Resourcefulness in Cookery

Resourcefulness in Cookery

By Apolinario Villalobos

 

By the time we have grown old, we must have tasted plenty of dishes, some of which we have learned to like and craved to taste again while disdained by others, that we do not even want to imagine them. And, from those exposures, we are supposed to have learned how to prepare what we like best.  Those who are creative enough may have come up with their own based on what they have tasted using occidental and oriental ingredients to come up with a “fusion cuisine”, or just any that are available.

 

Delectability of foods may be enhanced by the color that they assume when cooked, ready for the taking. For this, some people use roots, seeds, and leaves to add color to their dishes, such as Valenciana rice (arroz Valenciana), Java, and Mindanao rice that are colored yellow using turmeric root or powder. The adobo in some regions of the Philippines is colored red due to “achuete” (istiwitis in Ilonggo). The beef curry of the Tausugs is dark-colored akin to “dinuguan”, due to the milk of the coconut meat “burnt” by roasting before it is shredded.

 

Another come-on of the dish is its aroma that tickles the palate. Herbs and spices are employed in this regard. Pasta dishes, especially, spaghetti becomes more scrumptious if sprinkled with sparsely and thyme, or oregano. Herbs hide and preserve meat…this is the reason why the spices of the orient were so longed-for by Europeans during the time when Spain, Holland, England, and Portugal dominated the maritime exploration of the vast oceans in their search for the “spice islands” in the East.

 

Then, there’s the presentation of the dish. High-end restaurants, in trying to have an exotic ambience, serve food on coconut shells, banana leaves, iron dish for sizzling preparations, earthen pot, etc. The way, even the simple steamed rice as the center piece of the dining is presented counts a lot, too. Roasted suckling pig served on the dining table is always with an apple or orange in its gaping mouth, and the whole glistening roasted carcass is surrounded with other fruits and greens.

 

But my most memorable fried rice was served in a coffee mug. It was simply cooked with small bits of carrots, onion, roasted garlic and an added flavor which could be the secret of my host..  It was served to me by Tiya Prax Lapuz, wife of Tiyo Mending Lapuz, pioneer settlers of Tacurong. Despite my having just taken breakfast when I visited them for an interview on their experiences as they embarked on a journey from Luzon to Cotabato, I delightedly finished the fried rice to the last morsel downed with a cup of coffee.

 

As a race known for innovation, we should come up with more dishes based on locally available ingredients. We should not look down to our herbs and spices. Our vegetables can compare well with the imported, and with that, regional dishes can be “fused” with twists, and which can then, be served during special occasions. We should not be limited to spaghetti topped with ground meat and canned tomato sauce or pancit.

 

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Mga Problema ng Nagpapaupa ng Tirahan at ng mga Nangungupahan

MGA PROBLEMA NG NAGPAPAUPA NG TIRAHAN,

AT NG MGA NANGUNGUPAHAN

Ni Apolinario Villalobos

 

Ang problema ng mga nagpapaupa ay ang mga propesyonal na mandurugas na nangungupahan na ang style ay pagpalipat-lipat ng mga tirahan kung wala nang pambayad. Sa simula ay advance pa kunwari sa pagbayad pero pagkalipas ng dalawa o tatlong buwan ay delayed na haggang tuluyang hindi na magbayad dahil wala daw pera, pero kaya namang bumili ng mga mamahaling gadget at palagi pang nagpapainom sa bahay. Kapag malaki na ang naipong utang at pinaalalahanan ng may-ari, sila pa ang galit, at sila pa rin ang unang nagrereklamo sa barangay dahil hina-harass daw.

 

Ang iba namang may-ari ng bahay, apartment o kuwarto na pinauupahan ay hindi man lang tini-check ang background ng gustong umupa. Hindi man lang inaalam kung saang barangay galing, at maski tadtad na ng tattoo ang katawan, may mga hikaw pati ilong at bibig, okey lang. Magugulat na lang ang gahamang may-ari kapag may kumatok nang pulis sa pinto ng nangungupahang drug pusher pala! May isa namang nagpaupa na dahil impress sa kotse at ayos ng mga titira, lalo pa at nagbigay agad ng down payment at ilang buwang advance ay hindi na nagtanong pa tungkol sa uri ng trabaho nila. Ilang buwang makalipas ay hinuli ang mga nangungupahan sa isang grocery sa bukana ng subdivision – mga holdaper pala! Yong isa namang may-ari ng apartment ay tinanggap agad ang mga nag-apply, at hindi pa rin nagduda kahit puro lalaki ang nagdatingan na ang dala ay mga backpack lang, walang gamit pangbahay, pero maraming sasakyang ginagamit. Hindi kalaunan, ni-raid ang apartment dahil ang mga nangupahan pala ay isang grupo ng kilala at notorious na holdaper, ang “Kuratong Baleleng”.

