The Bread of Salt.
We were having corned beef and cheese and the BH was complaining how salty the corned beef was (my bad - I added salt and pepper when I fried it), and he wanted rice. I told him to try it with the ciabatta bread (I didn't want to cook rice anymore!) as the bread was relatively bland compared to pan de sal, since ciabatta is not the bread of salt.
"Bread of salt," he said, laughing. "If you don't know what pan de sal is, you will never know what he was talking about. Short stories should have an international flavor, para bumenta."
"No, that's the problem with Filipino literature - it doesn't have a distinct Filipino flavor. We're too culturally diverse. Very rarely would you find something that's as distinctively Filipino as The Bread of Salt."
"Well," he said, "a truly Filipino short story would have to be written in alibata."
"Exag. You just have to come up with something that has that Manansala flavor. Pero, oo nga, how would you write a contemporary short story that would have that distinctive Filipino flavor?"
"I can only think of two things - OFWs or ..."
"Call center agents!"
"If you would write about call center agents, put in the regional stereotypes - the kuripot Ilocano..."
"Matapang na Bisaya..."
"Malibog na Bicolano..."
"The coñotic Manileño..."
"Throw in your token Muslim, and let them all work under an Indian boss!"
"With even bigger bosses who are all imperyalistang Amerikano!"