Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas in Spain

Source:  Deck the holidays
Christmas is a deeply religious holiday in Spain. The country's patron saint is the Virgin Mary and the Christmas season officially begins December 8, the feast of the Immaculate Conception. It is celebrated each year in front of the great Gothic cathedral in Seville with a ceremony called los Seises or the "dance of six." Oddly, the elaborate ritual dance is now performed by not six but ten elaborately costumed boys. It is a series of precise movements and gestures and is said to be quite moving and beautiful.

Typical X'mas delicacies
Christmas Eve is known as Nochebuena or "the Good Night." It is a time for family members to gather together to rejoice and feast around the Nativity scenes that are present in nearly every home. A traditional Christmas treat is turron, a kind of almond candy.

December 28 is the feast of the Holy Innocents. Young boys of a town or village light bonfires and one of them acts as the mayor who orders townspeople to perform civic chores such as sweeping the streets. Refusal to comply results in fines which are used to pay for the celebration.

As in many European countries, the children of Spain receive gifts on the feast of the Epiphany. The Magi are particularly revered in Spain. It is believed that they travel through the countryside reenacting their journey to Bethlehem every year at this time. Children leave their shoes on the windowsills and fill them with straw, carrots, and barley or the horses of the Wise Men. Their favorite is Balthazar who rides a donkey and is the one believed to leave the gifts.

Source:  Christmas Around the World

Celebrating Christmas is a joyful event and it is filled with a lot of food preparation and gathering with family and friends.  For those of us who have emigrated to a different country to raise our own family, we tend to adapt our traditions to those observed where  we have  settled in.  But no matter where we are, the feeling of joy is still the same, for it is the  festive event of the birth of our Saviour that kindles the special gladness that comes only once a year specially on Christmas day.  Peace and joy to men.

Saturday, December 24, 2011


Flash mob sings Hallelujah chorus in food court.

Posted By jamesw72 about a year ago from jamesw72 on GodTube.

At noon on November 13, 2010 unsuspecting shoppers got a surprise while enjoying their lunch. A flash mob singing the Hallelujah Chorus!

This should be done in all cities and spread the good tidings of the birth of the most important "Someone" in our lives.

Happy Christmas to all.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Little Match Girl - Hans Christian Andersen

Source of Image:  El Mundo.es
Once upon a time . . . a little girl tried to make a living by selling matches in the street.

It was New Year's Eve and the snowclad streets were deserted. From brightly lit windows came the tinkle of laughter and the sound of singing. People were getting ready to bring in the New Year. But the poor little matchseller sat sadly beside the fountain. Her ragged dress and worn shawl did not keep out the cold and she tried to keep her bare feet from touching the frozen ground. She hadn't sold one box of matches all day and she was frightened to go home, for her father would certainly be angry. It wouldn't be much warmer anyway, in the draughty attic that was her home. The little girl's fingers were stiff with cold. If only she could light a match! But what would her father say at such a waste! Falteringly she took out a match and lit it. What a nice warm flame! The little matchseller cupped her hand over it, and as she did so, she magically saw in its light a big brightly burning stove.

She held out her hands to the heat, but just then the match went out and the vision faded. The night seemed blacker than before and it was getting colder. A shiver ran through the little girl's thin body.

After hesitating for a long time, she struck another match on the wall, and this time, the glimmer turned the wall into a great sheet of crystal. Beyond that stood a fine table laden with food and lit by a candlestick. Holding out her arms towards the plates, the little matchseller seemed to pass through the glass, but then the match went out and the magic faded. Poor thing: in just a few seconds she had caught a glimpse of everything that life had denied her: warmth and good things to eat. Her eyes filled with tears and she lifted her gaze to the lit windows, praying that she too might know a little of such happiness.

She lit the third match and an even more wonderful thing happened. There stood a Christmas tree hung with hundreds of candles, glittering with tinsel and coloured balls. "Oh, how lovely!" exclaimed the little matchseller, holding up the match. Then, the match burned her finger and flickered out. The light from the Christmas candles rose higher and higher, then one of the lights fell, leaving a trail behind it. "Someone is dying," murmured the little girl, as she remembered her beloved Granny who used to say: "When a star falls, a heart stops beating!"

Scarcely aware of what she was doing, the little matchseller lit another match. This time, she saw her grandmother.

"Granny, stay with me!" she pleaded, as she lit one match after the other, so that her grandmother could not disappear like all the other visions. However, Granny did not vanish, but gazed smilingly at her. Then she opened her arms and the little girl hugged her crying: "Granny, take me away with you!"

