Moving Forward from 2021 to 2022

Happy New Year 2022

I was writing this during a lull after the festivities of Christmas Eve - the day of gift wrapping, preparing for the Noche Buena, and attending a jam-packed church for the evening Mass. The kids were asleep as well as My Beloved Wife, who is recuperating since she did all the cooking.

Looking at them sleeping peacefully tells me that all the hardships and difficulties that I went through this year is all worth it. They are the reason why I keep pushing forward.

So why the gloomy opening for this blog post? The answer is that we are now counting the hours to the end of 2021. Thus, it is the perfect time to be melancholic and reminisce about the year that was.

Treble Cubs = Treble Trouble

If 2020 is the year when we welcomed the third cub in the family, then 2021 is the year when the third cub joined the two older cubs in making the fun and messes in the house. Triple kids means tripled number of scattered toys on the floor, triple the laundry (good thing we got a new automatic washing machine), triple the kakulitan, and triple the scolding.

It was a difficult ordeal and there were times that I scolded and disciplined them to no avail. Sometimes I think that I am a failure as a father because I cannot go through with them. It seems like my words fall on deaf ears. I always scold them about the same things everyday, I remind them of the same things every single day.

Sounds horrible, right? Well no. Because triple the cubs also means triple the fun and the love.

It is fun to see the third cub learning new things - from learning how to stand on his own, to his first step without holding him, and now running and climbing on his own.

The second cub is the sweetest of all. Her hugs and even her requests to carry her like a baby (even though she's heavy now) melts my heart. How long will this last, I wonder. She grow up very fast.

The first cub is quite hardheaded and persistent in getting what he wants. He pesters me most of the time. This attitude of his is a pain but I know that such hardheadedness and persistence will be helpful to him in the future.

2021 is also the year when the two older cubs are enrolled in online class. I witnessed firsthand how difficult this mode of teaching for small kids. Focus is the problem for the kids. The only positive thing is that I can see the attitude and teaching style of their teachers, and I am not liking what I saw.

Well, these are my kids and I am very happy to have them - with all the mess and fun that they bring. I know deep in my heart that this phase will end and I will surely miss it.

Leading the Pack with more Experience

Year 2020 is the year when I was named as the supervisor of supervisors - in short, head over various units. It was not easy for me, who is an introvert and a pessimist.

I only supervised one unit in the past and now I have to deal with many people from different units. It is more challenging since I have to balance everything. I don't only deal with the producing outputs but also with people - their concerns, their relationships and conflicts, their reactions. On top of these, I have to deal with bosses, some of which have inflated egos.

My baby steps in 2020 became like a toddlers first walks in 2021. I learned a lot this year and the previous years.

Also, I am blessed to have a staff who are capable and professional. They make load much lighter.

Still, I have much to learn and the coming year will surely give plenty of opportunities to learn new things.

Family Trips, Finally

The pandemic situation in the Philippines somehow improved in 2021. The strict lockdowns were removed and people are allowed to travel, not only for work or business but also for leisure. The lockdown has negative effects to the mental health and emotional wellbeing to our children (and also us parents), so we decided to embark on a family trip by going to Woodside Farm & Water Park in Cabuyao, Laguna.

We also joined the neighbors outing somewhere in Nagcarlan, Laguna (I will blog about it later).

Our kids also managed to enter grocery stores, shopping malls, and restaurant this year. The best thing is that we can now attend Holy Mass regularly.

I do hope that the situation improve in 2022 despite the threat of Omicron and the incoming Wuhan Virus variants. 

Return to Anime and Manga

2021 is filled with stressful and exhausting situations. So, to ease the pressure a little bit, I returned to watching anime and reading manga.

My staple, of course, is One Piece that is already near the climax of the Wano Arc.

I also rewatched old anime like Hunter X Hunter (still on hiatus), Gundam Wing, Haruhi Suzumiya, and Code Geass (the ending of which always puts tears in my eyes). I also finished other anime ls that I watched last year like "Violet Evergarden", which ended with a great movie.

I also discovered good anime and manga like Higehiro, That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime, Arte, Toradora.

The most disappointing anime that I watched this year is Quintessential Quintuplets.

The best find, I think, is Spy x Family (which is about a fake family formed by a spy, an assassin, and an esper).

I think I am back to anime and manga and I will continue to spend spare time with them this coming year.

Aside from anime and manga, I also enjoyed historical documentaries. The ones that I watched this year is about World War 2 and Netflix's documentary about the Age of Samurai. My staple of course are the docu from Epic History TV.

Contest Winner!

One of the highlights for this year is that I won a minor prize of 300 pesos Puregold e-cash from Palmolive. My win is insignificant but  I'm since it is my first time to win from such a contest. I guess I will try joining similar promo contest in the future.

Finally Done with an Long Overdue Project

Finally it is finished! My project in the office that I started more than a decade ago is now done. It is a book and it is now submitted to a printing press. I guess I can now resign and go to greener pastures?

Plans for the Far Future

Speaking of going to greener pastures, I made a plan of how I will accomplish that in the far future. I called it Operation Dunkirk and thought about it during days of despair. It is more an outline than an actual plan but  ido hope that I can accomplish this since I am already feeling the burn-out, boredom, agony, and despair of my current workplace. Or maybe this is just Quarter Life Crisis of some sort? I don't know.

Looking Forward to 2022

My pessimistic self tells me that the coming year is full of stress and despair. However, I do hope that the coming year is studded with happiness (especially from the family) and positivity.

Well, I guess I can just wait and see. I have no choice but to move forward and hope for the best.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone. I hope that your 2022 is brighter than the brightest fireworks that will light up the sky this evening.

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Finally a Family Trip! Happy Moments at Woodside Water Park (Cabuyao, Laguna)

Woodside Farm & Waterpark

It is almost two years since the lockdown began. The strict government health protocols imprisoned our children within our subdivision and they were only able to go out when there's a visit to the pedia. They miss the beach, the church, and even the simple visit to the grocery.

