Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Simple Pleasures

Article contributed by Arabella "Bing" Chiong-Banzuela (SCA Batch 77)

About a week ago, my sister and I visited Inang, our mother, in Sta Cruz, Zambales. We were treated to homebred cookery that sends all those memories in overdrive and our stomach in tummy heaven. About an hour and a half away from our town, we already treated ourselves with carabao milk pastillas. It still has the same taste we had in childhood -- creamy but not cloyingly so -- the type that makes you to crave for more. Noticeably, however, they are already so thin and small -- the packaging is only about a fourth of the size that we were used to back in our college days when we were bringing pastillas as pasalubong to our friends in Manila. Nevertheless, it’s still really a treat.

We arrived just in time for supper. We had kularinding -- these are very small fishes, about three quarters of an inch in size -- cooked slowly in green mango slices; the original Ilocano version of pinakbet wherein the veggies are slightly overcooked (hence the name, pinakebet); and small prawns and alimasag.

For some strange reason, I’m having adverse reactions when eating crustaceans, but not when I’m in Sta Cruz – maybe because the prawns and alimasag are very fresh. But Manang has a better answer – “Siguro dahil libre! Just eat. I'm going to give you an antihistaminic if ever”.

For dessert, we had kutitom labos -- given by a relative whose daughter I told about our visit to Sta Cruz. It was altogether a comfort food 101.

One time, my elder brother went home. Siempre alot kami ni Manang -- we went to market. While on our way, we met a vendor selling tuatla -- freshwater(?) crustaceans we love to cook with upo, leaving a sweetish taste to the soupy viand.

In the market, I looked for cascaron or patupat, but nada! I settled with suman instead -- these are white glutinous rice variety wrapped in what I perceived to as coconut leaves. We eagerly unwrapped and ate suman together with our famous sweet ripe mangoes.

For breakfast, it was a nostalgic relief to find out that there are still some vendors selling munamon or mangguliting at your doorstep by gatang -- the familiar milk can. For our lunch, we bought saluyot, bulak-bulak, local oyster mushroom, patola with the ridges, for denengdeng; and tarian, a saltwater fish, to be charcoal- grilled.

I remember, when I was in my 4th grade, I had to take charge of the kitchen to cook family meals as Inang was a working mom. Now, I have to laugh longingly every time I ask my daughter to flour the chicken pieces. Although she would surly obliged, it is not without the usual side comments, "Okey ka ha, may M.D. pa sa dulo ang assistant mo", and would occasionally look at her fingernails to see if they are chipped from the very simple chore. (I had to cook before using firewood and water from the pump which I have to fetch myself). Hopeless! My son would sometimes venture in the kitchen to bake mestiso type chocolate chip cookies -- but that's it.

I have a very simple taste when it comes to food. One time, my son treated me to an authentic French restaurant. I can take Japanese and Italian food, but I realized that French cuisine is an acquired taste. Let me share my lively discussion with my son inside French resto:

"Ayaw ko nyan, bisukol yata yan o baka golden kuhol!”

Son: “Escargot yan Indo.”

“Ahhh....Eh eto, ano?”

Son: “Foie de gras.”

“Goose liver? Pwede iluwa? Ang sama ng lasa eh.”

Son: “PhP650 kaya ang isa nyan.”

I did swallow it, but I felt sick to my stomach. Lasang utak, yuck!. My son would laughingly comment – “Poverty level talaga ang taste buds mo Indo. Kailangan ng matarik na learning curve..."

Nowadays, I tend to go for local fusion since my husband is from another region, Bicolandia. He would not venture on saluyot and denengdeng, so I am the one doing the adjustment. Bicolanos like my hubby love to cook most of their food with gata ng nyog – from fish to veggie including dinuguan nila, may gata. Anyway, I love and hate this guinataan dish since I know how fattening it is, yet it is really very tasty. It’s a good thing that my hubby is not partial to spicy foods because I do not like them either. So the proverbial siling labuyo is out.

