Saturday, December 24, 2005

A Child is born unto us

This season of advent would be one of my first to truly know the meaning of waiting,expectation, and anticipation. I feel blessed to experience being an active part in His miracle of creation.

It was only this Christmas season that I truly felt how difficult it is for Mama Mary to be carrying the Child Jesus in her womb, experiencing all the physical stress of coping with daily stress of an expectant mother, traveling to visit Elizabeth, then that 9 miles travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem on a donkey to think that they were not just traveling on flat land. Never have I felt so sad that they have no room to stay but just a stable.

I could just imagine her having the difficult time of her life and yet she and Joseph was able to overcome all of these. I can imagine the stress that she might be feeling. It is difficult enough to be with Child and all those physical challenges that an expectant mother have to bear add to that they have no where to stay for the night. Only this year that I have felt how palpable this aspect of Christmas is.

Always I was wondering why God chose to come in such a humble setting. I thought I understood this in various ways but yet this year it revealed again a new insight. Our God is such a loving God that He wants to show us that it is not the physical and material things surrounding us that define us. And that the true meaning of our lives is that we were created with His divine purpose. He lets us know that He truly understands how hard it is to be human. A reassurance that wherever we are, whatever difficult situation we are right now, still He takes care of us His children.

Every Christmas season there is always a mix of emotions that floods upon me, they come in waves that sometimes I am unable to see through it clearly at once but God is good He sends His message in forms that is fitted to us alone. Now more than ever, the distinction between external hardships, anxiety, poverty is miniscule compared to the internal joy, hope and love that this Christmas has yet again reaffirmed in my life.

Merry Christmas everyone. Rejoice our Savior is born!

Saturday, December 17, 2005


Parol is the local name for the star that was seen by the three wise men. This is one of my favorite symbols of Christmas. The Parol is also very Filipino (not Santa, not the tree nor snow flakes in a tropical country hehehehe) the parol usually is made up of thin strips of bamboo tied together to form a star with thin colored papers and paper cut outs for its two tails to symbolize its bright shining rays showing the way to baby Jesus.

Though the parol had taken on many forms some dressed with dancing colored lights, many still use the traditional simple five point star. I guess I do have a bias for parol because i used to make one when I was young and always happy to hang it in the most prominent window of the house.

I love it becaise it is also a symbol of light and hope. It brightens and shows us the way and points to the One why we celebrate this season.

Simbang Gabi

Simbang gabi has already started. This marks the traditional masses in the early mornings usually 4am held everyday nine days before Christmas. I used to asked my grandmother why it is held so early in the morning and she said that beccause the farmers in the old days have no time during the day because they are out in the field. The farmers also like to work really early when it is nice and cool before the sun is high and it gets too hot to work.

I grew up in the province and I always look forward to this time of the year. When I was young my Inay and I would start walking the 2 km walk to the church around 3am to make it in time and find ourselves a seat in the usually fully packed church. Along the way we would see the blinking parol in the houses, and when were near the church the smell of bibingka and puto bungbong will greet us. I remember I used to bring a rag doll back then to keep me company along the seeming long walk to town and to keep me warm also. That was the only year I was able to complete the nine early morning mass. It was believed that when one completes the simbang gabi a wish will be granted. I still remember the wish I prayed for that year a long time ago-- for my family to have our own house. After a year our very small house in Frisco was built but it was an answered prayer indeed.

I also love the community we have there in our small town. We had a big church overflowing with people and each celebration was sponsored by a barrio was grand. Always there were joyous singing each day I got more more excited in anticipation of Christmas. I guess thats when I learned what anticipation is of the Child that is to come and bring us joy.

Monday, December 12, 2005


This time of the year is when you'll would find almost everywhere in the city here in the Philippines the"tiangge" or flea market (I have to do my research on why they call it flea market). This is the place where you can buy all sorts of food stuff from cake, candies and other local delicacies, there are toys, clothes, gift items, bags, shoes and anything. It is amazing though that the products mostly are sold for just $2.00 US about a hundred Ph Pesos. It sounds like a garage sale but the items like the toys and small gift items are new, while the food stuffs are really good most of them home made for those people wanting to earn extra this season.

