Sunday, September 30, 2012


Trust is not necessary when you don't want or need anything.

If you are wondering whether you can "trust" someone, look closely at what it is you think you need or want from them. When you need or want nothing, trust is not an issue.

And, of course, there is nothing that you do need, from anybody, given Who and What You Are. You are an expression of Divinity Itself, and Divinity is your Source.

Thinking that you "need" anything, given that this is so, would be nothing more than a misunderstanding.

                                                                                         N.D. Walsch

* * *

Sharing with Weekly Top Shot, Red Ruby2, Rednesday

Please note:
I very much appreciate my articles and photos appearing on fellow bloggers' sites, popular broadsheets, and local broadcast news segments, but I would appreciate even more a request for permission first.
Thank you!

Saturday, September 29, 2012


We should daily affirm that new ideas are coming to us, new ways of doing things; that we are meeting new and wonderful friends, new situations; that joyous things are going to happen to us. The Creative Principle is always reacting to us as we act in It. It is always creating in our bodies and our affairs. Consequently, we should all learn to live in a state of joyous and enthusiastic expectancy. This is the principle upon which faith and the answer to prayer are based.

Let us, then, bless everything we do and everyone we meet, knowing that the limitations of the past need not be carried into the future. Nothing is too good to be true.  Nothing is too much to ask of the Power that can do anything.

There is something within each one of us which is conscious of our unity with Good, with all the Power there is. Upon this Power, Presence, and Light we must depend with complete confidence. Thus faith passes into experience with scientific certainty. Faith is the most dynamic phenomenon known.

Excerpted from A Holmes Reader on Change by Ernest Holmes, e-books.

* * *

Sharing with Skywatch, Mandarin Orange Monday, 


Please note:
I very much appreciate my articles and photos appearing on fellow bloggers' sites, popular broadsheets, and local broadcast news segments, but I would appreciate even more a request for permission first.
Thank you!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Cosplay Mania '12

Cosplay Mania '12

Presented by®, the premiere Philippine Cosplay® community and event organizer together with their partners Brother International Philippines Corporation, Sony, Animax and TV5.

Happening on September 29 and 30, 2012
at the SMX Convention Center Function Rooms 3-5

Exciting Cosplay activities await all cosplayers and cosplay enthusiasts, 
as well as all shutterbugs!  

Don’t miss their special cosplayer guests in their first visit in the Philippines – renowned Japanese cosplayers – KANAMEand 麗華 REIKA! It’s a Cosplay Mania ’12 exclusive!

Join their 5 years of Cosplay Mania! 

Tickets are now available at all SM Ticket outlets.

For more information, visit:

Jerry Polence
Cosplay, according to Wikipedia, is "a portmanteau of the English words "costume" and "play", is a Japanese subculture centered on dressing as characters from mangaanimetokusatsu, and video games, and, less commonly, Japanese live action television shows, fantasy movies, or Japanese pop music bands. However, in some circles, "cosplay" has been expanded to mean simply wearing a costume."

If that were the case, indeed, then the very first cosplay I've ever attended was in the 8th Street Playhouse Theater in New York City's Greenwich Village during the '70s

It was the midnight showing of the Rocky Horror Picture Show in which a large segment of the young people in the audience came dressed up as characters of the movie. They occupied the front section of the orchestra and staged their own version of certain sequences of the film as it was projected on the screen. Their special effects buddies were mostly situated in the front row of the balcony level equipped with the props they threw at the audience.

It was an outrageous phenomenon that garnered a huge cult following that eventually spread throughout the entire United States. Wikipedia describes the "m
idnight screenings of the film soon became a national sensation. All across the country people were lining up on Friday and Saturday nights to see this unique film experience."

A box office disaster when first released on account of the critics having lambasted it as mere trash; however, America's youth culture thought otherwise. Through this nationwide midnight cosplay phenomenon on Friday and Saturday nights that went on for many years, the producers of Rocky Horror Picture Show ultimately raked in millions of dollars in profits. It was, indeed, an outcome beyond their wildest expectations. 

I am truly surprised that Malcolm Gladwell never cited this social epidemic in his book, The Tipping Point.