One of the downsides of not having a mate from the same region is food preference, but it is a small price to pay if you have a wonderful husband like my hubby. But sometimes you know . . . I really love denengdeng and saluyot. Haaayyyyy! Life really is a series of tradeoffs. Buhay nga naman parang bato, sometimes it’s hard!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Revisiting the Old Gapan-Olongapo Road

(By: Pit Younghandsome)

It was still then towards end of December when I was last home at Sta Cruz. Just a week ago, my wifey told me that she already switched off our empty freezer; and that she already bought a 10-kilo pack of rice from the grocery. These are the so-called call of the times when a trip back home to Sta Cruz is needed ASAP. However, due to work requirements and kids’ activities during weekends (piano lessons, school things to buy, birthday party, etc.), I could not really squeeze a weekend rendezvous at Sta Cruz. As usual, I asked my kind and supportive Ca Henry to meet me halfway (at Subic) for the delivery of my abio.

A week before our halfway meeting, Ca Henry ordered from his Kumare at Malabago my usual favourites such as maya-maya and talakatak. These are perfect for deep-frying; while the ulo is for sinigang sa miso. As a side dish, fry some eggplants on the same oil used in frying the fish. Complete the meal with the usual sawsawan of bagoong and kamatis. Other fishes include bayang (good for inihaw); bangus (without the taste of “putik” as usually sold in Metropolis); dalagang bukid (fish na malapad), pero kung hindi malapad, tirong ang tawag doon. Of course, it will not be complete without the fresh native shrimps. Normally, nangingitim ang ulang pag niluto mo sila straight from the freezer. Para di mangitim ang mga ulang, put them in a reseable container with water before you freeze them.

To fully maximize our halfway meeting, Ca Henry butchered isang baboy for my consumption. Sa aming babuyan, we have one room for all bungsito -- mga baboy na mabagal lumaki. My father has a better term to it – “aprid to gro” (afraid to grow). Said bungsito room would give us our needed lechon for all occasions and pork meats for our personal consumption. As my househelp has yet to perfect the original taste of our binagis and estofado, Ca Henry already cooked binagis for me; at yong dalawang pata sa likod were cooked as estofado.

Aside from fish and pork meat, my abio also included 2 cavans of rice, assorted vegetables and a kaing of mangoes bought along the way in San Antonio by-pass road. So it is always worth the trip for my abio which would give us almost 2 months of consumption.

So last Sunday, it was a date for me and my wife. We heard mass at 8 AM; and after the mass, we headed to Subic. By 9:45 AM, we were already at NLEx Balintawak. As suggested by Insan Balong, we took the San Fernando exit. Ever since SCTEx opened in early 2008, I have been avoiding the old Gapan-Olongapo road due to traffic, particularly in the Lubao area. So last Sunday, it was my first time to use again the old highway after more than 3 years of enjoying the scenic but longer and more expensive SCTEx route.

To my surprise, the old Gapan-Olongapo road has been widen and rehabilitated. The old 2 lanes salubungan where overtaking was always a challenge had been widen to 4 lanes; and the best part of it, a new 4-lane by-pass road was constructed to avoid the usual bumper-to-bumper stretch of Lubao. At the Dinalupihan, you have the choice whether to take the SCTEx or the old highway. In my case, I took the SCTEx to avoid the zigzag portion of the Gapan-Olongapo road. I reached Subic at exactly 11:15 AM, or a travel time of 1 & ½ hours from Balintawak to Subic.

By taking the old Gapan-Olongapo road, I paid only P141 toll fee in NLEx (P195 for the whole stretch of NLEx); and P32 when I took the SCTEx at Dinalupihan instead of P150. Aside from reduced toll fees, I saved 30 kilometers of gas consumption as the old Gapan-Olongapo raod is shorter by 30 kilometers vis-a-vis the SCTEx route. And travel time? It was shortened by 20 minutes.