I feel sad that this pandemic stole the simple joys of our kids. Our numerous visits to the beach and the flights to various places in the Philippines was never experienced by our bunso, who was born in the middle of the pandemic. So, on a Friday of the week-long school break, we decided to bring the little ones to have fun Woodside Farm & Waterpark somewhere in Cabuyao, Laguna.

Three Dolphins

I read the tip that kids are allowed from the FB group Kids are Allowed. A little online research and chat with Woodside Farm & Waterpark FB page confirmed that kids are indeed allowed in that water park and there is strict requirements (i.e. S-pass, vaccine, negative COVID test rsult). 

It was a spur of the moment decision. I discovered Woodside Farm & Waterpark when I checked FB in the morning and decided to go on that same day because we were sure that that waterpark will be crowded during the weekend. We want to be safe from the pandemic as much as possible so we wanted to avoid the crowd.

Heart Road

We prepared everything in a rush. We brought what's left of our breakfast as our baon (rice and a few hotdogs). We brought some chips. We only brought a little water. We don't have a car so we booked a Grab Car to get there.

We did not tell the kids where we were going so it was a big surprise for them when we finally reached Woodside Farm & Waterpark in the afternoon. Their shouts of joy were music to my ears.


Woodside Farm & Waterpark

The kids immediately rushed to the pool the moment that we settled in our cottage. They had fun going up and down the water slide.

Fun Kiddie Slides


Even my one-year old enjoyed playing in the water.

Water Fun in Woodside Farm & Waterpark

It was a good decision that we went to Woodside Farm & Waterpark on a Friday. The pool is not crowded. There were even times that we had the pool only for ourselves. 

Woodside Farm & Waterpark is like a mini version of Splash Island. They have pools for kids and adults. They even have high water slides for the thrill seekers.

Giant Slides
(Source: Woodside Farm & Waterpark FB page)

Our trip to Woodside Farm & Waterpark is, of course for the kids, so we just stayed at the safe kiddie pools.

Entrance and Cottage Fees

The entrance fee that we paid is 250 pesos for the kids and 300 pesos for adults. The fee is their weekday rate, which is cheaper by 50 pesos than the weekend rate.

We also rented a cottage, which costed 900 pesos. You can check out the latest rates in the waterpark's website.

Food and Drinks in Woodside Waterpark

Food and water are allowed to be brought in the water park. I saw other visitors bringing in cooked food and containers of drinking water. What's not allowed is bringing in soft drinks, which is subject to corkage fee.

However, the guards at the waterpark's entrance did not check if the food that we brought in. So I guess some guests can sneak some soft and hard drinks in.

The waterpark even have a place where guests can grill barbecue or fish.

Woodside Farm & Waterpark has a restaurant where food is available. The price of their soft drinks is expensive since its twice the original price.

Woodside Cafe


How to go to Woodside Water Park

Commuting to the water park is difficult. There is no jeepney going to that place and tricycles are rare.

In fact, I began worrying about going home while we are on the way to the waterpark. The place is in the middle of nowhere and I didn't see any jeepney or tricycle.

In fact, this waterpark is not even listed as a destination in the Grab app. The destination that I selected is the Marcos Mansion, which is about 200 meters away. I had to pay additional fare to the Grab driver for the additional 200 meters.

The Seemingly Haunted Marcos Mansion
The seemingly haunted Marcos Mansion.

Good thing that one of the water park's staff, who is the driver of the service cart, offered his private car to ferry us to Paseo de Santa Rosa. It was a big relief to us since we did not intend to stay overnight in this resort.

Woodside Farm & Waterpark is advisable for those who have their own vehicles. As for me, I will not go back to this water park until I have my own car.

My Final Words

All in all, I can say that the Ahab Family truly enjoyed our half-day stay in Woodside Water Park. I was very happy to see my little ones finally go out and enjoy the pool and the water slides. It was a precious family moment for us after the almost two years of the lockdown.

What I also liked about Woodside Water Park is that guests can bring their own cooked food. They accommodated the Filipino culture of bringing plenty of food during family outings.

So if you're looking for a place to bring your kiddos while you're enroute to Tagaytay, then Woodside Farm & Water Park might be a good option for you.

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The Pain of the Pinkie is Felt by the Whole Body

Finger in Pain
(Source: Karolina Grabowska)

 "Ang sakit ng kalingkingan ay dama ng buong katawan" 

This is one of our "words of wisdom" in the Philippines, which can be translated to "the pain of the pinkie finger is felt by the whole body".

This is true, especially when applied to the family. The whole family feels the pain whenever bunso or any of the children is ill. Mommy and Daddy can't sleep taking care of the sick child. Mommy and Daddy are worried. The siblings are somewhat neglected because the attention of Mommy and Daddy goes to the child who is ill.

If the pain of the pinkie finger is felt by the whole body, how much more if half of the body is in pain. This is what we experienced at the beginning of October. Me and My Beloved Wife caught the flu. I managed to get better in less than a week. Unfortunately, My Beloved Wife was ill for two weeks!

I took on the role of My Beloved Wife for two weeks. I cooked and did the laundry. I went to the market. I assisted the kids in their online class while taking care of the baby. I did all these while juggling my office work!

It was tiring. There were times that I prayed hard to God and asked him to give my wife's illness para ako na lang ang nakaratay instead of me seeing her in great pain.

My ordeal is just two weeks. I couldn't imagine the experience of families that have a member who has a grave illness. I am sure that the cross is heavy.

My Beloved Wife is OK now. Although, she still needs rest. We are thankful that we only caught the common flu and not the Wuhan flu.

I don't want to experience the ordeal again but illness is a fact of life and I am sure that any one of us will catch flu or whatever in the future. I can only hope that I have strength to take care of the family when that ordeal comes.

