Nanay, Tatay, Gusto Kong Tinapay

Noong isang araw ay nag-bake ang aking misis ng home-made pandesal (Filipino bread roll). Siguro isang magandang epekto ng staying-at-home dahil sa COVID-19 pandemic at dahil na rin sa maraming tindahan at establisyimento ang sarado, ay marami tayong sinusubukang gawin sa ating sarili (do-it-yourself) ang mga bagay na dati nating binibili lang o kaya ay ipinapagawa sa iba. Gaya ng paggawa ng tinapay.

Isa pa ay ang pagkukulay o paggugupit ng buhok. Alam kong maraming mga tao ang napipilitang maggupit ng sarili o kaya’y ipagkatiwala sa kanilang nanay, o mga asawa, o anak ang paggupit ng kanilang buhok. Hindi ko po problema ito, dahil matagal nang ako na lamang ang nagtatabas at nag-aahit ng aking buhok.

Alam kong marami pang mga DIY projects tayong sinubukan nitong mga nakaraang linggo o buwan dahil sarado ang mga suki nating negosyo. Pero mahinahong babala lang po na dahil sarado ang mga klinika ng dentista ay huwag sana nating tangkaing bunutin ang ngipin ng ating kapamilya gamit ang pliers, lalo na’t kung hindi tayo dentista.

Balik tayo sa tinapay, naging matagumpay ang eksperimento ng aking maybahay dahil lasang pandesal naman ang kanyang nilutong pandesal. Naging matayog pa nga ang naging proyekto niya dahil maliban sa plain na pandesal, nag-bake din siya ng ube-flavored pandesal.

my wife’s ube pandesal and plain pandesal

Pero pabiro kong sinabi sa aking misis na hindi authentic ang kanyang linutong pandesal. Hindi ito katulad ng mga kinagisnan kong pandesal sa Pilipinas noong ako’y bata. Ang dahilan ay malaman ang pandesal na linuto niya at hindi gaya ng mga pandesal na binibili namin sa panaderya doon sa amin sa Maynila, na kapag kinagat mo ay malutong-lutong ang labas, pero puro hangin sa loob.

Simple lang naman aking panlasa noong ako’y bata. Masaya na ako sa bagong lutong pandesal kahit pa puno ito ng hangin. Hindi pa noon uso ang mga may flavor na pandesal, gaya ng ube-flavored, o pandan-flavored, o malunggay pandesal. Plain pandesal lang ang tipo ko.

Gusto ko rin naman ng pandecoco, monay, kalihim, kababayan at putok. Hindi anghit ang ibig kong sabihin, kundi ‘yung tinapay na putok (star bread). Noong panahon ding iyon ay nauso ang tinapay na nutriban. Sa katunayan nga ay pinamimigay pa ito ng libre sa mga publikong paaralan. Natikman ko rin naman ang nutriban, pero hindi ko ito masyadong gusto.

Naalala ko rin ang laro ng mga bata habang sinasambit nila ang:

Nanay, tatay, gusto kong tinapay,

Ate, kuya, gusto kong kape,

Lahat ng gusto ko ay susundin ninyo,

Ang magkamali ay pipingutin ko.

Isang araw noong kami’y bata pa ay nag-uwi ang aking tatay ng isang mahaba at matigas na tinapay. French bread daw iyon at baguette ang tawag doon sabi ng aming tatay. Binili niya ito sa Buenos Aires. Teka, kung French bread, hindi ba dapat sa Paris at hindi Beunos Aires, Argentina? Eh kasi iyong panaderya ay nasa kalye ng Buenos Aires sa may Santa Mesa Manila, at hindi ito galing sa ibang bansa.

Sabi pa ng aming tatay ay gusto lamang niya kaming ma-expose sa mga ibang klaseng pagkain at para hindi raw kami ignorante. Pero nang amin nang kainin ang baguette – eh tinamaan ng lintik, matigas pa sa bato ang tinapay na iyan. Sabi pa namin ay maigi pang gawin itong palu-palo sa paglalaba. O pakikinabangan din ito bilang sandata at puwedeng ihambalos sa mga kaaway.

Bumili rin ng kakaibang keso ang aking tatay para raw din matikman namin ang foreign cheese. Kumbaga ay para bang social studies namin at ma-experience ang ibang kultura. Subalit nang aming tikman ang keso, hindi lang mabaho, lasang bulok pa ito! At least, sangayon sa aming ignoranteng panlasa. Inisip na lang namin na baka may amag na iyong keso.

Sa madaling salita, hindi namin nagustuhan ang baguette at ang dayuhang keso. Iyon na ang huling pagbili ng aking tatay ng French bread. Siguro sa isip isip niya, hayaan na lang niya kaming maging ignoramus.

Lumipas ang maraming taon, hindi ko inakalang ako pala ay makakabisita sa bansa ng mga croissant at baguette. Ilang buwan pa lang ang nakalipas nang aking matikman ang original na baguette. Sa totoo lang, masarap pala ito, lalung-lalo na at bagong luto mula sa isang local French bakery.

our simple French breakfast (baguette, of course!)

Tumikim rin kami ng mga kakaibang klase ng keso habang kami ay nasa dayuhang bansang iyon. Anak ng tinapay, hindi ko pa rin maintindihan ang lasa. At kahit hindi ko man sila tuluyang naibigan ay masasabi na kahit paano sila’y aking natikman.

