Thursday, November 19, 2009

zamboanga food in today's Philippine Daily Inquirer

my friend marsha and i were on the phone about 30 minutes ago when she gave a sudden shriek and babbled that someone just told her her mom's diner was featured in today's philippine daily inquirer. we bade each other a hasty goodbye and ran to get a copy: me to the library downstairs and she to......... whererever she normally gets her paper.

nikko ballovar at the periodical section gamely allowed me to take the paper out of the library for 15 minutes (the library staff here are used to my weird requests) so i could scan it. and here it is:

it's all askew, sorry. it was hastily done. i can only do so much in 15 minutes, no?

if you click on the picture, i guess you could read it. if not, the whole article is here.

it's an article by food columnist mickey fenix. it's about the food she ate and the recipes she gathered while visiting zamboanga.

i am so proud of my friend marsha and her mom because their restaurant, busy bee, is the first paragraph feature! i already talked about how i love eating there and having the hole in the wall featured in a national broadsheet makes me feel so good for the montano family, mamu edna especially.

fenix also mentioned country chicken restaurant where we took the kids to dinner last night in celebration of a successful family effort. she made special mention of exactly what we had last night: the mano-mano bilao. we had the giant platter which for Php 520 was very value for money. it fed three hungry kids and two hungry adults and two hungry teenagers. the only thing we had other than that platter was an order of lechon kawali. and the great thing was that they serve 1.5 liter softdrinks instead of just the small 8 oz or 12 oz bottles. a great, great treat for parents of little kids addicted to the drink because it was "just" Php 85, instead of the Php 25 x 7 we would have needed to get.

the kids loved their playground. i loved their garden. it's simplicity and unpretentious-ness makes it great, i think. you almost feel like you were dining in your own backyard. IF you had a spacious and pretty backyard.

do find time to read the article. it's great. if you're not here, it will help you remember. if you are here, it will help to remind you of places you can go to and things you can try out -- again or for the first time.

the article also mentions other iconic zamboanga food places: myrna's, jimmy's satti. and iconic food as well. fenix likes something i've always found weird: our noodle filled tamal. why fill a carbo casing with carbo filling? i actually love eating tamal. i just find the concept weird. just like juani in coconut milk and sugar. and the crab named after cockroaches. i guess that would describe a lot of zamboanga food: weird but very, very, very good.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

isang maarteng raket

this was my table at the mother butler holiday bazaar last weekend. my second time to join a bazaar. it went quite well. well, except for the fact that i could not feel my feet anymore from 3 to 5 pm and starting at 5:01pm, i could feel my feet TOO much. tiny pin pricks exploded all over my feet and calves, and around the bony protrusions (i have a lot of those) were swellings that made themselves known without shame. both nights of the bazaar, i had to ask our long suffering yaya jennilyn to boil water so that i could soak my poor, poor, poor feet.

but what did i expect, really? having been up basically on them for 14 hours straight?

all things considered, better to have been up all those hours, than sitting down, because that would have meant very bad business indeed.

i met so many people, old friends. new acquaintances.

my favorite people included two very pretty ladies, cousins, who came back a total of eleven million times to peruse the wares. sometimes they bought, sometimes they just looked. i liked having them look and answering their questions about how i made this and that. the elder one, pia, is 3rd year high school at ateneo and the younger one, monique, is a grade schooler. their lola had a booth. once, their lola came barelling down the aisle (in a very regal manner) towards my table while they were trying on necklaces. they both ran back to their booths even before the lola could say anything. apparently, it was their turn to man their store.

pia and monique would come an hour after visiting and ask if i had more stocks, like i were some kind of superwoman, crafting beads in between talking to customers, computing, bagging, and giving change. finally, i just let them into my white tupperware. just to reassure them that they've seen everything. they called my bluff. they showed me a necklace that wasn't on display. they bought it. the thing is, i sort of like that one. and wanted it for myself.....

another pair that i got to know well was a mother-daughter team named lissa. because they are both named lissa. really. they both had great skin, that was the first thing i noticed about them. the mom really knew which items to go for. she went right away for this giant green organically-shaped resin bead bracelet which i was sort of....keeping for myself. mother dearest bought that bead in the states. there are only three of them. now i know that i definitely will keep the other one. the other lissa, the daughter, was more interested in the business side of things, than on the wares at hand. she said she had an online store and two parlors, knows a friend who also owns another parlor, and that they'd like me to display my stuff with them during the not-christmas season. this was after i told lissa-lissa (and the cult jam, remember that 80s group? i digress. as usual) that i only have stores during the holidays. told them i will think about it.

