Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Bento No 5 - Chicken Pandan with Caramelized Eggplant

Today's bento is especially scrumptous! I guess Ive broken my blah bento streak! It's also great news for me, cause I created a bento for bubu (my sister) as well.

Today's Menu:
  • Plain, unsalted onigiri
  • Pandan Chicken
  • Caramelized eggplant
Today's carb is just plain rice. I just molded the rice using the onigiri mold I bought last week. The brown sauce you see on the rice are the drippings of the caramelized onions

The pandan chicken is again, bought from SM Supermarket. I have no idea how to cook it, but what I did was I fried it while still wrapped in pandan.

The caramelized eggplant is a stroke of genius for me. Last night, I had no idea what to do with the eggplants. Before sleeping, I had a eureka moment. I told my self I'll make a rub for my eggplants. I dozed off as I was listing the ingredients for the rub in my head.

  • 2 medium sized eggplants sliced
  • Sugar
  • Garlic powder/ground fresh garlic
  • Salt
  • Paprika
  • Turmeric
  1. Mix all the dry/powder/flavor ingredients together according to your taste. I didn't measure my ingredients but the major component of the rub is sugar. Don't add too much turmeric cause it can discolor your skin
  2. Rub the flavor on the sliced eggplants. Coat both sides. Set aside for a few minutes. The eggplants will excrete water while letting the flavors set
  3. Water fry the eggplants - Using a non-stick pan, just fry the eggplants as you normally would with oil. The eggplants will naturally excrete water.

My Bento Story:
This bento has a fried leaf theme, or that is, the colors are those of burnt plants. I really wanted to make this bento savory because I was making it the first time for my sister and she loves eggplants! Needless to say, she and kitty loved my bento! It really is yummy!

Bento Day 4 - Playful Puppy Bento

Today's bento took me about 7 minutes to make, 10 minutes tops. Quite a record actually. I wasn't able to get up early to make a bento. I also had no idea what to make for today's bento, so everything was out of whim and very simple, the concept just even popped out of my head. Not planned at all.

  • Playful puppy bento
  • bento day 4

Today's Bento Menu:
  • Cheese Stuffed Onigiri
  • Century Tuna Octodogs (fail)
  • Various shabu shabu meats
  • Chopped Green Olive
  • Tamagoyaki
My cheese stuffed onigiri is just actually plain rice with bits of cheese inside. Didn't have the time to sear the rice, let alone flavor it. I was so lacking in time.

My proteins for today aren't really healthy, unless you consider the fact that the octodogs are made out of tuna hot dogs. The shabu shabu meats are left overs fro last night's shabu shabu dinner. They were already cut in half last night to minimize cooking time. I can't remember which is which for the shabu shabu meats, since we buy them by packs and they're already in assorted variants. Doesn't matter though. The surprise of flavor adds to the mystique of the bento. Usually, we fry these babies in our shabu shabu, but since I'm opting for a healthier lunch, I boiled everything. Didn't even bother using flavored water. It's just plain water. Straight from the faucet into the pot.

My Tamagoyaki is about 5 days old already, just sitting in the freezer.  I got the recipe and procedure for my tamagoyaki from lunchinabox.net, I didn't have dashi stock, so I used the soup from 5 night ago's dinner, Tinolang Manok. It tastes great though!

My Bento Story:
Like I said, everything was on a whim today, including my Playful Puppy Concept. I so wanted to make a face in my bento today so I just chopped up an olive and placed it on my onigiri and then just tossed everything inside my bento. When I got in the office, I tried fixing up my bento and try making something out of my bento. At first I wanted it to be a horse, but in the end it looked more like a thin piglet, so I though, hey why not make it a puppy who wants to have its tummy scratched?

Overall, I wasn't expecting a scrumptious lunch, and I was correct with that. Taste was really bland. Needed lots of ketchup. It would be great to have a ketchup and cheese onigiri though! I'll take a mental note of that.

Monday, 14 May 2012

Bento Day 3 - Pesto Torikatsu with Summer Cool Down Salad

Day 3's bento was a bit bleak! I just pulled it together haphazardly. I had no idea what to match with my pesto torikatsu, and I didn't want to repeat any of my bento food items yet.

