Have you ever seen halo-halo, the quintessential Philippine dessert, in a milk can? I have. Of course, it’s not “canned” like tuna, cause halo-halo is mostly made of ice like ice kachang. People serve it in many ways. Besides ice, milk and sugar, you can have it with sweet beans, sweetened bananas, sago, multi-colored gulaman, avocado (yes, avocado), leche flan, ube, sweet corn, etc. In the days before plastic cups and styrofoam cups, halo-halo, at least in the public market was served in milk cans to go.
I doubt if you’ll ever see any canned halo-halo these days.
Today, you can get bottled water anywhere. In the old days, we collected rain water in our tanks during the rainy season and hope that it lasts through the summer. If not, then, we’ll have to pump them out of the ground, and do they taste bad and rusty. Water was, and still is, difficult in our town. Last summer, to keep the resort going, we had to spend P2,400 per truckload which didn’t last even a day.
Today, we have electricity, but in the old days, only those with generators could have any appliances. There was only one TV in town. Today, you could buy a pre-paid card and watch cable TV.
When we wanted to eat chicken, we had to buy a live chicken and “dress” it. So chicken was a real treat. Today, if you want fried chicken, you go to Jollibee in Lucena City or buy a frozen chicken at one of the sari-sari stores.
There were no tricycles. We walked to school. Today, everyone rides tricycles.
Rural Philippines has changed and continues to change.