To guess the surprises that each day brings is something that I seldom think about. When I woke up this morning, I thought that it would just be another ordinary day. Little did I know that something bitter and sweet would dominate the starting day of my week.

On my way home from work, I planned to prepare a special dish for myself. Pinakbet is a native, Ilocano dish that I love. Ingredients include different local vegetables, cooked in fish sauce. Not all people would like it. Even A loathes the fishy smell of it. But I love this dish so much. It is a specialty that the old folks in my Dad’s barrio (where he grew up) would cook for us when we come and visit.

While cooking my little treat for the day, I received an overseas call from home. My Dad’s aunt passed away. She was 94.

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My Dad’s mom died at the age of 48 because of breast cancer. I was five then. So I have but a few special memories of my Lola Maria. I grew up looking up to her three surviving sisters, Macaria, Aurora and Concepcion, as grandmothers. Lola Macaria is a petite lady, very quiet and meek. She lived a very simple life. When I heard that she passed away, there is something in me that hurt even we were not that close. Maybe, because my very young heart considered her as a real grandmother. Maybe, I saw a piece of my Lola Maria in her. It is hard to explain, only me who can really understand why.

Then, I ate the Pinakbet that I cooked with nice memories of my Dad’s little barrio and his aunt.

* Lola — is a Filipino word meaning grandmother.


7 thoughts on “Bitter-sweet

  1. pao

    oh, sorry to have read about your aunt’s demise.

    re: pinakbet, my hubby’s a pure blooded ilokano & loves the dish. he even taught me the ilokano way of cooking it. surprisingly, even with the bagoong, it didn’t smell that bad. :)–>


  2. cruise

    sorry to hear about your lola, my condolences.

    marunong din akong mag pinakbet kapampangan style yung ginigisa, oks din yung isang style na parang diningding yung pinapakuluan lang sa bagoong isda.


  3. evi

    my husband’s mom is ilocana and his dad is from pangasinan. so, pinakbet is a treat for them. my husband who grew up in manila all his life never liked it and even the smell of it. i didn’t even dare learn how to cook pinakbet. hehe…

    we share the same grief. the sister of my husband’s grandmother passed away just last week at the age of 97. let us pray for their souls and that they may rest in peace.


  4. yen

    ooh im sorry about that. my condolences. pero buti lola mo nakaabot ng 94, bihira na ngyn yan, habang 2matagal ang lifespan ng isang tao 70 yrs na lang. my lola died at the age of 74. masaya na dn kami na umabot cia ng 74 at malalaki n ung mga apo.

    fave ko dn yang pinakbet, pero hndi ako kumakain ng talong kaya yun ang inaalis ko sa pinakbet hehe.


  5. ewok

    I am sorry to hear about the passing of your lola. My sympathies.

    Pinakbet is one of my faves too. I just had it last week. You know out here you can even get alukon leaves frozen solid in Asian markets. My sweetie is not Pinoy, but he loves pinakbet and saluyot.



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