 

Ang iba naman ay tinatarantado ang kubeta ng  inuupahan dahil bago sila umalis ay sinasalaksakan nila ang inudoro ng kung anu-anong bagay upang maging barado na! Ang iba naman ay kinakalikot ang electrical wirings upang magkaroon ng short circuit. Meron pang nagbabawas o nagluluwag ng besagra ng mga pinto, kaya ilang bukas-sarado lang bigla na lang silang matatanggal. Kapag ganito ang nangyayari, kawawa ang landlord lalo pa kung ito ay retirado at ang inaasahang pambili ng gamot ay ang upa.

 

Hindi naman lahat ng nangungupahan ay mandurugas o may bisyo. Ang karamihan ay disente lalo na yong may  maayos ang trabaho. Meron ngang tumatagal ng hanggang nagka-apo na. Ang problema naman nila ay ang switik na may-ari ng inuupahan nila pagdating sa singil sa kuryente at tubig na “common” o batay lang sa isang metro. Mataas ang singil ng mga switik na ito sa mga tenants upang silang may-ari ay makalibre na. Kapag umalis naman ang mga nangupahan, hindi binabalik ng ilang landlord ang deposito kahit walang nasirang bagay sa inupahan. Upang hindi maibalik ay kung anu-anong dahilan ang sinasabi ng mga switik na landlord sa mabait na tenant upang hindi na mabawi ang deposito. Kadalasan din ay pinapangakuan ang mga umalis na tenants na bumalik pero wala namang nangyayari hanggang tamarin na lang sila at upang hindi na magkagastos sa pamasahe.

 

May isang switik na landlord akong alam na na-karma kaya ngayon ay tadtad ng sakit ang katawan, lalo na ng psoriasis, isang sakit sa balat kaya iniiwasan siya. Ang isa namang “propesyonal” na mandurugas na tenant na isa palang drug pusher at nagpapagamit ng inuupahan bilang “drug den” ay nadale sa operasyon “tokhang”.

 

 

 

St. Catherine of Siena (dedicated to the Notre Dame-Siena of Tacurong City)

St. Catherine of Siena

(Dedicated to the Notre Dame-Siena of Tacurong City)

By Apolinario Villalobos

 

She could have been

Just another pretty face in the village,

But the call of the Lord

Came loud, strong and intense

That nothing could block the path

She chose that led to Him

Whose Heart bursts with blinding grace

And warmth that’s just so overwhelming.

 

Dedicating her life to the Lord

She lived with simplicity,

And despite the affluence of her family

She led a life filled with frugality;

She spent her time with the unfortunates

Who could barely make both ends meet

Making sacrifice stand for what it’s meant

As that was her cherished dream ever since.

 

Writing her way to prominence

She tried her best to be heard

For the sake of her countrymen;

Though the goings were tough

For favorable consequence,

She was not deterred

For instead, her courage

Was prodded on by insistence.

 

As the Lord’s intellectual instrument

She did her best with the pen’s power

Patching up the rift that beleaguered the Church –

This she did while helping the destitute;

She lighted up gloomy nights with her radiance

For without even a single complaint

She made lost souls find their way

Back to the Lord – just like any other saint.

 

The world is lucky for her legacies –

Courage toughened by perseverance

Patience intensified by wisdom

Humility bolstered by endurance

Simplicity anchored on diligence;

Nobody has ever thought

That intercession of such a dainty girl –

Much later by others, shall be sought.

 

St. Catherine …

She is all that women should emulate –

Pretty, yet modest and humble to the highest

Ever submissive to the Lord’s will

Never asking why she must suffer for others

Taking to heart every thing she did

In the hope that someday –

The Church would, at last, be united!

 

(The former Notre Dame Girls Department of Tacurong City that used to be under the Dominican nuns, is now under the administration of the nuns who belong to the Order of St. Catherine.)

