Saturday, December 31, 2016

How we spent Christmas 2016

During Christmas season, I always listen to our family's one and only Christmas CD, Peter Carrol Singers and Orchestra. I am already very familiar with each and every song in that CD because I have been listening to it for about a decade already, hehehe! I love all the songs, but one song whose lyrics I really like is "The Most Wonderful Day Of The Year". It tells about everybody's excitement when Christmas arrives since it is "the most wonderful day of the year". Yes, very true. Even non-Catholics are excited for Christmas because we have been celebrating it for centuries. Christmas is a part of everybody's childhood and has been celebrated by our ancestors. In my opinion, as long as these non-Catholics feel the excitement that we Catholics have whenever the Christmas Season arrives, then they do affirm that there is only one true religion, and that is the Roman Catholic faith.

Whenever September comes, we usually hear fellow Filipinos say that it is already the beginning of the Christmas Season. September ushers in the so-called "Ber Months" (September, October, November, and December). But for Traditional Catholics, the beginning of Christmas really begins on the first Sunday of Advent and ends on the second of February the following year. Interesting, right? =)

My sisters-in-law, Jennifer and Jessica, invited us to have our Christmas celebrated in Light Residences in Mandalúyong City, our first time to spend Christmas in a condominium. We went there on the night of December 23 so that the kids could go swimming the following morning and spend more time with their aunties. All of us enjoyed our time in the swimming pools, with all the fun, pictures, and chit-chats attached to it, yehey! It's been a while since we have not had any swimming galore. The last time was last summer in Burot Beach. Though the water is cold in the swimming pool and a typhoon was coming, it was still tolerable. we care about our swimming time and the excitement it gives us that we should swim not only during summer because we can do it even during the rainy or cold season. Because, as I have said before, summer never ends, at least for me and my family, hehehe! ☺☺

Brunch time after swimming! My sister-in-law Jennifer's pancakes are the best ones I've ever tasted!

Noche Buena was very great too, with all of us enjoying our simple feast together. Plus the surprise gifts of my hubby's sisters for our family. There was also white wine and, of course, Daddy Pepe's favorite: Cerveza Negra! And we noticed that Junífera Clarita was fond of grapes! She almost ate up all of the grapes on the table, hahaha! It was a night of wonder! Very wonderful, indeed! ❤ =)

The next day, we attended our very first Traditional Christmas Day Mass at the side chapel of the Most Holy Redeemer Parish. Father Jojo Zerrudo was the celebrant. I was actually teary eyed when I saw him walking on the nave towards the altar at the beginning of the Holy Mass, maybe because he was the priest who officiated our Mozarabic wedding three years ago as well as having baptized Junífera Clarita last year.

We attended our first Traditional Latin Christmas Mass at the Most Holy Redeemer Parish in Quezon City officiated by Fr. Jojo Zerrudo.

Father Jojo's sermon discussed about choosing the light who is our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, of course. I can't forget those words which he said, that "when the light comes, then there is no darkness",  "where there is light, there is life", and "everything that lives wants to remain alive". To read the full text of Fr. Jojo's Christmas Day sermon, click here.

After Mass, we all went back to the condo and stayed there for another night. The kids swam again that night (the typhoon didn't hit Metro Manila that hard). And we still had more white wine, cerveza negra, and other goodies to feast on. 

We had our Christmas Day at Light Residences, and Fr. Jojo's sermon was all about the light... is it just a coincidence, or was there a hidden message for us? No family is perfect, not even ours. Each family goes through a phase of darkness. Every family has its struggles. We had experienced that throughout the whole year. Does this mean that light is upon us? Hopefully, in GOD's time, and with His guidance. We hope that this is the light that we have been waiting for: a light of true joy, contentment, satisfaction, and a way to further learn God's teachings. ¡Feliz Navidad! =) =)


Please click here for the photo album and also here for our Christmas Day Latin Mass,  and don't forget to LIKE US on Facebook! ¡Gracias! =)

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Fourth Sunday of Advent 2016

Today, the final Sunday of Advent, focuses on the mysterious virgin birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (Matthew 1:18-24). During Mass, the fourth and final candle was lit. We attended the evening Mass at our parish church, San Pedro Apóstol.

