Thursday, June 30, 2011

Celebration of Independence Day in Madrid

Last Sunday of June , Filipinos in Madrid gathered together for a holiday celebration, with the theme "Kalayaan, paninindigan ng bayan" (The People will stand up for their freedom). As in previous years, there were a lot of stands filled with different kinds of typical Filipino food.

In Madrid, contrary to the States,  this is the only occasion of the year when we have a choice among  varieties of our food displayed and available for purchase which you either eat there on set tables  or to take away.  Ron and me chose to do both.  Actually, we only have one decent Filipino Restaurant in Madrid, which is "Sulu Restaurant" where Nick started to work when he first arrived in Madrid.

This year, I took only one picture of the event (Ron added some more),  but I had some pictures from last year with similar display of food items.   Watch the food slide show  although sad to say,  most of the food were prepared for take away and are not visible inside the plastic packaging and the huge covered containers although for sanitary reasons, better.   Note that there were free tapas and we were lucky we were invited to have as much as we wanted.  Take note also of the moderate prices. Lucky because we were among the first to eat and enjoy the food although we missed the program of activities because it was too hot  so we decided to leave quickly.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Maybe . . . when the door of happiness closes, another opens; but, often times, we look so long at the closed door that we don’t even see the new one which has been opened for us.

Maybe . . . it is true that we don’t know what we have until we lose it, but it is also true that we don’t know what we have been missing until it arrives.

Maybe . . . the happiest of people don’t necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the most of everything that comes along their way.

Maybe . . . the brightest future will always be based on a forgotten past; after all, you can’t go on successfully in life until you let go of your past mistakes, failures and heartaches.

Maybe . . . you should dream what you want to dream; go where you want to go, be what you want to be, because you have only one life and one chance to do all the things you dream of, and want to do.

Maybe . . . there are moments in life when you miss someone — a parent, a spouse, a friend, a child — so much that you just want to pick them from your dreams and hug them for real, so that once they are around you appreciate them more.

Maybe . . . the best kind of friend is the kind you can sit on a porch and swing with, never say a word, and then walk away feeling like it was the best conversation you’ve ever had.

Maybe . . you should always try to put yourself in others’ shoes. If you feel that something could hurt you, it probably will hurt the other person, too.

Maybe . . you should do something nice for someone every single day, even if it is simply to leave them alone.

Maybe . . . giving someone all your love is never an assurance that they will love you back. Don’t expect love in return; just wait for it to grow in their heart; but, if it doesn’t, be content that it grew in yours.

Maybe . . . happiness waits for all those who cry, all those who hurt, all those who have searched, and all those who have tried, for only they can appreciate the importance of all the people who have touched their lives.

Maybe . . . you shouldn’t go for looks; they can deceive; don’t go for wealth; even that fades away. Go for someone who makes you smile, because it takes only a smile to make a dark day seem bright. Find the one that makes your heart smile.

Maybe . . you should hope for enough happiness to make you sweet, enough trials to make you strong, enough sorrow to keep you human, and enough hope to make you happy

Maybe . . . you should try to live your life to the fullest because when you were born, you were crying and everyone around you was smiling but when you die, you can be the one who is smiling and everyone around you crying.

Author Unknown

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A Short Story

From the blog of La Caja de Pandora, Pandorha wrote the following story which I have translated:

In the beginning of the 1st century of our era, there were two  schools headed by two prestigious wise men, Hilel and Shamal. Each school was devoted to the study of Torah (the first five books of the Bible) and the students were of promising talent. However, there was a problem of rivalry among the two groups of students and they took every opportunity to discredit one another.

One day, the students of Shamal thought that the best way to discredit the students of the other school, was to humilliate  the wise man Hilel and so they made up a strategy.

They thought of catching a butterfly and carrying it alive in the hand of one of them to the house where Hilel lived and upon arrival they would ask him:

Professor Hilel, this butterfly that I have in my hand is it dead or is it alive? If Hilel  should reply that it is alive, then the one carrying it will close his fist and demonstrate that it is dead.  But on the contrary,  the butterfly will be set free upon opening his hand,  and prove that the butterfly is alive.

The idea was infallible and they did as planned. They caught a butterfly and one of the students of Shamal took it in his hand. They went to the house of Hilel and knocked on his door. The wise man asked them:

-What made you come?
 The students replied:
-We want to find out how intelligent you are.
 Hilel then asked.
-And how do you intend to do that?
 We will ask you a question.
-Go ahead.
-This butterfly inside my hand, is it dead or is it alive?
 Hilel looked at them slowly and replied:
-The decision lies in your hands.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Happy the Man

Happy The Man by John Dryden
Happy the man, and happy he alone,
He who can call today his own:
He who, secure within, can say,
Tomorrow do thy worst, for I have lived today.
Be fair or foul or rain or shine
The joys I have possessed, in spite of fate, are mine.
Not Heaven itself upon the past has power,
But what has been, has been, and I have had my hour.

