Archive for Pampanga

(lg2a) bluest and merriest

Posted in artifacts, culture, events, food, history, letsgopinas goes to america, lifestyle, locales, news, people, religion, tradition with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 6, 2010 by mijodo

The holiday season should cheer one up. But there’s no denying, it does not happen all the time. In fact, it is during Christmas time that depression becomes even more pervasive. The sad person becomes sadder; the lonely becomes lonelier. That’s the paradox brought about by the supposed merry season.

The blues becomes more apparent for Filipinos who are outside the country.  They may be eking out a living somewhere probably in the heat of the deserts of Saudi Arabia that does not allow Christmas celebrations. Or they may just be retired and watching television alone while the frigid winters of temperate countries blow in. One can probably try to make do with what they have in order to have a semblance of the Christmases in faraway Philippines – where the season is celebrated with much anticipation and much conviction.

It is said that the Philippines has the longest Yuletide season, but in Frankenmouth, Michigan, there’s Bronner’s, a store that sells all the tinsels, ornaments, and trimmings that conjure the merriest season – all year round.  By January, right after the holiday season, you can buy such decors with significant discounts. Or if you want to plan for the forthcoming Christmas, you may visit even in hot  July and see the latest trends in decorations and gizmos that should brighten up the event by December.
——-
But you know and I know that nothing beats the spirit of the Christmas in the Philippines. The  morning novena masses or simbang gabi.  The crave-inducing aroma of bibingka and puto-bumbong.  The whimsy of  lights from the parol and the eloquence of the nativity scenes that deck the homes.  Kid carollers asking for money and yet insulting you just the same – “ang babarat ninyo.”  Silly games in office Christmas parties that end up with finding your Monito or Monita.  The unending shopping list for acquaintances, friends and family despite the small budget. And the exuberant embraces  and warm meals with loved ones during Noche Buena at Christmas and Media Noche at the end of the year.
———
We outside the Philippines will just be glad and thankful of the joyful memories back home.  Such remembrances will lullaby us as we sleep throughout the holidays, just hoping that the blues will just move away.  Let us just comfort ourselves with such hopeful song – “I’ll be home for Christmas.” Till next year.
———
Happy Christmas Dad and Mom, brother Mokoy, and my cousin, Ate Mae, Little, Nang Nida, Nang Bina, and to the drivers and workers, and friends and family back home!

(lg2a) this is not panama city, panama

Posted in architecture, artifacts, culture, events, food, health, history, interior design, letsgopinas goes to america, lifestyle, locales, nature, people, sports, travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 17, 2010 by mijodo

 

An aunt from Canada was to attend a family member’s wake and burial in Panama City, Florida. However instead of going directly to one of the gulf cities of Florida, she found herself in another part of North America –  at Panama City, Panama.

Probably this story has been retold amongst family members countless times, just to regale ourselves and have some hearty guffaws at such an oddball experience.  But it did happen, and can happen even in the Philippines. If you want to go to San Fernando, make sure which Luzon capital city you are stopping by – the one in Pampanga for some culinary experience or La Union for some surfing action in nearby town, San Juan.

When you think about “Cagayan,” you do ask yourself, “Is this the capital, Cagayan de Oro City of Misamis Oriental of Northern Mindanao or is this Cagayan Province of Northern Luzon?” Cagayan de Oro City boasts of whitewater rafting activities and a busy seaport while Cagayan Province has cave exploration and spelunking for tourists. But “Cagayan Province” should not be confused with “Cagayan Valley” or the whole Region 2 area,  which is composed of the provinces of Batanes, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, Quirino, and Cagayan Province.

Another name, “Davao,” set in the Mindanao turf, sets chaos probably among the minds of Filipino students studying for a geography quiz. Davao City which is the business and tourism hub of Mindanao is independent of any province, including Davao del Norte and Davao del Sur. Davao del Norte’s capital is Tagum City while Davao del Sur’s is Digos. Interestingly, and even probably more confusingly, Davao del Norte’s official and newest name is Davao Province.
But heck, after some stressful geography lessons in the Philippines, I guess it is time for some destressing which you can get plenty of in Panama City Beach Florida which is distinct from Panama City, Panama.
(For some personal pics on my travel to America, please click on this: https://letsgopinas.wordpress.com/letsgopinas-goes-2-america/)
——-
Panama City may not be a top of mind destination in Florida. Miami and Orlando should be prime city targets among travellers in the socalled Sunshine State. However Panama City, together with adjacent environ, Panama City Beach has so much to offer for the sunworshippers – torquoise waters, powdery white shores, and magnificent sunsets. Americans from the Southern states usually enjoy the beaches and the countless high rise accommodations that line the area. Families during the summers and students the socalled springbreak troop to the 27 miles of stunning beachfront sceneries of Panama City Beach.
And between Panama City, Florida, and the country, Panama is the Carribean Gulf. This piece of info should settle the confusion once and for all.
——–
As we try to hairsplit these geographical names, how about finding out where the phonetically troublesome and originally named town of “Sexmoan” is.
—–
How about “Sasmuan, Pampanga.”

fields of dreams

Posted in artifacts, events, history, lifestyle, locales, people, travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , on July 29, 2009 by mijodo

ladies of the night in colorful wigs

This may not be the place that our Department of Tourism promotes to travellers abroad as through the years, the area has created quite a “reputation.”

