My Science Project: Sourdough Starter

We are entering the 4th week of the ECQ #lockdown. ECQ stands for Enhanced Community Quarantine. It’s the time of the COVID-19 (Corona Virus Disease 2019) pandemic.

#stayhome is the catchword of the time.

One needs to either learn new skills or revive old dormant ones. The excuse “I have no time” no longer means much. Because, now, you have all the time in the world.

Ergo… my science project.

It’s not the first time I made a sourdough starter. I’ve had a couple of successful attempts at making a sourdough starter in previous years (decades).

However, on both occasions, I “cheated”. I primed my starter mixture with 1/4 tsp of instant yeast. That gave my starter a jump.

This time, it’s pure.

By pure I mean, all I used in the initial mixture was flour and water: 1 cup bread flour mixed in 1/2 cup tap water, in a glass jar. If there is life inside this mixture, or if it attracts life from the surrounding air, it will become evident in the first 24 hours: the mixture will froth up and bubbles will appear.

This is for Day 1.

It takes 5 days of repeated discarding and refeeding to create the (young) sourdough starter.

So by the end of Day 1, my sourdough starter appeared like this:

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It looks promising. Bubbles are a clear sign of microorganism respiration. It is a good sign that the sourdough starter is alive.

The next steps, which will be repeated in the next 3 days, are:

1) Discard 1/2 cup of the starter mixture:

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2) Mix the ‘refeed’ using 1 cup All-Purpose Flour mixed in 1/2 cup tap water:

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3) Add the refeed and mix well with the remaining sourdough starter mix left in the glass jar.

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4) Leave the jar slightly covered, and allow the starter to refeed and grow over the next 24 hours.

(To be continued…)

UPDATE: Day 2 (04.07.2020)

I realized the mayo jar I began with was too small. The bubbles had almost reached the brim, after only 12 hours. (I forgot to take a picture.) So I transferred the starter to a larger container — a cylindrical Lock n Lock.

At days end, here’s how it looked like…

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Discarded 1/2 cup of the starter…

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Mixed 1/2 cup tap water to 1 cup (~110 grams) All Purpose Flour for the refeed…

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Added the refeed into the starter culture and mixed it well.

This is how the sourdough starter appears at the start of Day 3…

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It’s alive. The bubbles tell me that. And they’re multiplying. And maturing.

(To be continued, Day 5…) ⌛🤔

UPDATE: May 6, 2020.

I have almost completely forgotten about updating my science project. No Day 5 update, however. Instead, it’s been about a month, and my sourdough starter has been keeping in the ref (fridge) for more than two weeks.

I have fed it twice already, since it began residing in the cold compartment. Last week I made Sourdough Ciabatta with 1 cup of the starter.

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I fed the starter the usual 1 cup flour and 1/2 cup water, after baking, and returned it inside the refrigerator.

This is how it appears now…

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It’s alive! 🤗👌

Saigoneer

Kumain kami ni Jane kagabi sa Saigoneer, isang maliit na restaurant sa labas lang ng gate ng village namin (Rocka Complex).

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Vietnamese cuisine ang pagkain. Ang pangalan ng may-ari, Loris Santos.

Masarap ang pagkain at maganda ang ambiance, makulay at maaliwalas.

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Ang ayaw lang namin, anlakas nung tugtog sa katabing restaurant — beer haus kasi. Eh, si Loris din ang may-ari.

Simple lang ang inorder namin, di naman kami malakas kumain. Isang order ng Pho beef noodles, at isang fried spring rolls (5 piraso).

Masarap yung Pho! Sulit sa halaga. Malinamnam yung sabaw, lasang-lasa yung basil, malambot at malasa yung beef strips, at husto sa luto yung Pho noodles.

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Nakulangan lang si Jane sa togue (bean sprouts), gusto sana nya mas marami.

Napansin namin na medyo mabagal ang serbisyo. Ang tagal bago dumating yung order naming Pho. Sa paunti-unti naubos na yung 5 pirasong fried spring rolls, wala pa rin yung Pho.

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At mukhang nalilito sila kung sino nag order nung isa o dalawang putahe. Si ate serbidora 2 beses ako tinanong tungkol sa fresh spring rolls, eh wala namin kaming order nun. (Medyo na-concern din kami kay ate serbidora, kasi mag-isa sya, eh andaming customer; si boss Loris nag serbidor na nga rin.)

Hindi namin ikinayamot, at nagpasensya lang kami sa paghihintay.

