Thursday, August 28, 2008


One day, when my daughter was about 6 years old, she peeked inside a Catholic church and asked me, somewhat regretfully, "Mommy, why do the Catholics have all the beautiful churches?" By then she had attended some Catholic weddings in some of the country's oldest churches. But even the new ones had a lot to offer to a child's imagination.

I could identify. I was born a Catholic but am now a Christian. But as a child, there was so much to be astounded at in church. in those days old women still wore lace veils and I found them to be beautiful and couldn't wait to wear one. The rosaries came in lovely glass beads of different colors and seemed like necklaces. The statues, the angels with the holy water, and the lovely cool dip of the water on my face and lips whenever I first entered feeling like I was touching something magical.

Some things I could never quite take to, however. Like statues in boxes where the boxes were sometimes taken down the road for processions. Never really was my style. And i didn't like suffering statues, except sometimes when I felt I should somehow have a vicarious sentiment or two. But the lady in blue, oh she could be depicted in lovely ways. And I liked the candles you lit for people, though I never really felt anything much deep inside.
Now the high arched ceilings, that i really liked. personal taste, i suppose and it just roused my imagination to see steeples. but other than all these, the church was a place to spend one very boring hour, feeling quite sleepy and hungry because especially if you planned to take communion you weren't supposed to eat more than one hour before. The confessionals were nice, cozy and suitably fitting for one. But talking to the priest was not always great. I often wished I could be the priest and hear everyone's secrets instead.
When we went to Rome, Mom made sure we visited all the most important churches there. I particularly remember two things: St. Peter's Basilica, because I liked the pond outside where you tossed coins and fed the pigeons in the plaza. And the feet of Christ, imprinted on a cobbled floor outside and also inside a church. I actually thought they were really the feet. My brother said the feet were flat footed. which would be okay, as I am too.

But the ritual, though it had a calming effect, never really touched my heart. In due time I realized that what really mattered was having a personal relatioship with Christ, and with having an awareness of his presence in all details, both large and small, of our lives. Christ was not limited to a church, a church was a building. Christ is everywhere we are. So my most engaging prayer times have been outdoors, in a garden like this, beside the church in our village.

But one good thing about the Catholic churches is that they preserved the works of some of the greatest artists of our time. Da Vinci, Botticeli, El Greco, Raphael, Rubens, et al. These were starving artists, but the church kept their work going because the church had the money to pay them. And they were also a way of drawing the people into the church. You had to have a showcase to make people want to come in and pray. and so these wonderful artworks of history are preserved and the artists had an outlet, thanks to the Catholic Church.

Our churches don't have statuary, but we do have screens, and we have multi media effects, songs, bands, and all sorts of modern things. I guess, the modern equivalent of the artists of the days of old. I can sit in service for two hours and I will not be bored. Never bored.

Yesterday I went to Rockwell, and found something interesting, a Catholic chapel in a mall. Well, that struck me -- Christian churches were usually the ones renting space in a mall, or renting restaurants on Sundays to hold service. But here was a real Catholic chapel.
And as I went in, I saw something else quite interesting -- a monitor, so that those who could not see the priest close up could view him from the monitor.
There was a time that Catholic services were quite solemn, you weren't supposed to sing and it had to be in Latin. Now services are in English or any language, and there are lots of modern gospel songs being sung. And these days, it seems, they have entered the malls and are exhibiting the beginnings of going multi media.
Good for them. I notice too that more emphasis is being placed on the personal relationship that is necessary in a renewed Christian's life. And it seems they are beginning to go through the Bible more. Which is very good. My daughter is studying at a Catholic school with a Catholic Bible class, and she is surprised at how unfamiliar her classmates are with the Bible. She had been learning it since grade school.

