I once chanced upon a cable travel show with a British dude trying different Filipino street food. He sampled an array of “exotic” local dishes that aren’t for the squeamish.  It makes for compelling television, but that’s not all we’ve got, ya know. So I thought of making my own list of local street food that doesn’t include duck embryos or chicken heads. Because I’m squeamish too. And because I thought it would be fun to list down my favorites :)

binatog

Binatog is a snack (or for me a breakfast side dish) of boiled white corn kernels. I like to eat it piping hot with grated coconut and sugar. The binatog vendor rides a bike with two pails. Here I made him look like a giant binatog.

This street food is rare in the city where I live. So the few times that I get I see this dude is pure joy.

sorbetes

Sorbetes is ice cream made from coconut milk. It comes in cheese, chocolate, ube, mango, avocado flavors :) It tastes different from store-bought ice cream, to me it’s more refreshing. The colorful cart is hard to miss in parks. Don’t mind its “dirty ice cream” moniker. I can’t help being a little dirty, it is sold on the streets! kidding.. Just keep an eye on the vendor’s fingers to make sure they don’t touch the cone.

lumpia

When I was in college, Lumpia was my cheap lunch on-the-go.  It’s quite filling for a fried veggie wrap. The oily goodness isn’t complete without a drizzle of spicy vinegar.

taho

This seriously delicious breakfast/snack is made of warm silken tofu with syrup and tapioca pearls. Anyone who hasn’t tried this is missing half of his life.  When I was a kid, I would wake up to sound of a man shouting”Tahoooooo!!” outside our house. We would run outside to greet the vendor with our empty mugs and pitchers. It’s still my comfort food today.

sticksisaw

I think the most enjoyable street food are the skewered ones. I like the dessert variety –  sweet bananas, sticky rice, and sweet potatoes. The tangy and glutinous variety a.k.a. pig & chicken intestines (okay, this might make people squeamish). And the common meat-on-a-stick.

The pig intestine or isaw baboy is a hit-or-miss for me. I only enjoy the ones sold at the parking lot near U.P. Law School, and not from the vendor with the flashy LED sign.  :D

puto bumbong

These are considered the special kinds of street food they’re associated with a festive time of the year- Christmas! The bibingka and puto bumbong are rice cakes sold in front of churches during early morning Christmas mass. They are cooked in coal-heated steamers,  creating a smoky flavor gives me warm fuzzy Christmasy feelings inside. They’re so good that I see a lot of mall food stands serve them all-year round, which kinda ruins the effect, I think. But I’d be happy to eat them any day.

 

bonifacio2Today is National Heroes’ Day in the Philippines. It’s the day we raise our San Miguel bottles to the brave Filipinos who risked their lives to bring about our independence. As I watch the news about what’s happening in other countries: raging wars and human atrocities, I feel all the more grateful for simple things that I get to do like blogging and enjoying this holiday, because those heroes made this place safe for me.

I’m not saying the independence we have in our country is perfect or absolute. But I’d just like to make a little shout-out to my favorite National Hero: Andres Bonifacio, who was one of the first Pinoys to say “Hey, let’s go and organize ourselves on a national level so we can stand up against those bastard colonizers who are killing our people and exploiting our land!” … not verbatim, of course.

He’s the guy at the far end of the table, leading the vow to fight for freedom more than a hundred years ago :P

 

I was lucky enough to visit the Land of the Rising Sun last year :). And boy did the sun rise to lots of pretty, interesting, quirky, unique, and fascinating things that only the people of that land can conceive. Like a cafe where you can pet pretty cats while you drink your coffee.

cat

And this giant teddy bear inside a mall. That’s me hugging it.

teddy

I also love their vending machines. They spew out cool stuff like toys, noodle orders, and alcohol.

vending

The food in Japan makes me think of their funny cooking-themed cartoon shows, where the characters cry because the food is so good.I teared up a little when I ate a Mackerel sushi and a bowl of tsukemen. :D~~~

tsukemen

I also loved walking through Kyoto’s Nishiki Market and stuffing my mouth with colorful food. Lots of eye-catching things to take pictures of, like the huge vats of pickled vegetables.

nishiki market

I also got to visit some amazing temples. You won’t see how amazing they are from my drawings though, sorry:P Actual photos or nice drawings maybe.

temple

Here’s something I made for a group exhibit that saw me cramming and completely veering off the theme (Kitchen Trinkets). For some reason, deadlines make me think of giant sleeping cats, bisons, and monocled octopuses (octopi?) in a seaside village :D.

ink octopi

 

Once upon a time (last month), I made a drawing for an exhibit organized by the Foundation for the Philippine Environment.

My artwork is about the Pantaron Range in Bukidnon. The Manobo tribe living there is now thriving because of the sustainable livelihood training provided by the foundation. The animals living there are smiling too, rather goofily even.

manobos

The country is well into the gloomy rainy season, but my mind’s still wandering back to summer days. And beaches. And hot sticky weather. And the warm breeze. And the man I once saw wearing white briefs at a public beach in Pangasinan. He just looked so…. carefree…..

Yet  courteous enough to cover his nuts with a bimpo.

So yeah, I miss summer.

beach3

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