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Archive for May, 2011


Today, we are celebrating one of the loveliest feast in the Catholic calendar, the Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Elizabeth, who was Mary’s cousin was six months pregnant with St. John the Baptist. This feast commemorates the second joyful mysteries of the holy rosary. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greetings, the infant leaped in her womb. In the gospel of Luke 1: 46-55, we find Mary’s Magnificat, the great worship hymn of Mary.

And Mary said:
“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.

He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm,
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children for ever.”

I spent the early part of the morning weeding. There are overgrown unwanted weeds interspersed with our carabao grass.  Sometimes, it is really hard to maintain a garden no matter how small it is but the you can’t quantify the joys and fulfillment you find in digging the earth, letting the rich smell reach your senses. And it is even better when you find blooms all around.  The quiet time you spend in a garden just feels like you are meditating, learning about the wonder that nature brings. You may find a stray plant that you haven’t seen for quite a while. Annuals just sprout in a corner, more like, now you see them, now you don’t.

I now have several blooms of my lovely Gardenia plant. Almost every tip has a bud waiting to open. How enchanting and lovely to see the white flowers hiding behind the silky green leaves.  I was able to buy another type of Begonia last week.  I have two Semperflorens in white and red but I couldn’t place the name of the one I bought recently. Its flowers are elongated and are deep red and the leaves are somewhat thicker.

The month of May is ending.  I wish to see more blooms this coming month of June. And as always, I greet the new month with enthusiasm and joy.

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Death is nothing else but going home to God,
the bond of love will be unbroken for all eternity . – Mother Teresa

I lost a friend today. Actually, she is the sister of one of my best friends. She passed on this morning due to cancer. I can’t remember the exact year when she was diagnosed with breast cancer, I think it was around five or six years ago then lately the malignancy metastasized to her bones and she again underwent another cycle of chemotherapy. They say that bone cancer is the most painful type, but I tell you no matter what type it is, it is not just painful physically but emotionally and financially as well.

I have four best friends since my college days, one is a nun, another one is staying in Canada and the third is a successful business woman. Perhaps you won’t believe if I tell you that among us four, three if us  are cancer survivors.  Yes, two of them are breast cancer survivors and I had  colon cancer.  We see each other almost every year and between those days, we get along via texts and occasional e-mails.  My nun friend said that even in friendship, we have the same illness.

Death reminds us of the things we were supposed to do but didn’t. Death reminds us of the words we should have uttered but didn’t. And always, death reminds us of regrets that we were not able to say goodbye.  Harriet Beecher Stowe has this to say about death and dying; “The bitterest tears shed over graves are for words left unsaid and deeds left undone.” It’s so true, it’s only through death that we vividly remember the good deeds done by a relative, a friend or a family member who left us. We reminisce the good old days spent with them, we recall the times we were so happy when they were alive.  Only God knows when our time will come. Most of us are so afraid of dying so we try to prevent it and prolong our lives as much as we can. We are frantic when we are ill. We worry a lot when someone in the family is dying. It’s human nature to be threatened and to be afraid of something we don’t really know. Death is real, that’s what we learned early in life.

What do we know of  Beyond? We can never guess the time we will be leaving this world. And before it’s too late, let us show our love for everyone precious in our lives. Don’t wait for the last-minute to say, “I love you” when you can say it loud and clear to them now. When was the last time you called a friend just to say  hello? When was the last time you hugged your kids? When was the last time you said to your parents that you are grateful for everything they did for you? When?

And let me end this blog with a quote from Stephen Grellet:

I expect to pass through this world but once.  Any good therefore that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any fellow-creature, let me do it now.  Let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.

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I was scanning the Lifestyle articles of The Philippine Star today looking for the byline of Lucy Torres called Love Lucy.  I clearly forgot that she no longer writes for Philippine Star.  I miss her articles and the way she describes her family in such a warm and loving way. She really has a way with words. I remember the times I used to watch her everyday on Sweet Life. This lady could really charm everyone with her lovely and engaging smile. She must be busy being a member of the House of Representatives. She’s now a congresswoman for the fourth district of Leyte.

I was surprised to see  Bishop Honesto Ontioco, DD presiding over the Sunday TV mass on ABS CBN. I was hoping to see Fr. Jerry Orbos or Fr. Fernando Suarez. I love Bishop Ontioco’s way of delivering his homily, no dull moment there, definitely. We attended the 9am mass at the nearby church, St. Jude Parish. It is always nice to listen to Fr. Irenaeus’s homily.

My son and I were supposed to buy a new keyboard for my PC but it rained again and when it does, it makes me lazy to go out. Would you believe, I was asleep for three hours straight this afternoon.  You don’t call that a nap, do you?  That’s a full siesta for me :)  June is just two days away. Really, time flies so fast!