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The Sad History of the Tombstone in front of Binondo Church

The floor in front of the door of Binondo Church catches my attention every time I enter the church. Of the bland marble stones laid in front of the church, only this big particular part has inscriptions that are difficult to understand. 


Tombstone of Juan Dionicio Coqua at the doors of Binondo Church
The mysterious tombstone at the door of Binondo Church.

The word that I read in the tombstone is AQVIYAZE JVAN DIONICIO. Below those big letters are 22 DED 1722 AÑ.

I suspected that this suspicious marble stone is a tombstone but I couldn't understand the text since I do not know how to read Spanish. So I enlisted the help of Google translate, which was also as clueless as me. At least Google search pointed me to a photo of a tomb of the Spanish king Don Pelayo that also bears the text AQVIYAZE. So, my suspicion was somehow confirmed that Binondo Church's tile is a tombstone.

A change in keywords brought me to an online paper which gave the proper rendering of the text. According to the paper, the text should be read as:

AQUI YAZE 

JUAN DIONICIO 

COQUA FALLEC EN 

27 DE F. DE 1722 AÑ

Super facepalm for me. I forgot that in old writings, the V should be read as U. 

The text, when translated to English, read as:

HERE LIES

JUAN DIONICIO

COQUA WHO DIED ON

27 OF FEBRUARY OF 1722

My suspicion is finally confirmed to be correct. That marble stone, or better known as piedra china, at Binondo Church's door marked the grave of Juan Dionicio Coqua, who died on February 27, 1722.

This discovery actually created more questions for me. Who is Juan Dionicio Coqua? And why was his tomb placed at the church’s door where churchgoers will step on it? These questions pushed me to do more online research and to the discovery of another dark part of our country’s history.

The history of Binondo is characterized by the inter-racial tension between the natives of Manila (the so called Indios), the Chinese immigrants, the Chinese mestizos (those who mostly have Chinese father and Indio mother) and the ruling Spaniards. The land of Binondo was donated in 1594 by Governor General Luis Pérez Dasmariñas to the Chinese who converted to Christianity. Some historians say that the donation was a way for the Governor General to skirt the royal decree of expelling the Chinese from Manila, possibly due to their involvement in the attack of Chinese pirate Limahong in 1574. However, based on another source, I believe another reason why the Chinese converts were transferred to Binondo was to separate the "good" Chinese from the "bad" Chinese living in the old Parian, which is located in the now Liwasang Bonifacio and Manila Post Office. 

Chinese as depicted in the Murillo-Velarde-Bagay Map
The Chinese or Sangleys as depicted in the Murillo-Velarde-Bagay Map. (Source: Wikimedia)

1594 is the year of great tension in Manila because of the arrival of a great number of Chinese ships loaded with men and weapons. The Spanish authorities suspected the Chinese but still welcomed their dignitaries. It was believed that the Chinese planned to invade Manila while the Spaniards were on a military campaign in Moluccas. However, they changed their minds when they saw the Spanish armada. 

The mandarins thought that the Spanish fleet is on a campaign in the Moluccas. The mandarins' intel was correct but already inaccurate. The military campaign to Moluccas was put into action by Governor General Governor Pérez de Dasmariñas in 1593. The military campaign did not push through, however, because the Chinese crew of the flag ship mutinied and killed the governor general. Had the Moluccas campaign pushed through then the Chinese mandarins may have been successful in invading Manila. Thus, it can be said that the planned invasion of Manila by China in 1593 was foiled by their fellow Chinese who mutinied during the Spanish military campaign to Moluccas.

Luis Pérez Dasmariñas, the son of the governor general killed by mutineers in the aborted Moluccas campaign, is the new governor general. As I said previously, Luis Pérez Dasmariñas is the governor general who made Binondo as the new settlement for the Chinese. In this new Chinatown, the Chinese were heavily taxed and had to pay large amount of fees as well as provide yearly labor to the government.

In May 1603, Chinese Mandarins visited Manila again. There mission is to search for a certain mountain in Cavite that produces great amount of gold and silver. The Spanish was suspicious of the mission but they still welcomed the mandarins like in their previous visit. The mandarins eventually left Manila but the colonial government were wary of the Chinese immigrants in Binondo. The result of this animosity is the so-called Chinese Rebellion of 1603 (according to colonial government sources) or the Chinese Massacre of 1603 (according to Chinese immigrant sources). The casualties of that event included the many dead Chinese immigrants, native Filipinos used as soldiers by the colonial government, and the death of colonial government officials that included Luis Pérez Dasmariñas himself.

Binondo, Manila circa 1739
Old map of Binondo circa 1739 as seen in the "Topographia de la Ciudad de Manila" by Hipolito Ximenez. (Source: The British Library)

Despite of the “bad blood”, the colonial government couldn't give up the Chinese immigrants because of their link to the Chinese mainland, which is vital for the success of the Galleon Trade. It is this link that the Dominican friars planned to take advantage of when Binondo was placed under their care 1596. The Dominicans used Binondo as their springboard for their missions to China.

The friars originally built Binondo Church with a cemetery adjoining it. Actually, the cemetery outside the church is for commoners while the prominent persons in the community, especially those who were the church's great benefactors, were buried inside the church. The big tombstone is then a proof that Juan Donicio Coqua was one of the prominent benefactors of Binondo Church.

Little is known about Juan Dionicio Coqua. Internet research did not yield good information. Facebook search yielded little result of any person who is surnamed Coqua. The only clue that I got is that coqua is a Latin word for "cook". Maybe Juan Dionicio Coqua was a cook or a restaurateur in Binondo.

Unfortunately, the prominence of Juan Dionicio Coqua and his family didn't guarantee that his final resting place will not be disturbed. There came a time when the Dominicans turned Binondo Church into a Filipino church. The result is that all piedra china were removed and destroyed. I cannot find any source when this happened but it can be after the British Invasion of Manila. During that incident, many Chinese immigrants sided with the British. Unfortunately, the Seven Years Wars between Spain and Britain ended and the treaty between the two nations declared that Manila will be returned to Spain. The Chinese in Manila received punishment from the Spanish colonial government and many of them were deported back to the mainland. Traces of Chinese culture in Binondo Church were possibly removed during that time.

