*Note: If Filipino words are used, they are translated below
1. Playing cards
Lola used to play solitaire because she wanted to keep her mind active. It is the only solo card game she knows. If it looks like she will not win the game, she will cheat by turning over certain cards even if that move isn’t allowed. When I was younger, we used to play tong its together using mentos or stork as bets. Lola likes the red cards to be really red because if it isn’t, it looks violet to her, and she’ll confuse it with the black cards.
2. Queensland Butter
This is lola’s favorite butter. This is the best butter that I have ever tasted.
3. Rocking chair
Lola likes sitting on a rocking chair.
4. Wet wipes
Lola always has wet wipes in her bag. She doesn’t like wasting them, so if it is only used once, she will put it in a small plastic bag, and use it again.
5. Water added to liquid products
Whenever the shampoo, dishwashing soap, condensada, etc are almost finished, she adds water to them. She says, “Para masimot ung [insert name of liquid product here].”
Lola is a great cook. I love her kaldereta especially if it’s kalderetang kambing. She knows how to cook the goat so that it will be soft and tender and that it won’t be maanghit. An adequate amount of wine also makes the kaldereta taste really good.
7. Hot Chocolate
Whenever my cousins and I stayed up late talking in the veranda of our rest house in Batangas, lola makes us hot chocolate. Boiling the chocolate balls in a pot of water, she adds peanut butter, lets it melt into the chocolate, and beats the mixture with a wooden beater until it is thick and creamy.
8. Somewhere Out There
Lola is a great singer. This is one of her favorite songs. My mom says she sings this whenever she misses her kids who migrated to the U.S. and Austria.
9. Nobody But You Ringtone
This is lola’s cellphone ringtone, and this song is one of the favorite songs of her apo sa tuhod.
10. Canned Goods
Lola is a hoarder of canned goods. Her pantry is filled with tons and tons of canned goods. She keeps buying more, and she forgets what she already bought. When tita found lots of expired canned goods, lola didn’t want to get rid of them, so tita pretended that she wanted to have them, but really she just threw them away.
I love going to the grocery with lola. Once we are there, I ask her to buy cornflakes, jam, or anything else I wanted. In the grocery, I am in charge of taking the plastic bag from the bunch of plastic bags tacked to a wooden column inside the store, open the plastic bag so that it will be ready to be filled with a kind of fruit or vegetable that lola selected. After one bag is filled, I would tie it, then place it on the side of the cashier check out table. I’ll get another plastic bag, and I’ll repeat this again and again until lola moves on to buy fish or other products like patis, suka, toyo, or bagoong.
When there’s a balikbayan box, lola keeps the candies inside her cabinet. Throughout the year, she gives them out to guests and family members.
13. Tap Water
Lola desn’t understand why it is important to switch to drinking mineral or filtered water. She argues that her long years of drinking tap water has made her naturally develop anti-bodies to protect her against anything that is in tap water.
Lola always pesters me about wearing a watch. I told her that I didn’t need a watch because I checked the time through my cellphone, but this explanation didn’t satisfy her. Lola loves giving away watches especially to the maids. Even when she was sick, she still wore a watch.
Lola likes spraying her room with baygon to kill the insects. After spraying, she’ll just stay inside her room. We told her that this isn’t good for her because the fumes were toxic. She didn’t believe us. She developed fibrosis in the lungs. Inhaling toxic chemicals is one of the main causes of fibrosis.
16. Dark brown hair color
Lola doesn’t like black hair color because she says that this makes her hair “black na black,” and that it looked unnatural for an old lady to have hair that’s “black na black.”
17. Folded table napkins
Lola always cuts and folds napkins. I’ll use them up, and the next day, she has cut and folded new ones.
Lola loves listening to the radio. She watches TV, but not too much because she says it strains her eyes. When listening to the radio, she keeps it close to her ear because she says she’s bingi.
Lola loves Giga because it helps her with her aches and pains.
Lola always has dolls in her room. Her children say that this is because she married young, and so she didn’t have enough time to enjoy playing with dolls.
Whenever her apos or children visit her, they’ll bring her favorite dessert.
22. White flowers
Lola believes that when someone gives her white flowers, then that means good luck. When I was a kid, I’d pick sampaguitas in our rest house in Batangas, and I’d give them to her. I’d do this everyday, and she’d still act surprised and delighted whenever I’d give her flowers.
 Lola = grandmother
 Tong its = a card game
 Para masimot ung = So that we can use up the remaining contents
 Kaldereta = a Filipino dish
 Apo sa tuhod = great-grandchild
 Tita = aunt
 Patis = fish sauce
 Toyo = soy sauce
 Suka = vinegar
 Bagoong = shrimp or fish paste
 Balikbayan Box = a box of items sent by a Filipino who works in a foreign country
 black na black = overly black
 bingi = deaf
 apos = grandchildren
 sampaguitas = small white flowers, is the national flower of the Philippines
For more about my awesome Filipino family, check out these links:
- A Childhood in Batangas: Eating Mangoes
- A Childhood in Batangas: My Wound is Bigger than Yours, Belat
- Conversations With Lola: Aling Dionisia’s Illness
- Grandma and Good Fridays: No Laughing Allowed
- Childhood Game: May Butas Ang Puwet Mo!
- Click my awesome Filipino family for more posts under this category
Check out my other blog categories.
Note: For some entries in this blog, a few names and details have been deliberately and willingly changed by the author. This is a personal decision made by the author for specific reasons known to her and is not an endorsement for censorship.
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