Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A Proud FIlipino Moment: Anthony Bourdain tries Halo Halo

Anthony Bourdain is like my idol. You don't understand: if I could - right now- go back to when I was 10, knowing what I know now and re-do my whole life career, I would not be saying I want to be a singer like Mariah Carey when I grow up (because that obviously did not pan out)  Instead I would be saying something along the lines of I want to eat, go places, and eat some more, and be awesome.... I want to be like Anthony Bourdain.

Seriously, why wouldn't you like his job? He travels, writes, cooks, and eats for living, all the while keeping it real with his sometimes smart-ass commentary.  There's no fluff with him as he gives interesting and realistic perspectives on life in other places of the world that are unknown to people like me, who sit and shove potato chips while watching his show.

Okay, just kidding. I don't really shove my face with potato chips while watching Bourdain, but God.. I really want to... I really do. I just love potato chips.

Apparently, Anthony Bourdain has this new show on CNN called "Parts Unknown" -which to me, is sort of like "No Reservations", but in a different network.  While I had only just discovered "No Reservations" a few years ago, during the last few episodes of the series, I was saddened at the prospect of the show ending.

What am I going to do? I thought. Who's going to show me what the world is like and show me what I should eat if I should ever go someplace different? 

It was like that time when Costco started selling mochi-icecream. I thought it was the greatest thing in the world and was like.. I'm going to buy this all the time because it's so good ... and then they stopped selling it.

Why Costco ? Why? 

While Costco has not since revived selling the mochi-icecream, CNN has resolved my Bourdain issue.

In a recent episode, Bourdain explored Koreatown, LA. During the episode, he visited Jolibees (which apparently is in Koreatown?) and tried Halo Halo, among other things.

.. and he liked it, saying the desert "made no sense at all", but was "oddly beautiful"

A food icon, complimenting one of my favorite desserts in the world ( and I love me some dessert)! You can imagine how I felt as my heart swelled with pride. It made me want to run down to Jollibeers (which is 1 hours away from me) and have some halo halo in celebration of it all, but it was 10 at night and I had to work the next morning and more than likely Jollibees was closed.

I hope Bourdain does explore more Filipino food in later episodes. Only the good stuff though that won't freak the outside world out because some of it is weird, like the pig's blood... but a lot of it is good - bad for you, but good...  and having really good is something to be proud of

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

News Story: An American running prostitution ring in the Philippines

I've recently gotten into listening to investigative journalism bits while working. Logging into sites for shows like  60 minutes20/20, and This American Life, the stories on these shows have kept my mind active and awake and have helped me stay up to do with the happenings of the world.

Last week I came across this story on the ABC site.

Americans Targeted for Allegedly Running Underage Prostitution in Philippines - ABC News

Of course, being Filipino, I was drawn to the story and had to listen to it and OMG. I was kind of embarrassed that this sort of thing was happening in my motherland, but I can't say that I was surprised: The Philippines is a third world country where a majority of the people are poor and in their poverty stricken desperation, are willing to do anything, including prostitute themselves to anyone willing to pay.

I've heard other stories about foreigners going to the Philippines and participating in these sort of activities. One of them, an American exec. who fathered this kid from a Filipino stripper. The Exec died, and the mother is trying to file claim to some inheritance for her son.. at least that's the story that I remembered hearing.

Hearing the story on ABC was a reality check. I think I often live so engrossed in my nice little American bubble of a life, that I tend to forget that there is a world that exists outside this bubble, one where women living in a 3rd world country succumb to prostitution as a means of survival. While my initial reaction in hearing the story was that of  disgust and embarrassment, both for the women who succumb themselves to that sort of lifestyle and for the fact that it was an American who bragged that he had all these women in the Philippines ( and a wife in the states who had no idea - thank you for representing America is such a light you sleezy bastard ) I stopped myself and thought really, what would you do if you were in that situation? I mean, I would would like to think that my moral standard would prevail given that situation, that the thought of being a prostitute would make my stomach turn and that I would do everything in my power to get myself out of that shit hole of life while maintaining my dignity. But then again, I am not them and they are not me; I was never given their hardships to experience to begin with, never forced to make their decisions. So, I'll leave all judgement aside, pray for those girls and any girl who is in a similar situation, and hope for country will someday - somehow be better.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Filipino Hospitality

A few years ago, a priest who had done missionary work in the Philippines came and talked at my church during the homily. Of course, I attentively listened as I was curious about what he had to say about his experiences in the motherland and there's one thing that I remember that stood out as he related his story, and it was something along the lines of Filipinos, as a people, being hospitable despite their impoverished conditions.

I thought about that church homily as I went to my parents house this past Easter and had Easter lunch.

Eat! Eat ! Eat! my dad said while we were there.

This was often something he would say when I brought friends over while growing up

Dad: Are you hungry?
Friend: uhm...they were unsure of what to say.
Dad: EAT!!! eat eat eat!

And he would find whatever he could in our fridge and start plating food. My friends probably thought they had no choice but to eat, lest they would be rude, but then again it wasn't like they weren't hungry. Now, it wouldn't always be anything extravagant: left over lumpia, some chicken adobomade the night before, corned beef and rice, meals that some people might find strange, but was typical of what was eaten in our household.  If we didn't have food, my dad would search through the pantry and see what he could feed my friends.

You like spam? huh? I can make spam? How about corn beep?  I can make you corn beep! 5 minutes! Oh and there's longanisa or pork and beans?or there's some salted crackers.. and bread... Sit, sit, sit! I will make you something!

and if there was ever leftovers, he would try to get them to take home food

Take some food ! We get plenty!  and before any of my friends could say anything, he would have food ready for them to take home.

That's how it was at my house growing up, and still is whenever I go over to stop by my parents. The moment I walk through the door they insist I eat, and when I say I'm not hungry, their response is how come? as if something is wrong with me. It's part of who they are and their culture. And honestly, there's nothing wrong with it. Often when friends reminisce on the days when they'd come over to do homework or hangout, that's the one thing they remember : You parents are so nice, they'd always want to feed me. 

This sense of hospitality is something that I think I've acquired and if so, I hope to maintain as I get older and start having a family. I want to be that mom whose friends kids want to come over because I cook really food for them, like so good... they'll be asking if they can come to dinner. Maybe that's a weird goal to have, but I don't know.. I just like cooking, and having people eating my food.