What's important is that God really relates to us in so many different ways. There are Catholics who have become protestants, there are protestants who have become Catholics. I just hope that in whatever way you choose to worship, what is essential -- the personal relationship -- has become a strong bond that is never broken by anyone or anything.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Poor George

Poor George. He lives across the street, and is tied to a short chain most of the day and night. He is supposed to be a guard dog, in a very secure village....How could anyone not notice George? He was always barking not to protect the house, but because he was angry and mean and his tail was always down. who wouldn't be mad if one were treated like that? So one night I threw biscuits at him and he ate them. His tail was still down, but he liked the dog biscuits.
The next day I noticed he was watching our car as we drove in late at night. I knew he had recognized me. As I threw him more biscuits, I noticed he would sit down, as if to show me that though cautious, he thought I was not a bad human. My goal was to make George's tail go up. And in due time, it did.
George is friendly to me now, but he's not a happy dog. Askals make great guard dogs but that doesn't mean you have to tie them up all the time to make them scarier. They will protect you because they love you. At least, that's my askal philosophy.
I wish there were a happy ending to this. I wish the owners would let George run around their spacious garden. I wish they would regard him more as a pet, and then they would benefit from the amazing love that you can get when an askal is grateful. It's worth all the supposed protection you would have otherwise gotten from the dog in the first place.

Monday, August 18, 2008

THANKS MADZ! For sending me this bear and this poem:

We need friends for many reasons,
all throughout the season.
We need friends to comfort us
when we are sad,
and to have fun with us when we are glad.

We need friends to give us good advice,
We need someone we can count on,
and treat us nice.

We need friends to remember us
one we have passed
sharing memories that will always last.

Spread the poem of friendship.

Now, I am passing this on to my these bloggers who have become my really good friends:

Stephaneeeee(: , Maoricia's Mind , Life at a glance , and wonderfull greenscape . I have made lots of wonderful friends through blogland, but i find that if i keep giving the same ones the award they might get tired of all know who you are:)

Thank you Mango - Bango

I am rich. I can blog forever. Because Mango has given me this wonderful Visa Gold Card!!!!! I would like to pass this on to the ff: Crazed Mom , THE ZOO , Madz , and Lana Baker :)

Friday, August 15, 2008

6 Quirks

Very well, Blue has tagged me to play 6 quirks. They are the ff:

1. I once had white socks that kept getting holes, and i kept sewing the holes with different threads waiting for them to eventually become multicolored socks.

2. Everytime my daughter comes home from a date i jokingly pretend she's a robber and before opening the door yell out as a warning, "I have dogs!"

3. I watch TV while lying in bed.

4. I kill cockroaches with alcohol.

5. i once tortured fleas by scotch taping them to a table and watching them die slowly at an average of 3 days of struggle.

6. I am very shy.

I would like to pass this quirk game to: , In My Heart Forever , Mango the Maltese kiddo , Compass Pointe, Stephaneeeee(: , and

the above must also list down six quirks, and then pass the quirk game to 6 others:)

cheers to the normal people of the blogosphere....

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Of Poems and Possibilities

When my sister Terrie writes notes, I often see the possibility of a poem. For example, she wrote me the following:

"you know, despite all the weeds ... my flowers still bring on a lovely show. my Black-Eyed Susans are in full swing,as well as my Ruby Red Four-o-clocks, then thereis my Sunshine Yellow Yarrows and with that all my Pure WhiteShasta Daisies! I just love nature! I'm just itching to get my hands in her warm soil, and clear it of all those pesky weeds!"

And rearranging the words, I came up with this ditty:

Black-Eyed Susans in full swing,
Ruby Red Four-o-clocks in due time
Sunshine Yellow Yarrows, wheelbarrow
Pure White....delight!
Shasta Daisies!
Weeds -- marijuana wanna

Oftentimes we don't see the poetry within us....

Friday, August 8, 2008

The Tragic Life of MizFortune

Once upon a time there was a woman in red named MizFortune who led a very tragic life.
In fact, her life was very, very tragic indeed.

MizFortune had a daughter named Glee.

Glee was worried about MizFortune.

"Just smile mommy, and you'll feel better. Like this," Glee said.

MizFortune tried her best.
All the millions of concerned people and creatures of the universe looked on, concerned. Would it work?

MizFortune tried again, and again.

