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Archive for the ‘life’ Category


It was a busy weekend but days before that I was so lazy even to go out because of the summer heat. I finished three books in one week.

Fancy an early morning breathing  in the heavenly fragrance of Gardenia and Amazon Lily flowers mixed with the lemony scent of Calamansi (Philippine lime) flower buds.  It’s a perfect excuse to stay in the garden for a while. My Gardenia shrub is flowering again, a bit early for the month of May when it shows its blooms almost in every tip of the branches. I didn’t know that Gardenia symbolizes love, harmony and grace and it was named after Dr. Alexander Garden, an American botanist, until now. I just love Gardenia and when it is in bloom , I always take shots of the lovely white flowers.  Our two Calamansi trees are on their flowering stage too but the fruits are there all year-long.

Finally, one of our jackfruits was ready for harvest. I was as excited as Josef when we finally harvested it the other day and this morning, I sliced  it with a sharp knife and  separated the pulp from the rind. Josef just wants  it  fresh and cold from the ref.  One can cook it as “langka preserve” or marmalade, the way you cook other fruits in season.

Jackfruit, anyone?

Jackfruit, anyone?

The young green one is cooked as a yummy vegetable dish, either sautéed in pork or cooked in coconut cream with lots of chilis. Try it, it is best served a little hot and spicy.

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When the sun shines longer each day, it’s summer.

When the wind blows early in the afternoon  diffusing the heat of the morning, it’s summer.

Many of us look forward to summer despite the fact that a day could really become a scorcher. Summer for school kids means a long, long vacation. Summer gives you that perfect excuse to stay longer under the shower, find a nearby place that has a private pool to visit,  go to a beach and soak under the sun or if you just want to stay at home you can join your little kids  in their inflatable pool.  My son loves  to wear the most tattered and frayed t-shirts during the summer months, you could almost see several little holes in them. He says it becomes more comfortable with frequent washing.

What I love about  summer is  the profusion of different kinds of flowers. Sometimes, when you are lucky, those  few annuals show their heads and surprise you with lovely blooms.  Fruits are also something to look forward to.  Mangoes are the best fruits you can find in our neck of the woods. I haven’t visited Pasig market yet but I am sure there are plenty of star apples now, honeydew melons, mangoes, water melons, pineapples, papaya and many, many more.  I am looking forward to tasting sineguelas (Spanish plum)again.  Don’t you just wish you could enjoy drinking fresh buko juice everyday which is so healthy and beneficial to your health? Fresh young coconuts  are available in almost every corner of the neighborhood.  Singkamas (Jicama) as we usually call it  here are  aplenty  during the hot summer months. I know some call them turnips but it is not the variety of turnips that you usually find in other countries. Although it taste bland to some people who are not used to it, it is one of my favorite root crops.  They are best eaten cold with a little salt and vinegar used as dip. They are also mixed with other vegetables to make spring rolls. I haven’t tasted lomboy (we call it duhat in Tagalog and Java plum in English) for quite sometime now but I remember the days of old when my cousins and I would pick these juicy fruits when school is out. Armed with bayong or baskets, we would climb trees  even under the heat of the sun and gorge on the plum, juicy fruits.

There is a fresh mango smoothie cooling in the fridge. It’s definitely summer.

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The morning comes

just a little too late

for reminiscing.

The coffee has gone cold

and the little sparrows

singing a while ago

have flown.

I wonder if she realizes

that she is alone now

with silence for company,

reminiscing still.

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One shy smile

One simple hello

Could change a cloudy morning

Into a sunny day.

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Allow me to rant a little.  I am trying to avoid stress but this makes my head ache. Two years ago, my immediate neighbor (our properties are divided by a fire wall and since our house is on a corner lot, it is the only house next to us) decided to have a second floor of their house. My problem started then because our roof near their house was destroyed when debris of cement and hollow blocks rained on it. They didn’t have protective covering so I have to make a proper complaint to our homeowners’ association to remind them of it. After two weeks I went to the engineering office of our town, showed them the pictures of the damage done by our neighbor to our roof. They sent someone to inspect a week after several follow-ups but at that time, no worker was around so they didn’t talk to the owner. In short, they left the project hanging, with just plain hollow blocks encircling the structure, no beams to speak  of (and that is dangerous for them and for me too), no enough steel bars to hold it and I presumed seeing the site, there was no building plan and building permit. The framework looked pathetic.

