Saturday, April 30, 2011

Monday, April 25, 2011

Thought for the Day

On my friend's tote bag - Be the change you want to see in the world.


Sunday, April 24, 2011

Post Script

Reminds me of a poster I saw at a gift shop one time (story posted on Related, Yet, Not Quite! December 2010) - 

Live simply that others may simply live. - Gandhi

A Gentle Reminder

Live simply.

I had dinner with a friend the other night and, among other things, we talked about eastern teachings - Zen, Buddhism, Transcendental Meditation (TM). In other words, about life and living simply. The following day, I saw a T- shirt with those exact words - Live simply.

Truly, Nature's gentle reminder!

Thank you.



Friday, April 22, 2011

Earth Day on Good Friday!

Good Friday on Earth Day! It's a beautiful day! Let's bless the earth lovingly and sacredly.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Holy Thursday

Beautiful service in church tonight - Mass of the Lord's Last Supper, washing of the feet, candlelight procession after mass to Our Lady's Chapel for the Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament! And I did the Stations of the Cross! With jet lag and work schedule, and to be able to do all these, I feel good! Amen.


Norman seems to be inspired by fruits these days. He wasn't planning to buy grapes, but when he spotted these on a top shelf today, the way he described it, neither red nor green, but golden and "glowing from within!" - instantly, he bought them! He learned they were muscat grapes, from which muscatel wine is made from! More expensive than the others, but a bargain at twice the price... what flavor!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

I Knew I was Back Home in SF When-

  • Coming home from the airport, I saw no more jeepneys, buses, motorcycles, tricycles and whatever other vehicles driving recklessly with no signals when changing lanes, no car horns tooting, no road rage, etc., etc., etc.!
  • There were no more pedestrians crossing the streets every which way!
  • I saw my name badge to work hanging on the hallway door knowing vacation's over
  • I had no more rice for breakfast, lunch, dinner, including meriendas, and now, it's cereal or oatmeal for breakfast
  • I saw my packet of cocoa tablets the cook gave me so I could do my own hot chocolate and/or champorado
Endringggg!! Where's my champorado??
  • Before coming out of the house, I was instinctively looking for my boots!
  • My luggage was unpacked halfway; correction, not even a third done - oops!
  • I saw the computers and knew I could blog again! - Here I am!
  • Above all, I knew I could not hug my Mother again, nor sleep with her, nor cover her with blanket to make sure she was always warm, nor brush her hair, nor give her a massage, nor eat with her, drink coca-cola with her, (her favorite so sometimes I join her with "Cheers!"), chat with her, joke with her, play the piano for her and so on and so on, and realized that all I could do for now is to call her overseas every so often just to hear her voice again until my next trip home... I miss my Mom!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Chico or Tsiko, Philippine Fruit

I think Norman has the best description of our local fruit, Chico, "A mocha persimmon."

Friday, April 15, 2011

A Tourist In My Own Country

Every year since 2000, I go home to visit friends and family, especially my mother. I always time my trip around her birthday in March. I go home to be with her 24/7. This time, on her 95th birthday, a milestone, Norman and I decided to go together. We stayed at my aunt's beautiful condo in Eastwood City, a world-class city in itself, for a week. I tell you, going places was a treat, I felt like a tourist in my own country!

First, the condo was so close to the shopping mall, restaurants, theatres and and more, Norman and I were simply entertained. Norman especially enjoyed going back and forth to the cafes and restaurants, and, man, I tell you, Manila's got some Good Eats! San Francisco and New York cannot brag of their best foods in town anymore. Manila can compete with them and the rest of the world for its stunningly superb cuisine - Filipino, Asian, international, and all fusion! Great dining everywhere we went! Quite impressive, I tell you that!

The condo was also right in front of a chapel that took care of my religious obligations, especially this Lenten season. Mindful of our Catholic tradition, land developers, architects, et al, have included in their blue prints to build chapels inside or around shopping malls. And that is nice! Knowing how Filipinos or Pinoys love to eat and shop, yet still not forgetting their Sunday obligations, having chapels inside or close to shopping malls are convenient. However, I must confess that although, yes, there is nothing above and beyond God, when you're at Shangrila chapel at the atrium on Sundays, for example, it's very difficult to focus on the altar alone. With so many floors of shops, restaurants and people all over, yes, there's definitely everything and anything above and beyond the altar... Oh, well.

