Monday, May 31, 2010

Lovely Dragonfly

When I was young I used to chase dragonflies.  These fast flying insects are amazing to watch in the air but they are more captivating when they land to rest.  When they stay still, you can appreciate their brilliant colors and their lovely transparent wings.

Dragonflies were so abundant when I was young. Dragonflies flying among the flowers and plants used to be a familiar sight but not anymore. Today it's a treat to see one flying in the garden.  Some say pollution has caused the dragonfly population to dwindle.  That's a sad thought. I hope these beautiful creatures will be resilient and be able to withstand the effects of modernization.

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Saturday, May 29, 2010

Photo Hunt :: Memorial

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It's not easy saying goodbye to a family member. Adults easily feel the pain of losing a loved one but most young children are lucky because their innocence help shield them from such a sad reality.

This photo was taken on the day of my sister-in-law's interment last January. My little niece was curious about the memorial plaques on the ground. She's too young to grasp the concept of death. Perhaps, it's better that way. 

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Friday, May 28, 2010

Colorful Hustle and Bustle Outside Antipolo Church

After hearing mass at Antipolo, one will find it hard to ignore the hustle and bustle outside the church.

Local vendors have found a lucrative business selling colorful balloons and toys.  Small children are easily enticed by the sight of familiar characters floating on strings, flying winding birds and small toys with wheels that you can push back and forth with its handle. I saw a little girl frantically pulling her mom's hand towards the toy vendors.

Yohan didn't ask for any of those this year but when he was younger I bought him one of those ingenious mouse toys that move by pulling its string (made of scrap cloth and rock pulley-like mechanism). 

There are also vendors selling candles outside the church. Lighting candles is a popular Catholic tradition.  One usually light candles to pray for blessings or ask for divine intervention.

I always see these peculiar man and woman wax figures whenever I go to Antipolo but I have never asked what they are for. Some say the man and woman wax figures symbolize marriage but I may be wrong. Please share if you know.

A visit to Antipolo church will not be complete without buying casuy and suman (cashew and rice cakes). I took this quick snapshot when I noticed a lone red cashew among the yellow ones. I didn't buy any but hubby bought plain cashew nuts.

Back at home, we enjoyed eating fried suman with some sugar. It would have been better with ripe mangoes but it was still yummy.

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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage in Antipolo

Last Sunday, we went to Antipolo to hear mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage. Going to Antipolo church every month of May is an old tradition of hubby's family. We left the house before 5 a.m.

The drive from Batangas to Antipolo was smooth and quick. The traffic started as we approached the church. Parking was really tough. A guy in a white shirt helped us secure a parking slot in one of the nearby streets.  He ran along side our van as we made several rounds in the area.  He must be really fit to be able to endure all that running. To my surprise, he politely declined the tip from my brother-in-law. He just requested that we go to his food stand if we decide to buy suman and casuy (rice cake and cashew nuts) after the mass.  Suman and casuy are popular products of Antipolo.

The sight of the huge crowd made my knees weak. I doubted if we could get inside the church.

Slowly we inched our way near the church entrance. It was still early but the sun was already beaming its hot rays down on us.

We eventually managed to go inside the church. Luckily, my hubby, son and I were able to get some seats. Other family members had to go back outside because there were no more seats available. There were so many church goers that day.

Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage, popularly known as the Virgin of Antipolo (Birhen ng Antipolo) rests above the pedestal. Many church goers ask Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage for blessings for a safe journey or passage (especially those who are going to another country). The image was brought to the Philippines by Don Juan NiƱo de Tabora in 1626. It was sculptured by Mexican craftsmen using dark hard wood similar to the Black Nazarene in Quiapo.

The Antipolo church has been a center of religious pilgrimages for three centuries.  One of the popular annual pilgrimages is the "Alay Lakad" from Quiapo Church to the Antipolo Cathedral.

There are LCD screens placed in strategic areas of the church so that people outside can still see and hear the on-going mass.

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Store Online Documents Safely

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of - Safe storage for your important documents. All opinions are 100% mine.

I just signed up for my very own iSigned account. For those who are not familiar with it, iSigned is a great way to store legal and important documents online. You can now easily secure documents like travel documents, ID's, contracts and more. You can be assured that your documents are safely stored online.  It's very easy to sign up for one. It took me a few minutes to register for my own iSigned - secure online storage for legal and other important documents. I registered for a free trial and got an account immediately. I uploaded my first document with ease. It's easy to use and you can share your documents with other signatories/parties if you wish. I like the system because it's user friendly and provides easy and secure storage for my important documents. I like the idea of being able to control who can view and share my uploaded documents with. The expiry date option is a good way to monitor pending expiry. The system will warn me about it, thus giving me ample time to take action.

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Monday, May 24, 2010

Durian candies

My brother-in-law recently went to Davao on a business trip. When he went home, he gave us assorted Durian goodies as pasalubong. Keats gave us Durian pastillas, Durian candies and Durian yema. I'm not too fond of the Durian fruit but these Durian sweet treats are delicious.

