Wednesday, June 10, 2009

No cheese pimiento!

Cheese pimiento is one of my favorite sandwich fillings. I have my own mean version of cheese pimiento, which I mix only on special occasions because it takes quite some time to do. But I'm always on the lookout for ready-to-eat cheese pimiento, although most bottled ones I've found really don't taste like the real thing. I've tasted a few good homemade ones though. That's why I was so happy when I discovered not too long ago the Cheese Pimiento Bake of Figaro, a chain of coffee shops in the Philippines. Figaro places a heap of the thing on top of a crispy, round piece of bread (see picture). I love it! Comes in four pieces for a little over a hundred Philippine pesos. Not bad for yummy, quite filling comfort food. These four pieces of cheese pimiento on bread should go very well with coffee. But I'm not really much of a coffee drinker, especially in the afternoon, which would be the usual time that I'd be at the Figaro branch in Trinoma Mall, Quezon City, if I had the yearning for cheese pimiento for my afternoon snack (Filipinos can't do without mid-afternoon snacks). And so I down my Figaro cheese pimiento with just ice-cold water, which is just great for me!

The store runs out
Well, this afternoon though was a big let-down. The day was hot and tiring as I did errands in the morning up to noontime. The weather was really warm. I decided to pass by Trinoma before going home. I just had my lunch before going to Trinoma but I had that feeling of still unfilled space in my tummy. Upon entering Trinoma's ground floor, I eagerly rode the series of escalators going all the way up to the fourth floor of the massive mall, where Figaro is. The rising thought of having my fave snack with ice-cold water made my brain excited, and it was quickly sending happy signals to my tummy (food really excites me, heheh). I became even more excited when I saw from the doorstep of Figaro that my favorite table, which was near some reading materials, was vacant. Alas, when I quickly announced to the cashier that I was taking the Cheese Pimiento Bake, she took a moment to reply and asked instead her co-worker to confirm if their store had this at that moment. NONE, came the crushing reply. I asked her the cashier if there would be some available later in the afternoon (it was then around 2PM). NO, she said. What!!!! No Cheese Pimiento Bake for me??? I wanted to shout that to the cashier, and to shake her at her shoulders. You're so cruel! I wanted to shout that to her, too.
But not wanting to disturb with my dramatics the other customers around, I decided to accept my fate quitely, and left in a jiffy. I tried to quite down my excited, and frustated, brain. My tummy was already beginning to accept that it'll have no cheese pimiento to digest this afternoon. But my tastebuds, which had also been tickled too much by my brain, were still making a scene, and wanted to TASTE something, anything, even remotely tasting like cheese pimiento.

Alternative, quickly!
Well, there was THIS quick snack item that I've also lately grown fond of--sharwarma (the Middle Eastern "sandwich") sold by the Firehouse stall at the basement of the mall, near the supermarket. But a little bit of more setback there as Firehouse had run out(!) of chicken shawarma this afternoon, and only had the beef one. Quite grudgingly, I ordered the beef shawarma, although I knew some bits of the beef will be somewhat tough to the bite. And so, my cheese pimiento became beef shawarma. Calling Figaro, please don't run out again of Cheese Pimiento Bake! Run out of coffee, for all I care, but never the cheese pimiento, please. Heheh!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Honest OFW

Just a few days ago, I read in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, a Philippine newspaper, how a jobless and nearly destitute female overseas Filipino worker (OFW) in HongKong had found a cache of money and checks near a trashbin where she had been looking for things to sell. She had resorted to scavenging after filing a case against her former employer who allegedly sexually assaulted her. From what I remember reading, she couldn't look for another job because HK law doesn't allow work for foreigners like her who have pending suits against former employers (I wonder if the dude she sued is also prevented from working). Since she has to have money for her daily living, her legal expenses, her documents as an OFW in HK, AND her family back home in the Philippines, including children who have to go to school, scavenging has been her last resort to earn some HK dollars.

This lady OFW has a golden heart. She didn't allow her financial burdens and other problems to impede her naturally good nature. Even if the money and checks were worth more than a million Philippine pesos, more than enough to make her life much better. She did the only thing that mattered to her then--to trace the company whose name was on the envelope that held the money. And so the money's owner and the OFW met quickly afterwards, and the money--full, intact--was returned. The grateful owner gifted the honest OFW with a can of biscuits. The OFW was soon back to her "normal" routine of scavenging and sending a few pesos to her family in Bambang town in Nueva Vizcaya province, which is in Luzon island, Philippines.

Blessings for her
But things are turning up a little better for the hero OFW. After the Inquirer's article on her honesty and her plight, Philippine politicians in Congress and in her hometown have begun to raise funds to help her and her family. Her hometown is beaming with pride at the heroism of one of their own. Her townmates say that honesty really comes naturally to the locals.

Indeed, as it turns out, I read in a follow-up article today in the Inquirer about the honest OFW that her husband is also a honest fellow, too. The article related how the mister had returned to a passenger of his tricycle (a motorbike with a side car) money that the passenger left behind in his tricycle. The money was noticed by the husband when it scattered on the tricycle after he hit a hump.

So, now, hopefully, with the way things are going back home for the honest OFW, her troubles will be greatly eased, and she can worry a little less on how her children can go on with their schooling.

By the way, the OFW's name is Ms Mildred Perez, 38 years old.

P.S. As I checked now the Inquirer's online site to get the OFW's name, I see that more blessings are forthcoming to Mildred as I read that Philippine Senator Chiz Escudero's office had already coordinated with Mildred for her plane ticket home, a start-up capital for a small business, and scholarship for her kids. Thanks, Chiz! :)