During my time in London, one of my students asked about my upbringing; as we munched on butter biscuits by the playground, stale crumbs dusting our laps, I told her about my country. “The Philippines?” she frowned. “Is that in China?”
Jollibee is more than just a Filipino fast food chain. It is to me what McDonald’s is to many of my friends from other places—a staple. I have known Jollibee, both the chain and the mascot, since I could barely eat solid food. I’ve attended birthday parties, caught up with family and friends, and reflected on my personal growth with Jollibee. This bee might even have brought me closer to God…
you try to pronounce each dish’s name
and it rolls off your tongue like a mango bruised, gone bad —
but your mother tongue is a sharp longing for sour tamarind soup.
this poem began in the belly of a fish in the south china sea, which was then caught, fried, and served
as a seven-dollar meal, rice included, at barrio fiesta in lucky plaza. this poem began on a yellowing page
in an unchecked library book about jose rizal’s noli me tangere.