After Mass, we strolled around at our city's old plaza at the población to witness the ongoing Paskuhan sa San Pedro, a month-long celebration featuring performances from various schools and local organizations in our city. Tonight's show was hosted by Von Neri Erika, a local production house here in San Pedro Tunasán (you may check Paskuhan sa San Pedro's schedule here). We also feasted on classic Filipino Christmas merienda such as puto bumbóng and bibinca.





Just a week to go and it's Christmas! ☺


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

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Third Sunday of Advent 2016

It was our first time in the Iglesia de la Sagrada Familia, locally known as the Holy Family Church, in Sampaguita Village. And unlike in the two previous Sundays of Advent, we attended morning Mass this time. Actually, we arrived 20 minutes before the 7:30 AM Mass. I was impressed to see that they also have the missalette Sambuhay (St. Pauls Media Pastoral Ministry), the shortened form of the missal which contains the prayers and rites used by the priest in celebrating Mass. I first encountered this missalette at the Iglesia de San Jerónimo Emiliani y Santa Susana in Ayala Alabang, Muntinlupà several years ago. Throughout the Mass, my son Mómay was the one who used it. I hope all churches have this kind of missalette so that youngsters would be able to use it as their guide, thus enabling them to understand and thoroughly appreciate the Mass more.

Iglesia de la Sagrada Familia.

The Holy Family Church is small and simply designed. Actually, it looks like a large house, quite modern-looking unlike the church in Chrysanthemum and the one in Elvinda Village. Both churches looked classic, but this church in Sampaguita Village, particularly some of its wooden images, looked artistically modern. The wooden images reminded me of Paeté, La Laguna, because of the bas relief wood works of the Holy Family and the Virgin Mary near the altar.

These wood works reminded me of those in Paeté, La Laguna.

At the altar, right behind the crucifix, is a mosaic artwork. Another thing I noticed also is that this church has flowering plants by the altar. I even check if they're real — they are! I like it that way because I love flowering plants, being a nature lover.

This flowering plant by the altar is real.

The first reading was very touching, Today's gospel taught us to "say to those whose hearts are frightened: be strong, fear not! Here is your GOD, he comes with vindication: with divine recompense, He comes to save you." I was also touched by the second reading which said "You too must be patient. Make your hearts firm, because the coming of the Lord is at hand. Do not complain, brothers and sisters, about one another, that you may not be judged. Behold, the Judge is standing before the gates."

I just wondered why the priest, Fr. Ricardo M. Pajutan, Jr., did not give Holy Communion. Taking his place were his lay ministers (being Traditional Catholics, we didn't allow Krystal, Mómay, and Jefe —he just had his first Holy Communion last Thursday, the feast day of the Immaculate Conception— to receive the Host from them). Maybe the priest has not yet gone to confession? After all, although a priest, he is still human, and a Catholic like all of us, of course. I suspect that it is a sin for a priest who has not yet gone to confession to offer Holy Communion to parishioners. But I'm not really sure. I am not that knowledgeable regarding Catholicism. Me and my family still have a lot to learn about it.

After the Mass, our family explored the church's environs. At the back of the church, we discovered Saint Mark Hall. It's very relaxing out there because it's an open hall with a view of a stream which connects to the San Isidro River. The stream's banks has fruit-bearing trees and is filled with greenery. I would love to relax there with my family next time and have our merienda there, or perhaps for some siesta, hehehe!!!

Relaxing view at the back of the church.

We found these images at the Saint Mark Hall. Another way of looking at the Holy Family.

