Category: LIFESTYLE

Christmas’ Forgotten List

Christmas Decor
Photo by JMorton

The item that would really worry me that I forgot to buy for Christmas is the battery. I remember one Christmas when I bought all these beautiful remote controlled toys for my son.

On Christmas morning, he can’t play with them because of the missing batteries. I saw how bravely he was trying to hide his disappointment but it did break my heart.

Now I always ensure that we have batteries for Christmas.

The next item is the tin foil, the aluminium wrap, to cover the turkey. Stress….

Then running out of gravy granules, that is total disaster. I like my roast swimming in gravy.

Christmas’ Forgotten List

Below is the top 10 forgotten items.  Hope this will be a reminder to make Christmas painless and extra special.

Top 10 forgotten Christmas items:

1.    Batteries
2.    Sellotape
3.    Crackers
4.    Gift tags
5.    Cranberry sauce
6.    Wrapping paper
7.    Pigs in blankets
8.    Napkins
9.    Beer
10.  Gravy

Please let us know your forgotten item or items and we will add it to our list.

Agbayo (Life Size Mortar & Pestle)

Life size mortar and pestle, photo by JMorton

Agbayo (Life Size Mortar & Pestle)

The above photo was taken in Ferdinand Marcos’s Batac ancestral house.  It was used when he was obviously younger as the mortar shows sign of erosion or depreciation.

Having lived in a farming community when I was a young girl, this life-size mortar and pestle is a familiar sight.

It was used in many things that needed pulping like my favourite sweet rice dessert called nilupak or dehusking palay, especially when going to a rice mill is a bit of a hustle.

The term used by Ilocanos, people of Northern Luzon, is agbayo, which means to pound.

Rice comes from palay grains, and if you only wanted a chupa or a ganta of rice, most Ilocanos would probably use a pestle and mortar to pound the palay to dehusk and turn into rice which then ready to cook.

Pounding rice is sometimes more than just a chore.  It can be a way of bonding with friends and family.

I used to help my cousins when they were pounding in the mortar.  Usually there are extra pestles around and two or three people can pound together but take turn.  It is a matter of timing.  It was a lot of fun though can be hard work.  Having someone to help makes this arduous repetitive task less of a chore.

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!

Max’s Restaurant, Bon Voyage To Marilou

Max’s Restaurant, Bon Voyage To Marilou

After 3 weeks, Marilou is going back to Los Angeles, California tomorrow!

And as such, we had a family celebration at Max’s Restaurant in Malate, nearby Aristocrat.

Though we remembered our Mother dearly, the reason why we are here in the Philippines,  Marilou and I as well as Peter that is, the dinner at Max was also fun, filled with laughter and food galore.

The family were in full force.  There were Jon (my youngest brother), Alma (his wife), Ella May (their eldest), Michael (their middle child) and Jomari, their youngest.  Our lovely Dayday was also there, Marilou, Myself and Peter, are of course in attendance too.  We were missing our other brother, William, but his situation can’t be helped at the moment.

Anyway, we had a really sumptuous meal.  We had a starter of Lumpiang Sariwa (fresh lumpia) made from finely chopped ubod, garlic, lettuce with sweetened sauce.

For mains, we had deep fried bangus with vinegar dip ( I must say their vinegar is really potent, it was so sour if almost blew my sinuses away), there was roasted crackling of loin pork with lechon-like sauce, there was sinigang na hipon (large shrimps in sour tamarind base soup), there was also kare-kare with a complementary shrimp bagoong. And of course, we had Max’s signature dish, their own recipe of roasted chicken.

There where so much to eat that we were all struggling in the end only to be given a dainty glass full of emerald-like jelly and tapioca/sago called buco pandan pudding.

These were all washed off with glasses of delectable pineapple juice and gallons of iced-water.

I can’t fault Max in anyway, the food was truly good and the service was exemplary.

I supposed, it comes from experience.  It all started in 1945, when Maximo Gimenez, a teacher, started serving chicken and drinks to American troops he befriended stationed near Quezon City.  Maximo’s niece, Ruby, more fondly known as Nanay Ruby was part of the making of the brand according to a caption on a picture proudly displayed in their restaurant.  She created the now famous Max’ chicken, which is tender and juicy in the inside but crispy outside.

The dinner celebration is a fitting homage to a wonderful, beautiful sister.  This is not goodbye but an au revoir, Marilou.  We will see each other again soon.

Be safe in your trip back home!

Our love from us all.

Nostalgic Trip to Sergio Osmena High School

Nostalgic Trip to Sergio Osmena High School

After buying a new bed at Maypajo early this afternoon, Marilou and I decided to go back for some memory lane trip at the nearby Gagalangin.

Alma, our sister-in-law, asked us several times if we knew where we were going.  Marilou and I confidently replied, “Of course, we know after all for 4 years we went to Osmena!” Smirk, smirk!!! 🙂

Now, we got out and lo and behold!, everything is different, there is now a McDonald where some lovely stationery shops were once located.  Still we walked confidently following a straight path to Osmena.

