Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Feast of St. Pio de Pietrelcina Today

There was a massive traffic around 5PM this afternoon along the stretch of C5-Libis Area , in Quezon City. The reason for the traffic? Today, September 23, is the feast day of St. Pio of Pietrelcina. Eucharistic celebrations were held at 12Noon and at 5:30PM today, in honor of the miraculous saint. He was even featured in one of the local television shows, Balitang K, about 2-3 weeks ago. I guess this "tv guesting" heightened the public curiosity, and has added to the crowds of people (and cars!) who braved the rains and the heavy traffic just to step and take a glimpse of the shrine of St. Pio.

My family and I can be considered devotees of the said saint. I am not really a super devout and pious churchgoer, but I believe St. Pio have answered some of my little prayer requests - not really as grand as those testimonials posted on the church's walls, but small requests that has allowed me to survive and overcome some personal and career-related trials. And though I still have some "bigger prayer requests", I know and I have faith that God, through the intercession of St. Pio, will hear and grant those requests in ways He deemed would be beneficial to me and my son.

Below is the prayer to St. Pio. I would like to share it to everyone. My way of thanking St. Pio for all the petitions he has granted, and for the other blessings waiting to be sent.

O God,
You gave Saint Pio of Pietrelcina,
Capuchin priest,
the great privilege of participating
in a unique way in the passion of Your Son,
grant me through his intercession
the grace of (PAUSE...) which I ardently
desire; and above all grant me the grace
of living in conformity
with the death of Jesus,
to arrive at the glory
of the resurrection.
Glory be to the Father... (three times)
The Philippine Center for St. Pio of Pietrelcina can be located at 188 E. Rodriguez Jr. Ave, C5 Bagumbayan, Quezon City, Philippines. It is located between Honda Cars and The Floor Center. Here's the link to the center's website.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Facebook Family Addiction

This will be a short post. I just can't help but blog about it, since it's really becoming the "in" thing here at home.

An old saying goes,"The family that prays together, stays together". Well, let me modify this a little to describe my family's current "addiction" - the family that plays together, stays together.

This is so true for my family now. Lately, almost all of us are addicted to various applications in Facebook - my brother had chosen to establish his own eatery/carinderia (sorry bro, yours really look like a carinderia.. hehehe.. Ü) at Restaurant City; my mom tries her hand raising cows, growing rice paddies and strawberry fields at FarmVille; and I get to pursue my dream to burn rubber in Street Racing. Not that my Dad has no participation at all, but having experienced life as a farmer in the province, he advises my mom on how to setup her crops in FarmVille. It was fun watching my parents while they are discussing on which crops should be near each other, and which animals should be placed far from the crops. My mom grew in the city, so she listens intently to my Dad's advice. From a distance one would think that they are seriously discussing about the planned family business or the budget for the week. But try to come closer, and you can hear them discuss about rice paddies, cows, cattle, and strawberry fields.

As for me and my brother, we're quite contented with the "domains" we have chosen. My brother maintains his carinderia (I mean restaurant.. tee hee!!) very well, sometimes asking me or my cousin the answer to the secret question to get the ingredient of the day. After playing with Restaurant City for quite sometime, he has acquired this sense of order in arranging his restaurant furnitures and fixtures (i.e. the toilet is no longer located at the center of the dining tables nor close to the stove). As for me, I am still in the process of recruiting more peeps to have a larger crew, upgrading my ZYN-OIL NSX and Nissan Supra race cars, buying cars and properties to increase my stash, and most importantly race and race and race, to reach my ultimate goal - the Skilled LA Street Champ title.

I may setup my own farm, barn, or eatery (or restaurant, depending on how it would look like) one of these days, and my brother might try his hands in racing. Unfortunately, I can't say the same thing for my Mom. She gave up on Street Racing the first time she tried it. It's not her cup of tea, daw. Hopefully, she'll be able to detach herself from the other farm-related apps in Facebook and try some other games. Till then, we'll be stuck in our little worlds, drowning in this addiction we all love.

