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Follow her as she prepares and partakes the "bread for the stomach" in http://beforesixdiet.blogspot.com/ . And while you are full at it, she offers you the "bread for the soul" in her travels by foot and by thoughts in http://footandfire.blogspot.com/ Happy Reading!

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

FOOT: It started with a Reply (How three friends started a New Year seven years ago)

               Ivy and Sunbird sandwiching me!


New year 2007. It was 1st of January when Rovil replied to the enticing text of Ivy, that is, to drop by the house of Nioly at Kilometrahe 34 in Tabao. He said YES, OKAY, FINE and disembarked SDL and emphasized that he had until 11am just in time for Nioly to prepare to go back to her work in Manila. Take note that when Rovil went out of his house that day, he had only two things to do that day: to bring his fiancĂ©e to the port and to sleep. Unfortunately, he replied to Ivy’s text.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

The Monster of Florence


The Monster of Florence
Doug Preston and Mario Spezi
Nonfiction, 406 pages

I love Florence, I love to experience the Tuscan sun. If I ever have to visit Italy, I want it to be Florence! The painted landscape of Florence in my mind is idyllic, with the sunny hills lined with olive trees, vis-a-vis the proofs of Renaissance from the genius creations of Botticelli, Michaelangelo and Da vinci to Medici's creation of first currency system.

As for Italians, I have no painted faces of them yet except that they are Catholics and as they were portrayed in the decade-old film Under the Tuscan Sun (perhaps, this influenced me to love the Tuscan skies!). This want, the book supplanted.

And why in the world, I have to pick up The Monster of Florence? Am I ready to discover the monster before I enjoy my longed-for Tuscan vacation someday? I am no fan of thriller novels but I am a fan of nonfiction. I am no fan of crime novels but I am a fan of true crime stories and CSI. I am no fan of murder or monsters but I am a long-time suitor of Florence. And because of these varied reasons, I picked up this book.

After reading the book, I seemed not to know how to start this book review. I loved the glimpses from the past which occupied the beginning of the book, I loved the details of the places as described from the harvest of the grapes to descriptions of age-old villas, I loved the sporadic drops of Italian in the book, I loved the cunning but also almost charming Italian habits told, and most of all, I loved the friendships and emotional connections forged between authors, and some other Italian friends as the story moves.

However, while the story moves on, I was beginning to get appalled by how the investigation on the Monster of Florence took direction. How the lead people in the case made this single case spanning from 1974 to 1985 as the springboard of their careers and their book sales made me cringe. Moreover, my heart sank as I follow how the officially sanctioned investigations involving different theories and personalities caused ruined lives, suicides and a lot of intrigues. And as I was nearing the end of the book, I was deeply saddened when Spezi was jailed despite the evidence against him were mere conjectures. The very fact that Preston was "charged" inorder to stop him from coming back to Florence make me want to scream foul. This must be the feeling effectively aroused by the authors from me.

The authors deftly skimmed the necessary details off from what-i-can-just-imagine thousands of pages from official and unofficial sources to hold the interest of their readers, and to persuade their readers into following their own analysis of the case. Is the monster still around? Go, read the book.

Surely, seldom can a book offer a delightful and dreadful read at the same time. After reading this book, I will never see Florence nor Italians the same again. But this does not mean I am dropping my dream Tuscan vacation someday. In fact, Florence has a lot of shares of visitors each year according to wikipedia. I will just be very keen on not entangling with the Italian justice system or go on camping on any Tuscan hills and under the olive trees.



Thursday, December 26, 2013

La Carlota: My City of Lights


Lights are candies to the eyes. Hence, December is always the time to forget electric bills
and delight in the twinkling lights. La Carlota is dubbed as the City of Lights but I must admit
there is nothing ultra special to its lights but then, since locally, it strives to be known as such, 
I commend the consistency of establishing this tradition of lights which usually opens on the midweek of December and usually culminates every fiesta the next year, January 24. 
Here are my quick tour of our humble town plaza.
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Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Plazuela De Iloilo



Plazuela de Iloilo. This is Iloilo City's take on depicting Spanish-designed public place. 
But since we arrived late, the grounds fronting the architecture caught our attention. 
The toy-themed park made us giggle with childish joy.

The Fountain at the entrance

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Out of place stuffs  in a European-inspired architecture but still fun to watch.

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At the grounds of the park. 

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Monday, December 23, 2013

13 things I learned from my FATHER (that his grandsons should know)

 
My Tatay here is not posing as The Thinker;
He is just admiring the karsts of El Nido, Palawan.


Top things I learned from my FATHER*
(that his grandsons should know)

I bet that one epic lesson in life that every child has learned to live by as he grows up is "Follow what I say but do not follow what I do," referring altogether to the parent's advices and parent's misdeeds. But this one lesson is not the sum of everything there is, of course, because there are gems along the path considering one cannot live by the words of our parents only but also by what they do without their knowing that they are giving their best. Actually, to sketch my father's personality, I will be talking about his equal love for the spirits (his damnation), for the education (his redemption) and for his kitchen (his charm). So what can be learned from a father who is the center of this love triangle? A lot.

As one family friend unsolicitedly whispered to me, “Eversince your father is young, I can always tell that he is the kind who will have a 'future.'” Referring to my father's industry coupled with his dedication in pursuing his education.

Hence, here are some of the things I learned from my father that his grandkids should know and learn from too.

1. No swearing. Get angry but no swearing. I think, above all else, this is a sign that we have a good breeding.

2. Answer him with “Yes, Tay?” or “What, Tay?” and not “Yes?!” or “What?!” When called for, always answer with the name of the caller, even if one is already angry at him/her.

