Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Namamasko Po!

"Sa may bahay ang aming bati. Merry Christmas na maluwalhati!" So starts the popular Christmas carol that kids sing when caroling on the streets. Where we live, we don't get that many carollers, maybe 2-5 per night. And so we were amazed when we went to Binangonan and saw the many carollers - 1, 2 or more groups of children - singing from house to house - in less than an hour while we were standing outside the house at least 10 groups sang. And some of these kids came from other barangays and walked long distances.

Amazing too was the innovative musical instruments they made from ordinary household supplies. This one boy had a make-shift drum with a little cymbal, made from a used milk can.

Christmas Light Scenes

Many people decided to tone down their Christmas light display this year. Policarpio street where we've been to twice with our family, but decided to skip this year, only had 5 houses with Christmas light displays (mainly because they wanted a quieter Christmas). Others due to the rising cost of electricity or because they wanted to do their share in reducing Global warming, had little or no lights in their homes. But others kept with the tradition. The 1st picture is of the Barretto home in Libis, Binangonan Rizal. The 2nd is of the CCP complex while we were driving by (I kind of liked the way this picture turned out - by accident of course from this amateur photographer). The 3rd is on our way home from DFA along Roxas Blvd in Pasay

Deal or No Deal?

Taken at a Christmas party at the DFA. Each department had their own unique presentations. This one by the Foreign Service dept. presented their own version of "Deal or No Deal?", which got the audience laughing. Prizes ranged from P1 to P300, with x number of kisses from so-and-so. Banker was hiding away in another room. One time the cellphone didn't ring and someone shouted "walang load!" (no load - or no cellphone credit when one uses prepaid cards). The contestant ended up winning P200 and 5 kisses (Hershey kisses :).

Oink! Oink!

We had a whole lechon this year! Well, kinda. This is actually a bread shaped into a small lechon. A gift from Ate Emma who bought it at a bakeshop in Angono, Rizal. They had another one intricately shaped like an alligator. (This is one lechon that vegetarians can eat.)

We "chopped" it up on Christmas day. I did the cutting and although I knew it wasn't a real pig I found it hard to cut up the little thing. But I did and had some butter with it. Tasted like an ordinary loaf.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Birthday Sapin-sapin

I celebrated my 38th birthday last November 28. We went out for lunch at SM Mall of Asia at Tempura restaurant - good food, but the kids couldn't sit still. For merienda we bought some pancit palabok (almost like the ones my friend Bambee and Nanay Undes makes) and some sapin-sapin instead of the usual cake. I wanted something sweet but didn't want cake. Sapin-sapin has become one of my favorite desserts. This one bought at " Kakanin sa Banawe". This place is connected with Dolor's Kakanin which makes one of the best kakanins (rice cakes like bibingka, cassava and sapin sapin) in the metro.

My favorite portion here is the one found on the outer rim, which is half cream colored and half ube and the yellow-colored cassava. Some people say they prefer the inner circle of brown bibingka. Anyway, we didn't have a candle to blow and I don't think the sapin-sapin would have tasted very nice with candle drippings.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

What not to do with a chopstick!

We went out to a Chinese restaurant - Hong Kong Restaurant along Macapagal Blvd. - for my mom's birthday last November 5. We ate there with some of mom's close friends and ex-co-workers. We don't usually eat with chopsticks. So the kids found other uses for them. While waiting for the food, they used it like drumsticks and played music with the plates and the teacups (until the waiters took the cups away). Then Joselyn found it could fit in her nostrils! Then we took the chopsticks away.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Kiss Me!

"Kiss me!", this tilapia seems to be saying :) Found in a tank near the herbal garden area at Quezon Memorial Circle.

More Durian Anyone?

It's still in season for anyone who's interested. Another picture of the durian fruit sold at Quezon Memorial Circle...

Friday, November 2, 2007


A rare view during the undas season - an empty cemetery. But this picture was taken on October 31. November 1 is when the majority of people go to the cemeteries to remember and honor their loved ones who have passed away. The following day would find this cemetery full of people. My father is buried here at the Holy Land Cemetery in Taal, Batangas. We lit candles, placed flowers on his tomb and prayed for our dear dad.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Indelible Mark

This is my finger. Not very attractive. No, I didn't get into an accident. It's not blood, nor a bruise. They say it can't easily be removed. It's true. I washed clothes with bleach today and the mark is still there.
It's indelible ink. A sign that I have used my privelege of voting. It's put on your finger after you submit your vote. Why? So you can't go back and vote more than once! Which I guess has happened many times in the past. Today was the Barangay elections. Tough decision for me since I wasn't given much information on these candidates. Many people rallied and marched, gave their flyers with just the names of the candidates. "Boto mo sya, ate! Gwapo sya - promise!" - a teenager shouted at me as I was watching them go by our house. "Gwapo" - Mmm - that could be one criteria. I was tempted to keep the list of kagawads blank, but slowly I filled them up. We'll find out soon who won.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Tie an Orange Ribbon...

