I heard echoes of laughter and I was jealous that I wasn’t there. The wooden walls reverberated familiar voices through the phone, voices of my aunts who traveled for more than half a day just to be with my mom as she celebrated Papa’s birthday. He was supposed to be 79 that day.
We are having “deko” said my mother, an Ibanag word for bibingka. “It is a gift for your Papa’s birthday“, she further explained.
Papa’s birthday was always a big celebration in our home. Every year, our family and friends, along with his clients, visit our house to bring their gifts in the morning and then attend the party later that day. Gifts of livestock included pigs, goats, the freshest catch from the ocean, and yes “deko”. Drinks overflowed and I remember amongst Papa’s favorites were Black Label Scotch whisky and Fundador brandy. And like a little boy, each gift and each birthday greeting would make him flash his “kindergarten” smile. During the latter part of his life he would say, “I won’t celebrate my birthday this year!” but my mother knew better. She would always prepare just the same, ready to feed an army because she knew his plans always changed at the last minute. “I can’t help it!” Papa would shyly explain. “They come to the house with gifts, so I invite them in to celebrate” would be his annual alibi.
But we all knew Papa loved the festivities.
So on the first birthday after his death, there was not much to celebrate. Calling home on his birthday and not hearing his voice was unnerving. I miss his voice, his laughter, his excitement in anticipating the party. I was suddenly enveloped by sadness so consuming that words cannot explain how I feel.
And before I could even think of how much I miss my Papa, I found myself tying the strings of my trusty apron… But the echoes in my mind kept repeating “I miss him… I terribly miss him”. So to celebrate Papa’s birthday, I made Royal Bibingka (a special kind of sweet rice cake). I can imagine again my dad’s “kindergarten” smile – as I remember him on his birthday and greet him: “Happy Birthday Papa, this one’s for you!!!”
I was so inspired to bake, to write and to take photos that day…. I turned it into a slide show and this video is the start of a special segment that I have always wanted to do. For those of you who requested a step by step account of my recipe, here’s my first attempt at preparing a video. This is the initial episode of my “How to cook Filipino Food Series”. Your comments and suggestions to improve on it will be most appreciated. Let’s be friends on Facebook and Twitter!
If you want to read the orginal posting and for the details of the recipe click :Royal Bibingka
© 2012, Malou @ Skip to Malou. All rights reserved.