19 April 2012

Indonesian False Flower Signage


Fake flowers form letters.
"Congratulations / Grand Opening / Samsung Mobile / from Phu Hie Hai"
Instead of displaying large funeral-type congratulatory flower bouquet stands outside a doorway of a newly-opened shop, Indonesians have a practice of taking the flowers apart and arranging them in letters on large signage, and lining the streets with those. It's buttering up by a folk type of advertising, kind of a more beautiful "streamer predilection" than the Marawi version.

They remind me of fiesta decor made from corn husk and all that stuff. Except they're commonplace, and obviously haven't been replaced by the dreaded tarpaulin printers. And that is a nice thing. Although the flowers are fake.

"Congratulations / On Opening / Samsung Mobile / from Flamez 72"-- Nice touch with the umbrella.
Closer shot.
"Congratulations / On Opening / Samsung Mobile / from Batam Cellular"

16 April 2012

03 April 2012

Ilocano Halo-Halo and Ice Shaving Improvisation

Halo-halo in cups, waiting for ice and milk in Ilocos.
Other countries have this flower or that blooming, or some bird singing to mark the coming of spring, the Philippines has the gradual cropping up of halo-halo stalls to mark the coming of summer. This weird rainy summer is no exception.

Colored gulaman (seaweed jelly) and sago pearls at the Alabang market.
Propped up by a seasonal halo-halo economy of market vendors selling sweetened beans, garishly colored jelly, and colored (pinipig) toasted rice. Truthfully, there's a little too much color for my tastes in it, but once in awhile is okay.

Gulaman being molded in plastic cups in a kind of grody setting, Alabang market.
 Ilocos Norte is not usually the place you would expect halo-halo. Of course, it's all over the country, but you wouldn't be surprised not to find it in this relatively sedate province. It is terribly hot out there. Its delicacies consist generally of rice cakes on the sweet side, and deep-fried pork things on the savory side.

I was fiending for something cold, and had been asking the locals about halo-halo for days. I got some free time and stopped by a stall with some friends along Paoay Lake.

The stall, under a bamboo frame, with a curtain shading the owner from the harsh sun.
So of course, Ilocanos being the resourceful and the tightwads that they are (local stereotypes are fun), supplement store-bought ingredients (colored jelly and sago balls) with cheaper (but better) ingredients such as freshly grated coconut, boiled and lightly sugared sweet potato, and my favorite thus far (in place of the usual canned or yellow sweet corn), nixtamalized corn (usually used in binatog). It sounds fancy, but nixtamalized corn is really creamy, alkalized white, glutinous corn that does not have skin. More on that later.

Colored toasted rice, sweetened beans, sweetened sweet potato, sweetened banana, nixtamalized corn, and grated coconut.
Nixtamalized corn. Creamy and super delicious.
Grated coconut.
Another super great thing is that the woman manning the stall (sounds funny doesn't it. What-- womanning?) had invented an apparatus to keep the ice (made from water frozen in plastic bags) from slipping while she shaves it. It was made from pieces of wood and bottle caps.

Bottle caps nailed to a small piece of wood board.
The wood hold the ice while the vendor shaves, thus allowing her to exert maximum force.
Ice on bottle caps.
A nearly spent piece of ice. The board also has bottle caps as legs so it doesn't slip either.
Ice Man Ice Shaver.

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