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wine

We were supposed to make our yearly Visita Iglesia early today but Josef has to do an overtime work till the wee hours so we postponed it for tomorrow and attended the Last Supper mass at St. Jude Thaddeus Parish near our place. It was a two-hour solemn and meaningful celebration of the mass.  It was followed by a short dramatization on how Jesus chose His twelve apostles and the actual commemoration of the last supper. Each apostle was introduced by a short biography culled from the Gospel. For the last four years or so, the Parish distributes crates and baskets of  pandesal after the mass. We brought home plenty, good enough for a light breakfast tomorrow since Good Friday is fasting and abstinence.

Early this morning,  I was able to clean up my  almost three thousand messages at my Yahoo account, some of which I haven’t read in years. Imagine finding yourself reading a birthday greeting that you have missed the last two years. I just have to adjust the setting of my WordPress notifications so I won’t be opening and deleting so many messages on my Yahoo mail. I left the personal e-mails sent by friends and relatives. It is sometimes so engrossing to re-read letters and greetings from close friends.

These are quiet days for me – no TV, no radio, just  visits  at WordPress to update my blog, a few inspirational read and a visit at Facebook to update our Catholic online page. We will be celebrating our fourth year doing apostolate at FB tomorrow.  I wrote a short article on my journey there  and how it changed my life for the better.

Have a blessed Holy Thursday to all!

Photo credit goes to my co-admin at AFCC, Paul Cardenas. Thanks Paul :)

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I was watering the plants early this morning when I noticed this single lovely bloom of our gardenia shrub. Pleasant surprises await when you least expect them. It’s only the middle of April and gardenias usually give that lovely scent during the months of  May to June.  I remember three years ago when this same gardenia shrub surprised us with a bird’s nest with three eggs right in the middle of Holy Week. It’s really amazing when you find something like this. I took a photo to remind me yet again the wonder of nature and the gifts it brings.

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Gardenia is one of my favorite flowers. As I have mentioned in my previous blogs, it reminds me of the times when we used to grow them in our old house in the province.  We had so many shrubs in front of the house so you can just imagine the intoxicating scents they have when they are in bloom.  It also reminds me of the times that mom used to grow flowers in pots in every window of our old house. We used to have this what we call barandillas  and they were full of flowering things like Hoya orchids, hydrangea, different colors of Bougainvillea and every flowering plant that I could think of.  Summer  brings back those memories.  I love summer and the different colors it brings to my small garden. Here are a few shots I took this morning.

a hodgepodge of flowering plants from crossadra to lilies

a hodgepodge of flowering plants from crossandra to lilies

 

bleeding hearts

bleeding hearts

shrimp plants, some call them golden candles

shrimp plants, some call them golden candles

bromeliad

bromeliad

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

begonia blooms

begonia blooms

 

who do i always forget the name of these flowers. i only planted them once but they bloom every year.

why do i always forget the name of these flowers. i only planted them once but they bloom every year.

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Mango

Last Sunday, a friend who came over for lunch brought a bagful of green and golden ripe carabao mangoes. We could not consume it in three days so I decided to make some smoothie drinks by simply adding a small can of evaporated milk, a few spoons of sugar and crushed iced. There you go, a sweet and refreshing glass of pure mango.

Most people say that the Philippines has the best sweet and delicious mangoes in the world and I agree. Summer is the best time that you’ll enjoy this fruit. I am planning to make a mango jam out of the remaining ripe ones. You might not believe this but I love green mangoes more. I enjoy eating them fresh, sliced with the skin on and just sprinkled with a pinch of salt. Heaven!

I also baked chewy oatmeal raisin cookies using yellow raisin instead of the dark ones. Yellow raisins have more natural taste, not too sweet and not too dry.  Preparing  something in the kitchen need not be that elaborate. It’s Holy Week  and I suggested to my son that we do away with meat for the whole week and eat sea food and veggies instead.

Have a blessed and meaningful Holy Tuesday!

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Woke up at an ungodly hour of 3:30am. Son has to leave the house at 5:00am so for three days each week, it’s a struggle to open my eyes and try to ignore the alarms from my two cellphones on my night table.  This morning, I felt as though I haven’t slept  for over six hours so I went back to bed and woke up at 7:30am. So much for dreaming of catching at least 3 more hours of rest.

Our two dogs are at the door waiting for breakfast and my plants are waiting  for that much-needed morning shower.  It is definitely summer here and it’s hot. The previous week has been  a busy one  so far  and it’s now Holy Monday. Holy  Week began yesterday with the blessing  of the palms. I was at the church early because yesterday, one of our new junior admins  at our Catholic page visited me. Ninia and I had a good laugh exchanging news and some tidbits of her life in Hongkong away from her family.  Sharing with friends is such a joy, never mind that  sometimes, the topic was serious  and painful enough and the tears fall, unheeded. Doing an online apostolate is definitely fulfilling. As  you journey through, you also grow in faith and yes,  in your own little way, you get to inspire others. We will be celebrating our fourth year of being online this coming Friday.  When I think  of the times when we were just making our presence felt with a little more than a thousand members, I am grateful that so many people from all walks of life found our page. We now have almost 66,000 members who visit the page each day and share our posts.

