A trip down Hepa Lane

We might not realize it, but our footprints leave their traces in several places. While time could easily erase them in the physical face of the earth, they will remain indelible in the depths of memory.

As usual, I do not know where this post will take me, but let me proceed anyway.

Last night while I was on my way to the corner where I usually wait for the bus home, I noticed one familiar spot I used visit — Legazpi’s iconic Hepa Lane. The spot is popular especially to students and professionals who, after a whole day’s work, need something to fill their stomachs.

In case you are curious about the name, Hepa is actually short for Hepatitis. And why call it such? Let’s just say people are morbid in a fun way. They think they’ll get infected with the disease when they eat ‘dirty’ street food but they enjoy it. I myself am guilty of having been fond of the food.

Roughly, there are about thirty stalls vending all sorts of street food at Hepa Lane. Kwek-kwek, Siomai, Bopis, mami, lugaw, barbeque, mani, samalamig, name it, they have it.

But more than the sizzling, steamy, flavourful delights for the stomach, people come there to join the community of fun-loving people, who come from different walks of life, professions, ages, sizes and statures in the social strata. After all, who doesn’t love to eat? True enough, food is a common denominator that levels people regardless of their peculiar individualities.

I was first introduced to the spot by a college friend a few years ago. Since then, I went to eat whenever I had time. My favourite, as you might know, is Akong’s mami. Why?(see this)

On lazy late afternoons caught between the day and the night, we would usually flock to the detachable tents and laugh ourselves out loud. Along with the food served by less than pleasing waiters/waitresses, we friends make great conversations to our content. Food tastes even better with great company. But at times, they could also taste bitter. In such cases, nothing would feel better than friends sharing a monoblock table and telling you ‘things will be okay’.

Until such time we all became busy over a hundred reasons. Time was against us. Slowly, I outlearned the habit of visiting Hepa Lane. And even when I had time to come, where’s the fun in eating alone?

My last visit was nearly a month ago. I just had a bowl of you-know-what and a bottle of softdrink. Unlike the old days, the experience was less fun.

I can only dream about the next time, hopefully with some fellas to make more delicious memories with.


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