I miss my Lola…

Few days ago, I had a dream. I was in a hospital with my Family and we were waiting for someone. It seems like a Deja Vu. I saw a person laying in a stretcher and covered in a blanket. I didn’t see the face of the person but was certain it was my Grandma. She is there cold and dead.

Then I woke up.

I realized it is past 7 am and I need to prepare for work and what I witnessed was just a dream. I remembered it’s few days till All Saint’s Day.

It is almost an annual routine. Few days before “Undas”, I would always dream about my Grandma who died few years ago. Last year, I dreamt about her being alive I was so excited and we hugged each other very tight. When I woke up, I’m not sure if I just finished crying.

I guess it’s her way of reminding us not to forget her and also trying to tell me she is still there guiding us as one of the family’s angel…indeed she is an Angel.

She was originally from San Fernando, Pampanga. She came to Manila for work. She is a professional Modiste. Because of her talent, she met my Grandpa who was a tailor. I remembered my Mom telling us that their parents had a shop in Manila. My Lola I believe was the first member of her family who “migrated” to Manila and they have settled and had children in the City.

She is the only Grand parent I knew from the day I was born. Both parents of my Dad passed away before we were born. My Grampa from Mom side passed away when my mom and her siblings were still young. Lola became a widow at a very young age.  Though she is very pretty (has some Spanish features) she never got married again.

I am not ashamed to admit I am a Lola’s boy. My Parents used to live in my Grandma’s house when they just got married. It was quite a big house (2 stories) during that time. When my parents were able to buy a house and lot in a new village, they wanted to move. My Lola preferred us to stay in her house but since the family is also getting bigger (we were 4 kids already then) so we had to move.

I don’t know why I became close to my lola considering I have siblings and other cousins too. Maybe because as a child, they considered me special and lucky…I was born premature, only 7 months old. Everyday after work, my Dad visits me in the hospital and he is very sad to see a poor boy trying to live. I was in an incubator for 2 months. I am just assuming but I think that is the reason why my Lola see me differently.

Every year during summer vacation, I spend it in my Lola’s home (who by then is joined by my youngest Aunt’s family) and I would just see my own family whenever they visit the house (which is every weekend or every other weekend). Whenever she visits her hometown in Pampanga, I had to join her too. Because of that, I could understand almost 100% (but unfortunately can’t speak Kapampangan dialect).

My fondest memory with Lola is every night, before we go to bed. Even how sleepy I am, I had to pray with her. Then we would kiss each other good night and she would hug me tight.

During my birthday or Christmas we sort of have a deal…I am revealing it for the first time now so if any of my siblings or cousins would read my blog post, they would know our “little secret.”

Whenever I would make “Mano”, my Lola would secretly give me some cash. If for example my siblings and the rest of the cousin would receive from her 100 Pesos for Christmas (which is already a big money for kids that time), I would receive more (sometimes even 500 pesos!).

Of course there are sort of jealousy among siblings and cousins and they partly know I am the favorite grand child but we would not confirm it. Whenever they ask me or my Lola how much I received, both of us answered the same amount as they received and my Lola would always say “Pare-pareho ko kayong apo kaya wala akong paborito sa inyo…pantay-pantay kayong lahat” (All of you are my Grandchildren and I don’t have any single favorite. I treat all of you the same). Ha ha ha! To my brothers and sisters+ cousins…pls. don’t get mad at me or Lola.I know you are also a favorite of one of our aunts or uncles so we are just even. Ha ha ha!

There was this one time that my Lola and mom just say in passing that they wanted to watch the latest Sharon Cuneta movie cos they haven’t been to the movie house for years. Though I don’t like to watch that Sharon Cuneta movie (can’t remember which film it was), I decided to treat them (I just started working then and earning my own salary) to a movie and we dined out.

My mom told me after, that Lola would always tell people about my treat and she was very happy and thankful about my gesture and she was proud that I have my own job.

At past 80 years old, she is still very healthy. Suddenly she became sick. She was in and out of the hospital and she lost a lot of weight. Every time I see her, I can’t help but be very sad. I used to see her healthy and strong but she became thin and weak. I guess she felt it is almost her time so she asked to be brought to Pampanga to be with her siblings.

