Showing posts with label memories. Show all posts
Showing posts with label memories. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

The last flood experience?

Five years ago, we endured what we now look back to as our last flood experience. Here are some photos from that time when rains brought about by a typhoon flooded many areas in Metro Manila and its surrounding areas including our subdivision in the lower part of Antipolo City in Rizal Province.

The view from our old house on August 20, 2013
The view of the street from our former home on August 21, 2013
Another view of the flooded street from our former home on August 21, 2013.

I recall that after we came home from Singapore, we weren't quite ready yet to purchase property and build our new home. And so we ended up renting in condos in Quezon City and BGC during the rainy season where we stayed mostly on weekdays. On this particular day, one car was with the Clairvoyant and I already advised her against coming home that day. I left our other car (which was revived after it sank during Ondoy in 2009) at the university and rode with an officemate and came home before the flood waters rose.

This was the last serious flood we experienced and I say 'serious' because flood waters invaded our home. It was not as bad as the Ondoy of 2009 or Habagat of 2012 though as the water inside was only about 100mm at the deepest. By comparison, Ondoy was about 2m (scary!) and Habagat about 1m inside our home! At the time of the 2013 floods, our nbew house was already under construction and we were already looking forward to moving out of what we called home for 9 years.

The following year 2014, we moved out to our present home in upper Antipolo City. It would be quite improbable for our area to be flooded now and in the foreseeable future and hopefully, 2013 would be the last flood experience.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Chocolate review: Ragusa

There was a chocolate bar in our refrigerator that the wife and I didn't know was there as we couldn't remember buying one or someone giving it to us. However, the brand is familiar to me and has some nostalgia to it because Tatay brought home these chocolates as pasalubong after his travel to Indonesia and Singapore in the 1980s. I recall they were "different" compared to the usual chocolate we got to enjoy back then when chocolates from the US were not so common and usually expensive. Foreign trips by my father afforded us these chocolates.

Ragusa Classique
Details on the chocolate at the back of the package
Ingredients and nutrition information
Expiration date and manufacturer's information
Here's what the chocolate looks like with the nut and nougat


Sunday, June 17, 2018

Citizen Homer Second Setting - Railroad Watch

Happy Fathers' Day!

Easily one of my favorites is this Citizen Homer Second Setting manual wind watch. I chanced upon it being sold by its previous owner who was letting go of some of his collections. I was actually inquiring about another watch until he posted photos of this watch and I became curious when he labeled this as a railway watch.

Simple watch face with dauphine hands and arabic numerals. The brand and model are written in cursive script. It is a very functional, practical design given that train drivers and station staff use this for what could be the most punctual train services in the world.
Side view of the watch
Side view showing the crown, which bears the brand logo 'CTZ'
The engraving reads: Top - Showa 48 (Refers to the 48th year of the reign of Emperor Hirohito = Showa and translates to 1973). Middle - watch number (this was issued to railroad staff, particularly to those running the trains). Bottom - First two kanji reads 'Koku Tetsu', which is an abbreviation of Kokuritsu Tetsudo (National Railways). The Kanji in parenthesis refers to the Japan National Railways division where the watch was issued; in this case the first kanji is likely to be for Kanazawa and the second is 'division'.
It's easy to fall in love with the simpler, non-luxury watches like this Citizen Homer. And to be honest, I would prefer to wear these kinds of watches for most days, which is also the main reason why I have preferred to wear my old Seiko Kinetic after all these years.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Food for Lent

It's the Lenten Season once again and its that time of year when meat consumption tends to go down for Catholics. We are supposed to fast and abstain from meat (that's beef, pork and chicken) on Fridays and the specific days like Ash Wednesday, Maunday Thursday and Black Saturday.

Frozen seafood i vacuum packs mean they will last longer in the refrigerator.