The stretch of Fields Avenue, even without the American soldiers now in Clark Airbase, still packs an impact to the newcomers. The iridescent lighted neon signs during the evenings, the boombastic sound of rock or discotheque music echoing from the bars, and the alluring body movements within the confines of such nitespots, tempt the man, not just to peek but  probably to savor the offerings of such establishments. 

Young ladies, many coming from far-flung areas  in Visayas and Mindanao are still the biggest come-ons of Fields Avenue in Angeles where an ample number of foreign male tourists have been top customers. Many would easily condemn such nubile women for eking out a living through lascivious manner. But in such desperate lives, who knows, true prince charmings may just pick them out from their dreariness, and probably have successful and happy lives, somewhere else. Such stories have happened many time over, but of course, there also have been horrid stories of abuse and doom. And yet we just pray that somehow, something magical can come out from this avenue which should lead them to a dreamy place of true transformation and contentment.

hail, halo-halo

Posted in artifacts, culture, food, lifestyle with tags , , , , , , on March 1, 2009 by mijodo

halohalo with wafer on top

Here comes summer again.  Air can be arid and dry.  And the heat brazenly pounds on many of us, Filipinos. But one is not worried, Filipinos have concocted its own heat minimizer – the halo-halo.

Halo-halo (“Mix-mix” if translated in English) is a fancy thirst quencher, ingrained in the minds of every Filipino during the summer months of March to May.  A cornucopia of ingredients – shaved ice, ube (yam), macapuno (jellylike meat of the coconut), leche flan (custard), boiled red mung beans, kamote (sweet potato), kaong (sugarpalm seeds) and saba (a variety of banana). pinipig (rice crispies), evaporated milk – creates not only a sweet blend of flavorful refreshement, but also a delightful tall-glass or large bowl presentation, more particularly when topped with violet (ube flavored) or yellow (mango) colored ice-cream. A fiesta not only in taste, but in colors too.

There is scant literature on the origins of the halo-halo. Some say it might have come during the Japanese occupation as the Japanese then were selling shaved ice with red beans in it. Others say that it might have been in the 1920’s when ice plants were constructed, thus making the main element of shaved ice less expensive.

Through the years, the importance of  ice is highlighted. For the more discriminating, the quality of shaved ice is as important as the freshness of the ingredients incorporated in halo-halo. Ice should be truly fine and powdery, not coarse nor crushed.

As Filipinos are inventive, many have tried to recreate, retouch, and reassemble this kind of Pinoy cooler. The humble vendors in the markets would do a scaledown version of halohalo by putting less ingredients or even eliminating some of the less popular or expensive ingredients such as garbanzos and pinipig.  Others even make substitutions like slivers of  fruits like melon and mangoes. All components are then squeezed in a shorter glass, usually a coffee brand giveaway. Everything is done to economize, and yet still can give  the same effect of cooling down the average people.

Another variant becoming popular is the creamy halo-halo, made popular in Pampanga. 
This kind is focused on just several ingredients, doing away with some of the fruit and rootcrop components of the usual hal0-halo.  This version has shaved ice, leche flan, cheese, macapuno, banana, and camote, and more of the milk ingredient. In fact there are supposedly three kinds of milk in this cocoction. Thus this halo-halo produces a cream and yellow blend.

To enjoy halo-halo, at the start let the spoon slightly stab on the shaven ice and let the milk and the ice cream produce a gooey melange.  Then let the tongue distinguish the flavor of each food element. But make sure that all the stuff come together  into a meld which should compose its own textured yet luscious taste. It has been told that establishments Little Quiapo, Aristocrat and even fastfood area Chowking serve up the best halo-halo. But for those a little upscale, Manila Peninsula Hotel in Makati is touted by Time Magazine, no less, to have created the ultimate one.

Many ponderers have used the halo-halo as a tool for commentary on our Filipino psyche. The festival of colors inside a cup describes the Pinoy’s artistic eye – a fear of the unadorned.  (Look at the jeepney – another Filipino icon.)  Moreso, the concoction is also an apt symbolism of  the Filipinos’ imaginative spirit, creating something so sublime and inspired with such a hodgepodge of almost diverse ingredients. Halo-halo – so Filipino, so cool.

man and the machine

Posted in artifacts, events, lifestyle, locales, people, sports, technology, travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 22, 2009 by mijodo

the seduction of flight

In Greek mythology, Icarus was so obsessed with flying that he created wings for himself.  Eventually he made the leap off a cliff and flapped his wings. He was able to fly and enjoy his freedom until the sun singed the feathers of his wings. Eventually the whole wings burned. And Icarus perished at the end.

