Two movie industries

 

When the famous Hollywood director, Quentin Tarantino came over to the Philippines in 2007, it was a dream come true, he said so in interviews. He was here for more than a week in August, six years ago, attending the Cinemalaya Film Festival and the Tarantino Film Festival, both held at the Gateway Cinema in Quezon City. Cinemalaya means free cinema and its festival is held annually to celebrate and honor the makers and actors behind low-budget, independent film ventures in the country.

 

Image of director Tarantino at the Golden Globe Awards

Multi-awarded director Quentin Tarantino directed the films, Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill/ http://www.eonline.com

The Tarantino Festival, on the other hand, was organized in honor of the celebrated director, featuring movies Tarantino wrote and/or directed, screening of international, multi-awarded films and a week-long workshop in screenplay, cinematography and technical aspects of film-making. Gateway is a high-end mall with a movie house in Quezon City. The cinema was newly-opened that time, making it the best venue for a relatively high profile, colorful event.

 

Gateway was therefore flooded with local directors, movie actors, writers and film enthusiasts from all over the country for a week. During the event, Tarantino said that he has high admiration for Filipino directors, notably those who made films in the 50s and 60s. The period is known as the golden era of the Philippine movie industry, by the way. It is said that ours made headway first, long before India’s Bollywood, ahaha… 🙂

 

Image of director Quentin Tarantino with his admired directors

Direk Tarantino with some of his admired Filipino directors during the film festival – Derek Romero, Derek Santiago and Derek Aguiluz/ http://www.pep.ph

 

Director Tarantino told stories, him working in a video shop before entering Hollywood and spending considerable amount of time watching the films of respected Filipino directors Eddie Romero, Gerry de Leon, Pablo Suarez and  Cirio Santiago… Directors Eddie Romero and Cirio Santiago were present in the festival. The former was a handsome actor and director in the old days but during the festival, one cannot help but notice, the director has considerably aged. The latter was a staunch businessman, known for his B-movies for international release, ahaha. Director Quentin proudly admitted that Death Proof  was a rip-off of Santiago’s early film, The Muthers.

 

What I remember about the Tarantino films are, the blood and gore, the unapologetic sex scenes and, the way the movie creator brings on screen the minds of the crime perpetrators. The comfort room or the “commode,” as it is usually called in the Tarantino movies, is usually highlighted in his films. Often, there are bodies lying around – violated, mutilated and bloodied in the most horrible manner imaginable. And Director Quentin’s films, are usually about how things got that messy.

 

 

Or, how cold, calculating and “objective” the murderer was. Tarantino films often imply that we have the murderer in us… Thus, when I saw the famed director at Gateway, I was amazed at how relaxed and open he appeared and sounded. And, he is bigger (physically) than I thought… 🙂 He narrated stories about the Filipino films he has seen, the length he went through to get copies, haha, and he was lovable with his knowledge of Filipino actors and actresses – old and new, the famous and the obscure. He did and do watch our movies, interestingly…

 

Director Tarantino said that he thinks, there are two movie industries in the Philippines: the mainstream and the indie. The mainstream generally makes lighter-themed, big budgeted, starred in by known actors, tackles safe issues and makes more money. The indie, on the other hand, tackles high- risk themes, are low-budgeted, starred in by actors with less or no projects  but, dares into less-traveled spheres of the film genre, even as the creators hardly make any money, ahaha.

According to the Hollywood director, it is Filipino indie films that offer quality and get awards in the international and regional film festivals. For him, the Filipino indie films have the potential in the international market, but why don’t the Filipino movie-going public patronize them? It was raised in the open forum:  The commercial aspect of film making in the Philippines usually get the upper hand, as the movie-going public is more inclined to pay for and watch films that offer escape and entertainment. The issue was tackled, but in the end, Derek Tarantino was still puzzled and asking, ahaha.

 

Image of known director, Gil Portes

Derek Gil Portes has written and directed many films, both mainstream and indie/ mwww.angkulet.com

There were so many known personalities in the week-long activity. There, I saw Dereks Tikoy Aguiluz, Wenn Deramas, Manny Valera, Gil Portes, Adolf Alix, Jr and the former vocalist of the famous band, Eraserhead’s Ely Buendia (with his wife), ahaha. In one of the movie screenings, the third of the Julie Delpy series, I sat next to Derek Gil Portes, hoho… The director looked and sounded bored, ahaha. After the movie, we had a light talk, asked me if I enjoyed the film. I said, yes, somehow… I mean, the third isn’t as good as the first two (Before Sunset, Before Sunrise), but pleasant enough. He gave me a look that seemed to say, I had much to learn as a film viewer, haha.

 

But Derek Gil Portes was nice and courteous, nicer than what one would ordinarily expect from a director who has made movies that earned awards and accolades, here and abroad. Well, am blabbering… All am saying, the recent weekend was a long one for us (Friday was holiday, to celebrate the end of Ramadan) and for the first time in four months, I got the chance to visit some blogs and watch a couple of indie films at Cinema One via the local cable. ‘Twas  uneventful, rainy and the storm sure provided us more than the usual darkness and unremitting amount of rain, hehehe … 😉

 

 

* Small Voices is a film directed by Gil Portes, about a teacher assigned in a remote barrio. 

 

Let’s have a fishy conversation…

 

Hello, people… 🙂 As I said before, Philippines is an aquatic country. Ours is a big grouping of islands and islets. We’re literally surrounded by water, just like Winnie the Pooh after the rain, hehe. The sad part, of course, is the fact that yours truly hails from an almost landlocked village. I would really have wanted to be born and raised in a place where one rises to the sound of the sea waves in the morning. That must have been cool. I mean, that is cool! Imagine, most seas are right beside mountains… So, if one’s by the sea, the mountain is likely, surely near or across. Two wonders of nature to nurture a child’s curious body and mind, eh… 😉

 

Image of a beach resort in Palawan, Philippines

The mountain and the sea always look after each other/ sarahrotzinthephilippines.blogspot.com

 

When I was a teenager, I had the opportunity to see fishermen on the shore, doing what the apostles in the Bible were doing – arranging the fish nets so the fishing vessels could sail to the open seas. I was fascinated, nay, mesmerized, at what they were doing – making sure the nets are okay, all the equipment and tools are in and pushing the boat from the dock area to the sea… That was group work – lots of coordination, happy shouting and silent understanding among sunburned people. They seemed to love the muscle work required, the camaraderie among men and the smell and feel of the sea. There really were years of my life when I wished I could live among sea-faring people.

