the true taste of home

Traveling is not always an escape, at times it is a way to give yourself a chance to miss home. And in my case, it has been a year since the last time I set foot on my native home land.

(sniff sniff) Do I smell homesick? Not quite. As homesick is defined as a mood or sadness characterized with initial signs of depression and melancholy. And I may JUST be missing and craving for some things back home.

Home sick isn’t really in the vocabulary of wanderlusts, we can even live years on the road without crying on the phone when we dial the big +63. It is just that at times we couldn’t help waking up in the morning and some what having an olfactory hallucination that we smell baking pandesal. Abroad, no matter how absurdly convenient (or hazardous) the transportation from point A to B, we are still looking for that Salmonella and Clostridium tetani thrill that only a Manila jeepney can offer.

I decided to visit my folks back home and spend some time with Monette for her 39th birthday. I left Singapore with only one set of clothes which I was wearing enroute to Manila, a luggage full of the body shop items, white coffee and almost 10 kg of chocolates (A true Pinoy pasalubong, even though those chocolates are widely available in the Philippines, visiting back home from abroad would not be complete without these diabetic’s suicide bars).

areal photo of sunset

Touching down to NAIA used to be a sad moment in the past. It simply means vacation’s over, time to go back to work, wake up to reality. This time, it means otherwise. The almost four hours of flight was enough for me to sleep and recharge after enslaving myself at work in the preceding weeks. But I was wide awake and there’s only one thing running in my head on board Airphil Express…

WHAT TO EAT FIRST?!

And here are the food choices that are making me salivate in the last 356 days:

Known as Monosodium Glutamate cooked in different ways, Jollibee for me, is still superior to any fast food anywhere else in the face of the planet. Those langhap sarap burgers served with rice (yes rice, not rice buns, but rice + extra rice) and the chickenjoy swimming in pure cholesterol love–gravy!

Me: Hello, 2 buckets of Chickenjoy please.
Operator: Alright sir, would that be all?
Me: … oh extra gravy. 10 cups of extra gravy!
Operator: but sir you have to pay five pesos per—
Me: I DON’T CARE IF I PAY 5 PESOS OR 5 DOLLARS PER CUP, JUST GIVE ME–THE FREAKING–GUHRAVEEEEEY!
Operator: ???
Me: Sorry miss… yes 10 cups of gravy please… wait, that’s on top of the free cups, right?

Flip Fact: Chicken meals in Singapore are served with Chili, not gravy. Texas Chicken and KFC are the only food chains that has gravy in their kitchen and it is usually served for mashed potato ONLY! So you have to buy it for $1.50, and the taste is bordering to those of old socks.

Tender Juicy Hotdogs. This is not  a paid post but I must say, Pinoy hotdogs are the bomb. It may taste weird to some but these smaller western sausages counterpart reminds me of Christmas. It may not be Monette’s thing but for me these salty, juicy, cheap and angry red meat puts the HOT in hotdogs. no pun intended.

sisig

Sisig. A feast of bad ass pork parts like ears, innards, skin, chicharon (fried fatty parts) sizzled in its own oil and drenched liberally with Low Density Lipoproteins. Mixed with chopped chili, onion and a squeeze of a Calamansi (lime) on top served in sizzling plate with a bottle of ice cold  San Miguel and Red Horse beer. So help me God.

Dinuguan. An alarming savory stew of meat and/or offal (typically stomach, intestines, ears, heart and snout) simmered in a rich, spicy dark gravy of pig blood, garlic, chili and vinegar. Don’t be so squeamish, this does not confirm your retarded speculations that Philippines is where Edward Cullen settled down. The dish is similar to Europe’s blood sausage or black pudding stew and the preparation is more like the Polish soup Czernina. However the Philippines’ old recipe is a knock off of Melas Zomos of the ancient Spartan Civilization.

sinuguan

Flip Fact: There’s no vampires in the Philippines. So girls, when you see a pale looking guy that sparkles, do not get too excited. Most likely he is a gay guy from an after party in Malate.

