songo???

tuwing akyat ko ng baguio, sinasadya ko ung bulaluhan sa otek, dalawang kanto lang mula sa burnham park. sinasadya ko sya dahil nagustuhan ko ung sinanglaw nila, at binabalik-balikan ko.

sa pagkakataong ito, nagtanong ako kung may soup no.5 sila, dahil specialty din nila ito, at hindi pa ko nakakatikim nito. (binalak kong magluto nito minsan ngunit mahirap palang makahanap ng bayag-baka sa palengke dahil kadalasan babaeng baka ang kinakarne.)

wala daw soup 5 ngayon. depende daw kung makakapagdala si kuya (amo nila) galing ng bulacan, sabi ni kuya kusinero.

“sige, sinanglaw na lang,” sabi ko.

45 pesos isang bowl ng sinanglaw kung may kanin. eh dahil di ako masyadong kumakain ng kanin, sabi ko pwede ba sinanglaw na lang. 40 pesos lang.

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nasa hilltop kami ni jane. sumakay kami ng taxi papuntang botanical gardens. may nadaanan kaming hole-in-the-wall na isang tindahan ng ulam na mga naka-kaldero ang mga ulam. nasa labas lang sya ng hangar market. naisip kong baka may sinanglaw dun dahil kalapit lang ng palengke, at mamaya pagbalik ko ng hangar para bumili ng mga gulay ay kakain ako dun.

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“ate, may sinanglaw kayo?” sabi ko.
“ay wala,” sabi ni ate.
“ano to?” sabi ko.
“pata na may beans.”
“ito, ano to?”
“songo.”
“songo???”
“oo, songo.”
“tingnan ko nga,” sabi ko.

sinandok ni ate isa-isa ang mga laman na nakalubog sa sabaw.

“ahh, nguso,” sabi ko, “nguso ng baboy.”

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umorder ako ng isang order, P70.

chinese new year nung araw na un — year of the pig.

oink, oink! 😋

no other way out but out

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the thought of taking one’s own life is a serious thought. a serious thought that indicates a serious problem or a problem taken way too seriously. whatever the case may be, the thought of taking one’s own life — no other way out but out — is desperation.

the thought of taking one’s own life is never — almost never — articulated, especially to the people who will be most affected by its achievement, namely, your loved ones or your immediate family… until it’s too late. but ironically the thought of taking one’s own life is really a matter too private and too delicate to articulate, especially to your loved ones.

telling your loved ones that you are planning to take your own life complicates matters in your head. it either increases their awareness of your presence and their involvement in your life and thoughts, that it becomes an extra burden that takes away your thought that there is no other way out but out. or you might get lectured in return thus galvanizing your resolve that there really is no other way out but out, because your ears can only take in too much.

thinking — and believing — that there is no other way out but out, is desperation. obviously, this is how you feel, that there’s no other way out of your problem in this life but out.

but taking one’s own life solves only one problem: the feeling that there’s no other way out of your problem but out. the problem is still there, you are not. however, your precipitate decision spawns multiple problems for those you will leave behind, including your dog.

taking one’s own life only works best with people who have no family and friends who care. or a pet. but that is exactly the mindset of people who entertain the thought that there is no other way out but out — that is, that no one cares. but people (loved ones, family and friends) really care. they care enough to get hurt even over the fact that you’d thought there’s no other way out but out.

they probably just weren’t there when you felt you needed them — when you felt you were crouched crippled in the shadows, and they can’t see you. or though they were there, you felt they did not see you.

it is a form of escape, taking one’s own life. escape from the responsibility of having to care about others. it is ironic that the feeling that no one cares for you brings you to care for no one but yourself. this is the first thought your friends and loved ones who you left bitterly would entertain — that you were too selfish. and you are — or were, because by now you’re already out.

too selfish to care about the grief you caused. too selfish to care about the trouble you brought. and too selfish to care about the expense that your burial would entail. unless you signed a demand note that you be left alone where you got out and be left to rot there.

