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AMPALAYA SALAD




WHILE VACATIONING AT MY SISTER'S HOUSE, I WHIPPED UP A FRESH BATCH OF THIS SALAD THAT I INVENTED BECAUSE OF MY NEED TO INCLUDE THE AMPALAYA OR BITTER GOURD SOMEWHERE IN MY DIET. TO GIVE IT A NEW FACE, I HAD TO ADD INGREDIENTS THAT ARE ACCEPTABLE TO THE PALATE AND AT THE SAME TIME MASK SOME OF THE BITTERNESS OF THE GOURD WITHOUT COMPROMISING ITS HEALTH BENEFITS. I RUMMAGED MY SISTER'S PANTRIES, LOOKING FOR ANYTHING I CAN USE, PICKLES, PINEAPPLE TIDBITS, HMMMN, NO BEANS..., TOMATOES, CHECK, RED ONIONS, TWO CLOVES OF GARLIC, CANNED TUNA, OOOPS.... THERE YOU ARE, APPLES... LOTS OF APPLES.

WHILE WORKING ON THE SALAD, I WAS LAMENTING THE FACT THAT DESPITE THE DRIZZLING OF ORANGE AND CALAMANSI JUICES, THIS PRETTY LOOKING BUT UNUSUAL DISH WILL NOT HAVE AN AUDIENCE ON OUR DINING TABLE. I WAS WRONG, EVEN MY NIECE LIKED IT. IT WAS A HODGE PODGE OF A SALAD, ANY FRUITS YOU CAN THINK OF, NEVER LEAVE THE AMPALAYA, YOU CAN OMIT THE TUNA IF YOU PREFER THE VEGETARIAN STYLE, BUT ADD PLENTY OF SQUEEZES OF ORANGE AND CALAMANSI AT THE LAST STAGE OR JUST BEFORE SERVING. SERVE THIS SALAD COLD AND EAT IT WITH ANYTHING GRILLED AND IT WILL BE A HIT!

SPEAKING OF VACATION, IT WAS NOT A VACATION AT ALL. I WAS AT MY SISTER'S HOUSE SINCE OUR PLACE AT NOVALICHES WAS UNDER 5 FEET OF WATER. TRAPPED INSIDE, AND WITH ONLY 4 HOUSES LEFT UNTOUCHED BY THE FLOOD, WE COULDN'T GET OUT OF THE SUBDIVISION. THE SCARY PART OF THIS SEPTEMBER 26 FLOOD WAS NOT THE WATER ITSELF, IF IT ROSE TO THIS MUCH HEIGHT OR AS HIGH AS YOUR ROOF, SO BE IT. THE HORRIFYING PART OF IT WAS NOT HAVING THE TIME TO FLEE. THE SPEED OF THE RISING FLOOD STILL HAUNTS ME TO THIS DAY, I AM HAVING RECURRENT DREAMS OF FLEEING A FLOOD, SOMEONE RESCUING ME ETC.,

10 MINUTES. IT TOOK ME ONLY 10 SHORT MINUTES TO GET OUT OF THE HOUSE, BEING THE LAST TO FLEE, ONE MINUTE THE WATER WAS ONLY AT YOUR ANKLE LEVEL, A FEW MINUTES LATER, IT WAS CHEST DEEP.

GOING BACK A WEEK LATER, AND TWO WEEKS OF CLEAN UP, GOSH, EVERYDAY, YOU SEE ITEMS YOU HAVE SCRUBBED AND STILL NEED TO SOAK, AGAIN AND AGAIN. IT WAS A NEVER ENDING TASK, YOU GET TIRED BUT YOU CANNOT STOP. YOU CANNOT ASK YOU MAIDS OR HELPERS TO DO IT BECAUSE THEY ALSO HAVE THEIR OWN MUD TO SCRAPE.

I WILL NEVER SEE A PIECE OF PLASTIC THE SAME WAY EVER AGAIN. A SANDO BAG WILL HAVE TO STAY LONGER IN MY CARE, WILL HAVE TO BE RE-USED OVER AND OVER UNTIL IT TEARS. I AM CONVERTING THE SMALL PLOT OF LAND IN FRONT TO MAKE WAY FOR A COUPLE OF MINIATURE TREES. THE MALUNGGAY TREE WILL NOT BE ALONE ANYMORE. I HAVE TO ASK. IS THE FLOOD ENOUGH OF A REASON TO START CARING FOR THIS EARTH, OR DO WE NEED MORE FLOODS BEFORE WE START HOLDING ON TO OUR TRASH. WHAT I MEAN BY TRASH ARE THE THINGS WE BUY OUT OF WHIM AND WITH A WINK OF AN EYE STORE THEM WHERE NO ONE CAN USE THEM.

LAST OCTOBER 14, I WENT TO SEE MY DOCTOR AT THE BLOCK SM NORTH AND BUMPED INTO MRS ESCUDERO, CHIZ ESCUDERO'S MOM WHO WAS MY TEACHER AT OBMONTESSORI. I TOLD HER ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED, AND SO I WAS GLAD SOMEONE CLOSE TO HER, (YOU KNOW WHO) WAS MAKING A NOISE ABOUT OUR ENVIRONMENT.

WITH ME ON MY WAY BACK HOME ARE 6 PIECES OF MINIATURE PLANTS. I DID NOT BUY ANYTHING FOR MYSELF, NO BAG, NO SHOES, NO ANYTHING UNDER THE CATEGORY OF PERISHABLE ITEMS THAT THIS NASTY FLOOD LOVE TO DROWN. PLEASE, I HAVE THROWN AWAY DRIPPING MUDDY WET BOOKS AND MAGAZINES, ALL 4 SACKS OF THEM. I TRIED TO SAVE SOME BUT THEY SMELL REALLY BAD. IT BREAKS MY HEART, I NEVER THOUGHT I COULD PART WITH THEM BUT NOT ONE BOOK WAS LEFT IN MY ROOM EXCEPT FOR THE BIBLE.


AND SO I AM GIVING THREE OF THE INDOOR PLANTS AS A GIFT TO MY NIECE. NO BOOKS. NO PLAYTHING, NO MAKE UP, NO TANGIBLE THINGS THAT WILL CLOG MY WORLD. JUST THREE PRETTY LITTLE PLANTS.

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