prussian blue


I was born on a Bloomsday.

If you don’t know what Bloomsday means, I don’t either.

Just kidding.  joyce-ulysses-750-wraps-1000-300x294

Bloomsday is what fans of James Joyce’ novel, Ulysses have been calling this day, June 16, naming it after the story’s protagonist, Leopold Bloom.  The whole story takes place on that one day (1904 to be exact) in Dublin, Ireland–wherein Joyce made mention of  actual streets, bars, and shops. So every Bloomsday, Dubliners and Joyce fans celebrate the day by reliving the story, tracing Bloom’s steps as mentioned in the book and participating in Ulysses readings… and oh, yeah, by hitting the pubs and doing what they do best. 🙂

I admit I haven’t finished the book yet (I bookmarked one copy from gutenberg.org).  I dampamanaged to read a few pages so far… and you can’t blame me. Ulysses is described as one of the most difficult books to read;  and that reading it ‘would take a lifetime.’  If you’re interested about Bloomsday and how to read and appreciate the book, click on this interesting article.

Well, then… what about MY Bloomsday? I celebrated my birthday two days ahead.  We were all craving for seafood so we went to Dampa, Parañaque City.

The wet market in the Original Dampa (left).crabsbday

Aah… bday cravings: Fresh crabs, yeah!–expensive but worth it (right)

The place in Sucat is the original dampa— a place where you buy fresh seafood in the nearby wet market, choose an eatery, hand over the food you just bought to the cook or waiting staff and tell them your instructions on how to prepare it, wait for them to cook it, and if it’s done–eat! I’ve tried the other dampas that sprouted all over Manila and QC but the original is still the best– and probably still the cheapest.

Kay Susan Tayo!: We chose Zanvinz Grill Hauz (left). Aling Susan, the proprietress is the one who accommodated us.  We bought some liempo (pork spareribs) which she herself grilled for us.  And she even did some fortune telling while she was at it, too!

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Bday feast 2009: We also had calamares, shrimps in butter and garlic, spicy crabs. We had them placed in styropor containers and took them home. Yum! (above pix)

At work, I received gifts- a book, (Coraline!) and a gift card from Powerbooks (left).  Thanks, AGirls! I truly appreciated it!momwytroses

Then,  I also visited Mom on my birthday (Right)… June 16 maybe a truly fateful day for Leopold Bloom.  I guess it was for me, too. My mom (as well as her brother) passed away on a bloomsday, too.  I hoped she likes the white roses…

“Hold to the now, the here. Through which all future plunges to the past.” -Stephen Dedalus from Ulysses

What’s my birthday wish?… I do dream of traveling, and if I ever do get the chance to globe-trot in the future,  I will celebrate one fine bloomsday in Dublin — perhaps to partake of a gorgonzola sandwich and a glass of Burgundy at Davy Byrnes’ pub or maybe liver slices fried with crustcrumbs downed with a cold mug of Irish beer — before I kick the bucket. (=^.^)

Uh… yeah, ok.  And finish the book, too…

Here’s to more Bloomsdays ahead! ♪♫•*¨*•.¸\(✿^○^)/=3┌iiii┐ ¸.•*¨*•♫♪

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Finally…

I got what I wished for this Christmas: dvd copies of the complete seasons of my all-time favorite shows, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Sex and the City! Now I don’t have to scour all the markets and tiangges looking for these… I finally have them (I once bought dvd copies of SATC but they didn’t work–grrr!–while Buffy dvds can’t be found anywhere here)!  And I don’t have to wait up at nights to see the shows (Buffy is on AXN Beyond and SATC is on Velvet); and best of all–I can get to see them uncut and uncensored for the first time…

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ZJ in Cambodia: Thank you, thank you, my friend! I owe you, mare–that is, I owe you a UP Centennial tshirt and a Belle Du Jour 2009 planner.  As of this writing, they’re on their way to your hometown, hopefully to be received by your bro who will give them to you when he goes back to Cambodia… Oh, I do hope you get them! And thanks for the Angkor Wat keychains, too!

Now, for my next wish in my list…

1. Buffy DVDs

2. Sex and the City DVDs

3. Panasonic Lumix LX3

woo-hoo!

