Monday, December 28, 2015

After My Hiatus...

Photo grabbed here.

Long absence.

My thought was never to use this blog again. For months, it sat in the cloud as I occupied myself with notebooks, journals, letters, library books, and Netflix. I unplugged myself, sort of. To be honest, it was more like I isolated myself. I became anti-social or introverted. My interests focused on writing by hand, reading actual books, or binge-watching TV shows. I avoided parties (not all of them); I stayed away from people. I became sick at home. It gave me plenty of time to be in bed. Normally, I'd lurk in social media, but I became more knowledgeable about NCIS and L&O-SVU instead. LOL. Not to mention the horrific episodes of American Horror Story, they were fascinating! The gory gothic world of dark black embraced me.

Maybe, I'm allergic. To people? Not really. More like, allergic to their bullshit. Everybody's full of BS. That includes me, of course. You smiled? See, I knew how to make you smile. I got tired of reading online news, politics, religion, crimes, etc. They're full of hatred. I even avoided Facebook posts because tons of people are fighting on their wall, having a divorce on their wall, etc. An invisible bubble appeared around me. I did step out and that was when I got sick. Boo.

I'm sorry. I owe you the remaining A to Z 2015 challenge I started. I promise to finish it soon. For now, I'm trying to catch up on a lot of things, fighting off depression, staying away from toxic people. Please bear with me.

Monday, April 13, 2015

A-Z Challenge: Letter K

There are three Tagalog words that I associate with the letter K: Kalamansi, Kamias, and Kutsinta.

Photo taken here.

Kalamansi, also spelled Calamansi, is what we call our small lime. We use it as how we use lemon or lime, but what I truly miss about Kalamansi is squeezing it in iced water. It's a cool refreshing drink. Maybe, I don't search enough, that's why I can't find it here. I know, I know ... I can't even drink it nowadays because it needs a lot of sugar. No sugar for me. Boo!

Photo taken here.

Kamias is a tropical fruit that I've always connected with my grandparents' yard. There's a Kamias tree inside the five-house compound, and the fruits were always a great snack. No matter how much wrinkles our face got, because of the sourness of the fruit, we still took a bunch and drowned it in salt. Mouth-watering crunchy good! Whew!

Photo taken

Kutsinta is one of my favorite Philippine desserts. It's not too sweet, but the shredded coconut that goes with it gives a whole lot of difference. I love it! Kutsinta can be found at a Filipino mom-n-pop bakery here in California. If only I can eat sweets any time! LOL

Sunday, April 12, 2015

A-Z Challenge: Letter J

My letter J is all about Jeprox.

Photo taken here.

Jeprox is dried sole fish. It's crispy and salty. It's great with spicy vinegar and steamed white rice or garlic fried rice. Jeproxilog is one of my favorite meals. It consists of a deep fried jeprox with fried egg and garlic rice. Yummy! Please don't talk about dieting. LOL Anyway, this is totally not missed at all because one of my favorite Filipino restaurants serves this wonderful dish. If you are in Fremont, California, stop by at Cherry Garden along Mowry Avenue. They have the best Jeproxilog ever!

A-Z Challenge: Letter I

My letter I is an all-around favorite word in the Philippines. I'm referring to the word Inihaw.

Photo taken here.

Inihaw or grilled is a favorite Filipino way of cooking. We love everything inihaw! It can be fish, squid, chicken, beef, pork, or veggies. Everything! There's something great about the smell of grilled meat. Maybe it's the stone age in me. HaHa. My favorite inihaw here in California is at Gerry's Grill located at Union Landing in Union City. Their Sizzling Squid is the bomb!

Photo taken here.

A-Z Challenge: Letter H

Honestly, I totally suck at blogging. LOL. I'm terribly sorry for skipping all three days. I've been busy organizing stuff to prepare myself for my new job. Anyway, here's letter H for you, and I will post the other two letters separately.

H is for Halo-Halo and Hamonado.

Photo taken here.

Halo-Halo, or Mix-Mix (well, that is literally how you translate those words), is another Filipino dessert that I love. It was what I ate every day when I was pregnant with my son. No wonder he is taller than me. HeHe. Anyway, halo-halo is a mixture of sweet goodies in shaved ice with milk and ice cream. The picture I used describes what can be in it. "Can be" because you could totally add whatever you want in it, or change them all. I actually love cream of corn in mine, and I add crushed Skyflakes crackers, too. Oftentimes, I just like the corn in shaved ice and milk. We call it "Mais Con Yelo." Now, I want one. LOL

Photo taken here.

Hamonado is one of those dishes that I'm too lazy to cook/make, but I want to eat. It is also called Sliced Sweet Pork and normally served during special occasions. Some Filipino restaurants serve Hamonado, but not all of them are the same. I miss the real good stuff.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

A-Z Challenge: Letter G

I have 3 Gs for you today: Galunggong, Ginataan, and Guyabano.