but even this becomes an inconvenience for those who’d pass by your exit point. but even the government won’t allow this and would spend for your burial or cremation if no one else will. but if someone or some may care for you to give you a decent wake and burial, it’s still an inconvenience for them.

even if your own personal estate pays for all the expenses, time will stand still for those you left, family and friends. and they all, most of them, will grieve your demise for days. and you’d leave them ever wondering why you did it, why you concluded that there is no other way out of your problem but out, why you took your own life… until they forget.

so, don’t believe that there is no other way out but out. and don’t literally jump to a conclusion! hang in there… oops!

i’m out.

Casa Lillibelle: Monet II

Ayoko ng masyadong maraming tao, ingay, at ligalig. Sapat na ang dami, ingay, at ligalig ng pamilya ko para sa katinuan ng isip ko.

Kaya’t gustong-gusto ko ang nagtagpuan naming bakasyunan sa Casa Lillibelle resort, sa Cabangan, Zambales.

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Madadaanan ito sa Daang 306 (sa mapa) mga 200 kms mula sa Maynila.

Sapat lang ang dami ng taong kayang ilulan ng lugar, para sa dami ng tao, ingay, at ligalig na kayang tanggapin ng kaisipan ko.

May kani-kaniyang kusina, lababo, kalan, at ihawan ang bawat malaking kubo sa resort. Ang maliliit ay wala. May refrigerator na pinagsasaluhan, na may kani-kaniyang nakabukod na lagayan ng pagkain. At bagamat ang hugasan ay pinagsasaluhan din, maraming tubig.

Suki kami dito sa Casa Lillibelle. Subalit hindi lang kami. Ang nakasabay namin ngayong pasko ay suki rin ng lugar, ayon kay MJ Ungco, na may-ari ng resort. Ang anak kong panganay naman ay suking-suki sa resort.

Mas higit na tahimik ngayong pasko kaysa noong Mahal na Araw na huli kaming naparito. At mas higit na tahimik ang kaisipan ko.

Mabait at makwento ang mag-asawang MJ at Joanne. Mapa-ingles o mapa-tagalog, makikipagkwentuhan sila sa inyo.

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MJ, Joanne at baby Monet II.

Hindi na rin sila iba sa amin. Samakatuwid, sa pagkakataong ito, ipinakilala nila sa amin ang 2 buwang sanggol nilang lalaki (ika-apat na lalaki) na si Monet II. Ipinangalan sya kay MJ na ang tunay na pangalan ay Monet (ang pagbigkas ay mo-neih na may ‘silent T’, hango sa pangalan ng tanyag na French impressionist painter noong 1900’s na si Oscar-Claude Monet.)

Tuwang-tuwa ang pamilya ko kay Monet II, lalo na’t dahil pinayagan sila ni Joanne na kargahin sya.

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Sabi namin kay MJ, isang lalaki na lang, may basketball team na sya!

May 2 ‘Certified Lifeguard’ ang Casa Lillibelle kahit maliit na resort lang ito. Dalawang anak na lalaki ni MJ at Joanne ay ‘Certified Lifeguard’. Mababait, magagalang, at matulungin ang mga tauhan nila sa resort.

May 2 bagong kuwarto sa bagong gawang 3rd floor. Bagamat mas maliit ang lugar, kumpleto ito sa mga ‘amenities’ tulad ng kalan at refrigerator. May TV din.

Kung ang ibang kuwarto ang lulan ay 8 katao, dito sa bago 4 lang. Kung gusto mo lang magkulong sa kwarto — magbasa ng libro, magluto, o manood ng TV — at ayaw mong maarawan sa labas, mainam ito.

Tanaw ang dagat, na ilang hakbang lang ang layo, at dinig ang hampas ng mga alon, mula sa balkonahe ng kwarto.

