Monday, April 30, 2007
Sunday, April 29, 2007
12 hour flight from Manila to the West Coast - tiring
Surprisingly on time for an airline that has a reputation of “always late”.
One of the parts of any flight that amuses me and challenges my imagination a lot is when the flight attendant stands up in front of the cabin audience to announce the safety features and procedures to a ho-hum “ no one is listening” audience …
This trip I focused on :
“… in case of a sudden decompression or emergency - oxygen masks will automatically drop in front of you. Pull the mask to your face – cover your nose and mouth tightly and then … BREATHE NORMALLY “
… the right wing of the airplane is on fire, smoke fills the cabin, the cabin door pops open, the plane is in a dizzying spin and it is about to hit the side of a mountain like a f_ _ kin’ dart. The oxygen masks drop. And I am supposed to “breathe normally”?
“No, no, no, no” – I felt like whispering to the flight attendant – “you be the one to try and breathe normally.
Me? I am gonna be screaming my head off, peeing in my pants, saying every prayer I know and I will definitely be BREATHING VERY ABNORMALLY. Thank you na lang … “
I arrived safely with the beautiful view of the Golden Gate bridge greeting me.
It was a safe and comfortable flight.
No oxygen masks dropped.
Now ... I can breathe normally.
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
So last night, I went out with another woman.
We talked about a common past ... remembered and laughed.
We used to spend so much time together, and it was good to have this time to ourselves. We share a passion for eating - so in just a little while we were looking for a place to eat.
"Lutong bahay" is what we were both longing for ... fresh stuff - as if from the market and straight to the kitchen. So what better place to go than the Seaside in Diosdado Macapagal Blvd. parallel to the multilighted Roxas Blvd.
As soon as we arrived, I could see a sparkle in her eyes and excitement in her walk. Seaside is a "dampa" style market with rows of wet market fresh seafood sold by enthusiastic market vendors. This central market area is then surrounded on both sides with restaurants.
Typically one would take his place in the resto of his choice, order food, a "shopper" would then cross the alley to buy the fresh seafood , bring the fresh raw catch to the resto where they would then cook it according to your preference. Or if you are more adventurous then you could do the marketing yourself and then ask the resto to cook it.
The produce and seafood is market cheap and the restos charge a reasonable "cooking fee". It was like playing house. What a wonderful way to spend the evening with this woman ... I was happy just seeing her happy.
Cuzina Seafood Haus
(63-2) 851-0372 (63-2) 618-5082
Sunday, April 22, 2007
Yea, though I walk through
the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil: for thou art with me ;
thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
When well meaning friends encourage you to "find God" ... does that mean that God is hiding?
There were times in my Christian journey that I thought that maybe He was.
Shouting in my desperation
in my fear
in my sorrow
in my difficulty
in my confusion
... God, where are You ?
But I have been blessed with friends, family and Christian "brothers and sisters in the faith" who have been my angels in crisis. They have been the solid support that I have leaned on and the shoulders I have cried on. They have shepherded me to pastoral care and spiritual strengthening ... a journey to "find God".
And the journey has led me to indeed "find" Him.
And you know what, He was with me all along.
He never left.
He was there all throughout.
I didn't have to "find" Him - I just had to "see" Him, feel Him, hear Him, know Him, accept Him ...
He wasn't hiding. I just wasn't looking ...
Saturday, April 21, 2007
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
Late in the evening - about 11:30pm
Needed a glass of wine
And ohhhh - I hadn't had dinner yet
Or had I?
( gosh ... what a bad office day)
Makati Avenue has become a curious mix of small stores, bars, restos, budget hotels, red light activity, and late night vendors. Tucked in neatly in the middle of this neon and panaflex jungle is an oasis of serenity and taste - CRU -Restaurant/Bar/Cafe
CRU - this is a term used to describe wine superlatively, as in "Grand Cru". The significance of the term has led it to be commonly used as a name for high end wine restos in major cities of the world.
Sunday, April 15, 2007
So I am older than I want to admit.
And my blood pressure is constantly elevated.
And my cholesterol levels are slightly high.
And I forget to take my medicines ... sometimes
So I am not supposed to eat a lot of things
And I don't exercise at all
And I suck at stress management
And I am overweight ... a little
So, I was just minding my own business walking down the street, on the way home one evening. Food was the farthest thing from my mind. But then again, in Manila, walking down the street is like walking through a gauntlet of food carts.
Then - suddenly, out of nowhere - there it was in front of me !
Crispy chicken skin - ohhhhhhhhhh no ... my most favorite thing in the world.
Also known as chicharong manok, chink or chicken crackling - this most "paborits" of snacks is chicken skin (and fat) that is sun dried, seasoned and deep fried to crispiness.
Eaten with spicy vinegar - crispy chicken skin is totally crispylicious.
Logic, previous medical consults, and Google say that chicken skin equals fat equals cholesterol.
So, I was stumped.
Should I risk it?
