Posts Tagged ‘Philippine food’

Our Christmas Fare, 2014

Hi ! Renxkyoko Iglesias here !

Let me  first greet you  a happy, productive, prosperous, and peaceful 2015 ! !

As for me, I think 2015  is the year my life changes, for the better, I hope.  I am a Microbiology   graduate, minor in Chemistry, and this spring, I’ll be graduating in Forensics Science.  2 majors, 1 minor. I’ve already found my mojo, so I think  that’s enough studying. I’ve had it. I’ve covered all the bases. I’m ready to face the world ! ! ! Or not. :/    But then, this post is not about  my future….. it’s about food, and my family’s Christmas celebration.

By the way, I’m sure you’ve all received WordPress’s Annual Report. Oh, my, my total number of posts in 2014 is, ta- da !  13  .  XD   This post makes it my 14th post……. which is a good thing , because , to me, 13 is an unlucky number. Superstitious crap, I know.  But, do you know that in the Philippines, no building has a 13th Floor.  If the building has 13 or more floors, the actual 13th floor is  designated as the 14th. Also, when they erect the stairs , they have this ritual of counting , from the lowest rung,  Oro, Plata, Mata ( which means, Gold, Silver, Death ), and the topmost rung should not end with Mata. ( Death ) The 13th stair  is Mata.   There you go… a useless trivia from me. *chants*  Oro, Plata, Mata, Oro, Plata, Mata, Oro, Plata, Ma….. Noooooo ! !

So, 2 days before Christmas, my Mom and I went grocery shopping  at the Filipino supermarket.  .  We saw Queso de Bola, a standard  Filipino food item  and lots of chestnuts… we bought a few pounds of chestnuts , but not  the cheese.

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On Christmas Eve, we went to Mass at 10 PM,  temperature was 33 F (~0C ).  Darn, it was cold !

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Those are  my folks in the picture. I had to walk back to take the pic.

I practically did all the cooking .,  the sweets the day before, and  I prepared the main dishes for our Christmas lunch. While  off  the family  went to bed  after  church, I was  alone in the kitchen rolling the pork ( lumpia) chopping onions, etc. etc., etc. At 2 AM, I decided to call it a night, I mean, to  take a nap for an hour or so…. but I overslept, and woke up at 9. .I had a meltdown.  Just because I volunteered to do the cooking ( as  as my Christmas gift to Mom who does the cooking all year round ) , it didn’t mean they wouldn’t lift a finger to help me.  I was the Drama Queen for an hour or so. ” Is it done yet ? What ? So what time do we eat ? ” That was when I blew my top. My brother and sister really annoyed me. But it was Christmas. So, I just gritted my teeth and calmly told them, ” You get to eat at 3  ! ”

All’s well that ends well.  So, here are the photos of our Christmas spread.

DSCN2420DSCN2425DSCN2421From right to left….. roast pork pork roll ( lumpia ), leche flan ( custard ) chicken macaroni salad, red velvet cake, buckeye, cheesecake, and refrigerator cake.

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.Above photo is Caldereta ( beef stew in tomato sauce and liver spread. Don’t think the liver spread makes the taste weird. It’s delicious. ) The roast pork goes with liver sauce, too. ( and I love liver spread sandwich )

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I wrote on my previous post that I’d cook my specialty, Paella. Well, I didn’t. We forgot to buy a major ingredient. Instead , I cooked Pancit a la Malabon ( noodles ) and fried rice. I didn’t bake fruit cake , either, a staple at any Filipino Christmas fare.

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By the way, the second photo of the spread has the pictures of ube jam ( purple yam ) and pie on a cloud ( the one with white whipped  topping  )

.DSCN2426That’s embutido… just pork loaf, and oh, yeah, you can see the ube jam.

DSCN2437 That one above are  lychees and almond gelatin.

DSCN2433Cheesecake, buckeye ( just peanut butter, powdered sugar, dipped in choco dipping )…. and you can see the refrigerator cake, and red velvet cake, and the leche flan.

And lastly, the wine.

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Okay, a few more pictures…. the opening of gifts. My annoyance at my sister disappeared when I opened her gift… a Kindle ! And dad gave me a new laptop ! !

DSCN2447DSCN2454So, I didn’t want to show myself because I was wearing pyjamas. I was so exhausted that I didn’t bother to dress up for lunch. I know. I ‘m a slob. Ha ha ha

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Oh, that’s my Mom’s photo when she was young, it’s random, but I thought I’d just post it here.

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And a Christmas pic of yours truly from 2 years ago… dressed up , you know. 001

So, that’s it…. my last post for 2014…. my 14th post. WordPress should take note of that.

 

Happy New Year to all ! PEACE ! !.

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My family’s holiday food fare

Hi there !

Renxkyoko Iglesias here.

It’s Christmas time, my most favorite time of the year.  ( If you’re not a Christian, it’s alright, you can roll your eyes.  ❤   )

But, before I talk about  Christmas, let me show you what we had for Thanksgiving Day. Yeah, it’s foodie time.

Actually, there wasn’t much food, compared to last year’s. It seems we’re getting less and less food  every year, but it’s okay, we do throw away so much , especially the turkey. That’s why we don’t do turkey anymore.

By the way, I cooked most of the food. Not bragging, though. Just sayin’.

Oh, wait, before I forget…. can someone please translate this? It’s Japanese. I want the exact translation, please.  You’ll help me win an argument.  🙂  Thank you.

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He he. I know it’s juvenile.

Anyway,  the food.

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Roast pork ( lechon),, with liver  gravy, ham,  kare-kare (  beef stew in peanut sauce,) there’s noodles ( pancit ala Malabon ) , fruit salad, potato salad, lumpia ( pork eggroll with sweet – sour sauce), and various cakes.

DSCN2391Kare-kare

DSCN2392Pancit a la malabon. Malabon is a place in the Philippines. I think this is Malabon’s  specialty.  I cooked that.  Do you know what’s in there ? Shrimps, flaked smoked fish, pounded chicharrones ( pork cracklings ) Napa cabbage, and the juice of pounded shrimp heads.

