Saturday, September 27, 2008

Parasol, paraguas

Raining like crazy again and it got me thinking about umbrella etiquette. You know how there's only a strip of sidewalk and then there are so many people trying to share it without pushing anybody off the walk and onto the road (or worse, the "river")? With umbrellas in tow, how do people go from point A to B without poking somebody in the eye?

(Here in the Philippines, these occasions happen twice as often because we use umbrellas for the rain and the sun.)

I don't know what rules people follow regarding umbrellas, but I have some ideas on how to breeze through a storm without upsetting the people I come across:

1. When the person you're passing is taller, lower your umbrella.
2. When shorter, raise it.
3. Waiting in line for a ride? Watch where you tilt your umbrella; it could be dripping on somebody's back pack.
4. Open the umbrella where no one is standing.
5. When closing the umbrella in a shade, watch where you shake it; you could be wetting somebody's feet.
6. Upon entering a jeep, close the umbrella and make it as small as possible quickly; then keep it between your feet throughout the ride. If you have a plastic bag, put umbrella there.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Witches

(That's Angelica Houston as The Grand High Witch, after she put her face back on.) Caught this 1990 movie in HBO yesterday--it was one of my favorite movies when I was a child because the witches were so grotesque, their magic so intriguing and their dislike for children so unnatural, and of course the grandma was cool and the boy Luke turned into a cute little mouse (what more could a kid ask for?).

The Witches is about a little boy who ran into a witches' convention (disguised ironically as a "Convention of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children"). If the witches kept their wigs, faces, gloves and shoes on, they'd look like the average nice lady you meet on the street. So basically, what sets them apart is their "mission" to destroy all the children. They hate the smell of clean children. They have a rabid dislike for all children, and come to think of it, maybe that is what makes them, er, witches.

Some women may not be fond of kids, but they wouldn't want to eliminate kids. Because they know that eventually, kids grow up, and if you guide them well, they'll grow up to be perfectly sensible adults. These witches, on the other hand, just plain want to get rid of kids, forgetting that kids should eventually replace adults in twenty years or so. Without these kids, there will be no one to fill schools (like what's happening in Japan), and later, offices. No one will become parents who will bring forth a new generation of kids...and so on and so forth.

The movie directed by Nicolas Roeg is produced by Jim Henson (genius!) and based on the book by Roald Dahl (another genius!). If you haven't seen it yet...where have you been?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


The last time I tried my hand at making Filipino delicacies from scratch was back in grade school (one was a rainbow pichi pichi and the other a blob of ube that we had to add blue-violet coloring to because it wasn't purple enough). So this is hardly a book I'd pick up, but pick it up I did, and I'm glad to have done so.

Published by Tahanan Books, Tamales Day! by Didith Tan Rodrigo with pictures by Arnel Mirasol is a simply worded story about a family who make preparations for a certain "tamales day" on the first Saturday of December. It starts with the family going to the market for some ingredients, continues on to the cooking process and ends in their celebrating with friends an relatives in a salu-salo.

The illustrations are intresting because of the detail and texture the artist adds to his watercolor (or watercolor pencils?). It's easy to assume the story to be old-fashioned, but if you look beyond the house dress (duster), the banana leaves, the rice pounder (lusong) and the wooden shoes (bakya), you'll see something that makes this book worth putting in a child's hands: in the story, the kids are given tasks to do; but with the help of the pictures, you see how happy they are to do them!

Today, service is easily looked upon as something "not for me to do." But doing chores--doing your part as a member of the household--is a very dignified job, and a good way to affirm that you are part of the home and you want to make it clean, hospitable and beautiful for those other people you share it with. Love is best expressed through action; and one action that is obviously the work of love is service.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Read it, know it

Yeah, yeah, no time to scan. (That's me holding the issue and Ditas in the background--amidst the happy mess that is our office.) But here's the September issue, which means more Baby goodness! Our theme for this month is "Your baby's first year" so you can expect more baby-related articles. We made quite a lot of visual changes so the magazine is now more pleasing to the eye.

See that chinky-eyed cutie on the cover? His name is Jaden Mariano. The photographer for this shoot was Bobot Go. We really think he's a handsome young'un. We look forward to featuring more babies that show the diversity of cuteness in our beautiful country! teehee!

Do take some time to read the Preconceived Notions article on contraceptives by Denice Nillas-Price. While so much hype is being planted on the overpopulation and poverty issue to boost artificial family planning initiatives, one wonders why none of the ill effects of these "medicines" ever see print. TV, radio and print media rely heavily on advertisements, and with artificial family planning companies setting aside huge budgets for advertising, it's no surprise these little bits of inefficiencies are never made known to readers who deserve to know all...especially with things they're told to put in their own body.

Hopefully, this issue helps parents be vigilant in the management of their home and in raising happy and healthy families. Enjoy reading!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Back to the good ol' play things

Got my hands on May Tobias-Papa's new children's book called Araw sa Palengke. I like it so much, because the story is simple yet insightful and the illustrations by Pepper Roxas are just so adorable!

Kids who find joy in a little lutu-lutuan (kitchenware) are the rare species nowadays. So many "high-tech" and "educational" toys out there have replaced the good old play things.

How much do parents spend on talking dolls, virtual pets and hand held games? Sometimes, the amount you spend doesn't necessarily translate to as many hours of learning and fun. While a lutu-lutuan can encourage a child to make-believe--and who knows how many recipes can come out of a little earthenware pot?

I used to play with a lutu-lutuan myself. My aunt bought me an aluminum set, in which I cooked many dishes in great amounts of imaginary salt, sugar, and meat tenderizer--plus real water. (That set must have rusted....)

There was another cookery set that was more crude in was composed of a metal grill over real live coal (outside the house!). We cooked some real meat on that; we raided the spice rack and used everything that claimed it "complemented meat." I don't remember if we ate the end product. If ever we did, we didn't get stomach upsets--I would remember an event like that, ehe.

In the province with my cousins we played lutu-lutuan using assorted bowls and a mortar and pestle set. We used big flat leaves as the main dish, crushing them to a pulp and mixing them in water. Then we picked some calamansi fruit and squeezed the juice into the mix. Green sour soup, anyone?

Come to think of it, things like these are much more interesting to recount and recall. (What joy is there in recalling how you beat your highest score in Tetris?) Let kids have stories like these to tell when they grow up. Unlike high-tech toys, they don't need extra batteries, and memories they make are much more colorful.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Sending roses

It's almost 3 months since I took up the Rosary again and resolved to make it a daily habit, finally ditching my unreliable "when I feel like it" habit. And so far, I'm happy about the daily 15-minute break.

When I was a kid I used to imagine that for every Hail Mary I said in the Rosary, a little angel would bring a rose to Mary. If I said the prayer too fast, the angel would hurry, and the rose's petals would fall off because of the speed (angels can be very fast). If anything, this little story helped me say the Rosary with care.

EDIT: Apparently, my sister knows this story. Maybe somebody told it to us before.

Recently, I found this blog piece with insights on the Rosary. Worth a look. :-)

Book fair! O yeh...

September is the month for the 29th Manila International Book Fair! Woot! Time for folks to get back to reading (if you put those books down anyway).

Here's the link to the official book fair page. (Just a warning, the page is BRIGHT RED.)

Fast facts:

29th Manila International Book Fair
September 12-16 2008
10:00am to 8:00pm
Halls 1-4 SMX Convention Center
Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay City

See you there!