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Archive for February, 2011


Life needs hurdles on its path for its advance – R. Tagore

Honest, I really don’t know what to blog about today. I am at my worst, coughing since this morning. Last night, I lost my voice, then when I woke up,  I got a gargantuan headache.  What a nice way to start the week huh? Anyway, I am now well enough to write a line or two so if you find this blog, the shortest you’ve ever read,  bear with me please.

I am relying on Topic No. 58 to complete these lines though. The question is, what is the smallest thing near you? Why, that’s quite easy, it’s the tip of my pen of course. It’s been on the ready for the last hour or two but the pages remain blank. See what I mean, when you are not feeling good, even your thoughts  get muddled.

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Gosh! Headache, runny nose, cough, nasal congestion  -  it’s the whole rigmarole of having this cold that’s keeping me so lazy today.  I had a sore throat for almost a month  now then when I woke up this morning,  runny nose and severe cough have set it.  Sunday is always spent with the family and the only thing worthwhile that I did was to attend the 9am mass with them and cook for lunch.  Wee, even lazy Sundays sometimes have great surprises in store.  My daughter and I agreed to go out after the morning mass to buy ingredients for baking, but we were both coughing like crazy so we decided to stay home. It’s one of those times that we get to update each other about  anything under the sun, her work and their plans of getting married within the year.  Then she asked, “Are you excited Ma?” Let’s just say, I am imagining the time I could hold my first grandchild in my arms.  We both laughed. Everything is fine, really!

So we spent the afternoon just watching CJ7 on AXN .  CJ7 is a blend of comedy and drama and moral lessons. It’s actually a movie intended for children, surprisingly though, my daughter and I enjoyed watching it. The funny thing is, I shed a tear or two when the main character died leaving a son to fend for himself alone.  I haven’t watched TV for quite sometime but I do listen to the news on AM radio every morning.  When you want fresh news, I recommend you to try listening to an AM station. Oh, I remember now, my daughter loves to watch this program on Starworld , every Sunday, Junior Master Chef Australia. Don’t you envy those nine and eleven year-old kids showing their prowess  in the kitchen? I do. So if you have some time to spare, this program is really worth watching.

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It was a virtual sea of yellow. People, young and old are commemorating the 25th Anniversary of the only true EDSA Revolution – People Power 1. It is nice to see the representatives of the youth spearheaded by former Sen. Butch Aquino, joining the pioneer figures of EDSA  1, led by then  AFP Vice Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Fidel Ramos.

I am writing this from the point of view of a then young mother 25 years ago. Twenty five years ago, my youngest son was barely two years old. Back when Cardinal Sin and Butch Aquino were calling all people to support Enrile and Ramos, hubby and I were thinking, “What will happen after this? What would be the future of our kids?” Twenty five years is  a long time, we’ve gone through so many Presidents from Pres. Corazon Aquino, Pres. Fidel Ramos, Pres. Erap Estrada, Pres. Gloria Arroyo and now Pres. PNoy.

A lot of people are asking, has there been any change since EDSA 1? After EDSA, corruption is still there. After EDSA, same people and faces are still in the government. Those figures who were in power under the Marcos regime are the same people who are still lurking around.  Are we forgetting the fact that the peaceful revolution that was EDSA People Power  brought us back our democracy?

The youth of today are reaping the fruits of what the youth  25 years ago have started. The dramatization of the symbolic “salubong”  of the military and  the civilians was so touching – the religious giving flowers to the military, the image of Mama Mary prominently displayed  right in front of the cannons, a sea of people waving rosaries and offering flowers.

We are on the road to realizing our dream of a beautiful Philippines. It wouldn’t take one man alone to do this, we need to unite once again, be one. They always say, in unity there is strength. We should move on, get back on our own two feet. The spirit of EDSA 1 will and should serve as a reminder that we need to go on, forget enmities and start again. We should support PNoy in his anti-corruption efforts. And if we are sincere, we could do it.

We need to look back to remind us that there is still a daunting task at hand so we could all move forward to realize our dream of a better Philippines.

 

(photos courtesy of a friend, Vince Parmisano)

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Speech
of
His Excellency Benigno S. Aquino III

At the 25th Anniversary of EDSA Eucharistic Celebration

[Delivered at the EDSA Shrine, February 24, 2011]

It has been twenty-five years since EDSA, twenty-five years since our people poured out into the streets to achieve the unthinkable: the end of a violent regime through nonviolent means.

It is only appropriate that this milestone is commemorated here in this shrine. The images of EDSA, after all, cannot be divorced from the images of the church. Look at the pictures of EDSA—they show nuns, priests, rosaries, and people carrying statues of the Virgin Mary on their shoulders. This is because EDSA was not merely a political act; it was also an act of faith. And it was this faith that somehow helped keep EDSA from turning violent.

