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Archive for January, 2014


Here I am, still thinking  of  the gentle days of January. It seems as if the month is in a hurry to shed its leaves  and bid goodbye.  The quiet days of January –  the cold winds on my face each morning  I stay in the garden, the balmy weather  that hopefully will stay until the end of February, the surprise  visits from friends whom I haven’t seen for a long time, Nate’s newly learned words that sometimes I still can’t understand but pleasant to my ears just the same, the delight in discovering new blooms in my garden,  what bliss!

Today is my  son-in-law’s birthday and Nissa treated him with a nice family lunch at Bag of Beans in Tagaytay City. They brought Nate with them of course and Nissa said the food was good. Gosh, it’s been three years since I last visited Tagaytay and my favorite place, aside from Breakfast at  Antonio’s  is the Mushroomburger  house. I always have a takeout every time we pass by the place. They sell the yummiest mushroom burger this side of town.  Tagaytay is a very nice place to visit. Aside from the lovely weather, it’s closer to home and the view of Taal Lake from  the top of the ridge is just so beautiful.

My priest son, Fr. Lovell is going on a mission two months from now. Come to think of it, I haven’t heard of Babuyan Islands except in old history books during my younger years. It is even more remote  and isolated than the beautiful Batanes. My initial questions were, “Do they have cell sites there, do they have internet connection? How long will you be staying?” He briefed me on how life is there.  You can only reach the place from Cagayan province via an 8-hour boat ride with sometimes big waves (the size of  a house) along the way. The islands are  actually closer to Taiwan than the nearest island in Northern Luzon.  Visiting the place when he was still a seminarian  made him finally decide to persevere to become a Dominican priest.  I found this lovely blog with lots of pictures of Babuyan Islands.  Looking at the pristine landscapes and reading the blogger’s description of the place, this island paradise truly mesmerize.

Except for the party my close friends (at AFCC) and I had last January 11 and the family visit from my daughter Nissa, January was a quiet month but I love it just the same. My only regret is that, I haven’t finished my sixth book that I originally planned to read this month.

It is growing cold and I am here wondering what February will bring.

 

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It does not feel the warmth of –

a loving embrace

a gentle touch

a tight hug

a furtive glance

a sweet whisper

The heart  does not really grow old

But when love dies,

It just grows cold.

 

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Prayer

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Never give up.

One of the joys of sharing at our Catholic site are the comments and likes that I see every day.  I think that no matter how simple our posts are, sometimes, there will always be someone who needs a loving and positive word to go on and the journey becomes light and easy  and the joy gives way to hope for a better tomorrow. This quote has earned  586 likes and 171 shares two weeks ago. And it’s fun to make  your own quote. Try it!

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Two weeks ago, a friend from Hongkong sent me three packs of pitted dates and a pack of dried yellow raisins. Eating the pitted dates direct from the plastic pack is not really an option because I find them too sweet to my liking. I searched the internet for a simple bar recipe for dates. What do you know, it came out really yummy. As usual, I reduced the sugar since the dates are naturally sweet.

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If you want to try this, here’s the recipe.

You would need:

1 1/2 cup water

1 1/2 cups chopped pitted dates

1 tsp. vanilla

1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup dark brown sugar (reduced it to 3/4 cup since the dates are sweet)

1 cup old-fashioned oats (I always use rolled oats when baking)

1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

3/4 cup (equal to 1 1/2 stick) unsalted butter, diced, room temperature

Here’s how:

Preheat oven to 350 °F.  Rub butter on an 8 x  8 inch baking pan. Set aside. Bring 1 1/2 cups water to simmer in a saucepan. Add dates, simmer until very soft and thick, stirring occasionally, about 5 to 10 minutes. Cool to room temperature then stir in vanilla.

Combine flour, oats, cinnamon, baking powder, salt and sugar in a large bowl, stir to blend. Add butter. Using fingertips, rub in until moist clumps forms. Press half of oat mixture evenly over bottom of prepared pan. Spread date mixture on top. Sprinkle with remaining oat mixture by pressing gently. Bake until brown at edges and golden brown and set in center, about 40 to 50 minutes. Cool completely in pan on a rack. Cut into bars and serve.

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It seldom happens now because they are always busy at work, yesterday though, Josef and his girlfriend Jovy took me to Mont Albo in Timog Avenue in Quezon City, a spa and massage facility that offers several massage therapies including body scrub. The three of us availed of the Hilot, a Filipino healing method practiced for  thousands of years. It is a total body massage characterized by slow deliberate strokes to remove blockages by using virgin coconut oil.  It was a very relaxing one hour therapy. The three of us also availed of the additional  Bentosa, a therapy used by placing suction glass cups at one’s back to remove energy blockages. Josef practically went to sleep when  the therapist did that because we could hear his gentle snore while waiting for ten minutes before they remove the suction glasses and resume massage of the arms  and legs. I used to have foot massages  before (another way to unwind and relax) in the nearby beauty salon but it has become quite expensive so I only go there when I need to rest and enjoy the quiet times.

New Year 14

We had an early dinner at Papa John’s  in  Tomas Morato before going home. I told Josef that we used to live in that area back when he wasn’t born yet. The quiet neighborhood in the early eighties has now become a busy avenue of several high-end restaurants and eateries.  It was my first time to sample Papa John’s cheese and bacon pizza and its crispy onion rings, better than what we usually order at Burgoo’s. Such  a lovely day to spend  it  with them. I wish that next time we do this, my daughter and son-in-law and of course my darling baby Nate  could join us.

The weather here for the past  two or three weeks was a good 20 degrees Celsius.  It is colder at night and windy in the early morning and late noon.  The coldest morning so far in Metro Manila was at   17.5 degrees Celsius early Saturday  while Baguio City was at its coldest at 8.1 degrees Celsius last Sunday. Most days it’s cloudy, a perfect time to catch up on gardening and do a little weeding too.  It’s  a lovely time too to read. I’ve done six books since the start of the year and I planned to read around 50 books till the end of December. I really hope I could do it since I neglected reading last year, read a measly 20 titles, I guess.

I am listening to Richard Clayderman  and Ernesto Cortazar  while writing this blog. It’s a lovely day 🙂

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Something Sweet


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It was the first time I’ve tasted this sweet delicacy that is just so yummy. They call it Bibingkang Pinipig.  What do you know, our place is Cainta is known as the Bibingka Capital of the Philippines and they sell  a lot of rice cake in different variations. Perfect for that hot cup of coffee or green tea.

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