Gotta go now... Just noticed that my Health, Gas, and Adrenaline are now replenished... Ciao! :-)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Survivor Philippines Season2 - the Battle has Begun

I stayed up till 11PM last time to watch the TV premiere of Survivor Philippines season 2. I had to "reserve" the television at home, to ensure that I will be able to watch the first episode of one of the country's top reality TV shows. Season2 of Survivor Philippines will be held in the very beautiful island (though I'm not sure if it is exactly an island) of Palau, located in the Micronesia peninsula. The view and the aqua life was breath taking. In fact, the show's short introduction about Palau was more appealing to me than the actual introduction of the castaways. Tee hee!! :-D

I was able to watch the first season of Survivor Philippines. I guess the castaways during the first season were still conscientious and "tamed" (with Marlon as an exemption... he was really really a very bad boy... hehehe.. ). Their values were still intact, well, at least before the 2 tribes merged. My being conscientious were also at play during that time. I really got pissed when the other castaways (like Marlon and Chris) backstabbed their fellow castaways just to ensure that they won't get booted out during Tribal Council. Most of the time, I tend to forget the show's motto - Outwit, Outplay, Outlast.

I'll try to be more objective now in SP2. Have to remember that it is still a game. And people have to play the game to win. A game that could allow the grand winner (the Pinoy Sole Survivor) to be PHP 3M richer. With this amount of money, I will not be surprised if the castaways get scheming, disloyal, and even ruthless.

At this early (2nd day), I have made my choice between the 2 tribes. I have some favorite castaways, and have a few whom I feel disgusted. Let's hope this will be an exciting season. Let's see if the Pinoy castaways can be as sly as sharp-thinking as their foreign (US) counterparts. Let's see how far will this season's castaways go for the much-coveted PHP 3M and the Pinoy Sole Survivor title. :-D

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Thoughts from A Single Parent - Part II

Today I got angry at Zion for being such a devilish little monster. He was throwing tantrums, screaming at the top of his voice, hurling his slippers and toys the way a ninja throws his shuriken (i.e. a ninja's deadly star-shaped weapon) during a fight. The reason for his going berserk? He just wants to watch Spongebob Squarepants… the whole day. Today I realized something. It is difficult to combine a mother’s compassionate nature, with the natural disciplinarian role of a father.

In our culture, it is expected for the mother to be the “soft” one – the family’s source of compassion, gentleness, and the calming breeze that soothes and relaxes the home. On the other hand, our culture dictates that the father should be the firmer one – the family’s source of strength, discipline, and the force that keeps the family going. This is how the traditional Filipino family is structured. This is the traditional family setup which dictates that the yin and yang roles of the father and the mother should be endowed on two separate individuals which are joined together in marriage. This is one dilemma a single parent like me faces. It is heart-breaking for any mother to spank and reprimand one’s child, no matter how impish the kid is. Blood has always been thicker than water. However, it would also be heart-breaking for any mother to see one’s child grow up as an irresponsible adult despised by society, because the child was not brought up properly. As a single parent, it is painful for me every time I have to spank Zion’s tiny hands even if he hurled his toys at me. As a mother, it hurts to verbally reprimand a 3-year old boy even if that 3-year old boy screams his lungs out because he’s not allowed to watch Spongebob 24 hours a day. Somehow, despite their kids’ obnoxious behavior and tantrums, a mother always has a heart for her little ones. But as a single parent, I know that I would rather spank my son’s hands now (and instill in him discipline) than to see those hands in handcuffs in the future. I would rather verbally reprimand my son now (and tell him he’s wrong) than to hear other people throw negative criticisms about him when he grows up. I would rather see him crying now because we are trying to straighten his ways, than to see him grieving in jail in the future because of the lack of discipline when he was young.

Indeed, it is difficult to be a mother and father rolled into one. Not only on the financial aspect. But even on discipline matters. But at the end of every “bout” Zion and I have, I always try to explain myself to my son, "Love does not mean I will always allow you to have what you want. It doesn’t mean that I won’t enforce discipline whenever it is needed. Love means that I will try to raise you the best way I could, to make you a better individual, a God-fearing person, and a productive citizen of this nation."...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Drooling Over Mango Bravo

Last Sunday, my balikbayan Aunt, Tita Leila (belated happy birthday po!), celebrated her *toot*th birthday (very confidential info.. sorry.. :-D). As a treat for their mom, my cousins Melvin and Michael bought some delicious pansit sotanghon and the very yummy Mango Bravo cake from Conti's. My cousins arrived shortly after we have already eaten our lunch, but that didn't stop us from having about a plateful of pancit sotanghon and some "small slices" of Mango Bravo. We still had some "shyness" left within ourselves that we didn't gorge on the entire cake (had to constantly remind ourselves that it was Tita Leila's birthday... not ours.. tee hee!!).

