Episode 9: Tinola

Months have already passed, but I still haven’t gotten over the realization that a story I wrote has been published in a newspaper. That’s why it took me this long to put down my thoughts here.

It was already Sunday evening when I learned that “Tinola”, my story, was published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer’s Super section. A message in my author page alerted me of that news. I decided to check the story online, and well, there it was. I had no choice but to run all the way to the last open newsstand to get a copy of Inquirer.

True enough, “Tinola” was there. It was a short story at the bottom of the back page with a large picture placed as a space filler (or at least that’s how I saw it at first look), but it had my name on it.

Looking back, I was cooking chicken tinola when the idea to write the story crossed my mind. Someone then decided to remind me how gung-ho I was as I cooked it for someone else before. That was how the urge to write a story about tinola came about.

Cooking tinola has a nostalgic feel to it. Tinola is my favorite dish, along with lechon and omurice (but that’s for a different story), and I had my own recipe for it. Much of my cooking skills came from my mom, and it became my signature dish of sorts.

I also cooked it a lot of times when I was studying and working in Baguio City. Thing is, only a handful of people have tasted my special tinola recipe. (It’s in the story.) More accurately, I rarely cooked it for anyone else. The first time I cooked my tinola in its perfected form, it was for my first girlfriend, who I wanted to introduce to my family that day. She didn’t show up.

I was once told that my tinola was “filled with love”. Love for whom, I don’t know. No matter how much of that love I cooked into that pot of chicken and ginger broth, it was never returned, anyway. Maybe self-love, because I love tinola. But I digress.

Back to my story, anyway. “Tinola” was about a man who cooked chicken tinola for his girlfriend on their anniversary. It sounds like a love story, and I intended it to be written as one, but I was so engrossed in writing it that the story took a different twist. Satisfying, but different from what I envisioned.

I take time to read and reread my story from time to time. That way, I remind myself that I have successfully written a story even on a whim, and that story got published. That says something about my prospect to write romance, but at least I gain more experience points in crime writing.

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