Saturday, December 31, 2011

Blessed

I cannot help but be a tad bit sentimental whenever a year is about to drop its final curtains. Images of what transpired in the last 365 days just automatically runs through my mind as if I pushed the Play button of a movie player and the movie reels in. 

2011, like each year before it, has its unique blessings and challenges but I will remember it for 2 reasons:

1. Running
It was the year I started running again. I joined a total of 17 running events in 2011 - 5 5k, 10 10k and 2 16k events and spent P10,000 in registration fees alone. Yes, it was quite expensive but still I think it was money well spent simply because I enjoyed every minute of it. There is always an exhilarating feeling of accomplishment everytime I finish a run. Then follow it up with a good hearty breakfast with hubby and Miguel. Happiness!

I have ran the streets of Roxas Blvd., CCP, Macapagal Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, McKinley Hill and Commonwealth Avenue. Still dreaming of running the Skyway. Hopefully it will come true in 2012.


I met a lot of new people and made friends with runners like me. Some who were struggling with their 5ks when I met them are now half marathoners. Others who are more advance runners are now doing ultra-marathons. Their achievements inspire me to do better. I have been doing 5k events for the longest time and my goal early this year was to run a 10k before the year ends. But I outdid myself . Not only did I accomplish my 10k run, I even did two 16k runs. Winner!


My running has also rubbed off on my 5year old son and he enjoys running as much as I do. It has become one of our bonding moments. We even landed a photo slot in the Oct-Dec 2011 issue of the Runner's World Philippines.

Lastly, I have also channeled whatever writing skills I have to chronicle my runs via my other blogsite Running Nanay.

2. Quitting My Job
One of the biggest decisions I made in 2011 was quitting my job. Yes, I am currently unemployed and for some people it would seem to be one of the most stupidest decision one can ever make in this time of economic crisis. But I have my reasons and I don't have to explain it to everybody. Besides there are other means of earning without necessarily having a fixed 9-to-5 job cooped up in an office.  I have taken the first steps and I am praying that it will prosper and 2012 will bring a new and brighter future for me and my family.

I don't have much financially but most of life's real treasures are not quantifiable in any monetary currency. And these are the things that I am most thankful for. 

I am blessed with a husband who always stand by me thru good and bad times. 

I am blessed with a loving son. He is God's biggest miracle in my life.


I am blessed with a closed-knit family. Though we have our differences, I know we will always be there for each other no matter what. 

Thank you 2011 for 365 days of blessings. May 2012 be as blessed. To God be the glory.

Happy New Year!


Monday, December 12, 2011

The Labyrinth - Journey Into Inner Peace

I discovered this method of prayer and meditation during my recent retreat at the Don Bosco Batulao Retreat House in Batangas. It is called The Labyrinth and as the name suggests, it is like a maze where you start at one point then you have to go through a series of twists and turns to be able to get to the end point.

It is the first time I've heard of such and I could say it is an interesting find. I have always known the Chapel on the Hill as a famous wedding church in this area but I didn't know it was more than that. The labyrinth was indeed a good exercise for prayer and meditation and one that I would love to do again and again and again.


Come Jesus, Come

One of the things I look forward to during the holiday season is the annual advent retreat that I share with my former BPI colleagues. It's a yearly event that I have participated in for the last 12 years, missing it 4x only. It's a weekend break from the chaotic world. A weekend of silence and just communing with nature. A weekend spent primarily to recharge the spirit and strengthen my relationship with the Lord. Setting aside a full weekend to be with Him is my way saying thanks for all the blessings he has continually showered upon me and my family.  


Don Bosco Batulao, Batangas, this year's retreat venue.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Fancy Hot Dogs Recipe

 
This is actually my second attempt to cook this recipe. The first time wasn't so successful because I used the usual red hotdogs since that was the one available at home at that time. The recipe did say that you can use any kind of hotdog but personally, I don't think the red hotdogs worked that well with sour cream. Miguel still enjoyed it, though.