Special cosplay photoshoot in Intramuros

* * *

Please note:
I very much appreciate my articles and photos appearing on fellow bloggers' sites, popular broadsheets, and local broadcast news segments, but I would appreciate even more a request for permission first.
Thank you!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Peanut Butter

Peanut butter was once construed as an indulgence best enjoyed occasionally due to its high fat and calorie contents.

But nowadays, such thinking is considered hogwash, because on the contrary, peanut butter’s high fat and calories are good for us.

At least five major studies confirm that eating peanuts can lower risk for coronary heart disease. So it's no leap to think that peanut butter confers the same benefits. "Suffice it to say that eating peanut butter or peanuts has been associated with lower total cholesterol, lower LDL or 'bad' cholesterol, and lower triglycerides, all of which are associated with lower cardiovascular disease risk," says Richard Mattes, Ph.D., R.D., a professor of nutrition at Purdue University.

Furthermore, the peanuts where the peanut butter are derived from, are not true nuts but a member of a family of legumes related to peas, lentils, chickpeas and other beans. Peanuts start growing as a ground flower that due to its heavy weight bends towards the ground and eventually burrows underground where the peanut actually matures. The veined brown shell or pod of the peanut contains two or three peanut kernels. Each oval-shaped kernel or seed is comprised of two off-white lobes that are covered by a brownish-red skin.

The presence of saturated fat doesn’t automatically kick a food, such as peanut butter, into the “unhealthy” camp. Olive oil, wheat germ, and even tofu—all considered to be “healthy” foods—have some saturated fat. It’s the whole package of nutrients, not just one or two, that determines how good a particular food is for health, Dr. Willett says in the July 2009 issue of the Harvard Heart Letter.

Peanut butter also contains some fiber, some vitamins and minerals (including potassium), and other nutrients. Unsalted peanut butter has a terrific potassium-to-sodium ratio, which counters the harmful cardiovascular effects of sodium surplus. And even salted peanut butter still has about twice as much potassium as sodium.

Numerous studies have shown that people who regularly include nuts or peanut butter in their diets are less likely to develop heart disease or type 2 diabetes than those who rarely eat nuts. Although it is possible that nut eaters are somehow different from, and healthier than, non-nut eaters, it is more likely that nuts themselves have a lot to do with these benefits.

So, there you go!  Indulge in your peanut butter sandwich or cookies with relish!

* * *

Suggested read:

* * *

Sharing with Food Trip Friday

Please note:
I very much appreciate my articles and photos appearing on fellow bloggers' sites, popular broadsheets, and local broadcast news segments, but I would appreciate even more a request for permission first.
Thank you!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Read and read and read

Sit in a room and read--and read and read.  And read 
the right books by the right people. Your mind is brought 
onto that level, and you have a nice, mild, slow-burning 
rapture all the time.

                                                                                          Joseph Campbell

* * *

Please note:
I very much appreciate my articles and photos appearing on fellow bloggers' sites, popular broadsheets, and local broadcast news segments, but I would appreciate even more a request for permission first.
Thank you!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Irreplaceable You

Rizal Park, Manila

The following is an address delivered by Margarita V. Hamada, 
Founder/Directress, on the occasion of HARVENT SCHOOLS’ 
Joint Achievers’ Day, April 2, 2011, Sison Auditorium, 
Lingayen, Pangasinan

          Achievers’ Day is no ordinary day for us in Harvent School.  This is the day that we celebrate our pupils’ achievements---achievements that are not at all ordinary.
          The pupils who just received their Independent Reader’s certificates are indeed independent readers.  They can read, write and speak in understandable English, whether they are just 4, or 5 or 8 years old.
          Those who just received their grade school diplomas have passed my rigorous standards for higher order thinking.  This means, they are not ordinary grade school graduates.  They can summarize what they read in grammatically correct English as they develop new insights out of them.  Now, many college graduates cannot do what my graduates can easily do and most employers will heartily agree with me!

          My officers know that we need not trouble ourselves developing our pupils’ skills for higher order thinking, because most parents demand only one thing from us---to make their children graduate as early as possible whether their thinking powers have been developed or not.  We refuse to do that.  We refuse to follow the crowd because we hate to be “ordinary”.  To us, “ordinary” is a bad word that connotes danger.

