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    This one made me weepy this morning. Girl finds out her bestfriend and roommate -- a 160-lb English Mastiff has terminal bone cancer and only has a few months to live. So armed with a bucket list of adventures she would like to share with her dog, they go off on canoe rides, road trips, visits to both busy spots and quiet spaces and, finally, spend a last day together by the ocean in Maine, where she finally finds peace and acceptance. This is real love, people.


    I still keep a journal despite having a blog. No matter how spill-all-my-guts-out open I may seem, there are many things I do and think that I'll just never tell. I've always thought it kept me sane to be able to express myself without fear of being censored or criticized. Whenever I pick up an old journal, even one from my 13-year-old self I realize that as much as I've changed so much is still the same. I just know how to dodge bullets faster and better. From: HUFFPOST Healthy Living, 01/20/15


    Which is why I've decided to keep this blog around, at least for a little while longer. I've always picked up a pen (or sat in front of a keyboard) any time I needed to make sense of my world; writing allows me to get into my head and get all my thoughts out without having to worry about how ridiculous I sound (that's where the editing comes in). From: The New York Times, 01/19/15
    This was lovely. The post is by a novelist who was asked how to encourage a young writer. It sounds eerily like the story of my life -- now all I need is to keep reading and keep writing (and, okay, start submitting). From: M Molly Backes' blog, 07/12/11


    Every day at work I see all kinds of female bodies: athletic, boyish, curvy, voluptuous, natural, enhanced, preteen, post-baby, postmenopausal -- thousands of different bodies I've seen up close and personal in my lifetime. This infographic shows that the description of the ideal female body changes every decade or so, going back hundreds of years. I hope that soon we define the "perfect" body as one that is simply healthy and functioning; that what matters is that we're comfortable in our own skin. From: Greatist, 01/15/15



    Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
    The Normal Bar: Where Does Your Relationship Fall?
    All is Forgotten, Nothing is Lost
    Gun Dealers' Daughter: A Novel: A Novel
    Crazy Rich Asians
    The Undomestic Goddess
    The Geography of Bliss: One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the World

    Gigi's favorite books »
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October 23, 2005



Wow... Do they do this because of economic reasons or because they think it's a normal or accepted thing to do? And why aren't they embarrassed doing it? I've never seen that happen in any party here.. maybe only after our company xmas party, and only AFTER the party has ended.


Hi Chiqs - No, not for economic reasons, because none of these folks are patay-gutom. I suspect it's that mentality of "there's so much (free) food naman -- let's load up!" Or perhaps "kuha na tayo bago tayo maubusan."

I'd never seen that in any of our parties over there either; it never even occurred to me that people did that until I came over here. Obviously (and I don' t want to sound like a snob but I know I will) it has to do with how people are/were raised.

At the last party I attended (only a few months ago), my husband's cousin-in-law (who's Caucasian) ran outside to where we were hanging out. She gasped, "Oh my God, there's this woman who just took a whole tray of food!" and then she pointed at the culprit. It was the commodore's wife. After all the usual suspects followed suit, there was almost nothing left for the guests who arrived later, nor for those who wanted seconds.


eww. whenever we hold parties at home i don't notice that kind of behavior, but that's just egregious. i love food and all, but you're right, it does not make any sense. the shame, the shame.


Hi Sarah - Methinks I'm going to have to film this when it happens next time (and I guarantee there WILL be a next time), just to prove this doesn't occur only once in a blue moon. Granted, I've witnessed such rude, shameful behavior only within certain circles and not all/everywhere -- but I've seen it enough to know there are more than enough folks who think it's OK to do this.


ohmy!!!this is so true.getting take out food from the buffet table!!i've seen this more than once/i'll join in your crusade coz i just hate hate hate these people.and many of these people will announce to the whole world: mare, ung balot ha.kahit konti lang.lam mo na, si (insert name) andun lang sa bahay.di na ako makaluto.oh!!!! horrible!!!


Oh man. I know exactly what you are talking about and I share the same pet peeve.

