Philippines

Parlor Game During My Youth Lives On

4-Way Sungka?

4-Way Sungka?

About three months ago, I happened to see a sungka in Silay used as an appetizer tray. Cute idea I thought. I made a blog about it coz I haven’t seen sungka since I was in grade school which was over 30 years ago.

Cute idea

Innovative idea

Then I went on an Ilocano Roadtrip and saw in Calle Crisologo Vigan sungka sets for sale. I was happy. In the advent of the electronics age, the games of my youth have long been forgotten. No more Tex, Marbles, Trumpo or Shato, the last of which is a game of sticks too difficult to explain. Spider fighting is long gone since there are no more open fields to catch them. All good things come to an end…someday.

But in Cebu, I chanced upon a piece of furniture I have never seen before! I call it 4-way sungka. Make your own rules! At best 4 bored tourists can play or keep themselves busy as they wait for their pick up. It was beautifully made, showing the quality of Filipino craftsmanship. I found it so “aliw“, I just had to take a picture.

To many, this may be no big thing, but somehow it’s big to me! Maybe I just yearn for the good old days where the open fields were plentiful and life was simpler. No responsibilities then. Life was good. Ok I’m getting nostalgic…blame it on the beer! On second thought…Waiter, get me another beer!

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Is Masskara Worth Going To?

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I have been observing the Masskara festival since the early 1990s. I say observing coz I never participated in the events, I look forward to the eating, drinking and socializing. It’s be Sem Break so the students would be back. Negrenses take time out to bring over and entertain non-Negrense friends and make sure they have a good time.

I recall only once did I watch the street dancing in the heat. I had to park far then walked to the street dancing area. Luckily I’m tall so I can see no problem. Others had to stand atop their pickups to get a good view. During that time, the only mask one could buy was that of the Power Rangers. Your choices were red, yellow or green. Seeing the street dancing once is enough. Listening to “La Bamba” about 20 times as each baranggay danced to the same tune, was enough to make me say, “No mas, no mas! Yo no soy marinero, soy Capitan, soy Capitan!”

Oftentimes I would just hang out along Lacson St., have some dinner, drinks, walk the strip and say hi to friends hanging out in other Lacson St restos., have more drinks. As the night wore on, the merriment became rowdier. Drinking 8 San Mig Lights a night was the norm.

About ten years ago, someone had the bright idea of closing Lacson St starting 4pm til the wee hours of the morning. Negrenses loved the idea of walking along Lacson sans vehicular traffic. Then someone decided to have an Electrical Parade at night that added to the festivities. Frankly, I found the Electrical Parade overrated but I’m sure as the years go by, the creativity of the Negrense would improve the design of the participating electrical floats.

Two years ago, it was still fun to walk along Lacson St. It was tight in some areas where there were stages then a bit of open space in between. I missed last year’s and this year’s Masskara. For this year, I heard part of the Masskara venue near Bacolod Town Plaza was transferred to Lacson. Hence, Lacson St became one big can of sardines. Stall owners were cooking inasal on both sides of the street making the venue hotter and smellier. The four-lane road became two-lanes as more kiosks occupied the outer lanes. If it’s tight, thieves will have a heyday. One of my friends was pickpocketed but that is no surprise anymore. Every time there is a Masskara, Atiatihan, Sinulog or Dinagyang, thieves from all over the country congregate and prey on the unsuspecting.

So is Masskara worth going to? If one is a Masskara first-timer, photographer, eater or drinker, it’s an overwhelming YES! But after that, it becomes a case of “been there, done that.” If one has friends who can entertain them by all means go again. Negros and Bacolod are more than just Masskara. There are many restaurants to try and places to visit. I can proudly say Negros is definitely a good example of…”It’s More Fun In The Philippines!”

To A Dog, One Day Can Make A Big Difference

Sept 10, 2014

Sept 10, 2014

Sept 11, 2014

Sept 11, 2014

For me, a dog is a dog and yes, pure breeds get more respect. Azkals tend to be neglected and abandoned but they have a right to live too! I was hesitant to have my wife rescue an animal because if that animal doesn’t get adopted, he will end up in my house.

