“You’re not handsome” is Dili ka guapo in Cebuano—one of the Philippines’ major dialects (or language, as linguistics students call it because it really is totally different from most of the country’s over 80 dialects).
Dili ka guapo said to someone’s face would be suicide. You’ll get maimed, minced and mutilated. It’s simply not said (keep it in the dark chambers of your thoughts)—not aloud, not even in jest.
But in GenSan (a bustling city in Mindanao, almost at the bottom of the Philippine map), in a restaurant that serves mouth-watering ostrich dishes, Dili Ka Guapo is said with exuberance and exultance, while you dribble and drool, up in the same league as serendipity!
Dili Ka Guapo is a specialty dish. It is a combination of dilis (dried teeny-weeny fish), guaple (giant guava), and pomelo (a tropical grapefruit).
‘Tis a pity I have no photo to brag with, but I can gush. May I?
Imagine a white platter decked with dices of pastel greens, chunks of translucent pinks, and shreds of golden browns. They look like they shouldn’t be together; but you change your mind as soon as you take the first spoonful of the concoction into your mouth.
If you are a foodie, you know exactly what I am babbling about. But it isn’t as easy as putting together dilis, guaple and pomelo. The secret is in the type of dilis, guaple and pomelo. In that restaurant called Sixblings, the chef has an exclusive recipe for his dilis; his guaples are handpicked; and his pomelos come straight from Davao (a bigger city three-hour drive away, where the sweetest and juiciest pomelos are grown).
At Sixblings, God’s grace comes in bowls, plates, saucers, and platters, I pondered.
Dili Ka Guapo is just one of the many things I was pampered with by my hosts when I was in GenSan for less than 24 hours. It deserves one post. Other posts, still on GenSan, are on the way.