Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The simple and delightful world of Origami

My good friend Gal is so into origami. She’s addicted to it. She brings with her some great, beautiful colored papers at work and plays with it whenever she can. My other good friend Jessa (who I fondly call “Sang”), gave Gal a surprise birthday present with a collection of origami inside it. It was a superb gift. Handmade and straight from the heart. I on the other hand failed to come up with something for Gal’s birthday. Good thing Sang asked me to gift wrap the gift. I did so with so much pleasure! In fact, I think I worked at a gift wrapping section of a store in my past life (lol).

From left to right: Jessa (a.k.a. 'Sang"), the gift I wrapped, and Gal with her Birthday goodie.

This is only one of Gal’s work of art. Well, I only managed to snag one and hid it under my shirt (lol!), just kidding! I asked her if I could have it. I brought it to my desk and took a picture of it. I really enjoyed playing with Gal’s mouse (lol). I hope you find it cute, too!

This is Gal's Origami.

Kare - Kare Recipe

It’s lunch time here now and I am craving for a hot bowl of my favorite kare-kare. This dish is a bestseller in our family. My mother knows how to cook a lot of Filipino dishes. I, on the other hand, am more inclined to eating than cooking (lol).

I love the creamy, rich, thick paste of this dish. It is so delicious and just so yummy. One mouthful will send your taste buds sky rocketing to the heavens!

I am going to share the recipe of this dish in this post. I found the recipe online. It is pretty much the same as my mom’s (I couldn’t find mom’s so I just look it up in the Internet).

Well, here goes the Kare-Kare recipe:

Estimated cooking time: 2 hours


· 1/2 kilo beef (round or sirloin cut) cut into cubes (for a more traditional kare kare, use cleaned beef tripe instead of beef)
· 1/2 kilo oxtail, cut 2 inch long
· 3 cups of peanut butter
· 1/4 cup grounded toasted rice
· 1/2 cup cooked bagoong alamang (anchovies)
· 2 pieces onions, diced
· 2 heads of garlic, minced
· 4 tablespoons atsuete oil
· 4 pieces eggplant, sliced 1 inch thick
· 1 bundle Pechay (Bok choy) cut into 2 pieces
· 1 bundle of sitaw (string beans) cut to 2" long
· 1 banana bud, cut similar to eggplant slices, blanch in boiling water
· 1/2 cup oil
· 8 cups of water
· Salt to taste

Cooking Instructions:

· In a stock pot, boil beef and oxtails in water for an hour or until cooked. Strain and keep the stock.
· In a big pan or wok, heat oil and atsuete oil.
· Sauté garlic, onions until golden brown, then add the stock, toasted rice, beef, oxtail and peanut butter. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes. Salt to taste.
· Add the eggplant, string beans, pechay and banana bud. Cook the vegetables for a few minutes - Do not overcook the vegetables.
· Serve with bagoong (Shrimp paste) on the side and hot plain rice.

I hope you'll enjoy cooking this very delicious treat! I am sure your family will love you more for it!

The Pink Panther

I know I’m supposed to do some chores today. But I couldn’t stop blogging. I think my brain is just in a super hyper mode today (lol)!

After posting my first post for today, I continued to sit by the computer, having some coffee while listening to some songs. After which I decided to watch a movie. I wanted to watch something funny and relaxing. I found our Pink Panther DVD. So I guess that made a good choice for today.

I am now sitting by the PC (still), laughing to my hearts content and blogging about Inspector Jacques Clouseau. I find the movie very wacky and chaotic. Where everything and anything that could go wrong goes wrong (lol)!

The part where Inspector Clouseau was learning how to speak English really got to me – so hard I couldn’t stop laughing. I choked, and boy, the coffee was really hot (lol)! Man, how could he not say 'Hamburger" correctly? That really made me laugh so hard, my whole body just couldn't stop shaking (lol)!

Steve Martin and Jean Reno really did justice to this movie remake. It’s really great! Superb! Kevin Kline and Beyonce were both outstanding!

Now! I really must start doing some chores and start cleaning my mess (lol)!

Lolo, this one's for you

My grandfather died when I was in my 2nd year in high school. It was a very painful experience. My cousins loved gathering together every Christmas and New Year at my grandparents’ house. My grandfather was the only link linking all of us. My grandmother… well, she’s just different. She loved gossiping with the neighbors than spending quality time with her own children and grand children. I grew up noticing all these bad qualities that my grandmother has and I have grown to despise people with the same qualities (and I have become an expert at avoiding them too!).

My grandfather was a very gentle man with a very big heart. He was a retired army. A veteran. He also had some medical training and had served at the army hospital during his younger days. He loved dotting on all of us. He had no favorites. All of us were equal in his eyes. We called him “Lolo”. In our dialect, it means grandpa. I remember spending my summers at my grandparents’ house together with my cousins. That was where I learned how to do most of the household chores (I even learned how to cook rice without using a rice cooker!) Birthdays were a big event too. We always had goodies waiting for us all when someone in the family is celebrating his/her birthday. How I missed those times!

Things started to change right after his death. My ever notorious grandma had a lot of things changed. She had the house changed (she took the store out and replaced it with a tiny, weeny room that had poor air ventilation. I honestly don’t think a mouse would survive a night in there!). She got rid of most of my grandpa’s belongings (we couldn’t find any of his tools anywhere!). Then my aunt died – to which my grandma failed to attend both the wake and the funeral. She purposely didn’t show up during her own daughter’s wake and funeral! Can you imagine that?!?! Oh well… have I told you my grandma was just different? Well… now you know.

I miss my grandpa so much. I miss my Lolo Julian. Sometimes I wish it was grandma who died and not him. I know it’s a bad thought but that’s how I feel. Now, our ancestral home (my grandparents house) is about to be taken away from us. My grandma thinks and believes she needs to give it to charity – even when her own grandchildren, who lives right next to her house, my late aunt’s family, badly needs a house of their own! Wow, my grandma is really a one of a kind. Don’t you agree?

Well, enough about my grandma. This post is supposed to be about my beloved grandpa.

Lolo, wherever you are right now, I know you are looking down at us. I know Aunt is with you. Somewhere. In a place we cannot follow. I will be seeing you again – but not yet. This one’s for you:

For the brave things you have done
Serving the country at times of war.

For the gentle way you have loved us all
Looking back surely would make us all cry.

For the many wonderful things in life you have showed us
Thanking God for each blessing sent our way.

For the many ways you have guided us
Our mothers have become the best because of you.

For the many wonderful memories you have left behind
I keep yearning for more.

For all the wonderful things you have instilled in us
I thank you for being the best grandpa in the whole world!

We miss you.

I love my Crocs!