Anyway, the Mango Bravo cake (despite the small slices we had), was superb! Though my Mom said it was quite "nakakaumay" because of the creamy icing, I still think the chilled mixture of mangoes, cashew nuts, chocolate drippings, and the mala-choco-mouse and sponge cake layers, was really something a sweet-tooth-person like me can't resist. Instant high! (again I had to remind myself that the cake was Tita Leila's... not mine.. tee hee!)

I am now thinking of dropping by at Conti's branch in Serendra (near my office) or in Trinoma to get my mango-bravo-craving satisfied. If my memory serves me right, a slice of Mango Bravo would be around P75 to P85 pesos. Well.. not too bad for 10-15 minutes of palate bliss! Yum! :-D

Sunday, August 9, 2009

100 Best Things About Being Pinoy

I got this article from an email sent by my high school batchmate Janice Sobejana. I was amused by several items in the list, especially #'s 3, 42, 62, 63, 67, 80, and 85. But come to think of it, the items in the list truly describes life as a Pinoy. These things make ourselves and our culture unique and different (in a positive sense). Something every Filipino should be proud of! :-)

1. Merienda. Where else is it normal to eat five times a day?
2. Sawsawan. Assorted sauces that guarantee freedom of choice, enough room for experimentation and maximum tolerance for diverse tastes. Favorites: toyo’t calamansi, suka at sili, patis.
3. Kuwan, Ano. At a loss for words? Try these and marvel at how Pinoys understand exactly what youwant.
4. Pinoy Humor and Irreverence. If you’re api and you know it, crack a joke. Nothing personal, really.
5. Tingi. Thank goodness for small entrepreneurs. Where else can we buy cigarettes, soap, condiments and life’s essentials in small affordable amounts?
6. Spirituality. Even before the Spaniards came, ethnic tribes had their own anitos, bathalas and assorted deities, pointing to a strong relationship with the Creator, who or whatever it may be.
7. Po, Opo, Mano Po . Speech suffixes that define courtesy, deference, filial respect—a balm to the spirit in these aggressive times.
8. Pasalubong. Our way of sharing the vicarious thrills and delights of a trip, and a wonderful excuse to shop without the customary guilt.
9. Beaches! With 7,000 plus islands, we have miles and miles of shoreline piled high with fine white sand, lapped by warm waters, and nibbled by exotic tropical fish. From the Stormy Seas of Batanes to the emerald isles of Palawan —over here, life is truly a beach.
10. Bagoong. Darkly mysterious, this smelly fish or shrimp paste typifies the underlying theme of most ethnic foods: disgustingly unhygienic, unbearably stinky and simply irresistible.
11. Bayanihan. Yes, the internationally- renowned dance company, but also this habit of pitching in still common in small communities. Just have that cold beer and some pulutan ready for the troops.
12. The Balikbayan Box. Another way of sharing life’s bounty, no matter if it seems like we’re fleeing Pol Pot everytime we head home from anywhere in the globe. The most wonderful part is that, more often than not, the contents are carted home to be distributed.=0 A
13. Pilipino Komiks. Not to mention “Hiwaga,” “Aliwan,” “Tagalog Classics,” “Liwayway” and”Bulaklak” magazines. Pulpy publications that gave us Darna, Facifica Falayfay, Lagalag, Kulafu, Kenkoy, Dyesebel, characters of a time both innocent and worldly.
14. Folk Songs. They come unbidden and spring, full blown, like a second language, at the slightest nudge from the too-loud stereo of a passing jeepney or tricycle.
15. Fiesta. Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow is just another day, shrugs the poor man who, once a year, honors a patron saint with this sumptuous, no-holds-barred spread. It’s a Pinoy celebration at its pious and riotous best.
