Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Graduation Day

Yesterday was our graduation at the CWL's (Catholic Women's League) Vocational Training Program. I had mentioned this in a previous blog, how I enrolled in a dressmaking class which started around August. It's kept me busy these past months, henceforth my blogging had to take a back seat. I had hoped to blog about some of my experiences while in the class, but I just couldn't get the time nor the strength to blog down my thoughts.

It was a great graduation. And guess what? I actually received the 1st honor in my dressmaking class! This came as a surprise since I felt that there were others that sewed better than me. But our teacher explained that it was because I picked up how to make patterns fast and my work was "clean". Father Mon who handed me my prize joked that I must have washed my clothes that's why it was "clean" :)

The graduation was complete with entrance march, certificate giving, shaking hands with Father and the officers of CWL, speeches, picture-taking and our presentations - our version of "Deal or No Deal", Cha-cha dance and a fashion show to show some of the items we sewed.

I was up 'til 1am getting prepared for the big day. I actually finished my blouse and skirt around 2 hours before I left the house on graduation day itself. Like my study habits back in my college days, I'm still cramming for the finals :)

I'm thankful that I was given this opportunity to study something that I've wanted to learn in a long while. Though I'm far from being a professional, I now have the knowledge and confidence to make clothes for myself and my family. I'm thankful for the people who made this possible. Firstly, of course, Jojo, who was very supportive and helped take care of the kids, my kids who will always be my inspiration, my dressmaking teacher, Ma'm Belen Chan, Ate Myrna who renewed my faith in her religion class and CWL who sponsors these annual courses. I hope to put what I've learned to good use and to maybe teach others too along the way.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Palay on the Road

When driving on the roads especially in some provinces, you have to watch out and avoid not only other vehicles, people, farm animals, holes in the streets but ... palay! Yes, that's palay or rice that still has its husk that is being dried under the sun in the heat of the day. Farmers don't have any other place to dry these apparently, so they use the streets, this one taken on the MacArthur National Road going to Cuyapo, Nueva Ecija. We visited some relatives there last October 29.

Happy Birthday Mom!

Mom celebrated her ??th birthday last November 5. She called some of her close friends and ex-coworkers to join us for lunch at Hong Kong Seafood Restaurant along Diosdado Macapagal Blvd. The round table quickly filled up as can be seen in the picture above, taken on the stairs going to the 2nd floor.

We sat at a smaller square table on the side of the main round table. We ordered Benjo's favorite noodles, which he enjoyed as usual. The kids were a little better behaved than the previous year, though Joselyn accidently dropped the ceramic soup spoon which broke into pieces on the floor. Oops, sorry! Glad they didn't charge us for this.

The two entertained the guests by being their "photograher". Most of the shots were of the backs of their heads and chairs :)

There were some good shots though, like this very artistic shot of the post on the stairs that showed his reflection and the other shots below.

Happy Birthday mom! Happy Birthday Mommy Rems! (as the kids call her) May we continue to celebrate many more years together. We love you :)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Banana Sandwich Memories

Ano yan? One of my childhood favorite snacks. When I was in elementary school at Duffy Primary School (in Canberra, Australia. circa 1975-1981. Any ex-classmates out there???)

I remember writing down our names and lunch/snack orders on a brown paperbag: Banana Sandwich 10cents. And placing the coints in the bag and then getting back the bag during recess for the actual sandwich.

Banana Sandwich with butter - eating it every time brings me back to my childhood times :)

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Suman and Coco Jam

Suman and Coco Jam - a great combination.
This one was served fresh and warm from the Kabayan Beach Resort restaurant.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Laiya Beach - The Morning Catch

Honestly, I didn't have a great night's sleep. The aircon was much too cold for me and the blankets too thin. With our balikbayan cousin and nephews in the same room who were used to the cold of the US, tiniis ko na lang ang lamig. Benjo woke up at around 4:30am and since Jojo was also already awake, I went back to bed cuddling up next to Joselyn. At around 6am, Ate Leila was waking up her boys saying that they were going to take a short drive to the nearby beach where fishermen were dropping off their early morning catch. We were also awaken and though half of me wanted to go back to bed, I didn't want to miss out on what they were going to see. So, after a quick wash and toothbrush, we were in the car half-awake going a short distance to see what the "commotion" was about.

