Pandesal Discussions

Sa Mga Kuko ng LiwanagSa Mga Kuko ng Liwanag by Edgardo M. Reyes

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

"Ella, why are you reading this story? This is not your timeline no more..." -Dad

It is not me who only read this book, but also my mum and my dad (in their younger years). And when both of them saw me reading Edgardo Reyes' work, they opened this discussion:
"Ano ang meron sa Maynila na nawala ngayon, at ano ang nananatili pa rin?"
(In Manila, what are those that no longer exists, and what are those remained?)

Me, knowing that this discussion will not only end at the last person who eats the last pandesal (and yeah, that is how we spend breakfasts together), Mum started sharing her sentiments, saying that this exists from then until now...

Ugaling Tondo: If there is a land called Tondo, people having this trait will live on. I, for one, doesn't believe in her sweeping generalizations (and BEING STEREOTYPICAL), but somehow as she explained her side, there is a touch of truth. Bruised by hardships, raised by a lifestyle of isang kahid, isang tuka, and having a loud, maangas approach to anyone.

Promise of the Promised Land called Maynila: If this is still the Capital of the motherland (the Philippines), the promise will live on, no matter how false it is to some people. She elaborated her theory of political play during National Elections, why most people who became Presidents are natives of the mainland Luzon. People from other lands (i.e. Mindanao Islands) are being migrated by a politician, giving them the promise of the Promised Land ("nasa Maynila ang pag-asang mabago ang takbo ng iyong buhay, kung pinanganak kang mangingisda, hindi lang doon magtatapos iyon... blah blah blah") with a caveat: those being migrated will support the politician who sponsored their "exodus" to the Promised Land.

Ella: And then what happens after elections?
Mum: "Anong problema ko dun bilang pulitiko? Basta panalo na ako, okay na!" ("As a politician, is that my problem? As long as I win, it'll be okay!")
And so people who did the exodus seemed to be exiled. Cannot go home without enough money, not even enough to sustain their daily needs.

And yes, these are only two of her usual long list (I guess mothers have the habit of making long lists, haha). She says the corrupt practices, the political play, the crab mentality.

What my dad told us, is this:
"Nawala na ang pagiging barako ng Maynila, kasi natabunan na ng mga Beki!" (Manila lost its manly trait because it became overwhelmed with gays)

Mum conceded. She too, concurred to the comic rebuttal of dad.
And when I thought of it, yes. I have high respects with gays, and I have good friends who are effeminate at best, but I get my Dad's sentiment. One example he made mention is his dramatic encounter with his family. Mum was pregnant by then (with my eldest brother).

[cue the drama]
Dad: (to his mother) Ano naman kung buntis ang asawa ko? (and yet, they were not married by then)
Lola: Iwan mo yang babae yan, walang mangyayari sa buhay mo.
Dad: Mahal ko yung tao, at papanindigan ko siya. Bakit, sino bang makikisama? Kayo ba? AKO NAMAN DI BA?

CHEESY, I KNOW!!! But then he says:
"Ella, marami pa bang ganyang lalaki sa tingin mo - sa panahon mo ngayon? Eh kung simpleng blind date hindi ka siputin, paano pa kaya kung buntisan ka!?! Wala. Kaya kami ng nanay mo, taimtim ang dasal namin na makilala mo ang iyong katapat. Barako, at hindi ka tatakbuhan."

That is why this goodread will give you the realistic backdrop of my city, of whatever is happening before. If you are reading this in a park, or in a coffee shop, or somewhere serene, if you close your eyes, the words will being you to Misericordia, or to the old Odeon theatre in Recto, like a time machine. When you opened your eyes, you will realize how grateful you are, sitting in a soft chair inside the coffee shop, sipping your tall English breakfast gone cold.

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Pinoy Reads Pinoy Books Goes To: Pangasinan

"Duty comes in many forms; at times duty to country may conflict with duty to the family. Yet, with a lucid mind the guises can be torn away and in the end, duty becomes but one, and that is duty to value justice above everything - to do what is right and not because someone ordains it, but because the heart which is the seat of truth decrees it so." - Eustaquio Samson, PO-ON

We have not only a hobby, but also an advocacy. We as booklovers tried this approach to have a site visit of where the story happened - especially if the novel is a historical fiction made by a Filipino Author.

Told in our secondary language, this book is about the adventures of Eustaquio Istak Salvador (latter, Samson) and his exodus from Po-On to Rosales, Pangasinan; his sentiments of living life with family, or his passions and miseries, consequences of his actions, and love for his family, his woman named Dalin and ultimately, for his motherland.

As F. Sionil Jose writes his award-winning book, he taught us the different perspectives of love and justice, and how it applied from a simple farmer to an intelligent cripple and to a young general. The story of the setting meanwhile showed us what life was from those days and how it changed from then to now.

Unfortunately, there is no Balete tree or the author's ancestral home. Nevertheless, we enjoyed our field trip. I, who does not like travelling much, felt refreshed from going out of towns and have a different sight to see. We also swam in the dam. YAY SWIMMING! :)

Enough of story-telling: LET THESE TELL YOU THE REST.

San Antonio De Padua Parish: They need help. They need donations to restore the whole chapel for it is slowly decaying. We hope that the others can help them too. 

