When I first heard that Ninoy was coming home from his exile, we were at the cafeteria by the university campus having our lunch. I was on my 2nd year in college. It was one of those days my mother was not able to prepare lunch for us. She was agitated with the fact that the whole nation was expecting something untoward was going to happen to Ninoy.
It was a day I had to have my lunch at the cafeteria of a dormitory owned by a Kapampangan. I loved the way she prepared her Achara with Barbecue. Kapampangans love to add a lot of sugar to their meat dishes. Atching was one of them.
Atching at that time just sat down not minding her customers. She was worried herself because a cabalen is coming home and she knows that as soon as Ninoy's plane touches down, he'll be dead. The nation just knew it. Indeed, a lot believed that Ninoy's homecoming was going to change the potical situation of the country. Twenty two years after, I still could not tell where our country has gone from there. Well, that's all I can remember folks but I could definitely remember atching's anxiety.
My post therefore is not directly related to Ninoy's death but something that reminds me of his death because of how a cabalen truly felt for him on the day of his death. I should say something about a particular song. Remember "Tie a Yellow Ribbon"?(hum if you do..come on..). That's how yellow has become the prominent color at that time and why most of Ninoy's banners are in yellow. I stand to be corrected of course. It might just have been a coincidence. And oh, Kris Aquino was such a very young kid at that time. Such a naive kid in her long hair often seen with Cory praying not only for Ninoy but for the whole nation. I often felt bad that she lost a father at an early age. And Times Square, yes Time Square was a street inside Phil-Am Subdivision in Quezon City where Cory lived. That house has become a symbol of refuge at that time. Peace Rallies usually started there to Sto. Domingo.
Back to Atching and her faous delicacy. Acharang Papaya (Pickled Papaya) is a kapampangan delicacy if you ask me. And I love mine sweet. It goes well with Barbecues just as the sauerkraut is with kielbasa in Polish. Here's how I do mine as taught by a kapampanga friend Manang Olivia.
1 kilo of unripe papayas, cleaned and shredded
1/2 of medium red pepper, julienned
1 piece of medium carrot, thinly sliced (with designs if you're artistic)
100 gms of pearl onions
3/4 cup of white sugar
2 cups of cider vinegar
1 tbsp of coarse salt
In a saucepan, add the sugar, vinegar and salt and let boil. Let cool for about 2 minutes and set aside.
Mix the vegetables in a bowl. Fill washed, clean jars with the vegetable mixture and adding the vinegar mixture allowing a head space. Remove air bubbles with non-metallic utensil before applying lids and screw bands. Allow at least a week for the recipe to cure. i would recommend curing achara inside the fridge.