personal life rambling reflections vegan

A Filipino Who Doesn’t Eat Rice

evan tan writer in manila: a filipino who doesn't eat rice, image of fernando amorsolo painting of people planting rice

At the risk of getting my Filipino card revoked, I will confess that I haven’t eaten rice for weeks now. I can’t remember when I last ate it. It must’ve been before my trip to Edinburgh: I vaguely remember cooking rice for lunch one afternoon. (That I vaguely remember means that I haven’t been eating rice as much as I used to when I was in the Philippines.)

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With Distance We Make Friends

My vegan friends and I used to meet regularly for sleepovers and picnics, but when the pandemic brought the lockdowns, we adjusted to the situation just like everybody else. We created a Signal chat group where we updated each other with random news and new discoveries. These broke the monotony of my life being cooped in my studio, especially during the start when people were barely allowed to come out.

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Am I Too Old to Enjoy This?

Last Friday, we went out to see Amélie the Musical at the Criterion Theater. My partner chose it because he loves the film a lot: it was one of the movies we watched during the height of the pandemic last year. (We played the movie in sync while on a Google Meet call, which is pretty much how we survived the long-distance relationship.) 

It was surreal to get back inside the theater for the first time since COVID started, and seeing the West End bustling with so much life made me miss watching plays and movies in Manila. (Wicked has started showing again, while The Book of Mormon has been bombarding me with reminders that it will resume this November.) 

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A Polite Chat with Dying

Do you ever think about dying? I mean, genuinely think about not existing anymore: not breathing, living in the past tense forever—a nothing?

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Playing It Cool

Autumn is coming. It’s not here yet, but I can already feel the weather getting colder. The weather here has been generally chilly, but I think it’s because I’m used to the tropical heat in Manila (not to say that I liked Manila weather, but I’ve grown accustomed to the oppressive and humid climate to know how to work around it, such as: never to wear anything colored, unless I wanted sweat spots all over my shirt.

That reminds me of this one time in Singapore on my way to a meeting when I messed up with Google Maps’s directions, and I was left dripping in my own sweat—but I’ll save that for another story.)

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Live Long Enough to Cringe

“A good place to retire,” my fiancé said that afternoon as he pointed at a “For Lease” sign on one of the charming whitewashed houses here in Perast, a small village facing the Bay of Kotor, in Montenegro.

Although we were decades away from quitting our jobs, I imagined living in this town: half-naked under the sun, lazily reading by the lake, the crystal waters stretching for miles that made you believe it was the sea.

Perast, a charming town inhabited by around 200 people, by the Bay of Kotor

It was appealing, I thought, the idea of a never-ending vacation—but I also told myself that was probably because I still found all of this new and wonderful after being cooped up for months inside my studio in Makati.

“Yes,” I said, “But what will we eat?”

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The Magical Force of Our Names

This essay first appeared in the Lifestyle section of the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

It has been said: a rose, by any other name, will smell as sweet.

Ignoring for a moment that roses smell like rotting cabbages (am I seriously the only one who thinks this? Are my olfactory glands whack?), the Jhemerlyns, Porfirios, and Gorgonios of the world, despite all their stellar qualities, would likely want to have less outstanding names.