Inspired with and by Anna Olson

There was a buzz of excitement in the air when the doors of Sage Bespoke Grill in Makati Shangri-la opened to welcome the guests of the quaint affair for the night. The well-loved Canadian Chef, Anna Olson, has a new show entitled Inspired with Anna Olson, and will be shown in the Asian Food Channel (CignalTV channel 26) starting tonight, July 29, at 9pm. Touring Southeast Asia to promote the show, they finally reached their Philippine stop last July 15, 2016.

The event was really quaint, with just a few people from the Embassy of Canada in the Philippines, headed  by Ambassador Neil Reeder, some of our own Chefs whom Chef Anna had the collaboration with when she went to film her show here, also some food bloggers, and people from the Asian Food Channel, CignalTV, Canadian Beef, and other food sponsors.

Also included in the dinner were the winners from the CignalTV’s promo, where the winning subscribers get to meet and see the live cooking demonstration.I was one of the lucky CignalTV subscribers to win a slot for the dinner; so I was very excited! I fell in love with Chef Anna’s baking skills while watching her and learning from her as she explained the techniques behind the dishes she made! She quickly became one of my top favorite celebrity chefs, and when I found out about the promo by CignalTV, I just crossed my fingers and hoped for the best. 🙂

The evening started out with hors d’ oeuvres of maple BBQ chicken wings, mini bao with crab salad, and salmon tartare on cassava cake. The little bites were just enough to water everyone’s tastebuds. Everyone got seated when the program started, and Chef Anna started telling her experiences with going around different Southeast Asian countries, learning from local chefs and taking what she learned back home to create new recipes that are inspired by these things during her trips.

We were then treated to a really fresh and bright “Inspired” Chilled Chicken Pho Salad for our starter. I was intrigued with the sweet note that never really occurs to me whenever I eat pho. It’s usually the bright note I always taste to cut through the savory beef which is partly because of the cilantro and lime, but there was a sweet taste at the back of my tongue. I had the opportunity to ask her what it was when she went to our table, and she told us that it’s just honey and proceeded to tell us how she came about making the pho inspired dish. 🙂

We also had this velvety, rich Atlantic Lobster Chowder, and for the main course, Chef Michael, her husband, and Chef Anna demonstrated how to cook the Rosemary Roasted Canadian Beef with Balsamic Canadian Blueberry sauce, and our dessert the Lime Creme Caramel. Chef Anna said that the inspiration for the sauce was from the use of fruit for savory dishes by our very own Chef Claude Tayag and his Bulanglang. The Lime Creme Caramel was inspired by Chef Rob Pengson’s Tocino del Cielo. The steak was served with fluffy mashed potatoes and the wild rice pilaf and spears of asparagus, together with the blueberry sauce.

It was a feast for the senses, as we finally smelled the searing of the meat and the spices filling the air as Chef Michael made the steak. It was juicy and the tartness of the balsamic blueberry sauce was enough to cut through the savory beef. The Lime Creme Caramel was a pleasant twist to our local leche flan, and Chef Anna nailed my favorite leche flan texture: dense, creamy, rich with no air bubbles! I finished the creme caramel and wanted some more. It was that good.

But the Lime Creme Caramel wasn’t the only dessert. She did say, that she’s a pastry chef and whenever she had dinner parties at home, they would have at least two dessert dishes for her guests. And we had three more. They were coconut donut holes, chocolate macaroons, and rosette cookies. My sweet tooth was happy and content with the desserts. After the dinner, I wanted to badly hug the Olsons for bringing the television magic with them as we tasted what they cooked right before our eyes.

anna michael and me
Chef Anna Olson, me, and Chef Michael Olson after the event. Thank you so much for the photo, Ms. Fe!

It was, with the risk of being redundant, inspiring to hear someone who’s already teaching young chefs that she too, continuously learns and becomes inspired from her travels around the world. She was just full of light as she told us her love for calamansi or how she tells the story of her experience with each of the chefs she has worked with in the process of filming the show. I do hope she comes back here in the Philippines and I wish I can sit down and have a proper chat with her, one lover of life and food to another. 🙂

I also want to thank CignalTV for the opportunity to experience and be part of the event, and my wonderful seatmate that night, Ms. Fe Asuncion, who was so nice to actually offer to take my photo with the Olsons after the event was done and the people have fizzled out for the night. It was a very memorable and inspiring night. Here’s to getting more inspired and to more cooking and experimenting!

