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Showing posts from April, 2014

2014 hot-air balloon festival (photos)

There are many things different in this version of the festival... things that I miss from the previous festivals. There used to be military demonstrations on search and rescue, an exhibit of airplanes, and a demonstration of rally racing... among other things. This year's only activity that someone from a far-flung province (who traveled a long time to get to Lubao), can do if one didn't venture deeper into the venue thanks to the extreme heat of April, was to fly kites. So that's what we did until the sunset and the balloons' night glow began. We did enjoy the day despite the weather.
Photos of our adventure in Lubao below. Pictures of me flying the kite are, of course, taken by Ate Madie using her own camera so none of those are going to show up here. :)

Soy sauce babble

On Easter Sunday, I was telling friends that I had cooked beef stroganoff and baked chocolate chip cookies the day before. I initially planned on prepping adobo but didn't do so because I didn't have soy sauce. Sounds feasible enough... in English. It took on a totally different meaning when I was talking with them in Filipino.
I had said, "Hindi ako nakaluto ng adobo dahil wala akong toyo."
Okay! :)

At the hot-air balloon festival in Lubao

Lubao, Pampanga
My annual pilgrimage to Pampanga was two months later than usual: the Philippine International Balloon Festival was moved to April from its typical February schedule. And this year, it wasn't held at Clark, Pampanga. Instead, I had to drive an additional hour (or so) to Lubao, Pampanga. With my kites given away by my mom and dad in February (I kept the kites in a closet and they got discovered when my parents cleaned the space up), I had no choice but to buy myself another kite... This time, I bought a big one. One day, I'll have to get one of those dual-line kites, similar to what my siblings and I used to have.

With my gear in the car (camera, tripod, pillows, tent... Yes, I packed a tent!), my cousin, my nieces, and I drove north before sunrise. Anna should have been with us but she didn't respond to my calls enroute so she wasn't able to join us. It took us over six hours to get to Lubao, with pitstops and with a snail-paced traffic jam (because I mi…

Congratulations, friends and nieces!! :D

Wow, 2014 really is turning out to be a great year! I am particularly happy of the achievements that my friends and my nieces have gained. So, forgive me for carrying my chair (as the Filipino idiom goes, pagbuhat ng sariling bangko). In no particular order:
1. Trisha Palero My niece graduated from grade school with flying colors! I just can't believe that time flew by so fast. But then, she's been this tiny kid who can knock some sense in her elders, so her high grades shouldn't be much of a surprise. Next school year, she's joining the ranks of kids taking up 7th grade... And I'm not sure if that counts as primary school or high school.
2. Ara Calabinhi My other niece is graduating from college!! She's taken up BSc Biology in UPLB. I am a particularly proud tita because she's graduating from the same tough general program that I finished in 2002 (but I think she pursued a different specialization). But boy does her graduation remind me that I am getting …

Visita Iglesia 2014

Two years ago, I went on a solo visit of churches. This year, I opted to go round a similar route. However, instead of dropping by while the sun was still high in the sky, I decided that I wanted to start my annual pilgrimage to churches by hearing the celebration of the Mass of the Lord's Supper and witnessing the ceremonial feet washing. This turned out to be a great way to set the mood as I started my evening Visita Iglesia.
And just like in 2012, I visited five churches near my house instead of seven. Three of them are my favorite churches to go to because they seem so far away from the hustle and bustle of daily life. One of the five churches, I visited for the first time. The other one... It's becoming one of my go-to churches too.
Diocesan Shrine of Mary Help of Christians, Don Bosco Seminary Canlubang, Calamba

As a child, I have never felt intimidated going to this church... somehow, this church has a warm welcome to kids. It reminds me of Church Among the Palms, where I …

brain-to-mouth disconnect

After an evening of traveling, I was just plain hungry. With the restaurants closed for the evening, I opted to go to the McDonald's to buy the Filet-O-Fish value meal and a Sans Rival McFlurry to go. But I was so tired that when I got home; I decided to just eat the fries and leave the sandwich for breakfast the following day.
Next day...
I woke up super hungry. I opened the McDo bag... lo and behold! A box of Chicken McNuggets greeted me for breakfast! 
I really thought that I had ordered Filet-O-Fish! It's either the person at the counter did not hear me right or I was thinking Filet-O-Fish but uttered Chicken McNuggets instead. 
This experience definitely joins the adobo-adobe blooper I had in high school!

Lola's day out 2014

"Sasama ba si Cesar? Kasi kung hindi, di bale na lang."
That was Lola Bats' statement when we (me, Ninang Trining, and Mommy) asked her is she wanted to go to Padre Garcia with us after her blood sample was drawn in the hospital. So off we went to fetch Daddy in Calamba then to Padre Garcia to visit the farm. Guess who enjoyed the afternoon road trip the most...

I wonder if I can bring her out again to the farm someday. This trip showed that she's no longer as strong as she used to. But if she feels strong enough to go on a long road trip and if someone has a car big enough to fit her wheelchair, then I think we can go on a few more visits.
Seeing her laughing out loud with her friends in Padre Garcia: priceless.

Lola Bats turns 98

Yeah, two years to go and Lola becomes a century old!
The family, including the balikbayans, began planning the big 100th birthday party in February when most of us were present. As per usual, kwentong kutsero made us go around the world and back to Lola's house in 60 minutes. It has been a long time since we've been gathered that way so the 'planning' bit was hilarious!

Because of the big celebration, the 98th one was met in a more modest manner: Anna and I had dinner in my aunt's house in Pasay City. The birthday candles had been blown in February and the elders are diabetic and hypertensive so we skipped the cake but loaded up on the fruit. Nevertheless, I'm happy that we were able to contribute to marking Lola's step closer to the big 1-0-0.

Happy birthday, Lola Bats!!

"Rochie, look at me!"

Here we go again: Lola Bats and her quotable quotes...
One February morning, Lola Bats needed to be brought to the hospital to get a blood sample drawn. As luck would have it, it's also the day we were supposed to travel to Padre Garcia to visit her old house so it was easy to just move up the time we were dropping by and bring her to the doctor.
On our way to the hospital, Lola noticed my Cocoons (shades designed to be worn over prescription eyeglasses). She wanted to try it out so I handed it to her. She asked my mom and my aunt how she looked and then she said,
"Rochie, look at me!"

Looked like my pair of shades was enough to entertain my grandma during the short drive to the doctor! Good job, Cocoons!

Somewhere only we know...

Burot Beach, Batangas.

This has got to be one of the best beaches I've ever visited. It's my version of paradise! It took four hours for us to get there but the long drive was well worth it. A major portion of that time was spent driving in one of the most remote places I've been to. The road to Burot led past a cemetery, into a gated property, through a mangrove forest, and then along a really dusty road. My newly cleaned car took on the color of espasol.

The good part of this trip: I was not alone. Ate Madie, Trisha, and Marco went along with me to the beach for a day under the sun. The original plan was Laiya; however, I am someone who makes plans, alternate plans, and alternate plans for the alternate plans... And that led us to what I think is fast becoming my favorite stretches of sand.

We built sand castles, played Frisbee, took a boatride to the sand bars, and watched the sun set over the West Philippine Sea. I enjoyed; the kids enjoyed; and Ate Madie didn't ge…