Friday, October 26, 2007 - We had just come from Megamall with our friends Tony and Leth who were visiting us. On our drive back along Ortigas avenue, we saw orange ribbons tied on the trees, street signs and lamp posts all along the center .
It was a welcome sign for the release of Erap. Orange is his signature color, like Cory's is yellow.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Feast of Sta. Ursula

October 21, 2007 - Feast of Sta. Ursula - Binangonan, Rizal - Jojo's hometown and our 2nd home. This year it fell on a Sunday. There is the annual procession of the images of Sta. Ursula. The images of the Saint are paraded in the streets with swaying, dancing and pouring of water from people watching on the sides.

The water symbolizes blessing. In the past we avoided getting wet, but this year we didn't mind the water. Benjo even joined the parade and was overjoyed when he got soaked along with the other merry-makers!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Shopping on the Streets

When the traffic stops (and it stops often), that’s when the street vendors make their business. Newspapers, candies, bottled water, cigarettes, whatever you may need while on your way to wherever. But the vendors also sell things that may just catch your fancy – guyabano, banana-cue, a steering wheel cover, floor mat, basketball, a fishing pole, helicopter toys and even bonsai plants!

Jojo asked out of curiosity how much the plants were, the vendor said P250, then when he saw we weren’t interested, it went down to P100 – “bueno mano lang po!” Well, if you’re on the way to a party and forget to buy a present, you may just find one when you’re stuck in traffic.

Our Lady of La Naval

Our Lady of La Naval Procession - Sunday October 14, 2007

Friday, October 19, 2007

Blast in Makati

Another bombing, this time closer to home. It didn't happen in the southern provinces, this one was in Metro Manila, in Makati - at Glorietta Mall, where our family has been at least 3 times, where our kids played.

I've always thought that security can be lax in many places. A simple search of one's bag is not enough. But if someone really means harm on others, they'll do anything to get through security - no matter how tight it is.

Why? Who knows? Another senseless act of terrorism.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Treat Mo

Ang bilis maubos ang pera
Lalo na kung ikaw ay taya
Miss ko na ang KKB
Kanya-kanyang bayad
O kanya-kanyang baon

Dito madalas may “Mayor”
Yung may pera
O kaya yung may trabaho, may birthday
O kaya yung balikbayan

Nag-treat ang isang kakilala kong balikbayan
Daming nagpunta, daming pagkain
Sarap, sige, parang ‘di maubusan
Pasa ng plato dito, pasa ng plato doon
Hipon, pusit, sabaw at isda, may crispy pata pa

Aba, pagdating ng bill
Bakit ganito?
May dagdag na to-go???…

“Hindi kami nag-order ng take out,
Meron dalawang extra order ng crispy pata.”
Pero hindi sila nagkamali,
May nag-order nga!
Hindi isa, kundi dalawang bisita!

Hindi na-contento sa libreng tanghalian.
Nag-order ng kanilang libreng pang-hapunan!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Nanay Rosing at 90

Went to a birthday party yesterday. No, it wasn't our usual kid's party, but a senior's party. The celebrant was a neighbor - 90 year old Nanay Rosing. I see her most days when we pass by their house. She sits near their front door. For 90, she's looking healthy and well. Their house is known on our street because of it's color - light pink - and their car is of the same shade. Pink wasn't the color of the day yesterday though - it was red. Nanay Rosing was all decked out in a red, sequinned saya gown and her daughters wore matching gowns. I only got to stay awhile since I left the house without the kids knowing. It was a good party though - well-attended, delicious food, grand reunion of family, friends and neighbors.

Dubai Bound

We'll be going to Binangonan early today. Jojo's nephew Mark will be leaving for Dubai and we'll be driving him to the airport. Mark is a painter by training and profession. He's very talented. But now he's seeking "greener pasture" as the saying goes. Another Filipino talent going abroad. He tried several jobs here but they didn't provide him what he needed - stability and a place for creativity. Hopefully Dubai will give him this and more.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Quiet Please ... !!!

