Manila Joins Keso De Gallo with Cheese, Vegetables, and Tangy Tamarind Sauce

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

To most of the people in the world, Christmas isn't a big production number unlike here in the Philippines. But to us, it's more than a month-long celebration. As early as September, people are putting up Christmas decorations. I was at the mall last weekend and they were already playing Christmas songs and in fact, had a humongous Christmas tree already displayed. Some Filipinos abroad use their vacation leaves to spend Christmas here in the Philippines. Weddings are big on December because that's when relatives abroad go home to visit and that's also one way of maximizing time, to celebrate a milestone with the people you love.

In every city here in the Philippines, Christmas is celebrated differently, which gives it its own unique character. Manila, for example, is one city which breathes history in itself. Back in the olden days, this was the center of hustle, bustle, and commerce. The walled city of Intramuros is home to the old churches - the Manila Cathedral and San Agustin Church, which preserves pre-colonial Architecture of the old Manila we know. Intramuros was also a fortress, and former home to the oldest university, the University of Sto. Tomas.

The San Agustin Church.
Old World Architecture that you can't get anywhere.

I went to school in the heart of Manila, and even though the center of trade and commerce has been moved elsewhere, Manila still retains its old-world charm.

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My campus in UP Manila still has the robust old-world architecture, preserved with the big, heavy doors and pillars.

Perhaps today the busiest part of Manila is the shopping center, Divisoria, where as early as September, people go there for early Christmas shopping and bargain hunts. It's a place where anything and everything could be found at super low prices, and even lower when bought wholesale. Last but not the least, the natural artwork of the Manila Bay Sunset is one that's definitely to be seen.

Definitely Manila is a place where I spent a good deal of my life in. I've had a great number of field trips there. I've attended weddings in Manila Cathedral and Manila Hotel. I was also witness to the Manila Bay Sunset whenever I go home from class. Manila was also the place where I had my first taste of street food, and ended up loving them. At first I was apprehensive to try them, being sheltered and all but after learning how to commute plus familiarizing myself with street food, I begin loving it as well. Grab and go fishballs and cheese sticks was probably enough to get the hunger pangs away before my class.

Street food seemed to be the inspiration I guess, for Manila's entry to Keso De Gallo, a celebration where 100 towns come up with 100 unique dishes and these dishes would be showcased for 100 days to underscore this celebration of Christmas here in the Philippines. For the City of Manila, their entry is Cheese and Garlic Rolls in Tamarind Sauce

Simple and frills-free, this dish reminds me of the cheese sticks that I used to buy in our canteen. The cheese mixes with vegetables like cabbage and carrots, so it's more like lumpia than your average cheese stick. It's quite interesting though that they use tamarind sauce, which balances quite well with the richness of the cheese. If you look at the recipe here, it's quite easy to make, and I do plan to make a batch myself, subjecting myself to cooking boot camp. :P

Love this town? Are you a true-blue Manilenyo? Or did you try out this dish yourself and ended up loving it? Then go here. Oh, and before going to buy your ingredients, remember to save that box of Kraft Eden Cheese. :)

I Heart Goya Chocolate Bars

Monday, October 4, 2010

My name is Bambi and I'm a sweet tooth. I need my chocolate fix because I'm having the case of the blues, so I pick this up in the grocery:

Why I like it:

1. It's dirt cheap, It's about Php 16.00 for a bar.
2. It's not too sweet.
3. The raisins' flavor mix well with the sweet chocolate, and they don't annoyingly stick to the upper palate.
4. It's locally available, and it's a local product. Hence, supporting too our livelihood. Yeaaah baybeeeehh!

It doesn't melt as fast as other chocolates but since it's thin, it's quite soft, so I keep tissue on hand. Plus, chocolate makes me happy.