Time flies when you’re having so much fun. And that’s true for me specially after having my first pair of Crocs shoes. I was born with ugly, big and long feet. I remember my mother’s frustration when it was time for me to have new shoes. It was very hard looking for one that will fit me. My growing up years has been so full of sad memories when it comes to foot wear. When girls my age were wearing cute, sexy and strappy sandals, I was forced to wear “uni-sex” foot wear that looked like it were men’s shoes! I had to endure that all throughout my highschool life. When I was in college, I preferred rubber shoes (atleast, uni-sex rubber shoes doesn’t look too “manly”). But still, that didn’t hide the fact that I wanted to wear sexy, strappy shoes. I was very envious of girls who had cute, small feet.

When I started working, I began to invest in really good shoes. I love Rusty Lopez’s shoes. They have big sizes too! But, it wasn’t as durable as I want them to be. Being a clumsy walker, I trip and stumble most of the time. And I always have to worry about broken or torn foot wear. Then my officemates started wearing these colorful rubber shoes. I got so curious about them that I started checking it.

(These are the ones I already have)

I finally bought 2 pairs of Crocs. And after 8 months of rain or shine weather conditions, I am glad to announce that it still looks brand new. The soles have not thinned out, my feet are so comfy in it and they look sleek and stylish too!

Hmmm, this Christmas I know what to get for myself. I have been eyeing the Red Alice shoes by Crocs. And oh, I want the brown, the violet and the blue one too! Geezz… looks like I’m really addicted to it now (lol)!

Me and my poor eyesight

I broke my glasses a few months ago. I just had it repaired recently. I bought a pair of contact lenses too – but, silly, careless me lost one of it. So right now, my glasses are in good working condition (hehehe after having the lenses and nose pad replaced, it looks like it’s brand new!).

I started wearing glasses when I was in my senior year in college. After getting tired of sitting at the back in the classroom (because I am taller than the average Filipina, I am expected to sit at the back to give others a clearer view of the board), squinting to see what my professor has written on the board and borrowing my classmate’s notes, I finally went to have my eyes checked. That was when I found out I was near sighted with myopic astigmatism (I hope I got the term correctly).

When I started working at the call center, I upgraded to wearing contact lenses (of course, I was earning more than what I did with my past job, lol). The only problem? My eyes got too dry and sore. I had to make sure I apply my eye solution every now and then. But I must admit, wearing contact lenses made me feel so FREE. For the first time, I felt like I had perfect vision! It felt so great having the perfect vision I have always dreamed about. And then, I lost one of it. Right now, I am planning on getting myself a new pair of contact lenses. And this time, I am going to be very careful and not lose one of it!

Just another day

I just woke up a couple of hours ago. Slept long and well. Finally had the sleep that I have needed so badly. Working early in the morning is really just not for me. I am not a morning person. I hate getting out of bed in the wee hours of the morning. I just hate it. Period (lol).

Since today is my rest day, I have a lot of things in mind. I just hope I can accomplish them all before the end of the day. Among the ones on my priority list is to re-arrange my room (it’s my mini jungle right now lol). I am also thinking about going to the cemetery to light a candle for my late relatives. Maybe I’ll call my cousins so we could all go together. The more you are, the merrier you will be (so they say! lol).

So, I better get going now. Maybe have some tea ( I think I better have a cup of hot coffee to really wake me up right now lol), and then do my chores. Hopefully, everything gets done by the end of the day.

Wish me luck!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween 2008

Happy Halloween!!!

Celebrating Halloween is not really a Philippine tradition but the company where I work at is observing every US Holiday. This is why we have our “Theme days”. I wrote about our company’s “Back to School Theme day” which our support group won (Yehey! Big applause please! lol). This month, we are celebrating “Halloween”. I decided to try my luck at carving. This time, I dragged my brother along (lol). I had 2 pumpkins, which we carved together. I had a great time carving it because it not only gave me time to stay connected with my artistic side (ahem! lol!) but it also gave me a chance to bond with my brother. It has been a while since we did something together because I am always sleepy upon getting home from work – and he is usually at school or with his classmates having their group study.

After successfully carving and shaping the pumpkins, I had to look for the materials that I needed (well, I had to think indigenous! lol). I decided to cut some dead branches from Dad’s mini forest. So anyway, I collected a couple of dead branches, a 5ft bamboo stick, an old shirt and prepared everything so I’ll have them ready when I leave for work the next morning.

When I got in at work, I was more pleased at successfully arriving with everything with me! It was VERY hard carrying everything. The pumpkins were heavy, the bamboo stick was protruding and I didn’t want to break any of the delicate dead branches! In short, I’m really happy my arms are in good condition and are still attached to me (lol)!

Even if I am sure we didn’t win anything during this year’s Halloween Theme Day (they’ll be announcing the winners tomorrow), I am just glad I took part in the event. Imagine this: I will be with the company for 4 years this coming May 2009 – and I have never done any major participation in any theme day ever! (lol). But this year, I am happy to share that I have discovered I can carve!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

A treat for myself!

Hi! It's been soooooo long since I wrote anything here. I had been so busy with a lot of stuff - work, new schedule, housing concerns and etc... (lol)

Today, I am in a very good mood. Wanna know why? I had finally recovered some of my pictures and mp3s from my old mobile memory card. Yes, I had problems with my cellphone recently. I had to have it's LCD replaced (which was very costly!), then my ever reliable memory card went dead ( I'm suspecting it's because of the themes I downloaded for my phone). Well, enough about that very frustrating event...

I am here to share with you this picture. This was taken by my teammate. I think this was taken before we had our schedule transition at work (I used to work the night shift a couple of months ago -- I am now in the morning shift, working at 5:00am to 1:30pm). I and my teammate, Jane, decided to go to Pan de Pugon (they sell really good brewed coffee! You should try it!). It was a cold night, a little rain shower and the night was just really so... uhmmm... peaceful? (lol). Anyway, we made our orders and then we decided to have something for dessert! (yehey!) It's been a while since I had any ice cream - well, that night I had some Cornetto Rocky Road Drumstick! Yum Yum! (lol). I really like this pic, reminds me of the days when I was still growing up. Vivid childhood memories of me and my brother always put a smile on my face.

And oh, by the way, I just discovered too that Chocolate and a really good coffee are great together! (I have heard Ms. Ina Garten mention it in her show but never did I realize how true it was until I tried it! Now, I'm addicted to her show "Barefoot Contessa" - but I'll write about it some other time hehehe).

Friday, September 19, 2008

Funny Olympics

I would like to share with you this funny olympic video that I received in my email (at work). This has been passed around since the 2008 olympics began. I was shocked and at the same time amused by the video - you'll know what I mean once you've watched it (lol). I don't know who made this video or where this video came from. As soon as I find out, I'll make sure to make a post about it. For now, if any of you happen to know anything about the maker of the video, please leave me a comment.