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Sulit sa halagang ibinabayad namin ang magbakasyon sa Casa Lillibelle. Babalik ba ako sa Casa Lillibelle???

“I’ll be back!”

my neighbour at casa lillibelle

we are back at casa lillibelle in cabangan, zambales. as i said in my previous blog — quoting the terminator — “i’ll be back!” and we are back, back so soon. we were here just april.

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today is christmas eve.

my family decides to spend the holiday out in this lovely beachfront resort. we rent a room and occupy a hut on the beach.

one small group (4 persons and 2 dogs) is already there, and they occupy the first hut. we obviously settle for the second (middle) hut. the last hut is empty. these huts are a few steps from the sea.

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our solo neighbours are not run-of-the-mill beach goers. they are not loud, but subdued, quiet; like the sea when at noontide, just a few alternate waves splashing on the shore making you aware it is there. our neighbours are there, in the first hut, yes.

dinner time, while i was out and most of my family were starting to eat, the main man, my neighbour, comes over to our hut. he offers my family a couple slices of his inihaw na liempo, which they readily accept.

“eto po, o,” my neighbour said, as he hands them the inihaw on a paper plate. he goes back to his hut without further ado.

i couldn’t offer our neighbour anything in return. the 5-kg slab of cebu-style lechon belly i brought was reserved for noche buena. i couldn’t touch it until midnight.

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after dinner, i go outside to buy ice at a nearby sari-sari store. on my way back to our hut, i pass by my neighbour’s hut to thank him personally for his kindness. i offer my neighbour ice for their drinks but he declines and said they had plenty.

wait… that face and that familiar voice!

deep into the night, i wrestle and torture my mind to put a name to my neighbour, the main man. he was that young newscaster moulded in an old cast — the likes of tina palma, angelo castro, harry gasser, bong lapira; and not that of ‘kabayan’ noli de castro, ‘kapuso’ mike enriquez, or ‘igan’ arnold clavio. his was straight news, no squanks. but the name escapes me.

we partake our noche buena before midnight.

our neighbours had already packed up, went up their room, and had called it a night. early. but one of them comes back to the hut and walks the dog on the shore.

i go over and offer him a chunk of our cebu-style lechon belly, which he accepts. he said he’d take it to their room for the others to share.

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MJ, with joanne and baby monet II, owner/propreitor of casa lillibelle.

we have another neighbour — the propreitor/owner of casa lillibelle — MJ. MJ comes over to our hut as we eat noche buena. we offer him whisky and he gladly accepts.

dude speak… then he mentions our neighbour, the main man, and tells us he was also a regular at casa lillibelle. MJ asks if i knew him. i tell MJ i’ve been torturing my head all night trying to recall the newscaster’s name.

MJ tells us his name: jing magsaysay.

december 25. i bump into my neighbour this morning at casa lillibelle’s parking area.

“merry christmas!” i said.
“merry christmas!” he said.

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ketocayo: my 3-day egg fast

i did an egg fast, a 3-day egg fast.  all i ate during the 3-day egg fast were only eggs, technically.  i say ‘technically’ because i also ate the oils that the eggs were cooked in, and i also had some mayo and mustard w the eggs — and these had calories, however few.  i say ‘technically’ because, on the other hand, some egg fast rules allow for the consumption of cheese.  but i don’t follow rules — i make my own.

i ate 10 eggs a day, for 3 days — 30 eggs total in 3 days.  i drank lots of water, took some oral mediterranean salt (now and then, especially upon waking up and before sleeping), and gulped unlimited brewed coffee (no cream, no sweetener) throughout the fast.  no keto desserts, no chicharon, no in-betweens, no alcoholic night caps, no lemon drops while driving… nothing — just eggs.

