Friends are jewels. I cannot qualify myself as an outgoing type but I am friendly. I don’t loop around my neck a thick string of friends even way back at student years either up to today, after spending almost half my lifetime working to earn a living, but I do treasure them very much as I would a relative or a family. I have been the indoor type. I habitually go for books and listening to music and watching talk shows, sometimes films. In my heyday, I have had a small circle of friends at school, on television, and on shows when I was singing. Those were Streisand, Angela Bofil, Abba, Debbie Boone, and my band days.

When I found work in the government, I have thrown my attention within a small circle of office mates, co-workers, church mates, face book pals (my most recent) and some so-so acquaintances. I have shared great laughs with those closer to me, had coffee together, travelled dined, tete-a-tete, even shared secrets and teased.  To some they were simply hi and bye, how are you and take care.

                A month ago, my little team was moved to another office at another building on another side of the block. A couple hundred yards distance meant goodbye to those whom I really thought were my friends. The “transition” brought new insights when worked occupies my mind. It has sparked brilliant ideas (I could call them that) and in a short span of time I’ve gone a little busier than before. Well, yes, the new assignments kind of perked me up. I have six people to get work done and a boss and the Big Boss who is the mayor.

                My “now” friends rescued me from the “mess” of stress. They were with me and around me when they’d see I needed some ears, pats and sincere smiles. And I believed them. On days when I was pre occupied with deep thoughts (it meant my head was buzzing of something useful and nice and my brain was churning as fast as my stomach does) and when I started to get occupied in making notes, doing research, reviewing updates for use as references on a particular segment for the radio program, I could rely on their supportive silence. People I’ve known decades from my past lifetime are suddenly back into my life as I stumbled along them; our paths crossed and found ourselves together again.

                Rose was my husband Alan’s friend’s wife. We’ve known each other some twenty years or more ago. She was our daughter’s godparent. It was oh, so heart warming to talk to her again. She is intelligent and a lady. She is direct yet solicitous. She respects my opinion and shares hers. She was the same the first time we met and spoken with each other. These are the reasons why I never regretted casting away my eyes from “friends” whom I discovered were the wrong ones and so much grateful to a rekindled friendship.

                This morning I found myself musing. Perhaps, there should really be something to lose to find something better. And I say distance is not a BIG obstacle to have found humble, sincere and deserving people I can call friends. My family is my lifetime treasure. They are jewels and riches in one. But true friends are gems. In social relationships, I needed them as much as I need my husband, children and siblings.







Have you ever tasted an exotic-looking dish that’s actually assembled from the “lowly” kangkong? Kankong (scientific name: ipomea aquatica) commonly trademarked as “poor man’s “food is another one from the spinach species (water spinach) in the Philippines. It is actually an abundant vine-like vegetable that you can grow in personalized small swamp at your backyard, or grow them standing some 6 to 8 inches tall in your plant bed or a refurbished plant box. For many, many years, journals have recounted that during the World War II, Kangkong simple dishes have served and saved hundreds, maybe, thousands dining tables from hunger.

Allow me to take you to a short trip to Manila where I had my “kangkong “dish experience some years ago when I was vacationing there. Actually I was trying to squeeze myself finding a place in some music gig right after I’ve gone to college. There was this Pinausukan Seafood House not very far from the Araneta Coliseum which I and a friend have visited. Araneta Coliseum was the famous venue for the PBA games during those years. Those were memorable years for me and Pinausukan Seafood House dining were one of those. Me and my date were served as appetizers a small serving of “ginataang kohol”, a cultured snail cooked in “kakang gata” (thick coconut milk from its first squeeze) with bright red chilli that made my eyes popped open because I knew they were very hot (ear blowing hotness, I’m telling you) AND a small serving of kangkong stalks or stems cooked in “gata” ( very thick coconut milk) too, making the vegetables looked oh so shiny, I think because of the “gata”.I did not see red, thin, pointed peppers in my dish or around the tiny plate, so I ate it. My, oh, my, the vegetables were very crisp, very delectable, with the familiar taste of coconut milk sweetness, but the hotness almost blew my ears apart. I cried. My nose started running. I didn’t know. I was fooled. But wait, before you start accusing the owners (I don’t know if they are still around these days, might have renamed the establishment or maybe have gone somewhere). The unseen peppers are what made the dish very unique; I was told later it was their specialty. But one remarkable thing that made the food great to me was the splendid taste which they successfully concocted from kangkong. Superbly blended to perfection with ingredients you can find even in small markets, you already have a great dish. The popularity of this lowly vegetable made its way not only here among the locals and at Asias’s best restos but goes as far as the West Coast and in other parts of the world.

Nutritive Value per 100 gram of Kangkong


Water                           90.2 g
Protein                          3.0 g
Fat                                0.3 g
Carbohydrates              5.0 g
Fiber                             1.0 g
Ash                               1.6 g
Calcium                        81.0 mg
Magnesium                  52.0 mg
Fe  (iron)                      3.3 mg
Pro Vitamin A           4000-10000 IU
Vitamin C                     30.0 – 130.0 mg
Energy Value               134.0 kJ

The many dishes of Kangkong

 Cook the leaves by topping them on boiled pork or prawns as in “sinigang” or on fish “Tinola”. Stems are sautéed in oil, stirred in vinegar and soy sauce. You may add a dash of sugar, red hot pepper, some shrimp paste and chunks of pork or thinly-sliced tofu to complete what we call “ Adobong Kangkong” or “Apan-Apan”.