As we arrived much earlier than expected, we took the opportunity to extend our travel up to Garden of Prayer at Subic, and had lunch there with Ca Henry. On our way back to Manila, we stopped by at the outlet store of Pampanga’s Best and bought breakfast delights such as tocino, skinless longganisa, chicken hotdog, beef tapa, pork tapa and its famous boneless ham, the old American way. There is also an outlet along the old Gapan-Olongapo road where fresh farm eggs are being sold. These are one of those many things that you will miss if you take SCTEx. It was a tiring day-trip but a bountiful trip indeed.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

SCABEST Plans its 6th Year Annual Giftgiving

SCABEST will have its 6th straight year of annual gift-giving in December 2010 at SCA Quadrangle. The Catechist Society of Sta Cruz will select 100 school kids as recipients. Umpay Marvin Castil will head this year's gift-giving. During the previous years, kids were selected from Lipay (1st year); Malabago (2nd year); Lupa (3rd year); Almacin (4th year); and the kids from Guinipang and Biay last year. This annual giftgiving is a brainchild of Eden Tongson and was started in December 2005.

Fellowship will follow after the gift-giving to discuss the preparation for the 2nd reunion of SCABEST to mark their 25th year after high school graduation in April 2011. The t-shirt reunion will have front and back designs and the theme is "it's sarap 2 b back!" The back design shows a Zambales map to help those who are out for long -- pigaw cay hila mabalang; while the front design was patterned after a car plate to comply with the requirements of LTO on its "No Plate No Travel" policy. With the map and the car plate, you will have no reason to be absent. Sabi nga sa CAT under Commandant Diomedes Eclarino -- "Attendance is a Must".

Mark your calendar now! Cu co! Cu ca! Cu ta! Co la!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Man Named Cesar Miraflor

by: Pitong Rod-A-Rim, Jr.

In the web posting submitted by Rodel Ramos and Edgar Millan, they relate and describe our town, Sta Cruz to mangoes, historic church, Spanish-era houses, white pristine beaches, Center of Commerce for Pangasinan and Zambales products, and the birthplace of Congressman Cesar Miraflor.

Cesar Miraflor, who is he? This would probably be the question in our minds, that is -- if it would still bother us to know him, especially to most of us who belong to the text generation. But to our town’s elderly people (this was the time when photography was equated to Almo Studio) -- Cesar Miraflor, and I believe to this date, is the most accomplished and outstanding cababali who brought our humble town, Sta. Cruz, to national prominence and consciousness.

Cesar was born in Sta Cruz, Zambales to Don Perpetuo Miraflor and Dolores Garcia. Don Perpetuo was the Mayor of Sta. Cruz at the time of his death in 1909. Cesar’s paternal grandfather was Don Brigido Miraflor, the Gobernadocillo then Capitan Municipal of Sta. Cruz during the Spanish regime. Now I know where Don Brigido Miraflor Elementary School at Lucapon got its name.

He was married to Rosario Garcia of Iba, and they had 14 children. Their family house (one of the grandest during its time) used to stand along Tongson Street fronting the house of David Ebalo and bounded at the back by the house of Nelson Feria.

In an article of the Recorder Magazine in December 1952, Cesar was described as a person possessing a high degree of intelligence. After graduating as valedictorian from the Sta. Cruz Elementary School, he entered high school and college at UP. He likewise completed his law degree at UP, and in 1931 bar examinations, he ranked 5th among the successful candidates.

According to Tatay, Cesar was considered an icon and influential figure at the Manila City Hall during his time. He served as Secretary to the Mayor of Manila under four (4) Mayors from 1937 to 1947. Cesar holds the distinction of being the very first Vice Mayor of Manila and held such position from 1947 to 1951. He was then known as the Manila Boy from Zambales.

In 1951, Ramon Magsaysay, then the Congressman of the lone district of Zambales was appointed by President Elpidio Quirino as Defense Secretary. A special election was held to fill up the vacancy created by such appointment of Magsaysay. Cesar resigned as Vice Mayor of Manila, and ran for Congress to represent the lone district of Zambales. He won over his opponent by an overwhelming majority.