Nung pauwi na kami, nadaanan namin si Loris nakatayo sa may kahera. Binati namin siya at nakipag-batian naman sya sa amin.

“Pasensya na po kayo, kulang kami sa tao ngayon,” sabi nya, “nasa kabilang branch kasi yung iba.”

May branch daw sila sa Visayas Ave. Eh, mukhang humingi ng resbak na tauhan. Balentayms kasi. Sya ngayon dito sa Rocka Complex ang kinulang ng tauhan.

O, mga tiga-Rocka dyan, dalhin ang buong pamilya nyo, kain kayo sa Saigoneer.

Kahit hindi Balentayms. 💑

Si Cesar Apolinario

Lilinawin ko lang, bago ang lahat — hindi kami magkakilala ni Cesar Apolinario. Hindi rin directly patungkol kay Cesar Apolinario ang article na ito. Kung kaya’t — bakit ko ito pinamagatang Si Cesar Apolinario???

Sumakabilang-buhay si Cesar Apolinario noong Biyernes, ika-13 ng Disyembre…

Lumuwas ako nitong Lunes, ika-16, patungong Trellis. May reunion kami doon ng mga high school klasmeyt ko sa Ateneo. Namasahe lang ako, at sumakay ng bus byaheng Cubao paluwas.

Karaniwan ay nagbababa ang bus sa SM North, ngunit sa pagkakataong ito ay hindi. Mula SM North kasi, makakasakay na ko ng jeep na byaheng City Hall (QC). Ang Trellis ay halos nasa likod lang ng City Hall.

Sa GMA MRT daw sila magbababa ng pasahero. Pwede pa rin sa kin, dahil may sakayan ng tricycle sa tapat ng JAM terminal, deretso sa Trellis. Lalakarin ko lang ang kahabaan ng EDSA sa gilid ng GMA at tatawid ng Timog Ave patungong JAM teminal.

Malapit nang mag alas singko, at ang usapan namin ni Randy, alas singko magkikita sa Trellis. Kaya’t medyo paspas ang paglalakad ko.

Iniiwasan ang mga taong kasalubong sa makipot na sidewalk, at kumukuha ng tiyempong lagpasan ang nasa harapan ko na mabagal maglakad. Nakatingin din ako sa nilalakaran ko at baka matalisod.

Nang biglang tumambad sa mga mata ko, at matatapakan ko na — ang plaque ng bituin na may pangalang Cesar Apolinario!

Nasa StarWalk (ito ba tawag dun?) pala ng GMA si Cesar Apolinario. At kung hindi ako nakatingin sa nilalakaran ko, maaaring natapakan ko lang ang plaque nya at tumuloy-tuloy sa paglalakad. Datapwat hindi.

E di huminto ako sa paglalakad at kinunan ko ng litrato…

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Kagabi, nag-post si Howie Severino sa fb ng madamdaming article tungkol kay Cesar Apolinario. Kapwa mamamahayag at dokumentarista ng GMA si Howie at si Cesar. Mas matanda si Howie kay Cesar ng mga 10 taon, datapwat naging magkaibigan sila.

Sa sinulat ni Howie, binanggit nya na si Cesar daw ay tulad ng isang bulalakaw (comet) na nagbigay ng kaniyang liwanag, datapwat sa sandaling panahon lamang.

Kinuwento ko kay Howie ang pangyayari sa StarWalk, at sinabi nya sa akin,

“Nagparamdam (si Cesar) sa yo 😂” (sulat baybayin).

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Sabi ko, hindi man kami nagkakilala, datapwat dahil sa pangyayari, ay tulad siya ng isang bulalakaw na nakita kong saglit, at ngayon ay nasa kamalayan ko na —

Si Cesar Apolinario.

Kompost sa Balde

Hindi ako magaling mag-alaga ng halaman. Halos lahat ng inalagaan kong halaman, namatay. Wala akong ‘green thumb’ 👍. Meron ako ‘black thumb’ 👎. Kayâ ang nag-aalaga ay si Jane (misis) at Jikki (anak).

Datapwat, hindi nito ibig sabihin na hindi ako marunong magmahal ng mga halaman. Marunong naman po. Tamad lang magdilig at walang tiyagang mag cultivate ng lupa, etsetera, etsetera…

Naisip kong gumawa ng kompost (abono) sa balde. Di man ako magaling maglinang ng halamanan, may kaunting kaalaman naman ako sa agham. At kaya naman ng utak kong unawain ang paraan ng paggawa ng kompost.