I was excited to make this bento for one thing, I bought my first set of rice molds! Well, it's actually just one shape - a triangle, but I'm pretty glad I now have a mold for my bento :)

Day 3's Menu, like I said, was put together haphazardly, but the blend of flavors were still considered. Actually taste-wise, my previous bentos were much more yummier. Only the salad in this bento had this oomph factor.

Day 3's Bento Menu:
  • Plain Onigiri with Bell Pepper garnish
  • Pesto Torikatsu
  • Summer Cool Down Salad
My plain Onigiri was just freshly cooked rice, then I added about 1-2 tbsp of apple cider vinegar to give it a little flavor. I then molded it in my newly bought onigiri molds. I let the rice set for a few minutes and then seared it in a pan with very little oil. After cooking one side for a few minutes, I flipped it then coated the seared side with Lee Kum Kee Soy Sauce (The green one, best for seafood). After a few minutes, I flipped the onigiri again. The side with the soy sauce is now being seared again. I coated the top side with soy sauce too and flipped the onigiri one last time before removing from the heat. I garnished it with a triangular-shaped bell pepper.

My Pesto Torikatsu is again bought from SM Supermarket. I was surprised with the flavor of the torikatsu. I wasn't expecting it to have a distinct pesto flavor, but it did. I was really pleased with the flavor. It blended well with my summer cool down salad.

The Summer Cooldown salad was actually just something out of whim. I had no idea what to do for veggies. I also wanted the veggies to have a great color to liven up my dull looking bento. I looked at our veggie crisper and saw that I still have a few left veggies like carrots, baby corn, sweet peas and bell peppers. I wasn't in the mood to saute them, nor did I have the time, so I thought I'll just use carrots which can be used immediately. I checked our fruit crisper and saw that we have several bags of mangoes, so I thought, "Hey! This could be an interesting salad!". I could almost taste the different levels of sweetness that the carrots and the mangoes would give out! How refreshing! I also added a dash of apple cider vinegar to prevent them from browning, and to blend the flavor of the salad with the bento. I called it Summer Cool Down Salad because the colors were so festive and bright like the summer, and yet it's so refreshing! It's best served cold.

2 small carrots or 1 medium carrot, cold
1 large mango, cold
1 tsp-1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

  1. Grate the carrots and mango
  2. Slowly add the apple cider vinegar
  3. Toss the salad
  4. Refrigerate if you won't use it yet. Will probably keep for 2 days
Serves 4

My Bento Story
This so far isn't really good. Aside from the salad, everything else didn't give an oomph, nor looked very appetizing. I wasn't able to dress up my bento well, add the fact that I almost grated my thumb! It was a tough job to grate carrots and my finger won't stop bleeding!

In placing the food in my bento, I wasn't really paying attention on how to put the food items in. I was just careful to separate the salad since mangoes are juicy and might juice around the box. Lacking proper bento paraphernalia, I just folded a soft-drinks plastic bag and placed the salad inside.

The bento wasn't filling nor was it satisfying, but I guess it's better to have food than none at all

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Bento Day 2 - Pork Meatballs and Luncheon Meat on Spicy Chicken Yakisoba with Cheese-stuffed Green Bell Pepper

Okay. So I had a hard time in planning out this bento, mainly because of budget constraints, and also because I had a different bento in mind yesterday afternoon, and I found out later that I lack most of the ingredients needed for the bento I wanted to make for today. I guess that bento'll be for another day.

Anyway, my bento today took me, more or less, 45 minutes to make. It's a really long time to make a bento this simple, but hey, I'm new to cooking and I'm new to bento-making. I spent roughly about 25 pesos for this bento. The total cost of this bento (if all ingredients were taken account for) would be 35-40 pesos. Depending on the quality of products that you would use. Take note that this cost is for 2 bentos already.

  • Meatball Yakisoba with Stuffed Bell Pepper
  • Meaty Mickey Bento

Today's Bento Menu:
  • Pork Meatballs
  • Luncheon Meat
  • Cheese-stuffed Bell Pepper
  • Spicy Chicken Yakisoba
I got the pork meatballs already flavored in SM Supermarket at 5 pesos per ball.  I placed 2 balls per bento.

The luncheon meat is free, since it's today's breakfast. I used up 2 slices of Purefoods Luncheon Meat. 1 for each bento.

