I’m officially courting!

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After 6 years of being single, I am officially courting.
And it was not just any simple courtship..it was announced in a BIG way!
Like it was announced to around 50 people…

Yes..it was announced just last week (during our training) to all the leaders in the church we are both actively serving.
You may ask why it has to be announced by our Pastor to the leaders?

First, it’s because we need prayers and guidance as we decide to enter into the next level of our relationship.

Second, we are both serving as leaders in the church. As a family, they have the right to know and be a witness of what God will do in our lives in the coming days, weeks, months, etc.

It feels kinda strange and awkard at this time really…
We treated each other as a brother and a sister for 4 years, serving the Lord together…
and then now…

We gotta know each other deeper (without those physical intimacy thingy) and this time of courtship is crucial because after this, we will decide if we want to go to the next level which is already an engagement.

And that’s the right way to go…The Christian way..
It’s totally different than having a relationship in the world.

In the world, it’s so easy to be in a relationship..because you can quit anytime you feel it’s not working anymore.
You need to try if you will be comfortable emotionally, mentally, even sexually.

But that’s not how love works..

It’s not merely about physical intimacy or emotional compatibility.
Love is definitely much much bigger than that.
Love is a decision, it’s not an emotion.

You decide to love a person despite their flaws, their limitations..knowing that all of us are flawed…we are all limited but because of God’s grace and by choosing to remain in Christ, we will continue to grow and be transformed and we can extend love and grace to the person we decide to be with.

The feeling I have is just amazing as God continues to unravel the next chapter of this beautiful story He authored.
4 years of waiting were not lost years after all.

In that 4 years, God has grown me as a person..from the day I decided to recommit my life to Him up to this day, He is maturing me to be that Man of God He called me to be.
He is preparing me physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually into a higher calling and at the same time preparing a suitable partner for me.

So…yeah…i’m officially courting…
don’t know yet what to do or where to go on our so-called “first date”.
Still having that jitters you know… (c’mon at this age!)
That’ why I decided to blog. LOL.

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An intoxicating weekend…

This weekend has been great if not intoxicating so to speak. I used the word intoxicating but not meant on a negative way. Intoxicating in the sense that me and fellow Filipinos and some foreigner friends enjoyed good food, countless Karaoke songs, long and interesting stories and of course some hearty laugh.

It has been quite a long time that I joined some get-together in a friend’s house because many of us became quite busy and some of the people in our group either moved back home, went to other places or working in some provinces of Thailand.

We planned this party as a sort of house warming/despedida (Bon Voyage party) for one of our friends. Since they are a fan of my Kiko’s Kitchen food blog, they asked me to cook which I gladly obliged.

For the party, we decided to prepare favorite foods that we missed a lot. Later on, we realized all the foods that we selected are very complicated to prepare. We selected Pancit Palabok, Dinuguan and Lumpiang Shanghai. The easiest  dish in our menu is Kinilaw na Talaba (Oyster).

Me, the host and another friend troop to the local market to buy fresh ingredients. I am not a fan of the local markets here because I am worried that since I don’t speak really good Thai, I might find it hard to buy. But actually it’s not because you don’t need to talk much..just point at what you want to buy and ask how much is it (Tao rai krub?) Basically I already know the numbers in Thai so I can easily know the price of the item and also it helps that many of the products have their “price tags’ displayed.

We went to the market in the afternoon so naturally there was no pig’s blood available. We actually had our plan B menu just in case we are unable to buy the pig’s blood.

In the market, we saw fresh squids and since all of us love Adobong Pusit, we bought some extra (Squid is also part of the Pancit Palabok ingredients) for our dinner. We headed back home and eat dinner.

We started preparing the ingredients like cutting, marinading, boiling, etc around 9pm. There were only 2 stoves running and with lots of things to do, we finished our Mis en place at around 2:30 am and went to sleep.

