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Archive for the ‘Philippines’ Category


What a mouthful for a blog title! Some would probably say it is too early yet. It’s the anticipation and the countdown though that make Christmas something to look forward to  every year.  It’s 76 days to go before Christmas, better yet make that 75 since October 10 is about to end.

Our street is the role model for the others when it comes to decorating. Christmas season or not, we have a color motif all year round. Since we adopted the idea of lighting our own street (that means every house has a light post in front) without relying on the subdivision fund to pay for our street light consumption, it has become even better. Our street coordinators maintain them and we have uniform potted plants lining the street as well.  I saw them fixed the parols this afternoon, those small Christmas lanterns that light our street every year. I got excited watching them decorate each light post.

Violet St. at night....

Violet St. at night….

This was how it looked last year. I wonder what they’ll add  to make it look more festive this time. I think it’s time to clean and bring out my favorite Christmas decor again although I don’t get to hang them until November 30 of each year.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Do I hear Christmas carols too?

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“Come over and experience the peace and quiet, see the pristine beaches, just be”, he enthused.

And I said, “I wish, I wish, I wish.”  I wish I have wings to fly and visit this wonderful place and enjoy what nature has to offer.

My priest son and I were in  a long, long chat a few nights ago and he reiterated his invitation that we go visit him and see Calayan Island while he is assigned there in one of their Dominican Missions in the North.  I am writing this from memory, from what he shared during our occasional but lengthy phone conversations. You’re right, I spent a few nights searching for videos on Calayan and visiting some blogs written by travel bloggers who’ve been to the place. I still dream of visiting Batanes of course but Calayan offers the same lovely, unexplored places  which make my soul dream of it more.

Posted with permission from Estan Cabigas, a travel blogger who writes for international and local travel magazines. Thanks Stan for thse lovely images.

Posted with permission from Estan Cabigas, a travel blogger who writes for international and local travel magazines. Thanks Stan for these lovely images.

Who would not be impressed by this scenery?

Who would not be impressed by this scenery?

 

“We’ve just harvested corn”, he continued and “enjoying the cold weather now”.  I jokingly answered “Send some via LBC”.

Unfortunately, they don’t have LBC there. Every day, they only have electricity from 12pm to 12am but they don’t complain, they are used to it. I love the idea of  fishing when you need food to eat, growing vegetables on one’s backyard and they come fresh everyday, planting rice the traditional way (and Lovell tells me that he will try using it – the plough hooked at the back of a carabao), breeding chicken and pigs for meat. I was so surprised when he said that they don’t have a public market in Calayan. The people peddle their  produce from house to house.  Sometimes, the parishioners give lobster, fresh veggies  or live chicken to the parish.

Children walk to school and they have the luxury of time to just admire the sunrise and the endless blue sea an hour before classes start.  You could never do that here in the city. Tricycles and motorcycles are the popular means of transport. The best time to go there is during the summer months of April or early May.  Twelve-hour bus ride, (unless you take a plane to Cagayan) and four to six hours boat trip to the island.

Here is a Wiki description of the place.

Calayan (Ibanag language, meaning “where laya (ginger) abounded”) is a municipality in the province of Cagayan, Philippines. According to the 2010 census, it has a population of 16,200 people in an area of 49,453 hectares (122,200 acres).

It is located in the South China Sea, in Luzon Strait north of Luzon Island. The town is composed of four of the five major islands of the Babuyan Islands namely: Calayan, Camiguin, Dalupiri and Babuyan Island. Calayan Island is the largest of the Babuyan Islands. Fuga Island, the fifth island within the Babuyan Islands, is part of Aparri municipality.Calayan is home to the Calayan Rail, a flightless bird identified as a separate species in 2004 and endemic to Calayan Island.

Lovell says, you cannot appreciate it enough through pictures. The best thing is to go there and see the island for real.

 

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“The Filipino is worth dying for.”

