We call it “PATER”. a cup of steamed rice stuffed with a meat either chicken or beef. It is a famed food serve in almost every canteen and eatery in Marawi City where I was born and grew up. I honestly don’t know the origin of the word itself but that’s what it known to call it. I remember when it was introduced way back in the late 90’s from a certain canteen, it was a blockbuster. A word of mouth spread like a chain of wild fire inside the university campus, and the rest is history. It has become a comfort food for every folks of different walks of life in Marawi – faculty, employees, students, campus residents, and many. You can eat it with your bare clean hands (kinamot/kinamay style). No spoon and no plate needed. You’ll just throw the wrapped-leaves afterwards. No hassle to wash. (except your hands, of course).
It varies with different flavors and style on how to prepare and cook. Somewhere in Maguindanao, they call it Pastil. But it turned out to be one in the same: packed on a banana leaf to add some extra distinct flavor and aroma. Generally, it’s a Filipino traditional way of preparing food (baon) to bring along with in travel way back in provincial life. In fact, my late father had experienced bringing their food in school wrapped in banana leaves for them to eat during lunch break. But Meranao’s took it seriously on preparing it.
I came up with my own version. As my family’s home cook, through the years I took the opportunity in preparing it with many trials and errors. I want to make it more different in taste yet the touch of a Meranao accent flavors should remain. Rice with turmeric powder added with some spices, so it will turn yellow. Top filled with chicken strips saute’d on with different spices. What’s unique about this dish is filled with spices that are abundant in the province of Lanao del Sur like the herb of what they called ‘sakurab‘, somewhat akin to scallions. But with my own way, I added some other variants to make it more fun, more distinct, and more striking in flavor on taste buds. For now, this is the best Pater I can prepare.
Pater is slowly and gradually becoming known to students and folks where I currently live. There’s a food place offering this kind of dish. Price ranges from 20-30 pesos. I bought one and tried it. It actually taste good. It brings me back home to the place where I came from. I really love this food. Kind’a instant. Simply done, simply prepared.
Here was another fiery salvo of wicked street party moves at Tudela on New Year’s Day! From the simple wearing of masks along streets with an uncanny cosmetics, charcoal, and greasepaint in the faces to a more grandiose competitions among townspeople vying for the uniquely scariest yet the drollest costumes of “Binalbal”. Similar to Mardi Gras from Europe, Binalbal Festival in Tudela, Misamis Occidental has become culturally anticipated revelry from amongst the folks every 1st day of January to start the year with positive vibes and unity among others. People disguising as witches zombies, vampires, ghosts, ugly animal-like forms and the likes allow them the full freedom of inhibition to conquer the street festival for the devilish fun and excitement.
Since its official inception, this year’s street gala was quite a bit challenging. With torrential rains that showered the party brought by (at that time) forthcoming Tropical Depression “Agaton”, yet organizers and participants were optimistic and determined to showcase their prepared bizarre and innovative get-ups in order not to disappoint the spectators who flock all the way from neighboring towns and other places. The show must go on! And indeed, true to their vow and promise to give you happily ever laughter: “KATAWA – Kalihukan Ato sa Tudela Agik-ik Wara-wara Anhia” (“LAUGH” – Come at Tudela’s giggle and wave party)
Binalbal in Tudela is culturally thriving. Evident is the much participation of its own people as well as the anticipated keenness of spectators (even after from sleepless midnight party of New Year’s Eve). It manifest diversity that made Tudelanon uniquely identified. By conserving Binalbal’s fun and artistic expression, thus, creates culture-bound sense of being Tudelanons.
Foreign visitors and travelers from different walks of life get to experience the infamous hospitality of the Filipinos here in the Philippines. A purely innate culture that eventually captivates the hearts of many in the likes of among tourist explorers whenever they came to visit or stumble upon in our country. It eventually becomes a national pride. If you visit and view foreign “Vlogs” and read travel blogs about their adventure in the island, the hospitality of Filipinos would always seem to be one on their top of the lists that made them keep on coming back. Numerous tourists would even call Philippines as their second home. Others would never go back or stay here for good, and eventually call it home. You could even hear stories that some would sold all their properties in their homeland and then left the country to settle for good because they fell in love with the Philippines. And, that one of the reasons is the kind of hospitality we, Filipinos, possessed. Even state foreign leaders and dignitaries got amazed and fascinated by the kind of reception they received. The kind of hospitality Filipinos provide tend to make them feel like kind ‘a celebrity on their entire visit. I don’t exactly know if that’s what they feel. But that’s the way guests are are being treated especially from other nations. Hence, hospitality has become one of the Filipino core values that attracted many itinerants.
