Time has a marvelous way of showing us what really matters.
Hence, everything is left to us to decide what to do with it.
Incontestably, this is what my siblings and my family exhibited when we immediatley paid our eldest sister Olen a visit last Saturday (see story at https://wanderingjouster.com/2017/05/08/the-fate-of-an-iron-ladys-faith/). Time is always of great essence to us, thereby we set aside the brevity of it. We have to maximize it up to the last nanosecond. With our utilization of it on that weekend, positive results were achieved including a side trip to the home of sili ice cream, the First Colonial Grill which was located inside SM City Naga branch.
This was our last stop before going back to Manila with one foremost objective — to taste the much talk about sili ice cream.
For me, I silently took it as a personal challenge of my being a purebred Bicolana, who’s known for her penchant for spiciness.
Cristy headed the decision-making about the sili ice cream level which each of us will order. Obet, my Naga-based older sister, begged off from the “mini-duel” and instead opted to have halo-halo.
So the five of us (Cristy, Jai [my niece], Knight [my youngest son] and Jerry Mayo [the hired driver]) were left to finalize our pick. The process itself tickled me and gave me a lot of fun. Now, the waiting and the tasting promised much more.
My sister Cristy, having tasted sili ice cream before, helped me to settle for Level 1 for a start. Jerry did the same thing. Good for him who is a non-Bicolano.
Jai and Knight decided on Level 2 and would just share the ice cream.
Level 3 is for Cristy, making her the bravest in the group. Well, for this moment only…Hahahaha!
Then, we all began the dare.
My first teaspoon of Level 1 led me to tasting Levels 2 and 3 as well. For what reason? The spicy taste was just normal for me. On that account, I told my companions that I’d order Volcano level. Whoa! My sister had to repeat her query if I were serious. Of course, I was serious. Hehehehe…But first, I had to do a quick interview with the waitress who informed us that Level 1 has 10 grams of sili powder, Level 2 has 20 grams, Level 3 has 100 grams and Volcano Level has 200 grams. So, it’s clear. This sili ice cream only makes use of pulverized chili pepper. If it’s not powderized, the amount of chili that each level has, may not sell their kind of ice cream! Remembering my grandfather Mamerto who would cook Bicol express with a lot of red chili pepper, I have never attempted to taste it for fear that real smoke would come out from my nose and ears. 😂🤣😂
So, I put my order. And while waiting, we continued partaking of another dessert, leche flan…
…and bahay kubo salad, which was brought to our table while the service crew was singing the popular Tagalog folk song “Bahay Kubo” or nipa hut. This salad was named as such because all the mentioned vegetables in this folk song were included in the recipe — singkamas (jicama), talong (eggplant), sigarilyas (winged bean), mani (peanut), sitaw (long beans), bataw (hyacinth beans), patani (lima beans), kundol (ash gourd), patola (sponge gourd), kalabasa (squash), labanos (raddish), mustasa (mustard), sibuyas (onions), kamatis (tomatoes), bawang (garlic), luya (ginger), and linga (sesame seeds).
I could have deconstructed this salad and have asked for the list to double check whether all the vegetables were really complete, however I was more interested to judge the last level of their fiery ice cream flavor.
Drum roll please…
I love the shade of red at once!
And what about the taste and hotness of this iconic sili ice cream in Bicolandia?
They’re just what I needed to keep me animated despite having no decent sleep. See the puffy eyes? And most of all, they were just perfect to keep me awake and alert on the road for ten hours from Naga City to Manila.