sister vilma’s 25th anniversary

sister vilma

sister vilma

We  met Sister Vilma at Saint Margaret Church in Woodbury Heights, NJ. She was one of the sisters in their parish. She’s a Filipina and she has been serving our Lord for 25 years. She has also been assigned in various countries as well as states here in the US.

That day was her anniversary. The parish priest has prepared a celebration for her, inviting her family as well as people who has been so much part of her life. Our prayer group was also been fortunate and was invited in the celebration.

We attended the mass wearing our traditional Filipino attire and brought native dishes to share in the celebration. Our children performed a couple of native dances and they were great.

Click the above picture to see the pictures and videos or just click here.

2014 santa cruzan – philadelphia, PA

santa cruzan

santa cruzan

We were invited to a Santa Cruzan in Philadelphia held at Ukranian Catholic Church of the Immaculate Conception. This was the same venue for the last year’s Santa Cruzan. This event is one of the many Filipino tradition that immigrants from the Philippines brought over here to the United States.

I believe there were a lot of attendees last year compared to this year because I saw several sashes that were left in the basket at the church’s entrance. Since I have started with this comment, I would like to add that it was kind of lacking police assistance with regards to the street parade. Last year there were police cars assisting traffic or blocking the streets. This year I was asking a fellow attendee about the traffic police, none to be seen.

Last year both my kids were participants in the Santa Cruzan whereas this year, it was just my son. I guess my daughter just wanted to be a spectator this time. I was also able to test out my GoPro to take videos in the event. Click the picture to see other shots and videos or click here.

2014 deptford high school awards night

2014 seniors awards night

2014 seniors awards night

Every year Deptford High School has an awards night for graduating students who received some form of scholarship(s) from various groups or organizations towards their college education. This was held at the school’s auditorium and it was a joy to see students who excelled so much academically as well as in athletics.

You can click on the picture above or click here to see other pictures I took during this event.

2014 deptford high school spring concert

spring concert

spring concert

I was on time coming back home to the US because after a few days my daughter had the spring concert. She plays the flute for the wind ensemble, however, during that concert she also had to play with other group for the combined performance.

I commend the music program of Deptford because the music teachers are so dedicated. Even though the budget had been slashed for multiple years now, the teachers used their own resources to make due for their respective programs. Click here to see the pictures I took and videos of their performances.

8 may 2014

lolita's balcony view

lolita’s balcony view

After dinner at Kanin Club in Makati, we dropped off my cousin Lolita in Sofitel but she told us to come up to her room. I have not seen the rooms in the hotel and honestly I did not see anything breath taking for a five star hotel, well the lobby was more than okay.

Tita Rosita came down to see us in Lolita’s room and we hung out for a while. I believe it was good to say our farewells and goodbyes here rather than at the airport. We let Tita Rosita taste the fried dinuguan from Kanin Club, she liked it. If ever you will be in Manila, please don’t forget to visit Kanin Club, I believe they have three locations: the original one was in Sta. Rosa, Laguna; and the other two were in Makati and Alabang.

The shot above was a handheld shot at Lolita’s balcony. I only did a few shots and these were the last pictures I took in this visit to the Philippines, click the picture or click here to the rest.

7 may 2014

manila bay sunset

manila bay sunset

The last full day of the Aussies in Manila. They invited us over for a get together before they head back to Australia the next day. We arrived at Sofitel about 2 PM and we hung out at the pool side, as always. They just finished their lunch at Sofitel and we were just in time to take a dip at the pool.

I did not like the pool so much because I don’t know how to swim and most of the time if I go to the pool I will just be on the side soaking. I had to go to the pool because I had an agreement with my cousin Charmaine that if she eats the balut (duck egg), I will go swimming. Well true to her words, last Sunday- 4 May 2014, she ate balut even though I told her that she did not have to and I will still go take a swim.

I did swim with my cousins and we tried out the pool slide, it was kind of dangerous. the way it was designed that if you were not careful you might hit your head on either side of the slide.

I did not take a lot of shots because I was enjoying myself at the pool and afterwards just a good conversation with the Aussies who will be departing the next day. At days end, we said our goodbyes and most if not all were in tears. I apologize to Bruce but I was not expecting him to be that emotional.

The above picture was another picturesque sunset at Manila Bay just behind Sofitel, you can click the picture above or click here to see the few pictures I took.

It was really a nice and lots of fun spending the time with my cousins, aunties and uncles. I know it may be years before we see each other again. I asked my Tita Sita, Charmaine and Lolita if they want to go out for dinner at the Kanin Club. Only Lolita took the invitation because they all need to pack up. Jhay made the reservation and we head to Makati. Would you believe that it was my first time to be back in Makati since 1997?

6 may 2014

cemetery panorama

cemetery panorama

Yesterday we drove from Laguna to Baguio City to visit my mother in-law and to pay respect to my deceased father-in-law and brother-in-law who were resting in a cemetery near Loakan airport.

