By Lauren V. Macaraeg
Holy Week 2017 started out as a challenging one for us but we ended up enjoying the latter half of the week anyway. It wasn’t because all our challenges disappeared magically, but because the Lord helped us gain a new perspective with the help of a special hardworking lady… and some delicious penoy.
Groufie with Manang Aida, penoy saleslady extraordinaire!
1 Perky Penoy Lady + 2 Eggheads
The turning point of my week was last Wednesday, April 12.
My mom Uni and I were walking down the street at night. I was feeling gloomy and worried so I was quieter than usual while staring at the cracked sidewalk. Suddenly, a high-pitched voice snapped me out of my reverie.
“Balut! Bili na kayo!”
I tilted my head towards the direction of the voice. I was surprised to see a little old woman seated behind a makeshift stall. “May penoy po kayo?” I asked out of curiousity.
“Meron po!” she brightly replied.
I involuntarily smacked my lips as I gazed at the blue styrofoam container perched on top of the table. I have always had a soft spot for penoy, the gooey eggy treat, since I was a grade school kid. The penoy may look like an ordinary chicken egg at first glance, but this classic Pinoy snack is actually an unfertilized duck egg. It is usually hawked by street vendors late at night, along with the more popular balut, a duck egg with a partially developed embryo.
I wanted to encourage the industrious lady, but truth be told, I also really wanted some penoy. So it was not purely out of a wish to help, but also out of a wish to eat haha, that motivated me to say: “Sige po, mamaya pag pabalik na kami, bili kami.”
“Aabangan ko kayo ha!” she chirped.
“Babalik po kami,” my mother and I promised, chuckling as we walked away.
And on the way home, yes, we did go back!
“O sabi po sa inyo, babalik kami eh!” I teased the tiny lady. “Pabili po ng dalawang penoy.” I wanted to get one penoy for my mom and one for me. However, I suddenly realized one might not be enough for me so I hastily added, “Ah tatlo na lang po!”
“Teka!” my mom protested. “Gawin niyo nang apat!”
We all burst into laughter. “Oo nga naman! Bitin ‘pag tag-isa lang,” the penoy vendor wisely advised.
So we ended up getting four penoys in all!
I looked curiously at the old vendor as she placed our eggs in the plastic bag. “Nag-tra-trabaho po kayo ngayong Holy Week?!”
“M-hm,” she agreed nonchalantly as if it was no big deal.
“Ano po ang pangalan niyo?” I asked.
“Aida,” she told us, her thin face crinkling as she smiled.
Meet Manang Aida, a cheerful, enterprising penoy and balut vendor! You can find her most nights at Esteban Abada St., across from the barangay hall of Loyola Heights, on the other side of the street.
I looked at Manang Aida in wonder. To be honest, I felt a little guilty after meeting her. Here she was, simply thankful that people were buying her food products; the thought of complaining that she was working on a Holy Week did not even seem to cross her mind. And here I was, who probably had more blessings and opportunities than her in spite of all our current challenges, in grumbling mode for the past few days.
Manang Aida’s real-life example had a bigger impact on me than some people’s speeches. I know others mean well when they say, “You should be thankful. Look at my life, blah blah blah. You should feel sorry for me.” They probably want to make us feel better by comparing our situation with theirs, and at the same time, they are most likely overwhelmed by their own struggles too. So even if I don’t think dismissing other people’s problems since they are not as big as yours (or so you feel) is the best way to encourage others, I just try to understand people who adapt this method and appreciate their good intentions anyway.
The penoy lady gave no such speech; she simply lived it out. Yet she succeeded in reminding me that there is always something to be thankful for. And that there are brave human beings out there who are doing their best to live life with joy, purpose and dignity even if life is not always easy.
I did not immediately transform from the grouchy Grinch into bubbly Mary Poppins after our encounter with Manang Aida. Still, something shifted inside of me during that moment at the balut and penoy stall. And from that point on, while walking down the street with the wind blowing on my face and the plastic bag of duck eggs swinging from my hand, I decided to try to be thankful for each day and try to savor each moment that would come my way during Holy Week.
I started to do exactly that by snacking on penoys with my mom after we got home. I cracked one egg open and slurped on the quivering yellow jelly. My eyes widened. The penoy was so rich and creamy! And there was more of the gelatinous yellow part I like than most penoys usually have.
Manang Aida’s creamy and filling penoy! One of the best I’ve eaten. Ever.