 

 

 

Sino kaya si 2012-49296?

May 4, 2012

Nakapasa kaya siya sa UPCAT? Pina-reserve niya kaya ang slot niya? Ano kaya course na kinuha niya? DPWS kaya siya? Recon? Proud passer?

Tumuloy kaya siya ng UP? Anong campus siya pumasa?

Hindi ito tanong ng creeper o stalker. Tanong ito ng isang estudyanteng may parehong student number.

Lahat ng nag-take ng UPCAT may registration number na magiging marka nila sa unibersidad mula nang bumalik sa kanila ang stub para makapag-UPCAT hanggang makagraduate sila sa kanilang kurso. ID mo ang student number mo. Marker mo sa unibersidad kahit saan ka pa mapadpad sa loob ng campus mo.

Pero syempre kung hindi kukunin ng nakapasa ang pagkakataong mag-aral sa UP, marahil sa dahilang kapos siya sa pang- tuition, mawawala na rin ang numerong ito.

Di ko naisip kung sino ang mga nakaraang gumamit ng student number na ‘to pero ako ang may hawak sa kanya ng medyo matagal na panahon na. Marami na ring nagdaan bago makarating kay 2012, isa ako sa dinaanan at eto, nag-aaral padin. Nagsusumikap padin. Nakukuha padin ngumiti sa kabila ng mga taong inilagi ko sa unibersidad. Tuloy padin, konting lakad pa, konting tiis pa.

Kaya kung sino ka man na magtutuloy ng student number na 49296, sana nakapasa ka at nagpasiyang pumasok sa UP. Galingan mo. Tibayan mo ang loob mo. Madugo at matinik ang mga daang tatahakin mo, pero wala namang daan na madali. Sana mahal mo ang kurso mo at mahalin mo pa itong lalo, at sana isa ka sa mga ma-swerteng makakapagtapos ng hindi huli sa mga magiging ka-batchmate mo.

Marami kang makakaharap na mga tao, marami kang makikilala at magiging mga kaibigan. Wag kang matakot sa mga propesor at guro na hindi namimigay ng uno, hindi ka rin naman kasi bibigyan ng uno paglabas mo ng unibersidad at hindi rin uno ang hanap ng mga pagtatrabahuhan mo.

Sana hindi mawala sayo ang paghanga mo sa papasukan mong campus, ang paghanga at pagakamangha at lahat ng masasayang mararamdaman mo, pati na kilig, sa simula ng bagong yugto ng buhay mo- mapa-Diliman, Manila, Pampanga, Los Banos, Visayas (dalawa dito!), Baguio o Mindanao man ang mapasukan mong campus. Sana kada pagpasok mo ng UP,hindi mawala ang excitement na madarama mo sa unang araw ng klase. Sana hindi magmaliw ang kilig mo pati na ang konting kaba sa freshie year mo.

Sana mapanatili mo ang masayang aura ng isang Freshie hanggang maging Senior kana. At kung wala ka man nito sa unang araw mo, sana magkaroon ka ng kakaibang pakiramdam na saya sa mga dadating mong araw sa UP.

Enjoy-in mo at pahalagahan ang pagkakataong makapag-aral. Hindi na ‘yung sa UP ka nakapasok (pero masasabi mong advantage yun) kung ‘di yung mismong naituloy mo pa ang edukasyon mo hanggang tersyarya. Hanggang kolehiyo. Hindi lahat ng mga katulad mong “Freshie” ngayong papasok na semestre ay makakapasok ng eskuwelahan lalo pa ng unibersidad.

Galingan mo ha? 😀

Death and All of His Friends

January 27, 2012

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When my grandmother died, my world stopped. I just woke up and was about to take my shower for school when my mom sent me the message. I wanted to dash home to see her. But I couldn’t because it was in the middle of the school week. I had to suck it up and continue with my week even though it was killing me that I couldn’t go home.

