What I Was Listening To: PLAYLIST: Europa! Europa!
I couldn’t tell you why I’ve always lusted over Spain; it’s just always been there. Perhaps it is because within the context of Filipino culture, it ironically signifies the grace and elegance of a yester-world, which could not at all be thought of as such.
The Philippines’ history with Spain was a violent one, but those 333 years of Spanish influence on Filipino culture is undeniable. Generations have passed between then and now, and I can’t hold anybody accountable for all that history. Not that I’d want to; I wasn’t there to experience the negative. However, thanks to family custom, I am able to enjoy the best of it: their language, their food, and their festive spirit.
Since I quit my job in May, I immediately dove into learning Spanish at Instituto Cervantes in Manila. I’d been wanting to sit down and learn the language for half my life now, apparently (I found a grammar book that I bought when I was fourteen, when I first attempted to self-teach), but now seemed like as good a time as any to catch up with my Spanish-speaking relatives. The food and the fiestas are around often enough; my very large families see each other at least once a week.
Five years ago (and this still holds as the best job I’ve ever had), a Spanish galleon sailed to Manila. It might have been the thirty-six beautiful Spanish sailors, but that just sealed the deal.
So you can imagine how much it meant to be to finally visit Spain. It was a short four-day segment on a two-week Eurotrip, but I was in tears on the way out. I always am at the end of any trip, but this affair was coitus terminus.
After 10 days of driving around Italy, it was nice to be able to set off by myself in Barcelona. Of course, I paid a visit to Montserrat, Dali’s Palau Guell, and La Sagrada Familia. Four days was not enough!
On the culinary front, I am grateful to have been brought to Los Caracoles, of the Bofarull family. It has been around since the 1800s, and you can tell by the lines and lines of framed photographs of all of its famous visitors, including my personal heroes Lenny Kravitz, and Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant, whom I had just seen at the Rock & Roots Festival in Singapore the weekend before.
Sadly, I lost my photos in The Great Hard Drive Theft of 2014, so all I have are Instagram posts. Better than nothing, I suppose. But you know what that means, right? I have to go back!