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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Eating Clean is a Healthy Lifestyle

I need a new lifestyle. I need to eat clean, and healthy, that is. I know, I'm as guilty as others for not paying attention to what I put in to my stomach. But, it's never too late to try to change my eating habits. As long as I'm alive, I have to make necessary adjustments, and be open to new ideas and that includes eating right, eating clean, eating healthy if I want to enjoy and prolong my life. Yes, I have to be proactive, to take control of my life.

On my last blog post, I mentioned about veggies and smoothies which are food-related stuff that can help me to eat clean and healthy.

This morning, as I was reading our local community newspaper, I came across an article in Food & Beverage section. It's about school food that's now good food to be served in school cafeterias for students in public schools. This initiative meets the federal regulations that "require school cafeteria to provide more whole-wheat items, fresh fruits and vegetables, and reduce the amount of sodium in students' meal."

With the opening of school year 2012-2013, after Labor Day, September 3rd, schools are now ready to incorporate and introduce more vegetables, cooked and fresh salads, and more sources of carbohydrates and natural sugar, like brown rice and sweet potatoes, on the menu. That's good news, especially for a vast number of our students dealing with obesity or weight-control problem. I personally applaud the school administrators for their efforts to implement a healthy eating program, one that benefits everybody in school particularly those perceived or found/examined to be obese or overweight.

With this topic of food, I recalled something, an article that I cut from a local military newspaper a year ago. I don't know about you, folks and friends, but I have this tendency to keep or collect short articles in newspapers and magazines that, to me, are informational/informative and educational.

Here's a bird's eye view or summation of that "food" article that appeared in that military newspaper's Health & Fitness section. It mentions about the book, "Eating Clean for Dummies," co-authored by Dr. Jonathan Wright and Linda Larsen. Eating clean is a lifestyle, according to Dr. Wright. It is like cleaning up your life, he said. "Just as you'd like to live in a house free of clutter, you need to remove clutter from your diet. That means throwing out the junk foods, refined sugar, additives, preservatives, trans fat, white flour, artificial flavors and toxins that can be so prevalent in processed food."

Wright opined that eating clean does not include a complicated regimen that restricts entire categories of food. "With fewer chemicals to deal with, your body becomes better able to concentrate on keeping you healthy," he said.

The book recommends readers the following to observe this lifestyle eating clean: 1) Eat the foods made by nature, not man. 2) Plan to eat five or six meals and snacks throughout the day. 3) Avoid processed foods (in other words, anything in a box with a label). 4) Use healthy cooking methods. 5) Eat before you become super hungry. 6) Stop eating when you're satisfied, not stuffed. 7) Don't count your calories, fat grams or points. 8) Enjoy and appreciate your food's flavor.

Here are the ten foods we should always include in our eating clean shopping list:
1) Sweet potatoes---ranked as number one in nutrition by the Center for Science in the Public Interest because they're loaded with fiber, protein, complex carbohydrates, vitamins, potassium, magnesium, zinc, carotenoids, iron, and calcium. Sweet potatoes have more than twice the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of vitamin A, more than 40 percent of the RDA of vitamin C and four times the RDA for beta carotene. And each potato contains only about 13 calories.
2) Fish, i.e., wild salmon---Wild salmon contains high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, protein and vitamin D. It's also a great source of niacin, selenium and vitamins B12 and B6. Eating salmon, or other edible fish, also helps prevent heart diseases by inflammation. Scientists have found that omega-3 fatty acids can help slow the degenerative effects of Alzheimer's disease and dementia. These fatty acids can also help lower the risk of depression and aggressive behavior.
3) Olive oil---used in sauteing foods, in salad dressings and when frying foods. Most of the fatty acids in olive oil are omega-9 fatty acids, which are healthy monounsaturated fats that can help lower total blood cholesterol levels. Extra-virgin olive oil is made from the first pressing of olives, without heat, so it's high in vitamin E and phenols, both of which are powerful antioxidants.
4) Cruciferous vegetables---like broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, Kohl-rabi, cabbage, kale and bok choy. Many studies have found a link between eating these veggies and protecting the body from cancer. Phytochemicals in these foods, such as sulforaphane, indole-3-carbinol and crambene help the enzymes in your body that destroy carcinogens before they can damage your cells. These vegetables are also high in antioxidants that help prevent oxidation and damage from free radicals.
5) Nuts, i.e., peanuts, pistachios---provide plenty of nutrients: a) Essential fatty acids and monounsaturated fats that help lower LDL cholesterol and reduce the risk of blood clots, b) Vitamin E that helps reduce plaque development in your arteries, c) Fiber that lowers blood cholesterol, d) Plant sterols that lower blood cholesterol.
6) Avocados---rich and buttery, these are high in vitamins E, C, and K, potassium, oleic acid, folate, antioxidants and phytochemicals (which stop free radical damage). the fat is avocados is monounsaturated, which means it lowers blood cholesterol levels. Plus, avocados contain betasitosterol, which is a phytochemical that also reduces cholesterol.
7) Leafy greens---kale, collard greens, romaine lettuce, spinach, Swiss chard, and escarole, among others,  are rich in vitamins and minerals, especially vitamins C, K, E, and the B complex, potassium, and magnesium, and phytonutrients like lutein, quercetin, zeaxanthin and beta carotene.
8) Curry powder---a blend of several different spices that are high in antioxidants and phytochemicals. Turmeric, containing curcumin, is the most important spice in curry powder. It provides a yellow color and subtle rich flavor.
According to Wright, "people who consume a lot of turmeric-containing curry powder have lower cancer rates, lower rates of Alzheimer's disease, less inflammation and improved memory. Curcumin has also been shown to slow the progress of prostate cancer."
9) Berries, i.e, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries---sweet treats, delicious desserts by themselves, they're excellent source of vitamin C and contain phytochemicals that can help fight cancer. Blueberries especially wild blueberries, are one of the healthiest foods on Earth, with the highest antioxidant content of all fresh fruits.
10) Garlic and onions---pungent root vegetables that are good sources of allyl sulfides (phytochemicals that can help reduce the risk of cancer and calm inflammation in the body). They're also high in polyphenols and flavonoids which prevent oxidation and stop free radical damage. Garlic can help lower cholesterol levels, too.

(NOTE: Ideas and facts in this blog post are for informational purposes only. Before making any drastic dietary changes, always be sure to contact/consult your doctor or dietician. Thank you.)

There you go, folks and friends. It's never too late, as I've said, to do something for our ourselves, something that can help us to continue enjoying life and add years to our life. Let's start this healthy lifestyle of eating clean. If others have been doing it, why can't we? Let's, therefore, give it a try, shall we?

This is all for now. Until next time around, my friends. Take care and Have a good day, everyone! May our gracious God bless us all, always!-chris a. quilpa, 30August2012

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Of Bills, Tomatoes, Veggies, Smoothies

Good Wednesday, everyone! As always, I thank God for His goodness and blessings! Thanks also that the sun is up there, shining over Hampton Roads and elsewhere, after last night's torrential rainfall. Glad and thankful that we didn't experience flooding in our area compared to other cities in Hampton Roads. Anyway, we're doing just fine.