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This is Renxkyoko’s specialty……. Lumpia ( ground pork eggroll. ) I stayed up the whole night ( and morning ) rolling the darn things. I made a lot, for us, and for our Forensic class’s  assistant teacher.

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Huge pastry with Bavarian Cream filling, Double chocolate cake, cheesecake, and brownies.  We baked the pastry. We bought the rest at Costco.

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we call the above dish Ginatan. It’s made of sweet potato, cooking banana ( saba ), taro root, rice balls, and coconut milk.  And sugar, of course.

So, that’s it, our Thanksgiving Day meal.

We already have a menu planned for our Christmas meal. I am definitely going to cook my other specialty….. Paella.

And I’m looking forward to a family Christmas tradition……….. the whole family going to Chrismas Eve Midnight Mass. Here in the US, it’s at 10 PM…… in the Philippines, it’s at 12 midnight.  We used to have our Christmas meal right after the Mass,  but we had discarded that. My mother said it was stressful.   But we do open the gifts as soon as we arrive from the church.  In the Philippines, the midnight meal is called Noche Buena. So, what ‘s a typical Filipino  Noche Buena ?  Bread , ( pan de sal, bite-sized French bread ) with Queso de Bola ( Edam Cheese ). Jamon ( ham , glazed with pineapple and sugar, ), castanas, ( chestnuts) noodles, ( at home, it’s baked macaroni ), leche flan, ube jam, ( purple  yam ) and yes, fruit cake !  These are the icons of Filipino Noche Buena. I’m going to bake fruit cake, that’s for sure. And it isn’;t like the fruit cakes that are sold here in the US.  They ‘re nasty. No wonder Americans make fun of them.  My recipe is delicious. Lots of rhum in it !

I actually want to have  a food blog . But, I don’t think it will happen. I don’t even have time to post here. Don’t be surprised why I’m interested in food. My mother had a successful catering business in the Philippines, and if we didn’t come here to the US, she would be holding a Dunkin’ Donut francise.

Oh. 550 words, already. Time to to say bye for now. Thank you for reading and PEACE !

Happy Holidays !

 

 

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Fun vacation in the Philippines, Part 3

Hello ! Renxkyoko Iglesias here  ! ❤

Wow. My last post was Oct. 24.  I know, I’m a lazy blogger.  I’m suppose  to post  Part 3 of my fun vacation in the Philippines, but, I feel it’s gone  stale already.  It’s  still okay, I guess.

Oh, wait…. remember my Cringe- worthy  Forensic Science project ?  I  was told  not  to talk about it. Now you’re telling me. I just did. And I’m not going to delete that post.  I mean, Forensic  shows are all over cable, so there’s really nothing  federal  about it.   Oh, and before I forget, we made 6 trials, and that means, we asked for 5 more of  THAT.  THAT is semen.  I don’t have to  act coy anymore.  I’m past that.  Here’s another jar, pal. And put it in the freezer immediately.  * ponders*  Actually, I’m sensitive and fragile so please take care of me.

The US  Congress is planning to pass a law  that will allow the government to get the DNA profiles   of all Americans and store them at  the  DNA Data Base  center.  This way, it will be easier for law enforcement agencies to catch the criminals.  That’s a good thing,  right ? Wrong.  Even  Forensic Analysts  do not agree.   Criminals are smart now, especially those who commit  premeditated murders.  The bad guy can just pick up any  cigarette butt or  beer and soda cans, and plant  them at the scene of crime.   Even if  the innocent guy has a solid alibi, he still has to explain the presence of his DNA  at the scene..  Even if the prosecutor cannot find  any motive, you can bet that the sun is up there the prosecutor will find one.  The innocent is totally screwed.  He’ll be looking at a life sentence without the possibilty of parole, or worse, death penalty. That’s what happens if all our DNA profiles are in the DataBase.  Well, you know what they say… it’s preferable to free 100 guilty men over incarcerating  one innocent man, or something like that.  In fact, this happened already. The bad guy planted a random cigarette butt……. good thing the DNA  profile found on the cigarette did not have a match  at the National DNA  DataBase.

Enough of chatting.

Here’s Part 3 of my fun vacation in the Philippines.

So, off we went to see Taal Volcano, the smallest volcano in the world.DSCN0045

.Can you see the volcano ? It’s right there in the middle of the picture. You can see the mouth of the volcano, right ? It was misty  around the area of the volcano , even though the temperature was like, 100 F  ( 38 C ), and very, very humid.

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Facing the picture, the volcano ‘s  to the right of me.

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We went up there to have lunch at that restaurant in the photo, but it was closed for renovation.   Good thing there was a Chinese restaurant  nearby, with a nice view too.

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DSCN0059.Photo below is the view from the restaurant .

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The first thing that I ordered was real coconut juice, straight from the fruit. By the way, coconut is not a nut. It’s a fruit. Oh, my gosh, it tasted sooo good.

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After drinking the juice, we scraped off the white meat with a spoon. Delicious.

This is all for now.  Oh, before I forget,  on my Part 2 Philippine post, there was this singer whose  song was played over and over  on our  trip to Taal Volcano.  Well, he was Rick Astley, and the songs were Never Give You Up and Together Forever. :/

And the owner of the car is a relative who is also a Prosecutor.  That car plate  was a souvenir  given  during a Prosecutors’ Conference  held a month ago before I took that picture. She said she wasn’t supposed to make that a permanent fixture 😮  It’s  dangerous.  I talked about her on my Part 2 Philippine post.  She received death threats a few years ago.

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She’s okay now. The bad guys are in jail. Still….. announcing you’re a Prosecutor is a bad idea. Try doing that in Mexico, and see what happens.
Oh, well, what do I know .

This is all for now, and thank you for reading.  PEACE !

 

 

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Woohoo ! I’m in the Philippines ! !

Oh , my gosh ! !  Renxkyoko Iglesias here !