Tungkol naman muli sa pagluluto ng aking misis, ang kanya raw next baking project ay pandecoco at siopao.

(*photos taken with an iPhone)

Sa Ilalim ng Tulay

Isang tinadhanang umaga, pahanon ng tag-ginaw,

Sa lugar na kinikilalang lungsod ng nagmamahal,

Ay may isang magsing-irog ang doo’y nagsumpaan,

Na sila ay mag-iibigan anuman ang kapalaran.

Sa kabila ng mundong mabangis, malupit at malamig,

Walang makakahadlang sa kanilang wagas na pag-ibig,

Doon sa may tulay at sa may rumaragasang tubig,

Silay nagpasyang tumalon, upang magtagpo sa langit.

Nguni’t huwag malungkot sa kuwento ng magkasintahan,

At huwag ninyong isiping, sila’y tumalong nagpatiwakal,

Sila lamang ay napalundag dahil puso ay umaapaw,

Sa pag-ibig at galak na hinding-hindi mapupukaw.

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Maligayang Valentine’s po sa lahat ng umiibig.

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(*photo taken during our wedding anniversary trip)

Tracing Vicki Belo’s Wedding Trail

We Filipinos are fond of fairy tales. The wedding of celebrity doctors Vicki Belo and Hayden Kho in 2017 was nothing short of a fairy tale. At least in the place and setting where it happened.

(above photo taken from the web)

I was waiting for my invitation to that great event but I think the mailman misplaced it. On second thought, maybe I was not really invited.

So I did the next best thing, I visited the place where the wedding reception was held. It was in the Opera House in Paris, or also known as Palais Garnier.

This 19th century architectual masterpiece was built by Charles Garnier and opened in 1875. Today, it is home to Paris Ballet, and besides being a venue for great art performances, it is also open for visitors to tour. Well, I guess it can be rented for a wedding reception too.

It was almost closing time when we got to the Opera House, and so we did not have much time to roam, but just enough to get a feel of this grandiose place.

Here’s the majestic staircase where Belo and Hayden did their magical wedding dance.

Of course I had to climb up those steps as if I’m in a fairy tale story too. My wife and I did not dance though on those stairs for we might stumble and fall, and end up in a tragic tale instead.

Here’s the grand foyer (photo below) where the wedding banquet and tables were set up. The newly wed couple and their guests dined under these intricate painted ceilings and opulent lights.

As I said, this is an Opera House, so here’s the auditorium that can sit 2000 people and where the real magical performances are happening.

Below is an interesting Christmas tree made up of ballet shoes which was displayed during our visit. I have no idea what the golden tractor tires are for.

There is also a mystery surrounding the construction of this palatial edifice that facts and fictions are blurred. The famous tale of the “Phantom of the Opera,” a classic novel by a Frenchman, Gaston Leroux, a story that was retold in so many ways was inspired from the history of Palais Garnier.

We roamed around the halls perhaps looking for traces of Belo or perhaps searching for the phantom, until a lady with a bell called everyone still inside the opera house announcing that it was time to close. We were among the last ones who exited the place that night.

The Phantom?

I know this place was already enchanting even before Belo rented this place. Maybe someday I’ll have my birthday bash or a wedding anniversary here. Alright, I’ll dream on.

From Belo’s wedding reception place, albeit two years too late,

Pinoytransplant.

(*photos taken with an iPhone at Palais Garnier, Paris)

Rendezvous With A Famed Lady

I’ve got to see her.

She probably has the most recognizable face. I am not her secret lover nor am I looking for an affair. I’m not even a devoted fan, but I just got to meet her to discover for myself what is this madness about her.

It was a cold and cloudy morning with intermittent drizzle, but that did not deter me from meeting her on our appointed date. The subway transit, known as the Metro was not running due to the labor force strike, but that did not stop me either. I could walk, or I could use Uber.

So I went to the palace where she resides. They even have these aesthetic glass pyramids in the inner court (photo above).

When I entered her royal residence, I passed through some naked guard statues. I thought to myself, if our medical mission is here, some of these guards could avail of our “operation tuli.” But I get it, circumcision was not in vogue in that era.

Some of the sculptures were really huge.

And so were the paintings.

The palace was enormous with more than 60,600 square meters to roam around. You could get lost here. I climbed up some majestic stairways and passed through several long hallways in search of my lady.

Finally, I entered the room where she was (photo above). For some reason, there was not much crowd around her that day. I think I was fortunate, I don’t have to navigate through a long line. Or perhaps I was favored, and she set aside a time for me to meet her.

In the end, I was face to face with her, my lady, Mona Lisa.

I was a little disappointed though. Maybe I was expecting more. Maybe I was thinking that it was something more grand, and not a tiny 30 x 21 inches affair. Or maybe I was just hoping that she would break into a full smile when I meet her. Maybe.

Now I cannot forget her enigmatic smile. And just like the sentiments in the song “Mona Lisa” by Nat King Cole, I felt the same:

Do you smile to tempt a lover, Mona Lisa?
Or is this your way to hide a broken heart?
Many dreams have been brought to your doorstep.
They just lie there and they die there.

Are you warm, are you real, Mona Lisa?
Or just a cold and lonely lovely work of art?

(*My wife took these pictures, and this rendezvous had no intention of being disloyal to my real lady. Photos taken at Louvre Museum)