She was a constant in my life. She’d come over our house to see my little brother, or just to have a little chat with my mom. Two weeks before that dreaded day, I saw her come in our compound just as I was about to leave for the city. That was the last time I saw her healthy, the last time I saw her smile.

When I got home I didn’t want to look into her coffin.

I didn’t want to erase that memory of her in our place two weeks ago, smiling and laughing like it was a normal day for everyone. I didn’t want my last image of her as someone lying inside a coffin, emotionless and…just not there.

Everyone was mourning and minding their own but we forgot the very person who suffered the most out of the loss. My grandfather. Her husband.

—–

When my grandfather died two Saturdays ago, I was about to go home after training in Manila. My mom told me to go home in Hagonoy instead of Malolos. She told me dad’s father passed away that afternoon. She didn’t tell me earlier because I was busy with my class and shuffling back to Manila for the training.

The last time I saw him was during Christmas. And it was a shocking to see him that day. Before that I saw him going to a checkup for his eyes. He was quite lively and fine during those times. But when we entered their house, he was sitting on his bed and he was just…he looked like he was going to fall apart if anyone touches him. He was so far from the last time that I saw him and that was in the same year. He was like a hollow shell and my grandfather wasn’t there anymore. My cousin said he was waiting for us (our family) to come over during that Christmas morning.

I wanted to blame and point people who let him deteriorate in such a condition. I wanted to lash out and say that he’d been better if he lived with us or with my uncles, far away from that house and he might actually have gotten more care. He still might be with us, and I wouldn’t have to be angry with anyone.

But that house is where my dad grew up. That house is where he and grandma took care of all their children. It is the house where he and grandma spent their entire lives until Lola passed away two years ago. He never wanted to stay away from the house because I guess he just wants to be where Lola’s memories are.

At least, that’s how I want to think of the whole situation. Because he did stay with my other uncles, and one time with us, during his recovery period from the laser surgery he had a year ago. But he just kept coming back to the old house no matter how dilapidated it was and no matter how ignored he was in that house with the occupants.

Before he left us, my last memory of him was that Christmas day— sitting on his bed, hollow, lifeless, helpless. I wanted that to get erased from my head. Maybe because of guilt, of regret, or mostly because I just feel like I could have done more, like my Ate who still went to visit him even if she was ready to deliver her son.

Yes, mostly the guilt.
—-

Attachment

When I first saw my grandmother underneath the glass of the coffin, I wanted to reach out to her, and try to wake her up. It was surreal that after two weeks, she was…not there anymore. And her face wasn’t that of the happy smiley face I always see. She was inside the hospital when she finally gave in. She died fighting, and the last fight in her was reflected on her face behind the glass.

That was one of the main reasons why I didn’t want to look at her in the first place. I knew she passed away in pain. I knew she passed away knowing she’d be leaving a lot of people who love her. And even after two years, tears still spring from my eyes whenever I blink and see her inside that box. She passed away suffering, but she knows in her heart that when she finally meets Him, He has a room for her waiting. It is a calming thought to know but still, the pain was there, is there.

It is painful, because she’s a big chunk of who I am.

But when I looked at my grandfather in his coffin, his face was…at peace.

He was suffering most of his remaining days. It was how I felt when I saw him that Christmas morning. It was like he wasn’t just waiting for us but mostly he was waiting for the day that my grandmother would come and fetch him. He suffered when she passed away, and I think, he never really got over it.

Or maybe I’m just assuming.

I never had a lot of time spent with him, even when we lived in that house when I was younger. He was always inside the house or in my uncles’ houses as long as I can remember and I don’t have a lot of special memories with him. He was part of that missing puzzle in my family picture.

During the burial mass, I decided to not cry. I knew I can survive the mass without crying, not that I wasn’t remorseful, but the feeling of being at peace, the peace that resonated in my grandfather’s face when I saw him came into me, like he was saying that he is fine and with grandmother and we can all move on with our lives. Although I knew that under the Barong was a big Y- shaped stitch, from his body that looked more skeletal than a body belonging to someone once living. That alone made me want to cry for the loss of someone who took care and raised my dad. And loved my grandmother all of their lives.

