The capiz shell windows nods an assent at my arrival to my childhood home. The cool molave floors glisten to welcome a familiar set of footprints tiptoeing almost dancing on its hard surface. My eyes are held captive by the iridescent glow of an antique lamp. I am in our sala and a whiff of the ilang-ilang that adorns a vintage porcelain vase with its proverbial blue and white design brought wistful memories of my days in this small but complete corner of the world.
My eyes wander around the room, lace curtains, cozy pieces of furniture, time worn knick knacks including monopoly and scrabble board games( my family’s favorite after dinner activity), pictures in old wooden frames jammed my mind with a deluge of happy thoughts that my lips instinctively twisted into a smile. I am home.
Then the aroma of “tsokolate”, native cocoa drink titillated my nostrils, a scent that announces the presence of my mama. I ran to the kitchen where I find her pouring the chocolate drink into dainty cups with mismatched saucers. “Ma!” I shouted excitedly and ran towards her, holding her outstretched hand in mine and bringing it to lightly touch my bowed forehead to consummate the “mano po” greeting that I always give her.
As my tongue gave in to the succulent concoction of melted heaven, my mom spread lunch on the lamesa taking out plates and glassware from the aparador. I feasted on pancit molo, adobo and rice. For desserts my mom made her specialty, cassava cake and buko pandan jelly.
After lunch as my mom was updating me with stories of our distant cousins, aunts and uncles’ affairs, I rummage through our baul, looking for something my mind has not yet perceived. I had no idea what I was searching for but my fingers continued to forage through its contents like a child scouring for treasures. Then I found it, my lolo’s pocket watch the one with a lovely chain. It doesn’t work anymore, like its owner but still very precious and valuable much like its owner too.
“You want it? Bring him home with you.” I embraced my mom and as we passed by our intimately modest oratorio which is just a small table with the crucifix, the rosary, a small statue of the Virgin Mary, prayer books for novenas and the Bible. I paused, made the sign of the cross and prayed silently thanking God for this house that encased traditions, a century of my ancestor’s effects, childhood wonderments and a love so enduring… it verges into eternity!
Capiz shell- windowpane oyster from the province of Capiz,Philippines and used widely for making window panes and lanterns.
Sala- Spanish word for living room
Molave- Philippine hardwood
Ilang-ilang- (Cananga Odorata) flower of a tropical Philippine perfume tree.
Tsokolate- native chocolate drink made from tablea or blocks of cacao from cacao beans.
Mano po- Mano po is a kind of greeting gesture of touching the back of the hand of an elder or one’s parents and lightly touching it on one’s forehead.
Lamesa- Spanish word for table
Aparador – cabinet for plates and glassware
Pancit molo- Filipino pork dumpling soup
Cassava cake- a Filipino dessert made with grated cassava or manioc and coconut milk.
Buko pandan jelly- a gelatin dessert made from buko pandan extract and coconut strips.
adobo- a popular Filipino dish made of pork and chicken
Baul- trunk to put in clothes and things
Oratorio- prayer room
(pictures taken from internet except for the house)