Bukod sa makakatulong ang kompost sa kalusugan ng mga halaman, ang paggawa nito ay nakakatulong din sa kapaligiran. Nababawasan kasi ang basura na kinokolekta ng basurero, linggo-linggo. Eh marami sa mga basurang (nabubulok) tinatapon ng mga sambahayan ay hindi nararapat na ibinabaon sa lupa (landfill) datapwat sa halip ay maaari ngang gawing kompost.

Dalawang sangkap lang ang karaniwang ginagamit sa paggawa ng kompost na mula sa organik basura: mga kayumanggi (brown) at berde (green). At dalawang sangkap mula sa kalikasan: hangin at hamog. Ang ugnayan ng apat na sangkap na ito ang bubuhay at magpapalago sa komunidad ng di-kitang bakterya na syang kakain sa basura at mag-iiwan ng kanilang pinagdumihan, hanggang sa wala nang basurang makakain. Ang naipong pinagdumihan ng mga bakterya ay isang mangitim-ngitim, nadudurog-durog, at amoy lupang tumpok. Ito ang kompost. At ito’y siksik sa sustansya.

Ang mga kayumangging sangkap ay karaniwang mula sa mga patay na bahagi ng mga puno’t halaman, tulad ng tuyong dahon, maliliit na sanga, tuyong damo, papel, diyaryo, karton, kusot, atbp. Ito ay mayaman sa nitrogen, ang sustansyang gamit ng mga bakterya sa pagbubuo ng protina para sa paglago at pagpaparami nila.

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Ang mga berdeng sangkap naman ay mga sariwang bahagi ng mga gulay at prutas, tulad ng balat ng saging, papaya, mangga, kalabasa, mga tangkay at lantang dahon ng pechay, repolyo, sitaw, kangkong, atbp. Ito ay mayaman sa karbon, ang sustansyang (karbohydrates) pinagkukunan ng mga bakterya ng lakas at enerhiya nila.

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Mahirap isa-isahin ang maaari at di-maaaring gamiting sangkap sa paggawa ng kompost, datapwat sa pangkalahatan ang mga dumi ng aso, pusa, at tao ay hindi maaari. Gayundin ang malalaking tipak ng kahoy, dahil mahirap itong kainin ng mga di-kitang bakterya. Ang mga plastic, bakal, atbp na mga hindi organik basura ay di rin uubra. Subalit ang mga giniling na kape, tsaa, balat ng itlog, buto ng kalabasa, pakwan, o melon, at alikabok (lupa) ay maaaring isama. Ang mga karne at buto-buto (hilaw o luto), mga pinaglinisan ng mga isda at lamang-dagat, gatas, at mantika ay hindi rin maaari.

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Mag-iisang linggo pa lang ang ginagawa kong kompost sa balde. Hinahalo-halo ko pa ito para mag balanse ang pagkalat ng mga sangkap, bago ko iimbak. Hindi pa kasi napupuno ang balde. Dahil ito’y unang subok ko pa lang, sinusukat ko pa ang dami ng tinatapon naming organik basura kung gano katagal makakapuno ng isang baldeng pang-kompost. Pag inimbak ko na sya, paminsan-minsan ko na lang hahalu-haluin.

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Isa sa mga tanda na buhay, kumakain ng mabuti, at maligalig ang mga bakterya sa kompost sa balde ay ang namumuong init nito sa gitna (loob). Ito ang pinakamalinaw na tanda. Sa oras na mawalan ng init at hindi pa tapos ang paggawa ng kompost, maaaring hindi na naaabot ng bakterya ang pagkain. Kailangan haluin muli ang laman ng balde, para magpang-abot ang bakterya at ang mga organik na pagkain nila.

Isa pang tanda na buhay, kumakain, at maligalig ang mga bakterya ay ang pagpapawis sa loob ng balde. Makikita ito sa ilalim ng taklob at sa mga gilid ng loob ng balde. Ang namumuong hamog sa loob ng balde ay pawis ng bakterya na bunga ng kanilang ligalig at pagpaparami. Di man sila kita ng mata mo, alam mong buhay sila.

Kapag napuno na at nahalo-halo nang mabuti, iiimbak ko ang kompost sa balde ng mga dalawang linggo kung saan maaabot sya ng init ng araw. Sa panahong ito, sisilip-silipin ko lang sya (hindi hahaluin) para pakiramdaman ang init at pagpapawis. Mahihinog ang kompost (kung magiging maayos lahat) sa loob ng 2 – 3 buwan.