16. Aswang, Manananggal, Kapre. The whole underworld of Filipino lower mythology recalls our uniquely bizarre childhood, that is, before political correctness kicked in. Still, their rich adventures pepper our storytelling.
17. Jeepneys. Colorful, fast, reckless, a vehicle of postwar Pinoy ingenuity, this Everyman’s communal cadillac makes for a cheap, interesting ride. If the driver’s a daredevil (as they usually are), hang on to your seat.
18. Dinuguan. Blood stew, a bloodcurdling idea, until you try it with puto. Best when mined with jalapeno peppers. Messy but delicious.
19. Santacruzan. More than just a beauty contest, this one has religious overtones, a tableau of St. Helena’s and Constantine ’s search for the Cross that seamlessly blends piety, pageantry and ritual. Plus, it’s the perfect excuse to show off the prettiest ladies—and the most beautiful gowns.
20. Balut. Unhatched duck’s embryo, another unspeakable ethnic food to outsiders, but oh, to indulge in guilty pleasures! Sprinkle some salt and suck out that soup, with gusto.
21. Pakidala, Padala. A personalized door-to-door remittance and delivery system for overseas Filipino workers who don’t trust the banking system, and who expect a family update from20the courier, as well.
22. Choc-Nut. Crumbly peanut chocolate bars that defined childhood ecstasy before M & M’s and Hersheys.
23. Kamayan Style. To eat with one’s hand and eschew spoon, fork and table manners—ah, heaven.
24. Chicharon. Pork, Fish or Chicken Crackling. There is in the crunch a hint of the extravagant, the decadent and the pedestrian. Perfect with vinegar, sublime with beer.
25. Pinoy Hospitality. Just about everyone gets a hearty “Kain tayo!” invitation to break bread with whoever has food to sh are, no matter how skimpy or austere it is.
26. Adobo, Kare-Kare, Sinigang and Other Lutong Bahay Stuff. Home-cooked meals that have the stamp of approval from several generations, who swear by closely-guarded cooking secrets and family recipes.
27. Lola Basyang. The voice one heard spinning tales over the radio, before movies and television curtailed imagination and defined grown-up tastes.
28. Pambahay. Home is where one can let it all hang out, where clothes do not make a man or woman but rather define their level of comfort.
29. Tricycle and Trisikad. The poor Pinoy’s taxicab that delivers you at your doorstep for as little as PHPesos3.00, with a complimentary dusting of polluted air.
30. Dirty Ice Cream. Very Pinoy flavors that make up for the risk: munggo, langka, ube, mais, keso, macapuno. Plus there’s the colorful cart that recalls jeepney art.
31. Yayas. The trusted Filipino nanny who, ironically, has become a major Philippine export as overseas contract workers. A good one is almost like a surrogate parent—if you don’t mind the accent and the predilection for afternoon soap and movie stars.
32. Sarsi. Pinoy root beer, the enduring taste of childhood. Our grandfathers had them with an egg beaten in.
33. 20Pinoy Fruits. Atis, guyabano, chesa, mabolo, lanzones, durian, langka, makopa, dalanghita, siniguelas, suha, chico , papaya, singkamas—the possibilities!
34. Filipino Celebrities. Movie stars, broadcasters, beauty queens, public officials, all-around controversial figures: Aurora Pijuan, Cardinal Sin, Carlos P. Romulo, Charito Solis, Cory Aquino, Emilio Aguinaldo, the Eraserheads, Fidel V. Ramos, Francis Magalona, Gloria Diaz, Manuel L. Quezon, Margie Moran, Melanie Marquez, Ninoy Aquino, Nora Aunor, Pitoy Moreno, Ramon Magsysay, Richard Gomez, San Lorenzo Ruiz, Sharon Cuneta, Gemma Cruz, Erap, Tiya Dely, Mel and Jay, Gary V.
