My Tito* and Tita* dropped us off at my Tita Nanet’s house. The home we will be staying in during our stay in Manila. The house is located in Cainta, the province of Rizal. My Tito June and Tita Lou live just another block away, so if we ever needed anything, we could just walk over.
The home we are staying in is an adorable home with a gate like every home in the Philippines. If you don’t have a sturdy gate and lock, don’t be surprised if your home is the way it was when you left it. Jeff and I walk around the neighborhood scoping it out and I spot a cute young black lab in a cage just in front of a house. I wave at him. Poor dog is out here in the heat living in a cage.
My Tita Nanet is also my dad’s cousin and she lives with her husband and daughter back in Daly City, California. Their daughter, Paulyne has lived most of her life in Cainta, her family is down the street and friends are close by, this is what she calls home and California will never live up to it.
Their house in the Philippines is left under the care of Mona, a very sweet young lady that is known to me later as one of the hardest working woman I know. Mona is not only the house caretaker, but also our “Catulong.” As odd as it is to us average Americans to have a catulong, it is a common standard to have one in every home to help with the little things around the house. Jeff and I didnt feel comfortable at first having Mona buy our groceries and cook us our meals, but it also felt rude not to have her do those things for us, so we went along with whatever was the case. Our breakfast meals consists of rice, fried fish which is most likely bangus, eggs, pan de sal, and “suka” (garlic and vinegar sauce). My usual mornings are usually a bowl of granola, yogurt, and fruit, but in the Philippines, that meal is for “payatuts.” If you are skinny, you are an unfortunate soul and malnutritioned.
Tito and Tita: Uncle and Aunt
Catulong: Housemaid, caretaker, house sitter
Suka: Garlic and Vinegar, a common condiment