…and food seems to be everywhere.

This post is all about the holiday food I took pictures of–food served for the Christmas and birthdays parties (apparently, a lot of people were or are celebrating their birthdays in Dec.).  It’s ironic how your waist grows thicker while your wallet gets thinner during the holidays, huh?

As you can see by now, I like taking pictures of food.  I just want to document the glorious sight of food and give respect to people who take time, money and effort to cook and feed us by posting the fruits of their labors for posterity’s sake…and before they get gobbled up and flushed down into the sewers of oblivion…

Here are some of them…

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My company’s QC Christmas Party Dec. 19, 2008: The program was short and just right… and the food was superb, especially the hot salsa for the nachos–kudos to the Manang who solely conjured these up with her magic wand!

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Gone in 5 minutes: The Before and After shots of Mister Dan’s Christmas gift for us at work– home-cooked pancit bihon sa bilao which the A Girls and I literally devoured in minutes… sarap! The picture on the right is what we Pinoys call ‘sus-nagkahiyaan-pa!’ leftovers.

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The A Girls’ Christmas Eat-Out at TGI Friday’s, Dec. 18, 2008: The place was packed, tears were shed as we surprised each other with gifts, and the identities of our secret Monito-Monitas were revealed. But where’s the food? Funny how we forgot to take pictures of the food we ordered…we gobbled them all up as soon as the waiters set them on the table…

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Egg custards from Hong Kong courtesy of our jet-stter friend, bpc! Thanks… they were delish!

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Dec. 13 Birthday feast prepared by Sis for Levic… Busog! Burp!

So… time to shed those pounds gained, I guess… starting um, tomorrow… or the next day after that…or next year…hehe.

Thank you ZJ (sreisaat) for giving me this award last week.

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Sorry it took time for me to blog about it!  It is because… I don’t know how to react! Hahaha!

Of course, ZJ, you’re my BFF (and blog mentor)! And I really appreciate the award! Actually it is my first award or tag…

The reason for the delay is…I don’t have enough blogger friends (yet) to give it to– being a relatively new blogger who pretty much keeps to herself and has no time to go around the blogosphere (para magpakilala)…

So after some thought, I am giving this award to two of my (other) blogger friends (utang na lang muna yung isa pa):

Dusk Fading: Hers is one of the blogs I often visit and one of the nicest bloggers around (Kasi she replies or visits back– di tulad ng mga iba kong binisita in the past.  Bitter much? Hehe!) She’s also a teacher and a gifted writer. She’s soon to be a mom so i wish her (and her baby) good health and many wonderful blessings!!

Buhay Pinoy: I love history, that’s why I support BP’s photoblogs that show pictures about our culture–noon at ngayon.  I also love these ‘visual’ blogs for the fact that they don’t have words much (minsan nakakapagod din magbasa ng mga sinusulat ng mga sangkatutak na bloggers) but instead show beautiful and interesting pictures that the blogger took time to research and collect from others (so that you don’t have to). As they say, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” Buhay Pinoy is one of my blogging mentors, too, when it comes to putting up a photoblog (I have one… still in the works but it’s coming soon!). Thanks, BP!

And back to my friend ZJ whom i would like to thank for the kind words about me! A friend since college days, ZJ’s one of the earliest Pinoy bloggers around (since 2002?) that I know of and have encouraged me to blog for the longest time…  An adventurous traveler and talented photographer with a huge heart. And a true PINAY–strong, independent, and free-spirited! Cambodia (and Rob) is lucky to have her. PS… mare, ym ym na lang ha? hehe.

(My friend ,Ton wrote a moving piece, paying tribute to her dad, the sculptor, Ros Arcilla, Jr. right after he passed away last two years ago…I was moved by what she wrote and wished it could have been published in a major daily.  This may not be what I had in mind but at least somebody [probably an art major] who may want to research on current Filipino sculptors may hopefully find this information useful…With her permission, I am posting a copy of her In Memoriam for her dad. -SL)

In Memoriam:

Rosalio B. Arcilla, Jr.