Proclamation 1081 (Martial Law) was signed by then Pres. Marcos on September 21, 972. I was in high school.  Ninoy Aquino was assassinated on August 21, 1983 (31 years ago today), I was a young mother then with an eleven-month old daughter.  February 25, 1986 was the highlight of the return to democracy when Marcos and his family left Malacanang Palace for good after more than two decades of governing the land.

Watching the two-hour documentary today on the assassination of Ninoy  and the presidency of Cory Aquino made me remember the dark days of Philippine history. I remember the  bloody student demonstrations and rallies  before martial law was declared. I remember the day when we could not even listen to news because radio and television channels were closed. The glorious days of a dictator just started, the ambitious dream of a man to rule by military power. He incarcerated his enemies including Ninoy Aquino, the man who could have been the greatest president of the Republic of the Philippines, the only powerful enemy that Marcos had. I watched the documentary with my son who kept asking questions what life was like during the martial law years and how the Filipino people were affected by Ninoy’s death. I wrote a blog about this before.

Prior to what we know now in history as the People Power Revolution, I was part of the crowd at Ayala Avenue throwing confetti and yellow flowers made of crepe paper every time there was a rally scheduled in Makati. Bank of PI  (located at Ayala Avenue corner Paseo de Roxas) was at the center of those rallies and demonstration since the stage’s set-up was always facing our office building.  Now, that area is occupied by a statue of Ninoy Aquino, a tribute to a hero.Photo courtesy of ayalatriangle.comI remember collecting issues of the tabloid Malaya which was the only newspaper having regular reports of the assassination and how people reacted to it. I remember keeping a copy of a newspaper when the Marcos family left Malacanang to be exiled later in Hawaii. It was the day that ended a dictatorship.

Ah, those moments of happy celebration when all Ayala employees and their subsidiaries joined the merry dance at Ayala Avenue led by our big boss, Don Jaime Zobel de Ayala. You can just imagine people in corporate attires  dancing to the tune of Tie a Yellow Ribbon and laughing  out loud – the days when democracy was truly restored in our land.

He said, ” I believe that the Filipino will respond to the call to greatness not by coercion but by persuasion, not by intimidation but through the ways of freedom”. May his  legacy lives on and may the youth of today appreciates and remember what he did for our country.

Ninoy Aquino, my own personal hero.

 

 

Photo courtesy of ayalatriangle.com

 

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I am not a political analyst, neither am I into politics but I appreciate President Obama’s visit here in our country. They say he is the most powerful man in the world on account of the USA being the most powerful country. I won’t delve into the nitty-gritty of the whys and the hows of his visit here because I am not qualified to do so. What I saw of the warm welcome, the warm smiles, the wonderful speeches that both leaders delivered yesterday are enough to gladden the hearts of the Filipino people who believe that peace could only be achieved not by arms and golds but through  a sincere dialogue and communication.

It was the second straight two days that I allowed myself to stay in front of the television to watch the canonization of  Saints John Paul II and Saint John XXIII in Rome the other day and the arrival of President Obama yesterday.  I enjoyed watching both. I found some pictures posted by the Gazette of the Republic of the Phils. on Facebook which I follow.

I love this.  he took his time shaking hands with the ordinary Malacanang employees, smiling and looks truly glad to step foot in the Philippines.

I love this. He took his time shaking hands with the ordinary Malacanan employees, smiling and looks truly glad to step foot in the Philippines.

 

U.S. President Barack Obama's inscription in the official guestbook of Malacañan Palace: "I thank President Aquino and the people of the Philippines welcoming me. May America's oldest alliance in Asia always be renewed by our friendship and mutual respect."

U.S. President Barack Obama’s inscription in the official guest book of Malacañan Palace: “I thank President Aquino and the people of the Philippines welcoming me. May America’s oldest alliance in Asia always be renewed by our friendship and mutual respect.”

 

The welcome ceremony at the Malacanan Palace grounds.

The welcome ceremony at the Palace grounds.