A cold day dawned and a pale sun shone on the fountain and the icy road. Close by lay the lifeless body of a little girl surrounded by spent matches. "Poor little thing!" exclaimed the passersby. "She was trying to keep warm!"

But by that time, the little matchseller was far away where there is neither cold, hunger nor pain.

Source: Kaboose

Christmas to many consists of a lot of buying, spending and eating, however there are a lot more of those who can only look at windows to see what they cannot have and much less eat. Let us remember the sadness in some other people hearts this Christmas and help to make some needy people smile in our own way and make a difference. These people can be nameless just like the story of Hans Christian Anderson, because they can be anybody around us waiting for a chance to have a different day.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Gift

Christmas season is among us -
and shoppers are on the fly,
running around like crazy,
looking for gifts to buy.

Looking for that perfect gift -
it seems so hard to find,
to give to that special someone,
who lingers in your mind.
So out the door and to the store -
and to the Mall again,
got to find that perfect gift,
to give to that dear one.
Finally tired and all worn out -
and about to fall apart.
But if you look - it's always been,
right there within your heart!
A gift that money just can't buy -
for it comes from God above,
a gift to cherish for a lifetime,
it's called the "Gift" of love!
So if you can't find what you look for -
it won't be on your list.
You'll have to search from deep within,
to give someone the "Gift!"

Written and Submitted By:
Deacon Steve A. Politte (DeaconSteve)

Merry Christmas!

Source:  nethugs.com

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Winter Time in New York

Rockefeller Center, NYC

Now, looking back 27 years ago since I have gone to live in New York city, I remember the hardship of the city life and the unbearable cold temperature I had to undergo  in wintertime.  It was the constant daily hustle of  rushing back and forth from work, specially complicated when it snowed and drizzled having to coordinate with an unbrella and at the same time making sure I did not fall on a slippery walk.  The tv dinners, I had to share with my roommate, when it was too cold to eat out and it was so cozy to get snugged in a warm blanket while enjoying a tv show.

But on a good winter day, it was fun watching the people skating in Rockefeller Center, while eating some charcoal broiled chestnuts.  As it was also fun, inspite of  having to get in long queue,  to finally get an entrance to  see a show in Broadway or in Radio City Music Hall with the stage that kept the audience at awe and with constant surprises everytime the curtains drew apart.  As it was also a great experience to watch so many elegant people just walking by in the plushy districts of the East Side in contrast with the creepy environment of some of the streets in the West End.

Finding bargains in some nooks and odd places were also a fun time specially when I needed something to wear urgently for one day and did not want to rent a dress but surprise a date with a different look.

I remember also  with nostalgia the happy times when I shared laughter and why not some tears with newly found friends.

But not to forget,  the scary moments when I had to be in the middle of two men shooting each other while I was behind a post trying to get out of range, or when I was being followed by a huge black man on 42nd street (which at that time was filled with sex shops and sex movies) only to discover later on  that he was just trying to make fun of my tiny steps, or while cycling in Central Park, a freaky guy would throw stones at me and run away.

Memories and experiences  gone by,  and yet somehow became a part of  who I am today.

Source of image:  El Mundo.es

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Story of Two Angels

Two traveling angels stopped to spend the night in the home of a wealthy family.
The family was rude and refused to let the angels stay in the mansion's guest room.
Instead the angels were given a small space in the cold basement.
As they made their bed on the hard floor, the older angel saw a hole in the wall and repaired it.

When the younger angel asked why, the older angel replied,
"Things aren't always what they seem"

The next night the pair came to rest at the house of a very poor, but very hospitable farmer and his wife.

After sharing what little food they had the couple let the angels sleep in their bed where they could have a good night's rest.

When the sun came up the next morning the angels found the farmer and his wife in tears.

Their only cow, whose milk had been their sole income, lay dead in the field.

The younger angel was infuriated and asked the older angel how could you have let this happen?
The first man had everything, yet you helped him, she accused.

The second family had little but was willing to share everything, and you let the cow die..

"Things aren't always what they seem," the older angel replied.

"When we stayed in the basement of the mansion, I noticed there was gold stored in that hole in the wall.

Since the owner was so obsessed with greed and unwilling to share his good fortune, I sealed the wall so he wouldn't find it."

"Then last night as we slept in the farmers bed, the angel of death came for his wife, I gave him the cow instead.

Things aren't always what they seem."

