Monday, April 4, 2011

Kindness of Strangers 2

Textures of Bolinao

Maybe the universe is teaching me to be humble. Maybe I am meant to realize that hunger is my worst enemy. This recent trip to Bolinao, Pangasinan gave me another lesson in the kindness of strangers.
We were set to produce one segment about the ecotourism in Bolinao, a quaint third class town in Pangasinan. this entailed having to travel by banca to Balingasay River, the Giant clam farm and seaweed sanctuary.
And so, the crew, in two boats, set out to sea by 6:30 AM. Four hours later, we were still at sea, under the sweltering sun, our lunch an hour away by boat. We had one small mineral bottle each and a small box of chocolates. The Giant Clams and the seaweed were nowhere near edible (nor were they available for harvest). We were hot, sticky and turning irrational.
Since were near Santiago Island,  we decided to dock on its port to find some food. There was one store that sold softdrinks and less than 10 meters away was the only sari-sari store of the barangay. As we scouted the shelves for anything that was readily available, the store owner, Aileen, came out and asked us what we wanted from her store. 
 We asked her if she could possibly cook some instant noodles for us. She readily agreed to do so. We pushed our luck and asked if she could possibly cook some rice and sardines for us. She was surprised by the request but did not hesitate to agree.  As we helped her cook lunch, her daughter Alexandra joined us as well as other members of her family.
We kept everyone in their household busy, showing us where the washroom was and in typical Pinoy fashion, apologizing for the spareness of the facility. They used their electric stove and and the dirty kitchen kalan using firewood. It was a classic show of Filipino hospitality and bayanihan.
photo courtesy of Irene Pacana-Liwanag
Aside from what we brought from her store, they offered us arorosep, the small grape like seaweed that goes well with fish. They had harvested some and had just cleaned some for selling.
The arorosep is washed in fresh water
The hairy bits and other sea debris are removed by hand and washed again
The seaweeds are again soaked in fresh water before it is brought to the market to be sold
Rice, noodles, boiled eggs, scrambled eggs corned beef and freshly washed seaweeds- the meal you see here is one of the best I've had because it was given out of kindness.

1 comment:

  1. this meal is perfect! nice story, mike.:) -pol