 

Image of a fishing boat docked

The “banca,” a type of fishing boat common in the Philippine coastal villages/ http://www.panoramio.com

 

Anyway, if I were to be born again and in the Philippines at that, I would wish it to be in a village by the sea. At some points, I questioned why I was given birth in a watery country and yet, there isn’t even a river in our place, ahaha. There’s a creek nearby, though and my siblings, cousins and I had to make do – playing with silt, catching small crabs and removing moss from rock boulders. And, lying down the creek bed, allowing water to clean our bodies and relax our nasty spirits. I would later study high school in the city and the visits to the creek would be cut short, shorter than anticipated. In the new setting, there would be tap water, that’s the big news. 😉

 

Before I was enrolled in the first grade, I had the chance to visit my uncle’s fishpond in the nearby province. Along with my cousins, I was brought to the area during harvest season. There were thousands of fish still moving, squirming, struggling inside the nets. They were how the poet Neruda described them: silvery. I think that was also how Hemingway described those creatures – the bounty of the sea… Except, those fishes did not come from the big, wide, open sea. They came from the nearby lake. And, the fingerlings or fry were the cultivated kind – Uncle had a fish nursery. Anyway,’ twas fun to see them alive, close and too personal… I did not sleep well for four nights after the episode, haha. I remembered the eyes of the fishes, seeming to ask for my help… I did not eat fish my whole elementary years, that’s how bad… 🙂

 

Image of men harvesting fish in a pond in the Philippines

Harvesting the bounty of fresh waters, live fish inside a net in a fish cage/ islandtrecker.com

 

Anyway, that was a long time ago. In high school, I would eventually learn to eat fish again… In the Philippines, the fish ordinarily eaten by our folks are the small kinds, people – anywhere from 50 grams to two kilos in weight. The world’s smallest fish (half an inch in length) can be found here, by the way, in Taal lake… The big and fancy fishes are for the moneyed people, the cultured folks and those with culinary schooling, ahaha. Actually, we don’t have many big fishes. The huge, giant ones are mostly tunas – the big-eye tuna (Thunnus obesus), and the yellow fin tuna (Thunnus alalungga) from the Batangas bay and even bigger ones, from General Santos city.

 

Tunas from the Batangas area are generally smaller and are sold in nearby provinces and in Metro Manila. GenSan city, on the other hand, is said to be the country’s tuna basin. Gen San port (and market) captures the biggest, the gigantic tunas (Thunnus albacares), aside from the big-eye and the yellow fin. The prime catch from the Sarangani Bay and from the nearby, wider, open seas in the South, make their way to GenSan market and are traditionally sold to U.S. and Japan to meet the demands for sushi, sashimi and other raw fish dishes of classy restaurants…

 

Image of tuna catch on display at the rack, in Gen San City

Gen. Santos City tuna catch, one fine day/ news.mindanao.com

 

Image of tunas on the display rack at Gen San's fishport

An ordinary morning at Gen. San’s fishport/ http://www.skyscrapercity.com

 

Gen. Santos city, by the way, is in Mindanao, down South. Locally, the Saranggani tuna is also called the barilis. The GenSan tuna maybe renowned, here and abroad, but the local tuna industry, has yet to make inroads… There is still a long way to go, before GenSan becomes a prosperous city, it seems… Manny Pacquaio, the world-famous boxer, is Sarangani’s representative, by the way. Or, as the people put it, “Congressman Manny, idol!” 😉

 

Image of a man carrying a big yellow fin tuna

From the sea on its way to the fish port, Gen San giant fish catch/ http://www.bubblews.com

 

Image of a yellow fin tuna sliced tomake sushi

One could see nature’s creative design, in the lines inside the giant sea creature/ tagadavao.wordpress.com

 

Around here, most people eat the head and the tail part of the fish, excuse me, my dear foreign readers…  Usually, Filipinos eat the eyes of the fish, tooIt’s not just the Greeks, folks. 😉 And, fish eyes are yummy. Of course, it’s an acquired taste… ^_^ By the way, in the big supermarkets, the fishes sold there are also packaged nicely – sans the head, the tail and the innards, hehe. Most are sold as fillets… In the wet markets, the fishes are sold cleaned and sliced (by the kilos) or whole  and uncleaned (by piece, yet weighted).

 

About three years ago, sibling and I had the chance to watch a British reality show where the producers tried to introduce the participants to the food industry in U.K. They made the contestants trace the supply chain of the processed food products found in the shelves of big supermarkets. They were brought to several countries in Asia – to learn firsthand how to dress chickens in the factory, haha, to catch shrimps in the ditches and to see up close that fishes originally had tails and heads, so unlike the ones in the supermarkets… 🙂 Most of the participants had a change of heart afterwards. It was shown in the end – how they became better young adults, more appreciative of their parents… 🙂

 

 

Anyway, folks, let me introduce to you the famous fishes in my country –

 

Image of the mackerel patronized in Philipppine households

Mackerel is a staple in the ordinary Filipino diet/ http://www.untvweb.com

Galunggong or mackerel is the poor man’s almost daily fare, around here. There are five varieties of fresh mackerel common in the wet markets in the Philippines. The most sought after is the round, elongated one – the horse mackerel (Decapterus maruadsi) or the roundscad. The other famous variety is the wide, striped mackerel, also known as the Indian mackerel (Rastrelliger kanagurta) or alumahan. Galunggong generally comes as your small fish, 100 grams a piece, on the average. Or, 10 to 12 pieces of mackerel in a kilo – enough for two meals – for a family of six. 🙂

 

Image of mature kamyas on trees

Kamyas is a sour fruit for seasoning and fermentation of fish dishes/ http://www.pinoyecofarmer.com

It is often said that the quality of life of the Filipinos is measured by the price of the galunggong in the market, haha. Personally, I was not acquainted with galunggong, until I went to the metropolis for college (We have small tunas in the province and those were what we bought when we had money. Most days, running on a tight budget, we got the other smaller fishes, available only locally). By the way, galunggong is traditionally salted, boiled and cooked with garlic, onions, ginger and kamyas. The dish is known as “pinaksiw na galunggong.”Or, sometimes, just salt, plain vinegar and some tomatoes… This dish is known as “pinangat.”

