The Mangaldan Residents of the Greater Vancouver District in British Columbia, Canada held their annual picnic last Saturday, August 4, 2007 which coincided with the celebration of BC Day. The venue was Jericho beach, located on the west end of the city of Vancouver, with a premium view of the English Channel, Stanley Park and the North Shore.
Marie Aquino-Junio coordinated the event with the support of other members of MAREVA. Together with Reyna Pagal and a willing-but-less-able assistance from Esther Mejia, the three-some start to set-up the table. Carding Pagal, meanwhile built a fire to cook skewered pork barbecue which later on became a center of attention. Under the watchful eye of Estrella Mejia-Espinosa, Jun Jimenez took time to sneak a cola drink as the tables got loaded with 'calderos' of 'pinapaitan tan calderetta'.
Vancouver is known for its 'temperate-tropical climate'. To the newbie, this means, you have snow up in Grouse Mountain which is just 20 minutes car ride from downtown, and 10 minutes down the slopes, by the waters of the Burrard Inlet, one would enjoy a dip in the warm ocean waters. And so it was at the picnic grounds. Under the shade, it was temperate, and out in the sun, it was tropical with bikini-clad players diving into the fine sand in a game of beach volleyball. Hey look, in the deeper shades, Mangaldanians clutched their jackets: Dolor Mejia, Marie Aquino, Connie Perez, Estrella Espinosa and Reyna Pagal. And yet at the fringes of the shade, seniors' senior Esther Mejia and Jun Jimenez relaxed with the warm air flowing around them. Carding Pagal stayed warm with his portable barbecue pit.
Picnics are opportunities to re-experience our native foods, a moment to push aside raw crisp green garden salads, blood-red medium rare steaks, oil dripping potato frys, cold turkey breast sandwich... so when the fiesta food gets to the table, grab it and enjoy the sense memories of childhood past. JP (John Paul, son of Dolly Cervas-Catungal), in black shirt and choker calls, "Get the food!". JP is on a short vacation break in Vancouver and will return to Toronto in a few days to resume his graduate studies in Urban Planning. Meanwhile, Cecille De Vera-Townsend, Reyna Pagal, Lito Espinosa and Marie Aquino are in a huddle, about what? Lito is struggling with something in his hands. What prompts the foursome of Estrella, Marie, Cecille and Lito to make those faces? And the culprit is revealed! They are peeling and munching 'ma-eta ya inlambong a mani'. So much for craving native food.
I hitched with Marie and Remo Gambioli to get to the picnic grounds. We both reside in West Vancouver and have to cross the Lions Gate bridge that connect mainland vancouver to the north shore. In the car, Marie made a pitch for recycling, a big deal for eco-conscious west vancouverites. She brought pens so that Kabaleyans would be able to mark their drinking cups, and reuse them to minimize trash. Marie went around selling her plea for conservation. She caught the three-some of Roque Capito (Dagupeno married to a lady from Barangay Bateng), Redentor "Red" Idia (son of former Bari Elementary School Principal Manuel Idia and spouse Merlie) and Philip Fabia. The white trash bag by the tree was where we would collect the non-compostable. Are the three guys convinced? Ho-hum! Lito Espinosa walks in, pensive about something else. Distracted, Philip looks to me and Red is the only one who may end up being convinced by Marie. And so the boys, the Hagibis of Vancouver, show-off their stuff: Ronnie Limon, Roque, Red, Philip, Rey and Pepe Tan. Hey, look back at the three pictures: why do men keep their hands in their pockets? "Ambelat amo?" And there is Philip clutching a disposable plate, ready for another round. During the Mangaldan-Vancouver Fiesta 2007 lunch, I heard Pepe crack humour, "basta panangan, aliguas taga-mangaldan." He said that is a fitting tribute to our website, Aliguas Mangaldan.
The picnic story continues in the next few days. Thank you for your readership... Djoma