Monday, July 7, 2008

Top Filipino foods that make me drool like crazy

I love to eat. I am from a family of food lovers. I generally would eat anything edible (lol). After loosing weight, I have been watching my food intake constantly. And I must admit, there are times when I just want to indulge in all the foods that I love to eat. When I’m home alone with nothing to do, I always find myself fantasizing about the foods that make me drool and salivate to the max! (lol) Well, let me share with you some of the foods that make me go crazy. (By the way, they are not arranged in order of preference because honestly – I would love to have all of them on one table and in one sitting! lol) Here goes! (lol)

1st: Lechon. Yes, most Filipinos just can’t celebrate without this great yummy treat. With its oh so crispy skin and soft succulent meat – yumyumyummmmy! (lol) I like the tummy part because that is where all the flavors are (all the herbs and spices are tucked inside the tummy when roasting the pig – so this makes the tummy part the most favorite part of most Lechon lovers out there). This is served best with a Mang Tomas sauce or the usual Ketchup/Catsup will do. I prefer hot Ketchup/Catsup or vinegar with some garlic and Chili (now, just talking about it is making me crave for it! Lol)

2nd: Kinilaw. Whether it’s made of Dilis (fresh Anchovies) or Malasugi (swordfish), it’s still one of my BIG time favorites! It is not limited to Anchovies or Swordfish – some prefer using tuna, marlin, fresh squid, fresh sea shell meat and etc. But I just prefer the Dilis and the Malasugi more. I like how the raw fish meat is cooked in vinegar. I don’t always prefer the white cane vinegar for my kinilaw. I usually prefer the traditional brownish ‘Tuba”. Tuba is made through a process of extracting the sap of an unopened coconut bud. It has a stinging sweet and bittersweet taste. Filipinos consider Tuba as a type of hard drink. And I know our ancestors drank Tuba just like the way the new generation is drinking Tequila! (lol) Anyway, back to the Kinilaw, I love my Kinilaw more with some Chili in it – yum yum! Kinilaw shouldn’t be taken with water. They are best paired with Coke or any kind of Sodas. Another variety of the Kinilaw is called the “Sinuglaw”. It is actually just grilled pork meat mixed with Kinilaw. This is a very good food to bring out to the beach and enjoy with family and friends.

3rd: Steamed Crabs or Shrimps. I just love it when they are cooked naturally this way. Another big time favorite of mine is when they are cooked with garlic, lots of onions (the bigger chunks the onions are - the better!), salt, pepper and some Sprite. (Yes, you heard me. Sprite. The drink Fido Dido is crazy about! Lol) I love to just eat and dip their meat in their sauce (when steamed I dip them in their natural sauce (lol), when cooked with the sprite – I dip it with the sauce it created!) I just love to suck out their juices and let their meat linger in my mouth until I’ve had enough. Well… It usually takes a lot of time before I’ll have enough! lol)

4th: Sisig. I love to eat sizzling Sisig in restaurants with family and friends. When it's sisig, I prefer going to Butcher's Best or Inilog Grill. They serve the best sizzling sisig - well, for me that is! (lol) I am not a very big fan of liver (which by the way is one of the main ingredients of Sisig). I usually take out all the liver I can before eating. But other than that, this is one dish I’d always love to have when I’m out with friends. This food is just amazing when paired with soy sauce, vinegar and chili sauce (I love hot and spicy foods teeeheeee!)

5th: Bulalo. Oh my goodness!!! This is one soup I’ll never say “NO” to! I love my Bulalo with a lot of veggies in it. I prefer a lot of Raddish and Cabbage in it plus some chili. I love eating the marrow inside the bone along with its oh so heavenly soup. I like it more when there’s a lot of marrows in it too. Yum yum yum. Makes me remember the good old days when my Mama would cook Bulalo for dinner making my Papa very happy - and the kids – me and my brother, fighting for the biggest marrow! (lol)

6th: Humba (Braised Pork Belly with Sugar). This is a very popular dish in the southern Part of the Philippines. This is one of my comfort foods. When I am down, depressed, weary or just feeling lonely, I usually crave for humba and pester my brother to cook me one. (lol). Yes, I know some of you are thinking this dish has too much fat and oil. Well, it is exactly what gives it the flavor and that great taste. This is best served with a lot of rice (grins). Well, sometimes, it’s good to stop counting the calories and fat and just go ahead and enjoy the food. When you are in that mood – Humba is one great food you certainly would want to try out!