DAY 1

lunch: 6 scrambled eggs

egg fast day 1 am

dinner: 4 scrambled eggs

egg fast day 1 pm

DAY 2

lunch: 6 hard-boiled eggs

egg fast day 2 am

dinner: 4 hard-boiled duck embryos (balut)

egg fast day 2 pm

DAY 3

lunch: 6 sunny-side up eggs

egg fast day 3 am

dinner: 4 poached eggs

egg fast day 3 pm

my primary goal in doing the 3-day egg fast is to break my weight stall.  my weight stalled (stayed the same) for 20 days, at 199 lbs.  it didn’t really worry me — i just challenged myself to break the stall.  the hashtag i often use in my fb group ‘ketogenicsPH’ is #killingTheBoredomWeAcquired, simply because: if i don’t kill the boredom, the boredom will kill me.  the secondary goal is (what we call) NSVs or Non-Scale Victories – benefits, besides weight loss, that are both tangible and intangible. 

the tangible NSVs in this case was a smaller belly, fitting into a shirt (a gift from my daughter) i could not fit into before, feeling energized despite a huge calorie deficit, not feeling hungry and weak.  the intangibles would consist of mental clarity, feeling happy with the achievement, confidence that i have done it (and can do it again, when needed), complacency that the 3-day egg fast was not a suffering that i wanted to end quickly, character EQ (not easily tempted by food, both keto and non-keto, during the fast).  autophagy or deep cellular cleansing is another intangible NSV i achieved, but it isn’t the result of the egg fast, but of the accompanying 18-6 IF.

so, how much weight did i lose during my 3-day egg fast??

8 lbs — from 199 to 191. 👌

before and after egg fast

what’s next?  stall (again), at 191 lbs for 20 days or more… then break the stall (again).

#ketoOnAndOnAndOn 👌

casa lillibelle 2018

my family decided to push through with the planned holy week outing, though feeling very tentative: two of our daughters [the eldest and youngest] had issues; jikki [the middle daughter] struck her thumb, dislodging her thumbnail the night before our trip; skyler, our 2-yr old “baby boy”, tripped while running, his gums bled and his lower lip broke open, also the night before; ryan almost couldn’t come because of a prior commitment; and marco was nursing a fever.  BUT, thank God, we all pushed to make the trip to casa lilibelle happen.  and the rest… is now… history

casa lilibelle family pic

front row, from left: marco, dea [eldest daughter], jikki [middle], ryan, skyler [baby boy], nicko, meg [youngest].  back row: me and jane.

just search online for casa lillibelle — it’s in cabangan, zambales, a 2-3 hour drive [or 6-8 hours if you travel on holy week!] from manila via SCTEX.  ang nagma-manage ng beach resort, ang mag-asawang si joanne calica at MJ ungco.

“calica…” i said, “calico, calica… ok.”
“yes, with a ‘c’,” joanne said.
“ungco,” i said, “with a ‘g’… ‘u’ ‘n’ ‘G’ ‘co’?”
“yes, u-n-g-c-o.”

at the resort, MJ is so easy to find.  he’s that [stand-out] caucasian-looking dude na balbasin.  joanne is the pretty “zambal beauty” with darkish complexion.

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MJ [he volunteered to take the group-fie] and joanne [rightmost]. me [with peace sign], dea [eldest; front]; jane [my wife; with shades]; jikki [2nd; behind dea]; ryan [rearmost].

chances are pagdating na pagdating nyo sa resort parking area, andun na si MJ… to welcome you.  joanne would probably be waiting for you at the counter area or greet you at the entrance to the resort.  you’ll also see MJ running here and there, in and out of the resort, taking care of business.  they’re both hands-on guys who give personal attention to and converses with their guests.

“MJ has caucasian features,” i said.
“‘kana’ ang mommy nya,” joanne said, “but his dad is chinese… ungco.”
“ikaw, are you from here?” i said.
“yes, just before the steel bridge coming here.”
“you are a zambal beauty.”

joanne was very thoughtful of our situation.  we were only booked for friday and was scheduled to leave and look for another place to stay that saturday morning.  lumakad na mga kasama namin [marco, dea, ryan, and jikki] that saturday morning, to make an ocular inspection of the other resort, and book it for an overnight stay; while jane [my wife] and i packed our bags and brought them to the hut.  they just got back, around 11 am.

