Our Simple Christmas Celebration

CHRISTMAS is all about love,

Family and children.

It does not matter what we eat

or what present we got

As long as the holidays

Spent with loved ones.

The year 2020 has not been good for the majority of us, full of challenges and uncertainty, but we should look back with gratitude and look forward with hope. Despite of, Christmas, can never be cancelled! It is the most special time of the year; time to celebrate with the family.

Our Christmas was very simple though meaningful, we had an amazing chance to attend the last day of 9-day “Simbang Gabi” (Night Masses) on Christmas Eve with the family. Honestly, we have not been going to church for almost 10 months due to this Covid 19 because the church was complying also with all the health protocols and Diocesian guidelines. So, on one hand, I couldn’t take my daughter with me to go to our church as per church guidelines. But on the 24th of December, everything’s went well. Though, there were strict guidelines to follow and there were ministers kept reminding us to observe physical/social distancing. Many devotees were attending (but manageable) for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, only 3 persons were allowed per church pew. Prior to the Evening Mass, we had our dinner with my brother’s house and we had a simple Noche Buena after.

We only had two traditional Filipino food on Christmas Eve, pancit palabok and bibingka. What’s the most important, we were complete, happy and healthy.

It is a delicious noodle dish topped with shrimp gravy, shrimp, smoked fish flakes, pork cracklings, and eggs.
Perfect as a light meal or snack.
Bibingka is made out of rice flour and coconut milk cooked in this specialized clay pot function like oven, lined with banana leaf over a charcoal positioned both on top and the bottom as the heat source.
It is usually eaten for breakfast and the ultimate Christmas treat!

Meanwhile, my husband and I agreed that night (Christmas eve) to push through the plan we had a few weeks ago to cook a lunch on Christmas Day for our family, relatives near with us. We wanted to share the blessings that we had received this 2020. We are so much blessed for giving us our daughter; comfort, joy, love and peace as to be grateful and thankful for. Also, we wanted kids to know the importance of the family as it is the main pillar of support and love; and by this gathering it further shape a family’ s identity.

It has been just a simple gathering with our loved ones, but we put an extra effort because we were both not a good cook to prepare a lunch for them.😀

Binakol na manok or chicken binakol is a classic Filipino chicken soup with coconut juice, spinach, papaya, ginger, lemon grass, fish sauce, onion and garlic.
Hearty and tasty…perfect for cold weather!
Embutido is a meatloaf prepared Filipino style made from ground pork with shredded carrots, onions, garlic, bell pepper, sweet pickle relish and raisins; egg and sausage filling to make it special.
Perfectly delicious with rice for everyday meals or special occasions!
Lumpiang shanghai is a Filipino style spring roll made of ground pork filling wrapped in a thin crepe (lumpia wrapper) along with minced carrots, onions, and seasonings.
Lechon kawali or Crispy deep-fried pork made of pork belly seasoned beforehand, simmered until tender and deep fried until golden and crisp. It is nice to have a dipping sauce!
Fish Kinilaw  is a raw fish salad made of fresh Fish mixed with vinegar, onion, garlic, salt and pepper and in addition of Calamansi Juice.

Lastly, we only had Home Made Oreo and Mango Graham ice cream from a friend for our desert.

The only photo I could share during our lunch, some were not comfortable with the camera, I hope I could show them on my future posts.

That was our Christmas Celebration, simple yet meaningful and special.

Christmas In Our Hearts

To all my VIRTUAL FRIENDS,

May this Christmas bring

LOVE to your heart,

HEALTH to your body, and

PEACE & JOY to your home.

———-

In these times of uncertainty,

Christmas and its spirit of

FAITH

LOVE

and

HOPE

will always endure!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

I hope you will enjoy these songs that I am sharing. The artist is my all time favorite, Mr. Jose Mari Chan. He is known as the icon of the Filipino Christmas Carols because of his gentle and soothing voice and his songs never fails us to bring back the happy Christmas memories. His CHRISTMAS IN OUR HEARTS song is the most well received and well loved for 3 decades already. And, it is constantly reminding us the true meaning of Christmas celebrations.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do…

Surviving Through Chaos

There is always hope.

