Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Good Friday Lunch (and Learnings) – Tubigon, Bohol

We could always have looked for lunch at our hotel – The Monina Midtown Inn & Restaurant, but our roam brought us to the public market area and we chanced upon something else! While we knew this was “puasa” day, we also wanted to see what might be available in town that is non-meat. The obvious was… “nothing”, since virtually all establishments were closed and the town center looked like it had been deserted by humanity. And somehow, somewhere in me said “how wonderful after all, if a town is this quiet” hehe! Save for 2 or 3 carinderias at the public market area. We checked those out, initially just curious what they might have on offer. We were not really planning to have lunch, yet. But…

One such carinderia that opted to be open for business was D7F. Sosyal the name huh! It sounds like a software code or some map coordinates hehe. We went to ask why they were open while others were closed. And I was expecting something like ‘they are not Catholics’ or ‘they are non-Christians’. Double x-marks on both assumptions hahaha. The mother of the house explained to me that many of the workers from the port and some trike drivers requested weeks ago that they remain open during Good Friday even with just rice and one dish to serve as them who will be working on this day would have nowhere to go for lunch. And she says she heeded knowing that those men do get real hungry at noon. So she said it was still “in the service of man, for the glory of god” that she agreed to open her carinderia. See?! I learned something again! Though she told us they’d close shop at 2PM so all could go to church.

We looked at the food. OMG there was “tinola” (yes “tinowa”) and something in my throat (or was that the tummy?) twitched craving to have a taste of it. The companion, noticing I was eyeing at it a millisecond longer could not help but say “adik”! Manang heard him and quickly added that the kaldero of that delectable smelling stew just got out of the stove a few seconds ago. Haaaah, I was already like gargling my own saliva at that time hahaha! She added that the “utan” was just wiped out a few seconds ago and that the “piniritong isda” too was easily gone as early as 11AM. She said there was still some “bolinaw” and she was cooking “buwad”. Arrrrrr, I knew my internalities together with my tongue and throat were conjuring up a revolution at what I was hearing, seeing and smelling. Awk awk!

The companion called me to have a look at some “salad”. He said it was “guso”. I said I have seen many of that in Cebu and thought all along it was some kind of “green noodles” made into like pancit. The reply was “gago, seaweeds yan”. So there I was, being labeled gago on a Good Friday hehe. I asked what the condiments were since it smelled sour. Manang jumped into the discussion telling me that it was just like “kinilaw” but using “guso” instead of fish and without the coconut milk. She readily scooped some into saucers for each of us to taste. Hah, while I poked at each green strand still trying to muster what this thing was on my saucer, the ‘patay-gutom’ of a companion like slurped everything from his saucer. Ah, I think ‘patay-gutom’ is not the proper word for that act, uhm ahhh I know in Ilonggo it is ‘daluk-daluk’ or in Waray ‘hangul’ hahaha! Sorry I can’t recall how to say this in Cebuano, Tagalog, English or Japanese anymore. Though I think we called that “pelahap” or “palahap” back in Jakarta when I was a kid hehe.. “pelahap, pelahap, pelahap” whaaa hehehe!

Then there was another thing that became another nomenclatorial debate between us ‘tourists’ kay di ko papildi dah! Companion said there was also “lato”. I said it was not lato, he said yes it was. I explained I knew that was some seaweed and I know its cultured in some islands and exported mostly to Japan, but its not lato. I described the “lato” that I know, they’re greener and have those round ball-like ends. He said this was lato, just another kind. I disagreed. Manang came from inside the kitchen and the companion solicited her ‘expertise’ by asking what the thing was. And she answered “lato”! Arrrgh, as the triumphant companion grinned, I said “okay, end of discussion BUT THAT IS NOT LATO” hehe. I must say the last word hahaha!

The pesky buddy was still ready for more lato claims when the girl assisting manang pointed to me that the “tinowa” soup (yes, just the soup) was ready on the table. My eyes grew wide and Manang beamed with pride saying it was on the house for me. Yey! Of couse I like dove to the thing hehe. Long story short, we decided to just the same have lunch at this place.

In between darting in and out of the kitchen and/or receiving payments from the other patrons, Manang would pass by our table and join whatever the conversation topic was. Like: puasa. She said it does not mean “do not eat” but just to abstain from being fully satisfied with anything. In the case of food, we can all eat and just be “busog”, not “busog kaayo” or “busog og maayo”! A man eating at another table joined with a comment saying “so kung mag-sex, dili tiwason”. As we all laughed, manang also giggling said a stern “ayaw pag-sex, inig-sugat lang” hahaha! She continued the examples to drinks, alcohol and cigarettes. I got it that ‘excesses’ or ‘luxuries’ should be avoided. Hmm, but her eatery served Coke products! There was a Pepsi freezer but it seemed empty and unused. So if I had Coke, would I have been living the day luxuriously? Ah, I got a bottle just the same… and I said “sorry Lord” hehe!

When the ‘buwad’ was ready, we asked to have some. The ‘bolinaw’ was our main course plus the guso and the lato and the tinowa that we each had 2 cups of rice, plus a 5th cup that we shared. So could we have called this ‘puasa’? The highly intelligent companion (just second to me, of course) said yes it was since we avoided the luxuries and excesses of eating at the hotel. Hmm, bright!

If you want to read the chronology of all stories on this tour, click the following:
01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34


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