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Archive for December, 2016


 

Thinking of what to prepare tomorrow night for our media noche, to celebrate the coming of  the new year.  Usually, we celebrate a new leaf in the calendar with lots of sweets  like fruit or buko salad, cakes and the usual  food  like pancit, pasta, embutido, lumpiang shanghai, menudo (mostly  Chinese and  Spanish recipes handed down from one generation to the next). The price of buko (young coconut) has significantly gone up over the years. It now costs P35 per piece whereas a year or two ago, it could be bought at P20 to P25.

Celebration of new year here in our country is steeped in tradition. I blogged about this years ago how we celebrate New Year. It is pretty normal that two days before  new year, wet markets and grocery stores are filled with people shopping for fruits and sweets, must items that should be on the table come  media noche.  Tradition says that having twelve kinds of fruits  on the table brings luck, any round fruit will do but some are specific about what fruits to serve on the table. When they are not in season though, they cost sky-high. It is only during this time that you will see so many fruits displayed in the market.  Even lechon  (a roasted suckling pig)  could be bought whole or by the kilo. It’s one of the usual recipes that is served during Christmas and New Year.  I bought some fruits already, half-a kilo each for the small ones, pineapple  and  honey-dew but they are not yet complete. There are only six items  in all but the fruit basket is already filled. m I have to go back to the market tomorrow for the rest.  I am thinking of preparing chicken ala king, menudo, the usual baked ham,  and finger food like lumpiang shanghai (spring rolls). Pasta of course will  not be left behind  or pancit  for long life, so they say.

Attending the New Year’s Eve mass is also practiced by most Catholics here.  It used to be that mass was held at exactly 12am but that was changed over the years since you cannot hear the celebration properly with the sound of fireworks all around.  I don’t know why but they haven’t totally banned the use of firecrackers. It is still a big business particularly in some towns in Bulacan.They pose a serious and environmental health dangers, it’s pollution to the max.  I wonder why some people can’t do away with all these toxic chemicals. We never buy firecrackers,  our neighbors’ display are  more than enough to pollute the air in our village.

How do you greet the new year in your area? Do you have the same traditions like we do here?  May the coming 2017 be a brighter and better year for us. May it always be filled with  faith, hope and peace.

HAPPY 2017 !!!

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As all things go, there is an end to  everything –  days, months and years included. And yes, 2016 is about to end and we think of those  things we did this year,  old and new friends  we met, family togetherness,  places we dreamed of  visiting,  lessons learned,  hours wasted on senseless thoughts (sometimes) and all the other things that make life and living worthwhile.

It’s been a quiet year for us except those times we went out as a family to  celebrate  birthdays and those times we had visitors at home to celebrate with us too.  It is always nice to get in touch with friends, sharing  meals together and being happy just exchanging news and ideas.  It is always nice to be with the whole family celebrating togetherness no matter how simple it is. We do find meaning in the ordinary things in our lives,  one has to look back, discern, and admire what is before us.  We find meaning in our brokenness, those times when we felt so down  and  everyone cared, we are just grateful for that.

Do you make new year’s resolution? I’ve never been good at keeping one.   They always get broken one way or another. So I dream, make some of it into reality and just enjoy what is in store.  The days are not always happy, some are like memories blurred at the edges, some are like a closed book so pleasant to discover, some are lovely thoughts waiting to be shared.

Blogging has become one major step to sharing with online friends. It is such pure heaven to meet fellow bloggers who share their lives, their hobbies, their families and their precious photos and memories. Blogging has become a daily exercise that I look forward to,  reshaping my views with the world outside. Blogging has become a pleasant tool  for friendship.  I’ve finally reached more than 2,000 followers including my 90 followers linked at Twitter.  Isn’t it nice that every day, the blog stats increase a little more than before? It’s close to 445,000 views now. I made a total of 157 blog posts this year, add maybe two or three more before the year ends.  The wonder of blogging. May I just thank you all for sharing with me through my blogs and yours? Thank you, thank you so much.

May  the next year be a pleasant, happy and fruitful one for all of us.  Happy 2017 guys.

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Hello everyone!

How was your Christmas celebration? I hope you all enjoyed it. We  have the family including my Mom to celebrate Christmas with.  It was certainly a joy  to see Nate again. We celebrated Noche Buena  at exactly 12 am  after attending mass earlier at our village chapel. It was a quiet celebration, we only opened gifts on Christmas day with  my daughter’s family.

They  came here yesterday to celebrate Christmas with us and  I cooked the Christmas dinner.  Left-over food is still good to go for maybe two days more.  It is always nice to see food nicely spread on the table. Right after dinner, Nate entertained us  singing while playing with his guitar toy.  I wonder how he got those words with a song he definitely invented. Most I could hear were the repetitive words, You Are My Best Friend.   He could really sing in style while at the same time making some moves that we all laughed about.  Was that an exercise Nate or a dance?

Nate playing with his robot toys at the garage.

Nate playing with his robot toys at the garage.

Nate's loot for Christmas...mostly toys!