One time we visited her, the friend of my brother who joined us asked me “Do you think your Lola would live longer?” because he can see how weak she is. I told him, I don’t like to think how long she will be with us. I just want her to be ok.

During that trip, I can’t stand long time being with my lola in the room. I wanted to see her as the same Lola I knew. She was very weak and can’t see clearly cos her vision became very poor. In our last conversation together, I told her I got a good job and is now a Manager. She said she is so proud of me and I grew up smart and handsome. I know then that she will be with us for few more days.

True enough, after a few days she passed away. One of the greatest regret I had is not being able to cry when she died. I don’t know if any of my family members realized it. You may think why?

The night she died, I am just about to go to sleep when they woke us up informing that my Lola passed away just after the prayer for her was finished. My Mom and aunts were all crying. Since they know my mom has high blood pressure, my aunt instructed me to console my mom (only me and Mom from our family was in Pampanga then because my youngest sibling was about to Graduate from Elementary so my Dad and the rest had to stay in Manila) for fear that she will break down and would have health problems.  Since I had to make sure my mom was ok, I didn’t have time to cry even if I wanted to. It’s ironic that the next day, Mom had to go back to Manila to attend my sister’s graduation.

Also, during the funeral mass it still didn’t sink in my head (or I just don’t want to accept it) that my Lola is dead so still I am unable to cry even if the whole family is crying. But this doesn’t mean I am not grieving.

Up to this day, even though she died many years ago we still miss her. Whenever my Mom would hear words about mom or any TV program talking about moms, she would silently cry.

Lola, I miss you so much. I know you are very proud of my accomplishments and even though I am away from my family, you are always whispering to God to send His angels to me for guidance and protection. Till we meet again…

The best roasted pig in the World…the Philippine Lechon

The wi-fi connection in my room is perpetually against me..as the connection is very slow.  Well, maybe one factor is that it is a Saturday today and internet traffic is usually bad during weekends. Another thing is that a heavy downpour has just finished which I noticed makes every internet connection (whether at home or in the office) and even cable tv reception intermittent if not bad.

So I headed to the internet shop downstairs. Luckily it was half empty. Maybe the kids who usually play computer games during this time just headed off home during the heavy rain. How lucky can I get..and so I thought.

The moment I opened my Facebook account, I realized it is not a good idea to rent in the Internet shop. Facebook took ages to open. Then when it opened, Farm Town is the first app that I opened (naturally). After waiting for I guess 10 minutes, it still is not opening…then I tried Restaurant City…same result. I tried all the other applications in Facebook I am using  and it’s all the same story. Really bad…

Then I remembered to open Youtube. At first I tried looking for recent Filipino Comedy films but I guess no one has uploaded the film in Youtube yet. Until I came across 1 link that states: No Reservations: Philippines Part 1 of 5..I clicked the linked and I saw a Travel show in the US hosted by Anthony Bourdain. This particular episode is about the contest they had wherein the viewers must convince Anthony to visit their Country/City to be featured in the next show.  The lucky guy who had the opportunity to be able to convince the host to visit his native cuntry is a Filipino American named Augusto who comes from Cebu but has lived most of his life in New York.

As I watched the video, I can’t really help but to salivate with all those tasty and gastronomically appealing Filipino foods featured.  All my favorite foods were featured from Sinigang, Kare-Kare, Adobo, Sisig, Pinakbet, Bulalo..I just had my dinenr but the food being featured really made me so hungry and terribly miss home especially home-cooked meals by my mom which is actually a Pampanguena, arguably the best chefs in the Philippines, Pampanga being considered as the Culinary Capital of the country.

The best part of this show is when they featured the actual roasting of the pig to become the world-famous Lechon. It really looks so good with the even-colored roasting of the pork in charcoal. When Anthony sliced a piece of the skin, you can hear the uber-crispiness of the skin. YUMMY!

As I am writing this blog post, my mouth is still watering (pun intended…LOL) I think comparable to the heavy rains that just passed.  I am supposed to watch my diet since I’ve been visitng my gym regularly these days in preparation for 2 forthcoming beach trips in the next month but probably tomorrow, I may troop to the nearest grocery store and buy some ingredients to cook my favorite Filipino food.

I guess eating my favorite Philippine delicacy is the next best thing to being close to home….

P.S. Here are the links to the Travel show..test yourself if you will not salivate just looking at these glorious foods….