Despite the possibility of injurious accidents and fatal mishaps, people  have been seduced in creating technology which can  fly them out in a distance, either as a mode of transportation or just a form of fun and recreation. 

And in the recent Hot Air Balloon Fiesta at Clark (,https://letsgopinas.wordpress.com/2009/02/14/full-of-hot-air/),  the event showcased, not only hot air balloons, but  all other variations of machines and contraptions which propel people to fly and undulate in the air – from the traditional skydiving to the more sophisticated paragliding using ultralights. The crowd admired  how man and the machine maneuvered and created stunts several hundred feet above.  Some would do tandem choreography; some would do death defying freefalls.

In the same event, there was a display of  aircrafts which many have been most important to the commerce and military in our nation building.  There one could ogle at the sleek Dornier Jet Aircraft which is being used by some to transport  tourists from one island to another here in the Philippines .  In another part of the strip, inside the hangar, there was the F5-A aircraft which has been used by our elite  Blue Diamond Squad, the air demonstration unit of the Philippine Air Force.

It was not necessary that a particular flying machine be a vehicle for transportation for people to enjoy . During the festival, there were several men who had  amorous relationships with their remote controlled planes. Vicariously, people still got the intense rush of flying when seeing planes sped up and did some sommersaults . Of course, one can simply be entertained by young girls and boys fly the different sizes and forms of  kites tugged by the wind.  In true manner, obviously, the death of Icarus never made a dent on the continuing romance between man and the flying machine.

full of hot air

Posted in artifacts, events, lifestyle, locales, people, technology with tags , , , , , , , on February 14, 2009 by mijodo

 

almost in choreograph fashion

It was said during this time, the r&b group Fifth Dimension would croon its iconic song “Up Up and Away” through the loud speakers, signalling some success. But not this time, after all, there were no “beautiful balloons,” up in the air.

It was the first late afternoon of this year’s  Hot Air Balloon Fiesta.  And the event has been running for some years now at Clark Field, particularly near the 410 hangar. But since the wind was a little strong at more than five knots, the scheduled flight of the ballons (which by the way have been the first in history to successfully carry  humans in flight) had to be cancelled altogether.  People who had earlier tried to set up the ballons to take flight were now just packing up the envelope (balloon). There was too much effort for nothing. But then it was better to be on the cautious side.

The following morning, the second day of the air show festival, at about six when it was still a tad dark,  the wind was now at two to three knots, perfect for balloon flights.  Envelopes together with the baskets, usually in wicker , were placed distanced apart on the dry grassy field.  On each balloon, people were busy preparing for the lifts, creating some episodic flames toward the envelopes. One could see different balloons take forms and shapes.  Some would carry out the traditional  parabola in rainbow colors. Others were sponsored by various companies thus balloons took forms  of coffee mugs or cola bottles to promote their products. And at times some were animals such as an elephant and a tiger.

From starting  flaccid to being half erect, the hot air balloons were ready to sail away through the clouds. One by one, each balloon punctured the skies. The now bigger crowd appreciated the majesty and the magnificence of each balloon that slowly floated away, almost in choreographic fashion. Mesmerized by the whole new vista, the people were excitedly taking pictures and the vidoes of the balloons.  The luckier ones had the chance riding in the gondolas. Of course they had to shell out 150 dollars for the  novel experience.

Throughout, the speakers were churning out 1980s new wave music, not exactly the popular and maybe, cheesy Fifth Dimension ditty. But just the same, it was likely that people’s hearts and minds were humming “up, up and away, my beautiful, my beautiful balloon…”

unbowed

Posted in architecture, artifacts, interior design, locales, people with tags , , , , , , on September 14, 2008 by mijodo

 

Lahar was not a familiar geological entity for most Filipinos until the eruption of Mt. PInatubo in 1991. Since then, lahar has been a byword synonymous to catastrophe which full impact was known only when mud and sludge would create havoc in most of Pampanga. During the rainy season after the volcano eruption, lahar buried and wiped out the town of Bacolor, and spared no home, including the ornate town church of San Guillermo.

Yet even as many of Pampangos tried to rebuild their houses and their lives on top of lahar filled grounds, the townfolks also had to make use of what still remained of their half buried church. Where front main windows were supposed to be, now such have become the main entrance doors of the church. And since then, the belfry, together with the church ceiling has been significantly shortened by about twenty feet.  Also, with fiesty spirit, the people of Bacolor have dug up lahargrounds to save and use again the original beautiful retablo.

The church’s height may seem to be less imposing this time. But because of the remarkable history, the church and  people of Bacolor have stood much much taller.