Sunday, March 26, 2017

A day with Señor Guillermo Gómez!

We have known Señor Guillermo Gómez way back in college because he was our teacher in a couple of subjects. But being naughty students back then, we rarely paid attention to him. I actually received a low grade in one of his classes: 3.00. The highest I received from him was 2.5, LOL! And my hubby Pepe? Believe it or not, Señor Gómez gave him an incomplete grade in a Spanish class (4.00) because he was always absent, LOL!

Who would believe that Señor Gómez would become part of our life? He and my hubby became staunch partners in their advocacy to bring back the Spanish language to our country, he ended up as our compadre when he stood as godfather to our eldest son Mómay (whose real name, José Mario Guillermo, is a combination of Señor Gómez and Pepe's names), and he also became our wedding godfather in our Traditional Latin Mass wedding more than three years ago!

During our early years of living together, my hubby Pepe never had a permanent job. Señor Gómez took him in as his editorial assistant in Nueva Era, the last Spanish-language newspaper in our country. His main job was a typist, and he worked in Señor Gómez's house in Makati City. It was there where my husband learned how to type fast using Spanish accent marks. At the end of each day, he would go home with an allowance from Señor Gómez. It was during this time when my husband's knowledge of Filipino History and the Spanish language has grown. Pepe owes his love and deep regard for the Spanish language because of Señor Gómez. Without Señor Gómez, our family would not have discovered our national identity.

Last month (February 12), Señor mez invited us for lunch at the Casino Español de Manila. We haven't seen him for more than a year, and we heard that he is already using a wheelchair because of a struggle against gout. But he was still his jolly old self.

Señor Gómez (with his assistant Jeffrey Vecina) arrives. Junífera Clarita gave him a violet-colored flower which she had picked from the garden (Señor is holding that flower at right photo).

That Saturday lunch was so sumptous. Señor mez treated us to Spanish dishes such as paella and fabada. Before we even started eating, Junífera Clarita was already enjoying glasses of margarita. Maybe that was the reason why I think she fell asleep after our lunch, hahaha!

The best paella I have ever tasted is in Casino Español de Manila. I think one serving is good for three. During the meal, my dad and Señor mez chatted about their favorite topics: politics and history. Señor mez also advised my hubby to go back to blogging. Daddy Pepe already stopped blogging last year when he closed down ALAS FILIPINAS and FILIPINO eSCRIBBLES, mainly because of a nerve problem (and since then, I have been the one managing this blog). Señor mez told my hubby that he also suffered the same problem many years ago, and that he also stopped writing for about two years. Señor mez thinks that my hubby must have suffered from some sort of nervous breakdown, and that he just didn't know about it. That is why he advised us that I, as a mother, should take care of our kids full time, and that my husband should just focus on his work or advocacy so that he would not be prone to stress. Great advise, Señor. Thank you. Because many times Pepe becomes so stressed out with our children particularly when he comes home from his night shift, and that is one of the major reasons why he gets stressed out. Better take Señor's advise, Daddy Pepe. 😊

I have been to Casino Español de Manila many times already. Instituto Cervantes de Manila used to be beside it but has already transferred to Makati. Whenever there were events in Instituto Cervantes de Manila, many guests go to Casino Español de Manila to relax and dine. Casino Español de Manila is not a place to gamble. Casino is a Spanish word which means a social club. My hubby told me that the place is for members only. We are thankful because we were privileged to have visited the place many times, mainly because of our Spanish circle of friends. Whenever we are invited there, we feel as if we are already members, hahaha! The warm welcome of our Hispanic friends is so touching and muy intresante¡Mil gracias amigos y amigas!

Aperitivo: pan con mantequilla.

Fabada is a rich Spanish bean stew. It has blood sausage (morcilla) which reminds us of dinuguán.


¡Buen provecho!

After our heavy Hispanic lunch, my husband and Señor were still chatting over important matters. Krystal was listening to them. They haven't seen each other for a long time. Since I couldn't relate to what they were talking about, I just went outside to the garden to take pictures and a video clip of the place while our three boys and Junífera Clarita were running around the grass and played with the piano by the hallway. They really enjoyed the place. It was not their first time to be here, that's why they were already familiar with the place, as if we are already members, hehehe!

