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.

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.

You’ll Gonna See Me Rise!

It’s my birthday week this week and it made me ponder if at my pretty old age I have been “successful”.  But while ruminating about this thought, I question “what is the actual measure of success?”  Is it the accumulated amount of money that you have in your bank account, is it the number of people you meet and developed as friends and colleagues, is it the intensity of one’s joy and happiness, is it the level of spirituality of one’s soul or is it simply the degree of one’s contentment about life.

you’ll gonna see me rise

I have lost my youth more than 20 years ago yet I still struggle to answer this question.  A lot of you I would assume would say that it is a mix of all these stuff that I mentioned.  And I am pretty sure that I will grow old, be outdated and senile yet will never be able to answer this profound question.  But this will not stop me from trying to reach my goals, dreams and aspirations so as to consider myself successful.  No matter how old and late I am in my life, I will not stop for I know that I will rise.

No silly wish this year but let me have a beautiful birthday song instead.  Created by Calum Scott entitled “Rise” is my Birthday Song this year.

Love you all!

Someone Celebrated His Birthday

It was his birthday days ago but only had its simple celebration yesterday.  There was the obligatory cake, the sumptuous food, wine and cheese.  There was even the crazy blowing of the candle!

stay sane and happy!

with my mom and the rest of the fam!

May you have the strength of the heroes, the wisdom of the divine, the wealth of the gods, the smile of the angels and the body to die for! Hahaha!

Happy Birthday to me.

Wishing Heaven Got Visiting Hours

There was a simple gathering at my mom’s house last night.  Me & my sister brought a cake while my mom cooked our family’s favorite dish.  It was my dad’s supposed 80th birthday. Had one desire though yesterday.  How I wish God allows visiting hours in heaven.

My mom & dad.

Happy 80th birthday Tatay Joe!

Bought Two Robot Toothbrush Hangers

In a couple of months I will be celebrating my 20th birthday on being 30 years old.  I must be excited because I am already writing about it. Or am I really excited or just anxious about this uncertain point in one’s life?  A lot of people embrace it others are unenthusiastic while some are simply numb.

What is alarming about my about-to-celebrate birthday the fiftieth time is that I am still single, lone, solo, free and unattached (do I really have to accentuate this much? Hahaha!).  People can say that in the aspect of finding and attracting a life partner I may be the living proof that The Secret revealed by Rhonda Byrne in her book regarding the law of attraction is nothing but a futile idea and an unsuccessful suggestion.

I have done all Rhonda Byrne has opined.  I slept in only one side of my bed which at times I find myself waking up on the floor because I unconsciously fell while sleeping at some point in the middle of the night.  I prepare food good for two servings which only resulted to my having to purchase larger sized clothing.  I allotted a space in my dresser which caused me to buy and install further dressers so as to have more space for my retail therapy.  I even bought and installed two cute robot toothbrush hangers inside my bathroom!

robot toothbrush hangers on my bathroom wall

hoping to have fun when i’m five zero

Despite this unsuccessful approaches and years may have passed, I would still like to believe in Rhonda Byrne when she say, “There is no such thing as a hopeless situation.  Every single circumstance of your life can change”.

I really hope and wish that Rhonda Byrne would prove me wrong.  According to her, thoughts become things.  But I really wish that in this coming November thoughts would finally become a person.  Keeping my fingers (and toes) crossed!

Nengkoy’s 82nd Birthday

Last weekend, I and my whole family celebrated Nengkoy’s 82nd birthday.  And every year, we make sure that Nengkoy’s birthday is celebrated in a grand way.  The whole family would spend overnight in an opulent resort out of town.

But this year was a little different.  Though it was still an overnight out of town, it is now held not in a luxury resort but at a more private place.  The venue this year was a little different and a lot farther from Manila.  It was a 5-hour travel by land.  We held it at the super huge and lavish house of Thatcher and Alexis, my niece and nephew-in-law or the two of the plenty grandchildren of Nengkoy.

the crazy and insane team langit

the house

a swim with my grand nephew arziolo

And like every other year that was, this year’s celebration was a blast.  And an addition to the already huge family has joined us, our little boy Arziolo joined the fun filled celebration. 

Nengkoy gave us a scare last year when she suffered from some numerous serious ailments.  We hope that this year would be a very good year for Nengkoy health wise.  The whole family only has two wishes for her.  That would be good health and continuous luck in her mahjong exploits.

this out of town celebration will not be complete if there would be no mahjoong session.  playing mahjong with my elder sister, my niece erika and the owner of the house thatcher 

Happy BIrthday Nenkoy!

