Barbara Costikyan  once said that in the childhood memories of every good cook, there's a large kitchen, a warm stove, a simmering pot and a mom.

Well I’d like to add quite on that in my case. There’s a large kitchen, a warm stove, a simmering pot, a dad’s stories and a mom.

The whole world knows that my mom is a good cook. Blame it to her dishes and never-ending foodie experiment why I got this big tummy.

No one will dare to argue that perhaps other than my mother’s charming smile and heart-melting patience, she probably has won my father because of her lip-smacking cooking.

This scrumptious dish is a family favourite. My father Rodrigo would call this apan-apan, a dish authentic among Ilongos like him. However, the real apan-apan has shrimp-paste in it which my brother didn’t quite like. The dish he served us was more like adobo.

My parent Candelaria and Rodrigo when it comes to kitchen were like teams in the prominent cooking show Master Chef. They were both busy in the kitchen while they raise us and so were our stomachs.

The smell of vinegar simmering in a pan of river spinanch or kangkong with an ample slices of onions and garlic brings me to the days when my dad would set up a table in the front porch and pour a glass of a cold pilsen beer. He would then happily cut the kang kong stems by three inches.

My mother was not allowed to move any of his preparation because my dad wants it in a Rodrigo way- the right amount of vinegar, the mixture of seasonings. Adobong Kangkong was indeed my dad’s pride and it was his greatest reward seeing us all complete in a dining table, happily eating his special made-adobong kangkong.

Round the sound of wrestling spoons and plates were my dad’s stories and tales.

Growing up, I realized that those meal times whenever my dad would knock and call me from my room were the moments I would not trade for than any desserts in the world. Those Sunday dinners while he tells us his life stories were so far to me, the sweetest food experience. I may never indulge in that again but I can always cherish those memories so long as there’s river spinach I can cut to make an adobong kangkong-the Rodrigo way.

By: Cheng Gonzales


Living life is like sitting in a dining table. You are served with a plate, whether it’s a crystal-made or an ordinary tin, you are the one to choose what to and how to eat. Whether you sit in a table everyday as luxurious or penniless you decide how to digest the responsibilities on your plate. Life isn’t a chain of unseen events where you wake up one day and suddenly there’s garlic atop your frost cake, and then a sticky mustard layered in it and finally it’s messed with a cold soup and chunks of beef. You flare up and began believing that “you’re not in control of your life.”


Life gives spices. There are days where you are indulging with your almond ice cream from a sugar cone and suddenly life hands you a salty dried fish and you need to put down that cone as life requires you to face with some salty dried fish called trials. Just because you ate an ice cream you thought dried fish as the worst food ever but imagine if you didn’t, you just can’t stop dipping it in a bowl of chili and vinegar because you’re learning to like its kick.

Here then is one secret of eating and living: the art of neutralizing. When you get back to your almond ice cream after your fish, it gives you another treat of creamy blast. And oh! it was just the same ice cream you had yesterday. Yes! It was the same person you loved, the same place you lived, the same food you ate, and yet you savoured them just a little bit more lovelier, livelier and tastier.

What’s eating and living makes like a first time then?
It’s appetite.#

By: Cheng Gonzales

joyfully eating