“For nothing will be impossible with GOd”. Luke 1:37

Since the novel corona virus started as became a global pandemic I have so many realizations, that despite these challenges and circumstances, I am still grateful and blessed because I’ve had the chance to spend time to reflect; time to eat together with my family; learned to appreciate small things; and learned the importance of sanitation and hygiene. Moreover, I learned to clarify most important and meaningful for myself and for my family. My innocent and curious 22-month old daughter, yet optimistic and joyful teaches me every day to be grateful, happy and resilient amidst this chaos.

Now it seems life and other businesses gradually back to normal. There’s one thing I really wanted to share the journey of this livelihood program in our community, a rural weaving for mothers and women. I have had a chance to drop by their work station. It is so unusual to see the station not as busy as before the pandemic probably weaving industry may not seem essential as of this time of a pandemic?

I asked someone who personally involved in this industry, how are they surviving amidst chaos? It is simply because of the unwavering support from different agencies and from passionate people for fashion and for weaving industry. They came up to create a glamorized and simple weaved face mask which it is now essential and a big hit to the market. It helps to introduce and promote the industry globally to sustain the livelihood which is successfully turning a crisis into an opportunity for mothers and women to work-from-home just to ensure their safety.

Here are some creations of the talented weavers of Indag-an Primary Multi Purpose Cooperative.

What is hablon or weaving? Hablon or weaving is one of the main sources of income (mostly mothers and women). It is an important cultural heritage of our town. The weavers use wood handloom (tiral) to interlace threads to produce a masterpiece from combination of colors and designs to intricate ones.


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Hablon is a handwoven fabric used for clothes, tablecloths/table runners, shawls, etc. The cloth is made from various materials such as cotton,  jusi (banana fiber), piña (pineapple fiber). Nowadays, it’s just mostly made from cotton and rayon thread.

And now that the business is gradually back, through the creativity and innovation of the weavers they have come up special products this special season, from design to packaging and to general presentation of the products just to make it more special for giveaways and gifts. It is a timely transformation for this season and for other special occasion.

As a mother, in my own little way, I am always supporting this livelihood program for mothers and women.

By the power of God, to all mothers and women, it is possible for us to live our lives, despite the chaos and look forward to having a brighter 2021. Have a Merry Christmas… Cheers!

Hablon by Indag-an Primary Multipurpose Cooperative

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HablonCooperativeMiagao

Email: ind.pmpc@gmail.com

From A Mother’s Heart

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What is the true essence of Christmas? We celebrate Christmas to remember that our Lord came in this world in order to save us from our sins; and His birth brought great joy to the world! For us as a mother, we wanted to share the most incredible experiences with our child/children. So, I asked some mothers with different experiences and stories to share how they overcome challenges or breakthroughs with their children; how are they going to celebrate Christmas this year; and to share their wishes or prayers for their children.

 


received_148235493339272.jpeg“I won’t be home for Christmas!” This would be the saddest words that I’ve heard this month of joyous for a mother working in another country. 

For Rina Pelingon, my cousin, has been working in Hongkong for 18 years, the feeling of emptiness, homesickness, and other negative feelings associated with Yuletide Season away from home is always there! But she has to be positive because primarily working away from her family is all for the greater cause as she has chosen to sacrifice her time to provide them and to send her son to a better school. All her sacrifices, hard work and sleepless night sometimes due to work demands paid off because she has a kind and obedient son. Virtual celebration of Christmas is actually fine for her rather not to see her family especially her son. 

I felt guilty after I talked to her. Why should I not be thankful that I am with my family this Christmas? I am blessed more than I deserve!