Nate’s loot for Christmas…mostly toys!

Nissa and  I. Taken this morning when they were about to leave for home.

Nissa and I. Taken this morning when they were about to leave for home.

 

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Nate took this shot using a camera stick.

Those lovely moments sharing with the  family – priceless. Hoping 2017 would be a great year for us.

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Greetings of peace.

Finally completed the 9 novena masses for Simbang Gabi. What a joy! What a blessing!

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I would like to wish you all a blessed, happy and merry Christmas. It’s that time of year again when we share the joys that the season brings – time to be merry, time to make friends with those you have hurt and who have hurt you before, time to feel the joy of His coming.  He is the reason why we celebrate Christmas.

Here’s hoping for a bountiful 2017 to all of you. I am grateful for your presence and I am glad to meet those new followers to my blog. Let us make this community a truly happy one.

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Whatever else be lost among the years, let us keep Christmas still a shining thing; Whatever doubts assail us, or what fears, let us hold close one day, remembering It’s poignant meaning for the hearts of men. Let us get back our childlike faith again.-grace noll crowell

Remembering this lovely message about Christmas. It’s that time of year again when we get so busy with preparations. There is a much-awaited guest, a little child born in Bethlehem.

The celebration of  Christmas may not be that always  happy for everyone. There are people who spend their  Christmas on the street on a cold winter night. There are people who make use of  cardboard boxes  in some corner for their beds. There are people who never know the twinkle of the tinsel on the  Christmas tree or the bright lights that adorn it. Christmas is just another day  or night of begging on the streets. Not all of us are lucky to  open gifts, prepare a lot of food on the table, exchange warm hugs  or listen to Christmas carols.  The joy that Christmas brings is non-existent in their lives.

What is happiness? People say happiness depends on our outlook in life, the way we experience things and the way we react to them. It is not so much  of the material things in our life but more on peace of mind, contentment, purity of heart, a positive attitude towards life,  a sense of well-being,  or a roof over one’s head and food on the table.

Happiness could be found in the simplest of things in our lives. A smile makes us happy,  more so when it comes from  strangers we meet on the streets. A  simple hello would put a smile on one’s face and is usually answered with another hello.

No matter what the circumstances, remember always to be happy. Celebrating Christmas is one reason to put a smile on your face.

 

 

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I am not fond of selfies, those photos many take on their cellphones every day and post them on their Facebook wall.  How many times must you take a picture of yourself in a day just to be in a “selfie mood” so to speak?

There are so many apps linked to Facebook nowadays. I just tried one of them for fun and here’s the result.

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The first photo was taken a week before my 60th birthday last  October. It’s an ID taken at the studio which I used for my SSS application.  The second one was a  snapshot of the video taken during my GMA Channel 7 episode, May Magic Ang Pasko. The third photo is my Avatar profile here and my profile picture at the moment at FB, a shot from one of my favorite places – Caleruega. Photographs capture a moment that is forever gone except in memories.

 

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Whoa! I am reminded of this song every time Christmas comes.  Giving gifts  will always be a part of the Christmas celebration  and no matter how simple or how small your gifts are, they are appreciated.

♫♫♪What can I give you this Christmas?
Something sparkling to go with your eyes
I’ll give you the light of the Yuletide star
From the cold December skies

What can I give you this Christmas?
Something soft like the sound of your name
I’ll give you the hush of the falling snow
As it settles to the ground”♪♫♪

Are you still excited receiving snail mails during the Christmas season? Do you feel that sudden leap of the heart when the doorbell rings and the postman delivers them?   The lovely tradition of sending and receiving Christmas greeting cards has slowly been replaced by  more advanced  means like canvase-cards, video calls, Skype, Viber, Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites. It is far easier to get in touch with friends and loved one nowadays via social media. Gone (or almost gone) are those Christmas greeting cards lovingly chosen for their amazing and beautiful messages and  for their colorful designs. Hallmark cards are always the best when it comes to buying a good greeting card for all occasions. They have that lovely messages that fit every known celebration be it Christmas, birthday, christening and what not.  They always have several designs meant to entice  us to buy.  Nowadays though, I noticed that the shelves in some bookstores only allot a small space for this .

I still enjoy and I am still excited receiving snail mails be it during Christmas or on ordinary days when I  get lucky to get one instead of bills on utilities that I  have to pay.  My brother who lives in Tulsa religiously send us Christmas  greeting cards every year, a picture of the family so you can practically compare how the kids have grown from the previous years. A friend who now lives in Canada still send me occasional letters with Christmas greetings, a sort of summary on what they did and where they went for vacation during the year. It is always nice to hear from them even if we regularly communicate via phone calls and through the free sites like Viber. As long as one has an internet connection, it is so easy to get in touch. One could not replace their physical presence though.

What can I give you this Christmas? My special thoughts and prayers go to all of you my online friends.  May your Christmas celebration be a blessed and a happy one.

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Ah, the joys and perks of being a senior citizen.