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There was a time when I used to look forward to the pitter-patter of raindrops every time the rainy season sets in. I loved how the grass seemed so green and the plants looked so fresh just after a sudden downpour. Since typhoon Ondoy though, I have  this funny  feeling of being threatened when it rains hard and I see the pool of water in the streets. I can’t shake off that grim scenario when our house was flooded two years ago because of the typhoon. Thank God, typhoon Chedeng has  finally left the country. PAGASA said that the official rainy season has just started. Fine, as long as it doesn’t bring deluge just like what typhoon Ondoy did.

Now is the best time to catch up on my reading which I have neglected for so long. I haven’t touched a book in the last month or two. I always feel so sleepy every time I start to read.

A friend asked me once why I tend to gravitate to such pursuits as writing, gardening and reading,  instead of mingling with the crowd. I’ve always been at ease being alone and such solitary hobbies make me more attuned to my inner self. Being alone doesn’t mean that you are lonely, it just gives you ample time to do things at your own pace and leisure. I love to listen to the silence. Are you afraid to sit a while and think? Are you afraid to listen to the echo of your own voice? Sometimes, solitude gives us that perfect excuse to just be. William Penn couldn’t have expressed it more perfectly when he said, “true silence is the rest of the mind, and is to the spirit what sleep is to the body, nourishment and refreshment”.  And Paul Tillich has this to say, “loneliness can be conquered only by those who can bear solitude.

I have this sudden longing to visit Caleruega again. I keep imagining the plants and flowers growing there now. And the Koi, they must have gotten so big after more than a year. Caleruega is one place where you could truly enjoy the bliss of solitude.

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It’s been years since I read a novel by Michael Crichton. I was in college back in the seventies when I was able to get hold of his two books, The Terminal Man and The Andromeda Strain. I watched the movie version of his other book Disclosure back in 1994 starring Michael Douglas and Demi Moore , if I’m not mistaken. The usual rule for me is, read the book before watching the movie version but since Crichton does not belong to my TBR list, it was okay, I guess. I don’t even remember the story in detail until I found an old copy of the book in our shelf. I don’t remember buying this nor do I remember reading it before. I was actually looking for another book to read. It’s been a while since I read fiction.  My computer is still down, maybe, I really need to replace the keyboard with  a new one.

Disclosure  is a provocative story about an up-and-coming executive  at DigiCom. Tom Sanders faces an uncertain future. His world turned upside down after a closed-door meeting with his new boss, a former lover who  was promoted to the position which he was expecting. The fast pacing of the book  is not that actually boring for an afternoon read. I love courtroom scenes and how the defendant and the accused fight each other and how they conduct and present evidences in court. It is a scenario that you would not want to miss.  All in all, it is an absorbing story. How could you defend yourself when you are the real victim? Sexual harassment does happen in real life but we have always believed, at least I do, that it only  happens to the female members of the corporate world, not the other way around. Clearly, Tom Sanders is the victim here and how he struggles to defend himself and find out about the manipulative scheme to bring him down is what makes the book an interesting read.  There are lots of technical jargon which you would appreciate if you are a techie.

At the end of the book, Crichton admits that this is based on a true story. He further says that “it is not intended to deny the fact that the great majority of harassment claims are brought by women against men”.

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Some days could be a little uneventful and annoying. Or maybe this is not just my day. There are times when even small things would make you flare up and you get emotional. Or am I just bored? For one thing, my PC gave up on me while I was doing some research. All of a sudden, the cursor won’t move.  I wonder if my keyboard is the culprit, good thing I was able to borrow my son’s laptop. I am so used to using a bigger and wider screen that I feel like a neophyte in using a smaller but more modern laptop. It’s really no big deal but it added to my annoyance.

Hubby came home from Pangasinan and brought six pieces of Chines Pomelo(lukban), a whole cluster of La Tondan Banana and my favorite delicacy called Tupig.Tupig is a native delicacy from Pangasinan. It  is made of  glutinous rice and grated  young coconut wrapped in  banana leaves and cooked over live coals. Aside from being one of the specialties in Pangasinan, making and cooking Tupig is also an  important source of livelihood in the province.

I am just glad that typhoon Chedeng won’t make a landfall after all. It shifted course towards Japan.  Thank God for miracles and I commend our weather bureau PAGASA for a job well done in reporting the movement of the typhoon for the past several days. I was listening to the afternoon report of  Karen Davila and Vic Lima over DZMM, they were interviewing this certain government official from Bicol and he said, the rain has stopped and the sun showed up. He was practically blaming PAGASA for the inaccurate account on typhoon Chedeng.  No matter how accurate the forecast is, there is always room for error and he was saying that PAGASA’s reports were secondary since people could always use the internet to be able to be updated. Who in his right mind would say that? Not all Filipinos have access to the internet. What about those who live in far-flung areas whose access to news is only via radio and TV? It’s  clearly a case of “damn if you do, damn if you don’t.”  Typhoons could always veer away from the trajectory path anytime, right? Don’t be so self-righteous, we should be responsible for what we say.