35. World Class Pinoys Who Put Us On the Global Map: Lea Salonga, Paeng Nepomuceno, Eugene Torre, Luisito Espinosa, Lydia de Vega-Mercado, Jocelyn Enriquez, Elma Muros, Onyok Velasco, Efren “Bata” Reyes, Lilia Calderon-Clemente, Loida Nicolas-Lewis, Josie Natori.36.
36.Pinoy Taste. A dietitian’s nightmare: too sweet, too salty, too fatty, as in burong talangka, itlog20na maalat, crab fat (aligue), bokayo, kutchinta, sapin-sapin, halo-halo, pastilyas, palitaw, pulburon, longganisa, tuyo, ensaymada, ube haleya, sweetened macapuno and garbanzos. Remember, we’re the guys who put sugar (horrors) in our spaghetti sauce. Yum!
37. The Sites & Sights. Banaue Rice Terraces, Boracay, Bohol’s Chocolate Hills, Corregidor Island , Fort Santiago , the Hundred Islands , the Las Piñas Bamboo Organ, Rizal Park , Mt. Banahaw , Mayon Volcano, Taal Volcano. A land of contrasts and ever-changing landscapes.=0 A 38. Gayuma, Agimat and Anting-Anting. Love potions and amulets. How the socially-disadvanta ged Pinoy copes.
39. Barangay Ginebra, Jaworski, PBA, MBA and Basketball. How the vertically-challeng ed Pinoy compensates, via a national sports obsession that reduces fans to tears and fistfights.
40. People Power at EDSA. When everyone became a hero and changed Philippine history overnight.
41. San Miguel Beer and Pulutan. “Isa pa nga!” and the Philippines’ most popular, world-renowned beer goes well with peanuts, corniks, tapa, chicharon, usa, barbecue, sisig, and all20manner of spicy, crunchy and cholesterol- rich chasers.
42. Resiliency. We’ve survived 400 years of Spanish rule, the US bases, Marcos, the 1990 earthquake, lahar, lambada, Robin Padilla, and Tamagochi. We’ll survive Erap.
43. Yoyo. Truly Filipino in origin, this hunting tool, weapon, toy and merchandising vehicle remains the best way to “walk the dog” and “rock the baby,” using just a piece of string.
44. Pinoy Games: Pabitin, palosebo, basagan ng palayok. A few basic rules make individual cunning and persistence a premium, and guarantee a good time for all.
45. Ninoy Aquino. For saying that “the Filipino is worth dying for,” and proving it.
46. Balagtasan. The verbal joust that brings out rhyme, reason and passion on a public stage.
47. Tabo. All-powerful, ever-useful, hygienically- triumphant device to scoop water out of a bucket and help the true Pinoy answer nature’s call. Helps maintain our famously stringent toilet habits.
48. Pandesal. Despite its shrinking size, still a good buy. Goes well with any filling, best when hot.
49. Jollibee. Truly Pinoy in taste and sensibility, and a corporate icon that we can be quite proud of. Do you know that it’s invaded the Middle East , as well?
50. The Butanding, The Dolphins and Other Creatures in Our Blessed Waters. They’re Pinoys, too, and they’re here to stay. Now if some folks would just stop turning them into daing.
51. Pakikisama. It’s what makes people stay longer at parties, have another drink, join pals in sickness and health. You can get dead drunk and still make it home.
52. Sing-a-long. Filipinos love to sing, and thank God a lot of us do it well!
53. Kayumanggi. Neither pale nor dark, our skin tone is beautifully healthy, the color of a rich earth or a mahogany tree growing towards the sun.
54. Handwoven Cloth and Native Weaves. Colorful, environment- friendly alternatives to polyester that feature skillful workmanship and a rich indigenous culture behind every thread. From the pinukpok of the north to the malong of the south, it’s the fiber of who we are.
55. Movies. Still the cheapest form of entertainment, especially if you watch the same movie several times.
56. Bahala Na. We cope with uncertainty by embracing it, and are thus enabled to play life by ear.
57. Papaitan. An offal stew flavored with bile, admittedly an acquired taste, but pointing to our national ability to acquire a taste for almost anything.
