Quoth The Cousin

DSC09465behindfalls.JPG

This blog entry about the events of Saturday, January 01, 2005 was originally posted on January 04, 2005.

DAY 441:  I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m really into the genre of Hollywood stupid-but-funny movies, most of which star alumni of Saturday Night Live after their runs with producer Lorne Michaels.  To my surprise, it runs in the family, all the way to the Philippines; I swear my cousins Joey, JayPee, Judiel and Jessica have seen all of them, and like me and many others, love quoting the stupid one-liners.  My cousins are quite perceptive too; after just one screening of my bootleg DVD of Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (starring SNL alumnus funnyman Will Ferrell), they seemed to pick out all the one-liners, even the obscure ones that took me multiple viewings to pick up on.

“See, this is how they learn English,” my uncle said with a slight sigh.

“I READ ABOUT IT IN A BOOK,” (Ben Stiller, Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story) Joey said when we were preparing for the excursion of the day to Laguna, a couple of hours out of metro Manila.  In Laguna was the Exotik restaurant, an award-winning restaurant catering to both locals and foreign tourists.  Situated in multiple buildings and pavilions on the side of a hill, it was more than a restaurant, with indoor and outdoor space for private functions, gardens, and a sort of zoo, with just two kinds of animals on display:  monkeys and the biggest snake I’ve ever seen, a 25-foot anaconda named Samantha that made me cringe, whose head was the size of my fist and body girth was like as thick as my upper thigh.

“Talk to it in Parseltongue,” Judiel told Jessica. 

Snakes weren’t only on display at Exotik, they were on the menu, along with other “exotic” foods if you cared to be more daring than the average patron ordering from the regular selections of chicken, beef, pork or fish.  Of course, the only reason why we traveled so far from Manila to Exotik was to try the “exotic” foods since they weren’t normally served anywhere else. 

Accompanying our snake with coconut sauce was manta ray with vegetables, sizzling river eel, and bayawak, or monitor lizard, with garlic sauce.  As “exotic” as each of these was, the tastes were familiar:  snake like chicken, manta ray like fish, river eel also like fish, and monitor lizard like dog.  Except for that last one, there really wasn’t anything “exotic” about it, although Joey and Judiel joked about how we ate “exotic rice” and “exotic cucumbers” because everything at Exotik was supposed to be “exotic.”

Meanwhile, on a table across from us, a family had ordered fried chicken.  “Look, they came all the way [here] and they’re eating chicken,” Tito Pepito silently mocked them.

“I ate a big red candle,” (Steve Carell, Anchorman) Judiel said randomly.


“IT’S NOT A BOAT, IT’S A YACHT,” (Vince Vaughn, Starsky & Hutch) Joey and Judiel said as we boarded a couple of canoes.  The other big to-do in Laguna was to “shoot the rapids” through the tropical river gorge that began at Pagsanjan Falls.  It was there that the final scenes of Apocalypse Now were filmed, although we would go referencing another movie.

“Hey, Spider-Man!” called a boatman.

JayPee was at it again, wearing the Spider-Man mask that Joey made, for more out-of-context photo opportunities and to get reactions from the other people on the river.  Not surprisingly, he was welcomed with smiles, cheers, hi-fives, and double takes.  One North American tourist asked to take a photo with him, and JayPee happily obliged. 

“Shooting the rapids” didn’t involved shooting bullets into the river like my uncle had joked, nor did it involve any physical activity on our part.  Rowing and steering was all in the hands of the banqueros, boatmen who did all the work, which was more of a task than expected because we actually went all the way upstream first to the source of the river before riding the rapids back downstream.  Going upstream required more than a little muscle; the team of two oarsmen per canoe often jumped in and out to walk it up using stepping stones with all of us inside.

“I can barely lift my right arm ‘cause I did so many,” (Will Ferrell, Anchorman) JayPee said.

Halfway upstream were the Magdapio Falls, where we briefly stopped for a group photo before continuing up the gorge.  Eventually our oarsmen got us to the main Pagsanjan Falls where we hired another guy to pull us on a big bamboo raft into Devil’s Cavern, the cave behind the main falls (picture above).  Needless to say, we got completely drenched under the water cascade, which made us scream and yell the way people do on wild water rides at an amusement park.

“I don’t know what we’re yelling about!” (Steve Carell, Anchorman) I said.


OUR BANQUERO STEERED US back downstream to where we began.  It was fun to just ride the rapids and watch the scenery go by.  For others in other canoes passing by, it was fun to ride the rapids and watch Spider-Man go by.

The ride back to Manila was a long one because of the traffic, and everyone started getting hungry.  Fortunately we were on the road where there were multiple stores selling “Colette’s Famous Buko (Coconut) Pie;” we stopped twice to pick some up to eat in the car.

“Mmm, this is really good babingka,” (Rob Schneider, Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigalo) Joey said, eating a piece.

“Deep burn, deep burn!” (Will Ferrell, Anchorman) I said, burning my hand on a piping hot slice off pie.

As much as we wanted more buko pie, we called it quits after two; pastries aren’t so forgiving to the abdominal region, if you know what I mean.

“Not six minute abs, seven minute abs,” (Harland Williams, There’s Something About Mary) Judiel said.


