Aki’s summer vacation is about to end. Huhuhu.
Before the school year starts, lemme tackle the oldest draft in my head — our summer Elbi vacay 2013.
If you remember, Aki had his first vacation without us last year. All cousins stayed in our anscestral home in Bayog because my UK-based relatives were home for a few weeks.
What happens when you put 5 boys and 1 girl with ages 3 to 10 in one roof? Chaos! Clutter! And lots of laughter and happy memories.
Muscles muscles muscles
The newest Go Go Balls addicts in town.
We love going home to Elbi. Whenever we are in my hometown, we practice the art of doing nothing. Laziness at its best. By doing nothing and by not having a plan at all, we get to enjoy every bit of the vacation and end up doing a lot actually.
Some highlights of our Easter weekend
Bonding with my favorite niece and nephew. Here, they are singing a song for Aki after making him cry.
Waiting for our favorite sorbetero
Read Archie comics. The second edition of the Best of Archie’s was not as good as the first.
We practiced Aki on how to make phone calls whenever he’d miss us. He was about to have his first official summer vacation without us. I thought that 5 days would be difficult for him. Boy I was wrong. He only called us once, on the first morning without us. After that, he was too busy playing with his cousins whenever I called him up.
While the city folks were stuck inside airconditioned rooms, we were enjoying the cool breeze of Bayog
We enjoyed watching the sunrise and the sunset
Aki and I collected sea shells from the Laguna de Bay shore, which is just a few meters away from our house. The picture above is the view from our gate.
We made an impromptu trip to UPLB
and to Mio Cucina. Thanks Dew for the reco!
Speaking of food, I told my mom that we need new utensils. This is what she gave me. A chest of unused utensils and boxes of starter sets — all gifts from her own wedding some 30 years ago.
Sometime mid-last year, I was bored to death waiting for Franco’s meeting to end. Out of the blue, I suddenly thought of my childhood. Jyl, at that time, was turning 10 soon. I wondered if she got to experience the fun things that my sister and I did when we were kids. That night, while waiting in one of the sofas in Glorietta, I contacted my favorite sister and compiled a list of our favorite memories from our childhood. My hope is to be able to give my Aki (and Emily) the same experiences. Here is what Jana and I came up with
1. Nika, our pretty askal pet dog. We had other pet dogs before Nika. We had Jack and Jill and Blackie and Brownie. Unfortunately, they did not live long. I don’t remember them actually except that Blackie was black and Whitie (or was it Brownie) was white. My sister and I vividly remember the day we picked up Nika. I was about 7 years old. Kiboy, my dad’s best friend, introduced us to his friend. I can’t remember her name but she was a jolly old lady. We went to her house to pick up our first official dog. Nika is the prettiest mongrel. We loved her so much. I even read dog training books hoping I would be able to teach her a trick or two. That never happened though. hehe. During the 10 years that Nika was with us, she had a lot of babies. The most memorable for Jana and me were the first pregnancies. We excited waited for the puppies to come out and when they did, we loved feeding them and playing with them. Rest in peace, Nika. Thank you for being part of our childhood.
Trivia: Franco named his first dog Baby Sue.
Assignment: Have the gate fixed when Aki’s 6 years old so that we can have our first pet when he turns 7.
2. Our very own bed. One weeknight, when I was 8 yeard old, our mom surprised us by getting us our own bed. It was a single bed with a pull-out one. When the truck came, sis and I did not know what was happening until we saw our beds.
I am just not sure if Aki would be as thrilled. Right now, every time the idea of him sleeping in his own bed is brought up, he gets teary eyed.
Assignment: Check when Aki turns 6 to see how he feels about sleeping in his own bed.
3. Grandparents. We have the sweetest lolos and lolas. Maybe because we grew daddy-less, everyone in our family especially the grandparents were extremely nice to us. I remember how we would wake up early to catch the pandesal delivery boy and pick the most toastest bread with our Lolo Ano, my mom’s dad. Our funniest childhood memory probably was when we were seated around the dining table for lunch when suddenly, a lizard ipot, I remember how liquid it was, fell on my lolo’s head. My sister and I still laugh about it every time we reminisce
Papa Encio, my dad’s dad, have 2 pigs in Bigaa, Cabuyao. Can you guess the names of the pigs? Maqui and Jana! haha.
Every time we visited our great grandmother in Cabuyao, we always stopped by this store where we buy Chips Ahoy. I don’t know if this is just me but the Chips Ahoy when I was kid were yummier than the ones nowadays. Or maybe that is because Chips Ahoy cookies from my childhood were made yummier because of the sweet memories of excitedly waiting in the counter as Papa ordered and paid for them.
My grandparents on the paternal side were spoilers! Mummy did not let us papak Milo but when we were in Calamba, we could eat all the Milo in the world… secretly.
Assigment: Convince Lola Do to take care of 2 pigs and name them Aki and Emily. Also, I need to bribe Lola Do that let Aki eat Milo.
5 Swimming. If you are from Los Banos or Calamba, 4 out of the 5 parties that you will attend are most likely swimming parties. It is not just the kids who like to swim. The oldies with rheumatism also like to soak in the hot springs. I did not realize that tan lines are fashionable until years later because back home, everyone has them. We did not need to have celebration to have an excuse to swim. The pools in Pansol were minutes away and were very afforadable. We’d spend Saturday mornings swimming in Cuyab or in Laguna Hot Springs.
Assignment: none! Aki has experienced swimming in Pansol a couple of time and he looooved it!
6 Balikbayan relatives. A few days before my relatives from the UK and from the US arrive, we’d scrub the house clean and make sure that the nicest bed linens are ready for use. On the day of their flight, we rented a jeepney so the whole barangay can pick up the special visitors from the airport. From them on until they leave, it’d be all about reunions, vacations, swimming, food overload left and right. My favorite part? The balikbayan boxes! We excitedly waited for our pasalubong to be handed out to us. I wish I could keep the smell of a balikbayan box in a bottle so I can be transported to my childhood anytime.
