Valentines & My Crooked Palm Lines

Our journey through life presents many challenges.  If we find someone to share that journey with, it opens up a totally new perspective and a whole realm of possibilities.  Lucky are those who found someone that they love and share life’s journey with.

Though people say that I don’t look one, I am already five decades old.  And though people say that I am addicted to love, by this time and at this late period of my life, I have started to accept the fact that sharing my journey with someone seem already farfetched and very unlikely.

happy valentines everyone!

If a psychic palm reader would try to peruse the lines on my hand, I guess, he would say that such palm-lines seem crooked and uncommon.   I guess my fate is simply different as compared to the majority. 

It’s Valentine’s day tomorrow and I realized that I am too old to turn crabby or cantankerous.  I have started to accept the thought that sharing life’s journey is not for me.  If such is not for me, then it is not for me.  What is important with my life’s situation now is that I simply follow my heart, I’m living my own truth, I try to enjoy life and I got a beautiful family who cares and loves me.

love rule #1: if it’s not for you, then it’s not for you

Have a sweet and beautiful Valentines everyone!

Ruminations on Ali’s First Birthday Party

Just this weekend, I attended another first birthday party.  That of my grandnephew, Ali.  Ali’s first birthday celebration was a little grand and over-the-top: servers were in costumes; food served was buffet style part of which was a roasted calf; there was a funny magician who performed; the dinosaur-theme set-up was ostentatious; alcoholic drinks as post-party celebration for the adults were overflowing; and, there was even a fantastic fireworks presentation.

happy birthday ali !!!

a colorful fun day!

super fun with friends & relatives

I no longer can recall how many times I have attended a first birthday party in the past.  And consistently, since a one year old baby has no concept of birthdays and parties, the baby-celebrator is clueless and has zero idea why everyone is congregating for such a day. 

It will make you wonder if such celebration was really about the baby or is it really about and for the people that surround him.  I guess, the latter seem to be the correct answer to this question.  It is indeed for and about the people who helped and will help the baby to grow happy and healthy.  And it is most especially for the parents (in Ali’s case my niece Thatcher and nephew-in-law Alexis) who seem to celebrate for not screwing up and being successful in their first year with the cute and adorable child.

a job well done…

The child may have received all the gifts, but it is the parents and the people who surround the celebrant who receives all the hugs, the love, the praises and the encouragements as expressed and delivered by all the guests who attended.

I am pretty sure, Ali’s parents (and like any other parents) had numerous uncertainties and frustrations in the past year.  I am also pretty sure, both Thatcher and Alexis had several worries and anxieties from crying outbursts to bottle rejections.  Some hurdles were conquered by mere luck while others were resolved by experience.  And oftentimes, snags and obstacles were resolved thru the assistance of family or friends.  Thus, the first birthday party of any baby is indeed a salute and celebration for the parents and the people who surrounds the child.

pose of the day

I was given the opportunity to give a short talk during the party.  I was able to give my warmest birthday wishes for the adorable Ali.  I was able to greet a beautiful afternoon to all the attendees. I however, failed to congratulate Ali’s parents.  So let me take this opportunity to express my warmest felicitations and compliments to Thatcher & Alexis for a job well done.

Beach Bumming at Abagatanen

There is a calm, tranquil and secluded-like place north of Manila.  It is 300 kilometers away and would take around 6 hours to drive from Manila.  A quiet fishing village in Pangasinan, Abagatanen white sand beach is one beautiful attraction.

fresh waves! abagatanen, a back-to-basics kind of a beach

The white sand beach may not be as powdery and white as the popular, commercialized and tourist-infested beaches in my country, Abagatanen beach has its own distinct beauty.  With the absence of mercantile shops and restaurants the place is beautifully nostalgic.  With the non-existence of pricey resort facilities, the beach is charmingly traditional.  And with its having no mobile internet reception it is gorgeously retrograded. 

golden hour!!!

Its main attractions are the crystal clear water of the ocean, the exquisite wind-driven waves of the sea, the unassuming and courteous locals and above all the undeniable energy of peace and tranquility.  Me and my family were lucky enough to have discovered this piece of paradise.  Stressed and worry-free, I energized my spirit by basically bumming around the Abagatanen white sand beach.

Trusty Nippon

The BBC Reel documentary about Japan’s impressive lost & found scheme and system is true.  I have personal accounts and experiences about how remarkably honest, decent and trustworthy the Japanese people are. 

During our family’s second visit to Japan, one of the inexpensive yet enjoyable lunches we had was at a self-service keiseki-like (keiseki are like tapas of Spain or the small dishes of Japan) eatery in Osaka.  I can clearly recall that after we have stepped out and we’re like 200 yards away already from that eatery, we noticed that the old and short lady who worked in that establishment was actually running after our group.  Gasping for air when she reached us, she then handed a small bag to us. 

