Lolo & Lola

by MichelleR on March 22, 2012

“Whenever we tell them they will see Lolo & Lola, they ask, Donuts?”

Arlene was fortunate to spend time with both sets of Grandparents but because of the distance; with her Grandmother Prima living in the Philippines and Grandparents Marciana and Leonardo living in New Jersey (and then the last 10 years in the Philippines) she was not able to “grow up” with Grandparents playing an active role in her life.

Arlene’s Grandmother Prima however did stay with her and her sister for 3 years on and off during Frist and Third Grade, to help while both her parents worked.  She would always walk the girls to and from Arlene’s school with an umbrella, whether it was raining or sunny. Her favorite dish her Grandmother would always make was rice with soy sauce and eggs! She called her Grandmother “Nanay” who spoke mainly Tagalog and very little English, but somehow they were able to understand each other.

Arlene has two little ones now, Nikko, 4 and Penny almost a year. It is very important to Arlene that her Grandparents play a big part of her children’s lives. Thanks to Arlene’s husband side of the family, Nikko and Penny are able to spend time with not only their Grandparents, but Great Grandparents and Great-Great Grandmother. Being part of five generations, Arlene makes sure her children see their Grandparents each month. She is overjoyed that her young kids have both sets of grandparents to grow up with and make memories.

Nikko and Penny have a Great-Great Grandmother, Mary and 73 year old Great Grandmother, Nani who both live in Fresno. Arlene’s kids have their Grandparents, Nanu & Papu, who live close in San Jose. From their Papu’s side; they have an 83 year old Great Grandfather, Papang, who lives in Lathrop.

Arlene’s children visit at least once a month with all of the Grandparents. Arlene’s parents, Lola and Lolo, live in Las Vegas and always bring the kids Dunkin’ Donuts when they visit. Arlene says “Whenever we tell them they will see Lolo vv& Lola, they ask, Donuts?”

Still active at age 97, every time the kids visit their Great-Great Grandmother she takes them to the Dollar store to buy them a present. She tells them stories about raising six “crazy kids” in too small of a house and her time living in Antioch, when her husband was Chief Editor of the Antioch-Pittsburg newspaper.

On Arlene’s Papu’s side, it’s a tradition to attend two holidays every year Thanksgiving and Christmas Day where all the family gathers, including 18 grandkids and 13 great grandkids! A huge potluck would be thrown with a mix of Hawaiian and Filipino food. Rice is served with every meal along with Lumpia, Chicken Adobo – soy sauce soup, Kalua Pig and a dish called Pancit which is noodles with vegetables.

With Easter around the corner, Arlene knows that her family will have a party for everyone. They always go to Church in the morning and then eat. There is always more than enough food for everyone on holidays. They have an Easter Egg Hunt for the kids and pray. Each Easter they pass out Easter eggs with a verse of scripture rolled up inside. “When we all sit down in a circle we go around and each says the piece of scripture,” said Arlene.

“It’s the little things like, donuts and the dollar store, that they associate their grandparents with, which I find funny yet memorable. Each of the Grandparents just enjoys being Grandparents.  They look forward to the time they can all be together with the grandkids. My kids like it when Lolo puts them on his shoulder and their Papu will take the kids to the swap meet or play at the park. The kids’ Lola is teaching them certain Tagalog words while their Nanu teaches Hula dancing. All of their Grandparents look forward to cheering them on at sport events. I didn’t get to grow up with the little things like that so I couldn’t be more delighted that my kids get to experience these wonderful memories with their grandparents!”








Filipino Lumpia

Serves 15/ Prep Time: 45 min, Cook Time: 25 min


1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 pound ground pork

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup minced carrots

1/2 cup chopped green onions

1/2 cup thinly sliced green cabbage

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon soy sauce

30 lumpia wrappers

2 cups vegetable oil for frying


1. Place a wok or large skillet over high heat, and pour in 1 tablespoon vegetable oil. Cook pork, stirring frequently, until no pink is showing. Remove pork from pan and set aside. Drain grease from pan, leaving a thin coating. Cook garlic and onion in the same pan for 2 minutes. Stir in the cooked pork, carrots, green onions, and cabbage. Season with pepper, salt, garlic powder, and soy sauce. Remove from heat, and set aside until cool enough to handle.

2. Place three heaping tablespoons of the filling diagonally near one corner of each wrapper, leaving a 1 1/2 inch space at both ends. Fold the side along the length of the filling over the filling, tuck in both ends, and roll neatly. Keep the roll tight as you assemble. Moisten the other side of the wrapper with water to seal the edge. Cover the rolls with plastic wrap to retain moisture.

3. Heat a heavy skillet over medium heat, add oil to 1/2 inch depth, and heat for 5 minutes. Slide 3 or 4 lumpia into the oil. Fry the rolls for 1 to 2 minutes, until all sides are golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Serve immediately.









Lola’s Chicken Adobo

Serves 8/ Prep Time: 10 min, Cook Time: 1 hr 10 min

Serve over Rice.


3 tablespoons vegetable oil

3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs rinsed and patted dry

6 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced

1/2 cup soy sauce

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup water

2 tablespoons pickling spice, wrapped in cheesecloth


1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat until oil is shimmering. Cook garlic in oil for no more than 30 seconds. Add all of the chicken to the pot; cook, stirring frequently, until chicken is white all over. Do not brown.

2. Pour in soy sauce, vinegar, and water, and add the pickling spice. Make sure the spice ball is submerged. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, and place lid on pot so that some steam can escape. Simmer for 1 hour, or until chicken is very tender.










Serves 4/ Prep Time: 10 min, Cook Time: 50 min


1 (8 ounce) package thin rice noodles

1/2 pound skinless, boneless chicken legs, cut
into bite-size pieces

1/2 pound pork tenderloin, cut into bite-size

1/2 cup soy sauce

ground black pepper to taste

1/2 medium head cabbage, shredded

2 carrots, shredded

2 green onions, chopped into 1 inch pieces

(Option) 1/2 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined


1. Place the rice noodles in a large bowl, and cover with warm water. When soft, cut into 4 inch lengths, drain, and set aside.

2. In a skillet over medium heat, brown the chicken and pork until no pink shows. Season with soy sauce and pepper. Remove from skillet and set aside. Sauté the cabbage and carrots until tender. Stir in the noodles, green onions and shrimp. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes, stir in the chicken and pork, and cook for 5 more minutes.

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