Archive for September, 2012

I’ve tried several – seaweeds, that is. We have Bala-iba also known as Eve’s hair, Ar-arosep or simply called lato, Balbalulang, which I think has no Tagalog or English equivalent  but this is the firs time that I  tried Guso, another seaweed that is common here in our country.  Seaweeds are actually marine algae, salt-water dwelling  plants  that are edible. Some are eaten fresh but most are blanched before other ingredients are added. And seaweed salads are side-dishes served with fried or broiled fish. According to livestrong .com, “Seaweed is high in vitamins and minerals including calcium, magnesium, iron, vitamins A, B and C, fiber and alpha lipoic acid. Seaweed is a good source of incomplete protein, containing only some of the essential amino acids. Combining seaweed in a salad with another protein, such as fish or eggs, will provide your body with a complete source of protein essential to your daily diet.”

You only need to wash it with water then blanch it for about 3 minutes. Add in diced red onions, fresh tomatoes, ginger and a sprinkling of  white pepper. I thought of how they make gelatin out of seaweeds like this while enjoying its nutty, gelatinous flavor.

And here’s how it looks fresh from the wet market.







Guso, anyone?




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I just feel a bit weird just thinking, where has September gone? I used to say goodbye for each month that passes and greet the new month with so much hope and wonder. But when September comes to a close, I am excited that October would show its face again, for the simple reason that it’s my birth month. I am not exactly looking forward to another year of getting older,  it’s more like I am excited about our coming baby. I only have one wish this time, I am praying that baby Nate would have the same birthday as I have.  What a lovely celebration it would be if that happens.


I’ll always remember this month as the start of the Christmas season here in the Philippines. Through the years when September comes, you’ll always hear Christmas songs on the radio being played the whole month of September. And I was surprised when I saw Christmas trees on display at National Bookstore this early. And they are not in the traditional color  of green, they come in shocking shades of purple, silver and gold. I was wondering, what color of decor would you combine with a deep shade of violet? Would it match the beauty of the Christmas colors of red, green and gold? I think I’ll forego putting up the Christmas tree this time. I want to have a nativity crèche instead. I am inspired about the story of how the Christmas crèche came to be.

      The history of the Christmas crèche in art and literature is a story in of itself, but the real turning point was St. Francis of Assisi’s inspiration. For the Saint, Christmas had always been the Feast of Feasts, yet he did not think it had been celebrated as it could have been, The poverty of Christ had become lost in the extravagance of the Christmas festivities An idea occurred to him and while on a visit to Rome, he received permission from the Pontiff to put his idea to work.

       The story of how St. Francis of Assisi “invented” the crib is so delightful and inspiring that it might be told or read to the children every year. We give here the account in the very words of Brother Thomas de Celano, who was there when it happened and who wrote it down:

             Blessed Francis called a friend about two weeks before Christmas and said to him: ‘If you desire that we should celebrate this year’s Christmas together at Greccio, go quickly and prepare what I tell you; for I want to enact the memory of the Infant Who was born at Bethlehem, and how He was deprived of all the comforts babies enjoy; how He was bedded in a manger on hay, between an ass and an ox. For once I want to see all this with my own eyes.’ When the good and faithful man had heard this, he departed quickly and prepared in the above-mentioned place everything that the Saint had told him.

            The joyful day approached. The Franciscans were called from many communities. The men and women of the neighborhood, as best they could, prepared candles and torches to brighten the night. Finally the Saint of God arrived, found everything prepared, saw it and rejoiced. The crib was made ready, hay was brought, the ox and ass were led to the spot and Greccio became a new Bethlehem. The night was radiant with joy. The crowds drew near and rejoiced in the novelty of the celebration. Their voices resounded from the woods, and the rocky cliff echoed the jubilant outburst. As they sang in the praise of God, the whole night rang with exultation. The Saint of God stood before the crib, overcome with devotion and wondrous joy. A solemn Mass was sung at the crib.

              The Saint dressed in deacon’s vestments, for a deacon he was [out of humility, St. Francis never became a priest, remaining a deacon all his life]. He sang the Gospel. Then he preached a delightful sermon to the people who stood around him, speaking about the nativity of the poor King and the humble town of Bethlehem. (source: catholictradition.org)

I would love to share this story with baby Nate when he is old enough to understand why we celebrate Christmas. And how lovely and significant it is that we remember the Christ Child who is the reason for celebrating the season. Let it not be cloaked in grandeur but let it be as simple as the child in the manger.

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UST  just won over NU in the final four early this afternoon ensuring them an entry to the finals in the 75th season.

Much as I like Ateneo to win in the finals, I would rather see my alma mater hug the limelight again. It’s been six long years since they got the crown in men’s basketball. This is surely the game to watch…..a match between Ateneo and UST next.

GO USTe….go USTe..go…go…go!  Let’s keep our fingers crossed guys, UST will win! Growl!