A sampaguita growing in front of a house near the church. But of course, this is Sampaguita Village.  =)

The priest said during Mass that the theme for the first Sunday of Advent is for Peace. The second Sunday was for True Love. Today was for Joy. He also explained that being happy is different from being joyful, that being joyful means eternal happiness. Hmmm, interesting. That's why before going home, I bought Chickenjoy for our lunch, hahaha!

Yes, we did enjoy our modest meal, and this modest meal gave us joy, just like what its bucket says: "Bring JOY to the Table". Yes, thank GOD for the blessings of JOY today. I am hoping for many more joys to come: blessings or eternal happiness. Me and my family will love to receive it with much JOY in our hearts.   =)

Family picture in front of the altar. It is also Junífera Clarita's 28th month today! Happy 28th month, baba levs! =)


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

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Second Sunday of Advent 2016

For the second Sunday of Advent Mass (gospel reading: Matthew 3:1-12), we went to the Church of Nuestra Señora de Fátima, locally known as Our Lady of Fátima Parish Church. It is our second time to visit the place. The first time was last year, during Momay's 11th birthday (he was born on May 13, the feast day of Our Lady of Fátima). But this is our first time to attend Mass there.

My hubby Pepe's complaint is that it's very impossible to take a perfect shot of this church's façade because across the narrow street is a low-rise building, and then there are the pesky electric wires.

The church's bell tower can be seen clearly from our apartment building's balcony. It seemed quite near but we had to go through several streets and about five minutes of travel via tricycle just to reach the place. The church is small and simple for a parish church, just like the church of Our Mother of Good Counsel in Chrysanthemum Village which we visited last week. I noticed that its altar is made of a cross-stitch-like styled wall, so artistic looking. Some altar tables are made of marble or cemented stone, but this church has one which is made of wood, a classic-looking style, and that includes the podium and the ceiling. I love things that are made of wood aside from antique walls made of bricks.

The homily was about Saint John the Baptist and how he had baptized his second cousin, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The priest wanted to emphasize here how Saint John the Baptist prepared the coming of our Lord through baptism, and that millenials should be like him.

After the Mass, we and some of the parishioners all went to the priest, Rev. Fr. Venancio E. Silva, OSJ, to ask for his blessing. One thing I observed was that he was still having a conversation with the people inside the church even after the Mass. He looked very approachable and friendly. He reminds me again of my childhood years in Abra de Ilog. Our parish priest used to mingle with the community, walking around the town to talk to his parishioners. This is one practice that priests should maintain while sharing his holiness to the people around him.  =)

Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de Fátima.

Our Lady of Fátima Church is administered by the Oblates of Saint Joseph under the Vicariate of San Pedro Apóstol which in turn is under the Episcopal District I of the Diocese of San Pablo. Please click here for the complete photo album and don't forget to LIKE US on Facebook! ¡Gracias!
Advanced Merry Christmas, everyone! =)


We love the Marvel Cinematic Universe!

YEYETTE: Are you an Anti-American?
PEPE: Of course not! What made you say that?
YEYETTE: Then why did you write anti-American blogposts before?
PEPE: I am not anti-American. I just don't like their government and its imperialistic foreign policies.
YEYETTE: So, do you like America?
PEPE: The only thing I like about them is WWE, Marvel Comics, and Nirvana.

Ever since he was a kid, my hubby Pepe has been a Marvel Comics fan. He told me he spent much of his school allowance just to buy Marvel comic books, particularly The Punisher titles. He was always up-to-date with Marvel Comics' major story lines and at one time knew the real names of all its heroes and villains! To his childhood friends in Parañaque, he was the "Mr. Know It All" of the Marvel Comics Universe. No wonder why he writes and speaks better in English compared to his native languages (Tagálog and Spanish)!

But nowadays. comic books are not as popular as before, and he has stopped collecting them since we got married. That is why when Marvel Studios started making movies based on Marvel Comics's characters and story lines, he has been telling me and our kids that he's never been so happy to see those fictional characters from his childhood come to life on the big screen!