AFTER DINNER BACK AT THE HOUSE, I packed my things and got ready to go back to my other uncle’s house back in Greenhills; my cousins’ Christmas/New Year break was over anyway, and they’d all have to get back to school and work the next day.

For my farewell to JayPee it was a no-brainer; it was a hi-five like the one he had been giving to strangers on the street as Spider-Man.  “Astig!” we said in unison.  For the others, it was back to the one-liners.

“You stay classy,” (Will Ferrell, Anchorman) I told Judiel, Joey and Jessica as I left the house.

“Thanks for stopping by,” Jessica said (as Christina Applegate did in Anchorman after Will Ferrell’s catch phrase).

My visit with the Trinidad clan of Parañaque had come to an end, but I knew that as long as Hollywood continued to crank out stupid-but-funny movies, I’d always be in touch with them.

SAVE THE DATE; DAY 503 IS COMING.  MARCH 5, 2005, NYC.






Next entry: Erik Falls On Mount Pinatubo

Previous entry: Casual Saturday




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Comments for “Quoth The Cousin”

  • I’M STILL BEHIND, but catching up slowly but surely (as always).  At least there’s the end of my time with The Trinidads of Para?aque. 

    NEXT UP:  A walk on Mt. Pinatubo…

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/04  at  08:15 AM


  • astig!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/04  at  11:19 AM


  • astig!!! 
    sky rockets in flight!!! afternoon delight!!!....

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/04  at  12:06 PM


  • Senor Gonzales, What are YOU doing in my HEAD?

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/04  at  02:54 PM


  • NIKKIJ:  Una mesa para dos, a table for two…

    Good times…

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/04  at  03:03 PM


  • PARANAQUE TRINIDADS:  I love carpet.  I love lamp.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/04  at  03:13 PM


  • Napoleon Dynamite: Do the chickens have large talons?

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/04  at  04:17 PM


  • You can use my office and maybe after that we can go to lunch! ASTIG! hehe..

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/04  at  10:04 PM


  • Freaky monkey pic! Snakes… why’d it have to be snakes…. Hey is the guy in the back of “us on a big bamboo raft” wearing a shower cap? Is he really worried about getting his head wet? I don’t think that little thing’s gonna get the job done with all that water falling over a cliff! BTW, I was hoping you’ld have another mountain climbing expedition up your sleeve—I wouldn’t want Everest to sour your mountain-lust.

    So are we all meeting you at the airport on 3/5/05?

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/04  at  10:06 PM


  • LOUD NOISES!!!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/04  at  10:06 PM


  • CHRISTY:  Ha, funny… I didn’t notice the shower cap until you pointed it out.

    re: DAY 503…  I haven’t decided yet if I will arrive at the party venue after dropping off my bags at my parents, or if I will rush into “the finish line” Amazing Race style… 

    I still don’t know if I’m going to fly straight into NYC or fly into another city and drive in either…

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/04  at  11:40 PM


  • PARANAQUE TRINIDADS:  Did you get “Old School” yet? 

    “Where did you get those clothes?  The Toilet Store?”

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/04  at  11:42 PM


  • SOME TRIVIA:  The current mayor of the Pasay district of Manila is Mayor Pee Wee Trinidad (no relation).

    That’s my name, don’t wear it out.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/04  at  11:44 PM


  • Erik-
    Its been nice to catch up on your experience back in the Philippines. 
    My lola is from the Philippines, too… 
    I might be going there with her sometime this year to visit my two-posterboard-sized family as well.  She gets out a little more than yours=)

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/05  at  03:21 AM


  • You got the snake’s tongue out, didn’t you?? EEKS!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/05  at  05:41 AM


  • Nah, we dont have Old School yet we havent had the chance to go to Greenhills yet..

    I love scotch. Scotch, scotch, scotch!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/05  at  10:02 AM


  • With this continuoum transfunctioner I will banish you to Hobokken, New Jersey!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/05  at  10:04 AM


  • too funny again…

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/05  at  04:15 PM


  • Old School is BY FAR my favourite !

    “I like you, but you’re crazy man!”

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/06  at  04:01 PM


  • “Kingpin” is one of my favorite movies to quote from.  That’s an excellent, stupid movie.

    I’m in Laos right now and have to go home tomorrow.  aaaaagggh!  noo!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/07  at  03:18 AM


  • SARA:  Don’t go pull a Munson…

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/07  at  09:40 AM


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This blog post is one of over 500 travel dispatches from the trip blog, "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World (Or Until Money Runs Out, Whichever Comes First)," originally hosted by BootsnAll.com. It chronicled a trip around the world from October 2003 to March 2005, which encompassed travel through thirty-seven countries in North America, South America, Africa, Europe, and Asia. It was this blog that "started it all," where Erik evolved and honed his style of travel blogging — it starts to come into focus around the time he arrives in Africa.

Praised and recommended by USA Today, RickSteves.com, and readers of BootsnAll and Lonely Planet's Thorn Tree, The Global Trip blog was selected by the editors of PC Magazine for the "Top 100 Sites You Didn't Know You Couldn't Live Without" (in the travel category) in 2005.


Next entry:
Erik Falls On Mount Pinatubo

Previous entry:
Casual Saturday




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