Cesar served only from 1951 to 1953 as a Congressman, but during said short period of time, he brought so much pride to all Zambalenos, specially to his cababali at Sta. Cruz. In its December 1952 issue, the Recorder Magazine wrote and I quote:

Within the brief span of his career as a lawmaker, Congressman Miraflor has demonstrated parliamentary versatility and his unsullied integrity and implacable conviction have won for him the highest esteem and admiration of his colleagues. xxx It is not surprising then that Philippine Free Press and the Congressional Press Club had unhesitatingly picked him out as an honourable mention in the roll of “10 most useful congressmen” for the year 1952.

In 1953 election, Cesar ran for Governor of Zambales against Manuel Barretto who had the backing and endorsement of then President Magsaysay. A day before the election, Magsaysay rode with Barreto in a top down car from Olongapo to Sta. Cruz. Barreto won by landslide the next day.

From 1962 to 1971, he served as a Commissioner of the Commission on Elections (“COMELEC”). His 9-year stint with COMELEC can be best described by M.N. Querol in his article in The Manila Times dated 21 June 1971, which I quoted below:

Cesar Miraflor, I see from the gazettes, has just retired from COMELEC.

This makes me very sad. He’s a rarity in Philippine public life – the right man in the right job.

First, he can recite the Election Code forward and backward.

Second, in keeping with COMELEC’s independence under the Constitution, he has a surplus of guts.

Finally, he’s in love with his work.

You seldom find this kind of mix in a public servant.

I never had the opportunity to meet up-close and personal Congressman Miraflor. The closest encounter I had with him was when I was in Grade 5 during the Commencement Exercise at the former North Central Elementary School at Tampos Mayanan. That year was March 1981. He was the Guest Speaker, and he spoke about why the people should say YES to the 1981 National Referendum regarding the proposed amendments to the 1973 Marcos Constitution. The YES vote in the said referendum won resoundingly which gave more power to the then President Marcos. The speech was quite memorable for me as it took Cesar Miraflor almost two (2) hours to finish his discurso. I think I had a power nap all throughout his talk that I forgot some of the steps of the folkdance which we performed during the said commencement exercise.

(Most of the facts above were taken from the book, Looking Back, which was written by Cesar Miraflor in 1981.)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The BSA Tradition

Our battered Philippine Peso will have a facelift when Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas issues new series towards the end of 2010. It will have a new design with upgraded security features. More importantly, we expect that the new series of our Philippine Peso will now bear the signature of P-Noy as the new President.

The full name of Noynoy is Benigno Simeon Cojuangco Aquino III. However, as a tradition started 3 generations ago, Noynoy has been using Benigno S. Aquino III in all his legal, commercial and personal transactions. Now that Noynoy is P-Noy, he will continue to use Benigno S. Aquino III as his official name in all public documents. The practice in the Philippines is that we use the surname of our mother as our middle name, but in the case of Noynoy, he uses his second name, Simeon, as his middle name.

Ninoy, father of Noynoy, used Benigno S. Aquino Jr. as his official name. “S” stands for Servillano, the second name of Ninoy which was taken from the name of his lolo. When Ninoy returned to Manila on 21 August 1983 where he was shot and killed by a single bullet, his polo shirt bore the initials of “BSA”. On that fateful day, Ninoy’s was carrying a passport bearing the name Marcial Bonifacio – which he probably coined from Martial Law and Fort Bonifacio, the cause and the place of his incarceration.

Igno, the father of Ninoy and the lolo of Noynoy, was the original Benigno S. Aquino. Igno’s mother was a Quiambao but Igno used “S” as his middle initial which was short for Simeon, his second name. When his first wife died in March 1928, Igno married his third cousin, Aurora Aquino with whom he had seven (7) children—Maria Aurora (Maur), Benigno, Jr. (Ninoy), Maria Gerarda (Ditas), Maria Guadalupe (Lupita), Agapito (Butz), Paul, and Maria Teresa (Tessie).

