Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Simple Life

” When despair for the world grows in me, and I wake in the night at the least sound in fear of what my life and my children's lives maybe. . .

I go and lie down where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds. I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief. I come into presence of still water.

 And I feel above me the day- blind stars waiting with their light. For a time I rest in the grace of the world and am free ". = Wendell Berry

"To find universal elements enough ; to find the air and the water exhilarating ; to be refreshed by morning walk or an evening saunter.. . to be thrilled by the stars of the night ; to be elated over a bird's nest or a wild flower in spring - these are some of the rewards of a simple life"  = John Burroughs

I love my simple life.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Biernes Santo 2011

While most people I know were in Boracay or Hongkong, taking advantage of the Lent holidays, you would find me and my girls tagging along at my husband's hometown in Cavite. Take note, not for an outing but to observe the Holy Friday the way a Catholic should do. With the long hours of masses and long queue of processions. Always! Annually! It has been like this since the first year I changed my surname. More than 16 years or so. . haha. Do I sound complaining?/?
A bit. . yeah. . It's just that, no matter how soooo Catholic my upbringing ( I even graduated from a exclusive for girls Catholic college) was, I am no way fanatically traditional.. Just like the family I married to. You know, if I would have my way, I'd rather spend the Holy Week in a quiet place of our choice, spend hours for spiritual reflections and give my working husband who is usually tired at this time of the year, a vacation he deserves.. instead of the assigned task he carries for almost decades now as "apostoles" and has to attend all the traditional roles. We are practically tied-up to this tradition up to when? I don't know! Those 16 years, there were irking thoughts. There was a time that it was my birthday, I was pregnant and nearing delivery. But had to be left alone at home cos the husband had to do the task. There were others but too many to mention. My husband has 3 older siblings, all married with kids of their own. None of them, goes to the same parents' church. The two are born-agains and the other one is based abroad.

Husband would lighten the issue with thoughts and love for his parents, way out of the tradition. He thought it would be too much for his kind parents ( I actually love my parents-in-law), if he too would take his back away from this church which the parents breath and live for. He has to do it, no one in the family would, anyway. I, on the other hand, treat it as a sacrificial note which in a way the Lent Season calls for, isn't it?

In the long run, I had taught myself to live with it. Diverted my attention to enjoy the Lent scenes which the old town of Bacoor is rich. I actually can recommend this town in Cavite as one of the best place to observe the culture during this season in the country. Why not_ the town doesn't only have one main church but three. And it's so near from Manila. The peak which happens on Holy Friday procession is spectacular cos of the countless beautiful carted statues participating the procession around the town.

And never to forget, this is also where the famous "halo-halo"of Digman can be found. see here

It's given that we had to arrive so much earlier than the procession time which would be around past 5pm. Why?. .cos the main road would be closed before that and no cars could enter the town anymore, not until the street activities had ended. It was actually a ok cos we have time to roam around the town which at this point is preparing the statues for the big procession.

buying candles is a must

In this town, presentation of the heritage statues of the saints is b-i-g! I even heard that most owners hire florist talents to do the flowers of the carts. They usually use fresh flowers in massiveness. The statues' gowns are also treated like reinas' gowns in a Santacrusan, sometimes even grander.

Chandelier lights surrounded the statue and complimented the awesome floral arrangements.

And when the sky gets  dim, the magnificent collections of statues of Jesus, Mary and other saints float around the streets of the town. The sight is so beautiful.

Most of them are hugely more than life size and really magnetic in their own way.

I actually see them annually, but they never failed to amaze me. Last year I posted a different set of these statues. see here.

the apostoles

This is for me, the best spot to take photos of the procession, with the historical bahay na bato as the background.

There are actually many other characters in this procession. Most of them participate in the name of beliefs and tradition.

Supposedly the body of Christ. . who is the main character of the procession.

I envy the faith of these people. . .can move mountains. . .

I have to confess (please don't hate me. . .) my indifference to the way faithful believers kiss and caress the statues, believing that the acts would bring them miracles. .Well, who am I to judge them anyway. They might be right , you know.

