Category: Fables, Myths, Legends & Folklores

Kissing Bow – Romantic Christmas


Kissing Bow – Romantic Christmas

Let’s make Christmas that extra more fun and I dare say romantic as well.  Forget mistletoe, let’s have a kissing bow.

Making one will bring out the artistic side in you.

Add anything you want like apples, grapes, garland of ivy, tinsels, etc.  You are only constraint by your imagination.  Hold these together with a wire coat hanger.

Blue Peter’s John Noakes with the Advent Crown

If you are familiar with Children BBC’s Blue Peter, then a kissing bow should be a doddle.

Making a kissing bow is pretty similar with building and creating the  Advent Crown.

Another thing to add to this kissing bow to highlight it are lights.  Thank goodness you can have a fire-proof battery operated Christmas lights now widely available in the market for a pound or two.

Alamat Ng Ampalaya (Legend of Bitter Gourd)

Ampalaya, Photo by PH Morton

Alamat Ng Ampalaya (Legend of Bitter Gourd)

Ampalaya is so bitter so it is like Marmite, you either love it or hate it.  But having said that, once you get used to its taste, you might actually love it as an ingredients to many recipes.

Ampalaya, is a Tagalog name for bitter gourd and it is called parya in the Ilocos region of the Philippines where I spent my childhood eating our own homegrown parya.

There is a Filipino legend how this vegetable got its bitter taste.

 


Alamat ng Ampalaya:

Once upon a time, there was a Green Garden, where all sorts of vegetables grew robustly and profusely.

In this verdant garden, there grew pumpkins with unique sweetness.

There were tomatoes with slight sourness but with fair, soft complexion.

The eggplants were sublime in their royal purple coats.

The lettuce carpeted the ground with their dewey leaves as they look up to the early morning sun.

The jicamas were as fresh and crisp as a new day.

Rhizomes of spicy ginger stood majestically amongst the vegetables.

The onions, shyly confident with their breathtaking thin delicate skin, that they make one cry!.

The daikon radish is the fairest of them all and knows it very well. 🙂

In the far corner stood a little gourd, waiting, watching, hoping to be noticed.

But she was different from the rest, she was wan and pale with a taste that was hard to explain . Day after day she watched the others with their boasting, their preening, their chattering, their joy.

She can’t help  but compare herself with them.  The more she does the more she thought that she cannot measure up with anyone.  As days passed, she can’t bear it anymore, she planned and plotted to carry out a most heinous scheme.

As soon as it got dark, she stealthily went from one vegetable to the next and the next until she had taken all their outstanding qualities.

Overnight the ampalaya became the belle of the Green Garden.  Everyone where asking where did she come from.  She was admired for her beauty and utter perfection.

But there is no secret that can be hidden forever.  The other vegetables start to suspect that there is something that is not quite right.

As  the sun was just setting, the vegetables covertly followed ampalaya in her corner of the Green Garden.  To their amazement, they saw her peel each of the layers of the qualities that made her so perfect.  Without much ado, the vegetables frogmarched the now wan and pale ampalaya to see the Fairy Queen of the Green Garden.

The Queen was not amused.  She looked over at the amplaya and could not believe why she was not satisfied with her beautiful pale appearance!  As a punishment, she let it be known that from the next new light, the ampalaya will wake up with dark warty lumpy skin and the bitterest of taste.  And she would always either be loved or hated for all eternity.

Moral of the story:  everyone is beautiful, you just have to cultivate your own asset!

 

Legend of Seahorse (Alamat Ng Kabayo Kabayohan)

Seahorses are a strange creatures. Their heads up to their necks resemble that of a horse. This of course influenced their scientific classification name. 🙂

They belong to the genus Hippocampus, a word derived from two Greek words: hippo meaning ‘horse’ and campos as ‘sea monster’.

Seahorses live in seagrass and coral in the shallow tropical temperate water.