3. Non-living things have life. Of course, he is saying it not in a scientific way. He always insists we clean up the dishes as the plates and glasses (even pots!) need to rest too, like us humans. So this is our household cult belief.

4. Return what you borrowed. Otherwise, you can't borrow the next time; I may say that is the wisdom. But my father is a good neighbor because to this one, he justified that the owner needs his stuff, that is why he bought them in the first place.

5. Return things in their designated places. So you will know where to go to next time when you need them. Never dare to leave your glass in the living room because it belongs to the kitchen. Otherwise, be ready to catch it with a baseball glove!

6. Food bills first to avoid hospital bills. Eat well even if it means spending a lot on nutritious food; it is better than getting sick and paying the bills. Weekends when we were little means big meat stews with lots of vegetables. We did not grow up buying from carinderia and I intend to keep that tradition.

7. Pick up small stuffs. Nails, staple wire, one fork, cut lumber, and the likes have to be picked up. They cost a lot when you need to buy them in bulk when you need only one piece.

8. Education is emancipation to poverty. My father was encouraging us since time immemorial that we should take up some courses in college. He said, it is a wealth that cannot be robbed from us. He also welcomed relatives to our doorsteps in the name of education.

9. Tenacity is the key. If you cannot understand the lesson, study. If your classmates got it after studying for two hours, do not worry. “Study for two more hours, I don't think you cannot get the lessons right by then,” he would say.

10. I am the father. And I cook. (Calling the men of this kind out there.) My mother has a career and my father cooks. Hence, gender is not an issue in our home.

11. Never empty the ricekeeper. This is a taboo in our household so that when our storage is almost depleted, we call 911 to buy a sack of rice.

12. Buy in bulk. He hates buying in the sari-sari store for the necessities. Aside from inconvenience, my Wais na Tatay reasoned that it is costly in the end if you buy in the sari sari store for one stuff than buying a bulk of tomatoes, onions, or garlic in the wet market for a weekly supply or a gallon of oil, soy sauce or brown sugar for a monthly supply.

13. Dry meal will dry your brain. So we were all accustomed having sinigang, bulalo or sotanghon soup. A father declaring that having a dry meal will dry our brain is effective, even if the era of Walking Dead has not yet commenced at the time. We all gladly sip soup even though we have no idea what happens to a flooded brain.

*I reserve my right to lengthen this as I progress in my writing.











Saturday, December 21, 2013

Iloilo at night: Fireworks, Capitol lights and Museo Iloilo

While waiting for the lights, I spot this father and daughter who are waiting also for the fireworks 
display sponsored by Iloilo Supermart in Iloilo City.

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The Provincial Capitol of Iloilo city


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Welcome!

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Friday, December 20, 2013

Festive mood in glittery Angelicum school mansion


It was the opening of lights in the Angelicum School, a structure which is built as a mansion residence.  We braved the croed and the traffic to find the festive mood of the night, to our pleasant surprise!

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The mansion turned school.

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The band.

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masskara mode?
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The entertainers.

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Some daring head dress there!
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The center of all that glitters!

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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Christmas-lit Angelicum School of Iloilo City


How this mansion became a school. The concept of a school catering to the individual needs of each learner was on the mind of Fr. Rogelio B. Alarcon, O.P. when he was a student of Colegio de San Juan de Letran in Manila. In 1972, he (then the first Prior Provincial of the Dominican Province of the Philippines) was able to convince some educators and the Provincial Council to establish a non-graded school. It was to be called Angelicum after one of the Dominican houses of studies in Rome and in honor of the Dominican Angelic Doctor of the Church St. Thomas Aquinas, the Universal Patron Saint of Catholic schools.

The first Angelicum School (now Angelicum College) was founded in Quezon City in 1972. The second was established in Teheran, Iran in 1974 and was later closed when war broke out. In 1978, Angelicum School Iloilo was opened with 70-plus students and four teaching staff.

Angelicum School Iloilo, which occupies the Lizares Mansion compound, has an area of 16,500 square meters along McArthur Drive, Tabuc Suba, Jaro, Iloilo City. The mansion, which is a mixture of American and Spanish architecture, is still one of the most elegant structures in Iloilo.

Built in 1937 by Don Emiliano Lizares for his wife Conchita Gamboa and their two sons and three daughters, the mansion has three floors, a basement and an attic. It has a winding wooden staircase and big bedrooms with floor and doors made of hardwood. It has 59 doors which indicate the intricacy of its layout.

When World War II broke out, the family left for a safe hiding place in Pototan, Iloilo. The mansion was then used as headquarters of the Japanese army. It was believed that the basement became a dumping ground for tortured Filipinos.

After the war, the family went back to live in the mansion, but life was never the same. In 1950, Don Emiliano Lizares died and his widow left for Manila, leasing the mansion to a businessman who turned it into a casino. The city mayor later ordered that the casino be closed, claiming that it corrupted the Ilonggos. After that, the mansion was left to the hands of a caretaker Tio Doroy Finolan who, with his wife, kept it intact.

In 1962 the Lizares Mansion was sold to the Dominicans. In 1963, it was converted into a House of Formation for young Dominicans in the Philippines.

In 1978, the Lizares Mansion compound became the home of Angelicum School Iloilo. See more in Wikipedia.

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Each year, the mansion becomes a landmark to see as it is lit with explosive and multi-colored Christmas lights every December. A must-see in Iloilo city.
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