          Modern times have made ordinary people an endangered species.  Today, as Elbert Hubbard has astutely observed, “One machine can do the work of fifty ordinary men, but no machine can do the work of one extraordinary man.”

          Being ordinary, then, is a “voluntary misfortune”, to borrow the words of Nicholas Ling as he describes ignorance.  And so, we refuse to produce tragic graduates whose skills can be done better, faster and more cheaply by machines.  Instead, we produce and shall continue to produce what I call, future “aristocrats”.

          My aristocrats are not necessarily blue-blooded, surrounded by security guards everywhere they go.  No. They are a special breed of people who are in no particular danger, because they are more useful alive, than dead.  They are useful because no machine can replace them.  But more than this, they are people who are not dangerous to others or to themselves.

          These people I call “aristocrats” read, and they read a lot.  They love to read because they understand what they read.  And they read not just to learn, but also to unlearn.  Having been trained to think in grade school, by being appreciated more for asking questions than for answering teachers’ questions, and for their original insights than for standard ones, they are habitual skeptics who doubt and not just swallow and follow everything they see and read.  Hence, their beliefs and opinions are tentative, never fixed.  They therefore are not fanatics, and so they suffer less and are never the cause of society’s troubles.

          Aristocrats never stop developing themselves fully and well, even after they get a college degree.  They leave their university’s professors to embrace the best educators found only outside formal classrooms, namely---hobbies, travel and adventure, movies and documentaries, odd jobs, odd personalities, kindred spirits, life’s many challenges, and always, books, books, books.
          And so, aside from not being endangered or dangerous, because of their excellent education outside school, aristocrats are our source of all creature comforts.  They renovate and innovate.  They discover.  They invent better products.  They design better systems.  And they share their new ideas, their new discoveries, their new systems, services and products to enrich our lives as they enrich their own.

          H.P. Brougham describes intellectuals as “easy to lead but difficult to drive; easy to govern, but impossible to enslave.”  His description fits my description of aristocrats who are invariably intellectuals.  Although they are not slaves, they drive themselves harder than slaves in serving the community they belong to, helping their officials do a good job, so they need not have to throw them out of office through counterproductive coup d’ etats.  Aristocrats are therefore Mother Earth’s greatest treasures and safe-keepers
          Therefore, my dear graduates, these are my parting words to you as you leave Harvent School---DO NOT BE ORDINARY.  To be ordinary is not just a tragic misfortune but a crime against your good selves whom I have given the foundation to become aristocrats. Instead, be IRREPLACEABLE.

          If you choose to be ordinary and replaceable, you accept what religion declares---that this world is a vale of tears, and you will conspire with ordinary people to make it into a place of suffering, indeed.

          Be the aristocrats that I have fashioned you to be and transform this valley of tears into Heaven on earth, while we, who have inspired you to think and rethink, are still around to enjoy it.

          If this is a dream, it is such a beautiful dream and “a dream come true” should be the phrase we must all declare to one and all one day----a day not long forthcoming, I hope!

          Congratulations to you for having blossomed under our tutelage.  Congratulations to your parents who tried to believe in my ideals and to rethink their long-held ones.  And congratulations to my staff for helping me achieve these ideals in each of you!

          Ladies and gentlemen, thank you.

 * * *


 Newspaper articles and essays by Margarita Ventinella-Hamada as featured on this blog:


Please note:
I very much appreciate my articles and photos appearing on fellow bloggers' sites, popular broadsheets, and local broadcast news segments, but I would appreciate even more a request for permission first.
Thank you!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Coco syrup

This is one of my favorite merienda treats: kamote fries with coco syrup dip.  The taste of coco syrup is sweet and pleasant with honey-like texture.  It is also devoid of any after taste which is common in other alternative herbal sweeteners like stevia.

Coco syrup is 100% natural and considered among the best natural sweeteners. Like coco sugar, the Glycemic Index of coco syrup is 35 and thus, classified as a low glycemic index food. 