The piedra china inside the church was defaced. According to the Richard T. Chu the Teresita Ang See, the Chinese characters, which is the vertical line on the piedra china, were removed from the tombstone of Donicio Cocqua.

There were other piedra china tiles on the floor of the Binondo Church but all of these were removed when the the church was wrecknovated renovated. The parish priest and the parish council who approved the allowed the destruction of centuries-old of historical artifacts.

Binondo Church is not the only church where the Chinese tombstones were disturbed. Santa Cruz Church, located at the other end of Ongpin Street, has piedra china tiles that are used to fence the plant box. 

Chinese Tombstones Outside of Santa Cruz Church, Manila
Piedra china outside of Santa Cruz Church.


The Chinese characters are clear. Some of the stones bear the text SEPULTURA, which means that they are indeed tombstones.

Chinese Tombstone Outside of Santa Cruz Church, Manila
"SEPULTURA" says the tombstone outside of Santa Cruz Church.


Santa Cruz Church is currently under the care of the Sacramentinos. However, the church was under the care of the Jesuits, who employed Chinese converts and Tagalogs in building the district of Santa Cruz from marshland into a liveable settlement.

It is sad to note that there is a dearth of study made into the history of the missing piedra china or Chinese tombstones in Binondo and Santa Cruz. This only means that there is much to be uncovered about the history of Manila, which I think will enrich our view of this city and the whole Philippines. Alas! The current state of these valuable artifacts shows that the living Filipinos of today do not care about the lives of the dead Filipinos and the stories that they can tell.

- - -

Read more about Binondo in these blog posts:

1. Visita Iglesia 2019: Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Chinese Parish Church (Binondo, Manila)

2. Visita Iglesia: Binondo Church

3. Chinese New Year Feast along Ongpin Street

4. Chinese New Year in Binondo Chinatown

5. A Walk through Quintin Paredes Street

6. A Parade of Delicious Chinese Dishes

7. Yummy Hopia from Salazar Bakery

8. Searching for Wedding Rings and a Bad Day in Binondo Chinatown

9. Lunch Break at Lan Zhou La Mien

10. Eng Ho's Mamon Cake

- - -

Historical info in this blog post was sourced from the following:

1. The massacre of 1603: Chinese perception of the Spaniards in the Philippines  by José Eugenio Borao

2. Chinese mestizo and natives' disputes in Manila and the1812 Constitution: Old privileges and new political realities(1813–15) by Ruth de Llobet

3. Toward a History of Chinese Burial Grounds in Manila during the Spanish Colonial Period by Richard T. Chu and Teresita Ang See

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Ano ang Ginagawa sa Kumpil?

Kumpil
Ang Kumpil (Source: Wikipedia).
Ang kumpil ay ang Sakramento ng Simbahang Katolika na kumukumpleto sa spiritwal na biyaya o grasya na natanggap ng isang Katoliko noong binyag.

Ang sakramentong ito ay pinahihintulutang ibigay sa lahat ng Katoliko na may edad 12 na taong gulang pataas. Katulad ng binyag, sa kumpil ay dapat may ninong o ninang ang kukumpilan.

Ano nga ba ang ginagawa sa kumpil?

Simple lang naman ang seremonyas na ginagawa sa kumpil. Heto ang mga mahalagang ginagawa sa kumpil:

1. Pagpapabanibago ng mga pangako mg binyag.

Dito ay inihahayag ng kukumpilan ang kanyang pananampalataya kay Kristo at sa Kanyang Simbahan, at pagwawaksi kay Satanas. Kung sa binyag, ang mga magulang, ninong at ninang ang nagsasabi nito, sa kumpil yung mismong kukumpilan ang ang maghahayag nito

2. Pagpapatong Kamay

Ang obispong nagkukumpil ay ipapatong nya ang kanyang kamay sa mga kukumpilan habang pinagdarasal sila. Sinisimbolo nito ang pagbabasbas ng Simbahan sa mga kinukumpilan.

3. Pagpapahid ng Langis

Ang bawat kukumpilan ay papahiran ng banal na langis sa noo at "sasampalin". Ang langis ang simbolo ng kumpil.


Ang mga ginagawa sa kumpil ay simple lang pero puno ng simbolismo. Ang kumpil ay nagbibigay sa bawat Katoliko ng tatak na sila ay handa nang makipaglaban para kay Kristo. Ibig sabihin nito, ang kumpil ay hindi isang simpleng bagay sa espiritwal na aspeto.

Nakakalungkot lang na ang kumpil ay ang madalas malimutan kumpara sa iba pang mga sakramento. Yung mga magulang ko, halimbawa, ay nakalimutan akong pakumpilan. Kaya ako ay nagpakumpil lang sa Quiapo Church bago ikasal.

Kung ikaw kapareho ko ng sitwasyon, basahin mo ang aking post tungkol aking kumpil sa Quiapo Church bago ikasal. Ang kumpil ay isa sa mga requirements kung ikaw ay magpapakasal sa simbahan.

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Fatherly Thoughts: Going Down from Gold to Silver

One of my fervent wishes after I got married is to have a daughter. I have no problem having a son but having a daughter is like having a little princess at home.

After having a son as our first born, the Lord granted my wish and gave me my daughter "Samantha". She is both sweet and maldita. She likes Hello Kitty and unicorns but can play rough with her kuya. Unfortunately, she's getting some of my bad habits and it's like dealing with a smaller version of myself - a mini-me of sorts.

In any case, Samantha is my one and only princess - from infancy even to her adulthood.

I am having this fatherly thoughts after I watched this scene in an episode of the anime Kakushigoto that struck the emotional chord in my heart:

Kakushigoto: from gold medalist to silver medalist


Goto: By the way, what's this gold medal for?

