Posts Tagged ‘postaday2011’

It’s 3:45 am  on a Monday morning.

One feels that inner peace and quiet at this time of the morning.  I’ve been awake since 3am. My eyes got used to waking up early again. It’s nice to sit here in front of my PC  while having a hot cup of coffee.  Drinking coffee has become a temptation again. Argh!

I’ve just checked my stats and I was surprised to see these figures – 346,061. It may not be that significant to other bloggers but it matters a lot to me. I haven’t been posting regularly like I used to, sometimes once or twice a week is enough but I am grateful to my loyal readers who still visit and read my older posts. It’s been six years and one month since I started my journey here and it is truly an amazing feat that I have reached these numbers. I may not have  a lot of followers  but I appreciate those comments and likes  from a few who read my posts. No matter how we deny ourselves that these numbers are not that important, to me, they are. Reaching out, touching a bit of some people’s lives, inspiring a few and  learning from some made blogging truly worthwhile. This is my 1,699th post per WordPress’ count. I remember those days when I was just starting here and was brave enough to join the 2011 Post A Day challenge, when every post you make, WordPress has a lovely word to describe it. I miss those days but I doubt if I could challenge myself to do another one again.  You can’t force yourself to write when you don’t even know where to start, right?  I’ve always said, time and again that blogging has somehow become a way of life, just like craving for a hot cup of coffee early in the morning, the day is not complete without it. Having lots of followers or a significant number of visitors are a bonus.

This is a bit funny, I’ve been on a reading marathon the past few days and in between finishing Anna Karenina, all the books I’ve read so far are about food, chefs and cooking. It’s not by choice, they just happened and now I am craving for upside-down cake. And it should be not just any fruit, it has to be those sweet pineapple rings  on top of it. Back in high school, this was the only cake that I bought in our canteen. It’s been years since I’ve tasted a slice. Josef suggested that I buy a loaf but I told him I’ll bake my own one of these days, that is. See what a book can do to influence one’s life?

Finally, my gardening task is finished and the garden looks pretty now with the stepping-stones highly visible among the cut carabao grass. We still have to tackle the vacant space outside though, the grass grows there by leaps and bounds. It rains everyday now so it is quite hard to garden when the grass is wet. The life of a reluctant gardener…..sometimes.

I am having a problem with Firefox but it’s hard to navigate other browsers that Josef uploaded on my PC. It’s hard to learn something new when you are not that decisive to do it so Chromium and Opera would have to wait.

Good morning, have a good day :)





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Thank you Lord

for these silent moments.

I am grateful

for the times I felt so down

and You made me feel Your



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So it’s officially summer now in our part of the world. The stifling heat is too much. Gone are the cool mornings when the night is a little longer, plenty of time to stay in bed without feeling guilty. You could tell and the sun shows its face early everyday. 7am is a little hot on one’s back to garden, I have to wake up an hour earlier  than usual to do the daily chores of watering the plants, feeding the Koi, sweeping the yard, and when I am a little inspired, I do some gardening in the morning.Enough said since that is my daily routine.

School break, two months vacation for students, beaches, summer outing, swimming, enrolling in some useful craft like cooking, baking, arts and crafts  etc. etc. Actually, the possibilities are endless, and with the Philippines having at least 7,100 islands, take your pick, that is, if you have enough money to go on vacation or to visit local  tourist attractions. You can hie off to nearest Tagaytay to savor the morning breeze, go to Batangas for a swim, explore some untrodden paths in the countryside.

What is so good about summer is the abundance of fruits that normally you wouldn’t see at any other month. These are what I truly enjoy eating during summer.

They were the most crunchy and the sweetest watermelons I’ve ever tasted.

Green mangoes paired with bagoong alamang, what more could you ask for?

Take your pick, they sell all kinds of bananas at the wet market.

And the good old reliable buko which you can enjoy all year round. I just had two glasses of  cold buko juice this afternoon …yummy!

Star apple, anyone?

Sineguelas, another favorite. I wonder why they call it Spanish plum.

Guavas, another favorite. We have a tree in our backyard, just good enough to enjoy the fruits during summer.