The alarm clock rang around 7 am. We had to wake up early so we can buy the Pig’s blood in the market. Without having breakfast or coffee yet, we headed to our destination. Fortunately, we were able to find our “precious” ingredient– the pig’s blood.

As soon as we arrived home, the 3 of us busied ourselves in the preparation. I started cooking the Pancit Palabok sauce, while the other two are busy wrapping Lumpiang Shanghai. After cooking the Palabok sauce, I then prepared the Dinuguan.

I’ve never tried cooking this dish before though it is one of my favorite dish. I would see my mom cooking it and since I know how it tastes, I just copied her procedure and cooked it. Fortunately, it tastes like Dinuguan and not something else..  🙂

Since we advertised in Facebook that it was a lunch party, guests arrived on time. Luckily we had just finished cooking all the dishes and already starting to prepare the table when they arrived.

It was a small and intimate party among friends totaling to just 8 guests (including 3 foreigners). The foreigners were brave enough to try the Dinuguan even though many would find it quite disgusting from the color of the dish alone (looks like mud) and more so if they learned that it is made of Pig’s blood. Surprisingly however, they enjoyed Filipino foods.

It is very nice to hear your friends enjoying the food and giving praises on how delicious it is. Many of them had 2-3 servings which is actually a feast!

We plan to make our get-together cum pot luck  a regular habit (at least once a month). As early as now, we are looking forward to it and are already thinking what foods to prepare next time. Hope it is the easy ones. 😛

Why P.Noy should use the Wang Wang?

It seems P.Noy is off to a good start since he assumed the Presidency. Everyone is in high spirits especially seeing former President GMA finally step down from her most cherished and treasured post as the country’s Chief Executive. The Filipino people are keeping their hopes that P.Noy will bring about the changes that the country badly needs. In a bid to “impress” the people, the new President is trying to shy away from the conventional with some changes in the practice of other former Presidents which on the first glance is a welcoming gesture as he is trying to set a good example being the leader of the nation but on a second thought, I personally feel these changes being made are not practical not to mention improper for a person with that stature and responsibility.

1.) P. Noy refused to use the Presidential vehicle as he prefer using his own SUV.
2.) He reiterated a no-siren (wang wang) policy on all his travels and official engagement and that he will stop at all red lights just to experience what’s it like to be traversing our highly congested roads even if it means he has to wake up earlier so as not to be late for appointments.

Being a concerned citizen, I believe the President MUST NOT avoid using the Presidential vehicle as well as using the siren when travelling just to make a stand and set a good example of being a responsible citizen. This is because the practice that he is trying to impose to himself is high security risk. Surely, there are a lot of people who wants to be on the spot where he is in right now and not riding on the Presidential car (which I assumed is a bullet proof, high security vehicle) or using a siren will mean the President is very vulnerable to attacks from unscrupulous cohorts while on the road.

Likewise, everyone’s time is precious. By not using the siren while travelling or by stopping at every red light, it means the President’s travelling time is longer. Precious time is lost in the horrendous Metro Manila traffic. The time wasted can be used in more fruitful endeavors especially with a lot of pressing issues our country is facing. OK, the President might say time is not an issue since he can wake up earlier just to avoid traffic and still be on time, etc but just imagine if he wake up earlier and the travelling time is lesser then it means he will be more productive in each day with more time for official engagements compared to just sitting inside his car and waiting for the traffic to move. Surely he can make quick phone calls and still do his duty while on his car but since he is immobile, his capacity is quite limited.

I think the problem does not lie in using of wang wang per se but in the usage of this ubiquitous gadget by some people who are not even supposed to have it or if they are entitled to use it, tends to be abusive by using it even during personal travels. I believe this problem will be resolved if it is fixed from within- -meaning fixing the abusive person’s conscience. But the bigger problem is if they do not have a conscience at all.

