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Archive for the ‘Christmas 2015’ Category


Nate is such a funny guy. He was so happy seeing all those gifts that he had to open last Christmas eve and was very excited to taste the  simple spread we prepared for our Noche Buena. Nothing fancy but just a simple meal shared  with the family.  It was a ‘Special Day’  after all.

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Reminiscing  Christmas  Eve 2015.

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Wish you feel the joy, He has come! To all my online friends at  WordPress, MERRY  CHRISTMAS.

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Now that I’ve typed the title, I am wondering what is the equivalent of tuýo when you translate it in English. I think it would just be dried salted fish.

Some of you are probably wondering why of all things to blog about, tuýo comes to mind. Here in our country it is a common dish for breakfast paired with fried or sunny side up egg, a hot cup of coffee or hot chocolate, and spicy vinegar as dipping sauce.

We celebrate noche buena  on Christmas eve. After we have attended the evening mass, we wait for twelve midnight to greet each other Merry Christmas   then share  a spread painstakingly prepared earlier on, one full meal that consists of delectable and savory dishes that you only get to see during Christmas, lots of sweets,  fruits  and even a bottle of wine to toast the occasion. This is even more scrumptious than preparing for one’s birthday. After all, Christmas is a special occasion to celebrate Jesus’ birth.

Tuýo.

But why tuýo? You have probably heard of it and you might not even like the taste or the strong smell while it is in the frying pan but know what, it is  a necessary viand on the table come breakfast time and that means on Christmas morning.  You no longer want to eat those left-overs from last night’s celebration until probably a day or two but you would welcome the former complete with fried rice with diced left-over ham, eggs, mixed veggies and lots of garlic. Believe me, come Christmas morning it would be the most welcome thing you want to see on your dining table.

Nissa messaged me earlier and she said that she is excited for the coming Christmas. I am too. it would be nice to see them all again. Nate is now three, although he knows the figure of Santa, I don’t think he would associate seeing the image of Santa Claus as someone who fills the Christmas tree with gifts. He will always be excited to open gifts though and rewards you with a hug and a kiss with a shout of “thank you”.

Blessed is
The season which
Engages the whole
World in a
Conspiracy of love.

-Hamilton Wright Mabie

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That moment you wake up, open a window and faintly you hear Pinoy Christmas songs playing in some neighbor’s house….priceless. You get a little nostalgic thinking of Christmas past when celebrations were more focused on attending Simbang Gabi, nine days of novena masses until Christmas eve. Yes,today is the beginning of our traditional Simbang Gabi.  It started last night in our village chapel but it was raining hard because of the typhoon so I was not able to attend.  I have clogged nose the past days and it is hard to breathe especially at night.

It pains me to see those places affected by the typhoon, people who lost their homes, damaged roads, uprooted trees and it has not left the country yet. Our weather bureau says that there is another one coming.  Typhoons that visit us late in the year are usually strong and destructive.  I hope next week would not be a rainy one for us.

My PC is weird. Is that even the right term for it? Yesterday, I woke up earlier than 3am, a perfect opportunity to check my blogs and update our daily Gospel readings at our Catholic page on Facebook. You see, for the last five years I help manage a page with a priest friend and another friend who is a lay minister in their parish.  I was able to post Gospel readings until the end of the year then my PC practically crashed on me.  Gosh, perfect timing but you can’t quarrel with an almost ten-year old PC nor get mad at it. You just shake your head in frustration while taking another sip of a tepid cup of coffee by your side.  Like right now it is running well and I am listening to Christmas carols while I blog (keeping my fingers crossed).

I found a wonderful book on Padre Pio but I don’t want to read it in just one go, a chapter or two every day until I finish it. I also bought a copy of the Daily Gospel 2016, a collection of all the readings for the coming year, a helpful guide for my online apostolate. Speaking of books, a friend who is coming home for a short break bought me two lovely volumes of Richard Paul Evans books, one was just published last month while the other one is the 5th  and final installment of The Walk series.  Wonderful gifts from a wonderful friend.

Did I say it’s nine days to go before Christmas?  This might appear on my wall dated December 15 but it is December 16 now  and it’s 5 am. The cold winds bite but the rain has stopped. May I share another inspiring Christmas quote?

It is Christmas every time you let God love others through you… yes, it is Christmas every time you smile at your brother and offer him your hand. – Mother Teresa

 

 

 

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It looks like I have a lot of catching up to do, not only to get updated with what some of my online friends have posted but I think it is also time to update my blog. I haven’t posted anything since the start of December but thank you just the same for those visits. I noticed that some even read my earlier posts years ago.

I recently read a comment posted by one of my readers. He was searching for the name of his father’s urologist and found my earlier blog post on the latter. He was glad  and inspired that the same doctor did  my kidney bypass five years ago. You know that feeling of confidence that you have because of some people’s affirmation that he is good  and his patients have faith in him. Years ago,  I was also surprised when this same urologist learned that my surgical oncologist in another hospital was his mentor when he was in college.  You’d think they are coincidences but deep within you know that the connection maybe ways in which it makes you feel that you’re not alone. There are people who are traveling the same road with you and traversing life’s journeys the same way that you do.