In the afternoon, Señor invited us for a car ride in the old districts of Manila. He toured us to Ermita, Binondo (Chinatown), San Nicolás, Quiapò, Pandacan, and Santa Ana. Too bad our camera's battery power got drained, but I was able to record a few video clips (you may view them by clicking here, here, here, and here). Anyway, the best things in life are not captured on camera, hehehe! Señor shared to us historical tidbits during the tour while he's driving... and he's already 81 years old! He is a good driver for his age, and he still has a clear vision! 😊

Click here for our complete photo album!

Parroquia Basílica de San Lorenzo Ruiz y Nuestra Señora del Santísimo Rosario.

Before we went home, he brought us to a mall near his house and treated us to some ice cream and KFC meals. We were so stuffed that we didn't eat dinner at home anymore!

We parted ways at the carpark. We did not want him to drive us to the nearest road where we could commute so that he could relax because of his age and he has driven a lot the whole afternoon. But despite his age, we know that he will never grow old. He feels and acts young all the time. He laughs with us, cracks jokes with us, and takes time to talk to our kids. His vast knowledge of historical information is still intact. And he could still give me advice on how to take care of our family. He still wants to teach Krystal Flamenco although he couldn't anymore. He just advised us to enroll her in a Flamenco class under one of his former students. He may have stopped teaching flamenco, but we are still hoping he could dance once again.

Señor Gómez is not just a former teacher, nor is he just a friend nor a compadre or padrino. We consider him a part of our family...

Thank you for always being there for our us, Señor mez... I am teary eyed as I write this. And as I wipe my tears away, I would like you to know that we love you so much and we are very thankful and grateful for having you in our life! We pray for your good health, and may we have more parties, events, and travels for us and our family to share. ¡Muchos besos y abrazos! =) =) 😊 😊



DID YOU KNOW? General assemblies of the Academia Filipina de la Lengua Española and awardings for the Premio Zóbel are always held here in Casino Español de Manila.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Pasinaya 2017 at the CCP

February is National Arts Month. And every February, the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) holds its annual "Pasinaya Open House Festival" event. This year is our first time to attend.

As usual, it was my hubby Pepe who had planned for us to attend the fun event. Since he is the most artistically inclined in the family, he had really wanted us to go there. So off we went to the CCP last February 4, a Saturday. The event featured free art workshops. For only ₱50.00, one was entitled to attend different venues within the CCP to attend 30-minute workshops in dance, music, and other arts-related classes. My hubby's intention was to make our children fall in love with the arts. =) =)

It was just my second visit to the CCP. The first was was last August when I watched the documentary "Yaman" which featured my husband. It was also Krystal and Mómay's second time to visit. Their first was last October when their dad encouraged them to try it out in a casting call/open audition for the 2016 Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival and Competition.

When we got there early in the morning, there was already a long queue which we really didn't expect. We realized that the event was going to be a big hit. At least, we knew right there and then that there are still several arts and culture lovers in Filipinas. =)

Can you spot us? ☺

Since we have a two-year-old toddler with us, we did not spend too much time falling in line. The organizers were considerate enough to let us through immediately. Thank you so much, CCP! =) =)

Our first stop was the Baby Ballet workshop which we intended for Junífera Clarita. It was held inside the Bulwagang Francisca Reyes-Aquino. Unfortunately, she didn't want to join the ballet no matter how hard we tried to encourage her. She got too shy. But we understood because it was her first time to join a group of total strangers. And she was also the youngest in class. Anyway, she got to watch the ballet workshop, and it's a good exposure for her.

Junífera Clarita on her father's lap with Juanito seated beside them as they observe Teacher Ela's ballet class for babies.