I forgot where I got the idea of stuffing a bell-pepper with cheese, but that's what I did.
Here's my recipe for it:
  • 1 medium sized bell pepper
  • 2 triangles Laughing Cow spreadable cheese
  • 1 pinch onion powder
  • 1 Tbsp grated cheddar cheese
  1. Core the bell pepper (it would be great if the bell pepper were small, so you could have 2 of this babies). Wash the insides of the bell pepper. Make sure there are no seeds left
  2. On a small bowl, mix together the cheese, onion powder and cheddar cheese
  3. Stuff the cheese mix inside the bell pepper using a spoon and a butter knife. Make sure that the whole pepper is stuffed
  4. Optional: Grill or sear the bell pepper.

My Spicy Chicken Yakisoba is big downplay of any authentic yakisoba. I actually cheated a bit on this one. Since I don't know how to cook yakisoba, and I'm on a tight budget, I bought 2 packs of Nissin Spicy Chicken Instant Yakisoba. CHEATER! I know! I did however upped the game a bit by putting various vegetables in the yakisoba, and tried to make a sauce to flavor the veggies.
Here's what I did:
  • 2 packs Nissin Spicy Chicken Yakisoba
  • 1 small carrot, diced
  • 4 pieces sweet peas
  • 3 pieces baby corn, chopped
  • 1/2 medium bell pepper, cubed
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1/8 cup Lee Kum Kee Premium Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Sugar
  • 1/8 cup water, room temp. or warm.
  1. Cook the yakisoba noodles according to the instructions indicated in the pack
  2. Heat oil in a pan on low. Put in the carrots and the baby corn. Saute until you see a minimal change in color. Add in the onions and the sweet peas. Saute until onion is becomes a little transparent
  3. Add the soy sauce and sugar into the pan. Simmer for a few seconds, add in the water. Saute the vegetables until everything is well coated. Simmer for a few minutes or until the sauce is reduced.
  4. Turn off the burner/remove pan from heat. Cut out the remaining sauce in the pan, leaving at least 1 tsp of sauce. Vegetables shouldn't be saucy since the yakisoba pack already has a sauce pouch with it it.
  5.  Mix the yakisoba sauce and podwer in the veggie-sauce you made. Do not use the dried up vegetables that came with the pack.
  6. Add the sauce to the noodles and mix to evenly distribute the sauce.
My Bento Story:
Since this bento wasn't what I wanted to make, I made the combinations haphazardly. I really have no idea how to put this together with the lack of ingredients. I wanted to add a few tamagoyaki but or even just a plain boiled egg, but I couldn't find an egg last night and this morning to save my life. I couldn't afford to buy by the carton, so I had to omit the egg. Also, you may have noticed that one bento doesn't have a stuffed bell pepper. That's due again to my budget constraints, I ran out of cheese.
The taste of this bento was surprisingly good! For something that I thought out of whim (well, considering how much time I thought out the other bento menus). The veggie sauce I made complemented the yakisoba sauce well. The meat balls also blended well. Actually, if you eat the noodles where the meatballs sat, it tastes really good! Next time I'll dice the meatballs and include it with the veggie-yakisoba sauce. The Luncheon meat added a great salty taste to the sweet yakisoba flavor. All the meat used in this bento worked well with the sweet-spicy-salty taste of the yakisoba. I was surprised with how good the cheese-stuffed bell pepper tasted. It-was-freakin'-awesome!!! SDEHBF ate his bento with me, so I got to taste the cheese-stuffed bell pepper! The sweetness of the bell pepper worked well with the sour-salty taste of cheese stuffing! It was an explosion of flavor in my mouth! I think it will be doubly awesome if the cheese-stuffed bell pepper was grilled or seared for a few seconds. YUM!

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Bento Box Day 1 - Torikatsu Parmesan and Ketchup butter gohan with cheesy brocolli

I was scheming all day yesterday about how to make my SDEHBF feel special on his birth month. I don't know about you, but I love getting the royal treatment on my birth month, and he sure did make me feel special last year. I want to return the favor this time around.

Since he's so into anime and manga, I thought, why not make him a bento box? I was prowling the Internet for ideas on bento making.

