Monday, 30 March 2009

My Second Honors.....

For the nth time of the day, Shelu called me and reminded me that I should be present during the recognition day. She was also happy to inform me that his Lolo, my father, would be coming from Bansalan to pin her ribbons and put that medal on her neck. As you see, Shelu got the second honors. As she told me, she could have been the first honors had she submitted her homework early.

As I looked at her as she joyfully joins her classmates, I remember the days when my little princess was a very shy, reserved girl. When we used to live in England, her teachers really thought that this cute little girl is mute and deaf. She speaks English but when in the company of strangers, it is next to impossible to let her talk. It really took a long time before she would talk to her classmates. She even had her enrolled in the rainbow class. Rainbow class is a group of pupils that could not read and are considered slow learners. However, in few weeks, they learned that Shelu is a fast learner and the best reader in the class. Her teachers found out that she is just observing the things around her and once she felt secured, she turned out what ordinary girls like her would do.

As they fall in line in preparation for their entrance to their assigned seats, she couldn’t stop that smile in his face and constantly waving at me. I can feel her joy, her happiness that in her own little way, she brings happiness to her family by being an honor pupil. As they walked towards their seat, she waved at me once more as they passed by the bench where I am sitting.

As they took their seats, they giggled, chuckled, laughed... maybe that’s how their cute little girls act when they are with their friends. They seem to be very busy with nothing. They stand, they run, they sit, they simply do anything and they really find it difficult to settle down.

As her name was called, I heard the loud applause from her classmates, parents, and teachers. But deep within me, the applause is louder. To see my little princess received her medal from their principal in the stage and hand it to her Lolo for pinning is everything for me. I couldn’t ask for more. I just close my eyes and said a little prayer of God’s blessing when He gave this little angel.

As other people are getting busy with their own too, I look forward to the days that she will grow up and will have her own family too. God bless her. She is one of my inspirations to work harder in order to give them the best education I could have for them.

We end the day with where else, but Jollibee. I hate this place, their food, their service. I hate everything in this restaurant but the kids loved them. In this time, kids rule. It is my way of giving them recognition of the things they have done.

She, my cute little angel, keep up the good work...

Thursday, 26 March 2009

our kids......

It is with heavy heart that I visit the kids at school today. They are having their practice for tomorrow’s recognition day. Kids as they are, have no idea on what their parents have gone through. Having been living apart from them for almost 3 weeks now, life seems to be full of misery and emptiness. For people who have children, children are everything. They are non-negotiable, priceless and most of all, precious to our sights.

What I felt this morning is not different. Being away from the kids is an agony. Shelu, my only daughter, was quick to see me. She ran towards me and joyfully passed on the very great news, she got the second honors. She was full of life and happiness. I’m sure of it because she is very close to me. We are almost inseparable. Every morning when she woke, she would always look for me. God! I missed my kids!!!!

My beloved bunso, chantee, had different response when he saw me. He really wanted to run towards me but he was sitting beside her teacher. He was hesitant, maybe because her teacher might not allow him to stand up and go anywhere else. But just the same, the smile on his face when he saw me touched my inner soul. Here’s my beloved son, waving at me, with his patented smile. The two kuyas, koko and Keith, just like ordinary teen age boys, never like the idea of kissing their parents in front of their classmates. While koko try to ignore, Keith approached me with is usual big smile and hugged me. I really missed them so much.

I just have to contend myself watching them during their practice. They giggle, chuckle with their classmates. How I wish their mother could see how happy they are as they mingle and play with the other children.

As I walked away from the stage where they had their practice, my mind flashes back to the night where Keith told me about his plans for the future. He really wanted to be a pilot, to fulfill his dad’s ambition. That one day when he will have family of his own, he would by a very big house where his mommy and daddy wall both live with them. It is his idea that the family he loves so much will stay closer than ever. I just can’t help but felt the tears from my eyes. I could not make his dream come true, for his mommy and daddy had separated ways. There are irreconcilable differences.

As I reflected these things on my mind, it brings me to the time when I am still a cadet. We cannot always have everything because life is never complete. It is the way of realizing that the somebody up there do remind us always to remember him always. For it is during these trying times that we bend our knees and simply ask for a little bit more time to hold on and move on.

Kids are our life. Without them, we lose the reason for living....

Monday, 12 January 2009

of retirements and lasting marriages

As Louis K. Anspacher had said, Marriage is that relation between man and woman in which the independence is equal, the dependence mutual, and the obligation reciprocal.