I’m in the Philippines !   We left good ol’ USA on June 21 , 10:30 PM, and arrived in the Philippines 0n June 23 at 4:30 AM. It was a 14 hour flight. It wasn’t a smooth ride, there was too much turbulence from get go,  and I was so scared I almost cried.  It didn’t help that I actually have plane phobia. I didn’t get to sleep at all. Instead I watched  5  movies. (  Frozen, Transfomers, X-Men, The Hobbit,  The Conjuring. ) The only good thing about the flight was the food. Philippine Airlines was quite generous . Dinner was delicious, we had sandwiches and muffins and juice/coffee in between , then breakfast.  I’m sorry I can’t post any pictures as yet because I’m using a teeny weeny notebook, and it isn’t mine.

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Today is July 25. I’m back home, yay, California ! !  We left the Philippines on July 21, 10:30 PM and  arrived here in California , also  on July 21 , 8 P.M.

It’s been a week since then, but I have not done anything  here, no reading, no writing. I’ve been busy at work.  I’m even afraid to check out my emails.  I’m sure I already have thousands of thousands of unread emails.

Oh, well, I have to start writing , anyway, so here I am. Bear with me, please. I think I left my enthusiasm in the Philippines.  So, where do I begin?

Do you guys remember this picture? I posted this in Novemeber. That’s how our vacation house in Boracay, Island in the Philippines looked in November last year, 2013.

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Here is how it looks now. It’s 99% finished, except for a few paintings here and there…. and the house is empty, no furniture, and just 2 beds.

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DSCN0084.It looks like it has 3 floors, but actually, there’s a 4th floor , which is the rooftop.  I love the view from the rooftop.

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It was such a hectic and busy one month vacation in the Philippines.   The bulk of our vacation was spent  checking out the  huge shopping malls in the city. Do you know 3 of the top 10 biggest malls in the world are in Manila, Philippines?  Mall of Asia, North EDSA/Trinoma, and EDSAMegaMall. . They  were so huge that  just walking around and window shopping  at these places  overwhelmed and exhausted us.   And then there are smaller ones, but still  3x bigger than the shopping mall here in our city in the US..  Even  the friendly neighborhood mall at the subdivision where we live in the Philippines is 2x bigger… 4 floors and 2 buildings connected by a bridge.  It’s insane. The Philippines is supposed to be a Thirld World country,  but shopping malls are full, people are actually shopping and  we always have to wait a bit at restaurants to be seated.

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Above pic is one 0f a smaller malls. I like the interior architecture of this one.

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Our vacation was mostly   food  tripping, too. The price of food over there is ridiculously low.
For example, the takoyaki is $0.50 and  shawarma  is $1.50. Takoyaki is Japanese octopus balls.

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We arrived at 4 AM at the airport. By 12 noon, we were already at the neighborhood mall , shopping for walking shoes and flipflops. We sure didn’t waste any time.

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.That’s yours truly in the photo.

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The next day, it was again another shopping spree, this time for real pearls. There’s a mall there ( Greehhills ) with seemingly endless stalls of pearls. It was a sight to behold.

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DSCN0019Eh. I’ve been found out. I’m the one wearing  white shirt, and wearing glasses ! He he. he. I’m near  sighted.

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That’s the food court at nearby mall ( SM MegaMall ) where we had lunch after the pearl shopping.  SM MegaMall is one of the largest in the world.

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Different kinds of food from different countries to choose from.

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Check out the prices. At Philippine peso 43.50 to a dollar, that PhP 87 on the menu board is only $ 2.00.

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My $2 lunch…. fried rice, pork bbq, chowmein, and fruit dessert. I bought the cheapest.

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That’s Korean rice. Yep, it was hot.

It was raining heavily when we came home. Traffic was horrendous.

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On the way home, I saw these  showrooms.

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I don’t know if you can read what’s in that building. Well, it’s Ferrari, Lamborghini, and Audi.

About the photo below, what the heck does that mean ? LOL

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So, this is it…. 2 days into my one month vacation in the Philippines.

Good day and PEACE.

 

 

Holiday Musings, 2013

Hi  ! ! Renxkyoko Iglesias here again ! ! !

I’ve been busy  ( as usual ). Next week is exam week, my finals, and also the last week of  my school semester.

So, okay, I know I’m late for the party, Thanksgiving party, that’s what, but I ‘ve had this post written just after Thanksgiving, and kept on my folder, and I know it’s now stale and lame,  but  I’m  posting it, just the same.  Well,  mainly  pictures, anyway,  so  I hope you don’t get too bored.

To start off…….  look closely at the pic below. There’s a baby turkey  up there . It was taken about 3 months ago at our frontyard. Can you see it? It’s a little above center.

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Well, here they are again, just a few days before Thanksgiving Day.  My, how they’ve grown.

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On Thanksgiving day…… RIP Turkey

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We didn’t have guests on Thanksgiving Day. Just family, all  6 of us,  so we didn’t cook much. In fact, the roast turkey pic was last year’s. We had decided not to have turkey this year. We had ham , though. I cooked my specialty, Paella, pic below.

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I also cooked  vegetable wrapped in eggroll wrapper, with brown sauce.   Sooo delicious.

DSCN2357.Below are barbecued ribs and roast pork with liver sauce. ( liver sauce in the bottle )

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Shown below is Kare-kare,  baby back ribs , stewed in peanut sauce. Peanut sauce ?  It’s actually very delicious.   Well, I guess it’s an acquired taste.  But, believe me, it’s good.

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Below  is cassava cake.

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There’s also turrones  ( banana wrapped in lumpia wrapper )  The banana  Filipinos use is not the common banana, nor plantain. We use  Saba.  Below is a pic of saba.

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.Chicken macaroni salad and fruit salad.

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.Above is almond jelly and lychees.

That’s it. Our Thanksgiving spread. Oh, there’s pumpkin pie too.  Our dishes were purely Philippine, though.  No turkey, no mashed potato, no green bean casserole.