Yesterday was a first for me because I helped a friend sell her wares at the Claret Bazaar aka a local tiangge. Since the venue was just about a couple of blocks away from our apartment, I couldn't refuse not to pass by. Eventually I stayed on to help her sell her cakes, pastries and spreads. Also with us her 9 year old daugther Isabel. I enjoyed myself spending the day with them. I was also reminded how difficult it is to earn money. I saw that it was the best way for Ina to teach Isabel the value of work and money and be responsible for the blessings and resources that we are blessed with.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Human Rights Day today!

Join the celebration! Free Concert today at 8 MRT stations. Salamat kay Mae for posting the anouncement na may Rock and Roll sa mga MRT stations called Rock the Riles.

This Saturday, Dec 10, 2005,
RockEd Philipppines
will ROCK-the-RILES
from 4pm to 6pm
to advocate the 8 UN Millennium Development Goals and
to celebrate Human Rights Day and
to support the 3rd international White Band Day
8 MRT Stations
each campaigning for 1 MDG
each providing an art feast.
music. dance. art.verse. photography. poetry.
band performances. mural painting. story telling. poetry exhibits.

click here for your invitation.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Remembering Inay

Today is Inay's birthday. Inay actually is my Tita Ching who helped my parents in raising me up together with my Lola Abeng. I think I won't ever forget her birthday because her name is "Concepcion" named after the feast we are celebrating today.

Inay was a simple woman who didn't have much in life but I grew up under her care and love. I was witness to her generosity, patience and struggles in life that made her strong. It has been over a year now since she passed away. I've seen four deaths in my family, all of whom women very close to me, my youngest sister (1984), my mother(1989), my lola (1988) and Inay (2004). I would like to honor these women who have gone before me. Today, I realized that the way they lived their lives have helped me to be the person I am today. I thank God for the lessons I learned from them and the love that nourished me through these women.

Today, we celebrate a woman whose life is an example of simplicity, humility and love Mama Mary.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Mabuhay ang bagong kasal!

Congratulations Ria and John!

We enjoyed your truly Filipino wedding. From the Alibata invitation, to the sapin-sapin rice wedding cake, the buko and gulaman, isaw, bibingka, fish ball, lechon baka, dirty ice cream of an original mamang sorbetero. Thank you also for entertaining your guest with the "Sayaw sa Bangko" a festive native dance of love. We also had a great time singing with Middle C's rendition of VST hits.

May God bless you both...magpakailanman ahaha aha awitin mo at isasayaw ko!

Mabuhay kayo!

Basahin ang blog ni Ria at JohnXXV: Republika ng Pilipinas (trivia: an essential read link ni mlq3 mismo)

Rhythmic Gymnastics at 23rd SEAG

Finally I was able to watch a world competition in gymnastics at the 23rd SouthEast Asian Games. Last Saturday, Amats and I went to see the games. We went to watch for a while women's single tennis, then baseball Philippines vs Myanmar but the highlight of last Saturday's games for us was the Rhythmic Gymnastics Women's Finals. The competing countries are Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines.

Since I was a kid I always watched the games on TV only because I lived in the province and it is expensive to go to Manila. In recent years when our country was host to SEAG, I wasn't able to find time to go.

The past week, I kept telling Amats please check the schedule specially the gymnastics. For the longest time I wanted to watch and thank God we had a great time at the games all for free. We even saw Rocky de Castro in the sponsors booth, who called us on our mobile just to wave and say hi.

Here are some of the pictures of the gymnast. They move so fast, I could barely focus with my old cam. Amazing what these girls can do with their bodies. There were four events where all the gymnast had to compete these are rope, ball, clubs and ribbon. It took almost an hour each. Although Philippines did not win in those events, still we cheered the Malaysians like true sports fans. We went home happy with our small Philippine flag.

See the latest news at the SEAG website

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Pilipinas mag sindi ka rin

Today is World Aids Day. Know that there is much suffering in the world but in the confines of own comfort zones at home or in the office, we can still do something to help and make a difference.

Please help raise funds for AIDS research. You can help by just clicking on the button
Click here to donate.

Visit, click where you live on the globe(wait for it to draw it with the ribbon), and choose the reason you want them to make a donation[strenght, hope, love, etc.]. They will donate $1 to HIV/AIDS research for each person. This is available only tonight. Spread the word.

Pamilya Danao: isang pagpupugay

Welcome to baby Toni!!! (aka Amihan Antonia Ibanez Danao)

Mama Nina gave birth to Baby Toni on November 23, 2005 and Papa Louis backed up by lamaze was able to be inside the O.R. We visited them last Sunday to celebrate with them one of life's greatest miracles and God's blessing.