Okay, it's 11:20pm and our neighbors are still partying away, complete with videoke machine to keep the whole neighborhood awake. If that doesn't wake you, the firecrackers surely will. How long will this party go on??? Even if the guy who is celebrating his birthday is a candidate for barangay captain in the upcoming elections, I will not hesitate to call the barangay and tell them to ... he'll surely not get my vote :(

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Beautiful Sound in the Morning

My kids woke up early today. Joselyn was still sleepy but Benjo wanted to go out and play. It was only 6am, but still a good time to play outdoors since the air was still cool. I carried Joselyn downstairs and we all went outside.

It was still relatively quiet. There was a bird singing a different tune. I've heard it before. I looked in the direction of the sound, and found the little bird jumping on the branches of our neighbor's bayabas tree. I didn't know what kind of bird it was. It was different from the other birds that we see on the electric wires. I have to look it up and maybe find where we kept our binoculars so we could get a closer look at this bird and other birds that we may find.

I hope to see it again and listen to its beautiful chirping sound. It's a contrast to the other man-made sounds that we usually wake up to.

Shine, Sun! Shine!

"Ang init!" shouted our neighbor. One's curse can be one's answered prayer. The clouds were threatening and I just put my 2nd batch of laundry on the line. When the sun came out with its burning heat, I smiled, thankful that it would dry the clothes...

Being a full-time housewife, mother and home-maker has its simple pleasures. One of them is seeing an empty laundry basket :)

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Laba - ngo or Laba - ho?

Is it going to rain today??? Mmm... my laundry basket is full. But if I wash the clothes today and the sun doesn't come out, then I'll have to dry the clothes indoors. Clothes that don't dry right away do not smell very good. So this is our dilemma, especially during the rainy season.

There are times that I play patintero with the weather. One moment it is sunny and the clothes are hung outside. Then the dark clouds come and I bring the clothes inside. (We have a portable clothes line - very handy for times like these). Then I see a break in the clouds and some clearing, the clothes go out again. This happens probably 3 or 4 times. If the clothes could speak, they'd probably say "hey! nahihilo na ako! make up your mind!"... hehe :)

(I look back at our life when we were in the US. We didn't have this problem then. Rain or shine, we had a dryer to dry our clothes.)

On a hot day, we leave our clothes out for about an hour and they're dry, smelling fresh. On a cloudy and rainy day, it may take 2 days! And they don't smell as fresh. So after a long rainy spell, I pray for the sun to come out from behind the clouds. Well...at least long enough for the clothes to dry!

Sounds in the Morning...

I try to wake up at 4:30am. Sometimes I succeed, sometimes I don't. It feels good when I do wake up early - I get a lot of things done before the kids are up.

In the quiet of the morning, here are some of the first sounds you hear in our part of the metropolis:

- The roosters crowing at around 5am. They don't wake up at the crack of dawn as the saying goes, but way before dawn. Well, at least where we live anyway. You don't need an alarm clock if you have roosters in your neighborhood!

- Around 5:30am, you can hear the sound of the walis ting-ting. A couple of neighbors are already up and sweeping the street in front of their houses.

- Around 6am, many people are awake ... some are ready to go to work and some kids are ready to go to school. You hear the beep-beep of a school service van waiting for their passenger. There's the man on the bicycle selling pan-de-sal, with his distinctive bicycle horn...The noisy motor of a tricycle goes by... "Taho... taho!", says the taho vendor... more people are up sweeping the streets… people talking, more vendors - "diaryo, bote, bakal!"... more vehicles…

The morning is no longer quiet.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Yes, you smelled it right!...It's DURIAN

I tried it... it was actually pretty good. Though I didn't want another. Jojo says it leaves an after-taste long after you've eaten the durian.

Jojo asked his friend who's from Hawaii and spends a lot of time in Zamboanga when he vacations to the Philippines, about the fruit. His friend says that durian is really cheap in Zamboanga P5 each compared to P80/kilo for the one we bought at Quezon Memorial Circle.

Another fun fact: did you know that there are Durian Chocolate Kisses??! ...

Saturday, September 22, 2007

What Is It?????

Woke up this morning and found this unusual item on a plate on the dinner table. What had Jojo been eating? I first thought it was some piece of leftover bread. I came closer, smelt it... it smelled bad.

Some rotting bread????
Then I realized what it was...
We had just bought it the previous day...
These were just the seeds about 2 inches long...
He had already eaten the fruit...
It was Jojo's first time to eat it...
I said I don't think I would like to try...
The smell will drive people away...
He said it didn't smell that bad...
It actually tasted pretty good...

You want to try it????