58. English. Whether carabao or Arr-neoww-accented, it doubles our chances in the global marketplace.
59. The Press. Irresponsible, sensational, often inaccurate, but still, the liveliest in Asia . Otherwise, we’d all be glued to TV.
60. Divisoria. Smelly, crowded, a pickpocket’s paradise, but you can get anything here, often at rock-= bottom prices. The sensory overload is a bonus.
61. Barong Tagalog. Enables men to look formal and dignified without having to strangle themselves with a necktie. Worn well, it makes any ordinary Juan look marvelously makisig.
62. Filipinas. They make the best friends, lovers, wives. Too bad they can’t say the same for Filipinos.
63. Filipinos. So maybe they’re bolero and macho with an occasional streak of generic infidelity; they do know how to make a woman feel like one.
64. Catholicism. What fun would sin be without guilt? Jesus Christ is firmly planted on Philippine soil.
65. Dolphy. Our favorite, ultra-durable comedian gives the beleaguered Pinoy everyman an odd dignity, even in drag.
66. Style. Something we often prefer over substance. But every Filipino claims it as a birthright.
67. Bad taste. Clear plastic covers on the vinyl-upholstered sofa, posters of poker-playing dogs masquerading as art, over-accessorized jeepneys and altars—the list is endless, and wealth only seems to magnify it.
68. Mangoes. Crisp and tart, or lusciously ripe, they evoke memories of family outings and endless sunshine in a heart-shaped package.Mangoes. Crisp and tart, or lusciously ripe, they evoke memories of family outings and endless sunshine in a heart-shaped package.
69. Unbridled Optimism. Why we rank so low on the suicide scale.
70. Street Food: Barbecue, lugaw, banana-cue, fishballs, IUD (chicken entrails), adidas (chicken feet), warm taho. Forget hepatitis; here’s cheap, tasty food with gritty ambience.
71. The Siesta. Snoozing in the middle of the day is smart, not lazy.
72. Honorifics and Courteous Titles: Kuya, Ate, Diko, Ditse, Ineng, Totoy, Ingkong, Aling, Mang, etc. No exact English translation, but these words connote respect, deference and the value placed on kinship.
73. Heroes and People Who Stood Up for Truth and Freedom. Lapu-lapu started it all, and other heroes and revolutionaries followed: Diego Silang, Macario Sakay, Jose Rizal, Andres Bonifacio, Apolinario Mabini, Melchora Aquino, Gregorio del Pilar, Gabriela Silang, Miguel Malvar, Francisco Balagtas, Juan Luna, Marcelo H. del Pilar, Panday Pira, Emilio Jacinto, Raha Suliman, Antonio Luna, Gomburza, Emilio Aguinaldo, the heroes of Bataan and Corregidor, Pepe Diokno, Satur Ocampo, Dean Armando Malay, Evelio Javier, Ninoy Aquino, Lola Rosa and other comfort women who spoke up, honest cabbie Emilio Advincula, Rona Mahilum, the women lawyers who didn’t let Jalosjos get away with rape.
74. Flora and Fauna. The sea cow (dugong), the tarsier, calamian deer, bearcat, Philippine eagle, sampaguita, ilang-ilang, camia, pandan, the creatures that make our archipelago unique.
75. Pilipino Songs, OPM and Composers: “Ama Namin,” “Lupang Hinirang,” “Gaano Ko Ikaw Kamahal,” “Ngayon at Kailanman,” “Anak,” “Handog,””Hindi Kita Malilimutan,” “Ang Pasko ay Sumapit”; Ryan Cayabyab, George Canseco, Restie Umali, Levi Celerio, Manuel Francisco, Freddie Aguilar, and Florante—living examples of our musical gift.
76. Metro Aides. They started out as Imelda Marcos’ groupies, but have gallantly proven their worth. Against all odds, they continuously prove that cleanliness is next to Godliness—especially now that those darned candidates’ posters have to be scraped off the face of Manila !
77. Sari-Sari Store. There’s one in every corner, offerin g everything from bananas and floor wax to Band-Aid and bakya.