So here's my first ever attempt of a bento:

  • Orange bento box
  • parmesan torikatsu bento
  • parmesan torikatsu bento

Today's Menu
  • Butter-Ketchup Gohan / Rice
  • Parmesan Torikatsu
  • Blanched Broccoli with cheese sauce
  • Vegetable saltine crackers for dividers
  • Strips of quickmelt cheese over the gohan

I got the gohan/rice recipe from lunchinabox.net. It was supposed to be an onigiri or a fried rice ball but I had too much butter on my rice mixture that I wasn't able to form strong balls of rice.

My Paremesan Torikatsu was bought from SM Supermarket, pre-made, so all I had to do was fry it. Talk about speedy bentos! I had a bad experience when I bought it though. There was a cockroach on the torikatsu I bought! SDEHBF saw it before it was packed away by the cashier. They "changed" our torikatsu though. Not sure if they just repacked it or if they really replaced my torikatsu. Horrible! horrible! I fried and re-fried the torikatsu just to be sure that the germs are dead. Eeeewww.

The blanched broccoli were left overs from last night's dinner. Notice how it's mostly stalks! Haha! The cheese sauce was made by my wonderful mum. Yay!

Bento Box Story
Nothing much happening in this bento box. I think I did okay for my first bento. The colors looked wonderful, though mostly on the shade of orange.

In this bento box, I just primarily wanted  a basic lunch accommodating the 3 major food groups - Go, grow, and glow! (yeah bit childish terms!).

SDEHBF texted me at around 9am and told me that he was so excited to eat his bento that he ate it at 9am! He also said it was good! I found it deliciously sufficient.

After making and eating this bento, I find myself in a frenzy about bentos. Can't wait to make one tomorrow (or maybe this evening!)

Friday, 13 April 2012

inlove versus love

Bossa Nova, yellow lights, a relaxed atmoshphere, alone, and a long time to kill are all ingredients for a reflection. This time, the idea of love and being inlove is running in circles inside my head. I've memorized this line I thought of already, what with the countless times I thought about this? "Love starts when being inlove ends". Of course, that statement doesn't hold true all the time. This statement is not actually meant to be a definition of love but it's the challenge of love. This is how you know if you truly love the person. It's easier to forgive, to put yourself aside, to change yourself when you're in love. Naturally! You're so high with "love chemicals" that you're to numb to even care how much it would normally hurt, or be a bother. It's wonderful how the body works, but once you mind catches up with your body, when you start crashing down from your high, that's when loving starts. That's when things are starting to take its toll. That's when you start realizing that you're sick of giving way, you're sick of just plainly understanding, sweet words and gestures don't really work anymore. Once this happens, you're not in love any more. You're as vulnerable as an cant crawling on the bathroom wall, being watched by someone doing #2. You either get blocked by fingers, get sprayed or drowned with water, flicked by fingers or be squashed for no reason! If you know the risks, if you're feeling the heaviness, when you feel like you've had enough and yet you still continue with the relationship, then congratulations! You are already, truly, loving someone. Now hang in there because the crash is always difficult. It'll be painfull, annoying and downright unreasonable. There'll be times when you just want to quit, but you won't. Don't. It's just a phase. You'll get through it eventually, then you'll slip into to the monotonous conundrum of life. Now that, that is another thing. Another reflection for another night like this. I'm hungry, better eat this ultimate grilled cheese before it gets too cold!

Monday, 2 April 2012

Joing the Social Ministry of our Church

I love being a church worker. I've been with our Church's Parish Youth Ministry for years now, and I've enjoyed the roller coaster ride it have been giving me these past few years. I'm not getting any younger though, and as much as I want to stay in the ministry, I can't, well not for very long. I have to venture out and serve God in a different ministry. Something with a more specific goal (aside from evangelizing).

When I was in High School, I wanted to be part of the Lector-Commentator Ministry. I love to read and I'm not afraid of speaking in front of many people, so it was a really good fit for me. My mum joined in and I found out that it's a very difficult ministry to join in. It'll be very difficult to balance my work, family, love and social life if I join in. Also, I wanted an approach where people really listen. LCM don't always achieve that. No matter how great they read, there will really be people who are mentally absent and just answer automatically during masses.I needed a ministry with more 'oomph'.

I wanted to join the ministry in charge of catechisms. I believe I'll really do well in that ministry, but I guess the Social Ministry had more appeal to me. It kills 2 birds with one stone. Helping people in need and evangelizing. WINNER in more ways than 1!