Daughter: It means you're a gold medalist in my eyes.

Goto (thinking): ...but when she grows up and falls in love, I'll become a silver medalist.


T_T


Well, I guess it is true. No matter how much a daughter loves her father there might come a time when another man will be the priority.

The Bible is clear about this. Genesis 2:24 says:

For this reason, a man shall leave behind his father and mother, and he shall cling to his wife; and the two shall be as one flesh.

Well, that passage is not only about the man but also about the woman who leaves her family, the household of her father, then becomes one with her husband.

This is a painful possibility for all the doting fathers out there. Even if our daughters stayed single her whole life, there will come a time that they have to live on their own (either voluntarily or involuntarily when the time of our death comes). Our work as a father is to prepare them for that future even if there's that possibility that we will be the silver medalist in their eyes.

Whatever happens, even when that possibility comes, Samantha will stay as the gold medalist in my eyes.

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Malunggay Wars 2! Feralac vs Moringa Vita

My Beloved Wife knows that breastfeeding is important for the health of our bunso. Physically, breastfeeding gives our baby a good immune system, healthy tummy, and other health benefits. Emotionally, breastfeeding makes the bond between our baby and my wife strong. Financially, it is less costly than buying the expensive infant milk formula.

However, there are times when my wife's milk supply is not enough to meet the needs of our growing baby. To ensure that she has enough milk, My Beloved Wife eats galactagogue food or food that boost the milk supply of breastfeeding moms. 

Aside from eating galactagogue food, she also takes malunggay supplement. There are many brands of malunggay supplement. I talked about some of them in my previous post. Now, she tried a new malunggay supplement brand, which is Feralac.

Feralac

It was difficult to go out during the ECQ lockdowns so there were times that we couldn't immediately buy a malunggay supplement. Good thing that there is Shopee where my wife can buy the malunggay supplements that she needs. 

The malunggay supplement that she ordered from Shopee is Feralac.

Feralac Malunggay Supplement
(Source: Shopee)

She bought one box of Feralac Malunggay Supplement (30 pieces of 50 mg capsules). The price is 250 pesos per box of 100 capsules.

My Beloved Wife said that Feralac is not working for her. This malunggay supplement is not increasing her milk supply. In the end, she stopped taking it and she just bartered it for Yakult.

Since Feralac is not a good galactagogue (breastmilk booster), she returned to Moringa Vita.

Tai Chi Moringa Vita

Moringa Vita is my wife's tried and tested malunggay supplement. She used it while breastfeeding our first and second child. She is now using it for our third child.

My wife noticed better results with Moringa Vita so she still preferred it than other brands. 

Moringa Vita is available in Mercury Drug and can also be bought online from Shopee or Lazada.

My wife's experience with malunggay supplements doesn't mean that Moringa Vita is better than Feralac. The truth is that other moms have good results with Feralac. This only means that each mother is unique and has different results. So, if you think that the current malunggay supplement that you're taking is not boosting your milk supply, then that means you need to try other malunggay supplements. You can also eat more food that is known to boost milk supply like malunggay leaves, green papaya, and carrots.

For more info about malunggay supplements, please read Malunggay Wars! TaiChi vs Natalac vs Mega Malunggay.

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The Quints and Why I'm Drawn to Rom-Com Animes

I admit that I am sucker for rom-com animes. I remember the times when I spent the night 'til the wee hours of the morning just to watch episodes of High School Rumble and the Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya.

However, it was a very long time a ago since I watched a rom-com anime and it was just a replay of Haruhi's antics. So I was pleasantly surprised when I sampled the first half of the first episode of Quintessential Quintuplets.

The Quintessential Quintuplets
(Source: Long Zhi Tian Xue)

Actually, I resisted watching it. I tried watching The Way of the Househusband but it didn't clicked with me. So I returned to the Quints and it is the best decision I did because I truly enjoyed this anime.

Quintessential Quintuplets is about quintuplet sisters who eventually fell in love with their classmate and tutor. The mystery is who among the quintuplets will marry the man of their dreams? Well it's still a mystery for anime-watchers but not for the manga-readers.

One reason that I avoid reading a novel or watching a new series is that it affects my sleep. I kept on saying that it will be my last chapter or episode before I go to sleep until it's 4 am. This is what happened recently so I was able to finish two seasons of Quintissential Quintuplets in 3 or so days.

Quintissential Quintuplets is a Shonen manga that is for teens. However, it pulled a string in me. Well, I guess I am still an isip-bata. Or maybe Quintessential Quintuplets reminded me of my uneventful high school years sprinkled with rare drama. The tensions of the Quints, culminating in a sisters war, is a direct opposite of my high school experiences. Yes, there were crushes, school activities, sports events, the banter between classmates, the fights...all of it not worthy to be featured in an anime, of course.

I ended my high school with a tragedy of sorts. During prom, I danced the night away with a girl from another section who I just met that night. I saw my girl "bestfriend" in tears. Did she cried because I did not partnered with her? Does she have feelings for me? Or maybe I was just assuming? I cannot recall it that much but everything between us changed after that night. After the prom, I courted that girl from the other section. I was flatly rejected just to discover that she had a crush on my classmate who is handsome (well he was our section's representative to pageants). That was the last time I ever courted a girl.

For an immature me in high school, rejection by a crush is a great tragedy. I think it intensified my belief that I am "ugly" or no girl will like me (although I daydreamed that they like me). This is the reason why I was a torpe in college and never had any romantic relationship until that less-than-a-month girlfriend came along and confessed her feelings to me. Well, it ended in tragedy and it kinda soured the final months of my college. Well, we were immature back then and I don’t know how to handle a relationship. Instead of fighting for it (well, was it worth fighting for?) I chose the easy way of ending it, hesitantly. The only positive effect of the tragedy is the creation of this blog to soothe my broken heart.

