I'm sure every blogger or everyone is busy right now whether at the kitchen or chatting and bonding with loved ones. I myself am quite busy at the kitchen preparing for the Noche Buena. We as a family don't celebrate the traditional Christmas on the 25th. My kids used to ask me why and I told them that there's no Biblical basis on the definite date of Jesus' birthday. This is rather a radical stand but it's my personal conviction but I respect everyone who celebrates it, of course. I just keep telling them that the spirit of Christmas should be kept everyday as Jesus Christ was born to die for us so let's remember His death instead and why He died for us. Such great selfless love!
So why do we celebrate the New Year but not Christmas Eve? It's simply to thank God for all the blessings He showered upon us, for the good health, for His spiritual guidance, for His love and care and for everything throughout the year. It's also to bond together as a family in welcoming the new year by praying together. This is the tradition passed on to us by our parents and I see it worth keeping.
Cheers for the New Year, everyone! May God bless us all in 2010 and in the year onwards.
It's the last Ruby Tuesday of the year and I take this chance to look back at how God has been so good for the year that has to pass. I and my family have countless blessings to thank God this year 2009:
Our kids' success in school even if they're studying away from us.
For their teachers who have been patiently molding and guiding them.
For our new bundle of joy God gave us unexpectedly after 10 years
He's now 7 months old and is a real joy to all of us.
Our kids' God-given talents we strive hard to develop through God's grace
For their piano, violin and voice lesson teachers for the expertise they're transferring to our kids
For the character such as discipline, endurance and time-management they're building in them.
The laughter, excitements even the whining of our growing kids
Our loving parents- my mom who has just celebrated her 71st birthday and my dad 72nd.
We wish we could reach their age and keep a lifetime and blissful marriage such as theirs.
My dear husband who is such a great provider and supporter for our three wonderful kids
For being a loving husband and encourager
For the bountiful food God has provided on our table throughout the year.
For the loyalty, company and inspiration of great friends such as Ate Lil, Mai, Jena, Malou and Glee
and all my best of friends through thick and thin even in long absence
including my close blogging friends Kathy and Dhemz and the rest in the blogosphere
For the constant love and care of our dear cousin, Ate Guy, for our JD and Josh for over 5 years now
We can't imagine how long-distance parenting would be without her.
For Mommy Rose, Nene Boks, Ars and Ate Eunice for all their long distance assistance.
For Edna, my sister-in-law, who always keeps a very cheerful countenance and optimistic outlook in life even when things go wrong and tough.
Also my own and my hubby's siblings and relatives who are always there no matter what
For our church and Filipino community in Bangkok who lift our spirits up.
For the circle of friends such as Ate Myrns, Mareng Sandra and Mama Tess
for their support and encouragement.
For this kind-hearted friend,Jena, who brought me to where I am now
For the career I enjoy, my former and present boss who have been so nice
For all the emotional and spiritual growth in our marriage
for all the happiness and troubles we've shared
for all the endless blessings we've received
for all the obstacles and challenges we've been able to hurdle
for all the success and achievements we've reaped
for the good health, the exciting adventures and bountiful life we enjoy
and the list goes on and on...
and for the things that are yet to come in the coming years
we are so grateful, Lord.
To God be the Glory!
For more Ruby Tuesday entries, go here or click the photo below.
Isn't it that yellow is the dominant color in this Christmas tree? I found this Christmas tree unique and interesting so I made my cousin and her daughter pose for me to capture a photo of them. This was taken at a mall back home during my vacation.
For more MYM entries, click here.
A pre-tsunami Christmas dinner in a Thai way - squatting on the floor and eating with bare hands with kaoniao or sticky rice, barbecue and somtam. This was taken at Patong Beach where there were many tsunami casualties the next morning after this festive dinner.
If I look back to how I celebrated Christmas in 2004, I can't thank God enough for how he allowed us to sing Christmas carols to many souls before they got swept away by the fatal tsunami at prime hotels close to the beaches of Phuket. Thanks God He gave me the chance to still enjoy more Christmases. Yes, our small group consisting of 12 expats from Bangkok survived the tsunami in 2004. We got requested by a church there as they booked us to sing for tourists spending their Christmas away from home at the hotels in that one of the favorite destinations of foreigners having fine beaches - Phuket Island.
Watch out for my post in my other blog on how we escaped death when we were sharing our thrills on an island. Click here for the survivor's account.