Coco syrup, much like coco sugar, contains calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc, iron, copper, manganese, phosphorus and boron. These minerals are necessary for many functions of our body, such as muscle and bone growth, cell production, mental development and immune system, and enzyme regulation. Compared to brown sugar, coconut sugar has 36 times the iron, four times the magnesium, and over 10 times the amount of zinc.

It is said that coco syrup and coco sugar are safe for those with diabetes and  hypertension.  Most important, they enhance the overall well-being of health-conscious individuals.  

Interestingly, many Americans, Australians, Japanese and Europeans are not aware that their favorite chocolate bars and pancakes and waffle syrups contain a healthy sweetener made from fresh coconut sap, extracted from coconut trees grown in the Philippines.

For the most part, the syrup topping is organically processed in a small plant located nine kilometers from downtown Bansalan, Davao del Sur. It is in the middle of a once-barren five-hectare farm.  In 2009, its coco syrup was the first coconut sweetener in the world to be exported to the US and Australia, with ten drums containing 2000 liters as initial shipment, according to its owner Benjamin Lao.

The immense popularity of the coco syrup in the US spurred a spike in export shipment, which now averages 56 drums every 60 days.  Lao earns an average gross of P2.5 million every shipment. Less the overhead cost, the profit from coco syrup contributes much to the earning of his small-scale business firm, the Lao Integrated Farms, Inc.  Currently, his firm now boasts of a P10 million worth of assets.

Apart from pancakes, waffles and chocolates, the coco syrup produced by Lao's farm is widely used as sweetener for other food products in restaurants and for industrial and pharmaceutical purposes, both locally and internationally.

Besides as dip for kamote fries, I also use coco syrup, believe it or not, as dip for sliced fresh tomatoes -- even with boiled ube (purple yam) taro (gabi), cassava (kamoteng kahoy) and squash.  You may also try coco syrup with fresh fruit, such as saba banana and strawberries.  They make wonderful condiment with healthy vegetable and fruit snacks, indeed.  And needless to say, coco syrup is simply scrumptious with pancakes, waffles, and French toast. 

Virtually every syrup company makes coconut syrup nowadays Even Starbucks has its own Fontana® Coconut Syrup.  But be careful and read the labels.  Most of these manufacturers produce coco syrup from specially-blended concoctions consisted of coconut milk, water and sugar.

The 100% all-natural coconut sugar and syrup is produced by collecting the sap from coconut tree blossoms.  Bamboo containers are used to collect the sap of the coconut trees right at the blossoms.  When the coconut trees are tapped, they produce a continuously flowing inflorescence (nectar or sap) that exudes from the coconut blossoms.  

To remove excess moisture, it is subjected to a minimal evaporation process at low temperatures for about an hour.  The end result is the raw honey-like coco syrup. When further evaporated into crystal form, coconut sugar is produced. 

Bohol Coco Farm Coco Syrup - 250ml bottle is P40 each
Bohol Coco Farm's raw honey-like consistency of its coco syrup is without a doubt my primary choice. That is because the farm's product development team is very meticulous, most especially with the quality and cleanliness of their resources’ operations, techniques and methods.  

Thus, I’m confident that I am getting true value for my money.  Besides, Bohol Coco Farm's coco syrup is simply marvelous, and without any of that unsettling after taste.

* * *

Suggested read:

Setting The Record Straight: Coconut oil vs. Oil production



Please note:
I very much appreciate my articles and photos appearing on fellow bloggers' sites, popular broadsheets, and local broadcast news segments, but I would appreciate even more a request for permission first.
Thank you!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The rains of autumn and spring

“Be glad, people of Zion, rejoice in the Lord your God, 
for he has given you the autumn rains because he is faithful. 
He sends you abundant showers, both autumn and spring 
rains, as before.”

                                                                                            Joel 2:23

* * *

Saturday, September 22, 2012


Kutchinta has been etched in my memory since the good old childhood days.  The vendor we used to buy it from was a Chinese guy.  Kutchinta was not all he sold.  In his two iron canisters, which he balanced on his shoulder with a long bamboo slat, were puto, buchi, hopia and other Chinese baked and fried merienda goodies.  But the kutchinta was my top choice.  There was another variant of which -- rectangular and thicker -- but I prefer the round ones. Kutchinta is best served with fresh grated coconut.   

