A week ago, my husband and I had lunch at Genia’s in Marikina. It is a carinderia that we have been loyal patrons of for over a decade. Just like most of Marikina, Genia’s was submerged in neck-deep floods when typhoon Ondoy hit the country and we were only too happy to know that a mere week after the disaster, Genia’s was business as usual.
Genia’s is an icon in the neighborhood of Kapitan Miong. If you look at its humble appearance, you wouldn’t guess that people who can certainly afford to eat at more expensive and more well-appointed establishments frequent the place, their expensive vehicles lining the street in front. That day we had lechong kawali and batchoy at Genia’s, the diners consisted of uniformed Meralco employees and a smattering of locals.
Somewhere between the batchoy and the lechon kawali, a convoy with a public address system (the voice reminded everyone that parking was limited to the right side of the street) came blaring through the neighborhood, passing right in front of the carinderia. There was a small commotion as people said it was Bayani Fernando himself on the microphone. And I had to raise an eyebrow wondering why Fernando needed to travel in a convoy just to remind people about a traffic ordinance.
We stayed a little while after lunch chatting with the owner, Genia, exchanging stories about how we all lived through Ondoy. Diners and people who bought take-out came and went. Then, two men arrived. The way they talked easily with Genia, they appeared to be regulars too. They ordered lunch, Genia played the genial hostess and introduced everybody. The new arrivals were the barangay captain of the area and a congressman.
Yes, you read that right. A congressman. I thought my ears were playing tricks on me when Genia said “congressman” because I didn’t see the usual battalion of bodyguards accompanying the man. In fact, the “congressman” came with the barangay captain in the latter’s motorcycle. Naka-angkas, believe it or not.