Many Filipinos do not eat meat during Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. Catholicism is considered as the dominant religion in the Philippines and the largest in Asia as well.  Visita Iglesia is one of the common practices in the country by visiting 8 churches this Holy Week. Many Filipinos have spent time and solemnity together with their own families.

In some other places within the country like in Pampanga, Philippines the devotees and fanatics observe some of the locals who volunteer to be crucified as part of their devotion. They have many reasons why they do it yearly, some say that it was a calling and other say because they have made promises after surviving from illness, accident, or struggle in life. Whatever their reasons are many foreigners come to see how the commemoration is being done. This 2010, at least 23 people were nailed on the cross but the foreigners were banned to participate after last year incidents that created a bit disorder on the rites. Some of them made fun out of it. The event has drawn more than 10,000 spectators.

Ruben Enaje, a 49-year old painter has just been nailed on the cross for his 24th time.  Only one female named Mary Jane Mamangon has marked her 14th crucifixion this year. Church leaders reject such practices. According to local church leaders, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) in particular has said that the real expression of Christian faith during this Lent is true repentance and self-renewal and not by flagellation or crucifixion.  

Below is a short video of crucifixion in which I believe should not be tolerated:

This video of crucifixion was held in Pampanga in 2007. 

Pacquiao has reached the peak of his career in boxing. In Philippines, now it is time for his new endeavor in politics. Would it be permanent for him to leave the boxing ring? He has been advised by his coach Freddie Roach that the fight with Clottey would be the last if Floyd Mayweather Jr. will not fight him. The bell of retirement is just around the corner in order to avoid the possible suffering of Pacquiao with Parkinson's disease (PD) if he will retire at the peak of his career. The ideal age to retire in boxing is 35 years old. Although Manny still has around 3 years before he turns 35 this time would be best for him to take off the gloves. If he will continue to fight in the ring beyond the ideal age for boxers to retire the chance of getting a disease similar to what Muhammad Ali has and as well as with his coach's is too high.

   In this picture, Freddie Roach at the Pacquiao Birthday Christmas Party at J Lounge, Los Angeles CA. 26th December 2008. Picture taken by Frederick Manligas Nacino. More about Freddie Roach please check Wikipedia.

He is one of the best fighters in the world especially in the field of boxing. It is time for him to venture in new world of opportunity and field. Surely we will never forget you Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao.

Manny Pacquiao is now ready to fight Joshua Clottey on March 13. Clottey is confident that he will win the bout. In Philippines the clock will stop during the much-awaited fight of Manny against the fighter from Ghana.

The last fight of Pacquiao was held last year against a Puerto Rican champ Miguel Cotto. On this photo Miguel is on the left after receiving punches from the pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao.

To get more details about the boxing fight of the year you may take a look on this video:

To see more just go to youtube.

Inmate’s Thriller Version

Of course everyone knows the King of Pop, Michael Jackson. Inspired by Michael’s great moves, dancing inmate’s version of Thriller has been uploaded on 17th July 2007. In this year, the convicts of Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center (CDRC) located in Central Philippines had started the regular inmate exercise with Jackson’s music. They never thought that it could become a big hit and accumulates millions of downloads from Youtube. When Michael had watched this video he was shocked and amazed about it. This is an extraordinary video where the performers are the convicted rapists, murderers, and robbers. The late King of Pop himself was really overwhelmed and flattered with this.

They Don’t care About Us

Travis Payne was the choreographer of Michael Jackson, celebrities, international performers like Beyonce, Madonna, Jennifer Lopez, Ricky Martin, and many more known personalities. They had arranged the rehearsal which had started 18th January this year in Cebu penitentiary and has released as part of Michael Jackson’s This is IT album on 26th of the same month.
Here is the video below:

Nobody Popularized By Wonder Girls

Below is the video performed by the dancing inmates. The song nobody has become popular in Philippines. In parties, birthday celebrations and many more events when it comes to music or in dancing this song is very well known even with 5-year old kids.

