Sta. Maria town fiesta 2008

Sta. Maria, Bulacan Sta. Maria, Bulacan Sta. Maria, Bulacan Sta. Maria, Bulacan Sta. Maria, Bulacan Sta. Maria, Bulacan

If my birthday doesn’t fall on the day of our town’s fiesta, it falls a few days before or after the celebration held every first Thursday of February. I spent some hours during the day in Sta. Maria, Bulacan last February 7 before going to my late afternoon class and took it as an opportunity to stroll around and take some pictures. Traffic in the poblacion, and in the highway around the Bocaue area is terrible whenever it’s fiesta day. Ambulant vendors, flea markets and thousands of pedestrians are all over the streets. It can get pretty frustrating, especially when you’re driving into and out of town, but it actually makes the environment feel quite festive.

Sta. Maria, Bulacan Sta. Maria, Bulacan Sta. Maria, Bulacan Sta. Maria, Bulacan Sta. Maria, Bulacan Sta. Maria, Bulacan

After my late afternoon class that always last four hours into the evening, I invited some friends to come with me back to Sta. Maria and have dinner at our place. As expected, we were stuck in heavy traffic on our way. However, watching the spectacular fireworks display that went off while we were on the road made the wait in traffic and the frustrated hunger bearable.

Undas 2007

November 1, 2007. This year, we spent our annual pilgrimage to the cemetery in Sta. Maria in Bulacan where my maternal grandparents and great grandparents are buried. On the other hand, we went to my paternal relatives’ graves in Cavite the day after. Since the annual pilgrimage was set together with a weekend and a government-declared holiday, it would seem that people took advantage of the long vacation and avoided crowds by visiting the cemeteries before and after November 1. I do not know if many people share my small observation that the cemeteries were less crowded this year.

Or perhaps it comes with age. There used to be a time, when I was a much younger kid, that our extended family’s mausoleums were full of relatives, and the entire cemetery was brimming with people and it was like a fiesta. The childish amusement and fascination with spirits and all that is gone. It’s probably a good thing though, because it has made me feel more solemn about the memorial occasion.

Tisay’s second birthday party

Tisay's second birthday party

September 30, 2007. We held a birthday party for Tisay’s second birthday. It was a buffet lunch in our place in Sta. Maria, Bulacan for our relatives and my parents’ friends and neighbors. During her first birthday, we held two gatherings. One in Bulacan and a KFC kiddie party in our relatives’ place in Amadeo, Cavite. You may see pictures from her first birthday here.

Tisay's second birthday party

Driving an FHM cover girl

My mom, in an effort to market and promote her salon, and to help the barangay’s youth council, sponsored the appearance of Jamilla Obispo and Edgar Allan, um… Guzman (?) during last weekend’s annual sagala in our part of town. It’s the time of the year when girls and some drag queens, who feel like it, dress up and walk all around town in an evening parade, with brass marching bands and many fireworks.

It’s also when young girls and boys get forced by their parents to get made up and dressed to be shown off like some trophies. Whew, I remember being an escort in one of these parades years ago when I was an ignorant preschooler.

As expected, people trooped to the streets to see the celebrities, and some of the local girls. Lots of people in this town would troop to the plaza just to see even someone like Jimmy Santos or Pokwang or Chokoleit. It’s crazy. Watching spectators was a spectacle for me. I wasn’t able to take that much pictures, however.

Pang-artista ba?

We spent the whole day in Sta. Maria last Saturday for my brother’s birthday and for the opening of the salon my mom franchised. The proprietor of the salon is some talent manager or something from a certain TV network which was why he brought in some celebrities for the opening of the Artista Salon branch in Sta. Maria. It was pretty amusing.

Inkling on an advertising career

November 3, 2006. Maybe my mom doesn’t realize how much money she’s saving from making me do all our advertisement designs. I made these banners yesterday and had them printed on tarpaulin at some print shop in Citimall, Philcoa.

Super Plato: Chicken ba hanap mo? Super Plato: The town's best pasta

Aside from these banners, I’ve also been making designs for the teasers, the posters and the menu cards. I’m not complaining actually. My mom promised to compensate me for the ‘labor’. I’m sort of enjoying the job as a hobby and as a way to pass time this sembreak anyway.

Super Plato: Good Morning! Nag-almusal ka na ba? Super Plato: The finest coffee from the uplands of Cavite makes the best coffee in town

Some people might be wondering how come our food appear to be sort of inexpensive. At first, I thought about that too. But believe me, it’s not that the food is “cheap”. I think it’s because we don’t pay rent for the restaurant (because we own the space itself), much of the ingredients are sourced from our grocery and from our family connections, and we I do the designs for the publicity materials.

Undas 2006

We spent Undas in Sta. Maria in Bulacan yesterday. We also had a trial opening of the restaurant.

Araw ng mga patay

As it has always been, it was like a fiesta at the cemetery. Thousands of people walking around, food stalls everywhere, brass bands doing their rounds in the cemetery. It is festive as it is supposed to be solemn.

We brought Tisay along to Sta. Maria. She has gotten more annoying, whinier as she is now cuter.

Araw ng mga patay

Mga anak ng kape

November 1, 2006. We went to visit the graves of my paternal relatives yesterday in Amadeo. Today, November 1, traditionally the day Filipinos flock to cemeteries, we will be in Sta. Maria in Bulacan to visit my maternal relatives. Our restaurant will also have its soft-opening today. I wish it does well. Our place is just a few blocks from the town church and the town cemetery–I hope traffic will spill-over to our street.

Of course, before leaving Amadeo yesterday, we stocked up on Amadeo coffee and fruits for the restaurant.

Barako coffee from Amadeo

Cappucino made from Barako coffee from Amadeo, Cavite

October 29, 2006. The coffee that will be served in our soon-to-open restaurant is sourced from my father’s homewtown, Amadeo, Cavite. This cup of cappucino is made with pure Barako coffee from Amadeo. It will cost someone 30 pesos.

Save the Barako! websiteAmadeo is the Philippine’s self-proclaimed coffee capital. My grandfather’s farm, aside from papayas, pineapple and cocoa, is planted mainly with coffee. As young children, much to the annoyance of our elders, my cousins and I would play on heaps of fresh and colorful coffee beans being sun-dried in the backyard.

There are, however, no more heaps of colorful coffee beans in lolo’s backyard today. For the longest time, coffee farming in the small Cavite town was dying. It was only until recently when it has started recovering with the initiatives of the local government and some private institutions. It gladdens me to think that we are helping this recovery by serving our own Cavite coffee in our restaurant in Bulacan. Aside from coffee, we will also be getting most of our fruits (for the fresh fruit shakes) from Amadeo.