It is interesting to note that our celebration of 25 years of EDSA today coincides with the wave of democracy now sweeping parts of the Arab world. Even by just watching on TV, the emotion in Egypt and Tunisia was so palpable that it brought back memories of our own experience in 1986. While ours was less violent, the similarities between EDSA and Tahrir Square are uncanny. This shows that the human passion and thirst for freedom is so universal that no autocratic regime anywhere in the world could succeed in its attempt to stay in power forever.

It would seem that 25 years after the restoration of democracy through EDSA, this country should be well on its way toward making democracy truly felt by the people—through a better economy that produces quality jobs and services.

We, unfortunately, are not quite there yet. The past 25 years have been marked with significant gains, followed sadly by backsliding. We would sometimes take two steps forward, then one step backward.

This is what our government today is confronting: the challenge of making progress irreversible and growth equitable and felt by every Filipino. Only then can we say that the democracy we fought so hard for really works.

The good news is we are getting there. We passed a national budget on time for the first time in 11 years. We have put an end to excessive bonuses at government-owned and controlled corporations, to remind them that they are there to serve the people and not themselves. We have ordered some of the most comprehensive restrictions on commercial logging, not to hurt the industry, but to protect our environment for the sake of future generations. This year alone, we are building new irrigation and rehabilitating silted irrigation systems for our farms, so we can produce an additional 1.56 million metric tons of palay per year.

Moreover, we are fighting corruption—not only in the Armed Forces—by seeking to stop an unjust plea bargain between the Ombudsman and General Carlos Garcia. But beyond that, we are allocating to the AFP resources to benefit ordinary soldiers, as well as the PNP. This year, we will build 20,000 housing units for our soldiers and policemen, and providing it to them at very low prices—very much lower than what they are currently paying to rent dwellings that they do not own.

This good news does not always make it to the headlines, but it is happening, and we are committed to achieving more in the coming years.

If there is one key lesson from EDSA that I would like to impart to all of you, it is that the democratic struggle should go beyond a single event. People power did not end at EDSA. The work goes on toward building a more fair and equitable society

To fulfill the promise of EDSA, we have programs to ensure that the most needy among us are not left behind.

Conditional Cash Transfers will keep poor children in school, so that they can have a better future. More schools and public health centers will help keep them healthy as they acquire the skills to earn a decent living.

All of this and more are being done not so much for ourselves but for our children and our grandchildren.

Those who were spared the misfortune that was martial law must now be the beneficiaries of our hard-fought democracy. I would like to think that this celebration is for them, the young people. After all, this is what EDSA was really for.

Remember, our faith teaches us, we will be asked, “What did you do to the least of our brethren?” At EDSA, we stood side by side with complete strangers, with full confidence in them that they were with us in trying to transform our society. That is the key. That is what we have to do to get our country truly transformed.

Thank you. Good evening.

(Source:  Official Gazette)

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He hears every whisper

He knows every sigh

He smiles when you laugh

He  encourages when you’re down

He speaks in silence

He whispers your name

He moves mountains

He calms the storms.

And when your need is greater than your faith

He gently whispers, “Don’t be afraid, I am here”.

 

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When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace. - Jimi Hendrix

I was supposed to write my blog early this morning but I got distracted by all the news not only here in the Philippines but in other countries as well.  This is the time when what we need are lots of prayers to help those who are badly in need of them.

Muammar Gadaffi vows to crush a revolt which is threatening his more than forty years’ rule. There is violence everywhere,  civilians are hurt and our Filipino OFWs who are only there to earn a decent wage for their families at home are trapped as well. The UN Security Council should do something about this , fast. Gaddafi called the protesters “rats and mercenaries”.  This uprising might escalate into a civil war. Let us just pray for  the safety of  all  overseas Filipino workers.  Here is the latest news on Libya courtesy of  CNN .

According to the latest news, 75 people have died due to the recent earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand.  And there are more people, including Filipinos too who are still trapped in the rubble.  It would probably take sometime before they could clear the debris and find missing people inside the collapsed buildings.  Here in the home front,  Mount Bulusan is acting up again.

We need prayers, more prayers for all the people who are affected by these calamities and uprisings. I am sharing with you a beautiful prayer  for peace.

PRAYER FOR PEACE AMONG NATIONS

O Almighty God,
the Father of all humanity,
turn, we pray, the hearts of all peoples and their rulers,
that by the power of your Holy Spirit
peace may be established among the nations
on the foundation of justice, righteousness and truth;
through him who was lifted up on the cross
to draw all people to himself,
your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

— William Temple (1881-1944)

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I had a great time yesterday bonding with some high school classmates at the University of Santo Tomas, our Alma Mater. No, I wouldn’t give you the details here because I’d like to write about it at a future blog.

