August & September 2006
I believed the months were going to be empty. But, turns out that just like any other year, the months fill up with fun and interesting moments.
I believe the last time I was here, we were about to go up to the hillside retreat of the winelover / chatelaine / avant / gardener Eileen Tabios. On the way to the hermit's abode, the SO and I stopped by Star Bakery, which occupies the old Valerio's store in Vacaville. The rest stop was to buy the offerings to the Hermit in the Mountain. After purchasing 60 sen~oritas and 3 chicken empanadas off to the mountain we went. Just as a sside note, we got the senoritas while they were still hot. As a result, as I bit into one, the melted sugar would solidify in my front teeth. Ahh, can Filipinos make anything better with flour, sugar and butter? I don't think so.
The Saturday at Galatea was beautiful. Lunch at the favorite spot of Taylor's Refresher. I ordered the Club burger. The ahi tuna was getting to be ridiculous with respect to price at $13.00. Hell, can I not get tuna at that price in Ranch 99? Lunch was at Dutch Henry's where we dived into wine tasting of five bottles. For the whole day, we consumed or tasted 19 bottles of wine. Seven bottles were tasted at Pride. Seven more at dinner.
I think the highlight of the weekend was our meeting Eileen's mother. Heheheh. Talk about enchanting. I and the wife had a blast talking to her about the province, the Philippines, Marcos, and food. The next plan is to bribe Eileen's mom with kare-kare, pansit and other goodies so that she will tell us about the embarrassing stories of Eileen.
Eileen's mom was a student of Edith & Edilberto Tiempo. Edilberto and Edith Tiempo studied with Paul Engle in the University of Iowa's writer's workshop in the 1960's. Eileen's mom told us of a very interesting story. When the Tiempos started the program, they mentored five undergraduates who eventually finished their master's degree. The plan then was to send each one of them to Iowa to study. Eileen's mother was the third in the sequence.
However, the first student to be sent across the ocean into America never made it. The female student apparently had an illness and she ended up passing away in the boat bringing her to the United States. After the death of the student, the others were not sent to the US. Of course, I had to ask Eileen's mom what would have happened if she had been sent to the US. She looked away into the window and said, "Well, by that time, I already had a family so I don't think I could have gone." It was an interesting story because she would have gone to the United States at about the time that Eileen would have been born. Eileen screamed that she could have been a blonde Iowa goddess!!!! Bwahahhahaha!!!!
So, it is so interesting to me because the idea of a writer's workshop in the Philippines was so intriguing. And then, I meet one of the first students of the writers who set up the Dumaguete workshop.