Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Sampalok and Other Things

Today I am munching on Sampalok candy. It's cheap and reminds me of my childhood, deprived as it was, and the days when there would be a Manang who carried around a nice big cast iron pot filled with sticky Sampalok in my old street, Lustre. The Sampalok that she peddled was not rolled in sugar, but rather sweetened by molasses and served, in one peso dollops, on banana leaf squares. It was a fun and cheap snack, something that I cannot anymore find in Lustre, much more here in the teeming sidewalks of Ayala Avenue.

I have always thought that I was born too late. I have always found myself imagining how nice it would be to live in the old days. No, I don't mean the days of my own childhood, but the old, old days of the Spanish era (is that right?) here in the Philippines. How lovely the classic, rich architecture, the bittersweet and decadent life that came before telephones and television. And Spam.

In one of the BPI branches here near my office, there is this old faded photo of the Cervantes district, the old business capital and sometimes, especially if the lines are long, I would look at the picture and imagine that I was one of the people there, scurrying around in my billowing skirt and kerchief carrying a basket of vegetables to take to the market. Or maybe I would just be taking a stroll, with a Manton and a lace fan. Or maybe I would be that girl by the window, awaiting for the postman who will be giving my the reply letter I have been waiting for months to recieve.

I like letters. The idea of having to actually write something in your own hand, send it and lingeringly wait for a reply is just so romantic. Too bad I never got to it, as it was almost completely eradicated by the internet.

I was born too darn late.

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