The House Remembered

Dear folks,

The photographer Stella Kalaw and I have been collaborating on some interesting projects. The first one is up on her website:

Check it out, if you have time.

Any and all comments welcome, always šŸ™‚

Rainy Evening, Early Dinner at Kuya’s

Self didn’t get to attend the 14th Annual CineFest, but she did have dinner at Kuya’s. It rained — no, poured — most of the afternoon. On our way to San Bruno (to pick up, from LBC office, hubby’s tickets for a trip to Manila he and his brother are taking right after Christmas), traffic was horrendous and self counted five police cars and two accidents, including one van that had completely flipped over. The occupants of the wrecked cars were standing miserably by the side of the road, waiting. Self’s phone rang, and it turned out to be M, a friend self had not heard from in over a year. She began: “I left J–” and self was suddenly full of questions: Where are you? Is your daughter with you? Are you all right?

It is pretty hard to talk “girl talk” with your husband sitting right next to you, dear blog reader. Suddenly, hubby burst out in a loud guffaw and self threw him a look that said: SHUT UP OR I WILL KILL YOU. She greatly hoped M had not overheard.

After self got off the phone, she asked hubby what he’d found so funny.

“Someone gave me the finger,” hubby replied.

“For what?” self inquired, amazed.

“For driving too slow.”


Anyhoo, we arrived at LBC without further incident. It took nearly an hour for the two wan ladies in the office to produce a receipt and an electronic print-out of hubby’s itinerary. Then, we asked them if they knew the way to Kuya’s, and they said, “Why not Ongpin Noodle House? It is the same as Kuya’s.” But, we asked again, did they know where Kuya’s was? And they replied that they were not sure, it might just be “around the corner” somewhere.

OK, so hubby and self set off to search, and self decided (after we took several wrong turns) to call her hairdresser, and the woman handed the phone to a customer who asked self, “Marunong ka ba mag-Tagalog?” And self said, “O-o,” and then the man started talking very fast, and all self got was a mention of “Bank of America” and “Ihaw-Ihaw.”

“So, where’s the street?” hubby asked, and self replied that the man at the beauty parlor didn’t know either.

“But,” hubby said, “You were on the phone with him a really long time!”

“I know,” self said. “He said it was somewhere near a Bank of America and an Ihaw-Ihaw.”

OK. Well, we did eventually find the place, and wonder of wonders the restaurant was completely empty. We sat down and ordered adobo rice, kare-kare, and Bicol Express. And huge plates were brought forth, dear blog reader, but hubby and self laid into the plates and wiped them clean. Everything except for the kare-kare, which we doggy-bagged. And, after all that, self still had the wherewithal to inquire of tall gentleman just passing the table: “What is Kuya Pong’s Favorite Dessert?” And the man replied: “Home-made yams with coconut ice cream.” And self said, “That sounds delicious!” And the man said, “Want a taste?” And self said, “OK!” And she was expecting the man to come back with a dab of coconut ice cream on a spoon, but instead he came back with a huge bowl filled to the brim with scoops of coconut ice cream. And the waitress inquired if she should add the dessert to our bill and the man said no. And later I asked the waitress who the kind gentleman was, and she said, “That was Kuya Pong.” And self just couldn’t believe it, dear blog reader. She has actually met the man after whom “Kuya Pong’s Favorite Dessert” is named. On the same day that she began reading ex-Stanford classmate Jeffrey Eugenides’ ravishing novel, Middlesex. On the same day that Martha called to tell self she had left her husband of five years. On the same day that someone driving on 101, in heavy rain, gave hubby the finger.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

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