Sunday, January 31, 2010

TWCES Batch '79 Alumni Homecoming

The alumni of Tarlac West Central Elementary School (TWCES) Batch 1979 successfully held their first Grand Reunion with the theme “With gratitude we look back, together we move forward” on the 27th of December 2009 at the Farmhouse in San Isidro, Tarlac City. Although only a fraction of the whole batch of about 9 sections were able to attend, it can be considered as a significant accomplishment as finding and more so gathering, old classmates and friends, separated by 3 decades of varied individual pursuits, alienated by different trades, vocations and professions and scattered not just over the far regions of the Philippines but over distant foreign lands, is quite a feat to undertake.

As cherished and highly regarded by the current school principal and teachers being the first ever Alumni Homecoming successfully carried out by any past graduating class/batch of TWCES, we can say, with all modesty, that just being able to organize one was already an achievement. This should follow that its successful implementation which etched a permanent mark of happiness in everyones' heart was worthy of praise and congratulations. Mabuhay TWCES Batch ’79.

The credit rightfully goes to the hard-working, resourceful and enduring officers elected for the purpose of organizing the momentous event. Through the able leadership of our friend Major Ferdinand B. Lacadin and the untiring help and assistance of Rose De Gusman-Lim, Chona Tanedo-Borlongan, Geraldine Wage-Chua, Melody Reyes-Almazan, Rizza Tadejo, Socorro Martinez, Annalyn Mananguil, Brgy. Captain Orlando Castro, Renato Martinez, to name a few (sorry for those I missed), all constraint, misgivings, reservations, worries and apprehension were converted into a day full of blissfulness, excitement, appreciation, camaraderie and gratitude.

Combined with the exemplary support of course of some of the batch mates who are more than willing to share some of their blessings such as Myrelle Maniego, Leonardo Vega, Ma. Ever S. Miranda-Lacadin and Villamor T. Tuazon, other members who unselfishly devoted time to solicit financial assistance and sell raffle tickets in line with the fund raising program and some select friends and patrons who provided valued prizes, prayers and encouragement, the affair was a resounding success.

In spite of the 30 years added to their age, the female batch mates could still provide a sight to behold. Such descriptions as pretty & sexy, healthy & happy, cute & chubby and gorgeous & curvaceous are surprisingly still fitted to them. But categorizing who’s who is entirely up to you. :-)

The males are still equally charming and exciting :). While time must have added some lines and bulges, the colorful images that follows still provide appealing sceneries and are still strong in making impressions. :-)

It really feels good to chitchat with your classmates which you have not seen for a very long time and yet still remember the funny little things that happened 1 score and 10 years ago in that humble school called Tarlac West.

But of course after the registration, motorcade (sorry no photos) and moments of reminiscing the good old days when everyone were still innocent and naïve, there had to be a program. It is one of the important things taught to us in school - conducting a program. With Soc acting as the Master of Ceremony expect everything to go on smoothly. After Geralyn has led the singing of the National Anthem and the Invocation by Chona, we gave way to Ferdie for his warm Welcome Remarks.

One of the most anticipated portions of the affair was the drawing of raffle tickets. With so many prizes at stakes, it is not surprising to be waited for.

Some lucky batch mates went home with exciting prizes. Some decided to gave the prize they won to other batch mates who are rather in need and financially challenged. For that is one of the spirits of the reunion……… reach out……….to help………to make a difference.

Dancing is regular part of any affair like this homecoming and some batch mates were willing to prove that they still have the talent and energy to compete with the younger generation (a.k.a. their own kids).

There were parlor games as well. It is so wonderful to see that the class was back to playing with one another. But no ball passing, “patintero”, “piko”, “luksong tinik” and Chinese garter this time. :-)

There got to be some serious stuff of course. Madame Elizabeth Alarios delivered the Inspirational Message in behalf of the current Principal of TWCES, Madame Lerma Gabriel.

As the fun, dancing, games, singing, frolicking and other activities will surely drain out power from everyone, my friend Ferdie and the rest of officers assured that there were plenty of foods and drinks to indulge in.