I turned sixty more than a month ago, finally having that much-awaited SC card.  There are so many perks attached to being a senior in our country. You have the cinemas for free at certain days of the week or having discounts on other days. I am not much of a cinema fan though so I have not availed yet of free movies and such. Maybe, when I am not that busy anymore and could find time to see a movie, I will.  What I did manage to make use of that card  in a big restaurant was when Nissa, Josef and I dined at Vikings Marikina  on my birthday. And it’s not because I am a senior but they give free lunch or dinner to birthday celebrators for the month.  I enjoy the perks of a 20% discount though  at Jollibee and McDonald’s.  Almost every Sunday we attend mass early and have our breakfast at Jollibee. I love their longganisa with poached egg and a cup of hot chocolate or coffee. They also give a  free copy of Philippine Star (one of our national dailies).  That at least makes me enjoy dining out at fast food restaurants. Jollibee is a home-grown food chain  which has also become famous in other countries. Some grocery items also have discounts depending on what you will buy and if it is included in their list.  Hotels and travels have 20% discounts too.

It’s taking a long time for my Social Security pension to be credited to my account. SSS said it usually takes two months to process such.  I wonder what’s taking them that long. Hopefully, by January I’ll be able to enjoy it.

Talk about the joys of blogging. Imagine a grandma blogging still and enjoying reading other blog posts. Sometimes, I just could not keep up with those wonderful posts I see here on WordPress. And I noticed too that most bloggers I follow are in their senior years like me.  Well, base on experience,  they have more things to share  and more wonderful happenings in their lives. We talk about our kids, how successful they have become. We talk about our grandkids,  how we enjoy their company and their presence in our lives. We talk about several things like photography, gardening, trying new recipes, visiting places and our daily struggles in life. We learn, oh how we learn from other bloggers.

I follow a certain blogger here Ana Linden. She’s giving away free copies of her e-books  until December 31st I think. I just downloaded them  They have 5 stars at Goodreads.

Happy Sunday to all.

 

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Lately, I promised myself to write everyday just like when I participated in WordPress’  Post A Day writing challenge back in 2011 but always, always I get distracted by other things.  There is always something that is ought to be done, there is always something that prevents me from sitting long enough to write a blog post, there is always something better and more urgent to do than blogging.

Josef and I had our twice a month visit at the wet market early this morning.  We make it a point to go there early so we could catch fresher produce.  It is easier to navigate the place when there are  few early risers like us.  One thing that I love about my suki (favorite vendors)  is that they give you discounts especially when you buy by the kilo.  My son knows where we buy meat, poultry, fish and vegetables. It is always a thrill to discover new things at the  wet market. Compared to prices in supermarkets, items are a lot cheaper and fresher.  Come to think of it, they give Christmas gifts too. My fish suki gives me a bottle of fish sauce every year, my other suki gives t-shirt.  Some of them give coin purses that are so handy to use when marketing.  Josef laughs at me when I smile bringing home  these gifts. Simple though they may be, but we always say, it’s the thought that counts.

It’s the third night of Simbang Gabi. 

Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel.

Emmanuel means God is with us. The gospel today talks about the presence of God in our lives.  It is the presence of God which will complete us, not power, not wealth, not possessions.  We seek God’s presence, we knock so we could be heard and we do this through prayers.  We see  Jesus though in the Holy Eucharist.

emmanuel-god-with-us

May you all be blessed.  Have a nice weekend.

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It’s a little windy outside but just perfect for the second night of Simbang Gabi. The Gospel speaks of the genealogy of Jesus.  There is really no perfect family.  The flaws are there, glaring at you at times  but you learn to accept them in your life.  We often make mistakes but our families  are  there to support us. We often encounter failures but our families are there to lift us up.   Most of the time we are unlovable but still our families love us.

Family and genetics play a big role on how are lives are shaped. When we speak of families, it’s not just the family we were born  to but also those friends who consider us as their own.   They say that blood is thicker than water but it is not always the case. There are times when our closest friends act as our families too.  The beauty of a positive family relationship lies  in the   way we were taught by our elders,  how respect  is inculcated in each one of us. The way we think, act, and feel are greatly influenced by our family.

Nabuhay ang Diyos para maging anak tayo ng Diyos. This is one emphasis I learned from the mass tonight.  God was born for us so we could be children of God.  It may be hard to understand. As baptized Christians, we are now a part of  the genealogy of  Christ.

I’ve checked my dashboard lately and I only have 28% left of my allowed space. Sigh 😦  Maybe I shouldn’t be posting more pictures so I can utilize it well.  Most of my latest photos posted here are downsized  from their original higher  resolutions. This is my 1,890th post by the way and I am glad I’ve reached  a total of 443,307 as I write this.   It is hard to build a number of visits when you are not blogging every day.  and it is also quite hard to think of  varied subjects to write about.  I value every comment and like you post on my blog.   I also consider them as blessings to my blogging journey.  I am  also glad to have found more  online friends lately.  You may visit my new blog if you have time and consider following it too. It’s called Dreams Never End. It is a little different from this one because almost  every post is accompanied by a photo.

Salamat.

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