25 January 2010
R's plate: salted egg, a relish of onions, tomatoes, and bagoong, seaweed salad, local sitao, and the malaga fish.
One thing that drives me mad about being outside Manila is the salty food. Whereas, native residents may be drinking or eating something that just about cancels the ill effects out, I tend not to know what that is (I tried more water, really), and I end up feeling parched.
Sinigang na malaga with the curiously non-hot local green peppers.
Batac longanisa, a bit sweeter than the one from Paoay, but still loads of vinegar.
Though sometimes they can be overzealous in their use of local salt and bagoong, Ilocanos make dishes that are always top-notch, if you add a bit of water when no one is looking. And besides, very few cuisines in the Philippines can rival small-town Ilocos' freshness and high vegetable ratio.
Pinakbet with local sitao and small sigarillas.
In the larger Laoag market's second floor, the vegetables tend towards Chinese imports (you know, large carrots, cabbage, galic, onions) used in making the ubiquitous, gag-worthy chop suey. However, a short ride away to the smaller markets of Batac and Paoay, and you can find local sitao (two varieties-- the straight, bush sort and the longer one, which is still straighter, smaller and deeper green than what I am used to), rabanos, katuray, and many more of the region's unique produce. I'll be back in a few weeks with a better constitution and more time to poke around, so stay tuned.
Ginisang gulay and a salad of seaweed and tomatoes.
That relish, up front, is the famous KBL or kamatis, bagoong and lasona (local red onions).
20 January 2010
To melt mid-air.
My first encounter of snow, during a visit to Lake Tahoe when I was 11 years old, was a huge disappointment. Heartbreaking, even. Thanks to cheesy American greeting cards and cartoons, I had expected fluffy, cotton candy-like material that I could collapse into and lay in for happy hours on end. Instead, snow was cold, and, later into the day, it was wet. My clothes were soaking, and besides, we saw tracks of a very large feline, so I made my way back into the car.
And what of my first snowball fight before the retreat? It was pretty similar to the ones we had back here, by scraping the ice off the walls of the freezer, and shaping those into little balls before they melted on contact with the tropical air.
Ice shaving machine.
And how to replicate without a freezer? The ice shaving machines for making cool summer treats like halo-halo (every barangay has one).
I can never resist a group of huddled children. They are always onto something good.
11 January 2010
A motorized sidecar with an automobile's steering wheel.
This is the Philippines! Our famous jeepneys were born out of improvisation, and continue to harbor so many possibilities for customization and tweaking. The land of stuff like that and homemade skateboards and such also has very cool "enhanced" bicycles in its inner life of warehouses, cheap bagsakans and ports.
Overloading? What is that?
Notice that every area has different standard designs. The above for the warehousing district, while the "reseller haven" Divisoria has room for passengers (owners of sari-sari stores and businesses), but the standard pedicab chairs are elevated for cargo storage under. The photo below is a repost.)
The Divi pedicabs. No more goods-in-your-face squeezing into the passenger compartment.
Bangera's facade. Finding a place to stay in Puerto Galera is not easy for a first-timer (technically, a second-timer, on her first t...
Kinunot-style shark. It tastes like crab, apparently. As previously mentioned, mangroves serve as a mediator between two envir...
The physics all work out for this bench made of old fruit crate pallets. I had a little rest on it. More crate reuse, ...
Basi, a good remedy for boredom. Recently I've taken to sipping Ilocano basi in my idle moments-- during traffic jams, when I wake in...
Table cover made with politico propaganda tarpaulin. The rubber stamp maker is a fixture in Manila streets. They are the unsung heroes o...
Palm leaves make for labor-intensive but free, beautiful, and 100% biodegradable packaging. The woman said it was pakaskas , a snack made in...
Mmmm. I was never a fan of puto Biñan , those spongy, sweet pieces of bready rice cake (or cakey rice bread) cooked in a bilao and cut in...
Arak ti basi (distilled basi ferment) and basi. It's an acquired taste. Though commonly called "sugarcane wine", I perceive...
A thick cup of home-dried, home-roasted cacao with coconut milk from the garden. Sarap. Migration is a beautiful thing. Like the ocean ca...
Thai halo-halo, with coconut milk, those wormy things, and jackfruit. If you ever find yourself wandering along Nicanor Garcia St. (more ...