I was planning to take a walk around the block, in my neighborhood this morning. But, at 11 a.m.,  it was already hot and humid outside when I opened the door and about to step out. So, I decided to phase out that plan and just prepared the house bills, along with that home owner's association monthly fee or dues.
If I feel like not going out today, I may as well give the bills (to be mailed to the post office) to my wife (who's still at school-work, at the time that I'm writing this blog post) when she and my sis-in-law Rose will be going to their part-time job (at a clothing store in Chesapeake) at five o'clock this afternoon.

Well, as I was using the restroom upstairs, in our room, a few minutes ago, it's customary for me to always have something to read. With  a copy of our local/community newspaper Suffolk News-Herald, I came across this feature article on Tomato Treasures (heirloom varieties promise hearty flavors). I didn't know then that there are heirloom varieties of tomatoes. So, here they are some common heirloom tomato varieties that I'm sharing them with you, my friends and folks, too: 1) Big Rainbow---very large tomato that's gold/red bicolor;  meaty and mild-flavored. 2) Brandywine---large beefsteak variety tomato, legendary for its "exceptionally rich, succulent flavor" and "old-fashioned tomato taste." An Amish heirloom, it is solid pink-red. 3) Black Krim---a Russian beefsteak variety that's deep maroon red when ripe. It is a medium-sized tomato that has a rich flavor. 4) Evergreen---this juicy and flavorful tomato is green with yellow highlights, when ripe. 5) Green Zebra---green and yellow tomato, has a "sweet  zingy flavor" and is "as sweet as an apple." It is beautiful when served with yellow, red, orange and pink varieties. 6) Stupice---a smallish Czechoslovakian tomato great for northern climates, it is early to ripen and is very productive. It is smooth red tomato with great flavor. 7) Yellow Pear---produces an endless supply of yellow, bite-sized, pear-shaped fruit that have a mild flavor. (Source: Virginia Cooperative Extension Service)

There you go, my folks and friends, are some varieties of tomato that we can enjoy especially this summer. While still writing this blog post, we just received a package from one of my sisters in The Golden State. Lo and behold, we have some fresh vegetables from California! Thank you, sis Edna and family!

Another thing that we have just revived at home is S-M-O-O-T-H-I-E!  (I have had an article written before (in 2008) about this topic, when we bought our smoothie maker then. Yes, we're enjoying our smoothies again, experimenting different flavors, doing some mixing of varieties of fruits. Thanks to my young adult daughter Tintin and my sis-in-law, Rose, for the enthusiasm for all of us to eat healthy. Smoothie, anyone?

Well, this is all for now, my dear friends and (accidental) readers of my blog. Until next time around. Thank you for reading. Take care and Have a wonderful day, everyone!-chris a. quilpa, 29August2012

abitadeacon: Sounds like a good idea but...

abitadeacon: Sounds like a good idea but...

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A Glance, A Chance

Good Tuesday, my friends in the blogosphere! Raining cats and dogs over Hampton Roads area this evening, we're now feeling the pinch or effects of Tropical Storm/Hurricane Isaac that's heading to the Gulf of Mexico, particularly New Orleans (one of the famous cities of Louisiana). Well, we hope and pray that we're all okay. That the State of Louisiana won't experience the same predicament they had when Hurricane Katrina devastated and flooded the city, seven years ago this month. Now, we're praying, too, for those people affected by Isaac's power and performance.

This morning, I went out after my wife left for her school-work. I had to do what she told me to do: to mail cards (thank you and sympathy) for our friend in California whose beloved relative in the Philippines passed away unexpectedly. We learned the news last night. So, at the post office today, I had to express mail our card of sympathy so our friend receives it tomorrow afternoon prior to departing for the Philippines on Thursday for her aunt's funeral.

After going to the post office, I went to one of my favorite chain restaurants to have breakfast. There, I had egg-bacon biscuit sandwich and just a cup of water, and a copy of The Virginian-Pilot newspaper. While enjoying my food, something caught my eyes that prompted me to write about it.

Here's what I wrote on a piece of paper that my wife left me this morning with the complete address of our friend in California (where we're sending the thank you and condolence cards. Why a thank you card? Well, we just wanted to send them our card of thanks for the warm hospitality they extended us while we're "vacationing" in California lately.). I titled it A Glance, A Chance, after writing the whole poem. That's me, sometimes, I start writing the body first, without a title to my poem that I'm supposed to write about. But I got the topic on my mind that I have to develop. How's that, you ask? I don't know. But that's my way, sometimes. Anyway, here's that thing that I'd like to share with you, if you won't mind. Enjoy!

A Glance, A Chance

I saw two small birds
sheltering underneath my van
parked prominently in a parking lot
of a chain restaurant that I frequently visit
then, suddenly
they're gone, out of my sight
after blinking my eyes
they're nowhere to be found
the small hopping birds
I don't know 
where they've gone
I long to see them again
but they quickly disappeared.

Ah, life is fleeting,
so ephemeral...

Just imagine, a while ago
I was talking 
to Mr. Reggie, a middle-aged white man
I happened to come to know there
in that chain restaurant
while busy enjoying his sandwich
when I disrupted him
to please watch my food
when I went to the restroom to pee
to try to empty my bladder, I mean
which he agreed with a nod and a smile
then, after a few moments 
after a brief conversation 
after returning from the men's room
and thanking him, he's gone
out of my sight, without a word
he left his table and his chair
and out the door he's gone...

Ah, people come and go
like friends, relatives, they do, too.

Life is momentarily a sigh
a glance, a chance...

(c) 2012 by chris a. quilpa

Reading the daily local papers, after writing the above, and after breakfast, I came to know about this news alleging that 16-year old Olympic 2012 gold medalist gymnast Gabby Douglas, originally from Virginia Beach, VA, experienced bullying and discrimination while training at Excalibur Gymnastics in Virginia Beach prior to the Olympics. The young Olympian revealed the news when she was interviewed by Oprah lately.

With the above issue, I got inspired to write the following thoughts in verse: I didn't have a title when I finished it. So, I just probably title it It is Easy to Deny. Here's the text:

It is easy to deny
something that happened
or may have experienced
by Olympian Gabby Douglas
when she opened up to Oprah
(who interviewed Douglas, lately)
about her being bullied and discriminated
at Excalibur Gymnastics in Virginia Beach
where the 16-year old trained for the Olympics 2012.

Yes, it is easy to say 
or deny something that Gabby said
charging Excalibur Gymnastics
of bullying and discrimination.

Yes, it is easy to deny
when the owner of the gym, Dena Walker, said
that the allegation charge "is a blatant lies
and nothing factual that she wonders, "how could she do this?"

But, as for me, I believe
Gabby Douglas may have experienced
two important issues of race relations:
bullying and discrimination...

Why do I believe it so?
because as a brown man
and a minority in America
I have experienced it...
when I was new and younger
adjusting to life in America
while learning more about my life
and the people around me in America.

(c)2012 by chris a. quilpa

Monday, August 27, 2012

My Yesterday and Today's Tale

Good Monday, everyone! Here we are, again, sharing with you something from life. Hope and pray you're doing well, by the way.

