Friday 31 December 2010

Getting Ready for the New Year 2011

In between the last minute general cleaning, blogging call
has not been forgotten. Posting here photos of good luck
bringers in Alemanya:
Chimney Sweeps with mini clover
Back home, people are preparing all sorts of round fruits
to decorate the dining table as round things are believed
to bring luck. This is a consolation for those who are
getting the round figure...carrying luck all the time.
So as the Germans greet each other on this day,
I say, "Guten Rutsch ins neue Jahr...
Welcoming the new year, 2011!

Saturday 25 December 2010

O Holy Night of December 2010

Something different this year with my Noche Buena in Alemanya.
In addition to the now called "century snow" in Germany making
this year's Christmas a truly white one, my sister-in-law thought
of surprising us with her new menu. She served wild boar, baked
and tamed with peaches and prunes cooked in white wine. Instead
of having the dreamed lechon - roasted suckling pig (Spanferkel
or Milchferkel) for Noche Buena, I had my first tasting of "baboy
damo", a wild boar. Grunt, grunt, grunt on a holy night this

Pumpkin soup as starter.

Potato gratin and red cabbage as side dish.

For dessert, sister-in-law treated us with her all-time winner
dark and white chocolate mousse with vanilla ice cream and raspberry.
O Holy Night
in a Peaceful Land
Peace on Earth and to Men and Women of Goodwill and ...taste.

Thursday 23 December 2010

Christmas Letter Through the Post...a treasure

It came as a surprise, the letter. I was just saying the other week
to my hubby that we don't have many Christmas cards anymore
this year as compared to other years when he came inside our flat
with newly delivered letters and cards - Christmas greetings, the
yearly cards sent by organizations and companies, some with
enclosed bank forms for donations.
And with the pile of papers is this letter from cherished
friends who keep contact despite their hectic work schedule and
distance. These are cherished friends who would drop whatever
they're doing (not when Heike is cooking her soup) and welcome
us in the warmth of their nest.
Nice, thoughtful and cherished friends.
I love this letter, this is a treasure.

Wednesday 22 December 2010

You're all I want for Christmas

(Photo: Shows a Pinoy cook preparing puto bumbong, Christmas
delicacy made of sticky rice steamed in bamboo tubes or
cylinder and served with freshly grated coconut and red
If I would have the means, I would like to have my dining table
on Christmas filled with these goodies:
* Sweet jamon
* Queso de Bola (from the Philippines)
* Pandisal
* Dinuguan (spicy murky soup...only for Pin@ys)
* Puto - rice cake
* Sweet spaghetti with grated Kraft cheese
* Puto Bumbong with freshly grated coconut
* Bibingka with grated cheese and salted egg
* Lechon Kawali
* Buco Salad
* Ube Halaya
* Leche Plan with Macapuno
* Red grapes with bits of ipa (rice husks)
* Roasted chestnuts from Chinatown

But if you insist to give me something, I would
not say no to "little things mean a lot" surprises like
an E Book reader, a new laptop, a flat screen tv,
microwave oven, Blue or blackberry or IPhone.
To my dear KnP, I hope you would be moved by
my "Parinigs" and not tell me again you don't believe in
the spirit of Christmas.

Sunday 19 December 2010

Fourth Sunday of Advent

Glass balls and glowing lights.
Dead tree in living room.
Killed to honor birth.

Ron Loeffler
Taken from Haiku for People

Wednesday 15 December 2010

Granada, I'm falling under your spell!

"Granada, I'm falling under your spell. and if you could
speak, what a fascinating tale you would tell." So goes the
song but I'm not posting here about the city but about one of my
favorite winter fruits - Granada, Pomegranate or Granatapfel.
Turkish fruits stands start displaying them starting
early September, some still yellowish and small. The
displayed fruits go rosier, redder and bigger as the year
I love these fruits. Just looking at them brings me back
to my childhood memory of my neighbor's one Granada tree
with its few hanging fruits, and how this woman neighbor of
ours would looked at me suspiciouly the moment I stopped to
admire her rare tree with such a dramatic name.
I would love to believe to this day that as a little marauding
child I really imagined what would happen if the fruits would
open up and how would they taste?

