Tuesday, January 30, 2007

What is your heartsong?

A week or two ago, I watched Happy Feet. Well actually, two of us did. Isay and I, until she fell asleep. I love the film. Love Mumble Happy Feet. I love to listen to good music and this one is really fun to watch. It is about loving our home and about the environment. Happy Feet is about finding your heart song, but it is also about the way we treat our environment, human encroachment, alien abduction and more. I never thought of myself as an alien but you know what I mean when you see it.

One very interesting concept in it is about the "heartsong". In the movie it is said that each penguin have a heartsong. I believe that each one of us have this "song" in our hearts. We just express it in many different ways. I can really really relate to Mumble. I wasn't born with a good voice and cannot really sing that well. Terror music teachers come to mind as I watch the un-encouraging way Mumble was being taught.

I particularly remember an incident when a friend of mine and I was pulled aside to "practice on our own not with the group" that part in the carol that we were supposed to sing. After that incident, my friend did not join the group anymore. She didn't say anything, just didn't join anymore, sad. But I was kapalmuks and what the heck I persisted despite my sore throat hahaha to the eternal dismay of some ahahaha.

Worth mentioning is Mumble's Mom who was really supportive of her fledgling. Now that I am a Nanay, I can relate more to her. Encouraging despite the stark difference of her little one.

Anyway, back to heartsong. Penguins have a heart song. This helps them find a mate (if it was only that easy), keep warm in the dark cold winter ( I wonder how the song keeps them warm), and express their individuality. Sadly, Mumble is born without a heart song. But he can dance-- a mean combination of tiptaptiptaptap.

I love this idea of having a heartsong. It also shows that there are talents other than singing. We are blessed with other gifts that some may not appreciate. But eventually, when we stay true to ourselves, pursue our dreams and persevere, we will have that heartsong moment.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

A chickenetarian aspiring to be vegetarian

Sunday Inquirer Magazine last week issue "Do or Diet" was really a great issue. I loved all the articles posted there. I guess this inspired me to finally write that entry about this way of life. I don't eat pork or beef since 1997. Come to think of it, this year will be ten years. There was also a time when I attempted to taste sinigang baboy, the soup first, so as to gradually put me back as a carnivore. But surprisingly, my taste buds would not cooperate anymore. This was about 5 years ago.

When people ask me if I am a vegetarian, I usually reply, "chickenetarian" because I don't really know what you call people who are non-red-meat-eaters. There was also a time that I tried to go vegan. But it is really hard. More often than not, I do not explain I do not eat this or that. I just eat what I can eat on the table or what is served. If there is pork in the pancit, I just set it aside.

When I was younger I loved barbeque, hotdogs, giniling na menudo and many more Pinoy foods that my Lola cooks so well. I barely eat vegetables when I was young. I had to teach myself in high school to eat ampalaya.

Well, what inspired me to go this way? In 1997, I was climbing mountains a lot. Every weekend we will go hiking. Two good friends were vegetarians who inspired me as well. But what got me to shift is the notion that when you eat meat (red meat) a lot, your sweat will be mabaho. Thus, you have to change clothes more often. Lazy me, I want to travel light and still smell good even with all the sweat from the trek, I tried this one out. But speaking from experience, yes indeed, when I changed my diet, I smelled better than before. I think there is some truth to this just observe what happens when you eat curry. hehehehe.

Yes, it was all for vanity and for a light load for the trek. Eventually, it became a way of life. Most of my family have hypertension and was prescribed with a similar diet. It was good in a way that we eat the same foods. But my father still loves crispy pata despite... Sigh.

When I started 10 years ago, my weight was 87 lbs only and it went up to my ideal weight of about 110 lbs to 115 lbs and stayed there well until 2002. When I stopped hiking, then I started gaining more. I guess because I ate lots of carbs and salty foods maybe to compensate. This I read last week that we need to be careful of.

I remember a time when some people learn about me not eating pork or beef, they have this look that says I am deprived. Well, I just usually laugh about it. I even barbeque pork during Christmas at home while we also grill veggies. Even in climbs, I still prepare pork dishes for my team even if I dont eat, because that was what we planned, I guess that is why some still forget that I dont eat red meat.

In another post I would like to share more about why this way of life is also good for the environment and maybe my aspirations of having a compassionate diet.

Hala Bira! Puera pasma

Last week was the celebration of the Ati Atihan. This is one of the Philippine festivals that I really want to participate in and take lots of pictures. This still remains a dream. It was the feast day of the Sto.Nino last Sunday.

In the papers I saw the colorful costumes and again wished I was there to take pictures. Anyway, I just went to look up where the tradition began. Now I know that Datu Puti is not just a brand of suka or toyo (hehehe) he had a particular participation to this famous tradition in Panay Island.

While we were enjoying the carless oval in UP. I was chanting "hala bira! puera pasma!" while I carry Isay lifting her up as we pretend to join the Sinulog in spirit.

earthquake caused idle blogging

It has been a while since I blogged. I attempted several times the past days but it seems to be too slow. I guess the culprit is the damaged telecom backbone caused by the earthquake in Taiwan late December. The internet service providers are getting a beating from users due to slow service. According to the primetime news regular service will be back pa by Feb 21.

Monday, January 15, 2007

At a birthday party

A good friend celebrated her birthday last Friday. There was an impromtu pot luck dinner sponsored by her 5 yr old. The little girl prepared all the trimmings a hand written banner and drawings of flowers pasted on the wall. Yaya prepared that to-die for pasta with walnuts and smoked cheese plus homemade eggplant parmigiana (tama ba spelling?) While the friends brought other good stuff. We brought homemade chicken-tofu-carrot siomai. These group of friends have in one way or the other opted for a good lifestyle change going organic and being vegetarians. Well some are still chickenetarians.

