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Best Things about Being Pinoy
Excerpt from the Inquirer Magazine [06.12.88]

  1. Filipino comics. Pulpy publications that gave us Darna, Facifica Falayfay, Lagalag, Kulafu, Kenkoy, Dyesebel, characters of a time both innocent and worldly.
  2. Fiesta. Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow is just another day, shrugs the poor man who, once a year, honors a patron saint with this sumptuous, no-holds-barred spread. It's a Pinoy celebration at its pious and riotous best.
  3. Aswang, manananggal, kapre. The whole underworld of Filipino lower class mythology recalls our uniquely bizarre childhood, that is, before political correctness kicked in. Still, their rich adventures pepper our storytelling.
  4. Dinuguan. Blood stew, a bloodcurdling idea, until you try it with puto. Best when mined with jalapeno peppers. Messy but delicious.
  5. Balut. Unhatched duck's embryo, another unspeakable ethnic food to outsiders, but oh, to indulge in guilty pleasures! Sprinkle some salt and suck out that soup, with gusto.
  6. Pakidala or padala. A personalized door-to-door remittance and delivery system for overseas Filipino workers who don't trust the banking system, and who expect a family update from the courier, as well.
  7. Choc-nut. Crumbly peanut chocolate bars that defined childhood ecstasy before M & M's and Hershey's.
  8. Kamayan style. To eat with one's hand and eschew spoon, fork and table manners -- ah, heaven.
  9. Chicharon. Pork, fish or chicken crackling. There is in the crunch a hint of the extravagant, the decadent and the pedestrian. Perfect with vinegar, sublime with beer.
  10. Pinoy hospitality. Just about everyone gets a hearty "Kain tayo!" invitation to break bread with whoever has food to share, no matter how skimpy or austere it is.
  11. Adobo, kare-kare, sinigang and other lutong bahay stuff. Home-cooked meals that have the stamp of approval from several generations, who swear by closely-guarded cooking secrets and family recipes.
  12. Lola Basyang. The voice one heard spinning tales over the radio, before movies and television curtailed imagination and defined grown-up tastes.
  13. Pambahay. Home is where one can let it all hang out, where clothes do not make a man or woman but rather define their level of comfort.
  14. Tricycle or trisikad the poor Pinoy's taxicab that delivers you at your doorstep for as little as P3, with a complimentary dusting of polluted air.
  15. Dirty ice cream. Very Pinoy flavors that make up for the risk: munggo, langka, ube, mais, keso, macapuno. Plus there's the colorful cart that recalls jeepney art.
  16. Yayas. The trusted Filipino nannies who, ironically, have become a major Philippine export as overseas contract workers. A good one is almost like a surrogate parent -- if you don't mind the accent and the predilection for afternoon soap and movie stars.
  17. Sarsi. Pinoy root beer, the enduring taste of childhood. Our grandfathers had them with an egg beaten in.
  18. Pinoy fruits. Atis, guyabano, chesa, mabolo, lanzones, durian, langka, makopa, dalanghita, siniguelas, suha, chico, papaya, singkamas -- the possibilities are endless!
  19. Filipino celebrities. Movie stars, broadcasters, beauty queens, public officials, all-around controversial figures.
  20. World class Pinoys who put us on the global map: Lea Salonga, Paeng Nepomuceno, Eugene Torre, Luisito Espinosa, Lydia de Vega-Mercado, Jocelyn Enriquez, Elma Muros, Onyok Velasco, Efren "Bata" Reyes, Lilia Calderon-Clemente, Loida Nicolas-Lewis, Josie Natori.
  21. Pinoy tastes. A dietitian's nightmare: too sweet, too salty, too fatty, as in burong talangka, itlog na maalat, crab fat (aligue), bokayo, kutchinta, sapin-sapin, halo-halo, pastilyas, palitaw, pulburon, longganisa, tuyo, ensaymada, ube haleya, sweetened macapuno and garbanzos. Remember, we're the guys who put sugar & franks in our spaghetti sauce. Yum!
  22. The sights. Banaue Rice Terraces, Boracay, Bohol's Chocolate Hills, Corregidor Island, Fort Santiago, the Hundred Islands, the Las Pinas Bamboo Organ, Rizal Park, Mt. Banahaw, Mayon Volcano, Taal Volcano. A land of contrasts and ever-changing landscapes.
  23. Gayuma, agimat and anting-anting. Love potions and amulets. How the socially-disadvantaged Pinoy copes.
  24. PBA, MBA and basketball. How the vertically-challenged Pinoy compensates, via a national sports obsession that reduces fans to tears and fistfights.
  25. American Power at EDSA. When the USA switched support from Apo Marcos to Tita Cory and changed Philippine history overnight.
  26. San Miguel Beer and pulutan. "Isa pa nga!" and the Philippines' most popular, world-renowned beer goes well with peanuts, corniks, tapa, chicharon, usa, barbecue, sisig, and all manner of spicy, crunchy and cholesterol-rich chasers.
  27. Resiliency. We've survived 400 years of Spanish rule, the United States bases, American imperialism (or maybe not yet), the 1990 earthquake, lahar, lambada, Robin Padilla, and tamagochi. We'll survive Erap.
  28. Yoyo. Truly Filipino in origin, this hunting tool, weapon, toy and merchandising vehicle remains the best way to "walk the dog" and "rock the baby," using just a piece of string.
  29. Pinoy games: Pabitin, palosebo, basagan ng palayok. A few basic rules make individual cunning and persistence a premium, and guarantee a good time for all.
  30. Imelda Marcos. For promoting Filipino culture and arts to the world.

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