musings on Feb. 14 . . . continued.

9:00 am

Sharing laughs and indulging in pure silliness are things that you could look back at any moment and find yourself smiling — be they with your special someone, high school friends, college roommates, or even with your ex. Today is heart’s day. I slept the night and woke up this morning repeating in my head that today is just another date in the calendar. I felt guilty for not having the enthusiasm that this day deserves. So I spent a few minutes to pause and ponder over a cup of coffee the past events in my life. I sort of made a mental mind map with the figure of a heart being at the center. Lots of memories are popping out like when you are starting to see the image taking shape in an autostereogram (3D picture). Clarity came, and I started smiling.
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warding off mosquitoes

The “sensaryo” or sometimes “sensaryohan” is one of the tools that we regularly make and use when me and my brothers were just little kids in Camiguin Island, Philippines. Every weekend, we hiked up to Manduao, a remote barangay of Catarman, to spend time with our lolo and lola in their nipa hut. The way up wasn’t easy. The trail was bordered by thorny shrubs, big trees, grasses, coconuts, bamboos and banana plants; and hungry mosquitoes, lots of them. Good thing we always carry with us the “sensaryo”. It’s very convenient and handy. By swaying it, sometimes in full rotation just for fun, the smoke envelopes our immediate surrounding, preventing the mosquitoes of coming near us. When the fuel comes low, we can always pick some bits and pieces of dry twigs and coconut husks found along the way.

I really didn’t know why it’s called “sensaryo”. I just imagined it as something much similar to that use in a church ceremony where the priest spread incense smoke inside the church. I found out,  after a few readings that the device used by the priest to spread incense smoke (censing) is called a censer. A censer is a vessel used for burning incense. In different cultures and religious practices, the construction and design of the censer varies. Now I know why it’s called “sensaryo”. It’s the local term for censer. It just happened that I learn of it first as something we used to ward off mosquitoes rather than as the tool used in church for censing.

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Cucumber and carrot atchara

An extremely simple atchara (pickle) recipe. A very versatile side dish to fried or grilled meat.



1 large carrot, thinly sliced into strips

1 large cucumber, thinly sliced into strips

1 onion, thinly sliced

4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

hot chilis, chopped

1 tbsp. salt

3 tbsp. sugar

1/2 cup white vinegar


Slather salt on sliced carrot and cucumber.

Soak for at least an hour. Squeeze out fluids.

Meanwhile, whisk sugar in vinegar – ensuring the sugar dissolves thoroughly.

Put everything together in a resealable freezer bag. Squeeze out air spaces.

Leave in the fridge overnight before consuming.


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My yummy creamy potato salad

Here’s how:


It’s creamy and yummy. The cream cheese and mustard added an extra yum to the dressing.


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Video kill the [AM] radio star

We tried our very best to keep up with the live coverage of Pacquiao vs Margarito fight last Sunday at 12:30 local time. To our dismay up to the very morning of the big day, there wasn’t anybody we know that had a decent coverage; because in Malaysia there’s just none at all.The three of us in the house were really restless, each finding the best live streaming possible. We used two different internet sources and eventually given up. I even answered a couple of darn surveys just to have access of a possibly better live streaming, and spent perhaps 8 RM worth of texts. In the end, we settled for an extremely cursory, lagged, and pixelated not-so-live streaming; connected the HDMI cable to the larger screen and sat on the sofa cursing all the way. Our frustration was however alleviated by the live twitter updates in Yahoo sports and punch-by-punch analysis by Kieran Mulvaney at The result, as I put it, is like a comic book — in frames like story boards, with a corresponding one-liner description. During this time, I was wishing I could just listen to a live radio coverage, such that I could just close my eyes and imagine the events. I tried searching for a radio coverage online, but couldn’t find any. Perhaps they don’t do this anymore.

