Saturday, November 29, 2008

Photo-Hunter: Metal

The sculpted cougar cast in brass, a metal alloy of copper and zinc, adds something special to this humble organic coconut shell. This harmonious combination enhances both materials emphasizing strength yet expressing lightness and beauty. More photos at Photo Hunters' HQ.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Sky-Watch Friday: outside my window

Sky-watching yesterday while taking a break from work. Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass on a summer day listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is hardly a waste of time.

More beautiful sky photos from around the world at Sky-watch Friday.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Litratong Pinoy: Ang Pagwawagi! (victory)

Hindi na kailangan magyabang o gumawa ng intriga para mapansin ang taong ito. Kung pagwawagi ang pagbabasehan, wagi ang talentadong Pinoy na 'to. Mapanalunan mo ba naman ng grand prize sa World Championships of the Performing Arts sa Hollywood kung saan ang nakalaban mo ay higit 3,000 performers galing sa 52 bansa, ubo mo pa lang napapahanga na ang mga tao. At maliban sa grand prize, may 6 medals pa s'yang nakamit sa contest na 'yon---talagang grand slam! Ito pala ay si Jed Madela, isang singer na tubong Iloilo City. Kumanta si Jed sa aking dinaluhan na buyers’ night noong April at namangha ako sa ganda ng kanyang boses. Hindi talaga matatawaran ang galing ng Pinoy sa pagkanta. Kita mo, animo’y paparazzo rin ako nang gabing yon.:D

With this kind of talent, there’s no need to brag or create some intrigue to get attention. If we talk about being victorious, this talented Filipino is definitely a winner. When you’re a grand prize winner in the World Championships of the Performing Arts held in Hollywood where you bested over 3,000 contestants from 52 countries, a mere cough would excite the audience. Aside from the grand prize, he also won 6 medals in that contest. His name is Jed Madela, a young singer who grew up in Iloilo City. Jed performed in a buyers’ night I attended last April and I was amazed at his singing voice. Filipino singers are really world-class. I felt like a paparazzo that night. :D

More winning photos at Litratong Pinoy.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: Purple

I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don't notice it.

~ Alice Walker, from The Color Purple

Posted for Wordless Wednesday.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Lasang Pinoy: Going Green

Salmon Caesar Salad at Oliver's

One of my biggest regret is not learning to love eating vegetables. I was very picky with food when I was a kid that my father overdosed me with vitamins, milk and whatever food I showed interest in. Whenever my mother cooked laswa (a soupy mixture of squash, stringbeans, eggplant, ampalaya, okra, saluyot and malunggay), I would become little miss drama queen, run to lolo's sari-sari store and point at Spam or Libby's corned beef at the shelf. I was probably the reason why the store went bankrupt.

Through the years, I've been trying to eat vegetables but old habits die hard. I still can't swallow vegetables in laswa but I learned to love green salads. One food that research has shown most highly associated with longevity is leafy greens. The added health benefits of green salads are that they are raw. I've read articles about how raw vegetable consumption is our strongest defense against cancer than any other foods.
For going green, try this Pomelo Shrimp Salad with vinaigrette dressing. Simple and easy to prepare---just toss in fresh lettuce, cucumbers, carrots, turnips, onions, radish, pomelo, cooked shrimps, crab meat, a twist of lemon and the dressing. You can also throw in some crushed cashew nuts for additional crunch.

More green ideas at spiCes.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Photo-Hunter: Reflection

No one can see their reflection in running water. It is only in still water that we can see.

More reflections at Photo-Hunters' HQ.

Lake Balinsasayao -
Sibulan, Negros Oriental

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Litratong Pinoy: Madumi (Dirty)

Ang aking puting porcelain candleholder ay kulang talaga sa paligo. Akala mo antique sa dumi. At kahit tapos na ang todos los santos, pang-Halloween pa rin ang maagiw na bakal na mukhang nakaka-tetano kapag masasagi mo. Pareho silang madumi, sa weekend na ako maglilinis---promise!

The white porcelain candleholder is not an antique. It looks aged because of badly needs a wash. Halloween may be over but the cobwebs on this wrought iron look scary---I'm having goosebumps! Yeah, they're both dirty...I'd clean up this weekend. That's a promise!

Dirty-minded ka ba? Check out Litratong Pinoy.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Ruby Tuesday: it's beginning to feel like Christmas!

These glowing red "trees" make an impressive spectacle at the Bonifacio High Street grounds. Longer nights with cooler evening breezes, carols permeate the buzz of weekend mall rats, festive decor in every store---Christmas is definitely in the air.

Posted for Ruby Tuesday.

Monday, November 17, 2008


I’ve been scarce lately. Sorry about that. Last week, I buried my nose in a little novel called “Memories of my Melancholy Whores”. Yes, I devoted my free time to Garcia Marquez’ effortless storytelling, guiltless, to distract myself from myself. Reread it to recharge and excite my funny molecules after almost 2 weeks of nerve-racking, back-breaking, mind-numbing virtual battle of wills with somebody up in HQ. It was like two bulls, horns locked in battle, nobody was willing to give up or give in---he wanted world domination, I fought for what is right and logical. Leaving a trail of smoke, he relented, not without protest, as he figuratively picked up his ego on the floor. And learning from lessons of the past, I didn’t rub his nose in his “surrender”…I was magnanimous in my small victory.:D

There was no celebratory coffee at Starbucks with my team, either. I celebrated my own way---by re-reading Garcia Marquez’ seductively funny novella. Reading is my brain-food, my energy booster, like a bowl of hot Bulalo to somebody with a hangover. It usually sends me in the right direction, an invisible hand that guides me along the road, throws light in the dark streets, and gives my weary mind a place to rest. And by cruising along my favorite haunts, in the mood to admire the sleepy world once again under the moon, on the shoulders of the highway.

