What a fun way to end the year!

So blessed to have spent the last few days of 2012 with friends and family!

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Saw some of my college friends last Friday. Dinner and drinks at Tavern Asia in BF. It was a night of reminiscing and laughter. Realization? Nag-attend ba talaga kami ng classes namin? Eh puro tambay ang mga naaalala namin na mga kwento! Hoping that there will be another barkada reunion this March! 🙂

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Celebrated Daddy’s 63rd birthday in Harbor Point, Subic. We had lunch in Cabalen, watched Sisterakas, shopped, and had dinner in Ben’s Kitchen. It’s a simple celebration that shows how simple our family is. Lamon at tawa, solb na kami! Kami po ang pamilya Santos na naniniwala sa kasabihan na, “The family that makes lakwatsa together stays together.” We, thank you! :p

—–

listening to: Gandang Gabi, Vice

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Pasko 2012

I woke up tired on the 24th because of the travel from Makati to Bulacan to Bataan the day before. I do not regret going to my cousin’s wedding and my niece’s dedication in Malolos though! I loved that the event was elegant yet casual. Ang sarap makakita ng couple na alam kong nagmamahalan talaga. Ang sarap rin ng may bagong inaanak lalo na kasing cute ng inaanak ko. At shempre pa, ang sarap ng pagkain sa Kulinarya Tisa, win ang pastel de lengua! Congrats and best wishes, Kuya Edmund and Herchell! Be dedicated to Jesus forever, Baby Alfa!

{with Lola na super bata with her jetblack hair / with one of my favorite couples / yiheee kissy!!! / with Alfa cutie patootie}

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I got my heart trampled on a couple of hours before the Christmas Eve Mass. God sent encouragement through an unexpected person. :p Sorry God for the brief moment of letting my heartache snatch the attention that’s supposed to be for Jesus’ very special day, and thank You for using my bestfriend as an instrument of Your unfailing love for me. 🙂

The message was this:

“Your most profound and intimate experiences of worship will likely be in your darkest days- when your heart is broken, when you feel abandoned, when you’re out of options, when the pain is great- and you turn to God alone.” – Rick Warren

—–

We didn’t have Noche Buena in Lola’s house because the family gathering was moved to Christmas afternoon. We found out the itself so we only had a short time to prepare. We had only 4 kinds of food but it was just right for us… hello, tatlong piraso lang kami sa pamilya! We had ham with honey glaze, Pinoy spaghetti (with lots of hotdogs and mushrooms), ice cream (Coffee Crumble and Cookies & Cream), and butterscotch! Saraaap! Ang lakas nga maka-children’s birthday party ng handa namin, ‘no? But sabi nga ni daddy, fitting naman daw kasi birth daw ni Baby Jesus. Oo nga naman!


{Merry Christmas from our family to yours… Malayo man kayo, malayo rin kami! Hehehe!}

Pero sa totoo lang, mas bet ko ‘yung food namin ng Christmas lunch… ‘yung nirequest ko na bulanglang (bunga ng malunggay + kamote + fish + bagoong), rigadillo, lechon paksiw, minatamis na saging… kaya naman ako nasasabihan ng mga kamag-anak ko na MALUSOG. :p Thank you Lord for the bountiful blessings! 😀

—–

Spent Christmas day waiting for my godchildren, nephews and nieces to visit me at home. The first kids that visited me were- my nieces Michaella and Madison. The little girls were accompanied by their parents Ate Ching and Kuya Shawn. They are very lucky to have such adorable daughters! I’m kinda bummed that I won’t be able to see them again before they go back to Greece end of this month. 😦

My other cute pamangkins Reese, Sean, Verene and Seth also came to visit. We saw the rest of the kids in the afternoon when we went to the beach for our clan’s get together.


{kengkoyan time with Ate Ching, Mica and Madie}

There were lots of food in the get together. Our contribution was my Mama’s specialty suman sa lihiya (that she made with the help of Tita Nida, and si Daddy ang pinagsungkit niya ng niyog at pinakuha ng dahon ng saging na pambalot, hahaha). There’s also puto with anise, cuchinta, lechon, chopseuy, menudo, dinuguan (my favorite), pansit malabon, fruit salad and lots of buco.

