I want to share some things that are worth coming back here.
As a young girl, I grew up having my vacations in Bulacan. To be exact, in Pulong Buhangin, Sta. Maria, Bulacan. I actually lived there for a couple of years. Life there was simple. You wake up, do chores,eat meals (which you wouldn’t worry what to cook),visit and hang out with neighbors then have merienda, at sunset, watch television and go to sleep.
Mine was simpler – wake up, eat breakfast, play,eat lunch,sleep,eat merienda,play,eat dinner,sleep. If you will notice, the words just repeated, which means my day to day was just simple that I had to repeat activities.
Celebrating my birthday with Mama
Things changed as years passed. Lesser trips to Bulacan. There where even vacations we did not went home. Till recently, we started going home again. Few constructions, growing neighborhood,developed lands. Inspite of these changes, still I felt like I had never left.
In this generation that are full of buildings,gadgets,fast paced life,I want to share some things that are worth coming back and should be appreciated.
Truly,whenever I think of Bulacan, I always remember sumptuous meals prepared by my Ate (my tita) and Mama. Even restaurants would not compare to the cooking we have in Bulacan. Whether its poultry, fish, seafood or vegetables and fruits,everything is fresh. We do not worry on where to buy and get these as it’s mostly available within reach. My Ate is good with planting crops and small plants. She can grab calmansi,chili, guava etc.just at the backyard.
Fresh fruits everyday
Ate is like a genie that whenever I wish or crave for something, it’s instantly there or prepared the next day!
I can eat almost anything. Sinigang, nilaga,tinola,inihaw, bistek, dinuguan, hipon, alimango, calamares, beef broccoli. Name it, she cooks it.
Grilled squid and chicken
Grilled stuffed bangus (milkfish)
I recognize that there are alot of delicious versions of palabok. However,I would have to put Bulacan’s palabok on top of my list. Special mention to Dhel and Vic’s palabok. Everytime I go home, I would need to buy from them. You pair it with their puto pao and it’s the perfect merienda.
Palabok and puto pao
Bulacan has kept its tradition of fiesta with marching bands(mosiko),sagala and prusisyon.
People lined up on the streets,spectators in front of their houses gazing at the festivities.
I couldn’t help but be proud that traditions like these are still being practiced and experienced by the younger generation.
It’s in Bulacan also that I had the courage to try this Pinoy delicacy. Well… not really so courageous as I can’t try the sisiw yet. All these years, I have either my Mama or Ate eat the sisiw.
Bondat ;famous vendor of balut-who’s got a big tummy,always in white shirt- is the only vendor we buy balut from. He sells yummy balut with just the right size of chick. I could consume an average of 3 baluts in one seating!
BOODLE FIGHT WITH RELATIVES
I also miss occasional visits to relatives and just hanging out with them over lunch. We make do with what we have. No extra preparations. Just serve what you have and bring what you can. It brings back good ‘ol days when everyone was younger, everyone was there. Now,new kids had replaced me and my cousins.
Some of these nephews and nieces don’t know me much and vice versa. I look forward to moments like these where I get to hang out and laugh with them.
boodle fight with relatives
I still get mesmerized whenever I see beautiful sceneries which I can only enjoy in Bulacan.
I can take pictures all I want,go back everyday and just linger. I could not imagine that I see right before my eyes an Amorsolo painting- blue skies, clouds, carabaos, rice fields and cool breeze. It’s just picturesque….
a view of the fields
Greeneries and fields adorned our barrio. Even just peeking through the backyard, you can enjoy the magnificent nature’s view. It’s in Bulacan that I still get to appreciate the trees and plants that can only be seen on books nowadays. The silence of the place during holidays will also led you to hear birds chirping,roosters cocking, leaves swaying….
I have to give butchi a special space on this list as I could only savour this personal favorite in Bulacan. I know that in Bulacan,chicharon is a proud produce,however, I enjoy butchi here more than the ones I buy from the mall/restaurant. The locally made one is bigger and fuller. It usually has a monggo or kamote filling. Ate would always buy me one whenever I go home.
Alongside with butchi, leche flan is another sweet delicacy I enjoy whenever I am in Bulacan.
Ate could even make alot of llaneras for our own consumption. Leche flan has always been part of my favorites list. I have tasted the best leche flan under our roof and not just a slice but a whole llanera as I please!
I know that perhaps by now you would notice this list full of food. Yes, this is how gastronomically satisfied and proud I am of Bulacan.
I had been talking much about Ate which I have not yet introduced. This lady is the greatest reason why I love Bulacan and I long to go home everytime. I call her Ate (a-teh), like most in the family because she is the eldest sister of my mom. Thus,she is my mama’s ate,and I also grew up calling her ate. I lived with her for about two years when I was a toddler while my mom’s working. She spoiled me like a grandmother and cared for me like a mother.
Ate is so cool and so cowboy and a mix of kikay as well. She didn’t start a family of her own. She treated me and my mom her family. Ate as I have mentioned is a cowboy who likes wearing only tokong and jeans most of the time. She can drink beer and even the strongest grape wine there is. She used to smoke tobaco like cigars before, where you could not buy from usual cigarette stores.
She also cannot do away with her nganga. It’s an old pastime she inherited from her mother. I could not even describe fully what it is. She buys ikmo,bunga, mascada then mixes and rolls small portions of those before chewing it. Then after a while she will spit it out. Makes me more curious that I want to research on it. Most of Ate’s contemporary in Bulacan chews nganga and they even bring it with them as they go out. It’s like their version of ‘yosi break.’
I can go on and on with a long list. However, the fulfillment I get whenever I am home cannot amount to the words I have written here. I believe we ll have childhood memories of places we lived, memories that linger and comes alive everytime we come home.