Tuesday, November 29, 2011

On Fatherhood

Less than two months to go and I am officially embarking on a new road called Fatherhood. Fatherhood, a path I kept on imagining but could not fathom. A journey too complex that no perfect formula exists to go through it smoothly. Since Bubbles conceive our little boy, never was there a day that I ask myself if I am up to the task. I sometimes ask Bub if I am up for it. I always end my reflection with a sigh and a phrase of encouragement, "Of course I can." Amidst the incomprehensible bliss and excitement for little Juancho to come, there is an underlying nervousness, often fear for the task at hand. The last time I got nervous this much was when I was graduating college, thinking about how I could succeed in the "real" world and make good money. This, I think is a hundred times more daunting. Now, a life will depend on me.

While the mother provides the love, the serenity, the order and the light, the father gives the guidance, the direction, the courage, the wisdom. This partnership among shapes the child. I sure hope I give my fair share. 

Am I ready? They say that a person has some sort of an auto-responsibility mode, that when you know someone depends on you, you automatically step up. Am I up for it? Can I wake up in the middle of the night not just to take a bathroom break, but to feed my baby in 3-hour intervals?

When Juancho grows up, am I a role model? Would he be proud of me?

While his mother teaches him how to read, write and be an outstanding student, will I be able to teach him how to be a street smart, how to get things done, how to be a good leader?

Will I be able to teach him what's right and wrong? Will I be able to discipline him in the manner most effective? 

Will I have the strength to wake up in the morning and take him to school? Will I have the patience to wait for him during dismissal, or fetch him when it is late and he needs a ride home? 

Will I be able to provide for his tuition? Will I be able to provide for the college of his choice? 

These are only few of the questions that are yet to be answered. Amidst all these concerns, there is only one thing I can promise my boy: I will try my best to give him the best, to shape him to be the best that he can be. Can I do all these? Of course I can. Am I ready for this? I am and I will be...

I have personally witnessed this daunting task successfully done. Thanks Dad! I'll make sure I emulate all the good things you and Mom have shown me with Little Juancho.

Can't wait to see you Juancho! :) 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Manny Pacquiao: Still the Welterweight Champion

As expected, Manny Pacquiao pulled off another thriller of a fight during November 12's Pacquiao-Marquez III. Just like any boxing rivalries old and new, the Manny Pacquiao - Juan Manuel Marquez came in three. And on the third fight, it was still a close one. Though unclear until just before the scorecards were announced, there shouldn't be any doubt after two out of three judges gave the fight to Manny. This should have ended the questions.But of course, just like any other close-call fights, many question the authenticity of the win. 

View from our TV

For me, I can sum the fight up to two points why we shouldn't question the decision of the fight:

1. Two out of three judges called it a victory. One of them decided that it was a tie. Nobody decided it was Juan Manuel Marquez who won. So Marquez, why say that you have been robbed? In the first fight, judges were confused on who won, thus a tie. On the second fight, one judge saw that Marquez won. Thus, the split decision. This time, nobody saw Marquez win, and Pacquiao won by more than two points at least for the two judges. Need I say more? Why question the decision of three people who were as close to the fight as possible? I believe we have no right to question the judges' decisions, unless we were watching as close as them in the ring. 

2. A counter-puncher challenger normally doesn't work. If you are the challenger, you should show that you are hungry for the championship, and not just wait for the champion to make a mistake. I agree that Marquez is a great fighter, but in this fight, he was cautious, he wasn't that hungry. He must have had a heavy lunch that dwindled his hunger for the title. 

Juan Manuel Marquez is a great fighter, probably the best Manny Pacquiao has ever fought. It wasn't the most decisive of Manny's fights, but has indeed brought us another classic. In the end, Manny proved to be the more mature and better fighter, as how the judges saw it. As Dom Toretto put it in the first installment Fast and the Furious, " It doesn't matter if you win by an inch or a mile; winning's winning." Better luck next time, Marquez. That is, if there is a next time.

Hey Floyd, this was a close call. Maybe this fight will give you the ball-boost to challenge our dear Manny. :)

Friday, November 11, 2011

Fall 2011

My first-ever fall seems to be the shortest season of the year. As early as October 29, snow was falling the fall skies of DC. And by now, we are experiencing a pre-winter temperature, ranging from the high-forties to the low sixties. Brrrr...

The shot above was taken in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia. We went there to see its famous foliage in the fall, as the season helps shave off the leaves of the trees. But to our surprise, as we were only going on our second month of the fall, leaves have already fallen, and trees are now on winter mode. There were very few leaves left on trees, and a couple of them we see above.

Is the earth really shifting, or is it really just the time of the century where seasons change and weird things happen?

*Photo taken using Nikon D3100

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Halloween Happening

Bubbles and I experienced the Halloween festivities in Georgetown. It was fun to see all the people dressed in their best costumes of frightening, amusing, even funny characters, ghosts, ghouls, superheroes and even cartoon characters. The sidewalks of M Street (Georgetown side) were filled with people: bystanders, media, picture-takers, and cops. All were having fun watching the characters stroll the street, strut and frighten the kids, even adults. Here are a few pictures:

Man without a face
Their version of the white lady

Truly scary...

Me and my posse
I just noticed that there weren't too many frightening characters they portray, except for a few, most notable the guy who had the mask of Moammar Ghadafi! NOw that was freaky!