There were a lot of kids that attended the party becauseof the games. The event was spearheaded by my cousin Mafi and her hubby Jeric. Ako ang official photographer na taga-upload agad ng pics sa Facebook for the benefit of our relatives abroad that we miss so much  and sana makasama namin next Christmas!!! The games for the kiddies were basagang palayok, facedive sa flour, sack race, ang walang kamatayang Bring Me, and patagalan ng Merry Christmaaaaaaasssssss. There was also videoke for the kids at heart. :p


{with my nephew Rion / pabitin aka the hang-game nyahahaha / with my pudrakels, mudrakels, and grannygoose / cutie maddie!!!}

So obviously (and thankfully), YES is the answer if you ask me if I had a merry Christmas. I hope yours was merry, too. 🙂

—–

listening to: Wham! – Last Christmas

Monsoon Del Rosario

Sorry for the late post. I guess it’s pretty evident by now that I have been neglecting this blog. Work still pretty much eats most of my time and it was exceptionally draining on the week that an unnamed weather disturbance hit Metro Manila and the nearby provinces.

Let’s just call it Monsoon Del Rosario. Only people born in the 80’s/earlier will be able to relate. It wasn’t as scary as Milenyo or as devastating as Ondoy but it was definitely something!!! It’s the first time I experienced making a decision not to go to work because I might not make it back home alive and the first time I experienced work being suspended by Malacanang even for private sectors.

Ate B and I stayed home and had a romantic lunch by default. Brownout kasi. We cooked whatever was left in the fridge. We couldn’t even go to the nearest supermarket because of the ankle-high floods we were most likely to encounter in St. Paul and Pasong Tamo.

image{chef’s salad, caramelized onions with baguio beans, lucban longanisa… toshi bear as lunch guest}

Nung nagka-ilaw na, we watched the news and felt pretty grateful that we were dry, safe and warm. What happened in some cities was heartbreaking, especially in Quezon City and Marikina. We hoped that the next day would have less rain contrary to the weather forecast.

It wasn’t raining so hard on Wednesday morning so I went to work. It was still flooded in some parts of Buendia but I was hopeful that it would subside by afternoon because the sun had started to come out. Paasa lang pala. By lunchtime, there was a crazy downpour again. We were sent home by our boss. It was a struggle going home because it was already flooded in Taft-Buendia. I just told myself to brave the waters because the level was nothing compared to that of Fairview or Malibay.

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{view from our LRT Buendia recruitment hub}

By Thursday, the weather was significantly better. Haring Araw was welcomed with tears of joy by a lot of people. I was happy because kailangan ko nang maglaba at makapagpatuyo ng mga labada. AND I wanted to go home to Bataan.

Daddy discouraged me from going home because there was no electricity in our town. But I didn’t care. I was desperate to see my parents and to eat suman. :p

So I went home and spent the weekend indoors. Didn’t need an electric fan because the air there is cool and fresh. (Plus, it still rained in Morong. Fat, scary raindrops but it didn’t bother me because I was home.) Didn’t need television because I brought lots of reading materials (Nat Geo, food magazine and Garfield). All I needed was internet. Thank you Smart for the fast connection! And thank you self for buying a portable charger and extra batteries.

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{what the side of our house looks like when it’s raining… probinsyang-probinsya noh?}

I was supposed to stay home until Tuesday morning but a typhoon was approaching the PAR. Mama told me it’s wise I go back to Manila instead of staying home, eating everything in our kitchen and end up being stranded in Morong, missing more work.

Daddy cooked breakfast and made oil lamps to illuminate our dining room. Niiiice.

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{breakfast habang brownout sa bahay c/o daddy…pati mga lampara siya ang gumawa}

Aside from the blessing of being safe with my family, this monsoon made 2 people reach out to me. They asked if my parents were okay. I think they saw in the news about Bataan being flooded. Our town is far from that area. But I’m glad that even if I am not (?) friends with them anymore, they still managed to remember me or at least the people I love.

What was YOUR monsoon experience?

