Entrevista con Nata: The House of Trining

31 Aug

Ed. Note: In Spain, whipped cream (Nata in Spanish) is used to make a pile of strawberries look more delectable like Fresones con Nata (Strawberries and cream) or to make a bowl of mixed fruits taste creamier like Macedonia con Nata (Fruit salad and cream) or just to garnish a cup of café con leche.

Here in Ang Bagong Filipino, we have a correspondent named Nathaniel (he calls himself Nata) who has interviewed some of our kababayans and has written about their interesting life stories.  Starting today, we’re dedicating a section for these interviews and we will call it Entrevista con Nata. In this section, our resident interviewer Nata will continue to share us his creamy and delectable stories, 100 % inspiring yet zero in fat.

THE HOUSE OF TRINING

by Nathaniel Sisma Villaluna

I take a swig of Coca-Cola as I listen  intently to  Tita Trinidad or Tita Trining for those who know her.

“May ikukwento ako sa iyo.  Noong nasa Bahrain pa ako may nangyari sa akin. Nasa labas kami ng alaga ko nang biglang humiwalay sa akin at tumakbo sa kalye.  Ang bilis ng pangyayari.  May dumaang kotse at hindi nakita ng driver ang  bata.  Hindi na ako nakatakbo para kunin siya.  Ang sunod ko na lang nakita ay ang kamay niya na nakalabas  tabi ng gulong ng kotse.  Ang katawan niya nasa ilalim nito.  Hindi ko alam ang gagawin.  Sobrang nerbyos ko noon. Dasal ako ng dasal habang papalapit ako. Diyos ko, tulungan  ninyo po ako, ang sabi ko sa sarili ko. Dali kong kinuha  ang bata sa ilalim ng kotse, kinarga ko.  Akala ko mamamatay na siya pero ilang minuto  lang  dumilat  at para bang nagdahilan lang  at wala man lang sugat ni naramdamang masakit.”

Her calm and soft voice  no longer  reflect the intensity and tension of her story.  It is because it  happened almost two decades ago and whatever trauma she had from that episode had long been gone.  Listening to her   though makes me  imagine the incident  eighteen  years ago. I can  only shake my head in awe and  disbelief.  Miracles really do happen.

That was before she came to Barcelona.  Tita Trining  or Trinidad Rodeles worked  first  in Bahrain for a German family.  In 1992,  she  came to Barcelona where her sister was already based.  Seeing the better living and working conditions  of Pinoys here, Tita Trining seized the opportunity of her visit and finally decided to stay.   Her first months in the city saw her looking for jobs and trying to survive with her non-existent Spanish and  at the same time battling homesickness.   

“Isa, dalawang trabaho  ko sa isang araw. Ang dami kong extra noon. Basta kaya ko, okay lang. Tiyaga lang at tiis.”

Left behind in  Mabini, Batangas back then were her husband, their seven children and  their small sari-sari store. Managing her store in the Philippines at least honed her entrepreneurial skills which she would later  use  in her pursuit to embark to not only one or two, but three businesses in Barcelona.  After six years, her hardwork paid off. Together with a Spanish business partner, they put up a real-estate business helping Pinoy clients find  affordable flats and apartments in the whole of Catalonia.

“Nakakilala ako ng isang Spanish na nag-alok sa akin na makisosyo sa negosyo. Inmobiliaria. Benta at renta ng apartment  sa buong Catalonia. Sa simula, parang ayaw ko pa, pero napag-isip isip ko na  pwede ko itong gawin. May naipon naman ako kahit papano.  Kaya ginawa ko para sa mga anak ko. Bahala na ang Diyos sa akin, kako.”

