All posts tagged: Philippines

Family, a Wedding, Tigers, Zip Lines and Parasails

It has been a while since my last update. Suffice it to say that it has been a busy time, but I am glad to be writing here again. I recently took a trip back home to the Philippines for my cousin’s wedding — it was a special occasion, as she’s very dear to me. In addition, all our cousins who now work and live in different countries as well as different parts of the Philippines went home to be a part of it. The wedding itself was beautiful, a traditional ceremony between two individuals radiating in love, witnessed by family and friends. It doesn’t get any more special than that, really. Since everyone was home and it’s a rarity these days, we took advantage and went on a family trip a day after the festivities. We headed off to Subic (it was only a few hours drive from our home town and wouldn’t take that much of a toll on everyone having come from travel and the occasion the day before). Zoobic Safari There were two standouts …

Of First Princes, Princesses and Loss: Some Words of Thanks

That part of childhood where one starts believing in princes and princesses, but more importantly, in magic; that good triumphs over evil; and that there is more to life than riches and looks — lessons from fairytales, wonderful stories he used to read to me at bedtime. Those lazy afternoon snack times where he whips up his home-made pancakes; his artsy self creating elaborate birthday stages. Upon adulthood, the one prayer he had for us cousins to find our own princes and princesses who wouldn’t ever turn into frogs. Thank you, tito Nam, be at peace now, you are so loved.

Home(sick) for the Holidays

Christmas carols and countdowns starting the very first day of September. Holiday decorations everywhere you go: lanterns, twinkling lights and for me personally, a Christmas tree that was already up by the time I celebrate my birthday in the middle of November. Even smells coming from traditional holiday rice cakes, puto bumbong and bibingka, remind you of the season. Everyone looks forward to simbang gabi or nine mornings, midnight masses where friends and family all try to wake up early and complete all nine masses, and if you do, a blessing is believed to come your way. The Philippines has what is said to be the longest Christmas celebration in the world, beginning in September through the Feast of the Three Kings, January 6th. It’s one of the things I miss the most about the holidays — the anticipation for the most joyous time of the year. When I first moved to the US, not yet hearing holiday songs on the radio and seeing decors when they were already having daily countdowns in the Philippines …

Pizzas from Around the World

On a quintessential Eat, Pray, Love scene, Julia Roberts tells her friend Sofi: “I’m so tired of saying no and waking up in the morning and recalling every single thing I ate the day before. Counting every calorie I consume so I know exactly how much self-loathing to take into the shower. I’m going for it. I have no interest in being obese. I’m just through with the guilt. So this is what I’m going to do. I’m going to finish this pizza and then we’re going to go watch the soccer game, and tomorrow, we’re going to go on a little date and buy ourselves some bigger jeans.” I don’t recall exactly how it was written in Liz Gilbert’s book, the title character Roberts was playing, but the gist of it is the same — giving yourself permission to enjoy life’s simple pleasures without conforming to society’s ideals of beauty. I personally believe in allowing myself to indulge — after all, we only live once and there is no sense being unhappy. In the …

Wall of Wishes

I think it is in the Max Ehrmann poem Desiderata where he says, “therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.” There are 7 billion people in the world, all with their own dreams and wishes; each praying to their gods as dictated by their beliefs. Some believe in no god, and yet in their hearts are whispers of their hopes and aspirations. I was raised Catholic. Born in the Philippines, an almost 80% Catholic country, I grew up believing in all things that came with this faith. So during our most recent trip out of the States in November of last year, it felt almost surreal to be stepping foot at what was believed to have been the Virgin Mary’s House. In Catholic school growing up, every October we used to have rosary month dedicated to the Virgin Mary, and I remember saying a lot of Hail Mary’s, with “pray for us” being …