Just Not The Same

It’s hot and humid and my head’s about to explode – 3H combination equating to the absolute perfect excuse to devour an entire bowl of halo-halo.

Truth is, there’s no need for the weather to conspire in my favor to have a fill of this Filipino dessert. I crave for it all-year round. Who can resist a tower of sweetened banana, red Adjuki beans, yellow Kidney beans, coco jelly, leche flan (milk flan), crushed ice, evaporated milk, rice crispies (or corn flakes) and a scoop (or two) of ice cream?

Most places that sell halo-halo have a selection of ice cream flavors to choose from.

Why?!? I begrudgingly ask. Why do we need so many options?

Halo-halo goes well with one, and only one, flavor of ice cream – ube!!!.

Ube [oo-beh] is, I guess (since I’m not an expert in botany) a close relative of yam. A lot of people insist it is purple yam. But I say no. Ube has a deeper shade of purple to it. I’ve seen yam in different countries and it’s always a lighter shade – kind of like lilacs. Ube also has a more pronounced taste. Most purple yams border on being a potato but my dear ube is a sweeter version of the sweet potato.

This same specificity for taste had a friend baffled over bananas. A few months ago, I was in Chicago and was invited over for lunch. She offered me some bananas which she proudly pointed out were from the Philippines. I take one look at the bunch and told her I didn’t want any because they weren’t sweet.

A confused knot forms between her brows. “Are bananas supposed to be sweet?” She asked.

“Of course!” I replied in a voice that I now fear may have sounded too all-knowing. “Well at least they are back home. They’re just not the same elsewhere.”

She humored me by saying, “Well these are from home.”

“They’re just not the same.” I insisted.

Last week, my boyfriend and I were out selecting rental suits for a friend’s wedding.

We wondered, since the reception was at the beach (and the wedding would be right smack in the middle of a dry El Niño spell), why not wear shorts?

A few seconds after visualizing the look, we figured it just wouldn’t work – unless the look you’re aiming for is of a magician’s assistant. I may have had a goofy grin on my face as Z said “Hell no!” as if he knew that I was imagining him pulling out a bunny from a top hat.

Magician's Assistant

It’s odd how I take imagination and preferences (What difference does the shade of ube and regular purple yam make, really?) too far sometimes. Another peculiarity of mine is an obsessive-compulsive gravitation towards order.

Siblings, particularly my sister, could never quite understand why I color-coded my closet and categorized each item. She also couldn’t understand why I’m thinking of hiring someone to catalog all my books. When I explained the benefits to her, she simply shook her head and said, “You’re nuts!”

We all have those traits and behaviors that become sources of peeves and annoyance. Then again, things or people would just be terribly unrecognizable if they didn’t take the form of what or who they innately are.

A part of me feels that I shouldn’t be too organized or too meticulous. But I wouldn’t recognize myself if my dog’s next vet visit wasn’t scheduled 2 months early. Maybe change is in the horizon (What if we were suddenly able to export sweet bananas to Chicago?). Until then, I’ll have my fill of halo-halo topped with ube ice cream after picking up that tuxedo my beau’s wearing for his best friend’s wedding. I need to borrow his suit, which I will take to the dressmaker, to color-coordinate my dress.

Tell me about your eccentricities, friends. If you don’t have any, I’m almost certain you’re not human.


©Nel 2014

June 3, 2014 | Cebu City

These awesome halo-halo pictures were from these fellow eaters:





Raya Gregorio

This halo-halo diagram is pretty neat.


11 thoughts on “Just Not The Same

      • Ha!Ha! No… It is this hot in May and June. October to March is reasonably pleasant. Jan day time is 8-10 Centigrade, and 1 degree at night. Very heavy fog in Jan. Visibility on the road sometimes drops to about 20 metres. Fun driving conditions!

  1. Oh, that Halo Halo, the first pic, looks sinfully and intriguingly delicious. Aren’t you a scientist or a mathematician or something? Of course you like order. Me too. I would love to have someone organize my closet and drawers as you describe. I try, but get lost in the confusion…put colors together despite different collars and fabric types or organize solely by hue? Books…file by name, by author, or by subject…and then there is the limitation of the size of my book shelves which are completely inefficient if books aren’t placed by size….sigh.

    • Come to my side of the world and I’ll treat you to some halo-halo.

      By profession, I’m an engineer. Possibly, you’re right – that my desire for order is also reflected in my choice of career. Unfortunately, my bookshelves are in no particular order right now except that the books I’m reading are on my night stand and the rest are wherever they fit on the shelf.

  2. Haha, you sound just like my dad with his specific ways about him! Your dessert looks very good as well. I have never heard of it before; hopefully it makes its way to the US soon!! :-)

  3. Don’t we all have our eccentricities? And wouldn’t it be boring if we hadn’t – if all people were boringly alike? I have never heard about halo-halo, so now I will be looking for it, preferable with ube ice cream.

    • You’re right about eccentricities making people more interesting.

      Trust me on the halo-halo ube ice cream. ;)

      Thanks for the visit!

  4. Pingback: Gratitude (Part 2 of Many) | Directionally Impaired in Life's Infinite Possibilities

Help me find my way.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s