I usually get dory, tanguige, tuna and milkfish as part of our food supply. Bangus (milkfish) is usually for breakfast while the other seafood can be cooked a number of ways. Sometimes I get tuna belly for grilling and sashimi-grade tuna for a home-prepared version of this Japanese favorite. And this is not just for Fridays but for the entire week. Of course, I try to get fresh seafood whenever I have the opportunity to go to market. That's where I get our supply of vegetables, shrimps, fish and other seafood from our suki vendors.

There was a bit of irony when Ash Wednesday happened to be the same day as Valentine's Day. Some people (the more religious ones?) were in some sort of dilemma how they can "celebrate" Valentine's Day when it was a day of fasting and abstinence if you're a Roman Catholic. I'm sure they were able to figure that out while practicing abstinence from meat

Monday, August 21, 2017

Childhood memories: Voltes V

We were heading for the parking lot when the Clairvoyant spotted this sign in front of a popular shirt brand. Giordano got the rights to come up with merchandise celebrating the 40th anniversary of Voltes V.

The wife and I decided to get matching shirts for us to wear. Unfortunately, there were no sizes for kids so we couldn't get one for our daughter. Still, we got a third shirt to give away to someone of our generation. The third shirt got us the free umbrella they store was giving away as part of a promo for these shirts.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

The Sydney Opera House at night

I just could not travel to Australia and not have the chance to see one of the architectural wonders of the world. I am referring to the Sydney Opera House. I think this is The Highlight of my travels this year despite 5 months remaining in 2017. And this is right there beside the Clairvoyant's highlights from her trip to Barcelona (Sagrada Familia) and Rome (Colloseum, Sistine Chapel, etc.). Following are 'up close and personal' photos I took of the Sydney Opera House the Friday night I was in Sydney.

More photos of my trip to Melbourne and Sydney soon.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Our home in Iloilo

I searched for my father's hometown in Iloilo on Google Earth and Google Maps before but didn't use the street view option. Last time around and after coming home I decided to take another look and to check if Google's street view includes the streets near our home there. Lo and behold! It does include them and the Google survey vehicle even passed in front of our home. And so we now have nice images of our home online. Below are the images that I embedded here using Google's features:

I can now go to Google Maps and click on the Street View option whenever I feel like I need to "go home".

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Praying for a miracle for Nay Nene

February has always been a happy month for me. For one, it is my birth month and so we usually have some celebration during the latter part of the month. It is also the birth month of my niece and I have a lot of happy memories of things happening in February (e.g., my first trip to Japan, my first experience of snow, etc.). This year was not supposed to be different because it is my 45th and we had already planned a family trip over the weekend. So much for a happy February...

Earlier today, I received news from my father that a beloved aunt (his elder sister) was hit by a jeepney. She is now in critical condition in a hospital in Iloilo and we are trying to confirm exactly what injuries she sustained. My brother says that from his conversation with our cousins, it looks bleak and we can only hope for a miracle for my aunt to get through this.

Nanay Nene or Enriqueta Regidor is one of only two living siblings of my father. The other, Nay Paring (Amparo Torre) is older and lives with her in my paternal side's ancestral home in Cabatuan, Iloilo. Although Nay Nene has had some health problems recently and the past few years, these were mostly the typical illnesses attributed to her advanced age (sakit ng matatanda). I've known her to be a tough lady but she was very kind, very cheerful and that is how I want to remember her from my childhood days spent in Iloilo during summer breaks.

Nay Nene (4th from left) beside my lola (3rd from left) in front of our old house in Cabatuan, Iloilo (photo taken in March 1974, just after my 2nd birthday)

She was like a mother to me and I was very fond of her. I used to tag along with her whenever I was in Iloilo whether its going to the market, on a religious procession or to church. It was she who usually cooked for us whenever we were in Iloilo. It was she who usually accompanied us to the airport when we returned to Manila. Nay Nene was a teacher and one among many close relatives who probably influenced me into teaching, too.

