Monday, November 26, 2012

CHRISTMAS TREES IN MANILA 2012

I just happen to attend conventions and workshops in Manila this Christmas season and I noticed that the Christmas trees in the places I've been to are the traditional Christmas trees with red and gold and other colorful balls. 

From Wikipedia, this is what they say about the Christmas Tree!
A Christmas tree is a decorated tree, usually an evergreen conifer such as pine or fir, traditionally associated with the celebration of Christmas. An artificial Christmas tree is an object made to resemble such a tree, usually made from polyvinylchloride (PVC).
The tree was traditionally decorated with edibles such as apples, nuts or dates. In the 18th century, it began to be illuminated by candles, which with electrification could also be replaced by Christmas lights. Today, there is a wide variety of traditional
ornaments
, such as garland, tinsel, and candy canes.An angel or
star may be placed at the top of the tree, to represent the host of angels or the Star of Bethlehem from the Nativity.
The custom of the Christmas tree developed in early modern Germany with predecessors that can be traced to the 16th and possibly the 15th century. It acquired popularity beyond Germany during the second half of the 19th century.[1] The Christmas tree has also been known as the "Yule-tree", especially in discussions of its folkloristic origins.[2][3]

I'd like to share some of the Christmas trees I've seen around Manila (only where I went to...no extra effort to look for it!)... 

Century Park Hotel.
Very tall pine tree with colorful Christmas balls and oval lighted lanterns with the effect of jewels.


Heritage Hotel.
Another very tall pine tree with red and gold Christmas balls and ribbon garland... very classical tree!
The theme for Heritage Hotel this year is the Jungle Safari but they separated this from the Christmas Tree.
Heritage Christmas Tree by day
Heritage Christmas Tree by night
Manila Hotel.
The centrally displayed tall pine tree with red and gold Christmas balls, the Nutcracker and huge candy canes, including wreaths with red and gold balls.
The theme of Manila Hotel this Christmas is the Nutcracker Christmas.
 








Richmonde Hotel
The classic pine tree with red and gold Christmas balls and red, gold and green glittering fern-like leaves.
The other theme they have are the gingerbread houses and they, indeed smelled of cinnamon!
And of course, the grand staircase was also beautifully adorned!




It is also so nice to see the Christmas trees so traditionally decorated again with reds, greens and golds and brightened by the fine Christmas lights , tinsels and garlands!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

GIRARDELLI DARK CHOCOLATE WITH ORANGE FILLING

I just like to share the chocolates given by my friend, Dr. Nenette G. 

This time, I received Ghirardelli chocolates!
Here are things I gathered about Ghirardelli from Wikipedia with this link:
The Ghirardelli Chocolate Company is a United States division of Swiss confectioner Lindt & Spr√ľngli. The company was founded by and is named after Italian chocolatier Domenico Ghirardelli, who, after working in South America, moved to California. The Ghirardelli Chocolate Company was incorporated in 1852, and is the second-oldest chocolate company in the United States, after Baker's Chocolate.

I also have a link about Lindt & Sprungli: http://inpinaystummy.blogspot.com/2012/07/taste-of-switzerland-lindt-and-sprungli.html


Here are shots of these dark chocolate with orange filling!

And I also tasted the one with mint filling!

I am quite lucky to be given these sweet chocolates. Hope you are, too!


THE VIKINGS AND BUFFET 101 (MOA) QUEUE

I remember the long queue when we were looking for a restaurant in HongKong with this link:  http://inpinaysfootsteps.blogspot.com/2012/01/taste-of-hongkong-din-tai-fung.html  and the line was too long so we gave up. It seems a culture in HongKong to really wait even for more than an hour just to eat in the restaurant of their choice.

Last night, some friends invited me and the places Vikings and Buffet 101 were mentioned. My friends actually preferred Buffet 101 for the more varied choices and more fruits, they said. 

I have been to Buffet 101 several times. But, I read it in the blog somewhere that folks were raving about the Vikings restaurant so I guess I was curious and decided on Vikings.

So here we are in Vikings:



Lo, and behold! The "super-est" queue ever especially in the Philippines!

Well, we found out they were serving No. 5 in a line of 45! Wow! I guess it was practical to find another place. I just had to peek in the place, though!
of course, the VIKING longship!

So, I have to waive the chance to experience Viking's. So, here is our pose for posterity.
We moved to Buffet 101 but I was really wondering why there is no queue at all! I know the place is good! Here is a link to my previous visit to Buffet 101: 
http://inpinaystummy.blogspot.com/2012/02/taste-of-manila-buffet-101.html
So if you want to read more about Buffet 101 and see more pictures, please click the above site!

Here is the price comparison:

My experiences with Buffet 101 have all been very good so this place was fine with me. 
They said the ambience was so five-star except for the sounds around with everyone just enjoying the company of their family and friends.
I enjoyed our Buffet 101 dinner and in fact, there were too many excellent choices for our own good!

And, for me, the people we are with, is always more important and the place and the food are the "toppings on the cake" to make the experience better.

Monday, November 19, 2012

REMINISCING HALLOWEEN IN CINCINNATI

I was going over my iPhoto library and found some old pictures which I scanned sometime ago.

I was actually thinking of Thanksgiving in the US but instead, I found Halloween... a bit too late, though!