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I am a little distracted waiting for fresh news about typhoon Chedeng that I could not think of anything worth-blogging .  A few days ago, WordPress posted this question, “What film have you seen more than any other?”. I don’t even have to think twice. Of course, it’s  The Sound of Music. Could it be anything else? I’ve watched it more than ten times I guess, and every time I do, it never fails to make me smile and think about the good old days. One can’t deny that it’s now a classic movie. I love the story of the Von Trapp family and I love Julie  Andrews and Christopher Plummer.

I remember one time when my daughter was still in grade school, they were asked to do a summary of The Sound of Music. We watched it together then she asked me to type the report for her.  And the first line  she wrote  was this, “Maria is missing, where could she be?”  That was when I knew that this girl, my smart daughter really could write. She summarized the story in five pages.  We still watch it, now and then, when we want to sing with Julie Andrews belting out,

♪♫ The hills are alive with the sound of music
With songs they have sung for a thousand years
The hills fill my heart with the sound of music
My heart wants to sing every song it hears

My heart wants to beat like the wings of the birds
that rise from the lake to the trees
My heart wants to sigh like a chime that flies
from a church on a breeze
To laugh like a brook when it trips and falls over
stones on its way
To sing through the night like a lark who is learning to pray ♫ ♪

and Christopher Plummer singing Edelweiss on guitar.   I think this movie is here to stay. Young and old enjoy it and I would love to watch it again one of these days.

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It’s raining cats and dogs and there is a super typhoon coming.  PAGASA named her Chedeng. I just can’t help but recall the damage brought by typhoon Ondoy – loss of lives which can never be replaced and a gargantuan damage to properties.  I remember how  we coped during those days, five families all in one roof and our belongings  destroyed by the typhoon. Even our car was completely submerged in water. It always pays to be on the alert specially now that the rainy season is almost upon us.

I want to share this wonderful prayer, we usually pray it after  praying the Holy Rosary.

Consecration of the Home 
to Our Lady Help of Christians

Most holy Virgin Mary, appointed by God to be the Help of Christians, we choose you as the Mother and protectress of our home. We ask you to favour us with your powerful protection. Preserve our home from every danger, from fire, flood, lighting, storm, earthquake, thieves, vandals, and from every other danger. Bless us, protect us, defend us, keep as your own all the people who dwell in this home: protect them from all accidents and misfortunes, but above of all obtain for them the most important grace of avoiding sin. Mary help of Christians pray for all those- who live in this home which is consecrated to you for all time. Amen

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What a lovely way to start the morning!  Got a glimpse of my  first Gardenia bloom this year. How I love the heady, intoxicating scent of this beautiful flower. Can’t get enough so I took several shots.

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May the road rise up to meet you, may the wind be ever at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face and the rain fall softly on your fields. And until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of his hand. ~Irish Blessing

I’ve loved this quote since a friend gave me a copy of the book, Irish Blessing a few years ago.  It’s a small volume that contains prayers, quotations and poems. These particular lines remind me of the gospel today. I listened to two homilies on TV early this morning  and the third time during the mass I attended at our parish at four this afternoon. It speaks about Jesus’s saying goodbye to His apostles and telling them to have faith.  In our personal lives, saying goodbye always hurts. Unless you have a stony heart, you feel the pain of seeing a loved one go. One hello is worth a thousand goodbyes. It’s the anticipation of  meeting and the joys of seeing each other again that make you sane and alive.

I played couch potato to the hilt this morning, staying in bed late while  watching and listening to the good old music of RJ TV. It’s been a while since I heard  the likes of The Platter’s  Only You, The Stylistics’s  Becha By Golly Wow and other such similar songs which I grew up in during the sixties and the seventies. This is what I love about Sundays, being relaxed and happy. It’s not every day that you have the house to yourself and be lazy for a change.

My daughter went to buy some arts and crafts materials for a future project. Seeing the assortment of colored beads  made me a little envious of her skills in crafting.  I tried making my first pair of a fashionable earring. Success! I wish I took a picture of it so you can see my design. She made several bracelets and a couple of matching earrings. In Tagalog, we call these  kikay  accessories. My dream is to learn how to make rosaries from different materials.  One of these days, when I am not too lazy to go around Quiapo, I’ll go with her  to buy my own supplies. Come to think of it, one serious craft that I went gaga over was cross-stitching and that was several years ago. I made several designs and have them framed , some I gave as gifts to friends, about five of them are still hanging on our walls. They were the patterns I made when I was still a neophyte in this craft. Next to that, I enrolled in candle-making, sourcing materials as far as Divisoria. I remember mixing wax of different scents like chocolate, orange, bubblegum, lilac, peppermint. Don’t you just love scented candles?

My Sunday was a little productive after all.  Have a nice and blessed Sunday everyone!

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