Love from the Heart, Life from the Hearth

You have to love the Philippines to come back and retire there; you have to love life to be in front of the hearth without complaint. I don’t know why someone would search for ‘kitchen in the Philippines’ but it reminded me of the ‘dapog’ [hearth] we have while growing up in the remote farm of Hacienda Estrellas [I think it’s Spanish, meaning ‘farm of stars’] but it was really named after the sugarcane plantation owner’s last name of Estrellas.

However, let’s go back to that kitchen a long time ago. Oh, I wish I had the picture of that hearth as it was the essence of our family’s simple existence. Numerous poignant stories of growing up revolved around there. [Another blog later maybe or when I learn to do the links]. I should probably mention…there was no electricity and running water. Unless you have gone camping, you probably won’t understand that kind of survival. Don’t get me wrong, it was the time dearest to my heart. Maybe one day, I’ll recreate our place in my dream village.

The hearth inside the house is a luxury in the farm. That’s how I look at it now, considering that most farmers and laborers have a Nipa Hut just enough to give the family a roof over their heads…that when the night comes, they would find shelter from whatever lurks in the darkness of the night. They usually cook outside [lucky to have a make-shift cover to protect the hearth from rain].

If you can visualize 3 rocks arranged in a triangle, that’s the basic of the hearth. These rocks elevate the pot and allow the chopped pieces of wood to be positioned underneath the pot. This is just the preliminary activity; the actual cooking has not begun yet. If the luxury of an old newspaper wrap is not available, you just have to be resourceful to find your fire starter from nature as wood will not catch fire like the way the stove’s pilot light would start your cooking. It’s a lot of blowing, which is probably a good lung exercise. It could be a lot of crying too–from the smoke…or maybe from the hard work. Nobody questions…it’s a chore to be done.

I actually came across a few of the different pictures of bathrooms that one of the Lonely Planet pioneers took in his travels, and I think that was pretty interesting. You reeeally wouldn’t want me to post the Philippine ones, but that’s an idea someday when I travel to the bundoks [Tagalog origin of boondocks]. I’ll try to see what I can find on these kitchens though. I think I have one blurry picture from 50 years ago when they were cooking outside during some celebration [not digital…scanning???]. This must have been the reason why Filipinos have traditionally want a ‘dirty kitchen’ in their houses. Did you say why would someone want a dirty kitchen? Believe me, we cook a lottttt of things that could make our kitchen dirty. I’ll show you some when I get to it.

For now, I have the ready pictures of — what can be better than Fairrr[h]view kitchens. I was ambitious at first and I thought I’ll have the small stove/oven combination in the furnished unit. My sister was practically aghast at the idea, but she went along with one trial. After a year without any takers, it was transferred downstairs when we finally did my own kitchen.

      grn rm

 This is the kitchen [fan-only unit] with the ‘dirty kitchen’/laundry area. 

    

Our A/C unit kitchen–same layout in all other units, just different colors.

This kitchen [from the window] shows the location of the cooking area.

The second floor 1st unit has an extended area intended for family gatherings.

This family hub is still at its finishing stage; now it’s the hubbub of activity.

This picture has no bottom cupboard yet, same style as the one above the sink.

My sister wanted to finish the kitchen downstairs so she transferred the stove.

 The cupboards were done by one of the workers with doors bought from SM.

 

This island needs bar stools but I’m too cheap…maybe my worker can make one.

Still with miniature fridge…and on the other side of the door is the dirty kitchen.

 The dirty kitchen…still clean–no plans for dirty cooking yet.

    

My favorite nook–adjacent to the dirty kitchen/our bedroom extension.

Our bedroom is connected to my favorite little nook…a secret access just for me.

From the hearth…to the heart of Fairview, or should it be from the heart to the hearths of Fairview apartments. Where are we? Stuck here in California in an old house [that I equally love] but hard to maintain for just the two of us–again! Even my husband misses my family as much as I do…especially the bigger kids that keep him company. I can’t blame the guy for wanting to retire before retirement.

*Originally posted @ https://zylla3.wordpress.com

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