I'm just a small fish in a small corner of this big Laguna, and this is how I've been swimming it

20 February, 2012

San Antonio de Padua, Silang

    Along the national highway there were signs. "San Antonio de Padua".  Finally on the way home from Tagaytay, we turned left to where the sign pointed. It is also the road toward a "Manila Zen Buddhist" place.  The road also leads to Silang town proper, and it's a long way (did not note how far) before the church. 

   It was 2:00pm, but we apparently were in time to see a bride alight from a Studebaker (with a black vintage trunk on the rear). Wedding marches, to my mind usually begin at 3:00pm. 2 was unusual for me.  This was serendipitous, because the kid has been curious and interested about weddings lately, owing to her age and stage.  An aside--she actually wore a formal dress that day, so she could have passed as a wedding guest, except that we the parents were in extremely casual attire.

   We had the sense that this church must have been built (or renovated?) specifically for weddings. It is built with bricks, the interior is charming, and it's exterior design I am sure, attractive to many brides looking for a Tagaytay venue. I would advise couples to wait until its parking area is completed though.  Not very pretty seeing steel bars poking out of hollow blocks and cement in the center of it all.  The site is presumably a pillar for a statue.

Sunday afternoon mass?

     As it has happened twice that relatives call me hurriedly on a Sunday afternoon to inquire about time and location for the next mass nearby, I am sharing this link to the Don bosco parish in Sta. Rosa.    


   On both occasions, my cousins found themselves too "alanganin" for mass in Manila, yet to late for mass in Tagaytay or Batangas from where they came.  I remember when ten years ago this parish first opened, we had also stopped by after a trip to the beach. I remember seeing a few other families presumably having done the same. You can tell by the sunburnt faces and beach shorts attire. (Our churches have a dress code, though).

   The 4:30pm service seems just right for those heading home to Manila. My cousins were unaware of this parish, found along the Laguna blvd, right at the entrance of San Jose Village.

   Laguna Bel-air further down also has a new parish church, if you are exiting Sta. Rosa and not Eton or Greenfield (with sticker).  I don't know the schedule.

   Laguna blvd by the way is across Paseo de Sta. Rosa's signage "tower", it's the entrance to the technopark, alongside Caltex, and with the huge billboard at the corner.  The billboard has changed to advertise St. Scholastica's Westgrove.  There is the St. Benedict church next to St. Scholastica's, turning left before Don Bosco (toward the bgy Inchican, Silang, and toward Westgrove). I don't have the schedule as well. If you have mass schedules, you may want to post them on my blog, just send them to me.

16 February, 2012

Sunday, Feb. 12 T House

     Rain, cool air, wind and trees sounding like waves, and the air's scent...
probably all combined with the modern, Asian design...it was Japan in the fall.

           Couple after couple came to inquire about their wedding packages!

Sunday, Feb 5 : Herbana Farms

     We might be "organic romantics" as the generous farmer surmised...but it's a start.  I came for the lure of a "Community Garden" and a "Kids Garden". The latter having been my dream for over a decade now.  Farming, I know, is hard work. It is especially difficult in our climate.  But that day, we remained very cool and comfy. We listened intently to Mr. Carandang as we toured his farm for nearly two hours, and left feeling even more refreshed than when we arrived.
    The adults had not had any water to drink but we did not feel thirst.  As we walked, he handed out petals, leaves, and fruit to taste.  There were pretty flowers to make salads both colorful and tasty.  Some were crunch and juicy. The kids harvested kale, carrots, and pepper.  And we learned so much more about true organically grown crops, practices for sustainable farming, and compost.  

    We really appreciated the tour and talk.  My husband noted how "Mr. Carandang is a man who really loves the land...did you see how he held up the soil? It's a true passion". 
    If we had not the kid, we would certainly avail of the volunteer program to live and work on the farm.  But then for a growing number of people, the kid would be part of, if not the reason for shifting lifestyles. 

    I learned new things like zoning of plots, and following the direction of the wind.  I wonder if they farm according to phases of the moon, as well.

 Pulling out a carrot

      While at the time of our visit, the parts of the farm for us to see were in down time, we are certain that by May when they hold a Harvest Festival the land will be lush. Actually with all the interesting and beneficial vegetation at every step it already was, to our minds.