It turns out the penoys we bought that night were among the best I’ve ever tried. And I’m not just saying that because I like Manang Aida. Those penoys were truly lip-smacking!
Holy Week 2017 Highlights
Aside from Manang Aida’s inspiring example, there are two other important reasons why I started to feel better during the second half of Holy Week, even if I felt discouraged during the first half. First, I was finally able to find time to relax during the later part of the week. Second, the Lord spoke to me in different ways and through different people, both inside and outside church.
I wish I could tell you in detail about all the things I’ve realized, the memorable talks I’ve had, and the quiet moments I’ve enjoyed during Holy Week 2017. I don’t have the time and the words yet. Maybe someday.
For now, here are a few stories and pictures from our Holy Week highlights. They do not do justice to the experiences and the insights I’m thankful to have. But these simple photos of simple moments bring to life memories that I hope to be able to share more about someday.
Singing (Part 1): Kuya the Songer
Bumili ako ng ice cream sticks sa convenience store kasi ang init. Habang nagbabayad ako sa counter:
Kuya Cashier: *sings cheesy #Throwback love song with feelings*
Me: Kuya, emote na emote tayo ah…
Kuya Cashier: Siyempre, ma’am! May pinaghuhugutan…
Me: Sakto! Bagay ang senti sa Holy Week ?
#LaurenMacKulit #ArawArawAdventures #HolyWeek #Summer #FoodieFun #ItsMoreFunInThePhilippines #TunayNaPinoy #LaurenVMacaraeg #LaurenMacScribbles #LaurenMacDoodles
#Holiday: Holy Week 04.11.2017
(April 11, 2017, Tuesday)
A special night under the stars… eating Jollibee ❤ My mom and I had a good talk about family legacy and food. Choco cheers! (April 13, 2017, Maundy Thursday)
While I was taking a half-nap, the Lord took me down memory lane. He reminded me that there is a reason why people come into our lives. And even if they do not stay forever, He uses these encounters to transform us into new people. And to help us get to know Him better. (April 13, 2017, Maundy Thursday)
God’s forgiveness is immediate and complete. (April 14, 2017, Good Friday, GCF)
Getting-to-know-you-better night with the ladies. (April 14, 2017, After the Good Friday service)
Girl talk on a Good Friday. What happens in Jollibee stays in Jollibee 😉 (April 14, 2017, After the Good Friday service)
Singing (Part 2): My Turn to (Try to) Sing
Me: *sings with feelings in the shower*
Mamu: Ano yung naririnig ko?
Me: Ako. Kumakanta ako.
Mamu: Ah. Akala ko may nag-pa-pasyon…
#HolyWeek #LaurenAndMamu #Family #LaurenMacKulit #LaurenMacDoodles #LaurenMacScribbles #LaurenVMacaraeg 04.15.2017
(April 15, 2017, Saturday)
The Lord gives us true peace. Not just when things are rosy, but in troubled times too. Because He is alive. (April 16, 2017, Easter/Resurrection Sunday, GCF)
The Seniors’ Club, my mom’s barkada at GCF. Salingket ako… wala nga lang akong “Power Card” with the 20% discount ? (April 16, 2017, Easter/Resurrection Sunday)
I am very proud of my mom. Very proud ❤ (April 16, 2017, Easter/Resurrection Sunday)
The Lord reminded me of these during Holy Week and beyond: David beat Goliath. The Israelites triumphed over the Pharaoh and the Egyptians. Jesus was victorious over death.
“Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the LORD of hosts.” (Zechariah 4:6)
And it was a reminder I really needed to hear.
Hope lives. Because He lives!
“Those who bask under your sunny sky are plants.
Those who help you fly to reach your dreams are the wind.
Those who light up your night sky are stars.
And in the blackest night, the One who blazed into life is the brightest Star of all.”
– “He is Alive” by #LaurenMacDoodles
#Jesus #ResurrectionSunday #Easter
It may have started out with one penoy lady and four eggs. But it opened my heart to enjoy more moments, more food and the company of more people on one unforgettable Holy Week.
Guess whom we saw again after Holy Week? 😀 (April 17, 2017)
#ArawArawAdventures #LaurenMacDoodles #GirlMeetsGod #HolyWeek #GoodFriday #Easter #ResurrectionSunday #Summer #ItsMoreFunInThePhilippines #TunayNaPinoy #FoodieFun #Penoy #Balut #LaurenAndMamu #Family #LaurenVMacaraeg #LaurenMacScribbles #LaurenMacKulit
#Holiday: Holy Week 04.2017