A Pan De Manila recently opened at the street behind our building. I don’t know the name of the street, but it’s parallel to ADB Avenue and Emerald Avenue. I think.
So, recently too, there’s been a lot of free bread around here. One of our bosses has started calling it ‘bread benefit’. Around here we really laugh at it, whenever he says it.
One time I bought four pieces for only twenty pesos. And a small tin can of liver spread. And I made black coffee. It sustained me the whole day.
* * *
I guess one of my most memorable breakfasts would be that one where my grandmother, the one who raised me, went to school and brought it to me.
It was either February or March. I was six. Kindergarten graduation rehearsals. She had with her a plastic bag with a small bottle of mayonnaise and another bag, a brown paper bag.
The bottle of mayonnaise did not contain mayonnaise – it had good warm milk in it, ready for me to drink. And in the brown paper bag, three pieces of pan de sal, with coco jam spread on them.
No. That’s not one of the most memorable breakfasts I ever had. That’s the best. I should write more about my grandmother, Agatona, in the future. That lady was something.
* * *
So what would I have now? I have two packets of skyflakes in my drawer. And as always, instant coffee is flowing freely in the pantry. ‘Coffee benefit’, if I may borrow from the jokesters.
Only now do I appreciate that replenishing element that is in a skyflake. It used to puzzle me how mechanics or construction workers could do with just these crackers and a Royal, or a Coke.
Besides, it is much healthier to eat these crackers, a little at a time, as even suggested by the healthiest or the most health-conscious people I know.
Back in the courthouse, when I would be offered a cracker, I’d turn it down, because I thought it would be a waste to be given to me, who might not get satisfied from it.
Because back then, I engaged in what I used to call ‘kain bitay’. The one big meal for the entire day, taken in the morning. In older slang, it’s ‘altanghap’ (almusal-tanghalian-hapunan).
* * *
Those one big meals cost no more than twenty five bucks. They’re usually the ‘silog’ type of meals. The ‘silogs’ here at Pasig are a bit more expensive.
But back in Manila, my coffee was never free. Free coffee there, even the instant kind, which is all it would take to perk me up anyway, is a myth.
There were times, though, when there’d be instant coffee, or sausage slices, for free tasting in the supermarket in front of the courthouse building. But the store doesn’t open ‘til ten.
Here, now, it almost is.
I feel like having taho, actually. Best breakfast one could have when without sleep from writing overnight, especially over the weekend, hardly noticing Saturday and Sunday merge, until you hear the yell of ‘taho!’ From where I live now, the taho guy would be far off by the time you get to the ground floor.
Me and a friend posed in front of a Gucci store in Greenbelt once, so very late in the evening, and dressed nicely, while holding up taho cups. Another friend took a picture. “Midnight Snack at Gucci’s”, we call it. It may well have been already breakfast, too, though.
Good morning, Holly!
What was she eating there? And could that be coffee?
I’m downing my last cracker. Now, coffee.