Sometimes that is exactly what happens when things don't turn out the way they should. If you have faith, you just need to trust that every outcome is always to your advantage. You just might not know it until some time later...

Author Unknown

Source: Net Hugs.com

Friday, November 18, 2011

Bags In Style


The bags by Antonio Lobato, which are sold in  "Julia y Belén" (Goya, 17), are mixed with jewelries and furniture as if they were in your own house.

Mother and daughter Julia y Belén, have designed their store so that they can present their products far from the boring and conventional showcases.

The bags  prices oscillate from 99,95 euros up to 134,95 euros.

In this time of economic crisis, luxury items are even less affordable for the middle class, but everyone can always look around and dream!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Story of an Old Woman and One Euro

Processed Photo by Ronald

Yesterday, as I opened the locker where I kept my things before I entered the supermarket in the city,  I dropped my coin of 1 Euro.  I looked for several seconds, minutes maybe while people kept passing by unmindful of my dilemma.  I kept on looking around on the floor, moving around and about, but the floor was of different shades and with a peculiar design which did not make it easy for me at all to find my coin. I was about to give up and let it go thinking that somebody will eventually find it and make good use of it, when an old lady (probably in her 80's) came by to ask me:

"What is the matter? Maybe I can be of some help".   I thanked her for the offer and mentioned about the missing coin while thinking  "if I cannot find my coin with my eyes, how can you at your age?"  She probably read my mind because she said: "Well, I may not be able to bend to pick up the coin, but I can help you to locate it, four eyes are better than two".

I smiled at her and extended my gratitude again.   But as if by magic and almost simultaneously, as I turned to the spot near me, where I looked and looked before and did not find the coin, I heard the sound of the drop of a coin, and alas!  there it was, too close not to have been noticed before, but seemed to have been dropped out of nowhere. I looked at the old lady again and gave her another smile of gratitude, wanting to give her a big hug, but afraid it would probably be too much for her fragile body, as she returned my smile and walked away.

One Euro, only one Euro, but  enough to give me a joyful day!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Story of the Prodigal Son

Photo by Ronald

Once upon a time, there was this prodigal son who by force of destiny, had gone astray from his family.  But by choice, he decided to return to his roots, once his obligations already allowed  him to do so.

But then when he returned and with a child,  he found out that his father has died and that the mother has been attended all this time that he was gone, by the rest of the siblings.  And that one has gained authority inspite of not being the oldest in the family, after having taken care of all of the mother's needs in all aspects.

Although the mother celebrated the return of the prodigal son, the latter was faced  with several impediments.  One of the siblings, who took the main authority, no longer wanted to cede the place that he now occupies in the family, feeling that he has gained entitlement to it and by virtue of the years that he held this authority, considered that  he has gained full right to the title.  He did not  want to discuss the matter of authority and would rather stay in his comfort zone.

So the prodigal son, thought it necessary to call the rest of the siblings as witnesses so someone can act as the jury, but not before saying that  the jury must be quiet until the complete hearing was done, from both sides.  But then the second of the siblings started to interrupt and gave what he considered to be a neutral counsel,  without consciously  knowing that by doing so, he was disobeying the order of the prodigal son and perpetuating a defense for the one in possession of authority.   The second sibling finally said:  you must settle your differences first with the one holding authority, and keep  me out of your disputes, because I cannot do anything about it.

Another sibling said that it was okay for the prodigal son to come back, but does not think it seemed right to have the prodigal son come back with his child, although he ventured that the prodigal son, has the choice to bring his child, and it depends on the prodigal son whether he wants to do so or not.  But not before having given previously the full invitation for both prodigal son and child.   To which, the prodigal son thought: "how can I come home with a partial invitation now, when at first, he gave me a full invitation to me and my child, and I already made a promise to my child that I will bring him along with me?  He was faced with a dilemma, since now  the full invitation has been withdrawn to change it to a partial one with  an indication  of  "take your child against my advice as you wish, but don't forget that it is against my advice".  Although his child is an adult now, the prodigal son thought that he still has his responsibility towards him.

So he went to the same sibling and asked again:  Please can you re-consider since my child is old enough not to give a problem of any kind in cumplying with my obligations with our mother, I just want to present my child to the rest of the family to see for himself how they live and pay respect to his grandma.  And yet, the same reply was given:  "I told you once, and I am telling you twice:  I do not think that you can give full attention to our mother, if you bring your child with you, and do not ask me again because you will no longer receive any  answer from me",  so he replied, almost angrily.

