Category Archives: por el amor de comida

Street Food Happiness

banana cue

Google-ing banana cue!

Happiness is eating a beloved Filipino snack in the busy streets of Ermita, Manila, one late summer afternoon.

When I was taking my Spanish Classes in Instituto Cervantes, I used to crave all the goodies prolific in the sidewalk on my way to school. They range from Fishball to Tempura, and from nilagang mani (boiled peanuts) to Kwek-kwek, the hard-boiled eggs deep fried in orange batter. Yummy! Among these authentic street food, Banana cue is my favorite. It is just pure bliss in its sweet and crispy perfection. I’ve been meaning to buy one since my first visit to Instituto, but I always end up eating something else. I often forget to buy it before riding the LRT back home.

However, on one random Friday after class, the craving could no longer be ignored. I finally bought my most sought after banana cue that I paired with another all-time favorite calorie-filled drink, Mountain Dew. I sat on one of the empty benches at the park just below the UN LRT station. It’s as if the street wasn’t filled with pollution and I wasn’t eating dirty food. It didn’t matter. I just sat there and spent a whole 15 minutes pondering on my life. I was taking glances on passersby as I devour my banana cue and sip through my bottle of soda.

I managed to freeze, capture and save a mental picture of how my surroundings looked like in that very moment. There were the hustle and bustle of the vehicles on the street and students eagerly waiting for their Jeepney ride home. I recall the vendors doing their sales talk and customers buying their tricks. There were traffic enforcers doing their job and ensuring no one gets hurt. There were also other people like me, enjoying the array of street food literally on the sidewalk.

This happened three years ago but I still remember every single detail of that moment. It was such a peaceful inner experience despite the chaotic external environment. It is one of those out-of-the-blue days, when you reflect on your existence. When you realize that you have  to be grateful for the “now” that you’re living because now is all you have.

“How do you measure a year in your life?” as the song goes, and my answer to this is to count it in moments. Yes. Count it in random moments of feeling insanely happy by eating a piece of unhealthy, brown, sugar-coated, banana cue. It is through these moments that I get reminded of who I am–just a thread in a gigantic tapestry called life. I may only be one among the billions, but significant nonetheless.

Yeah, banana cue has that effect on me. Let’s all be happy and live in the moment! Now is all we have.

What can you do with 100 pesos?

A hundred pesos seems like a really small amount but if put to good use, it can double, triple and even multiply to a hundredfold its worth. The question “What can you do with 100 pesos?” popped out of nowhere when I recalled this saying posted on the wall of my old bedroom back at home that says, “The greatest acts of love are done by those who are habitually performing small acts of kindness.” Indeed, spending an extra hundred bucks is not that hard to do when you do it for a worthwhile cause like making someone else (even someone you don’t know) smile and be happy.

Therefore, I challenge you, my dear reader, to put aside a hundred pesos from your next pay day or allowance and do one of these Eight Random Acts of Kindness:

1. Share some Chow!

It’s definitely inconvenient to eat on the go but when you’re commuting your way to work and don’t have time for breakfast, eating while in the cab is your only option. However, it can be awkward to be the only one eating while Manong driver is stuck with imagining the taste of the heaven-sent food you’re devouring. That is why, a random act of kindness is to share the divine goodness of your nutriment. Buy snacks for two at 7 eleven before riding the cab and share the food with Manong driver when you start munching your goodies.

An ideal breakfast on the go: a small cup of 7 eleven Peppermint Mocha paired with donuts of your choice. This super yummy drink is only 25 pesos. Since you are buying for two, you have enough cash to spare for two delicious donuts that go perfectly with this hot drink.

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photo c/o 7eleven website

2. Share the Buy 1 Take 1 Madness!

Buy a minute burger buy 1 take one bacon cheese burger and share one to the cab driver on your way home. If you start your day with kindness, it is also fitting to end it with kindness. You can give the burger to anyone else really. You can give it to your colleague at work who goes the same route home, or the child begging for alms, or the tricycle driver who has a GY (graveyard) shift too. Anyone is eligible to share a buy 1 take 1 with.

The burger is also only 55 pesos, which means you have change to buy drinks for two.

minute burger

This is really yummy! Totally worth your buck.

3. Give some sweet treats!

You can pick an ordinary day and make it extraordinary by giving away sweet treats to your friends and even enemies in the office or at school. If you’re not in the mood for getting quizzical looks from people who know you, then give these treats to random strangers instead. They can be anyone who pass you by, the kuya who sells taho, the manong who sells candies, the traffic enforcer, the late-for-work employee, or the high school student who crosses the street.