I was mourning, but I was happy too. I’d remember his peace rather than his pain during Christmas. I will remember him, always.

—–

Orphaned

I hate that word.

It’s the saddest feeling on earth, the feeling of being orphaned. Or it is to me I guess. I was raised by both of my parents and the thought of losing them…is too much pain that I don’t want to seriously contemplate about right now.

Even though he’s finally found his rest, my grandfather’s death still left a powerful impression to my uncles and most especially to my dad. He was the youngest, but contrary to the usual dynamics between a dad and the bunso, his relationship with his dad was a bit strained. They had a very complicated relationship and both had only appreciated each other when dad grew up to be a man. Dad’s so unlike Amang but so similar in many ways.

He only got to talk and bond with him when dad was able to stabilize everything and when my grandfather was able to do the same with his own demons.

Six children are now orphans. Their mom, dad, and their second sibling are with Him.

You can never be too old to become an orphan.

 

Title from Coldplay’s song, Death and All of His Friends

Ang Babae sa Septic Tank: More than a “film within a film”

July 27, 2011

To be honest, the only thing that lured me to watch “Ang Babae sa Septic Tank” was Eugene Domingo. I won’t lie about that. I had this great urge to watch her in a noncommercial film since I didn’t get to see her in Philippine Science or 100 or any indie film that she is a part of these past few years. It intrigued if there’s a difference between her acting on mainstream cinema and on indie films.

Being the actress that she is, I guess there’s no difference. But the material, the situation and the script are aspects that define a movie and how the actors in it portray the characters in it.

I’ve never read anything about the film. I didn’t watch any trailers. I first heard about this when Eugene was reported to be injured during the shooting of the movie and it was her septic tank scene. She slipped and fell into the septic tank and had to stop filming for a while. That caught my attention and when I heard Cinemalaya, I knew for sure that I was going to see the film, given that there’s the annual showcase of Cinemalaya films in my university.

Alright. Chalk up the opening sentences into fangirling. I like her a lot. But after watching Ang Babae sa Septic Tank, I thank the gods that Eugene is in it and I’ve appreciated the film to the point of wanting to see the film again.

The Event inside the Event

After the initial introduction of the cast and writers of Septic Tank (in which of course, Eugene got the loudest applause from the audience in Cine Adarna in UP Diliman), the whole Film Center got eerily quiet as the opening scenes started rolling. My first reaction when the narrator started talking in the movie- as regards to the overall feel of the audience- was: this is the time of judgment from a very different audience.

Different audience because in the gala night of Cinemalaya, everyone is involved in films and film making- whether they maybe the directors, producers, artists/actors and/or member of the production. In Cine Adarna tonight, the audience is a mix of professors (may or may not be from the Film Institute) and students, all of which I want to think are intellectuals. They’d be scrutinized by the people they want to show their work to. They’re showing their work with the people who are their own (I think the writer Chris Martinez is a UP alumnus like Eugene).

The whole film is about filmmaking itself. Or rather, the situation of filmmaking in the country. Like Chris Martinez mentioned during the open forum after the showing, it’s a parody of the present day film industry, both mainstream and independent filmmaking. The narrator, the director of the film in the film (more on this point later) Rainier,  in the opening scene turns out to be a diegetic element- he is actually incorporated in the film as one of the main characters and his narrator-role is shared with Bingbong, the producer of the indie film, and was interspersed as they vocally share to the viewers the film they want to produce, and these are presented visually as the movie goes on.

A Movie in the Movie: An Analysis of Sorts

The point “film within a film” in my perspective, is the syuzhet- the plot- of the movie. This immediately came to mind when Rainier started his voice over as scenes of the film was shown and Mila, their main character in their film, began doing the things Rainier was narrating. Since he is the director, the scenes in his head was portrayed as the actual content of the film.

