10 November 2009

"Interior Motives"

My brother asked me one afternoon, "Did you see Mrs. S's house?  It's quite charming.  You should take a stroll over there and see it.  I'm sure Mrs. S won't mind."

Mrs. S works in the office of my brother's Center on weekends. She's polite, unimposing, charming when she needs to be but always knows her place.  She is aware that I want to live a hermit's life while in the farm so she keeps to a warm smile when she bumps into me.   Her son is a promising teenage violinist who stands out at the Center.

One lazy afternoon, I did take that walk with Manang L's pink parasol on top of our heads to protect us from the harsh sunlight.  The lush greens as you walk down her driveway with the sky filled with bulbous clouds peeking in are conversational pieces that even the best greens cannot buy. I was oh so mesmerized by the simplicity and tastefulness of her home.   

The entrance is warm and inviting.  Green and yellow colored glass windows with squares of white, laid out a la a Mondrian painting, are a visual delight, that accentuate without screaming at you, the greenery that surrounds the home.   The statement is clear the minute you walk in.  "Simplicity is beauty."  Large planks of wood flooring, big windows and spare details allow you to soak up the ambience of the setting and reminds you that there is something to be said about being quiet and tasteful in your choice of appointments.

The living room is dotted with a few ancient jars and an antique wooden sala set with a baul, reminiscent of the olden days.  It takes you back to the days of our grandmothers when life was simple and uncomplicated by computers, television and cable t.v.  During their time, conversation was essential and took up the most part of the evening.

Her kitchen is in a darling tone of red.  She infiltrates the browns of the cabinet doors with red tiles as her counter and backsplash.  She keeps it spare and neat with only a few essentials on display.  There is a window that attracts the light to come in that keeps her company as she bustles along making meals for her husband and brood of three teenage boys.  

Their dining area is equally spare with six batibot metals chairs gathered around a heavy wooden dining table (formerly a door). Oversized capiz windows draw in and filter the light. Conversation must be easy and breezy and perhaps, revolve around their daily activities of tending the farm, high school life and violin lessons.   

Here in the heart of a little fishing village in  Zambales, where the mountains and the sea are breathtaking, lies a home that thrives in simplicity and astounds in its quiet beauty.  One walks out of their home with the exhilirating feeling that a life devoid of clutter can be quite liberating.   

(photographs by Mrs. Bee)

04 November 2009

You've just got to love a man who can do wonders in the kitchen!

"E." is at it again.  Another winning recipe from the "Authentic Recipes from the Philippines".   

This is Afritadang Manok or Chicken simmered in Tomatoes and PImientos.  The taste is not so overpowering, especially if you're used to using tomato sauce, because it comes from fresh tomatoes.    The freshness of the tomatoes will grow on you and you'lll find yourself wanting more and more.  

"E." is orderly in the kitchen.  He slices the tomatoes and onions and presses the garlic.

Wash the chicken pieces well and dry with paper towels.  Brown the chicken pieces in 2 T of olive oil and then set aside.


Add the garlic and still fry until golden brown.   Then add in the onions and fry until translucent. 


Return the chicken to the pot and add the tomatoes, bay leaf, salt and pepper to taste, and 1.5 cups of water.  Simmer over low heat for 20 minutes.

In a separate pan (my suggestion), fry the potatoes in butter right until before the butter burns then set aside. After concoction has simmered its full 20 minutes, add the buttered potatoes  and simmer for another 15 minutes.  Add the pimientos (in this case, red bell peppers) and simmer for another 5 minutes.

Et voila!  Perfection in a single bite guaranteed!  Bon appetite!

02 November 2009

The "inner collager" in "E."

I saw this lying around on "E's." drawing table and decided to flip through it.


"Flikristas" are a merry mix of professional and amateur photographers of the Philippines who have sites on Flickr.com.  I had no idea how strong a web bond they had, as they were just faceless creatures throwing back and forth comments on their photostreams, until they would show up on our doorstep every now and then in the farm or attend "E.'s" or my show. 




"E.'s" entry is a couple of pages long and expounds on his artist statement.  He explained this is a travelogue about Zambales documented in moleskine by different "flickristas".  They passed this notebook amongst each other with a two week time frame for each.  It took "E." a month to fill it up because he was busy painting the works for the Chianciano Biennale. 
This little discovery gave me ammunition to tease "E.". Sometimes we need to unleash the "inner collager"  in us and the world would be a much better place.

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