We ended our talk on a message for her son. Short but you would feel the unconditional love and care of a mother.

“My Dear Son,

wishing you lots of love,

happiness and

good health on this Christmas.

Stay safe and God Bless you always.”

_________________________________________________

 

82150457_2473656832962237_4286388317869572096_n“I am a Single Mom. Surviving and Thriving!” One of my friends  I really admire for being a very strong person is Jing. She juggles two roles. The role of father and that of mother at the same time. She is a single Mother for almost ten years, it’s all on her to provide, to nurture, to care for, to teach, and to discipline her two kids. I can see the sense of determination on her. She said, as Christmas gets closer and closer, she feels the intense pressure of responsibility to make her kids happy this season. But still she is very positive and has a strong faith in God to provide everything what they needs. Yet, despite of her past experiences she is still thankful. God gave her the best gift ever with a smart, kind and compassionate kids that makes her life lighter; and it gives hope and strength for her to move forward and to provide the primary needs of her kids.

Her message and wish for her kids this Christmas.

“To my wonderful kids,
Thank you for coming into my life you are both my happiness and strength.

The hugs and the kisses everyday makes us complete.

May this Christmas, God will continue to protect  both of you and may you learn the values of love, giving and sharing the truly essence of  this Season.

Mama is just here to guide and support you in all your dreams.

Stay sweet my little kids. I love you both!

_______________________________________________

 

Mabuting Family“I’m just a Mom.”   I talked to a friend and a high school classmate about ‘how motherhood changed her life’. She is married for more than 12 years now with two kids and a full time mother. It is somehow difficult for her to raise her growing up kids as her husband working in South Korea but with her very supportive family everything gets lighter. I really admire her, for her perception about being a fulltime mother. Yes, it changed her life and her identity for not being ‘just a mom’, she spoke with a conviction that ‘I am not just a Mom!’. Certainly true, I could relate. Being a fulltime mother is really a plain hard! It encompasses dozens of careers such as teachers, cook/chef, event planner,  housekeeper, accountant, etc. For her Christmas is a bit not complete because her husband is physically apart with them, somehow thankful for the internet that brings them together virtually. 

She and her Family has a message and prayer to everyone on this Christmas.

 

“A warm greetings from our Family!

As we celebrate this Season, the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, we give thanks to the Lord.

All I wish is to get rid the harmful Corona Virus which affecting the whole world especially children.

 

I am sharing this prayer so that I could ask you also to please not to forget to include children in your prayers.

 

Lord God, protect my kids against this deadly virus and other harmful elements around us. Keep them physically, mentally and spiritually prepared for whatever happening around us.

I lift everything up to you, Oh God, especially for the kids could freely back to school; could play outside our home with their friends; and reunited with our family and friends from other places.

Keep the head of our family healthy, safe and strong as he is miles away from us sacrificing to give us a better life.

Always guide us every single day as we facing the trials and struggles in our lives.

We ask this through Christ our Lord. AMEN.

 

KEEP SAFE EVERYONE. MERRY CHRISTMAS”. – Muyong-Mabuting Family

____________________________________________

 

I hope this Season may fill your heart with love, peace and joy today and throughout the coming year! 

MALIGAYANG PASKO at MANIGONG BAGONG TAON!

 

 

“A mother is clothed with strength and dignity, laughs without fear of the future. When she speaks her words are wise and she gives instructions with kindness.” —Proverbs 31:25-26 

 

“Love is patient; love is kind. Love is not jealous; is not proud; is not conceited; does not act foolishly; is not selfish; is not easily provoked to anger; keeps no record of wrongs; takes no pleasure in unrighteousness, but rejoices in the truth; love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things.” –  I Corinthians 13:4-7

SOLACE

It seems the nights are long
So, close my eyes,
tossing and turning.
And my mind still racing
blurry thoughts...