This is going to be a long night and a critical one at that. We can only pray that Nay Nene will get through the night and hopefully recover. Only God knows what about His plan for her and we surrender to His will.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Another beautiful sunset at the "second floor"

We only recently have gone back to what older people in our area of residence call the "second floor". This is atop what appears to be the highest point in our village. The Clairvoyant wanted to go there again for the first time since almost half a year ago before she had surgery. I had brought our daughter there for the first time a week earlier as part of our adventures together. She was actually more interested in the cows grazing near the road than climbing up to get a nice view of the city, the mountains and even Laguna de Bay. But when we were on top, she became curious about the mint that grew seemingly everywhere on that rocky land. I just had to caution her about running and not watching where she went. She can get quite clumsy and might just end up stumbling and hurting herself.

I related our little adventure to her mother and the Clairvoyant was naturally envious of our expedition. When we finally had the opportunity one afternoon, we decided to go there again and timed our climb so we can have a great view of the sunset. We were not disappointed and here is one of the shots we were able to take using just our smartphones:

The major elements conspired that late afternoon to give us this spectacular sunset
There are no two sunsets that are alike and so we will continue going up the "second floor" to view the sunsets. Of course, now there will be three of us going there from time to time. :)

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Lola's adobong manok

I had wanted to write about some happy memories late last year but thought it was most apt for New Year's Day. This is about the adobong manok (chicken stewed in vinegar and soy sauce with bay (laurel) leaves) that my lola, Tatay's mother, cooked for us when she was still able. I remember she used to travel to Manila from Iloilo almost every Christmas in the 1970s. We usually went home for vacation during the Holy Week when Tatay could have longer leaves. Those times, it usually took from 22 to 26 hours by boat between Iloilo and Manila but as long as the weather was okay, travel didn't make you tired so lola wasn't so tired when Tatay fetched her at the port (Pier 2 as I recall as this was where the Negros Navigation ships docked). Every time, she brought with her a small pot or caldero containing adobong native chicken that she had cooked at our home in Cabatuan. Adobo is just the kind of food that could survive a whole day's travel. There was something special about that adobo and not just because lola made it from ingredients from Iloilo but because it was made with a lot of love.

We could never enjoy my lola's cooking again since she passed away in the early 1980s. But then whenever we had a chance we brought native chicken raised at our home in Cabatuan so we can at least recreate some of our favorite chicken dishes with the main ingredient no less. Recently, Tatay came back from Iloilo with some native chicken and below are a couple of photos of the adobo.

Adobo using native chicken from our home in Cabatuan, Iloilo
A close-up of the native chicken adobo


Sunday, November 27, 2016

Sunday comics

I used to look forward to the newspaper delivered on Sundays at our home in Cainta. Tatay subscribed to a daily and still purchases newspapers though not everyday but usually on weekends. Though there are many good articles to read on weekend issues and some probably look forward to the Classified Ads of one newspaper, I always first try to look for the comics section.

The Philippine Star's Sunday Comics section makes my day.
I remember that there used to be a lot of good strips and not just the syndicated ones from abroad (Calvin and Hobbes, Peanuts, Dilbert, BC, The Phantom, Garfield, etc.) but those by local cartoonists including Larry Alcala, Nonoy Marcelo and, of course, Pol Medina, Jr. More recent is the strip by Manix Abrera. I still enjoy these strips a lot though I now go to the internet for my daily diet of humor.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Tsokolate from tableya

With my social media news feeds full of people on vacation in their hometowns or in some resort, or of people camping out or visiting loved ones who passed away, I thought I would have a different take for All Saints Day. It rained last night and it was gloomy and cool this morning. It seemed to me like the perfect morning for hot chocolate and pandesal, which are popular morning fare in the Philippines. The hot chocolate though is not the instant one like the Swiss Miss dark chocolate that we have at home. Instead I decided to make hot chocolate from tableya or the cacao tablets that we had. There was a small box of it that was good for 3 to 4 mugs of good old hot chocolate like what we had during our childhood.