 

Image of pinaksiw na galunggong on a plate

Mackerel, boiled with salt and vinegar, is delicious when eaten with plain rice/ http://www.paphaofurniture.com

 

Image of fried galunggong with tomatoes and salted eggs

Fried galunggong goes well with salted egg and fresh tomato/ halieskitchen.blogspot.com

Galunggong has indeed stuck with the Pinoys, through thick and thin. This rather small fish has seen the Filipino people through the post-American republic, the crisis of the 70’s, almost two decades of dictatorship and post-EDSA hardships… For ordinary lunch, the galunggong is usually fried and served with sauteed or steamed vegetables, together with ample amount of rice, hohoho… 😉 Around here, one would hear tales from middle-class and rich Filipinos – how galunggong has seen them though difficult days… ^^

 

 

Bangus or milkfish (Chanos chanos) is our national fish, one of our country’s symbols… Milkfish or bangus is a bony kind of fish (has two dorsal spines and 13-17 dorsal rays) , silver in color, has a small mouth and no teeth, ahaha. It is  a marine, freshwater animal, found along continental shelves and islands (No wonder we have plenty of it ;)). Indeed, many coastal villages in the country have bangus… It is said that milkfish aquaculture originated in the Philippines, 800 years ago and was spread over the Indo-Pacific rim. Filipinos breed and raise milkfish several ways – in saline ponds, in fish pens and in cages (at sea).

 

Image of a milkfish

Milkfish, also known as bangus, is the Philippine national fish/ http://www.tateh.com

 

The milkfish is a much bigger fish than the ordinary mackerel. Say, twice to 15 times bigger… Thus, it is also priced higher and is considered city people’s regular viand. By the way, bangus is another product that our country exports in bulk, by the tons… Most of the supply come from the Central Luzon area – in the provinces of Pangasinan, Bulacan and Pampanga… Bangus products are traditionally sold fresh, smoked or fermented. In the recent decades, they also come bottled, canned and frozen. By the way, one product stands out: Philippines’ “boneless bangus” or deboned milkfish, available in supermarkets here and also abroad.

 

Image of bangus fish inside a pale, typical market scene in the Phils.

Bangus is available in most markets, on any given day/ lakbaypilipinas.com

Cooked milkfish is available in almost all eating places around here – in fancy restaurants, fastfoods, office canteens and in the roadside eateries… Just like the galunggong, it is usually prepared “pinaksiw.” Pinaksiw is fresh catch bangus, salted and fermented with vinegar, with some ginger, ampalaya (bitter gourd) and eggplants tossed in. It is well-liked among the Pinoys. Its sour-spicy taste brings out the fish’s natural flavor.

 

The other famous preparation is “sinigang.” Sinigang is a lot like the pinaksiw, minus the ginger, and there is more soup in the dish and more vegetables, haha. It has more more tomatoes, kamyas and tamarind and thus, tastes sour-spicy in a good way. 😉 It is the all-around, all-time dish preparation of the Filipinos – there is protein in the fish, and vitamins and minerals, in the generous proportion of vegetables and green leaves, not present in other dish preparations.

 

Image of packaged boneless bangus from the Philipppines

Philippine boneless bangus is a delicacy, exported in several countries/ http://www.morefoodadventures.com

By the way, the milkfish is another food I would learn to eat only upon coming to the big city… A tip, dear people:  The best part of the bangus is its belly, haha. Sinigang na belly usually costs more in restaurants, too… As an aside, the cheeks of the bangus is another soft, yummy part. To these days, the younger sister and I quarrel who gets to eat the cheeks… Actually, she always asks me if I’d be good enough to let her eat the cheeks of the bangus in my plate, haha. ^^

 

Lastly and not- to- be- missed bangus preparations: the daing and the relyeno. Daing means the fish will be cut in half and spread, for the whole fish to be fried crisply. It is famous for breakfast in the Philippines. Most Filipinos returning to the country from abroad have that in their wish list, ahaha…  Relyeno, on the other hand, is stuffed bangus – the bangus meat would be taken out, ground and mixed with vegetables and spices – to be put back inside the fish again, before frying or steaming. With rice, relyenong bangus is heavenly… 😉

 

Image of daing na bangus over a pasta dish

Daing na bangus goes well with rice or pasta, and vegetables/ centurytuna.ph

Image of stuffed bangus also known as relyeno

Relyenong bangus is a treat/ http://www.philamfood.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image of tilapia fish being prepared for lunch

Tilapia is grown and cultivated several ways in different parts of the Philippines/ thenaa.net

Another common fish around here is the tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus). Tilapia is another fresh-water creature and abounds in the country – in coastal areas, on fish ponds and even in homes with big backyards. In the last four decades, tilapia-raising has become a huge industry in the Philippines, much like the breeding and spawning of bangus… Philippine tilapia has also become an export product – cleaned and packaged or, in fillet form. Tilapia is another bony fish, unfortunately, and requires  meticulous preparation, before serving… Well, if there is boneless bangus, there is also boneless tilapia, ahaha. 😉

 

As a dish, tilapia is available in the backstreet eateries, as well as, in the expensive restaurants in the Philippines. It may come in its usual fried form or “ginataan.” Ginataan means cooked with salt, coconut milk, ginger, garlic and some leafy vegetables and eggplants. The dish is quite popular – tasty, soft and a bit spicy. It is often eaten with plain rice – lots of, haha… 😉

 

