Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Black Nazarene visits Sta Clara

We were devotees to the Nazarene of Quiapo a long time ago. We believe that the Nazarene helped me get well from a lingering illness when I was small.

We religiously went to the church every Friday. After which, we went to the Grandstand in Luneta (remember the Luneta Hostage Massacre, yes... the same place) to play and then capped the night with a snack at IR, a restaurant owned by a family friend, the Cedillas in Libertad, Pasay. I guess we stopped doing this ritual when the family decided to move to Moonwalk, Paranaque during my High School years.

My mom called me at work today and prodded me, almost pleading, to immediately go to Sta Clara. The Black Nazarene, she said was visiting and this was the opportunity to see, be with and touch the Nazarene again. I went, said my prayers, wiped my hanky on its feet and hand and snapped this picture.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Planning the Summer

We always look forward to Summer. At least for the past 6 years, we have made it a point to spend a few days of our summer time in a place outside Manila. We spent our last Summer Bonding time in Alona, Panglao, Bohol (see picture).

This year's plan appears to be a bit complicated. The decision on where and when to spend it hangs up in the balance as we have to give due consideration to my wife's relocation plan. My wife is being reassigned somewhere in Europe and preparations for this move are getting in the way of our vacation plans.

Perhaps, our travel may just be to accompany her to her new location. And while this is not the most ideal, this is perfectly fine with us. What matters most is that we spend as much time together.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Pila sa Lotto (Queue at the Lottery)

With a 6 number combination from numbers 1 to 55, the probability of winning is 1 to about 28,000,000 for each ticket. This means that you need to bet nearly Php600 million pesos now to surely win the pot. Not such a great investment in my opinion.

Yet you see queues such as this in most lottery ticket stations. Our people have fallen into the lure of the possibility of "instant richness". They have probably lost hope and belief that hard work pays off and will improve their lives. Wrong as it may be, we cannot blame them for thinking so. No one can discount the fact that life has not been exactly rosy here for a very long time now.

Other people have decided to try their luck in another country. While others have turned to schemes such as the lotto to alleviate them from their woeful lives.

Inang Ko Po?! (My Mother?!)

I saw them slumped by the sidewalk of Don Bosco Makati as I drove to work. I was not sure whether she was the mother of this young girl and this baby. Having heard of stories on how syndicates take advantage and use these children to get alms from passersby, I was truly uncertain.

Whether she was the real mother or not of these children, I had mixed feelings upon seeing them. I felt pity yet felt so much disappointment that someone who cant even support herself was so irresponsible to have decided to have children who shall suffer as a result of this irresponsibility.

The above brings to mind, a constant reminder that my father had given to us. It goes this way: "if it isnt in your plan to give your family a good life, then dont get married and have a family. It would not be right to drag more people into your miseries. Better live alone!"

Monday, February 7, 2011

Hanap Buhay

Shot taken morning, Jan 8, 2011 @ C6, Bicutan

C6 is a new road that begins in Bicutan and leads passers by to the province of Rizal. Here in Bicutan, the road provides a fresh morning glimpse of a glorious sunrise over the multitude of fish ponds along Laguna de Bay. ( Laguna Lake or Laguna de bay is a major source of fresh water fish for Metro Manila.)

The fish pens are a welcome contrast to the the city's chaotic icons of modernization, i.e traffic, pollution etc. They are the remaining reminders of the Metropolis' bucolic past. These private structures, however, are often blamed for the overflow of the lake and the consequent flooding in pinpointed areas in the city. The wooden fixtures impede the natural and smooth flow of lake water. They redirect water flow to particular locations and submerge these areas under water during the heavy rains.

I had the opportunity to see off these fishermen as they set to "try their luck" in the lake. Before they left, I had a chance to briefly chat with them. They said that during the heavy rains, water rises very high and erodes the foundation at the side of this new road. In fact, the roadside allegedly has already been raised by an additional meter to anticipate potential flooding.

Balay Indang

My wife and I celebrated our 23rd Wedding Anniversary last December 26, 2010. In stead of celebrating it the usual way where together with our children, we go out as a family to the mall and dine, we decided to spend the night at a resort in Indang, Cavite, called Balay Indang.

This cozy resort does not accept walk-ins. You need to pay a deposit to reserve.

The entrance of Balay reminded me of Hacienda Isabella, a property owned by Kuh Ledesma. The gates were made of wood and they were heavy. The walls were tall to ensure the privacy of the guests.

The villas were retro designed. They were like small spanish villas surrounded by a lush botanical architecture. The rooms were cozy and warmly lit. There was no TV or any entertainment gadget in the room. This obviously positioned the resort, in my opinion, as an ideal place for reflection, peace and quiet - the place to be if you are on a budget honeymoon or on a retreat.

The bathroom in the villa was a delightful sight. They were clean and well maintained. I particularly liked the flooring of the bathroom. It was elegantly made up of wood and soil that was covered with white pebbles. There was no drainage in the shower area and water freely flowed to the soil when one takes a bath. There was also a small plot of soil by the shower room wall that housed some in door plants.

The resort fee included 5 delicious meals - 3 main meals and 2 snacks. There was variety in the generous servings in each meal. And to my surprise, food is free flowing at no extra charge!

The only entertainment available in the resort is a pool and a pavilion where one can lazily sit in cozy lounge chairs and watch TV.

Over all, I consider the experience in the resort - a delight!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Manila, Manila....

The Popular Manila Sound band "Hotdogs" sang this song with gusto! Its catchy melody caught everyone's attention in the 70s that you hear this song hummed, sang by any Tom, Dick and Harry during this glorious OPM era.
"Hinahanap, hanap kita Manila.
Ang ingay mong kay sarap sa tenga
Mga Jeepney mong nagliliparan
Mga babae mong nag gagandahan
Take me back in your arms Manila
And promise me you'll never let go!"

Undoubtedly, the song emulates the burning love for country in spite of its backwardness.

Almost 30 years after, though, the question is: Can we still sing the above song and mean it?

Can we truly say that we remain steadfast in this belief after the recent spate of violence that took the lives of innocent beings? Can we hold our heads up high when soldiers die in miserable conditions while generals allegedly gift themselves in millions of pesos when they retire? Can we be truly proud to be a Filipino when people die of hunger in the streets?

I wince at the thought of the above, but for some strange reason, I still prefer to live here, amidst the turbulence and chaos. So help me God.