The downside of summer though is this, when it is really so hot to go outside and you don’t have anything planned  for the day, you are tempted to play a couch potato just to avoid the summer heat. But something to look forward to are the traditions of Holy Week, the family rituals of visiting old churches and discovering new places.

Have fun…it’s summer!

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The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 46,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 17 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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We’re big on traditions especially the things we follow to make life more colorful. Some are handed down from generation to generation and we follow them year after year.  Just like preparing for Noche Buena for Christmas, meeting the new year won’t be the same without food. Food is one thing that binds families together, either sharing a simple meal or elaborate dishes/recipes that need hours laboring in front of a hot stove to complete Media Noche. Media Noche  simply means midnight in Spanish but it has certainly acquired a different meaning on how we celebrate it.

Attending an evening mass  prior to New Year’s Eve is a must for Catholic Filipinos and arranging food on the table before the strike of 12 midnight is another tradition that we observe.  We partake of the food after shouting and jumping  with joy greeting the new year. Never mind the noise outside, we don’t buy firecrackers anyway (don’t want to waste  money on toxic materials that could even trigger accidents if you’re not careful), having the stereo in full volume or watching the countdown on TV is enough.  One such traditional thing that I learned from Mom is to complete an array of thirteen round fruits on the table. Some say, twelve is enough to represent prosperity for the next twelve months but we always make it thirteen. And last year, I also lit prosperity candles.

We went marketing this morning, a little early at 5am but when we reached Cainta market, we had a hard time finding  a parking space since the slots normally allotted for cars were occupied by lots of stalls and vendors, you guess it, selling round fruits of different kinds.  If you have enough money, you could buy almost anything.  Wow, and the price –  it’s more than double the amount you have to pay on regular days. One Kiwi fruit was selling at P25, a medium-sized watermelon cost almost P100.  You have to spend almost a thousand pesos just to complete the thirteen required fruits, if you are on a budget, you can buy one each but how can you do that with the seasonal grapes or longan when they are selling them by the kilo?

Not to be left behind are the sticky sweets you have to order or prepare since having them around on New Year’s Eve assures the family of sticking together through thick and thin. It’s tradition! Bibingka, a glutinous rice cake topped with sweetened coconut cream (latik)  is also a must on the table. Here in our place, it’s so easy to buy any kind of native “kakanins” (sweets) as long as you wake up early so you won’t line up for hours. Cainta is known as the Bibingka Capital of the Philippines. One such known establishment where people from all places in Metro Manila troop to is Aling Kika’s. There you will find all sorts of sweets. Aside from bibingka, they also sell coco jam, leche flan, cassava cake, maja blanca, maja mais, sapin-sapin, you name it, they all have them there. So if ever you happen to pass by Cainta, Rizal, drop by Aling Kika’s.

I digress. Aside from the kakanins,  most noticeable on the table are pancit bihon or pancit canton, fruit salad or buko salad, cake (obviously my favorite is ube), lumpiang shanghai, embutido, and siomai. I made a kilo of siomai this morning and prepared lumpiang shanghai, ready for frying.

I am planning to make Buko Pandan for a change, instead of the usual fruit salad which we always have every year. I also bought marble potatoes which I am planning to bake to go with the lumpiang shanghai and siomai. Hubby brought home a native chicken from the province and we are thinking of having tinola with green papaya and dahong sili.

I don’t exactly know how this came about but one more thing that  I learned from mom is to scatter coins from the door going inside the house at exactly 12am of New Year’s day. I do place coins on every window ledge and open my wallet and coin purse on top of the bed to attract good luck and prosperity. It’s another tradition that I do, after all there is really no harm done by following it, right? It’s just part of the celebration of  the New Year.  And we do hang grapes near the door. The funny thing is, we often neglect to remove it until after a week  and it becomes like raisins :)

Time and again the Department of Health shows pictures of people, mostly children and teenagers who are victims of firecracker accidents and yet, when New year comes, everywhere is a cloud of thick smoke and believe me, there are victims who lose their fingers and limbs because of it.  It’s so scary because some of those firecrackers they sell are deadly.  They never learn because they say, it’s tradition. But it’s the one thing that I tell hubby and my kids not to do, buying those things which have toxic chemical contents and  harmful to one’s health.