The prodigal son was at a loss, so he turned again to the three siblings and said: " Please, just let me be with Mother for a week or so and let us celebrate my return together with my child, because I  do not have any intention of taking away your authority in the family but I just want to celebrate with you a reconciliation in the eyes of our mother.  So that together we can be happy instead of waiting someday to meet and cry before her grave.  The prodigal son knew that, just like when his father died, he will not be present in a celebration of grief and condolences, it was just not one of his principles.

But all the efforts and pleas of the prodigal son were all received with "NAY, NAY, NAY".  So the prodigal son just bowed his head and prayed.  He prayed that someday his siblings will realize that he comes back with a mission of peace, that he realizes that for the long time that has elapsed since he left, his siblings no longer know him as who he is today, that his intentions are noble and honest, but on the other hand, the prodigal son realizes that he should be patient and wait until his siblings face the reality, so that he can be received as the new person that he now has turned into, a better and wholesome member of the family, an asset never a liability to be given the right to the place where he belongs as a respectable part of a family nucleus.

Thoughts, thoughts, thoughts, only my thoughts.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Key to Love

Processed Photo by Ronald
Normal Photo by Ronald

 Corazon rojoCorazon rojoCorazon rojo      

The key to love is forgiveness - to accept each others' fault and pardon mistakes
without forgetting but with remembering what you learn from them

The key to love is sharing - facing your good fortune as well as the bad,
together, both conquering problems, forever searching for ways to intensify your happiness

The key to love is giving -  without thought of return but with the hope of a simple smile by giving in but not giving up

The key to love is respect - realizing that we are separate people with different ideas that you don't belong to each other, that you belong with each other and share a mutual bond

The key to love is inside all - it takes time and patience to unlock all the ingredients that will take us to the threshold

It is the continual learning that demands a lot of work,
but the rewards are more than worth the effort

Author Unknown

Monday, October 31, 2011

One More Hour

Processed Photo by Ronald (All rights reserved)

Last Saturday, just like every year, the time clock has been set, one hour earlier to take advantage of the daylight saving time. And I wondered: "What would it have been if instead of just moving the time one hour earlier, we were given the chance to go back an hour in the past, what would we have changed had we been given that opportunity?" I certainly would have done a lot more than what I am capable of doing in a normal hour of time. I would have done something more important instead, or would have done things differently.

One more hour, it seems so short and yet so long depending on what we are doing at the time. If we were having a good time, catching up with a deadline, or simply taking a nap, an hour will seem insufficient. However, if we were waiting for a snail to cross the street, waiting for the results of an exam, or waiting for a baby to be borne, an hour will seem eternal.

One  hour more,  or one last hour to "judgement day",  it is a matter of perspective. It is our own perception of our hour glass.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

When We Love Someone

When we love someone,  a lot of times the best way to show it is to not only let them use their own wings to fly, but is also to encourage them to fly as well.

Loving someone isn't about keeping them all to yourself so that the world isn't able to see their light shine bright, but is instead holding them up as a candle to the world to create more light. Seeing someone that you love happy will make one feel a thousand times more fulfilled than them being happy themselves alone.

Source:  Poems and Quote

Love seems simple but at the same time complicated.  When we love someone, we try to make that someone happy but in a way, we base our efforts on what we think shall make us happy ourselves.  We forget to take into consideration the fact that we are all different individuals and that what makes us happy may not create the same effect to the person we love.

This brings the idea that love can sometimes mean "sacrifice"  that is, to sacrifice our own feelings of happiness for what makes our beloved  happy in his own concept of what happiness means, assuming there is no illicit behaviour in between.  That when we love, the sentiment is inconditional and we take the person we love NOT ONLY for his virtues BUT ALSO for his shortcomings as well, all in one big package.

And  love can come like a thief in the middle of the night, without any prior warning to steal our heart.  And thereafter our heart no longer belongs to us but to someone else....  We are lucky when we get another heart in return otherwise,  misery steps in our life with a broken heart until someone surprises us  like a Santa Claus that goes down the chimney... with gift of a new heart.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Vanity of Vanities...

King James version of Ecclesiastes literally "Book of the Teacher" 1:2 says:

"Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity"

The first time I heard this phrase was when I was in grade school.  I was wearing a beautiful fancy dress that my mother so patiently has sewn for me to celebrate an event in school and she wanted me to wear the best dress that she could provide for me.  As I proudly walked around in my soft blue, organdy dress, I saw our Mother Superior (I was in a school run by nuns) and I greeted her with a beeming hello.  To my surprise,  the only reply I received was her words:  "Vanity of vanities, everything is vanity".