Fishermen, who were disembarking their boats, were mostly going to one lady who were collecting their catch. Auntie Flor, who also used to sell fish in the market, talked to the fish vendor lady. According to Auntie Flor, the fish was much more expensive than the ones she used to buy at the Navotas fish port.

There were several fishermen who were trying to catch fish by the seaside. We saw one haul his catch. We watched as he put small 1-inch sized fish on his hook and throw his fishing line to sea. He was luckier than the others who had not yet caught any fish.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Laiya Night - Day One

It's been awhile since my last blog. I'm spending my spare time on my new hobbie/interest (dressmaking) rather than blogging. Although many times I want to write my thought, I can't seem to find the time nor the energy. So the thoughts remain thoughts and unwritten...

We spent 2 days and 1 night at Laiya, San Juan, Batangas - which has become our family's favorite vacation destination. This time with Jojo's cousin, Ate Leila and family and Auntie Flor. Ate Lei with her two boys were vacationing from the US and asked us which beach we usually go to and, of course, we suggested Laiya Beach. It was our first time to spend a night there and we spent it at Kabayan Resort, which had great accomodations. For P5,500 a night they provided for most of our needs.

Jojo, Ate Lei and their yaya went to a nearby market to buy food to cook for our stay. One great thing which I personally enjoyed was the hot-water shower (which I haven't had a chance to enjoy since our honeymoon back in 2002 and since leaving the US.)
Wednesday afternoon was cloudy and although it drizzled a little, the rain wasn't strong enough to stop the kids from swimming. At first, I was a little anxious of the waves that seemed to get stronger, but the kids loved being spashed around by the tide.

In the early evening, during low tide, the water level was so low that you seem to be walking on water even if you were more than 100-feet out to sea.
More later...

Friday, July 25, 2008

Dressmaking Class - a new career???

I started a dressmaking class. I had blogged about whether or not to take this class in my private blog. I finally took the plunge and am not on my 2nd week. It's only twice a week and takes about 3 hours. The kids are getting used to not seeing me during that time. The first day, Joselyn slept for most of the time I was gone so we didn't have any problem with her looking for me. Benjo's old enough now to understand that when mommy goes out that he just had to wait for her to come back. Before I think they would worry that I wouldn't come back.

Anyway, the dressmaking class (a free class offered by the CWL or Catholic Women's League of our church), is going smoothly. We started by learning to make measurements and making our own patterns. I had first taken this class because I was inspired by my little girl's love for dresses and "pretty" clothes. Looking at the clothes in the department stores, many of the "pretty" clothes also have "pretty" prices :) So hopefully when I do learn to make clothes I can make them not only for Joselyn but for the whole family. Who knows, this might even be the start of a new career??? A far cry from my past IT background!

You've Got Mail

I watched the first half of "You've Got Mail" yesterday. It's the first movie I've watched that is actually one of my choices since watching "The Terminal" back in January. I loved "Sleepless in Seattle". I watched it in the movie theatre 3 times I think and several times on home video. I don't know why I didn't get to see its so-called sequel - maybe because of some critique I read. But when we were at Video City the other day, the cover caught my eye and I had to pick it up. It's really good so far and if I don't fall asleep early tonight I might finish watching the second half. Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan remains two of my favorite actors and I love the way their chemistry. I love the idea of having a children's bookstore, which Meg Ryan's character (Kathleen) owns. It would be one of those dream jobs that given the resources I would like to own or at least be a part of.

Friday, July 11, 2008

New Look and Title

New look - this blog now has a new layout and title. Brighter than the dull brown we had before. "Unpaved Path" is the new title I've chosen. I guess it's one of the things that sticks out in my mind when I think of walking the streets. At least where we live, anyway. I know of many upper-class subdivisions that have very nice paved paths that you can actually walk on and not be run over by a passing bike or motorcycle.

