Thursday, December 31, 2009

Pasasalamat [Gratitude] - Litratong Pinoy

Ang sabi nga ng lolo kong si Epictetus, "He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has." Kadalasan, hindi tayo nagpapahayag ng pasasalamat sa maraming biyayang ipinagkaloob sa atin, sa halip, nakapako ang ating atensyon sa mga bagay na ating hinahangad. Sa layo ng tingin, hindi na napapansin ang isang magandang palubog na araw, o ang pagmamalasakit ng kaibigan, ang pagkain sa mesa, o ang tawanan ng mga bata.

Ang pasasalamat at pagpapahalaga sa mga tao o mga bagay sa ating buhay ay lalong umaakit pa sa mga bagay-bagay na tunay nating pinahahalagahan.

The Greek philosopher Epictetus once said, "He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has." We often take for granted expressing heartfelt gratitude for the many blessings we have been given. Instead, we focus our attention on the things that we desire and aspire for. Because of a yearning for greener pastures, a beautiful sunset becomes inconsequential, the constant things in life that used to provide comfort becomes trivial---the gaze is fixed beyond the horizon.

Being grateful and appreciative of people and things in our life magnetize more of the things that we truly value.

Cheers to a New Year and another chance for us to get it right.

~ Oprah

Posted for Litratong Pinoy

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A beluga experience [WW and OW]

They are called "canaries of the sea" due to their high-pitched twitter. Beluga whales are gregarious marine mammals that are entirely found in arctic and sub-arctic waters. It was my first time to see beluga whales up close and personal, and they were playful and magnificently swimming around the Coldwater Quest gallery of the Georgia Aquarium.

These white whales were approximately 12 feet long, and they live at Georgia Aquarium's state-of-the-art 800,000 gallon beluga whale habitat that simulates their natural environment and maintained at 13 degrees Celsius.

Sad news though, I read in Georgia Aquarium's website that Nico, a 25-year old male and one of the whales in these photos, died unexpectedly on October 31st.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Red Topiaries [Ruby Tuesday]

I hope you're not taking down your Christmas decor yet. In the Philippines, we usually remove the Christmas decor on the night of January 5th (Three Kings or Epiphany), or the Twelfth Night. In some cultures, it is believed to be bad luck to take down Christmas decor before the Twelfth Night.

Because my family has no Christmas traditions, I just enjoy myself getting creative with Christmas decor. When you're too lazy to put up a tree, or your apartment is too small to accommodate a real Christmas tree, then these pearly capiz cone-shaped topiaries would make a festive table accent.

Posted for Ruby Tuesday

" Always leave something to wish for; otherwise, you will be miserable from your very happiness."

~ Baltasar Gracian

Friday, December 25, 2009

Eat well, be well!

With so many vegetables and fruits to choose from, how about something healthy for Christmas lunch? Check out this green salad with ripe mango, crab meat and shrimps---they add lots of color and taste to your plate, not to mention the vitamins. I love this crunchy and tasty green salad after the cholesterol-laden food we had at Noche Buena.

Eat well, and be well this Christmas and throughout the New Year!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Wet Christmas [Watery/Outdoor Wednesday]

I am not wishing for more rain, certainly not on Christmas weekend! But we have been having cloudy skies and light rains so I am not discounting the possibility of a cold, wet Christmas. A real bummer especially when I will be driving out of town on Christmas eve.

"Northeast monsoon associated with moderate to strong northeasterly windflow affecting Luzon and Visayas. Diffused tail-end of a cold front affecting Mindanao," this is according to PAG-ASA. Thankfully, there is no tropical cyclone detected coming our way.

These watery photos were taken in early December at Bonifacio High Street while waiting for the rain to let up.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Slim Santa [Ruby Tuesday]

Santa is on a diet, so don't leave milk and cookies for him! Centuries of junk food and snacks have taken their toll on Santa's waistline. He's been warned of his cholesterol levels so he's cutting on sugar, carbs, and alcohol. Leave him apples and some bananas.

"There are three stages of a man's life: He believes in Santa Claus, he doesn't believe in Santa Claus, he is Santa Claus."

- Author Unknown

These slim santas were designed by Weennee Lagdameo of Accent Pieces.

Posted for Ruby Tuesday

Monday, December 21, 2009

Giant Christmas Trees [OWM and My World-Tuesday]

Two of the giant Christmas trees near my office building in Ortigas Center---these trees are approximately 30 feet tall. They're made up of tiny lanterns and lights, and they're a sight to behold. I love the splendor of these holiday street decor, they definitely make the streets brighter and festive. Took these photos on my way to the mall on Friday night...the traffic was so bad it was faster to walk than drive.

Didn't do much this past weekend but eat and sleep, listened to some CDs and bonded with Fritz. Christmas shopping is finally finished (thank goodness!), gift wrapping is done, a few more parties and I'm taking it easy till the holidays. Can't wait for the long Christmas weekend!