I just want to share some pictures with the pumpkins...
What is a pumpkin?
From Wikipedia, pumpkin is a gourd-like squash of the genus Cucurbita and the family Cucurbitaceae (which also includes gourds).[1] It commonly refers to cultivars of any one of the species Cucurbita pepoCucurbita mixtaCucurbita maxima, and Cucurbita moschata, and is native to North America. They typically have a thick, orange or yellow shell, creased from the stem to the bottom, containing the seeds and pulp. Pumpkins are widely grown for commercial use, and are used both in food and recreation. Pumpkin pie, for instance, is a traditional part of Thanksgiving meals in the United States, and pumpkins are frequently carved as decorations around Halloween. A pumpkin that has a little face carved in it and hollowed out and decorated with candles inside is known as a jack o'lantern; these are often used at Halloween, for example, to decorate windows.
We visit the pumpkin patch, with the very rustic tractors and pumpkins of all sizes... then, we get to choose the pumpkin. How did we choose? If I remember right, we just chose a pumpkin shape which we would like to carve later...
Here we are at Burger Farm surrounded by thousands of pumpkins...with George using his surgical skills and voila! the carved pumpkin, they call Jack-0-lantern!!!
More about Burger Farm where we got the pumpkins...http://www.burgerfarms.com/aboutus.htm
From Wikipedia:  The most beautiful yards in Cincinnati come from Burger Farm and Garden Center ! Since 1904, Burger Farm has been family owned and operated 4 generations deep. It started off as a Dairy Farm and to this day still has seasonal farm animals. We aren't your typical garden center!


Come and visit our newly expanded 64,000 square feet of covered greenhouse and shopping area. Burger Farm and Garden Center is open rain or shine. 

I miss the pumpkins and the colors of Autumn!!!

NEW CLASSIFICATION OF GENERAL HOSPITALS IN THE PHILIPPINES 2012

I got this New Classification of General Hospitals  - PH 2012 from our Corporate Planning consultant Dr. R. Joson's blog, ROJoson's Writings on Hospital Administration with this link: 
http://rojosonwritingsonhospitaladministration.wordpress.com/2012/11/16/new-classification-of-general-hospitals-in-ph-2012/
and also from the DOH home page with this link: 



A big question during the Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines, Inc. (PHAPI) Convention is whether this is a re-classification or a downgrade...

AND how this would have an impact on PhilHealth claims for the hospitals and patients!

An update is that there is a three-year moratorium for hospitals to prepare for the change.

We will observe how this change can affect the Healthcare picture in the Philippines!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

FORT PILAR CANDLES AND ANECDOTES

When I blogged about Fort Pilar, I myself never really gave extra meaning about the candles other than it being a symbol of thanksgiving and the red dragon candles was just an accepted tradition.

Interestingly, it was through the Commex that made me wonder about the Red Dragon candles. It has to be through other people's eyes for us to see beyond what we see as day-to-day!

I thought, "who should I ask?"... it seems to me, the  elderly (as I said, Pardon me!) candle store owners had been there forever and would be the best persons to answer this.

I met a beautiful lady with the name of Mely (of Mely's Love), who shared a lot about this. They say Mely is usually the spokeswoman when TV crews from Manila would come to interview them. She is the daughter of Pinang who was one of the candle vendors from way back when!

When I bought my first candles from her, she automatically said, "BLUE FOR OFFERING TO MAMA MARY, RED FOR LOVE"... "And if you have received your blessings, RED IS FOR THANKSGIVING"!
I was amused at how lively and animated she was. .. and how observant! She asked me if I was a lawyer or a judge! What!?! 

The candle vendors mentioned that the new Candle Colors previously posted was adapted from Cagayan De Oro... must be from the Divine Mercy Shrine!

I asked her and also the ladies from Meng's Candle about the red dragon candles and they shared that it started with the Chinese devotees who usually dream of the Lady of the Pillar and who were bestowed blessings!  They come from all over to offer candles. These devotees bring the Chinese Red Dragon candles especially during the eve of the Fiesta.
Our Lady of the Pillar is known to be MIRACULOUS!
As far as they can remember, even during the 50s and maybe even earlier, gigantic red dragon candles are placed on each side of the present entrance gates with the diameter of electric posts and about twice taller than people and these huge candles are continually lighted.

Lots have changed since those days... including economics, change of Shrine administrators and more likely, security and safety issues, so that there is now a fence around the shrine and the candle owners have been moved to Plaza Del Pilar, which is actually a better place!

As far as I remember, the size of the red dragon candles have also decreased, but I know the devotion has not!

An interesting story told by Ma'am Mely is how the Lady of the Pillar is miraculous and has shown apparitions to her mom, Manang Pinang and herself. She can remember her Mom told her about seeing the Lady giving bird seeds to the birds as if reminding them to keep the birds in the area. When she was a little girl, they would come to the Shrine at about 4 a.m. and there is a very cute little boy playing who suddenly disappears. Her mom would tell her just to go straight and keep quiet and just pray. 
She also has seen how a miracle of healing has happened in their own family and the sick little child on the verge of death is now a healthy family man!

Another story they share is that even our brother and sister Muslims come and offer candles to the Lady of the Pillar still for the same reason that they dream of her and also for miracles that have happened which they attribute to her. They say, these Muslims come and look for "Sitti Maryam". They know about this because they have bought the candles from the candle vendors themselves!!!

My conversations with Mely and the other candle vendors have been heartwarming and interesting and has made me look at many things in different ways. I was so happy to learn so much from them... including the story about the birds which I have blogged earlier!!!