Posts Tagged ‘traditions’

I was not mistaken.

Yesterday, Sunday, most radio stations played Christmas  songs in the air. You know those old familiar tunes and lyrics that you have memorized through the years. And you’re happy. They remind  you  of  Christmas past and those cold nights and foggy mornings. Yes, sometimes you wake up to cold morning breeze touching your cheeks, And yes, you’ll surely enjoy that hot cup of coffee and pan de sal of course. I’d like to think pan de sal  is comfort food for most Filipinos. It is part of their breakfast along with tocino (Filipino cured meat and tastes like bacon.) or longganisa  (Filipino sausage). Pan de sal is a common bread roll which you can buy hot and fresh from the oven at any neighborhood corner.  Although the price hasn’t gone up yet  (it’s pegged at P2 pesos each), the size has visibly shrunk.  Yet you still enjoy waiting for that vendor in a bike selling them every morning.   You patiently wait for that “potpot” sound of  the pan de sal vendor.

Longganisa, my recipe.

Pan de sal


I just smiled.

I smiled while watching the early morning show on television.  They had guests who sang Christmas carols and a chef who prepared those mouth-watering Christmas recipes and menus. I am thinking of shopping early for family’s Christmas gifts.  Hopefully by November, they are all wrapped under the tree.  Did I tell you that we usually put up our  Christmas tree and decorations by November?

My own Christmas countdown and it is only September 3.  The air lanes are busy just like me, anticipating a happy occasion no matter how hard life is.




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Thinking of what to prepare tomorrow night for our media noche, to celebrate the coming of  the new year.  Usually, we celebrate a new leaf in the calendar with lots of sweets  like fruit or buko salad, cakes and the usual  food  like pancit, pasta, embutido, lumpiang shanghai, menudo (mostly  Chinese and  Spanish recipes handed down from one generation to the next). The price of buko (young coconut) has significantly gone up over the years. It now costs P35 per piece whereas a year or two ago, it could be bought at P20 to P25.

Celebration of new year here in our country is steeped in tradition. I blogged about this years ago how we celebrate New Year. It is pretty normal that two days before  new year, wet markets and grocery stores are filled with people shopping for fruits and sweets, must items that should be on the table come  media noche.  Tradition says that having twelve kinds of fruits  on the table brings luck, any round fruit will do but some are specific about what fruits to serve on the table. When they are not in season though, they cost sky-high. It is only during this time that you will see so many fruits displayed in the market.  Even lechon  (a roasted suckling pig)  could be bought whole or by the kilo. It’s one of the usual recipes that is served during Christmas and New Year.  I bought some fruits already, half-a kilo each for the small ones, pineapple  and  honey-dew but they are not yet complete. There are only six items  in all but the fruit basket is already filled. m I have to go back to the market tomorrow for the rest.  I am thinking of preparing chicken ala king, menudo, the usual baked ham,  and finger food like lumpiang shanghai (spring rolls). Pasta of course will  not be left behind  or pancit  for long life, so they say.

Attending the New Year’s Eve mass is also practiced by most Catholics here.  It used to be that mass was held at exactly 12am but that was changed over the years since you cannot hear the celebration properly with the sound of fireworks all around.  I don’t know why but they haven’t totally banned the use of firecrackers. It is still a big business particularly in some towns in Bulacan.They pose a serious and environmental health dangers, it’s pollution to the max.  I wonder why some people can’t do away with all these toxic chemicals. We never buy firecrackers,  our neighbors’ display are  more than enough to pollute the air in our village.

How do you greet the new year in your area? Do you have the same traditions like we do here?  May the coming 2017 be a brighter and better year for us. May it always be filled with  faith, hope and peace.

HAPPY 2017 !!!




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Personally, I have nothing against them – those psychic and fortune tellers who predict  the future, 2015 particularly. I just get irked when I turn on the TV and the more popular TV channels are showing the same format in their shows. This and that TV personality would split up this year, a reporter will die from car accident, there would be more calamities to come.  There are also phoned in texts of televiewers giving their time of birth, birthday and the fortune-teller would say a few words about them as in,  outright? Come on people, I would not even believe that. They are cashing in on the vulnerability of their customers (even radio shows have interviews with psychics). Feng shui experts are on the loose.

Some of us love to believe in luck, that is why, even some important decisions are made based on the suggestions and expertise of these people. I strongly believe that only God knows what happens in our lives. I remember when Nissa got married three years ago and she has to fit the gown before the wedding. Mom said she should not do it because it is bad luck to do so.  You know, our old folks believe in so many myths which they inherited from our ancestors. It would be more of a disaster when  on the wedding day, it would not fit, right? So we defied all the age-old beliefs.