—–

listening to: Carly Rae Jepsen & Owl City – Good Time

Morong Weekend – June 2012

Spent last weekend with my parents and Ambo, the country’s first weather disturbance this 2012. Not fond of a dripping sky but because I was feeling lethargic since Friday, the heavy rain and chilling winds made my stay at home much nicer. The couch and I were almost inseparable. What’s good about lying down on that sofa is that it’s right beside the window where I can smell the fragrant suha (pomelo) blossoms from the frontyard. Look at these pretty flowers!

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Before I proceed to food and chismis, lemme just share this cute convo I had with my Dad the morning before I left Manila for Bataan.

Daddy: Anak, manonood ka ba ng BSB concert? Peyborits mo sila di’ba?
Me: Hindi. Uuwi ako d’yan ngayon eh.
Daddy: ‘Di bale. Kakantahan ka na lang namin ni Mama mo.
❤

They didn’t get to sing Quit Playing Games With My Heart for me and it was more than okay because well… my parents can’t sing for shit. Hindi ko ‘yan namana sa kanila because I have a wonderful singing voice. *kidlat kulog* Hihihi. :p We watched dvds (Sherlock Homes: A Game of Shadows and Joyful Noise) and snacked on indian mangoes from our backyard. We read books– Neil Gaiman for me, Bo Sanchez for Mama, and Rick Warren for Daddy. We cooked tortang talong, embutido, and my favorite poor man’s nilaga. I call it poor man’s nilaga because instead of using beef shanks/celery/cabbage/corn, we use pork ribs/pechay/potato/camote. I like it because the camote makes the broth thick and sweet! At natawa ako kay Mama na obvious na matagal nang hindi nakapagluto nito…

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Mama: Gaano kadaming saging at gabi ang isasama natin dito?
Me: Saging at gabi? Ginatan ba ang lulutuin naten?!?!
Daddy: May binili pa nga ‘yang labanos eh!
Mama: Akala ko kasi sinigang ang irerequest nitong anak mong matakaw!!!

Ang ending, minatamis na lang ni Mama ang gabi, saging at yung ibang camote. Btw, there was no available yellow camote. We had the violet variety, it’s not the ube that is used for halaya. It’s not as sweet as the yellow. Had I known, I would have let her put banana in the nilaga. Anyway, the nilaga still turned out to be delicious. Kasarap with sawsawan na patis na pinigaan ng calamansi at tinirisan ng sili! Over lunch, my parents asked about my friends and I told them about Jap’s bday and our plan to go out of town or out of the country. Chinismis Chinika ko na rin yung iba pang mga exciting na mga ganap sa buhay nila. And then Daddy asked about *insert my exboyfriend’s name here*

Daddy: Kumusta na si _______?
Mama: Naku naman, Dad! Hindi na sila nag-uusap ng anak mo!
Me: Oo nga, Daddy. Huli ka na sa balita.
Daddy: Isali niyo kasi ako ‘pag nagchichismisan kayo!!!
LOL

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Moments with my parents are golden! I wasn’t blessed to have siblings but it’s okay because God gave me super loving and super awesome parents. 🙂 I am very very grateful. I know I’ve said this several times here in my blog. This isn’t also the first time that I posted a picture of them holding hands, while walking to the church. The only time I left the house was when we went to Our Lady of The Pillar Church. It was a rainy Sunday morning. I was busy texting so they walked ahead of me. Thus, I had another chance to take a picture of them and get all kilig.

After mass, Daddy went to Pangasinan for Lola Meling’s 40 Days, and when he came back last night, he had a bagful of shrimps (suahe) for us. Yummy! Fave namin ‘yon ni Mama. After dinner, we looked at old pictures. They laughed at me for looking like a boy when I was just a few months old. Harharhar.

It’s always good to be home. 🙂

—–

listening to: Paul McCartney – Maybe I’m Amazed

Jeric <3 Mafi

Less than 2 weeks ago…

Me: O, baket ka tumawag?
Mafi: I-invite sana kita sa wedding namin next week.
Me: Punyemas, next week na?!!????

She’s not pregnant. In fact, they were engaged for around a year before they tied the knot last Friday. Their original plan was to have a beach wedding in Bataan last March but it was postponed because Mafi had to go to Greece. I thought they moved it to November, but I was wrong. Good thing I was wrong because I really think Jeric and Mafi are made for each other and it’s just right that they seal the deal. 🙂

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May 25, in Tramway, Shaw Blvd. There were 20+ of us in attendance to bear witness to Jeric and Mafi’s Christian wedding. It was a simple, beautiful intimate gathering of family and closest friends. It was also the first wedding I ever attended that served food before the ceremony. I loved it. :p Plus, we also got to eat again after the Pastor declared them husband and wife.

