Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Beep! Beep!

My brother, who lives in Tokyo with his Japanese wife, drives to work every day. At work, he drives around a lot too.

Then when he was here just a couple of months ago, he found himself being driven around by the driver, or by my dad or me. Although he wanted to drive around by himself, my mom and my sister-in-law would protest loudly.

One night, though, we had dinner at Serye Cafe Filipino at Quezon City Circle. As we approached the car, he got the keys and said he'd drive. It was a short drive home, so we all let him. And once behind the wheel and out on the Elliptical Road, he beeped at the hay naku drivers. "Ahh, ang tagal tagal ko nang gustong bumusina!" he said, a grin on his face.

Filipino drivers--well most of them--love to honk their horns. At the traffic stop, they nudge you with a loud honk as soon as the light turns green. Just this afternoon, as I was driving on the middle lane on the northbound EDSA-Cubao underpass, this red SUV behind me kept on honking. He wanted to overtake, but all the lanes were not open. Did I let him pass? Nope. Well I couldn't even if I wanted to.

When I was in my teens and learning how to drive one summer at Socialite's Driving School near Sto. Domingo Church in Quezon City, my instructor told me to honk the horn every time I would overtake. I followed that to the letter until a guy friend told me years later not to do it; it's not required.

And I found out since then that you don't need to honk your horn at every instance possible. Unless you want to annoy everyone.

But to a lot of Filipino drivers, honking seems to be a requirement. Bus and jeepney drivers honk at would-be passengers from across the street. Taxi drivers honk at traffic intersections. Even the garbage truck driver honks a minimum of 20 times on our street alone.

Maybe it's just part of the Filipino culture. The honk, come to think of it, is like saying, "Hoy!"

BOOK OF THE WEEK: I'm currently reading Slow Food: Philippine Culinary Traditions edited by Erlinda Enriquez Panlilio and Felice Prudente Sta. Maria. It's a nostalgic collection of essays on the food we all grew up with -- slow cooked sinigang, pochero, and binagoongan, among others. Mouthwatering, this book is good for the body and soul. Wonderfully illustrated by Manuel Baldemor and published by Anvil.

VERSE OF THE WEEK: When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise. Proverbs 10:19

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Getting ahem, more curves

Ugh, I'm getting bigger. Just a few weeks ago, my good friend Mel and I met for lunch/coffee at Delifrance near Paseo de Roxas in Makati. It was a late lunch for her, and coffee time for me since I just came from a lunch meeting at Atrium. And she greeted me the way Filipinos normally do when they meet up: "Ang taba mo na! Ang laki ng hips mo!"

Ugh. As if I couldn't tell. Just last week, I tried on three pairs of slacks I had in my closet, and they all don't fit. My son teased me, saying, "Haha, you're getting fat!"

So I told my dad last Saturday that I won't eat anymore (joke lang). And he and the rest of my family protested saying, "'Wag! Bagay sa 'yo mataba."

Come to think of it, when I was reed thin with a size 26 waistline and tipping the scales at less than a hundred pounds, no one said I looked good. The usual comments were: "You look tired, haggard, sick. Do you work too hard?" I, on the other hand, enjoyed my size small frame then because it was easy to pick clothes at the store.

Speaking of that, just last Thursday, I bought a size 32 pair of slacks at Bench in Trinoma. 32!!! Well the truth is, I did fit into a size 30 but if I eat a hefty lunch, I know I would look like suman. And so I went for a size 32. If only for this, I won't patronize Bench anymore. Their sizes are small, so psychologically, people feel big if they're getting bigger sizes than usual.

The same is the case for Bayo. Hmmp! My size medium black slacks don't fit me anymore! I'll go back to Ensembles instead, where I'm still a size small! And there's the cutie Mia Bella clothes shop at Serendra, where, as of last Sunday, I still fit in a size small skirt! Yay! (Well, that's because they start their sizes at extra small. hehe)

Anyway, going back to what I was saying, I'm getting bigger. Must be all that soft drinks and coffee I've been drinking much lately. Time to love mineral water again from morning to night.

But I guess that will have to wait until my overseas-based siblings go back to their home countries. That's because we've been eating out every day, as we are like normal Filipinos who bond over good food. We've been visiting old favorites and discovering new restaurants lately, and we just all love it.

And today's not any different--we're going out again to bond and eat. Ah, good food with good company--it's simply one of life's pleasures. Saka na ang diet.

BOOK OF THE WEEK: Two years ago, my good friends Dennis and Meg gave me the book Pray God's Will in 365 Days by Jay Duque. It has Bible readings every day and prayers too. I wasn't able to finish it before, so I started again this year. Very comforting.

VERSE OF THE WEEK: And this verse seems so apt given all the words exchanged over the ZTE-NBN scandal: "An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips." Proverbs 24:26