Last January 9, I attended the most memorable retirement ceremony in my life. Though I was hesitant at first to attend it since I have known ceremonies like that as boring as never-ending praises for the retirees. it became a situation where one would take a look on marriage on a different view.

Director Rudy Razul vowed out from government service after 41 years to give time for himself and his wife a chance to enjoy the few remaining years of their lives together. He and his wife, manang carmen has been married for 38 years. quite a feat these days wherein marriages barely last 10 years. Most of us who knew him were caught by surprise why he decided to retire when he has still 3 years before reaching compulsory retirement age of 65. For all we know, he still healthy and known for his intelligence and wisdom in leading people. he is a great example of how government civil servants would be, honest and dedicated to duty.

on the other hand, the incoming regional director coming in replace him is an old, familiar face. Director Rene Libunao served as assistant regional director in the late 90s in this region and kumpare of the Director. they are close friends and grew up together in the department. While Director Libunao was sad that his good friend is going to retire, he was very thankful and take it as heaven's blessing considering he will be having his post here in Davao city, the place where his family lived. he has been assigned in different parts of the country in the last 8 years, leaving his wife in charged of the children. he further told the attendees that there were times when Helen, his wife, would ask when will there suffering ends. same as with Director RAzul, they have been married for 38 years too.

Initially, my thoughts of the ceremony is about saying goodbyes to the outgoing and goodluck to the outgoing. but rather it came to me as reflections on how marriages would last. it entails sacrifices and believing that glorification comes after sacrifices. deep in my heart, i envy these 2 gentlemen. they have a solid marriage and they have someone to lend on when the tough gets going. how emotional and touching to hear those kind words they utter for their loving wife. in a nutshell, it became a reflection for me on where am i leading to. where is this road i am traveling now lead into. after being married for 15 years, me and my wife decided to end it. yup, it hurts to the max level knowing that you will be going to the distance alone. Danny DeVito said in the The War of the Roses, There are two dilemmas that rattle the human skull: How do you hang on to someone who won't stay? And how do you get rid of someone who won't go?

I found it hard to sleep that night. it goes me back to the times when i was still in the academy when my tactical officer , capt. randolph delfin, always remind us cadets. he said, there is no amount of success can compensate one's failure in marriage. i took what he said by heart, enduring difficult situations just to make my marriage work. but not all we want in this life are granted. some say trials are bound to make us stronger. but are these still trials? because i felt these are finals. marriages are not designed for break-ups but sticking together.

in the final analysis, the man up there never ceases to reminds us of what stuff we should be made of, even in different occasions and different times. we may fail in the first time but there is still hope that we can be happy the second time around. most people would say, in everything, we should move on, even when moving on is the most difficult thing to do. for those whose marriages who still intact, never waste it for the curse and stigma remains forever.

Some marriages break up, and some do not, and in our world you can usually explain the former better than the latter. ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Second Neurotic's Notebook, 1966

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

chantee's birthday

31st of december is a special day for the family. not only because it happens to be the day wherein we will cross over to the new year the following day but simply because it's chantee's birthday, our beloved bunso. we thought chantee will become a new year baby but came short of 45 minutes before the clock strikes 12 midnight in 2003.

this year's birthday is different from the previous years. we decided it to have it in bansalan due to chantee's wish that it should in his lolo's house. another thing is that, for the time in the family, we have roasted sheep. having a lechon karnero is bit of a sacrifice. we went as far as malita, which is 150 kms from bansalan to get our sheep. it entails having the animal inside the car because the seller warned us that the animal would die if tied on the roof of the car. just imagine the stink we endure while we travel back home. we just didn't realize that the worst is yet to come. the stink of the animal remained in the car for several days. it took me hours of dry cleaning the car but to no avail. finally, we resorted on having the floor mat of the car washed using car shampoo.

birthdays in our family is a very complicated occasion. everybody is busy doing something, ranging from food preparation, cakes, decorations, invitations and everything.... it also means informing all relatives that there is a birthday party coming or else, somebody's heart is broken by being left uninvited.

yup, chantee's birthday made a difference for him. he was indeed very happy and keep on telling people in the neighborhood that it is his birthday. in the afternoon, he was busy sweeping the surroundings for trash, helping his lolo cleaning the house. someday, when he is finally grown up and having life of is own, he may realize that one day in his life, we are busy doing everything just to grant his wish for a memorable birthday in his lolo's house. he is just lucky. we didnt have birthday like he do.....

