‘Subdued’ fun


Jullie Y. Daza

This is the in-between day. Between Chinese New Year’s Day yesterday and Valentine’s Day tomorrow; both love days, the one for loving yourself and the one for loving another or others.

So how subdued did the CNY celebration go? An old friend, retired these many years from TV journalism, asked: “Was there a sense of revelry at all? I heard it’s New Year’s Eve – year of what?” And she’s half-Chinese!

In contrast, Joya, who has no Chinese blood, instructed her Lisette to go all the way to Ongpin to load up on Chinese delicacies, charms, candies and various other little gifts to stuff the loot bags for the children in their all-Filipino neighborhood. Lisette struggled with long queues of masked customers eager to get their hands on the goodies on everyone’s to-buy list. In Joya’s case, that spelled “the 11 lucky foods including Chinese rice wine, Chinese soy sauce, peanut oil” and tikoy, of course.

She also wanted Ox talismans to hook to key rings and ornaments appropriate for a Metal year, “plus figurines for our rice bowl and endless tikoy to share.”

For Linda Pecoraro, who spent years in Malaysia before she landed in Manila to head Conrad Hotel, CNY celebrations are nothing new and always fun. It was her idea to host a “prosperity toss” on Zoom between media friends and Chef Jereme Leung. Chef showed how the salad of smoked salmon and veggies in green, red (ginger), gold (carrots), white (radish and onion), pink (pomelo) and purple (yam) should be tossed, “the higher the better!”

Delivered to the participants in their homes, the major ingredients came in a huge box while a smaller box contained an array of crisps, salt and pepper, apricot sauce, ground peanuts, sesame seeds and oil, and plum sauce. Each tiny ingredient hid an auspicious meaning proper to the theme, prosperity.

Arleen, “the mother of Patrick Fernandez,” telegenic feng shui scholar, had reason to revel two days before the Ox year. When she found out that the famous Emerald Garden had reopened, she hastily sent her driver to Roxas Blvd. to buy their jumbo siopao. In the nick of time, too, for at 6:30 a.m. they had almost run out of their signature buns!