Balat sa Pwet: A Misadventure

By Kariopes

Do you have a birthmark on your butt or something? (May balat ka ba sa pwet?) My friend was saying when we turned around twice at the same driveway and passed the same water-filling station three times. We were in Tagaytay, this rainy stormy day, looking for the place where my friend and I were meeting some people. She was getting angry, and I was thinking that we were being played by something supernatural (minamatanda kami!). We finally found the place by asking a tricycle driver and instructions through a cellphone call. I was relieved, for I was getting dizzy and ready to puke from going round and round the same inner road. I was already thinking of a barf bag, which I unfortunately didn’t have at hand. Anyway, we made it, and the meeting took us about an hour. We were famished afterwards as we left and headed towards Aguinaldo Hwy. It was way past 1 o’clock, you see, and our stomachs were rumbling already. As in rumbling. Our plan was to eat bulalo stew since it was quite cold and just the right food in this rain. We passed several restaurants and just made a vee towards the next parking lot we saw. We ended up at RSM Lutong Bahay.

This was not my first time in this over looking Taal volcano restaurant, which I told my friend. She hadn’t tried eating here yet. There were a few guests, and we were seated right away.

We ended up ordering, Sinigang sa Miso Bangus Belly, her favorite and two plain rice. We didn’t order more because the serving was good for 3 to 4. It was way too much for the two of us. We were not that starved to eat for 4 or more. But 30 minutes later plus a wrong order, which took another 20 minutes or so, we were not so happy. We even noticed the chipped serving dish before it was carried off our table. You see my friend was allergic to certain kinds of fish, so they had to change it. We recounted the server, who took our order. If he wrote it down, or if he repeated our orders correctly. Alas, I did not hear him say bangus, I only heard belly, which I thought was fine. My mistake. I should have corrected him.

We were about to go and eat at McDonalds, when our one order arrived. I noticed there were more veggies and bangus belly, maybe to compensate for the error. Good. The staff were accomodating and apologetic, but my friend was disappointed since this was her first time here. A bad first impression. I tried to be more polite and even left a small tip. “For the effort,” I said to my friend.

As we left, streams of guest kept arriving even at the late hour. Maybe for merienda? I thought the place must be well known and had a pretty good reputation. The staff were helpful and attentive, but maybe just needed a bit more training. The food we ordered tasted good. Even from my last visit there, wherein my family ordered their Bulalo and some other fare, it was good. The wooden plates, bowls, cutleries and water were served right away. The tables and chairs were comfortable. There was no Wifi though. And the place was open to elements, like there was one fly I had to shoo. I just smiled, but my friend would not be seen in this restaurant again. Too bad.

It was a day of bad luck, with the bad weather, getting lost in one single street looking for the one turn and then the wrong order. It was a misadventure in my books, but mind you I don’t have “balat sa pwet.”

Note: Balat sa pwet (birthmark on the butt) and minamatanda (being played by supernatural beings) are some sayings and superstitions of old here in the Philippines. It is said that you are unlucky if you have balat sa pwet. While minamatanda is a superstition. Like in our escapade, we couldn’t find or reach our destination. We were going back and forth but couldn’t seem to find the street. That was why I thought we were being minamatanda. Hahaha I guess I’m superstitous.

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