I guess I can relate with the male protagonists of these rom-com animes - Harima Kenji, Kyon, Fuutarou Uesugi - socially awkward and torpe. One scene when Fuutarou said he is the "garbage" in their group of friends reminded me of the days when I felt that I was alone in my college “barkada”. As the years progressed, I drifted far and far away from the "barkada" until I became a loner.


Just Throw Away the Unnecessary Stuff

Just like Fuutarou, I just focused on studies during college and my classmate though that I am smart and tutored them from time to time.

Miku is the best Quint
Miku is the best Quint.


Back to the anime, my favorite Quint is the silent-type Miku. There's no surprise there. When it comes to anime, I always root for the silent type like Yakumo of High School Rumble and Nagato of Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya.

I think she deserves to be the bride of Fuutarou. However, I had feeling that Yotsuba will be victorious or maybe Ichika.

Miku loves Fuutarou
(Source: Akhbar24)


Up until now I feel emotional with Quintessential Quintuplets. My heart felt warm during Miku's confession and that the second season ended without the Quints falling apart. My favorite scene is on Episode 8 when Miku was so happy because Fuutarou guessed rightly that it was her despite having the same face and attire as her sisters.

Fuutarou Recognized Miku
Fuutarou recognized Miku.

So, why do I watch anime? The simple answer is that it is a sort of stress reliever. I was under the weather these past days because of demanding bosses, unpaid overtime, exacting tasks --- I was feeling so bad that I think of migrating to Canada or New Zealand.

The Quints helped me destress, but now I couldn't help but be stressed about who will be the bride in the end. And the next season is said to be released next year! It is a long wait.

Oh well, I guess I have move to another anime so as to bear the long wait or I just read the manga.

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P.S.

So I cannot stop thinking about the ending of Quintessential Quintuplets so I decided to end everything by finishing the manga. Well, it was a disappointment not because Miku was not the bride but the ending is "meh". The mangaka even gave it a sort of "harem ending".

The mystery bride is Yotsuba and I didn't like it simply because I consider her as the worst of the Quints. 

I consider Yotsuba as the worst Quint because her cowardice is the cause of the pain and sufferings of Fuutarou and her sisters.

She could've told Fuutarou early on that she is the girl that he met in Kyoto 5 years ago. But she chose to hide the truth just because she was afraid of Fuutarou's reaction because she did not fulfill their promise of studying diligently.

Some claim that Yotsuba is the best Quint because she supported Fuutarou during the whole duration of the story. However, the best support that she should've given is in telling the truth. What she actually did is to avoid, evade  and run away during the whole story.

Even though she knew that Fuutarou longs for the girl that he met in Kyoto, she used Itsuki to "release" him from the past. She even pushed Miku and Ichika to go for Fuutarou, even though she knew that Fuutarou is looking for her, longing for her. 

She used her sisters as her cover. She used her Itsuki disguise to kiss Fuutarou at the bell. She claimed that she "supports" her sisters' love for Fuutarou and yet kissed him while in disguise. In the end, her cowardice exposed her sisters to heartbreak.

It is unfair then that Yotsuba is the winner in this story. The victory should've gone to any of the other four Quints because they went out of their comfort zones to show their love for Fuutarou.

Nino Nakano Going on the Offensive
My second favorite Quint, Nino, going on the offensive.


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P.S.

I think I've gone full circle in this blog. In the past I only wrote about my petty heartbrokenness and other personal stories of my life. I realized then that no one read such things. So, I decided to make this blog more interesting and draw more audience by writing about my travels. The number of visitors grew and I got minimal compensation due to ads.

Now that I am older and have no time to write lengthy travel posts, I return to my old ways and just write about myself. I know no one will be interested but hey I am just returning to the true purpose of this blog, which is being my stress reliever especially now that the pandemic is affecting me.

I also thought that this blog would be a good way for me to remember my life when I am already a senior citizen.

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Visita Iglesia (2021): St. Michael the Archangel Chapel (Taguig City)

Of the three angels named in the Holy Bible, Michael is considered as the warrior since most of his "screen time" is him fighting some demons. In the Book of Daniel he fought the Prince of Persia, who is a demon who rule over the Persian Empire. In the Book of Revelations, Michael led the faithful angels against Satan and the fallen angels.

As the leader of the heavenly host, many Filipino soldiers consider him as their protector and patron saint. Because of this, the chapel located within the grounds of the headquarters of Philippine Army Support Group along Bayani Road in Taguig City is dedicated to St. Michael the Archangel.

St. Michael the Archangel Chapel in Taguig City

The facade of this chapel is unremarkable with a facade that is plain and forming the shape of a quonset hut, which are temporary structures popularized by the military.

Just outside of this chapel is an armored personnel carrier.

Armored personnel carrier at St. Michael the Archangel Chapel in Taguig City

So far, this is the only church that I encountered that has a war vehicle parked in front of it.

Despite being a chapel, the interior of St. Michael the Archangel Chapel is quite spacious.

Interior of St. Michael the Archangel Chapel in Taguig City

I finally saw this chapel's altar. I was disappointed during my last visit because a tarp covered the crucifix.

Altar of St. Michael the Archangel Chapel in Taguig City

In front of the altar is the image of the chapel's patron saint.

Icon of St. Michael the Archangel in St. Michael the Archangel Chapel in Taguig City

The church is under the care of the Military Ordinariate of the Philippines, which provides pastoral care to the members of the military, police, and coast guard.

Catholic military chaplains are a unique group of priests because they have military ranks and can be deployed to a battlefield. They minister to the wounded and the dying.

One striking scene in the movie Saving Private Ryan is of a military chaplain, possibly a Catholic, ministering to a dying soldier while under fire.

Catholic Military Chaplain in Saving Private Ryan
(Source: Quora)


In fact, the story of Saving Private Ryan is loosely based on the story of a military chaplain of an airborne regiment.

