Archive for February, 2010

Despite the emptiness, one can still dream, one can still smell the flowers and one can still reach the sky.

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I was visualizing how our garden would look if we cut the carabao grass  to a more  uniform length and hubby says, “let’s try”. We  have planted it three weeks ago,  and it is  beginning to grow new shoots,  which will eventually be my patch of green.  So garden we did the whole afternoon and it turned out so rewarding.  I just love the sound of flowing water from our small garden pond and our three  Pangasius fish are a show-off.  Three days ago, we changed the water and noticed that they had small cuts in their bodies and the pinkish hue that I thought was the actual color of their fins are exposed flesh perhaps brought about by their constant bumping into the concrete wall.   And I was thinking, why is it that when you buy fish in the market, you  actually don’t bother to know how they were caught, how they were propagated and eventually harvested  to finally land on your dining table.  This time though, I have that protective feeling towards them much as I would protect our two dogs which are constant shadows, always following us around and trying to be noticed and touched.  How can one get attached to a fish?  I do enjoy watching them swim, the way their graceful bodies freely float  with just their nostrils showing signs that they are alive.  A friend once told me, while we were both admiring the goldfish in their aquarium, “remember, they represent the continuity of life”. Yes, they sure remind us that life  is a continuous process.  It is a process of becoming.

Life is full of beauty if only we open our eyes and admire what is in front of us .  How could you not be touched by a sunrise or a  golden sunset?  How can you not laugh with an innocent child without a thought of the daily cares and worries of this world?  How can you not admire those beautiful wild flowers growing on the wayside?  How could you not be happy when you hear a voice from the other line asking how you are?  Sometimes, we are simply blinded by worldly things that we forget the simple joys of  a handshake, a smile from a stranger, a hello from a friend, a  pat on the shoulder, a warm embrace and a hug.   Sometimes, we take all of these for granted.   We are still lucky, we have the power to see and admire, we have the power to touch and  feel.  I don’t know why but lately, I get a little weepy just listening to a nice old song on the radio, I get a little weepy listening to a priest delivering a  good homily and  I do cry when I am alone, not for anything else but because  I am overwhelmed with such emotions that  crying is the only natural thing to do.

I was having a chat this morning with a friend and a former office mate. Neil is now based in the US and we haven’t seen each other for more than a decade.  I let him read some of my musings , then he said, “why don’t you have them published and  I’ll be the first one to buy.” Oh, oh, what a nice  way to say, you believe in me.  Thank you Neil.  Someday, maybe, I’ll find the courage to write something that would touch someone’s soul, then I’ll die happy because that would be a dream fulfilled for me.

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I know,  I know,  it doesn’t sound so original but every time I see our pet dog, I am reminded of  Marley and Me. It is a story of James Grogan’s  yellow  Labrador Retriever, a high-strung, active and destructive dog, but I am not telling you about Marley, you probably have read the book and watched the movie a long time ago.  Soo Kee is a “she” and has been with us for the past three  months.  We thought at first she was a  true breed Chihuahua but it turned out that she is a mixed bred of a native dog, and yes, a Chihuahua.  How she has grown and I am not exaggerating that she is truly lovable,  she doesn’t complain when she is tied to the dog house at night, not even a murmur of protest can be heard.  And I thought, she is too good to be true.  Our favorite romping ground is of course the garden.   She was so startled when she saw the three Pangasius fish swimming in our small pond.   Dogs could be such darlings when they are well-disciplined.   Every time I sit on the hammock, she would want to be there and be cuddled.   Every time I go out, she would gently open the gate with her paw and  ease out her body and wait for just a clap of the hand,  a signal that she could come along.  And every time  we snap on her  leash, either it is bath time for her or a little exercise outside the house.  It has become my habit during the past months to talk to her like she is human.   Eyes alert, with  her tail curled as always and her ears seemingly listening to what I am saying, I wondered  if  she really understand. Hubby said, “What if she answers and  say, “yes, ma’am”, ” what would you do?” I burst out laughing and told him, “That would be a miracle”.

And here’s the big question, do dogs smile like we do?  I  don’t think so, they just look at you with adoring eyes and wag their tails nonstop  until you touch and cuddle them.  That is your reward and haven’t we always heard this adage, that a dog is man’s best friend?

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The fountain in front of the main building at Caleruega, even this landmark is replete with symbols.

The main building serving as entrance to Caleruega. Notice the bridal car, there is always a wedding every time we come here.

The skylight ceiling makes it more arresting.

That quaint design along the wall of this reception area are wind chimes. Lovely!

You can see lots of these signs in all areas of the place.  You won’t really get lost.

I love everything here, even the stained glass is so beautiful, reflecting the light from the outside.

Going down,  climbing up! Part of the charm of the place,  lovely signs like this.

At the back of Caleruega’s  main staircase, a Koi pond

Another area that  I love, the long hall going to the different function rooms and cottages. Adjacent to this is the Refectory Hall and the Prayer Room.

Just can’t get enough……

If I am not mistaken, Veritas Hall is the big function room where they hold seminars/retreats, Catalina Hall is a dormitory for women, Tomasino Hall is the men’s dorm and Gazekubo is another function room separate from the main building, it has a view overlooking the  mountains of Batulao.

