Friday, December 27, 2013

Merry Christmas 2013

Lucas and I hosted a "red and/or green" themed Christmas party. Friends and relatives came. It was a joyous well attended gathering. Merry Christmas everyone!!!

 Red and green ladies in Santa's hats. 

 With sister Jeannette

The Saturday dance group

 Smile

 The young ones

 Red and green winner of the night

 Two most creative :)

"Look at my green blings!" Hahaha

Merry Christmas!!!

Friday, December 20, 2013

My Christmas 2013

My house is adorned with old decors ready for Christmas.

 Table Christmas tree

 Main Christmas tree

 Christmas nativity

 Spot the mini belen among frosty and Santa.

Belen on a train

 Bells and baby Jesus

Too crowded haha

 Merry round table
Mini Santa and some mementos

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Christmas Past

When I was a little girl, our Christmas tree at home was a cut mangrove tree, almost conically in shape bought yearly from a Muslim vendor. It would be medium in height, good enough for our small house. Mother would stood it up in a big empty can, then filled it with stones. The can would be wrapped with Christmas paper. And the bare tree trunk and branches trimmed with curly strands of green crepe paper. After the tree had been fully wrapped in green, we would adorned it with tinsels and balls and small plastic toys. After many days of preparing the tree, Papa would give the final touch by hanging multicolored Christmas lights around. It was magical! Alone by myself, sometimes I would stand by it and sang my well loved Christmas songs. On Christmas eve, my siblings and I hanged stockings on the sturdy branches and waited all night for Santa to come. Even how hard I tried to catch Santa during the night, I never did.  But Santa never failed to fill my stockings with candies, small toys and coins. I did this hanging of the stockings thing until I was 16 years old. Old enough, Santa by this time knew I preferred peso bills to candies and coins. And truly I was never disappointed.
When I was growing up, my sister Helen and I were tasked by our parents to do the wrapping of the Christmas tree. Our maids helped us at night. Younger brothers Boboy and Ollie helped too but it was mostly the girls' task to finish the trimmings. One time, Mama was dismayed at the pace of our work that she forbade us to watch movie until it was done. Because that year's tree was kind of bigger, Helen began breaking off some of its branches. I quickly followed suit and pretty soon the tree was all wrapped up and ready for the hangings. Helen's big idea became a precedent for me and my younger brothers later, specially when I felt too tiresome to finish wrapping the Christmas tree after she went to Manila for her college education. Our tree was always green in color while Auntie Pilar's tree would be white or varied. The first Christmas after Mama died in 1971, Auntie Pilar gifted us a fake golden tinsel tree. It was never the same. Not long afterwards plastic firs became the fad and they took over until this very day.
One Christmas, when I was a grade five pupil, I fancied making my own Belen (Christmas nativity scene). Pistang, our head saleslady at the store helped me. My parents of course supported my project. Together with Pistang, I gathered bermuda grasses from the city hall plaza to portray a vast grassland. My center piece was bought from Benedicta Sy Store and the grassland was filled with Boboy's plastic toy animals. I thought the animals were not quite appropriate but Pistang wanted them there. My some kind of a crude diorama  made Mama proud of me. Yet honestly, it was mostly Pistang's work.
Today, my spirit has not grown old, just like a 10 year old girl, I am still delighted with Christmas. I love the Christmas carols, the gay decorations and the festivities and food preparation. This year, Lucas and I may have to spend our Christmas quietly. Despite it, we shall continue to celebrate the Lord's birthday in our own special way. The coming of the Lord is always a great joy! Come Lord Jesus Come!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Our Lady of Immaculate Conception

Our Lady of Immaculate Conception is the patron saint of Cotabato City. We love you O blessed Mother! Please protect our city from evil and wicked people!