It was so hot today. Thank goodness for the umbrella Alma insisted we take, at least we had some sort of cover from the punishing sun.

We had been walking more than five minutes when our confidence started to ebb.  We can’t find Osmena High School.

Good thinking Marilou, decided to ask a kind-hearted lady, who said that Osmena HS is located near the market in Bulacan.  We asked her where the old one was?

She pointed to something near a bridge.  My mind must be going as I don’t remember a bridge near our old school.  Anyway we went to a building near the bridge but it did not look or feel like the old Osmena.  We asked someone again and was told that the old building was over there, pointing to some ambulance trucks.

Luckily we met a young man near the ambulance trucks and he pointed to an ongoing huge construction behind him.  He said that was the old Osmena, pointing directly to the signage next to it.  It sure said that the project is for Osmena High School.  He did say that was not true.  This building work is for Torres High School.

If this is the case, then it is coming in full circle.

I was told that Osmena High School was originally created to take in the overflow of students from Torres High School.

Marilou and I were a couple of intrepid alumni, no doubt about that.  We decided to investigate further and look into the new Osmena High School.

We were decidedly surprised to see a well maintained gated building.  Lovely potted plants were hanging in corridors.  There was even an outside auditorium.  A bust of Sergio Osmena prominently displayed in front of the Osmena building.

Though we also noted that the girls’ toilet needed renovation, it was still a far cry from the days when we were young students of Osmena.  We made do with a building with broken windows.  We do not have a gated building with a yard so we did our flag ceremony outside where anyone can see, overlooked by anyone who lived nearby.  We marched round and round the street for our Citizen Army Training (CAT).

We were the poor relation of Torres High then, that can’t be said now.  And yet looking at the rankings of high schools in the Philippines, Torres High School ranks at #88 while Osmena is not in the list of the 220 tops.  🙂  What has happened?!!!

Toilet Queueing – Filipino Style

Harrison Plaza Comfort Rooms, Photo by JMorton

Cultural Center of the Philippines Ladies, Photo by JMorton

Toilet Queueing – Filipino Style

We were shopping at Tutuban Centre and Divisoria today, when we had to use the toilet.  Toilet in the Philippines is more popularly known as CR, short for Comfort Room.

Though there were plenty of women waiting for a vacant cubicle, like everyday anywhere else in the world, I noticed the queuing system is different from the process practised by the queue-loving people of the United Kingdom 🙂 , who hate queue jumpers and disorderly lines.

In the Philippines, the queue is not a single line like in the UK, where you don’t get to choose which toilet to go to but what is available after those ahead of you are finished.

Today, I noticed that you form a line in front of the toilet of your choice.

Without knowing this at first, I almost blurted out that I was there first and not to queue-jump.  Thankfully, I noticed what was happening immediately, otherwise I may have been lynched by bladder-bursting compatriots 🙂 🙂 🙂

………

Toilets at the Cultural Center of the Philippines was the most beautiful and cleanest I have been to in the Manila.

Liverpool Love Locks

Love Locks, photo by JMorton

Love Locks, photo by JMorton

Liverpool Love Locks

The photos were taken of Liverpool love locks on the dockside of the River Mersey in Liverpool.

A love lock or love padlock is a normal small padlock, which is  locked to accessible  bridges, fences, gates, or similar fixtures, by lovers, sweethearts and  friends, to symbolize their love. The sweethearts’ names or initials are typically inscribed on the padlock.

To further symbolize unbreakable love, the padlock’s key is then thrown away. How many cast away keys now reside at the bottom of the the River Mersey? 🙂

Love locks originated in Serbia  100 years ago from a sad Serbian World War One (WW1) story.

This expression of undying love then spread to many countries. Some authorities regard them as a nuisance, health hazard etc., and remove them. When the padlocks  get rusty over the years, a poignancy is seems to be added.

Marriage & Friendship

Marrying your best friend eliminates the risk of divorce by over 70%, and this marriage is more likely to last a lifetime.

Marriage & Friendship

The above statistic/psychobabble was from Facebook. 🙂

Apparently if you are too scared to get married because you are too afraid to end up in a divorce, messy or otherwise, marrying a best-friend or friend has a guaranteed probability of successful marriage by 70 per cent.

I supposed a friend, is someone who understands and accepts you for who and what you are.  He/she knew your quirks and idiosyncrasies from way back as friends.  Shared secrets, shared hopes and dreams are pretty powerful force that binds you together.  Someone, who would cover your back no matter what is something that you would yearn in times of great need.  Being married to one is being so lucky!

In an interview of Blake Lively, this is what she had to say about her husband, Ryan Reynolds:

He is my friend first.  I think that’s the secret to happiness.

Increase Brain Power

It seems brushing one’s teeth is not only for health and hygiene reasons, it is so much more.

Brain Power

Increase Brain Power

There are also some research about the effect of chocolates to brain power.  Apparently the flavanols in cocoa can increase cognitive abilities, allowing for multitasking, i.e. ability to perform two or more tasks at a time.

 

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