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8 Things I Miss About the Philippines - When in Lopez Quezon

8 things i miss about the philippines

What do you miss most about your hometown? The people, the food, or just the overall simplicity of life back there? Hold on... where is your hometown?

I read some blogs from Filipinos abroad and there are some common themes as to what they've been missing back home.

For me, it's a big town called Lopez in Quezon province. And since I want to remember happy memories now, why don't I tell you about my last trip there?

We were supposed to go home to the Philippines this April. Unfortunately, there's a need for lazy heroes at this time.  We all needed to stay home.

So please allow me to reminisce the last time that I went back home in the province. The writing about 8 Things I Love About Living in JapanIt includes the things I miss about the Philippines in general. 

It was April 2019 and we had so much fun scouring for food in a humble barangay called Jongo in Lopez, Quezon.  And because Filipinos are both hospitable and "makapal ang mukha", we consumed all the food offered to us without leaving anything behind for our hosts. It literally means thick-faced but I'll translate it as shameless and abusive.  

Here are the FUN things we did:

1. The Coconut Nut is a Giant Nut

Coconut Philippines
Guest celebrity @rosiearche

I love how inexpensive coconut is back there - Php 15.  It's even free! No kidding! If you can get it from the tree yourself that is!

That day, our host cracked open a lot of coconuts. We collected all the juice and scraped all the meat from each coconut. What we couldn't drink or eat, we brought back home. 

See what I mean? Shameless and abusive guests, LOL!

2. Desserts and Sweet Bread 

Here in Japan, we still cook Filipino foods for our daily meals. So while most Filipinos miss Filipino home-cooked meal, I guess it's not true for me. What I crave for are the Filipino desserts like niyubak, sweet rice cakes like biko, and bakery bread like pande coco & pandesal.

It does not help that my cousin constantly posts her now-famous ube pandesal!

We brought some kamoteng kahoy or cassava, boiled them, then mashed them while they are hot. You'd need to pound it continuously in a giant mortar and pestle while adding a generous amount of margarine and condensed milk. The result? An addictive dessert! Seriously! We call it nilubak. Most of the time we use banana too.
Niyubak Quezon
Niyubak na Kamoteng Kahoy

3. Hiking, Farms 

Jongo Lopez Quezon
There's my 4-year-old. Is he about to fall? Lol! How responsible am I?

I remember my first hike in Barangay Pansol with my elementary classmates. It was also my first time to drink coconut water. I did not like it back then but I had no choice because that was the only water available. 

Here in Japan, you can hike to get to a shrine on top of the mountain or see Mt. Fuji, in the province you hike to get food.

Of course, we hiked in Jongo too. It was just a little hike, to be honest. I am not even sure if I can climb a mountain! Well, unless of course, I ride a cable car to get to the top.

That time in Jongo, Lucas was excited to see carabao, chicken, pig, and pieces of cotton falling right off the tree!

4. Filipino vibe

mga tsismosang kapitbahay

One of the things I joke about when we came here is how I am unable to catch gossip from neighbors. It sounds awful but it's true.

It's annoying how when you go home to the province people will shamelessly ask you questions like... "How many kids do you have? Aren't you going to have another one?" If you're single, "do you have a boyfriend?"

Your child will be an instant celebrity too. Since the family doesn't see him frequently, they genuinely want to spend time and get to know him more.

I can't believe I miss those. Where people feel like you're close friends. Even Filipino strangers talk to you as if you've known them for a long time.  They don't bother with politeness. You can use any language as you wish too. Salitang kalye (street), beki (gay), you can be extremely polite or extremely impolite.

Here in Japan, I greet the neighbors Konnichiwa and that's it. My Japanese is not even good for small conversations yet!

5. The Noise

Rooster in the Philippines
this seriously cracks me up

Nothing is funnier for me than waking up at the sound of a scandalous rooster in the morning. Here in Japan, I wake up at the sound of crows taking the chance to pick up food from the 8 am trash collection.

In the Philippine province, you can laugh as loud as you can and you can even shout to call your neighbor's attention.  Your kids can scream and jump around in the house as long as it's not late at night.

I savored the moment as I shouted for Lucas across the rice fields.

I miss the noise really. One comment on the Youtube channel Life Where I'm From when he visited the Philippines is that it is so noisy. There is loud music almost anywhere. Here in Japan, the neighbors will go straight to the police when you're noisy.

6. Filipino breakfast

Filipino Breakfast
Photo Credit: @allancapanzana Follow her on IG as she passionately cooks for her mysterious "mister"

Yes, that unhealthy Filipino breakfast. Fried rice, fried dried fish, fried egg, fried dried squid, and fried eggplant.

They have dried fish here too but the small dried fish is not the same as our dilis (anchovy).

I remember when we went to the US, the airport security dogs smelled something from a fellow Filipino at the baggage counters.  We knew that they will definitely smell the dried squid we brought. Those squid's smell is just so strong those smart dogs will sense it no matter how thick I wrapped those smelly seafoods up.

We quickly moved away from the dog. The security personnel was asking the other Filipino, "Are you sure there are no chicharon (fried pork belly or rinds)? longganisa (pork sausage with a lot of garlic)?" Oh, the familiarity meant they've seen so much!

7. Family Gatherings

Arche Family Quezon
Arche Family - Holy Week

It was "Mahal na Araw" (Holy Week) when we came home at that time so most people working or studying in the city also came. During Holy Friday, there is a long procession. If you want to see family and friends you haven't seen for a long time, join the procession.

There were men dressed as Centurions or Roman soldiers, they go back and forth the procession lines to organize people.  It's amusing to scare children about them.

It was my cousin Jomar's vow to dress up a centurion and help out in the procession every year. Lucas was able to try the costume!

Centaurion kid
Is that you Lucas? :)

8. Beach

Jomalig Island
Photo credit: @thehiddenjem

Last but definitely not least. I miss the Philippine beaches!

We did not really swim at that time we went home but just watching the ocean while driving on the highway is pure bliss.

Our trips to the beach are part of the wonderful memories of my childhood and even my teenage years. Sure, the sands in the shore are not as pretty as Boracay's white sand but it is still a blessing to grow up near the beaches.

There is a lot of beach in Quezon that are becoming famous travel destinations now like Jomalig, Cagbalete, Borawan, etc. I'm embarrassed to say I haven't been to any of these beaches.

Check out this travel blog The Hidden Jem for his article about Jomalig Islands and other travel blogs for your next adventure!

And that's my Top 8! How about you? What do you miss most about your hometown in the Philippines?

Check out this short video clip of from our last homecoming:

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