Monday, September 7, 2015


It was so vivid that I can almost taste it. I never knew why I dreamt of him when he was the last person (dead or alive) that's on my mind. All I remember was...

I was sitting at one end of the table and he was at the other end. The seating arrangement was odd, as I wondered why we didn't sit beside each other.

I stared at him and notice how big a man he was. I shut my eyes, not accepting what I was seeing. I knew he was a short man (5'2) and of frail constitution. Not bulky or muscular either.

When I opened my eyes, he was still there --- staring back at me. I inquired, "Sir, aren't you  dead already? What are you doing here?" He smiled, and said, "You called for me and brought me back."

I got startled by his response, as I said that he was the farthest from my mind as he had been long dead! He laughed heartily, and with a booming voice replied, "You wakened me from my deep slumber! Okay, pray tell me why am I here?"

I answered meekly, "I didn't send for you, Sir. I was reading the papers with the myriad of problems besetting the country and the brouhaha about the Torre de Manila... And then you popped out!"

I heard him laughed out loud, "You got worried about my tomb and the ills of society, so you sent me back?" And he laughed incessantly not minding my confusion and awe.

At that instant, something hit me in the back. Mom's cat must have heard me moaning, so she jumped on my bed to wake me up! Bwahaha! What a funny dream!

Photo credit: wikemedia commons public domain


Onli in da Pilipins: A Writer's Journal
Copyright © csmiravite™. All Rights Reserved

Saturday, August 22, 2015


I sat at the nearby table, having my fill of newly cooked "pancit" when I noticed the old man talking with the owner of the store, a newly widowed lady in her late 50's. He was holding two viands in a plastic bag and was apparently trying to impress the old woman. From my vantage view, she looked quiet impressed as she refused payment for the viands. He thanked her profusely, until he heard the old woman say for him to wait for the rice that was about to be cooked in a few minutes.

I tried not to stare,  but it was amusing, like looking at a peacock fanning his feathers to attract a peahen. I heard him loud and clear from my side of the table --- how sad it is to be alone with nothing to do. All he does is sleep, eat, drink San Mig beer with friends, and go to the nearby Southmall to watch movies or shop till he drops. I smiled to myself as I begin to attack the chicken balls floating in sweet and spicy sauce. I like the sweetish taste, but I had more fun listening to the old man woo the old woman so early in the morning.

Oh, heavens! It is like watching a porno movie, with the oldies as lead stars. I must have been smiling to myself as I heard the old woman say,  "That's P20  for the rice."  She must have noticed me eavesdropping, that she came into her senses and charged the elderly gigolo his fair share!  

What happened?

That stopped him. He paid the twenty pesos and left the place in a huff!



Onli in da Pilipins: A Writer's Journal
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Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Small Time Investing for Pinoys

A farm hand named, Pepe, who can't hear and talk, but is a good worker.

Most Pinoys have a penchant for small time investment. We like to earn and see our money grow. Most recently I had a change in plans.

Investment with BPI UITF 

I went to the bank to withdraw my UITF investment. I had an error in judgement and I needed more funds for the farm. The bank manager told me that I will lose P1, 200. Can I take it? I stared at her in disbelief! I am an old warrior and losses of this amount won't affect me. It may sting a little, but it won't push me down the edge!

I soon realized that unless you put hundreds of thousands in money market placements, you're not bound to earn much, nor likely to lose much either. You need to make leaps and bounds and not just waddle along to make a difference. I may tinker with it again in the near future to toy around with the numbers. Meantime, it is just brick and mortar activities for me.

Decisions on Buying Farm Equipment

I was faced with the dilemma of whether to buy an additional farm equipment or just rent. I had a pump and a tilling machine repaired and observed its performance during this planting season. My verdict?  Unless, you have a farm hand who is adept in engine repair, you're bound to lose money for repairs over the long haul. Your movement will be limited by the people under your employ.

In mathematical terms, knowing your parameters and the constraints that you are faced with, can help simplify in the decision making to its core. It pays to have a little learning to do the small things, like farming. Hence, my decision is just to lease; I do away with constant repairs, and it gives me less headache.



Onli in da Pilipins: A Writer's Journal
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Saturday, August 1, 2015


God's Little Miracles

Sometimes, when things are not going your way; and you seemed to be having the worst ride... you find God!

It is not seeing Him in person by your side; it is finding things that seemed impossible... but there it is for you to see!

My faith is sometimes questioned when life's journey turns bumpy; and I seemed all alone in fighting life's adversities!

But, God has a way of making His presence known... He lights up a beacon to make me aware that He has never left me!

All for God's glory!

Your humble servant,


Onli in da Pilipins: A Writer's Journal
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Friday, July 31, 2015


Philippine Rural Life: An Old Woman in the Barrio

I always see her waving at me whenever I was in the farm. She was an old woman who had grown older than her 70 years. She sells several kilos of big head carp, caught at the nearby Laguna de Bay  by her husband.

