My beloved maternal grandmother, Engracia (RIP) was well-known to be the carinderia-owner beside the church patio in Poblacion. In this carienderia, she served goto (beef-tripe noodle), puto-bibingka(rice cakes) and halo-halo (a sweet concoction of shaved ice and fruits). My Lola Gracia (as we fondly called her) was not just the owner but she was also the cook, server, dishwasher, maintenance and whatever else was needed to keep the carinderia running smoothly. Talking about multi-tasking, huh!
But, hey, the job didn’t even start there. The preparation was way ahead before the carinderia opens at 6am. She had to go to the market for ingredients, place order for ice and sodas, cook ingredients for halo-halo and make galapong (rice paste). Does anyone still remember how they used to make this? After soaking rice in water overnight, it is grinded in a gilingang bato.
Oh, boy… I’m glad there’s Seafood City and Island Pacific to buy ready-made ingredients to make bibingka. Or if you’re still too lazy to do that, just go to Goldilocks for cooked bibingkas. But still… nothing really compares to a hot bibingka made from scratch.
Going back to my Lola’s daily task. Before the 5am mass ends, she had the piping hot goto, pandesal and a few bibingkas ready to serve to the church goers, tricycle drivers, farmers and early risers. And how did she cook bibingkas after making galapong? The picture below shows how it’s made, the old-fashioned way….
Wow!!! Bibingka with itlog na maalat (salted egg) and kesong puti (white cheese), it’s the best. Add on top of that, freshly-grated coconut. And how it’s made? With this…
Now, let’s talk about how Lola Gracia made the halo-halo. In those days, an electric ice shaver hasn’t even come to anyone’s imagination. So, here’s how she did it. She kept blocks of ice buried under rice husks to prevent thawing because there were no refrigerators or freezers still back then (not in the Philippines, at least). She chopped a small block of ice, washed it and used this to shave ice….
Thank you, Chow King. I could enjoy halo-halo without going through this.
And my poor, Lola Gracia… Imagine the hardships she had to go through to raise her six children? She’s one tough lady, I tell you. In fact, I could still vividly see her in my childhood memories with an ax in her hands, chopping fire woods even in her late seventies. She’s definitely one tough cookie….