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Archive for December, 2017


So we said goodbye to 2017 and just welcomed the new one, 2018.

Yes 2018 – something to look forward to, something to journey through. We think of achievable  and doable  things to do. Some are dreams just waiting in our pockets to come true, some are just simple deeds we need to do,  some are reachable, some maybe hard to achieve but we will try our best.

Turning a new leaf in the calendar of life. Getting old? Let me just say, we are growing older by the minute, being wise about life, just being happy the way we are.  Days would sometimes be hard but we will meet them head on.

Ah,  365 days to make life more meaningful. In our own simple way, we could do it.  Let’s all look forward and begin 2018 with gladness,  with hope, with joy, with enthusiasm.

Peace and prosperity to us all!

 

 

 

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This would probably be my last post for 2017. And you guess it right. It is about books.

Last January, I joined Goodreads’ 2017 Reading Challenge and I committed to read 150 books till the end of this year which is today. I finished the challenge though sometime last October and went on to continue reading. It was an eclectic mix of reading genre – from YA books to fiction, memoirs, classics, Psychology and a couple of self-help books.  Goodreads has this to say:

Congrats!

You have read 207 books of your goal of 150!  207/150 (138%) 

I found lots of new authors  too.  Discovering their works  is such a thrill and reading them are so inspiring.  A few days ago, I  found a new author  named Julie Cantrell.  Julie Cantrell is an award-winning New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, teacher, and speaker. She is into fiction, contemporary and spirituality. Her first book which I was lucky to find was Into The Free. It was set  in  depression-era Mississippi in the middle of the 1930’s.  It is a beautiful story of survival, family relationships and redemption. The book was full of  inspiring Biblical quotes.  There is book number two entitled When Mountains Move.  It is just as good if not better than the first book. I am still in the middle of it. Maybe it would be a continuation  to my reading list come 2018. I intend to join the 2018 challenge in a few days. Maybe I would lessen my goal and concentrate more on classic books that I haven’t  read yet if I can find them at a lower price in bookstores.

I can’t give up reading. There will always be a room in my life for it.

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I’ve blogged about this before. There are some New Year traditions that is truly unique in our country. We got to have sweets  (any kind) pancit (Chinese noodles) for long life and of course the 12 fruits that represent the twelve months of the year.  We all prepare this for the traditional  Media Noche which is the New Year’s equivalent to our Noche Buena, the  Christmas Eve meal.  Add three or four  dishes of baked ham, baked macaroni, lumpiang Shanghai  (spring rolls), embutido and menudo.  The latter is a Spanish recipe which we inherited from  our ancestors just like embutido. Just prepared the spring rolls, they are ready for frying.  Wanna know how spring rolls would stay crispy for long? You put a little amount of bread crumbs on the wrapper before you finally roll it.  The embutido is ready for steaming.  We don’t prepare chicken meat during new year.

Splurged a little on twelve kinds of fruits. Believe me, they are more costly than before. Just went to the wet market this morning to buy all these.

 

I saw Japanese pears which are not normally in the market at any time of the year so I bought some too. Other round fruits which are locally grown abound in the market. Honey dew is also grown here and it is sweeter than  cantaloupe melon.  I didn’t buy grapes. I find them too sweet.  I wonder what the vendors would do with all those  fruits once January 1 is over.

This reminds me, I just bought watermelon sinigang mix  a few hours. I needed to buy more ingredients for my pasta dish so  I went to the supermarket this afternoon.  The first time I tasted sinigang with watermelon was a few years ago in a high-end restaurant  somewhere in Quezon City.  Sinigang is a Filipino soup or stew which is sour  and savory. We normally use tamarind fruits to make it sour but  there are now so many variations of the  dish. You could also use guava to flavor it.  Pork, fish, shrimp could be cooked as sinigang. 

How do you spend the New Year?  There are designated places where they could use firecrackers to meet the new year but I   still see some households  with their stash of it.

 

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In three days, 2017 would just be a memory – you will remember it with  fondness, with a smile or with pain in your heart. Every year, we look forward to the days and the months  in between the old year and the new one. Every year, there is always something that makes us nostalgic and  we are a little wistful about the events in our lives.  Every year, we anticipate  happy days ahead, we dream, we discover.

I know, I know, the days in between will not always be happy. There are unexpected  happenings that make us sad.  There are unfulfilled dreams and expectations that are not met.  There will always be days of challenges  and journeys to go through.