So last Saturday, I attended my very first meeting with the Social Ministry. It was a real eye-opener for me. It shocked me at how many people are really selfish. Of course, selfishness sometimes have a valid reason, but that's just it. It only happens some times. If you think of what they're selfishness might result to, it's very appalling to find out that they were even thinking that! On the other hand, I'm glad to find out that a lot of people too, are willing to help. I'm also glad that we're not limiting help on the financial aspects only. I can't wait to get started. I believe this will be the stepping stone to one of my dreams - to build a sustainable community for the poor, that may help them propel themselves forward, out of poverty. I really really hope to be able to do that. I've been wondering how to start, maybe this will help me get my engines burning.

Another thing I realized, quite unexpected but hit me hard, was I felt guilty for failing my subjects when I was still studying. Poverty-stricken families rarely have food to fill their stomachs. They don't even have enough to go through school. Children fail school because they have nothing to eat, they can't think properly. They can't go to school because they have no means of going to it. They have no things to use in school. And yet, there I was, sitting my pompous ass in some of the best private schools, and yet still failing with a full stomach, a decent way to go to school and brand new school supplies. Now I understand when my parents told me: "Lahat na binigay sayo. Ang trabaho mo lang magaral, tapos babagsak ka pa" (Everything was given to you. Your only task was study, and yet you still failed).

My first day in the ministry and I already felt guilty of worrying (as a kid), feeling bad that I don't have the pencil case that pops out sharpeners and the lid on a press of a button, that I only have 24 pieces of brand new Crayola, not the 48. When I just play around with my Pilot ball pens, making them orange peel darts or a chewing toy. Discarding my Mongol pencils when they're already in half. Not even caring if my scissors (especially ballpens and pencils) got lost. Not giving a damn about how much staple wire I'm wasting just to create the perfect staple wire bracelet because I was bored in class. Guilty. Really REALLY GUILTY

Monday, 19 March 2012

Life Lessons I Learned at Splash Island

Last Saturday was our annual company outing. This year, we went to Splash Island and had a "splasing good time". Through the course of the day (until midnight), I learned and remembered a lot of valuable lessons. Here are some of them: 1. No matter how tired you are, you'll still enjoy and tire yourself even more when you're with friends. 2. Friends are there to coach you and help you conquer your fear (even though they don't phrase it properly) 3. Friends will always, always give a helping hand, especially in dire need. 4. No matter how much you hate the guts of your friend, you still can't find it in your heart to tell on him 5. There are levels in friendship. Our goal should be to be at the top level. 6. You can do anything if you can face the consequences 7. What's worse than doing something wrong? Seeing someone who's doing something wrong and not correcting it. 8. The stupidest and simplest of things can give us utmost happiness. 9. Think before you act. What you're doing might damage your friendship 10. Self control is something that everybody should learn. 11. When pushing the limits, have a friend near the limit, in case you can't handle what you started. 12. Competition is healthy among friends, but you should know when to stop. 13. You don't have to prove to your friends that you're good at something, especially at someone's expense. 14. When you have to justify what you did, chances are, you did something wrong. 15. Don't tell someone they're fat when they're about to eat. 16. Some scars go waaaay deep. Better be carefuk. 17. Food tastes best when shared. 18. Anger will get you nowhere. Pray for your anger to just ebb away 19. Love is the best remedy for tiredness. 20. Rest is good.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

My BBS1 Adventure

Last weekend I attended our Church's annual Basic Bible Seminar 1. I really wanted to attend it this year but it was announced on such a short notice. My schedule was full-up that I thought I won't be able to attend.

The first day (night) of BBS1, I was supposed to have dinner with SDEHBF. He just arrived in manila after a week-long vacation in his province in Bicol. We were really looking forward to the dinner date. On the same night, my office friends planned a videoke party at a nearby bar. We were celebrating a lot of stuff, plus we had to spend the 2000 peso winnings we earned in last year's Christmas party. I had 2 dates already conflicting for the night, but I already worked out a plan to go with my friends first while waiting for SDEHBF's work shift to end, and then meet with him for a late dinner. But after all the planning that I did, I ended up doing neither and just attended the BBS 1 seminar. I just asked SDEHBF to pick me up at the Shrine at 10 pm so we could go home together.

