Monday, 24 November 2014

Enjoying Sopas In Port Moresby

Being an OFW can be quite intimidating at first. Expectations in the workplace can sometimes succumb anyone into becoming a workaholic freak and a less sociable person. A day in the office can feel like a lifetime and staff house can become a dear to you. In our effort to make the staff house to be as homey as it can be, the ate's and nanay's in the house occasionally prepare foods that can make us sit altogether in one table and enjoy.

And so tonight, nanay Ada is making a soup and I'm working on my camera.

I have come to know that this spot is like an oversize periscope where I can peer through and instantly know what the rest of my neighborhood is doing at the very moment. At 8:00 pm, the streets in Gordons are quite void of anything that walks on two feet.

And that includes circus dogs that may have gone astray.

This is a dog that is owned by a co-manager. Like what most people do, I name the dogs unknown to me based on the logic of visual perception. I call him Browny because he is brown. He hasn't learned the trick of walking on two legs yet and, wait a minute, did he just grin at me?

In Papua New Guinea, tomatoes are simply gigantic in size. I am not particularly fond of tomatoes in general, but I like the idea that by consuming them, I can benefit from the effect of lycopene in many ways. Whilst by most standards, an apple a day is more preferred; it is worth noting that a tomato a day can also keep a doctor at bay. Hey, that rhymes!

We Filipinos love the taste of sopas. It's a Filipino name for a soup that is, as far as I know, unique to us. And here is nanay Ada pouring a hot sopas into an empty bowl for me. Back in the Philippines, I find it a bit mysterious why the rainy season brings forth our craving for this. Here in Papua New Guinea, nanay Ada's craving for such must have been motivated by something else, if not by rain.

Could it be a natural intuition that she knew it would rain tonight?

It did rain.

Here is Soe Soe Naing, a Burmese co-manager. I'm quite surprised that she tried a bowl of sopas, not that it's a bad thing but I know for certain that her taste for food is heavily influenced by Myanmar cuisine. Soe Soe, in particular, has taste buds that are well accustomed to spicy foods. Being a bias observer sometimes, I have come to conclude that Burmese people, in general, like hot and spicy foods.

For me, sopas tastes somewhat like it's neither salty nor bland but I like it just the way it is.

And here is nanay Ada smiling for the camera. There's a thin line between what constitutes an authentic smile versus a remarkable portrayal of a practiced smile. A true smile is defined by what is gained from observing one's eyes. If the eyes turned into thick lines while smiling, I can rule out the other possibility of it being faked. Not unless her eyes are naturally conceived to that orientation.

We finished eating the sopas that night and it was pretty good.

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Cheaper Fruits And Vegetables In Papua New Guinea

Pinoy In PNG - A Pinoy Expat In Papua New Guinea
So, you want to buy cheap fruits and vegetables in Port Moresby (POM) but you'are afraid to risk safety?

The cheapest items like fruits and vegetables can actually be found in open markets and Malaoro Market is one of them. If an expat wishes to go there, I recommend that it is with the presence of a local friend or a staff in your company. Although this is not necessary, the local friend can serve as a guide and can be of help if something unfortunate happens along the way.

If an expat is still conscious about safety then there are stores like Tango, RH Hypermart, Boroko Foodworld, Vision City or SVS that meet the safety standards. They usually have a sufficient number of security guards to see that peace and order around the store is implemented. But one must expect the prices to be a bit higher (around 4 to 8 Kina difference) which is reasonable after considering their operation expenses.

An alternative market for fruits and vegetables is found in Murray Barracks compounds. The Green Fresh (TGF), as my local friend refers to it, is a warehouse-like store which sells goods at a lower price. They have apples, oranges, broccoli or carrot. Unlike the big names that I mentioned beforehand, TGF didn't have much to offer but the idea of having to pay less compensated for the lack of other things to sell.

I cannot assume that only a handful of people know the place, but I can use dactylonomy to count other customers wandering around. Finding one with a happy thought isn't difficult either. I, for one, am for sure and the lady behind me.

Literally speaking, cheaper by the dozen means to buy more and get a discount. Applying the idiom with a much deeper sense, my colleague and I could spend less by combining our purchases to offset the loss in fuel consumption to personal expenses comparative ratio.

Pinoy In PNG - A Pinoy Expat In Papua New Guinea
A container like this serves as a gigantic chiller to provide yet an another secret shop to fill your stash from.

As I walk through the shadows of stockpiled chillers, I held my purchases closer to my chest feeling triumphant for having enough goods to last me a month.

And here I am trying to quench the thirst with water spilling out from a hydrant nearby that doesn't close well.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

My Unforgettable Trip To Lea lea Beach

Four years have passed since the first time I set foot on Papua New Guinea, and since then I was starting to wonder what it's like beyond the self-imposed limits that I had put myself into.

What it's like outside the 4 corners of my room? Well, technically, it was a patio which was changed into a canopied aisle, but beyond the patio and what's behind those hills in the horizon is still unknown to me.

What's preventing me from exploring POM is something that must have originated from various unsolicited advice that tells me it's not safe to go out there . There's probably an elephant in the room and I can only guess that the answer closest to reality is being afraid of uncertainty.

Well, I was given a chance one day, when a persistent cousin and his brave friend visited me and Harold (my cousin and an office mate) to brave those anaphoric warnings of don't go over there, don't  lose your life. They want us to try a place where they had previously 're-discovered' unintentionally.

Living off the grid is the metaphor for that day. So we didn't try to bring anything but the camera. We nearly tried, as I believe, Harold and kuya Jun bought their phones anyway only to find out that they were almost useless later on.

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

My Humble Beginning In PNG

Pinoy In PNG
The view from the house of our company's owner.
My journey in Papua New Guinea began in 2008 at Lae, Morobe Province, PNG.

During that time, I was working as the head of IT Department in a mid-sized micro-finance company in Nueva Ecija, Philippines. The pay was good and I was enjoying my job which was more on being an in-house programmer and a little bit less of being a manager to a handful of tech-savvy people who were in my team. I say 'less' because having personally interviewed and selected them myself, I know their capabilities. I knew then that all of them had potentials and  a simple nudge was all they needed on such a young age to release their insatiable hunger for success.

Pinoy In PNG
My previous company in Nueva Ecija. My friends took this photo sometime in 2008. The banner behind me was one of my designs in Adobe Photoshop. The building behind serves as the main office and a branch for Cabanatuan.

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