The drive was pleasant specially taking the new express way, though, we got lost after we exited. We arrived in Baguio after dark and we got lost getting to my in-law’s residence. We were able to call her nd ask for assistance. We spent the night there and told her that we will be leaving the next day after the cemetery.

That following day after breakfast we head out to the cemetery and I told them that it was my first time to see the airport even though we have lived there for a very long time. I grew up in Baguio City from when I was in grade 3 until I graduated college. I guess it goes to show that I was not outgoing growing up.

The picture above was a panoramic shot of the surrounding at the cemetery. Another shot in the gallery (when you click the picture or click here) was the one of the roads leading to Baguio City. After the visit, we drove to Good Shepherd to buy some sweets to take home. We need to drive back to my in-laws because of the stupid coding (you can only drive your vehicle on certain days depending on your ending plate number). Then we called a cab to go back to the town proper to buy more stuff and to grab some lunch.

We separated when we got to the town proper to get more things done quickly. My father and I stopped by at my father’s favorite eatery. I had to leave him there because I could not eat at that place and we just met at Jollibee after he ate before we walked to Barrio Fiesta (a popular Filipino Cuisine restaurant).

Let me tell my my experience at that restaurant which by the way I will never go back to whenever I am in Baguio City. We were ushered by the hostess at a table for four where she literally has to hand wipe the table because there were hair balls on the table, I don’t know from who or what. She did not even bother to ask us for a different table even though there were a lot of unoccupied tables. Then, the funny part was I had to change my order twice or trice because the waiter who took my order came back to tell me that they don’t have this or that or the meat was still frozen. Clearly it was not the same restaurant we ate at several years ago.

After we came back to my in-laws, we readied ourselves for the trip home. We had to pick up my brother along the way because he stayed with a friend yesterday.

We stopped by the Shrine of Our Lady of Manaoag in Pangasinan, we always visit the shrine whenever we are in the Philippines. There were also a few shots I took from that place.

After the visit, we drove back to Laguna but not without getting lost the second time.

2014 saint margaret annual carnival

We were asked to volunteer during the week of the carnival which the parish hosts yearly. On the second night of the volunteer, it was a Friday, I went to enjoy myself at the carnival because the night I volunteered I was stationed to take care of the long ball basketball shoot. That night was my friends turn. I was using GoPro 3+ and I was just testing out the quality. After I have uploaded the videos I was so satisfied with the quality. You can see for yourself in the above video or you can click here for the rest of the clips I took.

3 may 2014

villa escudero

villa escudero

We planned to go to Villa Escudero last time we met at Cainta, Rizal. We were discussing about logistics on how to get there and who were going. On the day of, which was 3rd of May 2014, only the Aussies (7), Jhay and family (3), Theresa, JC, the Santa Rosa (4), and Cavite (3). All in all 19 people and can you imagine we all fit in one van.

The van came from Cavite then picked up the group in Manila (12) then picked up Santa Rosa (4). The drive that morning was not bad because we did make good time. We arrived in Villa Escudero (San Pablo Laguna) just before lunch time.

We parked the van and we went to get our ticket. For a day pass it was P1400 per person, which included the pool use and the raft use, the cultural show and lunch buffet, roughly $32 US. Jhay and I initially thought that it was KKB (kanya kanyang bayad), dutch treat, however, Tita Rosita told us that she will pay for everybody and gave Jhay the money. Thank you again Tita.

Of course even before we went inside the villa grounds we took pictures and I guess it was an experience for the Australians to ride in a cart pulled by a carabao (water buffalo). Don’t know if they noticed that the carabao walked towards the cart and positioned to where it should be to pick up the harness to pull the cart, it was pretty awesome.

It was my first time to go there and it was an experience to eat lunch where your feet are submerged in water. The water flows from a river above that powers a small hydroelectric plant.

After lunch we watched the cultural show and opted out from swimming. Instead some of us took the raft ride, it was a two person raft and you paddle around the body of water. I rode with my cousin Lolita, cousin Jhay was with his wife Bless, and my brother with cousin Charmaine.

The worst part of the trip was heading back home. It took us forever to get home because of traffic. It felt an eternity and when they dropped us home in Santa Rosa it was already almost 9 PM and they still have long ways to go.

Click the picture above to see others or just click here.

1 may 2014

cainta

cainta

That day we have to drive to Cainta, Rizal where my cousins, aunties and uncles reside. It was a nice drive that day because it was not traffic, ordinarily it would have taken us at least a couple of hours, it was labor day. It was a national holiday.

I have not been here for more than 20 years, I no longer recognize the place. My Tita Mely and Tito Rudy have an adjoining house, it can be compared to a duplex here in the States but they were not identical like a traditional duplex. Their houses are built with concrete as compared to our wood and drywall.

They had a food prepared for us and there was a karaoke. I only had a couple of beers and I find that their beer seemed watered down. I guess I was getting used to drinking craft beers or may be I was still being cautious because I’ve been having upset stomach which started a few days ago. I just concentrated on taking pictures and having a good time with cousins. Please click the picture above to see other pictures or just click here.