Goldilocks’ Choco Rhumble has a really nice packaging that makes it a ready-to-give-away gift. You can even use post its, and write something encouraging for the person you’ll be giving it to. It is only 19 pesos and with your 100 pesos, you can choose 5 people to give this sumptuous treat.

choco rhumble

photo c/o Goldilocks website

4. Paburger Naman Dyan!

This was actually the catch phrase used by Mcdonalds in one of its TV ads a few years ago. The phrase which in English would literally translate to ‘Treat some burgers!” is a  colloquial way of pressuring someone to treat his/her friends to some Mcdonalds burger and this later evolved to treating your friends out in general. A Burger Macdo is 25 pesos so you can give away 4 burgers to your friends. You can maybe even use the good old paburger naman dyan phrase before you give it to them.

On a similar note, there was this one time, I heard someone in the radio teasing another DJ to treat their friends because it’s his birthday and the announcer said that he’ll be giving out Angel’s burger. That gave a good laugh, but when I actually tried this burger, it tasted decent. For only 23 pesos you’ll get two burgers already. Talk about quantity! You can give away eight burgers to people you know.

angels-burger

5. Offer it to your Church or local community.

This may be imperative to some or a wild concept for others. Nonetheless, whatever community you believe in, supporting them with whatever meager means you can is always accepted with welcoming arms.

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Church in Caramoan Island, Philippines.

6. Remember the ones who have gone before us.

Being kind is not limited to the living. The next time you visit the cemetery, bring extra candles (worth a hundred bucks) and light them for other tombs too, especially for the ones who silently cry for some visitors. While you’re at it, say a little prayer.

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photo from wikipedia.org

7. Celebrate the Occasion!

There are 12 months in a year, and every month has more than one special occasion. Pick one and celebrate it in your own simple way. You can give snippets of celebratory tokens to commemorate the occasion. This month, for example, you can spread the love on St. Valentine’s Day by giving rose-shaped candies with heart-shaped notes about the glory of love ( just like what I did).

You can also pick other non-formal occasions like National Sisters Day, or even unheard of occasions like You’re So Beautiful Day… (make it up if you will)!

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Some sweet treats with sweet messages for my office friends.

8. Be Santa for a day!

There are really kawaii (cute) school supplies like notebooks, pens, erasers that cost just 10 pesos a piece. Buy 10 things of your choice and place some cheerful notes on them. Give these away to everyone you meet on your way to school or work in classic Santa Clause style. Do not forget the “Ho Ho Ho!”

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My lovely niece, Bebe.

Think of it this way, the more good that you give, the more good you will receive. If you have heard of the law of attraction, then it simply means that you attract the things that you put out to the universe. Why not be a good energy in this vast space?

At the very least, you allow a little ray of sunshine to brighten someone else’s day. Even a simple yet sincere good morning goes a long way. In these small acts, you are restoring people’s faith in humanity, including yours.

What other small acts of kindness have you done? Let me know!

I ❤ CBTL

Do you have a go-to place when you need a spot to chill after a chaotic day at work, or a study area with free Wi-fi at the mall, or maybe that nice place to spend long conversations catching up with high school friends, if not a cozy spot to cuddle with your sweetheart while waiting for the movie’s last full show, or simply a quiet corner outside of your home that you can go to when you have some things to think over by yourself?

I do.

If it goes the same with you then congratulations we both have a reason to reminisce and be grateful for all the moments we’ve spent in this special place.

This is a love letter to one of those special locations that have a heart tag on my map.

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Dearest Coffee Bean,

It’s a cold Sunday morning; your windows are still covered with haze from last night’s rainfall. The  quaint music is playing across the room while I,  for the first time in a long time, muster the courage to pick up a pen and paper and write a love letter for one special love of my life, You.

Our love affair started a year ago when you caught my eye with your lovely shades of purple and red. I was never fond of coffee or tea shops but my first sip of your hot African sunrise tea latte changed all that. You got me entranced with your beauty. And oh how calming is your scent of vanilla; that sweet subtle smell I long for every time you’re around. It never fails to bring my mood up.

It was you who shared my early job-hunting blues. It was you who provided shelter for my time-pressured-meet-the-deadline moments during the hype of my writing gigs. It was you who saved me from loneliness in bus rides and mall walks and it was you who accompanied me all throughout my depressive fits and even my “angry me” episodes.  You were my hangover fix after my first crazy morning drinking session. And even now, in the very moment of this letter’s writing, when all I want to do is simply kill time, you are here, to be my sanctuary.

Thank you for the tropical passion tea latte and straight-from-the-oven blueberry muffins. Thank you for being here, “since 1963” and for the many years to come.

Xoxo,

the purple bliss

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THE PURPLE BLISS says: For the ❤ of Coffee Bean! Is Coffee Bean a sanctuary to you too? What’s your favorite CBTL (Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf) drink and pastry?

If not, what Coffee or Tea shop or any other location is your go-to place? What makes it special? Tell me about it in the comments section, I’d love to hear from you. =)