For a long time, I thought about that phrase and there was only one meaning that I could think of  then.  "That I should avoid wearing lavish and fancy clothes".

In our everyday English usage, the word vanity conveys an image of excessive pride in oneself or in one's appearance, a picture of conceit and perhaps even arrogance. But what did the author of the book of Ecclesiastes actually have in mind?

In my later period of life,  I came about a more extensive explanation:  That everything in this physical world is transitory, ephemeral, impermanent and without any enduring substance. We often try to cling to things, and attempt to resist changes, but alas that is wasted effort, like trying to chase the wind.  (Source:  Living from the heart).

Everything being transitory, ephemeral and impermanent, we should enjoy every second of our time of co-existence but at the same time not to forget that we should aim at pursuing kindness and goodness towards one another leading to eternal peace.

On the other hand, is there anything wrong with being vain?  No, if it is not an obsession. No, if you want to take care of your appearance and create a good impression.

Everyone has his own characteristics and unless it becomes an obsessive behaviour, then there is nothing wrong.  

Source of image:  Clip Art Guide

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Search For 2011 Happiest Pinoy

Winston Maxino [Philstar]
How do we measure one's level of happiness?  Can happiness be quantifiable?  How do we compare how happy one is compared with another?  Well, it seems happiness can be evaluated.

"Happiness is an attitude, a mindset, a choice... We Filipinos are known for our optimism and inner strength", according to Cebuana Lhullier Insurance Solutions general manager Jonathan Batangan, organizer of contest for the search for the "Happiest Pinoy", now in its second year.

Winston Maxino coveted the title of "Happiest Pinoy in 2010" and received an award for 200,000 Pesos.

Last year, Winston Maxino, who aside from being president and chief operating officer of Hooven Philippines;  serves as president of the Down Syndrome Association of the Philippines and a self-proclaimed balloon artist and magician for his family, was declared the "Happiest Pinoy" by CLIS.

Maxino was chosen for exhibiting an optimistic outlook on life, a cheerful disposition, the ability to rise above life’s challenges and having a positive impact on the life of others.

Maxino is battling a degenerative bone condition called Ankylosing Spondylitis. Almost at the same time he was diagnosed with the disease he discovered that his daughter Brina Kei suffers from Down syndrome.

According to him:  "We rise above our physical pain and limitations to live full happy lives. Happiness is our daily therapy and positive outlook gets us through the most trying times. May our stories inspire you to believe that laughter truly is the best medicine because it is free. It has no expiry, it does not require a doctor’s prescription and it is internally generated so it never runs out of stock.”

This year, the search is on for the 2nd year of this award with the "goal of rekindling the values of optimism, resilience and hope in the Filipino nation".

The candidate must cumply with the following requirements:
  • has a constantly cheerful face and optimistic outlook,
  • has a proven ability to rise above life's challenges, and,
  • has a positive impact in the lives of others.
Nominations will be accepted from October 21 to May 30 next year. The ten finalists will be announced on June 2012, with the Happiest Pinoy receiving a trophy and P250,000.

The Philippines is the 14th happiest country in the world, according to the 2009 Happy Planet Index published by the New Economics Foundation, an independent think tank.
The country scored better than its neighboring countries like China (20th), Indonesia (16th) and Malaysia (33rd).

A total of 143 countries were scored from 0 to 100 in the Happy Planet Index based on three factors: high life expectancy, high life satisfaction and a low ecological footprint.

Source:  Inquirer.net  Posted on February 22nd, 2010 under Art & Living Achievements   and October 20th, 2011.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Poem About Family

Photo Of "Griffin Family" at All Women Stalk

What is a family like?

A Family Is Like
© Nicole M. O'Neil

A Family is like a circle
the connection never ends
and even if at times it breaks
in time it always mends
A Family is like the stars
somehow the're always there
families are those who help
who support and always care
A Family is like a book
the endings are never clear
but through the pages of the book
their love is always near
A Family is many things
with endless words that show
who they are and what they do
and how they teach you so you know
but don’t be weary if it's broken
or if through time its been so worn
families are like that-
they're split up and always torn
but even if this happens
your family will always be
they help define just who you are
and will be a part of you eternally

There's one sad truth in life I've found, While journeying east and west
The only folks we really wound, Are those we love the best.
We flatter those we scarcely know, We please the fleeting guest,
And deal full many a thoughtless blow, To those who love us best."
~ Ella Wilcox

Source:  Family Friend Poems

It is quite common in families that there be differences that cannot be patched but even when  we choose to run away from our roots, eventually we all go back to our "proverbial egg that we were hatched from".