Blogging has been and is still is  the best thing that I look forward  to almost every day. Meeting new friends and  other bloggers, discovering some uplifting  and inspiring blogs in the process.  Somehow it has changed my perspective  and priorities.  After more than eight years of writing and sharing my journey here, it is easier now to relate those family stories, it is easier now to blog about things, to blog about books and reading, some kitchen experiments in between  and blogging itself.

I  am thankful and grateful to everyone  I met here. Blogging wouldn’t have been what it is without your presence. It is always nice knowing how the other half lives. It is always a thrill to see photos of other places too.

I know, blogging is such a gargantuan task when we don’t know how to start and  what to write about but there is always that  inspiration lurking somewhere. There is always  that  desire to inspire and write.

May 2018 be a bright, positive, successful, healthy and a prosperous one for all of us.  New  chances and new chapters are just waiting.

SAFE JOURNEY TO 2018.

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I had a grand time reading Christmas greetings from friends, family members who are far from us and those friends who have left the country and got in touch.

I do believe the Christmas season unites friends and families, people you haven’t seen for ages, people who don’t normally get in touch regularly. It makes friends out of enemies too.

Social media is inundated with greetings always with the thought that the celebration of Christmas is a merry one for all of us. First and foremost is to remember what the occasion is for. Parties, exchange  gifts, reunions and greetings are just trimmings to make the occasion truly happy.  Christmas is a celebration of life, God became man.  It also means love, family, laughter, joy. Going to mass together as a family is the ultimate  thing we can sincerely  offer  to God.  Christmas means giving not just material things you can buy from stores but giving your time to other people. Christmas is sharing love. Somehow, others don’t  feel the beauty of the celebration. We can celebrate the occasion even without those trappings that come from commercial establishments.  We can celebrate Christmas quietly in our hearts.

The occasion though would not be the same without food on the table no matter how simple it is. We share, we reminisce too and we make new memories.  I spent the morning looking at pictures of my friends and relatives on Facebook.The happy faces, the festive atmosphere captured in several photographs. The food galore stands out. The surprised look of kids who got what they wished for and those who believed that Santa heard their prayers and read their letters.  My three brothers and I grew up not really believing in Santa Claus. We knew that Mom and Dad bought those gifts  we had before.  I asked Nate if he was aware of Santa and he answered with “ho, ho, ho”, but I don’t have stockings Nonna. I’ll stay awake on Christmas Eve.”   Haha, I wonder if he did.

I set aside reading for a while, well, probably until the  new year. Greeting the new year is always a happy occasion too sans the noise.

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Christmas will always be a blessed and beautiful celebration of Jesus’ birthday. I have always said in my previous posts that no matter how commercialized the season has become  the past years. I will always look forward to it, creating more memories with family and friends.

We started it with a pre-Christmas lunch on December 24  since Nissa’s family did not spend the Christmas Eve with us because they had a family reunion (on her husband’s side)  yesterday.  It was a lovely celebration with Nate doing the entertainment dancing on top of the bed with a  beautiful music on Jovy’s  new sound link.  Got a new headphone from Josef and a lovely Casio wrist watch from Nissa.   I also got a lovely BPI planner from Nissa.  Josef gave Nate a simple cellphone  and he was so proud to say “call me”. There is actually no SIM attached but you can load one.  I know it is not practical to have a kid with cellphone at Nate’s age but it’s one of those one can play with. It is not even a touch screen  but there was a low-end camera  in it.

Christmas Eve was a quiet celebration with an occasional firecracker from some neighbors.  We cooked plenty of food and  there are still leftovers in the ref.  We attended Christmas mass early yesterday morning with Mom.  The usual native cakes, sweets, ice cream, salad and desserts were served at the table.  It was a dinner of pancit bihon, baked marble potatoes  and some leftover ham.  Last night, I found myself watching the group Pentatonix on YouTube listening to their Christmas albums with my new set  of headphone. The rendition cuts deep, I guess they were singing from the heart.  So many greetings and videos from friends all over and I haven’t finished answering them all  yet on FB.

 

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Hello friends!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Contrary to what some believe that Christmas is over, December 25 is just the beginning of the twelve days of  Christmas which will end on January 5.  It is also known as the Twelvetide, a festive season that celebrates the Nativity of Jesus. Remember the song, Twelve Days of Christmas? It is an English Christmas carol which is thought to be French in origin.

Accordingly, each element of the song  is a code word for religious truth.  I found these on the web this morning.

