September 2007


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Baye-baye, that Ilonggo native snack food made from either ground glutinous rice (pilit) or corn is basically all over the island.  It can be found during marketdays in every town.  In Iloilo city, baye-baye is available everyday at the Central Market and at Super.  There are particular baye-baye variants however, that seem to have risen above the generic kind.  I’m thinking in particular about Pavia’s baye-baye which is starting to grace the new Iloilo airport. The many makeshift stands that line the national highway leading to the airport invite travelers to bring home a pack or two of baye-baye and kalamay hati (another native snack).  Wait, I’m digressing.  This should be another blog entry.  Oh, yes, before I forget, there’s another popular variant– Miagao’s baye-baye, which look like  miniature pillows nicely packaged in  fresh young green banana leaf.  (await the entry on Miagao baye-baye).

Now, that picture above is what I found in the public market of San Miguel one Sunday morning (its market day).  That’s corn baye-baye which the maker decided to shape into small balls (looking like donut munchkins), eight to a pack.  Pretty cute, I’d say.

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The hammer and chisel have started to make music again.

This morning, as the Miagao jeepney I took slowed down near Oton plaza hoping to pick up more passengers, I noticed a familiar sound–a pleasant kind of hammering. Ah, lapida makers. The season has arrived.

I’m talking about this little recognized business of lapida-making.  A  piece of lapida is a thin slab of marble incised with the name, date of birth and death of a person. Modern day grave marker.  When the “ber” season arrives, the lapida makers are probably one of the happiest for customers will start coming in to have a marker made for their deceased, probably to replace an old or broken one or to have the lapida where there was none.

Several lapida makers are concentrated along E. Lopez Street in Jaro, Iloilo. I remember that one of them has even been featured in a t.v. drama. Was it Maalaala mo Kaya?

Anyway, that will be all for now. Still need some more sleuthing to do.

Oct 27, 2007

I’m back.  Two days ago, while walking along E.Lopez St. towards Colegio de San Jose, I saw the lapida makers and remembered the sleuthing I had to do.  I approached two shops and here’s what I found.

The standard lapida of marble, size 16 X 20 inches costs P500.  You can choose from a variety of designs and fonts.  There’s the typical cross with a flower.  Of course, the RIP is ever present.

The bigger sized lapida is between P900-P1300.  The smaller than 16X20 is P400.

The special kind, on the other hand, is made of black granite.  It looks shiny and slee.  The granite lapida costs P3,500.  One lapida maker, Nong Arthur Salvador says,  incising on granite is more difficult to do, thus the higher price.

Actually, there are more than six shops lining E.Lopez but I was only able to visit two.  Hopefully, I can check out the others and write down their names here as well.

1.  SALVADOR MARBLE WORKS

     31 E.Lopez St., Jaro, Iloilo

    Arthur Salvador

    Cell No.  09272337314

2.  CE MARBLE WORKS

      E. Lopez St., Jaro, Iloilo City

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Sept.15, 2007.  Talk about hibernating for a month.  Not a single entry posted on ILOVEILOILO since August 6.  Busy, busy.  Problems.  Busy.  Until yesterday, September 14, I was once again shaken out of my lethargy and self-pity by The Pilgrimage of Paulo Coelho that it’s already 4:00 a.m. and I’m still wide awake reinspired to continue with my vision of sharing my home, Iloilo to the rest of the world.

 Might not sound like a noble cause to you perhaps but when I started dreaming about it three years ago, I was convinced it was good.  I was excited.  But as with many dreams big or small, somewhere along the way, we become afraid.

This hit me: 

“The good fight is the one that’s fought in the name of our dreams.  When we’re young and our dreams first explode inside us with all their force, we are very courageous, but we haven’t yet learned how to fight.  With great effort, we learn how to fight, but by then we no longer have the courage to go into combat.  So we turn against ourselves and do battle within.  We become our own worst enemy.  We say that our dreams were childish, or too difficult to realize, or the result of our not having known enough about life.  We kill our dreams because we are afraid to fight the good fight.” (Coelho, The Pilgrimage, page 57.)

So now, I’m back with a stronger resolve because death, as Coelho says in his book, is a friend.  Great read.