Anyway, I am making a personal commitment to support President Noynoy as long as his desire and intention for the Filipino people and the country in general remains pure. This is by being a better (not bitter!) citizen and anyway I can help to promote the Philippines or imbibe positive results in my capacity, I will.

God bless us all.

Simbang Gabi, a unique Philippine Christmas Tradition.

Today, December 16 marks the start of Simbang Gabi or Mass at Dawn. This is the longest and arguably most popular Philippine tradition and held nationwide and in other places worldwide wherein a good number of Filipinos are living or working. This unique Philippine tradition traces its roots in Mexico in 1587 when the Pope granted the petition of Fray Diego de Soria to hold Christmas mass outdoors because the Church could not accommodate the huge number of people attending the evening mass. What makes Simbang Gabi a very significant tradition for Catholics is that it not only builds stronger bonds between family members because in most cases every member of the family go to mass altogether to experience the Dawn mass. Moreover, the faithful feels the presence of the Lord even stronger because it is our preparation for Christmas, the birth of Jesus Christ. Christmas carols are sang before, during and after the mass to celebrate this season. Everyone is in a jolly mood even though they have to wake up early so as not to be late for the mass. Many people believe that if you are able to complete the 9 days of Simbang Gabi, your wish no matter how difficult- will come true.

After mass, most of the church goer will partake various local delicacies like Puto Bumbong, Bibingka, Salabat and many others. This is a most enjoyable activity because these foods are usually served or sold during the Christmas season and very rare to be found during a normal day.

It is so fortunate for me to be able to experience Simbang Gabi even when I’m overseas. Filipinos in Bangkok are not as many as other countries like Hong Kong, Singapore, Saudi or even the US but luckily the tradition of Simbang Gabi remains. What made me even luckier is that the Holy Redeemer Church which is one of the biggest Catholic Church in Bangkok (and there are not too many Catholic Churches here being a predominantly Buddhist nation) is very accessible from my place (around 5 mins. drive in the early morning). Thus, it will not be difficult for me to celebrate this tradition.

I attended the mass today with few of my friends and approximately over 90% of the church goers are Filipinos. Surprisingly, there are some westerners and I saw an Indian Family attending the mass too. After the celebration, the popular Christmas Carol “Ang Pasko ay Sumapit” (Christmas has arrived) was sung. In addition, free breakfast is served at the back of the Church sponsored by various Philippine Groups or Organizations in Thailand which is really an enjoyable sight as you get to mingle with your fellow Filipinos while enjoying a sumptuous food and a cup of hot coffee.

Indeed it is such a good feeling to at least have a share of sacrifice during this time of the year by making an effort to wake up very early to attend the mass. Moreover, it is a time to remember and Celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, the reason why we are called Christians.

The start of Simbang Gabi signals a bigger celebration as part of the annual Christmas festivities.

Separated at birth?

Having been staying in Thailand for 1 year and 6 months, I have observed that there are many similarities between Filipinos and Thai probably because both countries are in South East Asian region be it in terms of culture and traditions, way of life and physical features…as for the physical aspects maybe its because there are also many Chinese or Caucasian looking people in both countries due to interracial marriages or migration.

Below are some of the popular celebrities in Philippines and Thailand which has a lot of similar physical features..you be the judge who is better looking…

First picture  is popular singer-actress-model KC Concepcion while the next picture  is model, actress Sonia Couling. Interestingly, both are former MTV VJ’s.

Picture on the left is hugely popular Pinoy actor, Piolo Pascual who has been a household name for many years. On the right is Laotian-Australian but Bangkok born actor, Ananda Everingham who became immensely popular with the hit horror movie “Shutter”.

Maybe not too many people will agree with me about these 3rd match-up. First picture is actor-model John Estrada and second picture is model and former MTV VJ Utt (sorry forgot his last name). I see very striking resemblance between the two especially during Estrada’s younger days.

So there…not sure if there are many more Pinoy-Thai celebrity look alikes out there cos I don’t know too many celebrities in Thailand.