May 1, 1939-July 24, 2006

By Fortune Arcilla-Concepcion

Rosalio Beltran Arcilla, Jr. was born on May 1, 1939 in Caramoan, Camarines Sur.  He was the fourth of nine children sired by Rosario Arcilla, Sr. and Trinidad Beltran.

At an early age, he was showing signs of artistic promise by moulding figures out of clay.  His grade school notebooks were filled drawings and sketches while his high school years provided him with the opportunity to showcase his talent through his school paper and by undertaking art projects for school plays as well as in town fiestas and special events.

Arcilla and Ninoy’s bust which now stands at the NAIA (photo via CRANE)

In 1960, he graduated at the University of the Philippines with a BFA, Major in Sculpture.  I remember him reminisce how he had been tempted to take up Fashion Design but was afraid, to my amusement, that he would turn into a bakla.  He knew a lot of designers then who were of the third sex.  And he was serious about it!  I still wonder, sometimes, how our life would have turned out had he pursued it.

Every time I dwell on my father’s youthful days, I cannot help but be proud of how a probinsyano like him had the guts to brave the jungles of Manila.  He used to regale me with details of how, to earn extra money and keep up with his rich friends, he would write stories and illustrate for Extra, Sampaguita, and Family Komiks.  It gave him unending pleasure writing and drawing for these publications and getting paid for it at the same time.

When I look back on his accomplishments, I know these pages are not enough to cover the breadth and depth of them, nor can I capture my father’s spirit or his inspirations for those wonderful pieces of art he created.  My recollections are only glimpses of his genius, although I can say authoritatively that his foremost inspirations centered on love, family and parenthood.  I guess it was his way of paying homage to his parents and expressing his love for us, his family, that he rendered these themes over and over again in countless sculptures.

I remember all of the projects he had undertaken while I was growing up.  The bronze sculpture of a lady with a jar in her arms that was privately commissioned by Skyland Plaza in Makati; the 8-foot tall figures of Handiong and Daragang Magayon from Bicol’s myths and legends and now standing in the provincial capitol of Camarines Sur; the Bonifacio Monument in the old PNR site that took years to build and many more years to be fully paid by the government.  I also recall with much clarity how I envied him for having gone to Paris to study at the Ecole de Beaux Arts and to travel to nearby European cities to visit museums and artists’ studios.  I used to pore over the pictures of his stay in the City of Lights.  I can still see in my mind that picture of him at the airport looking so groomed and cosmopolitan, every inch the artist.  We were witnesses to these moments of triumph and success but were never privy to plans that fell through or projects that never materialized. He felt that he did not have to share those with us.

Arcilla’s 18 foot high bronze sculptural relief, Bonifacio and the Katipunan’s Initiation Rites in Tondo (picture via Traveler On Foot)

There are certain memories that stand out vividly in my mind when I think of my dad.  My earliest, fondest memory was of riding in circles in a slightly rusty tricycle in our garage when I was five.  My dad was working with clay, surrounded by his various tools and humming smartly while he molded and shaped his medium.  He had a look of deep concentration and satisfaction on his face that only kids who are hard at work playing can understand.  Now that I dwell on it, I am thankful to have this wonderful image of my father, the artist, at work.

I recall his endless sermons that I had to “endure” while growing up.  There was one time when he was mad at something my brothers, sisters and I did.  I do not recall exactly what but I distinctly remember sitting in a circle with them while my dad launched into his hour-long lecture on proper behavior.  I also remember thinking that, to make up for my part in the misdeed, I would sit there and listen no matter how long his sermon took.  The others, sly foxes that they are, had quietly slipped out one by one, unnoticed by either of us.  Yes, I did miss an hour-long, lecture-free play time they so thoroughly enjoyed but I am glad I stayed.  I learned a lot from him.  About how we must always be respectful of others, especially our elders; how our deportment must always be above reproach as all of our actions are a reflection of our parents; how I must strive to be independent so that in the event that I get married to the wrong man, he will never be able to drive me out of the house (he suggested I should be the one to do it); and how I must never allow anyone to take away my kumpyansa.

