Good morning from the Philippines (circa 2009)

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This morning I sifted through hundreds of photographs I took on my very first trip to the Philippines. It was gnawing to remember a place that was host to such beauty and culture; to realize that I’m so far away.

I hate to use the analogy of the “motherland” but I really feel when you go to the country of your origin, there’s an unexplainable pull to want to understand, to realize that this huge mass of land is your serenity…

Something I wrote in my journal at the time: Finally, a place where everybody eats the same things I eat. It wasn’t weird to eat corned beef or to want to eat bangus for breakfast. All of my cravings were completely justified and normal. Being in such a familiar, acceptable and loved food forum was calming and made me feel so free. I didn’t have to explain what I was eating or convince someone why my noodles cooked in fish paste was good. It just was. There’s something so reassuring to be hungry and say, without reservation, “I feel like eating adobo pusit!” and no one blinks an eye.

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I have to say that there is some heartache that goes into writing this blog. At the forefront, it seem like such a steep climb to get other people on board to love our food. It’s hearty, it is exotic, yes, it can be greasy…but I can’t understand why food that sings in my veins is seen as “unappealing” to others.

More than anything I want you to understand the amalgamation of Filipino food. The fusion, the mix, the halo that has made our cuisine so distinctive. Our foods are resplendent with chicken, seafood, and tropical fruit — all things that are indigenous to our islands. However, we have also absorbed the foods of China, India, Spain and Mexico. In my mind, there is so much innovation and history to explore and I want to get to know everything — I seek to understand..

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