Pag hinog na ito, pwede na itong gamitin ni Jane at Jikki bilang pataba sa lupa ng mga alaga nilang halaman. Samantala, ako naman, patuloy na magbubukod ng mga organik basura, at gagawa ng kompost sa balde.🤘

UPDATE: 19 Pebrero 2020

Eto na ang kinalabasan ng Kompost sa Balde, matapos ang halos apat na buwan.

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Hindi perfect. Napansin kong marami syang mga balat ng itlog (durog) na naiwan, at mga pinagbalatan ng buto ng kalabasa. May mailiit na piraso din ng EcoBag.

Datapwat, sa pangkalahatan, ang Kompost sa Balde ay…

Wagi! 🙆

Can Spiders See In The Dark?

Survival is crucial for tiny crawling creatures like the spider. And their more than 35,000 species worldwide have survived the ravages of time, adverse climate conditions, and the threat of predators, including insects, small animals, even humans. They have learned to adapt and change over thousand of years. And one of the observable habits that some spider species has adapted to is the ability to move about and hunt at night. But, can spiders see in the dark?

Can spiders see in the dark?

Most spiders (99%) have eight eyes. So, you’d think that they see clearly. But the news (good or bad?) is, they don’t. Most spiders don’t see clearly, they have blurred vision, even during the day. But not all. Some hunters have clear daytime vision. But how about during the night or in the dark — Can spiders see in the dark or at night? Hardly. But not all — there are spiders that see in the dark.

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How spiders see in the dark.

Most spiders who move about at night don’t rely on their sense of sight. Spiders who go out at night, often to hunt for food, sense vibrations on the ground and in the surrounding air to detect movement. Those who don’t go out at night but stay on their webs also sense tiny vibrations on their webs to detect movement. When they detect vibrations, that’s the only time they move to go out and check. It’s a sign to them of (possibly) food. It’s like when your doorbell rings — it might be the pizza delivery guy!

Hairy legs.

Most spiders sense vibrations both on the ground and in the air through fine microscopic hairs on their legs. Their hairy legs act as both their eyes and ears, especially at night. The hairs (or trichobothria) on their legs react to intensity of vibrations and gives the spider an idea of what the moving object might be. Spiders might not be able to see clearly, but their hairy legs can tell that a winged creature (bird or flying insect) is coming, through the changes in the surrounding air. Also, spiders use their hairy legs to smell. They also use their sense of smell to help them navigate in the dark, and detect prey or predator, A spider that shaves her legs is a deaf and blind spider!

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Spiders’ eyes.

Most spiders can see during the day, albeit some need eyeglasses. But spiders’ eyes are not arranged in the same way for all spiders. It’s very fascinating to look at pictures of different species of spiders to see how their eyes line up. Some have four on top and four on the bottom of their face (e.g. Theridiidae, or cobweb spider; and Dictynidae, or mesh web spider). Some have six in front and one on either side of its head (e.g. Philodromidae, or crab spider). There is a species of spider who even has a pair of eyes near the back of its head (e.g. Oxyopidae, or lynx spider). And there are spiders who have two big eyes in front (e.g. Salticidae, or jumping spider) and two or four underneath (e.g. Lycosidae, or wolf spider), plus one on each side of its head. But their eyes are fixed, they can’t move their eyeballs or roll their eyes. So if you force a spider to agree to something it doesn’t like — it can’t roll its eyes!

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Night hunters.

Spiders, e.g. wolf spiders, who have two big eyes in front of their faces, see more clearly than the others. These are daylight hunters. They are also great night time hunters. These spiders use their big eyes to focus on their prey. They also have two to four eyes underneath the two big eyes to give them an idea how far the prey is. In the case of these jumping spiders, knowing how far its prey is, is important for precision. It needs to visually measure how far it needs to jump to get to the prey. Slam dunk! Their big eyes are also useful to them in the dark of night.

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Night vision.