Who should I listen to - - - my doctors, or this industrious, kind, entrepreneurial young man who is just trying to make a living to support his young wife and their three children the youngest of whom is sick with the flu and who is badly in need of medicine; and who would benefit tremendously from the thirty pesos he could make if I bought three servings of his wonderfully golden brown crisped chicken skin to be dipped in spicy, onion-chili vinegar.
I will leave it up to you to guess who won the battle for my heart and mind
I can only tell you that I went to sleep that evening with a big smile on my face, contented that I had done the right thing.
Friday, April 13, 2007
The Peninsula Manila
Thursday, April 12, 2007
and the father replied,
I looked around me and I noticed a small crowd forming ... looking at the sign, smiling and as if talking to themselves too. We all smiled at each other (like we do when we offer each other the sign of peace in church). We all instantly formed a universal bond ... I guess based on a universal understanding of what marriage is all about.
Bubup: oh Ipe ... bakit ka parang malungkot,
Monday, April 09, 2007
Sunday, April 08, 2007
Today is the culmination of the Lenten celebration.
The fulfillment of a prophecy .. a promise.
Christ rose ...
He died for our sins and then rose from the dead.
He ascended into Heaven and sits at the right hand of the Father .
Indeed, this was the Son of God
Believe and you are saved.
When I was a young father, Easter was a day for games. I used to watch my son gleefully run with his friends to hunt for eggs lovingly painted with ornate colors and designs by equally excited parents. It was fun but somehow spiritually empty.
Today - I can see better.
Not that I have better vision, rather I have lived more of life. Now I see that Easter is a day of joy not because of games to be played or feasts to be prepared but because it is the day of the Holy Resurrection.
It is a day of reflection
It is a day of renewal
It is a day of acceptance
It is all about Faith and Salvation.
It is not about bunnies and eggs.
Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life:
And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.
Saturday, April 07, 2007
Wisdom from the mouth of babes (how often have we heard that and subsequently found it to be true)
Oh ... the children
If we really listened to them more often we would learn so much.
In their naive, trusting and simple way , kids often relate to God in the way that we should
As if He were right there beside us
A friend we can talk to
Someone we can ask anything of
Someone so much more knowing than us
Someone in control
Someone we can count on
Friday, April 06, 2007
In the predominantly Catholic Philippines, this day is commemorated with street processions, the Way of the Cross, and a Passion Play called the Sinakulo. In other areas (most famously in Pampanga), the processions include self-flagellating devotees some of whom even have themselves nailed to crosses as expressions of penance. After three o'clock in the afternoon of Good Friday (the time at which Jesus is traditionally believed to have died), noise is discouraged, broadcast stations sign off, businesses close, and the faithful are urged to keep a solemn if not prayerful disposition through Easter Sunday.
As part of your meditation, please take time to consider a message from Rick Warren -author of "The Purpose Driven Life"
"People ask me, what is the purpose of life?
And I respond: In a nutshell, life is preparation for eternity. We were made to last forever, and God wants us to be with Him in Heaven.One day my heart is going to stop, and that will be the end of my body-- but not the end of me. I may live 60 to 100 years on earth, but I am going to spend trillions of years in eternity. This is the warm-up act - the dress rehearsal. God wants us to practice on earth what we will do forever in eternity.We were made by God and for God, and until you figure that out, life isn't going to make sense. Life is a series of problems: you are in one now, you're just coming out of one, or you're getting ready to go into another one. The reason for this is that God is more interested in your character than your comfort. God is more interested in making your life holy than He is in making your life happy. We can be reasonably happy here on earth, but that's not the goal of life. The goal is to grow in character, in Christ likeness... "
" ...I used to think that life was hills and valleys -you go through a dark time, then you go to the mountaintop, back and forth. I don't believe that anymore.Rather than life being hills and valleys, I believe that it's kind of like two rails on a railroad track, and at all times you have something good and something bad in your life. No matter how good things are in your life, there is always something bad that needs to be worked on. And no matter how bad things are in your life, there is always something good you can thank God for.You can focus on your purposes, or you can focus on your problems. If you focus on your problems, you're going into self-centeredness, "which is my problem, my issues, my pain." But one of the easiest ways to get rid of pain is to get your focus off yourself and onto God and others. "
" ... Happy moments, PRAISE GOD.
Difficult moments, SEEK GOD.
Quiet moments, WORSHIP GOD.
Painful moments, TRUST GOD.
Every moment, THANK GOD. "
Thursday, April 05, 2007
Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying,
Today was Holy Thursday.
On this day we reflect upon four biblical events:
the washing of the disciples feet by Jesus Christ,
the institution of the Mystery of the Holy Eucharist at the Last Supper,
the agony of Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane,
the betrayal of Christ by Judas Iscariot.
In the Philippines it is time for Vista Iglesia.
The faithful visit 14 different churches as a pilgrimage and pray at seven Stations of the Cross, usually with one station in each church. Some do this entirely during the hours of adoration (usually between 8pm and 12 midnight, after the Mass of the Last Supper). Others will split the practice into 'batches', doing some during the day (7 or so), and the remaining stations during adoration.