Yesterday is gone. But I can still recall something good that my family and I did. We attended church services. As one faith family, I believe, we try our best to put God first into our lives. Nowadays, I do try to praise and pray to  our Almighty God thanking Him for all the goodness and blessings he showered me each moment of my life. As a sinner, I always make it a point to ask His forgiveness and be sorry for my sins, and to thank Him that no matter what He always pardons and loves me. No matter how my life's journey turns out to be, He won't allow me to go bad. That's my belief. He knows that I am a good human being, despite my flaws and imperfections. That's why I put my full trust in Him, no matter what happens to me. As the Holy Bible states, specifically Proverbs3:5-6, "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not into thine own understanding. In all thy ways, acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy path."

As scheduled for us, church volunteer Extraordinary Ministers for Holy Communion, my wife and I did distribute the Host or the Eucharist (the consecrated Body of Jesus Christ) to fellow parishioners at St. Paul's Catholic Church. Celebrating with us in yesterday's (Sunday) Mass was our parochial vicar, Rev. Fr. Chris H. Our young adult son Andrew was with us to Mass since the day, 14 August 2012, we all left temporarily The Old Dominion (Virginia) for a week's summer vacation to The Golden State (California) and back. But after Mass and luncheon at a Seafood Restaurant, in Chesapeake, he left for The Capitol/Capital in the late afternoon because of his work there.

Last night, I did spend hours doing captioning to a lot of uploaded photos in my FB page. Those are personal photos I've taken while on summer vacation to California with my family. I still have some (captioning) left to do. Not done yet, completely. But, at least, I've done the bulk of it.

Now, this morning, my wife and I visited the naval hospital where I used to work and eventually retired. I'm glad and thankful that she took a half-day sick leave from her work so she can take care of minor "itchy" skin problem (on her hands) that has been bothering her on and off for months. By the way, she and her co-teachers have started reporting to work in school since Wednesday, 22 August 2012. But their students won't be back to school til after Labor Day, a federal holiday on September 3rd).

Actually, both of us have had an appointment, first time, in the Dermatology Department (from a consultation referral from our doctor in Internal Medicine). I have something on my face (below my right eye) that is itchy, at times. And a couple of small tucks on my neck that need to be removed.

After we've seen a nurse practitioner in the above-mentioned department (he applied liquid nitrogen on the parts of my body I mentioned, and, for my wife, he prescribed her ointment that we got from the pharmacy), we went home. I'd like to drop by at a bank but we agreed to just go home because she has to report to her school by noon or lunchtime.

As soon as  my wife left for work/school, past ten this morning, I left out, too, to pay my bill personally at a local bank that financed my (oldie but goodie) Avalon, almost two years ago. Also, I have to go to the post office to drop a mail/bill and to buy stamps.

It came to my senses, since they are still serving breakfast at a franchised restaurant, I decided to drop by. I used my coupon for their breakfast platter. I did buy also a copy of the local newspapers.

While I was about to finish my breakfast or "brunch," my cell phone rang. I thought it was my wife. No, it was my sister Betty, from California informing me that she and my brother-in-law Dennis were doing physical conditioning by walking outside, which they normally do. They're both retired now. She also told me that our brother and his wife have arrived back in Washington State (where they reside) after our family get-together at sis Betty's for days. After our long distance sibling conversation, I did continue to read the daily papers. I had the urge or inspiration to scribble a short poem, original in Filipino. Here's what I've written on that receipt from the cashier at that restaurant. I titled it Pantay-pantay (Equally the Same). Here's the Ilokano translation, too, (Pare-pareho).

Pantay-pantay, kung totoosin/// pare-pareho, no pampanunoten
walang mahirap, walang mayaman/// awan napanglaw, awan nabaknang
ang mga kumakain sa Restaurant/// kadagiti mangmangan diay Restaurant
sa umaga, hapon o gabi/// iti bigat, malem, wenno rabii
nag-iisa ang pakay o layunin nila/// maymaysa ti ranta wenno panggepda
ang mga taong ginugutom/// dagiti tao a mabisinan
may pinsala man o wala/// adda man sagubanitda wenno awan
may pinag-aralan o mangmang/// adda adalda wenno gagoda
may trabaho o pensionado/// addaan trabaho wenno pensionadoda
retirado na o aktibo pa sa serbisio/// retiradon wenno add pay laeng ti serbisio.

Pantay-pantay, kung totoosin/// pare-pareho, no pampanunoten 
ang mga taong nagsisikain/// dagiti tao a mangmangan
at mga taong nagsisilbi o taga-luto///  ken dagiti tao nga agserserbi wenno aglutluto
lahat sa kainang Restaurant/// amin-aminda diay panganan a Restaurant
at iba pang kainan o restaurant sa America./// ken no aniad'ta pay a panganan ditoy America.

Below is the English translation: Equally the Same

Equally the same, if you think about it
no impoverished, no affluent
those people eating, dining at Restaurant
in the morning, afternoon or night
with only one aim or purpose
those people are hungry
with or without disability
educated or not
employed or pensioner
retired or still active in Service.

Equally the same, if you think about it
those people eating, dining
and those serving and preparing food 
all of them at Restaurant
and other eateries or dining facilities in America.

After breakfast, I did what I've planned to do: went to the bank, to the post office, and filled up our van's gas tank. And, even did grocery at Farm Fresh where I bought two cases of bottled water, a loaf of bread, steamed and seasoned shrimps, watermelon, potato chips/crisps.

That's all, folks, for now. Until next time around. Take care and Have a wonderful day, everyone!-chris a. quilpa, 27August2012

Saturday, August 25, 2012

California Revisited, part 2

Man, how do I start with my narration, my part 2 of California Revisited, when I got so engrossed listening/watching American Idol 2012 Tour of different cities, especially in their latest concert, like in Toronto, Canada; Philadelphia, New York, etc., from YouTube? Mind you, I have a list of the venues that the Idols would be performing. I know where they had the last show and where will they be performing next. I don't know about you, folks, but I've been kinda "Idolized?" or hooked up on American idol 2012, especially Season 11. Frankly speaking, AI 2012 season 11 was the only season that captured my musical senses. I don't know why. But, wait a minute, I need to stick to the title of this blog post; otherwise, I'd be carried away by the American Idols,  especially the current AI 2012 winner, Phillip Phillips and his runner-up Jessica Sanchez.

Well, I'm glad and thankful that, on the day after our arrival here in The Old Dominion from The Golden State, Wednesday, 22 August 2012, I was able to note down on my Composition Book sort of an outline of topics that I have to cover on this blog post.
First of all, I thank you, Almighty God, for my faith, and family, folks, and friends everywhere around the globe. Many thanks to my caring siblings here in the States (Betty, Edna, Zaldy, and their spouses and families) for all their love and generosity. Thank you to our Aunt Emiliana (my late Dad's only sister) in San Francisco. Thank you to our uncles and aunties and their families. Thanks so much to all my cousins and their families, to my nephews and nieces and their families, and to all our friends like Belen and Boy and their family in Stockton and Daly City (thanks so much, guys, for your warm hospitality, Nathan, Jr. for giving us a brief tour of your and your sister Nikki's alma mater, University of the Pacific in Stockton. I'm quite impressed by the whole campus buildings and their architecture!), Roger and his family, Demetrio and his family, Gloria and Rey and family, etc.Thank you, Lord, for all the wonderful people who made our Summer 2012 Get-away to California possible and successful.
Prior to going to California on 14 August 2012, my family have made reservations: reservation for car rental, reservation for lodging at Navy Lodge. Except for 16 August and 18-21 August 2012, we couldn't have 14-15 August 2012 reservation at Navy Lodge because they're fully booked. We didn't book ourselves for the 17th August because we're already scheduled to spend the night at Belen and Boy (Nathan, Sr.)'s other house in Stockton. (Belen is my wife Freny's best friend, and former classmate in grade school 47 years ago! That's why they and two of their other classmates who are in California, Roger and Demetrio, have planned to have sort of a small reunion at Belen's ). So, for 14-15 August2012, we stayed at my sister Betty and bro-in-law Dennis's house in San Jose, CA.

