Michelle Mia Antallan: What have you been thinking lately?

Thank you for being the first early inspiration in my life; being the first grandchild allowed me to have all the perks (and favoritism, I think) to learn from you. I am very far away from home and you are getting older; I can’t stop thinking about having fears of you getting sick or something happening to you, and I am not there to be there for you. You took care of me and taught me important skills and values that I have right now, which is family comes first in everything and also your passion for cooking.

I want to thank you for being the No. 1 supporter and believer in my passion for cooking. I am grateful and will always cherish all of the memories, most especially watching you cook all these amazing dishes, how you show your care for other people through your food. Everytime you know that we will be going home, you will always ask me and my sister ahead of time what we would like you to prepare, and

you will always have it ready for us, hot delicious meals with fun conversations. I hope through [my restaurant] Cora’s Taste of Manila, I will be able to continue your legacy and echo your amazing food. I want you to know that I am proud of who I am today because of you, and I will always be proud to tell our customers it is my grandma’s recipes, and hopefully one day, soon, I can bring you to the U.S. and show you what I have built.

I will be going home in a few weeks, and I can’t wait to see you and spend time with you. I will always go with you to the markets and shop with you and cook with you, and I know that however our lives will go, you will always be with me when I go to the markets and cook meals for my family.

Love,
Your Apo, Ate Michelle

Photo by Aaron Eisenhauer

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