Notice the figures of pineapples atop the building.  It’s a pineapple country, and you can see rows and rows of pineapple  plantation all the way to Tagaytay.

Trying my hand at a random shot….

These trees are silent sentinels guarding the place.

See you again soon!

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First time I’ve seen this new BPI ad on TV a few hours ago.  How nice to see the president of the bank, Gigi Montinola III personally endorsing BPI.  Back in my time, everyone calls him Gigi but today he is known to the new unibankers as ARM – Aurelio R. Montinola III.  I’ve spent more than 21 years working at BPI and I simply miss it.  Come August 1 this year, they will be celebrating 159 years of service. It is the oldest bank in the country. It was founded on August 01, 1851.

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Have you ever made an impulse buy without a thought if it is worth buying or not? I did, yesterday afternoon. I saw one of these books by Dennis Lehane entitled  Gone,  Baby,  Gone at Booksale and I grabbed it without even reading the book summary (I didn’t bring my reading glasses anyway) just on the strength of a previous novel of his that I’ve read a year ago.  I was impressed with  Mystic River, and if I have to judge how good he is, then any of his books would be welcome.

Hubby and I were looking for fish food to feed our three hungry Pangasius. They’ve been with us  for the past week, a gift from the hubby’s cousin  who did  the landscaping of our garden.   They are sometimes called Iridescent shark, Sutchi catfish, Plai Sawai.  Yes, they belong to the family of catfish.

I thought he would be giving us fingerlings but it was quite a surprise when I saw these three healthy Pangasius, more than a foot long, with pinkish fins and tails.  They are now the permanent occupants of our small garden pond.   They are tropical warm water catfish. Pangasius could grow to a maximum of 1.3 meter and could weigh about 40 kilos or more, given the right place to grow in.  Looking at them swim, I am fascinated. Sometimes, they swim in tandem, at other times they meet each other halfway.  They do not seem to mind the strong flow of water above them but they are quite shy when you try to put your fingers in any part of their body.  I love the silver shine of their coat.  I am not adventurous enough to see if they have scales just like other fish but they are ideal  for small pond decor.  They are not choosy with food but they consume a large amount of it.  I enjoy staying at the garden now, just looking at them makes me smile. :)

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Dear Lord as I come to you today
Fill my heart and my whole being
with the wonder of your presence.

Source : http://sacredspace.ie/

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LET GO! How many of us are willing to take the plunge and just let circumstances and events take charge for a change?  Most of us are afraid of the untrodden path, we stick to things familiar.   True, familiarity gives us a sense of well-being, but when we let it rule our lives, it stagnates, and the comfortable feeling turns into unease that only change can alleviate.

I used to be one of those people who cannot survive the day without everything planned.  I used to worry a lot when I get sidetracked. Giving in to the “what if” won’t always be a choice and has no reason to be.  And knowing  that there are certain things which are beyond our control, makes us a little accepting.  One finally learns that life is not always to our liking and the set of rules which we allow ourselves to follow  won’t  always be acceptable to a few.  How are we to enjoy life if we won’t learn to let go?    Let go of the angst, it makes you miserable. Let go of the hatred so you will learn to love.  Let go of the anger, don’t let it consume you.  Let go of fear, for God is always here.

When I think of the times that I went through battling with cancer, I could not imagine a life without pain.  It is easy to shed a tear or two but it is more difficult to pretend that nothing is wrong.  Chances are, you seem to forget when you are surrounded by your family and friends but when you are alone, everything is magnified.  The pain is a tight knot surrounding your heart.

I learned to let go and let Him be the central force and figure in my life.  I learned to smile despite the tears.  I learned to share my plight with others despite the fear.  I learned to embrace pain and let it a constant reminder that I am not alone in this battle.  It may take a while, it may take sometime, it may take several or more visits to the doctor or it may take forever, but I am looking forward to the days when I’ll be truly and completely well again, without these nagging thoughts of being too insecure and too vulnerable.

Faith is such a personal thing. And when nothing is left, your faith will carry you through.

Let go!

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More  of Caleruega!  Here’s set 4.  I promised myself that the next time I’ll visit the place, I’ll just absorb  everything there, maybe less picture-taking and more of writing and reflection.  I want to go back,  go back to a  place where life is replete with meaning.

Mahogany trees and flowers,  nice combination, they look so natural together.

And this lovely vine, it hangs in front of the Refectory hall.  Why do I always forget its name?

Don’t be late guys! Students ready to go back to their retreat….

Bakit nga ba, bakit pa dapat kayong i- remind sa maling asal na ito.  We really saw some agaves full of names and doodles, sad isn’t it?

Taking shots of students taking shots of the place….how’s that again?

Love this red bromeliad, used to have this at home but typhoon Ondoy buried it alive.

And these celosia, bromeliads and  new plantings of marigold look great in this walkway.

Yes, privacy is sacred!  Now I know where this sign leads to….. The Bench

Our temporary home. How nice to wake up and see a panorama of nature at its best.

The Bench, a witness to my sentimental journey.

The facade of Pahingalayan.

Until next time……

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Moments Worth Remembering are moments spent with family and friends.

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