My sister told me, “There are lots of new hip places in our hometown right now, go to this, that…” Truth of the matter is, I’ve been basically, mostly staying at home with the kids. We go out for groceries and the public market. Oh we went out to a natural spring pool but mostly, we are having a great time in the comfort of my parent’s new house.
Because, I am basically like this. I am a homebody. Let’s just say, if the husband wasn’t keen on getting married like proposing every year, I’d still probably be single until now. When I was studying in Japan and going back to my family every Christmas, some of our neighbors would tell my parents, “Oh, she is your child too?”..because they rarely ever see me out of the house.
So…back to this current vacation with my children. If you’ve been following my Instagram account (if not, check it out here), you can see that the children had been having fun mostly right in the comfort of home.
I realized again that there are many things that can be done if you can actually go outside, even at your own backyard – something these kids can’t do in Dubai right now due to the hot weather.
Every morning, Benjamin joins in to help my mom do the laundry and what happens after that? Water play!
The water is from tap so it’s cold but what could be a better accompaniment than that for the warm, tropical weather?
My parent’s house was completed early this year so there are ‘things’ at the back of our house which Benjamin fixes things. He loves to do boy stuff. Pristine on the other hand, is interested in cooking local Philippine food (both kids love being involved in preparing our meals too). She was particularly interested in what is called “banana-cue” (caramelized bananas on a stick).
From Wiki: Banana cue is made with deeply fried bananas coated in caramelized brown sugar. The bananas used for this recipe are Saba bananas, which are very commonly used for cooking in the Philippines. It is usually skewered on a bamboo stick, and sold on the streets.
She learned to peel saba bananas. And with her grandmother’s help, made a fire. We have this back of the house kitchen where we use firewood to cook dishes that would take a long time to cook to save up on gas: stews, bone soups. We also fry our things outside so we won’t stink the whole house, especially if we fry fish.
Brown sugar is thrown into the hot oil to caramelize. I know it’s a weird cooking process but that’s how it is here.
Then you throw in the peeled, whole bananas.
At this point, the cooked bananas are skewered into bamboo sticks but since we didn’t have any, we’ll just serve and eat this as it is. Pristine is quite proud of her work.
When we’re not learning to cook at home, I take the kids to the public market where we buy native Filipino delicacies for breakfast. Yeah, the rumor is true: you don’t diet on your vacation!
My favorite has been Bibingka. Bibingka is a Filipino version of rice cake, which is made of basic ingredients consisting of rice flour, sugar, butter and coconut milk. Cooking bibingka involves placing burning coals on top of and under the bibingka mold while placed on a clay pot. There are several type but my favorite is bibingka Manduae (a city in Cebu island). This type uses manually pounded rice instead of the commercially available rice flour.
The Mandaue bibingka consists of pounded rice, coconut milk, white or brown sugar and either yeast or tuba. The tuba is the country’s local version of the coconut wine and is sometimes used in place of yeast. It adds to the fluffiness and flavor of the rice cake.
Then we head home and take a jeepney ride. A jeepney is an open share shuttle type of transportation local to the Philippines. The kids never get tired of riding the jeepney despite the occasional traffic!