Without me understanding what she was saying, my now-niece-in-law (Alexis) then noticed that the bag the old lady was handing over was his.  He then realized that he actually left behind his pouch-bag inside the eatery which contains his cash, his credit cards and his valuable passport.

Another remarkable experience my family had in Japan when it comes to trustworthiness was when we had a winter adventure in Sapporo.   After a short flight from Osaka to Hokkaido, my family chose to reach our hotel via subway from the Sapporo airport.  The subway train station near our hotel was actually just beside a park, the Nakajima Park.  When we got out of the train station towing and dragging along our huge suitcases, out in the street, we noticed that the magnificent park beside the train station was filled with soft and fresh snow. 

My family lives in a tropical country where no snow falls.  Here in the Philippines, the weather is either hot or hotter.  Thus, it is but thrilling for us (a snow-deprived-family) to see, smell and touch those fields of frozen and icy hexagonal-shaped crystals.  And as if my family suddenly transformed into little naughty children we run towards the park and were unmindful of leaving behind our huge bags and suitcases right there in front of the train station.  We spent about half an hour inside the snowy park – making snow angles, snowball fighting, creating our very first snowman and gasping at how magnificent the snow formations are on trees.

the nakajima train station right beside the park.  that’s the very spot where we left our suitcases! haha!

After mellowing down and when we regained our adulthood back, only then that we realized that we actually left behind our suitcases right there at the train station’s entrance/exit platform.  We were gone for more than half an hour and when we went back to retrieve and get all our bags and suitcases, all of it were surprisingly still there!  Do that here in my country, all of our luggage will be gone in less than a minute and you got no one else to blame but yourself.

Japan is beautiful, its people are incredible and exploring Japan has been a worry-free type of adventure.  Because of these, this country has been my family’s most visited country.  I won’t be surprised if after the pandemic my family will again venture for another trusty Nippon adventure. 

Boosted!

After close to two years of inertia, liberation seem to loom & bloom.  Covid cases in my people-filled and densely populated country is now starting to drop.

injection gives me the creeps! so obvious is this photo. haha!

 Unlike tennis superstar Novak Djokovic, I guess my government should thank me for being so cooperative, participative and supportive.  Last month I had my vaccine booster shot which was six months after I had my complete double dose of Covid vaccines.  Having my booster shot gave me confidence and a massive sigh of relief that at least I won’t die from this silly epidemic.

Keep your mask on everyone, freedom and deliverance seem imminent and forthcoming! We will all soon take it off. Excited to hug everyone! Woohoo!

A Beautiful Last Day of 2021

The last day of 2021 was a huge day for me.  It was one day where I got to spend a beautiful New Year’s Eve celebration with my family and at the same time being hopeful for a gorgeous year ahead.  My last day of 2021 even became more beautiful when I got the chance to visit a church so as to do a pint-sized prayer.

After realizing that my family does not have any sparklers to ignite and party poppers to snap during New Year’s Eve, me, Joy (my younger sister) accompanied by our nephew Gabby decided to head outside to purchase ourselves with some inexpensive hand-held “luces” (sparklers) and party poppers.

gabby took this beautiful photo of the church at night time (last night of 2021)

Our hunt for these sparklers enabled us to reach one of the most admired and prayed-upon churches in my country, the National Shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help, also known locally as Baclaran church.  Since we were able to luckily purchase our much-needed sparklers and party poppers along the gates of the church, we decided to drop by inside so as to light some candles and say our little prayers.

As usual, I lighted 5 candles. I have the habit of lighting 5 candles each time I have the chance to do it in a church or any grounds intended for prayers.  Let me reserve in my future writing what each candle symbolizes except for one.  One of the candles is an intended prayer for me: my soul, my future, my welfare, my life’s appreciation and of course my sanity. Haha!

joy & I on baclaran church grounds

lighting candles & prayers for everyone

That one candle was also intended for my personal wish in the coming year and that is to be a little sunshine for everyone who I get to encounter, may it be through personal encounter or through my substandard and tawdry writing. 

Happy New Year and may every one of us be a little sunshine to someone this year!

Songs as Sprinkles of Sexiness

If an award and recognition will be handed out for the un-sexiest blog on the planet, it is very likely that this blog would be up on the podium.  My writings are so genial and pleasant I and a lot of people find it so un-sexy!

Though I was not aiming to be sensual and amatory in the first place when I started this blog, other bloggers seem inherently and effortlessly sexy even though they simply post a photo of a flower or would talk about food or would ironically discuss about transcendental, pious and divine principles of living.

I wanna be sexy for once so let me just sprinkle this blog with a dash of sexiness.  Here are two songs I find to be the sexiest songs ever sang and written. 

This 50-year old song exudes sexiness.  My goodness!

Even the icy heart would gyrate to this song! 

What about you? What songs do you find to be the sexiest? drop your answers at the comments below.  Have a sexy day everyone!

A Little Kyoto in Baguio

The pandemic made hermits of us all.  A week before Christmas last year, after staring at a wall for hours to contemplate about my life’s existence, I decided to have a date with myself.

escaping…

I went on a solo travel and proceeded to the chilly city of Baguio (127 miles up north of Manila).  Known in my country as the City of Pines, I simply had a breather, walked through pruned gardens of parks, dine at cheap restaurants, watched people walk with their uninteresting facemask on, and re-read a book I have read fifteen years ago.  And when I started to get bored to the point of being spiritless, I decided to search the web on what site in Baguio have I not been to.

The World Wide Web pointed me to St Francis Xavier Seminary in Pacdal, Baguio where the Bamboo Eco-Park is located.  I hurriedly booked online a transport vehicle service car which brought me to the place tagged as the Little Kyoto in Baguio.

baguio bamboo eco-park

glad there were so few visitors (for safety)

the smaller version of arashiyama

selfie!

And true enough, though the place was really little as compared to the famed Arashiyama Bamboo Grove in Kyoto, the place was equally peaceful and beautiful.  I have been to Baguio numerous times (both solo and with group) but I never knew that such a beauty exists in this part of Baguio until then. It was indeed a refreshing visit!  My first time visit to Bamboo Eco-Park in Pacdal no doubt was the highlight of my latest Baguio visit.

And before I left, it dawned in me that those pandemic hermits living in St Francis Xavier Seminary must be so proud of their work which resulted to something tranquil and beautiful.  A total opposite of my being an indolent and lazy hermit during this ridiculous pandemic.

Christmas Without Nengkoy

Last Christmas, like any other Christmases in the past, I woke up late.  I have always considered Christmas Day as my laziest day of the year.  If there would be a day that I would give myself as a gift, it would obviously be the Christmas Day.  It is the day when I would spend inside my bedroom all day – relaxing, slackening and lazy-ing (if the latter is a word).

Part of my respite was to just watch YouTube videos all day and peek at what my social media friends have been posting.  Surprisingly, the first YouTube video that I watched last Christmas made me sob and whimper.

2021 is the first Christmas without Nengkoy, my mom.  That is why my family’s Christmas Eve dinner was totally different for the first time.  Absent was the star of our traditional Noche Buena.  Though the Christmas food was really good, the Nengkoy-flavor was not there which I guess I would have to get used to in the next Christmases to come.

me & nengkoy (my forever star of Noche Buena), christmas 2019

The song is so moving, it made me miss my mother this Christmas.  And though my mom will never be forgotten – she’s part and will always be part of my daily prayer – I guess I need to simply just get used to this kind of a Christmas set-up.

Andrea & Pascual

This year, my family’s Christmas Eve celebration was a little different.  It is because my pretty pregnant niece decided to hold the Gender Reveal Party also on the day before Christmas.  Everyone was so excited my mom’s house was colorfully decorated with pink and blue balloons and buntings for the event.

khris mae… my preggy niece

Games were played prior to the exciting gender revelation.  My family is so big that my nephew Den Den, the program host, decided to divide us into 4 groups.  In one of the games, called “Nominate A Name Game”, Den Den directed each group to think of a girl’s and a boy’s name whom we suggest be best given to our would-be newest member of the family.  The best recommended names will win the game.  Khris Mae, my would-soon-be-a-mom niece was, of course, the judge.

i was rooting for a baby boy while my elder sister wants a girl

There were so many suggestions, my group decided that I should be the one to think and provide our group’s nominated names.  I actually got an advantage because I have personally talked to Khris Mae during my birthday dinner buffet at Sofitel on what names does she plan to give her child. 

I however could not recall a single name that Khris Mae showed me as listed on her mobile phone during that Sofitel dinner.  During the game, I instead limit the names to names that starts with the letter A.  Besides, all of my grandniece and grandnephews names starts with the letter A – Arziolo, Alvia and Alexander II so I guess it would be perfect to name this baby with a name that starts with this letter.

When it was my turn to nominate a name, some gentle spirit seems to have whispered to me and made me utter the name Andrea.  A Greek-originated name that means “strong, brave and powerful”.  The very characteristics that I would want my brother’s would-be grandchild to possess.  A very appropriate name for a baby in this age and era of our planet.

For the boy’s name, the first name that entered by mind was Andrew, the male variant of the name Andrea.  But when I was asked what boy’s name I nominate, I suddenly uttered Pascual. That’s when I remembered suggesting to Khris Mae during my birthday dinner in Sofitel that I like the name Pascual.  I told her that it is to pay tribute and homage to my loving grandfather (Nengkoy’s dad) whose name was Pascual.

it’s pink confetti!

it’s a girl!

Later in the party, Khris Mae finally revealed that she will have a baby girl.  And guess what? My group won the “Nominate A Name Game”.