Childhood Memories and Cravings

Posted on November 27, 2011


I found myself unexpectedly home in Manila after I heard of my father’s passing. I have been away for so long and the onslaught of childhood memories went careening the moment I landed in Manila. Much have changed in the city where I grew up. Old landmarks were lost, replaced by weaves of overpasses, bridges and new buildings. For a moment, a thought passed through my head that it would probably take a month for me to know Manila again intimately as I once have known it before. It has new secrets that needs a longer time for me to learn.

Through the days I got a mix of old and new. I have forgotten the joy of having a bustle of family and friends, 24/7. Seeing family and friends was a comfort to me at this time of mourning. It is such a wonder how we just picked up from where we left off with such an ease. At the time of the wake, I didn’t feel like taking pictures of my family and friends, now I regret that indecision I had then. I wish I took some of my childhood friends and brought them back here with me.

With every errand we had to run, I tagged along with my little sister, Tina. It was when I got to see food I could not live without when I used to live in Manila. I found it amusing enough for me to start snapping pictures once again. My little sis tried a bit to get me into malls but I craved for the food that I once knew – simple, delicious and tasty treats found on Manila streets. Of all the things that moved me was to see a vendor of soft sweetened tofu we Pinoys call Taho. As a child I remember my father would indulge me and together we would wait for the magtataho to pass by. My father would always buy a big bowl for a snack my sisters and I would share. I would watch earnestly as the magtataho prepares this sweet treat. It never occurred to me even once, that it’s a sweet vegetable snack (totally vegan even!). Warm and fresh soft tofu, with thick, brown syrup and tapioca pearls, I savor each spoonful. I got a bittersweet recollection of me and my father, sitting on a bench by the garden, eating taho. It is rather comforting to know that there are things that do remain unchanged, no matter how much time had passed. Life do go on for the ones left behind and there will always be comfort in good lasting memories.