabi nila… HINDI! 

            A friend of mine was given a text mate one day. Pang-ubos nga ng load eh, pero okay lang, she was told kasi na gwapings naman daw yung guy. Naku, I doubt! I simply do not trust other people’s tastes. So ganun nga, days went on and her 30-peso load duration decreased from three days to one. I never really cared at first but when she announced that she went to the mall to actually see the face she’d been imagining for a week now, I almost freaked out!

“Trust me, expert na ako sa ganito. Siguro kung ikaw yung gagawa itatali talaga kita sa upuan!” she said. So okay, that hurt a bit but she knew she really had to go. After two more weeks, I met the guy and suddenly knew na sila na.

It was not a big deal for me since I could understand and definitely respect my friend’s decision but for other people, it was a sin. Short-term lang daw kasi yung panliligaw.

“So what? Pakialam nila! Basta masaya ako, gagawin ko!” It was as simple as that for her since she never believed in courtship anyway. Some people might call her weird in the deepest sense and even say she was fooling around in the yuckiest manner yet, “Bakit ko pa kasi patatagalin? Para suyuin niya ako? Paano mo nga susuyuin ang taong willing naman?”

“Based on my experience, short-term courtship kasi parang wala lang!” one argues. “Either I could say na easy-to-get yung girl or ‘di ko itre-treasure nang matagal yung relationship.”

Hindi ba natin pwedeng sabihin dito na dapat bago pa man manligaw ay clear na lahat ng intentions niya sa girl? The purpose of even starting is to really win the heart of the girl and if won earlier than expected, should it be a reason for the guy to just take things for granted?

“…at is pa ‘pag short-term kasi may mga instances na hindi mo maiiwasang tawagin kang easy-to-get diba?” another student reveals.

Traditional Courtship in the Philippines (flickr.com)

Traditional Courtship in the Philippines (flickr.com)

So how do people say one is EASY-TO-GET?

            “Parang sige nalang nang sige, yung walang pakialam. Parang ‘di na niya iniisip yung ginagawa niya. Madaling paikutin ba!”

Arguments started to arise that it could be concluded here that guys are just nagpapaikot when they court and eventually show who they truly are in the advent of their commitment. Though girls do that, too, especially when they see that the guy is madly in love, things are just a matter of “conscience and karma” as some would say.

“There are people whom you could call impulsive and minsan, nature ng isang tao yun. Easy-to-get? Madaling makuha diba? I won’t simply say it as that, siguro madali lang silang ma-fall. Impulsive but sure lover.”

Easy-to-get daw ang isang babae kung sa maikling panahon ng panliligaw, bibigay siya.

“Ba’t ko naman patatagalin? Kasi ako yung tipong hindi nagpapaligaw sa taong obvious naman na walang pag-asa.”

Well, wouldn’t you say that it could be unfair on the guy’s part if he’d be dumped even before trying?

Sometimes, two persons fall deeply in love at first glance.

It’s like passing through a single strand of time with this magical feeling that turns the world upside-down, breaking very single rule there is.

“Love at first sight? Ewan ko, para sa akin kasi physical attraction lang yun eh. Dahil first time mo pa lang makita yung tao, hindi mo pa siya kilala.”

Pero there are times when you know you’ve met the person from somewhere, which could bother you for so many sleepless nights. When that happens, the best solution is to probably get to know the person. Moreover, get in touch with the deeper person that lies beyond all the laughter and cries.

Dito na nga siguro dapat pumasok yung topic… courtship. The getting-to-know part of a relationship, na madalas ma-take for granted ng marami. The part where all paths lead to the intention of sharing that special dream you’ve been having during the day. The introductory part where moments are made and memories are kept.

But debates linger in the air. Short-term courtship… okay ka lang?

“Iba na kasi ang mga nagliligawan ngayon eh.”

Generation per generation nag-iiba ang trends sa ways ng panliligaw. Dati nga wala naman short-term diba? Kailangang dumalaw sa bahay na may dalang flowers and chocolates, minsan gitara na nga ang kasama o kaya karaoke.

“Yun kasi ang pinakamahirap dun eh, lalo na kapag dumadalaw sa bahay to meet the parents, yung hihintayin mong mahulog ang loob nila sa iyo.”

And you have to win the parent’s trust so by the time you would want to go out on dates, it wouldn’t be hard to ask for permission. You may even try to blurt out a joke on borrowing her dad’s car for more safety. (Seriously. Don’t.)