After my long vacation back home, I've been tied up with backlogs at work. Then my two kids arrived last Saturday to bond with us during this Christmas season. So blogging has to be set aside but I'm now overflowing with loads of thrills waiting to be posted so I've got to borrow some precious moments from dear kids. One great experience I had back home was enjoying my prize from blogging icon Bariles of www.gensantos.com on his Ultimate Greeting Contest held last November.
I really did enjoy the great selection of food offered by the posh Grab A Crab owned by Mr. Michael Wee, my dear hubby's classmate way back in college, who is now a very successful businessman. He's also the owner of Miso Construction Supplies where I bought most of our materials for our ongoing house construction not only because of my loyalty to his generous sponsorships to Gensan blogging contests but also because of his very reasonable price and good customer service.
It was such a night to remember! Apart from the ride by the very accommodating Avelman around Paskuhan sa Magandang Gensan and the newly launched Plaza Heneral Santos, that was my last dinner in GenSan, the Tuna Capital of the Philippines and the home of the world's unconquered boxing champ, Manny Pacquaio before I flew back to Manila. Most of all, it was my first time to meet face-to-face the famous bloggers in Gensan. That was an eyeball night since we knew each other only in the blogosphere. Here are some of our photos:
Editor Sheng, MSU Prof. Gilbert Tan (KnowRead-KnoWrite author) and Mr. Orman Manansala (banker con blogger)
Meet the happy bunch of Gensan bloggers! Bariles aka Avelman of http://www.gensantos.com/, the contest initiator who is also the Media Officer of Gensan City is the guy in orange. The lady in red is my first Gensan blogger friend, Ms. Jinky of Small Steps by Jinky.
Thanks for the wonderful time with you, guys. Miss you all! Hope to see you again.Thanks also for that great dinner courtesy of Grab-a-Crab, my prize sponsor. I miss the sashimi and grilled panga ever!
Hello, dear friends! Back to my blog after a long vacation with lots of fresh experiences and learning worth sharing. One of these is a super healthy food introduced to me by Health Director Dr. Reynald Dela Cruz, my cousin Dr. Eunice's very smart and talented hubby when I stayed at their house during my one-week vacation in Gensan.
It's a very simple recipe but loaded with beta-carotene and other vitamins and high in antioxidant properties. Carrots and pumpkins or squash are organic unlike cabbage which is heavily sprayed with pesticides and nourished with fertilizers so it's not so safe for salads.
I don't even have to share to you the proportion as it may all depend on your preferences. Just shred fresh carrots and raw pumpkin and sprinkle it with raisins. Add a little Extra Virgin Olive Oil, then garnish it with tomato, lettuce or anything you desire then serve it. Presto, and healthy! Even my picky 10-year old son loves it.
If you're not concerned of fats, calories and cholesterol and you may want to improve its taste, use mayonnaise or any salad dressing. Yummy but not so healthy.
I took these photos from a distance at our condo, where there is a coconut and orange orchard. There is also a small area where these areca palms are grown. According to Wikipedia, the Areca nut is the seed of the Areca palm (scientific name Areca catechu), which grows in much of the tropical Pacific, Asia, and parts of East Africa. I googled for Betel Nut which I thought is its name but even wiki says it is erroneously called as that.
While fresh, the areca fruit's husk is green and becomes yellow when ripe. Wikipedia says, areca nuts are chewed with betel leaf for their effects as a mild stimulant, causing a mild hot sensation in the body and slightly heightened alertness, although the effects vary from person to person. The effect of chewing betel and the nut is relatively mild and could be compared to drinking a cup of coffee. For more interesting Mellow Yellow Monday posts, click here.
Buffets abound in Thailand where food is so cheap. There's the 99 Baht (about $3.0) eat-all-you-can where you can enjoy grilling or cooking anything that you want such as chicken, pork, shrimps and wide varieties of vegetables. For desserts, you may choose from the enticing array of fresh fruits and local "kanom" (desserts) or local home-made ice-cream. But my favorite buffet is Sizzler as I can savor its cream of mushroom soup and irresistible salads.
You may want to order just salads including soups, noodles, fruits, desserts and a toast for only 149 baht (about $4.0). But if you order their main dish, you get all these for free. It has healthy choices of vegetables and fruits and great selections of salads such as Waldorf, Asian Potato, Roasted Pumpkin, Vegetable Pesto and many more.
