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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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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.

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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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♫♪♫Two drifters off to see the world
There’s such a lot of world to see
We’re after the same rainbow’s end
Waiting ’round the bend
My huckleberry friend, moon river and me♪♪♫

Haha, don’t get me wrong and don’t be deceived by the title of this blog.  I am just inspired to write about Sound of Love, a musical concert ( a replay actually) I watched  yesterday while ironing. I must admit I seldom watch TV because I am more into listening to the radio and reading when I have time. Yesterday though, I found this PBO channel with Mark Bautista, one of our most talented local singers belting out When I Fall In Love with such a cool and powerful voice that I was mesmerized.  I was glued to the TV screen until the end. It was held at the Music Museum on August 10 last year and he said between songs that it was his birthday. There is always something too about seeing a live band accompanying the singer, the music was just so lovely and beautiful.  And his voice, wow, it fits to a T all those ballads of old that somehow remind you of dreams, first love and lovely memories. What am I saying?  It’s his 10th year in the music world.sound of love....

I had goose bumps when he sang Moon River.  He also sang Bato Sa Buhangin, an old-time favorite.  I dream of owning a copy of this  CD album and maybe relive the feeling of  crying (do you also cry when you’re happy?)  and at the same time having that wide smile because I witnessed something so beautiful  and so lovely.

Mark Bautista, you rock!

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Two weeks ago I’ve blogged about Adam, a boy Josef and I met at the church and I was impressed by his manners. What a nice surprise because meeting him again this morning made my day. He saw me near the door of the church office and said, “hello po, nagkita po ulit tayo”, at the same time he took  my hand and said “mano po”.  The words “mano po”, a gesture made by taking the hand of the elder and putting  it on one’s forehead  is a sign of respect and literally means “bless me”. That moment, I felt like we’ve known each other for quite a long time although it was only the second time we met him.  What a well-mannered boy. He waited for us after the mass and pointed his grandparents to Josef and me.

What a blessing to meet kids like Adam.

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Last Christmas, my daughter gifted me with a lovely glass infusion bottle and told me I can use it every day for whatever veggies and fruits I would like to use. I’ve been using it ever since.

water infusion

The first time I encountered the healthy benefits of water infusion was during our visit at Regina RICA in Tanay, Rizal two years ago. The Dominican sisters who manage the place had a big jug of water infused with some herbs which tasted so refreshing. I forgot what it was but that introduced me to an alternative way to drink water instead of just pouring it in a glass. I haven’t actually researched on the health benefits of water infusion but some of my friends say it is healthy. I found this site which featured lemon as its ingredient.  Interesting read,  lemon is used not just to flavor your drinks but  it adds more benefits.  I’ve tried combining celery stalks with cucumber and it was great. For some of us who are conscious of  our health (not getting any younger) and would love to try an alternative way to stay well, this is it.  You can use fresh herbs or fruits like lemon, oranges, lime, mint and other fruits available in the market.

  • orange
  • lemon
  • lime
  • grapefruit
  • cucumber
  • mint
  • orange
  • lemon
  • lime
  • grapefruit
  • cucumber
  • mint

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Oh, the comfort – the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person – having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all right out, just as they are, chaff and grain together; certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and then with the breath of kindness blow the rest away.”
–  Dinah Maria Mulock Craik

I’ve been a lazy bug lately. No, don’t get me wrong. I am just resting my weary body from fatigue. The last few days, I was so busy that I was not able to check my blog and post something.  Finally, I found time to sit here for a while  and update my blog. When you haven’t been blogging for a week, it seems as if you’re starting all over again.

It’s all worth it though because our little potluck  lunch party was a success – lots of food, laughter and sharing. Those precious and priceless moments that only friends can enjoy together, something worth-reminiscing and the thought of it makes me smile.  We were joined by two priest friends, Fr. Tacky, a Franciscan and Fr. Boy, a Dominican. Not that it matters that they belong to different congregations because  they both studied in Rome and met there.  We took lots of pictures of course, what’s a party without those wacky poses and shots that make us laugh. We even have to use a tripod so we could all fit into the frame. There is this picture window  at our house that never fails to attract our friends and visitors to have their pictures taken there. Believe me, it has become some sort of trademark for the members  of our Catholic community  who drop by when they are on vacation.

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We had an exchange of gifts just for fun. Imagine the laughter we had when we simultaneously opened them and found things like a roll of tissue paper which Darlene said she will take with her on her trip back to Abu Dhabi, a small bottle of efficascent oil from Reena  which Matt got, packs of marshmallows  and so many more. What do you think, the gift should only be worth P30 and what can you buy with P30?  Reymon, aside from bringing three whole roast chicken gave us individual bags of gifts from Bench.

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They were surprised to learn that eating green mango with the skin on is the best way to eat one. I asked Joan to bring me some and when they saw me eating a slice, they all tried it  except Matt 🙂  Endless laughter!

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We can’t get enough so the party extended on to early dinner with ice cream, Fuji apples  and suman na pinipig (the best  suman I’ve tasted) for desserts. And they all said, “sa uulitin”.  Until next time guys.

One of the best gifts that we could ever have is the gift of friendship.

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