I miss the Filipino folklore characters who really give the little kids and even the old one the fear of their lives. Halloween parties in the Philippines the past few years depict these characters real good! :) 

Here is a list of my favorite characters that we won't see in a Georgetown Halloween party: 

1. Tiktik - I remember my yaya telling me the stories of pregnant women of their village remaining indoors especially when it is near dusk because these mythical characters hover around their village searching for fetuses to devour. To counter these baby-eaters, always keep garlic in your house. Apparently they're scared of sauteed food. 

2.Manananggal - Those halflings. Literally. those women who split their bodies in two, where they leave their torso on land as half of them fly and hover around barrios searching for kids and women as food. To fight these monsters, people should find their torsos in the woods and pour salt so that their other half won't be able to reconnect to the torso. Although, folks didn't specify which salt is most effective: rock, iodized, powder, or kosher... And another thing: why aren't there male manananggals? I never did ask about that from these story-tellers.

3. Kapre - These hairy, tall guys give you the scare of your lives especially when you have a tall tree in front of your house. I was just thinking who will win in a boxing match between the kapre and basketball legend Bonnel Balingit...

4. Tikbalang - Our version of the Centaur (only that ours have the face of a horse and the body of a man), stories of these half-man, half-horse creatures are our yayas' way of keeping us indoors in the evening. I was told that these tikbalangs invite children to be with them to their world. 

5. White Lady - be careful not to pass by these white women with long straight black hair. They are not Lux or Pantene commercial models. They are said to be lost spirits still hovering the streets seeking justice and peace. The most famous story of the White Lady is that of Balete Drive.

I would to see these Filipinos living here to wear such costumes of these mythical characters... I'm planning to wear the kapre costume but Police might grab me and arrest me for indicent exposure... 

Happy Halloween! 

The smell only Filipinos can love

We were given an ample provision of dried fish from back home when we had our two-week vacation in October. We had Danggit, Squid, and Tuyo. I was hoping for a supply of anchovies, or dilis, but mom said they were out-of-stock in our local market. Dried fish has been an integral part of Filipino cuisine. Even if we are in far away countries, we still try our best to have supply of the dried stuff in our fridge, and enjoy them for breakfast, lunch or even dinner. Filipinos usually sneak in a few pounds of these dried fish and squid, cook them in places with very high ventilation and definitely away from the neighbors; or else firemen, or even policemen will come knocking at your door a few minutes after you start cooking.

Not all people smell the same. People have distinct smell depending on their places of origin, even if all people would wear the latest from Kenzo, Dolce and Gabbana, Paco Rabanne, or Brut. For example, no matter how they try, Americans would have the smell of milk. African Americans also have distinct smell. Same with Chinese, Koreans, and of course, Indians. Since we are islanders, people who smell us tell us that we Filipinos smell like fish. Not dried fish hopefully. This is primarily because of what we eat. We perspire what we eat, thus emitting the smell of our food. And it doesn’t smell too good if we work out after eating onions, garlic, and of course, dried fish… gwarrrrkkkk.

A couple of days ago we cooked the danggit that we took home from the Philippines. The danggit was soooo good, having that ultra crispy texture and salty taste. It was to die for. Our friend Aja stopped by to give us our pasalubongs from New York: no, not your traditional Yankees cap or “I heart NY” shirt, but rather two servings of Jolli-Spaghetti and 2-pc Chicken Joy from the Queens branch of the greatest Pinoy fastfood of all time, the fat funny, funky bee, Jollibee. We returned the favor by cooking dinner for her, with the best combination ever: Sinigang na Baboy and Danggit. If we were to be rated by Nigella Lawson or Ina Garten about our culinary combination, we’d be given a flat F-mark for that. But for us, it was the best. We had a hearty, plenty dinner, while leaving our kitchen, dining and living rooms heavily scented by the combination of the sinigang mix and the salty sensation of the danggit. Neither scented candle, nor Lysol can take the smell away. You need a few days for it to just be diffused into the outside air! But the heavenly taste of the danggit was all that mattered. It just gave us a portion of home. We were eating the danggit and sinigang as we listen to how John Lloyd implies that he and Shaina are now separated.

On Tuesday, I agreed that my lunch for the office is the dried squid. Bubbles woke up early that day to fry them, while I attend to my early-morning duties: sleep. I was awakened by that familiar smell, seeping through the tiny holes of our bedroom door. I thought the door was open because normally the smell of the food would not enter the bedroom. I underestimated the power of Pusit… That smell woke me up real fast, as I tried to extinguish the scent by spraying Lysol all over the place. And I was successful. I could smell both the dried squid and the Linen scent of Lysol at the same time. The freshener did not take out the smell, it just added another scent. Fantastic.

As Bubbles and I were walking to the doctor (she had gestational diabetes test this day), I smelled the familiar scent of home. I was nowhere near home but I could still smell that combination of linen and squid… Then, I realized: the smell stuck to my shirt and jacket! Luckily I was able to sneak into the office without meeting anyone or else somebody might have called the cops or fire brigade already. Knowing that the scent of the dried squid was overwhelmingly strong, I needed to do my fastest lunch break ever in our pantry. The squid is good and the smell, terrific. That is of course based on someone who was born and raised to tell that that scent was great. But for a modern American neighborhood, they would think otherwise. :) So I instantly finished my squid, washed the container and sprayed some alcohol and my tummy was satisfied. I won’t do the stunt again, in a few months again though. Probably during the summer so I can eat somewhere with proper ventilation. :)

Dried fish: it surely has that smell that only a Filipino could love. I would love to have a weekly fix of this delicious breakfast. I’ll make sure to also stack up on some fresheners just in case non-Filipino visitors come by (which is very seldom).