Driving to places where nature grows refreshes my eyes and invigorates my soul. It gives me an opportunity to pay attention to the small things that accompany my daily journey but overlooked during stressful days. I spent an afternoon listening to the whispered gossip of the leaves, admiring the rhythm of swaying branches from between the pages of "Memories"...filled with Garcia Marquez' delightful and witty exploration of old age and desire, grinning at the author's twisted sense of humor. I am happy again.

It’s my way of coping with life…by creating an oasis of calm and sunshine inside and outside my mind.

Lasang Pinoy: Stuffed

For Lasang Pinoy's "stuffed" theme this week, I'm posting this Crab Relleno with fried lumpia on the side from Via Mare Cafe-Serendra. I was a bit surprised when this plate was served---I was expecting crab meat stuffed on crab shell like how we do crab relleno at home. But when I took the first bite, I was not disappointed. The omelet was stuffed with tasty crab meat, and they did not scrimp on crab meat. The fried lumpia with spicy vinegar dip was also a winner.

More tasty treats at SpiCes.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: eyeball

One Sunday afternoon at Bonifacio High Street
Cute pooches eyeballed under the pergola
Comparing notes of their pampered lifestyle

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Ruby Tuesday: bougainvillea

Bougainvillea in bloom
Taken in Mitra Farm, Puerto Princesa, Palawan

Bougainvillea is a tropical and sub-tropical ornamental flower which belongs to the family Nyctaginaceae. This tropical trailing plant can be grown in containers and is perfect for hanging baskets. Bougainvillea has established itself around the world as one of the most often used ornamental plant. Since its discovery in the 18th century in Brazil, it has become popular around the globe because of its beauty and grace. This plant is named after A. Louis de Bougainvillea who located the impressive plant that has turned out to be one of the most famous plants in the world. The plant brings a myriad of colors and life in its leaves and flowers. The plant exhibits versatility which allows it to blossom all throughout the year. (Source:
Posted for

Monday, November 3, 2008

A birthday postscript

Some people certainly love to rub salt into an open wound. When I walked in this morning, somebody asked me, “So how does it feel to be 43?” What is the right answer? A slap on the face perhaps? :D

It’s weird thinking about birthdays after you’ve hit the big four-O. Shouldn’t we stop counting birthdays after age 12? And I can’t help but feel that time is running so fast. At 6, I was wondering how it felt like to be 14 years old and to finally have boobs. Now I have boobs, but I’m starting to wonder how it would be like if I turn back time and re-do the things I regretted doing, starting from age 6.

What if I could?

I probably should have not tried my hardest to ride a bike without balancers…that way, my knees wouldn’t have been so scarred. I should have tried harder to learn how to dance despite my mother’s comments that I didn’t have the grace and rhythm of a dancer. I should have followed my PE teacher’s suggestion of taking up volleyball or any kind of sports instead of reading comics and pocketbooks, and playing dama (Spanish checkers) at the bleachers. I shouldn’t have learned to smoke so I didn’t have to worry about quitting. I should have spent more time with my father when he was alive.

Thing is, I can’t go back.

the evergreen Lake Kabalin-an

Life’s choices are permanent, for better or for worse. What’s done is done. Time machines just aren’t invented yet, so I have to live with my mistakes and see the best in the choices I have made. It’s hard, especially when you get the chance to sit down and look back what you’ve done for the past 40 something years. I can’t help but think of the “what ifs”, and feel sad that I can’t do those things over again and make the right choices.

But I also think about the good stuff, the happy things that happened because of the choices I’ve made.

I realize that falling off over and over again from that bike made me tougher than most kids my age. I realize that I can’t please everybody, especially my mother, and learn to take some things with a grain of salt. The love for reading has enriched my life in ways I can’t imagine, and dama taught me to strategize and gave me confidence around boys---nobody bullied me! Smoking made me realize that life is short and that the residue of my pleasure is but a puff of smoke. I realize that my father loved me anyway despite my imperfections, and losing him early in life taught me about responsibility and self-reliance.

I contemplated at the question I was asked this morning, and my answer is---it feels a lot like 42, only a little more delicate. But really, I'm not 43, I am twenty with 23 years experience!:D

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Lasang Pinoy-Sundays: Halloween

These are the Halloween food I grew up with---palitaw and suman or biko. Palitaw, muase in Ilonggo, is a small flat rice cake topped with grated coconut mixed with sugar (or muscovado) and toasted sesame seeds. Suman, popularly known as biko, is another sticky rice recipe cooked in coconut milk and muscovado. I mastered making palitaw one summer vacation when I was about 12 and there was nothing else to do. That summer, aside from palitaw, I also learned how to make lanson (from cassava) and linupak (from boiled banana). Palitaw is actually very easy to prepare---just drop scoops of galapong (batter of sticky rice) into boiling water. Flat disks would float when they are done.

The palitaw on top was my dessert at Via Mare last weekend, and my mother cooked the yummy biko this afternoon.

More Lasang Pinoy treats at SpiCes.