I wasn’t surprised with the approach they used in the beginning parts of the movie, it had the same concept as John Fowles’ 1981 film “The French Lieutenant’s Woman” wherein the main characters were actors having an affair as they were filming a movie- a movie which centered into the protagonists having an affair too. A story within a story, a movie within a movie. (I wanted to ask the main inspiration for the story during the forum but unfortunately, I wasn’t called because I was so far from the stage)

The main difference was Ang Babae sa Septic Tank was the movie but the characters who were about to film the movie inside the movie are having their own personal conflicts. Whereas The French Lieutenant’s Woman was more of mirror- imaging the reality and the fiction and showing their parallels to their audiences.

The movie mainly tackles the struggles a modern film maker (independent or mainstream film makers) in the country, most especially the indie film makers. As they clashed their ideas on how they could present their movie as raw and as near-to-reality as possible Rainier and Bingbong had their heated discussions as regards to their film. There’s the jealousy and anger with a fellow indie film maker, production limitations, and the character actor demands- the part of Eugene where she plays as herself, but not entirely real-life contextual.

The film also brilliantly presented the different genres of movies, from the docu- drama, musicale, and the immediate recognition of the audience of the commercialized/mainstream narrative treatment. Sadly, the last genre is what we see mostly in the films of today, the exact path the independent film industry are avoiding.

A look into two characters: Mila and Jocelyn

Before the “real” Eugene Domingo encounter happened in the movie, Eugene’s character Mila was portrayed in so many facets through the shuffling of genres (and shuffling of actresses playing the role) that we lose the focus somewhere in the storyline. This focus however is revived as the repetition of the scenes named as “sequences 34-40” continue. To be able to portray the character Mila in all the genres with the same depth can be draining. But even the musical- Mila still had this character struggle, one that is present in all the genres but is amplified mainly in the opening sequences of the movie. The focus may have been lost sometime during the movie but when the crucial sequence arc is shown, the struggle is still there.

Jocelyn, the production assistant of Rainier and Bingbong, had no dialogue all throughout the movie, except for the wailing sound she made after a climactic anti-climax happened to their trio before the film ends. She became the instrument of visualization for the viewers as Rainier and Bingbong rambled about how the movie should happen. This is seen through dream sequences and the occasional flashbacks. Cai Cortez explained during the forum how Chris Martinez told her that Jocelyn’s role as the visionary for the viewers is an important factor in creating the setting of their film. Cai (and Chris Martinez) also noted that her character represents a type of director in our fillm industry, as well as Rainier and Bingbong.

And She fell into Shi– Dirt.

To say that the whole film is hilarious maybe an understatement (or maybe that’s just me giving a huge bias to Eugene Domingo’s awesome talent), for it’s not just the hilarity of the showcase that flashes through the film. Marlon Rivera and Chris Martinez were able to establish the hardships of film makers as well as the hardships of the urban poor in the film within a film. To be able to tell two different stories in two worlds, and be cohesive about it is a feat in itself.

One would be persuaded to watch it for the laugh-out-louds and the hit-the-thigh kind of comedy but if one looks into the stories weaved within each other, it’s more of a showcase of reality- as what indie films are really made out of. But its boldness to tackle and discuss the present time of the cinema and of real life, is refreshing even for an independent film like what this is.

I’ll leave it at that. For someone who really didn’t know anything about the whole movie except the actress and the title, it’s nice to get surprised once in a while.

*Ang Babae sa Septic Tank won Best Film in the Cinemalaya 2011 while Ms. Eugene Domingo won Best Actress. Marlon Rivera won as Best Director while Chris Martinez bagged the Best Screenplay award. (source: gmanewstv)

Ang Babae sa Septic Tank will have a re-run on August 5 in the Cine Adarna of UP Diliman for the Best Film in the New Breed Category and will have commercial screenings starting on August 3.

Caught in the Internet’s Web

February 13, 2012

It’s very seldom nowadays to see people who are not engaged on their gadgets while doing something or walking somewhere. Never have I walked down a random street, or sit/stand on the bus going home, and not come across a person checking her Facebook or tweeting something about the day (no I don’t read them but their logos are recognizable so yes they distract me a lot) and do other things on their Wi-Fi enabled phones/ tablets/life. Technology has become the present generation’s second skin, and I am wondering how soon it would be for the future ones to be their second essential body organ as well.

