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Archive for September, 2011


My heart goes to those “kababayans” in Bulacan who are affected by the flood reaching as high as their second floor rooftop.

Let us just say a prayer or two for their safety. And I am sorry, I really can’t blog tonight because I am glued to the news on tv.

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I am getting a lot of spam comments lately. And it’s good that WordPress has committed to protect bloggers from spam comments.  I don’t know if I have to hate those spammers or not because sometimes I do read their comments here and they don’t even merit a comment back.  Sometimes I think they have this pro-forma  type of mails that they just send to anyone without even reading the content of one’s blog. And it is so obvious that they are just there to promote their own  site.

Come on people, online marketing is not bad per se because I have a friend who is amassing green bucks because of it.  Having a market list definitely helps but posting your unwanted messages on someone’s site is annoying. There was a time a few years ago that I attended a seminar on marketing online and I met this 15-year old student who was probably  earning more than what  an executive in a private company earns.  But it’s not for me and this blog will remain just a simple platform for my journey as a cancel survivor, as a mother, a wife and a friend.  It would make me happy if by reading it, you could learn a lesson or two or be a little inspired with what I write.

I am giving another go of the book The Constant Gardener. I just wonder why I can’t go beyond the first 20 pages. I wish I could find the movie version of it on cable then I won’t have to read it.

 

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The sun showed its face today and Nissa was happy because it is her birthday. She told us yesterday that two years ago, there was typhoon Ondoy right on our doorstep and she was not able to celebrate her birthday properly.  How time flies, I feel I am really getting old. Gosh, I now have a twenty-nine year old daughter who is getting married in more than a month.

Birthday breakfasts for my two kids are always time for reminiscing. They love to listen to our stories when they were born. Nissa was a premature baby and at eight months, we thought she was too small to survive. God has other plans though, because He gave us an intelligent, smart, caring and loving daughter.

It’s San Lorenzo Ruiz’s Feast Day today, our first Filipino saint and martyr. It is a special day for Filipino Catholics.

We’re planning to prepare something special for dinner tonight. We always celebrate birthdays in the family. It has become some sort of ritual to have Pancit, Pasta, Lumpiang Shanghai and one special dish for the birthday celebrator. Oh, it’s baked spare ribs. And we always blow candles during our birthdays. Nissa ordered White Chocolate Macadamia cake at Secret Recipe.I always equate a birthday being a new year in one’s life. It’s the beginning of another lovely year, full of blessings, full of things to be grateful about.

Here’s my birthday wish for you Nissa:

May this day bring to you all things that make you smile. May this year bring with it all the success and fulfillment your heart desires. May God bless you everyday of your life. HAPPY, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

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Typhoon Pedring was definitely stronger than I thought.  It brought strong winds to the island of Luzon and toppled power lines which left close to 2 million households without electricity. Train lines in Metro Manila suspended their operations because of the typhoon.  We were so lucky that our town was spared from the flash flood which affected most areas in Metro Manila. Part of Bulacan and Marikina were submerged in water. And I am grateful that there was no interruption in the power service of Manila Electric Company in our area. Classes were suspended in all levels of Metro Manila. Metro Manila was under typhoon signal number two but it was not spared from heavy rains and gusty winds brought about by typhoon Pedring (international name is Nesat).

The whole day, I alternately listened on our transistor radio and watched the news on TV. One should  always be  alert in times like this.  I remember the time when typhoon Ondoy hit Metro Manila exactly two years  ago. Our house was submerged in water and we had to renovate and replace most of our furnitures and belongings because they were destroyed by the flood. It makes me feel so insecure every time there is a strong typhoon coming.

Front of U.S. Embassy along Roxas Blvd.

The seawall along Roxas Blvd.

(I don’t own these pictures, they are property of allvoices.com. Photos by Marven Dumaguet)

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Here’s an album of the  pictures I’ve previously taken  months ago and used some of them for the popular quotes from well-known and best-read writers of all time. I enjoyed  adding these lovely quotes and posting them randomly on my networking sites.