Past 1:00 pm, Wednesday, 15 August 2012, from sis Betty's where we spent the night after our arrival at the Silicon Valley, we went to San Francisco to revisit the Golden Gate Bridge and The Fisherman's Wharf. (I've seen them before, in late 1983 or 1984.) But before that we attended Mass at St. Patrick Catholic Church, 756 Mission St. (between 3rd and 4th Streets), because the day is considered a holiday for Catholics. Its the feast of The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Established or founded in 1815, St. Patrick Catholic Church is San Francisco's Historic Landmark #4 (according to its church bulletin and Website:  After Mass, we had lunch at a Japanese restaurant.
Then, out we roamed around the streets of San Francisco, and eventually found our way to see the famous Golden Gate Bridge. It was foggy and cold, not much sunshine at that time. Nevertheless, we took pictures, had coffee and cookies at Cafe and Restaurant, enjoyed the scenery, sea breeze and sea shore.

Afterwards, we went to The Fisherman's Wharf. I bet, there are always lots of people, tourists there, everyday. After parking our rental car in a parking garage nearby, we strolled around. Took a lot of pictures, did some shopping, visited a museum, had dinner at Seafood Restaurant. From there we could see the infamous Alcatraz, so-called The Rock, an island surrounded by water somewhere in the middle of San Francisco Bay that was once a prison and now a historical site managed by National Park Service. (Videos embedded here in this post are from YouTube. No copyright infringement intended. Thanks to the video uploaders and to YouTube.)

From our vantage point while revisiting the glorious Golden Gate Bridge, we could also see the Alcatraz Island where we learned that so much stuff had happened there and that some of its mysterious stories still remain unsolved or a mystery.

It was past 11:00 pm when we got back to my sis Betty's house in San Jose, CA. I had bro-in-law Dennis's glutinous rice cake for my dessert. Nimbled some fruits, i.e., melon and watermelon, too, while engaging in spirited conversation with my relatives and other members of family. Then, off to bed tired but happy and contented.

Thursday, 16 August 2012, after breakfast at sis Betty's, we went to The Flea Market at the Capitol Expressway exit where we bought some fruits, shirts, hats, etc. There was a band playing there entertaining market shoppers. They were playing some Mexican music. Pretty cool! Enjoyed the walking/roaming around the market.

From the Flea Market, we ate lunch at a Vietnamese restaurant. We all had Vietnamese noodle soup, with different kinds of flavor (meat and/or seafood)  in a big bowl. I couldn't finish the whole thing so I saved half of it for dinnertime. Then, back to my sis Betty and bro-in-law Dennis's house where we continued our bonding with other relatives there in San Jose, CA. Before eleven that night, we left them for our lodging at Navy Lodge.

My family and I spent the night at Navy Lodge, in Moffett Field, Mountain View, CA. Had free complimentary breakfast (bagel, granola bars, and coffee) there, too, in the morning of Friday, 17 August 2012.

Before noontime, we checked out at Navy Lodge because we're scheduled to spend the night at our friends Belen and her husband Boy's house in Stockton which is more than an hour drive from Mountain View/San Jose area. Took a lot of photos along the way, long and winding interstate highway, mountain views, valleys, hills, plains, fields.
At Belen and Boy's in Stockton, we were warmly welcomed by our friends/hosts. My wife Freny and Belen and their two other Santanians (former residents of Santa, Ilocos Sur, Philippines) had sort of a reunion because they haven't had seen each other for over 45 years. They're all classmates when they were in grade school back in their native town in the Philippines. Lots of food, over there prepared by Belen and Boy, and some brought by their other relatives/friends. Boy did some grilling of chicken and pork. Of course, there were glutinous rice cakes and fruits, too, for dessert. We even went to one of my wife's Aunt Bessie's, upon her insistent invitation, just to see her house that night. The latter encouraged us to take souvenir pictures. Then, we went back to Belen and Boy's where we spent the night there. They have a big stucco house with five bedrooms, three full baths. We learned that Belen and her young adult son Nathan, Jr. (a University of the Pacific alum and currently working as a physical therapist) live there most of the time while her husband Boy and their daughter Nikki (also a University of the Pacific graduate with Doctor of Pharmacy), live in their other house in Daly City near San Francisco. Although Boy works in Daly City, he has been there in Stockton for the weekend, for us all.
Saturday, 18 August 2012, after breakfast, prepared by our friends Belen and Boy, we got ready for that Picnic/Party for all Santanians. The venue requires us to drive for at least 25-30 minutes. As usual, my wife Freny did the driving. We agreed to follow Belen and Boy's young adult son Nathan, Jr. who was designated as their driver. Now, on our way to the picnic, Belen phoned us, informing us that we're passing by Nathan, Jr.'s alma mater, The University of the Pacific at Stockton. The latter graciously gave us a quick tour of the campus. We had picture-taking there. My impression: The campus is huge and the buildings are strategically built within the whole campus. Impressive, indeed, the buildings and their architecture! I could sense that it's so conducive to learning over there. If I remember right, Nathan, Jr. once mentioned to me that the school has over 7,000 students including graduate students, when I asked him about the university's population.
From there, we dropped by a few minutes to an area near downtown Stockton where there's this Filipino Plaza/Hotel and the Filipino Center Plaza buildings. (I overheard that the Filipino Plaza/Hotel  is quite historical, if you're talking about early Filipinos in California.) My young adult daughter and I took a few photographs of the buildings.

Back now to the Interstate freeway, while we were following Nathan, Jr. For whatever reason, my wife missed the exit and we sort of followed another route. It's good that we have GPS, thanks to God! We just communicated with Belen and told her we'd just see each other at the picnic. My wife Freny was confident enough and told us not to worry. We continued rolling down the road. We decided to drop by a gas station on our way and filled up our rental car's tank. Then,resumed our journey. Finally, we found the venue where there were already so many people having fun, food, sort of fiesta. The place is Fremont Community Center. It's like a public park with a lake, man-made I think. There, people of different groups gathered together to have fun and enjoyment. There were people on the lake, boating and having fun, too. The place is so orderly; no loud music or cacophony heard. The different groups of people just gathered together among themselves and were enjoying with food, families, friends, acquaintances, etc. Quite a good, healthy place to have picnics/parties, and to socialize and interact with other people, too. Engaged we were in conversations, here and there, with new-found friends and distant relatives of my wife. While there at the picnic/party, I  missed seeing or meeting my Aunt Emiliana who, I learned from my sister Betty, drove all the way from San Francisco to see us all there at sis Betty's in San Jose. And I also learned that our brother Zaldy and his wife Necie already arrived there from Washington State.

