Sunday, December 24, 2006

Maligayang Pasko

Maligayang Pasko at Pinagpalang Bagong Taon.

Ang saya talaga mag balot ng regalo. Kahit maraming niluluto at medyo mag mamadali sa dami ng inaasikaso ngayong Pasko masaya talaga ang pakiramdam. Kasama ang mga mahal sa buhay at mga mabuting kaibigan.

Panahon para alalahanin natin na kaya may Pasko may sobrang nagmahal sa atin mga 2007 years ago.

Ang Pasko talaga ay nasa puso trimmings na lang ang lahat ng mga kasayahan sa paligid. Haay sarap ng amihan na hangin.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Si Tatay pa rin

Maligayang Pasko Tatay syemps ikaw pa rin the best kahit wala kang six pack abs at there is something in the horizon sabi nga ni Paulus. Pinaka gwapo of them all.

Yul Kwon

I am pleasantly surprised that Yul won as the sole survivor. I really like Yul and have been rooting for him to win. I thought that Ozzy would win the votes of the Jury because he is equally deserving. I was a bit sad that he did not. He is an epitome of a true jungle boy. It just shows how Yul was able to play this game to outwit, outplay and outlast without that bad after taste like the past seasons.

I am really really happy that the Aitu four became the final four. Yehey! I voted for Sundra as my favorite survivor early on the season. It was really funny with the fire making thing but I still like her. I love the way she answered Jenna Morasca today. True, it is a game and that Survivor is not real life but what the cast did in the show will affect them in their real life after. One thing that Becky should be proud of is that she had the option to get the idol but she did not. What would happen to Yul if she did?

This brings me to Candice, I think she is the one who lost the most in this. Jonathan made this season truly a fantastic season to watch. The way he played at the auction, we enjoyed it and had a good laugh. Despite him being called many "fantastic" names at the finale he said to his kids "we don't do that". and indeed in the show he played a rational game that in hindsight made this season really great to watch.

Thanks to for the image

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Simbang Gabi

I still remember the first time I ever completed the Simbang Gabi. I was in 4th Grade. I believe I was ten going on eleven. That was the one and only time that I ever completed the nine consecutive early morning mass just before Christmas. It was a happy memory. It was really an adventure for me at that age.

I grew up on a barrio San Agustin and our ancestral house beside the Maharlika highway. We were about 3 to 4 km away from Alaminos town proper where the church is. This church survived the war save for the belfry. Like any other church or chapel it is well lit up during this time of the year. The mass starts at 4 am in the morning. I had to wake up at 2am and ask my Lola Abeng or my Tita Ching Inay to come with me to Simbang Gabi.

Such determination was fueled by a wish. I was really determined to finish those nine consecutive mornings because I learned that year in 1982 that if ever I complete this, I will be granted whatever I prayed for.

So there, every morning at 2am I will wake up ready and eager to walk (as we do not have a car and there is no jeep at that hour) the 3 kilometers to town in the cold dark morning. The lamp post along the highway is few and far between in minds eye at that age. It was cold and I kept warm with all the layers of clothing my small body can carry fashionably hehehe bata pa lang fashionista na. One thing I will never forget is that rag doll that Inay made for me. I always brought her with me during those long walks.

We need to wake up at 2am if we want to have a seat. If we start walking any later than that we will have to endure the standing-room-only condition for an hour or more. Our early morning walks was marked by blinking lights from the houses we passed by.

Looking back I was thrilled every morning. I love the festive atmosphere. It was cold outside but it was really warm inside the church. There was the puto bumbong and bibingka but I look forward to the pandesal more at that time. It was a celebration unique to us that now I am really happy to look back at my childhood.

And yes, the wish. My Mama and Daddy and sisters we just live with my Lola and relatives. We were really poor. We have been living in different places begging relatives to take us in for a while. An experience that marked my young mind of how hard it is to have no roof above your head. I never told anybody what I wished for. But my Lola knew that I was praying hard for something really important to me. Yes, that Simbang Gabi season in 1982 in my deepest prayers, I prayed that God please let us have a house of our own.

In less than a year, despite financial challenges, my wish was granted.

Thank you Lord for that blessing.


God bless you today with His graces Celine on the day of your binyag. Congratulations to Ryan and Cherrie. It is always always so good to share memorable moments with good friends. We were really happy to share this day with you all. We shared stories with Ding and Chi and Cassie who blew a flying kiss to Isay. When we got home I was thinking it would have been a great picture the 3 second generation QTs: Cassie (who looks like Ding), Isay (looking like tatay Amats) and Celine (in Ian's words looks like Cherrie but with Ryan's hair). Parang Adobe Photoshop pero you do not need the software at all :O)

And not to forget Cindy and Mike's two little boys Miguel and Gabriel.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Happy Birthday Jane!