I boiled water and added the tableya. Once melted, I turned down the heat a few notches for a slow boil while I stirred to make sure all the cacao had been diluted. The result was a little viscous so I had to add more water (some of course evaporated as the chocolate was cooked).
We had enough chocolate for 3 and a half mugs. The half was served to our daughter who had a smaller mug. We added muscovado sugar and milk as the chocolate was on the bitter side. The wife and I were actually surprised that our daughter liked the concoction. We also had some oatmeal while we put some emmental cheese for our pandesal before I heated them. The cheese melt sandwiches were a hit on this gloomy morning.


Sunday, October 2, 2016

Old photos: Cabatuan, Iloilo

My old Pentax camera had a panorama feature that I liked to use even though it cost me more whenever I had these developed and printed. I remember I had a collection of panoramic photos but most of the negatives and prints didn't survive Ketsana's (Ondoy's) floods. One of the early panorama photos I took was of my father's hometown of Iloilo from atop the Balik hill the town uses as Mt. Calvary for its Lenten activities. I recall that my cousins and I just finished climbing the hill together with hundreds of others and marveled at the view of the town. I made sure to get a panoramic shot and it sure seemed the most appropriate to take as a souvenir back then. It still is now.

Cabatuan town as seen from atop Balik hill - the most identifiable landmark is at center left, the centuries old Catholic Church at the town plaza


Saturday, October 1, 2016

Old photos: Kegon no taki, Nikko National Park

I'm starting a new series of posts featuring photos I've taken quite some time ago. These are photos I took with my old camera, using good old film. My first camera was a Pentax 140mm point and shoot that had many other features. I got it during my first visit to Japan in February 1996. I remember I got it for about 36,000 yen or about 12,000 pesos given the exchange rate at the time. The camera survives today and I plan to use it again to take more photos. I just need to get me some film.

This is a panoramic photo of Kegon Falls I took sometime in 1997 during my only trip to Nikko National Park. I was actually invited to Utsunomiya University by a Dr. Mamoru Nagai, who was a Visiting Professor at the University of the Philippines Diliman when I was a newly hired faculty member there. When he learned that I was in Japan as a post graduate student, he invited me and a good friend to visit his university. His main researches were on transport and tourism and after some research presentations at his laboratory, we headed out to Nikko National Park. We stayed there overnight and enjoyed its onsen (hot spring spa). We also did some pretty serious hiking to see the various waterfalls, springs, lakes and other features of the national park.

Kegon no taki
I have been able to recover negatives from that first 'expedition' in Japan in 1997. I will be posting those soon. I think this trip to Nikko and others like it around Japan were among my most memorable. It's a good thing that I have some left despite the losses due to the Typhoon Ketsana in 2009.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

First out-of-town project - Baguio Flyover

Here's another throwback article. Baguio City is where I had my first out-of-town project. This was back in 1995 and just after I finished my master's at UP Diliman. The project was Baguio's first flyover or overpass and it was being proposed along Bokawkan Road, which is a busy thoroughfare connecting the city to La Trinidad, the capital town of Benguet province. Our task was to determine the best configuration for the flyover including the required capacity for it and the remain at-grade roads once it was built.

I remember it was very rainy when we were there and our accommodations (which was volunteered by our client - their family's vacation house in the city) turned out to be quite inhospitable. We had to buy blankets and make our own beds as we had practically no budget to stay at a hotel. I recall the house was a bit creepy especially for the last few days I stayed there by myself (my mentor had to go back to Manila) to supervise the traffic surveys at the proposed site of the flyover. That was quite the adventure for me then as I also tried to explore the city on foot. I walked the entire stretch of Session Road when it was still the Session Road (old) people reminisce about. I also walked around neighborhoods in the Gen. Luna area where the house I was staying at was located.

Here are some photos of the flyover now and the area where I supervised traffic surveys together with the bridge engineer who was from Baguio.