We went to Makati Greenbelt, the Ayala Museum where we performed as guest artists for the JAM FOR JAPAN CONCERT, drove by Bonifacio Street High at the Fort, all part of the Ayalaland, and what awesome architecture! And simply world-class shopping and dining! Filipinos have such appetite for food and life the city doesn't sleep anymore. Norman says, " It's like NY!" And with all the high-rise buildings, commercial, residential, especially condominiums, which seem to be the style of living for city dwellers nowadays, I don't see poverty anymore! Of course, there is, and a classic distinction between the rich and the poor, at that, but it seems to be hidden by all the newly-built skyscrapers and infrastructure everywhere! Unbelievable!

I got a chance to revisit Tagaytay Highlands. This was Norman's first visit. Nestled in a beautiful high-level countryside overlooking the world's smallest volcano, Taal Volcano, this resort and country club brings leisure and luxury to the next level. Philippines now abound in so many beautifully-developed resorts for balikbayans and foreigners from all over the world, tourism has become a popular global leisure activity here in the country.

My CHS high school classmates treated me to a superbly delicious lunch at Kanin Club at the Ayala Triangle Gardens in Makati. It was a row of different restaurants and every bit was full to capacity and then some outside. Don't Filipinos cook at home anymore??

And as an alumna of the University of Sto. Tomas, I am glad I had a chance to revisit my alma mater on its 400th year celebration! I went to see our church, the museum and bought some souvenirs from the kiosks.

And of course, music is ALIVE in Manila! I got to jam at Scarlet Jazz Kitchen with one of the city's famous big bands on Timog in Quezon City. Timog Street is happening ("gimmicking"as they say)!
"Filipinos are EXPLODING with talents!!" as Cameron Macintosh once said when he was in Manila many years ago to audition talents for the musical Miss Saigon. There's Lea Salonga, Miss Saigon herself, Charice, Arnel Pineda, Cheryl Burke, and so many you see everywhere, on American Idol, You Think You can Dance, and so on! You will always see a Filipino in arts and entertainment!

Philippines is a beautiful country and the Filipinos are a beautiful people! I'm very proud!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Back Home Again... Where??

This is my first day out of the house since I came back the other night from Manila and I'm still disoriented as to where I am. I was at the Embarcadero Center and saw several Caucasians and I thought to myself, "There are so many tourists here." - For a quick second, I thought I was at Greenbelt Makati!

Good morning... or is it, Good evening??

I knew I wasn't in Manila anymore when, as soon as I got out of the house, I realized I forgot my hat, gloves, and scarf!

Walking by Oakland Uptown, I saw a woman with an amputated leg in a wheelchair "walking" her dog on a leash and the dog also had an amputated leg. Very touching! After passing them, I had to look back and watch them. There was so much love between the two. I've got to be back in America.
In my recent visit to the Philippines, I've never seen more dogs with owners or dogsitters taking care of them. And these are pure-bred dogs! I used to see just mutts, stray dogs in the streets they call askal, (short for asong kalye - "street dogs") abandoned, scavenging for food. Now it seems to be a status symbol to own expensive dogs. The more expensive, the richer you are. They're called sosyal (Tagalog abbreviation for "socialite").

In Manila, Norman & I were guest artists at the JAM FOR JAPAN where I saw
Richie Quirino, a musician friend and Berklee colleague and founder of the
Philippine International Jazz Festival. This was just a few days ago.
I saw him again tonight at the JAM FOR JAPAN, SF. No one told me he was
coming. It was Carlos Zialcita, founder of San Francisco Pinoy Jazz Festival's
surprise for me. For awhile, I wasn't sure again where I was.

After the show, Norman & I, both hungry, decided to go to STARBUCK'S
at midnight. Where is everybody?? Manila's ALIVE at midnight!
It's a "gimmicking" town, as they call it! There are restaurants open 24/7!
Obviously, I'm back in San Francisco!

Don't get me wrong. Manila is lively and Fun with a capital F! I love it!
San Francisco is quiet and cozy, but at at the end of the day, intimacy is what my
heart and soul long for.

Good night...or is it, Good morning??