From the childhood memories-filled Lasang Pinoy 10 hosted by Chef Sam de Leoz at Buhay Cocinero, JMom â€œsegues into more memoriesâ€ as she hosts Lasang Pinoy 11th Edition themed Summertime Coolers and Summer Memories in her kitchen in North Carolina, United States.
Growing up in the province, summertime would be a season [ after Christmas and New Year ] to look forward to even with its hot and humid inconveniences. For one, summer meant freedom from school homeworks and outdoor school activities like gardening which I never really liked at all; and two, it meant long out-of-town trips to visit relatives in other far-flung provinces, as well as the city of Manila.
Today, I could not help but smile whenever I remember those days â€“ when people in the provinces would converge to Manila for summer shopping vacations and those in Manila on the other hand would troop to the provinces for a breather. Tee hee! Well, nothing much has changed though, what with the faster and more modern transportation system that has become available around the country.
Traveling during summertime provided Pinoy families a breather from a lot of things, a chance to see and experience other places, and most importantly — savour food and other delicacies while renewing and strengthening bonds with family members and relatives seen only on certain or special occasions. These summer memories then become some of the most memorable . . .
When this yearâ€™s first May showers started to fall, I was on a walking â€œrefamiliarizationâ€ [ allow me to invent and use this word for this entry! LOL! ] tour of Carriedo, Avenida, Ongpin and Escolta streets in downtown Manila. And as raindrops touched my now-balding head [ LOLOL! ], I couldnâ€™t stop but reminisce those old hot summer months [ grade school years ] when my father used to take me on a walking tour of these areas and shop for stuff we would need when school reopened. These shopping trips were actually made more interesting by the usual merienda [ snack ] stops at Chinese restaurants along Ongpin.
My favourite merienda then would be a huge platter of pancit canton [ fried Canton-style noodles ], a serving or two of siopao asado [ pork pao asado ] and a refreshing cool glass of black gulaman [ almond jelly ] drink.
With the arrival of shopping malls in the country, malling has suddenly become a culture and a national pastime for Pinoys. Malling during hot summer days seems to be the most natural thing for the restless to do — to escape the heat! And as they savour the cool atmosphere inside the malls, food tripping comes naturally.
The mall culture saw the construction of bigger food courts within these superstructures as well as the opening of specialty restaurants and other foodie establishments which capitalized on, reinvented and ‘stylized’ old-time Pinoy samalamig [ cold beverages ] favourites like gulaman at sago, ice scramble, mambo juice, halo-halo and more, most of which were sold only on the streets.
Samalamig stand and vendor in Divisoria. [ Photo courtesy of Dylan Yap Gozum / guts.grit.gumption ]
My first real [ and longest! ] Philippine summer after fourteen years saw me trekking down to the nearby malls and specialty restaurants — rediscovering and indulging on these favourite coolers [ and meriendas! ] of all time I have not had for ages since leaving home.
I must have tried almost every samalamig [ both stylized and close to original ] cooler promotions all those outlets had during the summer, but nothing beats the real stuff one can get off the streets. [ The thing is you never know where the water came from! LOL! ]
My most memorable summer cooler treat from childhood though would be the lowly sorbetes or dirty ice cream, a street food that we were allowed to have on occasion.
When not traveling, hot and lazy summer afternoons would be spent on the verandah of our house in the province. As soon as the sorbeteroâ€™s [ ice cream vendor ] jingling bell is heard from the distance, everyone would scamper back into the house to collect their preferred ice cream serving vessels like glasses and bowls, depending on the number of scoops one intended to have.
As others prefer having their ice cream in apas [ cones ], I love mine sandwiched in soft pan de monay [ local bun ] like a burger and consume it with gusto!
For this event, I couldn’t find any dirty ice cream vendor around Legaspi Village and ‘D Orfanage’ [ LOL! ] so I had to improvise and recreate my favourite with Selecta’s Ube-Macapuno Ice Cream and pandesal from Eurobake.
Yum! A classic Pinoy summer cooler!
And as I finalize the draft of this post, I look out of the window to see the rain start falling again . . . a sign that summer in the Philippines is waning . . . a prelude to yet another memory-filled season that I always look forward to — the rainy days!