Traveling has brought me to greater heights – both literally and figuratively. But if there’s one thing that didn’t change all through the years of being in constant motion, it’s the fact that the fear of being alone and the unknown has never been totally dismissed. Growing up with stories of aswang and kapre and seeing for real the horrors of reality – as shown in killings and harassment committed every day; surely this fear is one that is difficult to conquer. Fortunately, I was born in Cebu and in my province we eat hearts and brains for breakfast. We love seeing and experiencing things in a much lighter and more positive outlook.
To relax from the daily hassles of work life, we were invited (we invited ourselves) by Pierre to his house for lunch. After having been fed with everything he knew about history, it was about time to see them for real. From Mango, we took a jeepney in going to Colon where the terminal for kalesa is located. Yes, there are still kalesa in the oldest street of the Philippines! These horse carriages are the main transportation of the locals living in Suba, Pasil, and Duljo. It wasn’t my first time riding a kalesa, but it was surely an experience to have ridden it within the busy streets of the city!
Instead of heading directly to Pierre’s house, we asked the kutsero to bring us to Jai-Alai where we bought cheap and freshly cooked hanging rice – puso. While on the way, Pierre gave a detailed throwback on how much the place became a fortress during the Spanish and American Period of Philippine history. The kutsero was also very accommodating and filled in the gaps of the stories. He also shared about their lives as kutseros and how noble such job is.
We were already starving when we arrived at Pierre’s house. Good thing his mother was very hospitable and already prepared lunch for us – pig’s brain. She ordered it from a suki meat vendor and marinated it the night prior to our visit. We hungrily feasted over the meal fondly called as tuslob buwa by foodies. The original concept of tuslob buwa – which literally means “to dip into the bubbles” – is just to dip the puso into the simmered sauce made up of pig’s brain, pork cubes, garlic, and soy sauce. According to a local of Duljo, the original recipe was made up of sinudlan (pig’s intestine) stuffed with seasoned ground pork which is deep fried on a pan and the moment it starts to boil, that’s the time people gather and dip their puso into the foam of the sinudlan. This eventually evolved to the use of pig’s brain – which at that time was not that marketed so much and was sold cheaply.
After such sumptuous lunch, we walked to Tisa and feasted over their famous halu-halo before concluding the day’s adventure. Upon reaching the junction, we saw a virtuous sunset falling into the background of the famous Tres de Abril monument – perfect scenery to end the day.
You see, there are so many things that can be gruesome at first sight but can hold significant insight when we change the way we look at it. Colon might be a dreary battleground of traffic for some, but for Pierre, it holds endless stories of the past and present. The pig’s internal organs might be ghastly for some, but to those who don’t have anything to eat, this can be a piece of heaven. Tuslog buwa may seem unhygienic to others, but sharing a meal with friends can totally make the bond stronger. You have to look back and see life in a macro perspective so as to understand it more fully and avoid conflict. You have to learn why you fear something so much, so as to be able to face it head on. No, we are not a bunch of zombies; we are just happy and creative people who try to make the most of life even with its inconveniences.