Once again, this is Janice signing off for today. Happy viewing everyone! (lol)

Monday, September 15, 2008

Give way for the new YOU!

I've been surfing the Net today and came across this article. I would like to share it with all of you out there (as I believe in everything that was written on the article - I'd like to think of myself as it's living proof hahahaah LOL ).

This was written by Debbie Rocker and you can check the original article by clicking here.

This is what's written in her article:

1. Stay positive. Believe that transformation is possible even when you haven’t seen the changes that you want yet. I am sure that you can site many examples in your life where you didn’t expect something to happen and then whoa, there it was. If you don’t have enough evidence of your own, look around you. Do you know someone who thought they’d never get the job, meet that special person, or lose the weight, and then they did? Haven’t you read amazing stories about people overcoming obstacles and creating tremendous transformation in their lives, many against great odds? These are just people too, like you and me; anyone can overcome.There is one thing that you can be sure of in life, and that is change. Make sure yours happens quickly, and in the way you want, by staying positive and then taking the steps that you know you should take.

2. Stay in the moment. If you think about your end results, the work becomes overwhelming. Just do what you know you can do today, and when tomorrow becomes today, you’ll deal with that.

3. Keep your expectations low. Don’t expect too much too soon, you’ll only get discouraged. Aiming high is nice to say but truly it is easier to stay positive if you set your sites on realistic, smaller goals.

4. Eliminate temptation. Remove distractions like foods that you don’t want to eat and people who have habits that you are trying to break. Surround yourself with people and materials that mirror the changes that you want for yourself. Hang out with happy, healthy people, read inspiring books, and listen to some great music that motivates you to get moving and take action.

5. Stop using excuses. There are always excuses; I am sure you have heard, or used, them all. When your desire to change becomes greater than your fear of changing, the excuses will go away -- nothing will stop you from becoming the new you. Even though you may not be able to change the underlying reasons why you haven’t yet accomplished your goals, you can start by removing some of the actions and thought processes that encourage you to stay stuck. Enough with the excuses!

So there you have it! Live life to the fullest my dear readers! And enjoy transforming yourselves for the best! ;)

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The Greatest Miracle in the World

This was the first Og Mandino book that I've read. I first read this when I was in highschool and I have since then been addicted to Og's work. I was introduced to books by my elder cousins (Amy and Gay). I got hooked on books since then - of any genre and type! Anyway, this post is about Og Mandino's "The Greatest Miracle in the World". It never fails to uplift my spirits whenever I feel depressed and sad. It somehow helps me think and see the positive side of things (and of life). I think this is going to be my longest post - I intend to post the God Memorandum too. I just want to share this with all of you out there. I hope you will enjoy and start to read some of Og Mandino's work. :)
Memorandum from God

To: You
From: God
Take counsel.

I hear your cry.

It passes through the darkness, filters through the clouds, mingles with starlight, and
finds its way to my heart on the path of a sunbeam.

I have anguished over the cry of a hare choked in the noose of a snare, a sparrow tumbled from the nest of its mother, a child thrashing helplessly in a pond, and a son shredding his blood on a cross.

Know that I hear you, also. Be at peace. Be calm.

I bring thee relief for your sorrow for I know its cause ... and its cure.

You weep for all your childhood dreams that have vanished with the years.

You weep for all your self-esteem that has been corrupted by failure.

You weep for all your potential that has been bartered for security.

You weep for all your talent that has been wasted through misuse.

You look upon yourself with disgrace and you turn in terror from the image you see in the pool. Who is this mockery of humanity staring back at you with bloodless eyes of shame?

Where is the grace of your manner, the beauty of your figure, the quickness of your movement, the clarity of your mind, the brilliance of your tongue? Who stole your goods? Is the thief's identity known to you, as it is to me?

Once you placed your head in a pillow of grass in your father's field and looked up at a cathedral of clouds and knew that all the gold of Babylon would be yours in time.

Once you read from many books and wrote on many tablets, convinced beyond any doubt that all the wisdom of Solomon would be equaled and surpassed by you.

And the seasons would flow into years until lo, you would reign supreme in your own garden of Eden.

Dost thou remember who implanted those plans and dreams and seeds of hope within you?You cannot.

You have no memory of that moment when first you emerged from your mother's womb and I placed my hand on your soft brow. And the secret I whispered in your small ear when I bestowed my blessings upon you?

Remember our secret?

You cannot.

The passing years have destroyed your recollection, for they have filled your mind with fear and doubt and anxiety and remorse and hate and there is no room for joyful memories where these beasts habitate.

Weep no more. I am with you ... and this moment is the dividing line of your life. All that has gone before is like unto no more than that time you slept within your mother's womb. What is past is dead. Let the dead bury the dead.

This day you return from the living dead.

This day, like unto Elijah with the widow's son, I stretch myself upon thee three times and you live again.

This day, like unto Elisha with the Shunammite's son, I put my mouth upon your mouth and my eyes upon your eyes and my hands upon your hands and your flesh is warm again.

This day, like unto Jesus at the tomb of Lazarus, I command you to come forth and you will walk from your cave of doom to begin a new life.

This is your birthday. This is your new date of birth. Your first life, like unto a play of the theatre, was only a rehearsal. This time the curtain is up. This time the world watches and waits to applaud. This time you will not fail.

Light your candles. Share your cake. Pour the wine. You have been reborn.

Like a butterfly from its chrysalis you will fly ... fly as high as you wish, and neither the wasps nor dragonflies nor mantids of mankind shall obstruct your mission or your search for the true riches of life.

Feel my hand upon thy head.

Attend to my wisdom.

Let me share with you, again, the secret you heard at your birth and forgot.
You are my greatest miracle.

You are the greatest miracle in the world.

Those were the first words you ever heard. Then you cried. They all cry ...

You did not believe me then ... and nothing has happened in the intervening years to correct your disbelief. For how could you be a miracle when you consider yourself a failure at the most menial of tasks? How can you be a miracle when you have little confidence in dealing with the most trivial of responsibilities? How can you be a miracle when you are shackled by debt and lie awake in torment over whence will come tomorrow's bread?

Enough. The milk that is spilled is sour. Yet, how many prophets, how many wise men, how many poets, how many artists, how many composers, how many scientists, how many philosophers and messengers have I sent with word of your divinity, your potential for godliness, and the secrets of achievement? How did you treat them?

Still I love you and I am with you now, through these words, to fulfill the prophet who announced that the Lord shall set his hand again, the second time, to recover the remnant of his people.

I have set my hand again.

This is the second time.

