The heart is highly overrated. It’s easy enough to assuage loneliness and homesickness in the age of Skype and Facetime, but the stomach isn’t as easy to please. Forget the heart, home is where the stomach is. My parents know this, which is why they welcome me with open arms and loads of fresh mangoes, cuchinta, bud-bud and puto each time I come home. Food figures heavily in our hearts.
Most days, I end up making my own home-cooked meals. Not fun when you’re used to buying it at a carinderia but a necessity when a piece of fried bangus is easily $6. A bag of malunggay leaves costs $2.50 + tax. It sucks because it’s mostly ice (they freeze the leaves in water) and I cry in the shower when I realize I’m ponying up $2.50 for a bag of leaves I used to pick off a tree in our backyard at home. But there’s only so long I can go without having Filipino food and if I have to cook it myself, I will. Needs must. Our neighbors are Filipino, and sometimes the hallway smells like chicken tinola. It’s all I can do to stop myself from knocking, bowl in hand.
They have plans to open a Jollibee in Toronto next year. Continue reading “A Moment on the Lips”