What tales do they bring?
Here are the perks of eating these Granadas as explained in
the fruit tags accompanying these miracle fruits:
*Balances your blood pressure
*Protects your heart and helps it work regularly
*Protects and increases your resistance against infections
*Gives energy and removes fatigue
*Strengthens your immune system and protects
against diseases
*Regulates your cholesterol and blood sugar levels and
prevents them from increasing
*Prevents diarrhea and helps its treatment
*Good for the skin and provides a smooth appearance

Now, don't take cover. Grab your Granadas and
keep yourself under their spell.

Sunday 12 December 2010

Raclette Dining and bits of discussion on Pin@y Identiy

For our Eat and Meet Group, we decided to hold it in a private
place to be hosted by Christie. Every guest brought something
for the raclette dining: steaks for grilling, marinated chicken
meat,cooked shrimps, champignons,cornichons, red,green and
yellow paprikas,bottled asparagus,aioli sauce, baquette rolls,
cheese for raclette dishes, red and white wine.
Our hostess prepared for the Eat and Meet women squash soup,
potato gratin, drinks, sausages, tiramisu and cheesecake.

While Cologne city was shaking with Shakira's Wakawaka, we were
getting heated in the room from the raclette pan and the instant
discussion on our identity as Pin@ys, regionalism, history of the
country, why Philippines has not moved up as compared with
other similarly colonized countries in Latin America,
on Heiratsvermittlung or marriage/introduction bureaus,
and who is to be blamed for the "backwardness" of the country
we left behind...the government or the people? Quite an evening
of chewing, drinking and emotionally loaded rounds of individual
viewpoints and insights.

End part of the raclette dining...instead of the traditional
exchange gift, Christie introduced a game of throwing the dices
to get the brought gifts comprising of gifts, new ones and
recycled items.
I got an even number which allowed me to get one gift for
that round. At the end of the game, I won a free brunch
courtesy of Sol but with an addendum saying it is either in
her place or mine. Next Christmas Eat and Meet, I will
vehemently suggest to have one traditional exchange gift
and one "stealing" the gift game to keep the spirit of
giving - and receiving.

Thursday 2 December 2010

Some wintry days in Rotterdam...what to do

What's this Asian food doing in this blog on some wintry
days in Rotterdam? I finally braved the drizzling snow outside
to look for this Korean eatery to have a late lunch of bibimpap,
a rice dish made with shredded beef and carrots, spinach, fried
egg, mixed with spicy peppery red sauce and served with
a typical miso soup and kimchi. A piping hot Ginseng tea made
one forget the bitter wintry temperature raging outside, all for
10Euro only.

On Saturday, this open space would be filled with all sorts of
stands and shops selling wares from fresh Tilapia (wonder where
all the freh fish would come from with this kind of weather?)to
old used photo frames.

As a dessert not only on such bitterly cold day, try poffertjes -
Dutch mini pancakes served hot and dolled up with butter and
covered with caster sugar to go with creamy hot chocolate
or your favorite tea, all for 5Euro.

It's December and time for this traditional George's
ad hanging in many European parks.

It's December and time for these delicious but notoriously
fatty Oillebollen-oily balls rolled in caster sugar.
Each delicious mini ball costs around 85 cents. What a cheap
way to get heavy on equally heavy wintry day in Holland.

A version of snow storm hitting Europe since decades

Global warming is surely not the issue this week
when Europe has been under snow since the start
of December. I'm posting a short video clip
here to record this wintry day in Rotterdam.
TV says winds from the east bringing more
snow. Brrrrr.
Here's the short video.