I would love to go back to St. Padre Pio Chapel  this Holy Week, they have several things lined up for the celebration. My only problem is I am afraid to mingle with a big crowd because I have to wear face mask  and I can’t stay under the heat of the sun for long. We are planning to have Visita Iglesia on Holy Thursday maybe in some churches in Manila if we have the time.

This is the facade of Saint Padre Pio Chapel in Libis, QC.  It's vvisited by thousands of Padre Pio devotees from all walks of life.

This is the facade of Saint Padre Pio Chapel in Libis, QC. It’s visited by thousands of Padre Pio devotees from all walks of life.

The prayer room of St. Francis of Assisi.

The prayer room of St. Francis of Assisi.

I am always touched watching the flickering candles at the chapel. The symbolism of having pure light, penetrating darkness and illuminating one's path is  so uplifting.

I am always touched watching the flickering candles at the chapel. The symbolism of having pure light, penetrating darkness and illuminating one’s path is so uplifting.

Some people say that the facade of the chapel is an exact replica of the  Shrine of Padre Pio in San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy. Last week I watched a feature on Mang Ramon Rodriguez, founder and president of  the Philippine Center for St. Pio of Pietrelcina, Inc.  He is a devotee of Saint Padre Pio and was cured of partial blindness years ago . It’s the reason why he put up a small chapel which is now a house of prayer visited by thousands of pilgrims all year-long.

Church of Santa Maria della Grazie, containing Padre Pio's tomb and cell.  (Photo credit: sacreddestinations.com)

Church of Santa Maria della Grazie, containing Padre Pio’s tomb and cell. (Photo credit: sacred-destinations.com)

Have a blessed Holy Week!

 

 

 

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How far could you go?

Maybe as far as the eyes can see

Your world can be as big

As your dreams can hold.

 

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You dream of one day having your own place

under the sun,

like a bird that glides its wings and soar

Why should you look for more?

If  you could feel the  honeyed breath

of the morning on your face

and the softness of wet grass on your toes

wouldn’t that be enough?

But you look for more

because love is never constant

and life is not perfect.

Still, you dream of one day -

finally finding peace at last

finally smiling at yourself

finally knowing that happiness

lies within you.

You cannot conquer the world

but you can dream, still!

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Yesterday, my son,  her girlfriend Jovy  and I visited Padre Pio Chapel in Libis, Quezon City. This is Jovy’s first time to visit the place so we toured her around the gardens after spending some time inside the chapel and at the prayer room of St. Francis of Assisi. I always feel blessed and energized every time I visit this lovely place. Never mind that I am still dragging my left foot while walking. I haven’t been here for a year and I really missed the place. One thing that I enjoy  and always look forward to  is writing prayer petitions. It was a wondrous communion with God. Despite the  knee pain, I found it easier to kneel and the flow of words kept coming. Mere thanksgiving is not enough, asking for more blessings  seems a little selfish but that is what I did – praying for the family and for my health.

I took lots of pictures  which I will use for my online apostolate.  One thing  that I found so amazing and so beautiful  are the pictures of a dove perched at the statue of an angel in a corner of the garden. It seemed as if it was saying “welcome” to us.  Don’t laugh but I said “hello” and it just turned its head the other way, maybe acknowledging our presence there in the heat of the morning sun. Doves have long been depicted as symbols of  love, peace and as messengers.  White doves are often used during weddings too.

Perched atop the head of the image of Padre Pio.

Perched atop the head of the image of Padre Pio.

When I was a little younger, I thought doves always come in white. I later learned that that there is a dove gray color like this.

When I was a little younger, I thought doves always come in white. I later learned that there is a dove-gray color like this.

 

Oh look, it has turned its head seemingly saying, "Isn't she lovely?" while looking at the angel figure behind.

Oh look, it has turned its head seemingly saying, “Isn’t she lovely?” while looking at the angel figure behind.

 

Will post more pictures of Padre Pio chapel in my next blog. Just could not get enough.

 

 

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Street life

I wish I could take more  street photography. This was actually my first attempt a few years ago one afternoon in front of the Antipolo Cathedral.  These two sell sampaguita flowers for their daily living. You’ll wonder how much they earn a day toiling under  the heat of the sun. Life is hard but they embrace it with big smiles. There is always hope for those who believe that given life’s circumstances and despite all the odds, they get by.

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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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