Churches turn both into both spiritual sanctuaries and festive temples of faith. Devotees express themselves through various traditions and beliefs sometimes even bordering on the superstitious. But all commune with the rest of Christendom in feeling the anxiety and anticipation of Christ's crucifixion.
May this day put you in touch with your spirituality as we remember the strength and faith with which our Lord Jesus Christ faced and accepted the will of God.
Wednesday, April 04, 2007
Once considered "the place to be seen" in - it has now become rather pedestrian ... jologs baga.
San Migs, Red Horse, sisig and monobloc chairs dot the new landscape. The avant garde has scampered out and the working class masa has taken over the territory. Yet it retains its old town allure and if you (as I have) can get over the "class" thing , Malate is still a quaint, fun, entertainment district.
One of my chill zones is Sam's Bar and Decor - an interesting small (indoor seats 25) bar that morphs into a 2nd floor Oriental decor shop known as Truly Asia. It retains the Malate artiste feel and one can comfortably ogle at the decor for sale from a comfortable al fresco seat on J. Nakpil street.
Here people watching is at its best ... even as one inhales ones share of the exhaust fumes of passing vehicles. Itinerant ambulant vendors sell everything form luminous clocks, belts,toys, roses, young girls, men-girls and any what not.
That's really what I came for.
Nice tenderized balut sizzle-sauteed in herbs, onions, pepper etc.
This is saraaaaaap .... hmmmmmmmm talaga lang
And then of course it is a reputed aphrodisiac.
Isang subo pa lang - tatayo na agad ang .... balahibo mo.
Sayang lang talaga - everytime I eat an aphrodisiac eh mag-isa ako ...
I really need to find a "friend".
Baka may kilala kayo???
Sam's Bar and Decor
562 J. Nakpil St.
Tuesday, April 03, 2007
But I was in the middle of Makati's cityscape.
No problemo .
Tucked away in the frenzy of the thousands of workers making a beeline for buses, jeepneys, and Innova (Fx) transports at the ParkSquare terminal is a small street food kiosk. Targeting a mobile market that just wants some stomach fillers as they rush by - the kiosk is humorously named "Juana Eat ? " .
A colorful kiosk and a subliminal question that addresses the basic pangs of a tired and famished worker. Juana eat nga ba .... ?
Flavored ice cone
Nata pearl shake
Water and softdrinks
How basic can you get?
But people flock to it.
A reflection of economy rather than an unshakable preference for street food ... I think.
People are looking for the cheaps
Affordable but familiar
The run- away best seller is opkors "tokneneng" - ang nilagang itlog ng pugo na binalot sa arinang may halong itlog at pangkulay na orange tapos pinirito hanggang lumutong ang balot. Tignan mo nang tignan at unti unti kang maaakit - parang magnet. Gugustuhin mo talaga. Lalo na pag may pangsawsaw na sukang maanghang . Diyosme -sisimotin ang baryang nasa bulsa mo ... at para kang asong ulol na pabalikbalik.
Taralets - let's juana eat.
Two wives are buying itlog in the local market.
Monday, April 02, 2007
Palm Sunday is the sixth Sunday of Lent and the last Sunday before Easter. Palm Sunday commemorates the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem.
Jesus rode into town on a donkey as exuberant crowds hailed him as the Messiah and spread out palm branches and cloaks in his path. Its heavenly nature as an event is anchored on the observation that this was predicted to happen exactly as it did 400 years earlier (Book of Daniel 9: 25-26). This was fulfilled to the exact day and manner as prophesied, strengthening the Christian premise that nothing happens in God's universe by accident. Everything is the fulfillment of Divine will.
I begin Holy Week with a prayer for all my friends and family.
May the Lord always bless you and keep you safe in the palm of His hands.
You have been the angels in my life.
I am forever grateful for your continued support and concern.
I pray that the coming week will allow us all to meditate upon God's amazing grace and mercy .
Sunday, April 01, 2007
Serendra Piazza in Fort Bonifacio is where I end up when I don't want to go through the cerebral exercise of "where to eat?" . The strip is progressively being populated . I like the fact that it is spacious, breezy, clean , is choc full of resto choices and is crawling with interesting people (a must for a people-watcher like me).
One of my fave spots? - TATAMI.
Tatami is a small, cozy, moderne version of a Japanese restaurant. Impeccably interiored by owner/architect Ana Rocha, the place is a visual as well as a culinary draw.
Japanese minimalist is cleverly tweaked with touches of ceramic ware, and touches of wire based "floral" arrangements. Diner type seating is done in glazed concrete and covered with "tatami" inspired matting.
Service is impeccable with some of the friendliest staff in town.
Ohhhhhhh .... the food?
Yup yup ... the food is great if you like a slightly Filipinized version of Japanese food.
Tip: - "spicy tuna sashimi" is to die for.
Makimoto, temaki, sashimi, sushi, donburi, Yakimono, teppanyaki, agemono ... and more.
Don't forget the Angus Ribeye Fried Rice.
And if you catch a glimpse of the owner - strike up a conversation - she will fill your night with laughter.
Serendra Piazza Ground Level
Fort Bonifacio, Taguig
Tel. 901-1870, 901-1871