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We had this for dinner tonight paired with crispy fried Samaral fish. It was so yummy but the dish required more rice. I occasionally cook Laing  when we have gathered enough taro leaves to dry in the sun. Hubby prefers to have them harvested from our garden and since it does take a while for the leaves to reach the size ideal for drying, it always takes a while before we’re able to serve it on the table.

Laing is a typical Filipino dish mixed with coconut cream (gata) and lots of jalapeno peppers (the hotter, the better). Here are the ingredients of a basic Laing dish.

  • 20 to 25 pcs. gabi or taro leaves, dried and shredded
  • 1/4 kilo pork, diced or ground
  • minced garlic
  • one big red onion, chopped
  • one heaping spoon of diced ginger
  • 5 or 6 pcs. Jalapeno peppers, sliced
  • 3 cups coconut cream, reserve one cup until the last-minute of cooking
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups of water

Some still saute it on a frying pan, what I usually do is have the ingredients (except the taro leaves)  boiled in the coconut cream and let it simmer for around fifteen minutes. Then add the taro leaves until cooked. Add the last cup of coconut cream last and bring to a boil.  I substituted shrimps which tasted better than ground pork.

Try it, it’s really yummy!

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It simply means “steamed bun” for those who are not familiar with this popular Filipino snack food made from flour and fillings. Take your pick, the fillings may come in the form of chicken chunks and salted eggs and chorizo for that special siopao or as simple as ground pork sautéed in onions and mixed with a little flour for consistency.

Hubby was laughing at me when I suggested that we swing by the Rainforest area in Pasig before going home to buy siopao. I had this sudden craving for this snack so I bought four each of Asado and Bola-bola.  Take your pick, I said. If you don’t want the Bola-Bola, you can have the Asado.  Back when we used to fetch Nissa from work (around 11pm almost every night), we usually passed by the place and siopao has become our midnight snack. I learned how to prepare and cook it years ago via our Culinary club at Bank of the Philippine Islands.  But as they say, it is easier to buy one than make one – ready to eat and I am quite lazy when it comes to elaborate preparations  with only the four of us at home, after all, it is just a snack, right? I had it for merienda today with a hot cup of coffee.

Nissa and Obet’s official invitations for the wedding have just been delivered a few minutes ago. You could clearly see the excitement on Nissa’s face while inspecting the envelopes and adding the location map for the church and the reception venues.  Such a radical change since our day almost thirty years ago. Back then, wedding invites were more elaborate, both in designs and wordings. They were more formal too with the bride’s choice of color for the wedding echoed on the ribbons  attached to the invitation. During my time, you can’t even specify how many persons will attend for one invite because when you issue one, expect that the whole family including the kids will attend. A guest list of 300 persons becomes 500 on the day of the wedding. Nowadays though, you can be specific with your invitations, you can even write on the invite how many seats you have reserved for your guests.  The simpler, the better. Considering the costs of such an occasion nowadays, I think it is just practical to do it that way. I told her to double-check everything on her guest list and prioritize the wedding entourage and sponsors when they finally distribute the invites.

I am looking forward to watching the Pinoy edition of Junior Masterchef.  The whole family loves watching cooking shows on TV  and it is even more enjoyable when there is a bowl of popcorn on the side.  Hmmm…I could almost smell it from here. What? Food again?

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Stay with me, Lord, for it is necessary to have You present so that I do not forget You.
You know how easily I abandon You.
Stay with me, Lord, because I am weak and I need Your strength, that I may not fall so often.

These lines are part of Padre Pio’s Prayer After Communion. It’s his Feast Day today and I attended the Holy Mass at the Philippine Center for St. Pio of  Pietrelcina in Libis, Quezon City.  I had to take a commute since hubby was not around. It was a very solemn celebration which was presided by Bishop Martirez from the Diocese of Antique. I lighted candles before proceeding to the prayer room after the mass then bought some stampita (prayer cards)  to give to friends.  Since last night, almost all of my posts were about Padre Pio, he is one saint that I truly admire.  Even our AFCC Tambayan page were full of stories about Padre Pio when I posted a quote there early this morning. And instead of reading the usual jokes which everyone enjoys, it seems that remembering the Feast Day of Padre Pio, we were all again united in prayer and deep faith.  It is so humbling to feel God’s loving embrace today, through Padre Pio’s intercession.

