April 2, 2015
Writing this on a hot Friday afternoon, we went to Tarlac yesterday to have lunch with Lola Anita’s family, the youngest girl among Nanay’s siblings. I don’t know what triggered the invitation but somehow Tito Joni, Lola Anita’s wife, invited us over for lunch. It’s weird how I call my grandmother’s sister Lola but addresses her husband as Tito.
Anyway, we left a few minutes past 6 am, with eight of us jammed in the SUV. It was manong, mama, uncle Norman, me, Jose, ate Lerma, Angel, and Nanay. We had to fetch Nanay from Project 8 and I didn’t know Angel, ate Cathy’s 7 year old daughter, was tagging along with us, but I guess she convinced her mother enough to let her go with us. I slept throughout most of the car ride.. while nursing a plastic cup of pineapple juice in my hands. Good thing the cup didn’t tip over. When I fell asleep, the beverage was still cold. When I woke up, it was warmer than usual. As weird as I am, I still finished the juice when I woke up. Hihi.
After fours hours, and several minutes of getting lost, we finally arrived at their house. We had a little difficulty in finding their house because the baranagay’s lacked signage and there were not much people around to ask directions from. When we got inside their humble home, we were welcomed with a feast of food laid on the table, complete with a stack of plates and cups for distribution. There was also a huge bowl of melon juice at the center of the table.
There were different sorts of dishes like tinola cooked with native chicken, tilapia, pinakbet (but instead of pumpkin, they used malunggay), rellenong bangus, and a bowl of mixed tomatoes, shrimp paste, and mangoes, if I’m not mistaken.
There was more space in the living room than in the dining room so we moved everything outside, and some stayed by the couches while holding their plates. I’m not much of a meat person so I helped myself with some tilapia. While eating, uncle Joni shared how he went to the market to buy raw meats and fish for the lunch. Lola Anita also shared that he woke up early to prepare and cook for us. After the meal proper, Lola Anita also served some fruits and saba con yelo.
The weather was extremely hot that manong, mama, Trixie the dog, and I stayed by the wooden bench outside the house to cool off for a bit. I also took a shower but it didn’t help much. I took advantage of the free time we had so I took some photos to save for this blog.
After some time, we finally left their house despite the heat of the sun. It was so hot outside that you could easily sweat seconds after you get in the car. Mom and I had to put towels on our seats to avoid our butts from burning.
Mom’s plan of going to an Aeta village finally pushed through. It took us past 30 minutes of travel and to stop complete boredom, I took the initiative of taking over the road trip music and played different genres of songs using Spotify. When we finally got to the area, mom and manong asked the guards on duty for directions and opening/closing time. Apparently, the trek to Mt. Pinatubo is open until 9 am only, before the hike itself starts. We can’t use our personal car, too, because it’s too dusty due to the sand from the mountain so we have to ride a 4×4 the next time we go there.
Our surprise visit wasn’t as unsuccessful though. We saw a family of aeta’s in the village and mom interviewed the father while I stayed on the side and listened to them converse, and took photos of them. When we left the place, we passsed by Capas Shrine. Mom insisted in going inside, luckily the guard on duty let us. It was pretty inside but I liked the sunset more than the actual Shrine, but it was frustrating because the trees were too high and I’m too short to take photos of the sunset. I managed a few shots of a little bit of everything.