    On this farm's  website says it accepts donations. You know what, if I had won tonight's lottery, I would support this.  Our children need to learn from this farm.  And it's not far from Sta. Rosa. http://www.herbanafarm.org
It's not even far from Metro Manila. It's in Calamba, just along the road to Tagaytay Highlands.

     I forgot to get the Gotu Kola natural memory enhancer for my dad.
Oh, I guess make that for ME, too!

04 February, 2012

Soheila's Baklava

If you are looking for something other than chocolates to match your requisite roses...something not actually too sweet, but very addictive...try this for Valentine's Day.  I normally do not celebrate that day in any big way as I find it (along with "Mother's Day" contrived, but I do make exceptions...ever since  Kindergarten when my mom had me hand out strawberry lollipops to my classmates, with paper heart cut-outs attached to them.


I just think it's nice to give a gift of sweets to mark V day. 
There are few options in the area, here's one.

Finally, cool nights and a bright moon

The nights have been cooler all around, but the climate, I don't have to tell you, remains inconsistent.  Yesterday, though the sky was sunny, the air was windy cool, by 5pm it was what I would call "chilly", and by evening, my outdoor thermometer read 24 degrees Celsius. It actually felt a bit more like 22.

The moon is halfway on its way to fullness.  It was quite bright out, and for the first time in two years, I looked up again.  Really looked up.

The kid made me do it. I was looking down. Down to where the garbage can was, to toss the food trash in the nabubulok bin. 

Thank goodness for the wonder. She was looking up and urged me to look up at the fast moon too. The clouds were actually the ones floating---no--cruising really quickly past the silver moon.  After a minute or so, "mama please can we sit down and watch the moon go fast".  Bliss, 'no?

Nyuh Kuning

My mom calls this the Golden Coconut. The tree in the background has grown so much taller since we first moved in nearly three years ago, and golden yellow coconuts have hung heavy on it since last year.  I have always taken yellow ones like these for granted. How ignorant of me. I have also only recently learned that the 'macapuno' is NOT just an ice cream version of coconut, nor a gelatin but an actual variant of coconut. So much to learn.

Meanwhile, these golden "nuts" --the coconut nut is not really nut as a fun song (by Ryan Cayabyab?) reminds us--according to mom, the helper, and just yesterday, the village garden maintenance man, tastes just like the regular buko if not better.

I so enjoy cutting and pruning plants, and snuck out to trim a "mussaenda" hedge out front.  It wasn't really a good time considering I had other chores to do.  I was just wondering how to prune correctly to promote lush growth, when along came the gentle giant Mang P--- pedaling cheerfully on a bicycle. After answering my question he took the shears from me saying "let's level it off".  Well, I missed my cutting opportunity but it was good to have the job done and quick.  As might be obvious from my blogging abstention, I just have no time to leisurely cut/trim/rake/sweep/plant, or engage in whatever it is I think is real "gardening".

Then he noticed the coconuts and pulled one out for me. The beauty of this tree is that the coconuts hang low, no monkey-climbing up a tall tree.  However, "Pulling" is not so simple...it's more like twisting and tugging to harvest the darned thing.  I also have no idea how to know when a coconut is ripe!  He insisted on having me try the juice with my child, but of course I insisted he take more for he and his sidekick to take home.  Now I have to remind the actual woman who planted it---my landlord's caretaker--to get her coconuts.

Anyway, too many words again, when all I really need to say is the juice is really good and refreshing. I even enjoyed hacking away at the coconut (I had never before tried to open a coconut), trying not think about how on earth to open it without a knife.

And my kid? Her eyes bugged out seeing the open coconut; she invited me to "sit down and drink it 'geder mama, pink straw for you and green for me" and then actually, selfishly pushing me away to have most of the juice herself.  I'm so glad she loves her buko juice, and so grateful.  Imagine all the people in North America who are only just now grabbing for tetra-packs of "coconut water" after learning of its superior rehydration benefits.  Wish they could have it fresh.

Oh, the title...I could only think "Nyuh Kuning", which if I spelled it right, translates to Golden or Yellow Coconut in Bahasa Indonesia.  Nyuh Kuning happens to also be the barangay in Bali where the kid was conceived.  No wonder she's into buko.