Archive for April, 2013

Don’t laugh…it’s not what you think! Two nights ago (how would you categorize 3:45am…between night and morn?) I woke up to the reflection of the  full moon on my bedroom window.  Everything was bathed in soft light and I just could not resist going to the garden and gazing at the moon. I thought it was too late to go back to bed and still too early to prepare breakfast. Yes, why not, why not take the chance of taking a few shots with only the street lights and the light in our dining  area reflecting its glow at our french windows? Crazy? Well, it was another experiment that I am glad I did.



I like this actually because it turned out like a black and white picture with my gardenia shrub on the foreground.


And this came as a bonus. My Vanda blooms turned out pretty well on a dark background.


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I always attempt to take a few shots every time this red bromeliad shows its face. I was never lucky enough to capture its essence, either the picture comes blurred or it’s unrecognizable as a close-up shot of a bromeliad flower. Showing its face again made my morning.



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Every year, I am gifted with the heady scent of a gardenia bloom. The previous years, I was  just so happy seeing one or two, three at the most blooming all at once. This year though, they bloomed early and almost every tip of my gardenia shrub has buds. I can’t resist making a flower arrangement. These are flowers of my childhood,  mom used to grow them lined at the walkway going to our front door.






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When you see mangoes in season, you’d think  summer is finally here. And some of the sweetest mangoes are grown in our native province in Pangasinan.  My brother brought a whole crate (kaing) of it when they came over last Saturday to celebrate Mom’s birthday with us.




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“What is REAL?” asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. “Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?”

“Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but Really loves you, then you become Real.”

“Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit.

“Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. “When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.”

“Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,” he asked, “or bit by bit?”

“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get all loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

I always love reading and re-reading The Velveteen Rabbit, a poignant and deeply touching  story about friendship and love. The book is an endearing and simple story on what love and loving is all about.

What is real in your life?

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Okoy or Ukoy is a traditional Filipino dish. It is usually made of different ingredients common of which is shrimp or vegetables. It is the way that it is cooked that makes a little difference. It is usually eaten as a side dish or appetizer.
4 or 5 cups of fresh squash, cut into strips
1 medium size onion, diced
1 beaten egg
batter of cornstarch or flour to coat the squash
wanton or molo wrapper
dash of salt to taste
dash of fine ground pepper
oil for frying
Cut the squash into thin, small strips, add a dash of salt and pepper then add diced onion. Set aside.Make the batter mixture, add one beaten egg.Coat the squash with the batter and put on top of each molo wrapper. Fry in hot oil, reduce heat while frying. You could add small shrimp on top but it is optional. The molo wrapper also serve as a binder and it makes the okoy crispy.

Serve hot with your favorite dish.

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I haven’t blogged for more than a week. Has it been that long?  My mom’s 84th birthday celebration last Saturday  was a mini-reunion for my two brothers, their families and Nissa’s family sans of course our youngest  brother and his family whom I haven’t seen for more than five years but we get in touch often through phone calls and e-mails. He’s been in the United States since 1991 and he has embraced the American way of life.

Josef and I embarked on a bold project of painting our grills and two front gates over the weekend.  It’s fun to undergo something like this but the heat hinders us from working the whole day. Anyway, our gates are sporting a new look – in bold reddish maroon color. We were able to finish painting the two spans of metal grills fronting the house and there is a lot more to do in the coming weekends. It’s good, paints nowadays no longer have that strong smell that makes you cough. Davies paints are odorless and easy to apply. You need to have a good brush and roller though to make everything smooth. It is an accomplishment that I am proud of.

Last night, I dreamed I was teacher. Yes, I was teaching high school kids to appreciate music. It’s not the kind though where you need to recognize wind instruments and chimes or guitars. I was teaching them how to listen to David Cassidy singing Cherish and The Associations belting out their more popular Never My Love. Ancient you might say but I remember in my dream telling them about the British Invasion in the music world and what baby boomer means :).  Earlier on, a friend posted some old, old songs from YouTube and it made me remember being a child of the sixties. Then I suddenly thought of  teen idol David Cassidy. I was in high school during the early seventies and one such program that I never failed to watch was The Partridge Family. Never mind that we didn’t have our own TV set and just viewed the series on a small black and white unit of our neighbor whose children loved the same program.  It was such a poignant reminiscing of the good old days. I also remember another figure that I loved, Mark Lester. I used to scrimp on my allowance just to be able to buy the monthly issues of Jingle Chordbook magazines where most of the time, they had colored posters of popular singers back then.  I never learned  how to play the guitar though because my eldest brother who taught me was left-handed and even if I could read the chords it was hard to interpret it when you were  holding it the other way. My dad used to play the guitar and even composed some songs in the vernacular and one of my uncles played the violin. I guess I was the only one who never learned, but I am proud to say I could carry a tune. So much for dreams and music.  Hearing your favorite tunes from childhood makes you smile.


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A friend who is an avid Facebook user asked me once why I am not using the networked blogging platform of  FB. Although I am an avid Facebook user too, because my religious friends and I have a page to update, I am still not convinced  that it is wise to share all your thoughts in such a chaotic world like Facebook. There is that hesitant feeling that my blog won’t be safe if I announce  it to the whole world that I blog at  WordPress.  I know, I know, you might say that the latter is public too and anybody would be able to find you, right? I just feel protected using this blogging platform than anywhere else.  If  Facebook is a game, they are forever changing the rules. It’s either you delete your account or stay on the sidelines.  I still link some posts though but they are limited to my friends. I am not after the number of viewers who visit my blog, I’d rather have a meaningful exchanges of comments with fellow bloggers who truly appreciate what I write.  Same holds true with each post that I like and each blogger that I follow. I may not always leave comments but I appreciate what they share.  Less than a month from now, I’ll be celebrating my 4th year into blogging. I celebrate the date that I posted my first blog and not the time when I bravely opened an account at  WordPress, not knowing how to go about it and it took me more than a year to have the courage to update my blog here. It is not easy to share your thoughts to everyone, it is not easy to open yourself to people you don’t know from Adam but the nicest feeling comes when someone says, he/she is inspired by what you share.

I wouldn’t know how long it would take me to blog and find words to express my thoughts, I wouldn’t know how long it would take me to snap those pics that I share here but then, the feeling of fulfillment that I get is reward enough. Looking back, I just could not believe that I have posted about 1,204 entries at Dreams and Escapes and  around 240 entries at  my three other blogs that I have here. Dreams and Escapes has quietly reached 194,931 views as of this writing.  My heartfelt “thank you” from all of you.

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Sometimes, life needs to be taken one small step at a time so you can learn to appreciate what is in front of you and look back with fondness what you left behind.

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I planted three cuttings of  the Shanghai Beauty shrub three weeks ago  in a  plastic pot and I was surprised when instead of producing small leaves, the end tip of one cutting  has tender buds about to bloom and the two remaining ones are thriving nicely under the heat of the sun. When you are rewarded by something like this, gardening becomes more addicting, for want of a better word.

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