Here’s the Argus C3 Rangefinder up close. Dials and dials. Lovely old camera.
One of the things I want to do is to become an “apprentice” in a fishing boat. I want to experience life at sea. I want to feel helpless in the vastness of the waters that surround me. I want to help pull the nets to haul the catch of the day. And of course, I want to have meals of the freshly caught seafood.
If this wish becomes a possibility, then this will be my vessel of choice. Colorful, rusting, rustic, creaky, full of stories. Do you know anyone operating a fishing boat like this?
Photo taken at the little sandy beach at BREDCO port Bacolod City.
Coffee stalls in markets use evaporated milk in cans instead of cream or fresh milk. Cans are then reused as take-away containers for coffee instead of paper, plastic and styrofoam cups.
People gallivanting, traipsing, sashaying, lumbering, meandering along Lacson street last night. All walks of life, different ways of walking.
For two nights a good stretch of Lacson Street, one of the city’s two main thoroughfares is closed to vehicular traffic for the Electric MassKara Parade and for the chance to walk, prance, or dance with a beer in hand.
I went there for two nights to be with friends. To see and be seen. To cradle a slowly consumed and warming bottle of beer. To watch the human drama, comedy and tragedy unfold right in front of me.
Ely Santiago was an artist who honed his craft through diligent experimentation and mastery of different media and materials. He was known for his acrylic paintings where he utilized self made etching materials which he used to supplement his brushes in creating texture and detail in his renditions of bahay kubo houses, and portraits of ordinary folk. He was also a caricaturist known to capture the essence of his subject in a few masterful strokes with whatever material he has on hand – cigarette foil, table napkins, walls, etc. His commercial caricatures of persons and families done in watercolor adorned homes in the city. He experimented with terracotta and made sculptures ranging from the whimsical to serious portraiture. His wit and humor was evident in his cartoons and comic strips, most notably “Coffee Cats” which was published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
He was an active member and former president of the Arts Association of Bacolod, an organization he loved, fought for and was devoted to.
He was one of the founders and was responsible for giving the name “MassKara” to the festival that made Bacolod a known tourist destination.
This was an article I wrote and was published in a national daily…
Bacolod City does not have a typical Chinese enclave like Binondo. It does not have a Chinatown that engulfs your senses with the sights, sounds and scents of a faraway Oriental place. The Chinese presence in the city has been integrated well within most of our culture with their presence in commerce, the academe, the arts and others that we do not see them as foreign. And it is because of this that eating Chinese in Bacolod does not mean searching high and low for secret little places that serve them good.
Chinese food has long been an integrated element in our food experience, common and extraordinary at the same time, that it has become comfort food to the local palate. It has become comfort food not only in terms of the convenience of ordering Chinese food during birthdays, graduations and other occasions but also comfort in the sense of the familiarity of our palate with noodles, siomai, spring rolls and the myriad ways the Chinese do wonders with pork, beef, chicken and seafood. It was this childhood memory of having home cooked Chinese dishes made by his aunt in his grandfather’s house that cultivated the gastronomic desires of a developing foodie soul in the young JP Anglo. It was only after a few years of trying out a few varied college majors that the passion for food beckoned and he enrolled and graduated in a culinary school. He could have gone the French or Italian way like his peers but it was that serious passion and longing for Chinese comfort food of his younger days that made him choose the kitchens of the Chinese food courts and learn more about the rudiments from an uncle in Hongkong with his dad acting as interpreter/food taster. Armed with formal training of culinary school and experience gained from different Chinese kitchens, JP went home to Bacolod to open Mai Pao Restaurant in September of 2001. Mai Pao features in its menu a list of Chinese specialties such as siomai, crispy bihon, garlic spareribs, hot-sour soup, prosperity spring rolls and other offerings that is no longer comfort food only for JP Anglo but for other Bacoleños who continually patronize the quaint little restaurant.
Nghohiong kheng, owachian, chao pat chien, kiampong! These are not the screams you hear in the cacophony of a frenzied mahjong session but some fairly new food items (at least in my vocabulary) available at the recently opened Red Moon restaurant aside from the more common and familiar offerings. Ngohiong which is quite uncommon in Bacolod is actually a delicacy widely available in the neighboring province of Cebu. It is almost like lumpia except for its distinct use of ngohiong or Chinese 5 spice powder as main flavoring ingredient. Owachian is an oyster omelet and whoever’s ancient ancestor who dreamed up of marrying oysters and eggs deserve accolade for this wonderful cholesterol-be-damned treat. Chao pat chien, who could easily be the lead in a Hong Kong action flick, is actually a dish of vegetables stir fried with varied meats, a chopsuey with a pedigree. All these exciting flavors are best enjoyed with spoonfuls of kiampong or fried rice.
One of the best times to indulge in Chinese food is this January when Bacolod City once again celebrates Bacolaodiat to welcome the Chinese New Year of the Ox. It is a festival “cooked-up” by the local Tsinoy community to celebrate their presence and contribution to the city and give us a view of their rich cultural heritage which the city folk rarely see in public before. Bacolaodiat is a portmanteau combining the words Bacolod and “laodiat” which is Fookien for celebration.
For some the concept of Chinese food is always an exclusive and complicated ten course lauriat complete with all the pomp and pageantry akin to the closing ceremony of the Olympics. For others it a standard office party and celebratory fare and a quick no-brainer feast you order in a panic when unexpected visitors surprise you for dinner, but for most of us it is comfort food. Comfort defined by the soothing experience of sipping spoonfuls of broth from of a steaming bowl of noodles with the distinct perfume of sesame oil wafting gently, the familiar and anticipated crunch of a perfectly golden spring roll or the sublime pleasure of slicing open a siomai dumpling, stuffing it with chili garlic, dipping it in soy sauce and slowly taking it in bite after bite after bite.
Here is Zubuchon’s menu board featuring the food offering and of course the chalk writing abilities of Marketman’s bookkeeper. Hence the title. Nice handwriting and a nice touch to the restaurant.
Moni, ChrisB, Anne, and I were at the Eyeball site while the sun was still up. This allowed us to visit the roasting station and have a sneak peek at the lechons rolling, roasting and sweating on top of coals. We were there while Mrs. Marketman and the Teen were doing finishing touches to flower arrangements. I am the least interested in floral arrangements and how they are done but these were amazing. Lotus flowers and roots were arranged in fishbowls and their colors were really intense especially against a background of a roughly finished wooden picnic table and a gray deck. Color, contrast, emphasis, balance.
The floral arrangement and the rough wooden table looked perfect together. I really love the rough wooden table. It reminds me of the old Robin Hood movies where they feasted on huge roasted legs of deer and Friar Tuck’s brewskies.
I can use this color palette and principle of balance on a graphic design project. Again obsessing on the wooden table… You can easily pull out a little splinter to pick out all the lechon bits stuck on your teeth. I did not. Seriously. I did not do it.
This was the buffet area before it bore the brunt of the collective weight of pork goodies. Imagine a parade of platters of Five-Pork Fried Rice, Chicharon fresh from the cauldron, Sisig from chopped lechon heads, a truffled lechon de leche, a chili lechon, a butter basted lechon de leche, a lechon stuffed with chickens, an amazing kinilaw na tanguigue, Zubuliempo, roasted corn, seafood paella. And there was seaweed salad and an assortment of pickles to cleanse your palate and your conscience. This was the altar where conversations were in hushed whispers among a catatonic group of zombies not knowing what do after a visual, olfactory and taste overload.
Until the next Marketmanila Lechon Eyeball.