It is now a challenge for Noynoy to continue the “BSA” tradition. Should P-Noy eventually marry Shalani, and will have a son, he does not need to think of a second name starting with letter “S” for his son to continue the said tradition. The son could simply adopt the surname of Shalani – which is Soledad – as his middle initial, and the BSA tradition continues (Benigno Soledad Aquino IV). At the same time, the BSA tradition would now be in accord with the practice in the Philippines.

Kaya naman pala, ang mga naging girlfriends ni Noynoy, mga letrang “S” ang kanilang mga apelyido – e.g., Korina Sanchez, Bernadette Sembrano and now, Soledad Shalani.

Monday, March 16, 2009


(Email of Pico Espino). The late Danilo Corpuz is called “Mol”. To GinCom Brothers, the monicker “Mol” was for Minister of Labor. I guess for no particular reason and in the spirit of our peaceful repartees, we call each member of the GinCom Brothers names that stuck out with us forever. In Central Mayanan, we had the best monickers that has relived traditions of endless pursuit of name calling some for fun, some not so fun.

I was called Boza. It came from my incisor infection then that sored my face to a pulp as in busangol. Then we were playing basketball and as I was driving for a layup, I shit my pants. From then on I was Bosan Taka.

Si Obet Panglingayen, good thing he is not Ilocano but Pangalatok, was called Saka which is short for sakang, and progressed to being Sakamoto Simuta (dahil palaging me muta pag gising).

(Email of Pitong). "Mol" plays very good basketball. He is the GinCom version of Mon Fernandez of the defunct Toyota team. As far as I know, he was named "Mol" by GinCom which is short for Tamolmol, a known komiks character at that time. Indeed, if you are a member of the GinCom neighborhood, they will give you with a new name which stuck to this date. Example of names given by GinCom brothers:

The son of Grade 1 teacher, Mrs. Mantes, Henry Mantes is called Cabo which is short for Cabonegro (an old American movie I think) to describe his physical attributes as tall and dark. The late brother of Lourdes Molina, Raul was named Cobra kase kubrador sya ng jueteng. His name used to be spelled as Kubra but after the movie of Sylvester Stallone "Cobra" was shown, the spelling was changed to Cobra. Henry Miraflor is called Tyope kase hindi alam manligaw. I think to this date, he remains a single at di nakapag-asawa. My brother Henry is called MC which is the first 2 letters of the name McArthur. The reason was -- his famous line everytime aalis na sya sa inuman ay "magbulta ako" (“I shall return").

As Piko mentioned, he was called Boza which is short for busangol nang minsan ay namaga ang kanyang mukha. It was spelled Boza because at that time, ang sikat na boksingero na tinalo ni Rolando "Bad Boy" Navarette ay si Boza Edwards. Noong nitaka si Piko habang naglalaro ng basketball, his name was changed to Bosan Taka (which is a better name kesa Bosan Tulis kung niburis sya).

Si Obet who was called Saka (short for sakang) which was later progressed to Sakamoto Simuta is the elder brother of classmate Vivian Paglingayen. Other names given by GinCom include Kabayo (Tony Castil); Katoy (Henry Bernal); Timol (Edgar Bernal, from Baytan Babali but a regular stambay at GinCom); Seven Months sometimes interchanged as Lapol (Eddie anak ni Mama Aking because he was a premature baby); Ngepoy (Gabby Nagallo kase ngebol na ang ngipin nya), at marami pang iba.