Yes we should be proud of our yesterday by living well our  today.

Image taken from: Part and Parcel of Life Blog

Strange Shoes | Madrid

This is part of the summer shoes collection of Jaime Mascaró, a leading Menorcan shoe manufacturer since 1918   famous for his ballerina shoes and sandals.  The straps  in his sandals  extend  up to the heels.  These sexy and  amusing sandals are the  latest fad  in this year's summer fashion.  The designs are fit  indistinctively for either  day  or  evening wear  and come in  multicolors which  draw attention to those  women  wearing them.

But some shoes can  really be weird though  and not those precisely made by Mascaró. See the following web page for the 30 most weird shoes in the world:

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Beauty of Lotus - Charles C. Curran

Lotus Lilies Charles Courtney Curran 1888
Artists should endeavor to express their ideas in terms easily understandable to others. The Old Masters built up a tradition that there is first of all such a thing as good composition; that good drawing is not necessarily slavish and stupid imitation of nature; that color and tone while being in general founded on the character of nature can be treated in a wide variety of manners; that a full understanding of the qualities and possibilities of the many mediums at the disposal of the artist is of utmost importance; that technical skill must be at the command of the artist and that an understanding of and sympathy with humanity must be his guide as to what beauty is.¹

~ from a letter by Curran to a "Mr. Frager," dated August 18, 1939.

I simply love this painting.  I saw it in Madrid with Ron and Beatriz and I was completely enchanted  as I observed  this particular painting, that rather than being an oil canvas art seemed  almost like a photograph.  Curran's portraying beauty through his sympathy with humanity is really inspiring.

¹James Lancel McElhinney, "Charles Courtney Curran", in American Arts Quarterly, Vol. 28, Number 1 (Winter 2011), Newington-Cropsey Cultur


In the present times, with lots of turmoil everywhere, I think it is  necessary to find out how we can contribute to spread if not maintain peace around us, starting with our own self.   Because one who is at peace with himself can never be an instigator of any unpleasant event.  And even if we  may be only  one,  we can still make a difference and why wait for tomorrow if we can  do something today.  Here is for a better world of peace and harmony.

Trip to Chinchon, May of 2011

Here is how we celebrated Mothers' Day this year.  Ron came to pick me up to take me to Chinchón. He came with a beautiful bouquet of flowers.

The day was quite cloudy with threats of rain but the temperature was just right for a light outfit. It was not too far to go to Chinchon, about an hour ride from our place approximately a distance of  45 kms.  There were a lot of people in the main plaza, the nucleus of the town.  Here are some of our pictures.


After taking some pictures in the plaza, we went up to the church of Nuestra Señora de la Asunción. Built in the 15th and 16th century, it contains a fine early work by Goya depicting the Assumption of the Virgin Mary.   Source: Wikipedia
Source of Image:  Google
We saw some of the images clothed with long gowns with beaded motifs and embroideries in subtle colors. They were quite impressive. We were surprised by a procession as we came out from the church. It seemed to be the procession of the cross so we spent sometime to observe it. Chinchón is noted for its  Anis liquour, called "Anisetti" an anise-flavored high alcohol liqueur as well as for its garlic.

We had lunch in the Parador.  For a starter, we had a special Iberian ham, goose paté rolled in almonds and smoked salmon with goat cheese.  Then a cold creme of potato, leeks and mustard with a tail of big dressed shrimp.  It was followed by hake in a bed of red pepper and onions topped by creme of chick peas cooked with cider.  For the main entree:  pork sirloin inside a puff pastry garnished with couscous of broccoli and cauliflower.  For dessert, we had chocolate mousse with sweetened milk, lemon and canela (leche merengada).  The wine that they served us was a Castroviejo Rioja Reserva of 2005, with mineral water, tea for me and coffee with milk for Ron.  Everything was yummy, yummy.

A quick stroll in their garden ended our day's visit to Chinchón.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Monasterio de Piedras - Zaragoza

One of my favorite places in Spain is the  Monasterio de Piedra which can probably be translated to Stone Monastery. It is a place where water and stone have given shape to the most spectacular landscapes. Caves, waterfalls and riverside woods characterize this unique and unforgettable Aragones enclave.  We visited the place in November of 2011.