Sunday 28 November 2010

Getting Creative on First Sunday of Advent

Was in the market the other day thinking of what to buy to
add a bit of festive spirit in my flat now that the first
Sunday of Advent is coming. As usual, just a bit of greens
and some commercial candles of all possible colors cost
a fortune and they all look the same. Prices range from
15 up if one wants a good to look at holiday decor just
in time for the start of Christmas.
I normally make my own simple Christmas decor using
nuts, fruits, greens and candles. This time I have two
Kakis ready to eat for the Sunday brunch. Next Sunday,
I might have oranges or apples...pineapple might be too
huge for the Teller (plate) but maybe you have bought
the new breed good for Christmas decoration and flown in
just for the season.
Advent, Advent, the season of expectation, of waiting
and here's a quote I saw this morning regarding
Brian Tracy: Expectation Quotes
"Your attitude is an expression of your values, beliefs and

Send me some photos of your own creation. Let's share
them. Have a wonderful Sunday!

Thursday 25 November 2010

Celebrating Nov. 25, International Day Against Violence Against Women

Wir Fordern Die Nacht Zurueck! Reclaim the Night!
With this political slogans, women in Cologne celebrated
the International Day of Elimination of Violence Against
Women on November 25.
For the protest march, they were shouting:

Wir sind Frauen
wir sind viele
wir haben die Nase voll!

We are women
We are many
Fed up are we!

Frauen, hoert ihr Frauen schrei'n
lasst die andere nicht allein...greift ein!

Women, if you hear woman screaming
Don't leave her alone
Strike back, help her!

Wir sind Frauen, welch ein Glueck,
wir fordern uns die Nacht zurueck!

We are women and lucky we are
We want to reclaim the night!

Frauen gemeinsam - sind nicht einsam
gemeinsam sind wir Stark!

Women together are not lonely
Together we are mighty!

The protest march was organized by the women network
Lila-in-Koeln and supported by the Frauenverband Courage
and rhythms of resistance Koeln.

Please see the attached video of the protest march of Nov. 25.

Sunday 21 November 2010

Visit to Koelner Dom/Cologne Cathedral

If you're around in the city and want to hear a high mass
with all heavy and heavenly church music, then come to
Koelner Dom just beside the central station or Hbf...very practical
as one tourist commented.
High Mass is on Sundays at 10:00. Check also the site
I participated this morning at the Holy Mass and
was able to film partly the Gottesdienst. Secretly, of course.
Here's my short video.

Monday 15 November 2010

Supporting the neighborhood economy

My first act when I returned to my village after a brief holiday
in Budapest was to buy a kilo of these locally harvested
walnuts. I saw the sign Walnuts for Sale for 3.50Euro per kilo in
front of a house on the street near our local post office.
I thought time has really changed. Even my neighbors are now
selling nuts from their backyard. But the nuts taste really
fresh, sweet as compared to the imported nuts from USA which
cost only about 2Euro a pack from the supermarket. The ones
from the USA are bigger and cleaner but taste a bit old and
moldy. I wonder how long have they been stored in some German
import houses and released just in time for Christmas season.
Well, I have my locally harvested nuts for consumption and the
US nuts could be used as Christmas decors. Nothing is lost.
Bayanihan ala Alemanya. The difference is that I paid for the
nuts. Didn't get it free, didn't work for it either.

Sunday 7 November 2010

Integrationsknigge: New Word Learned "Eiersollbruchstellenverursacher"

(Source of Photo:googleimage)

Just in time for the renewed debate on integration of foreigners
in Germany, I learned a new German word while attending
a seminar on "Internationale Handlungskompetenz". A seminar in
English with this topic could include: decision making and
responsibility, negotiating skills, hands-on expertise,
performance capabilities, occupational competence,
leadership skills, action competence, authority to do,
professional skills, social and inter-cultural communication
talents, etc.
For my fellow migrants in Germany, don't worry, this is not
a required seminar to get a permanent permit of stay nor
a part of that compulsory integration course.
Yes, you might think this should be rather a compulsory
seminar if not a course for many public and government
officials who are back to making capital out of
the renewed integration debate. Remember a high ranking
CDU official who had the gall to say "Lieber Kinder als
Inder" (better have children than have Indian migrants)
during a debate on the granting of especial migrant
visa status for IT experts for Germany.
For an updated info, see this link for the current state on the
debate on integration.
Now back to what I really want to blog on the newest
German word I learned...Eiersollbruchstellenverursacher
a word which came out of my friend's mouth
during our brunch after our seminar on hands-on
expertise i.e. Handlungskompetenz.
It is a compound word consisting of egg and cause of breaking
point which is just impossible to translate. Minutes later, I found
this English translation, not egg tickler nor beheader but
an egg clacker.
Who needs it?
If it's one item on the language proficiency exam for
obtaining a German passport, I get one correct answer.
At least hindi itlog sa exam!