This time, I tried it with the Purefoods Smoked Turkey Franks (only because it was on discounted price last grocery day) and it tasted a lot better. So here is the link to the Fancy HotDogs Recipe: http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/fancy_hot_dogs/

 Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Creamed Spinach with Bacon

I was craving for some spinach dish so after a little googling, here is what I came up with: 



The ingredients included spinach, bacon, butter and milk. It was a yummy treat. Hubby's only comment was it could use a tad less bacon. The complete recipe may be found here: http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/creamed_spinach_with_bacon/



Friday, October 14, 2011

Constant Change

Today marks the end of another chapter in my life and the beginning of a new one. It was just one and half years ago when I jumped ship and now I am transferring to a new one again. And so I  do agree with Mr. Jose Mari Chan, life is indeed a constant change.......
We're on the road
We move from place to place
And oftentimes when I'm about to call it home
We'd have to move along
Life is a constant change...

The friends we know we meet along the way
Too soon the times we share form part of yesterday
'Cause life's a constant change
And nothing stays the same, oh no

Clouds that move across the skies
Are changing form before our very eyes

Why couldn't we keep time from movin' on?
Hold on to all the years before this moment's gone?
Why must we live the days at such a frightening pace?

We're all like clouds that move across the skies
And changing form before our very eyes

Have we outgrown our Peter Pans and wings?
We've simply grown too old for tales of knights and kings
'Cause life's a constant change
And nothing stays the same, oh no


Monday, August 29, 2011

Family Time

Long weekends are almost always a mini reunion for my side of the family. Since only my blessedly single sister is living with my parents, me and my youngest sibling, who are both married with kids and lives separately, try to squeeze in overnight stays in our parents' house during this time. We're not a perfect family. We have our differences and we disagree on a lot of things but I know at the end of the day, we're still family and we'll always be there for each other no matter what. And so these weekend sojourns are our attempt to keep our family bonded. And as Bo Sanchez blogged in his site, it's a way of fighting off the relationship drift. (http://bosanchez.ph/fight-the-relationship-drift/)

Rare family picture

One of the things I love about this visits is the food. My Nanay is a great cook. I miss her home-cooked meals so I savor each dish that she serves regardless of how simple it is. Dishes that were just normal everyday dishes before are culinary delights to me now. We still cook the same dishes at home but somehow Nanay whips it up a little differently and it tastes more homey (at least for me) when she's the one who prepared it. The fact that we get to gather around in one table and share this simple feast makes it extra special. 

These visits also gives my parents a chance to enjoy their grandkids. I know it brings them immeasurable amount of joy when they get to see and play with them on an extended period of time. My Tatay who used to shower me and my siblings with 'pasalubongs' (mostly food like pancit or peanuts) when we were kids has now moved on to his apos. There would always be a big bag of Jellyace in the ref or a bottle of juice waiting for the kids during this planned visits. He would also always buy something from McDo or Jollibee after his morning jogs to bring home to the delight of the kids.

Cousins

This is also an opportunity for my Miguel and his cousins to know each other. As Miguel is an only child (his having a brother/sister is rather slim), his cousins are the closest he can get to having a sibling. 


And so, tedious as the all the packing and unpacking that this visits entails, it's a little price to pay for the joy we get from spending time together. Quoting again from Mr. Bo Sanchez:

"Life is about moments. And believe me, your grown-up kids will never forget these special bonding moments as a family. It will be their anchor. It will be their source of emotional stability. That amidst the sea of change around them, they know there are just some things in life that don’t change."


Sunday, July 10, 2011

Our Hotel H2O Weekend

I heard about Hotel H2O late last year and was intrigued by the aquarium theme of some of the rooms. It was definitely one of its kind and one that my little Miguel would surely enjoy. So when we found out that Ensogo was offering discount coupons for an overnight stay in this hotel, we grabbed it.

We were booked in an Aqua Room which had a wall-sized aquarium filled with various kinds of fish. Miguel was amazed when he first saw it and he was all smiles all throughout our stay. The aquarium has a remote-controlled curtain so you have the option to cover it up in case you get sick of it. Hehe! Management also has control of this curtain as they close it when the aquarium needs cleaning. The light automatically shuts off at 9pm and lights on at 6am. Fish food were also being dropped in the aquarium at certain times of the day. 

Miguel loved the room that he even requested his daddy to have our room at home be renovated to look like the Aqua Room with the aquarium and the card key!

Family pic with the the stuffed Nemo & Squirt on the side.