After dinner, I went to work for this  Black Friday madness.. 10 PM  on Thanksgiving Day up to 7 AM Friday.  There was already a long line of shoppers  at the store when I arrived.   Crazy. I guess I was just as crazy. I shopped  after work. I  had been  eyeing a few items at our store but couldn’t buy them. There were only 6 of each item so  I was happy there was one left for me.  It’s a $400 coat  but because employees get 75 % discount….. *wink *

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.Then I went to the next door store to purchase this nice Bebe sweater, then off  I went to Nine West to buy this pair of leather boots.’

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.I also bought  a few toastie scarves. I came home  exhausted, sleepy, but  a  happy , contented cow.

Then, on Dec. 6, my parents and I went to see  the Fab Four concert.  This  is a Beatles look-alike, sound -alike band.   Oh. my. gosh,  they do look and sound like the Beatles.  My Mom sparkled !  And sang. And clapped  * Hold me, clap, clap, love me, clap, clap…. lol * and swayed . Mom?  . LOL !

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.I wonder, how and where did  they find a guy who looks and sounds exactly like Paul McCartney ( or John Lennon), plays the piano, harmonica, drums, bass guitar, and LEFT HANDED, to boot. ! ! !

My Mom did  watch a real Beatles concert when she was in  Grade 6. She also knows and can sing all the Beatles songs ( we have an Anthology,  a complete collection of Beatles songs), and in high school , was  obssesed with Paul McCartney. She had a shrine of Paul McCartney in her room.   Maybe  with candles, too ? Now , that’s creepy.

Three  years ago, I watched an Eric Clapton concert with my parents.  Great guitar playing ! !  I love classic rock !

This is all for now.  Happy Holidays, folks ! Be good, be nice, and Peace to all !

My Euro Travel Pt. 19, Burgos/Bilbao, Spain

Hola ! Renxkyoko Iglesias  aqui.

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This is my 19th  travel post, and maybe the 3rd to the last.  I really  need to get this done quick  because I’m starting to lose the memories. All I have left now are impressions.

By way of introduction, let me write down my random thoughts… as  usual..

* sips coffee*

The abdication of the Pope…….  I’m a Roman Catholic,  so it’s a given I should be  interested in what’s going on at the Vatican. To be honest , I’m not  interested  at all. What I’m really, really concerned about    is  the abysmally  low number of  young men  who  have  the calling for  priesthood.  The average age of priests  now is 65,  and when they retire , there’s no  guarantee there’s a priest who will take-over  the position.  There are even Catholic parishes here in the US where Episcopal priests have been tasked to ” say ” the Mass in the absence of a parish priest. Why Episcopal , you ask.  Well, the Episcopalian Church is  Protestant, yet Catholic.  It was actually once called The American Catholic Church, and it’s Preamble states  “ it’s a constituent member of the Anglican Communion,  a Fellowship within the One, Holy, Catholic Church….”

It’s a no brainer to  know the one reason why men don’t enter the priesthood….. the vow of celibacy.  It’s almost unnatural to  suppress the primal animal instict to mate, most especially with men. So, as a member of the Church, do I approve of  married priests ?  I’m a tree hugging, bleeding heart social  liberal, but I’m not a solid , hard core one.  Some of my views are, in fact,  pretty conservative,  and that includes my view on celibacy.  I don’t know.  Don’t hate me, but I think I would  cringe at the thought of  a married  priest saying  Mass in front  of me just had a blow job or kinky sex  a few hours  before . * Ren, you pervert, perish the thought! *  So, what’s the solution?  Ordain women into priesthood. I think women can withstand life without sex .

By the way, the ” bad” priests are pedophiles , not gay or straight priests,  except that Cardinal from England who had to resign … he had made numerous compromising overtures to  adult seminarians….  * shakes head *   The Catholic hierarchy should not cover up the crimes of these pedophiles.  Sick bastards…. the pedophiles, I mean.  This is just my opinion, at the moment.

Oh, wait…… I’d like to tell you something. My mother has a relative who is  an ex-priest.  It was the Pope who ordained him when the Pope went to the Philippines  years and years ago.  He became a parish priest, but then, the parish had a beautiful secretary.  They fell in love.  He left the priesthood and married the girl…. and  now have 4  children .  Lucky girl. I wish I could find an ex – monk. * sigh *

Now on to Burgos and Bilbao, Spain.

Burgos and Bilbao were our last stops in Spain. Both are located  in the northern parrt of Spain. Bilbao is the capital of the province of Bilbao , and the autonomous region of the Basque country.

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.Above 2 photos were taken from the hotel. In case you haven’t noticed it, all the buildings  are colored orange. The only one with a different color, red, is McDonald’s. This is the newer part of Bilbao. Bilbao is a nice place but it’s not a popular tourist destination. Funny thing though, Bilbao is  popular in our household.  Mom always adds Chorizo de Bilbao to her Philippine dishes., such as Cocido, Pochero, spaghetti  and  all sorts of soups and stews.

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.I wonder what they call this in Bilbao….. just Chorizo?  They don’t make this in Bilbao, though. It ‘s a Philippine  sausage  concocted by some guy from Bilbao. He he … well, that’s true.

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.Above photo is the Guggenheim Museum. The building was designed by American Frank Gehry and is made of glass, stone and titanium. We didn’t get to see what was  in there. We had lunch and just walked around  the vicinity .

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.There’s one  important thing about Bilbao and the Basque region.. It is an autonomous region of Spain… kind of separate but equal  thing ……. giving an autonomous status to a place is actually the next step to independence, but of course, the Spanish government won’t allow that.  Majority of the   Basque people though vehemently  want  independence……. that leads  some to engage in ” terroristic” “activities. Calling it terrorism  depends on whose side you’re on, of course.  And people there don’t want to be called Spaniards and  to refer to the Basque region as Spain.  (  like Barcelona ). In fact, we saw a loooong line of cars waiting to be inspected at the border between Spain and France.

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.Dinner at the hotel

On to Burgos…..

