Food, Travel

The real chili sauce

Tried this artisan pinutos sa kanto. A teeny drop is all it takes. Truly “extra hot spicy”! ” So where’d the chilies come from?” I asked the guy at the counter. He just grinned. I imagined they’re picked from the native chili tree that’s maybe by the gate, growin’ wild and bloomin’ free and unnoticed. Until somebody got a bright idea.

pinutos sa kanto chili sauce

Religion and Spirituality

Stress management 101: go back to your core

Whenever days are not going the way I like them to be, I go to my hideaway where I order my usual: iced Americano. I enjoy how the combination of strong and cold chase away the extra heat in my body. Also, focusing on the writing on the wall takes my mind momentarily off my issues. I repeat the words slowly over and over imagining them feeding into my bloodstream until I sense that whatever’s bothering me is growing smaller and smaller, like Alice shrinking after a potent drop of Drink Me, at the same time that my awareness of the joy in just being grows bigger and bigger and everything else becomes trivial in comparison. Renewed, I go out the door feeling like I’m able to take on the world yet again.

can do all things through God who strengthens me

Food, Travel

Made in Basilan

It’s not all fighting in this island. I learned that the Moro, though not so the younger generation, love coffee which Bisaya people here find strange as they’re not coffee drinkers. Or, should I say coffee is a staple for these natives- not the instant kind but the real brew. A typical family stores the drink in a flask or thermos to keep it hot throughout the day. They like it strong and sweet. Reminds me of Moroccan coffee.

coffee #madeinBasilan

Interior Design, Travel

Home color palette inspiration: gray, green, brown, and a dash of yellow

This is exactly the color palette of my place out here which I’m loving, especially the wood (my bed for instance is solid teak or something, I can’t move it by myself). I guess it was just plain luck that the first rental place my hosts brought me to see is newly-built (the first renter was a female nurse and obviously took good care of the place) and came with a modern design. I immediately said yes to the caretaker (and worried about how to justify my yes to my agency only after).

home color inspiration

People

At home exercise

I’m not allowed to go out alone before 7 AM and should be already home by 7 PM. So dawn runs are out (a friend said I should instead jog in place inside my room which made me laugh). My lack of exercise has me worried. But yes thank goodness for Youtube. I’m doing this simple yoga routine every other day. The rest of the days- jogging in place while trying hard not to pity myself.

Food, Travel

Native delicacies: dodol

Dodol is a toffee-like delicacy made of rice flour, coconut milk, and palm sugar. The ones I saw hanging from a road-side store while on a stop-over on my way to Cotabato City were wrapped in corn husks. The sweet treat is purportedly found all over Southeast Asia, but it was my first to see and taste one then. It was Ramadan at the time.

Dodol

Food

Cooking lessons: stir-fried noodles

Home cooking skills have been all but killed by a number of sociological changes that have taken place since the 1950s. First there was the emergence of the self-service supermarket and with it prepared recipe meals such as tinned baked beans with sausages. The home workload for the housewife was lightening, and she was increasingly going out to work.

The Nation That Can’t Boil An Egg, Rose Prince, The Independent


Sat down to this for dinner, the best for when you’re eating solo. I’ve been discovering, out of necessity, the truth in “the more you cook, the better you cook, the more you cook.” It’s going to be my personal “project” for the rest of the year.

stir-fried noodles

 

People, television

On my current K-drama series playlist

K-drama series on Viu are my companion these days. I can now put a tick on Goblin: The Lonely and Great God. Done. The story reverberates with truly unique characters – the Goblin, of course, and, a departure from grim reapers of old, the uncannily handsome and domestic Grim Reaper – that are smoothly threaded in to the world of humans. Living among humans day after day meant that human vulnerabilities would gradually rub off on them, and it did. By opening themselves to the human experience, it made them a whole lot better in the end. Better deities. As for the humans…ah, well, love is a destiny.

As I’ve just gotten into watching K-drama, I don’t know many Korean actors, and deciding which series to watch next is based mainly on the actors from previously-watched dramas. The actor Lee Dong Wook was the reason I watched Goblin, because he was the actor of My Girl the first ever K-drama I saw and liked. So, after Goblin I decided to go for dramas in which the actor Kim Go Eun starred in. Hence, Cheese in the Trap.

The drama is a poignant portrayal of university life, youthful romance, and issues affecting young people such as family, mental health, and self-direction. There are also plenty of quotable quotes in there that especially convey what young people are going through:

Baek In Ho: Who studies on the subway? What do you want to become?

Seol:  I just want a job. I don’t want to be unemployed.

Baek In Ho:  What are you worried about? You’re a college student.

Seol:  That’s what I thought, too. When I was in high school I thought I could be anything when I went to college. Now that I’m in college there are many difficult questions. I envy those people the most (gestures toward a couple of men in business suits).

Baek In Ho:  What’s the envy? They look like corpses.

The close of the series brought to mind David Foster’s Just For A Moment (theme song from St. Elmo’s Fire) which floated in my head. I did shed a tear or two. Good news though! There’s a movie adaptation coming out this year! Plus there’s a webtoon of the series which it turns out is the original material.

Afterward, I decided to branch out to dramas of the actor Park Hae Jin, the male lead in Cheese, which led me to Doctor Stranger. I’m now currently watching Episode 9. Incredibly good so far. The story has most everything- spying (North and South Korea), geopolitics, professional rivalry, romance, that involve, well, doctors. But most especially the operating room scenes look very real!

In between, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I’m also watching Bride of Ha Baek (The Bride of the Water God) originally a manga series of the same title. I’ve seen the male lead Nam Joo Hyuk in Cheese in the Trap and Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo that I watched in February. After the first three episodes, I already liked Bride of Ha Baek because Shin Se Kyung‘s female lead’s story arc is so relatable. She has lots of things going on in her personal life, meaning, she’s not as happy, which keeps her, she’s a psychiatrist, from being fully present with her clients until… the series is now on Episode 8. The queer identities that have suddenly popped up in her life are starting to show who or what they really are.