Filipinos in general still have rooms for fun despite of challenges and trials we have here. This is one of the reasons why I love this country. I had been in many places and got opportunities to work in foreign places and what I could say that sometimes happiness cannot be equated with money. Living here in Philippines is so simple, cost of living is low, putting up a business here will not require you to spend too much. The most important is about the people here who are very warm, friendly, and can make you smile or have some fun for a while even in difficult times.

In this photo provided by the Malacanang Palace in Manila, Philippines, Press Secretary Cerge Remonde is seen on Jan. 4, 2010. Remonde, a staunch defender of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, died Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2010, following a heart attack, officials said.

(AP Photo/Malacanang Palace, Rey Baniquet)

Cerge Remonde passed away at age 51 due to cardiac arrest on 19th of January 2010. He was found lying unconscious by his personal assistant inside his home in Bel-Air Village in Makati City and brought him to the Makati Medical Center where he was pronounced dead at exactly 11:51am. According to the reports he started to suffer heart attack at around 9:30am but only found out after an hour lying naked in the bathroom. The emergency attending physician Dr. Eric Nubla told that if he only had been rushed earlier he might be still alive. According to Dr. Anthony Leachon, a personal cardiologist of the late Remonde, the secretary’s cardiac arrest could be attributed to factors such as hypertension, diabetes, cervical spine problem and habitual smoking.


There was no heard corruption or issue during his service in the country. Today, many people give honor to him but it only gives sadness when we realize the importance and the good contribution of a person only when he dies. Being a press secretary was a tough job for Cerge. Defending the president from many criticisms was really a challenging task for him.

Who was Cerge Remonde? Many of the readers from different parts of the world Filipinos or non-Filipinos who used to observe the country may not know more about the late Cerge Remonde. He was then became presidential management staff preceded by Rigoberto Tiglao. After more than 2 years of service as director general of the management staff (2006-2009) he became press secretary of President Gloria Arroyo. His career under Arroyo administration had started on 2001 working under various government-owned media stations such as NBN4, IBC13, RPN9, Radyo Ng Bayan (Nation’s Radio), Bureau of Communications Services, and the Philippine News Agency.

Remonde’s background as radio reporter and commentator had given him the opportunity to have seat in Cabinet at first as head of Government Mass Media Group. Secretary of GMMG then Director General and eventually became Press Secretary. Defending Arroyo from critiques especially those came from oppositions made him stressful and restless as we all know that Arroyo had been into many issues.


Born in Argao Cebu and married to Danish newspaper columnist Marit Stinus. He was a magna cum laude in Bachelor of Arts degree in University of Visayas. He has many awards, handled high positions with impressive records in the field of or related to broadcast media and journalism.

Using the popular social media site Facebook Remonde wrote this:

“infinite love that meets our every need and provides all the beautiful and wonderful things we experience in life.”

“Fill us with your peace as we learn to fully trust in your providence. Help us to do all that we are capable and the rest, we entrust unto you,”

It might be a premonition that the message was posted at 6:51pm then at exactly 17 hours he dies.

Many Filipinos around the world and most especially in the country are preparing to celebrate Christmas together with their families. Those who are unfortunate to go back home most likely 90% of them would probably call their loved-ones in the Philippines just to greet merry Christmas. High rate of remittances to the country is always anticipated during the year-end. Filipinos working abroad prefer to go back home during December month. The said month is the most expensive trip and airports in the country are expected to be a bit crowded. If you are a foreigner and planning to spend time during the said month you better get early reservation to avoid inconvenience or costly travel package.

I have watched news recently and I am not quite surprised why some of the foreigners prefer to celebrate Christmas in the Philippines. Like for example, the group of Jamaicans from Japan preferred to spend Christmas here. If I will be given a chance to talk to them I would probably advise that they should not just spend Christmas here they have to wait until the celebration of the coming year and surely they will enjoy fireworks and firecrackers everywhere.