Another thing I loved was I got to be the flowergirl!!! Chloe, the original flowergirl, was sleepy and didn’t want to go back inside to throw petals at the newlyweds. So what was a concerned secondary sponsor to do? I grabbed the flowerbasket and said, “Pwede po ako na lang? Matagal ko nang pangarap gawin ito uli eh!” Nobody seemed to mind. I said, “Wheeeee!!!” each time I threw petals at the couple. Ang saya ko lang talaga!

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It was a happy day. Another day that reminded me that love will always and forever triumph. My wish for the newlyweds is for them to never forget what is said in Ephesians 5:

Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior… Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy…

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Congratulations and best wishes to the lovebirds! Jeric, welcome to the family! Take care of my baby cousin!

—–

listening to: Kelly Clarkson – A Moment Like This

Goodbye Lola

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Exactly a week ago, I went back to our town in Pangasinan to attend the last day of vigil for my Lola who passed away last April 26. I didn’t get to go home for 8 years so when I arrived in Binmaley, I had a hard time identifying some of my cousins.

I also had a hard time believing that Lola’s name was Emelia and not Emilia. All along, i thought it was Lola Miling! Lola Meling pala dapat! I felt a tinge of envy when I heard my younger cousins shared stories about her. I had no stories to share, except for tiny recollections of my childhood, vacationing in our family house in the fishing village of Balagan.

By Sunday morning, we walked almost 3 kilometers to the church (which is so old, I absolutely loved it)  and another half kilometer to the cemetery for the funeral. Please. When I die, mumultuhin ko ‘pag may magpatugtog ng Hindi Kita Malilimutan. Please lang talaga.

There were around 100 people who attended. Snacks of biscuits, cookies and ice cold Zesto (as expected) were served before the program (?) proper. Lola Fely gave a tearful eulogy to her sister. Uncle Dante said something that I heard before, something about why people hold reunions only when someone dies. Daddy praised God for giving us Lola even for a short time– 83 years to be exact.

God, please take good care of my Lola. I hope that she’s reunited with Lolo Felix.

—–

listening to: nothing

Lola Miling

My paternal grandmother passed away this afternoon.

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{1 year old me with Lola}

She suffered from kidney tumors and colon and lung complications. Daddy visited her in the hospital last week and he called me up so I could talk to Lola. I told her I was sorry for not visiting yet. I told her to wait for me because I would visit her soon. I even joked that mag-iinuman pa kami*. She laughed (yung mahinhin niyang tawa, see, mana ako sa Lola ko) and told me to take care.

I was supposed to see her THIS Saturday. I was supposed to hug her and tell her how grateful I am to her for giving me my Daddy. I wanted to tell her that even if I’ve always thought that I wasn’t a favorite apo because I rarely spent my vacations in Pangasinan, I treasure the memories I spent with her in the family house’s dining room, where she’d struggle in talking to me in Tagalog and pushed me to eat more bangus, talangka, and sugpo… when she’d giggle like a child whenever I’d speak to her in broken Pangalatok/Ilokano…

I was supposed to see her this Saturday. I even asked my Dad if he wanted to meet up with me in Dagupan so we’d just go to the hospital together. He replied that Lola would be brought back to the family house because that’s where she wanted to rest. After an hour, I received a message from my Dad again. Lola Miling already passed away. She didn’t even get to make it home.

But I guess, God already welcomed Lola in her real home– in heaven where my Lolo Felix had been waiting for almost 12 years. There, they can continue their love story and watch over all of us here.

I don’t even know their love story. I never bothered to ask. It’s a regret that I didn’t. It’s a regret that I did not seize the opportunities to be close to her.

To all of you out there, don’t be like me. Have a sense of urgency to express your appreciation, need, want, love to the people you care about.

I’m going to Pangasinan this weekend to pay my respects to Lola Miling. If you could, please say a little prayer for her. Her name was Emilia Lomibao Santos.