In Metro Manila, the best kutchinta for me is made by Dolor’s Kakanin where I used to drive all the way to Malabon just to get some.  But they had since opened a branch in Quezon City which is a lot more convenient.

In Bohol, the best kutchinta I had tasted so far is sold by Sariling Hain at BQ Mall Food Court at Tagbilaran City.

Kutchinta is basically made of rice flour, all-purpose flour, brown sugar, anatto seeds and lye (sodium hydroxide).  This bit of lye water in kutchinta is to help give the rice flour batter a jelly like consistency.

* * *

Suggested read:

Manila Bulletin: Vanishing Kakanin


Sharing with Food Trip Friday and Food Friday 


Please note:
I very much appreciate my articles and photos appearing on fellow bloggers' sites, popular broadsheets, and local broadcast news segments, but I would appreciate even more a request for permission first.
Thank you!

Friday, September 21, 2012

The 40th year of the declaration of Martial Law

TIME - Marcos' Martial Law Without warning, police squads late last week walked into Manila's newspaper offices and broadcast stations, ordered staffers to leave and posted announcements Stating THIS BUILDING IS CLOSED AND SEALED AND PLACED UNDER MILITARY CONTROL.

Domestic air flights were grounded and overseas telephone operators refused to accept incoming calls. Finally, after several hours of mystifying silence, Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos went on nationwide radio and TV to proclaim a state of martial law. Civil government would be continued, he said, but campuses would be closed. Restrictions on travel, the press and communications would remain in force until the government dealt with "a conspiracy to overthrow the government."

It was a drastic step; martial law had never before been imposed in the Philippines, despite the country's long history of social and political violence. And yet, though troops took up positions all over Manila, there were few other visible signs of emergency. Nightclubs, casinos and movie theaters remained open; shoppers were out in their usual numbers the next day. Filipinos accepted the measures calmly, even cynically, for they had been widely anticipated.

Only two weeks ago, in an atmosphere of rapidly increasing belligerence between the Marcos regime, its political opposition and a burgeoning Philippine revolutionary movement, the President warned that he would not hesitate to assume emergency powers if he deemed them necessary. He finally did so six hours after an unsuccessful attempt to assassinate one of Marcos' chief aides, Defense Secretary Juan Ponce Enrile. As the Secretary was heading home from his office in Manila, a carload of gunmen intercepted his car and riddled it with 30 shots; Enrile, who was riding with security men in a second car, was unhurt. The gunmen escaped unidentified.

Read complete article here.

Hotmanila - What Martial Law was like In 1972 Ferdinand Marcos declared Martial Law with Proclamation 1081. He did it, he said, to save the Republic and to create what he called a "New Society." A whole generation of Filipinos now exists which only has the faintest recollection -- if at all -- of the Marcos dictatorship. Kids, this is what you missed. Perhaps it's what you should pass on when you have kids of your own.

The lies. The biggest lie -- the mother lie -- was that Martial Law was imposed for the good of the people. It was not. It was imposed for the good of the Marcoses and their cronies, to keep them in wealth and unassailable power forever and ever amen. Marcos was a congenital liar: he lied about the state of emergency. He lied about his ill-gotten wealth ("what ill-gotten wealth?", he would ask amusedly."Tell you what, if you can find it we'll split it". Shows how reliable his word was). He lied about his war medals (almost all of them were fake), he lied about his father's wartime heroics (it turned out Marcos Sr was a collaborator executed by the guerrillas), he lied about his health. He lied about holding free elections and dismantling Martial Law. He lied and lied and lied. This was the man Joseph Estrada wanted to give a hero's burial.

The fear. Anybody could be picked up at anytime for any reason by the military or the police. You could wind up a detainee, or you could just vanish, a "salvage" victim. If you protested against the government, you were labeled a "subversive" or a "communist" or both and you were summarily arrested. People the government didn't like were tailed by security elements, their telephones tapped. A student who spoke up to Imee Marcos was murdered. No two words were more invoked and abused for the purposes of oppression than "national security." People were afraid to speak out. Marcos logic being what it was, the silence meant the people were happy.

