sinjin’s birthday

minado

minado

We celebrated my son’s birthday with a first Friday mass celebration at Infant Jesus Parish in Woodbury Heights, NJ. It was the Alliance of the Two Hearts’ first Friday and first Saturday vigil. We just brought cake and other food to share with other members who attended the vigil. My son had the blowing of the cake past 2 AM after the mass before we all headed home.

That same day, we planned to just have lunch at Minado. It is a popular Japanese Buffet place that my kids loved so much. However, we were kinda late leaving the house and opted for dinner instead. We had so much time to kill and decided to go to King of Prussia Mall. We did grab some light lunch in the food court and just strolled inside the mall. It was different from the last time we were here, there were a lot of stores before as compared to now. I guess nobody was immune to the recession.

I am not a mall person and I don’t think will ever be. Strolling inside the mall for several hours was not something I look forward to but I had to. I just asked my son to look for a sneakers for his birthday present. My wife and daughter were some place in the mall as my son and myself were just sitting somewhere waiting for them.

After the stroll in the mall, we decided to drive to Minado for dinner. It took us a while to get to the restaurant because I took the back roads instead of using the turnpike. We need to more time because we were still full from our light lunch. The restaurant did not disappoint us because the food was still good as ever. If you like sushi then go try to visit, lunch is about $20 per person while dinner was about $30 per person. ¬†Mind you, this buffet’s different from other familiar buffet. Click here to view other pictures I have taken that day.

philadelphia

waterworks

waterworks

One Sunday morning, my wife asked me to drive her to work in Magee Rehabilitation in Center City, Philadelphia. Since it was early in the morning and the sun was just about to rise (the good thing about fall), I decided to stop by Arts Museum. I was not able to get parking in front of the museum because it was closed due to some preparation for an event, I parked at the Water Works behind the museum.

I took my bag, Clik Elite Pro Body, and my tripod. It was chilly that morning and already cars are piling up in the parking lot. The picture above was taken on a tripod using the following settings in the camera: F/32, 10 second exposure at ISO 100. I was able to take this long exposure because I used two ND filters. Oh by the way, I almost loved this bag, however, i returned it back because the opening for the camera compartment was too small for my taste. I later replaced it with Sony LCSBP3 which I adored (now I have a matching bag with my gears).

I continued to walk towards the front of the museum while looking for a better vantage point to take pictures. I had my ND filters mounted on the lens and the camera was mounted on the tripod. I did not know that walking from my car and back put a toll on my quads, I found out the next day.

Please click here to check the other pictures I took (as well as the other earlier pictures).

father felix

father felix at prayer meeting

father felix at prayer meeting

During the last Friday of September this year in our prayer meeting at Infant Jesus Parish Hall at Deptford, NJ, we were blessed to have Father Felix as a guest. He was brought by one of the family in our prayer group. He was currently on vacation here from Rome where he was finishing some studies.

He was able to share his thoughts on the readings as well as bless the birthday celebrants for the month of September, after our prayer meeting concluded. Above is one of the picture I took (he is the one on the right), please click here to see other pictures I took that time.

edwina

rowena

rowena

This blog is for a dear friend that I have had a pleasure to know for a few years now. I have met her through her sister, Liza, in our prayer group (the Alliance of the Two Hearts). Her name is Edwina. One word to describe her, she was strong.

Before I personally met her, I already knew that she had breast cancer and it was terminal as well. It was a surprise meeting her because other than the bandanna she wore on her head you would not know that she had a terminal illness. If she was in pain she did not show it. I have been told that she hid her pain from her only daughter, Shelby. I guess she did not want her daughter to see her pains.

I have seen her in the many events that our prayer group has had this year and the last. She had performed in a dance with other mothers in group for a birthday celebration, I believe it was last year. I saw her during the practice as well as the actual performance and boy, she can dance a lot better than her sister Liza.

I will remember her smiling face because in all of our group’s gathering be it prayer meetings and social gathering, she always wore that smile in her face. The last time I saw her was in a healing mass held in Our Lady of Hope in Blackwood, NJ. She was in a wheelchair but you still could see her smiling face despite the pains. I was told that at that time she already stopped taking medications. The pictures above were taken this year during mother’s day we celebrated at the Layos’ residence.

She and her whole family has been religious and I always saw them in prayer events as well as pilgrimage to religious places. She may be praying for healing (as we all did) or just praying to ease the pain. She accepted her pain, and despite of it she held on to her faith and did not let go.

On our way to Central Valley, PA, we saw a facebook message asking for prayer for her and then followed by a sad news that she has passed. Everyone in our prayer group was saddened by her passing but all of us continued to pray for her soul.

I know that our Lord God has plans for her, for not taking her earlier, for seemingly making her suffer in the eyes of her family and friends. I cannot question God because I cannot see the grand design, but I cannot force others to think the way I do. For me and for all of us who has known Edwina, she shared something that I know God wanted, her strong faith and conviction, her will to fight, to live our lives with so much happiness despite whatever pains. I know that God brought her to our lives to touch us and to show us something, a lesson perhaps. We may not know yet what God’s intention was for Edwina, but I know that someday God will reveal them to each one of us.