You are my remnant.

It is of no avail to ask, haven't you known, haven't you heard, hasn't it been told to you from the beginning; haven't you understood from the foundations of the earth?

You have not known; you have not heard; you have not understood.

You have been told that you are a divinity in disguise, a god playing a fool.

You have been told that you a special piece of work, noble in reason, infinite in faculties, express and admirable in form and moving, like an angel in action, like a god in apprehension.

You have been told that you are the salt of the earth.

You were given the secret even of moving mountains, of performing the impossible.

You believed no one. You burned your map to happiness, you abandoned your claim to peace of mind, you snuffed out the candles that had been placed along your destined path of glory, and then you stumbled, lost and frightened, in the darkness of futility and self-pity, until you fell into a hell of your own creation.

Then you cried and beat your breast and cursed the luck that had befallen you. You refused to accept the consequences of your own petty thoughts and lazy deeds and you searched for a scapegoat on which to blame your failure. How quickly you found one.

You blamed me!

You cried that your handicaps, your mediocrity, your lack of opportunity, your failures ... were the will of God!

You were wrong!

Let us take inventory. Let us, first, call a roll of your handicaps. For how can I ask you to build a new life lest you have the tools?

Are you blind? Does the sun rise and fall without your witness?

No. You can see ... and the hundred million receptors I have placed in your eyes enable you to enjoy the magic of a leaf, a snowflake, a pond, an eagle, a child, a cloud, a star, a rose, a rainbow ... and the look of love. Count one blessing.

Are you deaf? Can a baby laugh or cry without your attention?

No. You can hear ... and the twenty-four thousand fibers I have built in each of your ears vibrate to the wind in the trees, the tides on the rocks, the majesty of an opera, a robin's plea, children at play ... and the words I love you. Count another blessing.

Are you mute? Do your lips move and bring forth only spittle?

No. You can speak ... as can no other of my creatures, and your words can calm the angry, uplift the despondent, goad the quitter, cheer the unhappy, warm the lonely, praise the worthy, encourage the defeated, teach the ignorant ... and say I love you. Count another blessing.

Are you paralyzed? Does your helpless form despoil the land?

No. You can move. You are not a tree condemned to a small plot while the wind and world abuses you. You can stretch and run and dance and work, for within you I have designed five hundred muscles, two hundred bones, and seven miles of nerve fiber all synchronized by me to do your bidding. Count another blessing.

Are you unloved and unloving? Does loneliness engulf you, night and day?

No. No more. For now you know love's secret, that to receive love it must be given with no thought of its return. To love for fulfillment, satisfaction, or pride is no love. Love is a gift on which no return is demanded. Now you know that to love unselfishly is its own reward. And even should love not be returned it is not lost, for love not reciprocated will flow back to you and soften and purify your heart. Count another blessing. Count twice.

Is your heart stricken? Does it leak and strain to maintain your life?

No. Your heart is strong. Touch your chest and feel its rhythm, pulsating, hour after hour, day and night, thirty-six million beats each year, year after year, asleep or awake, pumping your blood through more than sixty thousand miles of veins, arteries, and tubing ... pumping more than six hundred thousand gallons each year. Man has never created such a machine. Count another blessing.

Are you diseased of skin? Do people turn in horror when you approach?

No. Your skin is clear and a marvel of creation, needing only that you tend it with soap and oil and brush and care. In time all steels will tarnish and rust, but not your skin. Eventually the strongest of metals will wear, with use, but not that layer that I have constructed around you. Constantly it renews itself, old cells replaced by new, just as the old you is now replaced by the new. Count another blessing.

Are your lungs befouled? Does your breath of life struggle to enter your body?

No. Your portholes to life support you even in the vilest of environments of your own making, and they labor always to filter life-giving oxygen through six hundred million pockets of folded flesh while they rid your body of gaseous wastes. Count another blessing.

Is your blood poisoned? Is it diluted with water and pus?

No. Within your five quarts of blood are twenty-two trillion blood cells and within each cell are millions of molecules and within each molecule is an atom oscillating at more than ten million times each second. Each second, two million of your blood cells die to be replaced by two million more in a resurrection that has continued since your first birth. As it has always been inside, so now it is on your outside. Count another blessing.

Are you feeble of mind? Can you no longer think for yourself?

No. Your brain is the most complex structure in the universe. I know. Within its three pounds are thirteen billion nerve cells, more than three times as many cells as there are people on your earth. To help you file away every perception, every sound, every taste, every smell, every action you have experienced since the day of your birth, I have implanted, within your cells, more than one thousand billion billion protein molecules. Every incident in your life is there waiting only your recall. And, to assist your brain in the control of your body I have dispersed, throughout your form, four million pain-sensitive structures, five hundred thousand touch detectors, and more than two hundred thousand temperature detectors. No nation's gold is better protected than you. None of your ancient wonders are greater than you.

You are my finest creation.

Within you is enough atomic energy to destroy any of the world's great cities ... and rebuild it.

Are you poor? Is there no gold or silver in your purse?

No. You are rich! Together we have just counted your wealth. Study the list. Count them again. Tally your assets!

Why have you betrayed yourself? Why have you cried that all the blessings of humanity were removed from you? Why did you deceive yourself that you were powerless to change your life?

Are you without talent, senses, abilities, pleasures, instincts, sensations, and pride?

Are you without hope? Why do you cringe in the shadows, a giant defeated, awaiting
only sympathetic transport into the welcome void and dampness of hell?

You have so much. Your blessings overflow your cup ... and you have been unmindful of them, like a child spoiled in luxury, since I have bestowed them upon you with generosity and regularity.

Answer me.

Answer yourself.

What rich man, old and sick, feeble and helpless, would not exchange all the gold in his vault for the blessings you have treated so lightly.

Know then the first secret to happiness and success - that you possess, even now, every blessing necessary to achieve great glory. They are your treasure, your tools with which to build, starting today, the foundation for a new and better life.

Therefore, I say unto you, count your blessings and know that you already are my greatest creation. This is the first law you must obey in order to perform the greatest miracle in the world, the return of your humanity from living death.

And be grateful for your lessons learned in poverty. For he is not poor who has little; only he that desires much ... and true security lies not in the things one has but in the things one can do without.

Where are the handicaps that produced your failure? They existed only in your mind.
Count your blessings.

And the second law is like unto the first. Proclaim your rarity.
You had condemned yourself to a potter's field, and there you lay, unable to forgive your own failure, destroying yourself with self-hate, self-incrimination, and revulsion at your crimes against yourself and others.

Are you not perplexed?

Do you not wonder why I am able to forgive your failures, your transgressions, your pitiful demeanor ... when you cannot forgive yourself?

