Category Archives: Uncategorized

A Little Help For The Environment

Photo by Yan Krukau on

I received an email long ago. It encouraged readers to collect the seeds from the fruits they ate. Then scatter the seeds on vacant lots. When the rains come some of the seeds would grow and pretty soon vacant lots would be planted with fruit-bearing trees. The email specified fruit trees but come to think of it, the seeds could be of other types of plants like flowering plants. The advantage of planting fruit trees is we get to have food too. I forwarded that email to my friends as requested in the email.

I started collecting fruit seeds from oranges, caimito, and papaya. There were a few apple seeds but I know apples need to be tended in Philipine climate. I scattered them this morning on vacant lots when I did my early morning walk. The rainy season is starting so I think it’s a good time to plant.

I hope to see fruit trees in the future .

Photo by Tim Mossholder on


The virus that gave me chicken pox when I was in Grade 1 resurrected to haunt me after decades of hibernation. I now have shingles and once again experiencing the truth of what Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote , that “The first wealth is health”. It’s so true not only in terms of money but also in quality of life The phrase Health is Wealth has become the most given and heeded advice.

Health is Wealth

Being sick costs money.

Initially, there were just two itchy tiny spots on my left little finger. I ignored them thinking that the itch was temporary. Indeed it was, because after 2 days, the itch was replaced by a tinge of pain. Then the itchy spots started to develop as blisters. So I decided to see a Dermatologist. At first glance she knew that it wasn’t allergy, as I thought, but shingles. I had to buy the prescribed medicine.

Being sick prevents us from doing our means of livelihood

This is not true for me because I’m retired. But for those in the workforce or business, they will have to stay home to recuperate. There’s an option to work from home, but if you’re not feeling well, that option is also taken away.

Being sick prevents us from doing what we love

I’m up and about, there are no prohibited food or activities. Thank God , I have consulted a doctor as soon as I could, my rashes are confined to my left hand. And the pain I experienced was bearable unlike the pain experienced by others, based on anecdotes from friends and on my search. But I refrain from using my left hand so my activities are somehow limited. I stay home so as not to infect those who haven’t been infected by the chicken pox virus. Those with shingles can not infect others to have shingles, but can give chickenpox to those who have not been infected by chickenpox.

Being sick prevents us from meeting family and friends

For the same reasons as above, in order not to infect anyone, I opted not to attend the birthday lunch of my nephew.

The best of health is indeed wealth.

Prevention is Better than Cure

We also know prevention is better than cure. But then , I try to live healthy as much as possible. I don’t eat junk food, I exercise albeit moderately, I eat fish and vegetables generally though I eat anything in case of gatherings or dining out with family or friends. Sickness still happens despite our efforts. Still, it pays to take care of our health because it probably was the reason or one of the reasons why my shingles wasn’t so severe.

Thanks There’s a Cure

I’m thankful there’s a cure. If our effort at prevention fails, there are medications, drugs to cure us or alleviate our condition.

Health is Balance

Perhaps avoiding fatty foods meant that I wasn’t absorbing the fat soluble vitamins . Perhaps I had more activities this month than my usual. We had our alumni homecoming in February and in the succeeding months my friends and I had more activities. Perhaps as we grow older it becomes more and more difficult to remain fit.

My take away from this experience is to be more conscious of balance. I try to have a more balanced food intake rather than strictly avoiding a set of food groups. We need different nutrients for different body functions.

I allow my body to recover if I had strenuous activities and alternate my exercise routines.

Visita Iglesia in Metro Manila

From Wikipedia:

The Seven Churches Visitation is a Christian, especially Roman Catholic, Lenten tradition to visit seven churches on the evening of Maundy Thursday. Following the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, the Blessed Sacrament is placed on the Altar of Repose in the church for Adoration. During the Seven Churches Visitation, the faithful visit several churches – traditionally seven, very rarely fourteen, sometimes no set number depending upon the particular practice – to pray before the Blessed Sacrament in each church. The Seven Churches Visitation has been done in an ecumenical context, involving Christians of the CatholicMethodistEpiscopalAglipayan, and Salvationist traditions, among others.