It was raining cats and dogs that day that the Aquatica Musical Fountain Show scheduled at 6pm was almost cancelled but thank God it didn't. It still pushed through but they had to distribute raincoats as it was still drizzling a bit. The auditing firm, Isla Lipana, was having a family day in Manila Ocean Park that day so the seats were still filled to the brim despite the rain. The show was no doubt visually entertaining. Kids and adults alike enjoyed it. Miguel was mesmerized by the lights especially when his beloved Nemo showed up. He laughed when Mr. Lobster was being chased by the fat chef with his big chopping knife.


We had dinner at Pancake House after the show then went back to our room where we further munched on a  big bag of chips while we watched TV. 
My little Mr. Pasta Boy
Chips & drinks - Vodka for Daddy & Mommy; apple juice for Miguel
The next morning, I was prematurely awaken when the aquarium curtain suddenly came up and the lights illuminated the room. Then I heard a small voice beside me said, "Good morning Fish!".  


Our Ensogo coupon did not include breakfast so we had to find food for ourselves. Since we were too lazy to go out, we decided to just call room service. Food was good though not really spectacular and a bit expensive. But then again, hotel food is always expensive anywhere you go.

Longsilog meal w/ coffee & a 3-egg omelet with mushroom, onion, bell peppers, ham & cheese

 We were hoping the weather would be better that day because we wanted to take a quick dip in the pool but it was still cloudy and there were still occasional rains. So we decided to skip it for fear of getting sick. As we have already been to the Oceanarium, seen the sea lion show and the jellies back in April, we spent the rest of our stay cooped up in our room watching TV.  

The only thing that bothered me about the room was the bathroom/toilet which had glass walls so you don't really have any privacy when you're doing your thing. There was retractable clothesline above the toilet seat which Caloy managed to tie to the shower door (which also alternatively serves as the main toilet door) where we hanged a shower towel for a makeshift cover.   


Overall, our stay in Hotel H2O was pleasant enough. The aquarium theme of the room was what really caught our attention and made us decide to book an overnight stay here even if it was just about 15mins away from home. Miguel fell in love with it and wants to go back again soon. =)

Other info (Aqua Room):
1. A large wall mounted LCD screened TV
2. A working table 
3. Internet connection via LAN cable or wi-fi. Username and password will be given upon check-in
4. Complimentary food and drinks includes coffee/ tea, 2 bottles of mineral water, 2 softdrinks in can, a small bag of chips and peanuts
5. Free use of gym & pool

Working table with LAN cable/Wi-fi connection, complimentary coffee/tea and electrical outlets with universal sockets.
Hotel H2O
Luneta, Manila, Philippines
(behind the Quirino Grandstand
http://www.hotelh2o.com/



Friday, June 24, 2011

The Disappearing España Boulevard

The annual disappearing act of the great España Boulevard is at its peak again. And I finally had front seat at this momentous event (weh!).

Despite the heavy downpour due to Typhoon Falcon, I put on my rain gear - jacket, sandals and umbrella - and left the office at exactly 5:30pm. I figured that if I waited for the rain to subside (which at that time was rather unlikely), the flood would continue to rise and I won't be able to get home at all. So I resolved that I would rather walk thru flood waters (as long as it is manageable) than get stranded in the office or wherever.
These 2nd hand Havaianas sandals was from my sister's sister-in-law and has been my reliable flood companion in the last two years. It protects my feet from sharp objects and the straps keeps it in place. Slippers are good but they tend to slip away from your feet when in the water.

Fortunately, I did not have a hard time getting a ride home. The first 30mins was slow but moving. Then we got stuck midway the UST area. With the rains still pouring, I highly doubted that we would be zooming along any time soon. So with a bit of urging from a fellow passenger sitting beside me, we decided to just get off the jeepney and start walking. 

I am not actually a newbie with wading thru flood because I grew up in a place where mere high tides can cause floods, even inside the house! But this is the first time that I got stuck in the famous Espana Boulevard. The water was knee-deep and filled with things I don't even want to think about. It was definitely an 'ewww' moment.