As far as I could read from various views and feedback online among foreign bloggers/vloggers about Filipino hospitality, most were fancied to this values.
I recently got to hear and see how foreign tourists being treated here in the country. In one of the festivals I came to witness, one popular blogger/vlogger was provided with utmost welcomed by local folks and officials. His only intention was to immerse himself with the people and experience the jubilation of revelry. This social media “influencer” Kyle Jennermann behind Becoming Filipino Blog/Vlog channel who is quite known to his Filipino moniker “Kulas” together with his foreign friends (also rising vloggers/bloggers) took the time wandering the local town to join the fun and excitement. He is quite popular online about his quest of becoming a Filipino at heart but with an ultimate goal of sharing the smile and happiness to the world. His presence in the gaiety was acknowledged with accolades – welcoming and treating the guests like celebrities. Notwithstanding, that’s one face value of hospitality. And, “Kulas” never fail to acknowledge and always in awe with the kind of reception and generosity he received from every people who embraced him wholeheartedly. He is also doing good deed, very active on helping and assisting our fellow Filipinos in small communities on the best effort he could give and offer.
Does the culture of being hospitable really an inherent trait reflected amongst every Filipino?
It was 5 days before Christmas Day (2017) on our way home from the city, my brother and I happened to meet an Uncle Sam passenger while riding a public vehicle multicab. He took the first conversation when he saw the “OHIO” prints on my brother’s cap. You would think that it was improper of me but I was the one who responded in behalf of my brother because he is not so well conversant in English though he can understand. Even during our exchanged of talks, I don’t have any idea about the “OHIO” things and stuff of sorts. I just did go with the flow of the whole conversation. Nevertheless I did find ways to shift and divert to another matter in order the chitchat continues. I wasn’t able to ask him about his choice or reason of visit or vacation. But I was guessing it’s her Filipina fiancée’s invitation… To make the story short, I asked him: how was his stay so far? To my understanding, he had so much appreciation for Filipinos’ hospitality (“the people are amazing… very hospitable…”). From his expressions, I could understand his gratification and delight based on the kind of treatment accorded to him. While I extended my thanks and appreciation to Mister American from Texas, that time at the back of my head, am feel obliged to entertain him kindly and so he won”t feel insulted or disrespected. Although it wasn’t my first time to meet foreigners, but as far as I can recollect, hospitality has been one of the most praiseworthy traits they commonly admired to Filipinos.
Hospitality of my fellows…
I came to fully understand hospitality at one point in my prime: Family hosting. In one church’s based youth oriented group I was affiliated with long ago, one or two or sometimes three members had to be assigned to a house in one family to spend couple of night sleeps while on the course of our 5-day straight gathering program. All young members came from all different walks of life. The place where we housed were not only act as a family host but also served as our parents – that we have to behave accordingly; that we should be fussy and picky; that we have to help household chores and other stuffs; that we need to treat them like our real parents and treat their children as our brothers and or sisters. Not all family sponsors are well-off, mostly belonged to middle-lower classes… their reception were fascinating and quite remarkable. I found out that it has been a practice and a tradition since the early days of the youth program. At the last day of the program, parents were invited (host family) to a get together gathering in honor of their acceptance, kindness and above all, of their hospitality.
We have had different shared told stories. The experienced was quite poignant, heartrending and inspiring. Like anyone else’s testimonials, host families were heartwarming and embraces everyone like their own child/children regardless of their stature in life. The family’s received was full of heart. Very Filipino, a typical one: we ate the same food together at the same time; doing and helping the same household chores; fetching gallons of water along flowing cold spring pits or well; exchanging jokes and chitchatting dramas in life; sang songs together while playing the guitars of music under the moon and or night-sky in a small “bamboo made hut or coconut-wood made hut”, and; sleep together with their children in the same room while others mostly were having fun sleeping altogether at living room’s floor with all simple the “banig” (a traditional “mat” made of abaca fiber used by typical Filipinos usually by not so well-off people).