But to answer the question, is it healthy to eat buffet? To me, it depends. Most people I've asked think that when they go to dine at a buffet, they want to get the value of their money by binging on lots of food as much as they can. They go home bloated and the bad thing is some go sleep right away. For sure, this is not healthy as it will punish the digestive system and push the kidneys too much to filter the unwanted wastes especially if you eat too much fatty and cholesterol-loaded food especially meat, seafood and even salads.
Salad may sound healthy but not at all. Yes, the vegetables are healthy but the dressings do the tricks making the taste so good but remember that the more tasty the food is, the more it is loaded with fats and cholesterol. So, don't get deceived with the enticing salads camouflaged as healthy food. The more dressing such as mayonnaise it has, the more unhealthy it is. Don't binge too much on these palatable salads disguised as healthy food. Instead, binge more on naturally prepared food such as fresh fruits and vegetables without dressings. So if I fascinate to dine at Sizzler, this is what I eat more to make me feel full right away and avoid binging on too much salads, which I love so much.
The main point is, eat moderately even in buffets.
Yehey, I won again!!! It's my second joining and winning in a blog contest since I started blogging last August. The first time, I won free tickets for the Air Supply Concert Live in Gensan, with the same contest setter. This time I won the Ultimate Greeting Contest set again by Bariles on the 2nd Blogoversary of his Gensan News Online Mag (GNOM). This multi-awarded blog keeps us informed about the developments of our hometown, the very progressive and beautiful city of the world-famed boxer Manny Pacquiao - Gensan. I got a silver prize, a dinner for two at this posh restaurant, Grab A Crab, which I really wish to visit when I go home. And I'm going home very soon so I'm gonna dine there for FREE!!! Isn't that great for early Christmas treat? The prize won't be that much for others but for me, it's a great reward for just enjoying my greatest hobby (my addiction!) - blogging and reading other blogs like GNOM which I always follow.
Load of thanks, Bariles, for the endless contests you've been organizing for bloggers to enjoy. And to my prize sponsor, Mr. Michael Wee of Grab A Crab, thank you very much. (I took the screen shots of these photos from GNOM. You may want to click this link for better view on the original post by Bariles himself.)
As I was taking out my 6-month old baby to the park for a kiss of sun rays through the trees this morning before work, I spotted this really beautiful yellow butterfly on a bright yellow flower. What a perfect first entry for Mellow Yellow Monday!
And here's another one with a touch of gold fully spreading its wings as it sips the nectar of these yellow flowers.
Click here for more MYM posts.
The cooling fountain and the clear, blue sky
on a lovely Sunday morning
Cheering up the family bonding
taking a walk together at a park nearby.
Behold the ripples!
Circling the sparkling fountain
Coconuts, palms, shrubs, trees and flowers around
All so refreshing to the passersby.
This one at Suanthon Park's entrance
Small but in a perfect shape
Greeting the joggers and families
Even the lovers and friends.
A boy awaits
for the water to stop flowing
to run across
that he won't get wet.
'Tis a cool sight to behold
amidst the crowded city's hustles and bustles
Even tourists at Siam Paragon are waiting
to capture an image when the waters fully rise.
Does the bare-footed lady make it or miss it?
As she gambles even if she gets wet
Running across at the wrong time
She doesn't mind as long as she's refreshed from heat.
Now, which one is your fountain? (I took the first three photos at the 63 acre Suanthon Park between our condo and my university. I captured the last three at Siam Paragon on the the busy Sukhumvit Road in downtown Bangkok, where "farangs" (foreigners) usually flock.
Last Saturday, dear hubby served as "ninong" in a child dedication or to Catholics called as christening. As becoming now a common practice to hold the dedication on the child's first birthday to be more practical on one-time spending for such a memorable event, our friends here in Bangkok (Bkk) also do the same. So the celebration for both the dedication and the birthday of our dear Parsley, the second daughter of our neighbor friends, was held last Sunday. Dear hubby wasn't only a ninong (godfather or sponsor) but also a chef. He cooked the specialties he is known for here and back home - kaldereta (beefstew) and pinapaitangkambing (goat's liver and other internal organs).
Well, it's good that we have such a growing Pinoy community in here with kids around. What life would be overseas if there's no salo-salo (get-together) during occasions like this? So we're not missing the kaldereta, adobo, kare-kare, pancit, lumpia, tinolang native chicken, buko (young coconut meat) salad, kakanin (native desserts) and other Filipino food as we share them here with kababayans during special occasions or even if we just feel like getting together. Most of all, we keep our Filipino traditions and culture not just in terms of food but also of the joy of sharing, bonding and helping each other which we want our children here abroad to keep.