My brother is an architect so I had him check the site from our end and he said the building was not safe. I had a few arguments with the owner to no avail.  We had our roof repainted and repaired  three weeks ago. Our two painters even cleaned the area where bits of cement got stuck. Two days ago, while Mom and I were having naps, we heard a loud noise coming from our roof in three successive times. Since it was my son’s day of, I asked him to check it, true enough, some debris were there, and it was like our newly painted red roof was scattered with cement powder.  I talked to them and we argued, the owner (the wife, I mean) was like a tiger let loose on a cage together with her daughter telling me that I am always complaining so I told her I have a right to complain because this is my property. She hurled insults that were too personal and has nothing to do with what we were trying to resolve. I told the story to some of my friends and most of them told me to sue her for slander and oral defamation. I don’t want a stressful life so I’ll just probably make another visit to the engineering office of our town so they could visit it. Her husband promised that they would put a net but until now, they haven’t done yet and the debris kept raining on our roof.  My son took pictures again and we haven’t removed all those debris yet. Come to think of it, at least they should offer to clean it, right? The half sack of cement, sand and hollow blocks we collected two years ago from our rooftop is still lying in a corner of the garden, evidence of their not so neighborly attitude.

I get along well with our neighbors across the street where we live, they are like extended family but this particular one is a pain in the neck. How I wish we could choose our neighbors but they are here to stay. Inconsiderate people never learn.

And if I may add, this is how their structure looks like.

IMG_6614

Look at our gutter, it is full of debris. and that dent on our roof….it was two years ago when they started their house renovation.

Look how poorly done it is, this is on our side and those hollow blocks....crazy....

Look how poorly done it is, this is on our side and those hollow blocks….crazy….

Crude....the coco lumber they used two years ago were left hanging on our property line and when the two painters removed them they crumbled into pieces.

Crude….the coco lumber they used two years ago were left hanging on our property line and when the two painters removed them they crumbled into pieces.

No corner beam done here.....

No corner beam done here…..that’s their roof.

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I think Mom just gets bored playing solitaire so I opened the television early for her to watch but then she insists that I should switch it on at 5pm because that is when she starts watching her favorite programs. I am not really into it but I take a glimpse of each program she watches every day until she falls asleep.

Earlier on I was cooking dinner and she was watching.  Not for lack on what to do, I imitated a television ad by doing a few odd steps while watching the girls dance. She could not hide her mirth and I  knew she was smiling while covering her face with her two hands.  I smiled at her and embraced her on my way to check  the pork afritada  I was cooking for dinner. She said in our native dialect, “Oh, I seldom see you dance”. We looked into each other’s eyes and smiled.

What a nice feeling, going back to just being  a daughter sometimes. She’s happy, I am too :)

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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.”

I love quoting these lovely words from one of my favorite writers,  Henri Nouwen,  for they exactly describe how friendship should be and what it really means to me, when you could be just as you are with them, when they accept you in their lives and in their hearts, warts and all.

Last Saturday was another lovely celebration of friendship.  A few close friends came over to just celebrate the day with me and mom.  Two of them will be celebrating their birthdays this month and what a fitting way to share laughter, smiles, hugs, serious stuff (you would not believe this  but most of our topics touched on our faith and the beauty of being a Catholic) and food of course. Mom was so amazed to learn that they came from  places outside Metro Manila and she was full of questions like how I met them,  why they are visiting me when we could choose to go out  and spend the day in malls, she asked where they work, things that a typical mom wants to know. When they have left, she said “ang babait nila”. Mabait in English has no exact meaning but it encompasses various traits like being kind, gentle, friendly, generous, amiable, considerate, you name it, it is all in there in that single word.  We had a good laugh of course while we were taking pictures. They brought their cameras  and we took some shots.

That's mom on the extreme right. She was gracious enough to join us in our picture-taking.

That’s mom on the  right. She was gracious enough to join us in our picture-taking.

For WP2

for WP3

Food galore....

Food galore….

Sinful mango cake from Red Ribbon...

Sinful mango cake from Red Ribbon…

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We were all so full  we just snacked on polvoron (yummy powdered milk candy from Red Ribbon), boiled peanuts and adobo peanuts while sharing and discussing so many topics, touching even politics and world affairs.

It was a lovely day to celebrate friendship.

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