My wife rescued a dog she named Pio because it was found near Pioneer House in Paseo de Roxas. My wife took a picture and the dog looked scared and unhappy. When picture was posted in Facebook, the immediate response of friends was that the dog looked stressed and sad. I didn’t notice that. I just thought that was the natural look of the dog.

Lo and behold, after one day in the vet, my wife took a picture and now Pio looks like a happy camper! I’m just so amazed at the sudden turnaround. With his big smile and wide eyes, Pio is now surprisingly cute! Well I guess dogs can’t hide their feelings. What one day of care can achieve! He is a nice dog and deserves a better life so I hope he gets adopted.

A Must-Eat For Me from Tison’s

Chicken Asparagus Sandwich

Chicken Asparagus Sandwich

When the management of our sugar association decided that Tison’s was doing the catering for our Talisay fiesta party, they said that the menu will consist of beef, breaded fish, chicken galantina, lasagna and Russian salad with dessert and lechon added. I asked if there was going to be chicken asparagus sandwich which I always look for whenever Tison’s caters. Not this time they said since it’s dinner.

So I asked if the caterer can make a couple of chicken asparagus sandwiches for little old me. Ayan, request granted! Kinda selfish of me but heck, you don’t ask, you don’t get! Doesn’t cost much. Caterer just threw the sandwiches in as part of the deal.

Sarap! The sandwich is shaped like a canoli and I can eat four – no problem! Caterer made 8 sandwiches so I have been eating it the for last two days. Burp! I’m supposed to be avoiding white bread but what can I do? It’s one of my favorites! It’s a must-have for me every time Tison’s caters. I don’t believe they have a restaurant but their catered food is excellent and reasonably priced. If ever one needs a caterer in Negros, try them out. I highly recommend them.

Some People Actually Like This Stuff!

Novellino mad Carlo Rossi

Novellino and  Carlo Rossi

Our sugar association recently had a small dinner party because it was the day of the town fiesta. In preparing for the dinner, management chose the caterer and the menu. The staff asked us what type of red wine did we want. I gave a couple of brands but I told them any Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot or Shiraz would do. So the staff bought the wine and when I inspected I saw the Cabernet Sauvignon wine but also Carlo Rossi and Novellino.

“Why did you buy Carlo Rossi and Novellino?” I exclaimed. During the recent sugar convention, we were avoiding the Carlo Rossi and Novellino stuff which you could tell due to its lighter color. The answer of the staff surprised me. They found our regular wine too “pait” or bitter. Well I find Carlo Rossi and Novellino too sweet.

Come dinner time, my friends and I were chugging the Cabernet Sauvignon while the staff and our “forever-young” external auditor – lo and behold! – were enjoying the sweet wine. Bottom line is my friends and I were enjoying the regular wine while the others were enjoying the sweet wine. Everybody happy! It was a Fiesta! Just have to remember that what I like doesn’t necessarily mean it’s what others like as well. Live and Learn. Salud Pesetas Y Amor con Ana West en Chapultepec! (That’s a joke for those who took Spanish in our days)

Had to Harvest

Carabao Mango and Pomelo

Carabao Mango and Pomelo

Ok, it’s not really a harvest. I passed by my predominantly carabao mango orchard today and saw a lone mango so I plucked it from the tree. It was still green but if I didn’t do it, someone else will harvest it!

At the far end of the orchard, I have 5 pomelo trees which I don’t really pay much attention to. The pomelo produce isn’t commercial; not too sweet nor juicy. Ok for salads per my thinking. I’m not really a pomelo eater but I also got to pluck out one to try. It was fortunate that I was able to get one because a lot of people pass thru the farm and pluck illegally when no one is looking. Anyway, I’m excited to make some green mango salad which is basically green mango, bagoong or shrimp paste and tomatoes. For the pomelo, buy some lettuce , ham, cheese with some Asian dressing. Hmmm…I’m getting hungry just thinking about it. Bon Appetit!