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We met Nanay Elsie while grabbing a late dinner at Oishinbo, in Little Tokyo. She approached our table and offered Chicharon from Bulacan. There was just something about her that gave me warm fuzzy feelings so I struck up a conversation.

Nay Elsie communicates mostly by smiling a shy toothless grin. When she does speak, it is very soft, reserving her loudest voice to speak only about the chicharon she sells. Every day she travels to Makati to sell chicharon to the patrons of Little Tokyo from 8pm onwards. She goes home at 5am. Walang tulugan nga po, she says. True enough, while waiting for customers, she takes small cat naps and once nearly fell out of the chair she was sitting in. She woke up with a smile.

She’s 73 years old. We were amazed at her strength and cheerfulness. If you’re in the area and you see her, make sure you buy chicharon from her. We did, it’s actually really good!

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