Making the right decision: Casa Nostra

Catalan cuisine served at Casa Nostra Restaurant

So did she make the right decision?  Yes, Tita Trining did.  Judging  from the array of neatly arranged cutleries on top of white clothed-covered tables in this quaint and classy restaurant somewhere  in calle Parlament, Tita Trining is the owner of Casa Nostra. Casa Nostra, Latin for Our House, is one of those expensive restaurants in Barcelona.  An online tourism guide of the city  describes  Casa Nostra  as  stylish. Dishes range from 20-40 euros.  A Spanish blogger  gave the restaurant three and a half stars out of five,  describing the place as traditional, soothing and well-decorated.

“Stylish”

“Traditional, Soothing and Well-decorated”

Not only the physical aspect of the restaurant  exudes a unique appeal to its clientele but also the friendly and devoted staff that the place has.  Spanish politicians sometimes hang out in this place to dine and wine. Pinoy celebrities too visit  Casa Nostra  every time they come to Barcelona.  The restaurant has two levels. The food is mainly Spanish dishes and a wide range of wines to choose from.

“Hindi naman puro artista lang at pulitiko. Meron din tayong mga ordinaryong kababayan na nagdadaos ng birthday parties dito, kasal o binyag o kumpil.”

It is a family business altogether. Her children help out in the kitchen and wait on tables. Tita Trining considers Casa Nostra as one of the best gifts  God  has given her.

“Nakikita ko itong restaurant na ito palagi  sa harap ng office namin. Kumakain din kami dito paminsan-minsan. Isang araw, inalok sa amin ng may-aring Espanyol kasi binebenta na daw niya.  Hindi ko akalain na magiging amin pala ito balang araw.”

Taking risks

Her tough stance at taking risks is one of the reasons why Tita Trining’s three businesses are going strong.  Her first venture, the real-estate business is still alive and kicking. In a span of twelve years, she  has sold and rented out 300 apartments. Not bad for someone who came from scratch in a foreign land armed with only faith in God and hardwork.

Where does she get the courage and braveness in  taking risks and deal with uncertainty in her business ventures?

“Siguro  yung nangyari sa akin sa Bahrain nagbigay sa akin ng lakas ng loob. Mahal ako ng Diyos. Hindi niya ako pinababayaan. Alam niyang ginagawa ko ito para sa pamilya ko kaya tinutulungan niya ako kahit noon pa.”

The humble and simple Tita Trining, co-owner and manager of Casa Nostra Restaurant

She has also a grocery store selling Filipino and other Asian products in the heart of Barcelona.  In the Philippines, one of her sons is also running a family business.  But with all these successful business ventures that Tita Trining has, I can’t help but admire this lady for her humility and simplicity.  She may now no longer active in the Filipino community yet  she never fails to help whenever and however she can.

As I am about to end the  interview, I glance at the simple yet elegant interior of the place. I imagine the Bahrain incident. I imagine Tita Trining in her first years in Barcelona  doing those two to three odd jobs in order to send  money home and save some for  herself. Little did she know that soon she would be an owner of three successful establishments and enjoy the company of her children who are now settled here in Spain.  Learning from Tita Trining’s experience, it somehow affirms the old adage that yes, life is full of mysteries and surprises.  In just a  snap, anything can happen  that either  makes you a better person or otherwise.   The incident made Tita Trining  become  stronger and braver.

I prepare to stand and reach for  Tita Trining’s cheeks to say goodbye.  She gives me a shy smile and offers her cheeks.  But not  after telling me to finish my Coke first. PHOTOS BY FREDA CHANGAT

2 Responses to “Entrevista con Nata: The House of Trining”

  1. Roda Gregorius September 18, 2010 at 10:24 pm #

    Hola sis! I am happy to know about these inspiring stories of our fellow kababayans in foreign lands. It inspires me more to work hard for my dreams, for my family’s better future and if how we can help Filipinos back home. Please keep on sharing these wonderful stories to all Filipinos. Mabuhay!

  2. nats September 20, 2010 at 12:11 pm #

    hey rod, thank you very much for dropping by. Im really happy you liked it. We have a lot of inspiring stories to tell about our kababayans abroad amd they are just waiting to be shared to the whole world..:) Mabuhay ka!

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