Arcilla’s sculpture, “Family” in Changchun City in China (photo via CCFAO)

I remember so well how he loved telling ghost stories on stormy nights when electricity was out.  How he always insisted that the entire household pray the Rosary together every Friday evening.  He loved to hear us recite the prayers and have a special after-Rosary “snack.”  It did not matter that it was bicho-bicho, pulvorones or ice cream so long as we kids had something to look forward to.  I also recall feeling special to be assigned to memorize and recite the prayer of St. Francis at the end of the recitation of the Rosary.  Dad, do you remember?

Peace Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace

Where there is hatred, let me sow love;

Where there is injury, pardon;

Where there is doubt, faith;

Where there is despair, hope;

Where there is darkness, light;

And where there is sadness, joy.

Grant that I may not so much seek

To be consoled as to console;

To be understood as to understand;

To be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive,

It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,

And it is in dying that we born to eternal life.

Dad, this prayer has not been something to recite so much as a guide to life that I know you tried to lead, the life that I also follow and the things I seek to teach my children.  They may not have met you but I will make sure they never forget their grandfather’s gentleness, generosity of spirit and love that continue to touch and sustain us.  We will miss you so much but are comforted in the knowledge that you are now resting in God’s arms.

You have always been our source of strength and inspiration.  I will be miss seeing you draw, of our reading newspapers together very morning, of listening to oldies music each and every Sunday, watching you dote on and enjoy your grandchildren.  I will hold these memories forever in my heart.  You may rest in peace knowing you did your best, both in your personal and professional life.  I love you, Daddy.

Thank you to all of you who paid respect and remembered my father.  To you whose life he touched with his art, his boundless generosity and his unquestioning loyalty, may you be inspired to live your life fully as he did and may you find full expression of spirit as he was able to do with his art. –Ton Arcilla-Concepcion (August, 2006)

These are just more snapshots of what i saw and experienced in Indonesia–the art, culture, and some crazy moments:

Art, Koi, and Rain

…A country should take pride in its identity and culture. One way of doing this is to put up public statues, sculptures, and monuments that best speak of its history and heritage. And these should also be of fine quality and elegant taste, as well. Statues in Indonesia are everywhere from national symbolism to religious purposes. Left: An elegant neoclassical equestrian statue of their national hero, Javanese Prince Diponegoro at Monas Park.  Middle: a beautiful life-size statue of Hindu/Balinese Goddess Saraswati at the entrance of Rumah Mode.  Left: another life-size sculpture of a Hindu Goddess at the lobby of Hotel Panorama Lembang.

Artworks at the Art Market in Bay City. (Left) East meets West: a wooden statue of the Balinese mythological diety, Garuda, alongside Christianity’s Pieta; (Right) Indonesian artists depicting their way of life–from folk dances to everyday scenes of crowded trains.

(Left) I was thrilled to see lots of koi fishes in Bandung, in public parks and fountains.  Kung dito yan, ninakaw ko na sila! hehe.  (Right) Rain is also consistent, much to our chagrin.

….I like the details and elements that I see…even if they are just for decor, it speaks volumes about one’s culture and taste. (Left) Cute Keisja posing with a sign by the restroom at the hotel.  (Middle) Washing area at Rumah Mode. (Right)A ‘bilao’ slash light fixture.

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The Language

Bahasa sounds like Ilocano (that’s according to Ly who has been living there for two years and has acquired a fairly wide Bahasa vocabulary by now) because there are a lot of ‘J’ consonant sounds in the language.  She says it is easy to learn because we share the same Malay root words with them like: bunga means ‘flower;’ sakit means ‘sick’ and ‘timbangan’ (as the sign says on the left in a supermarket) means… ‘timbangan’ .

But of course, when out shopping in factory outlets (right), all you need to know is “Berapa harganya?” (Magkano?); “Mahal!” (Mahal!); “Mura!” (Mura!); “Boler tawar?” (puede tawad pa?) and my favorite: “Gratis!” (Free/Give-away!)