That kind of experience taught us how to live the simple way of life in a country-side. I must say, that the cordiality spirit of this values truly exist in the far-flung corners of rural-provincial dwellings. Very welcoming, friendly and quite receiving. In 5 days straight of sleep over, their simple ways eventually became our life.
Hospitality is indeed simply an innate ethos to many Filipinos, a culture-bound thriving still its very best since then. I don’t know if it’s good or bad, advantage or disadvantage, but hospitality is a virtue that naturally exist within us. It instinctively dictates our heart. Thus, hospitality is a simple act of kindness. I thinks that’s enough description for being a Filipino.
It’s a joyful walk. One of the best foothill places I have ever hike and trek. This is just the small area of the massive part of Mount Malindang ranges that spans the provinces of Misamis Occidental, Zamboanga del Norte and Zamboanga del Sur in Mindanao. The forested crests and ridges, valleys, small rivers, streams and lakes made of this magnificent mountain. The vistas are glorious. It’s one perfect place to take a moment of reflection from the busy world
I had the opportunity of exploring some part of the place. But it feels like that it takes you forever to discover everything. It’s massive! But being one of the nature is Love. You can smell the very scent of the morning, hear the breathes of the wind calling, birds serenading another hymn, and the shades of ray embracing you warmly. I feel the peace deep within me. True, life is an adventure even in a simple walk. Simply fulfilling.
However, not so long ago, there were talks and rumors about Mount Malindang on building up mineral mining. I am really against mining even if they insist of that it’s going to be a responsible one. Indigent people and small communities will be greatly affected by this prospect. As far as I know, Mount Malindang is declared Protected. I just hope that mining prospect in this area should not be considered. The nature’s beauty will be under threat especially the watersheds. I truly believe on Ma’am Gina Lopez leadership in the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. That, at least in her tenure as Secretary, no “mining” is allowed.
Re-post (posted from my previous blog site dated December 2013: chuy)
A spectrum of colors painted in the sky
When I set my foot on the grounds of Ormoc, a rainbow revealed in the sky. It was lovely, mighty and spectacular. But it was decorated after the devastating annihilation of super typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan). I don’t know what message it brings to the people of Leyte. I know it’s vague to contemplate as such. Maybe because there were shades of grey that cloaked the hearts and clouded the minds of every victim; in fear, depressed, traumatized.
The Leyte Expedition was not only a story of mine alone. It’s a story of the four of us in realizing one purpose. Not really a journey that was only made with going to normal roads. It was something that we never expected to be, which changed our perspectives in life; of how we see and look at ourselves, and of how we viewed the real world during the most trying times.
Along with Irene Lou, Peejay, and Brian fulfilling the purpose, we had the opportunity to travel extending our helps to the affected many. If my recollection serves me right, it’s all our first time to embark such purpose. I am not so sure of what my companions’ true reflections really then. Somehow, for me, I really did not think that this would be the best, if not the most memorable, travel. Just as I sat my foot on Ormoc’s ground, as expected, I could not understand the feeling of intertwining fear and uncertainty. Most people were not smiling and some were mad and angry because of their trodden luggage and cargoes. It’s fathomable, though. The city were wrecked and ruined. Disorganized! Folks’ faces all around were daubed with sadness, grief and sorrow. I could not bear to see… When I would realized that everything ain’t falling into place, I would go home right away without a second thought.
Prior to our trip to Ormoc, we had already discussed and anticipated some worst scenario that possibly would occur. Fears and anxiety have had already posed in our minds. Doubts and worries disclosed in our thoughts. Subsequent to more than a week of sojourn, I must confessed that if not because of this, I could not be more satisfied and happier than anything.
As adventurers, we love standing at crossroads. We like facing new challenges and expecting the unexpected. The band of colors ornate the heights were the sign that our trip was going to be colorful yet tough one.