I'm really glad that I decided to attend the seminar, I really felt enlightened and happy. Also, it was constantly mentioned throughout the 3-day seminar that the reason why we were there were not really the reason we thought it would be. They said that God called us, he made a way for us, and we answered His call. No matter what reason we may have, it is still because of God's will. Whenever I think about it, my hairs stand on end. Really... God's presence is here, and He's alive in me.

The reason why I joined BBS1 was because earlier this year I had a debate with an acquaintance over the Black Nazarene procession. That acquaintance of mine was a protestant and he posted something about it on the Facebook wall of the group we both belong. What he posted was against the people who zealously attend the Black Nazarene procession. He quoted Bible verses against what the people were doing. Naturally I felt really defensive about my belief. I don't go to the procession and I personally don't like the idea of risking your life for that kind of adoration, BUT if people really love God, and that's their way of showing it, then who are we to judge? If you reflect on how many people are there, it'll really make your spine shiver. That many people come together to show God reverence. To show God their love. It's a good thing. And here comes along someone who bashes those people, quoting Bible verses. Strongly implying that what they're doing is wrong. It made my blood boil.

I replied to his post explaining why these people act like this, and that we are not to judge them, because really, who are we to judge them? Who are we to dictate what is right and what is wrong in the eyes of God? We got in a heated debate and he kept on taking what I said literally. I had a response for every tirade of attack he unleashes on me. It came to the point that he attacked where the Catholics are weak. The Bible. He challenged me to back up my answers with Bible verses. He challenged me to interpret some Bible verses. I dodged them off saying I haven't read the Bible and that I can't interpret what he's given me because I need to read the whole book (or even chapter) for me to get the full meaning. It was with this that I stopped replying to his tirades and focused on getting answers for the his questions that I found difficult to answer, questions that are related to my faith and my religion.

I attended BBS1 to help myself find the answers, but lo and behold, God gave me the answers during the 3-day seminar. I was shocked. REALLY REALLY SHOCKED. For 3 days, the speakers and facilitators slowly answered the questions asked of me during the debate (which I answered, and my answers were based on my own reflection. I was looking for the answers given by my faith). When the last question (and most important one, mind you) was answered on the 3rd day, I my hairs stood on end. There were chills on my spine. My head was abuzz. Seriously, God works in ways that will pleasantly shock us. Right there and then I was so sure that I wasn't in the seminar because I just wanted to. I attended because God intended for me to find out the answers. On that moment, too, I realized, that I still have one more mission. I called my first discovered mission, my personal mission (living green and educating others about it). I called my newly discovered mission my "prophetic" mission. Not that I consider myself a prophet, no not that. It just sounded good, and related to what my mission was. To spread God's words. To speak to people about God. To send out and tell everyone God's message.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Don't Run Off Thinking You're Right and Telling Everyone that They're Wrong: On the Black Nazarene, Among Other Things

This may be a late post but I just can't take it anymore. I am not a devotee nor an advocate of the Black Nazarene but sheesh, why don't the others just keep their ideas to themselves or to their groups?

A lot of people have been quoting the Bible about idolatry and fanaticism, how the Catholics have gone overboard with their devotion. How the Catholics pray and worship idols, like the saints and even *gasp* the Black Nazarene.

News Flash everyone, the Black Nazarene represents Jesus. JESUS CHRIST our SAVIOR.The devotees and what you call the "fanatics" worship JESUS. What's wrong with worshiping God?

The Black Nazarene is merely a symbol of faith, a representation of Jesus at one point in his life.

Is worth the trouble? Is it worth dying for?
I haven't been to any of these public displays of affection to the image of the Black Nazarene, or of any saint for that matter, but I believe, if you truly love someone, anything is worth doing. They believe in Jesus and in Jesus' healing power, thus people go to witness his love. Some manifest their love and adoration by helping pull the carriage. Is that wrong? Tell me is it wrong to love God and tell me it's wrong to go to Jesus and ask for your or your loved ones' healing? 

Self Righteous Much?
Those who are casting stones on the Catholic faith, please stop assuming that you're right. Yes I know we have the Bible as our guide but can you personally guarantee that the people who pledge to do this every year will suffer the fires of hell? Only God can tell if we Catholics acted foolishly or not. It's not for you to decide. It's not for you to point fingers.