(thanks to UST Quadri  and UST Salinggawi Dance Troupe for the attached photos)

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Thank You WordPress

Just  got this message from WordPress:  Congratulations on getting 1,337 total likes on DREAMS AND ESCAPES. Your current tally is 1,338.

And with a total of 144,144 all-time views  🙂

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Some new quotes from my favorite author, Richard Paul Evans.  Let me see, I have a total of about 108 inspiring quotes now from his various books. Can’t get enough….

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Today is my daughter’s 30th birthday! She told me early this morning that at the strike 12am, the baby kicked in her womb. I told her “maybe, that’s Nate’s way of telling you, Happy birthday mommy!”  Celebrating birthdays of your kids has that special meaning because you were part of that very special event when they came into this world. And I remember writing in her baby book when she was born, “Blessed Lorenzo Ruiz”. Back then, he was just beatified by Blessed JP II a year before.  Isn’t she lucky celebrating a birthday coinciding with a feast day of a saint? And San Lorenzo Ruiz is also very special because he is our first Filipino saint.

This is her baby picture,  and the baby  will soon be a certified mommy too. How time flies but the years in-between are certainly the best. Another journey is about to begin. Thank  You Lord for the bountiful blessings!

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Don’t ask me how it might have been, or what it could or should have been like.How different all my days would be if I’d strode securely into public sunlight. More and more I take the sun alone – always at the edge of the clearing, close enough to the wood to crouch low or retreat at ease should the beautiful enemy pass by.

If these pages are so personal and private, why  let them go? There is a chance, however small that some one will read, understand, even stop and turn in my direction.-  Rod McKuen

That moment when you find another book on your wish list and you shout with joy, a muffled sound of a Yes, I’m so lucky and grinning like crazy while hugging the book close. It’s as if you can’t believe your eyes that you’ve found another treasure. Nice meeting you again Rod McKuen! I wonder if I could sleep tonight. I just want to read your poems and lose myself in your words and in your world.

The last time I encountered Rod McKuen was   several years ago. I chanced upon his book  Seasons in the Sun  in one of my forays at National Bookstore  back then. I didn’t even know that he was the one who composed the same song that was so popular during the seventies.  That book was one of the  most read books on my shelf and losing it was like losing a good friend and companion at  times when I need a word or two to make me smile  and to look at life with  wide open eyes. This afternoon I was lucky though to find Alone, another book on my wish list which is really hard to find in local bookstores nowadays  because it was published in 1979. Gosh, talk about being really, really lucky.

Actually I bought five more books all at P29.00 pesos each, really at a bargain price, if you ask me. I bought two books by Barbara Cartland, one by Carol Quinto and a copy of Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery. Of course, we all know that the latter is a classic and the rest are regency romance books. I was in high school when I started reading  Barbara Cartland, all books borrowed from our school library. Come to think of it, those were the kind of books I used to read in high school but I never owned a Barbara Cartland book  in my whole life until now. This fascination for English titles though somehow didn’t completely wane through the years because it became a real-life fascination for real-life prince and princess, kings and queens not only from England but in other countries as well. I followed Lady Di’s story until her death five years ago. I read a book on Grace Kelly, dubbed as the American princess although I haven’t even seen any of her movie pictures. And I did have a chance to see a royal couple during my college years in UST when then Princess Sofia and Prince Carlos visited the university. They are now the King and Queen of Spain.

Going back to Rod McKuen’s book, I’d like to quote one of his poems here because it reminds me of a picture I took one sunny afternoon about three years ago. It is an amateurish shot of a flock of birds passing by.

One Day I’ll Follow the Birds

One day I’ll follow the birds

disappearing into the rain

going in a hurry, then gone

glad to be in flight again

not sure why I’m running.

There are some wounds

I never speak about.

Some things that words

have done to me

that none will ever know.

But one gray day

I’ll follow a funeral out-of-town

on the heels of the birds

disappearing into the rain.

I love, love Rod McKuen 🙂

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Getting a little nostalgic seeing the pics I took of UST  a few years ago. I spent my high school and college life here. And this central lane leads to the lovely main building of the university.

Bringing back the clock – remembering old friends who were part of  my growing-up years, the heartaches of first love, cramming for exams, early morning student mass at the UST Chapel, the daily walks inside the campus, banana que at P. Noval, cornik laced with chili oil at Dapitan.

I just love taking photos of every corner of UST. This Arch of the Centuries is the “ruin” of the original structure of UST founded more than 400 years ago.

Well…I am just proud to be a Thomasian!

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At first, I didn’t actually like these shots but on second look, they have a redeeming feature, my favorite subject – clouds. And the sun showing its face in the shadows of the Arch of the Centuries of my alma mater, the University of Santo Tomas!

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Would like to thank Multiply for providing users of a tool to transfer files but it’s kind of crazy to  upload them all here. I just love these shots though so I am sharing them with you. And maybe some more pictures as I go along.

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