I know quite a few of these people and these are the same people that hogs, not only the food, but the videoke in the basement and living rooms. After, raiding the food and making you listen to their out-of-tune version of Sinatra songs and cheesy OPMs, off they go. But not after they make you move your car first, of course.

Where do I sign up for the crusade?


Golda and John - Akkkk!!! Deja Vu! We must know the same people, because all the words and actions are EXACTLY the same! Especially that speech (word for word pa). :) And John -- so, so true; once they get ahold of that Magic Mic, it's all over.

Like my grandma always used to say: "Ay cochino (cochina)!"


Gigi - sign me up for your crusade. I know my all my Tita's will turn their nose at me if they see me wearing a pin of some kind that says "Stop the Take-Home hogs!" I've shown up at family parties late and there is nothing left of the palabok - just the lettuce decorations, the lemons, and about one serving of the noodles that you have to scrape together. Tsk tsk!


I find this really funny because it is true. What i do not like during parties are people who are "takaw gutom" - they take too much on their plates as if it is world war and then could not eat all of it and just throws them away. Nothing's left for other people who arrives late anyway. But then, people should really learn some party etiquette and one of these is to stop food looting while the party if going on. The hosts should really said something to say to these couple while they were on the act itself. Nakakahiya.




fun, funny post!!!!

oh wow, great new layout too!!!!


This is so funny. I haven't been to Filipino parties in a while, but it reminds of a party that I went to before. And I cannot believe my eyes when I witnessed this Filipina mother hogging a lot of food and even took the whole box of zipploc bags.


Hi Jhaya - Mu husband and I were talking about this over dinner tonight (talagang common problem pala 'to, just as I'd feared). We were trying to come up with ways to stop these food pirates -- I wish you and everyone else who's witnessed this were with us tonight. I'm still hoarse from laughing. :)

Hi Mell - C'mon fess up! Have you seen this bad behavior too? I bet your parties have really, really yummy good, too!

Hi Bethski - Yikes! I think the next party Pinoy party I go to, I'll swipe all the foil, plastic bags, etc. and hide them so I don't have to watch this happen. Nakakainis talaga!


Very, very descriptive blog, Gigi! I couldn't stop laughing at your comments!!! I just love your reference to the flying saucers in grocery shopping bags and Chocolate Hills in Bohol - hehehe! - never quite thought of things that way before.

I have seen things happen like you've described, but I have yet to experience it at one of mine, or my family's parties. Most of our guests wait to be offered (whether or not they have to leave early) or hang around until the end before they pack up food. And, because it's part of the hospitality that has always been a Filipino custom/tradition, we always make sure that we prepare more than extra so that our guests can take home food. We also stagger the serving of the food, para naman the latecomers and repeat eaters can still have hot food.

There also seems to be a customary ritual that always happens before our guests take home food. The host (or one of the family) usually says, "You're leaving? Wait, let me wrap you up some pabaon." At this point, the guest is expected to say something to the effect of, "No, it's ok. Never mind na lang. Nakakahiya naman, kumain na kami nang marami." In the end, the host, of course, wins and the guest walks out with food wrapped by the host. Close friends and family are usually told to wrap up their own pabaon, but never have I expefrienced anyone taking more than their fair share. And I've definitely never experienced a whole lechon walk away before the party has even warmed up! That's definitely one for the classics!


Yes, I'm glad I haven't experienced your hog hell, as my family experience has always been similar to Yey's, except of course I'm usually on the receiving side. Everyone I've ever known waits till they are offered pabaon. When I was younger, in the Philippines, I was sincere in my refusal, as usually we had better tasting food at home (my mom is a great cook, though she has "retired" for the most part). Here in the US, I definitely learned to appreciate free food and usually hang about the table before I leave, hoping for a handout, and I've never been disappointed.

