Pesto and the train
By Virginia J. Pasalo
I had merienda at A Veneto Pizzeria Ristorante, with a friend June Cañada last Monday. As she suggested, I made two orders of pesto, one plain and one with seafood so that by the time she arrived, we could sit down and relax.
When the order arrived, it was huge, one order was good for two to three people. I was genuinely surprised because only Napoli Pizzeria Ristorante at Timog, served humungous pasta. One order at Napoli is actually good for four people, but here, I did not expect it, I assumed that all other restaurants were not as generous.
“Actually, the servings had gotten small. They used to serve it in a deep bowl, now they serve it on a flat plate to give the impression that the serving is the same. It used to be good for four people, like the servings at Napoli.”
“Creativity is needed because prices of ingredients have gone up but the clients are reluctant to pay the increase. Everything is being run over by the TRAIN.”
“TRAIN? Ahh, yung Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN). Di ba that is meant to fund the ‘Build, Build, Build’ infrastructure program and socio-economic programs?”
“Same banana. To make up for the loss of revenue due to reduced income tax, the law imposes higher taxes on fuel, and we know na pag tumaas ang gas, tataas lahat.” (When fuel prices go up, everything goes up.)
“I wonder how the fast food chains can be creative about this?”
“I guess McDonald’s and Jollibee will reduce the size of the chicken parts and burger patties, and the amount of noodles in the spaghetti servings. Jollibee will further reduce the size of the Chinese sausage into the size of Alaminos longganisa.”
“Or they can raise the price, like what Shoemart does. From P2 to P2.99, instead of P3.”
That sound scares.
the rhythmic chugging,
a broken rumbling,
before the brakes hiss,
to an abrupt stop.
The train has arrived.
after rolling over, half-forgotten lives
packed like sardines
inside run-down coaches
running on rusty tracts,
flattening, at slow speed,
those unable to move away
from its one-tract path,
yelling, “Tangina mo, Joma!”
“Sige uwi ka, sampalin kita!”
build, build, build!
let us borrow for tomorrow
who cares about taxes and the sorrow?
open the gates, welcome “Wěi wěi”!
“Kung Hei Fat Choi!”, that’s the new way!
PASALO’S COLLECTION – Virginia J. Pasalo’s first 100 essays and poems published in The PUNCH weekly since 2015 can be read in her book “G SPOT”. Copies can be bought at The PUNCH office @P350.
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