Let me say, I'm not traditional but I have this deep faith to God, only me could comprehend. . I'm sure we are all different in our own ways. . let's respect each other.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Rural Easter

Found a baby on a  rock. She was with her family having an Easter picnic in this noncommercial  falls. No rental huts or cottages.

Spent this special day trekking around my scenic hometown in Quezon province. One of my favorite finds is this falls which is randomly called "Busay Falls". Brother reminded me not to commit mistake asking locals the location of this and refer to it as simply busay falls. Because this is not the one and only falls in town being called as such. Almost every barangay/barrio has its own busay falls. One has to mention the specific name of the barangay. When I get home, I promise to show you around this nature gifted side of my hometown.

Ofcourse before that, first _we'll jump-back to (click this->  Biernes Santo.
See you.

Happy Easter everyone !!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Visita Iglesia 2011

We are now in the middle of Lent Season/ Holy Week. The peak would be on Holy Friday which traditionally Catholic church commemorates Jesus' death by special masses, way of the cross, processions and many do their "visita iglesia" on the eve of this day. Churches welcome churchgoers and basically open their doors til' dawn before Black Saturday. I, however, personally haven't done a single visita iglesia in my not-so-religious life which in our lay man term means church hopping.
I do, however, always make sure to visit first the town church everytime I get to land in a new place. I flipped over my archives and realized I had only posted less than 5 church blogs against the countless number of church I've visited . This is because taking photos is not a respectable thing to do inside a church. Thus prevented me to feature the beautiful churches around our predominantly Catholic country.
For quite sometime (about 1/2 year), recent photos I took of San Agustin Church and Manila Cathedral have been sitting on my files. As mentioned, I'm not comfortable taking photos inside a holy church, so the following images are mostly church facades but grandiose just the same.

So for Ascertain Bliss' visita iglesia 2011 let's take a glance of San Agustin Church. I'm sure many of us have attended a wedding held in this famous historical church in one time or another. Known as the oldest church still standing in the Philippines, built in the late 15th century, this church is found inside the equally historic Intramuros, Manila.

I know you think what I thought. . the facade doesn't look any old. With the bright paint and all, but history recalls how many times this church had been damaged by earthquakes, looted by different forces, destroyed by fire and war and had undergone rebuilding countless times.

There was a wedding ceremony being held when we dropped by at San Agustin. We dared not to go further inside cos obviously in our jeans and shorts that we were not part of the entourage/guests.

For those who haven't been inside this grand church, I borrow a photo and above is how fab the inside is. Now you know why this is a favorite wedding church of the Filipinos.
On the side note, the church contains the tomb of Spanish conquerors like Miguel Lopez de Legazpi (sounds history book familiar, right?), he is the founder of city of Manila. Their bones are buried in a communal vault near the main altar. One of the lay persons whose remains are housed within this church is our history book famous painter_ Juan Luna.

I actually have a big thing for old intricate church doors so here I grabbed a photo of San Agustin main door. I have lots of photos of this door I took many years ago and some lately. But they are lost now in my crowded files.

Now we hop to Manila Cathedral which is located walking distance to San Agustin church inside Intramuros Manila.

Another wedding church favorite, this church is like the queen of Catholic churches in the country in terms of grandeur and popularity.

Again, there was a wedding ceremony going on that prevented us to go inside.I did , however, attended in the past , wedding ceremony masses here of my relatives and friends, even been part of the entourage more than once.

Borrowed this image from the church website, for those who haven't been inside.

I told you I have a thing for old intricate doors. .

This church got intensely intricate carved wood doors, so grand!!!

When it comes to architecture, I'd say Manila Cathedral comes a winner.

Ooops... I know. . .I'm running away from the spiritual essence of visita iglesia. I just want really to introduce to you the churches then it's up to you now. I'm not even sure if these two grand churches are open for visita iglesia. Atleast, we all had a glimpse of them even only virtually spiritual.

