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I went to Kyoto University November Festival and tried many sorts of food and goodies. Then I found this Japanese dango-style “Palitaw” sold in an international food stand. Palitaw is a Filipino food/snack made from rice flour topped with grated coconut, sesame seeds and sugar.

The taste was similar but it wasn’t soft or cooked enough. But nice job though! So I guess they made basic dango balls, then added the Filipino-style toppings in the end instead of kinako, anko or glaze sauce.

Amazing.

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At last, we had our mother persuaded on getting a new puppy in the house. The older four dogs have already passed away, sadly, and we’re missing their bustle and energy. Although we had a new one recently, I named her “Bebang”, but one is not just enough. So one night when we arrived at the house after a long time, my mother announced that we have a new puppy.

I didn’t notice it at first. Maybe because of it s black color. But later I was able to see the puppy. She was already big for a puppy, maybe a few weeks more and she will look more of a fully-grown dog. I am glad that I was still able to document her puppy days. I named her Katya but it was later changed to Katkat.

By the way, our dogs are all mongrel. Mongrel dogs are still popular guard dogs in the Philippine households.

I already knew so much stories of hold up along Agham Road, especially in UP-SM North Edsa jeepneys during the brief stops at the intersections. I became even more fearful after hearing personal stories from my co-workers. But they assured me that it would most likely happen during late afternoon to night. However this one happened during noontime, under the scorching heat of the sun.

I wanted to meet up with my sister and do some grocery in SM North Edsa so I rode the UP-SM North Edsa jeepney which is the default transportation route. I sat near the driver because it’s much safer. When I have already seated, I noticed some passengers wearing earphones and their cellphones exposed. I was irritated by that fact because they’re really eye-catchy to the snatchers/hold-uppers. I just prayed and asked for Mama Mary’s intercession for the trip to be safe. There was this image of Her in the jeepney driver’s dashboard and I just constantly looked at Her because I was feeling anxious.

Then came the most agonizing part of the ride: the Agham road intersection. The jeepney stopped several times because of the traffic. Then suddenly a young guy in yellow shirt wearing a Jeje cap came. Actually I didn’t notice him come because my eyes were in front, but I was alarmed by the sudden commotion among my co-passengers. It happened so fast. A bag and a cellphone was taken and the hold-upper ran away quickly. I didn’t know what really happened but the old woman told us that there should have been another backup along with that guy but they didn’t attempt to continue because someone shouted (a young boy selling rags) “Ay! Hold-upper!!” several times and was probably alerted. I remember that the hold-upper even denied while running away. The woman also added that the hold-upper was carrying a knife. Then she kindly scolded the passengers wearing earphones to not wear them again during jeepney rides because they attract snatchers/hold-uppers.

Thank God! The hold-up didn’t happen and no one was hurt! But it’s frustrating that the roads and public vehicles do not feel safe anymore when you should be actually be assured that you are safe, especially at daytimes. Hay.

We had a field trip one time in my archaeology course to the Santa Ana Church, also known as Parish of Our Lady of the Abandoned in Manila. It is a church built and dedicated to Our Lady. That reminds me, yesterday was Mother’s Day. I greet Our Lady a blessed Mother’s Day!

I was told that there were some significant archaeological remains discovered in the church: skeletal and material remains of people dating back to pre-Spanish period. It turns out that the land on which the church was built and beyond was a pre-Spanish cemetery. Nice!

For starters, I took photos of the exterior and interior of the church. The retablo was said to be original and very antique. Of course, the featured imahe is the Our Lady of the Abandoned, above the tabernacle. There was also a room full of statues of saints for devotees. Saint Lorenzo Ruiz, my patron saint, was there too.

Looks like the parish also has a site. Visit it here.

The time has come once again for the narra trees to bloom. Their inflorescences are deep yellow and tiny  which are easily carried by the wind, causing a carpet of yellow flowers to form under these majestic trees. Moreover, they release a certain kind of sweet scent. And it’s a beautiful sight to see. I think  this would be the perfect Philippine version of cherry blossoms in Japan.

These narra trees seem to bloom only during the end of February to March. I know hardly about them so I cannot really tell. Still, they always reminds me of the upcoming summer vacation. And while I was walking towards class and I saw some trees already shedding some flowers, I suddenly remembered the memories of summer last year.

Halimuyak ng mga bulaklak ng narra,
Akay-akay ng maalinsangang hangin,
Tangayin nawa ang masayang ala-ala,
Noong unang nabuo ang isang hangarin.

Rough translation:
Sweet scent of narra flowers,
Drifted by the warm summer wind,
May it take along with it the happy memory,
When the first wish was born.

Things are getting busier now that I am gearing towards graduation. I hope I can manage. But anyway, one time during class, I was suddenly inspired to make a very short poem about my current favorite dessert. Ice scramble! They’re so cheap, that’s why. I like mine with extra helpings of milk powder and marshmallow, and of course, no chocolate syrup added. I buy my ice scramble in a kiosk named “Iskomai” where they named their ice scramble product as “Iskorambol”. Isko for scholar.

Bundok ng pinong yelo na kulay rosas
Tinaktakan ng matamis na pulbong gatas
Saka likidong tsokolate pang ibabaw
Swak na panghimagas sa taong uhaw.

Very rough translation:
Mountain of finely-shaved ice dyed pink
Showered with sweet powdered milk
Then add chocolate syrup to top
Surely a satisfying dessert to a thirsty one.

This year’s lantern parade, in my opinion, was better than last year’s. Lanterns were generally more beautifully and interestingly-designed. Although it’s a bit disappointing that there was no fireworks show in the end which I was very much looking forward to watch. I heard that the money for the fireworks show will be put to better use to donations for the Yolanda typhoon victims which I think was a very good and noble cause.

The parade was already moving when we ran down from Vinzon’s Hall. Maybe just enough time to have a glimpse of the former Ms. Universe runner-up Venus Raj who was with the CSWCD.

We watched the parade in the amphitheater although the view was not that good. It would have been better if the people in the parade turned their lanterns around so that the majority of the audience from the back could see them more clearly.

I think this was the most beautiful float in the entire parade. The float was inspired from the legendary sarimanok of Maranao people. Just look at the intricate details!

Of course, the Fine Arts people had the best stuff. Their theme this year was Filipino folk legends, epics, traditions, etc. which was a very cool choice! I was not able to remember the names of the float but some familiar ones were bulol of the Ifugao, t’nalak dreamweaver of T’boli and wedding tradition of some ethnolinguistic group in Mindanao.

I hope I would still be able next year’s lantern parade.