Holy Staycation!




In the 20th century, there’s a catchphrase to fit any old thing to make it hip-ish.  This Holy Week, literally and figuratively speaking, staying in is, well...“in”.   If you don’t want to deal with hotels, flight plans, itineraries, vexing fellow travelers, getting a tad unhinged by much concern (from family you haven’t seen awhile) about your blasted singleness and whatever else might get you hot under the collar (unless you’re wearing a tank top) other than Mr. Golden Sun, you better go on staycation or staycay as opposed to vacay (duh). 
Like I’ve done for most of my life. 

Firstly, I don’t have a province to go to (unless friends take me along to theirs). Secondly, though we’re not all super duper devout, my family observes Holy Week with some reflection, prayers, quiet reverence just the same, particularly from Maundy Thursday to Black Saturday.  If  there’s an opportunity to go on a Visita Iglesia (churches go-round and prayers at the Stations of the Cross), I’d go.  Partying (albeit with restraint) or going to the beach and chilling with family and friends, even working during Holy Week wasn’t an option until several years ago...and I’m the only one in the family to break from tradition: some events I worked on were almost always held in Boracay.  

This year, I am on staycay.  No TV (which I don’t really miss because I don’t watch much local TV, most shows are crappy anyway).  A lot of reading.  Plenty of sleep (the meds I am taking for my on and off bout with the flu made me drowsy).  Curbed appetite some days – fasting is a challenge, my spirit as weak as my body in this aspect.  Also, it was my mom’s birthday week and everyone’s home, so we had a low key lunch of lumpiang sariwa (fresh roll of chopped up, crunchy-good vegetables in a wrap made of rice flour - paper thin (hmmm, maybe matte CS2 grade) circles of it – with a furl of crisp lettuce leaf poking out one end.  You spoon a sweet, thick soy and sugar based sauce spiked with fresh, crushed bits of garlic (peanut bits optional) over the open end and watch it find a lazy way through the veggie obstacle course, tainting the pale white wrap a dark caramel here and there.  Thin as the wrap is, too much sauce breaks the whole thing in a yummy mess – eating with your hands recommended.  We had garlic chicken, too.  Sorry, didn’t get to take pictures.  It really is a challenge to help cook and wrap and set the table and take pictures.  It is a bit of a mess and takes some skill to put in the right amount of veggies with enough juice –from the sauteeing, with achuete - for a moist filling (but will not soak the wrapper, else it bursts). You need to work fast, the wrapper hardens the more exposed it is to air.  There were cold slices of fresh, sweet melon and creamy ginatang mais (shredded corn and glutinous rice cooked in coconut milk and sugar) for dessert.  I'll try to add pics when we make these again.

Otherwise, it’s the fishplate on center stage and I am crabby (also on the table) because my allergies forced me to eat toast and cheese...mostly.


The birthday lunch was it for me, for a looong while, but a little sacrifice is good for the waistline and spiritual enlightenment.


Easter Sunday, as the priest said at mass then, is the resurrection not only of Jesus but all manner of temptation we managed to avoid or let go of for a fortnight.  Like inihaw na liempo (grilled pork, scorched fat and all) left me in a pickle - eat and surely gain back the sacrificial pound in a jiff.

Guess what? I opted to have pickle with some pig (sorry Wilbur!):  a side dish of achara (unripe papaya fruit and carrots with garlic, onions and chilis in vinegar, tangy and sweet).  Didn't have the oysters because I can't eat them the regular slurp and gulp from the half shell way - only baked, with bearnaise or Rockefeller at Via Mare. Sure, I'm a snob.  Don't knock it till you've tried this recipe, if you are not that purist and wants to upgrade your oyster dish.  


Both meat and luxe shellfish is typical of the Pinoy Easter table, probably because you've had all sorts of regular fish, small shrimps and mussels. Celebratory seafood are those big, meaty fish with double names, like maya-maya, lapu-lapu, and dalagang bukid. Pla-pla (giant tilapia) counts. Of course oysters, as opposed to usual tahong (mussels) and halaan (clams). Regular means commonplace means living within fish  port range.

My first venture out of course, is a half walk/jog at UP, where despite achy legs and sore feet,  some eye candy cheers me on.
Sunflower power!  Rows of them! How...Easterly ; ) Life blooms!


I have a sunflower story.  Sunflowers dot the Bivouac or COCC camp in Batulao, Batangas so guys will pick them to give to their crushes or girlfriends, who would tuck them in the tent frame.  I had my share from an anonymous...uhh...fan? stalker? but pollen or some of the hairy stuff on the stalks made me itch so I passed them on to someone else.  The last night at camp, there was a soiree of sorts, and dancing.  It is a hilly, spare hut venue with limited wattage, so some of the guys would shine a flashlight on you to ask you to dance.  Weirded me out some.  My brain wasn't inclined to romantic notions at the time ; ( 





Don't rightly know what these purple, pink, and white blooms are, but they're mighty purty ; ) Some say they're zinnias.


So back to temptation! A friend from Australia brought me these: a Lindt Dark Chocolate Gold Bunny and Lust perfume from the Sex In The City line (mom got the Cosmo, not sure if its a direct tie in thing to the series Sex & The City because a website only mentioned the scents were inspired by Sarah Jessica Parker but she has her own SJP signatures).  Real nice, real tempting heehee, but I am not giving in just yet. The Gold Bunny will be spared for a while anyway - too cute to eat.

Except for these babies.  Made these from scratch -  and cinnamon, sugar, flour and butter.  Yummm! These went over big.  And fast.

  

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