Due to many occurrences of firecracker-related incidents the local health officials had many campaigns in the past years about the implications of the accidents made by firecrackers through infomercials in televisions and newspapers. Since this is part of the Philippine traditions many are still doing it but more cautious than before. When I was 11 years old I myself had tried to play with it. We used to call it “bawang” in our native language. For those who do not know what “bawang” is, well it is an onion-like firecracker. It exploded on my left hand and I still remember what the doctor told me if I could still move my pinkie and the ring fingers. I was afraid to move actually that time because if I could not move them then these two precious fingers of mine might get amputated. To cut the story short (not my fingers), l only got 4 stitches at my pinkie and 1 stitch at my ring finger. I just needed to heal the wounds with medication and of course before my discharge from the clinic anti-tetanus had been injected to one of my veins.

Despite of some unfortunate stories during holidays here the tradition is still alive. Firecracker is part of the practice during the year-end celebration. This was the influence of the Chinese who migrated here in the Philippines. During Chinese New Year they used to play with fireworks and firecrackers and the Filipinos had adopted it and became part of the Philippine culture. As we all know cultures and traditions are the result of many factors that affect our way of living regardless where it came from. Philippines had adapted many foreign cultures and traditions that became part of life of every Filipino. Perhaps this is why Filipinos can easily adapt to the new environment because of the long history of colonization and education attained from other countries. If you are a foreigner here, it is like hitting many birds at the same time since by looking at the Philippine customs is like looking at other countries’ customs but the only difference is with a mixture of our very own culture which had been there from generations to generations. Next time I will share our native cultures and traditions, I promise.

Nobody can stop the spirit of Christmas in the country. This river in Marikina City was devastated by typhoon Ondoy in September 2009 and after 3 months you can find bazaars and Christmas lights! I had seen the big shoe icon here after the typhoon that got dirt on it. Marikina is known as shoe capital in the country. In addition, if you manage to buy a pair of shoes that has a tag "Made in Marikina" certainly it came from the Philippines.

Celebration of Christmas and New Year here in the country simply I would say that it is about fun and excitement. You can buy lots of souvenirs here. You could observe fireworks and hear firecrackers. Despite of global economic downturns there are high demands on goods especially toys, foods, and pyrotechnic materials here. It is a must for everyone to celebrate Christmas, give happiness to others by exchanging gifts and most especially for the children despite of small budget for the celebration.

Giant Christmas tree in Araneta Center Cubao. It was taken in November this year.

Here are the common mouth-watering foods prepared during Christmas and New Year:

1. Spaghetti – Strong in taste and sweeter than Italian spaghetti but not that sour.

2. Pancit - It refers to pansit. Dried noodles with a mixture of vegetables and meat.

3. Salad- It might be fruit salad with buko, macaroni, or fruits and vegetables.

4. Lechon – Litson in our native word. Well done in Philippines. Crispy and juicy. We have secret sauce for it. Truly mouth-watering and stomach-craving delicacy!

5. Crispy pata – Our very own. Most foreigners who came to our country can remember what crispy pata is!

6. Adobo – Commonly it’s either meat of chicken or pork and it is possible to mix both as well. Even without occasion it is commonly prepared for lunch.

7. Inihaw – A Filipino version of grilled meat, fish, or squid and many more varieties.

8. Bebinca – It is called bibingka as well in Filipino (Tagalog). A flavoured rice cake

9. Dinuguan – One of my favorites! Chopped pork with mix of its blood and spices.

10. Puto – It is best served with dinuguan.

This is a tarpaulin showing a commercialized bebinca.

Actually there are many more and I promise to feature some of them here.

Why are we celebrating Christmas?

This is what I had written to my Facebook.

For non-Christians: It is just holiday seasons!