Burgos is in the n0rthern part of Spain, and is the capital of Castille.  Burgos has  a lot of medieval structures  that are well preserved.  Burgos though is noted for it’s number one  inhabitant …. EL CID, the National  Hero of Spain.  His war exploits , and his victories were legendary.  Please  google him.  Oh, and there was an old movie about El Cid, starring Charlton Heston and Sophia Loren.

Below is the statue of El Cid. Actually , it was the Moors  who called him  that name, from Arabic wotd Seid, meaning  ” lord”.

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Oh, that’s Ruben, our tour manager.

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.The Burgos Cathedral , built in 1221, and is a Unesco World Heritage site.  Gothic style architecture.

Picture below is from Wikipedia.

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This  castle  was built in 840 AD.

That’s it for Bilbao and Burgos. To be honest, I felt   more history vibes  in Burgos  than in Bilbao.  Oh, and I got to eat Spain’s famous blood sausage,  Burgos Morcilla.  I liked it better than the one I had in London. Also, I did write before that one of my favorite Philippine dishes was  a blood dish too.  It’s an acquired taste, folks.

I think I missed one place in Spain. The problem is, I have no idea  where that is…. there’s a bunch of photos  in the folder, and I’m sure they’re from  another place in Spain.  I’m so lame. I really need to hurry up and get this done.  I’m even forgetting the names of places I’ve been to. Yikes !

I guess I’ll just post the photos  on my next post, which is France.

This is all for now. Good day, and stay cool. PEACE !

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Random inanities

Hello !

I promised I’d write more often in 2012.  So here I am, 10 days after.  I know, it’s more than one week.  I’m a procrastinator, and the fact that  there’s nothing major happening in my life adds to my laziness. So, pardon me , I’ll just regale you with the mundane, as usual.   

First off, I go back to school next week, on Jan. 23.  I’m eager to meet new classmates,  have new friends, and hopefully, find my Destined One. Hahaha !  Aaaargh.  There’s  snowball chance in hell it’s gonna happen.  (=_=) # So, erase the last one. But, as they say, we find love when we least expect it. I’ll wait.

Oh, my gosh. We got a call from a first cousin from the Philippines, my Dad’s niece.  She informed us they ‘d come here to the US for vacation last week of April, she and her family. ( a husband, and 3 kids aged 7, 12 and 13 ) My cousin is a gynecologist and her husband is a nuero-surgeon, and also teaches at a medical school there. I’m so excited to see them again. They’re actually a relatively young couple, and not stuffy at all. When we were there, my cousin took time to entertain us despite her extremely busy schedule. One time, the two of us were  getting a massage ( at a country club where she’s a member) , then she got a call from the hospital. A patient was about to give birth, so she left in a hurry and told me to wait…… ” Hey, have some breakfast at the dining room ! This won’t take long. It’s not ceasarian ! ” She came  back after 4 hours. I had a leisurely and sumptous  breakfast  alone ( it was buffet ) and was about to have lunch when my cousin arrived.  It was the patient’s first time so it took a while, she said. Over lunch, we had an interesting conversation.  I asked her if there were  men still  taking ob/gyne as a specialty. She said it was like 1 out of 100. Women will not          get male ob/gynes, if they can help it. Well, I wasn’t surprised. Who would want to have her unmentionables exposed to a total stranger, even if the stranger was a doctor?  =_= #

I also asked my cousin about a doctor’s threshold for desire and passion.       It’s , uhm,, ” very high “, she said.  (^__^)  Male doctors don’t get easily excited about seeing a female’s naked body.  My cousin herself has to work hard for some lovin’,  lol.  Anyways, they’re going to stay with us for 2 weeks, so, I guess it’s going to be full house again in May, and very, very busy. And not to forget, very, very expensive. Her mother, and 2 brothers came here too in 2009 and stayed with us for a month ( Don , remember him ? and Al ) . Mom’s credit card balance  at the end of the month was to cry for, hahaha !  I’m sure it’s gonna be the same this time. Problem is, this is something we can ill- afford at the moment. Less than a month after my cousin’s  visit, we’ll be leaving for Europe , and though everything has been paid for, we still need a fair amount of cash in our pockets.  Splurge, then eat dried fish the rest of the year. That’s Filipino culture . It’s Fiesta time !

Oi ! I managed to watch 7 movies ( dvds ) from beginning to end, without any interruptions, all in 2 days……. Aliens and Cowboys ( Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford ), Zombie Apocalypse,  Peter Pan ( cartoons ), Thor, The Debt, Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark and  Apollo 17. There are really no sci-fi, horror, thriller movies that I don’t like , ( Oh, in fact, I consider myself  the Goddess of B – movies. Movies like these are the only ones that can command my full attention. ^___^ #  ) but , for some reason, I didn’t like Apollo 17.  It was filmed like a documentary, (  so unoriginal ) it was blurry, and tiring to watch. Has anyone watched  it ? If you haven’t, don’t, and  coming from me, that’s saying something.  =_=  Oh, and another thing….. over dinner, the family discussed an old movie that my father just watched, The Da Vinci Code.  ( I read the book by Dan Brown and watched the movie, too. )  My father was annoyed that the movie made  this Catholic organization , Opus Dei, seemed  so evil .  It’s nothing like that, he said. Well, Dad is an Opus Dei member  ( my aunt too, Dad’s sister ) and he says Opus Dei is really not that mysterious. But, he admits  it is indeed a fundamentalist  religious organization. He had never been an active  member, however, he did  send my brother to a school ( for elementary and high school ) owned by the Opus Dei in the Philippines. The school was Southridge School for Boys. The students there attend Mass at school every Friday and the Mass is said  in Latin !  Also, they take Latin language course from 7th grade to 4th year high school…….. 5 years of Latin ! My brother says even  though  he can’t speak  it ,  he  can still write an essay  in Latin.  Not to mention another weird course that students in that school take….. Metaphysics.  It’s not a topic. It’s a course !  Seriously, what  do they need it for?  I don’t know if my  readers who live in the Philippines know of this school. Oh, but I digress. I’m writing about Opus Dei.  As I said , there’s really nothing weird going on . It is Dan Brown’s fantasy novel, just like his other book, Angels and Demons , where he glorifies the Illuminati’s far-reaching influence and power.  Nobody even knows if this secret organization of influential and powerful people even exists. Has anyone heard of the Illuminatis ? It’s just a phantom organization that conspiracy theorists swear  exists and wh9se purpose is to dominate the world, that is, make all the countries in the world beholdened to only one power, not necessarily the US.