As always, the crispy and sumptuous “lechon” (whole roast pork) donated by Myrelle is the centerpiece of the feast which includes delicious fried chicken, luscious sweet and sour fish, tasty beef steak, healthy chop suey and creamy spaghetti carbonara.

With such a lavish meal, everyone is with a smile as they lined up for their turn. And when in front of such wonderful buffet table, it’s but natural for Melody, Rizza and Leny to somehow throw the word diet out of the window. :-)

For the boys and some girls like Annalyn, my good friend Amor, generously sent some sparkling drinks that could transform anyone into better singer and dancer. Gorgeous isn’t it? :-)

As the day closes to its end and after Rose has delivered her Closing Remarks, the more we felt like we don’t want to part ways. Old friendship rekindled and the warmth was so comforting. But as separating was inevitable, the promise of seeing each other again was a relief and consolation.

As we are about to feel lonely, Josie who works in Italy, volunteered to host the next reunion in her farm in Tarlac City. She committed to allocating a pond full of freshwater fish for the class……….something that once again, stirred the thrill and excitement among members of Batch ’79.

Thank you very much Ferdie, Rose and the rest of officers and organizers. It’s a job well done.

See you all in the next reunion. I just hope it’s not after 30 years again. c “,)

Friday, January 29, 2010

Pritong Baboy (Fried Pork Marinated in Soy Sauce and Lemon)

“Pritong Baboy” which literally means fried pork is the easiest and probably the most common way of cooking pork when in a hurry. The dish, which ranges from the plain form of only seasoned with salt and pepper to a more elaborate type of marinating in soy sauce, lemon or vinegar, garlic, onion, other sauces and spices, has been a favorite of many Filipino families including ours. Childhood memories of the basic yet tasty fried pork abound within the lifetime of every Filipino. It can be considered among the simplest comfort food made of pork.

There were times when we are overwhelmed by the rich and ingredients-laden pork dishes, that we think and crave for just the straightforward fried pork. This is commonly heard and widely experienced by both the young and old generations of every pork-loving nation, the Philippines being one of them.

As most of us know, pork is the culinary name for meat from the domestic pig. The word pork often denotes specifically the fresh meat of the pig, but can be used as an all-inclusive term which includes cured, smoked or processed meats such as ham, bacon, prosciutto, etc. Pork is one of the most widely consumed meats in the world, accounting for about 38% of meat production worldwide. It is eaten in various forms, including cooked, cured or smoked or a combination of these methods. It is also a common ingredient of sausages.

Pork is popular throughout eastern Asia and the Pacific, where whole roast pig or “lechon” is a popular item in Pacific Island cuisine, particularly in China, the Philippines and Indonesia. It is consumed in a great many ways and highly esteemed in many Asian cuisines where it is preferred over beef due to economic and aesthetic reasons. It is basically cheaper in price and the colors of its meat and fat are regarded as more appetizing. Likewise, its taste and smell are described as sweeter and cleaner.

For this easy fried pork dish, I used about 1 kilogram of pork belly (“liempo”) and pork chop cuts combination. The meat is thoroughly washed and drained.

The few marinating ingredients are; ¼ cup soy sauce, 1/8 cup calamondin (“calamansi”) or lemon juice, 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced, ½ tsp ground pepper and 1 tsp salt or to taste.

Preparing the dish is quite simple. In a mixing bowl place the meat. Add all the ingredients and mix everything properly until the meat is evenly coated with all the ingredients. Place inside the fridge and marinate for at least an hour. Overnight marinating will give the best result. Stir once in a while during the process to assure even infusion of flavors into the meat.

To fry, heat about 3/4 cup of vegetable oil in a medium-sized pan. When oil is already hot, cook the marinated meat in batches. Fry each side until dark golden brown and edge are a little crispy but still juicy inside. My kids wants their fried pork more on crispy than juicy so I cook them a little longer.

Continue cooking in batches until all the meat is beautifully fried. Drain in paper towels and transfer in a serving plate.