It was past past 5:00 pm when we left our friends and other Santanians and their families at the picnic for San Jose where our brother Zaldy and Necie from Washington State were waiting for us. And so was sis Edna and her family. Seeing them, I anxiously hugged my brother and my sis-in-law Necie, and sis Edna and sis Betty, my cousins Cita and Marilyn, nephews and nieces, etc. I was so happy and overwhelmed to see them all my folks. I was told that Aunt Emiliana left for San Francisco already that's why I didn't see her. I felt bad, sorry that I didn't catch up with her. Anyway, we've made plans to see her on Monday after our visit/paying respect to our late Grandpa Isabelo's. At sis Betty and bro-in-law Dennis's, we're all gathered together, celebrating our 'reunion' and oneness or unity as one big family, with lots of food to partake and share with everyone there. Back to Navy Lodge for the night, after we all had a great time together at sis Betty's place, and with an agreement to be back there the following day, Sunday, possibly after lunch or in the afternoon for another get-together and that a day-early celebration of my young adult daughter Christine's birthday.

I felt so tired and sleepy that I didn't bother to go with my wife that night to visit one of her friends in another part of San Jose? I didn't have any idea when she and her sister (who accompanied her, and the kids didn't go with them because they probably were so tired, too) came back to the Navy Lodge.
Sunday, 19 August 2012, after breakfast, we attended Mass at St. Joseph Parish/Catholic Church in Mountain View, a few minutes away from Moffett Field. Then, we went to visit a couple of my wife's relatives in San Jose, CA where we had lunch and lively conversations with them. We had picture-taking, too. I don't know but  we may have spent five-six hours with them there at Freny's Aunts Ester and Betty and families. I had the opportunity to meet for the second time (first time at the picnic at Fremont) Uncle Cezar and his wife, meet and talk for the first time Uncle Lito and Aunt Yolly who both came from Chicago, Uncles Reny and Delfin, and Aunt Elaine, Lola Mary, etc.

From there, we went to my sis Betty's where we had another get together plus the celebration of Christine's birthday there. Lots of food, as expected. There was "lechon," too. Lots of picture-taking again. And, we got the chance to see/meet my former high school classmate Gloria who, along with her husband Rey, and a couple of her relatives, too, came all the way to Stockton. At first, I thought they live in Salinas. That day, Sunday, was another fun-filled day for us all.

Monday, 20 August 2012, after breakfast, we attended the daily Mass at 8:30 a.m. at St. Joseph Parish/Catholic Church, for Christine's birthday. Afterwards, we went back to the Navy Lodge to get something before going to my sister Betty's in San Jose. From there we had sort of a convoy in going to San Francisco to visit our late Grandpa Isabelo's at Cypress Lawn Cemetery, and to see Aunt Emilia.

At the cemetery, my sis Betty offered flowers to the grave of our Grandpa Isabelo. We  paid our respects to "Amang" and did offer our silent prayer for all of the departed who'd been resting there peacefully. Of course, we had picture-taking. I had the opportunity to recall/remember and share with my siblings and folks about my young life with our late Grandpa Isabelo, that I was with him in going to the farm/fields where I learned life at a young age, with responsibility.

From Cypress Lawn Cemetery, we went to see Aunt Emiliana who was as eager and happy to see us all as we were with her. I hugged Aunt Emiliana and told her how much I've missed her. She was surprised to see how big our kids are. (Andrew and Christine were little when she saw them for the first time, in 1994.)

Aunt Emiliana didn't go with us when we went to have lunch at Jollibee's Restaurant in Daly City. She's now 87 and doing fine, but signs of aging are very evident in her having gray or white hair and slender physique. I didn get to see my cousin Rudy, her only son, now already in his mid 50s, I believe.

After lunch, we decided to go to Half Moon Bay, like Monterrey. We took a lot of pictures, too, on our way there. As soon as we arrived there, we went to the public restroom. What a relief! We, men,  had coffee and cookies, afterwards, while the women went around, shopping or window-shopping. With a marina, that place is cool. So ideal for strolling around and killing time. It was cool air and breezy, while we were there. It looks like that even if it's summertime, I believe.

Back to San Jose, we had dinner at TOMI (Sushi and Buffet) Restaurant at Eastridge Shopping Mall with my siblings and their families. Then, back to my sis Betty and bro-in-law Dennis's house where we continued our get together and bonding. We had a fun-filled evening that night, with plenty of hugs and kisses because we'd be leaving the Silicon Valley the following day, Tuesday. Hence, that night at sister Betty's culminated our week's Summer 2012 Getaway with them all.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012, after early breakfast, we checked out at Navy Lodge. And, off we went to San Jose Int'l Airport, CA, where we boarded a Southwest 737 plane bound for Las Vegas, our stopover, and then eventually to Norfolk Int'l Airport, VA. Yes, Virginia, we're coming back...again to The Old Dominion!

Thank you, Almighty God, for your all your goodness and blessings!-chris a. quilpa, 24August2012

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Faith, Family, Folks, and Friends

NOTE: Finally, we're back home again here in The Old Dominion, this early morning, 22 August2012 @ 0030, after that long flight from the West Coast, particularly in The Golden State (California) where my family and I spent a week's summer get-away with our families, folks, and friends there. We had a stop-over in Las Vegas, Nevada yesterday, and waited for three hours at the airport. (Meanwhile, my young adult son, Andrew was on a separate flight from San Jose, CA, although we all were together at the SJ international airport yesterday. He had his stopover in San Diego, and there on to Norfolk, VA where he arrived earlier than we did. By thirty minutes, maybe.)

I have already planned to write part 2 of California Revisited, my last blog post prior to this post. But this morning, or early afternoon @ 1320, as soon as I woke up late from our bed, now that we're back here in Virginia this early morning at past one o'clock, while about to use the restroom adjacent to our (Master's) bedroom, I have these thoughts (I've just scribbled on my Composition Book while in our restroom) which I now share with you all, my dear friends and accidental readers of my blog. simply, I titled it My Thoughts Today:

Faith, family, folks, friends---these are the important things that matter most in life, for me. They are the ones that make life worth-living.

Faith---the belief that God makes life possible for me to be successful. My belief in Our Almighty God is what makes me keep going living, despite the odds and ends, the ebbs and flows that came to my life. I put faith in God and Jesus, His Beloved Son, as first in my life, and everything is possible. Praying to our dear, and loving God, and to Jesus Christ, and thanking Him for all the blessings I receive each moment of living, is like eating food or something material that nourishes and keeps me going on in life. My belief in a Divine Supreme Being is tantamount or paramount to anything here on earth.

Family---my lifeline, first and foremost, where or in which I felt the love and caring, and a sense of belonging as a valued member capable of making a difference in the lives of others. It's the unit where tradition and legacy originally emanated or came from and continues to rule supreme over other entities in a society that has become multi-diverse and complicated.

Folks---a core group of my bloodline relatives who inspire me to become better so that I can learn something more about life and be there to help or assist when needed. They are my next of kin support group that I can relate to when things get rough in life. They're my second family, if my primary family are nowhere near me.

Friends---old and new who can be a source of inspiration and strength in life. They are another lifeline and life-saver, too. They can become your family when you are true and sincere in your dealings with them. They can be dependable, and a source of life, too, for me.