Speaking of which, sorry to take the whole container of poke at the beach, Yey, but with the cops breathing down our necks I didn't have time to look for another container, and I was determined to get a taste of what everyone was raving about. I'm surprised I didn't destroy my stomach for the next 3 days, as you certainly put in the spice, and I had that for almost every meal till it was gone, but WOW that stuff was GOOOOD! So though I feel a leeeeetle guilty, it was definitely worth it. It certainly will tempt me to be less than polite again the next time you bring it to a party, but I promise to restrain myself.


Hi Yey and Anna - I guess we're all the same (gee, I wonder why? :) ). I'm the same way -- pakipot muna (although usually I'm just tamad about bringing stuff back with me), and then I always let the host/ess portion out my share. I get really dyahe about packing my own baon (unless we're talking family, of course) so I won't do it if no one does it for me.

Anna - thanks so much again for sepia-toning (is that a word? I doubt it) my blog photo!

Yey - I have to taste your poke one day (OK -- I'll admit that sounded really pervy, but you know what I mean)! But easy on the spice, please?


Actually Gi, though the spice was strong on the tongue, it gave the dish just the right oomph. I was dreading the ultimate consequence, but it was surprisingly easy on my lower GI system. You should really try it as is.


PS You're welcome re the photo, but it was no big deal. Want to see what you look like with fur? I can do that too...


PPS Never mind the fur, it didn't come out the way I expected, you just turned into a bush.


Fur, bush, poke -- what are WE all thinking of tonight?


This is so true. The take-home mentality is so embedded in the Pinoy psyche, although not all Pinoys are "take-home hogs" as you put it (I know I'm not one).

It's hard to wage an all-out "war" against this negative Pinoy trait, pero one thing we can do is not to be a take-home hog.

Hmm...maybe you can hire a graphic artist to design bumper stickers that say: "NO TO TAKE-HOME HOGS!" How about that?


ERRATUM: "...not to be a take-home hog OURSELVES."


So far I haven't witnessed this kind of rude behaviour first hand... although I wouldn't be surprised to hear that these things happen. How annoying! And I guess everyone else is just too polite to tell these people off, eh?

On to the walking-away-with-the-lechon incident, did the shameless couple face any wrath from the hosts? Somehow I couldn't imagine the scenario... two people dressed to the nines attending a wedding reception... and then suddenly being seen lugging a half-eaten lechon out. Shameless. =p


Wow, I didn't know it went that far! lol I guess it's another manifestation of the "think only of our own bakod" trait of ours. I think it's still patay-gutom mentality kahit pa gaano kayaman sila ngayon. Money doesn't buy class, ika-nga. Haha! Next party, magparinig ka. "Please lang, nobody packs baon until the party's over!!!" Kailangan lang niyan, isang pahiya. Heheh...


first of all, i like the new look. ganda :)

i feel the same way. this is one of the reasons why i avoided going to pinoy parties for the longest time. it just irked me how some people would do that and i'd rather stay home than get myself all worked up..LOL.


Gigi, what do you expect? After all, it is October. |=)


Just for the record, ha - I didn't introduce the freudian discussion on fur, bush, nor poke... I thought the October thing was just for men, but does that mean that you and Anna have too much testosterone?

Ok, it turns out that there was this other party where the celebrant requested a close friend to pick-up the two lechons and buckets of dinuguan ordered and bring it to the party. Well, the close friend decided that two lechons and buckets of dinuguan were too much food for the party, so he made the roasted little piggy go "wee-wee-wee" all the way to his home, along with some buckets of the dinuguan. The decision was made unilaterally and without requesting permission nor providing any information to the celebrant. {Gigi, I didn't think that there could be a worse story than the walk-away lechon, but this one comes from a very good source.} The story goes on with the close "friend" supposedly inviting some of the guests at the party to HIS home afterwards for more food... Go figure!