Image of tilapia cooked with coconut milk and vegetables

Ginataang tilapia, with rice – a fave lunch among the Pinoys/ luckymom2009.wordpress.com

 

In the recent months, I’ve come across tilapia served in certain restaurants – so carefully prepared and so nicely served, they are barely recognizable as our ordinary tilapia. They are excellent, thanks to the chefs who never stop innovating – to bring the common tilapia, before the watchful eyes and the discerning palates of the world… 🙂

 

Image of tilapia fillet, with lemon and butter

The tilapia, in the hands of seasoned chefs/ http://www.ifood.tv

Just saying, I have watched TV shows that show the tilapia as a pet fish or a garden-type fish, like the koi. Or, simply kept as ornamentals – in certain states in the U.S., in Japan and in some cities in Europe… This phenomenon has left me wondering about the peculiarities of cultures. You know, an edible fish that is not eaten by folks, but kept as decor or, something to afford variety in nature? Ah, am still wondering, hahaha. 😉

 

Image of fried tilapia

Tilapia, cooked and served the traditional Filipino way/ http://www.atasteofmylife.com

 

Our last fish is the tulingan (Auxis rochei). Tulingan or bullet tuna is also a staple fish in the Philippines. Am including it in the article for a very biased reason:  It is my favorite fish. 😉 Tulingan is different from the huge tunas as it is rather small – 300 grams a piece on the average. Otherwise, just like the giant tuna, its fins are black and it has no scales.

 

Image of fresh tulingan or bullet tuna in the wet market

Bullet tuna or tulingan is among the smallest in its family and abounds in the tropics/ http://www.ictioterm.es

 

Bullet tuna is available in the market most of the time and is affordable … I have cooked and eaten this fish countless number of times, am too partial, ahaha. My fave part is the black lining in its mid part – the fish cod. My favorite preparation is “sinaing.” Sinaing means boiling the cleaned and salted fish – over low and slow fire for several hours – with water, garlic and a few pieces of chili. It is very tasty, soft and the dish could be stored for a few days – without refrigeration.

 

Image of cooked small tuna, a local fave among the Tagalogs

Over at our place, sinaing na tulingan is cooked for five to 20 hours/ recipe.foohta.com

In my family, most members are also fond of the tulingan. But unlike me who profess that I could eat tulingan as viand with two plates of rice almost everyday, haha, they want the fish deep-fried or ginataan or broiled, on certain days and occasions. Anyway, each to his taste, or, weirdness… 🙂

 

Anyway, tulingan has a close relative, known as the “tambakol.” The tambakol (Thunnus alalungga) is three to ten times bigger than the tulingan, yet about ten times smaller than the giant tunas for export. Tambakol is even tastier than the tulingan and its meat is tender – a good pork substitute for Spanish-influenced dishes. When bought fresh, tambakol is excellent for raw fish dishes and served on special occasions in my province… Somehow, tambakol is considered the better-off cousin of the bullet tuna… 😉

 

Image of fresh tambakol

Tambakol, fresh catch from the Southern Tagalog region/ http://www.flickriver.com

 

Image of ginataang tambakol, sliced thinly

Tambakol is a local delicacy/ fnbshareknowledge. blogspot. com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image of fried tambakol

Tambakol could be fried then, sauteed with vegetables/ tinkeravenue.wordpress.com

 

Image of an skipjack tuna

The skipjack tuna or gulyasan is less tasty than the tambakol or even the tulingan/ fooduniversity.com

But tambakol is more expensive and often not available, unless one goes to the wet market very early, haha. At odd hours, one would come across “gulyasan,” or skipjack tuna (Katsuwonus pelamis), the striped tuna favored in Japan and the Maldives. But for the Pinoys, or at least for the market-going folks like me, the striped tuna is considered the poor relative of tambakol and tulingan. However, fish vendors in the market usually pass it off as bullet tuna, to the unfamiliar. ^^

 

Generally, I would say that the ordinary Filipinos’ fish preference leans towards group fishes – mackerels and tunas – that abound in our oceans and tropical seas. There are only few healthy rivers around here, healthy enough to be able to host ample supply of fish and aquatic animals. But occasionally, we also do have some trouts and fly fishes in our wet markets. In the fancy restaurants, of course, there are different kinds – salmons, soles, seabass and tuna – prepared tastefully and served elegantly. Ahaha, that is, for folks  with more discriminating palates and deeper pockets, hohoho. For the ordinary Pinoys, fish is commonly fried or steamed and eaten with a slew of plain, white, steaming rice… 🙂

 

We are a fish-eating people, am afraid. Methinks the British folks would envy us for that… 😉

 

Image of a coastal area in Sothern Luzon Philippines

A bay area in Southern Luzon, a hill and a sea/ http://www.panoramio.com

 

Some facts:

 

The Philippines is an archipelago, composed of 7,107 islands.

The country has a territorial marine area of 2, 200, 000 square kilometers. 

The Philippine tuna (export) industry brings in roughly PhP14 billion or US$337,719 annually (2010 data). It accounts for 12% of the country’s total fish production.

The Philippines is currently the 7th among the world’s top tuna producers. Philippines was 6th in 2008 and 4th in 2004.

General Santos City is called the tuna capital of the Philippines, where the bulk of tuna catch are taken before they are sold to international fishing companies for processing and shipment abroad and to buyers for distribution to different domestic markets.

The bulk of tuna fishing activities are concentrated at Moro Gulf, Davao Gulf, Celebes Sea, Sulu Sea, east coast of Samar and Western Luzon. Some fishing activities are also done at South China Sea during summer.  

Tuna industry reports state that the Philippine waters is relatively overfished for sashimi-grade tuna or tuna for export. They claim that the fishermen have to venture farther and longer in the open seas to be able to catch huge tunas.

Reports have it, however, that the yellow fin tuna for the local market increased by 25% as of June, 2013.

The sashimi grade tuna for export is priced $9 to $10 a kilo on the average while huge tunas for the local market is priced between $6 to $8 a kilo. 

There are six (6) kinds of tuna commonly found in our territorial waters – in the oceans, shelves and municipal shorelines. 