Posted for Our Weekend Memoirs and my first entry to My World Tuesday

Saturday, December 19, 2009

New look

Here's Fritz' new look as of Thursday night. How'd you like his Elizabethan collar? Fetching, isn't it? Kidding aside, Fritz gave me a fright the other night when I got home from work and found his left eye red and swollen. He yelped when the area near his swollen eye was touched even so gently. I brought him to the Animal House and after the vet checked his eyes, temperature, got some blood for testing, the vet's assistant attached this collar. He didn't protest at first but when he started to bump into chairs and walls, he tried to pry himself out of the collar. Poor baby!

This collar really helps---since he is not able to scratch his eye, the swelling and redness subsided by Friday morning. The vet prescribed an ointment for his eyes that I apply twice a day, an antibiotic (because of his elevated WBC) and pain reliever. Today, he is back to his normal self except for this collar. The neighbors, especially the kids, are all fascinated at his new look.:p

Fast cars [Photo-Hunt]

vintage Porsche 356

I am not a racing enthusiast nor a vintage car connoisseur but I admire sleek sports cars when I see one. We stumbled upon this array of Porsches at the Fort Strip after dinner on Saturday night. Their presence alone produced monstrous amounts of horse power there's no doubt of their powerful and fast presence on the road. The iconic red vintage Porsche 356, a highly regarded collector car, is obviously much loved and well maintained.

passersby admiring the silver Porsche 911

Posted for Photo Hunt hosted by TN Chick

Friday, December 18, 2009

Cloudy [Sky-Watch Friday]

See the clouds, they're giving life below In colors that the canvass cannot show; Keeping secrets no one else could know, For I'm the one who told them so. ~ from Clouds by Bread

 Posted for Sky-Watch Friday

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Limp salad

From one of my late and rushed lunches recently---roast beef salad and freshly baked bread. I was starved from driving around the city like a cab driver the whole morning that I didn't even complain about the limp veggies in my salad. Yes, the lettuce leaves needed reviving but the avocado was sweet and the roast beef tender so I kept my mouth shut and gobbled the whole thing. Did I say I was very hungry? I was afraid I might faint from sheer hunger if I had to wait to get my salad replaced!:p

I made a mental note not to order salad in that hotel resto again. By the way, the shape of the salad bowl is interesting, whatyathink?

Join fellow foodies at Food Trip Friday and Food Friday

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Paskong Pinoy [Litratong Pinoy]

an 18 feet Christmas tree at Piazza Serendra

Bakit nga ba kakaiba ang paskong Pinoy? Dahil siguro ang pasko natin ay isa sa pinakamahabang okasyon sa Pilipinas---pagdiriwang na nagsisimula sa 16th ng Disyembre at nagtatapos sa unang Linggo ng Enero, ang Pista ng Tatlong Hari. Para sa maraming Kristianong Pinoy, ang pasko ang pinakahihintay at pinakamasayang araw ng pagdiriwang. Ito rin ang panahon ng pagsasama-sama ng mga pamilya, pagbibigay ng regalo sa mga kaibigan, inaanak at kapamilya.

Ang paskong Pinoy ay puno ng tradisyon. Ang mga Katoliko ay may simbang gabi, isang serye ng 9 na misa sa madaling araw na nagtatapos sa hating-gabi ng 24th ng Disyembre. At hindi kumpleto ang simbang gabi kapag walang puto bumbong at bibingka sa labas ng simbahan. Meron din tayong tradisyonal na parol na mula sa makulay na papel ay naging makulay na capiz na ngayon. Ang mga grupo ng bata o matatanda naman ay masipag na nangangaroling sa bawat bahay na may dalang gitara, tambol o pinitpit na tansan.

Tradisyonal man ang paskong Pinoy, di naman tayo pahuhuli sa mga Christmas decor.

mga gawang Pinoy

Dahil di tradisyonal ang aming pamilya, kami naman ay nagsasaya rin sa pasko sa pamamagitan ng pagkain, kantahan, sayawan at inuman.

What makes the Filipino Christmas unique? For one, Christmas is the longest of all Philippine festivities---the celebration begins on the 16th of the December and ends on the first Sunday of January, the Feast of the Epiphany (or The Three Kings). For many Christian Filipinos, Christmas is the most awaited and the happiest season. It's a time of family get-together, gift-giving, parties and exchanging gifts with friends and loved ones.

The Filipino Christmas is full of age-old traditions. The Catholics have simbang-gabi, or misa de gallo, a series of 9 dawn masses with the ubiquitous puto-bumbong (steamed glutinous rice) and bibingka (rice cakes) cooking outside the church. We have the traditional lantern, or parol, which has evolved from multi-colored paper into multi-colored capiz. Then there's a group of children or adults who hop from house to house singing Christmas carols accompanied by a guitar, drums or hammered tin.

My family, being non-traditional, we simply pig out on Christmas eve, sing our hearts out at videoke, dance and get wasted.

our simple office Christmas dinner on Monday night

Enjoy the holidays at Litratong Pinoy

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Waterfall Fountain [Watery/Outdoor Wednesday]

Walking around downtown Seattle last August was an enjoyable experience. There were sculptures, old buildings and fountains to capture the interest of a first-time visitor. I passed by this waterfall fountain in downtown Seattle---the sound of water, the potted plants, they soften the hustle and bustle of a vibrant business district. This fountain has a walk-way that allows pedestrians to stroll through the falling water.