TALISAY CITY, CEBU, PHILIPPINES (November 21, 2019) --- I paid a good friend a visit to check on the goodies she sells online. Joy Ulla Nacua, a good friend of mine way back when we were still with mainstream media (community newspaper, particularly!), is doing good with her homemade goodies sold through the power of social media platforms.

One of the preserved products she shared is quite interesting. She purchased jars of "gourmet tuyo" from Pangasinan that is eye candy most especially that she started presenting serving suggestions on her FB. I have a strong liking for "tuyo" (dried fish). I think I am a big Cebuano at heart. I have not outgrown the flavor, the smell, the memories "tuyo" brings back. I should say that "tuyo" is not only comfort food, it is attached to bouts with survival. Back then a kilo of tuyo is just P12.50 so imagine if you have less than P5. You can still purchase some to go with rice or sweet potato or corn grits, what-have-you. We have a very good word for coming to terms with situations involving hunger pangs: PANTAWID GUTOM.

A serving suggestion of Nana & Lala Gourmet Tuyo. Best paired with tomatoes.

So when Joy posted of gourmet tuyo, I was half-elated and half-gloomy. The other half rejoiced at the thought of new product developments that glorify something so much a part of us. Even though you have already received the fourth tranche of a six-figure salary I don't think you will ever forego a chance to buy tuyo, or enjoy a meal with tuyo for a centerpiece on the table.

The other half of me longed for that Christmas when there was only a few pieces of eggs, a few packs of noodles, and tableya (cocoa tablets) and a kilo of tuyo for noche buena. But it was the most festive of Christmases my siblings and I shared. Even today we would talk about it. It was pure joy. Well, I must say I still shed tears to the memory of that beautiful Christmas with everything salty but that is us. We Pinoys grew up to dried fish, fermented fish, fish paste. They say it's bad for the kidneys. But the memories they've created --- or the attachment it draws upon us. We gravitate always to something familiar since childhood.

So I inserted into my schedule I chance to step back into Joy's marble, ergonomic kitchen on the feast of Talisay last October 15. It was great to reunite with some old chums who have really been admirers of local food product developments.

The photo posted by Joy Ulla Nacua which got me salivating! Not only are the fish pieces soaked in pure olive oil, it comes in spicy variant. Ommmmmphh!

In fact, when Joy Ulla Nacua posted the gourmet tuyo my mouth watered at the thought of fish in bite pieces already and soaked in olive oil. I could smell peppercorns from 12 kilometers away.

I am very good at words but when it comes to food, I go blank. It would be an understatement really to say it tastes good, or delicious, or scrumptious. There is more to gourmet tuyo. The fact that it has surpassed its status as a poor man's survival food is just amazing. It has taken its way to buffet stations as appetizers, thanks to more driven entrepreneurs who would want more consumers to experience tuyo beyond the crates and wicker baskets.

For orders, PM Joy Ulla Nacua on Facebook Messenger. Or you can check her other FB pages by typing NANA & LALA on search tab. Tell her you got the idea from this blog for super marked-downs. I'm not kidding. We grew up to the magic of tuyo on our lives that's why she believes in the potential of tuyo to dry up all her woes when managing a business as demanding as food. One that will always be subject to a scrutinizing consumer. She also has homemade banana loaves overloaded with nuts of sorts that is selling like the proverbial hot cakes. The baked goodies are a manifestation of the love mother and young daughters share. She trains her two kiddos - Nana and Lala - to bake.

Thus, the products she sells - including the gourmet tuyo - are marked NANA & LALA.