Archive for January, 2018

Dirty nails.

Aching fingers.


One gets engrossed gardening but before you know it the sun is hot on your back.  This morning though, the sun didn’t show up  and the sky is still cloudy until now. Perfect time to garden.

Since I became a member of Gardeners’ Tambayan, I was inspired to plant more and  try planting veggies.  My sweet potatoes are making a show-off, my Thai Chili  is bearing fruits. I used some of it to make a dipping sauce with vinegar, garlic and a little salt.  This could last for more than a month even without refrigeration. The okra  I planted haven’t shown their faces yet. The water spinach in pots are sprouting new leaves.   My pink angel cuttings and Ti plants are ready for replanting. What a thrill!

This morning I planted my deep pink Vinca. One packet is good enough. I tried mixing it with the growing light pink Vinca  direct to the soil.  I will look for the white ones and group them together.  Oh, the joy of thinking what they will look like once they grow.

It seems like gardening would not be such if I have to wear gloves while preparing the soil bed for planting. I love to feel the  earth in my hands, feel its texture, mix  it with finely chopped eggshells.  The latter serve as organic fertilizer for my plants.  We have a compost pit in a little corner of the garden. It is where we put fallen leaves from our jackfruit trees, the cut carabao grass  and other  veggie peelings. They become rich soil after a while. Just perfect for  several pots I have to fill.

Like everything else, growing a garden is a hit and miss thing. They say you have a “green thumb” if you  are  successful  in tending one.





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I hate spam mails

I am sure most of us do.  I get one or two now and then and when I do I also get this message from WordPress:

Akismet has protected your site from 54,615 spam comments already. 
There are  two comments   in your spam queue right now.

Oh yes, that’s the total  numbers of spam mails I got all these years.  Amazing numbers, spammers are busy on the keyboard.  Haha!

Sometimes, I receive them from the same person with  a paragraph of a story that I don’t even understand.  Sometimes it is written in a foreign language I don’t know. Oh, they sell  something too online but I just  ignore everything and put them in my trash folder or the option “delete spam”. Most  spammers would tell you how you could earn from your blog.  Monetize it so they say. Do you believe them? Maybe you could earn a few pesos for it.

When I was just starting this blog, I met a Filipino nurse based in the USA who was also a graduate of the university where I came from. Believe me, he would sweet-talk you that you could earn thousands of dollars from your blog (yes, dollars). He  created a site  for all UST alumni and we were hoodwinked  to join.  The UST administration approved it and even our former teachers and college professors joined too. I even attended one of his seminars in UST  worth P5,000.00, a bit expensive for me of course but I was interested. Nothing came out of it, I don’t want to monetize blogging.   Later on, after about a year I guess, that site demobilized. I learned later that he just formed his master list out of all the UST graduates and students who joined.  My goodness, I unfriended him on FB faster than you could say go.

Was there a time when one or two of your blog posts was published in another site without you knowing? It happened to me once, they copied my entire post and just changed some words. Wonder how I found it? I checked my blog through copyscape.  I called the attention of WordPress  but I didn’t hear from them. And then more followed.   Someone suggested that I spam them back. What I did was to make a post about them with their site as the  title of my  blog. It finally stopped.

A few months ago, I learned how to block a site. There is an option here and I blocked at least two commenters who were not even WordPress bloggers.

I am grateful for Akismet, they are taking care of spam mails.





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Wow, listening to the Philippine National Anthem makes me feel so proud to be a Filipino.

I went early to the municipal hall this morning and chanced upon their Monday  flag raising ceremony. Complete with a band and most employees of the municipio,  it was really a lovely site to see.

Paying taxes, one of our duties and responsibilities as Filipino citizens. I pay our realty tax every January of each year. I was just surprised the tax on lots increased by  almost 10%. I was told that they increase every three years.  Considering the many, many projects and improvements that our good town mayor is initiating, I guess it is okay. Our town has been the overall number one in all towns in the Philippines for three consecutive years now. In terms of improvements and the way it is run, I could not really complain. We are lucky to have elected a very responsible  and industrious town mayor.

Kudos  Mayor Kit!


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I am a member of Gardeners’ Tambayan on Facebook.  Tambayan is a Tagalog word  which means a place where you hang out.  I am quite elated to find this group since I am learning a lot about propagating plants, knowing what and when to plant in a small space like mine, learning the names of ornamental and some fruit-bearing trees  which are new to my eyes.

Gardening is a fun thing to do. Although it is quite hard to maintain a garden, it is always a thrill to see new shoots, new blooms and flowers and fruits. Lately, I’ve added more  water spinach in pots.

We went to the market yesterday  and I was surprised how costly a kilo of eggplant is. I thought of planting it too in pots. There are so many gardeners who grow  robust eggplant in pots.  I searched for seeds at Handyman hardware store in one of the malls near our place and I was lucky to find them  there. I bought two packets (just to be sure of replacement later) and a packet of brilliant pink Vinca seeds.  I have Vinca here but they are light pink. They are sun-loving plants so it would be easy to take care of them. Ramgo Int’l. Corp. which provides  them is a local company with so many varieties of seeds in the market, from vegetables to flowering plants.