We should all learn something from our 'playground' days
When we were kids, we knew how to respect each other, or at least know to get along peacefully in the playground. You don't play on the seesaws when you see kids using it. You don't tell people off for using your favorite swing. Likewise, please learn how to respect our religion, just as we do respect yours. You don't see (or hear) us in tv and radio with tirades of nasty remarks about your religion. You don't see us posting in facebook nor twitter, our opinion about how you do things in your religion, so just please, respect us. I'm not saying don't talk about it, by all means, rant all you want, but do it in your group, unless you want to really start something up. Because really, a lot of us take our faith SERIOUSLY. We get hurt when people think wrongly of us, when people JUDGE us because we don''t do things in the normal expected way, as written by our ancestors, through the grace of God (Gee, doesn't that sound familiar? sounds like the *cough*pha*cough*ri*cough**cough**cough*).

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Count your Blessings Insted of Sheep

With what's happening with me and my family, God, prayer and support from family & friends keep our wits together. With nothing to do in the hospital but to eat, sleep, watch tv and play games on the computer, I have had a lot time to think, reflect and be thankful, that despite the fact that we're going through this again because one of the graft's in papa's heart bypass wasn't properly done.

An "honest mistake" papa's cardiologist said. "We can't really blame the surgeon". Yeah, okay. Can't blame the surgeon about it, but we don't have deep pockets like them. I could rant on and on and on about how unfair it is but that won't take me anywhere. Instead I tried channeling this frustration into something positive.

I know that we should be thankful about this, because like last year, what we're doing is preventive. We're preventing the incident that one day, papa'll just collapse because of a heart attack. We should be thankful and I am really really thankful.

We should also be thankful, that even though the price for the angioplasty is expensive, we can still manage to pay for it, or rather, we have friends that are willing to lend the money, and that I know we are able to pay the debt off. I am thankful that we have the means resources to make the procedure possible.

I am thankful that everything's going on fine and that a lot of family and friends are praying for papa's speedy and full recovery.

Monday, 2 January 2012

Luck and Idolatry - The Sin of the New Year

I think that we (myself included) overrate the new year. What's the deal anyway? Aren't we supposed to celebrate everyday as a new year? If you look at it, today, January 2, 2012 is a new year cause it's 1 year after January 2, 2011. Just a thought.

And what's the deal with new year resolutions? I haven't made one for years. Do you really have to wait for the new year to be a better person?

I love festivities and parties; Games and food. I love that it's another holiday to celebrate. I don't mind the noise but I sure do mind the smoke. The smoke filled with gunpowder and other chemicals that make everything go BOOM and hazy. Maybe I'm irritable cause I am feeling that my lungs are so weak from all the allergies that I got this new year.

So were you able to complete your circle fruit basket and buy the various white thingies (salt, rice, etc). Were you able to waist about  hours of your life waiting for the colored candles to burn out? Did you wear something polka-dot-ty and placed coins in your pockets, then jumped and jumped when the clock struck 12 midnight? Did you buy figurines and bracelets, feng shui and astrology books to aid in you bringing in luck this 2012?

This is what bothers me most during the New Year. It's not the smog, not the ear-splitting bangs of firecrackers. It's all these frenzy for good luck. We're supposed to be Catholics, or for the most part Christians. We all go to church and attend the Mass. We sing praises, we glorify God, we ask for forgiveness and thank Him for all our blessings. We were our best clothes to church and donate money, and yet, we rely on charms, furniture arrangement and bowls of fruit for luck. We base the trajectory of our year on which candle burned fastest. We base our decisions on what our astrology forecast for the year says. People, say what's wrong with inviting luck? And with luck they think prosperity of wealth. I find it sick. I find it terribly, terribly, terribly wrong. Do you seriously think that there's such a thing as luck? Do you seriously think that there's a force far more greater than God's, which when pleased (hence the offering of fruits and a barrage of other charms) will give you prosperity, more than what God will provide? Think now.

Luck is some sort of idolatry - without a physical idol that we can look at, but most people worship it. Most people worship luck, and the frightening part of it is that they are not aware of it. They think that they're not doing anything wrong. Forgive me for my over-analyzing mind, but I feel strongly about this and I am fearful that a lot of us (myself included) have broken the first commandment without realizing it.

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you
Mathew 6 :33

Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases,  Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies
Psalm 103:2-4

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
Romans 8:28