Looks like I’m having a zombie overload, too, these past few days. I’m playing the video game Resident Evil 5 with my sister.  It’s a -2  player game , but we’re both bad at aiming. We’ve been playing for 50 hours, but  couldn’t go past Level 3. Hahaha ! But it’s fun to play with her.  Come to think of it, I’ve never really played with my sister even when I was a kid.  She’s 8 years older than me, you see. I’ve always thought of her as grown – up.

Lafemmeroar had  requested  to see a picture of our 2010 Christmas day feast. Food again, I know, and I guess you’ve have had enough of  food galore on my blog. But I think it would be interesting to compare what we had in 2010 and  2011,  so here they are…  2 pics of 2010’s Christmas Day meal and a repost of 2011’s.

 2010 X’mas ……Too much food, actually.

And  that’s our Christmas meal, 2011 .

This is all for now. the Versatile Blogger Award acknowledgement  comes next. I  now have my 7th, 8th, 9th and 10 th, the last one from jeninesilos. Guys, coming ! Sorry for the delay.  PEACE and be happy !

HAPPY NEW YEAR ! 2012 !!!!!

Hello ! Hey , HAPPY NEW YEAR ! !

Gosh, here I go again, apologizing for neglecting my blog. I can’t make school as my excuse this time coz  I’m on vacation.  (=_=) # Well, first off,  I ‘ve been given longer hours at work, and that’s good.  I need the dough for school and my European trip this summer.  Oh, I’ve written about my Euro trip , right?  Five months to go. When I first wrote about it, it was 8 months to go. Time does fly, doesn’t it?  So, how was everyone’s Christmas ? This year, my family’s Christmas celebration was pretty quiet. There weren’t any guests, just us family. As per family tradition, we went to Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve. ( Midnight Mass was at 11 PM ) Then after the Mass, we had a simple midnight dinner we call  Noche Buena ( or is it  called Media Noche ? ) . It was just hot chicken /rice porridge and ensaimada ( bread , also called brioche ). It’s melt in your mouth Philippine  bread, topped with butter , sugar and  shredded Edam cheese. We call Edam cheese Queso de Bola.

———————

(=.=)

I started writing this on Dec. 31, 2011. It’s now Jan. 5, 2012. I feel so guilty abandoning my blog like this, but I promise to write more often this year. Make that my New Year’s Resolution.  I’ve been busy doing things that I won’t be able to do anymore  when school opens in 3 weeks……. like hanging out with friends, going to parties, playing video games , and reading mangas. Gosh, I haven’t even read Eragon yet.

So, where was I ?

Oh, yeah, my  holiday activities….. Well, Christmas dinner was just family. We didn’t have guests this year ( that is, if I even consider my Sis’ BF and BFF ” guests “. They’re like family already… this year, he was in San Diego with his Dad, and BFF was in Ohio with her grandma ) . There wasn’t much food compared to last year.

This year…….

As usual, we had eggrolls( lumpia ) and  caldereta ( beef  stew), ham, paella ( Spanish rice ), galantina ( fancy name for chicken loaf ), roast pork, sauteed mushrooms with veggies, and desserts. I’m proud to say I made the paella, my first time to cook that.

Paella

Another view of the spread

Galantina and sauteed mushrooms

Desserts ( leche flan, cassava cake, fruit salad , cheesecakes, chocolate cakes, pastries, and muffins ) The small pastries have sweetened coconut in them. In the Philippines, they are called pan de coco.

Cheesecake and chocolate cake ( bought from Costco)………. Oh, by the way, do you see that thing , on upper right hand of the pic above ?  It’s Afghan bread….. it’s flat and it’s 3 feet long, and tastes better than regular sliced bread. And do you see the one on the left? That’s pineapple sweet bread. Sooo good.

So, that’s it, our Christmas day meal.

I was planning to post pics of our New Year’s Day celebration on a separate post but I guess it’s too late now. Anyway,  we didn’t prepare much this year.

So, do I love cooking? Well, I did cook most of the food  seen in the photos, especially the paella, but I can’t say I love cooking.  When my mother was diagnosed with Diabetes and high blood pressure, my sister and I had to take charge of household duties.  Cooking is not a rocket science, anyways, and I’m lucky Mom has tons of recipes that have  already been taste -tasted and rated 5 stars.  You see, before my family immigrated here to the US, Mom had a thriving catering business in the Philippines. Three days before we immigrated to the US, Mom  still managed to cater  for 300 people. It was a convention…….. catering was AM snacks, lunch, Pm snacks, and dinner. I still remember that. It was rather chaotic at our house, so many people coming and going, preparing food. The whole place was like an assembly line.

Now, our New year’s day feast: There was less food on the table. That was okay though. At least we didn’t have to pig out and eat the same food for 3 days.

Almost the same thing . We had  noodles ( pancit ) instead of paella, roast pork ( I love the roast pork, with all that crunchy skin goodness ! Ugh ! So unhealthy ! ) and I made empanada ( meat turnovers )and turrones. ( wrapped fried banana ). We also had mini quiches and wanton soup.

Empanada ( meat turnover…. sauteed ground chicken with potatoes and raisins )

Turrones ( wrapped banana then fried….. it also has brown sugar and jack fruit in it ).

Mini quiches and OMG, that cake ! It’s called Fruit Basket and the taste was sublime ! Ah, but it was a $ 36 – cake, so I ‘m sure the baker saw to it it was worth the price.