Thank GOD we are starting to get back on track from our budget problems. We are starting to pay off all our debts bit by bit, thanks to my hubby's 13th month pay and his other sidelines. The extra money that we have left was to be spent on travelling and of course eating out and watching movies from time to time. And if the whole family should watch a movie, it should only be from Marvel Studios. We see to it that we never miss any Marvel Studios film, especially since my hubby is a Marvel Comics geek, and he has infected all our kids with his addiction, hehehe! We rarely watch movies from Hollywood. We'd rather stroll or go out of town.

Last November 16, we watched Doctor Strange on Imax. My hubby heeded Marvel Studios director James Gunn's advice, that this movie is better seen only through that film format. Actually, that date was the last day that Doctor Strange was available through Imax. Thank GOD again we were still able to watch it! It was a weekday so we had to wait for our kids to come home from school before going to SM Southmall which has the nearest Imax theater from our place (my hubby swore never to visit an SM mall again but this time he had no choice, hehehe!). It was our second time Imax experience. The first time was four years ago. Yes, you guessed it right, it was also a Marvel Studios film: The Avengers! Having experienced Imax for the second time feels really great. Watching Imax makes you feel as if you are part of the movie you are watching! The special effects of Doctor Strange was really incredible, as if you are watching a strange, colorful dream that is really happening! It was my first time to see a movie with a theme of virtual realities and alternate dimensions and it made me feel watching it again and again!

Dinner at Kenny Rogers Roasters before watching the film.

About to watch the last full show!

After the show while wearing our 3D glasses!

As of right now, Doctor Strange has a 91% rating by Rotten Tomatoes, but I have a much better rating for it: a perfect 10, even though Junífera Clarita kept on talking from time to time! There was a scene there where Dr. Stephen Strange (played by Benedict Cumberbatch) was being operated on by Christine Palmer (Rachel McAdams) and I was able to relate because I already had five ceasarian deliveries, that's why I know the feeling of being in an operating room with all that anesthesia shots and hallucinations that come with it, hahaha! Another emotional scene that really caught my attention was when The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) was about to die. I couldn't help but share the whole script (I had to make my hubby Pepe look for it online, hahaha!):
DOCTOR STRANGE: What are you doing? You're dying! You have to return to your body now. You don't have time.
ANCIENT ONE: Time is relative. Your body hasn't even hit the floor yet. I've spent so many years peering through time, looking at this exact moment. But I can't see past it. I've prevented countless terrible futures. And after each one, there's always another. And they all lead here, but never further.
DOCTOR STRANGE: You think this is where you die?
ANCIENT ONE: Do you wonder what I see in your future?
ANCIENT ONE: Yes. I never saw your future. Only its possibilities. You have such a capacity for goodness. You always excelled, but not because you crave success, but because of your fear of failure.
DOCTOR STRANGE: It's what made me a great doctor.
ANCIENT ONE: It's precisely what kept you from greatness. Arrogance and fear still keep you from learning the simplest and most significant lesson of all.
ANCIENT ONE: It's not about you. When you first came to me, you asked me how I was able to heal Jonathan Pangborn. I didn't. He channels dimensional energy directly into his own body. He uses magic to walk. Constantly. He had a choice, to return to to his own life or to serve something greater than himself.
DOCTOR STRANGE: So, I could have my hands back again? My old life?
ANCIENT ONE: You could. And the world would be all the lesser for it. I've hated drawing power from the Dark Dimension. But as you well know, sometimes one must break the rules in order to serve the greater good.
DOCTOR STRANGE: Mordo won't see it that way.
ANCIENT ONE: Mordo's soul is rigid and unmovable, forged by the fires of his youth. He needs your flexibility, just as you need his strength. Only together do you stand a chance of stopping Dormammu.
DOCTOR STRANGE: I'm not ready.
ANCIENT ONE: No one ever is. We don't get to choose our time. Death is what gives life meaning. To know your days are numbered, your time is short. You'd think after all this time I'd be ready. But look at me, stretching one moment out into a thousand, just so I can watch the snow.
Please click here for the complete photo album and don't forget to LIKE US on Facebook! ¡Gracias!