The above components of important people have, indeed, made our summer 2012 getaway truly a summer to remember for a long time. they all made our week's summer vacation to the Bay Area, or Silicon Valley and beyond, possible and successful. Thank you, Lord, for all these wonderful people in my life.

Though undeniably tired we were, nevertheless, we had fun and excitement getting together with my family, folks/relatives, and friends (old and newly-found friends) with faith, and lots of food, and picture-taking all along the way.

Personally, I have realized that faith, family, folks and friends matter in life irrespective of who and what you are in society.

In closing, indeed, it takes a village to be a better person, or successful in our own way, in life. Without faith, family, folks, and friends, life will never be as beautiful, wonderful, crazy, and exciting and fun! Thank you, good God, for my loving family, caring and generous siblings, i.e., Manang Betty and Manong Dennis and family; Zaldy and Necie and family, Edna and Nardo and family; Manang Susing and family; Manang Premy and family, late Manong Bencio and his family, the late Manang Anding and her family, Manang Aida and her family; fabulous folks (and/or relatives, i.e., Aunt Emiliana in San Francisco, cousins Manang Cita, Marilyn, Josh and Jefty, nephews and nieces like Sweet, Leonell and their Baby Mara, Tony, Darlene and their Baby Apollo Nicolas; Rhena, JR and Teddy Boy; Mark; Ranier and his family, Charlene and Jeff; Brian and Manong Lando and family; Boy and Jessica; Boy and Malou and family; uncles and aunties and their families, etc.) and friends, i.e., Belen and Boy (Nathan Sr), Nathan Jr. (thank you, Nathan!) who gave us a tour of his alma mater University of the Pacific in Stockton, and Nikki), Roger and his family, Demetrio and his family, Gloria and her family, and all other people around us and elsewhere who accepted us and made us welcome into their lives. Thank you all! Above all, thank you, Jesus, my Inspiration. -chris a. quilpa, 22August2012, Suffolk, Virginia

Thursday, August 16, 2012

California Revisited, part 1

What a feeling! To be back in a place where you started life in America where everything is possible as long as you have the will and determination, patience and the courage to learn to live and get along with others.

 As for me, having faith, family, folks and friends, and a decent education that is useful in all phases of interaction---these are the important ingredients or factors that make life worth-living.

Thanks to our Almighty God, I, along with my primary next of kin from Virginia, found my way to the Bay Area, particularly in San Jose, California. Thanks to my loving sister Betty and her family. Thanks to my sister Edna and her family. Thanks to my youngest brother Zaldy and his wife Necie who spearheaded the move for our expected "grand" get-together/reunion. Thanks, Brod and Necie, for your thoughtfulness and generosity. Well, to make this conversation short, we've finally arrived in California since Tuesday, August 14. And, you betcha, I'm enjoying every bit of our stay here. Lots of bonding and reconnecting to do, Man!

Yes, it's definitely California revisited, for me. Excitement has long been  my natural feeling when the plan was set, and preparation has long started. I believe I share the same raw feeling with our two young adult children who have hazy knowledge about California then because they were too small when we got here on military transfer/deployment. Imagine, our first son was born in the Commonwealth of Guam, a U.S territory in the Pacific, and two years after being there in the Marianas Island, we came back to CONUS (Continental United States). I had orders to go to Washington State, the so-called Evergreen State where I worked in one of the tenant commands  of then Naval Station  Puget Sound. That's where our daughter was born. So, when we got back to San Diego, California, where I had all my naval training and my first duty assignment after "Boot Camp," our two small kids were as curious as other kids their age to learn about everything in their environment. Now that they've graduated from college and ready to face another phase in their respective life, they're open to possibilities and opportunities to learn more experiences. Hence, we're all here in California, for a week's summer get-away to remember. Note that I keep on saying this thing: Summer 2012 get-away to remember! Isn't it obvious, my friends? Lots of things to catch up, to connect and reconnect with other family members, relatives, friends. That's why, at the outset, you noticed my first two paragraphs. What matters most; what is important in one's life, for me. This is my personal perspective. But then when you come to realize, too, you'll agree with me---the 4Fs (faith, family, folks, friends)---are what matter the most in life. God is, first and foremost, the number one in my list. Then, family, folks, then friends. I need not elaborate more about these ingredients that make life worth-living.

Well, so far, I tell you with utmost pride and joy, I'm enjoying every bit of my summer get-away with everyone here in California. I'm anticipating or looking forward to our other encounters and experiences with other members of the clan/family, and other relatives and friends around.

Yesterday, we had a wonderful time in San Francisco. We attended Mass at St. Patrick's Catholic Church. Thanks to God, we found our way to celebrate with others the feast of the Assumption of Mother Mary. We  had lunch at a Japanese restaurant, after the noontime Mass. Then, we went to see the famous Golden Gate Bridge, The Fisherman's Wharf, the infamous (?) Alcatraz at a distance. In short, we had faith, fun, food, shopping, and picture-taking yesterday. Now, our summer get-away continues...Part II next time. Stay tuned, my dear friends and folks. Stockton and Salinas, here we come!

Enjoy the embedded videos in this blog post of mine. No, I don't own the videos. No copyright infringement intended. Thanks to YouTube, to the uploaders of the videos used herewith.

Until next time around. Take care and have a wonderful but safe summer, everyone! May God bless us always! Thank you, Lord, for all your goodness and blessings!-chris. a. quilpa, 16August2012.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

A Summer Get-Away To Get Lost, Sometimes

While in Washington, DC

We were there
the weekend of August 2012
taking a summer break
away from home, sometimes.

We visited our son Andrew
and his newly-found temporary abode
another house in a neighboring state 
while working in DC.

We checked into a hotel
where we're used to stay
each time we go there
to sight-see and just be there.

We decided to just leave our family van
at the hotel where we had free breakfast
and to just have Andrew's five-passenger car 
on the way to the tour of The White House.

We passed the security checks
prior to the self-guided tour
as security men did their job
with utmost care and vigilance.

We toured The White House
the famous house and residence
of the powerful President of the United States
and his loving and supportive family members.

We felt so lucky and fortunate
so delighted and excited
to have seen the inside and out
of The White House, a museum to me.

We have seen the beauty and repository
the artifacts that have been a part of history
all the portraits of the past presidents
and the fine furniture, utensils and paintings.

We have seen photographs of events
happy moments of those past presidents
and their families who were with them
all along in their journey to lead the nation.

We had a lot of walking and picture-taking
after the watchful tour of The White House
while sweating the summer heat and humidity
as we mingled with other tourists and visitors.

After the tour of the highly-secured White House
we walked a long walk to the paid parking garage
where we couldn't believe and remember where it was
somewhere in the corner of Franklin and 14th Streets.

It took us almost an hour going around the block
to finally find Andrew's car in the paid parking garage
what a day of reckoning and reflecting our experiences
while sight-seeing and vacationing  in Washington, DC

Again, as always, we visited the magnificent Basilica 
of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
where we had lunch inside the restaurant there 
and then attended that solemn Mass at 5:15 pm.

Yes, we had fun and learning experiences
while vacationing in Washington, DC
on the second weekend of August 2012
a summer get-away to get lost, sometimes.

