July 2008

A cousin who was netsurfing referred me to this item that was up for bid in ebay and just got sold recently. Here’s how the seller described it:

1890’s-201 Levi’s – Great Condition

This old pair of LEVI’S were found in a mine in the Rand Mining District, on the Mojave Desert,. California.  They were found with and old paper bag with the name of a mercantile store which operated between 1895 and 1898 in the town or Randsburg.  Their was also a gunny sack with the initials A.P.K. and Randsburg marked on it.  A.P.K. is through to be Adam P. Kuffel who was a partner in the mercantile store.

These pants have the cloth label vice the leather label.  The label (pictured)  indicates that they are size W34 x L33,  They are copper riveted with the rivets marked L.S. & Co. S.F. They are buckle back (pictured) with suspender buttons. Buttons are silver in color and are all marked LEVI STRAUSS & CO. S.F.CAL.

They are covered in candlewax [I think he was referring to the white spots—SL] from the candle’s the miner was using to light the tunnel he was working in.

The pants were made with just one back pocket on the right hand side…The pants are in excellent condition with two small flaws. One hole just above where the left hand back pocket would be, which can be covered by a Quarter and  one missing piece of cloth measuring approximatley 1/2 “by !/2” on the band just to the right hand side of the fly.

Just yesterday, this pair of denim over-alls (the modern jeans came about in the 1920’s) was sold for $36,099.  According to ebay, vintage 1890s Levi’s do fetch from $20,000 to $35,000. The seller was some guy with the username of ‘burgman.’  He said the jeans were found by his neighbor who had been exploring the Nevada California mines for stuff like these. Apparently, Nevada miners of long ago tend to leave their things (including their pants) behind for some reason.

People asked burgman questions like which detergent to use to remove the wax ( “I have no idea…”) and if he is willing to sell the dirt found in the pockets ( “Sorry, but as I turned the pockets inside out…the dirt spilled out”). Apparently what I learned was there are some collectors of antique mining clothes and equipment willing to buy such items, and that they preferred articles of clothing to be unwashed or left alone as it is. Someone even questioned the way the candle dripped: “Would [it] have been long in shape…unlike the round drops pictured that would indicate that the jeans were laid down flat and the the candle dripped from over the top?”

But let’s assume that this item is authentic (which it probably is).  I can just imagine this miner dude as a short guy (basing it from the length of the pants) who has no patience doing his laundry, and so had to change quickly (probably had a date or something) and rushed off, leaving his pants behind in the mine.  I’m thinking he probably bought a new pair which came in with the paper bag, put them on, placed his old pants in the bag, and threw it nonchalantly aside (wait…are we really sure he’s not from around this era?)…And so, with that simple act of discarding yucky soiled trousers (I dare you to zoom in on the middle front part of the pants…eew! XP), someone from the past made this ‘burgman’ (and his neighbor friend) richer by 36 grand a hundred years later.

Well, some guys have all the luck…by finding some other guy’s ‘yuck.’ I surmised that a century ago, Levi’s (although made of long-lasting durable material) were sold cheaply that miners can afford to easily discard their pants and just buy new ones.  And I thought that people of this generation (in this fast-food, fast-age of disposable everything) seemed to be the masters of that habit…well, I guess, some things DO ‘never go out of style.’


My practicum class just had a culminating activity for our Community Service project last July 26.  It was a memorable experience for all of us.

The site was the Gawad Kalinga (GK) Onyx, San Andres Bukid, Manila. Gawad Kalinga, which means “to give care,” is a movement that was first started out by Couples For Christ.  It aims to bring out the best in the Filipino spirit by promoting unity, cooperation, sharing, and generosity which are all embodied in our “bayanihan” values.

GK has many projects, including community-building.  My classmates and I were at the Onyx site for their Child and Youth Development Program (CYDP) which provides education and assistance for the Filipino disadvantaged youth.  It has three programs, namely: SIBOL (“grow”) for pre-school children, aged 3 to 6 years old; SAGIP (“to save a life”) for elementary aged children, from 7 to 13 years old; and SIGA (“to light up”) for teens aged 14 to 17 years old.  Their programs include value-based education, free academic tutorials, sports and creative workshops, counselling and rehabilitation program, and scholarships for those with the mental aptitude to pursue higher education.

Mr. Raul Ramiterre, of the GK-CYD Program and our practicum supervisor, Dr. Bautista (right)

The children, teens, and teachers had a great time.  They took part in the games, and received gifts and prizes.  They performed as well–singing, dancing and rapping their own original GK theme songs.  Some of the kids were talented and creative.  We all had fun and enjoyed ourselves immensely!

“Salamat sa mga ate at kuya…di n’yo kami pinapabayaan…” SIGA teens, rapping and singing from the heart. Bravos!