After the workshop, I got to meet the teacher, Ela Rodríguez of Ballet Philippines. She shared to me that it's normal for four-year-old children to not dance the first time they join dance classes like ballet. Some even cry. But Junífera Clarita didn't cry nor did she throw any tantrum. Teacher Ela was surprised when I told her that Junífera Clarita is just two-years old! She thought our baby girl was much older.

With  Teacher Ela after the ballet workshop for toddlers.

Teacher Ela's ballet class was very interesting and fun to watch. The kids who joined the workshop appeared to already know the basics of ballet, but they still learned some new moves for only less than an hour. I'm now thinking of enrolling Junífera Clarita in one of her classes. Why not? If only I had extra time coz my four other kids go to school.

For our next stop, hubby and our three boys split ways. Daddy Pepe attended the session for percussion instruments at the Silañgan Hall which was facilitated by Tusa Montes while Mómay, Jefe, and Juanito attended the "Arts Expression for Peace" facilitated by stage actor and TV personality Abner "Kuya Art" Delina, Jr. and the multi-arts group Black Canvas inside the Bulwagang Pambansang Alagad ng Sining.

Tusa teaching techniques in playing percussion instruments.

All the seats inside the Silañgan Hall were already occupied when we arrived, so we just stayed at the back. My hubby Pepe was once a musician. He used to play the guitar and have organized a few rock bands in the past. In fact, he was once the musical director of our alma mater's theater group, Tinik ng Teatro. I remember one performance of theirs. He and the members of his musical group were able to play an ethnic production number using only junk materials, and he was the percussionist using a large plastic bottle!

My hubby didn't finish the percussion workshop because we had to wait for our three boys from their own workshop under Kuya Art. We were not allowed to peek inside the room during the session, but we were allowed to take photos afterwards. Our three boys came out of the workshop with much excitement on their faces. And as I write this blogpost while reviewing the handouts provided by the CCP staff, I found out that certain workshops have age limits. For example, the Arts Expression for Peace has an age limit from six to twelve years old. I checked the age limit for the Baby Ballet: it's three to five years old! No wonder Teacher Ela was surprised when I told her Junífera Clarita's age, hehehe!

Juanito, Jefe, and Mómay right across Kuya Art (photo courtesy of Black Canvas).

The last workshop was for Krystal. Since she loved dancing, she chose "Just Dance Hiphop" facilitated by Priscilla de la Cruz who is also from Ballet Philippines. The queue for this workshop was the longest because most of the participants were millennials, and many millennials love to dance. Unfortunately, Krystal did not make it. The dance workshop had limited participants. Actually, the number of participants is limited only up to forty, but since so many had wanted to join, the organizers allowed more to join. Those who were not picked were allowed to watch behind the participants, so at least we still had the chance "to groove" a little bit with them, hehehe! Oh, it was just me who was grooving, not Krystal, hahaha! Dont you worry, mi hija. You dance better, and so by just watching the workshop from the outside, I knew that you were still able learn and you enjoyed!

Since Krystal had a dental appointment in the afternoon, we were not able to attend the other workshops. We left by lunchtime, but not without taking pictures of ourselves in front of CCP's well-known façade.

Click here for the complete photo album!

On our way to Krystal's dentist, I remember something that she told me when we were still at the CCP, that she wanted to go there every week if possible. Wow! For the lover of arts, that's something that's expected of them to say. So for you guys who love the arts, you have a special place that you can call your second home. And for those who are not that fond of the arts or who are just starting to appreciate it, feel free to visit the CCP. Every corner of the CCP is filled with art.

Before I end this, I want to share something funny: towards the end of one video clip, I accidentally referred to the CCP as "PICC" (Philippine International Convention Center), hahaha! It's because they both sound the same and are at the same site. Anyway, thanks to our late President Ferdinand Marcos (may he rest in peace) who established the CCP, our arts and culture has a patron and a home where they continue to live and inspire. ☺

Let's teach our youngsters to appreciate culture and the arts. Let's expose them to this wonderful world instead of bringing them to malls. Let's go back again and again to the Cultural Center of the Philippines! =) =)


DID YOU KNOW? The Tagálog word "Pasinaya" means "debut" or "inauguration" in English. 

