Back when I was in high school, I used to watch mom and dad assist my lola (grandmother) cook during fiesta in our place in Quezon City. They would prepare dishes and various menus all night long for tomorrows’ lunch. My lola usually had our town mates in our province as guests and sometimes some or one or two of my father’s office mates would visit us too My lola was not my grandmother by birth but she acted as sponsor during my parents’ wedding. We used to live in their place in a small dwelling at the compound. Back then I was in awe of her. the way she prepared all those dishes without looking into any cookbook but through experience, doing the preparation and cooking all those years. I also wanted to be a cook too, the word chef was unheard of then. I would watch them prepare elaborate Spanish and Filipino food. My father was a good cook too. He taught me how to prepare easy dishes for dinner when he would bring home something from the wet market after office work. It was a case of “do your own thing”while he watched and instructed what to do. I learned somehow through all those afternoons spent in front of the stove.
During summer break when my oldest brother and I were in grade school in the province, Mom would prepare us to join Dad in Quezon City to spend our summer there. We would bring cut wood to use for cooking. I do remember, our stove was a three-piece ensemble fueled by firewood. It was only when we were in high school when we used gas stove. We used to ride on a Pantranco bus to bring us to Manila. My brother and I would usually count log posts along the way. There were no skyways and expressways back then. I also remember that we had black and white TV, a small one where we used to watch news. My father and one of our neighbors would spend the rest of the night playing guitar and ukulele. Those were the times that I still remember vividly until now, the guitar-playing days of my dad. None of us his four kids got into any musical instrument except my oldest brother who learned to play a guitar when he was in high school. Although I used to buy music magazines out of my high school allowance with guitar chords to boot, I never learned how.
Remembering the days of old which bring that certain smile.