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

our own kopi luwak

Kopi Luwak (pronounced [ˈkopi ˈluwak]) or Civet coffee is coffee made from coffee berries which have been eaten by and passed through the digestive tract of the Asian Palm Civet (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus). The civets eat the berries, but the beans inside pass through their system undigested. This process takes place on the islands of Sumatra, Java and Sulawesi in the Indonesian Archipelago, in the Philippines (where the product is called Kape Alamid) and in East Timor (locally called kafé-laku). Vietnam has a similar type of coffee, called weasel coffee, which is made from coffee berries which have been regurgitated by local weasels. In actuality the "weasel" is just the local version of the Asian Palm Civet.

Kopi is the Indonesian word for coffee, and luwak is a local name of the Asian Palm Civet. The raw, red coffee berries are part of its normal diet, along with insects, small mammals, small reptiles, eggs and nestlings of birds, and other fruit. The inner bean of the berry is not digested, but it has been proposed that enzymes in the stomach of the civet add to the coffee's flavor by breaking down the proteins that give coffee its bitter taste. The beans are defecated still covered in some inner layers of the berry. The beans are washed, and given only a light roast so as to not destroy the complex flavors that develop through the process. Some sources claim that the beans may be regurgitated instead of defecated.

In early days, the beans would be collected in the wild from a 'latrine', or a specific place where the civet would defecate as a means to mark its territory, and these latrines would be a predictable place for local gatherers to find the beans. More commonly today, captured civets are fed raw berries, the feces produced are then processed and the coffee beans offered for sale.

The resulting coffee is said to be like no other. It has a rich, heavy flavour with hints of caramel or chocolate. Other terms used to describe it are earthy, musty and exotic. The body is almost syrupy and it's very smooth.

One must wonder about the circumstances that brought about the first cup of Kopi Luwak coffee. Who would think to (or even want to) collect and roast beans out of animal feces? Perhaps a native figured it was easier to collect the beans from the ground this way, rather than having to work harder and pick them from the trees? We'll likely never know. But because of the strange method of collecting, there isn't much Kopi Luwak produced in the world. The average total annual production is only around 500 pounds of beans.

Because of the rarity of this coffee, the price is quite outrageous. If you can find a vendor, the current cost for a pound of Kopi Luwak is around $300 or more. Some more adventurous coffee houses are selling it by the cup, but you won't likely find it at your local coffee shop just yet. The coffee isn't so spectacular that it's truly worth that amount of money. You are paying for the experience of enjoying such an unusual and rare delicacy.

Kopi Luwak is the most expensive coffee in the world, selling for between $120 and $600 USD per pound, and is sold mainly in Japan and the United States. It is increasingly becoming available elsewhere, though supplies are limited: only 1,000 pounds (450 kg) at most make it into the world market each year (Pg 23, The Gospel According to Starbucks; Sweet). One small cafe, the Heritage Tea Rooms, in the hills outside Townsville in Queensland, Australia has Kopi Luwak coffee on the menu at A$50.00 (=US$48.00) per cup, selling approximately four cups a week, which has gained nationwide Australian press.[1]. In April 2008, the brasserie of Peter Jones department store in London's Sloane Square starting selling a blend of Kopi Luwak and Blue Mountain called Caffe Raro for £50 (=US$99.00) a cup.

A hypothesis to justify this coffee's reputation proposes that the beans are of superior quality before they are even ingested. At any given point during a harvest, some coffee berries are not quite- or over-ripe, while others are just right. The palm civet evolved as an omnivore that naturally eats fruit and passes undigested material as a natural link to disperse seeds in a forest ecosystem. Where coffee plants have been introduced into their habitat, civets only forage on the most ripe berries, digest the fleshy outer layer, and later excrete the seeds eventually used for human consumption. Thus, when the fruit is at its peak, the seeds (or beans) within are equally so, with the expectation that this will come through in the taste of a freshly-brewed cup. As this may be true for the beans derived from wild-collected civet feces, farm raised civets are likely fed beans of varying quality and ripeness, so one would expect the taste of farm-raised beans to be less.

Our farm is located in Bansalan, Davao del Sur near Mt. Apo National Park,. because we have our own coffee farm and civets, we can guarantee that our product is 100% pure kopi luwak. for those who are interested to do business with us, i suggest you should visit our farm and see for yourselves we produced our own kopi luwak. what makes our civet coffee different is the variety of our coffee itself. while others have the arabica or robusta.variety, our farm is planted with the catimur coffee variety which is of higher quality than arabica and robusta. catimur is better. the color of its fruits or berries itself is yummy to the eyes. it close to fuschia pink than red.

