Monday, January 31, 2011


Few days have passed and it is amazing to see how people can immediately smile after a physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually exhausting ordeal! They say this is a very positive Filipino trait, and I believe this is really so and well demonstrated by everyone in the hospital.
It is unimaginable to know that something as devastating as this could ever happen. Never in one’s wildest dreams could we even think of this happening to us! 
It is relieving to know that the EXPLOSION was not a terroristic activity. It was due to an unusual fireworks explosion, unfortunately, the fireworks were inside a 40 footer van and a 20 footer van which exploded!
It is sad to know that the “great big series of bangs” should not have happened in the first place. This is the city proper and fireworks warehouses such as this shouldn’t have been allowed in this area at all. 

It is comforting to know that people REALLY CARE.
...How God has given us ADRENALINE and REFLEX ACTIONS as ways to protect ourselves and react accordingly. 
...How leaders stayed on to do their part in a very unimaginable and confusing situation!
...How doctors continued to care for the patients even in very difficult surroundings!
...How the staff cared for their patients inspite of the unknown dangers it may pose on themselves! 
...How a nurse could cover a sick child from the flying broken glass pieces and be hurt in the process! 
...How they could think of covering patients with leaves just to keep the patients covered from the scorching heat! 
...How a pregnant tech could still think of the patient’s ventilator first before her own well-being resulting in premature labor! 
...How everyone put patients’ well-being before themselves!
...How even the injured staff continued to help out! 
...How someone can carry the hospital bed or the oxygen tanks! 
...How they can try to comfort the shocked patients and families with kind words inspite of their own uncertainties! 
...How the patients remained strong inspite of the ordeal! 
...How volunteer firefighters, paramedics, policemen, rescuers and other civil servants extended their services knowing the dangers they may encounter! 
...How family and friends who cared expressed their concern by phone or FB! 
...How looters and other bad elements were prevented from preying the helpless!
...How much everyone prayed with us and for us!
It is heartwarming to know that everyone have immediately regained their HIGH SPIRITS and have done their best for the recovery process. 
...How the top management have dealt with the disaster! 
...How everyone tried to assess their own areas and clean it up after even when they were weary after the incident!
...How those off-duty still came to help out! 
...How even ex-staff have come to extend their help! 
...How maintenance have tried to fixed up the facility fast so that it doesn’t look so depressing now! 
...How many patients want to come back!
...How the responsible parties have made know their intentions to help! 
These are just some of the stories, but it all boils down to LOVE AND SERVICE! 
There may have been less happy tales but that only comprises a small group and hopefully, did not negatively affect the majority.
We also have heard of some less helpful reactions from others (external forces) where money is the prime root, but we hope some realizations may be made along the way!  
After all the shattered glass have been swept away... windows and doors replaced... all the fallen ceilings fixed ... giddy nerves calmed... uncertainties answered... disrupted operations trying to get back into place... and all the smiles back in everyone’s faces, we know we have a loving God who is taking care of us and protecting us!
We have learned so much from this experience! 
... That all material things may disappear in an instant... so everyone should be prepared in every way!
... That it is not the end of the world...and there is always a solution no matter how grave the problem is.
... That fears and anxieties of the "near-death" experience and the unknown are natural reactions...but let's spring back to reality so better things can happen!
... That people care...and let’s appreciate each other more.
... That each one has his role to play and have to play it well.
... That we pray for guidance and enlightenment as we do what we have to do as we start anew.
... That there is no other way but UP!
... That THANKS may not be enough...but this comes from the bottom of our hearts and we know you all have a place in heaven.
... and That God is good all the time!  


After talking about explosions, here is the beautiful side of what fireworks are there for. Fireworks mark grand celebrations of whatever kind = = New Year, weddings, birthdays, inaugurations, etc.! And of course, highlight the end of the evenings in the happiest place in earth, Disneyland and other well known theme parks!   

I was in Florida the Summer of 2010, and really very lucky since I was given by a high school schoolmate, through my cousin, Disney passes for three people for three days! Just right, since I was there with my mom and my son.

I'd like to share with you some of my fireworks shots which I had to find a way to do since it was a really rainy late afternoon with lightning to boot! 

Did you know that Florida is called the "Lightning Capital of the World"? They say that even if Florida is not actually No. 1 when it comes to lightning strikes, the Sunshine State does get a lot of activity! Sunshine State vs. Lightning Capital sounds ironic, right?!?

I was able to catch this lightning...see everyone in raincoats!

Here's a longer lightning image but definitely with motion in the rest of the shot! 
This is Cinderella's castle at night before the fireworks...I initially thought this was Cinderella's castle then thought it was Sleeping Beauty's Castle and finally, I read that this is indeed Cinderella's castle in Magic Kingdom! But this is where you meet the princesses and along the way, Minnie and Mickey...Pluto...Donald Duck are just around!

Encounter princesses from the royal realms of Disney films
 such as Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella
Mickey and Minnie welcomes us to Disney Florida! Good they were "stuck" in a corner due to the rain... and of course, the queue was shorter also because the night was so wet!
Luckily, the rain stopped about an hour before the fireworks display or it would have been cancelled...and its was all that I wanted to see!

Here are the following fireworks pictures which I am quite happy about! No edits from Photoshoppe or otherwise! Some of the pictures show smoke rather than fireworks and those are effects of the rain...
fireworks initially muted by the rain!


the expanse the fireworks display, thus, quite difficult to choose close-up or wide angle!
I love how the castle changes color! It added to the drama of the display!!!

this is actually how far I was... I stayed away to be able to get the panorama...

how little the Castle looks beneath the lights!
The sky cleared up a bit, only with fabulous lights to watch!