 

 

The First and Last Book of Mr. Ricardo G. Paloma…The Cordillera Tourism Master Plan

THE FIRST AND LAST BOOK OF MR. RICARDO G. PALOMA

…The Cordillera Tourism Master Plan

By Apolinario Villalobos

 

Mr. Ricardo G. Paloma, “Tatang” to his subordinates is well-remembered for his patience, thoroughness, and flow charts. He is so systematic that anything that had got to do with PAL operations were covered with a flowchart so that mishandling of passengers, baggage and cargoes can be easily pointed out along the way – from the time plane tickets were cut up to the time the passenger has left the airport terminal; from the time a baggage has been checked-in to the time it has been claimed at the destination; and from the time a cargo has been accepted for shipment up to the time it has been claimed by the consignee. Even phone calls were monitored together with the length of time involved in attending to the callers and from such transactions, their “requirements” should be noted and taken up during sales meetings.

 

He was also engrossed in the state of the Philippine tourism industry, particularly, on how PAL could contribute to its development. In this regard, the Tours and Promotions Information Center at the Terminal 4 (formerly, Domestic Airport) was set up and headed by Mr. Vic Bernardino as Manager, with pioneer staff, Ed Buensuceso, Mayee Santos-Cuenco, Thelma Villaseἧor, John Fortes, Reggie Constantino, and Alex Enrile. The TOPIC Magazine was used as research and information tool to promote local tourism, with Alex Enrile as the Editor. I was fortunate to have taken over the job of Alex Enrile as Editor when he left for the United States. I just joined PAL for barely a yera then, with Tablas station as my first assignment. Later on, the PALakbayan Tour Program which “segmentized” the traveler according to his needs was conceptualized and sold as a tour package, both to the domestic and international tourists. He was also regularly consulted by the Department of Tourism which earned him the recognition as, “Mr. Tourism”.

 

I did not know that ever since I started contributing my poems and essays to the dailies and magazine even while in Tablas, Mr. Paloma had instructed his secretary, Bill Trinidad to clip and collect them. I came to know about what he did when he summoned me to his office on his last day as SVP-Finance, an extended job after he retired as VP-Sales, Philippines. I found him and Bill packing up. While I was taking coffee that he, himself prepared, he opened an attaché case and showed me the contents – original copies of clippings that caught me by surprise. I did not even know that my materials were published because I had no time to check them. As a consolation, he had them copied and gave me the duplicates. He also gave me his first Parker pen which was given to him by his wife, according to him.

 

Several months after he left PAL, I was surprised when his driver visited me in my new office at S&L Building, along Roxas Boulevard in Ermita, because during the time, our Tours and Promotions group was integrated into the International Sales-Philippines which was under Mr. Rene Ocampo and later on, Mr. Archie Lacson as RVP-Philippines and Guam, after a brief stint with the Metro Manila Sales which was then, under Mila Limgenco as Senior Asst. Vice-President. The driver told me that Mr. Paloma was in the car parked at the egress of the building and he would not like to come up, so I went to him only to know that he was inviting me to a lunch at the French Baker at the Greenbelt Park, across the Vernida Bldg. where we used to hold office. He was aware of my diet so he chose his favorite Frenchy bakeshop-cum-restaurant, just to be sure that I would have my salad.

 

Over the lunch of salad and bread downed with coffee, he asked me if I had the time to edit some documents for him, to which I immediately said yes. With that, he gave me a brown envelop with documents. When he brought me back to S&L, he told me while smiling that more are coming to which I said, no problem. From then on, at least once a week, he would have me fetched at my office for lunch at the French Baker in Makati. The driver would also deliver to me batches of documents for editing.

 

After a lull of about two weeks he fetched me again for lunch after which he showed me a neatly bound book, “The Cordillera Tourism Master Plan”. What he told me while handing me the book and which I could not forget was, “you inspired me to do this”.

 

He had three copies made, one for me with a dedication, another copy for the Department of Tourism, and the third copy for his library at home. Many months transpired and our lunch became infrequent, only to learn that he was sick. My fault was that I did not find time to visit him….only at his wake. To compensate for my irresponsibility, I made a poem and essay for him. Both saw print in the PALiner. I know that those who know Mr. Paloma will agree with me that he was a great employee who started from the ranks as a porter, PAL ever had…our one and only “Tatang”.