The 1992-1994 Tuna Research Project, however, recorded 21 different tunas in Philippine waters, including the migratory kinds.

Commercial fishing of tuna employ the ringnetting method, purse seining and the traditional payao method. 

Municipal fishing or small-scale tuna fishing in the Philippines still use handlines and gillnets.

There are three kinds of fishing in the country: commercial, municipal and aquaculture. Each kind contributes roughly one-third to the fish industry.

The biggest catch or production of commercial fishing is usually mackerel, geared to meet the demand of sardines factories.

 

Thank you very much for reading, all the best to you, guys… 🙂

 

Settling the quandary

 

Hello, people… 🙂

 

In the Philippines, two of the most commonly patronized fish viands are the tuyo (dried herring) and the galunggong (round scad mackerel). They are priced low in the market, compared to other fishes and have therefore formed part of Filipino meals through the years… It does not come as a surprise then, many Filipinos still think that the galunggong is the country’s national fish. On the other hand, some say it is the tuyo, with a sleight on how most Filipinos fare economically, “Tuyo lang ang nakayanan (Dried hearing is all that we can afford)” or, “Tuyo pa rin (It is still dried herring, after all these years).” By the way, both taste good, when paired with a cup of steaming hot rice, ahaha.

 

Image of dried herring for sale in the Philippines

Tuyo or dried herring is a common viand in the Philippines/ valhals-cavalier.dk

 

However, our national fish is the silvery bangus (milkfish), a fact that has been taught us in school, from the earliest years… But this piece of useful information escapes us often, for some reason. Bangus is a handsome aquatic animal and I would say, represents the country and its people with pride. Maybe, when the time comes that more households can afford to buy bangus, we will remember… 😉

 

My next post will be about the round scad mackerel and other fishes commonly bought and eaten in the Philippines, folks…  Am afraid it is quite a long article, five (5) pages excluding the pics, ahaha. Next time you drop by, remember to have yourself  a cup of coffee or tea, and some biscuits… It will be an interesting read, promise. 😉

 

Image of tea and biscuits

Some hot drink and a couple of biscuits when you come around next…/ abc.net.au

 

Hope you are well, warm regards… ^_^

 

Sweet souls

 

Remember when we first plunged into this blogging business, we hardly knew what to expect. Would there be readers, people who would be interested, who would care about what we do, think or whether we exist or not? Well, more or less, things were like that, in the beginning… And as we plodded on, we found out out that our sentiments are carried off to the shores, across the universe. And, some people, virtual, yes, but breathing, existing and writing actually care and share – our dreams.  And, we are assured, somehow, that real people bother and we ourselves, do care… There are sweet souls in the universe – touching, moving and uplifting our beings – in more ways than we could have possibly imagined. I guess it’s time to thank some of them… 🙂

 

Image of colorul cupcakes

Super Sweet Blogging Award

 

Am no good at tagging, as you know. But this time, yours truly was found by an excellent writer and editor, a Quaker and an advocate of living -up-the-world-in-your-village. It’s Mr. Jnana Hodson, folks…  I have been reading in his site since his blog entry was featured on Freshly Pressed.

Didn’t have an inkling he would notice my presence. Or, at least give it a thought, haha. I mean, his writings run deep, in a way that leaves you asking, “Why can I not write that way? He says things so simply…” And yet, you know, the feat comes from nerve-wrecking encounters, complicated situations, and haplesss circumstances, haha. 😉

His writings seem to fend off the chaos, inside and out. The humble and quiet way they send the message across is admirable. He says it’s the Quaker in him. My suspicion, it’s also from other sources. Say, his Woodstock concert-going days… 🙂 Thank you for the nomination, sir Jnana. I am so moved, obliged and honored.

 

FIVE SUPER SWEET QUESTIONS

 

1. Cookies or Cake? Both?  Cookies, but am willing to make an exception if the cake is banana, wink-wink… 
2. Chocolate or Vanilla? Vanilla, two hands up.
3. Favorite Sweet Treat? Strawberry with whipped cream, please (ahaha, it’s not too sweet). Uh, uh, it’s chocolate, sometimes…

4. When Do You Crave Sweet Things the Most? Mornings, in my morning coffee.

5. Sweet Nickname? Last syllable of my name. People close to me tweak it a bit then, repeat it…  By the way, it’s commonly done in the Philippines. You’ll often hear nicknames that come from one syllable repeated, hehe. Example? Lengleng, Dada, Bambam, and Toytoy. Even our country’s president go by the same token, hehehe.  Guess mine… 🙂

 

My Nominees for the Super Sweet Blogging Award:

Drum roll. Dyaran, dyaran, dyaran! 😉

 

Her words touch softly and flow effortlessly, conjuring images of mountains in distant places, friends bantering over coffee and city scenes undisturbed. A native of Boston, sorrygnat has earned the right to claim the world as her stage. Her musings on life in the modern world and aging are lovely.

He is a software engineer who loves poetry and music. rkhouse‘s poems in high school found their way into his blog and they’re that – sweet. There are some recent works, on the challenges of being a parent and granddad.

There’s humor aplenty in nadia‘s writings, about foods, travel and places near and far. One can sense passion, lightheartedness and fun in the way she weaves her tales. Life’s to be enjoyed. And, photographed, according to her.    

His thoughts and words seem to come from an ancient source. thetaleofmyheart talks about love, how the world seems to be in short supply of something it utterly needs. People need people, his writings seem to say. And, he does not mean it in the abstract.  

akanedou‘s blog entries are picture series and yet, they communicate – sharply but softly. One can feel the sensibilities of the person behind the photographs. The artist brings out a scene from several angles, using different perspectives, showing various dimensions. So clever. 

She is a proud mother of six. With a degree in Public History Research, beebeesworld serves slices of olden times through her short stories, poems and vignettes. Her works evoke silence and respect, for some reason.

She writes about women’s issues in a way that does not ask people to burn bridges and sever relations, but exchange goodwill and understanding, instead. cerirose, an African based in Paris, questions modern-day norms, even as her alternatives come in the form of intelligent yet gentle suggestions.

