Sunrise in Manila

Three years ago, I was able to take my first trip back “home.”

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Because of the time difference, I have a vivid memory of waking up around 4am and hungry. We walked through the downtown area to get some silog, (any combination of meat, garlic fried rice, two fried eggs, tomatoes) which is a shortened verbiage for sinangag (Fried rice) and itlog (egg). (SI+LOG)

The downtown area was still pulsing with music and young adults roamed in the dark amid the darting club lights. We are crazy for walking around at this time, I thought, before we rounded the corner and ended up in a warm, cozy restaurant with a tree growing through the middle.

The interior was dark, but lit up by candles in some areas which made me feel like we were eating by the fireplace. I ordered the longanisa silog which is silog with longanisa sausage — a sweet, pleasant sausage with an outside that has been charred to a nice crunch. It is quite similar to the Mexican chorizo in that it is also a sausage that has been flavored with indigenous spices. It is the most heavenly sausage I have ever eaten. The crunchy, soft texture of the sausage married perfectly with the delicateness of the fried egg. (actually, anything is elevated with a fried egg, in my opinion) I made sure to keep the same ratio of sausage to egg as each relied on the other to harmonize on the tongue.

I forgot about the garlic fried rice; it did, indeed get better.

As a breakfast dessert we ordered the cacao drink, the Philippine hot chocolate. It was rich, nutty, thick, and everything I’ve ever dreamed hot chocolate to be, that it never was. The cacao plant was introduced by the Spaniards in the 17th century. (Read more about the Philippines use of cacao here.) I remember relishing every luscious sip. I think of that drink at times, when I have a watered down hot chocolate and think about how things could be! (and are!)

When we finished, we ventured outside and the sun was out. We walked the short way home and fell asleep until 10. It was my first experience of breakfast in the Philippines and I have to say, I did drink cacao every chance I got that trip.

I have to get ready for work now, but now I have garlic fried rice, egg and spam on the brain. Spam is another story…but come to think of it I have all of the ingredients in my possession and a lazy, 2 hours before work starts. Have a wonderful Tuesday, everyone.

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