Photo taken here.

Galunggong is one of my favorite crispy goodies. It's quite abundant to me when I was still living in the Philippines. That's because my parents were in the fishing business then, and they brought home bags and bags of fresh galunggong every night. They were either used marinated-then-deep-fried, smoked, or stewed as fish soup. I ate them all. I guess, I miss cooking fish at home more. I respect the neighbors and our landlord's house, that's why I avoid cooking fish at home. It can smell really fishy. I know there is a deep-fried service at Seafood City (or any Asian stores), but it is not the same as freshly cooked at home. We have a nickname for galunggong: Gigi (pronounced as Jee-Jee). Gigis are mackerels, and they have different sizes. The biggest ones we nicknamed LoLo, the grandfather of all mackerels.

Photo taken here.

Ginataan is one of my favorite Filipino desserts, and it's a temperature-hot sweet dessert. I'm too lazy to make it. HaHa. Well, it would eat up a lot of my time doing it. It's easier to just go to a Filipino restaurant and order a small bowl or cup of it. Now you know why I have Type 2 Diabetes. I may not eat a lot of desserts common here, like ice cream, cake, pie, etc., but Filipino desserts are my Achilles (when I'm in the mood for it, that is). I say that I miss it because the restaurants here don't make it like how I want it. I'm too picky. :-)

Photo taken here.

Guyabano is Sour Sop in English. It reminds me of Atis, but it is totally different in its own unique way. I see a lot of canned sour sop juice drinks in the Asian stores here, but seldom in the fresh fruit section. I wouldn't try the frozen ones either. Just like Atis. The juice, however, is great for my favorite Four Seasons cocktail drink.

Watch out for H tomorrow!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

A-Z Challenge: Letter F

My A-Z Challenge is all about everything I miss about the Philippines. For my letter F, I'm blogging about Fishballs.

Photo taken here.

Fishballs are not missing here in California. They can be found in the frozen section of any Asian stores. What I miss about fishballs is how I acquire it when I was in the Philippines. As a kid, I didn't shop at the frozen section of a store. I waited outside the house and looked out for the fishball vendor. When the vendor's cart shows up at his usual station, it was a happy part of the day. The wooden fishball cart is a push cart complete with propane gas stove, a hot cooking oil, and a wok. I would run towards the cart parked at the side of the street and hand my P2-pesos to the vendor. He would cook P2-peso worth of fishballs in front of me. I'd grab a wooden barbecue stick from one of his containers and skewer the cooked fishballs. While hot, I'd dip them in the awaiting sauce containers: spicy vinegar or sweet and sour sauce. I dip in the spicy vinegar first and end it with the sweet and sour one. Hot, crispy, sweet and spicy, just the way I like it. I miss fishball as a street food, that's what.

Photo taken here.

Watch our for G tomorrow!

A-Z Challenge: Letter E

Eeekkk!!! Well, that's not my letter E, but... Sorry I skipped yesterday's post. I'm catching up today.

Yesterday, was all about the letter E. My letter E is all about Eskabeche.

Photo taken here.

Eskabeche is a dish normally with a deep fried fish, oftentimes a big Lapu-Lapu fish (Grouper), dressed with sweet and sour sauce called eskabeche sauce. It has different veggies in the sauce to make it all tangy and flavorful. The crispy saltiness of the fish blends well with the sweet and soury taste of the sauce. I'm mouth-watering. I should cook now. HaHa. I just miss the part where I just eat without cooking it. Yeah, I'm too lazy. :-)

Watch out for F!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

A-Z Challenge: Letter D

My letter D for this challenge: Dalandan and Dagat.

Photo taken here.

Dalandan is Sweet Orange or Sour Orange. The flesh is orange while the skin is green. The skin is thin enough that it is easy to peel off. I could compare this to those easy-to-peel tangerine fruits sold in boxes. Dalandan is addictive when you acquire a sweet box. Once you start eating one, you'll never stop. Honestly, I can't stop sniffing the peeled skin, too. HaHa.

Photo taken here.

Dagat is the Tagalog word for ocean or sea. In the Philippines, I grew up by the sea. We're surrounded by it. I grew up with its breeze and experienced its high tide all the time. When I was in college, I passed by Manila Bay via Roxas Boulevard every day. Lovely scenery. I would love to retire by the ocean and do long walks by the beach shore someday.

Do you like being by the beach, too?

Friday, April 3, 2015

A-Z Challenge: Letter C

Here I go again with what I truly miss when it comes to the Philippines. This time, it is all about the letter C. I miss Chico and Chicharong Bulaklak.

Photo taken here.

Let me start with the word Chico. Chico is another kind of fruit I love. Of course, it is another sweet kind. When you bite into this fruit, you'd notice that it is a little bit grainy. The smell resembles the smell of a person who has been drinking alcohol. HaHaHa. I'm probably exaggerating. However, in the Philippines, we do have a famous phrase, "Amoy chico ka!" Meaning, "You smell like you've been drinking!" At least, that's how I understood that statement when growing up.