We're so excited for the next Marvel Studios film, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, whose trailer came out earlier today! We're planning to watch it on Imax too! Time to save money for it. Because movie time is family time! =)


Sunday, November 27, 2016

First Sunday of Advent 2016

Today officially marks the beginning of the Christmas Season in the Christian Calendar. We celebrated late afternoon Mass (5:00 PM) at Chrysanthemum Village here in the City of San Pedro Tunasán. The church here is locally known as Our Mother of Good Counsel Church, but in the Spanish-speaking world (including Filipinas), it is known as Nuestra Señora del Buen Consejo. Daddy Pepe told us that it was named after after a miraculous painting in Italy.

Iglesia de Nuestra Señora del Buen Consejo. This photo was taken by my eldest son Mómay.

It was our first time to attend Mass at this church, except for Krystal (it was her second today). She and her schoolmates were required to attend one Sunday Mass there a few weeks ago. She also mentioned to me that while she was practicing with her classmates in front of the church for a speech choir, all of the people in the village stopped for the Angelus. Me and my husband got curious. We thought this practice was no longer done. I remember my childhood days in Abra de Ilog, that when church bells rang for the Angelus, all of us stopped doing what we were doing to pray. In this age where we have lots of religious groups, it is very rare to hear a community that still recognize the Angelus. That is why I told my hubby and our kids that we had to attend the first Sunday of Advent at this church.

The candle of Advent, the first of four, was lit today.

Our Mother of Good Counsel Church is very simple but beautifully serene. Yes, there is a saying that simplicity is beauty. Yes, the place from the outside is very inviting that you will not hesitate to go inside the church. When we got inside, I remembered our church in my hometown, San Rafaél Parish Church, because of its smallness. The holy tabernacle at the altar looked almost the same as the one in my hometown's parish church. I again remembered my dear childhood days while looking at the tabernacle, and I felt like I was transported back to my hometown's church. The volume of the speakers inside Our Mother of Good Counsel Church is the best one I've ever heard because it was very clear, not garbled at all unlike in most churches today. I can't wait going there again to listen to the sermon. My husband's only complaint is that the church had too many electric fans. There were posts by the pews that had electric fans, blocking the view of the alter from those who were seated at the middle and at the back. Electric fans, in our opinion, are not necessary. What is the use of the abánico, anyway?

When the Angelus came after the Mass, I was not able to observe the people outside because I was still busy taking pictures of the church. Maybe next time. My kids roamed around the church as if they have been there many times before. So in short, we felt at home in it. We are very excited to come back there next time. I even bought a 2017 calendar by the entrance where other souvenir items are on sale.

I remember what my husband said before we attended Mass today, that we should live a more spiritual life, just like how Filipinos had lived during the Spanish times. Today is the first Sunday of Advent, and yes, spiritually I had nurtured my spirit upon hearing Mass today (
the gospel reading for today is Matthew 24:37-44). Why? I understood and took the sermon to heart, I felt at home, and I felt so relaxed inside the church even if it was our first time there. We are always complete during Mass. Christmas is for the family, and for the first Sunday of Advent, it is exciting to bring back spirituality in the family as close as possible to what Jesus had intended all families to live. The people who believe and celebrate Christmas are the people who are true Christians, true Roman Catholics, and I am humble to say that we celebrate it by attending the first Sunday of Advent Mass, and we will continue to celebrate it because it prepares us for the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Our Mother of Good Counsel Church is under the Vicariate of the Holy Family which in turn is under the Episcopal District I of the Diocese of San PabloAdvanced Merry Christmas, everyone! =)


This tabernacle reminds me of the one which used to be in my hometown's parish church. They look almost exactly the same!