(Email of Balong). What's in the name really? Noon bata pa ako naging malaking katanungan na sa akin kong bakit Balong ang naging tawag sa akin. Samantalang ang mga kapatid ko, ang palayaw nila ay hango sa kanilang "given name". Katulad ni Manong Gody, his given name is Godofredo Jr., si Manong Bert (Alberto), Inday (Melinda). Bakit ang Alex ay naging Balong. Iyon pala ang ibig sabihin ng Balong sa Ilocano ay "my little one". Cute ano? Ngunit may kakaibang explaination pa ang Tatay ko tungkol sa aking pangalan. Ang registered name ko na Alex ay hinango sa kapatid ng lolo ko na ang pangalan ay Alejo. Ginawang Englis kaya Alex. Eto naman ang bwelta nyan, ang palayaw ng lolo kong iyon ay "Ushong". Sabi ng Tatay ko Balong na lang daw ang palayaw ko kaysa Ushong. Hay salamat.

What's in the name nga ba talaga? Gaya ng inumpisahan ni Kuyang Kala Wacky, isang magandang topic ang pangalan. Harinawa ay malaman natin ang pinanggalingan ng ating mga pangalan -- etymology of our names.

Gayon pa man isang katanungan din kung ano ang relevance kung bakit nilalagyan ng letrang "H" sa ikalawang letra ng kanilang pangalan. Gaya ng Boy, ginagawang Bhoy. Bong ginagawang Bhong. Roy naging Rhoy. Ewan ko kung pa-cute lang o sadyang may hika ang binabanggit. Sorry sa mga may pangalang ganito ha. No offense meant. Hindi rin sinasadyang marderin ang pangalan nyo. Di ba Ehdwin Manheja o Odhie Esphino? He he he.

Pero over talaga yong nakita kong pangalan na nakasulat sa likod ng tricycle. Ehd love (as in pusong pula) Fhe. Hanep ano?

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Taytay sa Lipay -- the Bridge of Yokaba!!!

By Ron Dorado

ayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy kabwasan la manaya. yan ang pamukaw nin ang kalngo ko kada alas kuatron palbangon sa silong ng tulay. meron kasing maliit na transistor itong magweweteng na kapit tindahan namin. isang istasyon lang ang sikat noon sa dagupan nin anlong-on na. ooyy ano ka pag sa dagupan ka nakikinig noon sikat ka na, di ba? eniway ito na syempre mangunat yapo bayo magkapen dauto. bayo koon koy nay kariton ko ta manago ana ha nawasa. aba pag nawasa ang gamit mo non iba ang kutis mo di ba edong maneja? kelangan kasi maaga ka makauna doon sa gripo ng nawasa dahil pag nasikatan ka na ng araw nako manay maringoy kay na lako anay andalan ha bbbbbbridge. ang mga crushes mo makikita ka. manayngotan pati singit mo. tapos ko igib, luto na ko pansit, menudo, dinayaan, adobo isaw, papaitan, tinartar. tsaka ginagamit ko noon kahoy. mahal kasi uling kaya amoy usok ako pagpasok ko katabi ko pa naman noon sila ondit abalos, malou, susan, kakahiya naman.

sa bridge na to pag dating ng uwian, makikita mo ang ibat ibang eksena -- main ampamiatol,(ankaraw, lol!) batang may dalang isda, nagpapataya ng ending, nagbebenta ng tsungki, mga batang tumatalon sa tulay (si restie silab he he), akolaw nin main bitbit basket, lasing nin ansuka, mga nagkakara y krus, mga nakataling bangka ni dewey, mga lumulutang na tae, nagtatapon ng basura, namimingwit na sabog sa utot, nakaupo sa gilid ng tulay mga galing daw menila, lol! (pitong 2x na), mga basketbolistang bisaya, mga hostess nin makudpal make up, mga sabungero, nagtitinda ng ice buko, kalamansi, pulis na nakasalamin, baklang labandera(bauninam), traysikel drayber na maporma, (mga peki), mga intsik na payat na lumalanghap ng sariwang hangin, bombay na naniningil (bauninam), matadero.

ronaldoooooooooooooooo3x!!!!! Pare sunod uli! Tawag ako ni Ermat. Luto pa ko. See ya later. . .