Anna, please, no need to feel even just a "leeeeetle"
guilty about the poke. I did give it all to you. Since I have the recipe still in my head, it's not a problem to whip up (ok, so now I'm guilty of adding to the freudian list, though totally unintentionally) another batch. But I am surprised that you ate it for 3 days - didn't know it lasts that long (another freudian slip, sorry!). I'm so glad you didn't get sick. Maybe it's because I blanched the baby octopus and shrimps before adding them to the mix. Did Blair have any or did the tentacle pieces scare him? (I tried to cut the tentacles into smaller pieces so that they won't be too noticeable.) I agree with you about the spiciness giving the whole thing "ooomph"! If you only knew what I put in it, you'd be so amazed at the simplicity of ingredients!

Gigi, if you ever get to attend one of our get-togethers, then by all means, I will make poke for you. Just make sure you show up or I will really bug you on being just like your other friend whom I originally made the poke for!


By the way, I forgot to tell you that I'm honored that you... ummmm... want to taste my poke! Ok, I'm not quite sure how else to state that without appearing perverse, but I'm sure you know what I mean.


Pinoy foods are way too much but enjoyable. The spanish way is to prepare them BIGGER than your typical guests. Laging FIESTA!

btw: the new revamp is nice but I like the older one better.


Er...what's a poke? I'm very curious now.


Oh, Blair had a taste of the poke (btw who named it anyway? never heard the term before), but I have to admit I probably had 3/4 of it, if not more. I was eating it as the main course of my meals for 3 days, so yes, there was a LOT left from the party. He thought it delicious too, food doesn't scare him. Unusual for a white guy, he actually enjoys a lot of Filipino foods, including dinuguan (as long as it's done well, of course) and sinigang. The only thing he dislikes is balut (he has tried it twice, though I don't think he had the best quality balut either time) and he's not fond of kare-kare or ampalaya though he will eat it.

Madmuse, I've never heard the term but poke (po-keh) is what Yey called the spicy seafood salad she made. Yey, is that something you made up? It's not traditional Filipino that I know of, I've never had it before.


Hi Anna and MadMuse - Poke is a Hawaiian raw fish dish. Check out this recipe (although this one calls for searing before mixing in the other ingredients):


I'm sorry...all this talk about poke has me laughing. It's the pinoy in me, I guess. Mababaw ang kaligayan ko, at ang utak madumi! Unless I know what it is, my mind jumps to what it previously knows as poke. Now that I more educated :), it sounds yummy, actually. I'll attempt to make it one of these days definitely!


Poke is the Hawaiian version of ceviche, or the Filipino kinilaw (closer to ceviche because of the main ingredients). It's typically made with seared or raw fish, as Gigi mentioned, flavored with a sesame oil dressing. The poke I made for my daughter's birthday bonfire at the beach, which Anna is referring to, was made with baby octopus and shrimp (both blanched since we would be outdoors for a long time), mixed with onions, tomatoes, cilantro, and whatever else I added on there, all diced up, and my own version dressing, which was ever-so-slightly sweet and spicy hot. If Anna ate 3/4 of what was left, and didn't tire of eating it for 3 days, then it must have been good. I'm not sure that I could have lasted that long eating one dish, even though it's eaten with other foods. Heck, I'm not sure I could have lasted eating poke for more than a day!

Gigi, have you heard any comments on the lumpia? Oh, but I'm not sure that your friends were there, aside from L, who didn't get to taste any because they were all gone! I wonder how people could enjoy it without the garlicky soy sauce and peanuts. Serves them right, I suppose.

Anna, Blair may be white, but there is nothing typical about him, well, except maybe his forever October drive... ;-)


Ooops, I forgot to mention that they forgot to serve the lumpia with the sauce and peanuts. Don't know what happened to the peanuts, but someone from the kitchen tried to give me back the sauce. Maybe I should have brought home the sauce to see how it would taste with poke? Hehehe!


Hi Jayred, Jovs, Madmuse, and Dexie - Naku, I've been talking about this topic with other friends and have heard all these amazing (albeit shameful) stories about rude party behavior -- although so far the worst I've heard was Yey's about the stolen lechon and dinuguan. Maybe it helps if more folks talk about this, so that those that who do it realize it's unacceptable and extremely rude.


