Saturday, 22 December 2012

Ate Eva's: where you beat it, and put it on top

So my family and I are in Region 2 at the mo. It's pretty cool out here: people are lovely, food's abundant and fresh, wifi is heaps quicker than Manila and traffic jams are non-existent. We're currently in Tuguegarao City and so far, I'm enjoying my stay.

There are a lot of panciterias in Tuguegarao as the city's most famous delicacy is a dish called Batil Patong. The most basic version of the dish involves pancit miki or egg noodles thickened by meat broth, minced carabao beef, liver, and the one thing on earth I really do not eat: egg. The name translates to 'beat, put on top', and by this we mean the chicken period. 

Tuguegarao's Pansit Batil Patong

I still wanted to try the stuff knowing I can pick out the egg and toss it onto my brother's plate so our local friend Ate A took us to one of the popular panciterias called Eva's. Getting there can be quite tricky as the roads are narrow but people still go because their Batil Patong is one of the best in the city. It was already busy when we got in and five minutes after we were seated the place was packed with locals and foreigners alike.

They served us a bowlful of raw, chopped red onions first. Apparently, you have to mix this with thick soy sauce and a vinegar unique to the Northern Philippine region called sukang Iloko while you wait for your Batil Patong. You'll mix this into the dish once it arrives.

The egg is hidden under the minced carabao beef, so you have to make 'batil' before you see it.

They also serve it with soup. It's actually the broth of the carabao beef with a bit of seasoning. Some people mix the soup with their noodles, some pour it onto their bowls after they've finished the dish, some drink it separately. 

After ditching the egg, I attacked my bowl and it was quite delicious. The noodles had this distinct flavour and the carabao beef was so tasty. Ate A pointed out that I forgot to mix everything together and that I should have done so to get the full flavour. So I added some of the onion concoction, a bit of chilli and mixed the noodles with the thick sauce sitting under my bowl. What difference! Such surprise was the boldness of flavour and I really couldn't stop saying 'This is soooo good.' 

Even my sister likes it.
Sister: Mommy I want more! *big fat burp*
Mom: No baby you're full na o!
Sister: Gusto ko paaaaaa! (I still want mooooore!)

I really enjoyed the Batil Patong (sans egg). At PHP50 a bowl (which could feed two people for a light lunch/merienda or a really hungry person), it's absolutely spot on. Her panciteria is very unpretentious and very tidy and her staff, despite the hectic afternoon, are all so cheery and helpful. I'm sure this won't be the first Batil Patong I'll have here, but Ate Eva's definitely set the bar high. 

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Six (+) tracks for my last post... London for the year.

I’m flying out this weekend to spend the holidays in South East Asia. *cartwheels* Last time I spent Christmas in Manila was two years ago; it was quite a life-changing trip and I came back to England feeling refreshed and a bit more sure of what I wanted in life. I’ve been looking forward to this trip since January and I can’t wait to be back!

Londontown, I will miss you dearly but I’m sure you’ll be fine. Til then, here’s a little playlist to keep you company.

1) Deftones - Entombed
Koi No Yokan (Japanese for 'love premonition') is sooooooo good it hurts; it trumps White Pony as my favourite Deftones album and is defo better than B-Sides and Diamond Eyes. The band's musicality is far out brilliant in this and I think they've slayed all records, spearheaded by Chino Moreno and his amazing, versatile voice (this is the best I've EVER heard him). I can't pick a favourite track as they're all seriously awesome so here's a ballad, for those who adored Be Quiet and Drive.

2. San Cisco - Beach
'I made a mixed tape / with all the songs that you hate / can't read your mind / I give up this time' Ah, indie pop goes bittersweet. I can't wait til this Aussie band releases a full studio album next Spring because their four-track Beach EP sounds like good fun lo-fi. Jordi the vocalist reminds me of Joey Gordon-Levitt's character in 500 Days of Summer (with Jake Bugg's voice post-puberty), plus I'm a sucker for girl drummers. Cute.

3. Orbital - New France
Talk about another comeback! Loving this track by the Hartnoll brothers. In fact, this comeback album Wonky is pretty dope too. The tracks evoke old school rave goodness like their hits Halcyon On and On, Are We Here? and Belfast (my personal favourite from them) but the influence of new electro is quite apparent. There's something here for everyone. Thumbs up.

4. AlunaGeorge - Your Drums, Your Love
I originally found it difficult to place this track in my playlists; Aluna Francis' voice is so deep soul but George Reid's tunes are a steady mix of electropop and R&B. That said their tracks exhibit an amazing fusion of all these genres. Love how chillsteady this tune is and how flexible the vibe you get from it is.

5. Friends - A Thing Like This
I wouldn't be surprised if Friends score high on royalties. Most (if not all) songs on their debut album Manifest! have very commercial appeal - every track has an interesting hook (the one from I'm His Girl has already been used in heaps of adverts). The whole album is cohesive and there there's no perfect word for it than cool. It transports you back to the 60s then to the present; to a catwalk in Paris then to a street café in Berlin.

6. Dave Matthews Band - Christmas Song
Because 'tis the season... I just had to put a holiday track. here's one of my favourite non-traditional songs about the holiday. Jesus' birth is such an amazing story and Dave's an awesome storyteller himself. This song is so perfect to listen to post Crimbo dinner, when everyone is full and content and is ready to just reflect on the real reason why we're all here.

Of course, as it's Christmas... here's an extra track for the holidays. I chose this because a) I will always have a dorky crush on Jimmy Fallon; b) The Roots!!!! My favourite hip-hop group ever; c) Mariah's, uh, diva hair; and d) those cute little kiddos! =)

Enjoy! =)

Sunday, 2 December 2012

My generation...

This video made me remember all the crazy good times with my peers growing up. Got me all 'Awww!'-ed out being nostalgic from the games we played whilst waiting for classes (my favourite was classroom basketball!); the scrapbooks and autograph books we signed (The neverending 'What is love?' question! Is it blind? Is it like a rosary? Is it a four-letter-word that takes a lifetime to define? All of the above?); the tricks and pranks we aimed at each other; the shyness and kilig when we phoned our crushes (three-way, you keep quiet whilst your friend fishes for you); the excitement of acquiring pre-schoolyear stationery; the anxiety during pop quizzes and graded recitations; and the general good vibes of being carefree back in the day.  

Compared to today's generation, mine had it much simpler. Case in point: my niece who's in second grade has her own mobile, laptop, Facebook account, etc. Post-school hours, she'd plays interactive games with her buddies over the internet (of course, we make sure that everything she does is legit and secure). When I was her age, the highlight of my day would be something along the lines of scoring a good sticker trade at recess and my post-school peer interaction would only last for a few minutes to an hour; just enough to play a round of Chinese Jacks or Cops and Robbers (not the video game!) while we waited for our drivers to pick us up.

We didn't have social networking sites and technology capable of making interaction easier then (other than pagers and phones) and the school/social dynamic was a teensy bit more orthodox. The lack of techie stuff, however, made human interaction more organic and the games we played made us, perhaps, understand the way life worked a bit more (ie sometimes you get lucky; your gain is proportionate to the effort you exert; strategic planning is important; nothing worth it comes easy; etc). We come from a generation who basically learned to do, make, and get things in more steps than clicking a lone button.

I think we're lucky that way.