“I think it doesn’t matter kung ligawan ka man nang pagkatagal-tagal. ‘He who courts will always put his best foot forward’. Mas makikilala mo ang isang tao pag nakakasama mo na at dun mo rin mapapatunayan if you deserve each other.”

“Kung sandali lang ang paliligaw ko, di ko na kailangnag iharap nang matagal ang best foot ko. Madali lang niyang makikita ang tunay kong ugali so that if ayaw niya ako, madali na ring kumalas.”

And often times, people believe that in friendship, faces get unmasked the more. “Dun pa lang kasi mafee-feel niyo na if you deserve each other. If you get along well and if love niyo na nga ang isa’t isa. It’s a challenge.”

Some would naturally define challenge in courtship as waiting, “kasi mapapatunyan mo sa paghihintay ang pagiging matiyaga mo sa girl. Mapapatunayan mo rin sa sarili mo kung gusto mo talaga siya.”

“You could test the patience of the guy if he’s willing to wait for the right time, until eventually makilala mo na talaga siya nang lubusan.”

But what could be more challenging than to look at it at a point of getting into a relationship just to test the waters? “Yun kasing papasukan niyong relationship is a challenge na eh. If you’re worried about him not being serious, well dapat lang talaga na in a span of a month makikita mo na yan. Don’t say yes if you think it’s the right thing to do. Kasi if he’s seriously in love with you, even in a week marami na siyang mapapatunayan. Now even when you’re in the relationship na, don’t be too serious muna, at least kayo na. And if things didn’t work out, let it go… talagang ganun eh.”

Tampuhan-Juan Luna-1895.jpg (seasite.niu.edu) Boy, how I would love to be courted the Traditional Filipino Way!

Tampuhan-Juan Luna-1895.jpg (seasite.niu.edu) Boy, how I would love to be courted the Traditional Filipino Way!

What about the issue of being pakipot?

            “Minsan nga naman mamamalayan mo nalang wala na yung hinihintay mo” usually ang complaint ng mga girls lalo na ‘pag natutunan na nilang mahalin yung guy. Fear now makes the girl want to decide fast.

“If you like someone naman kasi, bakit mo pa patatagalin? You got to go for it kesa naman long-term tapos malalaman mong mawawala rin pala siya.”

“… sabi ng nila kapag mahal mo nga ang isang tao, dapat ‘di mo na siya pakawalan diba? Maya niyan ‘pag nagpakipot ka pa, kung kelan ready ka na saka pa siya mawawala, tapos iiyak-iyak ka…” sabi ng classmate ko.

To what extent is reasonable hard-to-get?

            A guy smilingly said, “Siguro ‘pag sobra-sobra na pakipot yung nililigawan ko, yung OA ba? Medyo nakakapikon na. Yes, natural ang pakipot pero not too much.” Hindi na reasonable yun.

There was supposedly the traditional way, which not everybody could hold on to. There will always be those with wild spirits trying to break free from the rules book teach. And there will always be those who would understand either way.

“There’s no such thing as long or short term in courtship. Parehas lang yun. Mapa-long or short man, it wouldn’t change the fact na magiging kayo rin if you like each other. The moment na pinakita nung guy yung motive and in-entertain or in-accept nung girl yung efforts, alam mo na dapat bagsak nun. Everything still depends on both parties. Courtship should be defined as the traditional panunuyo if winning the girl’s heart, but ever since naman I never believed that traditions would do us any good. So why bother to court someone that long? Kaplastikan? Pakitang-tao? Guys only show their better half when courting and show the other usually during the third month of the relationship. This is probably the reason why relationships that seemed perfect in the beginning end up being nightmares. So ‘pag gusto mo at gusto ka rin, kayo na! Simple diba?” as related by a guy friend.

Love blossoms in the hearts of those who believe and those who trust that nothing is greater than the treasure of being able to share a part of your heart with someone who’s right there in front of you.

Courtship is done in the midst of intention of trying to make a difference in the hearts of those who are willing to be touched. Might you be denied of the opportunity to make things last, there will always be the right time and yes, waiting makes everything perfect. But if you think what you’re waiting for is right in front of you, giving it a try shouldn’t hurt that much since it’s all about taking risks.

The WORK, February 2004 Issue