Whoa! I can’t believe this!
I remember clearly how he uttered this line countless times as his eyes widened in either disbelief, surprise, or amusement. This would then be followed by a squeeze on my hand and a smile (something which I miss so much).
More than just the culture shock, C and I had a great time experiencing the many firsts for him in the Philippines. More often though, it is not the major things that make us burst in laughter. Rather, it was the random small, overlooked things in this part of the world that spark our conversations.
A major means of transportation in the Philippines, we take pride in having the best designed jeepneys in the country. Chris couldn’t help but smile how a locally assembled car could have the hood and the engine compartment looking like that of foreign cars. Yep, including the logo. 🙂 We ended up touring the city by communing on these colorful, lowered jeepneys. For him, it was fun to see how the parts of this car, particularly by the driver’s seat. Added to this is the fact that most of them are small and one should try to shrink one’s self when it is full of passengers.
The hanging electric wires that tangle
The tangled electric wires are an everyday sight, right? Well, perhaps in this part of the world, yes. C was so amused to see how these wires would hang by the old wooden posts along any streets we walked on. He took a photo of this while we were commuting for the purpose of shocking a good friend who happens to be an electrician. It was even funnier for him how people would just ignore the risk as the wires swing as the wind blows. When I told him about the exploding transformers at times, he was left silent for a while before bursting in laughter while saying, “More fun in the Philippines!”
Old, unrestored structures
From afar these structures are perfect backdrops, but as one gets closer, the misfortunes they face are apparent. This hit C personally. Being an experienced restorator in Amsterdam, he couldn’t help but feel sad about how these places are left unnoticed, much less, neglected. While church-hopping as part of our sightseeing, he would examine closely how much work is needed to keep the centuries old buildings like this belfry of Jaro Cathedral, and the church and old convent of San Jose Parish, intact for the next generations to see. As we left every place, he would shake his head in disbelief. Guess someone’s interested in doing volunteer jobs for the churches at the end of the day, too.
The church ceremony
There was a baptismal rite when we arrived in Jaro Cathedral, and of course, C was quite curious how this are done here. There was not much comment on his part except for some observations like, the number of people who are present in such an occasion. He said that in Europe, for as much as his experience, there will only be a few in attendance for this event and that only family members and close friends will be the persons expected to be invited. Anyhow, we both agreed to raise our kids as Catholics until they are old enough to choose whichever they like. That Sunday, we attended the mass and he was pleased to see how many people were there. The rites were quite different than that in Europe, though, he said.
The spoon-fork partnership
On the first dinner we had straight from the airport, C couldn’t believe almost everything is eaten with only the spoon and the fork handy (unless of course you ask for a knife).This is very common in most restaurants, much more in the homes. He was smiling from ear to ear while telling me I am an expert in using this combination.This is because I was able to eat shrimp from a sinigang with this combination alone! On my part, I can’t stop laughing how he would prefer to eat rice with a fork! 🙂
Soup in the morning
Another thing that amused him other than the spoon and fork is our fondness for soup in the morning. I know he loves bam-i (in fact, he can cook it too!) and I was thinking he would love the popular noodle soup called Lapaz Batchoy. He just kept looking at how quickly I devoured the contents of the bowl when we was not even halfway with his. Then came the question about the ingredients. Upon mentioning “liver”, his deep-seated eyes widened as he simultaneously say, that’s why it tasted strange… I don’t eat liver. 🙂 So, no more batchoy encounter for him again.
Cold beer and a glass of ice
Who wouldn’t associate beer with the Gemans? 🙂 Yeah… Octoberfest in mind, right? Being a Deutsch he is, of course, beer can’t be forgotten. When we ordered his first beer, he was quite excited as he had already heard about San Miguel Beer. He was eager to taste it himself. When the waiter returned with a beer, we was more curious why he was also given a glass full of ice. He whispered to me what is the glass for and couldn’t contain the laughter when I said that is where he is supposed to pour the beer for drinking. 🙂 It took some convincing for him to try it. So, for the first beer in the Philippines, I had to grab the beer and wipe the mouth of the bottle with a paper napkin. Yep, he was giving me a strange look for this too, until I showed him the particles on the paper napkin. 😉 Now, he could drink beer the Filipino way! 😉
“Your stay in the Philippines won’t be complete without trying balut.” Sounds familiar, right? Personally, I am not a fan of balut, so C and I had discussed about the not eating it countless times, which of course, as you have predicted, wasn’t materialized. Haha. C was left at home with the family as I had to attend a school reunion for the night. Everything else was good for him, until I arrived with a balut in hand. There was a vendor on the road as we drove home, so I thought, why not? He was scared to see how the steamed embryo looked like as he stared with disgust. Haha. Of course, men don’t exactly run away from challenges, right? He told me to try it too, so I took one and sip the liquid content and ate a portion of the yolk. The next thing I know, he was done too! Kudos! He said, it was not as bad as it looked like! Now, he scares his friends with this. 😀
Cooking in the dirty kitchen
Most of the time, C and I would eat in a restaurant or take out some food to eat with the family. However, he said, the serving sizes in the Philippines are too small, in fact, he finds it too “cute” for such a big guy as he is. Other than missing his typical breakfast, he also wanted to try cooking in a wok on a charcoal stove. He was surprised how unpredictable the amount of heat could be for his kind of cooking, but he proceeded anyway, cooking a big omelet with cheese. The result? It was not what he expected it to be but we ate everything, anyway.:) And yeah, a man in the kitchen is sexy. 🙂
There are some other things that shocked him, too. These include the lizard that walk freely on the walls, the big house spider that hangs by the corner, and of course, the toilet with the tabo (dipper). All these three had solicited outright expression of shock from his friends back home, too. 🙂 Nevertheless, it has been an exciting set of discoveries and experiences not only for mein Deutsch but also for us as a couple. 🙂
Have you let your guy immerse in the local Pinoy way of living? If so, how was the experience?