Bittersweet Badian

The last time we flew back to Cebu for a holiday as a family was in October 2019. That was almost three years ago. And even then, with daddy sick, it was a bittersweet time. Rest and relaxation was an entirely vague experience when at the back of my mind, I kept wanting to go home. Always mentally calculating how long the bus ride would be should anything happen to daddy and I would have to rush back. Constantly checking my phone for messages, just in case.

But Badian being Jeff’s hometown, the trip had to be done. Jeff needed to reconnect with his roots too, and it wouldn’t be the same if we didn’t come with him for emotional support, at least. Having just lost the grandmother who raised him the previous year, he needed us there.

The cemetery was the first place we went to as soon as we arrived. He wanted to say hi to his Lola Marcosa. Let her know he’s in town.

I don’t know what it’s like for Jeff to be walking around the place he grew up in. Every time we’re there, new memories pop up and he’d indulge me with his boyhood stories. But beneath his pride of having had to fetch buckets of water by the waterfall every morning before climbing down the mountain to go to school, I feel his pain. More than the poverty he lived through, I feel his loneliness from being abandoned by his parents.

It’s always in Badian that I get to love and appreciate Jeff even more. Away from the stresses of living in Australia, I see him as that lost and innocent kid trying to help his grandmother and himself survive, both of them taking on odd jobs to secure the next meal.

She was like a mother to him. The only one who showed him that he was loved. He was devastated when he heard the news. It’s one of those wounds that wouldn’t quite heal.

Putting the violins aside, Raven loved Badian for the beach and the seashells that were right outside our room’s doorstep, eagerly sorting them on our bed, making for such a sandy sleep.

Now, I can’t look at these pictures without getting some serious craving. Because tortang talong and grilled pork is probably one of the best Filipino food combos ever. That, with pancit with lechon with lumpia with chop suey with grilled fish with everything else that I’ve been dreaming of eating because the ones here in Australia don’t quite hit the spot.

Must be the Maggie Magic Sarap with its MSG.

At any rate, I didn’t have a problem feeding Raven on this trip, as per the above evidence of her eagerly slurping noodles.

While we’re on the topic of food, omigod… ngohiong!!! Nothing like eating them by hand… that you cover with plastic as a, um, sanitary measure.

I don’t normally eat breakfast, and certainly not before going on a bus ride to avoid being sick (even though I never suffer from motion sickness) but as soon as I saw the ngohiong shop at Cebu South Bus Terminal, I had to have my ngohiong! Even if meant catching the next bus to Badian. Jeff and his excitement would have to wait to accommodate my own excitement over finally getting to eat oily spring rolls with julienned jicama and whatever else they didn’t put enough of in there as filling as a cost-cutting measure because they were skinny as.

I love street food. Although I’m not sure if Janice felt the same. At least it was vegan.

*Raven at 3 years old

4 thoughts on “Bittersweet Badian

  1. Fellow Filo here hands in the air I have loved seeing your photos of “home” (Cebu?) and your drool-worthy photos of food! So good! I’m sad for your husband that he must miss his Lola so much and so glad you were able to have quality family time together. Raven is SO CUTE and growing so fast. Pictures of you by the sea look like magazine photos of a model. You are stunning! xx

    1. Thanks, Janet. And, yes, “home” is Cebu, although that can easily be Australia as well. I feel like it’s both now and I’d be hard-pressed if I have to take a pick.

      Any plans of going back to Cebu yourself?

      1. No plans to go yet…maybe one day in the future. My brother and I are flying Mom back home to us here in Australia…so…that’s going to be interesting. Wish us luck. Lol.

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