My sister asked me to fry the luncheon meat as the kids will not eat the paksiw na isda. When the kids saw I was opening a can of Spam, they gave me an ear-to-ear grin and waited eagerly for me to finish frying. If there is anything I detest about cooking, it is frying. It's like there's a missile attack from the hot cooking oil that sends me cowering off for cover. Also, after frying, there seems to be more oil out of the pan than in it which means more time for cleaning is needed before I get my own dinner. I forgot that Spam is already oily and can be fried in its own oil. That way, I wouldn't have been under attack.
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Budbod: glutinous rice wrapped in banana leaves. The process for making this is quite tedious but it's worth it. From cutting, cleaning and heating the banana leaves; selecting, hacking, grinding and pressing the coconut; cleaning, soaking and cooking the pilit or malagkit (glutinous rice); to its scooping, wrapping, tying and recooking until done... yes, it takes hours but as I said, it is worth it.

By theory, I know how it is done. But by practice... I can help. But as to actually making it myself... it's bound to be a disaster.
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Chak-chak's pix

at home

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Kids grow up so fast. The last time I saw these kids, they all seem to look so chubby. That was about 5 months ago. Now, home for the holidays, they look leaner and taller. But they are still the mischievous, naughty, playful yet sensitive kids that I know. I sometimes wonder if the next time I come to visit home, they will all look so grown up and act like grown ups - being more shy and "diplomatic" as they become more sensitive to grown-up moods. It is evident that we do need to grow up. But still, life would be more interesting if we nurture that child-like character in us that never ceases to wonder and embrace life with open arms.

This reminds me of a story I heard back in my high school sophomore year.

There were three friends who won a free Safari trip. Upon reaching Africa, the first one complained of the heat, the smell and the sight. The second took a glance, shrugged her shoulders, yawned and said, "Ok, this is Africa." The third, upon seeing Africa for the first time, exclaimed, "Ahhhh! I am finally here! I can't wait to see what is in Africa!"

Throughout their 5 day stay, the first one kept on complaining about the services, the people, the facilities and anything that came across her way. The second always looked around with an air of indifference, not minding about what was going on, not caring to know more, thinking that everything is the same and uninteresting. The third, on the other hand, was always curious to find out more about the land and its people, their ways and preferences, their music and everything else. She knew that this trip was a once-in-a-lifetime offer and may not be duplicated anymore. She talked to the people, tasted their food, observed attentively the animals in their habitat, learned simple survival rules in the wild. But in spite of her lively and ever-curious attitude, she remained polite and good natured. Because of her goodness, she was well liked by those who met her.

Finally their 5 day stay was over. They went back to their homes and were met by their friends and family.

Each was asked a similar question, "How was the trip?"

The first complained endlessly. The second let out a yawn, shrugged her shoulders and in an uninteresting tone replied, "It went well." The third smiled broadly and described with much gusto her experiences in Africa. Everyone listened attentively to her and they felt alive and interested to visit Africa upon hearing her.

After we heard the story, we were asked, "Which character do you like best? Why?"

Definitely, most of us liked the third traveller. Later, I came to realize that the three characters are in us. But I wonder which among these three characters are more evident in us.

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Mama likes to see flowers in her garden. When we were young and had no garden hose yet at that time, we would run to and fro from the faucet to the garden with our pail of water and watering cans. The garden was too spacious for me that I would often detest "watering time." Because I did not like the job, I did not appreciate the garden that much. It's different now that I am older.
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This is a typical breakfast venue at the house of my aunt where everyone goes out to the garden and eat. Here you see mama, auntie meling, uncle sixto and papa. That unused plate is mine.
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Dili lalim magluto og 3 ka putahe sa sulod sa 2 ka oras lang labi na kung kana siya dinuguan, eskabeche og linat-an nga ribs. Samut na kung ang tinae limpyohanan pa, ang bukog frozen pa ug ang isda nga lutuonon wala pa miabot.

Mao na na ang nahitabo gahapon. Pero maski sa sobrang kapuliki, mihunong sa ko para pagkuha og picture. Hehehehe. Pilipino jud: picture-picture.

Dili ko mosuwat og recipe diri. Basaha nalang ninyo sa recipe book.
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sally's pix

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Before Papa had his stroke last July, he used to play with Waytee.
Five months later, I still find him and Waytee getting along pretty well.
There has always been a dog in the house ever since I can remember.
Each dog having a character of its own, just like people.

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It is fun to spend Christmas with the children as you get to do a lot of fun stuff like filling up stockings. My parents never had this tradition during their childhood days but they made us believe in Santa Claus and his reindeers. Now we are passing this tradition to the younger generation. Hearing their comments on Christmas morning is always amusing. For me, that is my Christmas surprise.

The captions in the picture are some of those I heard on the night before Christmas and Christmas morning - from my own brothers and sisters during our younger years, and from my young nephews and nieces as they checked what Santa has given them.
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Ping's pix

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