78. Philippine National Red Cross. PAWS. Caritas. Fund drives. They help us help each other.
79. Favorite TV Shows through the Years: “Tawag ng Tanghalan,” “John and Marsha,” “Champoy,” “Ryan, Ryan Musikahan,” “Kuwarta o Kahon,” “Public Forum/Lives,” “Student Canteen,” “Eat Bulaga.” In the age of inane variety shows, they have redeemed Philippine television.
80. Quirks of Language That Can Drive Crazy Any Tourist Listening In: “Bababa ba?” “Bababa!”
81. “Sayang!” “Naman!” “Kadiri!” “Ano Ba!?” “Pala.” Expressions that defy translation but wring out feelings genuinely Pinoy.
82. Cockfighting. Filipino men love it more than their wives (sometimes).
83. Dr. Jose Rizal. A category in himself. Hero, medicine man, genius, athlete, sculptor, fictionist, poet, essayist, husband, lover, samaritan, martyr. Truly someone to emulate and be proud of, anytime, anywhere.
84. Nora Aunor. Short, dark and homely-looking, she redefined our rigid concept of how leading ladies should look.
85. Noranian or Vilmanian. Defines the friendly rivalry between Ate Guy Aunor and Ate Vi Santos and for many years, the only way to be for many Filipino fans.
86. Filipino Christmas. The world’s longest holiday season. A perfect excuse to mix our love for feasting, gift-giving and music and wrap it up with a touch of religion.
87. Relatives and Kababayan Abroad. The best refuge against loneliness, discrimination and confusion in a foreign place. Distant relatives and fellow Pinoys readily roll out the welcome mat even on the basis of a phone introduction or referral.
88. Festivals: Sinulog, Ati-atihan, Moriones. Sounds, colors, pagan frenzy and Christian overtones.
89. Folk dances. Tinikling, pandanggo sa ilaw, kariñosa, kuratsa, itik-itik, alitaptap, rigodon. All the right moves and a distinct rhythm.
90. Native wear and costumes. Baro’t saya, tapis, terno, saya, salakot, bakya. Lovely form and ingenious function in the way we dress.
91. Sunday Family Gatherings. Or, close family ties that never get severed. You don’t have to win the Lotto or be a president to have 10,000 relatives. Everyone’s family tree extends all over the archipelago, and it’s at its best in times of crisis; notice how food, hostesses, money, and moral support materialize during a wake?
92. Calesa and Karitela. The colorful and leisurely way to negotiate narr ow streets when loaded down with a year’s provisions.
93. Quality of Life. Where else can an ordinary employee afford a stay-in helper, a yaya, unlimited movies, eat-all-you- can buffets, the latest fashion (Baclaran nga lang), even Viagra in the black market?
94. All Saints’ Day. In honoring our dead, we also prove that we know how to live.95. Handicrafts. Shellcraft, rattancraft, abaca novelties, woodcarvings, banig placemats and bags, bamboo windchimes, etc. Portable memories of home. Hindi lang pang-turista, pang-balikbayan pa!
96. Pinoy Greens. Sitaw, Okra, Ampalaya, Gabi, Munggo, Dahon ng Sili, Kangkong, Luya, Talong, Sigarillas, Bataw, Patani- Lutong bahay will never be the same without them.
97. OCWs. The lengths (and miles) we’d go for a better life for our family, as proven by these modern-day heroes of the economy.
98. The Filipino Artist. From Luna’s magnificent “Spoliarium” and Amorsolo’s sun-kissed ricefields, to Ang Kiukok’s jarring abstractions and Borlongan’s haunting ghosts, and everybody else in between. Hang a Filipino painting on your wall, and you’re hanging one of Asia ’s best.
99. Tagalog Soap Operas. From “Gulong ng Palad” and “Flor de Luna” to today’s incarnations like “Mula sa Puso”—they’re the story of our lives, and we feel strongly for them, MariMar notwithstanding.
100. Midnight Madness, Weekends Sales, Bangketas and Baratillos. It’s retail therapy at its best, with Filipinos braving traffic, crowds, and human deluge to find a bargain.