I am aware that a two kg of fish costing P25 per kilo, would be enough to feed five farmhands for lunch. However, she knew that I seldom eat this specie of fish for health reason. It had too much fat, and it will drive my blood pressure soaring in no time. Nonetheless, I always buy whenever I see her. It made her happy that I buy half of what she carry in that basket ---all the time!

The last time I was there, she decided to back-ride in the motorbike that I was driving. I was reluctant at first, since she looked frail and sickly. But she insisted, and she can save a few pesos by back-riding with me. While coasting along the barrio road, I heard something drop. It was a coin, and she must have dropped it.

I suddenly felt the bike skid to the left, and her falling on the pavement. It was planting season, and many farmers were milling around. They saw her jumped off my bike at that moment. When I asked her why she did that, she showed me the P10 peso coin that she held tightly in her hand.

Photo credit:



Onli in da Pilipins: A Writer's Journal
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Wednesday, July 29, 2015


The little boy and his friend accompanying his father in tilling the field

Farm work is hard work. However, children see it differently. They see the work as play where they can hop from one field to another and follow their fathers with their big buri hats. Tilling includes --- the "kuliglig" or tilling; "pagong" or  harrowing, and; leveling which is the last stage prior to planting.

The seedbed, which is readied for transplanting in two weeks

The seedbed or "dapogan" where the RC12 seed variety bought from the Department of Agriculture (DA), were initially planted in a rectangular bed before it is transplanted in the field. This usually takes from 15 to 20 days after soaking the palay. Due to the high cost of diesel fuel for the pumps, farmers till, harrow, and level the field a week before transplanting. 

I told the farm hand that not all of the seeds sprouted. I also noticed that the growth was uneven. This is not a good thing and I may need to add chemical fertilizer (urea) to even out the growth. The palay seed was given by the DA at 50 percent discount to farmers in Pila. The other 50 percent was shouldered by the local municipal government. In addition, 15 sacks of organic fertilizer were given free of charge.

Unyok, the friendly and reliable mechanic

It is often said that no farmer can survive without a trusted and reliable mechanic. Whether we like it or not, problems  crop up with the equipment that we use. On our farm, we are ever grateful that we have Unyok (Filipino slang for Junior) to help us out when problems arise. As a token of his kindness, we give him "saging saba" (bananas) every now and then. I promise to give him a sack of rice after the harvest.

Bessie, the sweet cake vendor

I have known this friendly lady as far back as I can remember. Whenever there is work in the farm, she never fails to show up to sell us local "kakanin" or sweet bread like bibingka, suman, puto, palitaw, and other local cakes that she manages to cook that day. Whenever she sees me, she is often sure that I will be buying her stuff to feed the farm folks like the little tot behind, whom we fondly call, Bunso.

Farm caretaker and son pumping water in the field

The farm at Pila, Laguna is not irrigated. Hence, water is pumped by the use of Yanmar pumps like the one above. This equipment was bought 2nd hand, about 10 years ago and it still works perfectly today. However, we had a major overhaul which costs me a few bucks before we were able to use it again. The little boy accompanies his father, after attending school. The farm is his playground; so, he has a vast area to play around with friends.



Onli in da Pilipins: A Writer's Journal
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FIRE DRILL IN METRO MANILA---Alabang, Muntinlupa City

South Station In Alabang, Muntinupa smoking like crazy


I was on my way to the farm, last Friday, July 24, when I saw the nearby building in Alabang smoking like crazy. I got worried, only to realize that there was a scheduled fire drill in Metro Manila on that day.

It looked like the real thing. But people were not paying any mind to it.

The ordinary Pinoys, like the cigarette vendors on the streets, shouted, "Oh, Ma'am, they are just driving out the mosquitoes--- so we see smoke!"

Smoke increased in intensity after a few seconds

I could only laugh at myself on how we, Filipinos, see humor in every situation --- like a fire drill. There's another one scheduled for an earthquake drill. I wonder how the Pinoys would take it this time.

I hope they don't play dead to mess everything up! This quaint Pinoy attitude is what we call --- "usisero." It is the locals unabated predilection of poking their noses at everything, even if they are not wanted.



Onli in da Pilipins: A Writer's Journal
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Saturday, June 20, 2015


Vietnamese mangoes in Palawan

The daughter planned it to the minute detail ---Firefly Tour, Museum Tour, Honda Bay, dolphin watching,  and a city tour by ourselves. But, the unexpected can happen. She had a bum stomach on the day of our Honda Bay tour. Kaya ayun, nawala yung splash-splashy waters ko.

I toured the city by myself and found some interesting things and places to go. Like mangoes with pointed ends. The vendor informed me that mangoes from Palawan cannot be taken out of the place since some farms are infected with pests. Hence, the local government banned all mangoes from going out of Palawan. We can only consume the fruits when we are in the city. Matamis siya at wala naman uod!