Legend of Seahorse (Alamat Ng Kabayo Kabayohan)

In the Philippines, there is a legend that might explain why these marine creatures look like horses. This legend was adapted from the Outline of Philippine Mythology by F. Landa Jocano

Long ago in the province of Cavite, located in the Southern shores of Manila de Bay, two majestic horses, a stallion and a mare, were enjoying the bright morning sun, occasionally grazing at the verdant grass by the seashore.

These two horses are rather special.  They are a personal ‘pet’ of the sea god, Amanikable.

Anyway, the idyllic time was disturbed by a sudden flurry of activity.

There in the distant was a group of men and their ferociously barking dogs.

This unsettled the horses a great deal as the men and dog are fast heading their way.

The men did not look friendly and the dogs doubled up their frenzied barking.

Both the mare and stallion started galloping but it was too late.  They have been cornered.

The mare looked up to the sky piteously and prayed to Amanikable.  All the while the stallion circling the mare to protect.

“Please great lord of the sea, save us from these beings.  We besiege you to help us. Please not abandon us in our time of need” the mare prayed.

Amanikable heard the lamentable but solemn request of the mare.

He commanded the sea to create the biggest waves, huge enough to shallow the whole shore, including the mare and stallion.

But the horses are unable to swim.  With pity and great care Amanikable turned them into aquatic animals.  Fish but not quite like fish.

Being favoured ‘pets’ of the Amanikable, a crown like spine grew out of their heads.

The grass washed away by the waves into the sea became seaweeds, where the magically created seahorses now live and feed.

This is the legend of the seahorse.

Seahorse, photo by JMorton

Seahorse, photo by JMorton

Achilles Heel, Greek Legend

Nymph Thetis holding Achilles by the heel , Walker Art Gallery – Liverpool, photo by JMorton

 

Achilles Heel, Greek Legend

I love the look of the statue.  It was one of many beautiful statues on display at the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool.

The statue gives credence to the legend why the Greek hero, Achilles, has a vulnerability, although becoming the greatest warrior of Homer’s Illiad.

Achilles was the son of an immortal nymph, Thetis and a mortal (person) Peleus, the King of Myrmidons.

Apparently it was foretold by the oracle that their son will die very young.

Thetis and Peleus went to great lengths to protect Achilles.

Thetis took the baby Achilles and completely submerged him to the river Styx  except for his heel, which he was being held.  Apparently this ritual would make him invulnerable.

Achilles was valiant as a warrior until he was shot on his heel by Paris during the bloody Trojan War.

Achilles heel had come to mean ‘Point of vulnerability“.

 

 

 

Tawas by Candle (Supernatural Healing)

Tawas by Candle, photo by JMorton

Tawas by Candle (Supernatural Healing)

This time round, our visit to the Philippines is more tumultuous than past vacations, for obvious reason that we came home because our mother had passed away.

All of us have suffered from some form of ailments, mostly stomach ache, diarrhoea, stomach bug related.

It became ridiculous the amount of time we spent in the toilet and despite medication like imodium, diatabs and the likes, we continue to suffer.

There is only one thing left, consult the great lady of Necodemus in Tondo.  Apparently she has a very long experience of curing people without the expense of money and time consulting medical doctors and hospitals.

This lady of Necodemus can diagnose using candles and a bowl of water.

Sometimes, she does not even have to see the patient or know the full name.

Anyway the first one to consult the Lady of Necodemus, was Marilou.  She had not been sleeping because of acute stomach ache and the constant need to go to toilet.

The Lady of Nicodemus, did her supernatural bit by letting the tears from a lit candle fall into a bowl of water.  The tears from the candle then started to form a shape.  Marilou’s one has so much indentations and protuberance that it could only be a man.  🙂 🙂  The Lady of Necodemus said that a man (living) had hexed (usog) Marilou.  The lady prescribed Marilou a drink of a pancit pancit tea.  It seemed to have worked as Marilou finally had her good night sleep denied to her during the last few days.