Sunday, October 16, 2011

This Sheep Thinks He's a Dog


What happens when a sheep is raised as a dog? Will he acquire the habits of a dog? And what happens if you put him with his flock?

Well, A sheep in England thinks it's a dog and Jack the sheep is so convinced he's a dog that he nudges his owner until she puts him on a leash.

The sheep's name is Jack, and it's not his fault he's confused. Alison Sinstadt and her partner Simon Sherwin, who have a farm in Shropshire, England, brought him indoors when he was just a wee lamb because he was quite small. They raised him with their springer spaniel Jessie, and now Jack is so convinced that he's a dog too that he fetches sticks, walks on a leash, and even tries to bark (though it comes out more of a baa-rk).

And putting the 6-month-old ovine in a field with his own flock doesn't help a bit: he just tries to herd them. It's positively unherd-of!

I wonder how long the friendship will last between the dog and the sheepdog! And if they say that a dog is a forever friend, can we say the same thing with the sheepdog? And what about Jessie, does he also think that Jack is the same as he is? Oh, my, oh my!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Here Lies Love

While I was visiting another blog site, I ran up with this video on Imelda Marcos by David Byrne and Fatboy Slim.  It is an interesting  narration of Imelda's life in songs.  The CD discs consist of 22 songs and the first song is Here Lies Love and has the same title as the album.

Here Lies Love is a concept album and rock musical made in collaboration between
David Byrne and Fatboy Slim, about the life of the former First Lady of the Philippines Imelda Marcos along with the woman who raised her—Estrella Cumpas—and follows Marcos until she and her family were forced to leave the Philippines. The album features 22 guest vocalists and was released on April 6, 2010, under Nonesuch Records and Todomundo in several formats, including a deluxe double-Compact Disc set with a DVD of music videos from the album and a 120-page book. The title is taken from a comment made by Imelda Marcos during a visit to her husband Ferdinand Marcos's embalmed body. Imelda Marcos expressed that she would like the phrase "Here Lies Love" to be inscribed on her tomb stone.  Wikipedia.


When I was a young girl in Leyte
My dresses were all hand-me-downs and scraps
I’d see the people smile, when I would sing for them
How happy they all seemed—when I would dance

We lived a stone’s throw from the palace
A simple country girl who had a dream
The ladies passing by, a better class than I
How much it meant to me to be like these

Is it a sin to love too much?
Is it a sin to care?
I do it all for you
How can it be unfair?

I know that when my number’s up
When I am called by God above
Don’t have my name inscribed into the stone
Just say:
Here lies love…here lies love…here lies love—
Just say:
Here lies love…here lies love…here lies love—

The most important things are love and beauty
It doesn’t matter if you’re rich or poor
To prosper and to fly, a basic human right
The feeling in your heart that you’re secure

Is it a sin to love too much?
Is it a sin to care?
I do it all for you
How can it be unfair?
I know that when my number’s up
When I am called by God above
Don’t have my name inscribed into the stone
Just say:
Here lies love…here lies love…here lies love—
Just say:
Here lies love…here lies love…here lies love—

Source of lyrics:  Here Lies Love - David Byrne.com

Friday, October 07, 2011

Wool Urban Street Art

A new fad has began called "Yarnstorming: the art of enhancing a public place or object with graffiti knitting" (Or putting knitting on something unexpected in public and running always giggling wildly) or so is it described by the friendly knitters in their blog.

Magda Sayeg, known as Knitta, is considered as the "mother" of this activity which started almost by accident in 2005. It occurred to Magda that by covering the handlebar of her store's door (in Houston) she would be able to attract passerbys along the street, her instinct proved to be right. And she started to knit for urban furniture starting from street lights, billboards, and cars which inspired a group in Valencia to knit covers for their famous bollards. (Pls refer to Post on Knitted bollards of Aug 14, 2011).

If you want to see more of their graffiti knits visit their blog at

Source of article:  El Pais by Mari Luz Peinado Oct 6, 2011

Photos by:
Mary Roland - trees
César Ortega - bus
Jean Michel Sicot - sock
Urban Knitting - butterflies on trees              

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Spanish Food in the Philippines

I ran up today with an article on a Spanish restaurant that is making a hit in the Philippines.  I refer to the restaurant Dali, (named after the Spanish surrealist painter, Salvador Dali) the latest addition to the thriving QC dining scene.