I bought a bottle of honey from the seller of a homegrown bee farm, and they taste delicious unlike the ones that we buy in Manila. It's fresh and I had a good time spiking my coffee with it. However,the airport team had me transfer the honey to a plastic bottle. They don't allow bottles in the plane, among other things. I got blimped too, when I entered the inspection unit, and had to remove my watch to get passed it. 

Cats in the dining area of Natua Cabin
My daughter is a cat person and they instinctively follow her wherever she is  --- UP Dorm, the house at Las Pinas, and in the Palawan Lodging house where we stayed. These two cats followed her around whenever we have breakfast. They purr contentedly whenever she feeds them. At home, she has cats and a big dog to play around with. Being an only child, she had pet animals for playmates. She was fondly called --- Mari-cat, when she was a toddler due to her fondness for felines.


Native bag for pasalubong
We bought pasalubong - t-shirts, knick-knacks, bags, and tsitsiria for everybody back home. So, we needed a big bag to carry all the stuff. We had to handcarry everything to get out of the airport fast. This nifty bag is great to stuff all things for only P200.

A stall  selling differents products

When we  arrived  around lunch time, June  15, there  was a parade  along  the main road. There was a singing contest and a rock session in the evening. Stalls were found in the area selling indigenous products. The festival was aptly named, "Baragatan sa Palawan" --- meaning, a meeting place of townfolks to celebrate a bountiful harvest.

The festive entryway to the Baragatan Festival in the Capitolyo.

The City Hall became a showcase for the products of the entire province ---- wood carvings, accessories/ pearls, dried fish, fruits, local delicacies, and many other things.
Stall from Cuyo. --- very filipino!
Cuyo stall - frontside

Wood carvings on display in one of the stalls

We didn't have a schedule for a day tour, as we planned to roam around the place by ourselves. But, the Honda Bay tour was cancelled (due to daughter's tummy ache), so we joined the day tour instead.What can I say?  It was fun!

More pics to follow...   :)


Onli in da Pilipins: A Writer's Journal
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Friday, June 12, 2015


Old house in the town with the Philippine flag, in observance of Independence Day 

Pila is a third class municipality in the province of Laguna. It was declared as a National Historic Landmark by the Philippine Historic Institute in May 17, 2000. The town was cited as the center of culture and trade during the pre-Hispanic era and considered as one of the country's oldest town.

The Municipal Government or the Munisipyo

The  local municipal goverrnment is situated near the town plaza.It was renovated a few years back and depics the olden structure look, which is typical of the place. Buntings surround the buiding in preparation for the June 12 Philippine Independence Day.

The town plaza
The town plaza is at the center of commerce, church and the local government.Rustic and olden houses surround the area. The place looks like a trip to the olden days, where time stood still.

The plaza is  infront of the school - Liceo de Pila. 
The secondary school --- Liceo de Pila is just across the town plaza.Iterant vendors selling street foods and fruits are found near the school. The court serves as a recreation area for kids to play basketball.

Historic houses  that are well-preserved still exist in this town

Going to this place is like a walk back to the turn of the century. Olden houses can be found along the main thoroughfare and in the secondary streets of the town.

Mode of transportation --- jeepneys and tricycles

Jeepneys ply the streets and tricycles go to the innermost barrios and sitios. However,new developments were introduced--- like having a 7-11 store and a Mercury Drugstore at the center of the town. Let us hope that no other modern structures are added to destroy the quaintness of the place.

The plaza as school playground

The plaza is used as recreation area by students of nearby schools. You can see them playing volleyball and badminton. Some use it as a study area --- doing their assignments and discussing school activites.

The small town of Pila, Laguna is pulsing with activities.It is full of life and grandiosity like any grand old dame of the pre-war era!

It i just a bus trip away Come and visit!



Onli in da Pilipins: A Writer's Journal
Copyright © csmiravite™. All Rights Reserved

Thursday, June 11, 2015

The Women of Pila, Laguna

Women Vendors in Pila,Laguna

The Women of Farmfolks

Pila, Laguna is a small town of different types of women from various region in the Philippines.

My long time sidekick is a 70 year old Ilocana, fondly called Manang Belen by everybody. She is a comic and a hard worker, as Ilocanos are known for.

The 70 year old sidekick, dancing the macarena

If there is a war, you could not think of a better ally than this irrepressible woman. In an armed combat, this spunky old woman, would come prepared in a full battle gear of bolo and balisong --- ready to stand by your side. You can say, that she is Gabriella Silang come to life.

Gabriela Silang of the South,Manang Belen

When I said that I wanted to take her photo, she jumped out of her chair and danced the macarena --- to everybody's consternation! What a comic! She laughed out loud, and said, that she can still do a mean cha-cha and beat everyone!