Just as when Irene Lou organized and considered me as part of the medical mission team, I had no thoughts of hesitations. I just grabbed the chance to travel for free without considering the aspect of how heavy the responsibility I would have to carry on. Nevertheless, it reawakened my interests to travel from places to places where I’ve never set my foot of.
Along with my condensed personal stuff and, of course, the 4 of us meet and assembled in Iligan City to secure the medicines should bring in Albuera, Leyte. Irene and I knew each other since college days for quite sometime but not that much about her younger brother Peejay. And, Brian Quino who traveled quite far from Aurora, Zambonga del Sur who was, at first, someone stranger to me (at least not an Alien hehehehe, Peace Brian! Rock and Roll!!). We’re pretty sure that we had some impression to one another, though. Whatever it was, neither it’s not an issue any longer nor not a big deal at all. For me, it’s nothing personal. But I already had that gut feeling that we’re going to get along smoothly. There’s no doubt that our group can work together swiftly, and; that we could create more than a team fulfilling the mission bestowed on us.
Time chased us. We have to hurry and rushed over to Cagayan de Oro harbor before the boat leave us aboard. It’s funny. I believe Irene Lou knew each one of us better but Brian, Peejay and I do not have a luxury of time talking and asking one another anything about ourselves during the trip. Our top concerned was to arrive in the destination point on time and or before the schedule as possible. Just like in a movie title, it was our first “Rush Hour” trip race chasing the boat before it leaves. We even forgot to take pre-departure photo on the four of us (what a shame).
From jeepney to bus and then to the taxi, we asked and prayed them to rush out. Though we arrived on schedule, we already felt catching our breath with draining strength while our body sweats streaming rapidly while carrying our gears and luggage. Both of our arms and grips were almost torn by the bulkiness of our hefty stocks. Good heavens’ smiled upon us; we were on board with a big smile on our faces. What a battle cry – so tough!
UNTO THE CITY OF ORMOC…
The search begin looking for gold: “cold drinks”
We decided to reward ourselves b gong to the city, strolling and wondering around Ormoc. We knew that we don’t have that much to expect in the capital because of the catastrophe. All we wanted was to look for drinks that would satisfy our throat’s dryness craving for ice cold liquids. We brought along Mark and Angelic siblings with us. Upon our arrival, we stroll on the streets and highways looking on what we desired for. It’s like searching a pot of gold in the middle of nowhere. The city was so busy, so ridiculously busy but a disorganized wrecked district brought by the typhoon… Yahah! We found one though, but the price was terribly staggering. Even it cost us much, yet still we bought just to replenish our vigor.
AT CITY’S BOULEVARD…
We visited the capital’s boulevard bringing along with us the foods and drinks we bought from the district. We find time to relax, over viewing the harbors, the island and wide-open sea while enjoying the foods w bought. Since it’s our, supposedly, last day, we try to enjoy the rest of the day ‘til sunset. We have shared and chit-chatting whimsical stories, anything that comes in our head. We also grabbed the moment for photo opportunities.
BACK TO THE TOWN OF ALBUERA…
Long and tiring day has done. Night was falling, emanating before us. We’re back in Albuera. No electricity in the entire province since the tragedy begun to strike. Dim and shadow shrouded the entire night. Candles, gadgets, and flashlights serves as light to our sights.
Looking haggard from our hang-out, time was calling us to wash-up, rest, and sleep. But Brian’s musicality was persistent. He just couldn’t resist the whisper of the guitar calling him to twang and pluck it with his hankering digits. He started to play the music, strummed the strings with tunes jamming over his head. The way Brian frolicked the instrument was so inviting. Honestly, I could not resist the melodies familiar on my head. So damn good to listen. It brings back my memories, so nostalgic. The only thing that’s missing was the voice of that music. A voice that can synchronize and harmonize that Brian created. I sat on the bed and then stand on my feet, took the flashlight and light it up and then used it as a microphone. Then, I blend on the beat. As I started singing, Irene raved on the dance floor with the music while waving around the flashlights on. Peejay took his phone and started recording the scene we spawned that night.
Yes, I can sing. I was once a singer back years… But now it’s different, I no longer possess the voice I once had. I can’t sing just the way I used to be. At that night, it’s pity that my memory was not serving me well. I hardly recall the lines in the lyrics that the music required. If I’m into the music industry now, then that performance surely suggest the end of my career. I will be humiliated ‘til the end of the century! But time to move on, It’s just an illusion (chuckles).