SAGIP kids: Promoting core values of pro-God,pro-country, and pro-humanity

“So long as the children are allowed to suffer, there is no true love in this world.” -Isadore Duncan

“For in the final analysis, our most basic common link, is that we all inhabit this small planet, we all breathe the same air, we all cherish our children’s futures, and we are all mortal.” – John F. Kennedy

It was heartwarming to see the children bringing along their younger siblings, and the older teens assuming leadership roles by guiding and leading the younger ones during the program.  These kids are forced to grow up fast, and take in big responsibilities at a young age.

Teen Role Models (right): Kuya Joel and Ate Aileen (with the dimples) can make promising future leaders if given the chance to pursue higher education through scholarships.

Educate your children to self-control, to the habit of holding passion and prejudice and evil tendencies subject to an upright and reasoning will, and you have done much to abolish misery from their future and crimes from society.” -Benjamin Franklin

If you want to help out, donate or volunteer your services, click on the Gawad Kalinga website for more information.  Wherever you are in the Philippines, there may be a GK site near you. Be a GK Bayani and make a stand against poverty…Less for self, More for others, Enough for all!

…we may not be able to afford to do so anymore.

That is my new take on that old saying.  It apparently dawned on me when I wrote my post last July 17, that since prices here keep going up, I might as well indulge and enjoy everything while I still can afford them.

So armed with this new somewhat hedonistic yet a truly ‘hell-yeah!’ philosophy, Sis and I decided to hold a Margarita party one Saturday night at their home for no reason in particular. Well, I wanted to try making margarita for the longest time because it is in one of dear Martha’s Things Anyone Should Know list (another one is how to make a home emergency kit).

I bought the margarita glasses while Sis got the rest of the necessary items-inexpensive tequila and triple sec.

I know, I know…Martha’s advice was to get the best quality ingredients like cuervo gold and cointreau or something…but-hey, we’re on a tight budget-and besides, if we didn’t get the mixing right, at least we didn’t blow our money away (or in other words, we-simply-just-wanted-to-get-wasted-on-a-Saturday-night, ok?).

Doc made his own recipe for his margarita.  It doesn’t only taste good, it’s loaded with vitamin C–just like what the doctor ordered! 😀 The recipe is what we christened as Doc’s Calamansi Margarita.  See the recipe below:

Doc’s Calamansi Margarita

3 parts Tequila

2 parts Triple Sec

1 part Limeade

1 Tbs concentrated calamansi juice

1 tsp fresh dayap (native sour lime) juice

ice cubes

Blend all ingredients in a blender.  Then serve in salt-rimmed glasses garnished with lime wedges.

It was fun to mix your own margarita.  If you’re willing to experiment (better to use inexpensive tequila so you can afford to hit and miss), you can try mixing with other ingredients-banana, orange, mango-but for this one, calamansi (lemoncito in Spanish or calamondin in English) is the primary ingredient, making it a truly pinoy original. By the way, the exact amounts of the ingredients Doc put in were sketchy since he was just experimenting with it.  If you want to try it, don’t sweat–just gauge the amount based on your own taste and liking (maybe add sugar if you want it sweet and sour), and have fun.

Green-minded…Loaded with Vitamin C goodness…

Due to the wake of the ferry oil spill disaster, we decided to forgo with the planned hors doeuvre of fresh oysters and baked mussels to go along with our margaritas.  Sis, of course, came out with her classic nacho tuna tomato dip instead. It was perfect nevertheless (recipe soon to follow).

Sis’ Tuna Tomato Dip and Nachos complemented our margaritas.

“Maasim na may guhit…” Ate Joy drops by and approves Doc’s concoction (left).

And with that I will end this post with a Bible quote from Luke 12:19 (King James): “And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.”

Ah, yes…I’ll drink to that.


Thousands of Filipinos (including teachers), desperate to work and earn abroad, easily get their hopes up as they apply in a job fair like this (right) for work overseas… (photo courtesy of schm714)

I would like to share a part of a recent exchange of thoughts on our on-line teacher group discussion.  This is between two of my teacher-friends about working in the US:

Teacher A:

Meron ako friend nasa Baltimore na ngayon. He’s looking for work. Teacher din siya. Medyo confused nga ako eh, kasi they were interviewed here but then he said they are still going around on job fairs to look for work.. wawa cause hindi pala sagot agency nila housing kaya they’ve shelled out so much already. Kabado kasi baka maubusan daw siya ng pera. Normal ba yun, ganun ba talaga?

