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Eating Crickets and Fried Frog at Balaw Balaw in Angono

August 19, 2012

Famed Minaluto – vegetables, fish, shrimps, meat with rice

From the top: fried crickets, fried frog and “itik” [duckling]

If there is one thing I won’t forget from my experience in my visit [with a purpose] last August 14 to Angono, Rizal, it was eating crickets, fried frog and itik at Balaw Balaw Restaurant. I’ve known Rem Vocalan for more than a decade now—he has worked with me in my first feature-length docu, Tiga-Isla/The Islanders of Corregidor—but it was my first time to enter his place. As Sara Siri, Italian curator of the ongoing Bayanihan Project-Angono [BayanihanAngono] said, if I am not a vegetarian, it would not make a difference from eating non-veg food. Just the same,  it took me looooong minutes before I finally got enough courage to finally taste the exotic food. To be more courageous however, I didn’t put my eyeglasses on! Haha! Anyway, Sara was right! All of them tasted delicious!! The cricket [ate only one!!] was crispy and yes! with shrimp-like crunchiness; the fried frog like McDo fried chicken; the itik [duckling] nears the chicken taste but having eaten ducks in the past, I know its distinctive taste which is different from any chicken dish. We also had the famed Minaluto, a concoction of rice, seafood, vegetables and meat served on banana leaves and placed in a round, large, bamboo, siopao-like steamer that served as its “bowl.” I quite enjoyed dinner, what with that challenging task of eating exotic cuisines for the first time. Besides, who wouldn’t enjoy the night, if you were with a good company consisting of some of the energetic Bayanihan project initiators – Alex Villaluz, Sara Luisa Siri, Nino Quartana, Tina, Regine and  of course, Rem who invited me to show A mi Patria na syempre hindi mahindian kasi cameraman sya ng film.

Dinnertime at Balaw-Balaw! [L-R Top Photo]: Nino Quartana, Regine, Tina Villaluz, Sara Siri, Alex Villaluz, Rem Vocalan.

Another memorable time was meeting old time friends Angono artists / muralists Nemesio Miranda, Jr. and Salvador Juban whom I haven’t seen for years.

With Nemiranda Jr.; [inset] with Salvador Juban

At Neme’s Restaurant

Neme wasn’t feeling well and just texted me to have dinner at his place. The problem was I read his message AFTER enjoying the dinner at Balaw Balaw. Next time na lang!! Juban was most loquacious like I have never known him to be. I remember him to be a quiet fellow. He found the time to join us and stayed on to watch A mi… at the University of Rizal System – Angono. That’s the reason why I went to Angono in the first place – to show A MI PATRIA. The screening [its first outside Manila] was held on the second floor of the school building. Alex, Sara and Nino joined after the latter’s inspirational talk with some students. A short Q and A followed after the screening. Ironically, the majority of the students who watched the film were from Binangonan!!  There was lack of coordination somewhere that we funnily toyed on the idea of screening instead at the evacuation center!!! The problem was finally solved; it was happy ending afterall! According to some of the students in the audience, they have closed their eyes while watching the spoken language version of A mi… by putting themselves in the shoes of the Blind they have learned and realized their difficulty. They are thankful that they are neither Blind nor Deaf. All the spoken language version of A mi are subtitled and with Filipino Sign Language interpretations. Readers are all faculty staff from the UP College of Arts and Letters.

It was drizzling when we got out of the school. On the way to the parking lot in front of the City Hall, we chanced upon a group of musicians preparing for a practice. I was impressed because of the youth’s strong presence, participation and interest in a hometown band called the Angono Wind Band.

Art is so much alive in Angono! It can be seen and felt all over! I think if I come to visit Angono more often, my interest in painting will return! Hahay!! Seems impossible to go there often but going back to painting activity remains feasible! Perhaps, when my passion for making advocacy films die, my interest in painting will be reborn.

Next week on August 24 is the scheduled showing of A mi Patria. It will be held in UP Los Baños, Laguna. Part of WISIK event, it will be screened at 7 pm. at D, L. Umali Auditorium. [Click to read on Wika, Sining at Kalusugan program, WISIK.

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