Last weekend, I was in Davao City to reunite with essentially the same old friends I was with the other weekend. Since I was effectively the visitor, I was made to choose the dinner site. It was an easy choice. I wanted to eat in an old familiar place, some joint we used to hang out in when we were high school kids wasting our parents' money almost 15 years ago. It was an open-air diner called, Taps, that serves an all-day and all-night breakfast menu.
The old place in Ilustre was gone. Instead, the diner moved to a place in front of Davao City's latest attraction, Mayor Duterte's real estate masterpiece, a Central Park imitation, that ended up with a pitiable name People's Park despite the media conundrum it created. The diner had a better ambiance than before; it had brighter lights, with newly painted bar stools and tables, but basically the same clientele (low to medium income yuppies and teenage kids) and the same menu. I could never forget this diner. I still blame its succulent and scrumptious tapa and corned beef, plus the garlic rice and sunny-side-up fried egg all gloriously floating in grease for the many slabs of adipose tissue I've accumulated and never managed to shed off since high school years.
I was pleased they were offering the same menu: tapsilog (tapa, sinangag, fried egg), corsilog (corned beef and the works), longsilog (longganisa etc.), primasilog (pritong manok etc.), with a few interesting additions: silog (just egg and the fried rice), something-i-don't-remember (skinless longganisa plus the works), bangsilog (fried bangus etc.). Thrilled about which grease-coated, cholesterol-laden, sinful delight I would be partaking, I took the time interviewing the obviously-getting-pissed-off waiter about the exotic-sounding offerings on their menu that I was no longer familiar with. He was kind enough to indulge me.
"Look they now have ox feet! And tuna dishes." Then something caught my eye: Pikol. Hmmm, that's weird. I've never heard of that. Pikol?
So I asked the waiter, "Sir unsa man nang pikol? (What's pikol)?" "Kana gung pikol ma'am (Ma'am it's pikol)." "Wa ko kasabot sir. Basin naa nay pasabot ba kanang mura gud ug tapsilog. (I don't understand sir. It could be an abbreviation for something such as tapsilog)." I looked at my friends, "Unsa daw nang pikol? (What's pikol again?)" They all shrugged. Undaunted by the waiter's obvious irritation, I continued questioning him, "Sir, unsa lagi nang pikol ba? (Sir, what's pikol again?)"
Irritated, the waiter went into the kitchen to fetch me a sample of pikol.
He brought back a glass jar containing plump olive green sticks floating in liquid preservative and shoved it under my nose. "Kini ma'am o, pikol! (Here they are ma'am, pikol!)"
A jar of pickles.
I was red all over, embarassed to have forgotten my bonafide BisDak (Bisayang Dako) nature. My friends noticed me blush at my stupidity, and we all burst out laughing. The waiter laughed, too.