 

Ang mga Pinapatay na Drug Users at Pushers

ANG MGA PINAPATAY NA DRUG USERS AT PUSHERS

Ni Apolinario Villalobos

 

Batay sa mga binanggit ni Kerwin Espinosa tungkol sa lawak ng pagkasangkot ng kapulisan, nakakabahala na hindi lang pala mga opisyal na nakaupo sa mataas na puwesto ang may kinalaman, kundi pati mga kapulisan sa ilalim. Malinaw na malinaw ang kuwento tungkol sa mga “recycled” na droga – mga drogang bahagi ng nakumpiska ng mga pulis at pinabebenta nila mga “bataan” nilang pushers. Ang mga nasa Maynilang pulis na nagre-recycle ay tinawag na “ninja cops”. Ang mga pushers ay nahahawakan nila sa leeg dahil nahuli na nila ang mga ito bilang mga drug users, kaya mistulang na-black mail upang magbenta ng “recycled” na droga, upang hindi tuluyang makulong.

 

Naipakita din noon sa TV ang isang witness na taga-Antipolo na nag-utos daw sa kanyang tatay na magbenta ng droga, at kung minsan daw ay sa bahay pa nila gumagamit nito. Mistulang nakalublob sa kumunoy ang tatay nilang pinatay nilang gumagamit din ng droga at ilang beses nang nahuli. Nang mapatay ang tatay nila ay positibo nilang itunuro ang mga pulis.

 

May mga pinapatay ngayong ayon sa mga kaibigan at kapamilya ay dati daw gumagamit LANG ng droga at sumuko na kaya nakalista sa presinto. Nagtataka lang sila kung bakit pinatay pa at siguradong hindi sindikato ang pumatay sa kanila dahil wala naman daw kilalang big-time pusher ang mga ito. Ang ibang namatay ay mga scavenger at “barker” sa mga jeepney station. Pero ayon sa kanilang mga kaibigan ay natutong gumamit ng droga na nagsimula sa rugby, pero bandang huli ay kumita dahil “naghahatid” na rin daw ng droga o naging “runner”. Kung minsan pa daw ay may kausap silang mga pulis.

 

Ang hinala, ay mismong mga pulis na sangkot sa droga pero hindi natanggal sa puwesto ang may kagagawan ng pagpatay upang hindi sila maituro pagdating ng panahon. Pinapatay nila ang mga nakakakilala sa kanila upang pagdating ng panahon ay hindi sila maituro. Kapag “lumamig” na ang sitwasyon dahil isinusunod na ang “corruption” kaya siguradong hihina ang operasyon laban sa droga, asahan ang mga bagong “set” ng drug pushers at runners. Hindi naman kasi nasisira ang shabu kahit itabi ng kung ilang taon….pwedeng ibenta after six years kung wala na si Duterte.

 

Kailangan ng Pangulo ang “Intelligence Fund”

KAILANGAN NG PANGULO ANG “INTELLIGENCE FUND”

Ni Apolinario Villalobos

 

Hindi 100% na natanggal ang mga tiwali sa mga ahensiya ng gobyerno dahil sa Civil Service provision tungkol sa eligibility. Ang mga tiwaling ito ay ILAN sa mga opisyal at ordinaryong empleyadong nagsisilbing balakid sa mga programa ni presidente Duterte, kaya kailangan niya ang “intelligence fund”. Ang pondo ay magagamit na pangsuweldo sa mga taong gagawa ng palihim na pagmanman sa mga operasyon ng lahat ng ahensiya. Pwedeng gayahin ang mga malalaking department stores at grocery stores na “nagtatanim” ng tinatawag na “false shoppers” na nangangalap ng first-hand information kung sino at saang bahagi ng operasyon nila ang may palpak na serbisyo.

 

Ang mga taong confidential ang trabaho ay magbibigay ng first-hand na mga report kay presidente Duterte upang magkaroon siya ng ideya kung binobola lang siya ng mga itinalaga niyang kalihim at iba pang opisyal. Malalaman din niya kung ang mga datihang empleyado ay nagbago na o kung bumalik sa dating katiwalian. Kung hindi mangyayari ito, siguradong babagsak siya kahit maganda ang kanyang layunin dahil napapansin na ngayon ang kahinaan ng ilang mga opisyal na itinalaga niya dahil lang sa utang na loob.

 

Pwedeng gamiting halimbawa para sa pangangailangan ng “intelligence fund” ang Bureau of Customs na hanggang ngayon ay tila bumabalik na naman sa dating gawi na panggigipit sa mga importers at ang ginagamit na dahilan ay ang walang kamatayang “technical smuggling” kuno.