 

It was short (not even a twenty-four hour visit) but I saw a glimpse of the man who is so polite  and knows what he is talking about.  Report says this is the eight visit of a President of the United States to the Philippines.

 

(photo credits: Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines)

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I know, I know, this comes a bit late again but I just have to post these two pictures that I took of one of the lovely places I went to with the whole family. The Farm at San Benito is located in Lipa, Batangas, a three-hour drive from our place in Rizal. One thing I do remember so well is the night swimming at their Secret Pool with the lush green all around. It was so relaxing and it makes me smile thinking about my reaction to the place when I first saw it, the “oohs and aahs” and the excited anticipation of exploring it.

...then you wish you could stay here forever just absorbing the silence.

…then you wish you could stay here forever just absorbing the silence.

...and maybe a copy of a favorite book in hand.

…and maybe a copy of a favorite book in hand.

 

 

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IMG_5558

 I just can’t resist posting this lovely painting of Anita Magsaysay Ho,  (Seated Women Sewing) a  gifted and talented artist who is known  for  “her paintings that depict figurative abstracts of women at everyday tasks.” Four years ago,  Bank of the Philippine Islands, where I used to work, started publishing pictures of paintings that they own via a lovely journal  and my daughter who works there now gifted me with a copy. She has given me copies of these journal/diary/calendar  that I collect since then. This year, it’s called A Legacy of Art (a treasury of paintings by Artists of National Prominence from the BPI Art Collection).  I am almost afraid to write on its pristine pages because I like the paintings that they publish there. Here’s one more entitled Old Farmer With Hat by our National Artist  Fernando Amorsolo done in 1929, oil on canvas. IMG_5560

 

 

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Would love to try another language to say Happy New Year.  In Tagalog we say, Manigong Bagong Taon. Whew, Christmas has come and gone and I am stuck here with so much to do, fixing things here and there, cleaning the house and getting rid of unwanted items that are no longer in use.  Just wanted to greet  2014 not just with a trimmed garden but with  lesser bits and pieces in my  cabinet. I’ll be hosting a party for a small group of friends on January 11 including two priests who are also members  of my Catholic group at Facebook where I am one of the admins.  We have decided on a potluck lunch and snacks so we could concentrate on sharing news and tidbits  about our individual journeys in life.  My co-admin and creator of the online group Fr. Louie Coronel, OP used to say, ” you can share anything under the Catholic sun except sin”. Believe me, in all these years that we’ve journeyed together, some members have become real friends. And that’s something to be thankful for, finding friends in social media and bonding with them and we’re like brothers and sisters who have found a home through our page.

How was your Christmas? It was another peaceful, joyous and happy celebration for us, just the family with Nate (my grandson) grabbing the limelight sharing what he has learned the last month since his birthday. The joys of being a grandma, more greatly felt with Nate’s generous kisses that made my day and   the celebration of Christmas a happy one for me. He is walking on his own now and beginning to touch things that his hands could reach. I told Nissa to say goodbye (in the meantime)  to small objects that  he could grab and play with. He was amazed when he discovered the knob of our CD player and turned the sound off while we were listening to some Christmas carols of old.

I made a video of our Christmas pictures at OneTrueMedia but I forgot that I can’t listen to the music that I chose as a background since my son detached the defective speakers of my PC a month ago. Anyway, I am sharing some pics I took in a photo box so as to save on my allowed limits here at WordPress.

photoboxI baked lots of chocolate chips cookies that I gave to friends and neighbors. I think there are two or three more left in the cookie jar.  I received cash gifts from the kids but one thing that I really love is one of the additional gifts from Nissa, a lovely infusion bottle which I could use later. Kev brought a bottle of Novellino red wine.

photobox2Christmas was a simple celebration but it was one of the best ever. What about you, how did you celebrate  Christmas? And before I forget, let me greet you Bonne année  . Let 2014 be a happy, peaceful and a fruitful year for all of us.

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