7th: Dinuguan (Pork Blood Stew). Yes, pork blood. It’s not yucky. It’s not gross. It’s actually one of the most sought out food during parties and special events. It usually comes with the Lechon because Dinuguan is made with the blood of a freshly-slaughtered pig, pork meat and port entrails. (usually the remains after the pig is slaughtered and roasted). I know it sounds yucky and morbid for most of you but all I ask is that you try it first before deciding that it’s no good. I like to have my Dinuguan with some puto and kutsinta to go with it.

8th: Palabok. This is a Filipino specialty dish. Usually made with pancit Luglug or with Vermicelli. I go crazy whenever my Mama would cook one for us. I love the orange colored sauce and the chicharon that goes with it as its topping. I also love Spaghetti but I like and prefer Palabok more (grins). This is just one of those dishes that make me want to eat and eat and eat and eat and….. eat! (lol)

9th: Pancit Canton. I am not really sure if this is a Filipino Cuisine. More like Chinese or Japanese… or Taiwanese or Thai??? (lol, now I’m confused!) Anyway, when I say Pancit Canton, I am NOT referring to those instant ones you can make within 3 minutes! Puhlessss! (lol) I prefer my Pancit Canton with lots and lots of veggies in it – the less Pork / Beef / or Chicken liver you can add to it, the better for me (grins).

10th: Cassava Cake. This was what I always bought at the canteen when I was in grade school, high school and even when I was in College. It is cheap, very yummy and tasty (I really like it when there’s a lot of cheese on top of it). This was my comfort food when I was growing up. This was the food that rescued me from starvation because I have used my allowance on pocket books, much to the dismay of my parents (lol). I remember my friends buying burgers, fries, hotdog buns and all those yummy treats during recess – but I didn’t mind having my beloved cassava cake with me for as long as I get to buy the pocket books that I wanted (lol).

11th: Pinakbet (Meat Vegetable Stew with Shrimp Paste). Yes, an authentic Filipino dish and a treat to all veggie lovers. I prefer mine with less or no meat at all. I like how this is cooked with the yummy, pinkish shrimp paste. I also prefer my pinakbet dry. I don’t like having all those extra soup in it. When I’m cooking one, I usually let all the liquids dry out before serving (but making sure the veggies are not overcooked). This is best served with a LOT of rice (teheeee lol)

12th: Halo – Halo. This is a popular Filipino dessert (especially during Summer!). It is a mixture of shaved ice and milk to which are added various boiled sweet beans and fruits, and served cold in a tall glass or bowl. There is no specific recipe for this dessert, and a wide variety of ingredients are used. I prefer my halo-halo when it’s bought at “Ice Castle” (a restaurant located at Lim Ket kai). Unlike most shaved ice, Ice Castle’s ice doesn’t harden. I just love being able to enjoy the soft creamy ice along with the other concoctions! I also like Chowking’s halo-halo.

13th: Binignit. This is actually a different version of Halo – Halo. This version is cooked with Coconut milk. It is also known as a warm root crop and fruit stew. It is cooked with sweet potatoes, plantain bananas, Gabi (I honestly don’t know its english name, so please pardon me lol!). Filipinos prepare and cook this treat during Lent. This is the time of year when Christians in the Philippines are not allowed to eat meat. I eat Binignit whenever I want to, lent or not, warm or cold. This is just one treat I can’t deprive myself! (lol).

14th: Bicol Express. This is one very popular dish in the Philippines. It originated from Bicol and was named as such because it is known to make one rush and run for water. This is a very spicy dish cooked with coconut milk, pork meat and a lot of chili. One time, my college long distance friends came to town. They were from Bicol (Theresa and Aleiza). Showed them around and told them how much we (I and Gladys, one of my good friends) love Bicol Express. A few days after they went home, a package arrived at home. Guess what was inside? A lot of Bicol express!!! (yipeee!! lol). Gladys wasn’t able to get her share – I think because she wasn’t available or wasn’t in town – but one thing I’ll surely never forget --- I enjoyed the Bicol Express they sent me – down to the last drop!!! (lol).