We spent some really good time at dinner today at San Francisco (Del Monte) hehehe. It was Jane Allison's 2nd birthday. The usual fare of crispy pata, rellenong bangus, pancit, etc etc and of course birthday cake. Jane loves playing with Isay. It is really good to spend time with family.


"here is the truth about the truth, it hurts, so we lie"-Dr. Meredith Grey

Just watched Grey's Anatomy.

Super Typhoons and Styrofoams

When you buy anything "to go" the person at the counter, waiter in the resto or even the ordinary carinderia will put your food in a styrofoam.

I get tired telling people-- please do not put my food in styrofoam. I do not use styrofoam. I get these stares as if I am an alien from Mars or whatever. Then I slowly explain about the growing Payatas trash that I do not want that because that is the easiest way for them to recognize why I opt not to use styrofoam.

Well in fact as I hope most people know that styrofoam contributes to greenhouse gas, that contributes to global warming and thus might be causing all these super typhoons.

For more expert opinion please click The Green Office.

just to quote from that website:

Styrofoam, or polystyrene, engenders a host of environmental and health detriments. It’s made from non-renewable fossil fuels, and its production releases the harmful greenhouse gas HCFC-22 into the atmosphere. Heavy exposure to polystyrene is linked to headaches, fatigue, and depression. After use, polystyrene does not biodegrade and is known to choke and clog the digestive systems of animals when improperly disposed of. When burned, polystyrene releases 57 chemical byproducts. Some of these same chemicals can be transferred to food that is stored in Styrofoam containers, especially during microwaving.

It is scary to think noh??? That small styrofoam from which we drink our coffee and put our left overs or take aways can cause these super typhoons.

This just shows that everything on Earth is connected. What we do to our environment goes back to us.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Super Typhoons 3 in a row

After Typhoon Milenyo, Paeng, Reming and now Seniang. I am really alarmed at how our old house in Alaminos will stay in tact. The roof is almost falling down crumbling to be exact the last time I saw it.

Then this leads me to recall climate change and global warming.

I visited some blogs to look up on this issue and I was led to Grist Blog Environmental News and Commentary discussing about Al Gore.

Then I remembered Elnora raving about the film An Inconvenient Truth.

So guys what do you think about all these Super Typhoons in relation to Climate Change?

Friday, December 08, 2006

Let us help Bicol

In the wake of typhoon Reming codename: Durian...

AGAP BIKOL and Tabang sa Kabikolan (UP-Diliman) extended.

Reports from Civil Defense Officials as of December 6, 2006
- 526 dead mostly around Mayon volcano and another 740 missing
- 1.54 million people affected nearly 83,000 of whom sought refuge at evacuation centers
- More than 250,000 damaged houses and damage to buildings, infrastructure and agriculture placed at P1.6 billion
- Power facilities in Albay valued at about P200 million destroyed and power restoration may take more than six (6) months (Albay Electric Coop)

Those who want to donate via the Jesuit Society and Ateneo de Naga please see Fr. Jboy's blog and if you are in the UP Diliman area you can also donate thru UPSCA contact information please click here.

You can also help through the Philippine National Red Cross and Red Crescent Society please click here.

I also heard that if you donate through HSBC they will make a match donation peso by peso.

There are many avenues we can extend our love to our brothers in the Bicol Region.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Elephants can not climb trees

I really wanted to write something about elephants. Anyway I was influenced to do some research about them before. At that time, I noted from reading NGS that the main difference between Asian and African elephants are their ears. Asian elephants have smaller ears. So there you go. My small bit on elephants. For the record I am really facinated by elephants. I can't wait until we can all go on safari to Africa to see them in their natural habitat.

Never been to Africa but I made friends with Sybille from Zanzibar. We met in Dumaguete there we rode on a tricyle that konked out in the middle of a dirt road and I remember telling her no worries and added "hakuna matata". She was so surprised and said "Oh! you speak Swahili". And then I said "No. I don't I just watched Lion know Lion King?" The she said looking very confused "No I don't". My smile was up to my ears back then. Well it pays to watch cartoons.

Anyway back to my original story. Another thing that made me interested in elephants and look them up again is the remark in Survivor Cook Islands by Yul about why elephants can't climb trees. Oh well, then my research led me to this Elephant Orphanage.

Awww these are Asian elephants.

Pasko na naman

Whenever Christmas is approaching one cannot help but be nostalgic. Many childhood memories both happy and unhappy are formed and fashioned during the season past. Pasko is always associated with home-- of coming back home. Wherever we are, however old we are, at this time of the year, we long to go back home. Traditions and family are highlighted and sometimes unintentionally creating a space for longing if we do not have these in our lives. Sometimes the emptiness is palpable because of the contrast.

All my memories of Pasko was in Alaminos. I've always celebrated this day with beloved ones at our old ancestral home. We've never had extravagant celebrations only some portion of good food and blessings of family is enough to keep everyone happy. Except for the past two years. Since Inay died two years ago, each Christmas seemed to be different. Only this year that I realized that my home during Christmas is Inay herself. And the emptiness that fills my heart is part of longing for Inay.

