Monday, March 28, 2016


It was actually a not so usual week, more than business as usual, and a big let down of a pansit canton, that thing served by the Hive Hotel masquerading as food, as it was in fact a pile of tasteless strands of glistening and coagulating yellow matter marinated by airconditioned air, its sublime insipidness magnificently breaking through the barrier separating human food from zombie non-food. 

And I was an ass for trying even a nibble, for holding on to that tiny strand of belief that culinary miracles do happen, reprimanded that judging-a-book-by-its-cover is gastronomically true, but atoned by the words in a plastic laminated menu which spelled FRIED CHICKEN, CHOP SUEY, CRISPY PATA, KARE-KARE, BANGUS TOFU STEAK, and a dessert sampler that ignited the sign of the cross in our foreheads, it being Ash Wednesday at Max's Restaurant and Bulan's first home coming after two months of academic exile.

The next day, Thursday turned out to be anything but Maundy as sacrilegious crispy pata was served for the Jewish Feast of the Paschal Lamb, topped by a boodle fight lunch of chicken-pork adobo, fried salmon belly strips and squid rings, and boiled vegetables, no semblance at all to the stewed lentils, roasted lamb, the fruits and bitter herbs, and the unleavened bread and wine of the Last Supper, although fish sauce on the side is strikingly familiar even for non-Catholics.      

There was of course Manera de las Bicicletas, the Way of the Cross for irreverent mountain bikers, through roads less traveled west of the highway on Maundy Thursday, the rugged trails on the east side on Good Friday, northward via rough pathways on Black Saturday, running into a procession in Villanati, catching whiffs of the pasyon in Balante, in tandem with Bulan, the flagellants of the 373 Bikers, and Balong who wanted to give up on the 27th kilometer, hoping to miraculously dissipate the crucifying stones that burn my insides after every episodic gluttony.

Then Sunday, the first day of the week for the Jews and the last day for most Christians, the conclusion of Semana Santa that resurrected the crucified Jesus on an Easter, when we woke up at 4 am to beat the post-holiday traffic to Manila, breaking the fast on a Junior Whooper at a Burger King pit stop, the Miracle of EDSA, traffic-less and fast, Bulan walking into the departure hall of Terminal 2, poignant and almost heart-wrenching, Japanese for lunch, filling but disappointing, taking a selfie with Superman at SM North, walking lost like Judas along the aisles of Trinoma, watching kids hunt for green plastic Easter eggs at Centris, before a slow walk to an empty 4th floor rented room.

But it was more than Semana Habitual, unusual from the usual, so I finally bought an aircon unit to help me endure the lonely and humid Panay Nights...    

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