This year , my friends and I visited 7 churches in Metro Manila.

From Wikipedia

Redemptorist Church Also Known As Baclaran Church

Sta. Clara De Montefalco

From St. Scholastica’s College site

From Lirio Magsino -Carla’s album

St. Scholastica


From Lirio Magsino -Carla’s album

Saint Prancratius Church Better Known As Paco Park/Cemetery

From Lirio Magsino -Carla’s album

San Fernando De Dilao Better Known As Paco Church

Phil. Travel Notes

(1.) Loreto Church and (2) St. Anthony Also Known As The Twin Churches of Sampaloc

Lenten Traditions in the Philippines

Lenten Schedule 2023 at National Shrine of Mary Help of Christians

Lent is a 40-day special season in the Catholic and other Christian calendars, which is marked by prayer, fasting, abstinence, and almsgiving.

It begins on Ash Wednesday when ashes are dabbed on the foreheads of the faithful, as a reminder that all of us come from dust and to dust we shall return.

Lent is the solemn Christian religious season in the liturgical year commemorating the 40 days Jesus Christ spent fasting in the wilderness and enduring temptation by Satan, according to the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, before beginning his public ministry . Lent asks believers to set aside a time each year for similar fasting , reflection and prayers, marking an intentional season of focus on Christ’s life, ministry, sacrifice, and resurrection.

The Lenten Schedule for 2023 at the National Shrine of mary Help of Chrisitians summarizes the continuing church traditions during Lent.

Imposition of Ash

From Freepik

Lent starts on Ash Wednesday when Catholics and many other Christians have ashes applied on their foreheads in the shape of a cross which symbolize penance, mourning and mortality. Ashes are made from burning old palaspas or palms from previous Palm Sundays. People wear the ashes throughout the day to publicly express their faith and penance.

It is applied by a priest during the mass saying : “Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return.” Many choose to keep it on all day.


From Philippine News Agency

Palm Sunday, also called Passion Sunday, is the final Sunday of Lent and the start of the Holy Week. It is the day when the faithful remember and celebrate the triumphant arrival of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem as Savior and King. In the Philippines, Filipinos visit the church to attend the Palm Sunday Mass and also have their woven palm fronds or palapas blessed by the priest. Waving palm leaves upon the priest’s entry to the church is a customary practice and a reenactment of Jesus’s entry to Jerusalem.


Pangilin/pangingilin is often translated as abstinence, fasting and sacrifice (as found in the internet). In our family and my hometown in Southern Tagalog,  pangilin/pangingilin  means keeping the holy days holy which may involve abstinence, fasting , sacrifice, praying or simply being quiet, reflecting on the passion of Christ , of faith. It is deference or respect borne of faith. ( See my post Pangilin for the complete write-up)


As part of remembering the sacrifices that Jesus did for mankind, the Catholic Church observes the discipline of fasting and abstinence on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. In addition , Fridays during Lent are days of abstinence. People abstain from eating meat specifically or fast from food in general. The Church defines this as “one meal a day, and two smaller meals which if added together would not exceed the main meal in quantity.”


From GMA News

This is a Filipino tradition that refers to activities undertaken for penance. seen during Holy Week, like self-flagellation and other physical sufferings . Self-flagellation is discouraged by the church but some devotees still do it. In modern times, penitence can take the form of abstaining from some activities like gossiping, social media, going to the movies , etc.


via Libre

During Holy Week in the Philippines, devout Catholics read the Pasyon either individually or in a community or group called the “pabasa” by constantly chanting the “Pasyong Mahal,” a 16th-century epic poem narrating the life, passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus. ( See also my related post Pabasa Ng Pasyon sa New York)

‘Visita Iglesia’ 

The Seven Churches Visitation or commonly known as “Visita Iglesia” is a Lenten tradition that dates back to the 1500s. Considered to be one of the most common practices when remembering Christ’s passion, Filipino Catholics visit seven churches on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday.