1. The partridge in a pear tree is Jesus.
2. The two turtledoves are the Old and New Testaments.
3. Three French hens stand for faith, hope and love.
4. The four calling birds are the four Gospels.
5. The five gold rings recall the Hebrew Torah (Law), or the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Old Testament.
6. The six geese a-laying stand for the six days of creation.
7. The seven swans a-swimming represent the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit.
8. The eight maids a-milking are the eight Beatitudes.
9. Nine ladies dancing are the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit.
10. The ten lords a-leaping are the Ten Commandments.
11. Eleven pipers piping represent the eleven faithful Apostles.
12. Twelve drummers drumming symbolize the twelve points of doctrine in the Apostles Creed.

The song speaks of our Christian faith. ““The Twelve Days of Christmas,” was written as a kind of secret catechism that could be sung in public without fear of arrest – a learning or memory aid to Christians in fact. Each verse refers to a teaching of church doctrine — with the partridge being Christ who died on a tree and the “True Love” being God the Father, who gave us all gifts. The twelve days of Christmas are the twelve days between Christmas Day, Dec. 25th, the birth of Jesus, and the Epiphany, Jan. 6th, the day Christians celebrate the arrival of the Magi (Wise Men) and the revelation of Christ as the light of the world.”

Looking forward to 2018. How was your Christmas celebration?

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MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE.  Sending this greeting a little early since I may not be able to go online tomorrow nor on Christmas day

Just would love to thank all my online friends here on WordPress. Believe me, your comments,likes and visits always make my day worthwhile. Updating and visiting this site is such a joy because of all of you 🙂

May the spirit of  Christmas remain in you every day of your lives.  Let’s celebrate His birth.

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It’s been almost forty years since I left the portals of this university, the Royal and Pontifical Catholic University of the Philippines.  I spent nine years of my young life in this  school. University of Santo Tomas, four years in  high school and five years at college.

I miss this place. I miss the wide campus and the early morning masses before attending class. I miss the friends I made during my high school years and those I met when I worked at the main library for two years.

UST Paskuhan 2017. Photo courtesy of Manila Bulletin.

According to Wikipedia, The Paskuhan is the culmination of the university wide Christmas  activities of the  university. The annual tradition started in 1991.The programs of Paskuhan were held during the last week or last day before the Christmas break of the university.” The picture shows the crowd of students who attended the last Paskuhan yesterday.  The front image with the  Christmas tree is the grandstand where major activities are held. In the background is the main building of the university (right) and on the left is the  Fathers’s Residence, the Santisimo Rosario church and the UST Seminary at the back of the building.

The university has been visited by three popes, the latest  was Pope Francis last January 2015. I was in high school when Pope Paul VI celebrated mass there.  Inside the UST Museum, one can see the Papal chair used by Pope John Paul II. He visited it twice back in 1981 and 1995.

It’s been in existence since 1611,  It’s composed of colleges, faculties, schools and institutes and confers several undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate degrees.  St. Thomas Aquinas is its patron.

Looking back, I practically grew  up  here. Spending your teens and  early adult life in an institution such as this was a big privilege. Acquiring a  Catholic education was an advantage.

Proud alumna here. Go, go USTe.

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I can’t really say 2017 (which is about to end) is a busy year for me.   There were those days when I was able to meet  with friends but compared to the other years, it was kind of silent.  Mostly,  the days and months were spent with family, experimenting in the kitchen, catching up on reading a lot of books and gardening.  Listening to music was set aside for a while but it’s nice to listen now to the Christmas songs and carols. There was a time I would bring out my Christmas DVD collections as early as October every year but now I just listen to YouTube or at Josef’s Bose mini soundlink.  He has a  lovely playlist on his phone that he play every weekend when he is around.  I get to listen to new tunes and old ones as well.

The other day,  Josef asked me to give him a hint on what I want to have as Christmas gift.  I told him that whatever he thinks of giving is okay with me. They always say, it is not the amount of the gift but the thought that counts, right? I’ve always wanted to have a nice headset though that I can use when I am watching a movie or videos  on YouTube or listening to some music.  At the moment, I am using his Sony headset listening to Pentatonix.  Great music, wonderful voices.

I usually don’t post videos here but this is just too good.  I remember my favorite choir,  the  Gunther Kallmann choir. I have their DVD album and a cassette tape too but now I just listen  on  YouTube.

As for blogging, I gained new friends and followers but I reduced the number of bloggers that I follow. Some of them have been inactive for quite sometime and a few marked their blogs  private.

And it’s  4 days, 5 hours and 40 minutes to go before Christmas 🙂

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