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Joblogs: Kalokohang Pinoy

Lighten up! Being too serious all the time can be bad for the health…So here comes the naughty part! Haha! I swear, all these things I found in Indonesia…this is only funny just for Pinoys…

(Left) Yummy “Pok__” Chicken Nuggets was our first meal.  Try it…you’ll like it!  (Middle) How about Pocky, you like?  It’s widely available in supermarkets….  (Right) What’s in a name? Find out this local celebrity’s name…just click on the pic and see.  😆

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Acknowledgments

Closing this series of posts on Indonesia (finally, tapos na po)…I can’t thank all my friends enough who were with me during this Indo vacay. Kung wala kayo naligaw siguro kami (jok!) …Kaya heto pa muli ang aking taus-pusong pasasalamat:

Ly and Ros: Thank you for taking time out from your busy schedule to accommodate us.  You were all great and generous.  Your kindness and concern meant so much to us.  I hope you guys will live a full life and may God guide and bless the both of you where ever you guys go.

Den: Thanks for bearing with me during this trip.  I know that being with me 24/7 for one week requires patience and understanding.  You’re a great companion and friend.

Donna, Vince, Shem and Keisja: A wonderful family like yours deserve all the blessings in the world! Thank you for ‘adopting’ us for a short while…and for spoiling us rotten.  We don’t deserve it but we are forever indebted…

Terimah kasi…Godpeace…lovyaz!

My former co-teachers held a reunion get-together last week.  It was because Charles was back from NY!  He’s the only one with the uncanny, fisherman-like ability to reel us all in– no matter which direction we’re coming from and from whatever hole we’ve dug ourselves in.

There are unsaid rules when we get together:  (1) No one should mention anything that deals with age and weight (a MUST!);  (2) No more mention of bad times…just the good times; (3) And no talking about our own personal issues and stuff that are deemed uncomfortable…except pertaining to the ones who were absent.  Kaya kung ikaw ay kabilang sa grupo namin at di ka nakadalo…Hala ka! Malamang pinag-usapan ka namin! 😛 Kaya ‘wag nang mag-aabsent next time!

Also present were Rose, Mama E., Del, Grech, Liza, Bel, Myra, Jenny, Joy and me.  We all came from this wonderful school called tlc.  The reason I’m mentioning the name is because I am hopeful that people we know from this same school could stumble upon this post by any chance that they decide to google it.  We would love to hear from them, especially from our former students, where they are now, what jobs some of them have…oh, yes! We’re that old…yikes (sabi nang walang banggitan ng edad e! 😡 ).

Here are some of the kadramahan that took place 😉 :

Of course, labasan na ng pictures ng mga anakis: Bel showing off her pics of her cutey brood.Tatlo na po!

Joy B, now Mrs. T, taking her young Baby Snooky look-alike daughter for us to meet and to marvel at!

Oh, my! Is this Del’s youngest? It IS!…It’s Ella, now all grown-up–slim and pretty!

What did we talk about?  We talked about how things have changed for the last…what? eight to ten years?…The kids of today, their attitudes, the mores, how technology seemed to affect everything that we do…

We also talked about how things HAVEN’T changed at all…teacher issues, the educational system and the ineptness of it all.

We talked about a former student of ours who is now in a certain TV show that has something to do with a ‘dream’ and an ‘academy.’

We talked about experiences of a Filipino teacher in the states (Charlie); well-kept secrets (Liza and Charlie’s), and current love lives (and still, of course, Charlie’s).  Charles’ in charge of everything, naturally…And we love him for it!  His life is a complete fruition of his dreams and I always find inspiration in his love for work, his focused determination and go-getter attitude in making all his dreams come true. 🙂

In a way, we all have changed and at the same time, haven’t changed.  We may be older yet wiser…more at peace and generally happier.  But what we had created as a group, as a unit in tlc, it’s still there…THAT will never vanish, wherever we go and whatever path we take.  Kahit saang school kami mapadpad at kahit saang panig ng mundo, yung samahan sa batch naming teachers sa tlc ay kakaiba, wala siyang katulad.  This is the thing that binds us.  And I’m lucky I was a part of this group, and always will be.

Keeping in touch: updating our email addresses (left) so as to maintain friendships and to further strengthen the bonds…

Here are some more photos from the reunion (slideshow via rockyou.com-this site totally rocks!)…hope you like it!

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