There’s idealism in the writings of june’sworldwho writes for the campus paper. One can sense a young man’s attempts to get to know the world, as he unravels the mysteries of the self and trudges his way through the everydayness of life and living. 

Across the distance, one could feel alarnarosegray‘s words – touching, moving and asking one to reconsider – perceptions, points of views and habits. And, to spread love and sprinkle some humanity in the process. A bit of fun won’t do harm, she adds as an afterthought. 

residentpatriot is an engineer and artist based in Japan. He designs car parts for his day job. On evenings, he takes the time to reconnect to his countrymen via blog, reminding fellows that citizenship is not a bad thing and civic-mindedness will pull Filipinos through tough times.

She has read thousands of books – poetry, fiction and anthologies. And sometimes, I am tempted to take that, against forkinmyeye… Except, when I read her works, I am convinced:  Voracious readers make excellent writers. And beneath the blogger’s no-nonsense exterior is a soft side, it seems.

She is a Filipina, working overseas for a couple of years now. Her grasp of native Tagalog shows in her compositions. crazyfrog often mutters though, that words escape her…  She prefers taking pictures of buildings, parks, landmarks and, make them speak to her blog readers. 

It’s not apronheadlily‘s thing, being tagged… But every time I would make a list, her name is on it, ahaha. The teacher writes with a flourish, as if the words were artworks; has a way of infusing creativity into pictures.

 

Thank you very much, people. You have no idea how your words and kind thoughts brighten this side of the world. Your presence truly gladdens. I heart you. 🙂

 

One moment to believe

 

one moment to believe

things in their right places

solutions will be found

hearts will, hold.

 

Image of dewdrops on a plant leaf

One moment, is all/ http://www.flickr.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

one moment to believe

the self will endure

and tomorrow is not a promise

of things yet, to come.

 

one moment to believe

the smiles are for real

uncertainties forgotten

goodwill, for the time: now.

 

one moment to believe

fear will not reign

cowardice won’t decide

courage will step in.

 

one moment to believe

not the heaps of lies

piles of hesitation

to suspend: disbelief.

 

one moment to believe

the word – possible

to put as one, together

past, future, and today.

 

one moment to believe

to walk past the shadows

suffer, rejoice – in the light

and simply, truly, be. 😉

 

Image of a butterfly on a leaf

To suffer the light/ wallpaperswide9.blogspot.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roadside vending… and buying

 

In the Philippines, roadside stores and stalls abound. They dot our landscapes. See a highway? There’s a strip somewhere, just count 5, 10 or 15 minutes since driving and you’d likely come across one such. No kiddin’. Alright, maybe sometimes, it takes 20, depending on which part of the country you happen by.

 

Image of a fruit stand in Southern Philippines

On the way home from the Tagaytay hills, the papayas, the melons and the bananas wave to motorists/ philippinewanderer.org

 

It’s still an agricultural country, right? Meaning, about 10 kilometers from the highway, there are farms. And, there are farmers, of course… With their fresh produce – from the barns, the fishponds, the backyards and the farm proper (fruits and vegetables, mostly).

 

Image of a two huge pile of young coconut harvests being sold at the roadside

A simple stop and a fast purchase, young coconut piles, by the highway/ jeffblock.wordpress.com

Oh, there is a municipal market somewhere, sure. But markets, with their usual traffic of people buying and hosts of permanent stalls and stores regularly selling, are for those who can forecast the supply and the demand. Roadside stores are for the tentative, the unsure and the undecided. You know, the willy-nilly, the-wind-took-me-here, I-happen-to-pass-by customers? There.

 

 

And, no worries. I mean, it’s the same on the other end – the vendors. They are seldom sure when the next batch of the crops will be displayed and up for sale, when the next bushels of the harvests will come in and if the fruits will have ripened by next week. They will see, see? They will try… In the meantime, why don’t you have a look and feel of what’s on the rack, huh?

 

So, the roadside stores are for the passers-by, the chance buyers, the momentists… Driving in a highway, at regular or even odd hours, could be an exhilarating experience, at times. There’s the stretch of road to be negotiated, the trees that seem to move, the colorful or unpainted houses along the way and the solitary soul walking or crossing – without even a hat!

 

And suddenly, there is your strip – with the goods piled one on top of the other – uniform, assuring and interestingly familiar. It’s not like a 7/11, no… The crew members do not wear uniforms, there is no cash register and there are no lozenges on the counter, haha. But there are weighing scales – the traditional, analog kind and when one’s lucky, there’s another – digital. And, the melons are waving… 😉

 

So, you and your companion make a stop. There is really no shoulder to park on… Vehicles zoom past you as the two of you get out of your car, you look at the compartment at the back, making sure there is enough space (as though you really intend to buy!) and you arrange your clothes to make sure you look alright, somehow… You look right and left, wondering if a former classmate, office mate or somebody you used to be interested with, happen by. As if…

 

Image of a roadside stall in the highway

It is always the countryside scenery that is the backdrop of those roadside fruit stalls/ members.virtualtourist.com

 

It’s a very vulnerable feeling, standing at the highway to make a purchase in the middle of nowhere (it’s not really a nowhere, you know the name of the place) while every other motorist is happily on his way – to wherever. You take a few steps towards the goods that beckoned to you from the comfort of your seat, the air-conditioning and the certainty of getting there – to your wherever. The melon makes a greeting, nagmamaganda (feeling pretty).