What called my attention is not the fact that there is a newly opened Spanish restaurant in the Philippines but knowing that the executive chef Pia Abadesco Herrera has dedicated herself in the study of the Culinary Arts Institute in New York, and has worked as private chef in America all this time after growing up in Europe. Strange to me when I would think that the one to be responsible would be of Spanish origin.

Although the menus are more or less adapted to the Filipinos' tastes like the paella being well done instead of "al dente" as to how they are typically served in Spain, or bocadillos with tenderloin steak, instead of the common beef fillet served as a fast food in most cafeterias in Spain.
It is nice to know that now the Filipinos can savor some of the Spanish food like the Manchego cheese, made in the La Mancha region of Spain from the milk of sheep of the Manchega breed, which is aged for between 60 days or two years. Manchego cheese usually carries the label of origin that guarantees its authenticity. Or the typical jamón serrano,  a type of (dry-cured Spanish ham), which is generally served raw in thin slices, or occasionally diced.  A foreleg prepared in the same manner is called paleta.

Jamón Serrano

As to the desserts, I am not familiar with what they have mentioned like the orange custard just as I have not had so far the "sorbet of red and white sangria", which is more likely tagged to call attention to the well known  Sangría drink in Spain.

But prices seem to be affordable with  average prices ranging from P105 to P285.  Maybe some of you can try their menus when you celebrate one of the important occasions.  "Bon appetit"!

Surreal array of Spanish staples

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Rainbow Colors

Rainbow over Kansas
Photo:   Patrick Emerson

When the Sun is shining and there is rain as well, you may see a rainbow in the sky!

As sunlight passes through the water droplets, it is bent and split into the colors of the rainbow. Sunlight is known as visible or white light and is actually a mixture of all visible colors. Rainbows appear in seven colors because water droplets break white sunlight into the seven colors of the spectrum (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet).

You can only see a rainbow if the Sun is behind you and the rain in front. The main rainbow becomes visible at an angle of around 40" from the horizon. You might be able to see a second rainbow above the main one in which the colors are in reverse order. You can even make your own rainbow using a garden hose or water sprinkler to form the water droplets in the air on a sunny day.  Source of text:  Kids' Crossing

Rainbow over Melbourne
Photo: Jes

Double rainbow caught in black and white over Melbourne
This photograph proves that rainbows look stunning even in black and white. Notice the pronounced and dark Alexander’s band (the space between two rainbows so called after the scientist  Alexander of Aphrodisias, who first described the phenomenon).

Monday, October 03, 2011

October Winds

October has just started and although in Madrid it feels more like summer in most hours of the day, autumn slowly gets to invade the early mornings and evenings with its soft, cool breeze that seem to announce the crossing of autumn in the season's cycle.

I love Autumn just like I love spring for the changing colors of the leaves which in certain trees are much more notable just like in maple trees and gingko which turn into different colors before they fall on the ground or easily blown away by the slightest whisp of the wind.

Autumn, it seems, tries to get us ready for the coming of winter, to be able to finish the tasks left over from the previous season not being done due to the warm heat of summer, stressful by itself. Autumn is a nice time to go for a walk and observe the colors of the parks as they change hues, and if you are lucky you can also see some of the few birds that lingered behind chirping as if looking for the rest of the flock to join them. Happily, and merrily, welcome Autumn!

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Like Noah's Ark

The rooftop serves as veritable Noah’s Ark of a few animals—cats, dogs, chickens, ducks and a pigeon—after the owners abandoned the submerged house in Gugo village, Calumpit, Bulacan. Unfortunately, rescue workers could only evacuate humans. LYN RILLON…
Source:  Inquirer.net

While people are being transported by boat.

From June to December every year, Filipinos have to cope with the ruthless typhoons that affect several regions in the Philippines.  Although the government has become aware of the importance of avoiding loss of lives through evacuation of endangered areas, the citizens are hesitant to abide mainly because of  the fear of looting of what can be their only possessions left behind by the aggressive trail of the typhoons.  Likewise amidst the warning of being  swept by the passing of the typhoon, some people think that the government is exaggerating and that they would be better off holding tight to each other and not move away.  Neither would fishermen allow themselves to lay aside their daily tasks of going into the sea to lose their earnings for the day.