Teacher J:

...About your friend in Baltimore (listen everyone and pass this on to those who are applying for a job here in US), my heart goes out to him.  Mahirap mag job fair and ibenta ang sarili mo at higit sa lahat makipagkompetensya sa ibang applicant.  Iba-iba ang mission vision ng agency.  Marami namang vacancy sa Baltimore but i guess giving them (Filipino applicants)  specific placement in terms of the grade level, specialization and school is not the “responsibility” of that agency.  Baka ang trabaho lang nila is to process their papers and visas and the placement depends on the people who will take you.  The interview that was done there was probably an informal one.  Basically, to check your content knowledge, your diction, your over-all english and to see kung kaya mo bang magturo sa school system nila.  Yung survival mo, bahala ka na.  Probably, they were not given time to prepare on what to expect in Maryland.  Tayo pa namang mga Filipino, masaya na tayo pag may visa at job d2 and we tend to miss out what are the other things that we need to know and find out which is very vital to our own survival.  As an applicant,

  • scrutinize your agency
  • check the agency’s track record by interviewing their previous applicant who have been here
  • What is the scope of getting you a job here in US (if there’s a vacancy, will the agency place you as in put you in that school or will it be your job to find placement for yourself)?
  • is my money worth it?
  • compare diffferent agency in terms of services that they will do for you and your money’s worth
  • check the visa (H1B vs J1).  I suggest, think of a long term.  Yung peace of mind na mabibigay sa yo ng H1B and your money outweighs J1- that’s the truth)

Hope this serves as a warning to those teachers who apply in agencies that can lead you nowhere.  The bottom line is to be wary, and do some research please…Huwag padalos-dalos dahil ikaw din ang maaaring matalo sa banding huli.

We also revisited Lingayen, my mom’s hometown. A rush of wonderful memories of many happy childhood summers came back as I toured the town’s plaza, capitol building, market, church, grandma’s resting place, and of course, our beloved Lingayen Gulf!

There you are, Lelong! Locating my maternal great grandfather’s name etched on a bronze plate (at right) on a Rizal monument in the Lingayen town plaza.

(Left) We took part in a good old-fashioned small town religious procession making its way around the plaza…

How much does it weigh? One of the old retired bells from Lingayen Church on display (right)…

At dusk, we strolled along the sprawling, well-kept Capitol grounds and admired Pangasinan’s pride: the elegant Capitol building with its American design, Commonwealth era neo-classical architecture at left.

Better lift those shorts, guys…Night strolling at Lingayen Gulf (right) and enjoying the salty cool breeze and the rhythmic sounds of the waves.

Good food and awesome brood…

Relatives welcomed us with open arms and warm smiles. At left, we were treated to a fantastic feast as we relived memories, went through photos, and updated each other with news regarding family.

Special thanks to Tita Dolly, Tita Nene, Malu and the rest of the clan! We had a blast! We hope to come back soon.  Next, we promise to revisit the ancestral house, pay respect to the rest of our brood and tour more of Pangasinan as well–Bolinao, Sual, and those secret white beaches you guys have been raving about. So excited already…

We stayed in Tita Dolly’s beautiful home in Alaminos.  And for the rest of the Holy Week, we spent it in various ways to amuse ourselves:

zzz…sleeping and snoringHUY, GISING NA!

Mani, ang daming mani…shelling and eating toasted peanuts by the bushel…

and rocking and swaying in a hammock…What can I say? I love lying in hammocks!

Tita Dolly lovingly took time in designing and constructing this Filipino zen-styled garden in front of her home (photos below). We love spending time here…a real refreshing and peaceful place that every home should have…

However, when Typhoon Cosme wreaked havoc all over Central and Northern Luzon, her beloved garden was badly damaged.  But no worries, my artistic and creative tita will rebuild it in no time.

…I also practiced my henna tattooing skills:

Is this “Pangasinan Ink?” Naaah! –its just toy henna that didn’t stain much–not the real thing. But it was fun though. At left is my version of a Scorpion henna.

At right, Levic proudly showcased his Fire Dragon…

Pchie’s Cross of Hearts…in honor of the Holy Week (left).

Doc’s Ethnic Dragon…versus Sis’ Fluttering Butterfly…(below):

…More revisiting in the next post…Part 3: Revisiting Beloved Pangasinan…

We spent Holy Week 2008 in Pangasinan. Most of the time, we spent it in Alaminos, the home of the Hundred Islands. It was a vacation well spent…

I’ve been to the Hundred Islands before but this is the first time I truly enjoyed it, being more adventurous and fearless now than I’ve ever been. At the Don Gonzalo Montemayor wharf, we chartered an outrigger motorized boat that could seat 10-12 people (I think we paid 1,500 pesos but you can haggle if you know how).

Picturesque emerald isles. We snorkeled and picnicked in and around some of the main islands (Quezon, Governor’s and Marcos).

The facilities were alright (although there was a funky smell at the Gov’s Island at that time), the heat was bearable and the tourists (and there were a good number of them) were tolerable. The Alaminos city government did a pretty good job in handling their local tourism industry.

Picnic at the beach (at left). Enjoying Pangasinan mangoes and burritos…and with a great view to boot!

Sizzle, sizzle!Ang init! The three beauties (Sis, Pchie and Paula) taking shelter from the summer heat (at right) in one of the main islands, Quezon island….

Sis and I with our “hermana mayor” for this memorable vacay: Dolly, our gorgeous tita (in the middle)! Galing, babalik kami!

Next post…Part 2: Revisiting Beloved Pangasinan!

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