Stories of A Swollen Stomach

This past Christmas, I accepted the fact that I eat more than anyone else I know. I will happily eat until I explode out of my dress, and then just as happily deal with the aftermath that is my grossly expanded midsection. And, unlike other women, I don’t understand that practice of “eating just to taste.”

“How come nobody seems to eat as much as I do, even you?” I grumbled to my Bin. “Honey, accept it,” my ever-tolerant husband said to soothe me. “(Okay, now I suspect I’m being patronized).

Whatever it is, my holidays were made for frenzied feeding. As I deal now with dietary damage control, I look back at the delicious delirium.

food poster

My friend, Earl, is one of those thoughtful, deeply intellectual types. At Christmas, he gave me a poster that pretty much sums up my view when it comes to people. Earl knows me well and we’re terrific friends because he’s one of the “best people”: he loves to eat.


At a bazaar, I chanced upon this slab of porky pleasure and immediately bought two because I swear they were calling out to me. I’d be most grateful if anyone can tell me the difference between bagnet and lechon kawali, but I don’t think anyone needs to be told about the eyeball-rolling-slash-name-forgetting effects of eating juicy meat that gushes hot, crunchy fat with every bite.

MisisPi vinegar

I drowned each chunk of bagnet in this vinegar that my friend, Peachy, gave to me for the holidays. I think I mentioned once before that I’m the type of person who likes vinegar so much that I occasionally drink it. This vinegar from Misis Pi is no different. It rakes down my throat and sets a fire alight in its wake, the acidity washing away the sins of the bagnet (or so I like to tell myself).

A few days before Christmas, we’re at the Pen.

The 3 Wise Men watermelons

Watermelon carvings of the Three Wise Men (I think).

Peninsula Manila Christmas 021

The lobby décor is truly resplendent – glass reindeer!

choir singing 020

– and the choir provides a soundtrack for everyone’s holiday fantasies.

We want to have hot chocolate at the lobby and partake of the festivities but we’re 26th in line!

Ayala Triangle Christmas light show 031

So we cross the street and instead drink in the light show at Ayala Triangle.

Christmas table

On the 25th, our Christmas table all decked out and promising delights. Unusually gorgeous this year, it’s the work of my brother in law, Vinnie, the husband of my sister, Charley. “My gosh Vinnie, I didn’t know you had it in you!” my Bin jests. “I now christen you ‘Vinnie Stewart.’”

prime rib

The centerpiece of our table, as it is every year, was a 7.5-kilo prime rib. Mom cooks it for about five hours and it’s always perfection. I wish I had a better photo but half of it was already gone and the other half of the family was urging me to hurry up already.

On December 26, my Bin and I celebrated 17 years of marriage. It’s a number that stuns those close to us: “You guys have been together that long???” They’re awed and stupefied. Unfortunately, our celebration is confined inside our car as we (mistakenly) attempted to drive to Tagaytay for merienda. Apparently, hundreds of other people had the same idea. And I won’t talk about the 9+ hours of traffic that my dad and mom endured getting up to Baguio.

The Little Corner Breadshop

A pit stop at one of the best panaderias I know, The Little Corner Breadshop. The breads are doughy delights – try the Egg Twist. (Apologies, no photo).

frying donuts

fresh donuts

Our savior on that traffic-infested day: Fresh-off-the-fryer donuts. Whisper-soft, their puffy middles collapse on first bite as trails of sugar sprinkle over our mouths. Sometimes, it doesn’t get better than this.

Rustan's Christmas window display

On December 30, we go on a grocery run and make the time to walk by the store windows of Rustan’s. It’s beyond magical and we stare mesmerized, the cool winds grazing our cheeks. Soon, the holidays will be replaced by a new year bringing promise.

Wishing you the 2015 you wish for, DCF readers!


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