What is it about ghosts haunting bathrooms? It’s not something I really understand – I mean, if I was going to haunt someplace as a ghost, a library seems so much more comfortable and interesting, you know? Yet despite that, stories and legends of ghosts haunting bathrooms and toilets abound throughout the world. Or is it just an Asian thing? Maybe it isn’t; I don’t know. I mean, J.K. Rowling put Moaning Myrtle to haunting Hogwarts bathrooms, so maybe the story of ghosts haunting school bathrooms and public loos aren’t just aren’t an Asian ghost encounter thing?
Japan probably has some of the most well documented ones, from the akai-kami, aoi-kami ghost – a ghost who asks ‘red paper or blue paper’? and will either skin you alive or strangle you if you pick one; Hanako the ghost, who is a bit of a cross of the Bloody Mary type of ghost story and ‘schoolgirl who died at school’ story; akaname the filth-licker, a Japanese yokai that dates back to well before the 20th century at least, and the noppera-bo, another yokai that has no face and has been described to also haunt toilets (there’s a story about a woman encountering one in Hawaii, in 1959.) (Note: that blogpost is worth a look at, as it describes that there is no lore in Hawaii that resembles the story; and it seems to folklore that transferred from Japan.)
Ghost stories about bathrooms aren’t something I’ve read about only online though; even when I was going to school there were stories of a nun supposedly haunting the showers in Miriam; as well of course as the stories of a ghost that would peek over the bathroom stall dividers. Every school seemed to have at least one bathroom stall ghost story, regardless of whether or not the school was a Christian or Catholic school, or a secular one. However, stories of ghosts haunting the bathrooms also occur in buildings and edifices other than schools. Continue reading →
This is a lovely, summery dish that goes for a savoury sweet flavour instead of the usual sweet-n-sour. Unusually, it also uses evaporated milk as part of the broth, yet doesn’t end up soured. In the Philippines, we call this pininyahang manok. I think it makes a good midweek dinner; and my kids definitely agree.
When I was a teenager, I encountered deep fried, battered hard boiled eggs for the first time. Mom and I were on our way home one afternoon and I smelled something delicious being fried at a street vendor’s cart. There was a mound of orange bunlike things and he was heating up a couple for another customer. The odd orange tinted things were tokneneng.
Since I was curious, and they would make a fine afternoon merienda, Mom bought some, and selected the seasoned vinegar. We brought them home, eggs soaking in vinegar in plastic bags. After pouring them out into bowls we broke into the eggs with our spoons and swirled the hard yolks into the vinegar before taking a bite.
This story is one I keep thinking I’ve told, for some reason. Yet, I check my logs and there isn’t a record of it, nor a post draft.
This story is one of an experience my husband Rhys had during his first time visiting me in the Philippines when we were newly in a relationship. I had visited him in Australia first; it was his gift to me after I graduated from college; and he decided to visit during his university holidays – which, being December, was our Christmas holidays. We were looking forward to having him experience the fun that was a Filipino New Year.
As Rhys’ flight arrived late in the afternoon, my mother decided that to save on space, it would be she and our driver who would pick him up from the airport. Our car – rather, my brother Al’s car – was a small Kia Pride, which was the butt of many jokes as it frequently required repairs. “Al’s Pride is broken again” We didn’t want to chance it breaking down.
Night had fallen by the time they had reached the subdivision where we lived; and it was also raining, which probably added to the delay in getting back. Continue reading →
Everyone has a favorite type of congee. I love the Filipino version, called arroz caldo, which in typical Filipino form, can be eaten at all times of the day – breakfast, lunch, dinner, or merienda (well, more like a small meal between meals. Hobbits would love us!), or snack or as a side dish or opening item! My family’s version is very garlicky and ginger-y. If you want to reduce the salt, use a low-salt chicken broth and omit the chicken broth cubes. Some folks like putting toasted, crispy garlic and onions on top, or chopped up green onions, or, in my case, cubed, fried tofu. Experiment with toppings if you like, but you might find that my recipe is flavorsome enough.
The plot of land on which my parents’ house sits was, I think, purchased by his parents for their surviving children back when the area was still nothing but rice paddies and the entire gated subdivision was a notional area with a plotted out map that featured roads that didn’t exist yet. My father wanted the spot that was the end of the road, given that he tended to deal with lots of people and wanted a place that, when he went home, he could have peace and quiet. So we lived on one side of a dead-end cul-de-sac, and the wall that was the border of the village as well as the end of the road was further made inaccessible by virtue of a creek.
Quick, light and easy, this soup suits both cold nights and summer days back in the Philippines. Some versions include using diced Tender Juicy Hotdog (which resembles the red-covered frankfurter, but tastes different) or diced ham. This is the simplest version in the family and is also a nice side dish, especially if the chicken is cut into even smaller cubes.
It can also be made with chopped up store-bought roast chicken meat, cutting down the cook time even more.