The Immaculate Conception Cathedral

Advent

The season of Advent comes before Christmas. It is the waiting time for the coming of our Lord. It is the time of darkness before the Light.
This year's advent, as usual, I prepare my home for Christmas and I had happily anticipated my children to come home for the holidays. But now, I have to cancel their trips home due to safety reason.
This Advent, I am feeling a sadness in my soul because of the encompassing darkness here in Cotabato City. Our establishment has received a letter of threat from kidnappers. We have to be very careful with our movements. I heard other stores have received threats too.
Oh God, when will these wickedness stop! We can not go on living like this. My soul cries out "Come, Lord Jesus, Come." Please bring light into our darkness. Real peace to our sufferings. Haven't we endured enough?! We need you 'now' to save us spiritually, physically, mentally and emotionally. O Come Lord Jesus, Come!!!
I believe in you, I have faith in you, I trust you. I know nothing is impossible for you Lord. Save us here in Cotabato City! Come Lord Jesus, come!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Tres Marias

When we were in high school, we called ourselves the "Scorpians", obviously because we were born in the month of November: Anita Go, Imelda Tan and I. We mostly hanged out after school. We frequented each others houses. I loved playing hide and seek in the dark stock room of 'Union Merchandise' and unbashfully, loved eating lunch at 'Hock Hing Commercial'. They were the homes and stores of Imelda and Anita respectively. My bosom friends live in Manila with their families now.

The Scorpians at Imelda and Anita's joined birthday celebration at the Romulo's

 Imelda and her husband Arthuro

 High school chum Corazon and her husband Enrico, and Arthuro

Lucas and I with pictures of the late Carlos P. Romulo on the restaurant walls.

The girls and their better halves

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving on November 10 (late posting)

Thanksgiving party for:
My birthday,
For Roy's homecoming and despedida,
For safe travels of all family members, and most specially
For our Lord's love and protection.
Thank you dear Lord!

 Party's fare

 At home

 Thanks to Angel for the party arrangement

 Enjoy the food Jackie, Allan, Julia and Dianne

Arthur, Boy, Imelda and Miguel around the yummy main course, the Cebu lechon.

But these are the only pictures Lucas took that night. Everybody was busy eating, talking and/or catching up with one another. Happy thanksgiving everyone!!!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Exotic Thailand (late posting)

Lucas, Roy, Martha, Marion and I went to Bangkok, Thailand on November 6, 2013. We spent 4 days and three nights in that wonderfully exotic country. My travel agent Jeng Ringor from Pan Pacific Travels booked our stay and tour. I have to thank her for being such a wonderful travel agent. Our nice hotel was a walking distance to all the places we wanted to go:  shopping centers, food courts, spa, malls and other local sights. Our Bangkok tour guide was such a nice person too. She briefed us on our safety and of things to do (or not to do) while out on the streets on our own. It was an enjoyable Bangkok experience for us all. I would certainly love to go back again.
                                                            
 The travelers: Lucas, Martha, Marion, Roy and I

 At the lobby of Amari Watergate Hotel - beautiful flower arrangements everywhere.

 To Siam Narimit Show and dinner

 A grand production showcasing the history and dances of Thailand.

 Posing with some performers outside of the theater.

 Elephant ride

 Boat transfer to floating market.

An exotic but uncomfortable bangka ride

 At the floating market

 Exotic place

 Buying grilled banana from the boat

 Shopping was such a hassle - you must be tough enough to learn the art of bargaining and ready to quarrel with the rude salespersons.

 Lunch at the floating market. The food were cooked from the boats.

 The golden buddha - temples tour

 Bells for prosperity

 Lucas loved the string ensemble at the lobby - beautiful music.

 Ready for the Grand Palace tour

 It was a soaking wet day.

 Look at the stair's railings.

 Posing like the guardians of the temples

 Replica of Angkor Wat

 The kings' palace

 Reclining Buddha

 Huge statue

 The feet of the reclining buddha

   The travelers and the Buddha's sole. The sole carvings are made from mother-of-pearl.
                                                                     
We were in Bangkok when Tyhoon Yolanda hit Philippines on November 8, 2013. We followed up news from CNN each time we got back to our rooms. We were worried about our family, relatives and countrymen in the Philippines. We were also kind of worried if whether our flight back home on the evening of November 9 would push through. It got delayed for about 2 hours though. We safely reached home in Manila on November 10 around  2:30 in the morning. 
As of present writing, I thank God for sparring populous Metro Manila and I thank God for all the relatives and friends who were safe and accounted for in Tacloban. My family and I, we are sending help to our fellow countrymen in affected areas like Tacloban, Samar, Bantayan Island, Culion in Palawan etc. I am also directly helping the rebuilding of the house of my household help who came from Leyte. I intentionally delayed the posting of all my travels because there were more pressing things to attend to and as a personal gesture in sympathy to the victims of Typhoon Yolanda.