I remember when my brother, sister-in-law and I were walking several blocks to a nearby grocery store. It was my brother's first visit in about 13 years and my sister-in-law's first time to be in the Philippines. I had already been back in the country for about 3 months and had already walked the streets several times. I knew that the fastest way to get to our destination was to walk near the road. To walk on the "pathway", you had to dodge parked cars, lamp and electrical posts, holes in the road and even vendors. But my brother tried walking along what should be a walk path as I walked on the side of the road. I saw him zig and zag and lookws rather frustrated at all the obstacles in his way. But it was safer I admit and I ended up following them on the "obstacle course".

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Changing Blog Name and Other Thoughts...

I haven't posted on this blog in awhile. Been busy with our homeschooling blog and the usual responsibilities of a mother and homemaker. I've wanted to change the title of this blog. It's very uncreative to say the least. I've thought of "Foreigner in Her Own Land" or something to that effect. This title will have to be explained in future blogs...

I've got a story or several stories that I've been wanting to tell. It's not something that happened just recently but happened at least two decades ago. Been wondering if it's something that's worth sharing. But I know it's something I have to write. Will post it in the coming days...

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Saving During Tight Days

With rising costs of oil, food, utility bills, etc., we've found ways to cut down on our spending:

1) We've stopped our daily newspaper delivery. We get our news from watching television, reading on the internet or sometimes from our free newspaper when eating at some fast-food chains.

2) The new water pipes have now been installed and last night they installed it in front of our house. The new system now delivers water at a higher pressure, so the water now gets to our 2nd floor and is comes out of the tap strong even during peek periods. We can now turn off the water tank, which will save on eletricity.

3) When it's rainy the weather is cooler, so we can turn off the air-conditioning and turn down the electric fan.

4) We're making less out-of-town trips to save on gas. For shorter trips, we take the public utility jeep

Monday, May 26, 2008

Clothes On Tree

New way to hang clothes to dry.
Laiya Beach, San Juan, Batangas

Inihaw ng Isda

Simple, traditional, freshly grilled fish and squid on top of banana leaves, we used for placemats and plates. No utensils, no problem! The best way to eat this is with your hands, easier to take out the fishbones. Kain na po!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Fiesta ng Lechon

Yesterday was the Fiesta here in La Loma, officially named: "The Lechon Capital of the Philippines". There was the annual parade, of what else, but lechons! Dressed in different, colorful and many times outlandish garments. The picture on the left depicting a santacruzan with the lechons as the sagalas. Others with a boxing theme, one with traditional Filipino costumes and one with characters from Winnie-the-Pooh.

There were some politicians and celebrity Geneva Cruz during the parade, with sponsors Tanduay and San Miguel providing some freebies. Jojo caught a face towel from the Tanduay float. Jollibee too was there, who was actually the biggest hit of all - the bee outdid those lechons! There was also a celebration last night with music bands and, I heard, free beer! Today, it was all quiet with the festivities being over. Many are probably trying to get over hangovers and heartburn.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Statue of Liberty

When in Angono, Rizal see the replica of the Statue of Liberty. Yes, you read and see it right - the Statue of Liberty, our own version in front of someone's house in the town of artists in the province of Rizal. Why? I wish I knew. I think it would look better with a different background and the house would look better without the huge statue in its frontyard.

Walang Utang

"Walang Utang", ("No Loan/Credit"), this sari-sari store's sign reads. A reminder to its customers that when you buy something, you should be ready with cash. Many a sari-sari stores have gone in debt because of utangs or the pa-lista ("listing of goods bought") system. People promise to pay, but some never do :(


Mga Pamahiin (superstitious beliefs). It's become a part of the Filipino culture. Many believe in pamahiins and have made them a part of their life. I've come across many people with different beliefs, some who have shared them with me and even have tried to influence them on me.