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* Lagi ko noon jino-joke si Lola na mag-iinuman pa kami kasi when I was little, nakikita ko s’ya na may hawak na lapad. Parang si Tita Minerva sa Palibhasa Lalake. :,)

—–

listening to: nothing

Burger Machine, Lecheflan-less Halo-Halo, and a Beautiful Sunset

I feel energized!

I went home last weekend to spend time with the greatest oldies in the world (my parents!!!), drink at the beach with my cousins, experience the newly opened Burger King Machine, and take care of my pet plants!

This is my Mama and me before mass in Our Lady of The Pillar church started. I didn’t get to take a pic with my Daddy because Fr. Gerry already arrived. If you’re wondering why I don’t have lots of pictures of my parents, that’s because they aren’t camwhores like me. Hindi ko talaga gets kung kanino ako nagmana. Pumapayag lang magpicture-taking talaga ‘yang mga ‘yan kapag birthday nila or ‘pag Christmas!

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The gospel that day was about Doubting Thomas. I think it was a timely reminder for me to stop worrying and just trust God with everything. Everything by Lifehouse was the song on loop in my 3day-vacay. That and Hey Jude by The Beatles. Hmmmm… coincidence?

As we were walking home after mass, I went slow-mo when I saw the newest addition to our sleepy town of Morong, Bataan. BURGER MACHINE. Whooooaaaaaa. This is the first ever fastfood that’s ever been built in Morong. I don’t care if it’s smalltime. Progress is still good no matter how small it is. Today, Burger Machine. Tomorrow, Jollibee! Next year, Starbucks, Next decade, SM!!! Hahaha!!! Oh well, one can hope. 😉

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Some of my cousins went with me for dinner there. With the suggestion of my friend Jon, I had the PinakaBurger or Jumbo Burger, the one with everything on it– chili, bacon, cheese, coleslaw! It will never be my favorite burger but it tasted better than a Big Mac that time, because I was very happy. :p I even got my little inaanak a pasalubong. Cheesedog daw sabi ni Reese. Matakaw, mana sa Ninang. 🙂

The following morning, I woke up to this breakfast prepared by my Daddy. Cornflakes, ensaimada, coffee… and a timely article! Hahahaha! Ang lakas lang talagang mang-asar ng tatay ko! My mother also had her turn in talking to me about love over lunch. Yuuuuccckkk. Awkward. Kinwento ba naman uli sa akin ang lovestory nila ni Daddy! Shempre, gumanti ako at nagkwento rin ako tungkol sa mga ex-boylets ko! :))

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By afternoon, I hit the beach. I love that I have a cool uncle that owns one of the best resorts in our town. Do google it– East-West Resort. The amenities are not as flashy as the other resorts’ but the beach is definitely better. Feel na feel mo talaga ang probinsya charm. 🙂

Had rumcoke and lots of junkfood with my cousins and talked about school and career. It was my first time to drink with my younger cousins (23 and 17) and I felt that I was the family blacksheep/b.i. na kasing bata ng looks nila. At kasing fresh. Or mas fresh. Bwahahahaha!!! I love my cousins. I hope that I can spend more time with them. 🙂

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My third and last day of vacay was spent mostly at home.

We bought sari-sari store halo-halo and for the first time in years, I ate pinipig again. See, I am not fond of halo-halo, unless it’s Razon’s with ingredients so few, ingredients that I all like. Medyo disappointing kahit masarap naman kasi walang lecheflan sa taas. pero may ube sa loob. It’s my Mama that loves it so to fully enjoy our lunch of hilaw na mangga, inihaw na bangus, and pandan rice, I agreed on having the halo-halo for dessert. Funny nga because Daddy forgot to pay Ate Belen. Akala niya, nabayaran ko na. So after eating, he hurried back to the store to pay her. Wawa naman si erpats, ang init-init pa naman! :))

Nakarma rin naman ako because I was Miss Sweaty when I went to the backyard  to check our plants– eggplants, tomatoes, sili, guyabano, dayap, bananas, mangga, blah blah blah. It sorta sucks that the weather is too damn hot, some of plants are dying. 😦 Di ‘bale. My Mama has a greenthumb. Kaya niyang buhayin ang mga pananim!!! Go Mama!