My greatest fear though was stepping into a hole as it already happened to me before. About 8 years ago, I was on my way home on a rainy and floody night when my right foot stepped into an open canal and a small protruding metal rammed below my knee. I managed to get home but since there was water everywhere, my Nanay could not get me to the nearest clinic until the next morning when the flood went down. It was an agonizing night as thoughts of infections and leptospirosis that could be festering in my huge wound kept going through my mind. The doctor at the clinic gave me anti-tetanus shots and antibiotics. Except for the huge scar that marked the area where the wound was, I was okay. No infections, no leptospirosis.

My latest bout with the great big flood of Manila got me home wet and itchy an hour and a half after leaving the office which on a normal traffic-filled day would only take 30mins. Well, that's the rainy season for us. Unless we all learn how to dispose our garbage properly, these floods will continue to haunt us. I pray though that no Ondoy-like typhoon will ever cross our paths again. 

Stay safe everybody.   


Monday, June 20, 2011

Lugawan

It was a cold, rainy morning and Miguel and I decided to go to the nearest  lugawan for a bowlful of hot lugaw and tokwa on the side.

 There was a bit of a drizzle so I had him put on his rain jacket, cap and blue boots. Boy, did he enjoy walking in the rain in those boots!

Miguel enjoyed his lugaw and finished the whole bowl. =)



The whole activity reminded me of my own lugaw dates with my Tatay back in the days. We would frequent the nearest wet market on weekends and eat our hearts out with a bowl of hot steaming lugaw. He would finish his in a whiz without scalding his tongue and then waits for me for another half hour till I finish mine. When I got older, me and my sister would join him in his early Sunday morning runs and then cap it off with a lugaw breakfast in one of those lugawan stalls that we came across in our trail. It was definitely one of those father-daughter bonding moments that I look back every now and then.

Now, I am having my own lugaw dates with my unico hijo. I hope he remembers this as one of our fondest moments and maybe he'll have the same dates with his kids someday.... in the very, very far future. Hehe!

*For other readings on Lugaw, try this link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lugaw

Friday, May 27, 2011

Scaredy–cat

I got this scary e-mail from my sister yesterday about riding jeepneys. 

TO ALL JEEP RIDERS: 3pm Jeep sa Shaw Blvd.
May isang Jeep sa may Shaw Blvd. May Pasaherong matandang Babae o lalaki sa may likuran ng driver. May couple naman sa may gitna, na mukhang tulog yung girl kasi inaalalayan ng boy, at may isang girl sa may likuran ng jeep malapit sa pinto. Pag bayad ng babae ng pamasahe, lumipat ng pwesto ang matanda sa kabilang side ng couple. Tapos sinabihan ang babae na BUMABA KA NA!.. BABA NA!! yun pala, nakita nung matanda nung iaabot nya ang kamay niya para makuha pamasahe nung babae na ang couple ( to be) ay may dugo.. may dugo ang babae sa tagiliran kaya naka akbay ang mga braso nya sa lalaki. Hinoldup pala ng lalaki ang babae saka sinaksak. Patay na pala ang babae. wala ng naka alam kung ano ang nangyari sa matanda, since naipit na siya nung couple pero natulungan nya ang babae na makababa pa ng jeep. INGAT PO TAYONG LAHAT AT SANA MAGING ALERTO SA MGA PAGKAKATAONG BUHAY NA ANG NAKATAY.. SYEMPRE, DASAL PA DIN PO .

 It bothered me so much that  I could not shake off the image I conjured up in my head that I hard time sleeping last night. It was like a horror movie which kept reeling over and over in my mind. I guess it terrified me so much because I easily identified myself with the situation as I do ride jeepneys everyday. 

I woke up with that image still in my head but with a clearer perspective. I began to think about the logistics of the story and I started asking questions. The most puzzling one being , who lived to tell the tale? Sure the girl/woman who was supposedly ordered by the old lady to step down from the jeepney obviously survived but how could she have known what the old lady saw  when she already left the 'scene of the crime'. The way the story was narrated the old woman only had time to ask her leave, nothing more. So who told the tale? The driver? Were there other passengers in the jeepney? 

My sister later told me that one of her friends told her that she remembers reading a similar tale but instead of Shaw Blvd., it supposedly happened in the Monumento-Valenzuela route. Now, the whole story sounds a bit fishy, don't cha think?