I was reminded of this when I was talking with my husband's cousin last week. It was a Friday and she was saying that she was about to cut the fingernails of her infant son, when she remembered that you should not cut fingernails on Tuesdays and Fridays. She turned to me and asked me if I believed in them. I frankly said "no" and told her that I've heard about the pamahiin before but did not believe in them. I had first analyzed this - why tuesdays and fridays??? The only logical or maybe illogical answer was that these days are the days we pray the Sorrowful mysteries. What's the connection with fingernails? Who knows? But these superstitions like many others have their origins in the imaginations of people.

"Walang mawawala kung maniwala ka." ("You won't lose anything if you believe in them.") I've heard this many times too. And again, the answer came to me: "yes, you will lose something - your belief and faith in God. Because you believe in superstitions that have their origins in man, then you lose your faith in God, who made man and who is more powerful than any man-made superstition.

There are many more pamahiins that I could name and that we followed when I was a child. Like do not step over someone because they won't grow; do not sing when you're in front of the dinner table (not sure why); do not cut your fingernails at night and many more. I've left many of these behind and do not follow them, unless it disrespects someone who really follows them. But in my heart, I know what's right and if there is doubt, I will ask the Lord who is the source of Truth.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Binangonan - Our Second Home

We have two homes, our main one here in Quezon City and the other in Binangonan, Rizal, which I've mentioned several times in this blog. We should feel fortunate to have 2 homes, seeing others only have a cart or make-shift dwelling as their home. At times though it can be a burden - like maintaining and cleaning the house. For the most part, our home in Binangonan is cleaned and maintained by our relatives who live just steps away from the house. They manage the house, give us the bills when they arrive and help us clean and even take care of the kids when we stay there. It's a welcome change from our autonomous life here in Quezon City, where we do everything on our own - no household help for us at this time.

One thing I have to get used to though when we go to Binangonan is to always expect people at your door and in your home - almost all the time, unannounced. Like early Saturday morning, my husband's cousin opening the front door (with their own set of keys), and coming in to sweep the floor and the front of the house. I know that they were just following their regular routine, but I really do want some privacy especially that early in the morning where I haven't even had time to wash my face. My "good morning" was definitely for formalities.

On the good side, I am getting used to our home in Binangonan and am trying to find ways to really make it feel like home. I do feel that if our family was to put up a business, this place would be the best place for us. We can always leave the kids with relatives and my husband has more connections here. "Where everybody knows your name" (theme song to "Cheers"), is a song that came to mind when I was walking the streets. They don't know me, but are getting familiar with my face. My husband though is well-known in the area and knows almost everyone in the barangay. "Levers!", they'd shout to him. I still haven't found out from him how he got that unusual nickname. I'll leave that for another blog...

Saturday, April 12, 2008

What is that perfume you're wearing???

When my kids were babies, their pediatrician said that we should use washing detergent that has no or mild scent, because the scent could be a cause of allergies. She suggested a name brand that only came in bar form, no powder form for washing machines. So our household help at the time would hand wash the kids clothes separately.

Since they're now older, we're not as picky with the detergent we use. Just recently though we finished the detergent that my mom bought from the US and we're now using local soap. We Filipinos sure like to smell good. I cannot find a powder soap that has a mild scent. I've tried at least 3 and the scent on all of them is really strong. You can still smell the detergent after the clothes have dried.

Who needs perfume when you can wear washing machine detergent??? :)

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Rice Shortage and Food Waste

When we go out to eat at fast-food chains or at food courts, we pass by the left-over meals of previous customers. What a waste! We are supposed to be a third-world country but you wouldn't believe it with what people leave on their plates. Why order more than you can eat? And if you can't finish your dish, why not share or have it wrapped to-go?

I was that way when I was younger - too shy to eat all of the food on my plate, I would always leave my plate unfinished. Now, I try my best, even if I already feel full, to not leave anything behind.