Some people may find it uncomfortable reading about illness, believe me though, when you are the one in that predicament, you’d rather share your woes and fears even if no one empathize, even if some people don’t really understand how you feel. Reaching out, trying to accept everything  the best way you know how. Maybe that’s the reason why my older posts about being a cancer survivor still make it the most read entries in my blog.  I am still of the belief that if I could reach someone out there who needs a bit of inspiration, my efforts of maintaining this blog is not in vain.

These are actually busy days for me,  trimming our carabao grass, changing curtains for the Christmas season, hanging Christmas decor here and there, planning on what recipes to prepare for our noche buena, wrapping gifts and catching  up on my reading when I can. Having an unreliable (and moody)  PC does not help though and boy, the slow internet connection is such that I rather read than visit my blogs. I finally found a lovely book on the life of my favorite saint, Padre Pio and discovered new authors too.

Here’s something for  you to ponder on.

“I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.” – Charles Dickens

 

 

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♫♪And the thing that will make them ring is the carol that you sing
Right within your heart♪♪♫

Yes, my favorite time of the year is almost here.  Next Sunday is the start of the Advent season, the beginning of another liturgical calendar, a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the Nativity of Jesus.  I love the ritual of praying and watching the lighting of the first Advent candle, it signals the official start of the most joyous season of the year.

I am glad there is always YouTube to provide the music, I won’t have to take out all the Christmas CDs  which are usually mixed with other DVDs the kids have accumulated through the years. Listening to Christmas carols all day long, singing  along and belting out those familiar tunes and inspiring words. Truly, it warms the heart. I love the Christmas album of the Günter Kallman Choir, the cool voice of Johnny Mathis, the romantic way our very own  Jose Marie Chan sings his Christmas compositions, Jason Mraz’ version of Winter Wonderland and the Pilipino Christmas songs from way back which speak of how we Filipinos celebrate Christmas. The latter would make you dance, stomp your feet and sing the familiar Tagalog lyrics.  Talk of tinolang manok, lechon, salabat, bibingka, puto bungbong, hot tsokolate and such recipes and delicacies that you can only find here. The joys of meeting friends and relatives, the fun of watching little kids singing their versions of Christmas carols and shouts of “namamasko po” and your shouts of “patawad” because there are no more loose coins in your pocket.

Gifts are wrapped finally but I think I would have to make another trip to the mall for those I haven’t marked on my list yet. We have put up some Christmas decorations but don’t have the lights yet anywhere outside the house. And it is this time of year that I am sure Nate would love to celebrate with us. He is three years old now and can appreciate even small gifts that he receives. I love how his eyes light up and his whole face transforms into a smile while uttering a single word “wow”.

Hmmm….now I’m counting! Did I say there are twenty-nine days to go before Christmas?

 

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Yes, I know a lot of you would probably react and say “it’s too early yet”. I know, I know. Yesterday before my son left for work he asked me to listen to the new downloads on his tab saying that I would surely like it and adding that it’s my favorite album of all time. I was surprised. He downloaded the whole album of Gunter Kallmann’s  Christmas Sing In. Around this time every year, I would bring out the various CDs and play them randomly and one of them is the album Christmas Sing In. As if that was not enough, son said, “listen to this Ma”. We smiled, remembering those days when they were younger and we would listen to the Jackson Five belting out ♫♪Santa Claus Is Coming To Town♪♫.

Did you ever believe in Santa Claus? Did you let your kids believe that he comes on Christmas Eve bearing gifts that they asked and prayed for? I don’t remember my kids ever having asked Santa about what gifts to receive for Christmas although they each had a picture with Santa Claus, a perfect capture of smiling kids on Santa’s knee.  Those were the days when parents and their kids line up at one section of the mall  to wait for their turn to be pictured with Santa. I wonder if they still do that these days. Since I resigned from work more than fifteen years ago, my check list on buying Christmas gifts has dramatically narrowed down to just family and close friends. I do my Christmas shopping early depending of course on available budget and finding gifts for family and friends that they will truly appreciate. It’s not the cost that counts really, but the thoughtful gestures behind the gifts.

I remember our Christmas celebration last year with Nate’s infectious smiles while  embracing a Mickey Mouse toy which was larger than he was.  Back then, Mickey Mouse was his favorite. Now he is into Minions and large Lego blocks. I wonder what will be next when he celebrates his third birthday come November.

I bought a food magazine on home-cooked Pinoy classics. Chanced upon it when I went grocery-shopping. I would love to try those luscious local fruit pies (at least one on their list), recipes using coconut, and locally famous desserts. One can always buy them here (Cainta is famous for kakanin) but the challenge of course lies in learning how to cook them in one’s own kitchen. I would love to try the good old-fashioned Bibingka wrapped in banana leaves, topped with grated coconut, a little amount of sugar and butter and those cheesy Ube-Cassava cakes…heaven.

Oh, I am listening to the remastered Christmas album of Johnny Mathis. I think of Dad when I listen to this, he used to have an LP (a long-playing record) way back then.  It makes me smile and a little thoughtful listening to the catchy and lovely Christmas songs in the album.

I know, it’s that time of year again!

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