When I was but a school girl in pigtails, my mom used to pack our merienda bags (I remember mine was the red, square-shaped plastic kind with Star Wars in front. It has its own juice jug, too! J) with mamon or cheese cupcake from Alvarez Bakeshop, a local bakeshop with a branch in nearby town, Biñan, Laguna.
I remember too that Alvarez’ bakeshop’s cheese cupcake was my young tummy’s favorite. Di pa uso noon ang Goldilocks o ang Red Ribbon. Even our birthday cakes were sourced from Alvarez Bakeshop.
Years passed, Goldilocks and Red Ribbon’s branches proliferated until I totally forgot about Alvarez Bakeshop and its mamon and cheese cupcakes.
However, a year ago while still pregnant with Jeremy, I suddenly just had a craving for my favorite cheese cupcake. Lemon Squares had one like Alvarez’ but this was still different from what I got used to so di pa din pasado. Until in one of our trips to our adopted school in Muntinlupa, the Itaas Elementary School, I saw that there was an Alvarez Bakeshop branch in Muntinlupa Poblacion (I think that’s what they call the place where the intersection is, going to the New Bilibid Prison Community). I promised myself I would stop there one day and just buy my favorite cheesecake.
This afternoon on the way to the same school for our storybook donation ceremony, I caught a glimpse of “Alvarez.” I told my colleagues that it brings back memories of my childhood when I used to bring Alvarez Bakeshop stuff to school for merienda. And what do you know, on our way back to the office after the event, I asked our colleague Mon who was driving the company-owned Innova to park at a side street so I could cross the street and buy my cheese cupcakes. I was even too impatient since the traffic aides took too long to stop the traffic to let commuters cross the road.
After a while though, I got to the other end of the road. Heehee. You just don’t know how happy I was when I saw that they’re still selling the same cupcakes. J I bought 6 cupcakes and was smiling from ear to ear when I returned to the car. My friend Aileen asked me if they were particularly delicious since I had to make an effort to buy them. I just smiled, knowing only I would understand my craving for these cupcakes.
As I write this in front of my computer monitor, I am eating one of those cupcakes. I am immediately transported to my grade school years, when life was still so much simpler and I did not have to think about going to the supermarket to do my grocery shopping, or what to cook in the evening so my husband Bong could come home to a warm, home-cooked meal, nor the need to wake up early in the morning to prepare for work after having only three to four hours of sleep due to babies crying in the wee hours of the morning, either from a bad dream or because they need to be fed.
But then, seeing my kids peacefully asleep gives me a certain kind of calm—the one that makes me all the more thankful to the Lord because Hegave me three beautiful and wonderful children I will never trade for anything or anyone in this world. So forget about that distant past when I would leave the worrying to my parents while I enjoy munching on my cheese cupcakes. I realize how I love my life now. Besides, I could still have my favorite cheese cupcakes, but this time, I can enjoy them while cuddled in front of the tv with my Bong.
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