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My island life

Yesterday, I finally took my second jab of the Sinovac “vaccine” thanks to the prodding of our Bacolod City’s Emergency Operations Center executive director and City Administrator Em Ang. If not for her, I would have waited it out for the elusive Pfizer “vaccine” which has only reached Imperial Manila, as of this writing.

This statuesque beauty and most capable spokesperson of our city government is a reassuring presence in the vaccine rollout of Bacolod, making sure that the senior and frontline population go through an effortless and quick operation that will reassure us of not succumbing to more serious complications of this deadly virus which has its origins from Wuhan, China. I purposely enclosed the word vaccine in quotation marks because we still don’t have a real vaccine since one can still fall prey to the coronavirus even after being injected.

Bacolod Dean of Fine Arts Bamboo Tonogbanua with his garden altar*
The convivial dinner guests (clockwise from foreground) ELG, Martin Aquino, Mark Matsunaya, Jing Ramos, Jesse Narrazo, and Bamboo Tonogbanua*
The cozy mountain view setting of Red Barn*

However, it has been proven that these would prevent us from developing further complications which could lead to our deaths if we don’t take this precautionary measure. And good news for Sinovac, the EU will most probably include the drug in its list of approved medications at the end of this month. Paris here I come!

Meanwhile, I keep myself distracted from the awful humid heat of the past few weeks with outings organized by my social bubble friends. A whiff of fresh mountain air was one enjoyable outing whipped up spontaneously by Punta Bulata’s Empress Royale Miren Lopez Zayco, who invited New Yorker Chita Reyes, my house guest Jing Ramos from Cebu’s media milieu for lunch at Jekjek Zayco’s Red Barn up in the climes of Patag. Since the resort is temporarily closed, we brought our own food. We started with a hearty sukiyaki of Jekjek, featuring fresh mushrooms accompanied by my selection of Cotes de Rhone wine. Then, a hearty buffet of barbecued chicken inasal from Bacolod Chicken House which Miren carefully chose that included chicken breasts, legs, liver, and the local delicacy of isol. Chita brought a platter of giant fried lumpia that were so huge and super delicious. We ended the banquet with a salad of fresh river ferns picked up by Jekjek herself in the nearby creek filled with fresh tomatoes, onions, pomelo bits, and edible flowers from her organic garden. We ate so much that when Jekjek offered to give a tour of her garden, it was only first time visitor Jing Ramos, who took up her offer while we all lazed around enjoying the cool breeze that fast lulled us to a quick nap.

Jing Ramos, Jekjek Zayco, ELG, Miren Zayco, Chita Reyes (l-r)*
Jekjek Zayco’s special sukiyaki with homegrown mushrooms; Bacolod Chicken House’s iconic chicken inasal brought by Miren Zayco; the fattest and biggest fried lumpia brought by Chita Reyes; and, freshly picked river fern salad with edible flowers whipped by Jekjek Zayco*

One sultry evening, Bacolod Fine Arts dean Bamboo Tonogbanua invited us for a showing of his new garden altar which he built in ancestral home’s his interior jardin. As usual, with Bamboo’s artistic flair, it was indeed a visual treat that served as a fitting backdrop to the intimate dinner which was fully catered by Rosalie Yulo. The menu included a mouth watering Hainanese Chicken (which I haven’t had since my last trip to Singapore), her signature Callos, Salmon Teriyaki, Putannesca pasta, and a rich Waldorf salad. Dessert was a homemade crema de fruta on graham crackers. The guests included professional photographer Jesse Narrazo, Mark Matsunaya – owner of Global Strategic, a call center that is fast recruiting our locals for its burgeoning business, and an internet blogger, Martin Aquino. Of course, the visiting guests wowed at Bamboo’s tourist destination of a Christmas village which occupies the whole upper floor of his home. I loved the socially distancing placements that made everyone at ease during the stylish dinner.

My prayer: Dear Father in heaven, we thank you for wanting to give us happiness and for holding our earthly life firmly in your hands. May we have the confidence that we are in your hands. Grant us the light of faith. Let this guide us in material things and help us to wait in patience until the doors open for us to pass through according to your pleasure.*

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