When we were just kids in the 80’s, basketball and boxing shows can be tuned in with an AM radio coverage. The AM radio provided so much more than news and political interviews. We grew up with the radio soaps that our Inse (aunt) religiously tuned in to while we were forcibly lulled for a non-optional afternoon nap. During the night, we’d huddle around the small plastic radio to listen to an excitingly suspenseful horror show. When me and my brothers were ‘deported’ to Camiguin Island together with our Inse, we had a small pocket-size black radio. The volume was awfully low, we had to practically put the radio into our ears. As I remembered, at 1 pm during weekdays, the show in DYHP Cebu AM station was the “Handumanan sa usa ka awit“. I can still hum the guitar accompaniment of the oftenly dramatic story of somebody read by the radio host in an extremely poetic manner. You can actually get carried away by his delivery and find yourself suddenly sobbing. On another time slot in the same afternoon, a show  (“Kini ang akong suliran“) hosted by a woman who’s a doctor and at the same time a lawyer:  Dra. Atty. Libres-Rosaroso, who gives legal and medical advice to answer various cases sent by her avid listeners. There was also this action-drama radio show of two brothers caught in a war and a love-triangle. Whenever I hear the theme song (“He ain’t heavy, He’s my brother” by The Hollies), memories of my childhood in Camiguin overwhelms me with nostalgia.

our pocket-size radio looks like this one

Our most-awaited show probably was the action-adventure superhero show — “Ramini: Ang batang bronse” and the fairy tale story of “Mutya sa saging minantikaan“. Ramini’s time slot if I remember it right was between 8-9 am. It was during this time that we are hiking our way up from Looc to Manduao — to our Lolo Balolo’s nipa hut. We walked close to each other even at narrow muddy trails because of the apparent low volume of a pocket-size transistor radio. By the time we reached Manduao, we were already shouting Ramini’s ‘power’ call “RAMINI!”. . .  or “ISTOY!” for the ‘un-power’ call, much like “Narda!” of Darna… And then, this would be  usually followed by a commercial of Vino Kulafu – “makapabaskug makapabaskug sa kalawasan“… The “Mutya sa Saging Minantikan” is a story about Maria, a sweet and lowly girl who sells skewered fried bananas and draws special powers from  a magical amulet acquired from a banana inflorescence (heart). Other memorable shows were Tiban and Goliat of “Si Got da Wanderpol” and the boy with a magical flying/swimming horse for a twin. My most dreaded was the 6 pm horror show opened with the sound of howling dogs — I forgot the title but I’ll never forget the monsters “tabugok” that shows up during night time. I actually get nightmares from this show when I was a child.

Growing up during those times was really a different experience. You are only limited by your imagination. I’m sure my version of Ramini was different from that of my brothers’. With today’s technologies, children are habituated into a world fed by computer games and the internet. I can only wish that my niece, nephews, and cousins can experience the same freedom that we had.

{Photos from}


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Ogle at this.

There’s a Nissan Teana parked below in the parking area. Every time we go down, I couldn’t help but ogle at it. It looks like the Honda Accord, but so much prettier. It is immaculate in white, like a very sophisticated lady. Whenever I see it, I jokingly mutter to myself  “andito na naman ang ‘ta’ena”.

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Mojito is probably the freshest highball I’ve ever tasted. A highball by the way is what they call of mixed drinks that contain a lesser proportion of an alcoholic base spirit (rum, vodka, gin, etc.) over that of the mixer. A traditional mojito contains white rum, sugar, lime, mint and carbonated water; served on the rocks garnished with lime and a sprig of mint.

What I had in the fridge are quite not the traditional ingredients, but would surely do as a modification. Except for the mint, I substituted the other ingredients.

Semi-Mojito Recipe

Ingredients (for 2 servings):

  • 1 lemon – cubed divided into 2
  • 6 sprigs of mint/2
  • 50 ml Absolute lemon vodka (or whatever you have) each
  • 100 ml Sprite each
  • a few ice cubes

In a glass, mash together lemon slices and mint sprigs to release the juices of the lemon and the essential oils of the lemon rind and mint leaves. This can be achieved with a muddler or a wooden pestle. Add in the vodka and ice.Pour over the sprite. Serve with a straw.


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