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Saturday, May 22, 2010

Photo Hunt :: Monthly

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My hubby, son and I love good food. We make it a point to eat out at least once a month. I guess you can say that dining out is one of our monthly bonding moments.

We recently had dinner at Buon Giorno! It's a lovely and cozy restaurant in Cliffhouse, Tagaytay that serves Italian cuisine. 

You can dine outside al fresco or you can choose to eat inside.  The interior of the restaurant has a homey feeling to it.

We ordered Buon Giorno's Special (crisp crunch of mixed lettuce greens, cucumber and tomato with feta cheese and dressing).

We also had New York Pizza (assorted meat, bell peppers and cheese topping on a crisp,crusty dough). 

I wasn't able to take a photo of Yohan's order. He had kiddie chicken fingers with curly fries and a tall glass of Mudslide freeze (blend of chocolate shake).

This is Buon Giorno's most reserved place - the Opium Bed.  It has big fluffy pillows and white canopy.  When you reserve this place, you can enjoy the scenic view of Taal as you dine.

Buon Giorno! Caffe & Bistro
Unit 4, Cliffhouse Tagaytay
Gen. Emilio Highway
Tagaytay City, 4120
(046) 4132102

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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Custom Fit Vehicles for Special Needs

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of NMEDA. All opinions are 100% mine.

NMEDA is a non-profit trade association that aims to help consumers avail of safe, reliable and specially modified vehicles for better accessibility for people with special needs. Consumers are encouraged to buy from a NMEDA qualified dealer in order to benefit from on-site evaluation necessary to custom fit vehicles for special needs. This personalized approach is important because no two people with disability have exactly the same needs.

There are available adapted wheelchair vehicles in the market but they may not cater to specific needs. Take advantage of “in-person” evaluation to make sure you get the best driving solution patterned to your particular lifestyle and needs. NMEDA is also a dependable resource for additional training as well as production modifications and refinements.

Purchasing from a NMEDA qualified dealer simplifies things because your vehicle will be custom fitted to answer to your needs. Take note that NMEDA has Dealers AND Quality Assurance Program (QAP) dealers. The Dealer handles vehicle sales. QAP happens to be the only nationally recognized accreditation program for the Adaptive Mobility Equipment Industry. The goal of the program is to increase the level of dealer performance to effectively meet consumers’ transportation needs through safe measures.

My husband’s grandmother is turning 90 years old soon. She has a wheel chair but she can still manage to stand on her own and walk very short distances. It’s a little difficult for her to ride cars. Someone should be inside the car to assist her as she goes in and another one outside to guide her. NMEDA qualified dealer can help transport hubby’s grandmother with ease. In fact, a NMEDA dealer can help both the elderly and disabled to live an independent life.

My husband’s grandmother used to live in Maryland. I used the dealer’s locator on the website and typed in her ZIP code. It was a quick search and I got a list of dealers near her area.

Give it a try and see if there’s a qualified dealer near you. Let me know when you do.

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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

POC: Kuwentong kababalaghan: Manananggal, kapre atbp

I grew up listening to stories about Pinoy "elementals" -- like tikbalang, kapre, manananggal, aswang and dwende/nuno. Such stories are already part of the Filipino culture and have been passed from generation to generation. Some stories were used by elders to scare young children from going out at night.

Please check out my Buhay Pinoy article: Kuwentong kababalaghan: Manananggal, kapre atbp . The actual feature is written in Filipino (without translation).

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Jollibee's Brief Appearance in Glee

Our very own well-loved Pinoy fast food chain, Jollibee makes a cameo in Glee. Jollibee’s appearance on Glee was brief and yet the online world couldn't get enough of it.

The much talked about Jollibee appearance in Glee can be seen on the episode “Dream On” which was directed by Joss Whedon. Dream big --- that’s what Artie (Kevin McHale) did as he and other dancers strutted in a flash-mob style daydream sequence to the tune of “Safety Dance” (originally performed by Men Without Hats in the 80’s).

When Bryan Ryan (Neil Patrick Harris) asks Artie to write down his greatest dream, Artie wrote the single word "dancer." A person in wheelchair who dreams of becoming a dancer will touch anyone’s heart. It’s a really a heart-wrenching moment.

Viewers are used to seeing Artie confined to his wheelchair because of a spinal cord injury. It’s a pleasure to see Artie rise from his wheel chair and dance with such explosive energy in the dream sequence. The unadulterated Glee flash-mob dance is a captivating scene filled with vibrant moves.

Honestly, I thought Artie was a real wheelchair bound person. He portrays his role very convincingly.

While people are mesmerized by Artie’s great dance moves and flexible maneuvers, a familiar red sign peeks at the corner of the screen. Jollibee's brief international exposure in Glee even became a trending topic in Twitter.

Please check out my POC Sosyal article about it. - Jollibee is in Glee!

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Happy Meal features Shrek the Final Chapter

I still remember back in 2007, Yohan collected Happy Meal Shrek 3 characters. Almost three years later, Happy Meal is featuring the cute characters again.  After a eating few Happy Meals, the gang is complete. You'll see familiar faces but you'll notice a definite change in some.

