What Makes Me a Filipino

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I scratched my eyelids as I wait for my water to boil. I made my coffee and grabbed coins for breakfast. Outside my boarding house, eateries line up like a welcoming buffet feast on a festival. I entered the one where I usually eat. Actually, in my two months of stay here, I never thought of ordering a meal from other canteen. Sooner or later, I wouldn’t be surprised if they call me “suki”(patron). I pointed at one of the dishes and ordered one cup of rice. I took my meal to a table and started eating. Adobo, the Filipino favorite, I miss my mom’s version of adobo. It is not a different thing that a dish even if it bears the same name varies from place to place. For example, another popular dish, the sinigang. Sinigang has many variations, sinigang sa sampalok(tamarind), sa bayabas(guava), sa kamias(ginger lily), sa mangga(mango), sa santol(wild mangosteen), and sinigang sa whatever that tastes sour. The ingredients vary differently depending on the availability of resources in one place. I would not go far (but actually it is far from where I am now) in my hometown, Bataan, they would serve you sinigang na alimango at sugpo with bagoong. I have met several people who did not know that that variety of sinigang exists. But, I cannot wish for lavish dishes now. On my plate were three chunks of chicken and several pieces of potatoes. Anyways, where else can you buy a complete meal for 18 pesos? 10 pesos for a half order of a viand and 8 pesos for a cup of rice. If you don’t have the appetite, you can also order half rice (also) for half the price. Retail business in the Philippines is really booming. Variety store with the pseudonym: corner store, sari-sari store, Aling Nena’s store, whatever you call it, sells retails of everything. A “gatang” of rice, shampoos, detergent, and other toiletries in sachets, instant coffee, creamer, and sugar is sold in packs for one peso each for a single serving of coffee. Even hot water is sold. I hit the break on my train of...
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