A perusal of the food booths led me to understand the following: It would be tough to be a vegetarian in the Phillipenes. Each booth had a delicious smell and sold more or less the same thing: Some grilled meat, lumpia, and pancit noodles. The plan was for my friend to order a combo plate and share his noodles while he ate the meat. We choose the longest line and waited patiently. First bite of noodles: Yum. Second bite: Huh, wait, what... oh... dang. Meat. At least two kinds.
There were also two kinds of noodles: fat opaque noodles and skinny clear noodles and a garlicy sweet spicy sauce to accompany them. I was hungry from my run and so appetized by the delicious smells that I made an attempt to eat around the meat, but it was a labor intensive affair.
After our meal, we checked all of our pockets and rounded up enough money for a Halo Halo, the omnipresent dessert of the day.
Halo Halo is an interesting dessert that goes something like this:
- Boiled beans, maybe a couple of different kinds, and other boiled fruit (in this case lychee and young coconut), in the bottom of a cup in a sugary starchy bean syrup.
- Big Scoop of shaved ice
- Pour of sweetened condensed milk over the ice
- On top a small jiggly wedge of flan, a ball of brilliantly purple ube (mashed purple yam) and a scoop of ice cream.
They also sold one of my favorite guilty deserts, deep fried sticky coconut rice balls with a fried, caramalized brown sugar crust, but we didn't have enough money on us to buy any.
It was a pretty neat scene down there... tons of people and all kinds of entertainment, including kids from the Filipino Youth Activities group who did a dance with some large poles. It included a segment where the ornately dressed young girls did a very passionate stick fight, and I found it to be particularily touching.