Nevertheless, we’d really gone so wild on that night. Our hearts burst out loud overjoyed. Making scenes under the limelight of flashing penlights and dancing to the whimsical tunes over the sound of the guitar’s while banging our heads as our ways of breaking the silence that shrouded in the house. We almost bring the entire house down (not literally, of course – snickering). Although, in spite of all the funny scenarios, it’s too good to realize that we made unforgettable memories on that night. We painted the murky house with joy and happiness. We decorated many colorful smiles on the four corners of the wall through songs and jingles. Perhaps, it was a way of celebrating the moment after successfully fulfilling our humble purpose in medical mission by extending help to the victims of typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan). Rock and Roll!
IT’S TIME TO GO HOME, WE’D PRESUMED…
We’re well aware about the exit from Ormoc going to Cebu is way too difficult, a “fist on the moon”, really. Yet luck indeed was on our side on that day. A good man gave us a tip that it’s best to fly with C-130 humanitarian plane in Ormoc Airport to Cebu. It’s a free flight for everyone. Thanks to that! So we rushed over to the airport… Ta dah! So it’s true!
The 4 of us we’re very excited, so ecstatic. Our love of adventures sparked our passion. Our enthusiasms were written all over our faces. Our spirits were soaring high in thrilled. Like our first time traveling in an Ocean Jet sea craft, it’s also our entire “first time” to fly with C-130 plane courtesy of Royal Australian Air Force. But, before we could savor the jubilation of our hearts in the winged of sky-high, all the guys were asked to help and assist disembarking the sacks of donated relief goods down from the aircraft. Who would have had thought that there were so much more we can do other than helping the townspeople of Albuera. It was a great feeling. Certainly, we would never ever forget this whole experience. We’ll definitely treasure this moment for the rest of our lives! My dream came true flying with C-130. It rocks!
We arrived in Cebu safely with so much gladness. Little did we know that more help and blessings would come in our way as well as for the people of Balugo, Albuera. Irene was told of by the donors to go back in Leyte for the second round mission. And so we did… Medical Mission 2, accomplished!
Traveling is the best thing ever especially when all expense is paid free (just saying). You have the opportunity of meeting other people in all walks of life. We met new faces. We found new friends. But this particular travel was not just an ordinary one. It’s an expedition full of wonderful memories. It’s full of life lessons that worth to keep forever. You see, we’d got the chance of helping other people in times of struggles and hardships. In our small way we were able to fill (at least) the emptiness of their hearts claimed by the great misfortune. We were able to bring back a little smile to those frowned ones who have lost almost everything and who have had been through serious hurdles in life. It’s hard but we were able to bring it through.
I would regret if i am not going to say this about them. This is something my personal perspective on how I looked at them during our expedition.
Knowing Irene Lou since our college days, I have never thought that she would show such ability and strength spearheading this very challenging mission. For this particular endeavor, it takes a lot of courage, dedication, time, and preparation. But her passion, kindness and love of helping other people made it through. She really puts all her heart into it. I could say that she’s naturally energetic yet calmed and composed. She knows what she’s doing. She leads the team smoothly. A nurse personified, in true service, a good leader. It is my privilege working with you, yet again.
All through out the days of this undertaking,PJ or Peejay seem to be a man of few words nonetheless a man more of actions. He appears to be outgoing yet with direction. He might not notice it, but he possesses great potential having qualities of being a good leader. It was evident. He can deliver, can give clear instructions and can manage to guide people very well. So keep up! Moreover, as I always brag, PJ is ever passionate of with gadgets. He loves to take pictures and videos with his cellphone-cam in every angle, in his own perspective, in every way.
Brian, as always, is the music dude amongst us. One of the coolest indeed he is. But that’s not what I’m going to tell here. Being the nurse, he’s deadly serious on his profession. Serious means business, a good one. He’s effective, can deliver and can educate when action calls before him. Perhaps, he may not look like it because of his zaniness and wacky personality but try him and you’ll know what I mean. This dude has what it takes to be a front-runner, a leader. He’s realistic, holds on his principle and stands on his practical beliefs yet good and gentle and that keeps him going yet.