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

Saturday, October 22, 2016

San Pedro City Museum and Library

October is Museum Month in Filipinas. What better time to write about our adoptive home because the city government has just inaugurated its very own cultural institution: the San Pedro City Museum and Library!

The name is supposed to be "San Pedro City Museum and Library". The people involved (including my husband) still need to fix this before the grand opening which is planned on December 29. Photo credit: Raymond Bacanto.

It is interesting to note that San Pedro (fondly called by its old name of "San Pedro Tunasán" by my hubby Pepe) is known for the "Banal Na Cruz ng Tunasán" and the miraculous "Lolo Uweng ng Landayan". It is also known as the "Sampaguita Capital" of our country. But I think the other thing that will make it more popular soon is its combined museum and library. I'm proud to say that my husband Pepe is one of its planners and coordinators. The San Pedro City Museum and Library is a brainchild of honorable Mayor Lourdes "Baby" Catáquiz and her husband, former Mayor Calixto "Calex" Catáquiz

My husband was able to attend the inauguration this morning (the building was also simultaneously blessed by our parish priest, Fr. Paul Búgay). So did my daughter Krystal who went there ahead of us because she attended the early morning Alay Lakad 2016. Since I'm a busy mom at home, I arrived late with the rest of our kids. Ouch, I apologize. But as the saying goes, it's better to be late than never. 😊

When me and the rest of our children arrived there, the event was over. Utility people were already cleaning up. But it's OK because the place has not yet closed for public viewing, and my husband and Krystal were still there waiting for us. The utility people were busy with what they were doing but they didn't mind us looking around at the old photos of San Pedro. San Pedrenses, by the way, are some of the friendliest people in Filipinas, next to my townmates in Abra De Ilog, Mindoro Occidental. That is why I love San Pedro so much, and I always will. ❤ 😊
The morning sun was already high when we got there. At the third floor, the view is marvelous because of the floor-to-ceiling windows facing the street. The information that I found at the museum is awesome and even surprisingly interesting. One example: there was an enlarged sketch of the ancestral houses of both Mayor Baby and her husband, Mayor Calex. Both houses were made of light materials. When I saw both houses, I felt some kilig factor because I imagined how their love story blossomed. Mayor Baby and Mayor Calex were neighbors. They both grew up in Barrio Santo Niño. ❤ ❤

Most of what is displayed inside are photos and sketches of former mayors, personalities, and well-known establishments and houses when San Pedro was still a municipality, some of which dated back to the Spanish and American times. You just couldn't hide your amazement the moment you compare the new San Pedro from the old. Quite interesting, really!

The place has few things to see as of the moment. The library section is still empty. But don't worry because it is only the beginning. The event this morning was considered only as a "soft opening". The grand opening is coming soon, slated for December 29. I will look forward to that when we go there the next time! Congratulations to those who have been part of the preparation and opening of the San Pedro City Museum And Library: the City of San Pedro Tourism, Culture and Arts Office, the San Pedro City Historical Council (where my hubby belongs), and the city's Public Affairs and Information Office! Kudos and good luck to your respective departments! 

While waiting for the opening of the museum and library, here's a sneak peak of the place. Sorry for the photos because our camera's lens has been having problems for months. We're still saving up to have it fixed. Hopefully, it would be fixed on time for the grand opening two months from now! 😊 😊

Blow-up sketches of some of San Pedro Tunasán's iconic structures by artist Paul Escobañas.

The San Pedro City Museum and Library is located on the third floor of the newly constructed Department of Education building, within the premises of the San Pedro Central School along Juan Luna Street at the old town proper. It's open every day from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM!

By the way. Yesterday, October 21, was the third anniversary of our blog. There was no happening because our kids were in school and Junífera Clarita was starting to have an allergy. Then again, better late than never! ¡Feliz 3° aniversario a La Familia Viajera! =)