When I was growing up, the period from October 31 to November 2 was a big holiday in the Philippines. It is not a huge festivity like Christmas but people would normally take a few days off work, travel back home to be with their families to honour their loved ones, both the dead and the living. Filipinos are very superstitious and religious people you see . . . even those who claim to be nominal Catholics do pray for, and to, the dead (the image of President Duterte crying in his mother’s grave uttering ‘Tabangi ko, Ma!’’ — please help me, Mother! — is a classic example of this). Back in my day, and I’m referring to 30-40 years back when I was very young, everyone did lit candles in the cemetery to commemorate All Saints’ Day (November 1st) and All Souls’ Day (November 2nd). In our family we always had a novena (a form of worship consisting of special prayers on nine successive days) at home every night during these festivities aside from offering a mass (that is, paying money to the priest to hold a special service) for the dead family members. A lot of Filipinos still do practice this tradition to this very day. Personally though, All Saints’ Day took on a completely different meaning when my father died on November 1, 1984, exactly thirty three years ago today. Three days ago my older brother turned 50 and as I was on Skype chatting with everyone, the family gathered to celebrate his birthday, I was reminded once again that my father died at age 51 — really young. Continue reading
Summer is my favourite season. I love wearing cotton and linen dresses as well as ballerina shoes and flip-flops. I am a tropical girl indeed! My body has already acclimatised to the cold weather, that is, after living here for almost 18 years, but I still give Jared the customary whimper at the onset of winter months. 🙂 Continue reading
Today I want to be a discerning learner. I wonder what does it mean to be a learner who is made in the image of God? The world is full of learning opportunities for ourselves and others. And with the technology available to us today, almost all of the educational materials we need is at our fingertips. As Christians, how do we determine what is worth the cost, both in time and money, to invest in for education? Does it really matter if educational materials include the Christian worldview as long as biblical studies receive sideline attention? Continue reading
The terrible tragedy in Kensington last week caused me to once again ponder about the uncertainty and fragility of life. It was the second most horrific event in London this month following the June 4th London Bridge terror attack and the Finsbury Park terror attack the other day. In all three London atrocities, and particularly the blaze that ravaged the 24-storey residential building in west London, really did hit too close to home than I might want to admit, literally and figuratively, the realisation that a disaster can happen without an apparent warning. Continue reading
While most tourist are familiar with some of the city’s more famous locations such as Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park, London has also some smaller and less visited parks and gardens. One of them is Holland Park in Kensington, the largest park in the borough and contained within the park is my all-time favourite Japanese Gardens. Aptly named ‘Kyoto Garden’ and ‘Fukushima Memorial Garden’ — both were presented by the Japanese people to commemorate the long friendship between Japan and Great Britain. Continue reading
London is a city full of unexpected surprises. Every time I am out, doing an errand or simply traipsing around the park, I always come across something peculiar. The group of ladies having a ‘Hen Party’ — Bridal Shower to Americans (featured image) at Hyde Park Corner is a classic example of this. I find this a bit odd because it is an event that’s usually done in private, but evidently not for some Londoners.
I’ve been particularly nostalgic about the good old days . . . it’s my father’s birthday and the overwhelming sense of loss of his early passing dominated my thoughts. He died quite young and he would have turned 85 if he’s still around. I’ve been pondering about it all, and found my diary from my last visit to Palapag, my hometown. I wrote down these thoughts, entry dated 28 November 2010, and wanna share it here. Too personal but please indulge me . . . 🙂
I’ve come here to visit my family home. It is a wonderful place. It’s been a long time since my last visit. Since my mother’s death, I had a deep longing to reconnect with the people in a community where I grew up. As soon as I arrived, my first instinct was to go straight to the nearest beach, Talolora, and on my way there I dropped by at the old cemetery where my ancestors were laid to rest. Continue reading
After a long and dark winter everyone heaved a gleeful sigh of relief that winter is officially over. Yes, the fine spring weather that everybody is eagerly waiting for has finally arrived in London!
This time last year we were billeted at Sofitel Philippine Plaza Hotel before we returned to London, and I meant to write a review of our visit but life gets in the way, and other plans happen. I finally got to finish the draft I wrote last year.
They say you never get a second chance to make a first impression. So when it comes to a hotel, the lobby needs to be the showpiece. As such, when I enter a hotel I always observe every detail in the foyer so I don’t entirely miss the impressive entrance hall they have so cleverly crafted. Continue reading