Now, as we build our own family, I realized that I am in the process of creating our own memories. Building new ones and remembering the old ones. And the cycle goes on.

But then again, Christmas is not really about memories, it is about God's love for us. Preparing our hearts to receive the blessing of the coming of the Child. And the message of hope that He brings, that heaven is our home.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Sabi ni Lola

I remember my grandmother repeating this verse like a broken record: "Nasa Diyos and awa, nasa tao ang gawa" (I cannot fully translate this as the intensity seem to wane as it is translated it is much better said in Filipino). My grandmother was a sagrado catholico, she claims that she is a religious person and it is reflected in the way she led her life. But always she is a very down to earth woman. She was blessed with six children and 8 grandchildren. She held on to her beliefs but she was very practical. She always made us understand that we are responsible for our own life and our own future.

Yes, there is God but it is still up to us to do our part. Devout as she is, she never told us to be resigned individuals to whatever fate has to offer. In her few select words, in a traditional provincial setting, she still made us understand that we are individuals who makes choices in own our lives. And more importantly that we should get in to action so to speak to get our lives going.

Haay. It is so hard sometimes to express oneself in another language.

Basta, sabi nga ni Lola: "Nasa Diyos ang awa, nasa tao ang gawa."


Intellectual Property Rights. I attended a gathering in a university recently and I presented something on the work I do. During my presentation, I mentioned and underlined IPR. In a university where they say: "You either have to publish or perish", I think I got some interesting stares.

Ideas and non verbal, unwritten ways of life, environmental conservation of traditional people among others are some of the things that are not patented but need to be protected by IPR.

It is sad that some who reside in the most beautiful and remote places rarely get the chance to claim the ownership of such ideas and way of life. It is like having land titles. Traditional people lost their ancestral lands due to a piece of paper. But I hope that IPR will help traditional people claim their own stories, folklore, traditions before anyone else.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

The politics of weddings

Before weddings are open to the public mostly in the provinces. I just do not know exactly how the evolution of wedding guest came to be. Now, there are problems where to sit who, what table should this and that person be. Haay such a hassle. But I guess it is also economics. Because life these days are much harder. But there it is the whole politics of who to invite and where to sit that person. If given the choice I would opt not to go through this exercise.

Thanks to for the image

Today actually it made me think: "Why people spend so much just for show?".

Take for example wedding A of Pepe and Pilar (not their real names but they are real people--to protect me more than them haha) they have this grand wedding in a grand cathedral they they have this huge reception in a prominent hotel in the metro where more than 300 guest arrive most of them visitors of their visitors. Then when all is over the newly weds are submerged in loans here and there. And to think this couple really do not have much. Some years later let us look at what happened to their relationship?

Then there is wedding B itago natin sila sa pangalang Juan at Maria. This couple is really rich and could really afford to have a grand wedding but they chose to have a simple ceremony. They have few friends to grace to occasion and afterwards they ate out together in a nice restaurant. And that was it.

Then wedding C mountaineer friends got engaged on the summit of their favorite mountain peak, next few days they got married with only selected significant people in both their lives as guest. This couple also is well loved and had the blessings of their family, they are both of age, been together for more than 5 years. Their families are also well off. Now they both live in the US.

I just cannot understand why some people opt to have grand weddings when they cannot afford it and second thing, years later looking at their relationship well...

And then there are those that have simple ones and yet have a more meaningful ceremony and years later their relationship still going stronger.

What does really matter anyway? It really is simple.

No rains at signal #2

For the past two days, we were bracing ourselves for the supertyphoon Reming to hit Metro Manila. But it was interesting to note that there was barely any rain as Reming codename:Durian passed by. But you can just sense something is coming.

On Nov 30th evening the lights went out. Oh no, here we go again. Something like a blast, some shouts then darkness. Hehehe there were no rains yet that night, only slightly gusty winds blowing. Apparently, we learned that a transformer was busted in Matalino St. Haaay.

The good news is that Quezon City in particular is spared from the super typhoon, but when I saw the path of the storm passing by Verde Island passage and the whole of Batangas. I was really worried for Ka Rosie and the people of Lobo and Bigang Munti. I remember when Typhoon Caloy hit Batangas, houses were taken by the sea, boats were wrecked and some fishermen died. It was really sad. I remembered all the permanent transect blocks we painstakingly laid out at Biga, most of them were washed out by Caloy and I don't know what happened now. I texted Ka Rosie to send them some comforting messages.

As I watched the wreck in Naga City, now declared in state of calamity, I saw familiar road in Naga. We have a friend there we visited a few years back when we went to see the whalesaharks of Donsol. It is really sad to see those images. The reports said it would be lucky if the electricity is back on by Dec 15th.

It was a bit eerie that there was not much rain in the metro while all these are going on and signal number 2 at that.