Aug 27, 2007

To the Land of Pili Nuts and Back

I was out of town for several days for a business trip. Since I've been traveling for years already, one would think I am so used to it by now. Somehow I am but there are still "interventions" I do to make my time away from my family more bearable. I have "concocted" plans to make me feel at ease while I will be away for some days and not directly managing the household. I have provided myself three major checklists - pre, during and post activities.

Pre-trip activities include two things: checking the school work of my daughter for the next days that I will be out. If there are major projects for submission, I note them down so I can call her about them and ask how she's doing. I also plan the menu. I make sure everything is on the refrigerator before I leave.

The previous years my list is up to the minutest details but I have to give credit to hubby and daughter and our help. They are able, functioning human beings, as my husband says it perfectly. There is no need to detail everything. Don't sweat the small stuff. Of course, of course. :D For one thing, my husband and I see to it that our schedules complement. We cannot have trips at the same time. That's a cardinal rule.

While I'm away, I call at least three times a day and text several times a day just because. Calling my daughter recharges me. There are nights I find it hard to sleep when I am alone in the hotel room so I also bring the book I am currently reading. Hitting two birds with one stone, I catch up on my reading and it makes me fall asleep faster. I used to bring a cd player (when iPod was still unheard of)/iPod because there are times I want to listen to the music I prefer. But I stopped doing this especially if I am with my team. Instead, I take the opportunity to have some conversation with them during long trips. It used to be that after updates and work related talks while on the way to our destination , I put on my music player. It's worth talking to the people I work with about other things that interests them than plug earphones in my ears.

Needless to say I bring my camera. Even during my pre-blogging years, I am already a picture buff. There are two of us at the department who are snapshot queens. I guess too it runs in the family. I remember an uncle always keep rolls of films so he can take pictures whenever he feels like it. Also, if time permits, while I'm in a certain place, I check out local dining places and their native delicacies. I am so Pinoy - I buy t-shirts and souvenirs the place is famous for.

The post-trip includes mentally accounting how much excess my cell phone bill incurred this time. ;) During the last day of the trip, I can't wait to be back home. I look forward to going home with all my "loots" for my family and friends at the office and having a really good rest. Normally after my trip, I spend a few days off from the office. I eagerly anticipate this. I have things on my mind what I will do together with my daughter - go to the mall, buy her some books, watch our favorite shows, those things.

Some of the goods I got when I was in Naga City and Legazpi City, both in Camarines Sur, Bicol. Pili - the number one commodity of Bicolandia. If I remember my social studies right, pili only grows in the Philippines. I was told the pili nut which is coated with honey tastes better than pili glazed with sugar. How to know if it's honey, it's easier to separate one pili from another. The pili nuts do not stick much.

There are loads of goodies with pili nuts I was able to buy. Luckily, the owner gave us discount and gave us side stories about their products. I bought pili jam which is a very good filling for very hot pan de sal (Filipino bread roll). Remember when we were kids (hello, late twenties and above), we usually have latik (jam) for our breakfast.

Of course, there is pili tart which is a good give away for colleagues and officemates for their dessert. Also the pili pudding which is a mixture of mashed potato, ground pili, butter, milk and sugar. I'm loving the polvoron though as I have always loved this product since I was a child. There are variants - chocolate, pinipig, cashew, etcetera. I like mine simple - toasted flour with butter and milk.

Will I ever leave Bicol without bringing home their famous laing (taro leaves with coconut milk) and Bicol express with its pork bits, hot chili pepper and coconut cream. The hubby loves them with steaming rice! When I am finally home, I set aside work. This is a pact I made to myself for more than a year now. I have been to a work-related trip already. There is no need to carry it back home but I see to it that there are no major concerns hanging. Updates from the team are fine. I have learned to delegate.

I got back last Saturday night after a gruelling traffic at South Luzon Expressway. So far the daughter and the hubby have been enjoying the different pili products and the hubby is feasting on the laing. :)


Heart of Rachel said...

I've never been to Bicol but have a few friends living there. I love the pili nuts especially the honey coated ones. My husband is fond of laing and he sometimes makes it at home.

Yes, traffic is terrible at SLEX. Perhaps terrible is an understatement. It took me 3 hours to go home last Sat. It's so sad that it may be a reason for me to miss future EBs.

Mixednuts said...

hi lynn, thanks for stopping bby by site. anyway you made me hungry. i just love laing and yes there is no better way to eat this but with rice.i also noticed you enjoy reading, me too.

Lynn said...

RACH, Oh, I'd like to have longer chat pa naman with you on the next EB. Di bale, SLEX construction won't take forever. :)

MIXEDNUTS, I like your nickname. :D
I can read, read and read till my eyes pop. Nice of you to drop by too. :)

Mitch said...

Siguro dami ng changes sa Bicol. The last time I went there was 1990 yata. My mom is from Cam Sur kasi.

kat said...

i look the detailed way you organize your trips! i don't have to go on business trips, but you still offer sage advice in the event you're away from home.

so does the hubs actually follow your menu and cook what you tell him to? usually, when my mom was away (where we were younger), we'd just order in or eat out! LOL...

p.s. love your food pics! love the pili nuts and the laing! haven't had laing in a while!

Judy said...

Great introduction for me to these Filipino goodies.
The one Filipino food I really, really like is palitaw. My church friend used to make it all the time if there was a family gathering. How I miss that. :)
I am sure trips away from loved ones are never fun but nevertheless, they have to be done. At least it gives you one thing to look forward to, yes, coming home!

Lynn said...

MITCH, It's just my second time in Bicol actually. What's kind of giving motorists a hard time is the road construction in Camarines Sur which stretch up to Quezon if I am not mistaken. Minsan kasi one lang.

KAT, lol, he does! Good thing food delivery does not suit his taste. Thanks for appreciating my food pics. :)

JUDY, you know what palitaw is! It's one of my favorites too though I don't know how to cook it . Now I'm craving for it, haha!

exskindiver said...

its so late.
i have to sleep.
and now i will have a hard time because of that delicious laing.
my mouth is watering!!!

Lynn said...

CHESCA, haha, sorry about that. I want more laing right now. It was gone just like that, devoured by everyone in the household. :D

ScroochChronicles said...

Bicol is one province that I would like to visit soon. My mother is a dyed-in-the-wool Bicolana from Nabua. Laing and pinangat are some of the staples here at home. And I got my affinity for spicy food from her too.

Check out the latest issue of Food magazine. The laing recipe is by one of my grandma's.

Pili nuts!! Sarap niyan!! Mazapan de pili..mas masarap!!

Lynn said...

COOKIE, Sayang I did not buy the mazapan de pili, mas masarap pala yun. Next time. I'll check out the Food Magazine. :) Thanks for mentioning that.