Their big eyes also see in the dark. They adjust to low levels of light and are therefore good night hunters. Their eyes are lined with a tissue (tapetum lucidum) that reflects light. This is how they see in the dark. The tapetum reflects whatever light is gathered by the eye back to the retina to give it night vision. It boomerangs light back to the image perceived by the retina, like a secondary spotlight producing a clearer image. Cats, dogs, and many other night prowlers, like frogs and bats, have tapeta (plural of tapetum) in their eyes. If you shine a flashlight or if the headlight of your car hits a cat’s eyes, you’ll see it reflect back to you, in green, or red, or yellow. Try to shine a flashlight on your garden, do you see tiny reflections of green light returning to you? They’re probably wolf spiders — the night hunters.

Ogre-eyes.

There is a family of spiders (e.g. Deinopidae) that developed a pair of huge eyes for extreme night vision. Its name deinopidae is derived from the Greek word meaning ‘fearful appearance’. Because of their huge over-sized eyes they have been called the ogre-eyed spider. They really look ugly. Deinopidae have the largest pair of eyes and the most powerful night vision in the spider world. Their night vision is 1,000 times more powerful than human eyes. Also, they’re more powerful than cats’ or owls’ eyes. And their eyes glow in the dark.

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The light-sensitive membrane that powers their night vision dissolves and disappears every morning. And every night for two hours it produces a new membrane to replace it. Then it goes hunting for prey. It’s the Deinopidae’s daily life.

Net- casting.

Deinopidae are net-casting spiders. This means, they cast nets in order to catch their prey. They’re like fishermen who cast their net into the sea to catch fish. Only in this case, its a spider net. The net is woven from the same thread that spider webs are made. But they are thicker (10x) and naturally harder to break than the thin spider web. When the net is finally finished and ready for use, the deinopidae puts bait on the ground and hangs itself above the area holding the four corners of the net with four of its legs — ready to fall on its prey. Once an insect or a bug feeds on the bait, the deinopidae quickly falls on it and catches it with its net. It then wraps it all around with the net and injects its prey with venom and digestive enzymes. This all happens in the dark!

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The blind spider.

Then there’s the blind spider. This spider (Sinopoda scurion) has no eyes at all. Absolutely no eyes! They live most of their lives in dark caves and lightless places. “Who needs eyes?!” they say. They have mastered the art of motion detection, with enhanced sensors for vibrations on the ground and in the air, and a very keen sense of smell. Another rare species of this eyeless spider is the Braken Bat Cave Meshweaver (Cicurina venii). It’s so rare it was last spotted in the 1980s.

The controversial rare spider.

The Braken Bat Cave Meshweaver hit the news channels in 2012 when a huge $15M underpass construction project in San Antonio, Texas, was stopped temporarily because they were building it on top of the spider’s home. Poor blind spider would have lost its home. But thanks to caring humans (biologists and conservationists) they were able to save the helpless spider. It was only the second time in history that this spider was seen by human eyes, after 1980.

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Seeing ultraviolet (UV) light.

Spiders generally see only two color wavelengths, viz. green and UV (ultraviolet). Humans see three, viz., red, green, and blue. You’ve probably seen it before, a sticker on your new color TV with the letters RGB (red, green, and blue). This means that your TV can mix these three color wavelengths to produce all shades of color, including white and black. Colors that the human eye normally sees. Unless you are color blind. And spiders are generally color blind. But they see UV light. Humans can’t.

Some species of spiders depend on UV light for survival. They make use of UV light in their mating rituals. This guarantees that they will reproduce more of their kind. The jumping spider, Consmophasis umbratica, uses UV light in their mating rituals. And both the male and female show physiological responses to the UV glow that they show each other. They get excited! But when scientists used UV blocking light during their mating rituals, both male and female C.umbratica showed no interest in each other. Talk about a wet blanket! It’s complicated.

Night life.

Night life has become a habit of spiders. One of the main reasons for this behavior is to avoid being seen. They are such socially awkward creatures. What kind of furry creature with eight arching legs, eight dark eyes (two sometimes bulging), and hanging fangs would want to be seen in public during the day?! Funny, no? But more than that, spiders avoid daytime predators, like birds and cats. Hunters like jumping spiders and wolf spiders are more intrepid and dare do their hunting during the day. It’s a risk they’re willing to take, for the thrill of the hunt and the prize. But most spiders are timid and couldn’t imagine being hunted down by predators, so they do most of their crawling and hunting at night. Besides, they don’t have the best eyesight, they argue. And they’ve developed improved sensors and a keen sense of smell to support their nocturnal hunting and feeding habits.

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For most spiders, it’s a matter of survival.

Eternity in Our Hearts

I was pondering the life to come as I sat behind the wheel of my parked car outside my youngest daughter’s apartment. I had just driven her home and was waiting for her to bid me leave.