The injustice. Only Marcos and his cronies, who plundered the economy, were protected by the law. Nobody else was. Arbitrary arrest, detention, salvaging and torture were the standard. The Defense Minister -- a man named Juan Ponce Enrile -- said in 1982: "We presume that priests and nuns charged with subversive activities are guilty until the courts decide whether they are guilty or not." On one occasion the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, someone named Enrique Fernando, servilely held an umbrella over Imelda Marcos' head.

Read complete article here.

Martial Law Memorial Hall
located between
Manila City Hall and Universidad de Manila

* **

On the 40th year of the declaration of Martial Law, embarks on an ambitious project to literally give voice to more than 10,000 affidavits of human rights victims of the Marcos years.

If you can read and speak, you can help.

On September 21 - the 40th anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law -, in cooperation with the University of the Philippines College of Social Sciences and Philosophy (UP-CSSP) and the Center for Art, New Ventures, and Sustainable Development (CANVAS), will open a Martial Law museum at the UP Palma Hall Lobby.

The installations, among others, will play digitized audio files of personal accounts of a handful of people who were arrested and tortured during Martial Law.

So far, we've given voice to less than 20 affidavits. Little less than 10,000 to go.

Starting 6 p.m. on September 21, at the sides of a Martial Law Concert at the Palma Hall, and then resuming from September 23 until September 28, will set up recording stations at UP Palma Hall, Room 109. We will bring copies of more testimonials from people who were tortured, or from the families of those who were disappeared and/or killed.

All we need now are volunteers. Volunteers to read out the testimonials, as we've done in the multimedia features we've posted here, in our special coverage of the 40th Year of the Declaration of Martial Law.

Do take time to listen to the samples. We want to do that for the thousands of affidavits for which we would like to lend our voice. This will be our collective contribution towards building our collective memory. So that we will #NeverForget.

To volunteer, simply go to the Martial Law Museum at 6 p.m., September 21, and look for the desk at the Palma Hall Lobby. Also, constantly check this page for any updates in announcements/arrangements. Our recording sessions will resume on September 23 until September 28.

* * *

Sharing with Weekly Top Shot


Please note:
I very much appreciate my articles and photos appearing on fellow bloggers' sites, popular broadsheets, and local broadcast news segments, but I would appreciate even more a request for permission first.
Thank you!


It was introduced in the Philippines by the Spanish during the colonial era. The atis (sugar apple)  tree will grow easily in any tropical setting. After about a year's time, it will begin to bear fruit three times a year; the sweetest are those borne during the summer months.

Atis has scaly skin, while the taste of the fruit itself is slightly sweet and soft. Some claim its taste bears similarity to guyabano.

As for its curative properties, the seed contains a yellow, non-drying oil which is an irritant that can be used against lice. The unripe fruit is astringent and can be used for diarrhea, dysentery and dyspepsia, while the roots can be used as a potent laxative. The bark of its tree is astringent and tonic; whereas, crushing and smelling its fresh leaves help those who suffer from fainting spells.

The atis’ other health benefits according to Bureau of Plant Industry are:

1) The leaves are applied as a poultice to children with dyspepsia.
2) Crushed seeds with coconut oil are applied on the scalp to rid it of lice.
3) A decoction of the seeds is used as an enema for the children with dyspepsia.
4) The roots are considered a drastic purgative
5) The crushed seeds, in a paste with water, are applied to the scalp to destroy lice.
6) The unripe fruit is astringent, and is given in diarrhea, dysentery and atonic dyspepsia.
7) The bark, according to Nadkarni, is considered a powerful astringent and tonic.
8)  Externally the leaves, the unripe fruit, and the seeds (which contain acrid principle) possess vermicidal and insecticidal properties.

Read more about atis here.

* * *

Sharing with Food Trip Friday


Please note:
I very much appreciate my articles and photos appearing on fellow bloggers' sites, popular broadsheets, and local broadcast news segments, but I would appreciate even more a request for permission first.
Thank you!