The flyover as seen from one of the side streets in the Trancoville district
A closer look at this almost 20-year structure
Traveling along the service road along the flyover and towards the direction of La Trinidad. Shown also in the photo is one of the pedestrian overpasses in the city. I actually like the architecture of these overpasses that seems more apt compared to Metro Manila's steel structures.
I included this photo past the overpass to show how crowded Baguio is already with houses having replaced trees in many mountains and hills. These used to be all green with trees back in the 1990s with only a few shanties that had started to sprout back then.


Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Off to Baguio!

I haven't been to Baguio since 2010. That's 7 years since my last trip there when we had a workshop to promote environmentally sustainable transport (EST) in the region. Baguio holds a special place in my memories as it is the first city I visited for my first project as a junior transportation engineer back in 1995. I was apprenticing under my mentor and very good friend and the project required us to do data collection and evaluation of a proposal to construct overpasses along Bokawkan Road connecting Baguio City to La Trinidad. That was the first time I've been to Baguio and I made the most out of my first out of town project.

I remember that it was very rainy when we were there and it was a bit difficult to do field work. It was also quite foggy and I remember our accommodations weren't that good. Our client volunteered their family's vacation home in Baguio. However, it turned out that the caretaker was sick and no one was put in-charge to at least provide us with decent beddings. We ended up buying blankets that also doubled as souvenirs for our trip. I had a nice time then going around the city center on foot. Baguio was not as crowded as today and Session Road had a lot of local restaurants, shops and pubs (combo anyone?). Baguio was and is still a melting pot of people from all over including many students as Baguio then as now is home to a lot of schools. 

I look forward to tomorrow's trip and our vacation in Baguio. It may not be the same as the Baguio I remember from 21 years ago. It will be the Clairvoyant's and our daughter's first trip there so we hope to be able to maximize whatever we can do during this trip.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Missing a dear dog friend

I was waiting for the Clairvoyant's arrival at the airport when I saw a couple of black Labrador Retrievers playing at the the arrival area. These were members of the airport's K-9 unit and the dogs played with their handlers during what seemed to be a few minutes of free time that they had. The airport was not as crowded as the other times I was there so there was some space for the dogs to play catch. A little girl even came up close, obviously curious at what she saw as dogs playing with a ball.

Black Labrador Retrievers and their handlers

Seeing the dogs play and interact with their handlers, I couldn't help but think about Troy, our dark chocolate Labrador Retriever who passed away in 2014. He was such a gentle creature; always playful and seemed to have not outgrown his being a puppy. He could have made a great playmate with our daughter Ally as well as our Golden Retriever Mockey. I've always told the Clairvoyant that I would like to have another Lab later. We agreed to get one once Ally's big enough to have the responsibility, too, of caring for a dog though I suspect she will pick another dog of her choice. At present, she's just too happy to play with our three dogs including our 'ancient' mix Barby who's the dog equivalent of an 80-year old.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Mourning at the University of the Philippines Diliman Faculty Center

It seemed like an April Fool's Day joke when we got a message that the Faculty Center or FC of the University of the Philippines Diliman was on fire. And then we saw the images on social media and were shocked by the realization of just how much was lost with the destruction of the building. Housed there are documents, art works and personal properties of faculty members, staff and students of the College of Arts and Letters (CAL) and College of Social Science and Philosophy (CSSP). Among those probably lost are the life works of prominent writers, poets and artists, copies of thesis and dissertations of graduate and post-graduate students, many of which you cannot put a price tag to describe their worth.

My memories of the FC includes many registration periods when I had to get an instructor's prerogative to get me enough units so I won't be underloaded for the semester (it was tough to get subjects during our time). I also recall submissions of reports and getting classcards for my grades from faculty members who had their offices there. I also attended some forums there as the FC was a popular venue for relevant discussions at the time including those that took up the issue of the future of US bases in the Philippines back in the early 1990s.