I address you now, for three reasons. You need me. You are not one of a herd heading for destruction in a gray mass of mediocrity. And ... you are a great rarity.

Consider a painting by Rembrandt or a bronze by Degas or a violin by Stradivarius or a play by Shakespeare. They have great value for two reasons: their creators were masters and they are few in number. Yet there are more than one of each of these.

On that reasoning you are the most valuable treasure on the face of the earth, for you know who created you and there is only one of you.

Never, in all the seventy billion humans who have walked this planet since the beginning of time has there been anyone exactly like you.

Never, until the end of time, will there be another such as you.

You have shown no knowledge or appreciation of your uniqueness.

Yet, you are the rarest thing in the world.

From your father, in his moment of supreme love, flowed countless seeds of love, more than four hundred million in number. All of them, as they swam within your mother, gave up the ghost and died. All except one! You.

You alone persevered within the loving warmth of your mother's body, searching for your other half, a single cell from your mother so small that more than two million would be necessary to fill an acorn shell. Yet, despite impossible odds, in that vast ocean of darkness and disaster, you persevered, found that infinitesimal cell, joined with it, and began a new life. Your life.

You arrived, bringing with you, as does every child, the message that I was not yet discouraged of man. Two cells now united in a miracle. Two cells, each containing twenty-three chromosomes and within each chromosome hundreds of genes, which would govern every characteristic about you, from the color of your eyes to the charm of your manner, to the size of your brain.

With all the combinations at my command, beginning with that single sperm from your father's four hundred million, through the hundreds of genes in each of the chromosomes from your mother and father, I could have created three hundred thousand billion humans, each different from the other.

But who did I bring forth?

You! One of a kind. Rarest of the rare. A priceless treasure, possessed of qualities in mind and speech and movement and appearance and actions as no other who has ever lived, lives, or shall live.

Why have you valued yourself in pennies when you are worth a king's ransom?

Why did you listen to those who demeaned you ... and far worse, why did you believe them?

Take counsel. No longer hide your rarity in the dark. Bring it forth. Show the world. Strive not to walk as your brother walks, nor talk as your leader talks, nor labor as do the mediocre. Never do as another. Never imitate. For how do you know that you may not imitate evil; and he who imitates evil always goes beyond the example set, while he who imitates what is good always falls short. Imitate no one. Be yourself. Show your rarity to the world and they will shower you with gold. This then is the second law.

Proclaim your rarity.

And now you have received two laws.

Count your blessings! Proclaim your rarity!

You have no handicaps. You are not mediocre.

You nod. You force a smile. You admit your self-deception.

What of your next complaint? Opportunity never seeks thee?

Take counsel and it shall come to pass, for now I give you the law of success in every venture. Many centuries ago this law was given to your forefathers from a mountain top. Some heeded the law and lo, their life was filled with the fruit of happiness, accomplishment, gold, and peace of mind. Most listened not, for they sought magic means, devious routes, or waited for the devil called luck to deliver to them the riches of life. They waited in vain ... just as you waited, and then they wept, blaming their lack of fortune.

The law is simple. Young or old, pauper or king, white or black, male or female ... all can use the secret to their advantage; for all the rules and speeches and scriptures of success and how to attain it, only one method has never failed ... whomsoever shall compel ye to go with him one mile ... go with him two.

This then is the third law ... the secret that will produce riches and acclaim beyond your dreams. Go another mile!

The only certain means of success is to render more and better service than is expected of you, no matter what your task may be. This is a habit followed by all successful people since the beginning of time. Therefore I saith the surest way to doom yourself to mediocrity is to perform only the work for which you are paid.

Think not ye are being cheated if you deliver more than the silver you receive. For there is a pendulum to all life and the sweat you deliver, if not rewarded today, will swing back tomorrow, tenfold. The mediocre never goes another mile, for why should he cheat himself, he thinks. But you are not mediocre. To go another mile is a privilege you must appropriate by your own initiative. You cannot, you must not avoid it. Neglect it, do only as little as the others, and the responsibility for your failure is yours alone.

You can no more render service without receiving just compensation than you can withhold the rendering of it without suffering the loss of reward. Cause and effect, means and ends, seed and fruit, these cannot be separated. The effect already blooms in the cause, the end pre-exists in the means, and the fruit is always in the seed.

Go another mile.

Concern yourself not, should you serve an ungrateful master. Serve him more.

And instead of him, let it be me who is in your debt, for then you will know that every minute, every stroke of extra service will be repaid. And worry not, should your reward not come soon.

For the longer payment is withheld, the better for you ... and compound interest on compound interest is this law's greatest benefit.

You cannot command success, you can only deserve it ... and now you know the great secret necessary in order to merit its rare reward.

Go another mile!

Where is this field whence you cried there was no opportunity? Look! Look around thee. See, where only yesterday you wallowed on the refuse of self-pity, you now walk tall on a carpet of gold. Nothing has changed ... except you, but you are everything.

You are my greatest miracle.

You are the greatest miracle in the world.

And now the laws of happiness and success are three.

Count your blessings! Proclaim your rarity! Go another mile!

Be patient with your progress. To count your blessings with gratitude, to proclaim your rarity with pride, to go an extra mile and then another, these acts are not accomplished in the blinking of an eye. Yet, that which you acquire with most difficulty you retain the longest; as those who have earned a fortune are more careful of it than those by whom it was inherited.

And fear not as you enter your new life. Every noble acquisition is attended with its risks. He who fears to encounter the one must not expect to obtain the other. Now you know you are a miracle. And there is no fear in a miracle.

Be proud. You are not the momentary whim of a careless creator experimenting in the laboratory of life. You are not a slave of forces that you cannot comprehend. You are a free manifestation of no force but mine, of no love but mine. You were made with a purpose.

Feel my hand. Hear my words.

You need me ... and I need you.

We have a world to rebuild ... and if it requireth a miracle what is that to us? We are both miracles and now we have each other.

Never have I lost faith in you since that day when I first spun you from a giant wave and tossed you helplessly on the sands. As you measure time that was more than five hundred million years ago. There were many models, many shapes, many sizes, before I reached perfection in you more than thirty thousand years ago. I have made no further effort to improve on you in all these years.

For how could one improve on a miracle? You were a marvel to behold and I was pleased. I gave you this world and dominion over it. Then, to enable you to reach your full potential I placed my hand upon you, once more, and endowed you with powers unknown to any other creature in the universe, even unto this day.

I gave you the power to think.

I gave you the power to love.

I gave you the power to will.

I gave you the power to laugh.

I gave you the power to imagine.

I gave you the power to create.

I gave you the power to plan.

I gave you the power to speak.

I gave you the power to pray.

I gave you the power to heal.

