In this time of pandemic taking its toll throughout the world with absolute impunity brought about by the mysterious and fatal Covid – 19 virus, the shopworn saying, “the bad times bring out the best and the worst in us” is no farther than the truth, referencing the good more than the bad side if we were to argue.
Think of humans as innately empathetic to one another in times of crisis, catastrophes, and the like, particularly the Filipinos renowned for their resiliency and the much-touted “bayanihan” spirit. Roughly translated in English “bayanihan,” means more than a proactive, mutual act of one another in a given community to extend a ready helping hand in lifting up for the common good those caught in conflict with prevailing crisis or problematic situations from within and without.
Take the case of our good and generous friend Ms. Ailene Gabarda Cabria from Biñan, Laguna. Since the outbreak of the pandemic together with some kindred souls-business partners in said area they have been most proactive in distributing food donations to several frontliners in Greater Manila Area. This consisted of delicious, freshly packed nutritious meals and fresh broccoli juices including her famous home made “Ailene’s Choice” ice cream as “piece de resistance” (read: special dessert) to wash down with relish their given packed meals at any given time.
To recall and to digress a bit, we first met Ms. Ailene G. Cabria in showbiz through her pretty daughter Jensen Dickenson who first joined a workshop on Method Acting facilitated by Director George Vail Kabristante, Artistic Director of UNESCO – Phil. Center for Int’l. Theater Institute, held at King of Talk Boy Abunda’s Food Republic at Roces, Quezon Ave. , Quezon City, Philippines.
One of Jensen’s co-workshoppers was Ali Forbes, Bb. Pilipinas runner-up and now talent of GMA-7.
Said workshop was organized by then President of the Phil. Movie Press Club (PMPC) Fernan de Guzman, Jonas Virtudazo, and Director Joey Austria, Kapisanan Ng Mga Direktor Sa Pelikulang Pilipino (KDPP) member and multi-awarded and Jury Prize winner for his short film “Talulot.”
Jensen went on to shoot some indie films for the projects of KDPP President William G. Mayo including films produced by Tuko Productions, the producer of Heneral Luna, etc. The young lady is now in the field of mass communication as her profession and at this time is engaged in helping her mom distribute meals.
During that time Ms. Ailene was highly visible in showbiz and ever supportive of the acting career of her daughter Jensen much like a “stage mother, ” albeit in a positive way.
Whenever we meet Ms. Ailene would bring us special delicacy “pasalubongs” from Biñan like “puto,” “kakanin,” “suman,” and of course the chilled and mouth-watering “Ailene’s Choice” natural ice cream delights that has become so famous in the whole city of Biñan including its neighboring cities.
That simply demonstrates how caring Ms. Ailene is in sharing her blessings with anybody who needs them most, thus endearing the mother and daughter to many friends in showbiz as well.
It is no wonder why Ms. Ailene Cabria is now active at the forefront of distributing a set of packed meals to frontliners in hospitals and clinics like Lung Center of the Phil., Phil. General Hospital, San Lazaro, UST Hospital, Fabella Memorial, Jose Reyes Hospital, V. Luna Hospital, Sta. Rosa Community Hospital, Cabuyao Hospital, 1st Cabuyao Hospital, Biñan Doctors, UPHSL Medical Hospital, Biñan Community Hospital, MDI Hospital, etc.
This also includes recipients of checkpoint frontliners assigned at Malacanang Palace, Cabuyao, Muntinlupa, Imus, and Marikina, among others.
Thankfully, Ms. Ailene earns the wholehearted support of Mr. Don Millena Marcaida whose name has become popularly synonymous with the unique kind of “sisig” melt-in-the mouth best seller delicacy at his resto outfit eponymously called “Don Sisigan.”
“Don Sisigan” restos are located in the business districts of Cabuyao and Binan highway, including another branch along Katapatan Highway in San Pablo City.
Don M. Marcaida’s resto outfits also offer its gourmet aficionados several salacious, mouth-watering specialty dish from a choice of delicacies like pork, beef, chicken, including chaopan, and others to die-for like lechon kawali, chicken buffalo, and sizzling seafoods, etc.
It goes without saying that “Don Sisigan” is a virtually successful resto business enterprise personified. In a manner of speaking, Don M. Marcaida has been “giving back” and sharing his blessings to all and sundry including the frontliners in issue with Ms. Ailene as his co-partner.
The secret to the success of the food business of Don M. Marcaida is due to several factors. A graduate of Business Management from Polytechnic Univ. of the Phil. (PUP), Don comes from a family of food lovers from his hometown in Bicol used to preparing exotic and unique provincial dishes.
As a self-made man, Don M. Marcaida has had substantial culinary experience and as apprentice to some chefs in 5- Star Hotels. This includes his hands-on experience coupled with personal touch and masterly supervision in sustaining the best kept secrets of his local and imported ingredients, etc. to draw out the exquisite aroma and the haunting flavor from his own concoctions and recipes.
Don M. Marcaida’s other lady business partner is the comely, self-effacing Nerisa Duetis even long before the outbreak of the pandemic.
Early on, the triumvirate have partnered with one another in helping feed street children around the environs of Biñan and Cabuyao, including giving donations in kind to the victims of the recent Taal volcano eruption.
Behind them is the Pioneer Foundation that also lends support to their humanitarian activities at hand even if it is taking them to the center of the pandemic, albeit in a noble and commendable way.
All these is made possible by the help of some other gregarious friends who are also just just as high on their respective “bayanihan” spirit, particularly the Mayabang Team led by Ms. Glady Moral with Mr. Jojo Ramos, and Ryan Aphio Dy.
As our last parting shot, we asked Ms. Ailene what makes her “Ailene’s Special” ice cream delights so special and to die-for?
A bit hesitant, Ms. Ailene G. Cabria disclosed that her home made ice cream delights was actually borne out of several times of ” test-taste” trials before it got to see the light of day bolstered by her previous course in culinary.
She let us in a bit into some of her ingredients that make her “Ailene’s Choice” ice cream a total delight that it is now.
Its ingredients are a cornucopia of natural and health-enhancing freshly harvested fruits, root crops, and vegetables foremost of which is malunggay, including special tea extracts, special cheese and coconut milk, etc.
That said in jest we told Ms. Ailene we cannot wait any longer for any of her healthy ice cream delights to chill, tickle, and drive our palate into
some kind of guilt-free foray if not delightful madness over her best-kept secret formulations borne out of her own creative, loving, and nurturing heart.
To which she conceded that her “Ailene’s Choice” of several natural exciting flavors are coming soon amidst the positively flattening of the pandemic’s curve. And we say in French ” Plus de pouvoir!” ( More power!).