I remember the mass we attended on New Year’s Eve, the priest asked the congregation what year  2015 represents and someone from the back pews answered it is the year of the sheep. The priest said that is a Chinese zodiac.  No offense meant to our Chinese readers here.  Chinese New year does not even begin until February.  I think we inherited our penchant for serving twelve or thirteen fruits on the table during media noche from our Chinese ancestors. Every fruit represents the 12 months in the calendar. It’s tradition! Serving sweets is another tradition that we have because as a family we are supposed to stick together through thick and thin. I buy different fruits during this time not  because I follow the twelve lucky months of the year but I like how they make the table preparations so colorful and they are healthier than the pasta dishes, meat recipes etc. I enjoy tasting the juicy and sweet chico fruits that I only get to see aplenty during new year. There are more traditions that a Filipino family believes in. Please read my post on how a typical Filipino family celebrates the beginning of the year on top of the war-like zones we see in all areas of the Metropolis because of firecrackers and fireworks. Year after year there would be statistics of firecracker victims flashed on news reports but some people never learn. There were thousand of families who lost their homes on the first day of the year just because of some careless throwing of a firecracker that got inside one of the shanties  and razed hundred of homes in Quezon City alone.

“2015 is the year of our Lord”, the priest said.

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I have no pictures to show because my PC has been reconfigured and reformatted and all the shots I took before are now in my hard drive. For the longest time, our browser, Mozilla Firefox has acted up like crazy so Josef has to reinstall everything. At least for now, I have my 2010 to 2012 albums on another drive.

It’s been a very busy weekend for Josef and me despite that Saturday and Sunday were official holidays. I hope it is not too late to wish you all Happy Saints’  Day and All Souls’ Day as well. In between attending masses over the weekend, we finished gardening  at our outside perimeter wall facing the side street on our property. It was a backbreaking job  digging  the soil for planting but it was also an opportunity to bond with our neighbors while gardening.  One of our neighbors gifted me with a pot of Zamia (commonly known as cardboard plant) and I had it re-potted into three. I love its dark green and shiny leaves, another addition to my plant collections. When they have rooted properly, I’ll use one of the pots for indoor decor.

Do you celebrate All Saints’ Day? How about All Souls’ Day? The feast of all saints  is solemnly celebrated in the Catholic calendar on which we celebrate all saints, known and unknown especially those who suffered martyrdom for Christ. Most Filipinos visit their dead relatives in cemeteries, offer masses, light candles and pray for them during these days. Actually, the celebration has become a sort of reunion for families and relatives. I haven’t gone home to the province for several years now but every time I do, the first place we visit is the cemetery. One doesn’t have to wait for these two holidays to visit, in fact I prefer the quiet times  I spend there and reminisce while praying for them. Lovell texted as early as Saturday morning  and requested for a list of our relatives to be included in his masses.

I miss Dad most of all.  The pain of losing him lingers still somehow  but all the lovely memories are deeply treasured and cherished. We have this lovely tradition (growing up in the province) that hasn’t been broken until now  because every year, we do it as a family aside from offering masses especially for our dead relatives and friends.   I remember those days when Mom used to invite neighbors, relatives mostly to pray together in our old house in the province. We pray the rosary together then after praying, we share the food which has been prepared earlier. Most of the time, it would be pancit (Chinese noodles) with drinks or that Spanish biscuit recipe we call galletas. These are crunchy small biscuits which our old folks in the province dip in their hot cup of coffee.  Maybe that was where people learned to dip their hot pan de sal in a hot cup of coffee. Until now, my Mom still does it and I smile when she does because  I remember the days of old.  They also prepare these rice cakes called inlubi  (made from glutinous rice which we call pinipig). The first week of November is usually harvest season in our place. I wonder though if they still do it now because last time I heard, they had pasta. Learning from them, I do it here every year. The difference is instead of offering sweets at the altar when we pray the rosary, we offer one or two recipes which are favorites too of our dead kins.  It wouldn’t be complete if we don’t light candles near our front door and let them burn throughout  the night. The following morning, we bury the food we offered at the altar. We also pray for all souls in purgatory and offer a prayer too for those who had lived earlier where we are.

After attending mass this morning, we went to National Bookstore and took note of their Christmas decor on display. Gives you an idea to just recycle, add a few touches here and there. We usually put our Christmas decoration on the last week of November.  Oh, I am counting now. The days are going too fast. It’s 53 days to go before Christmas and I haven’t bought any gift yet.

Hello again!  How have you been?

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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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