Wonton soup ( I made this )\

Ahahaha ! Here’s a horrible random pic of me on New year’s Day. I didn’t get to sleep at all. I got home at 3 AM  from a New Year’s Day party , then cooked and baked the whole morning  for our New Year’s lunch. .,  I looked like a hag in this pic and intentionally picked my nose when Mom took the picture. Bleh. Good thing it’s blurry.

So, what did you guys get for Christmas ? I got a a pair of gold hoop earrings and necklace with my birthstone, and a Wii video dance game JUST DANCE 3  from my parents, a gorgeous leather jacket from my brother, and a nice sweater from sis. My best friend gave a me a nice pair of earrings too. Wow ! I just love Just Dance 3. It’s like having a fun exercise and at the same time,  learning awesome dance moves. There’s another one, Michael Jackson Experience, that I’m going to buy , too. Although they say the dance routine is really difficult to follow. Ha ! I’m sure it is.

Well, to be honest, talking about so much food and material gifts makes me a bit uncomfortable. This is not the real spirit of Christmas, you know. There are millions of children who are starving and suffering  at this very moment. I feel kind of guilty……………  Oh, my, this reminds me again of the story The Little Match Girl.  ~.~  But what can I do ? I just want them to know that amidst this merriment and celebration, I stop and think about them…… that , at least there’s one in this world who has not forgotten .  The truth is, not everyone is happy this Christmas.  Mom;s favorite first cousin died on Dec. 24. She literally died in the arms of her husband while waiting for the ambulance. At first, she was clinging to him, then she went limp. It was so sad.  Then my sister’s ex- boyfriend died from brain tumor on Dec.15.  I heard my sister sobbing in the bathroom . When she got out, she was holding the glass cell phone stand that he gave her and her eyes were really swollen.  It was really a sad story between him and my sister.  In fact, when he was diagnosed 2 1/2 years ago, it was only my sister , aside from his family, that he told about his condition.  Well, it was  a short bittersweet relationship , and he told her she was the only girl  he ever loved but he was glad that she broke up with him , because 6 months after the break -up, he was diagnosed with cancer. Oh, man, my tears are falling now. There’s another sad  story I’d like to talk about, but I  don’t want to feel any  sadder than what I’m feeling at the moment.

Oh, I got 3 more Versatile Blogger Award…. one from Koopa , Viv, and trjensen…. my 7th, 8th, and 9th awards. I’ll acknowledge this on my next post. I really gotta publish this now.

This is all for now. PEACE . And be happy !

Foodie post and some random thoughts

Hello !

I’ve been neglecting my blog. (~.~) #   Well, not really….. I’ve been busy  studying for my final exams.  Also, this Fall semester is almost over.  Oh , in fact, I don’t have classes anymore.  I go to school for the tests.  I’m sure I’ll get an A in Physics, at least a B in Biology . My Chemisrty is the one I’m having problems with. But I won’t fail. If worse comes to worst, I get a C. That is ,  if   I failed the Finals, but I won’t.   A pretty dim prospect , I know, but that’s better than  F.

I’m so happy I got 1 more Versatile Blogger nomination , my 7th,  from Koopa. Thanks a bunch, Koopa !  I’d like to follow the rules once again. You see,  I left out so many info and people on my previous post, so , now I’ll take advantage of this nomination to acknowledge a few more awesome bloggers. But I’ll do this next time….. I just don’t have the time to reread and check out their posts.

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Today, Thursday, Dec. 15 , is the start of my long vacation. It’s a combined  Christmas and semestral break. I go back to school last week of January.Also, I had already enrolled for Spring semester…. 2 Chemistry courses and 1 Biology. I was supposed to enroll in another Biology but it was ” closed” .  That’s the one and only class for this course, and seriously, this whacked schedule is  jeopardizing my future. Why , oh, why can’t the university open more classes. I mean, seriously, just one class for , I don’t know , maybe a hundred Biology majors?  Several days ago, over dinner, my family had a serious discussion about future job prospects .  My sister , who’s a microbiologist, and my brother, who’s a mechanical engineer,  already have   well-paying jobs… so that leaves me alone  with a quite uncertain future.  The discussion was all about me, and how I would cope in these uncertain times when rate of unemployment  is 9.2 %  for new graduates. We also discussed the rate of unemployment for graduates of other majors, such as Psychology, which happens to have one of the highest unemployment rate, even higher than say, Philosophy, surprisingly. However, for Nursing graduates, the unemployment rate is practically zero. I;m talking about RNs or Registered Nurses, not the ITT types who study nursing for 8 months, straight from high school, then call themselves nurses, as well.  My sister suggested I should also take  additional   courses that are needed to enter a nursing school, such as Anatomy ( Sis took that too ). However, the tuition fees are quite intimidating, something like $20,000 a year. My parents say whatever it takes… they’re going to help. I’m now like 90% sure I’ll enter a Nursing school after I finish Microbioloy….. neeed to cover all the bases, y’know?

I know this next topic is kind of stale now, but I still want to write about  this.. my Thanksgiving happenings. Well, we all know about Black Friday sale.  For those who don’t know, Black Friday is the mega sale following Thanksgiving Day and usually starts at 12 midnight. I was scheduled from 10 PM Thursday to 8″30 AM Friday. I left our house , together with my former manager at BCBG and co-worker ( they were our dinner guests) at 9 PM, after dinner. When we got there to open the store, there were already about 50 people waiting outside. When we opened at 10 PM, they  frantically rushed in. We later complained to the manager we couldn’t cope with just the four of us working. . She scheduled  4 people that day. Actually just 3 coz one of us ( me ) worked as the cashier. Thank goodness, shoplifting  was minimal. I didn’t come home empty- handed though. I pre-purchased a few stuff and put them on hold….. a pair of boots, a runway dress, a chic sweater, and a jacket I call  Diva jacket. (^__^)

Also, I promised  Zoe I’d post pictures of the dishes we had for dinner. So, Zoe, here they are:

Not shown in the pics are the chocolate cake I baked , the pulled pork my sister’s boyfriend cooked, and the embutido ( pork loaf ) and leche flan  that I cooked too. It was still in the fridge when I took the pics.