These good people are asking me to tell also about myself more. Well, I have nothing much to say – really. I am more of taking photos, capturing the moments, and tell the stories behind caught on my lenses. Obviously, this blogger is more of a story teller. I’m fond of expressing my thoughts that catches my attention more than the eye meets. I had so much fun hanging-out with these cool people! Thanks to you!
Whenever I looked back on the rainbow appeared in our midst, I tend to believe that life’s journey is truly packed with colors. You maybe know your main goal and grand purpose but you don’t know what lies ahead like the colors with different meanings. You don’t know of which is which… It’s like a battleground; full of ups and down; filled with twists and turns; hard-fought – a dynamic one. Eventually, our expedition turned out to be good and meaningful. The tragedy brought by Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) became an eye-opener to the four of us. We became not just better persons but more effective individuals. We learn to be modest. It teaches us to be kind should keep our feet on the ground at all times. A story with great moments, worth to keep!
Brother Sun’s bright smile to greet the morning tripper/s…
Down to the 400+ steps of winding staircase… TINAGO FALLS
The Panoramic View… and tall trees!
The height of a Giant Tree
Behold and be mesmerized by the Majestic Hidden Falls!
… i will always be a stranger in a familiar places. I’ve been here many times and i will never think twice to keep coming back. I just fell in Love.
The glimpse of the morning sunshine…
the Raging MIMBALUT FALLS
You can listen to the white noise sound of the waterfalls pounding the rocks. Relaxing!
Iligan City in Mindanao is recognized as the City of Waterfalls… In just a day, I was able to visit two waterfalls’ tourist sites (Tinago falls and Mimbalut falls). Actually, there are more waterfalls that the place can offer, but others are still yet inaccessible to tourists. But if you’re a bit explorer and adventurous, you can visit them if you’re a trekker and like to hike. Soon, I’m going to try it…
I like visiting theme parks and Misamis Occidental Aquamarine Park (MOAP) and Dolphin Island offers a different kind of experience. I happened to visit this place 10 years way back… in 2012 with my former co-workers… and again early of this year.
MOAP features mini-mangrove forest with wildlife animals in captivity such as monkeys, birds, python snakes and crocodile. It also features marine hatcheries to culture shrimps, crabs and various fishes in ponds. To mention, there are few restaurants in the park to dig in, and perhaps, these cultured marine creatures are their main foodstuff offered in their menu.
What I love going to this place is the sight-seeing around the bay and the smell of the fresh sea breeze. It’s quite relaxing…
It’s pretty lengthy and fairly distant walking the footbridge going to the restaurant at the end of it. But I don’t mind at all. I enjoy watching down every stride of the waves, listening to its sound while the wind resonating them to the coastline of mangroves. I find serenity.
To the Dolphin Island…
Well, by its name, dolphins are literally in that place, by captivity. Actually it’s a main attraction offered to the tourist when all you have is the opportunity to experience to interact with the creature by swimming with them and fed them. It’s not an island what you actually think of. It’s a man-made structure sitting in a submerge limestone-color sandbank. It said to be a rehabilitation site for injured marine life such as dolphins and Pawikans (sea turtle). At first, I’m fond of watching dolphin swimming, jumping and frolicking but somewhere in my heart am telling me that housing these beautiful, intelligent and amazing marine mammals in a huge sea pen is quite pity… they deserve to be in the real habitat, I believe.
According to authorities from the park, at this point in time, said that the dolphins and Pawikan (sea turtle) were return to their true habitat. But rumors keep on circulating that these creature all died. Anyhow, though the man-made structured island is still accessible to tourists and visitors, swimming and snorkeling around the island is best offered to enjoy your stay. With snorkeling gears, different marine life can be sighted underneath. You can really appreciate every tiny living creature, I must say.
I can say that I had fun and enjoyed the side-trip with my colleagues visiting MOAP and Dolphin Island. But I kind of sad in the reality… captivating wild creatures and mammals for the purpose of boosting tourism for economic progress is really quite a shame. I like theme parks but I don’t really buy on the idea of fencing these animals just to entertain tourists and visitors. Should deserve wildlife freedom, they are.