 

Hey, people, it is officially rainy season, over here. The countryside in the tropics is enjoying a breather from the humidity, the heat and fury of the glaring sun and the soils are returning to their original dark brown. The farmers are planting, this time of the year… But they are also harvesting, yes.  Thus, it is quite a busy time for their spouses, siblings or cousins, manning their stall in the highway. The roadside establishments are on business… 🙂

 

Here is one of the fruits that capture the motorists’ attention these days:

 

Image of a heap of lansones fruit in a fruitstand

Lanzones is sweet. Make that two kilos, please/ http://www.flickr.com

 

Image of a lansones tree, laden with fruits

The lanzones tree, around this time of the year/ http://www.traveltabai.com

Lanzones (Lansium domesticum) or lansones  is a tropical fruit from a tree that could grow quite tall, sturdy and old, haha. Over at our place, there are lansones trees older than me and even older than my uncles and aunts. But hey, it’s not very friendly to climbers… The body and the branches of the tree are very rough, they hurt the arms and hands of the enthusiastic, the curious and the daring, hehe. There are official and designated lansones climbers in the locality where they are typically grown. 🙂

 

Lanzones fruits, if I recall correctly, start ripening in June. But the peak of the harvest season is September. That is when the fruits are sweetest. But for some reason, lansones fruits flood the cities and towns  starting in August – at the community Saturday markets, at the regular fruit stands, the supermarkets and, at the waysides… The lansones produce are put in a very light container called the kaing, made from an indigenous material. By the way, here’s another picture of the fruit-bearing tree…

 

Image of a fruit-laden lansones tree heavy with riped fruits

By August, the lansones fruits turn heavy, rounder and succulently sweet/ tripwow.tripadvisor.com

 

Image of baskets of lansones fruits, packed, tied and sealed

Packed lansones for selling, full to the brim/ paulding.blogspot.com

These days, lansones still sell for ninety to one hundred pesos (P100) a kilo, (US $2.5, roughly) for the sweet ones. As days come nearer to August, the fruit’s price decreases, down to fifty, sometimes… But in the highways, lansones is always priced higher. Methinks, there, it does not go lower than seventy. Sometimes, lansones in the expressways go as high as P160/kilo. And, there is no guarantee they are sweet, ahaha. A buyer is usually allowed a taste test, though. But then, one bunch of lansones maybe your sweetest, the other not so. Oh, well…

 

Image of lansones fruits with skin removed

Past the golden covering, it’s succulent white sweetness/ onefilipinodish.com

 

By the way, the lansones tree is quite a useful plant, with a host of medicinal values. The dried peel of the fruit can be burned – to drive away mosquitoes. The bark can be used to treat diarrhea and in powder form, it can be employed to treat scorpion bites. It is a neat tree, actually. Perhaps, that is what you would also say, when you’ve seen one, up close… In the meantime, visit – the market, the basement fruit stand at your nearest mall or, head over the nearest highway and grab yourself a kilo or two – of this tropical treat. Not sure if they’re as sweet as they come, over at your location… But what the hey, go try some! If there aren’t, well… There are melons and mangoes… 😉

 

Image of opened melons - green and red

Melons for the refreshing feeling/ http://www.realbeauty.com

Happy fruit hunting! 🙂

 

Image of ripe mangoes for sale at a fruit stand

Mango is the sweetest fruit, grows aplenty at the tropics/ media123.wordpress.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Strummin’ through time

 

Hall and Oates is one of my second sister’s fave bands. Sister and I are ten(10) years and four(4) siblings apart, by the way… Last year, I found out about the Daryl Hall’s music room, where Daryl sings duet with another, more contemporary  musician. Since then, I would occasionally scan YouTube for the performances at Daryl’s venue and be awed at how this man has  kept his voice and poise – through the decades – strummin’ and singin’,  in winning form… Sharing to you one of my best finds —

 

 

Jason Mraz, by the way,  is the younger sister’s favorite contemporary singer. I would always tease her about Mraz’s hobo looks and his attempts to shed his middle class ways… Jason was here in Manila for a concert, recently. Sister, of course, went to see it and joyfully reported: Mraz was newly shaven and got himself a haircut, ahaha. The guy sings well, too, can’t argue with that… 😉

 

 

A month or so ago, I  published a poem in my Tagalog site and a fellow Filipino blogger translated it to English, in the comment section. Turned out, his translation leaned a little too much on the romantic side, hehe. Though a short note on email, I told him he is utterly hopeless, ahaha. The guy glibly and politely replied in the affirmative and sent me an MP3 copy of this song —

 

 

Image of a river flowing viewed atop the mountain

No point at all arguing with romantic people. Kinda hopeless…/ http://www.djensenphotography.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s a beautiful song and ColdPlay’s vocalist, Chris Martin, is the happy husband of Gwyneth Paltrow… Not only does he sing lovely, like the two musical artists above, he also strums the guitar with a passion. Besides, I don’t see the point in arguing with, against, people who have found it – that thing called… 😉

 

Don’t tell me what love looks like . . .

 

Hello, folks! In my two years and nine months of blogging, this is one of the best blog posts I have come across. And you would know why… 😉 Happy reading, warm regards! ^_^

 

A p r o n h e a d -- Lilly

Don’t tell me what love looks like.

          It is not always gentleness,

          flowers and chocolate

          and sweetness and stuff.

          It is not always acceptance and sighs

          and reluctantly letting go.

Sometimes love is hard like a rock,

like a hammer,

like a tether that binds tight for fear of losing to the blackness.

Sometimes love damages to save.

Sometimes it cries and wars and pleads—

fights on without an end in sight.

Because it is impossible not to.

Don’t tell me what love looks like.

          It is not always kindness,

          softness and light,

          weathered words that fall

          without impact,

          without fire.

Sometimes love is a prayer,

a scream to the heavens,

blood red desperation that begs to be heard above the roar of poverty, war, disasters,

and, oh, so many more worthy needs.

And sometimes love dies to live.

Sometimes…

View original post 18 more words

Many times conquered

 

I am presently reading the autobiography of respected Hollywood actor, Sidney Poitier – The Measure of a Man. In the book, Poitier traces his childhood days, in the country of The Bahamas, an archipelagic republic near Cuba and is now famous internationally, as a tourist destination. Bahamas means shallow sea or shallow water. Its capital is Nassau, also known as  Charles Town, about two centuries ago…

 

Image of the 2007 book cover of Poitier's book, The Measure of a Man

On his 72nd year, Sidney Poitier took a look at the life he struggled with, fought for and lived wisely and well/ en.wikipedia.org

Poitier is, of course, a black man. He is one of the senior actors and a respected director in Hollywood and, one of the public figures in America revered by the host, Oprah Winfrey (The other senior, black  figure she adores is none other than the poet, Maya Angelou). Poitier is  a French surname, a common one, in Cat Island, where Sidney’s family originally hailed and lived. The Bahamas was conquered several times – by the Spaniards, the French and the English. It was the Latin American country that was the major source of people – by the Spaniards for the  European slave trade – a couple of centuries back… Being near the U.S., The Bahamas has also been a favorite destination of Americans, since the 18th century.