Other dishes we can find in popular restos and hotels are:  fried kangkong leaves in egg; ginataang spicy hot kangkong (which recipe I am going to share with you on my next blog), bas-oy, and many more.

You can try the recipe above by following the simple cooking instructions below:

½ kl  young kangkong leaves and stems, concentrate on cutting the upper part (wash carefully);

Boil the cut kangkong until tender;

Remove the vegetables from the hot water, drain;

Heat the wok with ½ cup cooking oil –choose a cholesterol free brand ( a little more oil makes the taste yummier);

Sautee  ½ teaspoon or sliced ginger, 4 cloves crushed garlic and one regular piece of thinly sliced onion until golden brown. Add ¼ cup of small slices of soft pork and ¼ cup of fried tofu while continuously tossing the sautéed spices, pork and tofu , continue cooking until pork becomes tender;

 Cover the pan until aroma of the sautéed vegetables, meat and spices comes out;

Mix one tablespoon soy sauce or fish sauce. Add one tablespoon vinegar;

Season to taste. Add a dash of seasoning (as desired), and a dash of sugar. (I was taught by a chef friend to always sprinkle a dash of sugar preferably brown) to any dish you cook if you are using vinegar on it);

Remove from pan. Place sautéed shrimp paste as topping.


 Wash ½ cup shrimp paste and drain.

Sautee shrimp paste in 2 cloves sliced ginger and ½ teaspoon crushed garlic.

Place shrimp paste, at the same time cooking the paste and spices until it becomes sticky .

Cut ½ teaspoon fresh, red, finger chilli. Mix with the shrimp paste. Continue cooking until aroma from chilli blends that of the shrimp paste.

Remove from pan and place on top of sautéed kangkong.












Have you ever e…


Have you ever experienced a unique sensation, a titillating sort of joy, over a very tiny creature called bird? This is what exactly happened while I was gazing out my door.  This door was facing a huge fruit tree and thick rows of hedges and rows of orchids stuck on wood and bamboo poles.I was trying to compose another quote that would express my feelings and perception about Earth Day, as I will be among hundreds of walkers to signify support for the celebration tomorrow,I thought some kid was whistling nearby. It kept on whistling a shrill but a sing song tune. I ignored it for a while but it went on I was cut off from my thoughts hearing  the whistling repeatedly. Oh, my! what a really pretty sight looking up to what seemed to me a very tiny bird perched on top of a  twig. It truly melted my heart. And she stayed there whistling some more.  Suddenly,as  if waking from a trance, I remembered to take out my camera for a shoot, slowly making my way out the door but she has already flown before I reached the porch. The earth, our Earth is indeed a haven and heaven of beautiful, spectacular sights.We MUST  be grateful to  our GOD, praise HIM for the beautiful creatures, the wonderment that HE alone could  give us to enjoy. Happy Earth Day!

I’ts been two …


I’ts been two weeks now. I had in mind to really spend extra time to make up for the lost ones before I went  gaga over some writing chores for the city official blog.I lost.Now, my weekend does not look good at all. I’m still stuck with same ch0re.We have but one week to finish our write ups for the forthcoming National Literacy Award.Sunday I have to be on the road for the Earth Day celebration. I hope ,highly, to capture some shots of the activity and eventually write about them here.

You are home!I …


You are home!

I waited till night comes

Always be with a pray’r

That you’d be well somewhere

Till night when you are near;

Why were you often gone?

And kept me stay alone

Hitting the road till dusk

Wore out all through the bones;

Lighted doorsteps shall wait

Rocking chair, a creaking

Heavy steps pound your gait

Humming, whistling, calling;

   I prayed and hoped and smiled

                                                   Dear Lord, you’ve brought him home

                                                          This must not be too late

                                                           His last to see me gone.




             First stage

   1. Tot only now,tot,tot

A baby is just that

Cry only now,coo,coo

These are things that you do

2.   Little words da,da

Impish, tiny giggles

Short run and do wiggles

Small things that you do

    3.So you are grown now

High, leaping so high

People all screaming

Awesome,we said wow!

4.     And you have made it!

Now, who would’ve thought?

From the first stage

When you’re just a tot

   5.You conquered the world,

Yes, you’ve made it!

Anyone could

Anyone should

From the first stage

Go, that you’ll make it.












                                   Photo Gallery

          A shot of faces whipping a ball, leaning the log

          Tarnished ones, others brown, blurred as fog

          Lined the stair walls, they on table top

          Some are ancient, the others recent and mine are cropped;

          Smeared faces, lavished gowns,pretty frocks I look at them

          Tiara heads, sequined coats, layered hem

          Hanging bulbs, pretty muses and gallant consorts

          Upward, upstairs did I climb, staring on all the part;

          I gasped; wondering now what must’ve gone odd with me?

          Have I been dreaming, believed it happened, it can’t be!

          But, oh! so clear, stared I at them all ‘round me

          Framed shots had transformed my room into a gallery.