From the airport, I asked my family to go straight to a banchetto to gorge and bolt on Vigan Longanisa and the old school Isaw (A chicken or pig intestines marinated and grilled on skewers).

So it has been a year since I decided to give up the comforts of my life in Manila. I am always excited to try new cuisines when I am traveling and I tend to trivialize how good these common food we see everyday. The true taste of home is not limited to the flavors and scents, it’s the people whom you eat with, the memories it elicits while it lingers in your mouth and the fact that it is cheap all inclusive and its true character that is undoubtably Pinoy.

Here in Singapore I have been a big slob, my social life is synonymous to facebook. Entertainment is limited to watching some youtube videos of some kid who can play a wicked ukulele or Marian Rivera pulling another stupid stunt on national television. The surprises on TFC news like Police stupidity, sensationalized billboard brouhaha and the biggest telenovela entitled ‘Government’ became my regular late night amusement.

Manila may not be the cleanest, safest and most progressive city that I have been to, but it was my niche. It was my little safe corner where you can pull a Chaka Khan and belt the night away ’til the break of dawn without the Police officer knocking on my door, where my fave food can be found in every corner at any given time, and where I can climb up the roof and scream on the top of my lungs–I’M THE KING OF THE… (stop!)

In the mean time, I’m making the best out of my three days in Manila, the city I call home!


  • http://www.mycruisetravelpictures.com/ Sailor

    I feel the same when I am back home. Always the home food taste better.

  • http://technosyncratic.com/ Christy @ Technosyncratic

    Haha, the question of what to eat first is often my day’s most pressing dilemma! And I say that only halfway facetiously… :)

  • http://www.chyngreyes.com chyng

    monette’s 39th birthday tlga?! haha!

    ang chakka ng KFC sa SG, may bayad! boo!
    and btw, when we went there, may dala din kaming TJ hotdogs. kinumpiska sa customs. =(

  • http://www.pinaytraveljunkie.com/ pinaytraveljunkie

    Major, major food trip! Yey, Monette’s older than moi. Lol.

  • http://www.thedropoutdiaries.com Barbara

    You know, after our wonderful holiday in Philippines, our verdict was “great place, terrible food”. We found the best food in Boracay — at a Korean place!
    Although halo halo was pretty good. :-)

  • http://alotofwind.com robin

    You have absolutely no idea how exotic it sounds to an Irishman reading about the things you miss when you’re a Philippino living in Singapore!

  • http://www.novacationrequired.com Caaanan @ No Vacation Required

    I second what Christy said!

  • http://struxtravel.com Michael Figueiredo

    It all looks and sounds amazing to me!

  • http://www.baconismagic.ca ayngelina

    I heart Jollibee too, so much better than McDs.

  • http://www.wearesolesisters.com/ Lois

    Ron! Missed you again for the 2nd time. Nina told me you were in Pinas recently and you all went out.

    As for myself, what I missed most was Halo Halo and banana Q!

    I wonder which country we’ll finally get to meet in!

  • http://www.lakwatseradeprimera.com lakwatsera de primera

    Oh my, i miss sisig and dinuguan like crazy! I’ll prolly head straight to the nearest Gerry’s Grill or Dencio’s Grill to get an immediate fix on my next visit to Manila ( Note: This is not a sponsored comment 😉 )

  • http://juneosidabenitez.posterous.com/ June Osida Benitez

    you make me crave for Puto and Dinuguan..

  • http://www.budgettraveladventures.com/ Jeremy Branham

    Who knew Manila had southern food too! :) That’s exactly what some of this reminded me of. However, the comforts of home must taste really good!