PRAYER

O God,

You gave St. Pio of Pietrelcina,

Capuchin priest,

the great privilege of participating

in a unique way in the passion

of Your Son,

grant me through his intercession

the grace of …..which I ardently desire;

And above all grant me the grace of

living in conformity

with the death of Jesus,

to arrive at the glory

of the resurrection.

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Great! According to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Service Administration (PAGASA), tomorrow is the start of the autumnal equinox which is the beginning of shorter days and  longer nights in the northern hemisphere which includes the Philippines.  I am thinking of the colder nights which signal the long celebration of the Christmas season here in the Philippines. In fact, some stores have already put up their Christmas decorations and you could hear Christmas songs being played on the radio. And longer nights also mean more time to read and watch late night movies on TV.

Last night, Nissa and I watched the first episode of The Pillars of the Earth which was aired for two hours on Star Movies. It’s an eight part mini series adapted from the bestselling novel of the same title by Ken Follett. I can’t wait to see the succeeding episodes.  Based on what I’ve seen last night, the series is a good adaptation of the more than a thousand pages book of Follett.  Rufus Sewell as Tom Builder and Matthew Macfadyen as Prior Philip are two of my favorite characters in the series.  Nissa said it’s kind of “bitin” since she hasn’t read the book yet. I told her, once she starts reading the book, it would be hard to put it down.  There is a sequel to the book called World Without End. Nissa bought me a copy but I haven’t read it yet. The story happens 200 years later in the same fictitious town , Kingsbridge.

Don’t forget, tomorrow is St. Padre Pio’s feast day. Last November, a friend from Rome gave me a third class relic of Padre Pio from the Capuchin Friary in Rotondo, Italy.

May Mary convert the troubles of your life into joy” – St. Padre Pio of  Pietrelcina

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One gets bored sometime with all the negative news all around. So now you know, the two teenagers  I blogged about yesterday are both brain-dead. What a senseless way to bring two lives at an end just because of jealousy or would you call that temporary insanity?

It’s part of life to undergo mood swings, ups and downs brought about by sadness and sometimes when it becomes a little uncontrollable, we call it depression. Struggles, disappointments and setbacks are part of the daily grind of living. When we allow ourselves to believe that  we are living in a black hole, and we feel that we are alone in this world, that’s where depression sets in and when you are weak, it would eat you alive.

I remember  a few readings I made when I was undergoing chemotherapy treatment two years ago. The study said that the number one cause of cancer is low immune system, added to that is stress.  When you have a low immune system, you are prone to illness and when you are ill, you easily get depressed too. Being stressed in any kind of work also helps in contributing to those unwanted cancer cells attacking the body. And my doctor says that it usually takes ten years before you can feel the malignant cells slowly prevailing over  the good ones.  You feel the symptoms when those cancel cells are deeply ingrained in your system.  Even if you are so careful with your health and cautious with the food you eat, you can never tell when the time will come that it would be you undergoing the knife and being put to the test and drastic measures of  chemotherapy and radiation treatments.  You could only hope for the best and pray that you’ll be given a second chance at life.

A while ago, a close friend posted this message on his wall at Facebook:  Stupid cancer….Some of us want a new house….A new car….A new mobile phone….To lose weight….But someone battling cancer wants just one thing, to win the battle. Please repost this in honor of someone who lost their battle, or for someone fighting it now. This matters so much to me, I am not just posting it as a status, it’s from the heart.

And here’s my reply to his post: Thanks for this post Paul. I am touched. I always pray for good health for everyone who has in one way or another, experienced battling with it. GO, FIGHT, WIN.

Latest news says that the 13-year old is now dead. His parents decided to have his respirator removed but they will be donating his kidneys and eyes to the Organ Bank.

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