Rice is the main staple here and I admit it would be hard to do without it entirely. But we have tried to cut down on our rice intake here at home. I can live with bread, potatoes or corn - well, maybe. Depending on what the main dish is. Tuyo (dried fish) and bread isn't such a great combination. With the country's rice shortage (or at least what is told us in the news), we look back at the times when we have let food go to waste and remember those who have little or nothing to eat - rice or otherwise. -

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Earth Hour - our small part

Today we were part of Earth Hour. It almost didn’t push through for us. At first I had thought that we had to turn off all the lights and all the electrical appliances in the house. I have been thinking for the past few days on what to do in terms of keeping cool during that one hour. It’s officially summer season and even at 8pm, going without an electric fan can get quite unbearable. I could probably bear it but the kids and the hubby would definitely be agitated. Jojo had said that he wasn’t goin to be a part of Earth Hour, but when I told him that we can keep the air-con on, then he was more cooperative. My mom asked if we had to do it. Well, I said that I signed up for it and I thought to myself, I guess it was really just my commitment and not theirs, so I didn’t have the right to force them. But they did do their share (though unwillingly at first), and we as a family turned off the lights for that symbolic hour.

At around 8pm, we turned off the TV and the lights (we actually leave at least 4 lights on throughout the whole house during the night). We lit a candle at our altar in our bedroom and we prayed the rosary, our usual routine before bedtime. The kids were still active after praying. We looked outside the window. We could still see our neighbors had their lights on and even our street light wasn’t turned off, which gave some light through the blinds. The hour went by pretty fast with some question and answer games, and the kids trying to play around the room in the semi-darkness. Benjo asked at least twice why we had the lights off, "bakit brown-out?", I tried to explain to him that it wasn’t a brown-out and that we were part of a move to conserve energy. He probably didn’t understand but hopefully he will in the future.

At 9pm, we turned on the lights. It was a good feeling to have been part of Earth Hour. If we can do this for an hour, why not for two or more?

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Giwang Giwang

I've been trying to do a search on the internet on "gewang gewang" and came up with someone by the name of Ge Wang :) Then I found a wowphilippines events page that had "giwang giwang" and then I realized that I had mispelled the phrase. I saw many people with their cameras during the Good Friday event in Binangonan and I was hoping at least 1 of them would post it on youtube or flickr or the like. I found one picture on flickr but no video. Unfortunately I only got to take one shot of the event this year and not a very good one at that.

You can see Jojo on the lower-right corner of this picture (he's the bald one between the two big men :) It's been his panata since 2002 (I think he did it too before going to the States). It's the 2nd part of the Good Friday procession where the sepulkro (the life-sized image of the crucified Jesus lying down) is carried by men through the streets. It is similar to the Feast of the Black Nazarene in Quiapo but with lesser devotees and narrower streets...

It's one, if not the biggest, event of the year in Binangonan. Many people come home to be part of or to witness the event. Though it's Good Friday and the mood is supposed to be somber, the awaiting of the procession and especially the giwang-giwang has a sort of festive atmosphere. It was my mom's first time to see the event and though Benjo has seen it a couple of times, he is now old enough to kind of understand. At first we were worried that Benjo would want to join in, but he realized that it was only for men. "Ang tagal ni daddy", ("Daddy's taking so long"), he said while waiting for the giwang-giwang. It was probably around an hour 'til they did come and it was already around 10pm. Benjo fell asleep while sitting on his Ate Annie's lap while looking over the balcony to the street below.

So when the sweaty and tired men carrying the glass container carrying Jesus came, I tried waking Benjo. It was what he was waiting for - even counting down the days - and I didn't want him to miss it. He opened his eyes groggily and then fell asleep again. After several attempts I decided to lay him down. He then opened his eyes at the sound of the men shouting outside. I told him it was the giwang-giwang and asked if he wanted to go out. At that, he jumped up and went out to look at the commotion below.

They call it giwang-giwang, because the sepulkro is swayed (not intentionally I think) going back and forth and side-by-side. The men are squeezed really tightly and others try to push their way towards the sepulkro. It can be a scary sight thinking that someone is sure to get hurt in the crowd. There have been cases in the past where people have actually died. This year, thank God, no one did. Joselyn, who saw her daddy in the group of men, actually cried and was scared for her daddy.

