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May 10, 2019


If my mother were still here, this is what I envisioned Mother’s Day to be:

We would go out with the whole family or gather everyone at home on a Sunday then eat our favorites that she lovingly prepared. One of the eight children likes Pochero, another loves Inihaw na baboy, yet another Adobong Hito, and maybe some Burong Dalag. All were her favorites. My Dad would always count the number of small plates we had at the table because Mama would not waste any “leftover”. She had this uncanny ability to irritate my father with lots of small plates of last meal’s leftovers that should not go to waste.

That is my Mom. She cooked from scratch, invented new dishes from what was in our refrigerator, or craved for something she had to go back to the market for: Chinese favorites like Tausi, Tongchay, and Chaypo—which we thought were her originals (until my brother and I visited Xiamen and surprisingly found out it was ordinary fare in the Fujian province where my maternal great grandfather came from and landed in Iloilo where my grandfather was born). Thus, we have some Visayan influence through Kadyos Baboy Langka and other Visayan fares.

If she were still here she would probably be cooking and serving us her favorites exotic and extreme cuisine. Get ready for Utak (cow’s brain) with Macaroni, Fried Locust, and Raw salted Talangka! I miss her, her cooking, and her crazy unpredictable ways. There was no food she did not like. She gave in to my Dad who loved Sashimi, Teppanyaki, and Paksiw na Talimusak.

I would make her eat and try:

  • Adlai and see what she makes of it
  • Bukel – for a white bean stew
  • Shiratake noodles and tell her it’s zero calories
  • Etag or Kini-ing which is smoked pork from the North

I would probably take her to our farm like she used to take me to Paradise Farms where she grew santol and other fruit trees, corn, and other short crops. Little do we know that what mothers tell and show us become ingrained in us and guides us to our future path. I never thought I would be having a farm!

On Mother’s Day, think of what you have learned from Mom and show your kids, nieces, and friends what an experience it was for you.

And, always tell her how you feel for her. I spent many good years traveling with my mother when my father had passed. We would always have different opinions about stuff, yet we ended up doing crazy things together.

Once, we flew to the States and she was in Business Class while I was in Coach. I had a very bad cold. Guess what she did? She swapped seats with me so I could fly better and in comfort. She took the Coach seat. That was just amazing. That is what Moms do.

I miss my Mom and I miss her crazy ways. Enjoy your parents especially your mothers’ quirks, idiosyncrasies, and temper, because no one can replace a Mom.

And for all the moms out there, enjoy your children—no matter their moods, their weird ways, and their “next generation” habits.

Happy Mother’s Day!



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