My pride in you knew no bounds. You were my ultimate creation, my greatest miracle. A complete living being. One who can adjust to any climate, any hardship, any challenge. One who can manage his own destiny without any interference from me. One who can translate a sensation or perception, not by instinct, but by thought and deliberation into whatever action is best for himself and all humanity.

Thus we come to the fourth law of success and happiness ... for I gave you one more power, a power so great that not even my angels possess it. I gave you ... the power to choose.

With this gift I placed you even above my angels ... for angels are not free to choose sin. I gave you complete control over your destiny. I told you to determine, for yourself, your own nature in accordance with your own free will. Neither heavenly nor earthly in nature, you were free to fashion yourself in whatever form you preferred. You had the power to choose to degenerate into the lowest forms of life, but you also had the power, out of your soul's judgment, to be reborn into the higher forms, which are divine.

I have never withdrawn your great power, the power to choose.

What have you done with this tremendous force? Look at yourself. Think of the choices you have made in your life and recall, now, those bitter moments when you would fall to your knees if only you had the opportunity to choose again.

What is past is past ... and now you know the fourth great law of happiness and success ... Use wisely, your power of choice.

Choose to love ... rather than hate.

Choose to laugh ... rather than cry.

Choose to create ... rather than destroy.

Choose to persevere ... rather than quit.

Choose to praise ... rather than gossip.

Choose to heal ... rather than wound.

Choose to give ... rather than steal.

Choose to act ... rather than procrastinate.

Choose to grow ... rather than rot.

Choose to pray ... rather than curse.

Choose to live ... rather than die.

Now you know that your misfortunes were not my will, for all power was vested in you, and the accumulation of deeds and thoughts which placed you on the refuse of humanity were your doing, not mine. My gifts of power were too large for your small nature. Now you have grown tall and wise and the fruits of the land will be yours.
You are more than a human being, you are a human becoming.

You are capable of great wonders. Your potential is unlimited. Who else, among my creatures, has mastered fire? Who else, among my creatures, has conquered gravity, has pierced the heavens, has conquered disease and pestilence and drought?

Never demean yourself again!

Never settle for the crumbs of life!

Never hide your talents, from this day hence!

Remember the child who says, "when I am big boy." But what is that? For the big boy says. "when I grow up." And then the grown up, he says, "when I am wed." But to be wed, what is that, after all? The thought then changes to "when I retire." And then, retirement comes, and he looks back over it and somehow he has missed it all and it is gone.

Enjoy this day, today ... and tomorrow, tomorrow.

You have performed the greatest miracle in the world.

You have returned from a living death.

You will feel self-pity no more and each new day will be a challenge and a joy.

You have been born again ... but just as before, you can choose failure and despair or success and happiness. The choice is yours. The choice is exclusively yours. I can only watch, as before ... in pride ... or sorrow.

Remember, then, the four laws of happiness and success.

Count your blessings.

Proclaim your rarity.

Go another mile.

Use wisely your power of choice.

And one more, to fulfill the other four. Do all things with love ... love for yourself, love for all others, and love for me.

Wipe away your tears. Reach out, grasp my hand, and stand straight.

Let me cut the grave cloths that have bound you.

This day you have been notified.



Tuesday, August 5, 2008

C’est la Vie!

One of the many wonders of life is life itself. It is a very complex thing, so enigmatic, mysterious, complicated and yet so surprising and unexplainable in its simplicity. So as I am sitting at my desk at work today, with most of my tasks done, I am left with just enough time to really think and ponder on some of the thoughts that’s been on my mind lately.

What makes life so complicated and so agonizingly painful?

Have you ever experienced wanting something so bad, so bad that you were more than willing to give up your life just to get that something? And then just when you thought you were going to get it, you failed ~ with your face flat on the ground, your body numb with pain and emotions you can barely comprehend to? Well, I hope you’ll believe me when I say everyone has experienced that. We all have our most depressing moments that helped us become who we are today. These pits made us stronger and braver ~ these were designed by our Maker to help us improve and polish ourselves and to help us become a better person as we go through life. The important lesson here is to stand up whenever we fall. Don’t let failure get you. You are worth more than you think you are.

Sad to say, but, not everyone makes it out of the pit alive. Some simply refused to live. Some preferred to stay and linger at the bottom of the pit. While some may have gone out of the pit alive ~ their souls have been badly scarred and their hearts has turned to stone, incapable of love, happiness and worst, incapable of living life to the fullest. This is where life is at its ugliest form.

Is life unfair? Well, nobody ever said life was going to be fair or easy. It depends on how we handle situations and what we make out of it. The choice has always been ours to make. Rich people are not necessarily happier just because they are wealthy. Happiness doesn’t come from being rich or poor. Happiness is something we find deep in our hearts of hearts.

When we lose people we love and care about in our lives, we question God instead of understanding the purpose behind it. When we fail to realize our goals and our dreams, we get upset and blame God and ourselves. When things go wrong and when the going gets tough, we isolate ourselves from our family and friends. In doing so, we fail to realize that we are hurting the people that matter to us the most - we not only caused more pain to ouselves but have caused pain to others too. When we become bitter, we affect those who are closest to us ~ our family and friends. When we are hurting, we isolate ourselves – then how does that help in making life worth living when we are just passing on the pain and agony to others?

I am not writing this post because I know a lot about life – in fact, I don’t know much about life. My journey has not ended, I still have a LOT to learn & understand, and a lot are still coming my way (obstacles and blessings, in its many forms!) I just would like to share my thoughts and my personal views on this matter because I see a lot of badly scarred souls everyday and I wish they would atleast stop for a while and examine their choices. I’ve seen some who simply stopped believing in dreams and that’s a terrible thing to do. I see many people complaining about the things they don’t have and not even see what’s right in front of them. I see so many people wishing they had this and that, not even realizing that they are far more blessed than others are. I see a lot of people getting upset at mundane things when it’s not really something they should even waste their time with. I see a lot of people ignoring their families because they are so preoccupied with work (I am one of those people, sad to say) ~ and most of us have this lame excuse of working hard for our families – what a shame! And I realize that now too. Our families can survive without the money we can help them with ~ it is losing us that they cant stand because we are a part of their lives and they love us. They fear of losing us just as we fear of losing them. I fear about losing my family without being able to tell them how much I love them and how thankful I am for being a part of the family. I fear of losing them when there’s still a lot left unsaid and undone.