For the locals here in bansalan, this coffee is known as kape sa Milo'. Milo' is the native word for civets. for interested persons, you may contact me through my mobile, 0920-7667551 or through my email,

Saturday, 25 October 2008

at the baywalk in davao

this place seems to be an oasis here in davao. people frequently visit this place for varied reasons. to some, it is here they find true peace in busy davao. for some, to feel the fresh breeze which most people believe to be therapeutic. and to others like me, this place is simply like heaven on earth where one can renew our spirits. from this place, you can see the majestic mt. apo on the right side. while right infront is the beautiful island garden city of samal.

One of the reasons that throng of people troop into this place is the love for fishing. yup, most people do enjoy and bring the family together. honestly, its the kids who pulled me into this place because they too, love fishing very much. they developed the love on this while we were still in england. almost all over england, people of all ages spend their saturdays in the lakes and rivers. along the dike of the baywalk, you can see the tandem of fathers and sons, in some cases, fathers and daughters, throwing their hook into the sea. and the joy comes when a fish bites the bait and take the fish out of the water. the laughter, the joy really renews the spirits and strengthened the bond that ties the family together.

at 5 pm, the place is overflowing with people from all walks of life. people vending foodstuffs such as kwek-kwek, juice, etc are busy selling their goods. there are first-timers awed by such project which is initiated by a private person for public use. yet, this person has been restricted to further develop the place. gush, government sucks, really. the famous attraction in the baywalk is the 30- foot statue of david. yes, the world famous statue of david sculptured by michaelangelo. with all its nudity and art, its elicits different comments. others view it as a work of art. to some, it is obscenity. there is also a mini-zoo, of which the ostrich are famous. but what attracts most is the pond full of black-tip sharks. for me, this is the first time i have seen sharks that numerous swimming in the single pond, so close that you can even touch it.

yup, brother, bring our family together there and enjoy the place.

Saturday, 27 September 2008

my father's hometown, trinidad, bohol

ever since i was a kid, my father told me stories of their life in bohol. my father came from a little town in bohol known as trinidad. his stories is all about how nice is it to live in that place. he always mentioned of the river where they always went for fishing and the crocodiles living there. i know my father had a very happy childhood because whenever there is time for us to talk, he always reminisces of the good times he had with his siblings and his cousins. it is a little bit funny though, that we cannot trace our genealogy on my father's side. even older people have no idea who their forefathers are. during the last grand reunion of the Puracan clan held in our great hometown, trinidad, we can only trace up their grandfather's name. nothing more.

during my first visit to our holy ground in 1977, i was full of excitement given the chance to finally see for myself my father's birthplace. add to that the feeling of having my first ride on a boat. the trip to bohol was indeed nice but really difficult. we need to travel to butuan city from davao to catch a boat going to jagna, bohol and another 5 hours of busride on a dirt road going there. i really had a nice time there. people simply walk from one destination to another, sometimes we rode on a karomata. i met a lot of relatives, lot of them. one thing i cannot forget about trinidad is how religious our relatives are. sundays are holy. we got nothing to do but spend the day in the church and we didnt ran out of church activities. i also had experienced the way they conduct the DVCS (daily vacation church school). i really had a lot of fun there.

i took my kids there in 2003 and same with what i felt then, they loved the place. probably it is one of those places wherein people really care for each other, relationships with fellowmen is more important than anything else. as the old adage do remind us, there is no place like your father's hometown.

by the way, here's a little trivia about trinidad.

In 1820 Trinidad was yet a barrio in the northern part of Bohol inhabited by a small group of settlers under the leadership of Macag. It was once named Cabigon but the abundance of ipil trees in the area caused it to be referred to as 'Ipil' thus becoming an offcial name when it became a town.

But Ipil became a barrio when it was annexed to Talibon on October 31, 1903 by virtue of Act 968. Several attempts to reestablish Ipil as municipality failed but in 1947, through the combined efforts of the people led by Juan Gonzales and aided by Sen. Oligarion Clarin, Ipil regained its former status as a town and was renamed Trinidad in honor of the wife of Pres. Manuel A. Roxas who issued the EO No. 80 s. of 1947, restoring the community to its former status as an independent municipality.

Trinidad at a glance
Population: 25683
Number of households: 4707
Land area: 9472 ha
Number of barangays: 20
Distance from Tagbilaran: 98 km

if you are planning to visit bohol, include in your iterinary my father's hometown and you find the real meaning of the word, peace. it is really peaceful in there. everything is within your your reach. it could be you retirement haven. enjoy the place.