Bechay, one of my classmates, dropped me off at Metro East Mall at around 4pm and since it was still a bit early, I went directly to Booksale.  I love browsing at this branch because they have lots of titles to choose from. Browsing  is a delight in itself  but  when you discover something which you have long wished you have, gee, it is like hugging a secret  and keeping it just to yourself.  :) Got no particular book in mind actually but I was simply delighted to see these two books which have been on my wish list since last year.  I was about to buy a copy of Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi at National Bookstore (a copy doesn’t come cheap at P350.00) when a Shelfari friend told me that she bought hers at Booksale in Cebu. She even volunteered to get a copy for me if I won’t be able to find one. Imagine my surprise to see a trade paperback copy of the book at only P115.00 and it even looks newer than the one they have at NBS. Since getting acquainted with Khaled  Hosseini a few years back, I’ve been on the lookout for more Asian/Middle Eastern authors.

Then I saw a  hardbound copy of Frank McCourt’s Teacher Man, wow, make that a double smiley face :)  :) because I was in 7th heaven and that is no exaggeration. I enjoyed the first two books of McCourt, his own memoirs when he was growing up in a poor place in his native Ireland. Teacher Man is his story as a high school teacher in New York.  I love memoirs and I could not wait to start. Whichever comes first would surely be a great read.

And did I tell you, they are on my wish list? I am just lucky, I guess!

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This would be the first time I would utilize the  topic suggested by Plinky.com because I like it. I love going on road trips, whether a short two-hour trip or a long  five to six hours on the road. It even feels more special when you are traveling with the whole family and discovering places which are new in your eyes and a delight to see.  We’ve taken several road trips before but the times that stand out are  those days that we spent in Caleruega, one of my favorite places. If you want peace and quiet amidst the splendor of lovely gardens and a beautiful church, it’s the best place to be. I’ve been blogging about the place and raving about it for I don’t know how many number of times. It was on our first trip there that we discovered the most talked about Breakfast At Antonio’s in Tagaytay City,  it’s gourmet  dining at its best. I remember taking a lot of pictures because I loved the place. It has a garden and a Koi  pond plus lots of antique collections and heirloom pieces proudly displayed at their reception area. Although the food was a little  expensive, it was worth the visit.

This is Breakfast At Antonio’s main dining area. The black and white motif makes the wonderful paintings and the lush garden stand out.

The front facade of the restaurant with its landscaped garden.

They call this Sausages and Scrambles...yummy!

Last December 2009, we embarked on a short trip to Tanay, Rizal, it was three weeks after my last chemotherapy.  I blogged about it here.  Did I say it was a litmus test for me?

An amazing scene, the mountain air was biting.

The unfinished log cabin where we roasted marshmallows and hotdogs and grilled Bangus for lunch.

And staying in the open field with a tent is what I call total bliss.

The best road trips are of course the times we went to our home province for short vacations. There is really no place like home.  I still dream of one special place to visit. The truly inspiring place remains a dream for now. It’s not near enough to be reached by car since you have to spend more than an hour by plane to reach it.

 

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There are times when I am inspired enough to experiment on new recipes depending of course on the available  ingredients in our kitchen.  Comfort food, that’s what we call it.  A few nights ago, I found a 500 gram pack of penne rigate in our cupboard, probably a left-over from the groceries we had last Christmas season. Yes, why not pasta for dinner? It is easier to prepare one than having to think of elaborate meals that need a lot of time cooking. It would have been a no-brainer to just pour tomato or pasta sauce to the dish and a little of everything but I was craving for meatball pasta, you know, one you have to make from scratch. I always buy ground pork by the kilo.  If you are in a hurry you could always prepare your favorite Almondigas, out of left-over meatballs from your recipes.

I digress!

Here’s my simple recipe for meatballs:

1/2 kilo ground pork

3 eggs

2 cups cornstarch

pinch of salt

ground black pepper

bread crumbs (about 3 cups or more depending on the size of the meatballs)

Mix ingredients all together and roll in breadcrumbs before frying.

For the sauce:

15 pcs. ripe tomatoes, blanched and seeded, cut into cubes

1 can whole Mushroom, diced

1 pack 250 gram tomato sauce

ground black pepper

salt to taste

Boil the pasta al dente, drain. you can either mix it with the ingredients or top the pasta with the meatballs and the sauce. I don’t normally mix the sauce and the meatballs while cooking so the meatballs can retain that crunchy taste and won’t get soggy. Top with Grana Padano cheese  (known to many as simply Parmesan), Serve hot.

There you have it, my Penne Rigate Pasta with Meatballs.

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