Why do we not see our blessings? Why do we not recognize them? Is it because they came in small packages we didn’t want or expect? Or because it was not what and how we wanted it to be? When would we start recognizing the blessings we already have? Why can’t we just treat our misfortunes as blessings in disguise? And the question goes on and on. And I will leave the answers to you my dear readers. And I hope you’ll come up with a good answer and a wise decision. We all have to live a good life and enjoy it while it lasts. We will walk the face of the earth just once. It is only but right to make sure we are maximizing our time. Nobody knows what the future brings. We could die anytime. Any family member or friend could be gone before you even know it. It’s sad I know. But that’s how life is. That’s life. Nothing is certain or permanent. That is the simple plain truth about life. We have to act now and start living a meaningful life.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Camiguin Island Escapade

I know I should have written about this a long, long time ago. But this happened way before I even started blogging! (lol) So now, I am sharing with you the memories I have taken with me when I and a bunch of friends went to Camiguin to unwind.

It happened on a cool summer day last May 2007. We had been planning about the whole trip and as we were approaching the big day, we were all just so excited and thrilled. It was going to be my first time at Paradise island ~ of course, I went ballistic! (lol) I was overweight and fat back then (hehehe I am now lighter bwehehe lol) but my body didn’t really bother me a lot during those times. I swore that I’d go and bare as soon as I arrive on the island (lol! For just as long as no one was going to puke when I came within sight! lol).
Eithel, me and Jessa (a.k.a "Sang")
Gal, me and Sang

So off I went with 3 of my best buddies at work (Gal, Jessa and Eithel). We woke up early, got ourselves ready and made sure we had packed everything essential to enjoy the island. Eithel was with her boyfriend at that time, so I and the rest were left on our own, wishing we were with our special someone too! (lol, I didn’t really have a special someone back then. Anyway, the three of us just made sure we enjoyed the trip by taking as many pictures as we can get using Eithel’s cam. (lol).

Our first stop was at Balingoan. From there we had to ride a ferry to get to Camiguin. We boarded the ferry, had a fabulous time, then took some more pictures (lol, what can you expect? We had been so busy working hard the whole year and this was our only chance of being away from work and relax to the max). As soon as we arrived at the Island, we were fetched from the port by Eithel’s relatives. Then, as we were on our way to Eithel’s hometown, all three of us were so awed at the breathtaking scenery that greeted us. All we could muster to say was a couple of “Ohhhs” and “Ahhs”. The road was by the cliff, it wasn’t scary, and as we neared the cliff, all three of us would move to the side and look at the majestic waves that came rushing to the shores, splashing on the rocks and crystal clear waters that were calling us – me- to go ahead and take a dive (lol, yes, that was how inviting the ocean was).

Sang, Krizzia, Gal and me

We went touring around the island as soon as we got there. We toured and toured, swam and swam, ate and ate, and toured again. (lol, sounds exciting, eh?). We went to the Sunken cemetery, Katibawasan Falls, the White Island, the Lagoon (and had a fabulous meal there too! hehehe). We were having the time of our lives and enjoying the moment. One night, we went out to attend a baranggay dance party (Benefit dance) – it was like a disco party! (lol). I had no choice but stay glued to my chair – oh please don’t let me dance! (lol! I can’t dance! I don’t know how to dance! lol!) The next morning, we went on a tour again, this time to the cold springs! Brrrrrrr, very cold! (lol) And there we swam with the teeny, tiny fishes that we managed to catch using Eithel’s dress (lol). We used her dress as a net and came up with a master plan on catching the fishes (much to the delight of Krizzia, Eithel’s cousin). It was an adventure we would never forget!

Eithel, Gal, Krizzia and me

Me, Krizzia, Gal and Sang

We bought some dried pusit (squid) on the way home. Then, as expected, we slept in the van during the rest of the trip. We were exhausted but very, very happy and satisfied with our Camiguin adventure.

We dreamed and planned of having a Bohol adventure ~ well… It’s still in the process (lol). Will update you as soon as we come up with the money and the time to have another island adventure.

Ciao! :-)

Friday, August 1, 2008

Back to School 2008 Theme Day

We were on our best Back to School attire last June 24, 2008. Why? Our company has always been fond of having “theme” days (Pajama, Halloween, Christmas, Back-to-School, and Etc. You name it and we have it! lol). Well, being a part of the Non-Voice support group has, in some way, alienated us from the whole support group – but not this year. This year, we won the Back-to-School theme day!!! (yuhooo!!! Go Chat Support!!! Go Non-Voice Team!!! lol).

I was dressed as a teacher (I didn’t want to wear the short skirt and freeze to death in our workstation! lol) while my co-TCs were in their school uniforms (one acted as our Principal and our Manager was dressed in his school attire). Don’t we all look cute and adorable? (hehehe you better agree or I’ll shave your head! lol)

Hmmm… and now as I wonder… would we be able to keep up on the next theme day? Let’s wait and see ;-P

Monday, July 7, 2008

Top Filipino foods that make me drool like crazy

I love to eat. I am from a family of food lovers. I generally would eat anything edible (lol). After loosing weight, I have been watching my food intake constantly. And I must admit, there are times when I just want to indulge in all the foods that I love to eat. When I’m home alone with nothing to do, I always find myself fantasizing about the foods that make me drool and salivate to the max! (lol) Well, let me share with you some of the foods that make me go crazy. (By the way, they are not arranged in order of preference because honestly – I would love to have all of them on one table and in one sitting! lol) Here goes! (lol)

1st: Lechon. Yes, most Filipinos just can’t celebrate without this great yummy treat. With its oh so crispy skin and soft succulent meat – yumyumyummmmy! (lol) I like the tummy part because that is where all the flavors are (all the herbs and spices are tucked inside the tummy when roasting the pig – so this makes the tummy part the most favorite part of most Lechon lovers out there). This is served best with a Mang Tomas sauce or the usual Ketchup/Catsup will do. I prefer hot Ketchup/Catsup or vinegar with some garlic and Chili (now, just talking about it is making me crave for it! Lol)

2nd: Kinilaw. Whether it’s made of Dilis (fresh Anchovies) or Malasugi (swordfish), it’s still one of my BIG time favorites! It is not limited to Anchovies or Swordfish – some prefer using tuna, marlin, fresh squid, fresh sea shell meat and etc. But I just prefer the Dilis and the Malasugi more. I like how the raw fish meat is cooked in vinegar. I don’t always prefer the white cane vinegar for my kinilaw. I usually prefer the traditional brownish ‘Tuba”. Tuba is made through a process of extracting the sap of an unopened coconut bud. It has a stinging sweet and bittersweet taste. Filipinos consider Tuba as a type of hard drink. And I know our ancestors drank Tuba just like the way the new generation is drinking Tequila! (lol) Anyway, back to the Kinilaw, I love my Kinilaw more with some Chili in it – yum yum! Kinilaw shouldn’t be taken with water. They are best paired with Coke or any kind of Sodas. Another variety of the Kinilaw is called the “Sinuglaw”. It is actually just grilled pork meat mixed with Kinilaw. This is a very good food to bring out to the beach and enjoy with family and friends.