And at the end of the show, the sky was filled with a kaleidoscope of light with smoke! See all the spectators in rain coat, all in awe!!!
Rain came back after the show and we were "trapped" in Cinderella's castle until 2 am (extended hours that night) when the parks closed and we just had to run in the rain...Whew! it was really cold!
ISN'T IT UNIQUE THAT THE PARK CLOSED AT 2 A.M. So timely for us. They say it was a one-day graduation gift... to extend Disney park hours!!!
I was waiting to get more lightning shots,
 but it seems that if we are really waiting, it is harder to get one!
Belle's silhouette... the alleys were dark and the streets wet... it was  an eerie scene.                                                            
Not everyone gets the chance to see Disney in this light!
light is from lightning...
It was still a lot of fun but a different kind of magic in Magic Kingdom!
Fortunately, no one got sick and we still had lots of energy for the other parks!

Friday, January 28, 2011

OF EXPLOSIONS...AND EXPLOSIONS!!! (The day the earth shook!)

As explosions happen in ZC, the first thing that comes to mind is terrorism! But it isn't always that way....sometimes very unusual events happen and even if we open our eyes, mind and heart, we are still boggled by the "why?"s, "how?"s, " what ifs" of this occurrence!

The explosion really shook the building (which is about 20 to 50 meters away!)..and the hardiflex of the ceiling fell on my friend...but she is fine now! I covered another friend with me, but I myself didn't really know if what I did was right! She cried of fear and of the unknown since she is not from the place!

We thought after the first explosion, things would be fine...but no! there were several more and that's why patients had to be transferred to a safer place...and eventually, that was outside of the hospital! Miraculously, considering the difficulty for the patients, nothing bad happened! As we look back, God is so good because mostly, casualties were just near hits and superficial injuries and even the transferred patients were resilient. 

It was mostly physical destruction of the building and cars...and emotional shock from each person's experience.

They advised me to drive out of the carpark since the explosions continued. First of all, it was a blessing that my car was parked at the other end of the parking area and it was easy for me to go out.

But outside, where all of the activity was transferred, all the more we appreciate the efforts of the staff who did their best to help the patients out, and of course, all the leaders, civil servants, rescuers and health workers who all did their part.

But, I'd like to share that as we left the hospital and I knew I couldn't do anything there, all I could think of was asking God's help and we proceeded to the Carmelite monastery.
(Did you know, even some pieces of paper fell at the Carmelite grounds and that is really very far away!)

Actually, the convent was already closed, but Sr. Dilla still welcomed us. While we were praying, we could hear the beautiful voices of the sisters...
Lots of thoughts also streamed through my mind...
~~~one of which is how temporary material things are, and they could just disappear in a click!
~~~I worried for the patients and how they were the staff was helping others, but they, too, needed to care for themselves...for the top management that they may know what to do...and for rescuers that they remain safe!
~~~I also thought of how the Lord makes each of us his instrument and we should pray for enlightenment that we could perform our roles well.
Then, I became less depressed and with a lighter feeling...especially that there were more people praying with us and for us, especially the Carmelites!

Miracles do happen...and even if we are devastated by today's disaster, there are still so many other things we thank the Lord  for and we should open our hearts for more meaningful insights we may gain from this experience!

Here is a picture of the front door of our house which is about 300 meters away! So you can imagine what happens 20 to 50 meters away!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


This is not intended as a wedding or food blog but I couldn't help share this to you...

I attended a friend's wedding this January 2011 and want to share some interesting things about the event held at the Lantaka Hotel by the Sea here in Zamboanga City! The wedding is an intercultural wedding with an American, Damian and a Filipina, Elisa...

I wasn't  the photographer but I couldn't help grab my camera when the Jambangan dancers danced for the couple, Elisa and Damian with the Zamboanga sunset as the backdrop. 
The program was so timely, right after the pre-dinner cocktails.

isn't the Zamboanga sunset so captivating at the backdrop!

note the Lantaka at the Lantaka Hotel
Then followed a surprise fireworks display which certainly fascinated the couple and guests. 
No, there wasn't any terroristic activity from the boat offshore!
the surprised bride!

Thanks and Joy for the lovely surprise!!!

Then, we were in awe when we saw the seven-tier cake as we entered the Roofdeck of Lantaka Hotel for the reception proper, and the grand cake really matched the ambience of the place.

The cake was a work of love from Elisa's aunt, Nora of the then "Cakes and Confection by Nora"
However, since she's been in the US for about 4 years now, we've missed her cakes a lot.

She actually made more than a hundred fifty (150) small fruit cakes with fondant icing and beautiful edible rose, ribbon and fans as toppings on each one. 
You can really see the detail of the design...but, it is no wonder, since Nora is a certified Wilton instructor in the US! 
Each family were given the cakes as a giveaway...everyone was so happy!!!
cake top!
I love this fan!

... and this flower

gift like with a ribbon on top

color of the room changes.... from red...

... to purple...
... to yellow!
see the design on the fondant icing!
with Nora, the baker and decorator ... you can see how each cake was made with love

Here are other pictures of the wedding and some traditions here in the Philippines...
pinning of the money

getting of the garter, of course!

"I got it!"

Nora and Arnold!

see how the Roofdeck is transformed...Lantaka is known for its great interior design!
enjoying the messages and toast!

toast from Uncle Jon and Aunt Elsie

Mom's message...
dance with the Father!

but never forget the KISS!
Weddings are always beautiful... love of the couple... love of family and friends... reunions... beauty... celebrations... happiness !!!