March 20, Bocaue, Bulacan
The Myna Bird
The night after the party, I decided to accept the invitation of a friend's family to spend the night at their big house in Bocaue. My two other sisters and I were driven to their house which was not too far from the convent. Actually it was just within walking distance, but we were tired and sleepy and looking forward to a good night's sleep in an air-conditioned room.
The biological daily alarm clock embedded in my brain makes me wake up at six o'clock in the morning no matter what time I go to bed the night before. The next day, while everybody was still asleep, I tiptoed down the veranda on the way to the kitchen which was on the other side of the big house. Then I heard this whistling sound, the sound of a guy admiring a sexy woman walking by. You know how it sounds, right? Intrigued, I searched around the corner until I found this myna bird in a cage at the hallway. To my surprise, this bird started to talk. To me, I guess, because we were the only ones in there.
"Pangit," the bird said.
Startled, I shot back, "Pangit ka rin!"
"Gago," the bird retorted.
"Gago ka rin," I said.
The bird kept quiet for a minute. When I turned around, she asked, "Kumain ka na?"
I didn't answer, but started to walk to the kitchen. The bird asked again: "Kumain ka na? Kumain ka na?"
Unbeknownst to me, we were being watched by the katulong at the kitchen. He was laughing like crazy when I saw him. Over a cup of coffee, he told me that the bird could also swear and say some other bad words, but denied training her those exact words.
After another cup, I decided to walk back to the convent, which was near the main thoroughfare. This morning, the streets were already buzzing with pedicabs, jeepneys and motorcycles. I walked around the plaza in search of the best pan de sal in town. I found what I was looking for, a big pan de sal roll with a crusty outside, but soft bread inside, two for five pesos. This was the closest bread I could find that was similar to the ones I used to eat from Hagonoy, Bulacan where my father grew up. For some reason, a few years back, I had a craving for it. And it went on for years and years. And I promised my self I would search and taste this pan de sal again during this trip. (Another search was for the best siopao, but that is a different story.)
I didn't have any cash with me--pesos anyway--and the tindera would not accept cents or dollars. I told her who I was, and if it was possible, to charge it to the convent, but she just looked at me as if I was from another planet. So I had to go to the convent and look for relatives I could borrow money from. After I got my cash, I went back and bought a couple pan de sal. I didn't have to eat much, just to taste it again and confirm this was the same pan de sal I was dreaming of.
Heaven is different for different people. When I got back to the convent, I thought I was in heaven. Prepared and waiting for me on the breakfast table were packages of white carabao milk/cheese (kesong puti) and freshly brewed coffee from Batangas (kapeng barako). I quickly polished off both, with the help of the pan de sal, and headed back to the big house where I suspected our hosts were also preparing breakfast for us. And of course, I told the people at the convent NOT to tell the others that I already had breakfast there. Why? When you find heaven, wouldn't it be better if you find two of them? Sira ba ang ulo nila!
This was Tuesday morning. And on Wednesday, we would board a Cebu Pacific Airlines flight headed for Boracay.
More to come.