another customer i will not forget is this woman, 60ish, who would ask for the STEEPEST discount. like she would ask if a 95 earring could be sold to her for 45, or a 305 necklace for 125. so funny. i know it was a game for her but i found it so funny playing along. in the end, i did give her good discounts (but not what she was asking for!) because she bought so much! she made her first purchase in the morning of the second day. in the afternoon, she came back to ask, like pia and monique, if i had new stocks. haha. i don't know why they ask me this. maybe they don't really believe that i made my own wares myself. she asked me if i will be at the tzu chi bazaar and i said i will. she gave me her name and told me to reserve the good ones for her.

hmm. now what will i make of that request?

this is a photo of the earring stands i made the night before the bazaar. the most frequent inquiries were about these! rashdi, ariel and i had to keep telling people that the price refers to the earrings, not the stands. ariel said maybe we should make a lot of these to sell in the next fair. where to find clay pots these small? challenge, challenge....

this is a photo of the two full time sales staff: rashdi and me. we look so tan here. as if we spent the past few weeks lounging by the sea, drinking ice tea and reading instead of cutting paper, stringing, bending, pricing, everythinging...

the name of my store is the chic chick. a mouthful. that's me. always going for the complicated. if you will look closely, the drawing of the three fowls atop the name chic chick is all wrong. they re roosters. not chicks. only two persons noticed: my husband, because he loves criticizing and critiquing even more than me. he is september-born too, see. and us september-borns, we LUHRVE to criticize, asegun. the other person was a customer. rochelle from the city assessor's office. so she does have an assessing eye...

Thursday, November 12, 2009

i saw the sign and it opened up my eyes

i have been going round and round the city on various errands the past few days in preparation for a christmas bazaar i am participating in this weekend.

navigating zamboanga city proper on foot is always a challenge. on the sidewalk, you have to take evasive action against the gazillion of spit underfoot, in various stages of....decay. on the street, the evasive action is against tricycle drivers who each drive on the absolutely deluded belief that God custom built the road for him.

for those who went out for even the littlest fraction of a second at noon yesterday and today (it is still noon as i write this), i do not need to tell you how HOT the weather is.

the only thing that kept my spirits up are the signages i encountered. looking for signages to snicker at is one of my favorite and more malicious preoccupations. i have other favorite and malicious preoccupations but laughing at signages takes pride of place.

yesterday the signages took the form of a streamer, a tarp for boutique, and two t-shirts.

i saw the streamer this morning at the corner of alvarez and nunez extension:


ohkayyyy. i should not laugh because i think i am a part of their other target audience. and when you really come to think about it, it's a great, great tag line. most people who enroll in driving schools are nininerbyos about the prospect of driving. otherwise, they will just convince whoever is at home to enumerate the rudiments then have a go at the wheel. this tag line will make such would be drivers (aka almost ALL would be drivers) seriously considering enrolling here?

the next is just plain nakakainis:


yuck. anyone who browses too much fashion magazine would know this is a very bad imitation of the kenneth cole ads. the ones where they fill a double-page spread with an edgy black and white photo and caption it in relatively small print with a catchy cool saying, like "52% of americans think same-sex marriage don't deserve a good reception. are you putting us on? - kenneth cole"

but the youth is the hope of future styles? oh come on!

the next signage was on a shirt i saw on my way to zamboanga home products (talking of which, i'd like to take this opportunity to warn you against going there at 12 nn to 1:30pm. they're closed. don't ask. i don't know. i only hate). the tshirt,worn by a girl, twentyish, said:


yes, because you have the skankiest taste in t-shirts, that is why.

she did not even have the right attitude to go with the shirt. i mean, paris hilton could probably get away with that shirt. and the saying on the shirt would probably be true, with paris in it.

the fourth was also a shirt. it caught my attention, out all all the many shirts in shop o rama 2nd floor, because it could be the earlier shirt's twin. it read:


yes. it was so very very confusing that my brain almost exploded from trying to make sense of it. i got distracted from my task at hand (buy a pack of dried moss) that i got to the 3rd floor not knowing why i was there.

it was in the ladies section so i am wondering what girl would want to compare her hotness to a male's? so maybe the shirt was designed for transgenders? but transgenders want to be girls, and they would be the last persons to want themselves compared to hot males.

as i said, so very confusing.

my confusion probably transferred by osmosis to the saleslady at the synthetic flowers section that she could not find the last pack of moss. i told her i was so tired, i have been searching for it practically the whole morning, and that i needed it soooooooooooo desperately that if she manages to find it, i will pay double the price. i said this only AFTER ascertaining that the pack cost 10.75. i am crazy but not that crazy.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

hugging my blog

this is my 100th zamboangagirl post.

this blog has given me more joy than i ever imagined. i love that it allows me to say things i normally wouldn't say for fear of offending or boring people. i write my posts mainly for myself, a step up from my pen and paper journals because here i can add audio and visuals. but unlike the old journals which were basically enjoyed only by me and myself, this blog is helping me connect with other people in a manner both convenient and meaningful.

i love you, blog!