An Ode to Kaya


I love kaya toast. Did I say that? Yeah, I love kaya toast…specifically Ya Kun Kaya’s toast. Who doesn’t love Singapore’s national breakfast? I am drooling just thinking about the sweetness of the kaya and a serving of a perfectly soft-boiled egg. Here in Manila, I usually get my fix of kaya toast in the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2 branch of Ya Kun Kaya. When I am flying from NAIA 2, I make sure always drop by Ya Kun Kaya before heading to the boarding gate. Sadly, this year I had less work-related travels (though I am not asking for more) compared to 2017, so less kaya toast for me.

Thoughts about kaya toast always brings back good memories. I recall when and I two friends were in Singapore, being the aliens that we were, we went all the way to Chinatown just to get our kaya toast fix. The Ya Kun Kaya branch we went to did not even have its own stall. It just a had a small counter and several tables and chairs in the food court of a mall. We sat there in the middle of a humid afternoon, sipped our coffee, and spread out a map of Singapore in our table to figure out where to go next. What was so funny was we belatedly realize there was Ya Kun Kaya store just a flew blocks away from our hostel in Bugis.

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Peaches and Friends


While waiting for our train ride to Hanoi, Vietnam in a restaurant somewhere  in Lao Cai a few days ago, my three friends decided to go out for a bit to look for peaches. They’ve been craving for peaches since we saw some in Bac Ha market earlier in the day. They asked me if I was coming, I told them I will just stay in the restaurant   since I don’t like peaches that much.

While waiting for them, I noticed that a Vietnamese girl in the next table was fidgety. She kept glancing around while holding her phone. So I asked her, “Are you looking for an electric outlet?”

She replied, “Yes. I need to charge my phone.”

I noted someone charged his phone near my table earlier  so I told her, “There’s one near my table. You can use it.”

She smiled and thanked me. She then asked me if I am from the Philippines since I speak good English. I responded affirmatively and thought finally someone guessed my nationality correctly. I was still mistaken as a Thai by some in Vietnam.

We then talked about her job, my job, her country and my country. She was very curious about the Philippines and certain places she wishes to visit. She even knew about Cebu Pacific’s piso seat sale.

After conversing for about 10 minutes, she excused herself . When she got back she offered me a peach as a sign of thanks. I almost said no but thinking there was no harm in trying to eat a peach, I accepted it. My friends arrived shortly, epmty-handed. When I asked if they were able to find peaches , they sadly replied they were not able to find a fruit vendor that sells them.

The Vietnamese girl probabaly heard our conversation so she went back to our table and gave each of my friends a peach. She said she bought a kilo in Bac Ha market and couldn’t finish it all by herself. My friends looked so happy and  enjoyed    their peaches with big smiles in their faces.

I smiled as well astounded at how the situation turned out. Fate? Coincidence? Whatever it was,  I was just glad to be able to make friends. 🙂

Weekly Photo Challenge: Culture


Philippines has probably one the most extensive or detailed celebration of Holy Week. In my hometown, we don’t have just one procession, we have five. The first procession is held during the afternoon of Holy Wednesday. The second one is held on the  afternoon of Good Friday . Another procession is held late at night during Good Friday. We call it Soledad and  its route is  exactly opposite of the procession held in the afternoon. My mom said it symbolizes “tracing the path that Jesus walked on his way to the cross”. The fourth procession called Salubong (literally means welcoming the Risen Lord) is held very early in the morning of Easter and the final one during the afternoon of Easter Sunday.

Regardless of the day the procession is held, the setup is pretty much the same. There would be pasos or images of the saints or scenes in the Passion of Christ. There would be altars where the priest would stop to say a prayer. And of course, there would be people holding candles during the procession. When I was a kid, the processions was very organized. People fall in two lines beside the pasos. In between altars, we prayed the Rosary. Some even walked barefoot.

A lot have changed since then. Processions became more crowded but for the wrong purposes.  I know this is a tradition that will continue for a long time but whether the intentions and solemnity will be preserved is a different question.

More entries at Daily Post.

Respect, Knock Knock!


A few days ago, I experienced what could have been the biggest slap to me so far as a public servant. I accompanied a client to a cashier of a department. Unfortunately, there was a problem in the documents brought by my client. Instead of properly explaining to us to resolve the problem, the cashier simply shouted at us and said, “Ibalik nyo yan! Di yan pwede! (Return that! That is not acceptable!)”.

 I was so embarrassed because my client had to go back all the way to Manila (we were in Taguig) and return again just to address a matter which could have easily been solved if she allowed us to explain.  I was so pissed but I decided not push the matter because my client could be placed in more jeopardy.

 This is not the first time I encountered “scary” or “rude” government employees. But most of the time, I just let it go because these people may have reasons why they have such attitude. I also learned through experience that if I talk to them in a nice and patient way, they will also treat you nicely. Of course, there are exceptions. There are simply people who are too rude and filled with bitterness for the world.

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