 

In 1927, when Poitier was born, The Bahamas was still being governed directly by the English folks. About one hundred years prior, the process of “emancipation” of the former black slaves in the group of islands has already begun. But Poitier’s childhood was already free from the tension between the Americans – who wanted the slaves freed – and, the English and other European colonial masters – who wanted the black people “retained” or held as indentured members. There were only two white persons in his native Cat Island, Sidney recollects in the book. He did not know racial discrimination – until his family moved to the capital, Nassau, when he was eleven.

 

Image of a beach resort in the Bahamas

Shallow waters and relaxing ambiance in The Bahamas/ columbusmmug.com

Reading Poitier’s book, I have been both surprised and gladdened by the similarities between The Bahamas and the Philippines. The former is composed of 700 islands, while the latter, of 7,107 islands. The Bahamian people have been ruled by the foreigners, three times. So, were we, the Filipinos – by the Spaniards, by the Americans and for a brief, three years – by the Japanese. In The Measure of a Man, Poitier also talked  about the economics of his country, when he was but a child. According to him, the livelihood of his people then was a combination of barter trade and cash economy. Those times, people in the islands lived by planting, fishing, gathering and rendering services in exchange for products or other services. The same has characterized the Philippine economy for centuries, although cash economy has been making its way through the remote areas, in the last several decades.

 

The Bahamas of today is an eco-tourism center, way better and more modern than the country Poitier lived in, eventually left and, more than half a century later, described in his autobiographical work. In fact, The Bahamas now belongs to the roster of the world’s richest countries, it being the banking center in the Latin American region… Politically, the country has gone some way, as a Commonwealth currently governed by the Bahamian people, in the name of the English throne. From being a slave depot, to a colonial plantation and cash crop center, to its present status as a favored tourist destination – for the leisure-seeking, moneyed people of the world – this group of islands boasts of a prosperous economy and an invigorated people. On the other hand, the Philippines, has yet to gather its moves towards becoming an agri-tourism center in Asia (current government’s plan), sustaining its GDP, alleviating the lives of its citizens and improving their, our, chances in life.

 

Image of a poster stating Martin Luther King's definition of a man's measure

It maybe easy to measure. The hard part is measuring up/ http://www.picturesdepot.com

Poitier, of course, succeeded in life, rising to become one of Hollywood’s pillars, multi-awarded actor and one of the show business’s respected figures… I am, by the way, about one-fourth into the book. It has so far been an engaging foray into the life of a giant personality – wise, been-there, done-that but noticeably, unassuming person. In The Measure of a Man, Poitier speaks longingly, clearly and softly about the place and people that molded him to be the person that he is now. One who is seemingly gone far and away, but quite near and naturally at home – with himself and the world… I’ll let you know, people, when yours truly has finished reading the book.

 

Kind regards to y’ all… 😉 🙂

 

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What we do is a measure of who we are. If we imagine our work as labor, we become laborers. If we imagine our work as art, we become artists. – Jeffrey Patnaude

If you want to see the true measure of a man, watch how he treats his inferiors, not his equals. – J.K. Rowling

The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good. – Samuel Johnson

The true measure of a man is what he would do if he knew he would never be caught. – Thomas B. Macaulay

The measure of a man is the way he bears up under misfortune. – Plutarch

If there be any truer measure of a man than by what he does, it must be by what he gives. – Bishop Robert South

The measure of a man’s success must be according to his ability. The advancement he makes from the station he was born gives the degree of his success. – Sir Walter Besant

Success is not the measure of a man but a triumph over those who choose to hold him back. – Bill Clinton

If a man can bridge the gap between life and death, if he can live on after he’s dead, then maybe he was a great man.  – James Dean

The measure of a man is what he does with power. – Plato

Bear in mind that the measure of a man is the worth of the things that he cares about. If it is good to say or do something, then it is even better to be criticized for having said or done it. – Marcus Aurelius Antonius

You have been told that, even like a chain, you are as weak as your weakest link. This is but the half the truth. You are also as strong as your strongest link. – Kahlil Gibran

 

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The morning light greets us at five a.m. these days and stays up until seven, folks. Tomorrow is the beginning of the long days of June, here at the tropics. It is the start of the rainy season – slippery roads, plenty of moss on the walls and the pavements and, for sure,  traffic bottlenecks,  whehehe… 😉 Cheers! 

 

By God, she’s a strange creature!

 

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A mother had a slender, small body, but a large heart a heart so large that everybody’s grief and everybody’s joy found welcome in it, and hospitable accommodation. –  Mark Twain

 

A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials, heavy and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine, desert us when troubles thicken around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts. –  Washington Irving

 

Mom, when thoughts of you are in our hearts, we are never far from home. – Anonymous

 

A mother is one to whom you hurry when you are troubled. –  Emily Dickinson

 

Mother that was the bank where we deposited all our hurts and worries. –     T. DeWitt Talmage

 

On Mother’s Day I have written a poem for you. In the interest of poetic economy and truth, I have succeeded in concentrating my deepest feelings and beliefs into two perfectly crafted lines: You’re my mother, I would have no other! –  Forest Houtenschil

 

Youth fades, love droops, the leaves of friendship fall; a mother’s secret hope outlives them all. –  Oliver Wendell Holmes (1775- By 1817)

 

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Image of a bouquet of flowers

Flowers make her smile and think she’s not forgotten/ birthpartydecoration.blogspot.com

 

Happy birthday to our late mother. Happy Mother’s Day, too! 🙂 🙂 🙂 

 

Quotes from here.