Of course as the night went on the conversation went about our concerns when we were in college or high school. It seems that during that time concerns were very different. We had a great laugh thinking about our worst concerns. One is "nalaman ng crush mo na crush mo siya" hahaha as if the whole world fell apart at that time parang pinasukluban ka na ng langit at lupa. Hahahaha. Our tummies ache.

Oh well, things does change and our perspective of things are turned around that sometimes what was relevant then is really irrelevant. It was a good memory to recall because we had a good laugh. Now with our own families the world seems different that the concern is not more of the self but of family and our children.

We brought Isay to her most late night party. I guess she really enjoyed the super friends company. Of course the pahabol Christmas gifts.

ideals of a child

Every time I watch "Wish Ko Lang" I cry. I knew that whenever I let myself be immersed on these true stories I would really feel for these people. It was the story of a young girl Jamaica that really brought back memories. I realized that children are really idealistic. I remembered that I think more like an adult when I was before my teens and then became a child when I was in my teens and early twenties then now become an adult.

I recalled that when I was really young, my foremost concern is to get our family out of poverty. I would do anything that would help my family. I will vow to finish my education and help. In a way I saw myself in that little girl. There was a time in my youth that I would just walk alone the 4km to the central public school. I was told not to go because we have no money for a jeepney ride or my lunch. I still went to school even without lunch money. I walked and then played during lunch time. I can still remember that day. They said that the old memories are the last to go when you eventually start to not remember.

It is good to be reminded that we are very blessed. To be reminded that there are people in this world that experience poverty in a level that others just read about in the papers. There are people and children that works just to have that next meal.
I guess it is a reminder of how we should look at our own situations in life right now. I am inspired by the ideals of a child.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


Whenever I feel restless, without direction and slightly paranoid, I recall the reminder that Judith J. mentioned to me once. The single memory was clear and crisp that I can still draw inspiration from that particular conversation.

"Look at the birds, they neither sow nor reap." The friend who reminded me of this one is not even a friend in community but a friend whom I lost touch for many years now. I cannot even remember the year when I had this conversation with her. I am amazed how God speaks to us. Now, I am once again reminded:

Matthew 6:26"Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and [yet] your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? (NASB ©1995)

After recalling that conversation with a friend, a prayer of thanksgiving simply and quietly flows naturally. A feeling of security that indeed all my needs (and wants!) have always been provided for. Indeed God has always been a great Father all the time. He is especially comforting during the days that I seem to have forgotten er neglected my spiritual nurturing.

I feel that a "Thank You" is not enough. But that is the prayer that springs from my heart everytime. "Thank You".

Salamat po!

Monday, January 08, 2007


A bit of history:
The Romans named the first month of the year after Janus, the god of beginnings and the guardian of doors and entrances. He was always depicted with two faces, one on the front of his head and one on the back. Thus he could look backward and forward at the same time. At midnight on December 31, the Romans imagined Janus looking back at the old year and forward to the new.

Looking back in time to examine one's life. And looking ahead what the future hold. Everything in between is our present. At this time of the year reflections of this kind in one form or another passes our thoughts. Different people have many ways of doing this exercise. I for one never write down my resolutions. Most of the 3 decades past, I would just keep a thought, a resolve to heart, more often than not, I will not even mention what that resolve is. Until some of these are fulfilled. And sometimes maybe not. Sometimes these are not even printable as they are private and personal.

It seems that we are at the brink of great possibilities at the begining of each year. Even if we do not know what the future holds, a sense of hope lingers. A thought that one can start anew. A hope for better things to come.

Now is also a time of being in the middle. A time to stop, reflect and examine the year that was and a time to get our bearings ready for the new year.

2006 milestones

There are many things that highlight 2006. Many blessings to be thankful for. It is indeed a full year. Many first as new parents. When I look back to the past year, I cannot even know where to start as this whole year seem to stand out. I learned a lot and experienced new things. I faced my fears and overcame challenges both physical and emotional. No event to small that creates an indelible impact in my life. Each experience is a milestone in itself. Let me share to you some of the most unforgetable moments of 2006.

1) Giving birth. The miracle of life and to be able to be an active part of it. This is one of my personal fears and yet it is one of the best experience I ever had. A real first in one of my life changing events. Nothing compares to the joy of seeing our newborn. The physical challenges and pains are nothing in comparison to the happiness that this little person brings to our life. Now I think I know why they call them bundles of joy.

2) Pregnancy. Hormones played an active part to the up and downs for most part of the year. It was my first time to fly to 3 different countries during different stages of my pregnancy. Australia during my first trimester (even got to snorkel in GBR), then Singapore and Bali, Indonesia on my 6th month. In my Bali trip, first time I got really delayed and had to stop over another country.

3) Defending my thesis on my 7th month. Unforgetable indeed as I was writing my Special Problem for my Post Grad studies during 2006. It was a happy memory presenting and defending my paper while 7th months pregnant at UP Los Banos.

4) Earning my Masters in Environment and Natural Resource Management. Wearing the UP Sablay. It was so much more of an achivement compared to my undergrad because I had to pay for my own studies, overcome challenges to balance work, school and family. Most of all, earning this degree using the distance learning mode. It was a different level of satisfaction for me to be able to truly learn something that I am passionate about.

5) Being new parents. I can write every single day of the many things I discover and learn because of Isay. It is both humbling and gratifying. Our lives have taken a new direction when we became parents. The reality is sometimes scary and yet hopeful for the future. One of our greatest challenges indeed and yet the greatest source of our joy.

There are many more moments. We thank for each experiece. Our cup overflows.