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”.

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.

Unquantifiable Love

Sixty long years ago a proof of an unquantifiable love was perched.  Sixty long years ago my parents, Nengkoy & Joe got married inside a church.

Nengkoy & Joe sixty years ago.  Happy anniversary Nanay & Tatay!

Today, I realized that my big moments, my little talks and even my silly laughs in the past with Nengkoy & Joe were all unquantifiably special.  I terribly miss both of them.  But June 9 this year is more than special.  It is because it is the first year that this gorgeous couple are celebrating their wedding anniversary together in a stunningly beautiful place called Heaven. 

Nengkoy & Joe may no longer be here but knowing that they are finally together gives me peace.  Nengkoy & Joe may no longer be here but they were my proofs that unquantifiable love does exist.  Nengkoy & Joe may no longer be here yet my unquantifiable love for these two beautiful souls will forever persist. 

Sleeping Under The Stars

A couple of nights ago before going to sleep, I opt to step out of my balcony so as to decide whether to shut my windows close and turn on the AC or leave the balcony door and windows open since its tranquil and nippy.

And while gazing at the night sky I was thrilled to see multiple stars in the heavens.

too sad my camera couldn’t capture it

It dawned in me that it has been more than a year that I haven’t seen those stars hanging from the sky.  It was beautiful.  Seeing stars in the metro sky has been so rare.  It has gone so infrequent that metropolitan folks have started to link seeing night time stars as positive signs from the heavens that their longings will soon be granted.  No thanks to the smog and pollution of the concrete jungle.

I decided not to link seeing stars to the multiple wishes that I have.  I simply smiled and enjoyed the site.  And while stepping inside, I opted to keep the balcony door and windows open.  When I closed my eyes, I realized that sleeping under the stars is a perfect way to end the night.

Something Good

I recently received a wedding invitation from a good friend.  While he proudly tells that I am the first one to have received a copy of the actual invitation, we discussed details of what is to happen and where he and his wife-to-be are in their stage of planning and organizing their big event.  I particularly was engrossed with his answer when I asked him what songs to be played or songs to be sang during his wedding. 

a super cool wedding invite from jb & irene!

It then dawned in me though seem farfetched and unreal circumstance in trying to answer the same question.  What would be the songs to be played in my own wedding if in case?  To be specific, what specific song would be played during the wedding while I walk down the aisle?

My brain seems to have a ready answer to this silly question.  No need for research, no need for review and no need for discussions.  My brain’s ready answer to this is Something Good (the Jonathan Groff version). Listen!

got my would-be simple wedding cake too! mwahaha!

One problem though that I need to resolve.  I need to find the one whom I should get married to! Haha!  And while I await the melodramatic arrival of “the one”, let me continue my doing “something good” on the days and years to come.

Envious of Joanna Lumley

It’s not the monarch neither the Spice Girls.  It’s not Elton John neither J. R. R. Tolkien.  Though I admire the wit of Stephen Hawking and at awe with Margaret Thatcher, it’s not them.  The British human being who I envy the most when it comes to world travel is the effervescent Joanna Lumley.

Joanna thru her series of British TV travel shows feature amazing spots on the planet and showcase interesting cultures around the world!  What is so enviable about this travel diva is that she got to go around and got a bunch of travel-savvy production team who will do the chronicling for her!

 

I was at awe with Joanna’s enchanting Trans-Siberian adventures.  I enjoyed her splendid exploits of the inestimable Japan from north to south.  And how I wish I will be granted with the gift of travel for I was truly envious with her Silk Road adventures!

I have read somewhere that travel envy can happen to anyone.  It is caused by emotional discontent, frustration, feeling left out, the tendency for endless comparison and even social media.  In my case, it would be a mix of all of these combined with being stuck for a year due to this crazy pandemic.

I too read that one way to cope with travel envy is to turn such envy into inspiration, that is by planning the next adventure.  But it looks like planning for an out of the country escapade now seem unrealistic.