 Complete attendance? Not really. Most of the book club members are students, and due to exams, projects and other commitments of student life, they have to prioritize. But other members have different stories, have different professions. There is a barista (Ayban), bankers (Clai and Ella), writers/producers (Jzhun and Biena), legal/technical staff (Phoebe and Po), manager (Doni), and teachers (Ben, who is a call center agent in the meantime; and Berto, are you really a teacher? HAHA)

Santo Antonio De Padua

 Dagta, anong lasa mo? 

Presidencia in Plaza

The barista and the banker

Rosal in Rosales

Payak na Padyak: Rosales, Pangasinan have jeepneys and tricycles, but this is their novelty vehicle.

There is no Balete Tree, but this is the biggest tree in the Plaza

The Photographer-slash-banker poses with the writer, or just his bust.

The attendees of the field trip

Bumo-boyband. Barakos posed and laughed along

Babaetang: Girls posed in the staircase

"Asan ang banner?" -Pasensya na po, Ms. Bebang! :P

Jzhun Mraz AKA Bruno Mars: His Pasyon

Dalin sa Bintana: Banker Ella poses as the female protagonist and re-enacts (and then laughs) the hinted episodes of "They did some things to me."

Plaza where Presidencia is situated

Acop Dam: One of the tourist spots of the city. We played and enjoyed our side trip. 

The field trip is a definite fun! We hope the others can go with us the next time around. :)


From Cabunaw To Cabunawan: Of Faming, Revolutions, and Knowledge-Pursuit

Po-on (Rosales Saga, #1)Po-on by F. Sionil José

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There is something in the way F. Sionil Jose narrates stories of the setting in which a Manileña like me, was able to reflect to the daily lifestyle and random situations of the Samsons (previously Salvadors) on their exodus from Cabunaw to Bo. Cabunawanan, Rosales, Pangasinan. It is more of touching your heart not only as a reader, but also your nationalistic soul as a Filipino. :)

I was impressed in the structure of the novel - it has two viewpoints: the narrator, while elaborating the adventures of the characters, and the conscience of the protagonist named Istak. I was also in awe on how the author started and ended the novel with a correspondence, seemingly like an open letter to any reader of the changing times - from the time of oppression, to the time of the revolution.

It was sad that the end left hanging, especially on Dalin's side. Though we all know that she learned about the noble duty of Istak, the aftermath of the war on Pasong Tirad is not told, however we have been hinted that the American has plans to visit the family and surrender the journal. :)

This is definitely a goodread.

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ARMS Team Returns To Boracay

Yes, we were that rich because in a span of wee three months, the whole team went back to the island paradise - now tagging our American mentor along.

His arrival means a Pinoy dinner treat, so if you remembered our welcome party here, he's the guy seated beside me. Second weekend we went Chinese foodie and seafood market shopping (and I don't want to remember the badvibes no more). So onward to the La Isla Bonita~ 

The bestest sunset ever is still in Boracay baby~
Here are the rest of the pictures. I was happy to return to the island, knowing that years ago,  it was only in my dreams that I will be able to go to this place. Good thing my godmother is an Aklanon, and a teammate too - and we were able to get freebies and discounts in travelling and accommodations. We were able to explore some cheaper goodies and go bar-hopping with all  those network of friends that we have.

AND BEST OF ALL - I DID NOT PLAN ANYTHING! It was such good vibes that you were able to just be tagged along, rather than plan things and hear all those negative comments. And to note, I ain't a whiny one, so I just enjoyed whatever the itinerary is. It was worth the laughs and the smiles and the pictures of us chasing the chance of having the sight of the wonderful sunset.

Airport shots: Waiting for boarding, cannot wait for beach-bumming

Very tired of long-distance travel... 

Night-life on a Saturday night: We dressed our best and go bar hopping and strolling on the shore. Nothing special. :P

Sundate: We finally got the chance to SWIM! YES - SWIM in the cold sea. The first time we went to the island, we just took our time to do all kinds of water activities. This time around, we were able to do beach bumming... and pictures, still. HAHAHA

HOME: We have to have this kind of picture. LOL

Next is the ATV tour as we go to the highest point of the island and took pictures and do the art of "moment-ing". Then the banana boat kind of sucked because nobody fell. It was exhilirating, though. :) 

The art of "moment-ing": Use the beautiful scenery as your background and do what you are told

Achieving the perfect jumpshot will never be perfect. HAHAHAHA

We survived the skyride that defied the law of motion and laws of physics by using bodyweight and praying outloud. Worth all of those laughs.
Kuma-Candid Modelling: LIKE A BOSS

Silver linings and his version of shadow-play
Loco-promoters: We have had our coldest shots ever! :)
[Again, the Banana boat kinda sucked. HAHA, but we have the pictures to treasure with. 

 Kuma-candid: Him with all the quirky smiles


And yeah, madam Ella had her tattoo the second time around. :D
Tattoo by the bay: My Name in Alibata and the sun! :)
At nighttime we took our seafood diet and chilled by the bay. Ella, as the Ate of the team, became too tired to stay up until midnight and went ahead returning to the hotel and dozed off. The others joined the nightlife band and went milk party or something. 

Afternoon photoshoot - at random:

Too bad we have to return to the real life Manila on Monday since we have tons of workloads waiting for us. -______________-