(c) 2012 by chris a. quilpa 

My Unexpected Confession Today

A pleasant good Sunday to everyone! Hope and pray that you're doing well, friends. We're good. And I don't have anything against the world, even if my life-world is not what it used to be. Thanks be to God. We're alive! And that's what matters the most. Yes, definitely we're trying to do our the best we to do God's will. He, through His Son Jesus Christ, is our hope, inspiration, refuge, and the source of our life. That is if we believe in Him for all His goodness and Love.

My dear folks, I have a confession to make today. And I have mixed feelings about it. Mad or upset, I don't know. A little bit disappointed, maybe. Never did I anticipate it. It was such an unexpected moment. But, I have no choice but to accept it. Yes, I got a speeding ticket this morning! I know, I should have been more careful. But, the situation calls that I had to hurry up a little bit; otherwise I'd be late for my appointment. You know, that important date we all have every Sunday. With God. With Jesus! I didn't want to be late this morning. Yes, folks, I was a little bit excited and anxious this morning for the 0930 Mass in my parish. Just me, on the car. All alone. My wife and our daughter, and my sis-in-law, were not with me this morning because they have decided to accompany Tintin, our daughter, to the church in Norfolk where she's going to play piano for the church service at 11:00 a.m. I left our house at 0900 a.m. and I thought I have had plenty of time to drive to our parish.

Normally, it takes us fifteen to twenty minutes to reach the church. But, things happened unexpectedly. And the police officer was there on that strategic spot below the ramp. With his radar pointing at me, he caught me speeding. And it was too late for me to reduce my speed. He, therefore, followed me with his lights on. At an intersection, I put my brakes on and sat quietly, awaiting what comes next. He came to me, asked me if I own the car. I answered positively. Then, he required me to show him my driver's license which I did without hesitation. I told the officer I was on my way to attend Sunday Mass downtown at my parish. And, I acknowledge how sorry I was for having sped up my driving. I know, I should have driven below the speed limit but it happened. I know, it's one of the rare moments when you don't want to be late to your appointment. I know, I should have been earlier to anticipate any traffic or anything on the way. Now, look at what happened. As the saying or adage goes, "Haste makes waste." Yes, I know, I wasted precious time. That means, I would be delayed with my appointment. Despite my polite and cordial explanation, the police officer had me signed that piece of paper, discussed with me what I should do about it, and then issued me a copy of my ticket. I know, I've been a very careful and responsible driver as evidenced in my many years of driving with no problem. Except this morning, of course.

My dear friends, this is my first time to have a speeding ticket. I regret it but it happened this morning. Man, it was untimely or unlucky, maybe, that I got one today. The fact it, most of the time, it's my wife who does most of the driving when we're out there on the road, especially for long trips. (It's because I have a physical disability and a chronic lower back pain that I have to manage. First, I have to say that I'm the one who can help myself, first and foremost. As much as possible I don't want to aggravate my pain. Sitting for longer period of time, while driving, using my legs, straining and exerting effort, it gives me discomfort most of the time.)

What can I say but today is such a special (?) day for me. Because I was carried away in my driving, unintentionally, and because I do not want to be late with my date with our Dear Lord, that I got caught speeding on the freeway, this morning. Anyway, I made it to my appointment with our good God. But, with an unexpected speeding ticket. Nevertheless, as always, with fellow parishioners, I prayed and sang, and praised our Lord for everything that's been happening in my life-world. (Our parochial vicar, Rev. Fr. Chris H. was our celebrant.) I thanked Him that I'm still alive, much better, in stead of having an accident or anything that may have been damaging to my health, safety and over-all well-being.

Certainly, I had some explaining to do when my wife and our young adult daughter arrived home, this afternoon, after their visit to that Christian church in Norfolk. Predictably, they weren't convinced that I got a ticket. But when I got serious with my story, that's when they started to believe me. Now, will I pay my ticket? Or, will I go to the city general court to contest my case? That's the question that I have to deal with. Anyway, I'm glad and thankful that I made it to the church this morning. I felt quite uneasy but I managed to be at ease and at peace with our Almighty God. I asked His help and enlightenment, offering my personal prayer. I know, and I believe, He will guide me and help me what to do. I know that He won't abandon me. He'll be at my side, always. Thank you, Lord.

Well, folks, this is all for now and I hope you're doing just fine. Please, when you drive, observe the speed limit. And drive safely so as not to jeopardize anything. I'm sorry for what happened to me, this morning. It happened and I take full responsibility for my action. I believe in my heart that I'm a law-abiding citizen, and a child of God, trying to be a good follower of Jesus. Certainly, I take this to heart as a learning experience. That I should learn from this unexpected mistake I made this morning. I'd be more careful, not to speed up, to slow down and observe the speed limit each time I do the driving. Let this be a reminder to others, too. And that they learn something from my confession today.

Until next time around. Take care and have a wonderful day, everyone! May God bless us all, as always!-chris a. quilpa, 12August2012

Thursday, August 9, 2012

When Disaster/Calamity Strikes

"Water, water, and there, water...overflowing with grandeur...but then, when unleashing its power...there's imminent danger, disaster...people come together...helping one peacetime and in war...

There goes my short verse I just scribbled on my notebook today. My thoughts this early morning is on the floods in Metro Manila, Philippines. There's that nostalgic memory so unforgettable, for me, each time I hear flooding or days of torrential rainfalls in Manila where I happened to live there for a year, particularly in Paco district, in early 1970s. I used to work for a distant relative who engaged in handicraft business that, when there's a tourist ship arriving, the family had to build a temporary or makeshift store in the pier where we sold handicraft items/products such as woodcarvings from Baguio City, loom-woven cotton "abel" and placemats from the Ilocos Region, shirts, as souvenirs for tourists. But when we have a foul weather, like if it rains for two-three consecutive days, especially in Manila, that's a different story. (More details later.) The picture of the area submerged, flooded, the streets...all water, is so vivid, in my mind. Still fresh and raw! OMG, Manila is sinking! It's terrible to remember such a scenario! (BTW, thanks to YouTube and the uploaders of the videos I embedded here with my blog post. No copyright infringement intended.)

Well, now, today I recall: I wrote an Ilokano poem, "No Sumangbay ti Didigra" (When Disaster or Calamity Strikes), and published it in, in 03/06/2005. My inspiration, then, was that disastrous and devastating 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami in Banda Aceh, Indonesia and Thailand, in South Asia (26 Dec. 2004). First off, why did I mention about this? Well, my friends, I would be branded as ignorant and insensitive if I say I didn't know anything about the recent flooding (August 7-8) in Metro Manila, and other  low-lying areas in Luzon, Ilocos Region, Philippines, where I was born. The fact is, I've learned about the torrential rainfalls and the monsoon rains since Sunday, August 05, and Monday, August 06. I also watched TV news and video clips from YouTube. It saddens me to learn about the disaster. I prayed and continue to pray for our fellow "kababayan" who were affected/devastated by this catastrophe. May God bless and protect them from harm and future disaster/calamity. May they always find hope and comfort and strength to continue living their lives. May their struggle and sacrifice be rewarded with a better, decent life, Lord.

This morning, I had to news-update myself about the flooding in the Philippines by reading, online, one of the leading newspapers there, Manila Bulletin. I read about the outpouring of support and prayers from Philippine and international celebrities, and from leaders around the world who sent messages of hope and support to President Noynoy Aquino.