Friday, August 7, 2009

The Genuine Article - Vigan Empanada

About a week ago, my officemate/friend Shy announced that she'll be spending the weekend in Vigan with her mom (G.I. ang batang ito - Genuine Ilocano! hehehe.. peace tayo Shy! Ü). Right after she announced this, all of us made our "pabili list" (pinagsisihan mo ba ang pag-aanounce mo ng Vigan trip mo, Shy? hehehe..). We requested bagnets, vigan longganisa, and mine was the famous Vigan empanada. I ordered a dozen empanadas so that everyone here at home can have a taste of the famous Northern Luzon delicacy.

Monday morning came, and a woozy-looking Shy came into the office carrying all our "bilins", including my 1 dozen Vigan empanadas (obviously, hilo pa sa byahe ang lola.. hehehe..). Luckily, our office refrigerator, wasn't filled yet (being a Monday morning), so I had the chance to select a secluded spot in the refrigerator for my 1-dozen-empanadas. I labelled the pack with my name, so no one in the office would "accidentally" get it. I was thankful that I'll be going home with my father that afternoon, which means no hassle carrying the empanadas while fighting my way to get into the MRT (yes.. getting inside the MRT is a battle!).

Immediately, when I got home, I asked my cousin to cook/fry a couple of the empanadas (nao-obvious na di ako marunong magluto... hahaha!). It was also good timing because I didn't like our viand that night. I excitedly munched on my first empanada like a kid who's entering Jollibee for the first time (in other words, super sabik! hehehe..). It was N-I-R-V-A-N-A at the first bite!! I texted Shy like an addict high on ecstasy - "Grabe Shy! Ang sssarrraap nung empanada! HEAVEN!!!". It was really sumptuous, a hundred times better than the Vigan empanada we usually buy in Tiendesitas (yes, I am a Vigan-empanada afficionado). One can really savor the longganisa filling, which means that there is ample longganisa within the empanada (hindi tinipid ang longganisa!). The flavor from the parboiled beansprouts (toge) and the grated green papaya were mixed very well with the meat, that even an anti-vegetable person like me was able to appreciate it. Of course, I ordered the special empanada, which means one whole egg was added to each empanada, which provided additional flavor and texture to the dish.

That night, I forgot my diet (deliberately), and chomped on 2 big pieces of empanadas. Forget the diet, forget the cholesterol, minsan lang naman 'to! :-D

Monday, August 3, 2009

Ako Mismo - Prayers and Wishes for Cory

I signed up in the Ako Mismo movement about a month or two ago. I have posted about 2 or 3 pledges there as my personal conviction as a Filipino.
When President Aquino passed away this weekend, the Ako Mismo movement opened a new wall wherein members can post wishes and prayers for the late President. As a Filipino who grew up during her regime, I was able to see what she has done to restore freedom and democracy in the land. She may not be the perfect President, but her integrity, commitment, and dedicated has helped the country find its way to real democracy.
Below are my post on the Ako Mismo wall dedicated to Cory Aquino.

Farewell and Thank You Tita Cory

I know there will be a lot blog posts on the Internet that will talk about you, will thank you, will praise you, and will give their final tribute for you. I know I am just a nobody, an ordinary Juana dela Cruz, but nonetheless, as a citizen of this country, I would just like to pay my final respect to you, President Corazon Aquino.

First of all, I would like to thank you for being a principled Filipino. Thank you for restoring democracy in the country. As a young Filipino during the 1986 EDSA revolution, I don't have the slightest idea of what was going on during that time. I don't know why you, my parents, and millions of other adult Filipinos risked their lives and limbs by going out in EDSA during that tumultuous time. But 23 years after that peaceful People Power revolution, my son and I are savoring the benefits of this freedom and democracy which you have fought for and restored. Second, thank you, President Aquino, for bringing pride to the Filipina. You are the first Filipina to be the President of the Philippines, and the first woman leader in Asia. You have shown the male-dominated Philippine society and government, as well as the world, that Filipino women are more than just housewives and second-class citizens; that we Pinays, can be at par with our male counterparts in manning and managing a complicated institution such as the Philippine government. You have proven your worth as President by withstanding all the coup d' etats, and by showing your detractors that despite your being a woman, you have the will and determination of a true leader, defending your people against those who wish to sow fear and terror. Lastly, thank you, President Aquino for showing us the importance of having faith in God and faith in your people. Thank you for showing us that prayers and a strong faith in God can truly bring miracles in our lives. Thank you for having the same conviction as your husband Ninoy, and believing that we, the ordinary Pinoys, are worth your time, your effort, and your sacrifices.

President Aquino, I know you are in a better place now. Wherever you are, please know that you will always be loved, appreciated, and remembered by every Filipino, whose life you have touched. I hope that God will bless the Philippines with more leaders whose integrity, commitment, and dedication will be like yours. Farewell and thank you President Aquino. God bless you.

*** Note: I have also posted this thank-you message on my personal site on Multiply. :-) ***