I know that this brought us grief, specially her family, but we should be thankful that her journey to see our Lord is over. Let us remember the life she lived and continue to have her in our thoughts and hearts.

hershey park part ii

group at hershey park

group at hershey park

We have visited Hershey Park last June after 15 years, and yet again not even a year we were back. This time around we visited the park with our Alliance of the Two Hearts  group members. It was a cloudy day that time and cold. One of our friend bought the tickets to take advantage of a group sales rate which was a lot cheaper than individual tickets.

We arrived at the park around 11:00 in the morning and waited for everybody to get in before we entered the park. It was different if you no longer have young children because they can just go around the park and just tell them where to meet at a certain time, you go your own way and the go their own. Some of us have young children and the parents needed to be with them all the time.

I went with my wife and other adults who did not ride the roller coasters. We watched the show with the seal and sea lion and just walked around the park. I just hoped that there were tickets for non-riders.

As always I just walked and took pictures, click here to see pictures.

Towards the mid afternoon, the rain poured and we just hung out at Dunkin’ Donuts near the entrance. Later we were able to get a rain date ticket as long as you can produce your ticket stub. Most people who were in the park started to head home because the rain was not letting up. See you next year again Hershey.

linvilla orchard

linvilla orchards

linvilla orchards

Linvilla Orchards is located in Media, PA. The place caters for birthday parties, public picnic areas, store for their produce, plants for your garden and you can also pick your own fruits and vegetables. I believe this Halloween there is a haunted hay ride or just plain hay ride.

We went there last month for a picnic and we picked our own fruits and vegetables. We got to ride on a trailer pulled by a tractor. We picked up peaches, pears, corns, egg plants and peppers. To our surprise, it costs more to pick your own than to buy them from the market or grocery store. It should be cheaper if you picked your own produce because you did the labor, I guess not in this case.

Above is the collage of pictures I took from the orchard, if you like to see other pictures you can click here or click on the picture. I did post processing using Lightroom 5 and used photobacks for the collage.

infant jesus fall festival

Infant Jesus Parish invited its parishioners on their first ever fall family festival last September. There were free music courtesy of Ceili Rain (Irish band), face painting, games and various organizations in the parish came to promote and introduce their groups to the parishioners.

Shown above is a time lapse photography with about 300 shots. I was still trying familiarize myself with the feaures of the Sony Alpha 99. I know it can still do so much that I have not explored because I just limited myself in shooting mostly in manual. It was a fun night.

Our prayer group, the Alliance of the Two Hearts, had Filipino food for people to try with food carving displays and rubber bracelets and scapular. Please click here for other pictures and videos.

 

healing mass

our lady of hope

our lady of hope

This was my second time to attend a healing mass celebrated by Father Suarez. The first time was at Maple Shade, NJ, was it last year or the year before. And this one was in Blackwood, NJ, which was sponsored by the Filipino group here in South Jersey.

I can write things about Father Suarez but I guess I cannot do it justice. If you want to know about him, please click here.

There were a lot of people who attended the mass and you could say that the church was filled to the capacity and more. The healing began after the celebration of the mass and the other priest made an announcement on how the healing was to proceed in order to make it orderly. Well Filipinos being Filipinos, who needs a stinking line? It was clearly stated that the people in wheelchairs (who are strategically located in front) should be first then the next. There were ushers who assisted the event to make it orderly but several bunches want it go their way and have it their way instead. The nerve of such people who could not wait for their turn, shame on them.

The shot above was a in-camera panorama shot. I don’t know how many shots because I just followed the in-camera instructions doing the pano. Then did minor adjustment in Lightroom. I did not even crop the picture.

coffee mug

coffee mug

coffee mu

Back in June this year Myra gave me this coffee mug that her husband brought from LA. It was unfortunate that the handle broke off into pieces, but thanks God for epoxy glue. I have the handle glued back together (check the picture above, you can still see the glued sections).

I brought the mug to work and have been using it for coffee (decaf only), tea, noodles and cereals. I guess it’s a one size fits all kind of a mug.

jollibee

jollibee

jollibee

Jollibee is a fast food franchise that is very popular in the Philippines. It is one of the biggest competitor for McDonald’s in the Philippines. Jollibee has been establishing footprints here in the United States where there are a lot of Filipino populations. It is big in the west coast, specifically California. They opened in Virginia, New York and now in New Jersey.

They are well known for their chicken joy and palabok (this is the Filipino version of spaghetti). There are a lot of dishes to choose from and they not only cater to Filipino palate but to Americans as well. My kids and friends believed that their chicken is the best, but there is no way for me to validate that opinion since I don’t eat chicken (by choice and not by anything else).

It was an hour drive from Blue Army Shrine (Washington, NJ) to Jersey City, we decided to stop by Jollibee before heading home. We were lucky because there was not much wait as compared to its opening (I guess). We heard that during its opening through several weeks afterwards that there was a long wait. I would estimate that the place sits about 100, this is bigger compared to that in Queens, NY and a lot smaller compared to that in California.

I ordered Hawaiian burger (the slice of pineapple must be the reason why it’s Hawaiian), palabok and sago (beverage with simple syrup and tapioca and gel). As always, the food looks great in the picture but the actual food was no way near the picture representation, misinformation? For other pictures please click here.