Hi KnOizKi - I don't know if you've noticed this -- but sometimes the template "automatically" reverts to my original template. Hmmm...I'm wondering if Typepad agrees with you too!


We should have a forum on how to curtail and discourage such behavior. I bet some of the suggestions would be hilarious... :)


take home mentality is everywhere - here in Oz it's the same. I've attended some pinoy parties and there's really a lot of food- parang fiesta talaga. In my case, the host/hostess offers, pag masarap yong luto syempre balot ako, pag ndi naman I'd say thanks, but no thanks. When I have my party I do offer for people to take home, but only after the party. otherwise i don't bother at all. But I do get some people who'd ask for "balot" - if they're good friends ok lang. pag ndi i will not invite them again to my party.

I also noticed here some pinoys love to be invited all the time -but never reciprocates. Am no good cook so when I get invited I'd just bring wine or flowers or something from the deli; but i notice some pinoy are really rude - alang pakialam. some don't even help out clear the table or something even though they know we don't have maid. Feeling nila they're in a restaurant and they have to be served!!! So those people will never get an invite from me ever.

pero kaloka ang mga pinoy talaga tsaka ang sarap batukan nong mag-asawa lalo na yong commodore! hehehe


Whoa, those stories take the cake ... although I HAVE seen my share of take-home hogs. One Filipino community organization I worked with briefly considered charging people for the softdrinks at parties because they would end up carting home entire six-packs in their bags, even if we asked them to take only what they could drink.

I don't take home food EVER, but then again my mother was the old-fashioned type who used to feed us before we went to parties just so we wouldn't eat too much. Old habits die hard, I guess :)


Hello Isay - I guess it's a universal thing then? Patay!

Hi Rei! I've missed you!!! Are you OK (great even)?

You're one classy act, girl. Your mom (and dad) did good. :)


my family had our own share of these take-home hogs especially during family parties here at home. what my mom does is, before a party would start, she would prepare take-home food for these hogs. sadly, we couldn't avoid to invite them coz they're close relatives. at one point, my mom's idea is successful but since these people are real hogs, once they get their containers, they would still find ways to get more food to go!
another strategy my mom did was, she stationed herself on the buffet table and served the food herself. for the first time, there was food for everybody and all went home happy...except for the hogs!


Wow Kero -- that's awful! For your mom to have to go through all that extra trouble and work just to make sure ALL her guests are happy -- tapos kulang pa. Ay naku!


when i was growing up in L.A., i remember my mom packing the 'pabaon' for our guests. after i got married, the first time i experienced this 'take-home hog' phenomenon was when one of our friends declared early on during the party that he brought along his tupperware. hubby and i laughed because we thought it was a joke, but we found out after the party that it wasn't. i guess this phenomenon is a filipino american thing because i've never seen this happen in the manila parties. anyway, hubby and i always refuse to take home food, no matter how much the hostess insists. we just tell them that our kids do not eat filipino food :) during potlucks, we mostly bring pork inihaw and tri-tip steak filipino barbecue skewers, and these are very popular among the 'take-home hogs' :)


Hi Milkphish - The guy brought along his OWN tupperware? I haven't seen that happen yet -- wow! I was wondering, too, if that was a Filipino-American thing but Isay from Oz (above) said it happens there also. I'd love to investigate how this whole thing started and became widespread (in the same way I once wanted to find out how Pinoys started dancing the "cha-cha" here at parties -- but that's another story :) ).


this phenomenon probably exists in the filipino diaspora.

the cha-cha started in west covina :)


Hi Milkphish - Really? Did it? When? I used to have a theory that it had to do with Manila-based folks coming here, who were influenced by all that latin dancing in "Penthouse 7" type shows in the mid-late '70s. But my newspaper boss said it was derived from an earlier popular dance (I just blanked out on its name right now) within the Pinoy community. My older sister was in college here during the mid-70s and said the Pinoys were already doing the cha-cha then.

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