Lumpia or eggroll ( I cooked that) , green bean whatever ( my sister’s dish ) mashed poatato ( mine too )

Brownies, banana nut muffins ( I baked those ) , pumpkin poe and cheesecake ( bought at Costco )

Fruit salad,  chicken macaroni salad, ( I made these ) and chicken adobo ( Mom’s ). Do you see the brown juice in the pitcher? That’s boiled brown sugar with banana essence and tapioca ( sago) pearls. It tastes good.  Sister’s BF and non- Filipino guests loved it.  You can also see our bamboo placemats.

That’s beef Caldereta ( Mom’s dish ) and the turkey. Hmmm, not a good-looking turkey ( my sister’s ) but so far, it was the best tasting roast turkey we have ever had . There was no ” turkey” taste at all, it was melt in your mouth good  and very  juicy. The beef caldereta is just stewed beef , but different,  coz we add liver spread/pate to the dish

I don’t know what this is, it’s my sister’s dish, and it’s delicious and spicy.

The lasagne is in the pic, but I wasn’t able to get pics of the pulled pork ( my sister’s BF’s contribution… it was still cooking in the slow cooker when I took pics of the spread….. it was very delicious ! ) , the leche flan, the embutido and the chocolate cake that I baked/ with icing.

Embutido

Leche flan

That’s it. Our Thanksgiving Day dinner. We didn’t have much, actually, compared to last year’s and the years before that.

Oh, I almost forgot !  My sister, her Bf and I  and sis’ co-workers joined last night’s Santacon Crawl.  If you don’t know what that is, Google it. It was fun !  We  all dressed in Santa outfits, paraded down the streets of Downtown, bar hopping ( I was the designated driver…. I don’t drink ), and man, it was freezing cold…. about 30 F .. for Celsius users ( -1 C ) .

Here’s an image , taken in San Francisco. It’s like a flash mob type of mayhem and anarchy, with quite a few cops observing in the sidelines. I’m sure to go again next year…… and there’s also the Zombie Crawl , a Holloween event. We missed joining this year, but you bet we’ll be there next year.

This image is from a Denver event.

So, anyways,

What am I gonna do during the holidays ? I’ll do a lot of cooking and baking, work and earn some $$$$ ( better start saving for nursing school ), read Eragon, finish playing the video games  Resident Evil 5 and Persona 4,   Prince of Persia and Infamous. We have over 150 games in our collection.

So that’s it….. the rest of my boring, geeky  life. Maybe  I should start dating

, get a boyfriend,

and , as my BFF suggested , get laid. Ahahaha ! Just kidding !

This is all for now. Peace ! Oh and HAPPY HOLIDAYS ! Wooooh ! Vacation time !!!!!

2010, bye, New Year 2011, hello!

 2010 is over, goodbye, I hate to see you go, but I, more or less, had a good time, thank you.  So, hello, New Year 2011 ! I hope this new year will have something better for me. Not that 2010 was a bad one… it was , in fact , a good one. I went to the Philippines this summer , met new friends and relatives, had my 15 minutes of fame at Jason Derulo’s concert,  went to see Usher’s concert too.

So, how was my Christmas ? Well, it was rather stressful. Christmas eve, my mother and I went shopping for ingredients. We left at 10 AM. I forgot to eat breakfast, ( and I ate very little dinner the night before, like 4 spoonfuls of something ) and grocery shopping went past lunchtime, so , at around  2 PM, I almost fainted, right there at the grocery aisle. Good thing Mom was with me. I sat down on the floor and mom had my head down between my legs until I recovered.  There was a Chow King nearby, ate something there, but i just threw up  and made a mess of it in the car.  Anyway, once home, we buckled down and started cooking. I made the maja blancaleche flan , and wrapped the bananas and the lumpia ( pork eggroll ) for frying the next day.  Then , the family attended the Midnight Mass, at 10 PM. We got home at 12 midnight, ate the traditional hot rice porridge we call  ” arroz caldo “, and though we went to bed at almost 2 AM, we still hoped we could wake up at 5 AM to resume cooking. But I  guess we were all so tired  we overslept . Mom was the first to wake up at 9 AM !!!!  It was supposed to be a Christmas lunch and we had at least 7 guests coming over.  The stress was tremendous, and  at 11 AM we figured we wouldn’t be able to get everything done by lunchtime, so my sister started calling the guests ( her friends actually ) and moved lunch to  a later hour like 2 PM.  They nevertheless came much later, at 3 PM . The Christmas lunch became a Christmas supper.  They had a good time, emptied 3 bottles of champagne,  and actually left at 1 AM ( this morning ) . Here are some pictures of our Christmas dinner. Not shown in the pictures are leche flan, maja blanca, the teramisu cake and the pretty fruit centerpiece  that I made. There just wasn’t enough space on the table. We put them on the kitchen counter.

 

 

 

 

My mother and sister miss the Philippinie Christmas tradition.  Midnight mass there is really held at midnight.  Christmas in the Philippines is one of the longest in the world. From Dec. 16  to the 24 th, Filipinos attend a 4 AM Mass, called ” misa de gallo”,  the so-called mass at ” cock’s crow “, a 9- day novena of Masses.  Before 4 AM, church bells ring everywhere, and brass bands parade down the street to wake the people up for the misa de gallo. ( I remember the brass bands…. their music was loud, lol )

On Christmas eve, Filipinos prepare for the Midnight mass and midnight meals after the Mass they call Noche Buena 

We used to observe  this Filipino tradition of Noche Buena, a sumptous meal right after the Midnight Mass, here in the US but It’s not practiced here , even among Catholics.  So, we discarded it 6 years ago and opted for a  lunch or dinner  on Christmas Day.

We opened our gifts after lunch . I got a Kodak digital camera from sis and cash from my parents and brother.  I wished for a PS3, but I guess I’ll have to save for it.

Well, this is all for now. Happy New year everyone ! ! Peace !!!!