Maple, is a young mother of 19, from Dumaguete, and is about to give birth to another child in four months time. Her mother, Wilma, is the wife of the family caretaker, Willy. She is a refreshing present whenever I am around.

Maple, 19 year old mother

At the Patio Sophia of the town proper, are several women who sells fish in tamarind, and; shrimps, taro leaves, and dulong in coconut milk. You can buy these viands from  P10 to P50. Salted eggs are sold cheap at P10 a piece.

What an exhilarating trip to the south --- as always!


Other article by the author:

The Women of Pila Laguna
Rustic Life of a Filipino Farmer
Philippine Rice Farmers of Pila Laguna

Onli in da Pilipins: A Writer's Journal
Copyright © csmiravite™. All Rights Reserved

Monday, May 18, 2015

Creative Kids Studio at the Alabang Town Center, Muntinlupa City

I went to the Alabang Town Center, yesterday, May 17 to see if there's anything new. I came across an exhibit from the Creative Kids Studio and they were impressive! I had fun taking pictures of all the things that were on display. Among those that struck my fancy were...

There were myriads of colors with three dimensional embellishments that gave them an added oomph. 

Any kid would love playing with this multicolored horse. But I think, this was just for display as it was made up of papier mache..

This was a display made up of real things ---chair, 3 dimensional artworks, and a stool  that were all beautifully colored.

This would have been a child's ultimate universe --- a play of colors and a wild imagination where nothing is impossible.

A closer view of the ultimate universe --- where everything is perfect as seen from a child's eye.

The heavenly bodies all in wanton abandon!

Star light, star bright, first star that I've seen tonight. I wish I were, I wish I might, have that wish I've wish tonight....:)

Taya-taya pung!  Talo ka!

Where can the heavens be? Where all I do is play and with myriad colors all around me!

The exhihit was like a child's playroom where everything was simply wonderful!

A candy colored chair, but you can't sit on it. The ice cone looks delicious, though!

Another chair that looks delicious. How creative!

A Filipino kiddie song about a child wanting a balloon. 

Another rhyming song about counting---creatively done in a way that a child will appreciate it.



Onli in da Pilipins: A Writer's Journal
Copyright © csmiravite 2015

El Presidente of Binondo at Alabang Town Center, Muntinlupa City

El Presidente of Binondo at Alabang Town Center,

El Presidente of Binondo at Alabang Town Center Muntinlupa City

I have been to El Presidente a few months back and I remembered not liking what I ordered then. I paid P99 for a spicy chicken dish, and it was too sweet for my comfort. Filipinos are known to like a sprinkle of sugar in most dishes --- the reason why the sweetish Jollibee burgers are first in the Filipino palate, as compared to the bland McDonalds burgers.

I was looking forward to a brunch at Tim Ho Wan with my daughter in SM Megamall yesterday, when she again gave me a rain check. She had special projects from one site and she can't spare a few hours for a lunch-out. I hope she earns much this time, so she can pay for brunch next time. 

Nonetheless, I promised myself to have fun and went to the nearby Alabang Town Center to have lunch at North Park or the Vietnamese Restaurant near it. To my dismay, all restaurants at the ground floor level were full of diners. I have no other recourse but to go to the food court where there were less people.

El Presidente of Binondo

The stall was all in red/gold and fully lighted. The food display looked palatable and nicely presented. I decided to order two viands, with shrimp cracklings and a piece of butsi, for P150. The server said that I can have my pick of the viands: so, I chose the sweet and sour fish with bean curd, and fried fish fillet with seasoned vinegar.

One of the servers took notice of me and smiled. She must have observed on how I looked at the selections and have concluded that I was one of those pesky bloggers who peppered cyberspace with food reviews. Oh, how right she was! I then noticed that she carefully selected the cuttings of the fish to place on my plate and I felt that it was more than ample for my serving. Hah! Trying to get into my good graces!

Sweet and Sour Fish/ Fried Fish Fillet, with shrimpt cracklings and butsi

What can I say?

The sweet and sour fish has a piquant taste --- not that sweet but with the right seasoning like those in the Binondo area. I liked the bean curd, not too soft nor over fried. The fried fish fillet was seasoned with Chinese spices, not merely salted. They were good and tasted like the ones that I've tried in Chinatown. The portions were big, that it took me an hour to finish it. Had my daughter been there, we could have ordered one dish, and it would have been enough for both of us.


I guess, since the Alabang Town Center caters to the middle and upper middle class groups, food stalls are more careful in food preparation and presentation. Most customers must have tried food from high end restaurants and know about how the food should taste like. Hence, no short cuts and only the best value for money should be serve, to customers with discriminating taste.

My Rating: 4 Stars 




Food Reviews by CSMiravite

Onli in da Pilipins: A Writer's Journal
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