3rd: Steamed Crabs or Shrimps. I just love it when they are cooked naturally this way. Another big time favorite of mine is when they are cooked with garlic, lots of onions (the bigger chunks the onions are - the better!), salt, pepper and some Sprite. (Yes, you heard me. Sprite. The drink Fido Dido is crazy about! Lol) I love to just eat and dip their meat in their sauce (when steamed I dip them in their natural sauce (lol), when cooked with the sprite – I dip it with the sauce it created!) I just love to suck out their juices and let their meat linger in my mouth until I’ve had enough. Well… It usually takes a lot of time before I’ll have enough! lol)

4th: Sisig. I love to eat sizzling Sisig in restaurants with family and friends. When it's sisig, I prefer going to Butcher's Best or Inilog Grill. They serve the best sizzling sisig - well, for me that is! (lol) I am not a very big fan of liver (which by the way is one of the main ingredients of Sisig). I usually take out all the liver I can before eating. But other than that, this is one dish I’d always love to have when I’m out with friends. This food is just amazing when paired with soy sauce, vinegar and chili sauce (I love hot and spicy foods teeeheeee!)

5th: Bulalo. Oh my goodness!!! This is one soup I’ll never say “NO” to! I love my Bulalo with a lot of veggies in it. I prefer a lot of Raddish and Cabbage in it plus some chili. I love eating the marrow inside the bone along with its oh so heavenly soup. I like it more when there’s a lot of marrows in it too. Yum yum yum. Makes me remember the good old days when my Mama would cook Bulalo for dinner making my Papa very happy - and the kids – me and my brother, fighting for the biggest marrow! (lol)

6th: Humba (Braised Pork Belly with Sugar). This is a very popular dish in the southern Part of the Philippines. This is one of my comfort foods. When I am down, depressed, weary or just feeling lonely, I usually crave for humba and pester my brother to cook me one. (lol). Yes, I know some of you are thinking this dish has too much fat and oil. Well, it is exactly what gives it the flavor and that great taste. This is best served with a lot of rice (grins). Well, sometimes, it’s good to stop counting the calories and fat and just go ahead and enjoy the food. When you are in that mood – Humba is one great food you certainly would want to try out!

7th: Dinuguan (Pork Blood Stew). Yes, pork blood. It’s not yucky. It’s not gross. It’s actually one of the most sought out food during parties and special events. It usually comes with the Lechon because Dinuguan is made with the blood of a freshly-slaughtered pig, pork meat and port entrails. (usually the remains after the pig is slaughtered and roasted). I know it sounds yucky and morbid for most of you but all I ask is that you try it first before deciding that it’s no good. I like to have my Dinuguan with some puto and kutsinta to go with it.

8th: Palabok. This is a Filipino specialty dish. Usually made with pancit Luglug or with Vermicelli. I go crazy whenever my Mama would cook one for us. I love the orange colored sauce and the chicharon that goes with it as its topping. I also love Spaghetti but I like and prefer Palabok more (grins). This is just one of those dishes that make me want to eat and eat and eat and eat and….. eat! (lol)

9th: Pancit Canton. I am not really sure if this is a Filipino Cuisine. More like Chinese or Japanese… or Taiwanese or Thai??? (lol, now I’m confused!) Anyway, when I say Pancit Canton, I am NOT referring to those instant ones you can make within 3 minutes! Puhlessss! (lol) I prefer my Pancit Canton with lots and lots of veggies in it – the less Pork / Beef / or Chicken liver you can add to it, the better for me (grins).

10th: Cassava Cake. This was what I always bought at the canteen when I was in grade school, high school and even when I was in College. It is cheap, very yummy and tasty (I really like it when there’s a lot of cheese on top of it). This was my comfort food when I was growing up. This was the food that rescued me from starvation because I have used my allowance on pocket books, much to the dismay of my parents (lol). I remember my friends buying burgers, fries, hotdog buns and all those yummy treats during recess – but I didn’t mind having my beloved cassava cake with me for as long as I get to buy the pocket books that I wanted (lol).

11th: Pinakbet (Meat Vegetable Stew with Shrimp Paste). Yes, an authentic Filipino dish and a treat to all veggie lovers. I prefer mine with less or no meat at all. I like how this is cooked with the yummy, pinkish shrimp paste. I also prefer my pinakbet dry. I don’t like having all those extra soup in it. When I’m cooking one, I usually let all the liquids dry out before serving (but making sure the veggies are not overcooked). This is best served with a LOT of rice (teheeee lol)

12th: Halo – Halo. This is a popular Filipino dessert (especially during Summer!). It is a mixture of shaved ice and milk to which are added various boiled sweet beans and fruits, and served cold in a tall glass or bowl. There is no specific recipe for this dessert, and a wide variety of ingredients are used. I prefer my halo-halo when it’s bought at “Ice Castle” (a restaurant located at Lim Ket kai). Unlike most shaved ice, Ice Castle’s ice doesn’t harden. I just love being able to enjoy the soft creamy ice along with the other concoctions! I also like Chowking’s halo-halo.

13th: Binignit. This is actually a different version of Halo – Halo. This version is cooked with Coconut milk. It is also known as a warm root crop and fruit stew. It is cooked with sweet potatoes, plantain bananas, Gabi (I honestly don’t know its english name, so please pardon me lol!). Filipinos prepare and cook this treat during Lent. This is the time of year when Christians in the Philippines are not allowed to eat meat. I eat Binignit whenever I want to, lent or not, warm or cold. This is just one treat I can’t deprive myself! (lol).

14th: Bicol Express. This is one very popular dish in the Philippines. It originated from Bicol and was named as such because it is known to make one rush and run for water. This is a very spicy dish cooked with coconut milk, pork meat and a lot of chili. One time, my college long distance friends came to town. They were from Bicol (Theresa and Aleiza). Showed them around and told them how much we (I and Gladys, one of my good friends) love Bicol Express. A few days after they went home, a package arrived at home. Guess what was inside? A lot of Bicol express!!! (yipeee!! lol). Gladys wasn’t able to get her share – I think because she wasn’t available or wasn’t in town – but one thing I’ll surely never forget --- I enjoyed the Bicol Express they sent me – down to the last drop!!! (lol).

So now you know what foods make me tick (lol). I really just love food and if given the chance ~ I will really have all these great foods laid on one table, invite family and friends to share it with me and take that out from my to-do-wish list (lol). By the way, pictures posted on this article were all taken from the Internet. As much as I love eating, I am not very fond of taking pictures of my meal! (lol).

Bon Appétit everyone!