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Looking out the window
resisting complaining,
reflecting over the inner turmoil.
But whenever the cool breeze  
touches my skin.
It soothes and gives solace 
for my aching mind.

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Through every single teardrop
rolling down my face.
Beseech thy sun to appear
and to see the golden light.
It calms and gives solace
for my wailing heart;
that brings a new day with new hopes and strengths
for a new beginning....

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The Enchanting Islas de Gigantes.

I was working in a Public Service before I quit when I became pregnant in 2018. I got a chance to join on a 3-day Team Building and Term End Assessment Activity. This activity was to assess and evaluate the performance; the programs, projects and activities implemented by the local government. It was a good experience. I learned something new about public service and at the same time I had a chance to explore the new place, Islas de Gigantes. It was an amazing and enchanting island! The islands are blessed with pristine white sand beaches, bountiful fresh seafood, and jagged rock formations. Last night, I was checking my phone gallery I saw some photos that I was able to capture from the island. And, I am happy to share these photos.

           

Why I Love December?

It’s a Holiday Season! And, Christmas is just few weeks away. It seems everyone is so busy and happy as Christmas approaching. Yes, we have so many things to celebrate for, as this is the joyous and colorful month of the year.

At 5am, I saw this moon at our window. It was so amazing! The beauty is so irresistible not to gaze with. Few minutes of deep thoughts while gazing at the moon. I ask myself, what I really wanted to happen this holiday? Why do I really love December? To celebrate Christmas, we need to be innovative even in a simple way at this time of pandemic. We just have to figure out how to have an enjoyable and memorable holidays with friends and family to minimize risk. Actually, I am also looking forward for this month to celebrate some important events with my family and friends. Unfortunately, I could not celebrate those as same as previous years. Anyway, I just wanted to share with you the activities or events and photos of my simple family. Why I love December?

A. Family Gatherings.

I am not sure if I could see and visit some of my relatives and vice versa or would have a reunion. There are no certain plans yet if what are the family’s activities this upcoming holidays. Totally change! But I am hoping and praying that everyting would be okay soon. In God’s grace, I know, I could give hugs and kisses to my love ones. For now, waving, wishing and praying for each other is better.

B. Community Christmas Party.

It has been a tradition in our place to gather and to celebrate Christmas. The organizers usually have had festive food, games, raffle prizes and other fun activities. Above all, the importance of this gathering is to connect, make new friends and building bonds and relationships. We do this yearly especially for the kids so that they may feel also the spirit of Christmas.

C. Classmates/Friends Get Together

I’m glad that I still have photos of my classmates and friends from grade school and highschool. We usually ‘get together’ every Christmas holidays. And, this is the only chance to see my old friends and classmates but now it is vague, so it is most likely in 2021. For now, virtual hugs and kisses.!

D. Christmas Day (12/25)

I guess this is the most anticipated day in December. I believe, many of you would agree?

For me, this is also special because this would be our second Christmas together of my daughter, though she does not understand yet what Christmas is. But I want to let her know how special and meaningful Christmas is. Not just festive food, gifts, colorful lights, etc. It is the birth of Christ, our Saviour! Someday she would understand this and she would live her life with love and kindness as what Jesus Christ teaches us.

Our last year’s Christmas was simple, yet meaningful and memorable. Although, my husband and I were miles apart because of his work. He made sure that he’d spent and celebrated it virtually with us. Now, that he is here to celebrate Christmas with us it would be more special and memorable. Fortunately, he would stay until on my …

D. MY NATAL DAY / New year’s Eve countdown (12.31)

I will be getting older…yay…one more year will be added but I am grateful, thankful and blessed. I have a sweet little daughter that gives happiness, hope and strength even in my lowest point. She gives me a reason to fight and to live.

So, what should I ask for my birthday? Prayers that this pandemic will end soon; and may Our Lord protect us from Corona virus; bless us with good health and happiness.

P.S. To my dughter, NAMI you are a priceless gift I’ve ever received!