I can’t wait to see seedlings of my eggplants.

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Today’s Quote

“Strangers are just friends waiting to happen.”

– Rod McKuen

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I live it almost every day and it makes me smile when the content I post is noticed by bloggers from all walks of life. There are so many new bloggers out there, some have just started  and I am glad to meet them through this space.

I believe there are really no set blogging rules to follow. The success of one’s blog would actually depend  on how you express yourself in cyberspace. There are kindred spirits, they enjoy reading your posts probably because they can relate.

One thing I noticed though, there are bloggers who won’t even  like nor comment on your blog except to leave their blog links and invite you to visit theirs. I wonder if they even read your post. I consider those as spam mails and I don’t bother to visit their sites. I am always on a constant search for other blogs that I can follow. Normally, I follow those I like and when I am lucky enough, they follow back.  I have blogger friends who’ve been with me since WordPress introduced the “follow” and “like” buttons.   The “follow”  button was introduced by WordPress  back in September 2011. They enabled the new feature “like” in  August 2010. If you have been blogging  during those years, you would have surely noticed a slight increase in your page views. I discovered other bloggers through likes and comments.

For the past six  days, I got an average of 210 page views a day.  Best views were recorded last September 2015  and September 08, 2015 bested them all with 4,238 views in one day.   At the moment I have a total of 512,504  views with an estimate of  almost 300,000 visitors. Views and visitor   data are different. One could view a blog once or so many times.

I don’t have that  much number of followers. Including my 90 followers at Twitter which I linked to my blog, I only have a total of 2,917.  That is for Dreams and Escapes alone since I maintain five blogs. I believe though that it is not the number of followers that counts but the lives you touch through your blog.

Blogging, anyone?

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Oh my, can’t believe this. I just finished my 14th book this 2018.  And I promised myself to finish a hundred books. Goodreads says I am 8 books ahead of schedule. Hooray!

The One Man by Andrew Gross.

It’s actually my first time to read an Andrew Gross book.   Back to the Holocaust and concentration camps.  Nazi persecution,  Auschwitz, gas chambers, murder of millions of Jews. It was a riveting read. Familiar story about WWII.  It is the first book I read this year with a five star.  That’s how much I enjoyed this book. Here’s a short summary  from Goodreads:

It’s 1944. Physics professor Alfred Mendel and his family are trying to flee Paris when they are caught and forced onto a train along with thousands of other Jewish families. At the other end of the long, torturous train ride, Alfred is separated from his family and sent to the men’s camp, where all of his belongings are tossed on a roaring fire. His books, his papers, his life’s work. The Nazis have no idea what they have just destroyed. And without that physical record, Alfred is one of only two people in the world with his particular knowledge. Knowledge that could start a war–or end it.

Nathan Blum works behind a desk at an intelligence office in Washington, DC, but he longs to contribute to the war effort in a more meaningful way, and he has a particular skill set the US suddenly needs. Nathan is fluent in German and Polish, and he proved his scrappiness at a young age when he escaped from the Krakow ghetto. Now the government wants him to take on the most dangerous assignment of his life: Nathan must sneak into Auschwitz on a mission to find and escape with one man.

More than 20 years ago, I discovered another writer and I read most of his books.  Leon Uris. Uris is American but his parents were Jewish  American. He writes  historical novels too, mostly about WWII and Poland.  Mila 18, QB VII and Trinity are my favorites.

Reading another Peter Mayle book at the moment.  Encore Provence, my third book of Peter Mayle.

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My life is a poem

and you are the poet

who would make it rhyme

and fill in the empty lines!

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We always hear the adage, “Life lived simply is a life well-lived”  or the more popular, “Simplicity is beauty”. 

But how do we define simplicity? Do you find pleasure in simple things or  do you need to go out of your comfort zone to please yourself? Do you need to buy those sophisticated and complicated  gadgets or just be contented with  a  cellphone with a camera that could take pictures now and then?  Do you go with fashion and buy those trendy clothes as soon as they are out in the market?  We must remember that they are just trappings in this busy  cosmos  called life.

We must learn to distinguish  between our needs and wants.  We should learn to prioritize our needs more than our wants. Sometimes, less can be more, right?

Sarah Ban Breathnach in her lovely book Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy  said:

“Many people believe simplicity implies doing without. On the contrary true simplicity as a conscious life choice illuminates our lives from within. True simplicity is both buoyant and bountiful. able to liberate depressed spirits from the bondage and burden of extravagance and excess.”

Happiness is found in simple pleasures – staying at the beach and looking at the horizon, finding sea glass and sea shells, reading in a corner, sipping a hot cup of tea or coffee, experimenting with new menu or recipe in the kitchen, watching your favorite programs, playing with your cats and dogs, gardening. seeing a new bloom in your garden. The possibilities are endless, we don’t have to look far.

We must learn to say we have enough as we embrace the simple things in life.

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It was a perfect cone and tourists, local and foreigners alike view it from afar. This time though, it spews red-hot lava and thousands of people were forced to flee  from the surrounding areas of the volcano.


It used to be like this.

When nature speaks, we should listen.

Thank you Rappler for this photo.


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