Thursday, January 03, 2008

Balut and Bibingka!

I think this is probably going to be the last Philippines-based blog post. I'm returning to the States on the 7th of January and my flight leaves the Philippines on the 6th. I've had such a great time being back home it'll be sad to leave my family (a rather large family at that: We tallied up to 17 for the trip, not counting my two brother in laws and the 4 maids and 1 driver we had to help out in the chaos!) . I just came back from a great trip we had in Batangas and Tagaytay (two other cities in the Philippines). I'll post more on that next time though. For now, I'm posting up pictures of when my parents and I went to Market! Market! In Fort Bonifacio. That's my mom, posing quite nicely next to the fried pork and barbecued chicken! Hi Mom!

While Market! Market! is the usual large mall that one can find in the Philippines, my favorite aspect about it (surprise surprise) is it's food court. My parents tell me
old-school Filipino Bus terminals were structured with some kind of food area next to it so that while people waited they could eat. The food was usually at an affordable price and the most part food that's prepared fast and ready for take out.
Market! Market! follows the same design, just everything's a whole lot larger, so more food choices, a decent vegetable and fresh fruit market in it, tons of seating space and of course a big parking lot to house all the public transportation. I had a whole slew of food there like Pancit Lukban (Chinese-Filipino style noodles with seafood) Sisig (Made of TRUE not FDA approved pork parts! Not the best sisig that I had, but I had to eat it just cause!), Fishda (Barbecue style Fish) and Balut! Unfortunately the Balut didn't have a substantial duck fetus in it to really write home about, but hey, part of the true Filipino eating experience right?
I went to this restaurant called "Tsoko.nut", they have some great hot chocolate there and this Filipino dessert called Bibingka. Bibingka is like a giant desert rice cake that's baked on a banana leaf. It usually contains a salty egg in it and is served with butter and coconut shavings. I love this stuff!
My brother tells me, back in the days when we were colonized by the Spaniards, they brought over Hot Chocolate. Apparently the Spaniards back then didn't want the filipinos to get their hands on the high class hot chocolate they dubbed "Chocolate Eh" (Say "Chocolate" filipino style with me: "Cho-Ko-Lat-teh"). So for some time the Filipinos couldn't get their hands on the good stuff. Sometime later however, my countrymen either got their hands on some "Chocolate Eh" or swiped a recipe from the Spaniards and created our own slightly watered down version of it. We dubbed it "Chocolate Ah". This old school Chocolate brew is the kind they serve at "Tsoko.nut" ("Choconut" if you haven't guessed it yet). Oh and the hot chocolate is awesome, too. Here's a pic of my sister and her son (who seems uninterested in taking a picture with food at the moment!) and close up of Bibinka and "Tsokalate Ah" above it. Yum!
The comic segment for this post comes in the form of House of Secrets number 128. The first story's artist is Leopoldo Durona. I like the line weight that he employs in this short called "No Way to Run a Railroad!". It's the very nice, expressionist thick and thin variation he employs throughout the story that really grabs my eye. His style reminds me a lot of B. Kreigstien's artwork, down to the nice color choices to denote action, like using a bright red background color to add emotion to an act of murder that takes place in the story (I want to do an entry on Keigstein too as I just started getting into him recently, but that'll be for a later date!). Durona's got some nicely composed panels and page flow too, so it's an easy read.
The second short story of the book is my favorite. It's the story that introduced me to Alex Nino. Alex Nino has a style that I really like, he employs line work in a very distinct fashion that makes it so interesting to me. It's line work that has roots in old-classic-filipino-komiks style but it's soo slick and stylized, it's all his own.

Something that's very telling to me about an artist's work is how they approach drawing 'effects'. It's so hard for me to make my own effects so interesting, so when I see other people do it successfully it always kicks up my appreciation of them a thousandfold. So when I see someone draw their 'default cloud', 'default smoke' or 'default mirror reflection', I can tell if they got the 'stuff'. In this short, Mr. Nino even makes the word balloon speech arrows have so much character! If you're not familiar with Alex Nino's stuff you can easily see him strut his stuff in Disney's "Mulan" and "Atlantis". I think I recall him being an effects artist for Mulan, but I could be totally wrong.
Anyway, enjoy the pics! I included the whole 3 page Alex Nino short for your enjoyment! I'll probably be posting stateside next time! So long and God Bless from the Philippines!
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