I was pondering the life to come… what would it be like? After my last breath, what would the experience be like? What would it be like to meet my maker and saviour? How ecstatic would it be? The thought (anticipation) is clouded with a measure of uncertainty.

Just then my daughter came running out of the house in panic.

“There’s a bird in my room!” she said.

The bird, a brown eurasian tree sparrow, was flying around in short bursts, and landing all over the place — on the stairs, in a corner beside the dresser, and on the bed! I saw that it couldn’t fly high up to the ceiling, I thought it was just a baby bird learning how to fly.

After a couple of attempts, I finally caught the little creature.

I held the tiny sparrow in the hollow of my hand. I stroked its head softly to somehow try to assure it that I don’t mean it harm. I thought to take it home (couple blocks away) with me and care for it until it was strong enough to fly. I went back to the car, looking at the face of the tiny feathered creature in my hand.

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The thought then occured to me: I am this tiny little sparrow, and God is me holding the sparrow in the hollow of my hand. If I clenched my fist tight, it would snuff the life of the hapless bird, instantly. But I wouldn’t do that. I cared for the poor thing.

God could snuff me out, physically and spiritually, in an instant. But he doesn’t. Because God cares for me, infinitely greater than I do for the sparrow.

When I got home, I put the sparrow in a temporary cage — a slotted basket with a removable cover. As I was placing newspaper strips inside for the sparrow’s beddings, it flew out of the basket, and outside our front door. I realized it was really strong enough to fly.

It should feel like that, after your last breath. It should feel like being set free (your soul) to fly out of the house into the open air where you were meant.

Here, in the body, you are kept by the power and grace of God, in the hollow of his hand. There, in the life to come, you will finally be set free from all sin, to live in perfect righteousness and fullness of joys for evermore.

God “has set eternity in our hearts,” Ecc.3.11.

reunion sa cam sur

nagpunta kami ni jane, kamakailan, sa bicol; sa baao, cam sur, sa hometown nya. dinalaw namin si ma’lydz, nanay nya, biyenan ko. matagal-tagal na rin kasing hindi nakadalaw si jane sa nanay niya.

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rosalie, ma’lydz, at jane sa harap ng bahay ni ma’lydz

tumira kami sa kapatid ni jane, si rosalie, at ang bana nyang si emil, kasama nang apat na anak nila, at ang shitzu na si twinkle.

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shulamite, rosalie, jane, hannah, juris (& twinkle), dondon, emil sa may garahe

agad ipinakuha ni emil ang pina-alagaan nyang kambing. maya-maya eto na si ronil pasan-pasan ang kambing sa balikat nya.

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si rassel at si ronil (may pasan ng kambing)

sana daw kakaibang luto ng kambing ang gawin ko. sabi ko “curry” pero mukhang di sila masyadong excited dun.

nag-adobong kambing si emil. sya na rin ang nagluto ng papaitan. yung dapat lulutuin kong “curry” ay ginawa kong mestizong kaldereta — kalderetang ginataan na may kaunting curry powder.

datapwat ang naibigan ng lahat ay ang inihaw na ribs ng kambing.

 

napakasimple ng pamumuhay dito. napakabagal ng oras. ang tahimik ng gabi.

napakagalang din ng mga bata. naupo ako sandali sa upuang kawayan sa harapan ng tindahan, isang umaga.

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ako at si doglas (di nya tunay na pangalan)

lahat ng batang may bibilhin sa tindahan ay lalapit muna sa kin at isasahod ang kamay upang magmano — kahit hindi nila ako kakilala.

pinuntahan namin ang hipag ni jane, si len, asawa ng kapatid nyang si desiler na nasa brunei. tiga-albay sila. at dahil tiga-albay sila ay pumasyal muna kami sa kagsawa ruins para sulyapan ang daragang magayon.

“magustuhan ka kaya ng daragang mayon,” sabi ni jane, “magpapakita kaya sayo?”

nagpakita naman. at lubhang napakaganda at napaka-majestic ng daragang magayon — ang mayon!

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masaya akong lumisan sa kagsawa. nagpakita sa kin ang daragang magayon.

nagpunta kami kina len pagkagaling ng kagsawa. pinagluto nya kami ng inihaw na bangus, sinigang na baboy, at fried chicken. may dessert din na fruit salad. pinauwian ni len si jane ng ilang tanim nyang orchids, at ako naman ay pinauwian nya ng kampit.