I was not brought up with the internet. It never did become part of my lifestyle until I entered high school. My earliest encounter with the World Wide Web was when I was in fourth grade and I had to pass a decent final project and had to rent a computer in a shop to type whatever it was I needed to do. Turns out you don’t go there just to type but to connect to the internet. It meant email and Google and Friendster.

But ever since it seeped into our lives, more and more people have a hard time disconnecting themselves from their online world. I must admit that when I was younger, I went gaga at times when I want to tweet an event or a witty one-liner or whatever word vomit I can create in the span of 140 characters but can’t do it because of the circumstances preventing me from doing so. Fortunately, that craving for the virtual reality met its demise when I got older.

It shouldn’t bother me so much that the dependence of the people I know, especially by the students, on the internet is becoming more like a wallet or a cellphone- you just couldn’t leave the house without doing at least one online-related thing. Information and communication are continuously flowing here and those two mentioned things are essential to anyone who’s studying or working.

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I should know these things; after all, I am one of the people who benefit a lot from the connections the internet provides. I’d be mentioning the social media I use in this entry, just to give you a glimpse of how the internet is part of my academic and personal life and how I could “unplug” from all of it whenever I need or want to.

Facebook has become a multimedia social networking site through the years because there are chat boxes and groups incorporated together with its photo and video hosting functions. Through Twitter I continue connecting with my friends and say things I can’t tell in Facebook. I have Livejournal and WordPress for my blogging and the things I can’t put on my Twitter (not all of them, at least). Youtube for my video and music needs. Google for my e-mail and the things I need that I can’t find in the library. Skype for my video calls with my relatives abroad. Tumblr for my mini madness and fangirling.

I could go on and about how the online world has become part of my life but I still have this urge to get away from everything every once in a while. I still get drowned with the intricacies of the online life, of how censorship should start from us and not from other people. That online life shouldn’t be a substitute for the real world.

Because it never will.

Isang Mahalagang Aral tungkol sa Self- Esteem na Napulot ko sa Parlor

April 18, 2012

Nung sinamahan ko magpagupit ang nanay ko nung Linggo, yung may-ari ng Bench Fix branch na pinuntahan namin eh andun din at nagpapahighlights.

Syempre todo kalinga ng staff niya, ano. At dahil hindi ko namana ang pagiging ma-PR ng nanay ko, yung nanay ko nalang ang kumausap sa ma-PR din na may-ari ng branch. Sila lang nag-uusap, magkawavelength ba.

Wala akong ibang napansin kay ate kundi ang confidence niya sa sarili. Hindi mayabang ha, as in confident siya in the best sense of the word.

Malaking babae si ate, doble ko, o one-and-a-half. At malaki din ako ha.

Dito kasi sa atin, pag mataba ka, walang maganda sayo. O kaya naman, pag mataba ka, walang mapapansin sayo kungdi ang pagiging malaki mo.

Laging panglalait at pangaalipusta lang ang madalas madinig kapag may matabang tao. Actually mas malala pa nga ‘pag kamag-anak mo yung pumapansin kasi wala ka naman magagawa kundi ngumiti. Kaya yung self-esteem ng mga taong yun (sama mo na ako dun) eh nasa ilalim ng talampakan nila. Higit pa lalo ang self-esteem issues pag babae.

Sa lipunan natin na ang nakagawiang depinisyon ng maganda ay ang mga balingkinitan kesa sa mga full, na mas nakaw-tingin pag 36-24-66 kesa 38-32-40, at mas katanggap- tanggap ang mga bitchesang sexy kesa authoritative na full-figured (kasi yung huli mas nababansagang mataray samantalang yung isa eh “hot”), alam mo na may mali. Kasi may comparison. May diperensya. Eh pare-pareho namang babae.

