A pose with the serene-faced Tiya Maria.
If there is a Hall of Fame for the people of La Carlota City, Tiya Maria will surely be in the list. Her arroz caldo, a salted rice porridge topped with toasted garlic and served either with boiled egg or chicken part, has stood the test of time. She started her backyard business literally in her backyard in 1991. I was in my elementary years then and always passed by her house-turned-arrozcaldohan (place for arroz caldo).
From then on up to now, her arroz caldo earned a following, from hospital workers, police officers, school teachers to students as well as weary travellers who get down in the Happy Valley or in corner of Uriarte Subdivision. Now at 82 and suffering from cataract, Tiya Maria enjoys listening to the radio and the chortles of her grandchildren as well as great grandchildren. She passed on her trade secrets to her children who now run the business, still in their backyard. However, even without signboards or advertising, the arroz caldo will always be called Arroz Caldo Ni Tiyay Maria (Arroz Caldo of Aunt Maria).
The Arroz Caldo with egg I partook lately.