When I heard about this shenanigans, I was so intrigued that I sent Dayday to the Lady of Necodemus to diagnose Peter.  Dayday said that she would go after 6pm, to ensure the power of the Lady of Necodemus was more potent.  Who am I to argue?!!! 🙂

At exactly 6pm, Dayday went and spoke to the Lady.  After the candle ritual, it was found out that Peter had not been hexed by anyone because the candles formed a very smooth shape, pretty normal.  His stomach upset was due to dinuguan, eating lots of bloodied pork!  How did the lady know about this.  Again Peter was prescribed the pancit pancit tea and to eat grilled pork and tofu.  He has not followed the advice, ergo still he still suffers from mild to acute stomach ache!

Just then my brother, who said he does not believe in supernatural hokus pokus, said that his left eye had turned red.  He said it just happened and the only strange thing that happened to him that day was meeting a cat at a hotel room that is largely not reached or occupied by paying guest.  My brother was there to fix the air-conditioning system.

Anyway Alma went to the Lady of Necodemus, who by now was absolutely perplexed by the goings on in our house in Fullon. 🙂 🙂 🙂

The lady said that we or my family in Fullon is living with a dwende (supernatural little person) in the house and that it is better to keep him undisturbed as he is harmless. Woah!!!

Also my brother seemed to have offended the spirit in the hotel and therefore he had to make amends by offering a sacrifice of 3 cigarettes, a glass of beer, a plate of food place in the darkest corner of the house.  My brother also has to say heartfelt apology.

Believe it or not!

Funeral Rites a la Filipino

My beautiful, feisty mommy

Funeral Rites a la Filipino

We had to come earlier than planned and also unexpectedly to the Philippines.  This was because our beloved mother had suddenly passed away on 19 June 2017 at the age of 82.

Even now her passing is still rather surreal.  Our mother was so strong, feisty and had a very larger than life personality.  She always came out strong.

She was the type that spoke her mind no matter what consequence it would left behind.  She did not have a self-edit button in her brain.  She said things the way she perceived it and usually in a very tactless way, which sometimes did not earn her any good points.

However, despite her quirks, she did have a very good way of looking at things, her psychology of people worked very well.  She can see through anyone.

My mother did not suffer fools gladly, however when you had gained her trust, she became a firm friend and a very trustworthy one at that.  She will do anything for you.

Her children are her life and the love of money 🙂 was what made her ticked.  She always complained of being lacking in money, this may be true as she can be generous, and rather too generous as we found out while we were sorting out her paperworks and documents.  We found that she had been regularly ‘donating’ to the Benny Hinn ministry.

Well, I hope it made her happy, that is all we can say, as her children.  We do not really need any inheritance from her.  Thank God, she had brought us up to be independent and resourceful.

Anyway during her funeral there were so many things that we had to observe.  Some are mind boggling but we did try to adhere to them as we do not want our dearest mother to be burdened or troubled in the afterlife.

Here are some of the weird and wonderful superstitions:

  • Apparently if the wake is held at the house, the family members are not allowed to bathe in the house. (They can take a bath somewhere else!)  My mother’s wake was held at St Peter’s Chapel in Mayon corner A Bonifacio.  I would personally advise to get a funeral plan set up. It will help in the long run and one less thing to worry about during a sad and trying time.
  • Avoid sweeping the floor during a wake and this apply most specially to the bereaved.  Sweeping means trying to get rid of the spirit of the dead.
  • After leaving the wake, do not go straight home as the spirit will follow you.  My sister who came home from the states, stayed at our old family home.  She made sure that she would go elsewhere first before going back home each time she came back from the wake.  She said it was not the spirit of our mom that she was concerned about but the spirits of the others in the funeral home.
  • Do not bring home the food served at the funeral wake.  Why would you?!!!
  • If the dead person is an elderly, ensure to partake of the food served during the wake.  Apparently the long life of the deceased will rub on you.
  • Avoid tears falling on the casket because the tears will prevent the dead from going through easy transition into the afterlife.
  • if the dead person’s fists are cleansed, this would mean money trouble for the family left behind; if the hands are opened there won’t be financial difficulties (hope this is true, I noticed that my mom’s hands were opened and that she had big hands.)
  • The dead should not be wearing shoes to prevent hearing them walking the floorboards.
  • Change your clothes worn from the funeral immediately after coming home.
  • During the wake, someone should be awake.
  • Apparently you shouldn’t say thank you to those offering condolences.
  • All the flowers during the funerals must be buried with the dead but all the names of the family members written on the casket  must be removed but not by a family member.
  • After the 9th day of my mom’s death, we had to give sopas (macaroni soup) noodles, biko, puto and cakes to neighbours and those who attended the wake and funeral.
  • The same food giving will occur again on the 40th day of her death.
  • Discarding her belongings will commence on the 40th day of her death.  Her clothes will be given to charity.  Actually it is preferable that her clothes are given away a year after her death.