My personal thoughts on the giwang-giwang... for some it may be a spiritual experience, to touch and help hold up the sepulkro. It may seem obsessive, fanatical or even idolatrous to others. I appreciate it for it's traditional worth. Binangonan is rich in tradition and this is one that is unique to them and one they are proud of. I do love viewing the images of the Saints and the different stages of Jesus' way to the cross during the procession. This helps me visualize the actual biblical events. I also admire how some would go to pains in being part of the procession and the giwang-giwang. But in itself, the giwang-giwang and some of the related activities have not helped me spiritually and quite honestly, I would rather spend a quiet day in prayer and meditation.

But as a family, we follow my husband's lead and hold on to this tradition. He says though that when the time comes when he feels that he isn't as strong as he is now, he'll just be part of the crowd walking behind, instead of being part of the crowd of men pushing and shoving to carry the sepulkro.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Holy Thursday - Bisita Iglesia

We did a Bisita Iglesia (Church visits), visiting 7 churches last Holy Thursday. This has become a yearly tradition for the past 3 years. Before I would forget the names of the churches we visited, but this year I took a picture of the churches so I could remember. Here are the churches we visited in order, with their corresponding pictures below:

- Our Lady of Hope (near North SM Edsa)
- Hearts of Jesus and Mary (near Time St.)
- Saint Paul the Apostle (Timog)
- Sacred Heart of Jesus
- Shrine of the Divine Word (E. Rodriguez)
- Our Lady of Mount Carmel (New Manila)
- St Martin de Porres (San Juan - not sure about the name of this will check later)

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Meralco at 105

Meralco (Manila Electric Company), celebrated its 105th Anniversary yesterday at the Meralco main office in Ortigas, Pasig City. My husband’s cousin Ate Emma who has worked at Meralco as a company nurse for many years invited us to be part of their celebration. Many of the employees brought their family, relatives and friends to the event, enjoying an outdoor picnic (some were ready for the whole-day event - bringing mats, a tent and even a picnic table set complete with a cooler full of food), tiangges, food booths and a photo and film exhibit. We didn’t wait for the night’s scheduled events (mass at 6pm, with street dancing and appearances from different actors and actresses) since we drove to Binangonan afterwards.

We walked the grounds to the front of the main building where they still kept the copper structure displays from last Christmas. We didnt’ get to see these displays close-up during Christmas (though we passed by the displays often on our way home from Binangonan), so I’m glad that Meralco decided to leave some of the structures for the public to view. It’s a marvel to see the work that was put into these structures that were made from recycled copper material.

The photo exhibit also showed the early years of Meralco. One picture of the main office shows how the building was the only structure in the area, which at present times is surrounded by high-end subdivisions and other commercial buildings. How great it would have been to commute back then (but then again, they had slower modes of transportations in the early years)! [Right photo above grabbed from ]

Congratulations to Meralco on its 105th Anniversary! May it continue to light our paths and our homes for many more years to come...

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Earth Hour - Sali tayo!

Forwarded message from chap_families yahoogroup:

Dear all,I hope we will take time to join this global movement, in our individual homes. Let's help stop global warming!

On 29 March 2008 the Philippines will join countries around the world as we literally "turn the lights out" for Earth Hour - an event that will fuel awareness on climate change and prove that when the people of the world work together, they can make a difference in the fight against global warming.Earth Hour will take place throughout the Philippines from 8 to 9 in the evening on Saturday night, 29 March 2008. WWF invites you to participate by shutting off lights for 60 minutes, organizing your own "lights-out" event or by forwarding this mail to your friends, workmates and family.

More info at: Earth hour website...

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

In the Presence of a Saint

We encountered Saint Therese of the Child Jesus last Sunday. We visited her relics at Manila Cathedral. There weren't a lot of people at the time, maybe because there was an ongoing mass and she herself would have wanted the attention to be focused on Jesus rather than on herself.

Upon entering the chapel at the side of the church, I had to quiet down the children. People were sitting, praying, meditating, some lining up to touch the glass that surrounded the miniature structure that housed her relics. We touched the glass, asked Saint Therese to pray for us and I had Joselyn smell the white roses next to her relics, and we moved on as the next person came to venerate the relics.