Hey, if you want to continue visita iglesia ala Ascertain Bliss, I got more church post here :

The Dome of the Apostles
The Luminous Sanctuary
The Church of Lucban
The Penafrancia Basilica Minore

God Bless us all.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Universal Studios

I had an awesome day at Universal Studios, SG. Location : Resort World, Sentosa, Singapore. Admission : SG$72. Date of visit : March 2011

I don't think express pass (additional SG$30 on top of the SG$72) is necessary. We didn't avail any. I'm not sure thu' if you're going on weekends but on a weekday we went (and we were there early before 9am.), the ticket  and attraction queues were easy.
Here are some of the attractions I had fun with :
;) Mascots-> here and there
:) Shrek in 4D
;) WaterWorld
;) Lights, Camera, Action
and some that I found boring or too challenging for this boring mom :
;> Revenge of the Mummy
;} Accelerator
;(  Donkey Live
;( Treasure Hunters
;> Battlestar Gallactica
I enjoyed lunch at :
;) Discovery Food Court 

Look when I shouted  f-r-e-e-z-e !!! everybody halted. . spot the most common gadget. . need I say it aloud??? Everyone dared not get caught without a camera in his hand. 
Apparently, Universal Studios was more of an adult theme park choice. Per my visit, the park had more number of adult guests than kids. Why not, most of the attractions here were movie themed popular before today's generation. That means- the parents' time. I guess Disneyland is more cohesive as  for-all- ages park. We all grew up with Disneys. and so our kids today still enjoys Disneys. Yet Universal Studios owns its unique  character.

Today is Monday here in P.I. Although officially works start to cease on Maundy Thursday, traditonally we are already in observance of the Holy Week . I'm giving my favorite companion (my camera) a rest too this Holy Week. . . or I wouldn't???
Let's see if I could squeeze some chance  this week a glance or two of  Holy Week scenes in our country.
For now, take it slow. . time to pray and heal. God Bless us all.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Splash Island Resort (part2)

Okey, already I was feeling the beachy-ness of  Splash Island Resort _with the sand, green trees, waved pool and the small cabana . I was sold! Well, if you invested the tiniest amount of money and time in a getaway, I realized I was easiest to  please, haha.

The particular location of cabana of our choice was a good vantage point to steal a rustic mood of a real island resort. Well,  guess like lovers in my background felt other vibes too. . 

Husband couldn't be happier when he gathered  his favorite beach past time was available here - a whole body massage!!!!!  So now he was feeling it too..

While the dad was snoring thru his lil' spa time, we girls floated around the river like ride at Balsa River. This was very relaxing. You just let go and float . .no hurry.

Our girls went on to scout the resort for more fun. .and hella discovered huge building size water slides! Those kind with escalator/elevator rides to reach the top of the slides.

This Big Bam Boo slide ride looked so nonthreatening  at first.

So husband and younger daughter calmly took their first slide of the day. . .

and whoooahhh!!!!

They were caught-up by surprise. .it was a dark tunnel ride and had unexpected corner turns !! I asked them to do a second ride but refused! haha.

The Agos Grandes which I assumed was the "ocean" of the resort, was more of a kiddie pool off the machine generated waves which turned on in the later part of the day.

It had various inflatables to ride and play with. see more here.

But when the pool started to generate waves, the inflatables were removed from the scene replaced by the sea of people having fun with the waves.

Other attractions were either too kiddie for my girls. . or too adult per their dad.

They thought the zip line here wasn't that challenging . .

There were kayaks and this human zorb ball awaiting rents. They were just there. .seemed nobody was interested to rent them.

Others like the Rio Montanosa was too mountaneous for us all.

On the side light . . .

There was a souvenir shop which also offered swim wear and gear, just incase you forgot to bring, haha.

There were few booths around. You could actually make some small shopping. My girls bought some trinkets from this booth.

Remember bringing-in food and beverages aren't allowed. Worry not _ there are so many food stores around and really very affordable. As long as  you aren't  looking for master chef-creation  dishes, these cheap  snacky foods would do your day okey .

Not bad. . eh :)))

*part one here.