Adventure in The Philippines: Tumbang Preso and the Sorbetes Man
The group passed a big pier that seemed to wander out forever. Nonoy mentioned that the harbour was shallow so big boats could not come into it. In the distance, they saw the Cultural Center of the Philippines, it was a modern building where the best talent in the country came to perform. Whizzing past them were colourful old jeeps that the locals called "Jeepney", packed with people.
As they walked down the road, they came upon an empty can. “Let’s play a quick game of Tumbang Preso” suggested Nonoy.
He explained to the travellers that Tumbang Preso, also called ‘Knock Down The Prisoner’, is a game where you set up a can on the ground, then try to knock it down by throwing your slippers at it from a distance. He removed his slippers and demonstrated for the group. With lots of laughter and giggling, all the travellers took turns to play.
“Hey! There’s my Uncle Ferdinand! My mama’s younger brother” exclaimed Nonoy, running to a man wearing a baseball hat and fidgeting with a cart that said ‘Sorbetes’.
The group followed Nonoy and found Uncle Ferdinand sweating, furiously moving the tubs of ice cream around the inside of the cart.
“Oh, mga bata” (child) Ferdinand moaned, he looked stressed as the children arrived by the cart.
“It’s such a hot day, I can’t keep this ice from melting. I need to sell all my ice cream today or I won’t have money to buy your mother her birthday present.” He looked very worried.
Hari put his hand in his pocket and took out handfuls of pink crystals. “Here is some Himalayan rock salt. It will keep your ice cold for just a little longer”.
Uncle Ferdinand was very grateful. He quickly encased the ice in the salt and got ready to push his cart, but not before giving the travellers a scoop of coconut, pineapple and guava sorbet in a bread bun. That’s one of the most common ways to eat ice cream in Manila.
They wandered to the other side of the square, where they came upon a set of imposing, wrought iron gates. On the other side of the gate was a wall with the words ‘Coconut Palace’ etched into it. Nonoy knew if anyone could decipher the clue the travellers had received from Samarkand, it would be the head gardener of the most famous palace in the country.
That gardener just happened to be Nonoy’s father.