Ganun din naman sa mga lalaki. ‘Di ba mas nagkakandarapa ang mga babae sa mga may 6-pack abs kesa sa may ab lang? Mas may dating pag ang description niya sa sarili niya ay athletic kesa foodie? Kaso wala naman masyadong issue ang mga babae sa hugis ng mga lalaki nila sa buhay. Pag timbang, laki, at hugis ang usapan, laging babae ang napapagtripan pagusapan. Ng lalaki at maging kapwa babae.

Wala lang ako masabi sa ngayon kung hindi: BUUUHKEEEHTTTT?!

Actually, objectification ito ng kababaihan, kung titingnan mo sa ibang anggulo. Pero ang gusto kong ipahiwatig dito sa munting lathalang ito eh kung papaano matahin ng lipunan ang mga matataba at kung paano naaapektuhan ng panghuhusga ang mga taong ito.

Pero tingin ko rin, sa usapang naganap sa pagitan ng nanay at ni ate plus yung staff niya sa salon, groundbreaking si ate na may-ari ng salon at talagang nasabi ko sa sarili ‘kong baka ako lang din ang may problema. Na baka wala akong lakas ng loob para maging kasing confident niya. Na hindi siya apektado ng kung ano man ang sabihin ng iba sa kanya.

Nung umupo na kasi ako sa upuan para magpa-foot spa, at sinabi ng nanay ko na ako daw ang panganay niya, sabi niya na ang ganda ko daw blah blah. Pwedeng PR chenes lang yun ni ate dahil nga siya may-ari nung salon so ngumiti nalang ako pero hiniritan niya rin kasi na: “walang matabang panget, puro tayo magaganda!”

So bukod sa pagiging ma-PR niya, talagang hindi siya apektado ng hugis ng katawan niya. Totoo namang maganda si ate eh, kung mapapadpad kayo sa salon niya isang beses malalaman niyong attractive talaga siya.

Pero dahil andito tayo sa bansa, mas mauuna yung lait bago i-assess yung ganda at karisma niya.

Wala eh. Kahit matalino, charming, at witty ang babae, pag hindi siya coke-bottle o stick-thin eh bawas ganda-points para sa kanya yun. Hindi rin nakakatulong yung pangri-ridicule ng local media sa matatabang babae. Hindi ba comic relief sa TV ang mga matatabang babae? Parang ganun din sa mga bakla, nagiging comic relief nalang.

Anyway, mabalik tayo kay ate sa salon.

So patuloy lang sila nagchikahan ng nanay hanggang nagkatapusan lahat ng gupitan-action, all the while nadidinig ko ang mga banat ng staff niya tungkol sa pagiging malaki nito at talagang walang reaksyon siya dito kungdi matinding mga hirit na talaga namang mapapahanga ka. Idol.

Pero siguro para malabanan yung ganitong ridicule sa matatabang babae eh dapat magstand up din sila, kami. Susubukan ko maging mas confident pero hindi yung mukhang masagwa namang tingnan. Si ate kasi talagang keri niya ang pagiging confident niya at walang mag-aalangan sa lakas ng appeal niya. Kaya din siguro breakthrough si ate, kaya niyang dalhin ang sarili niya, literally and figuratively.

Sobrang konti lang ng nakakasalamuha kong ganun. Naa-amaze ako sa kanya. At masasabi kong isa siyang malakas na tao para hindi magpaapekto sa sinasabi ng lipunan sa mga katulad namin. Minsan kasi kahit gaano ka-fit ng isang babae, kung malaki talaga ang mga buto niya, talagang hindi siya magiging payat sa paningin ng mga tao.

Madami ba akong feelings tungkol sa ganito isyu? Oo, sa loob ng 21 taong pamumuhay ko sa mundo natin, sobrang konti lang ang mga taong hindi tumingin sakin at sa hugis ko ng mapangmata at mapanghusga. Nagpapasalamat ako sa mga taong nakilala kong hindi tiningnan ang timbang at hugis ko kundi kung ano ang laman ng utak ko.

Eto ang tatak talaga sakin na sinabi niya nung umalis sila para mag-yosi sa baba matapos sabihan siya ng medyo pabalang ng isa niyang staff:

“Paanong mapintasan? Eh wala namang kapintas-pintas sa itsura ko.”

YOU GO GIRL!

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