7 Saturdays at my mom’s clinic. Until a couple of years ago, my mom’s dental clinic was based in Calamba. On Saturdays, my mom would bring us to her clinic. We’d read her Woman Today magazines. Play with her dental gadgets. Have our teeth checked and cleaned. Watch my mom clean her patient’s teeth. The highlight of the day was our trip to this nearby grocery to buy Hello Panda.
Assignment: Befriend the head of security and find a way to bring Aki to work when he is about 7 years old.
8 Summer vacations. Our summer vacations were either in my paternal grandparents’ house in Calamba or in my Tita Sor’s house in BF. Aside from the thrill of being away from home, the best part is being with cousins 24×7.
Assignment: none! Aki had a blast in his first summer vacation away from home. We will definitely make this an annual tradition.
9 Undas. Interestingly, I have more fun memories from All Saint’s Day than from Christmas. November 1 is the always the day we visit our dad’s grave, make balls out of melted candles, go to perya, and stuff ourselves with adobo and suman.
Our weekend in Elbi last month was made even more memorable because of the playdate that we had with Dew and Raviv. Dew is the kikay mommy blogger behind the MomsterTeacher blog.
It was actually my idea to have a picnic in the Baker grounds. A couple of hours before the playdate, Dew told me that she baked cookies. That was the only time I realized that I did not prepare any food. Yikes! The unspoken in rule in Elbi is that if you are going to a potluck event with other Elbizens, don’t bring buko pie! Haha. We love our buko pie but since we have been eating it since we were born, we prefer something else. Because of my poor planning skills, I ended up bring a buko pie from Letty’s.
Here is what we ate that afternoon. Aki loved Dew’s cookies. I think he had at least 4.
To my surprise, little Raviv enjoyed the buko pie. Haha. While Dew and I were chatting, we did not notice that Raviv was secretly pinching off small portions of our favorite delicacy. Continue reading “Playdate with Dew and Raviv”
First of all, ask Kuya Vendor if you can help. If he says yes, put some taho into the cups.
Growing up, I thought my mom was my complete opposite. Now that I am a mom myself, I see a lot of my mom’s key traits in me. Like her, I like to read on topics that affect or may affect my family. I have grown to hate clutter although Mom’s tolerance is much much lower. I hate eyesores but that ends there. Mom would proactively look for clutter, clutter that I don’t even recognize, and fix the place up. Like Mummy, I would be happy to stay at home rather than spend Friday nights with friends. Lately, Mummy and I developed a special interest in gardening. We have been interested in plants for quite sometime but it was only last April when we started to take care of plants that will give us food eventually.
Look at what I saw in her container garden. Oh wait, let us define container gardening first, shall we? Take out your dictionaries as this definition might be too scientific for you. Container gardening is gardening in containers. Haha. Instead of planting the plant directly into the land, plants are planted in containers. When space is limited, but enthusiasm is not, container gardening is the way to go. Mommy actually has a vast lot behind her house but she prefers her container garden, situated right beside the house, in the then-piggery, now parking space slash sampayan.
In Los Banos, the local government supports gardening by giving free seeds and compost. I wonder how the local government of other towns and cities support urban farming. Whenever I pass by a squatter’s area or see a beggar, I can’t help but wish that the container-gardening bug would bite them too. Instead of asking people for money or complaining about how poor they are, if they get into planting their own food, they would be self-sufficient. Malunggay, one of the most nutritious plants ever, needs almost zero maintenance.
Anyhoo, I would like to share images from my mom’s veggie garden.
Ginger in a used plastic box
Seedlings in styropore
Seedlings in taho plastic cups
Cranberry in a jumbo laundry soap container
We spent the Holy Week in the most relaxing resort, my mom’s hacienda.
Mother does not have a pool but she does have a lake. Hehe. While the aircon in the houses of the city folks were in full gear, we were happily enjoying the strong cool winds of Bayog
Franco and I always make plans of going out like a date night in Elbi Square ( I am not even sure if it is still open. The first and last time, we were there was in 2004) or eating in Isdaan, but none of those ever happen. It is always more fun to chillax in Dorie’s mansion. So what do we do in my mom’s house? Nothing! Just how we like it. Aki was far busier than Franco and I whenever we are home in Elbi
Here are some of his regular activities
Enviously watch the neighbors’ kids play with old rubber tires. I asked the kids why they have so many tires when they are only four in the group. One kid said they bring extras for those who would like to join them
Feed the chicken. Later on, chase them.
Marvel, inspect and take a bath at the poso
I have posted before that growing up, I was somewhat ashamed to be living in our fishing village, Bayog. Fast forward 20 years later, there is no other place more relaxing to me than the beautiful barrio I grew up in.
There are so many things that I have come to appreciate about Bayog.
Whenever there is a typhoon, especially if it is major one, we can always always expect to eat bangus for one week. The winds cause the fish pens to fall apart, causing bangus overload in our shores. I remember when I was young, there were so many excess bangus that the fishermen were already giving us their catch for free!
I am not sure if the Nestle caritos have reached our barangay. What I know is that binatog vendors riding bikes are always in business.
The elders have silly nicknames like Daga and Uling. My guess is that those were nicknames that stuck until they got old. My greatgrandfather is Tatang Gata which is why sometimes I hear that we are referred to as “lahi ng mga gata”l
When I go home again, hopefully next month, my project is to learn how to cook “Sinigang sa Bayabas na Tinapa na may Gata”.
Let me end by sharing pictures of the most common plant in our baranggay: