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”.

A Businesswoman, a Banker, a College Professor & an IT Manager

This is what happens when a businesswoman, a banker, an IT Manager and a college professor who’s a candidate for PhD do a Christmas dance number.

They call their group, The Wrong Direction (gleaned & predicated from the British group One Direction). And every year, when they are about to end their wacky performance they would shout and ask us, the spectators, “Mabuhay Manila, do you want more!?”.  And every year all of us, their dazed & confused audience, in unison would scream the biggest “NOooo!!”.

Gabby, the IT Manager! He was judged the best performer this year.  Haha!

Holding a talent contest and performing in front of my family during Christmas Eve has been a tradition.   They won the Grand Prize this year amounting to 60 USD.  So, can you just imagine how bad the other groups (my other family members) performed? 

They claim that they won because they were so in unison and perfectly danced like the Korean pop group BTS.  Why did they win?  It was because I was the judge.  Haha!  These businesswoman, banker, college professor and IT manager are my crazy niece & nephews by the way.  One good thing though, they are not working for one company.  After their crazy performance, I had a headache.

Could Have Been Aubergines, No Thanks to the Treaty of Paris

Esquire magazine published an article entitled What If The Philippines Was A British Colony.  The write-up relays that between October 1762 and April 1764, the Philippines was actually part of the British empire.  Following George Washington’s attacks on French colonies, the French went to war against the Britishers.  Spain which rules the Philippines during that era, joined the same war so as to honor its alliance with the French.  Because of this, the Brits attacked and was able to capture Spanish-owned Manila in 1762.  However, British reign in the Philippines came to a peaceful end when the Treaty of Paris was signed in 1763. 

The Esquire article then presented a number of could-have-beens in case there was no Treaty of Paris and the British rule continued in my beloved Philippines.  Expecting it to be mind-blowing, the theories presented in the article were somewhat deflated, subdued and ordinarily predictable because the notions discussed were simply aligned and paralleled to what happened with other countries under the British rule like India and majority of Africa.

the closest thing to my being briton now is wearing a union jack shirt. haha!

Let me then dispatch my inane and doofus version of what could have been if the Philippines was part of the British colony.  Firstly, I could have had high teas instead of siestas.  Eggplants would no longer be eggplants but aubergines and shopping carts would no longer be shopping carts but trolleys.  And I’d be drinking more tea and eating more biscuits while saying “God save the Queen” during weekends!  I might be speaking like Harry Potter by now and would be rooting for John Whaite and Johannes Radebe to win Strictly Dancing this year on BBC.  We will never know, if Brits ruled the Philippines, one of the James Bonds could have been some dishy Pinoy bloke.

talong, the filipino name for aubergine

Hey! Why was I not consulted when that wonky Treaty of Paris was drafted and taken into effect? 

Embracing My Beautiful B Day!

My long birthday week has finally been concluded!  My digestive system can finally go back to its usual routine.  Haha!  And despite a protracted pandemic year, let me brag that there are actually two major highlights in my birthday celebration this year.

love this photo!

who wouldn’t do some artsy pictorial in this mansion when the background is the smallest volcano on the planet (taal volcano)?

Organized by my sweet nephews and nieces, I and my whole family spent a wonderful weekend in a mansion of a house in cool & misty Tagaytay province, a high-altitude city 59 kilometers away from the bustling Manila.

Second highlight was the sumptuous dinner buffet in 5-star Sofitel Manila, considered to have the priciest and longest buffet in the country.  My whole family was of course in attendance in this wonderful dinner.

sofitel dinner

I guess I have gone really old and already accepted this fact.  In the past years I tremble and experience anxiety attacks when I know that my birthday is about to come and I actually abhor celebrating it.   I hated getting old.  Haha!  

But this year, I decided to embrace this beautiful day.  I have accepted the fact that I have already lost my youth and the remaining years should be more about the essence of living.  And adopting the thoughts of Mark Twain regarding birthdays and old age, let me end this post by relaying what he said, “Age is a case of mind over matter.  If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.