Gingy, Little Wooden Puppet, Puss In Boots, Brogan, Princess Fiona, Donkey and Shrek

"It ain't ogre 'til it's ogre!"

"After challenging an evil dragon, rescuing a beautiful princess and saving your in-laws' kingdom, what's on ogre to do? Well, if you're Shrek, you suddenly wind up a domesticated family man. Instead of scaring villagers away like he used to, a reluctant Shrek now agrees to autograph pitch forks.What's happened to this ogre's roar? Longing for the days when he felt like a 'real ogre' , Shrek is duped into signing a pact with the smooth-talking dealmakers, Rumpelstiltskin.Shrek suddenly finds himself in a twisted, alternate version of Far Far Away, where ogres are hunted, Rumpelstiltskin is king and Shrek and Fiona have never met. Now, it's up to Shrek to undo all he's done in the hopes of saving his friends, restoring his world and reclaiming his one true love." - source
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Saturday, May 15, 2010

Photo Hunt :: Half

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My dear friend gave me a box of assorted Toblerone triangles. It was a treat trying all 5 varieties of Toblerone namely Milk, White/Milk, White, Dark and Praline.

Without the wrappers, you can easily spot the two-toned Toblerone triangle. It stands out because the lower half is milk chocolate and the upper half is white chocolate.

Everyone in the family has a favorite Toblerone. Hubby likes Dark, Yohan likes Milk while I prefer Praline.

I therefore conclude that chocolate bliss is easily achieved when there is no chocolate conflict.  ha!ha!

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Monday, May 10, 2010

Vote Casted

I exercised my right to vote today. I lined up patiently for one hour to cast my vote. Things went smoothly. The PCOS machine accepted my ballot without a hitch. It felt good when the machine confirmed my vote.

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Sunday, May 09, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all the wonderful Moms especially to my loving mom, caring mother-in-law and loyal yaya.

I'm on my way out to attend my son's mini soccer cup and we're celebrating Mother's Day after that. I'll catch up with you soon. Take care.

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Saturday, May 08, 2010

Photo Hunt :: Mother

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The blue whale is the biggest animal on earth. This is a model of a baby blue whale displayed at the mall. Just imagine how enormous the mother blue whale is. I don't think there's room at the mall for such a giant creature.  A big blue whale can measure up too 100 feet long and it could weigh as much as 150 tons. 

Here's a little trivia: A blue whale's heart is about the size of a Volkswagen Beetle.  Its aorta is big enough for a person to crawl through. Incredible!

A blue whale is a wonderful mother. It will do everything it can to protect its calf from harm.

Advance Happy Mother's Day!

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Monday, May 03, 2010

How To Make a Race Car Using a Box

Transform a big cardboard box into something fun and useful.  You can make a race car using a big box. It's a great project for the family. 

  • Big cardboard box
  • 6-7 paper plates
  • 4-6 red cartolina (poster board)
  • colored paper or construction paper
  • glue gun (ordinary glue if you don't have a glue gun)
  • scissors
  1. Fold the two long flaps of the box inside. Do the same with one of the short flaps. Glue them permanently using a glue gun.  Another option is to cut the three said flaps.
  2. Fold the remaining short flap at the middle and form into an inverted V.  Glue the lower sides of the flap to the box.
  3. Cover the outer box with red cartolina (or any preferred color).  You can use the rest of the cartolina to cover the inner box. 
  4. Enjoy designing your own wheels using paper plates. Use colored/construction paper and cut-outs to make desired details. Simply attach the four wheels on the box using a glue gun.
  5. Make a steering wheel using paper plate if desired. You can glue the steering wheel or secure it with a button fastener just below the dashboard.
  6. Use two paper plates for the headlights.  Adjust the size by cutting it into smaller circles.  Use red colored/construction paper for the outer border and yellow for the inner circle. 
  7. Cut red and yellow circles and glue them at the back of the box to serve as tail lights.
  8. If you have a printer at home, you can search and print pictures of a speedometer, fuel gauge, tachometer (rpm gauge), etc. Glue them on the dashboard.
  9. Have fun adding more details to your car.  
My son requested for a Ferrari.  It was fun watching my husband and son create a cardboard Ferrari. All I did was print the Ferrari emblems. When it was done, Yohan grabbed his small chair and placed it inside. He hopped in and he let his imagination take him to his destination. Vroom ... vroom!!!

You can also use this cardboard race car as a toy chest.  I'm sure you can use this project to encourage your child to be responsible by putting away his toys after he play time.

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Saturday, May 01, 2010

Photo Hunt :: Black

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This is a black rhinoceros beetle. It's called rhino beetle for short.  Males usually have large horns which they use to fight other males during mating battles.  Rhino beetles have amazing strength. They have the ability to lift up to 850 times their own body weight. Just imagine that! In some Asian countries, rhino beetles are used for gambling. Beetles are placed on a log and the first one to knock its opponent off is the winner.

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