Remembering: Pinoy. Powerful. Personal

Sans Rival to die for

By Tricia Capistrano

On a cold January morning in 2010, I woke up at 2 a.m. I had jet leg. My husband, our six-year-old, and I arrived from Manila the day before after spending Christmas with my parents, sisters, aunts, uncles, and cousins. My son was on our bed. He cried himself to sleep. He said he missed his Lolo and Lola. I did too. It was one of those nights when you question your choices, if it was all worth it–leaving behind family and friends you had grown up with and know all about you.

I went to the kitchen and opened the refrigerator and saw the box of macadamia Sans Rival that my mom packed for us. I took a slice.

When we were packing, I told my mom I wouldn’t bring it because it was such a hassle but she insisted, she knew how much I loved it. I don’t drive and there were no Filipino restaurants in Manhattan at that time. She divided the cake and put it in two 5”x8” containers. Helen, our helper, wrapped it in ice packs and plastic so it would still be chilled when we arrived in NYC. I ate another slice and then thought about my mom and how I was short with her when I used to live at home. I started to get weepy. I then realized in my muni-muni, that I had finished the contents of an entire container.

My chest started to hurt. Talaga!

In between deep breaths, I put the empty container and the pristine dessert plate (I had scraped off the leftover buttercream with my fork), in the sink. I thought that if I had a heart attack, it would be a pitiful way to die — a fork, an empty sans rival container, and my body strewn on the kitchen floor, tear drops down my cheeks, butter and macadamia on my lips. I thought about my mom and how she would be so embarrassed.

When the chest pain subsided, I drank a glass of water, washed my face and went back to bed. I hoped to be awake in the morning.

This week, we start a new feature called “Remembering: Pinoy. Powerful. Personal,” a collection of short essays of memories pushed aside by time and making themselves apparent in the writer’s present. Some of the essays are contributed; others culled from social media posts. To send your essays, email

My Times Square of snacks

By Maricar Tangonan

Missing the Philippines so I created a piece of it in my kitchen — a favorite snack from when my age was in single digits —freshly fried caramel covered Banana Cue.

Our mababang paaralan in my hometown Camiling was just beside the very busy palengke. Back then it was basically our Times Square of snacks! For the young me, that meant a constant source and abundant choice of freshly made snacks. Our palengke had all kinds of Kakanin — Suman, Puto, Latik, Tupig, Binatog, Dinikdikan, Ukoy, Maruya, Lugaw, Pancit, Fish Balls, Tamarindo, fresh fruits, etc. but my most favorite snack was always the Banana and/or Kamote Cue.

My budget was piso, Php 1.00, and I also had some uninteresting snacks I brought from home that I often ignored. I was always eager to use my piso allowance for the fried banana on stick that usually had two pieces of saba or Asian plantain on each stick.

Quite rarely, the manang Banana Cue vendor would fit three smaller ones on a single stick. For the young me, that’s one more piece of my favorite so I would often look or wait for that lucky stick. I wasn’t always lucky — but every school day and every piso I spend, I hoped for that stick that had one more fried saba.

In memory of those simple and hopeful days in my hometown in the Philippines, tonight I made one lucky stick with three bananas.  Yummy nostalgia!

NaFFAA continues to update its list of newly elected, re-elected Filipino American officials in 2020. Email for information.

© The FilAm 2021

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: