Monday, August 08, 2005

Play That Funky Music Whiteboy

What a pleasant weekend.

So today we went to Zarlito's since an old friend of my Mom's had specifically requested a -silog dish, and the only one I knew about was Zarlito's on 8th Street. My first time there, armed with the second-hand experience of post-night-clubbing stories as told from my fellow San Diego peeps. It wasn't bad...hella cheap (five bucks a dish!) but I think Lucky Chances gives you more. But's long/tos/tap-silog; you're not dealing with a wide range in quality here.

And I was able to (finally) play with this:

Weeeeee! Thanks to Randy for letting me borrow a BI book. I wish the fretboard was a bit wider, but all in all it played great (well, in my quite limited and narrow opinion based on playing 2, maybe 3 bandurrias?) with a nice action and decently loud tone. I didn't test if the tuning held consistent higher down the fret board, but hey...I'm pretty content, especially for the price. And there's two of 'em! With hard and soft case! (Shoulda made my Dad pick up a laud & bandurria too instead of two octavinas.) Anyways, I picked my way through some songs, fumbling along with my fingering -- those 7's and 9's are quite painful on my unused pinky! Hopefully I'll really commit to practicing this time, unlike everything else in this unfocused boy's life.

And what was really nice was just being able to sit and talk with the parents tonight. My Dad was talking all about the trip back to the homeland, about all the problems they're having with building the house. It's quite an eye-opener to here him describe the totally different building techniques they use there, especially when it comes to heat management. Insulation is normally laid flat over the ceiling, with the shiny side up (to reflect the heat). Also, with the crawl space under the roof, the ventilated air let's the heat circulate so it doesn't soak into the house. But the builders had a difficult time grasping the concept, and instead mounted the insulation to directly to the roof, with the shiny side down, where it wouldn't help. And there was not enough planning for ventilation, especially with the sewer lines, which would cause problems with odors leaking from the drains (eek). And what really tripped me out was the entire house was made out of hollow-blocks sealed over with cement. Interesting! There is no wood (at all) because of the risk of termites. No sheetrock. No fire blocks. No insulation in the walls. So basically, the cement/hollow blocks soak in the heat during the day, then radiate it inward at night.

Regardless, I'm excited. They want me to go next July along with my brothers and cousins. I think I will. I haven't been there for let's see...about thirty years now? I just have to figure out how to schedule it with the Marseilles trip (I want to go to that one too if I can).

And it was great listening to my Dad talk about his trip. He laid out this huge street map of Manila (I was blown away by the street layout, by the way -- I'd get myself lost and killed out there). As he was going through the various towns within Manila, pointing out the places he's been, and how this place is the really bad part, and how he got pulled over on Roxas Boulevard and talked himself out of a ticket, and how he always got lost in the central part (forgot which one) and how his favorite area is the boardwalk on Manila Bay, I started to see it...that sense of home, and how much he really misses it. He spoke of the Philippines like I would speak of places I've been; of memories somehow made sweeter with the passage of time. I really want to go, and want him to take me to all the places, and show me the land where we come from. I want to see where he grew up. I want to see the town my Mom speaks so much about, reminiscing on happy times long past, and the Laguna De Bay where the water used to be clear with a clean sandy bottom...

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At 8/08/2005 11:56 AM, Blogger laragitara said...

beautiful. i wish i were there right now. i think you'd like the Malate restaurant and music scene. and then when you see how the culture and traditions are thriving outside manila, you'll be overwhelmed. i bet you'd enjoy visiting the artisans in Laguna.

when you have a chance, check out my friend's blog, yes, you might get lost and killed, but i'm sure you'll find your way around, specially once you figure out how to cross a street.


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