Feb 1, 2009

of fish and cebuanos

Yesterday, I was out with my girlfriends and the conversation veered into what kind of "weirdidities" we have. Someone mentioned that someone from Cebu can't stand the taste of fish. I have never heard of a Cebuano that has a severe dislike for fish. Seriously, Cebu is where you can get the freshest and tastiest fish, there has to be something wrong with you if you're Cebuano and hate fish. OR there is something wrong with the person cooking your meals.

Okay, I had to admit that at one point in my life, I swore to never eat fish again. One of my grandpa's cousin has a fishing vessel and vessel and crew decided to be based in Argao(the town where I grew up) for about 6 months. Every single day of those six months, we get so much fish of so many varieties for free. As much as we want and more.

Most of the fish, were sold to smaller fish vendors who, in turn, sell them in the market or go door-to-door. We're talking fish by the banyera here. I think there's about 100lbs of fish per banyera. And there's the paconsuelo or pakapin - a little extra for goodwill - say, about an extra 2-3 lbs for every banyera sold. Oh, and I should mention the smell. Definitely not Calvin Klein.

Everyday, we had all kinds of fish dishes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Name it, I've probably had it. Kinilaw, bulad, escabeche, minantikaan, sinugba, tinabal, inun-unan, ginamos, tinapa... Ihalason, barongoy, dalagan, tipos, tuna, katambak, iho (usahay)... It was the best of the best! But sometime in the second or third week, I was so sick of fish that I actually ate and enjoyed(!) some of the sauteed ampalaya - bitter melon- given to us by a neighbor in exchange for fish (background: I generally do not eat vegetables, especially green ones). I prayed so hard for the fishing vessel to leave soon.

Complaining about what my grandfather provides for the family is equal to saying "Please cut off my worthless, disrespectful and ungrateful head". No one dared to say anything to him. We were not going hungry, just sick to death of eating fish. One very beautiful day, he declared that he was tired of fish and we should have some beef bulalo! I was the most well-behaved and happy little girl that day. And the rest of the time the fishing boat was docked in Argao, we didn't eat fish unless we wanted to.

1 comment:

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