I haven’t seen or talked to M for more than 30 years. She and I had been classmates in Grade School. We still attended the same High School but we weren’t classmates anymore. Then we went to different schools for college and eventually she moved to another continent. We got re-connected through social media. We’ve kept up-to-date with each other through the posts and photos we shared. Then tonight, I was surprised to have a private message from her. She and I had been watching “The Good Wife” and we were both shocked with the sudden turn of events in the show. We ended up chatting about how we felt and what we thought about the show. All of a sudden, the many years we haven’t seen each other and the difference in the time zones vanished. We were just two friends, chatting about something we had seen. It felt good to be able to re-connect with friends in ways that were not imaginable when we were younger. I am grateful for this surprise chat with M.
Mama called early this morning to tell me that she had made some ube and that I could get some for my family. Ube halaya is a Filipino dessert. The scientific name of ube, or purple yam, is Dioscorea alata. The purple yam is boiled and grated then cooked with condensed milk. The cooking process is tedious, as the mixture needs to be stirred continuously. My mother makes the best ube. We’ve tried ube from different stores, but nothing compares to hers. It’s sweet and smooth and creamy. Everyone who tastes it agrees. But since my mom is getting old, it is now more difficult for her to cook it. These days, she only makes some for very special occasions. So today, I am grateful that we are able to have a taste again of this luscious dessert.
Tapa is one of my favorite comfort food. The thin strips of beef, marinated in a sweetish sauce before they are fried, are usually served with garlic rice and fried egg. There are different varieties available. Some have a stronger garlic flavor, while others are marinated in soy sauce and calamansi. The tapa of Tapa King is my favorite commercially-available tapa. In particular, their Tapa Prince, which has a sweetish taste, is the one I like the most. So when I got to the Food Court earlier today and saw a sign which said “Buy One, Take One Tapa Prince”, I knew I had to have it. Of course I couldn’t finish all that by myself, so I shared it with my husband. The promo runs until June, so I think I’m going to have a lot of tapa in the next couple of months.
I am grateful that food delivery is only a phone call away. Lunchtime came and I didn’t have anything ready to eat. If it were just me in the house, I would’ve just skipped lunch altogether. But school is out and my son is home. Fortunately, there are a lot of options now for food delivery. We don’t do it often, of course. But it’s a wonderful option to have.
When we were looking for a place to establish our home, one of the most important considerations was security. We wanted a place that was safe and quiet. We wanted our kids to be able to play outside and still be safe. That was one of the reasons why we chose our present location. Ours is a small village. The only people coming in are those who live here. And the street in front of us is not a busy street. So when the weather is good – the sun is out, the wind is blowing – the kids come out and play. They played frisbee today. Not too many kids get outdoor time these days. So today, I am grateful that we have a safe neighborhood.
The Philippine Science High School is a specialized public high school that offers a “secondary course with special emphasis on subjects pertaining to the Sciences with the end view of preparing its students for a Science career”. Scholarships are given to Filipino students who show giftedness in the sciences and mathematics. Admission is limited to those who pass the National Competitive Examinations (NCE). Only 240 out of the more than 20,000 students who take the exam annually are allowed admission. The top scorers are admitted to the Main Campus in Quezon City.
When Chino passed the NCE, he said that he would prefer to study High School there. He said that he is inclined to take up Engineering or Math in college, so going to PSHS would prepare him better for it. Of course, we were supportive of his decision but there was a nagging question that was at the back of our heads.
The PSHS Main Campus has been in Quezon City for the past 50 years, from the time it started operations in 1964. But in recent years, there have been reports that it was going to be transferred to the DOST compound in Bicutan. The Ayala group had acquired the huge tracts of land surrounding the campus and they were interested in building a new business district in the area. If the campus were to transfer to Bicutan, it would have a big effect on us.That would mean a longer commute to and from school. As it is, he is picked up very early and gets home at night. We cannot afford to add more time to his commute without sacrificing his health.
So today’s announcement, that PSHS will stay in Quezon City, is good news for us. I only hope that the next president will continue to honor that.
I picked up the idea from a very good friend of mine, Wen. The idea is to make the kids learn how to cook and prepare meals. I think it’s important for both girls and boys to know how to cook. This summer, the kids will cook at least 10 dishes. That does not count frying something from a can. They will be responsible for picking out and buying the ingredients, preparing and cooking the food. They get to choose what to cook. I will only be there to supervise them.
Why are we doing this? First of all, I want them to learn a basic life skill – cooking. Anywhere you go, whatever you end up doing, you will have to cook, for yourself, for your family. Now is a good time to start learning. Secondly, the experience will (hopefully) make them more appreciative of the effort it takes to put a meal on the table. So the next time they feel like complaining about something, I hope they will remember how it feels to be on the other side. Thirdly, I want them to be more involved in household chores during the summer. They don’t get to do much during the school year because of their hectic schedules. But during the summer vacation, they will have to go back to their assigned chores. I believe that doing household chores builds character and fosters the spirit of doing things for each other.
The first dish they chose to prepare was Sinigang na Baboy. Sinigang is a Filipino dish with a sour soup. Viands commonly used are pork, fish and shrimp. For this dish, the kids chose to use pork. We went to the grocery to buy the meat and vegetables. Following the recipe that I use, the kids worked together to cook this dish. Of course, it would have taken less time and effort if I had done it myself. But the point was to make them learn to do this on their own. This was the finished product.
There wasn’t enough soup because they left the pot uncovered for some time. The vegetables were not uniformly sliced. But it tasted good. They’re learning and having fun while doing so. Pretty good start, I would think.