Mommy, REST IN PEACE!

Noodles for Longevity

Spaghetti Bolegnase, Photo by PH Morton

Noodles for Longevity

I was watching an episode of Father is Strange last weekend when there was a scene where the family insisted Joon-Young, who finally passed his civil service exam after many tries, to slurp the whole of the noodle strands rather than biting into it.

I was intrigued enough that I googled what it meant.  🙂

Apparently it is a Chinese tradition (or superstition), which seems to have a widespread effect that neighbouring countries had adapted it.  I know in the Philippines, eating noodles is a must during birthdays.  The long strand means longevity of life.  I was not aware though that you had to slurp the whole thing into your mouth and then chew, rather than biting a bit of it as you chew.

Anyway, it is encouraged to slurp the strand in all its length so that one does not cut off one’s span of life.

Thank goodness, this superstition is applied only on birthdays and other milestone celebrations.

I couldn’t be going to restaurants, especially posh ones, and slurping my pasta down my throat. It would be unethical and extremely embarrassing.  LOL

 

Fortune Cookie Tells All

Fortune Cookie, photo by JMorton

Fortune Cookie Tells All

My fortune cookie says that “Everything is now in place for you to make a major decision with ease.”

The fortune cookies came as a freebie with our Chinese take-away.

But did you know?  Fortune cookies are not a Chinese invention.  They are in fact American.  A Japanese restauranteur in San Francisco, apparently started the fashion of inserting little bits of thank you notes in their buns.

This proved popular which then copied by a nearby Chinese restaurant and instead of thank you, it started to tell ‘fortune’

Curing Cramps a la Korean

https://clipartfest.com

Curing Cramps a la Korean

I have been watching quite a few Korean dramas lately and I often see something rather strange practised time and again by some of the drama characters.

I am talking about touching their tongue with their index finger and then their nose, they do this a few times.

Currently I am watching Reply 1997, a very good coming of age drama which I can highly recommend.

One of the boys had a girl sleeping soundly with her head on his legs.  Instead of waking her up,he started licking his index finger and then touching the tip of his nose several times.

I google about this strange thing and came up with how to cure a cramp a la Korean.  It figures then that the boy had a cramp from the weight of the girl’s head across his legs.

I will try it if it works the next time I get a leg cramp! 😉

 

Happy Chinese New Year 2017 – Fire Rooster Year

Fire Rooster, Photo by PH Morton

Happy Chinese New Year 2017 – Fire Rooster Year

Rooster, photo by PH Morton

Rooster, photo by PH Morton

To everyone, let us wish you a Happy Chinese New Year.

Kung Hei Fat Choi

2017 is the year of the Fire Rooster.

The fire rooster symbolises fidelity and punctuality.  I can understand the latter one as rooster will cock-o-doodle-do at the crack of dawn serving as an alarm clock to early risers especially farmers and field workers.

We used to keep roosters and chicken in our farm in Marag.  As peacocks, they are really stunning lookers compared to the hens.

Who are the roosters?

They are those born in 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2015, 2029 (Year of the Rooster comes every 12 years)

Have a piri-piri chicken. We hope this New Year is full of trips to KFC, Jollibee and McDo and have a lovely chickenjoy! 🙂 🙂 😉

Happy New Year!

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