  • http://lakad-pilipinas.blogspot.com Christian | Lakad Pilipinas

    nangasim ako sa description mo ng sisig =P

  • http://thepinaysolobackpacker.com thepinaysolobackpacker

    haha so ni-reveal tlga yung edad ni Monette! OMG! Di halata, Monette looks so much younger than 38th kala ko younger pa xa saken. :)

    Glad you enjoyed your stay here, though alam ko napagod ka dahil kulang ka sa tulog. It’s nice to finally meet you Ron, thank you sa Body Shop, pagyumaman ako, ako naman magbigay ng pasalubong. haha

    Happy Travels! :)

  • http://thepinaysolobackpacker.com thepinaysolobackpacker

    yihey! finally naka-comment na ako! my topak ata yung isang PC ayaw mag-comment sa page nyo. :)

  • http://marilil.wordpress.com/ lifeisacelebration

    If it didn’t have your name………..I would have thought this was an “order list” from one of my nieces coming home for a holiday. Oh yes, it’s nearly the same list + Max’s fried chicken and halo halo!

  • http://fliptravels.com/ flip’n travels

    sailor … it always will
    cristy … same goes to me at work, but i got no choice but coffee and banana
    chyng … wtf? baka bet lang ni kuya. usually nakaka lusot naman kami
    gaye … hahaha she’s an auntie
    barbara … i challenge you to go back to the philippines, but this time i will be your foodie guide. LOL glad you liked halohalo.
    robin … well it is exotic, you should try at least once
    Michael … it is. thanks!
    Ayngelina … whoa! you tried it in the phil? or in the US?
    Lois … were u in manila during my visit? i will see you next month sweetie
    lakwatsera de primera … i love dencio’s ad gerry’s. cheap and authentic ( Note: This is not a sponsored reply to comment… LOL )
    June … specially the mouthwatering feel of the creamy puto and cheese in the mouth. hahahhaa
    Jeremy … true, home is where the heart is, and the stomach too!
    Christian … SISIG! beer… uuugghhh! hehe thanks
    Gael … HAHAHAHA lagot ka kay monette! LOL she’s 20-ish
    liliram … hahaha i think that’s something common among OFW’s. MAX’s chicken in Jufran Ketchup! mmmmmmmM!

  • http://www.thedropoutdiaries.com Barbara

    Monette, Ron — YOU’RE ON!!!

  • palmer

    39 na si Monette? di ako makapaniwala!lol if i may ask sir ano work nyo dito sa SG?

  • http://fliptravels.com/ flip’n travels

    palmer: argh! hindi ako 38!!! 20 something lang ako!!!

  • palmer

    nabasa ko lang dito..di nga ako makapaniwala eh:p

    I decided to visit my folks back home and spend some time with Monette for her 39th birthday. I left Singapore with only one set of clothes which I was wearing enroute to Manila, a luggage full of the body shop items, white coffee and almost 10 kg of chocolates..

  • http://www.pinoyboyjournals.com pinoy boy journals

    Me: Hello, 2 buckets of Chickenjoy please.
    Operator: Alright sir, would that be all?
    Me: … oh extra gravy. 10 cups of extra gravy!
    Operator: but sir you have to pay five pesos per—
    Me: I DON’T CARE IF I PAY 5 PESOS OR 5 DOLLARS PER CUP, JUST GIVE ME–THE FREAKING–GUHRAVEEEEEY!
    Operator: ???
    Me: Sorry miss… yes 10 cups of gravy please… wait, that’s on top of the free cups, right?

    Bwahahahahahahahahahahahahaha di na ako natatapos kakatawa!

  • http://fliptravels.com/ flip’n travels

    Jerik: hahahaha! thanks! at least i know na bumenta humor ko. hehehe

  • http://silverpixiecreates.tumblr.com Pika

    Jollibee is no-no for me. From the burgers to their soup pareho lasa — oily na ewan. BUT! Their hot chocolate is to die for.

    Win ang DINUGUAN (walang Goldilocks sa SG?) at LONGGANISA!!!