I would rather practice gratefulness and reminisce about my past trips.  Good thing I have this blog because reading through some of my travel posts decreases the intensity of my feeling jealous.

this is one spectacular spot joanna lumley has yet to step on! haha! https://neillangit.wordpress.com/2018/02/18/batad-rice-terraces-no-words-to-describe/

And while I was busy basking on these feelings of envy towards the British travel muse, I paused for a while not knowing how to end this invaluable writing.  I turned to my Facebook for a break and this very fitting photo struck me.

Hoping to see the world soon!

Valentines: Got Myself an Ice Cream

Like Rock Hudson who promised that he would treat himself for an ice cream if he gets the acting-role he first-time auditioned for, I too promised myself in the past that I would treat myself for an ice cream in case I finally found my “significant other”.

smiling today! haha!

I am writing this because it is Valentine’s Day today, the day of hearts, the day of love and the day to celebrate with a “significant other”.  Unlike other Valentine Days in the past where I would just stay indoors, be quiet, sometimes be cranky and do nothing, I this year mustered a lot of chutzpah to be seen in public. 

With testicles the size of asteroids, I stepped out, I went out and smiled outdoors!  I decided to be cheery and light-hearted!  A good amount of it was spent in my office so as to beat a deadline, shop at the biggest people-infested mall for larger-sized shirts because I’m getting plumper and do a little grocery at a nearby hypermarket.  Included in my grocery haul was a pint of ice cream.

Yup, I decided to treat myself today for a big calorific amount of ice cream.  You may be wondering now if I finally find my “significant other”.  Let me answer it then…

ice cream!!!

Did you know that Rock Hudson went to his nearby diner and ordered for an ice cream despite knowing that he was not chosen for the acting role that he auditioned for?   Though sad and down he was nevertheless was full of hope.  Rock Hudson treat himself for a big goblet of an ice cream because he was proud of the courage he showed during the first time he auditioned.  

I got the strawberry flavor!  Happy Valentines everyone!

Should Have Sang Don’t Stop Me Now!

my mom, my sister & me with the deadly bangs!

What are some of the songs you were exposed to during childhood?  Like Zoey Clarke of the musical tv series, I got quite a lot. Try recalling your childhood playlist.  It is believed that the songs and music you heard during your early years, in some bizarre way, shapes your personality today.  But do you have a song that you regret not singing during your carefree childhood?  I got one.

I can lucidly remember during my elementary days every time our teacher is suffering from a terrible migraine, a cruel dysmenorrhea or bouts of laziness to teach, she would robotically call for a “program”.  A “program” is a short spontaneous talent presentation inside the classroom in which the teacher would assign the class President to act as the emcee and call out the class Sergeant at Arms to list the names of students on the blackboard who has gone talkatively noisy during the program.  These raucous students whose names are listed on the board will later be castigated by the teacher when she’s feeling better.

This brief talent presentation would always comprise of singing, storytelling or rendition of a poem.  I don’t know why the patriotic yet very boring song “Ako Ay Pilipino” (translation: I Am Filipino) is always performed by someone.  Other Filipino 70’s classics were also commonly sung during a program, the likes of Mamang Sorbetero, Mr. DJ, ABaKaDa and Bato Sa Buhangin.  Another habitual and regular number presented is the rendition of the classic poem Trees by Joyce Kilmer.

my love for hugging trees may be attributed to my constant early development hearing of the joyce kilmer poem

Each time I am called to perform, I am prepared to either sing a song or tell a story.  I no longer remember the number of times I would tell the tale about the Alamat ng Mangga (translation: The Legend of the Mango Fruit) or the Alamat Ng Pinya (translation: The Legend of the Pineapple). 

I seldomly sang.  But when I am coerced to croon, the usual song that I would sing is not a Filipino-melody but from Annie’s “Tomorrow”.  Yup, bet your bottom dollar, I can hit those high notes when I was a kid!  I love the message of hope that Tomorrow conveys, but I have one regret though.  Back then, I should have studied and memorized Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now. And added it to my very limited repertoire. Haha! 

This song could have been so appropriate because it’s singing and storytelling at the same time! Aside from its fun and exuberance, it also conveys self-worth and self-regard.  For sure, singing Don’t Stop Me Now would give further head ache to my teacher and my singing could have been such a show stopper!  And since the tune is super bouncy, I am pretty sure at the end of my singing, every body’s name is listed on the blackboard.