Way Of The Cross

From National Shrine of Mary Help of Christians

The Way of the Cross , also called Stations of the Cross is a traditional devotion in honor of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.

The Way of the Cross or Stations of the Cross consist of a series of 14 stations/events in the Passion of Christ as follows: (1) Jesus is condemned to death, (2) he is made to bear his cross, (3) he falls the first time, (4) he meets his mother, (5) Simon of Cyrene is made to bear the cross, (6) Veronica wipes Jesus’ face, (7) he falls the second time, (8) the women of Jerusalem weep over Jesus, (9) he falls the third time, (10) he is stripped of his garments, (11) he is nailed to the cross, (12) he dies on the cross, (13) he is taken down from the cross, and (14) he is placed in the tomb.


From Phili.Daily Inquirer

Senakulo was derived from the Spanish word cenáculo which means the “place where Jesus Christ celebrated the Last Supper with his disciples.” In the Philippines, it’s already part of the Lenten tradition to stage a Senakulo, a play depicting the life and passion of Jesus Christ.


From Herencia Lipena

Processions are held on Holy Wednesday and Good Friday. The Santo Entierro followed by the Mater Dolorosa procession concludes the activities for Good Friday. 

Pagbabasbas Ng Apoy on Black Saturday

From Star

The Easter vigil begins with the Tribute to the Light. This is done in a place outside the church. A fire is lit and from its fire the Paschal Candle or Cirio Pascual is lit. The priest will bless the fire. This fire will be the source of flame for the candles brought by mass attendees as everyone entered the church.

For some Filipino churches, it is customary to turn off the lights until the singing of Glory to God, because according to the old tradition, the lights will not be lit while the Old Testament is being read – since Christ is not yet there. Then lights are turned on when Easter is proclaimed.

“Salubong” on Easter Sunday Morning

From GMA Network

Salubong is one of the most common religious traditions in the Philippines that happens during the early morning , around 5 a.m. of Easter Sunday. In two separate processions, men carry the statue of the Christ while women accompany the image of sorrowful Mary that is covered in a black mourning dress. The said ritual depicts the reunion of the risen Christ with his mother. A child dressed as an angel is usually part of the scene when the two statues meet.

Easter Day Celebration

From Freepik

People go to church, hear mass, the family gather for lunch or lunch out. Businesses have brought the Easter egg custom but after the kids participate in the hunt, the family get together, not the grand reunions usually held during the Christmas season but usually of the immediate family.

World Water Day 2023

Today is World Water Day. The global campaign “Be the change” encourages people to take action in their lives to change how they use, consume and manage water. The United Nations recommends the following action items:

In addition to the above , we can do any or all of the following:

Collect rain water – this can be very organized with water collected from spouts leading to water tanks/reservoirs for storage. This can be as simple as having drums under your roof spouts or just putting buckets out while raining . Also we can put potted plants out in the rain when it’s raining.

Recycle – last rinse from washing /laundering can be reused for washing cars, or cleaning floors.

Dispose garbage mindfully and responsibly– garbage should be disposed of through proper channels lest they end up clogging and polluting waterways. The UN recommended action item regarding food wastes is not to put them down the toilet or drains. Kitchen wastes like fruits and vegetables peels can be composted

Help in promoting water conservation awareness – we can start with our household, our actions will speak for us. We can use our social media accounts to reach more people.

As the United Nations say , “Water affects everyone, so we need everyone to take action”.


I’m so grateful for feeling grateful this morning.

Gratitude can be intentionally practiced but sometimes it just wells up in us and fills us with joy. I woke up with such feeling this morning. I felt grateful for things I usually took for granted, like waking up refreshed, having the health to take an early morning walk and appreciating the early morning air. December to February are the best months in the Philippines, the weather is cool , not too much sunshine and without rains.

As stated in positive psychology:

Gratitude turns what little you have into abundance.

Gratitude changes your perspective of your world.

Gratitude is so much more than saying thank you.

Gratitude turns what little you have into abundance.

Our village/subdivision is a simple one but I appreciate that it’s quiet and peaceful. It’s a friendly neighborhood.

