Category Archives: Essays

A Writing Nook

For a long time, I dreamed of having a writing nook. Not a room of my own, which I would never have been able to afford anyway, but a nook of my own, a space big enough for a table … Continue reading

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A True Ghost Story

My favorite real-life ghost story is the one recounted by veteran activist Cesar Hernandez Lacara (1910-2000) in his memoir Sa Tungki ng Ilong ng Kaaway: Talambuhay ni Tatang [On the Tip of the Enemy’s Nose: Auto/Biography of Tatang] (Metro Manila: … Continue reading

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On Cooking an Egg (Properly)

A few years ago, I bought a cookbook called Kulinarya: A Guide to Philippine Cuisine (ed., Michaela Fenix, Anvil, 2008). Gorgeously photographed by Neil Oshima, Kulinarya is a distillation of the wisdom and know-how of six of the country’s top … Continue reading

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End-of-Summer Blues

Among the bounty of summer produce—zucchini, eggplant, tomato, corn, all kinds of berries, peaches, cherries—I’m tempted to say that I love zucchini the most. There are so many ways to cook it: diced and lightly fried with minced garlic in … Continue reading

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Spammed

Last week, I cooked Spam. I opened the can, slid the rectangular cube of pink meat out, sliced it into thin slabs, and fried them lightly. I served the slices with white rice and some leftover braised lentils. The last … Continue reading

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56 Years a Slave

The posthumous publication of Pulitzer Prize-winning Filipino-American journalist Alex Tizon’s “My Family’s Slave” has provoked much discussion and some controversy. Many readers were moved by the plight of Lola Eudocia Tomas Pulido, who was eighteen years old in 1943 when the … Continue reading

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The Literary Kontrabida

Although the rich, the powerful, and the pretentious are stock villains in Philippine literature, one would be hard pressed to count the truly memorable kontrabida on the fingers of one hand. The reactionary Padre Damaso, in Jose Rizal’s Noli me … Continue reading

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A Pasta Obsession

Cacio e pepe, literally cheese and pepper, is a dish so simple that it’s hard to get right. Recipes for this dish abound, many of them with as few as three ingredients: pasta, grated pecorino Romano, ground black pepper. Some … Continue reading

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