Today and the following days, we mourn the loss of the physical items that were destroyed in the fire that gutted the FC. Despite this, valuable memories of the FC are still with many people including present and retired faculty members, and present and graduated students of UP. I am sure that the FC will eventually rise from the ashes of the building and new memories will be forged by faculty, staff and students who will be occupying the next FC.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Black Saturday musings

In my younger days when we spend our Holy Week holidays in my father's hometown of Cabatuan, Iloilo, Maundy Thursdays and Good Fridays were busy days. The Mass commemorating the 'washing of the feet' was Thursday afternoon and usually extended into the evening. I think those were the longest Masses I've participated in and were generally longer than Christmas or Easter Masses that I have also experienced in Cabatuan. The part of the washing of the feet was usually held with much fanfare especially during times when there were alumni homecomings for the town's National Comprehensive High School and when there were elections in May. There was a time when the apostles included the mayor, vice mayor and councilors of the town and the parish priest seemed so deliberate in emphasizing his moral high ground in his homily and the ceremonial washing of the feet. There was a Last Supper reenactment at the town plaza after the Mass.

Good Friday's were even busier with the Stations of the Cross  in the morning that started from the town's centuries old church to their version of Mount Calvary, which is a hill located in one of the barrios not too far from the town proper. The climb up used to be a treacherous one as the steps were narrow and were carved out of the hillside. Later, when I was already in university, the steps were already improved and made of concrete. They were also wider, allowing two-way traffic without having to stop and give way to others. The Stations of the Cross started before 6 AM and usually ended before 8AM for those who followed the main entourage of the priest and participated in the prayers. The rest of the people who joined in don't really seem to be in it except for the 'barkadahan' (fellowship) part, which was all about the merriment aspect of the event rather than the spiritual part.

In the afternoon, people gathered in the town plaza to await, join or watch the Good Friday procession that also started from the church and went around the town passing through the major streets of the bayan. I remember that there used to be less than a dozen carrozas with their santos (religious images depicting scenes from the Passion of Christ) when I was a boy until the time when I was a teenager in high school. Later, there seemed to be more than 20 carrozas that comprised the very long procession. It seemed to me that the organizers of the procession, which included church officials, allowed the additional carrozas and santos from the 'emergent' families of the town who suddenly had the wealth to purchase their own santos and build their carrozas. Having your santo and carroza was a status symbol in old towns like my father's. The old and prominent families of the town owned the old santos but the younger, newer money (mainly from OFW families and those who have established themselves in the US and Europe) were accommodated for one reason or another. 

I used to go with my aunts, cousins and friends on these Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. Tatay used to take advantage of our vacations to reconnect with our relatives and friends including his high school buddies. The last time I was there, I went with my aunt and cousins but my childhood friends were no longer there. Most if not all have moved our to reside elsewhere particularly as many had to find work in other places. Truly times have changed over the years and Tatay's hometown has also evolved along with its people. I just hope that the town does not lose its charm and that when I do visit I could still reminisce happy days whenever I go around.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Teppanyaki at Somerset

One of the things we missed about Singapore was eating out. After checking in to our hotel, we found ourselves walking to the nearby SMRT station to board a train to Orchard Road. We alighted at Somerset to check out if our old food haunts were still there. We found that there was no longer a Din Tai Fung at the Somerset mall. The old Ramen Play resto was also no longer there. Marche was still there but we decided to go for the teppanyaki at the top of Somerset.

I know its Maundy Thursday but here goes a couple of photos of the set we ordered for our 'heavy merienda'. The Clairvoyant wasn't able to have lunch so we decided to have a heavy enough meal before taking a walk along Orchard Road.

Beef and seafood

Scallops and prawn
The teppanyaki came with a generous serving of salad and a cup of rice. Afterwards, we decided to go around the mall a bit to see what other changes were there before taking our Orchard stroll. More on our Singapore sentimental weekend soon...