I am relieved to know that flooding is and continues to recede in some areas in Metro Manila. I pray that our good and loving God will help and guide our "kababayan," our fellow Filipinos, especially those who were displaced or evacuated from the disaster, and those who have been rescuing and giving assistance and support. I pray for the leadership of President Noynoy and all his cabinet members who have been trying to assist in the rescue and clean-up efforts. May the good Lord bless them with a caring heart, always!

For those of you willing to learn something about Ilokano, here's the text of my poem, No Sumangbay ti Didigra below. For my readers (who happen to visit or come across my blog), especially those from other countries like Russia, Germany, France, Bulgaria, United Kingdom, Turkey, etc., I'd like to give you a hint or tip on how to read my Ilokano poem/s. Remember that the Philippines was colonized by Spain for over 300 years and as such the Spanish influence is inevitable in our language, culture, etc. For our letters of the alphabet, especially our vowels a, e, i, o, u, they are pronounced the Spanish/Latin/Japanese way. Get it? Compared to English or American English or British English, there's a difference in the pronunciation of our vowels. In English, we learned about short a, long a; short e, long e; short i, long i, etc. That's just a simple Ilokano 101 lesson, from me. Okay, folks, ready? Let's go...(Let me see if I can translate it for you in English. I'll try my best, ok.)

No Sumangbay ti Didigra                              When Disaster/Calamity Strikes

No sumangbay ti didgra                                 When disaster strikes
Awan a pulos pilpilienna                                Nothing gets on her way
Ket madadael dagiti sanikua                          And property are destroyed
Nga inurnong ditoy Daga.                              Everything accumulated on Earth.

Maungaw dagiti pinarsua                               Lives are lost
Lakay, baket wenno maladaga                       Men and women, even the young
Ket matda dagiti dadduma                             But others are spared
Nga agrigrigat, agsagsagaba.                        To suffer and struggle.

Mangruginto manen  dagiti natda                  Those left behind start again
Nga agputar panagbiagda                              To live their lives anew
Iti baet ti leddaang-pannakaulilada                Amidst the sorrow and pain
Rumusingdanto manen ken rummangpayada.They will survive and succeed.

Iti panaglabas dagiti kanito                            As time passes by          
Ken dagiti nabalitokan a tiempo                    And golden moments, too
Dagiti nabati agkaykaysada nga agrag-o       Those left behind unite in joy
Ken agyaman baro a biagda manipud Ngato.And give thanks for their new life from 

                                            (c) 2012 by chris a. quilpa

Monday, August 6, 2012

A Poem in Three Versions

Introduction: Yesterday, from TV news broadcast, I learned about the Sikh Temple Shooting in Wisconsin  that took the lives of seven people, including the alleged suspect, Wade Michael Page, 40, and wounded a number of people. My sincere and heartfelt condolence to the families of all the departed. Dear and loving God, I pray for the souls of those who are gone before us. May they rest in peace. May the families of the deceased and departed, and those injured, find solace and comfort, courage and strength during the difficult times in their lives. Amen. And, for those in our midst who are sick, injured, ill, or wounded, I pray for their speedy recovery. God bless them and watch over them, always! 

By the way, if my memory serves me right, I believe, I have already written a poem about killings and violence and posted on my blog weeks ago, while in Christiansburg. That was in relation to that Aurora movie theatre shooting in Colorado. Two days ago, on Saturday to be exact, I have watched a German movie, with English subtitle, on YouTube, uploaded or published by Golden Lemming on August 1, 2012. The title of the film was Napola (Before the Fall).  In its description, the movie is about the friendship of two young boys or men (Friedrich and Albrecht) in the military academy during Hitler's regime. I don't go into details, in case you want to see it. My reaction? It's a must-see movie; one that questions your morality and humanity. 

Now, I don't know why I have scribbled another poem with the same issue, asking me and you Why? Why does killing and violence exist and unavoidable in our world? Why the senseless killings, if we claim to be civilized human beings? Here's the poem I just penned today. And thank you for having the time to read and ponder about it.)

Bakit? Why? Apay? 

"Bakit" is Filipino
"Why" is English
"Apay" is Ilokano.

Patuloy tayong nagtatanong Bakit?
We keep on asking Why?
Kanayon ti panagsaludsodtayo Apay?

Bakit maraming patayan?
Why are there killings?
 Apay nga adu ti pinnatay?

Bakit hindi natin maiwasan ito?
Why can we not avoid this?
Apay a saan a malisian daytoy?

Bakit ba nagpapatayan tayo?
Why is it we're killing each other?
Apay aya nga agpipinnataytayo?

Hindi ko maintindihan kung bakit.
I don't understand why.
Diak maawatan no apay.

Alam niyo ba kung bakit?
Do you know why?
Ammoyo kadi no apay?

Bakit? Why? Apay?

Bakit hindi tayo magmamahalan?
Why can't we all love one another?
Apay a saantayo agiinnayat wenno agpipinnateg?

Hindi ba tayo isang malaking pamilia sa mundo?
Aren't we a one big human family in the world?
Saantayo kadi a maymaysa a pamilia ditoy daga?

Mahirap bang gawin ang payo ng ating Maykapal?
Is it hard to do what God has commanded us to do?
Narigat kadi nga aramiden ti imbaga ni Apo kadatayo?

Na mahalin ang kapwa nating tao gaya ng pagmamahal niya sa atin?
To love one another just as He loves and cares for us?
Nga ayaten ti padatayo a tao kas ti panagayatna kadatayo amin?

Baki? Why? Apay?

(c) 2012 by chris a. quilpa

Post Script: If you combine all the first line in each stanza, you have a poem (tula) in Filipino. Do the same thing on each second  line in each stanza and you have a poem in English. And, lastly, combine all the third line in each stanza and you have a poem (daniw) in Ilokano language. So, actually, you have created three poems in one. Got it? Thank you for your time, for reading my poem/s. 

Summer 2012 Get-Together

Summer 2012 Get-Together

There is no denying.
Excitement is building up.
Especially for you, a traveler.
Because you have not been with them.
And they have not been with you.
For a long time.
You have been busy with life.
They, too.
They have been trying to deal with their lives.
While you were away from them.
Working hard and trying to keep your family intact.
The same thing for them.
They are always in your mind.
Even if they are in the West.
And you are in the East.
You believe, you are also in their mind.
Always, because of the bond you have.
With them, you matter.
They matter, too.
Well, the right time has come.
For you.
For them.
For a reunion.
A get-together.
For families sharing the same goals.
Sharing same common blood and name.
Sharing one's heartaches and pains.
Sharing one's smiles and problems.
Sharing one's life for others.
Booked and waiting patiently.
Informed and waiting for the time.
To travel with members of the family.
To spend the rest of summer together.
While we can and while we are able.
We can connect and reconnect once again.
With our families, relatives, others.
The anticipation is obviously clear.
The preparation has begun.
To enjoy with each other and have fun.
We are all looking forward to this occasion.
A once-in-a-lifetime event, an opportunity.
To pass, to ignore, to forget.
This family get-together.
This last part of summer.
Surely, an event to remember.

(c) 2012 by chris a. quilpa