Source of Image:  Google
Here are some of our photos:


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

My Artwork

These are some of the things that I do.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Parque Europa Torrejón de Ardoz, Madrid

Parque Europa  lodges one of  the biggest areas of greens and recreation in  Torrejon de Ardoz. It extends over a surface of 233,000 m2, and has the reproduction of the most emblematic monuments of the main European cities as well as  different forms of recreation (with picnic grounds)  and multi-adventure areas, including small parks for dogs dividing the area between small ones and big ones, and best of all, it has a cybernetics fountain which is unique in all Europe, where every week-end at 11:00 pm they present a show of water, light and sound.

It is a place that the residents of Torrejon de Ardoz have the privilege to go to for entertainment in summer when the sun gets low.

There are 17 monuments that can be seen in the park and are as follows:

1.  Muro de Berlín-    Wall of Berlin
2.  Puerta de Brandenburgo-    Brandenburg Gate in Berlin
3.  Teatro Griego-    Greek theater
4.  Plaza de España-    Spanish Plaza
5.  La Sirenita-    Mermaid in Copenhagen
6.  Barco Vikingo-    Viking Boat from Sweden
7.  Fontana de Trevi-    Italian Fountain of Trevi
8.  David de Miguel Ángel-    Florence David of Michelangelo
9.  Torre Eiffel-    Eiffel Tower in France

10.  Manneken Pis-    Little Man Pee of Brussels
11.  Plaza de Europa-    European Plaza
12.  Atomium-    Expo 1958 Brussels
13.  Puerta de Alcalá-    Gate Entrance in Madrid

14.  Torre de Belém-    Belem Tower Portugal
15.  Puente de Londres-    London Tower, UK
16.  Puente de Van Gogh-    Bridge of Van Gogh 
(First Painting) France
17.  Molinos Holandeses-        Holland's windmills

It was super fun to see the miniature replicas of the 17 European monuments and perfect for photos with the moon overlooking us in the background.  (Our photos with Beatriz were taken  September of 2014, although Ron and I visited it the first time last May, 2011).

There is a train where one can hop on and hop off, if needed, to go around the park.

Here is a video as provided in the official web site of the Town Council. I love the spectacular cybernetics fountain show which changes its themes depending on the occasions.  And to think it is all for free and you can take your own snacks as you pleased since there are not many options to buy food around the area.  Parque Europa has green areas, wide spaces, beautiful emblematic monuments which are uncommon in small cities like Torrejón de Ardoz.  It is definitely worth exploring.

Trip to Malaga April 22, 2011

On our last day trip on a Maundy Thursday April 22nd, we decided to leave early for Malaga. According to Wikipedia, it is the second most populous city of Andalusia and the sixth largest in Spain.It is also furtherly acclaimed as one of the oldest cities in the world with history that spans about 2,800 years,
Mel had some friends there that she wanted to meet.  At first it was difficult to meet with them because of the crowd due to the procession and being some of them British, they are not used to such a chaotic situation.  But we had no problem visiting what we could of Malaga in the meantime.  It seemed to be a bleak day with heavy rains and  all the arrangements for the procession like seats were unlikely to be sold for people to sit down and watch the procession, threatening to ruin the business of some.  We managed to find a small,  cozy  bar, despite the multitude of people.  We had a quick tapa for lunch with their famous fried floured eggplant topped with cane honey.  Hmmn deliciously done.  I was in a hurry because I wanted to visit the newly opened Thyssen Modern Art Museum just around the block.  And I managed to see it with Ron.  Such a pleasure for the eyes!  Mel in the meantime preferred to take a walking tour by herself.

It was raining heavily when Mel's friends arrived.  But we were safe inside the bar taking a drink.  All is well that ends well.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Trip to Frigiliana

Ron took us to Frigiliana on the third day.  Frigiliana is within the municipality of the province of Malaga. From this town you get a unique  panoramic coastal view.  Frigiliana is characterized by the steep cobbled alleyways winding past white houses decorated with flowers by the steps. We saw several interesting places in Frigiliana. 

We had a bothersome experience, though, with a lady that owned the shop that sells pretty aprons.  While Ron and Mel were posing behind the aprons, a lady approached them to reprimand them because they did not ask permission to pose behind her aprons.  (She probably thought we were going to copy her designs).  Ron and Mel did not know how to react but apologized immediately.  I did too.  The lady accepted our apologies and told me to continue to take the picture.  We really were no longer in the mood, but what the heck, after all she gave us her consent.  If not for that, the day in Frigiliana would have been perfect.

Here are some pictures of Frigiliana:

Photo from Wikipedia