And since nobody drinks in the house, except occasional beer and red and white wine, we only use shut glasses to toast the new year.  Here’s to a HAPPY, HAPPY 2012.  Happy New year to all.

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And here I thought Michael Crichton was the best when it comes to science-based thrillers. And Robin Cook comes next for those heart-stopping medical thrillers.  I heard of Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child from some friends at Shelfari where I have my virtual library but it didn’t make me curious to find any of their books until I found a copy of The Cabinet of Curiosities in one of my forays at Booksale. I was hooked.  I have just finished reading it an hour ago, after  starting the first chapter last night till my eyes  hurt  and I felt so sleepy. It’s a page-turner and I can’t put it down. Reading about 19th century New York was a sure come-on.

In the 19th century, New Yorkers flocked to collections of strange and grotesque oddities called “cabinets of curiosities.” Now, in lower Manhattan, a modern apartment tower is slated to rise on the site of one of the old cabinets. Yet when the excavators break into a basement, they uncover a charnel pit of horror: the remains of thirty-six people murdered and gruesomely dismembered over 130 years ago by an unknown serial killer.

In the aftermath, FBI Special Agent Pendergast and museum archaeologist Nora Kelly embark on an investigation that unearths the faint whisper of a mysterious doctor who once roamed the city, carrying out medical experiments on living human beings. But just as Nora and Pendergast begin to unravel the clues to the century-old killings, a fresh spree of murder and surgical mutilation erupts around them. . . and New York City is awash in terror.

Don’t ask me why I love reading science fiction and medical thrillers. I learned a lot from Robin Cook , a doctor in real life who writes about medical malpractices encountered by some patients while under treatment. I didn’t eat hamburger for about a year I guess when I read his book Toxin, fascinated with how Ebola virus came through in his book Outbreak which was also made into a film. I understood  more about cancer marker testing in his more recent book entitled Marker. I was so amazed with his books that I started collecting all of his published works three years ago, some of them, most of them I lost during typhoon Ondoy. I have about ten books left which I plan to re-read one of these days.

Michael Crichton was one of the best of course. I read Andromeda Strain when I was in college  followed by The Terminal Man. And who could forget Sphere, Congo and the movie he directed Coma which was based on the novel by Robin Cook?

Charles W. Eliot couldn’t have said it better and I quote: “Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.” How true!

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I sincerely wish you all  A BLESSED CHRISTMAS AND A VERY HAPPY 2012! And I like to share this Christmas Prayer written by Fra Giovanni 1n 1513. Since I’ve read it in one of the articles of Fr. Joseph Galdon, a Jesuit priest who was  the author of the book Jubilee, I have always been moved by the simple message of hope for every one of us.  My book is gone  and Fr. Galdon died last year but the essence  of this lovely prayer remains. It is not just for Christmas but a timeless message  that today seems more relevant than ever.


I am your friend and my love for you goes very deep.  There is nothing really that I can give you this Christmas that you do not already have.  But there is much, very much that you can discover for yourself this Christmas, even if I am not the one to give it to you.  So I pray that you will find peace, which is in the hidden places around us today. The gloom of our world is really only a shadow.  Beyond that gloom, yet still within our reach, is happiness. I pray that you will discover happiness in your heart this year.  There is light and glory in the darkness around us, if we only could see it.  To see the light in the darkness we only have to look. I pray that you will look for the light this Christmas.  Life is actually a very generous giver, but because we judge the gifts by their covering, we cast them away as ugly, or heavy, or hard.  Remove the covering from the gifts of life and you will find beneath it a living splendor that is woven of love.  Life is full of meaning and purpose. It is full of beauty beneath the covering. I pray that this Christmas you will discover that earth is only a cloak for heaven.  This Christmas, I send you greetings. They are not exactly the kind of greetings that the world sends.  But I send them to you with great love and with a prayer that, for you and for all those you love, this Christmas and forever, the dawn will break and the shadows of night will flee away.

May your 2012 be a year of pleasant journeys, a year of peace and  a time to discover new beginnings, a time to realize new dreams. HAPPY, HAPPY 2012.

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