-a sour soup. a distinct Filipino comfort food for the soul. as unique as its people. as diverse as its culture. a blend of ingredients prepared to its sour perfection, exciting the palate, soothing the nerves, rousing the senses, bringing back memories of scenic greens, warm sun, blue waters, and the solace of home.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


My relationship with her has always been that of love-hate. I love her the most when we're not talking or when we're apart. I love her when she's away or when I'm away. As long as I don't see her or talk to her, I love her. It's almost impossible for us to stay in one room without us having a fight. Our conversation kicks off okay but moments later, we'll be discussing points then arguing then fighting then ending up not talking altogether for days... Those are my youthful recollection with her in my life.

She was 26 years old when I was born. She was just starting a career in the food business and was she enterprising! Her whole world revolved around the business. She worked ludicrous hours, performed tasks for what could be done by three or five people at one time, laboured like there was no tomorrow. She was unstoppable. She made night, day and worked some more in the wee hours of the night. I didn't ever see her asleep!

She's always working 24/7 it seems. And though it paid off, she lost me and my sisters in the process, me especially. My memories of my childhood are somewhat vague to me. Much as I try hard to recall, I could only come up with snippets of it. Perhaps I'm repressing it or unconsciously trying to forget that part of my life. Not that I had a completely messed up childhood. For the most part, I lived in a happy, loving, comfortable home but it's something I'd rather not recall. She was never on it anyway. So what was there to remember?

I do remember that I was mischievous, naughty and rebellious as a kid. I had my share of corporal punishments- alot! But that's not why I was angry at the world and taking it against her. I was mad because I never felt truly loved as a child. I was always craving for attention. It was the classic middle child syndrome. I felt I wasn't always good-enough. My eldest sister was the responsible one. She was graceful, pretty and she had the fairer skin and nice, curly hair. My younger sister was the center of attention for she was the baby. She was cute, sweet, adorable and very smart! As for me, I was dark, short, average and anything but graceful! The result? I tried to lived up to how they saw me. I was seen as the female version of Dennis the menace so I gave them problems! It was easy to be bad. (It still is easy now! Ha!)

When I was 12, I joined my eldest sister in Manila for High School. That was just to get away from her as far as possible. Together we tried living responsibly as teenagers in the 'big' city. We stayed for four years in Manila and only visited our hometown, General Santos on summer time. Even then, I couldn't befriend her. I would annoy her on end and rebel against anything she says. I always looked at her as THE enemy. I blamed her for all the bad memories of my youth.

After graduating High School, I was bored sick of Manila so I joined my eldest sister, this time in Davao City for college. My eldest sister, she too was trying to stay away from her as far as possible. Not that far in this case, as Davao City is only a two and a half hours drive from our hometown. However, this meant that she was much closer to commute to and fro and makes it easy for her to visit us almost every weekend. I despised the whole idea. Still, I played along. It was in college that she started making ammends for the lost years. I thought she was pushing her luck. By this time, my emotions were stoned when it came to her. I resist showing any affection and if I did, it was forced. I still respect the person nonetheless, huge respect for what she has accomplished in her life. That was it.

After college, I thought that the best place to find the best opportunity for a career is in Manila. So, my sister and I went back to find our chance there. We did find it and again we were separated from her. All my life's objective it seemed have been trying to avoid her presence. Anywhere but with her seemed like the best place to be. Nevertheless, as fate would have it, I found myself back in my hometown after a short stint in Tokyo, Japan and almost two years of working in Manila. I came back with a deep need of being home. So I was there, after 12 years of 'running away,' I was home.

The reunion was everything but sweet. All my youthful anger came back to haunt me and I was at her again, doing what I do best- making her life miserable! I thought she made my life miserable back then, so it's payback time! We fought endlessly. We never agreed on anything. We could not talk for even five minutes without pushing each other's wits. I thought it was useless being there. We were hurting each other like crazy. I was filled with remorse but then I do it again. I almost intentionally would say things just to hurt her. I didn't know what to do. No matter how many times I've tried making up with her, it doesn't seem to work. I've been on her prayers everyday for the last 19 years. She's probably praying that whatever evilness has struck me, I would soon snap out of it!

Then one day, it happened. We were having one of our fights. We were shouting at the top of our lungs. We were relentless! We were exhausted. The next thing we knew we were crying hard and hugging and forgiving each other and just loving. For once there was peace in our home, and in our hearts...

The thing is, I love her more than anything and anyone in the world! She has her flaws. She was never perfect but neither was I. For all her imperfections there was beauty, dignity, courage, determination, resilience, compassion in her that was unmistakably hers.

For years, I have wanted her to be the best for me. Blamed her for things I did on my own. Shame on me! Not once did I think, have I been giving her and showing her the best of me??! I should have but I never did! The best thing about this realization is that, it's never too late! She never gave up and she never turned her back on me. She has always welcomed me back with open arms everytime I come back to her. No questions asked.

She left for the States in 2000. I followed her in 2004. We don't live in the same State. I am over 2000 miles away from her. I saw her four times since I came here and I still fought with her on that four times I visited and I still fight with her over the phone whenever we talk. I just don't get along with her. Maybe, the relationship has to be that way for it to work. Love-hate- there is such a thing.

I REALLY, TRULY, DEEPLY LOVE her. You think there is a happy ending to this? I'm working on it. Everyday, I'm still a work in progress...

You know who I'm talking about here, don't you? You too have her around the house. Everybody's got one! You grew up with her. She may be a 'pain' at times but you have to admit, she's the best thing that has ever happened to your life and she's the best person you know. She, her, our mom, mama, mum, ima, ina, mommy- mother.©

3 taster(s) say...:

Annavi said...


i was really touched...nearly cried, somehow i can relate! please continue to touch our hearts with your beautiful writings! miss you my friend!

Annavi :P

Filipino Cultured said...

That was nice, well written, I can kind of relate, but we'll all regret it when our moms are dead and we won't be able to fight with them anymore, or do anything with them.

eam said...

hi annavi: i was crying when i was writing it because all the memories just came back... thanks for stopping by. i miss you back! hope to see you soon...

hello filipino cultured: it was an emotional journey for me to write that piece and i realize the importance of really telling our loved ones that we love them before it's too late... thanks for dropping a note.