Ang dahilang ito ay mababaw, dahil kung regular o consistent ang kanilang paghihigpit ay hindi “palaging” nataytayming sa panahong malapit na ang pasko.

 

Nabisto ang modus operandi ng Bureau of Customs nang pumutok sa media dahil sa reklamo ng mga apektadong negosyante ng prutas. Dahil sa panggigipit ng Customs, inaaasahang sisirit ang presyo ng mga prutas pagdating ng Disyembre upang mabawi ng mga negosyante ang mga nagastos nila dahil sa pagka-antala ng release ng shipment nila na hindi naman nila kasalanan.

Panapanahon ang Pagkakataon

PANAPANAHON ANG PAGKAKATAON

Ni Apolinario Villalobos

 

Nang maging presidente si Joseph Estrada, ang taong itinalaga niya sa PAGCOR na dating artistang komedyanteng mataba, ay may kabayangan na nagsabing,  “panahon namin ngayon”, dinugtungan pa ng, “weather weather lang yan”. Nakakainis mang pakinggan ay dapat tanggapin ang katotohanang yan. Hindi lahat ng panahon ay para sa isang tao kaya kung magkaroon siya ng magandang pagkakataon pagdating ng tamang panahon, dapat ay sunggaban na niya pero dapat ay maganda ang layunin niya.  Ang problema lang ay ang mga taong sadyang baluktot ang isip kaya umiiral palagi ang kasamaan sa kanilang ginagawa kapag nagkaroon sila ng magandang pagkakataon.

 

Sa isang bansa na mahina o korap ang namumuno kaya napapaikutan ng mga tauhang tiwali,  o di kaya ay ginagaya naman ng ibang opisyal, siguradong animo ay pista ang mangyayaring kurakutan, tulad ng nangyari sa Pilipinas sa ilalim ng mga nakalipas na administrasyon. Ang iiral na katanungan kasi ay, “sila lang ba?” Kaya ang mga ayaw patalo ay nakikikurakot na rin.

 

Subalit dahil ang mundo ay bilog at umiinog, dumarating ang panahon na ang nasa itaas ay napupunta sa ibaba. Walang bagay na permanente sa ibabaw ng mundo dahil lahat ay sumasailalim sa pagbabago: ang sanggol ay tumatanda; ang sariwa ay nalalanta; ang makinis na balat ay kumukulubot; ang liwanag ay nagiging dilim; ang mayamang dating gahaman sa salapi  ay nagsasawa sa pera kapag malapit nang mamatay; ang dating drug user lang ay nagiging pusher at kung susuwertihin ay nagiging drug lord at upang mapagtakpan ang mga katiwalian ay nagdo-donate ng malaki sa mga simbahan, nagpapatayo ng mga foundation para sa mga scholars; ang masarap na pagkain ay napapanis…ilan lang ang mga iyan na dumadaan sa iba’t ibang panahong may kaakibat na pagkakataong maging maganda, sariwa, etc.

 

Nakakabilib ang mga taong mahaba ang pisi ng pagtitiyaga at pagpapasensiya sa paghintay ng tamang panahon para sa pagkakataong papanig sa kanila. Ang isang halimbawa ay ang pamilya Marcos na kung ilang administrasyon ang pinalampas at tahimik lamang sa kanilang minimithing pagpapalibing sa padre de pamilya  nilang si Ferdinand na dating diktador sa Libingan ng mga “Bayani”. Nang dumating ang panahon ni presidente Duterte na kapanalig nila, saka sila lumapit dito at nagbakasakaling mabigyan ng pagkakataong hinihingi nila at hindi naman sila nabigo.

 

Sa huli, masasabi na namang ang pagkakaroon ng magandang pagkakataon ay, “weather weather lang”. Ang mga naghihimutok na kumukontra ay dapat na maging maunawain sa takbo ng buhay, na hindi lahat ng pagkakataon ay panig sa kanila. Hintayin nila ang panahon nila.

 

SAMANTALA, ANG DAPAT PAGTUUNAN NG PANSIN NGAYON AY ANG KASALUKUYAN DAHIL ITO ANG MAGDADALA SA ATIN SA KINABUKASAN. HINDI TAYO DAPAT NA MAGPAHILA SA NAKARAAN, PERO KUNG MAGANDA AY GAMITING INSPIRASYON, AT KUNG PANGIT AY KALIMUTAN NA LANG.