Posts Tagged ‘Celebrating Christmas’

Yeay, it’s October.

I miss my month-end post and greeting each new month. It was an uneventful September🙂 To think we haven’t celebrated Nissa’s birthday yet (together as a family).  Today was all bright and sunny, you wouldn’t think there is a coming typhoon and the prediction is, it would be a rainy one tomorrow. Did a little gardening but I was busy the past days finishing a series of five books. I was hoping there would be book six because it was that good.  I am getting tired of seeing the same face of the president on social media but I don’t get tired of commenting about those faux pas and blunders that he utters every day. It is embarrassing. The words are given weight because he is the president and he has an obligation and responsibility to the people he promised to serve.  Opps, sorry, I promised myself I won’t write a political blog for the next six years. It is so stressful and it is barely three months since he occupied Malacanang.

I could still hear Nate shouting I miss you Nonna, happy birthday over the phone this morning. Don’t worry baby, we would see each other soon and we will celebrate no matter how simple it is.

Early this morning, Josef asked about Gunter Kallmann choir because he was downloading Christmas carols on his phone. He made me listen to some jazz versions of Christmas music.  He is the one counting, not me  :)  Did I say it’s barely 84 days to go before the day?

May your October days be lots of fun and  full of blessings.  Shalom!


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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.


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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♫♪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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Let us for a while forget being politically correct and say a sincere greeting to all our friends out there. A BLESSED AND MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL OF YOU!  Christmas is a celebration of Christ’s birth and not just a holiday so we don’t say happy holidays. It’s that time of the year when we remember old friends, even those  we only see once in a while. It’s that time of year when family togetherness is what counts most in our celebration and I guess Noche Buena would be the loveliest meal of the day when you take time to prepare something for the whole family. There is that feeling of joy in one’s heart , a feeling of hope, a feeling of love.


It’s a wet Christmas! So unusual that it’s been raining since I woke up and hasn’t stopped until now. PAGASA says it’s the tail end of a cold front (whatever that means) but it is cold and they have issued a yellow rainfall warning in Metro Manila and nearby provinces.  I am sure despite the rain, we’ll have a merry Christmas. Just waiting for daughter’s family  to arrive and son to come home early from work.  Done with preparing some favorite food, baking for my grandson, gifts are waiting to be opened. We only need to cook  something more tonight. We have this tradition in the family that we only open gifts after attending mass, partake of the Noche Buena, that’s only when we sit down and enjoy opening gifts. There will always be hugs, smiles and  shouts of joy because you got something you wished for.  Back when Nissa and Josef were little, they would wait patiently near the tree with that look of anticipation on their faces, trying hard to guess what’s inside those gaily wrapped boxes. My son used to say that he didn’t want something that he needs but something that he wants  🙂 Anyway, now that they are adults, we can tell each other what we want for Christmas and it’s fun. After all, it’s the thought that counts right?

Let me greet you in our language, MALIGAYANG PASKO SA INYONG LAHAT!  Wish you feel the joy, He has come.

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♫♪♫It’s that time of year
When good friends
Are dear
And you wish you
Could give more
Than just presents
From a store♪♪♫

Christmas gifts need not always come in glossy packages and colorful ribbons. They need not be elaborate things that you can only find in shopping malls or gift shops. They come from the hearts of those who believe that it is more important to have love, peace of mind and happiness to name a few.

Every year or when I am not inspired to write, I always read the book Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breatnach, a day book of comfort and joy that have 366  lovely and inspiring essays for women, one for each day of the year. It is one of the most treasured books that I have on my shelf.  I read the essays at random now but the December entries are my favorites. I am re-posting her own version of the twelve gifts of Christmas. I hope you will find the list as uplifting as I do. I remember posting this four years ago, the message is still the same though. And it’s six days to go before Christmas🙂

  1. On the first day of Christmas, I gave my true loves: The Gift of Undivided Attention.
  2. On the second day of Christmas, I gave to my true loves:  The Gift of Enthusiasm.
  3. On the third day of Christmas, I gave my true loves: The Gift of Creative Energy.
  4. On the fourth day of Christmas, I gave my true loves: The Gift of Simple Seasonal Pleasures.
  5. On the fifth day of Christmas, I gave my true loves:  The Gift of  Tenderness.
  6. On the sixth day of Christmas, I gave my true loves: The Gift of Good Cheer.
  7. On the seventh day of Christmas, I gave my true loves: The Gift of Beauty.
  8. On the eight-day of Christmas, I gave my true loves: The Gift of Communication.
  9. On  the ninth day of Christmas, I gave my true loves:  The Gift of Surprise.
  10. On the tenth day of Christmas, I gave my true loves: The Gift of Wonder.
  11. On the eleventh day of Christmas, I gave my true loves:  The Gift of Peaceful Surroundings.
  12. On the twelfth day of Christmas, I gave my true loves: The Gift of Joy.

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