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Archive for August, 2014


My Christmas countdown begins.....

My Christmas countdown begins…..

Welcoming the BER months with  anticipation and joy! It’s the month of the year when you think of Christmas, family reunions, Simbang Gabi, longer and colder  nights.

Hello September, what do you have in store for me?

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I need to practice on my macro shots again (on food, that is) and this morning with nothing much to do, I decided to cook  the squid Josef and I bought at the wet market a few days ago. I have to remove the heads and clean everything from the thin-film on the outer skin down to the belly before freezing it. A kilo of regular-sized squid is good enough for two meals.  As I don’t want to labor much in the kitchen by grilling it, I made the stuffing out of about one-fourth kilo of ground pork sautéed in garlic, onions, one egg, a spoonful of cornstarch, carrots and green bell pepper. You have to make sure that the ground pork is properly cooked since you only need to fry the squid to make  it a little crispy on the outside.  I marinated the squid in calamansi juice (Philippine lime), ground pepper, salt and granulated garlic for about thirty minutes before putting it in the frying pan. It was an experiment and partnered with mixed veggie salad, it tasted surprisingly good. Josef said, “success”. Yeay!

Fried Stuffed Squid

Fried Stuffed Squid

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I love taking shots of the blue sky. Everything looks so clean and fresh when you see the sun after the rain.

I love taking shots of the blue sky. Everything looks so clean and fresh when you see the sun after the rain.

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Our Precious Bundle of Joy

Yesterday, while Nate and I were playing, he saw the pile of books I purchased at BFL and he said, “bok, bok” while reaching out for a copy and he glanced at the cover then ran his hands on the pages. So I told him, “do you want me to read you astory?”. He smiled so I started , “once upon a time…” he was all ears and when he heard his name, he laughed. That made my day!

I will buy him more children’s books when he learns to read. One more bookworm in the family 🙂 

He picked up the computer mouse thrice, put it in his ear  and said “Ninong, ninong”, referring to Josef who was not around when they visited so I told him, “ninong is in the office”.

I told Nissa that we didn’t take pictures like we usually do when they…

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I read about ALS back when I was into research of alternative treatments for cancer when I finished my six cycles of chemotherapy five years ago. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease,” is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. It sounds frightening and they say that there is still no known cure that would put a stop to it.  I only heard of it again when I saw some personalities on TV doing the ice bucket challenge. It has become viral on social media. Are they doing it for publicity or are they doing it because they sincerely want to help people with this kind of ailment? I am not here to judge, I just noticed that those who have accepted the challenge, movie and television personalities that you get to watch every day are also urging and challenging some people in the government to do the same.  I even heard one this morning commenting that the feeling of tingling sensations while the ice water touches your skin is similar to the pain one feels when he/she has ALS. I am not in a position to say something negative here but do you have to do it so you could help? Wouldn’t  it be nicer if you would help even without doing the challenge?

There is this interesting article I read a few minutes ago published by health impact news entitled “Do you Know What You Are Supporting?” such chilling facts that make my skin tingle. I remember the times when I was on chemotherapy, after each every session for two days at most, you can’t even move your body and arms normally because you are so weak, as they say in Tagalog, “parang lantang gulay”. I remember the times I cannot even hold a spoon and fork because the tips of my fingers are so painful like they are being pricked by a needle when they touch something cold or anything metallic. What I know is, everyone who is afflicted with life-threatening ailments needs support group and that is sadly lacking here in our country. When I was under treatment, I longed for some friends to discuss cancer freely with me but only a few dared. Probably they thought that it would be more painful to remind me of it but I tell you , it helps a lot.


The ice bucket challenge has caused general awareness in some of us  but  how healthy really is an ice bucket poured down your head?In an article published today by Philippine Star, a leading newspaper here in our country, it quoted a well-known cardiologist Dr. Willie Ong who  told The STAR that “in some cases the blood pressure may drop suddenly, causing the affected individual to collapse. This could be particularly harmful to the elderly, pregnant women and the ailing”.

Is it a fad, are they just going with the flow? What’s your take on this?

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“When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.” – Henri Nouwen

Henri Nouwen, another favorite writer has exactly describe what a real friendship is – those moments when just being there for a friend would be enough, those moments when just holding their hands is a comfort in itself.

I meet lots of people at the Catholic page I manage with a priest friend and a lay minister, most of them OFW workers from different parts of the globe. Through the years that I help manage the site (it’s been four years now), I have met a few who have become close to me where we manage to see each other once in a while. When we do,  the day is not enough to catch on with each  other’s news. We share on how life has been but often we  talk about our beliefs and our joy in our journey with God.  Last Saturday is one such day I will treasure in my heart. Visiting Padre Pio Chapel always gives me a wonderful feeling of peace and happiness and it was even more magnified spending it with a few close friends that I treasure.  They call me Ate, Tita, Mommy and Ms. A. I don’t mind really because they are affectionate ways  of telling me I am loved. It’s more  of  sharing and laughter, sometimes we cry at those moments of weakness remembering what we’ve been through, sometimes we laugh our hearts out telling simple stories. We cry, we laugh and embrace each other in a show of faith  and love.

Pho Hoa Vietnamese Noodle House at Eastwood City

Pho Hoa Vietnamese Noodle House at Eastwood City

Pho Hoa is a Vietnamese restaurant that serves authentic Vietnamese food. We tried their Pomelo Shrimp Salad (the best there is) with a simple dressing, fresh spring rolls, grilled chicken and grilled pork with fried spring rolls, noodles, mango crepe with ice cream, buko pandan salad.  I love the banana fritters with caramel.  As if the fulfilling lunch was not enough, we had a quick snack at Yellow Cab Pizza. We laughed at some remembered moments during our first two gatherings at Sto. Domingo Church, we talked of catechism 101 (seriously).

