Monday, December 11, 2006

A Food Trip and Festival of Lights

A few years back, Policarpio Street in Mandaluyong City gained fame as all the houses there were decorated with lights and Christmas ornaments all over. I only saw the street featured on the news at the time, and I was curious as to what it looked like up close. I had the chance to see it last Friday along with my older bro and our friend Loucel.

We actually started out on I. Lopez St. The atmosphere was very festive--there were a lot of people milling around, locals and visitors alike, all there to see the houses. There was also a tiangge as well as some food booths on the whole stretch. The food freaks that we are, we bought some roasted Japanese corn on the cob--the first on our food trip list. We didn't pay attention anymore to the tiangge as they're scattered all around Metro Manila. (I should have known that in this kind of attraction, people want to cash in on it.) On we went until we came to the corner of Policarpio St. and saw the houses.

Two of them look like the COD (now in Greenhills) Christmas display, with one sans the music. The one without the music is a beautiful belen with approximately 2 feet figures of Joseph, Mary and the Three Wise Men plus of course the baby Jesus in the manger and the animals. The Three Wise Men go around Jesus, Joseph and Mary on motorized... trains... I think.

The other one isn't actually a house--it's more like a small neighborhood basketball court that's been converted into a mini Greenhills night market--the Christmas display plus another tiangge and more food stalls. The Christmas display is right at the back of the court, stationed above the stalls for everyone to see. It is a myriad of different cartoon characters, such as Garfield, Spongebob, Dora the Explorer, Barney and Friends, etc. amidst a faux-snow tableau. Filipino tradiaional Christmas songs blared from the speakers. There's also a ten peso entrance fee to those who want to see the display up close but I don't see its purpose as everyone can see it from outside anyway.

It is there we bought some gulaman and buko juice to go along with our roasted corn (by this time my lips were raw from the saltiness--I shouldn't have let the woman put salt in mine), and after that we also got some inihaw na pusit drenched in spicy vinegar and an envious stare from my bro since he's allergic to squid.

There were only two other houses that are well-lighted. Both of them have lights stringed from the top to bottom; one has a muted shade while the other is resplendent in bright lights.

The house that's outlined with green, red, yellow and blue Christmas lights looks like a very modern structure. I'm not exactly sure if it's a some kind of an office building or a real house as it's dark inside. Maybe that's what made the lights seem muted.

The brightest house on the street got the most attention that night; just outside its gates were vans from the GMA network emblazoned with its current telefantasyas Captain Barbell and Atlantika. At first we thought there was a shooting of one of the telenovelas but it seemed like it's a location for a talk show or something. The house isn't the only thing that's lighted; even the antenna and water tank have Christmas lights from top to bottom. How cool is that? I can only guess how much they're billed by Meralco for December. ;-)

That is the last house on the street that's decorated. Loucelle said that the street isn't what it used to be; there were only a few houses that are decorated this year compared to the previous ones. I'm just glad I came before the owners of the houses decide not to do it anymore.

As for our food trip, well, it ain't over yet. At the other end of the street, there's a booth that's selling bibingka and puto bumbong; we bought a bibingka which we all shared, and while walking back, we bought a doughnut and 3 plastic cups of iced tea, one for each of us. By this time I was feeling a bit too full--but that didn't stop me from eating 4 more pieces of kwek-kwek and about 6 pieces of chicken nuggets. We were already begging each other to please finish the last few pieces of the chicken nuggets until I just decided to finish them before my bro threw them in the trash.

When we first arrived, we saw a food cart selling puto but we didn't buy as there might be more along the street. I don't recall seeing one but when we were walking back to the car, Celle decided to buy--one for each of us---again!

Hmm... maybe the next time I'm going on a street food food trip, I'll make sure that everyone shares just one of each. Not only it's more economical, but it will leave room in our stomachs for more. =)

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Hotdog 2

Ooh, yeah. My bro and I just had our second hotdog-catering-to-the-call-center-peeps this morning. THIS. MORNING. EARLIER than the CRACK of DAWN. Just a little after midnight. So early, but by the time I finished, it was time for me to prepare for work (4AM).

In the first Hotdog entry, I've mentioned that a person should have a lot of energy when preparing food. Well, this morning I thought that I would collapse from lack of sleep. My mind wasn't even working well enough to count the cooked hotdogs on sticks in the foil tray, let alone stick those bbq sticks in the hotdogs properly. And so my mum comes back down to the rescue (she just came in from an oldies party... mum, what would I do withoutchu? ü) In a short while, however, my foggy mind cleared a bit for me to stick in those sticks more properly but forget about the counting. Of course, the cooking was in my brother's hands and he thought of a sorta-brilliant way of cooking hotdogs in bulk--dry heat--in the oven. Cuts the cooking time and use of cooking oil in half. Lesser mess, too.

One thing that kept me going is that I would get something from this at last, and I don't mean one hotdog or two. *wink* *wink* Another thing is that in every kilo of those TJ Hotdogs, you'll get free tinier-than-cocktail-hotdogs in a Christmas ball shape, especially made for the Christmas season. Yum, yum! Since they're not included in the menu, I get all of them to myself. Just kidding. =) Hopefully next time, though, we could graduate from hotdogs on sticks to hotdog sandwiches to tuna sandwiches and pasta and cookies and...

Tune in for the next catering escapade.