Happy Birthday Nanay!

Seeing the Lady of Guadalupe Cloak on My Birthday

Last year on my birthday, I went to the Love Valley in Cappadocia, Turkey, and surprisingly met an angel in disguise.  This year on my birthday, I went to Mexico City and saw the cloak of Saint Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin.

My birthday this year was really special because I got to visit the Basilica de Santa Maria de Guadalupe! The basilica that houses the very popular cloak in which the image of our Lady of Guadalupe has been miraculously been impressed and printed so as to authenticate Virgin Mary’s apparitions in the area. 

seeing this was for me a miracle already

amen!

My birthday this year fell on a Saturday yet there was a Holy Mass service held in the basilica when I arrived.  This gave me the opportunity to hear a Mexican Holy Mass and say humongous thanks to the Lady of Guadalupe for the rare travel gift of experiencing the amazing city of Mexico.

The modern Basilica de Santa Maria de Guadalupe is vast and massive complex.  It is the most visited Marian shrine in Mexico because it houses the cloak containing the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe.  It is interesting to know that the new basilica was only completed in 1974.  The old basilica (finished in 1709) on the other hand is just adjacent to it but is already sinking.  Its floor has got some deep slope and its façade has evidently tilted.  It looks like it will dangerously fall and crumble anytime.  

notice how tilted the old church is?

selfie with the Lady! 

My prayer to the Lady of Guadalupe was all about my being thankful that I got to experience Mexico.  I did not asked for any miracle because my seeing and marveling over the beauty and holiness of the cloak during my birthday has been one major miracle for me already.

Santa Maria! Salamat!

Pinoy Elements in Villa Escudero

If I am to choose a place where to bring a foreigner-friend so as to fully immerse him to the culture of the Philippines, I would choose Villa Escudero in Tiaong Quezon. 

team langit in front of the museum

Villa Escudero seem to contain and characterize a wide assortment of a true Filipino culture.  Employees from engineering, to servers, to housekeeping and receptionists are all comfortably dressed in the traditional “patadyong” for the ladies and the colorful “camisa de chino” are worn by the guys.

The structures of Villa Escudero room accommodations are all native, characteristic of the traditional Filipino house known as “Bahay Kubo”.  Villa Escudero also boasts of a marvelous museum collection, majority of which are about the rich Filipino religion, clothings, history and even fauna.

After a glorious Filipino buffet lunch right in the middle of a river with a man-made waterfalls as a backdrop, guests will get to enjoy and watch a Filipino show inside a humongous pavilion.  The show features various uniquely Filipino dances, costumes and customs.  I particularly loved the energetic TInikling dance, the funny vignette about Sabong, the robust and brawny Maglalatik and of course the singing of the song Filipinas at the end of the show.  The show boasts about its authenticity for it was conceptualized and choreographed by the late Filipino National Artist for Dance, Mr. Ramon Obusan. 

Then later in the afternoon, guests would get to enjoy and listen to a “harana” (a serenade).  In the old days in the Philippines, a way for a suitor to woo a lady is by having a visit in the lady’s house.  But prior to being allowed inside the lady’s abode, the suitor needs to sing by the lady’s window otherwise known as the Harana

If the young lass showed up through her window, it means that the admirer will be welcomed inside the house after he finish his singing.  But if the lady refuse to show up and face the singing dude by her window, it signifies that she is not interested towards the guy singing outside. In Villa Escudero, their male employees get to sing old and traditional Filipino song in front of the houses where guests are billeted as if they are doing a “harana”.

But what I am most impressed about the authentic Filipino element present in Villa Escudero was its excellent food selection during breakfast.  Never have I seen a buffet breakfast as Filipino as that of the selection of dishes served in Villa Escudero! 

pinoy breakfast!

It seem that all remarkable Filipino breakfast dishes are featured in their buffet.  Aside from the usual fruits, yogurt, cereals, jams, milk and eggs, there were Filipino breakfast varieties like Champorado, Singangag, Lannganisa, Lugaw, Gatas Ng Calabao, Suman Sa Lihiya, Bibingka, Crispy Danggit, Crispy Dilis, Quesong Puti and of course Kapeng Barako.

Why do I know all these?  It is because Villa Escudero was again the chosen venue of Nengkoy for her to celebrate her 81st birthday.  Six years ago, this was the same venue for Nengkoy’s 75th birthday.  Villa Escudero no matter what year we visit still has the same authentic Filipino elements for everybody to enjoy.

nengkoy having buffet lunch by the water falls

i love it here…

Ay Lab Bilya Eskudero…