Honestly I wasn't sure what to expect and even afterwards researched on what "relics of Saints" actually meant. But her presence was undeniable. And even up to now I believe that she has helped us get our faith "back on track" as we near Holy Week.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Drilling and Digging

Right now they're digging in front of our house. Yesterday the workers worked 'til past midnight to finish the other side of the street. Now they're on our side of the street. We had planned on going out maybe to the QC Circle to go biking and walking, but we may not be able to take the car out since the road is blocked.

I took the clothes that was hanging on the line inside since it was getting dusty from all the drilling. Joselyn is scared of the drilling noise and tries to cover her ears. It's a scorching day and I feel for these men who have to work under the afternoon sun.

You Don't Eat the Skin of the Kaimito

The above title is more of a personal reminder :) The kaimito or star apple is a fruit grown in warmer climates. I rarely ate this fruit when I was young. And so when I came back to the Philippines from the US and was handed the fruit, I thought that it was eaten like an apple. No one around me at the time bothered to tell me that you don't eat the skin. They watched me take a big bite from the soft, green fruit thinking that was the way I ate it. When I bit into it, I knew instantly that it wasn't the right thing to do. I took out the kaimito from my mouth and those around me started laughing. Now, it's become one of those stories that you tell others whenever you see the kaimito.

This one is purple in color and quite sweet. Now I know to cut it up first and just eat the juicy part inside. So for those innocents (or ignorants :) like me, you now know not to eat the skin of a kaimito!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Overnight Birthday Celebration

The trip to Binangonan was a good break. I had it in my mind to spend the night there, which we rarely do – only twice a year. It was good timing since my mom was also out of town on a pilgrimage. She doesn’t like to be left home alone. It was when Benjo said "tulog tayo sa Binangonan" (let’s sleep in Binangonan) that we decided just that.

It was a good break, though I wouldn’t say a good rest since I only got about 4 hours of sleep. Benjo and Joselyn got to spend more time with relatives. We had an informal party – no formal invitations or party games, and no clowns, (which Benjo asked about in the morning, not because he wanted a clown but because he’s still scared of clowns and would not attend a party if there was one – even if it was his party!). Kainan lang – with time for talking while helping prepare the ginataang bola-bola, pancit and BBQ.

The kids danced a little, played a lot and ate outdoors. Benjo and Joselyn fought over blowing the candle on the cake. Pancit and cake was brought to the homes of some nearby relatives. (They don’t come to the food, the food comes to them:)

Funny thing this is that when everyone was finished eating and we shared some food with neighbors and relatives, we didn’t have anything left. Some relatives arrived late and I had to go scavanging in the fridge to find something for them to eat. Good thing that Jojo had reserved some brazo de mercedes (for him I think) and there was a bottle of Sprite. So with apologies and explanations, I served them what I could. Lesson learned: "don’t give away all your food!"

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Our Lady of Lourdes

Last February 11 was the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. Our parish is the National Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes and it was an eventful day in honor of Mama Mary. This church holds a special part in our lives. It is where my mom and dad were married back in January 26, 1969. It is where my brother and I were baptized; where my husband Jojo and I were married and where Benjo and Joselyn were baptized.

We went to mass at 8am where people lined up to touch the image of Our Lady. At 5pm Benjo and I joined the procession. We'll wait 'til Joselyn is older for her to join the processions (when she doesn't ask to be carried any more :). It was our 2nd procession, the first time was last Dec. 8 for the Immaculate Conception. This procession though was a much bigger event and the route was much longer. Even if Benjo wanted to go home, it would've been difficult to get a tricycle of jeepney. We started near the back of the procession but Benjo wanted to get nearer to Mama Mary. We finally caught up with her when the procession stopped at an intersection. It was a long and tiring walk and we left the procession when we reached our street and didn't finish the procession. I didn't grow up joining processions but the past experiences have enriched my faith and my devotion.