I felt so devastated last night upon learning that a hacker accessed my Facebook (FB) and Yahoo accounts to scam my friends. The scammer chatted with my FB friends showing herself on the webcam with my baby. How could he/she do that? Maybe by stealing some photos from my Facebook or elsewhere? I don't even update it. He/she is such a skillful deceiver! He/She asked for e-load of small amount at first promising that she would send the payment in 2 days. When my friends said they could not send any e-load, she instead proposed that if they wanted to make money, she could give as much as 50% profit to their money if they could send the amount of PhP50,000 Globe and Smart e-load right away. So that amount would become PhP75,000. in just a matter of 2 days and that 75k would be sent to my friends through Western Union knowing that I'm abroad.
One of my friends who really trusts me completely believing that it was me she chatted with sent the asked amount. Yesterday, as she could no longer reach me through the given international roaming number and my FB and her link with me through Yahoo was also placed in the Ignore List, sent a comment to my blogsite. That's the time that she confirmed that it wasn't me. She now feels so stressed and so do I.
One thing I discovered about my FB account is that, anyone can change its password. It's not secured. I wanted to deactivate it but I couldn't. A prompt said, "You can log in using your old email address and password to reactivate it". But even if it's secured, for evil hackers, they can still access anything they want.
This is when technology becomes more of a bane than boon. So, beware of any identity thieves lurking in the dark to hunt their next preys! Be wary of giving out any personal information. Verify a million times before granting anything valuable. Oh, I'm now becoming paranoid to whom I interact with via cyberspace! P.S. Please spread this information around to save the next modus operandi victims.
Yes, I've finally got this! It's a great weekend treat. After blogging for just a quarter, I'm rewarded with PR2 and got reviewed by blogged editors with a rating of 7.7 (very good). I was about to lie low due to my very demanding job these days as I'm still coping with loads of backlogs after my 90 days maternity leave. Moreso, with a newborn babe to spend my golden time to, doing other things like blogging (especially for a newbie like me who still has a lot to learn and explore) is just for those blessed with ample time. But blogging is such an addicting habit. Once you're into it, like being addicted to smoking you can't just stop. And seeing a 0 (as in zero!) PR was such a challenge to me so I had to work harder even in exchange of my very precious sleeping and resting time. I thought I would just make it as a pastime but now it turns out to be more than that- it's not only eating up my time - it's eating me up actually as I think about it everywhere I go, hahaha! So I always have my camera with me, making me improve my photography skills and my keenness to find something interesting in just anything around. More importantly, it makes my mind very active all the time brainstorming ideas for my next posts. No dull and wasted moments at all! So it's totally wholesome for me.
Let me take this chance then to thank my encouragers for getting me into this wholesome blogging addiction - Gleenn and scribbler. Were it not for their great help and encouragement, I would have quit long time ago. Of course, I also owe my dear actively-involved virtual friends for their support - dhemz, kandi, dorothy, jinky, cookie, chris, faye and the rest. I'm growing in blogosphere because of you, guys. I'm always grateful to all of you and to all readers out there.
Nice to be back to my blog once again. Sorry friends for not visiting you for a while as I was out of town. While at the hotel, I noticed this note that supports my campaign to save the environment. Since I promised that I blog this month with the touch of "Save the Earth" campaign I do commend all hotels who have this reminder:
We don't change our bedding and towels at home DAILY, do we? So we must be concerned as well when we stay at a hotel. If we don't see this sign or note, let's tell the lobby or the housekeepers not to change our bedding and towels. In this way, we can help save energy, water and detergent and not add to the pollution we can cause in producing them.
Another big help we can do when we stay at the hotel is to turn off all the lights and air-conditioners if we leave our room. Some people reason out that they want to get back into their room cold right away. But think of the energy we waste as we go out for many hours. Our little discomfort cannot surmount the suffering we will have in the future if we don't do something NOW to protect our environment from destruction.
I'm glad to see the hotel we stayed in Chiangmai in the north of Thailand for using automatic key-card. Many hotels are using it now so that when the customers go out, they need to take their magnetic key not only to lock their door but also to turn off the energy source right away. It's beneficial to both hotel management for saving energy and to the environment as well.