“papa, wag ka na mag prepare ng lunch,” our eldest daughter dea said, “dun na tayo magluto sa kabila.”
“ahh, ok,” i said.

just then, joanne came to our hut to tell us that a reservation for that saturday cancelled; but instead of giving out the now available room to their friends who just arrived and were looking for a room; she remembered our predicament and decided to just let us stay for another day in our room to spare us the trouble of moving to another resort.

“si daddy nga kanina, nung sumilip ako sa kubo, mukhang nagdadasal na kung saan kayo magse-stay after eh,” joanne said, “mabuti na lang may nag-cancel.”

casa lilibelle nagdadasal

nagdadasal… nakatulog 🤣🤣

of course, we were all relieved and very grateful!  ryan raises two fists in the air!

the large air-conditioned room we occupied, comfortably accommodates 8-10 persons [we were 8 adults + a 2 yr old toddler], with cushioned beds; a spacious bathroom; a beachfront terrace; and ample space to walk around inside.  beach huts had individual grilling areas.  they have gas stoves [for rent] provided with saucepans and ladles.  you can order basic food items from the counter, like coffee, beer, eggs, ice, etc.  but there’s also a sari-sari store nearby if you want to go for an adventure into the small community.

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marco and the stove

the resort is quite secure.  we were assured that our belongings would be safe in the hut overnight.  we just left them there… found them the next morning just as we left them.

joanne and MJ made sure we were comfortable and had everything we needed: they would check on us every now and then, to see if everything was alright.

“ano, sir, ok ba kayak ride,” MJ said, “nakapag workout ka na?”
“oo,” i said, “ang lakas nga ng hangin, kinokontra ko, tinatangay yung kayak eh.”

casa lilibelle kayak

this was my second time to go to casa lillibelle.  and it was my first choice when my family decided to go on this holy week getaway.

as the terminator would say, of course… “i’ll be back!”  😋😋

 

january 2018

january 2018 is almost over with a day to go before it completely expires into history.  i haven’t written anything yet.  i had written thoughts on the incoming (new) year for the past years since i began this blog, thestrayschnauzer, but apparently, for this year, i hadn’t.

i was at a small high school reunion last night — only 12 of about 40 old classmates were present.

toast to manolo

we met because one of our classmates based in seattle was here in the country.  we have mini reunions — meet ups — every now and then.  but this one was special because of our balikbayan classmate, manolo (picture below, middle).  it was most special for me because manolo and i last saw each other in 1977… 40 years ago!

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me, manolo, & mar — classmates since grade 3 (but probably further).

the reason i am writing my blog now is because manolo reminded me of its existence — he told me he reads my blog.  there!

driving in the streets of metromanila is very stressful.  this is if you are one who stays in your lane, flicks your indicator (signal) light when overtaking, looks in the side mirror if you’ve completely passed the other vehicle before getting back in lane, keeps within speed limit, and drives cautiously and defensively.  people seem to be always racing for time on the streets.  cars and vans, motorcycles and buses — all vehicles — weave left and right in front of me on the wide 6-lane EDSA highway.  it reminded me of what i have wanted to blog about for the new year, 2018.

it’s about the race.  not the human race, but a car race or a horse race — a race to the finish line.  life is a race — a race to the grave.  and the longer you reach the finish line, the better winner you are!  however, in this race, unlike other races where contenders sometimes don’t finish — everybody finishes!  everybody reaches the finish line — the grave.

this is very sobering.

so when we are at our best, when our intellectual faculties are functioning above our bestial appetites, we do everything in our powers to prolong our appointment with the grave — we take care of our bodily health.  and the number one way to do so is by attempting to go on a diet and lose all those unwanted and heart-risk-increasing poundage.

the best thing that happened to me last year, 2017, by far, is when i learned of and went on the ketogenic diet.  this is 2017 for me — keto (ketogenic) WOE (way of eating).  this was everything on my mind last year — or, at least, the last quarter.  losing 30 lbs in 3 months is great news, as far as bodily health is concerned.  blood works coming in all normal is good news.