Fried pork is best eaten while still hot so serve immediately with steamed or better yet, garlic fried rice. The dish is often serve during main meal but goes very well too during breakfast. So easy and yet so delicious! Enjoy! c“,)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Kinilaw na Tanigue A La Rene (Seer Fish or Wahoo Ceviche)

Seer fish as commonly called in India and Sri Lanka region and popularly known in Hawaii and other parts of the South Pacific including the Philippines as Wahoo, refers to fish that belongs to sub-family of the “Scombridae” simply known as Mackerel family. Seer fishes include such species as Indo-pacific king mackerel, streaked Spanish mackerel, spotted Spanish mackerel, king mackerel and as mentioned above, wahoo. In the Philippines, it is called “tanigue”, “tangingue” or “tanguegue” and considered a priced catch by fishermen and anglers alike.

They are pelagic fishes, fast swimming, predatory in nature and fight vigorously when caught making them a top favorites among serious saltwater anglers. Seer fishes which are mainly caught using hooks and lines are a delicacy in many regions of South and Southeast Asia. They have very sharp teeth, pointed head and should be handled with care when alive or when landing them into the boat. Wahoo is one of the more popular species in this group considered good eating. It can be fried, grilled, cooked stew like “sinigang” (stewed with natural souring agent) and “paksiw” (stewed in vinegar), steamed and as usually prepared in the Philippines, “kinilaw” which is very similar to ceviche of Latin America.

“Kinilaw” is basically marinating the fish in the juice of citrus such as calamondin (“calamansi”), lemon and lime or just natural vinegar with chopped onions, chilies and ginger. Some other vegetables such as tomato, carrots and cucumber can be added. It is then seasoned with salt and ground pepper. It is technically eaten raw but can be considered as actually cooked due to the action of the souring agent (citrus or vinegar) making it safe to eat.

Upon the arrival of two new members to our group from the Southern Philippines provinces of Bohol and Samar, “kinilaw” has become a regular table fare to us. Particularly with Rene who does not only love the dish but knows how to prepare it by heart. He has prepared “kinilaw” from all sort of fish like shad, scad, blue runner, queenfish, trevally, mackerel, tuna, sardinella, anchovies, etc.

During the joint birthday celebration of two (2) of our members Pareng Jun and Dong last week, “kinilaw na tanigue” was one of the food we prepared. While I have posted my version of “kinilaw na dilis” before and have prepared “kinilaw na tanigue” several times but not yet able to post it, let me share with you the “kinilaw na tanigue” as wonderfully done by Rene.

For the dish, we purchased a very fresh seer fish (“tanigue”) from the seaside fish store. About 1 and half kilo should be enough for a group of 7 hungry, heavy and hard-working Engineers. :-)

The set of other ingredients are – 3 medium onions, 2 pcs ginger, a handful of chili peppers, 2 pcs carrots, a dozen limes or “dayap”, 4 pcs medium tomatoes and salt and ground pepper to taste. Rene also uses MSG but it is optional, only if you wish.

The fish was thoroughly gutted, cleaned and drained. The tricky part of preparing this dish is the careful filleting of the fish in order to not damage the whitey flesh and retain its firmness.

It is then sliced into bite sizes, washed several times and thoroughly drained.

To prepare the other ingredients is just a matter of peeling, cutting, slicing and finely chopping. Just before developing a sore hand chopping, you’ll have these colorful heaps of vegetables and spices.

The final step is quite easy. In a non-reacting deep bowl, non-metal if possible, place the thoroughly drained “tanigue” slices. Add in all the other ingredients except citrus juice and slightly stir to mix everything. Extract juice from the lime and add into the mixture, slightly stirring to blend the flavor evenly. Seasoned with salt and ground pepper. Add MSG if you prefer. Don’t worry if it seems a little dry at first. It will render juice later on. Place inside the fridge for several minutes for the taste to fully develop.

Before serving, take it out of the fridge, stir lightly, taste and make final adjustment to the salt or ground pepper. When you are happy with the taste, serve immediately in a shallow bowl.

The dish goes well as an appetizer to stir up the palate or as bites with some drinks and even as viand with steamed rice. Enjoy!

With such tasty “kinilaw na tanigue” on the table, Rene has all the reason to sing a happy tune. After all, the group is assured of a deliciously exciting fish dish to enliven the joint birthday celebration. c”,)


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