I was supposed to be one of the invitees only for a dinner with balikbayan Letty, an old friend and kumare from San Diego. The guest list expanded and since all we wanted was to have a quiet place for kwentuhan, I agreed to have the dinner at our residence, plus parking would be easier too. Basta I told them that I would just prepare simple food.

The day before the scheduled dinner I informed Antonia about the dinner to be held at our house, so that she would be forced to participate and be involved, I asked her what’s going to be our menu.
Antonia————“Arroz Caldo”.
Omb—————-“Dinner, hindi merienda”.
Antonia————“Arroz Caldo”.
Omb—————-“Dinner nga”.
Antonia————“Sopas”.

Before I get inis, I left her na lang muna to give her time to clear her thoughts. Baka nga akala nya ay merienda.
Omb—————“Mg-isip ka kung ano’ng magandang mailuto at yung may ka-terno”.

I read the newspaper for about ten minutes. She came in, I asked her again.

Omb————–“So anong magandang mai-serve bukas para dinner, mga sampu lang sila”.
Antonia enthusiastically answered ———-“Arroz caldo at sopas!”

I looked at the ceiling. Hayyyyyyy.

I told her to get ready, we’re going to Farmers Market. I planned to prepare simple Filipino food.

When we reached the market, I gave her some cash so she could buy some ingredients. After a while, she came back
A——–“Mam, kulang ang pera ko”.
She was holding some cash in her hand.
Omb——“Ano pa ang kulang natin?”
A——–“Kulang mam luyang dilaw, kulang na ang pira ko”.
Omb——“Ha? may pera ka pa ah, mura lang yun”.
A——–“Kulang na mam, nubenta na lang ito”.
Omb——“Trenta pesos lang sobra na yun, may sukli ka pa”.
A——–“Kasya ito? Okay, balik ako mam”.

I bought some veggies and bananas. Matet and Rose would bring dessert so I just bought fresh bananas.

The tindera got a little annoyed with my companion because she was trying to put our stuff inside the bag Antonia had brought. Antonia said hindi daw kasya. Eh kasi she knotted the bag kaya the tindera could not open it wide enough.

Tindera——–“Manang niloloko mo naman yata ako, hindi tayo magkaka ayos nyan”.

Before I bought some fresh flowers, I asked Antonia if she’s thirsty, if she would like a drink. She said no. She then asked for my permission to send some money to her daughter in the province.

Omb————“Bakit ngayon ka pa magpapadala? Bilisan mo, nagmamadali tayo”.
Antonia——–“OO mam, dyan lang yun, bilisan ko lang”.

I bought flowers then stood at the corner for around 15 minutes waiting for Antonia. I got tired and called the driver. We waited for another 10 minutes, wala pa rin si Antonia. We drove out of the parking lot and parked around the bend for another 10 minutes. Antonia wasn’t answering her cellphone.

Then we saw her walking towards EDSA, away from where she’s supposed to meet us.
It’s so tiring. She’s nice, mabait but annoying sometimes.

Edmund didn’t want me to host the dinner at home kasi daw baka mapagod ako. Sana daw sa restaurant na lang. Sometimes kasi when I get very tired I get migraine attack which could immobilize me for two days. This dinner naman is simple lang kaya no pressure on my part. My guests are town mates and old friends of mine, a few are relatives. At saka konti lang naman sila.

I didn’t go to the office na on that day.

I taught the maids how to set up the table, put the linens and arrange the flowers. Eto, she’s walking back and forth trying to figure out how to cover the tables and spread the 6 vases across the table in equal distances. It took her more than 30 minutes trying to do it. After 40 minutes, I went out and did it myself.

I made the first two vases and let them do the four. Napaka-simple lang naman.
I could tell that the one who was assigned to do the vases got stressed out.
The one who helped with the table covers, panay ang buntung-hininga. Paminsan-minsan naman ma-stress din sila. Anyway, they are so relaxed watching television several hours a day.

table arrangement, dinner at home

I bought this paper table napkins with penguin design in Paris in October 2013. The store sells fine bone china dinner plates but the prices were beyond my budget. As a consolation, I contented myself with this US$5.00 cute napkins.

