Category Archives: Features

From the Kitchen World

(14 July 2011)

The kitchen is a world all on its own. It has its own rhythm, sound and time. It has seen faces come and go, rites of passage in its stoves, and masterpieces heralded by sonorous and rain-like sounds of thick stews and sautés. Within it lie silent witnesses to the ebb and flood tides of a family’s ever-changing circumstance – pans that may have fried best portions of meat or boisterously smelly dried fish, pots that may have boiled intense soups or glutamate-rich instant noodles, and ladles that have become sticky with clinging rice or have hit and scraped several pot bottoms.

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Scents in the Breeze and a Song

(04 February 2011)

He slowly walked along the timeworn paths. It was raining that day, short-lived but frequent, brought by the passing rain clouds. He was glad that the trails are now covered by broken seashells. They crumbled under his sandals and announced his every step as clearly as the fading rain falling on his umbrella.

He found the spot. And he stood there in silence. The rain clouds vanished and the heavens have cleared. The scent of ylang-ylang blossoms in the breeze brought him many years back into his past, in a spot on the sidewalk…
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Water Dikes, Processions and Keran

(10 January 2011, Cebu)

Strong rains, typhoons and hurricanes plagued that school year. One hurricane even took off our house’ entire ceiling and dropped it in the middle of the nearby rice field. Aside from literally sleeping under the stars for a night that year, I fondly remember it for the times when classes were cancelled for several days but we still went to school – in uniform and with bags fully equipped with books, writing pads and pencils.

My partner in crime was Keran. Our crime would start when, realizing that there would be no class (since our teacher hasn’t arrived after an hour or two), everyone else would head home. We would proceed to a roadside canal overflowing with water from the nearby rice fields along our way home. There was a small stream that flowed through the dirt road.
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Just Like in High School

(29 June 2010, Cebu)

There was a slight drizzle when I woke up early this morning. And there were many puddles of brown water outside – remnants of the heavy rains last night. I decided to bring my umbrella to work.

The early morning smell of the wet grasses, the cool breeze of the air, and the soft, slippery feel of rain-soaked soil on the sole of my shoes transported me to many years ago. I remembered what it was like to go to school in June. Like today, it was difficult to get out of bed. I just wanted to snooze all day.
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A Month Full of Kindness

(14 February 2010)

The aerial memories of seasons passed have again swept me. It rode with the scents in the supermarket’s meat section, in the ethers in the fruit section, and in the julienned pieces of veggies in the vegetable section. Windswept in the cloud of reminiscences, I strolled aimlessly forgetting the details of the present. I reminisced about my very first month in Cebu, a month full of kindness.

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Squatters with Roosters

(04 August 2009, Cebu)

We lived inside a private compound of a kind Filipino-Chinese pastor for a year. Many things had happened when we were there. I began my first year in school and ended it at the top of the class. We sold the last piece of precious property that reminded us of affluent times in the hacienda – our tricycle. My mother cried that day. My mother’s father passed away. My mother cried that day too. And we all went home to the hacienda to attend the wake and the funeral.
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Under the Moon and the Stars

(06 July 2009, Cebu)

Nights came early over the hacienda during my early childhood years. They were usually silent. Only the crickets and the cicadas seemed excited to practice their symphonies. Occasionally, a dog would bark. People have their dinners early. Some would spend some time listening to their favorite radio dramas after eating and before going to sleep.
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