Lorna at Vanni Quimpo…magpuputo at magtuturon ng Tacurong

Lorna at Vanni Quimpo

…magpuputo at magtuturon ng Tacurong

Ni Apolinario Villalobos

 

Nakilala ko sina Vanni at Lorna nang minsang kumain ako ng puto na tinitinda nila, napakamura sa halagang Php5 bawa’t isa. Tinikman ko rin ang turon na Php5 ang dalawang piraso. Dahil nasarapan ako, nakakahiya mang i-reveal, nakaubos ako ng 7 puto at 8 turon! Nang time na yon ay napilitan akong uminom ng softdrink na ang halaga naman ay Php10 dahil wala silang mineral water at ayokong mabulunan sa harap nila, dahil lalong nakakahiya. Sa pagkain ko nga lang ng marami nilang paninda ay manghang-mangha sila. Tanghalian ko na ang nilantakan kong pagkain dahil feeling bundat na ako.

 

Ang puto na natikman ko ay talagang gawa sa purong bigas, hindi malagkit. Tama lang din ang tamis kaya siguro hindi ako naumay, tuloy nakabubos ako ng 7 piraso. Ang turon naman ay may halong langka at ang wrapper ay napakalutong! Ang nakakatuwa pa ay hantad ang ginagawang pagluto ng mag-asawa, mula sa pagtimpla ng giniling sa bigas para ilutong puto, at ang deep-fry ng turon. Wala silang trade secret. Pati nga ang tulugan nila ay hantad din kaya na-touch ako sa pagsisikap nila. Tiyempo namang may natanggap akong donation mula sa isang viewer na taga-Koronadal, at para sana sa mga kaibigan ko sa Baseco Compound (Tondo), pero pinagamit ko na muna sa kanila para pambili ng dagdag na trapal para sa “kusina” nila dahil magtatag-ulan na.

 

Sa kuwentuhan namin, nalaman kong naigagapang ng mag-asawa ang pag-aaral ng kanilang mga anak sa pagtinda ng turon at puto sa loob ng mahigit sampung taon mula nang dumating sila mula sa Iloilo. Dahil sa hindi mabawasan at nadadagdagan pang obligasyon, hindi sila nagkaroon ng pagkakataong makapagpundar ng tirahan o nakakapamasyal man lang.

 

Ang puwesto nila ay inamin nilang “iskwat” lamang at alam nilang ano mang oras ay mapapaalis sila kaya ang mga materyales na ginamit nila ay pang-temporary lamang upang madaling baklasin. Bumilib ako sa kanila dahil may dangal sila kahit nang-iiskwat lamang upang kumita, hindi tulad ng ibang iskwater na kailangan pang pakiusapan upang umalis sa iniskwatang lupa…at hihingi pa ng pera!

 

Dalawang anak nila ang may trabaho na, subalit ang dalawang nakakabata ay nag-aaral pa. Tabi-tabi sila sa pagtulog sa isang papag na ang dingding ay pinagtagpi-tagping yero at trapal. Ang lutuan nilang kawa ay nakapatong sa isang lutuan na ginagatungan ng mga hininging basurang papel sa isang opisina. Kung minsan ay nakakabili si Vanni ng ilang sakong bao ng niyog (coconut shell) sa palengke.

 

Si Lorna ay hindi puwedeng magluto dahil operado ang kanyang mga mata kaya hanggang sa pagtinda na lamang siya. Si Vanni ang namimili ng mga iluluto, madaling araw pa lang. Inamin ng mag-asawa na kahit mahigit sampung taon na sila sa lunsod ay hindi sila gaanong nakakapamasyal dahil ang buong panahon nila ay ginugugol sa pagtitinda. Ayon kay Vanni, napakalaking kawalan nila kapag hindi sila nakapagtinda sa loob ng isang araw.

 

Kahit hirap sila sa buhay, pinipilit ng mag-asawang mapagtapos ang dalawa pa nilang anak ng senior high school man lang dahil edukasyon lamang daw ang kaya nilang maipamana sa kanilang mga anak.

 

Abrazo Rustico Resto Cafe…Italianish oasis in Tacurong City

Abrazo Rustico Resto Café

…Italianish oasis in Tacurong City

By Apolinario Villalobos

 

When a facebook friend, Macmac Albenio Delfin referred to me a resto café with an Italian sounding name, I was intrigued. The name he mentioned was Abrazo Rustico Resto Café which when I checked, found it to be within what the Tacurongnons refer to as “Dragon area”, the name being that of a gasoline station-cum-convenient store-cum open-air café. But the Abrazo is an air-conditioned cozy enclave fronting the highway and a few steps from the aforementioned station.

 

I was hoping that after an unfortunate experience in another coffee shop with a name that I would rather forget, this time around, I would be lucky enough to have a better encounter. Just the same, as I had my lesson, I did not expect so much from the service crew of Abrazo.

 

Fortunately, I was more than satisfied when I opened the door and was greeted by the smiling guys at the counter. The café was unpretentiously simple, yet cozy. Compared with other cafes, Abrazo is small which however, has become an advantage as it made the atmosphere assume a homey ambiance. I immediately ordered my favorite coffee mix – cappuccino which came thick in consistency, with accompanying two tube sachets of branded muscovado sugar…another plus for health-conscious customers.

 

Looking around, I was impressed immediately by the miniature antique typewriter safely entrenched in a frame on the wall. Practically, the interior was Italian, even the food offerings. I found out later that Abrazo is popular among students of the nearby VMC, as in a little while, three students came to make an order of pizza and one of the joint’s popular mixed cool drinks. As I observed the satisfaction on the faces of the young customers, I asked their permission for a photo to which they obliged. During that quick visit I failed to meet the owner and resolved to come back in the afternoon to try my luck. At that juncture, I opened up myself to the café staff by revealing to them that I was a blogger, although, they have already permitted me to take photos of the joint without much ado, a show of pride for their coffee shop.

 

When I came back early in the afternoon, two of the staff were talking to a young petite and pretty lady, who I found later found to be the owner. My effort finally paid up! And, I was more than rewarded when I found out that the two gentlemen who just finished their coffee were officers of a reputable bank in Isulan and Tacurong City….proof enough that indeed, Abrazo was a class by itself. The gentlemen gave me their permission to post their photo that I took, but I opted to withhold their name.

 

The owner of Abrazo assumes a facebook name as IRE YSABELLE and I want to maintain her identity as such. What’s important to me at the time was my having touched base with her to express my admiration for her guts in venturing into an arena overflowing with cutthroat competition as the city is literally dotted with various kinds of food outlets from the traditional “pastilan”, carinderia, “batchoyan”, “barbecuehan” and open-air cafeterias.

 

I assumed however, that her courage is enflamed by her penchant for Italian foods, foremost of which is the pizza and java beverages that the joint’s barista yummily concocts. Simply put, she is fond of Italian foods, a variation of Mediterranean cuisine. Her fondness is shown by Abrazo’s various food and drink offerings that customers may not tire of coming back. By the way, customers who want to relax while tapping on their smartphone or laptop may be glad to know that wi-fi access is free!…check out “Abrazo Rustico” on fb to find more about this joint operated and staffed by energetic young-blooded Mindanaoans.