Penguin design table napkins

I decided to just use our everyday spoon and fork.
spoon and fork for dinner with townmates

You know the feeling when you’re in someone else’s house, you enter their dark toilet before you are able to find the light’s switch. To avoid our guests feeling that way, I prepared some battery operated candles and placed a few inside the powder room
battery operated candle for toilet

I bought a lot of pandan leaves for gulaman at sago. I placed the rest in the power room. Not only do they make the room smell fragrant, they are insect repellant too. The best thing is it saved me a lot of bucks. This bunch only cost me P30.00 as against buying fresh flowers for P150.00 – P250.00.

pandan leaves, for powder room

Instead of buying roses, carnations and orchids, I bought seven dozens of white Malaysian mums for my table setting. Cheaper, nice also but different effect.
white Malaysian Mums

I placed the serving dishes on our kitchen island which also doubles as our buffet table.
Soup tureen,

Instead of cooking arroz caldo, Antonia showed-off her specialty Arroz la Valenciana.
arroz la valenciana, by Antonia

Antonia’s secret recipe
Arroz La Valenciana, close-up photo

We were grilling some butterfly prawns, so I instructed Antonia to prepare lemon butter sauce. She got the butter from the ref, smooshed it, squeezed lemon and  eto na si lemon butter.
Omb————“Antonia, ano ito?”
Antonia——–“Butter sows”.

(ngek)

Butter for prawns

It was 6:30 and the guests would be here in a few minutes. Time to light the tables.
Omb———-“Beth, madilim na, ilawan mo na yung mga candles sa table”.

I went to the kitchen and saw her there talking to Antonia.

Beth———“Antonia, na’san yung lighter mo?”

Omb———-“Ano’ng gagawin mo?”
Beth———“Sisindihan yung mga kandila”.

(All our candles are battery-operated).

lighted candles,  at home

The headcount was 8. My simple table setting’s good for 12 just in case.
table setting for 16

After the first group of visitors arrived, I added two more chairs. When more people came, I added two more chairs, then two more. All in all, 16 came, there were two unoccupied chairs.

Girlie Ferido-Peralta, Rhodora Aramil, Dra. Rose C. Ynares
Rose Ynares, Rhodora, Girlie

Elenita Madarang, Gomer Celestial, Girlie Patag
Elenita Madarang, Gomer Celestial, Girlie Mejorada

Joel and Matet Gavino brought leche flan and bibingka from The Wholesome Table
wholesome table, bibingka

Girlie was one of my dorm-mates during college days.
Girlie Patag Mejorada

Gomer, Elenita, Girlie Peralta, Rhodora, Matet, Rose, Girlie Mejorada, Joel
group photo, townmates, dinner Jan 6, 2015

Rose Ynares, balikbayan kumare Letty Lugtu, Salud Capili, Matet Maycacayan-
Gavino, Girlie Mejorada.
Letty Lugtu, Salud Capili, matet Gavino, Girlie, rose

Dr. Elizabeth Cenidoza – Carasco
Dr. Elizabeth Carasco

Antonia was very helpful. She did well this time.  She was so proud of herself kasi our guests complimented her arroz valenciana.
charming Antonia

Our dishes were pang-probinsya. Meron pa kaming okra and salted egg, manggang hilaw at alamang.
dinner buffet with townmates

with Matet
Celebrity Antonia with Matet Gavino

Gomer is considered an icon in Binangonan. He devoted his life in promoting cultural events in our town such as Santacruzan, etc. Every year, he invited television and movie stars to be Reyna Elena or Reyna Emperatriz and handsome celebrities to be the escorts.
girlie and gomer, powder room

Beth told me she lost 75 pounds. She looks a lot happier and her face is more radiant.
Beth Cenidoza- Carasco and Joel Gavino

dinner with townmates, Jan 6, 2015

Nakatuwaan nila yung mga cheap Christmas decors ko.
Matet and Rhodora

Rose as Queen Hopia.  She  brought a big container of buko salad made by her cook.
Rose, Queen Hopia

They left at 11 pm. That was the time I got to enjoy the gulaman at sago. Yum.
I boiled the panutsa and pandan together para mabango. My maid almost dumped the gulaman in the pot, eh di natunaw yun, nag disappear. Buti na lang I was there in the kitchen, kundi naku, kunsumisyon na naman.
Gulaman at sago

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