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si len (dulo, kanan, naka-pink), si drenz (hawak ni len, at si drex (naka-dilaw na t-shirt)

kinagabihan ay pumasyal naman kami kina jake abad, si jung-jung na bunsong kapatid ni jane.

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usapang barangay IRA: si jane, si vangie (misis ni jung), at si jung a.k.a. jake abad.

si jung ay isang radio commentator ng station ng RPN, Nabua. at si vangie naman ay sec ni kap sa san vicente. naglabas si jung ng kaunting inumin (johnny wong-wong) matapos ang napakasarap na hapunan ng laing at sinanglay na tilapia.

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L to R: jung a.k.a. jake abad, me, emil

naka-tatlo o apat na “for the road” (tagay bago bumyahe pauwi) kami, bago tuluyang nag walk-out si rosalie. nun kami nagtapos… at umuwi.

pinagluto ko sina rosalie at emil ng specialty ko na pata tim nung linggo ng tanghali.

ipinag-ani kami ni emil ng isang buwig ng saging na saba mula sa mga tanim nya sa likod bakuran. pinauwian ako ni rosalie ng paborito kong tinuktok. dinagdagan naman ito ni jung ng saging bicol (kakaiba ito at napakatamis), kamote, guyabano, karagdagang tinuktok (pinangat), at ug-og (kamansi). ibinigay din sa ‘kin ni rosalie ang isang sangkalan na mahogany. ikinahon ni rosalie lahat nito bago kami umuwi.

kinagabihan ng linggo, hinatid kami ni emil at rosalie sa abangan ng bus sa plaza ng baao. pauwi na kami.

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inaabangan ang raymond bus sa tabing karsada malapit sa plaza ng baao

napakasayang reunion lalo na’t ang magkakapatid at magulang (ina) ay magkakasundo, sa kabila nang magkakalayo.

tiyak, babalik ako. 👌

 

smoke alarm!

i am profusely and profoundly thankful to God for his timely intervention in my affairs today.

i endangered the well-being of my middle daughter and 3 year old grandson; and could have burned our small house down. it would have been (i am extremely relieved nothing serious happened, my head is still spinning with vague dread for what could have been) a result of careless inadvertence, absence of mind, and hurry.

i was in a hurry to get out of the house to pick up my youngest daughter from school (she’s a teacher). i was lagging behind schedule.

i had messaged her that i will leave as soon as the fried chicken was done. the clock was ticking.

as soon as the chicken looked cooked enough, i drew the pieces out of the frying pan with a pair of steel tongs and put them on a metal strainer. i put the metal strainer back on top of the frying pan, above oil level, supported underneath by the open steel tongs, to let the oil drip back to the pan. i covered the chicken and did not leave it exposed.

my daughter and grandson were in our bedroom, it was my grandson’s naptime. the air condition was on because of the summer heat.

i left the house to fetch my youngest daughter from school. after about a kilometer out, i got a call on my cell phone, but couldn’t answer it because i was driving.

after another five hundred meters, i got a text message. i stopped the car and pulled aside to check: my youngest daughter said she was called to a meeting and would be out an hour later; that i should just pick her up then.

i turn the car around and proceed back home.

when i opened the front door, the entire kitchen was filled with smoke! it was coming from the gas stove — the oil on the frying pan was turning out smoke up to the ceiling, filling the entire kitchen. a smoke alarm!

i immediately turned off the gas stove. all my joints and inward parts were trembling — trembling at the thought of what could have happened, had my daughter not been called to the meeting and had not sent a text message in time for me to read and return back home.

i turned on a couple of electric fans to blow the smoke out the front door. i positioned both fans to face the front door and act as exhaust fans.

as i turned the body of one of the stand fans, i heard a loud grinding sound coming from inside the fan and the fan began to quake and swivel uncontrollablyfrom its base — one of the fan blades broke off at high speed!

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it was an evil day — a day of disaster. but God’s kind intervention thwarted what could have been a huge one, and the fault was mine.

i take all this to heart. lesson learned:

to always check if i’ve turned off the fire after cooking (i am the cook, it’s my SOP);

to check if i’ve turned off the fire, especially when i am in a hurry to go out of the house;

thinking of putting a smoke alarm in the kitchen.