So now you know what foods make me tick (lol). I really just love food and if given the chance ~ I will really have all these great foods laid on one table, invite family and friends to share it with me and take that out from my to-do-wish list (lol). By the way, pictures posted on this article were all taken from the Internet. As much as I love eating, I am not very fond of taking pictures of my meal! (lol).

Bon Appétit everyone!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Patch Adams Movie: A personal insight about Love, Life, Acceptance and Learning

How does one live life to the fullest? We are always wondering why life is like this and like that – why there are always things that we can’t change no matter what we do. The truth is - Life is about loving, taking risks, accepting that there are certain things we just can't change and learning from our mistakes. Sounds like a cliché I know (lol). But when we really think about it, when we think and look back, our life has always been about loving, taking risks, accepting and learning from our failures. Everyday we are bombarded with situations that need our decisions – no matter how small and insignificant that decision is to others, it is a fact that along with that decision is a risk on our part the moment we choose how to react to a particular situation.

The Real Patch "Hunter" Adams

How can one truly live life to the fullest and effectively? To this question I think my answers are to accept one's limitation, to sing as if no one's listening, to dance as if no one's watching, to live as if there's no tomorrow and to touch another person’s life in a positive way. I remember watching Patch Adams years ago and even now as I watch it again and again, I still get teary eyed and emotional about the movie. Why? Because it speaks a lot about loving in its many dimensions – loving oneself, loving what we want and aspire in life, loving our friends & family, loving that very special someone, loving the feeling when one is able to help another human being in need. It also shows us that we shouldn’t quit just because we got hurt. It is only but inevitable that we get hurt once in a while – after all, that is one proof that we are still alive. It is a wonder how one man could have so much happiness in his heart and how he goes about sharing it to everyone! Not only did he improve the lives of terminally ill patients – he made it possible for the world to see how good it is to be alive and doing what God has designed and planned for us to become. There is always a reason for everything. (Yes, whether you like it or not! lol)

Patch Adams with his elderly patient & with kids. (Pictures were all taken from the Internet)

There are a couple of scenes from the movie that really just touched me in so many ways. The scene where Patch never gave up and made a bitter man’s life better by befriending him and outwitting him – yes, that terminally ill patient that shouts and throws almost anything within his grip!(lol) Patch brilliantly got to him, one night – dressed as an angel and later on outwitting the poor man with Patch’s choice of words and terms. Then there was this scene with Patch and the cancer stricken kids – what a darling! He really went nuts and went out of his way just to see them smile. Nothing could stop him from making another human happy just to be alive. Then the most romantic scene was when Corrine confided in him and confessed her love for him. She completely opened up to him and trusted him. Corrine spoke of her childhood envy of caterpillars which could "turn into beautiful creatures that could fly away untouched." The morning following their romantic interlude, we see Corrine still asleep in her bed under a window in the middle of which is the large stained-glass image of a butterfly. Patch had already read the first few stanzas of the poem during Corrine's surprise birthday party. And boy did I love and envy her balloons!(lol) Patch stood over her bed and reads a few more words from the poem: "I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where . . . " He never finished reading the whole poem to her because shortly after, Corrine died and Patch read the rest of the poem during Corrine’s funeral and he kissed the coffin in desperation as if kissing Corrine for the very last time. (sob... sob... :-( how tragic...)


Sonnet 17

By Pablo Neruda

I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between shadow and the soul.
I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.
I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where,
I love you simply, without problems or pride:
I love you in this way
because I don't know any other way of loving
but this, in which there is no I nor you,
so intimate that your hand upon my chest is my hand,
so intimate that when I fall asleep
it is your eyes that close.

© Pablo Neruda


I remember going crazy over this poem so many, many, MANY times before! (lol) I was just then starting with my career as a Call Center agent and replied to everyone on the email thread and asked if anyone ever knew the poem from the Patch Adam’s movie – I know, I know – but I was desperate at that time! (lol) It was one of our superiors who emailed me the details of the poem and it was then when I found out about the poem’s title (I took the risks and learned – see? Life is indeed about loving, taking risks, accepting ones limitation and learning! lol)

Life is really worth living and savoring for – no matter how painful and discouraging our paths may sometimes seem. We just have to have faith and believe that our life’s journey is with a purpose. We just simply need to learn how NOT to quit when the going gets though. After all, nobody ever said life was going to be easy.