Gratitude changes your perspective of your world.

I’m usually not pleased with vacant lots which are left untended by their owners. But this morning, I noticed that there’s a papaya tree growing with blossoms. I thought the overgrown grass must be giving off some oxygen to refresh the atmosphere. And some weeds have pretty little flowers.

I like our village to be a residential place and I was uncomfortable when a little market place developed just a few blocks away. Now, I appreciate that the fruit stand is within walking distance. The small grocery store served us well during the pandemic.

Gratitude is so much more than saying thank you. Yes, it’s so much more and it’s true when we say,” I’m so thankful more than I can ever put into words”.

Gratitude fills our hearts with joy to overflowing that we want to share it with others . I’d like to share it with you via this post.

A True Love Story

From Birds and Plants of Washington Sycip Park

I heard the loud chirping of two maria capras in our garden. I opened our sliding door to see what’s happening. The birds would usually fly away at the slightest sound of the door opening. It’s a glass door and sometimes they get sight of me even before opening the door and fly away. But this time the two birds stayed. They were on the pebbles on the ground skipping and chirping , flying a little, then landing on the pebbles again. Even if I had fully opened the door they wouldn’t leave. It was then that I saw a little, young bird trying to fly. The two adult birds would come near it and fly a little. They wouldn’t leave the little one behind. I, too, couldn’t leave, I have cats that usually walk around the garden. I wanted to take a picture and capture the heartwarming moment but I dared not leave because the cats might come and hurt them.

Finally , the little bird was able to hop and fly to safety and then they were gone. But the heartwarming show of love stayed with me.

Minimal Minimalism

Minimalism has gained popularity and got me interested. It blends well with environmental consciousness.

I do have minimalist characteristics.

I don’t like multiple frames on a wall. Some of my walls are bare.

My home decors are simple like for Christmas I only have the Belen/Manger and my litte live Christmas tree as I posted here I do have a Santa Claus when my young nephews and nieces are coming over but they have celebrated in the province since the pandemic.

I only have one TV unlike my friends who have a TV in the family room and another in their bedroom.

I avoid multiple items and generally buy replacements only or items I do not yet have.

But there are minimalist characteristics that I don’t have or practice.

I still can’t let go of items with sentimental value to me easily. Like our antique furniture. It’s not really that functional and I suppose minimalists would have sold or given it away. But it had been with our family for more than 70 years. I only have 2 pieces which were brought here because they have to be repaired and there were no good restorers in the province. The oval table and other chairs are in our ancestral home in the province. I also keep some greeting cards from that time , long ago , when sending cards was the way to greet and express our feelings. I still have old postcards when pictures of places we went to were shared via mail instead of emails and social media.

I keep my mini library. I’ve given away the textbooks I used in school for the younger generations to use, but I’m keeping the rest. It’s just a mini collection so it’s not a big violation of the minimalist code I suppose.

Minimalists advocate having a few items in our wardrobe, the more similar the better. I’m not ready to have uniform-like clothes, though I buy more mindfully.

I haven’t emptied my closet or given away half its contents. I’d like to make sure that items will find a new home as I’ve written in Mindful Discarding . I also think that discarding for the sake of decluttering might not help if the items will be discarded mindlessly and end up as garbage and be an environmental concern.

Minimalism is a continuum. The extreme ones are the ascetics which live with bare essentials. I still think I’m practicing minimalism even if I’m at the other end of the continuum. I’m a minimal minimalist.

Kiong Hee Huat Tsai!

From freepik

I’ve read that Kiong Hee Huat Tsai is Hokkien which most Filipino-Chinese or Chinoys as we call them are more adept at speaking so am using it to greet everyone Happy Lunar New Year!

From GMA News Online it is said – Tracing their roots to Fujian in Southern China, most Filipino-Chinese are more adept at speaking Hokkien than Cantonese so you might want to consider and add “Kiong Hee Huat Tsai” to the list of popular greetings.

It’s another new year, another chance for a fresh start. But then, every new day can be a fresh start for all of us. Let’s embrace it !

Kiong Hee Huat Tsai!