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Happy 60th birthday, Tita Gilda!

Today we celebrated my Tita Gilda's 60th birthday at Cabalen in SM Mall of Asia together with various family members from Bacoor, Cavite and Abra de Ilog, Mindoro Occidental. Tita Gilda is my mom's eldest sister.

Thanks for the treat, Tita Gilda!

Happy birthday, Tita Ninang! May you continue to stay young and sweet and generous. And remain pretty in your 60s! We love you!


DID YOU KNOW?: Tita Gilda is also my baptismal godmother, that's why I affectionately call her as Tita Ninang. And since I'm the eldest granddaughter in the Atienza clan, my younger cousins have imitate me in calling her as Tita Ninang as well even though she is not their godmother. ☺

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Enjoying the freezing clouds of Tagaytay

There's always a first time, right Clarita! 😊

Two Sundays ago, we revisited Tagaytay, our favorite city. Except for Krystal whose school held its recollection there last November, our family hasn't visited the place since 2014. I was still pregnant with Junífera Clarita at that time. And last year, on our way to Burot Beach, we just passed by the place. So technically, this is Junífera Clarita's first time in our country's second "summer capital".

We are always excited to go to Tagaytay even though we have visited it many times already. For those who do not know yet, my hubby Pepe loves cold places (he always changes the thermostat of our air conditioning to its highest, LOL!). He's the type who prefers the rainy season, including typhoons! He finds dark skies romantic, so don't wonder anymore if you see him very happy within a dark forest. 😊

A breathtaking view of  Tagaytay!!!! 

Misty flowers.

Whenever we want to enjoy a place for its cold weather, especially on the coldest month of the year, Tagaytay naturally comes to mind because it is the nearest to our place. Baguio takes several hours to reach, probably six or seven. Even the mountain town of Luisiana, a place which is also in the same province as ours, can take up to three hours, but reaching Tagaytay takes only two hours. One if the traffic is OK. We left our place after lunch and arrived in Tagaytay at mid-afternoon. We went straight to "People's Park In The Sky" or "Palace In The Sky". Anyway, the main reason why tourists go to Tagaytay is to enjoy its mild climate. So why not visit its coldest place?

My first time to taste strawberry taho. =)

At the entrance.

This used to be, PEOPLE'S PARK IN THE SKY. Now it's T F S. LOL!

Merienda time! =) =)

After paying for the entrance tickets (₱30.00), we bought strawberry-flavored tahô (silken tofu with sago pearls). It was my first time to taste it. It was delicious. Then we experience the clouds when we were already there on top and taking pictures and selfies. While the kids were playing within the mists covering the park, I was ordering our merienda: fish balls, chicken balls, kikiam, french fries, and hot noodles. After eating our snacks, the kids continued playing, experiencing the moment that is so soothing to the senses. They don't get to play that much in our place. The park is cold, romantic, and awesome! It was also drizzling from time to time as the cold clouds continued to envelop us. Most people say that the thick mist covering People's Park In The Sky is fog, but the truth is those are clouds because the park is on top of a mountain. Many people just don't realize it because there is already a road leading towards the park. There is really no more need to climb.

We stayed up there until it got dark. As usual, we were one of those who were last to descend, hehehe! Our kids have learned to love cold temperatures just like my hubby. Like father, like children. 😊 😊

My hubby is very happy up here. =)

Un gato blanco.

So if you want to experience clouds and a cold atmosphere, you better come and go to People's Park In The Sky. Who knows? We might even bump into each other up there. 😊

Real Selfies! =)

We ❤ Tagaytay!!!!!!!

Totally CLOUDY!!!!!!! 😊😊😊😊😊😊😊

DID YOU KNOW? The highest point in Tagaytay is Mount Súñgay, the place which everybody calls as "People's Park In The Sky" or "Palace In The Sky".  Its peak, according to Google Earth, stands at 2,351 feet above sea level.

Please click here for the complete photo album and don't forget to LIKE US on Facebook! ¡Gracias! =)