For Christians/Believers: It is the celebration of nativity of Jesus Christ. Every Christian should be delighted that God has sent His only begotten Son to save the people from sins. Existence of Jesus Christ gives hope to everyone! He was born and became a sacrifice to cleanse the people from sins. We do not need to die on the cross anymore in order to be saved and enter the kingdom of is the matter of faith and belief that He died for us, saves everyone who believe in Him and to join Him in heaven! Consider the verse below:

"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God" --- Ephesians 2:8

We are saved not by our good works but because of Jesus who is now celebrating His birthday. We should be delighted and thankful. This is why we celebrate Christmas and hope that the real meaning and spirit of Christmas will be within us. It is not a matter of money it is an everlasting joy and happiness.

Christmas shoppers in the Philippines

If you go around to public places like in malls or to bazaars you would never notice that despite of global crisis there are many shoppers buying gifts and foods for their families. The best places to go for shopping are Divisoria, Greenhills, SM Malls, Greenbelt, Glorietta, and many more. You can buy clothes, novelty items, souvenirs, etc. Next time I will feature all these here!

Shoppers in one of the well-known malls in Metro Manila.

Shoppers in Greenhills, San Juan

I am running out of time and I need to prepare food for Christmas so until next time!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone!

Truly the best gift that we had received from our parents aside from their love is education. It is more precious than any material things that we have. Through education we have developed our skills and better judgment that direct us to what we are right now. This is why I remember the greatness of our national hero known by many as Jose Rizal. By remembering his good example it is again gives justice to the saying that pen is mightier than sword.

Every Filipino knows his contribution that resulted to solidarity of the Filipinos against the tyranny of the colonists. It was so sad that independence had been achieved only after his death, he was 35. Today, he is being remembered by commemorating his execution every 30th of December. His death led to unity of Filipinos in fighting for independence.

José Protasio Rizal Mercado y Alonso Realonda or Jose Rizal in short was a polyglot conversant that at least knew 10 languages.

The following were the languages spoken by Rizal:

1. Spanish

2. French

3. Latin

4. Greek

5. German

6. Portuguese

7. Italian

8. English

9. Dutch

10. Japanese

11. Arabic (translation)

12. Swedish (translation)

13. Russian (translation)

14. Chinese(translation)

15. Greek (translation)

16. Hebrew (translation)

17. Sanskrit (translation)

18. Tagalog (translation of Schiller poetry)

19. Malay (some knowledge)

20. Chavacano (some knowledge)

21. Cebuano (some knowledge)

22. Ilocano (some knowledge)

23. Subanun (some knowledge)

After 300 years of slavery the Filipinos had been awaken and Jose Rizal became one of the keys in achieving freedom. He wrote books and within his books he set some examples about the cruelty of Spanish that time. Some of his famous books were Noli Me Tangere ( Social Cancer) and El Filibusterismo (The Filibustering or the Reign of Greed). His books were originally written in Spanish and followed by El Filibusterismo which is considered a sequel to the first book. He is the prominent advocate for reforms in the country during Spanish colonial era.

Rizal was calm even until he was about to be executed in Bagumbayan (known as Rizal Park today). There was a rumor that he wanted to face the Filipino native firing squad backed by Spanish troops but he was instructed by Spanish to turn his back as sign of betrayal. His famous last words were those of Jesus Christ, “consummatum est” – it is finished.

This is the picture taken in Cavenagh Bridge, Singapore. I had worked in Singapore for 1 1/2 years and I promised before I return to Philippines to visit this. This was visited by me a day before my flight going back to my beloved country. Thank you Rizal for your contribution to our country.

He will always be remembered. When I was in Singapore I have managed to visit a tribute to Rizal in Cavenagh Bridge. During my stay in Malaysia, I have spoken to some Malaysians and I was surprised that they knew our national hero. Filipinos are mostly Malay by race and they (Malaysians) should be proud of him as well.

For more about Jose Rizal in full details you can check out Wikipedia.