Photo taken here.

Chicharon Bulaklak is a famous appetizer or beer companion. It's deep fried crispy pork intestines. Bulaklak is a Tagalog word for flower. The crispy curls of the dish resembles flower petals. It is of course cleaned thoroughly and deep fried in high heat. This famous appetizer snack goes well with spicy vinegar. Yummy! It's not truly missing-in-action because almost all Filipino restaurants here in California has it in their appetizer menu. The crispier, the better. That's how I like it. Now I'm hungry.

Yes, I'm a foodie. I'm very adventurous when it comes to food. Hopefully, you'll stay tuned for more.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

A-Z Challenge: Letter B

My A-Z Blog Challenge is all about Tagalog words, or words associated with my Filipino culture. Usually, words that I truly miss having around me.

Today's letter is B. Of all the B words, I miss Bukayo and Bagoong the most.

Photo taken here.

Let me start with Bagoong or shrimp paste. I would say it's not completely missed, because the Filipino grocery stores found here sell them (i.e. Seafood City, or any Asian Markets). The part I miss about Bagoong is actually the Philippine mangoes that go well with it. HeHe.

Photo taken here.

Bukayo is a very chewy sweet treat. It's probably the reason why I had Type 2 Diabetes. HaHa. It's considered a Philippine-made candy that is caramelized coconut shreds. It's addictive! Definitely one of my favorite snacks when I was a little girl. I don't see it being sold here, but probably, I'm not searching enough. I'm sure they're in a Filipino Mom-n-Pop store somewhere. Valerio's Bakery perhaps.

Stay tuned for more.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

A-Z Challenge: Letter A

Aaaaahhhhh! I almost forgot that April is the A-Z Challenge month. So, before I fail to do this, here is my letter A.

This year's A-Z Blog is all about the things I miss the most ever since I migrated here in America.

We start with the letter A. There are so many A words from my Filipino dictionary, but right now, I can only think of two: Atis (sugar apple) and Alimasag (blue crab).

Photo taken from here.

Atis is one of my favorite Filipino fruits. I'm not saying that it's from, or only from, the Philippines (who knows), but I first tasted it there, so it's a Filipino fruit for me. LOL. It's very sweet. I just don't like the hundreds of seeds that I need to spit out every time I eat it.

Photo taken from here.

Alimasag, or blue crab, is abundant in the Philippines. It can be cooked a whole lot of ways. I remember from one day when we had a bucket full of alimasag for dinner. Everybody started cracking them and eating them at the same time. I, on the other hand, just cracked, peeled, and set aside the exposed meat. It sat on my plate. Everybody asked me why I was not eating, but I only smiled. I piled up a mountain of crab meat on my plate. Everybody wanted to scoop some from it, but I kept hitting their hands for them not to steal any. Once I was satisfied with the amount of meat I acquired, I started eating in peace. Steamed white rice and fish sauce mixed with vinegar. (I don't eat white rice anymore, but it would still be good with my Cauliflower Rice) Everybody finished the bucket of crabs, but they looked at me like they wanted more. Unfortunately, no more alimasag. HaHa. I kept hugging my plate like crazy.

Well, that's only the first day of the challenge. More to come.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Music: Connecting Countries

After a month of photo-video-post-editing and personal stuff, I'm now writing this blog about my recent visit to Cuba, which was under a Cultural Exchange Permit, together with 79 other band members and roadies of The California Repercussions Marching Band.

It was amazing to have witnessed magnificent sceneries, tasted delicious food, drank tons of Mojitos and Cuba Libres, met lots of friendly Cuban people, and experienced a lot of fun. Of course, I won't forget the wonderful parade of vintage cars. They were everywhere! It was like a huge street car show. Colorful 1950s Chevys all around, I couldn't help but stop and stare. Wow!

Music played an important role during this exchange. The California Repercussions shared wonderful music with other musicians and bands who also shared with us their great talents. I witnessed how music brought everybody together. They all cheered, clapped their hands, and danced to the beat. They all did it as one with the rhythm. It was simply beautiful. Two countries joined together by familiar beats, lyrics, and harmony. Two countries shared the tambourines, exchanged the wonderful sound of trumpets, clarinets, trombones, flutes, and saxophones. They were all one with music. Some Cubans may not know the English language, and some Americans may not know Spanish, but when music played, they all understood each other. It was fantastic!

All I can say is that I had fun taking photos and videos of the whole Exchange. It's a trip I'd never forget. I wish that I'd owned a better camera equipment. Still, I'm happy with what I got. I'm cherishing the awesome memory. Thanks to the band's great organizers, John and Katie Horn, and our incredible travel agent Suzanne Carlson of Carlson Maritime Travel.

Stay tuned for the next band trip! For now, enjoy the videos I recorded...