Yellow Cab Pizza, Eastwood.

Yellow Cab Pizza, Eastwood.

Moments of bliss. And when friends meet, hearts warm.

BTW, this is my 1490th blog per WordPress count. Happy Tuesday to all 🙂

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Photo: 123greetings.com

Photo: 123greetings.com

“Unconsciously we all have a standard by which we measure other men, and if we examine closely we find that this standard is a very simple one, and is this: we admire them, we envy them, for great qualities we ourselves lack. Hero worship consists in just that. Our heroes are men who do things which we recognize, with regret, and sometimes with a secret shame, that we cannot do. We find not much in ourselves to admire, we are always privately wanting to be like somebody else. If everybody was satisfied with himself, there would be no heroes.” – Mark Twain

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You speak of sunshine and blue sky

You speak of blue waters dancing on a fountain

You speak of  innocence, of gentleness and peace

While  you watch the doves dip their noses and wings

in the blue water.

What a lovely moment to feel serenity within.

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I have often raised my hand in the silence of the night and in my solitary cell, blessing you all and presenting you to Jesus and to our seraphic father, St. Francis of Assisi. – St. Pio of Pietrelcina

I have often said in my previous blogs that when you are touched by God’s graces more than you ever expect, your heart sings with joy and gratitude.

The arch at the back entrance at Padre Pio Chapel. Notice the hundred of rosaries hanging there. A tremendous and overwhelming show of faith.

The arch at the back entrance at Padre Pio Chapel. Notice  the rosaries hanging there. A tremendous and overwhelming show of faith.

Yesterday, I was so blessed to be able to visit St. Padre Pio Chapel again after more than three months. This time, I was with some friends and a healing priest. Fr. Cris Bautista, MS  belongs to the congregation of the Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette.  I was there earlier than the appointed time because I want to pray the rosary inside the chapel and write my petitions at the prayer room of St. Francis  of Assisi. I am always touched by the silence and beauty of the place.  I saw some visitors too wearing head gears, hats and caps with matching face masks. Deep in my heart I know that some of them are cancer patients or maybe cancer survivors like I am. Until now, I still wear face masks too when I am in the middle of a crowd and when I am traveling in a public conveyance. There was even a patient in a wheelchair being fed via an intravenous tube attached to his body.

The silent moments, the peace within, the joy of visiting a sacred place to pray.  I always feel so blessed every time I have the opportunity to come here. This time though, I call it a truly blessed Saturday for me and my friends. Fr. Cris prayed with us, anointed us with Holy Oil and we sang with him songs for Mama Mary  (Salve Regina) , we prayed in thanksgiving  for our health and healing – memorable moments that made my day complete, and the tears flowed freely while Fr. Cris was praying with us.  What a beautiful message faith brings, trusting in the Lord’s goodness, secure in His love.

I posted this simple prayer at our online page this morning.

I choose to be brave

I choose to be strong

I choose to have an unshakable faith despite the raging storms in my life.

St. Padre Pio, please pray for me.

Mama Mary, thank you.

Lord Jesus, bless me.

Fr. Cris gave us rosaries and prayer pamphlets of  Padre Pio. September 23 is a special day for Padre Pio devotees. It is his feast day. I’ve long wanted to buy a biography of Padre Pio. One of these days, I will visit St. Paul’s publication to find one.

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“The Filipino is worth dying for.”

Proclamation 1081 (Martial Law) was signed by then Pres. Marcos on September 21, 972. I was in high school.  Ninoy Aquino was assassinated on August 21, 1983 (31 years ago today), I was a young mother then with an eleven-month old daughter.  February 25, 1986 was the highlight of the return to democracy when Marcos and his family left Malacanang Palace for good after more than two decades of governing the land.

Watching the two-hour documentary today on the assassination of Ninoy  and the presidency of Cory Aquino made me remember the dark days of Philippine history. I remember the  bloody student demonstrations and rallies  before martial law was declared. I remember the day when we could not even listen to news because radio and television channels were closed. The glorious days of a dictator just started, the ambitious dream of a man to rule by military power. He incarcerated his enemies including Ninoy Aquino, the man who could have been the greatest president of the Republic of the Philippines, the only powerful enemy that Marcos had. I watched the documentary with my son who kept asking questions what life was like during the martial law years and how the Filipino people were affected by Ninoy’s death. I wrote a blog about this before.

Prior to what we know now in history as the People Power Revolution, I was part of the crowd at Ayala Avenue throwing confetti and yellow flowers made of crepe paper every time there was a rally scheduled in Makati. Bank of PI  (located at Ayala Avenue corner Paseo de Roxas) was at the center of those rallies and demonstration since the stage’s set-up was always facing our office building.  Now, that area is occupied by a statue of Ninoy Aquino, a tribute to a hero.Photo courtesy of ayalatriangle.comI remember collecting issues of the tabloid Malaya which was the only newspaper having regular reports of the assassination and how people reacted to it. I remember keeping a copy of a newspaper when the Marcos family left Malacanang to be exiled later in Hawaii. It was the day that ended a dictatorship.

Ah, those moments of happy celebration when all Ayala employees and their subsidiaries joined the merry dance at Ayala Avenue led by our big boss, Don Jaime Zobel de Ayala. You can just imagine people in corporate attires  dancing to the tune of Tie a Yellow Ribbon and laughing  out loud – the days when democracy was truly restored in our land.

He said, ” I believe that the Filipino will respond to the call to greatness not by coercion but by persuasion, not by intimidation but through the ways of freedom”. May his  legacy live on and may the youth of today appreciate and remember what he did for our country.

Ninoy Aquino, my own personal hero.

 

 

Photo courtesy of ayalatriangle.com

 

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