I left the Philippines when I was 6, and I've gone back every 3-4 years in the almost 18 years since. There's something about eating this candy that brings me back to a time when I didn't know America existed and couldn't have imagined how my life would change the moment my plane landed in Los Angeles that June day. It's funny, really, since I don't remember eating this candy when I was still a local. I ate White Rabbit candies back then, because my uncle would slip them to me all the time, so much so that I had a huge cavity on my center right front tooth by the time I was 4. But they've stopped making White Rabbit candies soft and chewy (they're now rock hard, like Werther's hard caramel instead of the soft version), and I've moved on to potchi. I think in my effort to try to recapture my childhood beyond just vague images or dreams that rarely come, I was drawn to the individual sachet packaging of this candy, because it's exactly like the rows and rows of individual candy pieces you can buy at any corner store all over the Philippines for a peso or two. I like to think that I did go to those sari-saris often when I was younger with friends whose names and faces I can't recall.
I eat this candy as much for nostalgia as taste, with the overwhelming sweetness balancing out the wistfulness for a time I barely remember and the homesickness for a place I haven't called home since.
my uncle, Arnold, of the White Rabbit/cavity infamy and me, circa 1992