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that, my friends, in toto, is 2017 — a radical way of eating and a huge amount of weight lost, a normal blood panel, and getting a new handle on bodily health.

i have no new year’s resolution, as i have had before — but a new year’s target: to reach 190 lbs with normal blood pressure through keto WOE.

happy new year!  and kung hei fat choi to my dear chinese friends on feb.16.

lessons from a bible student falling into sexual immorality

it is sad — devastating — when you hear of a bible school student falling in fornication (sex) with a young teenage girl committed to his trust.

he was the leader of the young people’s group in our local church where the teenage girl was a part of.  he was also active in leadership in the community outreach of the church, the community (the house) where the teenage girl lived.

i loved the young brother.  i saw myself (when i was much younger) in him — full of zeal for the work of the Lord.  volunteering to help when there was a need.  where i was judged (for being too forward in volunteering, in my former church), i did not judge him, because i understood where he was coming from — with the desire to help out and be of service, having gifts of teaching from the Holy Spirit.

he once offered to help me out.  i had preached in the morning service of the church.  after the worship service, i was going to teach the ‘tagalog’ worship group as a substitute.  then in the afternoon i was also assigned to lead the bible study.  he (then) offered himself to me, personally — to help me out in teaching the tagalog service.  i gave the assignment to him without hesitation and second thoughts.  that was how much i loved this young brother, and sought to encourage him along the way of his seeking the Lord’s will.

it is so sad — devastating — that he fell into sin.  it is so sad — devastating — that he fell into sexual immorality of the kind.

two things call to my attention: one, my problem with the practice in the church, that when a young man expresses his desire to serve the Lord in the ministry, the church leadership immediately sends him to bible school or the ministerial Academy, for doctrinal instruction.  this (to my mind) is a very fatal error!  i think i agree with DM lloyd jones (i can’t quote him… yet.  as i am hammering off the cuff).  i won’t send a young man desiring to serve the Lord in the ministry immediately to the ministerial Academy — i will send him to L I F E!  live a life.  find gainful employment, find a wife, start a family and, above all — live a life!  then, after all’s been said and done, after so many years, and (probably) grey or falling hair — that’s the only time to consider serving the Lord in the ministry… again.

two.  secondly, a thousand thoughts spawn one overt action.  be very wary about what goes on in your head — in your thoughts.  in your thoughts, there is a world of evil!  in your thoughts, you sin against God.  but, you ask forgiveness directly and immediately from God.  but when those thousand and one thoughts are translated into action, then, you sin against your fellow man — and sometimes the law of the land!  and for violating the law of the land, you will be held accountable, because justice demands it.

i cannot offer any remedy for the second issue except sanctifying your thought life, and exercising double restraint on your actions through self-control.  but the first, ie, sending a young, inexperienced man to the ministerial Academy — that, to me, is a big No-No!  send him to life — first.  this is what i firmly believe in.  i don’t think the church will suffer any bit for this young man not to be in the ministry ‘serving the Lord’.  on the contrary, i think he will do the church a great deal of service by being out of the ministry, and proving himself a faithful servant outside the ministry (and qualifying himself) — first — before he even cherishes the thought that he is “in” and (thus) being of service to the Lord his Saviour.  let him show — first — by a good testimony (outside the ministry) that he is indeed worthy of the calling.  let him endure and overcome temptations pertaining to his personal relationships, to his personal faith, to life etc. OUTSIDE the ministry, before even thinking about letting his foot in the door.

this is my 2¢ worth.