Military chaplains were also present during the 2017 Battle of Marawi. A military chaplain was the first priest to celebrate mass in Marawi Cathedral after it was retaken from terrorists.

First Mass in Marawi Cathedral during the 2017 Battle of Marawi
(Source: Rappler)

The Holy Mass was held while the sounds of war still rang all around Marawi. The dismembered image of a saint and the desecrated image of Christ is still around while the mass is ongoing.

Water Font in St. Michael the Archangel Chapel in Taguig City

I attended a couple of masses in St. Michael the Archangel Chapel and the celebrant is a military chaplain and the servers are members of the military. It is an unusual sight for a civilian like me.

St. Michael crushing the Devil at St. Michael the Archangel Chapel in Taguig City

Angels are classified into nine choirs or ranks. St. Michael is an archangel, which is the second lowest choir. Lucifer, who led the third of angels in rebellion against God, is a member of the cherubim, which is the second highest choir.

It is interesting to note that St. Michael of the low rank led the faithful angels and defeated Lucifer of the second highest rank. Revelation 12:7-9 tells us the story of that great battle:


And there was a great battle in heaven. Michael and his Angels were battling with the dragon, and the dragon was fighting, and so were his angels.

But they did not prevail, and a place for them was no longer found in heaven.

And he was thrown out, that great dragon, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, who seduces the whole world. And he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were cast down with him.


This story of St. Michael tells us that being in a lowly rank or humble situation in life is not a hindrance to serve God. All we need is to be faithful to Him so that we can away the evil dragons that imperil our soul.

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Visita Iglesia is a Catholic tradition of visiting seven or fourteen churches during Maundy Thursday. For each day, this Holy Week, I will feature one church as a sort of virtual Visita Iglesia.

Unfortunately, due to the pandemic and the lockdowns, I was only able to visit three churches. So, for this year's virtual Visita Iglesia I can only feature 3 churches, namely:

Palm Sunday: St. Polycarp Church in Cabuyao City

Holy Monday: St. Francis Church in Ortigas, Mandaluyong


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Visita Iglesia (2021): St. Francis of Assisi Church - My Refuge in Ortigas

In the midst of high buildings and commercial complexes stands my refuge whenever I go to Ortigas for a business. That refuge is named as St. Francis Church.

St. Francis Church in Ortigas, Mandaluyong

I discovered this church while walking from SM Megamall to San Miguel Ave. The cross fronting it is big and quite imposing.

St. Francis Church in Ortigas, Mandaluyong

The parish of St. Francis of Assisi was founded in 19581 and was placed under the care of the Order of Capuchin Friars Minor, who are also known as the Franciscan Capuchins. These friars are the followers of the strict rule laid by St. Francis of Assisi. For this reason, the Capuchin's church in Ortigas is dedicated to St. Francis.

St. Francis of Assisi on Stained Glass at St. Francis Church in Ortigas, Mandaluyong

At the entrance to the church, I was welcomed by the stained-glass image of St. Francis. On the floor are the words "Pax et Bonum", which is said to be the welcoming and parting phrase of St. Francis.

Pax et Bonum

"Pax et Bonum" is Latin for "Peace and Goodness".

The doors of the church are quite simple…

Doors of St. Francis Church

...that it betrays the fact that its interior is huge.

I never expected that this church that looks small from the outside is quite spacious inside.

The lights were off during my visit so I was not able to have a good shot of the church's altar, which depicts St. Francis standing beside the crucified Jesus.

Altar of St. Francis Church

I can only visit St. Francis Church on weekdays so I can only attend the mass with a much smaller crowd than Sunday masses. So the masses that I attended were held at the side altar.

Side Altar of St. Francis Church in Ortigas, Mandaluyong

The side altar is also spacious and looks good despite being at the side. It's altar features the major events of Jesus' life: His birth, baptism, death, and resurrection.

My favorite place for prayers is the Adoration Chapel at the ground floor (the main church is on the second floor).

Adoration Chapel of St. Francis Church in Ortigas, Mandaluyong

The Adoration Chapel is a better place for praying and meditation because it is much smaller and has less distraction.

Our Crucified Lord in St. Francis Church in Ortigas, Mandaluyong

Also, the chapel has the relic of Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, who is the famous Capuchin saint. The adoration chapel of St. Francis Church is the best place to pray to God and then ask for the intercession of Padre Pio.

Relic of Padre Pio in St. Francis Church in Ortigas, Mandaluyong

St. Francis Church is a good discovery because it serves as my refuge whenever I happen to be around Ortigas. It is like the Shrine of Jesus, The Way, The Truth, & The Life at SM Mall of Asia, Chapel of the Eucharistic Lord in SM Megamall, and the Sto. Niño de Paz Chapel in Greenbelt.

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Francis of Assisi was born in a wealthy family and lived a carefree life as a young man. Jesus touched his heart and brought him to conversion. He became an instrument for the conversion of many by shedding off his wealth and living a life of poverty.

Francis emulated Jesus Christ in rejecting material wealth. Let us then emulate St. Francis so that like him we will earn enormous spiritual wealth in Heaven.

Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi

Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace; 

Where there is hatred, let me sow love; 

Where there is injury, pardon; 

Where there is doubt, faith; 

Where there is despair, hope; 

Where there is darkness, light; 

And where there is sadness, joy. 


O Divine Master,

Grant that I may not so much seek

To be consoled as to console; 

To be understood, as to understand; 

To be loved, as to love; 

For it is in giving that we receive, 

It is in pardoning that we are pardoned, 

And it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life. 

Amen.

- - -

Visita Iglesia is a Catholic tradition of visiting seven or fourteen churches during Maundy Thursday. For each day, this Holy Week, I will feature one church as a sort of virtual Visita Iglesia.

