Starting today, Raquel and I will be bringing baon (means “provision” in Tagalog and usually just means “packed lunch”) to work. Raquel figured that we could save some money by bringing our own lunch rather than spending over $20 every weekday for food.

I realized that it was easier to bring packed lunches while we were still in the Philippines where most offices have their own pantry that was also a dining room. If there wasn’t one, the office was usually in a building that has its own cafeteria where you can eat the lunch you brought.

When we moved to Canberra, we could eat our baon at the staff cafeteria there. But, since we lived near where we worked, we usually just ate at home anyway and got to watch VHS, DVD or the Jerry Springer show (yeah, yeah, it was either that or a TV soap opera).

We started buying lunch again when we moved to Melbourne. There were a lot of places where you can eat in the city and the meals weren’t too expensive. Still, the expenses add up over a month’s time. We know. Well, Raquel knew (she does the budget).

There was a slight problem with bringing our own lunch though. Our current office does not have a dining table in either of its two pantries. We could probably eat at our desks but I would prefer not to for the following reasons:

  • I want to be able to talk to Raquel when we eat lunch. If we eat by our desk, courtesy dictates that we should speak in English for the benefit of our co-workers who would be seated at their own desks around us.
  • I don’t want to subject my co-workers to the smell of the dish we brought. Sure, I think that Raquel’s cooked lunch smells delicious but would non-Pinoys think the same? Would they find the smell too garlicky, for example? I don’t know. I mean, I’m not a big fan of the overpowering smell of Indian food in small enclosed space, for example. What if a co-worker feels the same way about Pinoy food?

The solution we came up with was to just microwave the ulam (viand/dish) and the rice in the office pantry and afterwards hurry along to the nearby mall’s food court to eat our lunch there. That’s what we did today. Good thing the mall was just a two blocks away from the office so the food was still warm when we got there. The other advantage of eating at the mall was that if for some reason we ran out of ulam before our rice ran out, we could easily just buy an additional small dish at the food court.

I’m glad we’re doing this. Not only are we able to save some money, but I get to eat more of Raquel’s delicious cooking. 😀 Yummm.

Published in: on August 15, 2005 at 5:19 pm  Leave a Comment