But people learn, even if the hard way.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Upside Down House

A totally "new perspective of a family home" offers a house located in a place in Bispingen, Germany which is literally upside down.

The so called "Crazy House, a house of a family style located in Bispingen, Germany, had an open house to the public with the aim of showing a "totally renewed perspective" of a domestic life, as indicated by its builders.

Whether it be art or a tourist attraction, the Verrueckte Haus (Crazy House) calls attention of the passerbys, who cannot resist being able to experiment what life is like in a room that is completely upside down.

Coffee pots that hang dangerously in the room, bathtubs that give the impression of falling over the visitors' heads and toilet that leave an unpleasant surprise to the tourist are some of the attractions for all.

Source:  Photo Blog

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Something To Think About

Reminders sometimes are necessary to inspire us and to value ourselves as well as others properly with respect and consideration. And I believe that if we follow certain rules of conduct, the world will be a better place.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Summary of Trip to Poland

I was impressed with the colorful buildings in the market squares of Poland, which I sometimes associate with the buildings of Prague. I also appreciate the cleanliness and the safety although once Ron heard that somebody had been a victim of a robbery. I was lucky that when I left my sunglasses on one of the choir seats in Trinity Church, Ron and Mel were able to recover them as soon as we were leaving the church when I reached inside my bag to use them.  What a relief since I tend to lose them with frequency.

I would say that their churches are filled with decorative arts and monumental relics which are an immense joy for the eyes. Being 95% of a Catholic country, it is not surprising that they have hundreds of churches all well conserved and maintained.  Sometimes you would even think that the decorations are made of gold the way they shine and reflect against the sun. Some confessionals are so huge, you would think that giants come to confess. While their pulpits are amazing with their carvings even on the stairs and their magnificent organs that play every now and then, as we visited. Just too bad that we were not able to coincide with the mass, (nor had time to watch any concert) it would have been excellent to see the church come to life with the singing of the choir, who usually have a reserved place of beauty and charm. Their churches open every day from morning till night and you see people praying and confessing most of the time.

The Poles are often good looking and well proportioned. They dress in a simple manner and quite reserved until you get to know them. I used to smile at some ladies when I caught them looking at me, and they did return my smiles sometimes with a nod.

In several occasions, we found unsolicited help as we tried to find our way. Mel was the one who always ventured to ask with sign language and managed to get through most of the time. There were times that we had been lucky to find somebody who spoke either English or Spanish and was able to help us. Writing addresses is quite helpful at times.

Taxis are not advisable if you find them in the streets and they do not have the name of the company and the telephone number printed on them.  Otherwise they are not the legal ones.  We found it simpler to call for a taxi with an English speaking operator, when we needed one, which was better than flagging directly a taxi that you can be lucky if you find an empty one in the middle of your way. When Ron and me took a taxi the first day in Poznan, even when we had the address written on a piece of paper, we were dropped to the wrong place. Luckily for us, we managed to get help from the desk attendant although we had difficulty communicating since he only spoke Polish. He called for a taxi to drive us to our apartment, which happened to be only 5 mins. away.

Trams and busses were better options when we could not walk to where we wanted to go. Although they were usually packed up to the doorway. Good enough that Poles do not smell. Some tourists did so, like the ones that we coincided in the visit to the Salt Mines. A group of them smelled so badly that it was difficult to avoid the stinking odor.

Their trains are very old and usually delayed and they blamed it always on the improvements in preparation of the sports event to be held next year. Some of those that we encountered put the issue against the Administration giving more attention to conserving and putting up with more buildings rather than focusing on transport improvement.  But times can be changing.

In the apartments where we stayed, I found it curious that mainly they looked old from the outside, but they were modern inside and apparently newly renovated. What I noted as interesting is their special ventilation in the top of the side of a room where there was no available window but just like 5x5 inches in size that you can open or close like a regular Venetian blind. It is the type that we use in our kitchen for the gas exhaust, and is made of aluminum.  Likewise interesting is that their bathtubs are not provided with shower curtains, so you have to be careful you do not flood the floors. And it is also common that the apartment is provided with some sugar, oil, salt, coffee and some soup ingredients and spices. It came very useful to have the apartment because it is not common to serve breakfast in Poland and food places usually open at 10 a.m. so we usually had breakfast in the apartments and only once did we have dinner in.

Here are some of the other interesting pictures of our trip.


Our trips back home went all well with the plane leaving on schedule and at home, my plants hardly suffered from my absence.  All's well that ends well.