Unfortunately, due to the pandemic and the lockdowns, I was only able to visit three churches. So, for this year's virtual Visita Iglesia I can only feature 3 churches, namely:

Palm Sunday: St. Polycarp Church in Cabuyao City

Holy Monday: St. Francis Church in Ortigas, Mandaluyong

- - - 

Sources:

1. Info on the founding year of St. Francis Church from FederalLand

2. St. Francis Church official Facebook page

3. Prayer of St. Francis from Our Catholic Prayer

Visita Iglesia (2021): Revisiting Cabuyao's Oldest Church - St. Polycarp Church

(Souurce: Wikipedia)

The "inutil" government did it again! Malacañang recently declared ECQ over the so-called NCR+. This means that we Catholics are barred again from celebrating the holiest week of the year. Making only the Holy Week as ECQ is obviously a revenge from the Man in the Palace, whose ego was bruised by the comment from Bishops Pabillo and Bishop David on the illogical protocols directed against the Church and her celebration of the Holy Week.

Anyways, let us go back to the topic of this post. Today is Palm Sunday and on this day I begin my Virtual Visita Iglesia. The visita iglesia or "church visit" is a Filipino tradition of visiting 7 or 14 churches every Holy Thursday. It is a form of penance, traditionally, with some penitents walking barefoot from church to another. For some, visita iglesia is treated as a tour of churches. Now in the years of lockdowns, no one is allowed to do this tradition.

For Palm Sunday, let me revisit the church in Cabuyao, Laguna that I featured in the Virtual Visita Iglesia in 2017. That Church is St. Polycarp Church of Cabuyao.

It was dusk when I attended mass in St. Polycarp Church in 2017. So the photos that I took of the church's facade and exteriors are dark. This time I visited the church in the afternoon and got a very good view of the church's exteriors.

It is disheartening that the door of Cabuyao Church is closed and no one can enter to pray. The pandemic and the government's addiction to lockdowns took many things from us. It is as if they are denying us to gaze at the real presence of our Lord.

The church's facade features Cabuyao's patron saint, St. Polycarp.

Hearing the name Polycarp reminds me of the Pokemon Magikarp. There's no connection of course. The truth is his name means "many fruits", which is a testament to the many spiritual fruits that he brought to the Church.

St. Polycarp is considered a Church Father, disciple of St. John the Apostle, and the bishop of Smyrna (now Izmir, Turkey). He was executed by the Romans when he refused to renounce his faith in Jesus Christ.

St. Polycarp's icon, which features his execution, is on the left side of the church. St. Polycarp was executed by being burned at stake. The fire, however, did not even touch the holy man. Some accounts even say that the fire made an arch over St. Polycarp. Seeing that fire is not working, the executioners stabbed him and that's when he died.

According to the marker below the image of the burning St. Polycarp, Cabuyao Church is the first church in the Philippines that was dedicated to St. Polycarp as its patron saint.

Aside from St. Polycarp, the church's facade also features the icons of St. Vincent Ferrer and Sto. Domingo.

Near the icon of the burning St. Polycarp is the icon of St. Clare of Assisi. The image of St. Clare is more fitting to the history of Cabuyao Church since it was under the care of the Franciscans for a long time. Also, near the church is the Poor Clare Monastery.

In front of the church is the image of Mama Mary, standing on the "Tomb of the Unborn".

The "Tomb of the Unborn" is dedicated to the babies killed through abortion. It is the Church's public denunciation of abortion.

What I like about Cabuyao Church is the big tree in its front yard. It is massive and its leaves provide the much needed shade.

I bet that this tree is much older than the many inhabitants of Cabuyao.

What astounds me about this church is its old bell tower with trees or shrubs growing on it.

The scene of plants growing on the massive adobe blocks has some beauty in it. It is like a silent struggle between nature and man's creation.

Below the old bell tower is the old bell of Cabuyao Church.

The bell is broken and bears the text "REYNA DE SMO ROSARIO" and "CURA PARROCO …"

The old bell of Cabuyao was restored through the help of Parlatone Club of Cabuyao and was installed beside the bell tower on April 17, 2019.;'

The bell is an important part of Cabuyao's history. So, it was placed as the central element of the seal of Cabuyao City.

There is a legend in Cabuyao that claims that Cabuyao Church once had a golden bell. One day, the bell suddenly went missing. Most probably it was stolen. People believe that the bell was thrown in a river or in Laguna de Bay and is now lost to the people of Cabuyao.

Incidents about missing treasures and precious things are somewhat common in Cabuyao Church. One of such incidents is the diggings made by the members of the Philippine Constabulary (PC) in 1972, which was the year when Marcos declared Martial Law. The diggings in and around the church were conducted for two month and the townsfolk claimed that the PC unearthed treasures hidden by the Japs during the war. It is not surprising that Cabuyao Church caught the attention of the greedy elements of PC since this church because it was used by the Japanese as infirmary for wounded soldiers and stable for horses during the War.

Another missing treasures are its antique images and baroque accouterments that went missing during the renovation of the church. Some towns folks say that the antique images were taken to some homes for "safekeeping".

It is unfortunate that I was not able to enter Cabuyao Church this time. Well, at least this latest visit gave me a new perspective about this church.

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Collect Prayer for St. Polycarp

God of all creation, who were pleased to give the Bishop Saint Polycarp a place in the company of the Martyrs, grant, through his intercession, that sharing with him in the chalice of Christ, we may rise through the Holy Spirit to eternal life. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

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Visita Iglesia is a Catholic tradition of visiting seven or fourteen churches during Maundy Thursday. For each day, this Holy Week, I will feature one church as a sort of virtual Visita Iglesia.

Unfortunately, due to the pandemic and the lockdowns, I was only able to visit three churches. So, for this year's virtual Visita Iglesia I can only feature 3 churches, namely:

Palm Sunday: St. Polycarp Church in Cabuyao City

Holy Monday: St. Francis Church in Ortigas, Mandaluyong

- - -

Read about my previous visit to Cabuyao Church in 2017.

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References:

1. St. Polycarp Parish - Cabuyao official website

2. Catholic Culture for Collect Prayer for St. Polycarp