The people and creatures of the universe were hopeful, but felt they were in the dark as to what the future would bring.

"Mommy, try smiling this way," Glee suggested.

So MizFortune tried.

And tried.

But Glee was not satisfied. "Mommy, let's just go to the beauty parlor," she said.

"It'll work, you'll see."

MizFortune put on a red scarf and had a new haircut, but still felt unwell. She called her hubby, Mr. Fortune. He said, "You got it all wrong. Your are not MizFortune. You are Mrs. Fortune".

So, THAT was the problem. And Mrs. Fortune felt better already.
Special thanks to the cast of characters:
Oda Torres
Yoly Dasmarinas
Jeff Nemenzo
Jorge Ogalesco
and 2 actors who are too embarassed to want to be acknowledged.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Butts and Tails

It is not the kind of park you bring the children to, but it was good enough for our "children", our 3 dogs who can understand uncut grass and a little mud and some mosquitoes. And it was perfect for us because there is just one gate, kept closed, so the dogs can run free. As a result, we ended up with a lot of pictures of butts and tails.
And then there was the occasional speed shot, like this one. Dogs make dificult models...
LuckyHappy is an old dog, but he could not believe this wonderful, magical, wilderness.
But sometimes we had to take a rest. So my buff guy Ed and LuckyHappy sat on a bench to catch their breath.
I got an exceptionally good pose this time, worked hard for it.
Winniechurchill was fascinated with everything, and most of all, overjoyed with the freedom to roam around.
AshleyPumpernickel blends with the mud. LuckyHappy is held back by el Buff.
And here you have it, 3 butts and tails, all pleasantly curled upwards.
Then it became 2 butts and tails.
The sideward views were nice, too. I think next time we do this, I won't let them wear clothes.

LuckyHappy sat down to rest, but still looked around. Those are Ed's shoes.
That's right boy, catch your breath.
Saw this fantastic tree, and tried to capture it but was not quite satisfied.
So here it is, vertical.
That's WinnieChurchill. The entire trip was just 5 minutes away, but by the time we were done, both Ed and I needed a muscle relaxant. Because getting 3 dogs into the car is no joke. They get so excited and Ed keeps worrying they'll pee in the car or something. At the park, Ed kept worrying they wouldn't come back when i set them free. The park itself was rather large and unkempt. But it did its job well, at least for our 3 dogs.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Thank you, Mango!

This is my first award, so naturally, I'm going to proudly display it on top -- my very own Brillante Weblog Premio! I would also like to pass this award onto the ff: ~ ~ ~ BEHIND KYANITE'S DOOR ~ ~ ~,, Compass Pointe, and In My Heart Forever. Lana was suggesting a Bloggers' Convention. I think it would be great if we could all get together and meet face to face:)

Saturday, August 2, 2008

You Must Have Been A Beautiful Baby

That was the song I often sang to mom when she was ill. She had by then lost much of her physical faculties. She had to be moved every 2 hours, she couldn't open one hand, she couldn't talk because of the ventilator. She couldn't eat except through a PEG (not unlike the placenta). She had become a baby. But I loved her so much and many times I would sing that song to her. As you can see from this picture below, it is very likely she must have been a very beautiful baby.

When I would sing that song to her, it would occur to me that I never knew what she was like when she was born, when she was a child. In many ways Mama was an introvert. She liked staying at home, reading, playing cards, waiting for her children to come home. But because she was destined to take on the role of a diplomat's wife, she rose to the occassion and did so impeccably.

She preferred the company of close friends and relatives rather than large parties. But it was that old resiliance that she best embodies, that enabled her to rise to the occasion.

In doing so, she came across some famous people. I'm apolitical and am not much impressed by fame. But some may recognize who this couple is.

Mama's favorite role was as mother and grandmother and great-grandmother. Here she is with my daughter. She never had qualms about being called grandma. She embraced the title and loved it.

This is Ai-Chan. I told mom that when she is in heaven, she must do cartwheels with Ai-Chan for me. Ai-Chan was a beautiful baby. And I'm sure that mama must have been a beautiful baby, too.