God is good. God is my refuge.

good good friday

this year’s good friday was good, ergo — good good friday. it was my middle daughter’s (jikki) 27th birthday. and she’d decided to visit her lola (my mom) at loyola memorial park, marikina for her birthday.

i love her for thinking outside herself to visit her lola on her special day. my family has had many plans to visit, that had often ended up nowhere. this time it was a sure thing.

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my mom’s grave has been neglected. mea culpa. i plead guilty on that charge. and this day made me realize how important it is for one’s grave to be visited every so often, even when you’ve been long absent from the body.

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the lapida, after the surface was cleaned with a wet cloth

the lapida was dirty and soiled when we arrived, i had to rub off the smudge covering some of the lettering with the soles of my shoe.

a bit later, the caretaker of the grave beside my mom’s (my aunt’s and grandparents’ graves) came over and offered to clean and paint my mom’s lapida for P500. we agreed.

 

the caretaker’s name is danilo bandojo, a.k.a. danny bungal. there were two other caretakers named danny at loyola. one, danny bungal said, goes by ‘danny kalbo’.

danny bungal is 54 y.o. and has been taking care of my grandparents’ and aunt’s graves over the years now. he lives in antipolo and bikes two hours a day to and from work.

i asked him how much to plant grass, i particularly asked for carabao grass. “500 po,” he said. agreed.

“magkano mag-maintain?” i asked.

“150 a month po,” he said.

agreed. that is cheaper than a triple latte at starbucks! i negotiated an end of the month payment. he agreed.

i haggled for P450 for the cleaning and painting because the P500 he asked for included the purchase of spray paint. but he just borrowed paint, because stores were closed on good friday. he agreed.

for ka danny’s payment, i asked my daughters to pitch in any voluntary amount for the P450, to remind them of the thought of caring to spend a little, to show your love.

 

the lapida was a lovely sight after the cleaning and painting job. come first of may, we will send P500 to ka danny via cebuana lhuillier to plant carabao grass on my mom’s lot. thereafter, P150 every end of the month to maintain it by cleaning and watering the grass.

since we were already there at loyola memorial, jane also took the opportunity to offer flowers to his beloved uncle, ben f. rodriguez, and his wife. uncle ben took care of jane’s college schooling, and she lived with his family while she was in college.

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another person so dear to my heart was also laid to rest at loyola — jojo abagon, my cousin. we found her lot, and also offered flowers.

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the visit to loyola memorial park was a time to revisit cherished memories. the visit to loyola memorial park was a time to prepare myself for what was certainly to come in the future — my own eternal resting.

my family had lunch together and began our weekend stay-cation after lunch when we checked in for a 3D2N stay in a condo in the middle of metromanila.

jikki’s birthday was a good good friday!

 

 

stay-cation

stay-cation. this is a millenial catchword. baby boomers and gen-x peeps didn’t go on stay-cations; feelenials now do, however.

the stay-cation idea is what the name suggests: going a vacation, but staying within city limits or just near where you live. in our case, we stay-cationed in a condo just about a hundred steps away from my daughter’s condo.

we, ie. gen-x peeps, either went away on vacation via a long road trip or a plane ride OR we didn’t and just stayed home. if we wanted to get away for a day or night, it was simply called a “check-in” — magche-check-in sa hotel.

that’s a staycation.

it’s holy week weekend. i’m here (with my family) holed up in the middle of the city, on the 30th floor. i have no desire whatsoever to go out, like, to the mall, except one that’s nearby.

i can see estancia and uni-mart from our bedroom window. maybe later.

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there is a small gym, a billiard and a ping-pong table, a badminton/basketball (half court) hall, all on the penthouse; there is a jogging area, which is the entire perimeter of the roof deck that goes all around the sports facilities. there is a swimming pool with a kid’s pool at the ground floor right behind the lobby.

i woke jane (wife) before 7 am this morning because the swimming pool opens at 7:00 am. i thought to have the pool all to ourselves. true enough, we were alone in our private pool for the first half hour! then a mom with two boys walked in. then a mom with four girls. but by this time, jane and i were already out of the pool drying ourselves and sipping 7-11 brewed coffee.

there’s a 7-11 between our condo and our daughter’s condo. city blends brewed coffee is a good enough alternative to my own cold brew (which i forgot to prepare ahead of time to take along with me for this staycation) to wake me up.

staycation is a good time for me to write. to write new blog. i have a couple of things i need conducive space to write from, and this staycation is a good time to string profound thoughts and vague emotions into meaningful words and phrases.

holed inside my nook and corner, with minimal distractions.

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