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Sinigang was on the dinner menu, so while I was waiting for the pork to cook, I went out to buy pasalubong. Ano pa nga ba, eh di kasuy. Cashew was my colleagues’ requested pasalubong. Dati, suman sa lihiya. Too bad I didn’t get to buy lots of kasuy because it’s still so expensive! Pero ang sarap talaga ng kasuy ng Bataan. Talong-talo ang kasuy ng Palawan at Antipolo!

When I went back home, Mama and I finished cooking the sinigang. It turned out exceptionally delicious even if we didn’t get to put kangkong and labanos. It was just pork, onions, okra, eggplants, and gabi. Patis with siling labuyo as sawsawan of course. And because it was a special dinner (because I’m home) we had Coke. :p

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I’m now back in Manila. Arrived this morning. I’ll be counting the days until I am home again. Tonight, I’ll be dreaming of cheap lecheflan-less halo-halo, beautiful sunsets, and the warmth of our comfy sofa…

—–

listening to: Kings of Leon – Notion

Mama’s 60th Birthday

My wonderful mother celebrated her 60th birthday yesterday. 🙂 Thank You God for blessing me with an angel for a mommy. She is the most beautiful, kindest, most prayerful woman I know. I love her so much. 🙂

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(pic taken when I was 1 1/2 years old and Mama was 31)

I don’t have any party pics to show because she opted not to have a grand celebration. My original plan was to throw a party for her at my uncle’s beach resort. Ayaw daw niya. Gusto daw niya simple lang. ‘Wag daw kaming makialam. Siya daw ang may birthday so siya ang masusunod. Ma’am, yes ma’am! I thought we were going to Subic to eat lunch and watch a movie like what we do when it’s Daddy’s birthday but she said she just wanted to cook some of her favorite dishes and give them to our relatives and neighbors.

It was also a blessing that we didn’t go out anymore because I suffered from fever (with chills! scary! :S) from Saturday to Monday. I think God just took pity on me when I asked Him to make me well because I didn’t want my Mama to worry about me when she should be stress-free on her birthday.

We cooked and gave away food a day before her birthday. She didn’t want to do it on Feb 22 because it’s Ash Wednesday. Here are some of the food we made:

Chunky Chicken Macaroni Salad. The one you see in the picture is the sald before I mixed everything together. This is Mama’s specialty savory salad. Her dessert salad specialty is Chunky Buco Pandan. Yeah, we like our salads chunkee! Funny coz I was the one who taught her how to make these, but she does it much better than me. 😛

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Maja con Quezo. This was supposed to be maja blanca topped with latik (fried coconut milk curd)  but we were to tired to make latik that we used cheese instead. Mama makes excellent maja. This has been a fave of mine since childhood. 🙂

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Suman sa Lihiya. This is soaked glutinous rice treated with lye. Mama’s besty Tita Nida made this as a gift for Mama. Well, at least she attempted for it to be a surprise, pero fail kasi sa amin siya humingi ng banana leaves na pambalot. So, buking! :p I brought a dozen suman to the office with grated coconut and sugar. Was too lazy to get panocha. :p

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Bibingkang Kanin. This was Mama’s birthday(rice)cake. Haha she detested my suggestion that we put candles on it. :p When I was still a little Iya, I’d scrape off the sweet sauce on top and give the rice cake to Mama. Haha, salbaheng anak ko lang talaga dati. :p This is my favorite kakanin after bibingkang malagkit aka bibingka that we usually see during Christmastime.

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Pansit Bihon: Our quintessential birthday dish because they say it represents long life and because we just really love pansit. :p And even if I was suffering from toncilitis, Mama allowed me to drink Coke because it sucks to eat pansit without Coca-Cola. 😀 And reward ko kasi napagod ako sa kakahalo ng 3 kilo ng pansit!

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I’m glad that Mama got what she wanted, a simple celebration spent with me and Daddy. She also got a pretty yellow blouse and fab clutch bag from me. :p I stayed home until early morning of her birthday. Haha, I demanded a picture before I left for Manila. Kebs na kung bagong gising at nakapantulog pa. Here it is:

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That’s one of the best mornings of our lives. 🙂 Thank You God for giving us Mama! 🙂

—–

listening to: The Beatles – I Will

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