Sunday 31 October 2010

Looking for a MOB ...Mail-Order-Bear

(Photo: Taken from Wikipedia)
Remember Knut? Saw the other night a feature on him on a German
TV. It said the zoo is now looking for a partner for this
media star polar bear who seems to be having stress with female
bears. See the posted news below I found in
Stern magazine.

Eisbär Knut: Noch ein langer Weg bis zum neuen Zuchtbullen

Knut hat es nicht leicht. Zuerst der Ärger mit der Münchener Eisbärin Gianna, die ihn mit einer krachenden Backpfeife begrüßte. Und jetzt setzt ihm ein älteres Damen-Trio zu. Aber es gibt Hoffnung: Die Direktion sucht in ganz Europa eine junge Gespielin für Knut.

Sorgen um Eisbär Knut: Dem Publikums-Liebling im Zoologischen Garten Berlin geht es nicht gut. Seit seinem Umzug auf den großen Bärenfelsen sieht sich der vierjährige Jungbär gefährlichen Attacken des betagten Damen-Trios Nancy (21) Tosca und Katjuscha (beide 24) ausgesetzt. Aus Angst vor Bissen und lautstarken Drohgebärden kauert Knut meist allein und in die Ecke gedrängt auf einem winzigen Felsvorsprung. Manchmal zittert er und wirkt verschreckt. Die Fans leiden mit dem Liebling, der aus ihrer Sicht zum Mobbing-Fall geworden ist. Den Erwartungen der Zoo-Leitung, als eine Art Zuchtbulle für Nachwuchs zu sorgen, entspricht Knut jedenfalls noch nicht.

Bären-Betreuer Heiner Klös gibt Knuts weltweiter Fangemeinde jedoch einen Hoffnungsschimmer. "Wir sind intensiv dabei, in ganz Europa eine jüngere Gespielin für ihn zu suchen. Wir schaffen das und sind auf gutem Weg", sagte er am Dienstag der Nachrichtenagentur dpa. Einzelheiten nannte er nicht.

Es sei ihm schon zu Ohren gekommen, "dass die Kritiker sagen, wir würden Knut bei den alten Schreckschrauben verheizen", räumt Klös ein. Doch der Eindruck sei falsch: "Wenn Gefahr bestünde, würden wir die Tiere nicht zusammen ins Gehege lassen", sagt Klös. Gewisse Raufereien seien normal. Ziel des Zoos bleibe weiterhin, was Direktor Bernhard Blaszkiewitz vor einigen Wochen so formulierte: "Knut wird unser neuer Zuchtbulle."

Im nächsten Frühjahr soll der von bisher mehr als zehn Millionen Menschen besuchte Publikumsmagnet Knut eigentlich die Rolle seines Vaters Lars übernehmen, der alle drei Eisbärinnen gedeckt und mehrfach für Nachwuchs gesorgt hatte. Lars war an den Zoo Wuppertal abgegeben worden, wodurch der Platz frei wurde für Knut.

Doch mit den drei jetzigen "Damen vom Zoo" wird es wohl nichts - und das liegt nach Expertenansicht nicht daran, dass eine davon, Tosca, Knuts Mutter ist. Der Eisbär sei mit seinen jetzt 270 Kilo auch noch zu schmächtig. "Um sich im Revierkampf Respekt zu verschaffen, muss er noch einigen Speck drauflegen, es fehlen ihm noch die Muckis", sagt Klös. Die Körpersprache der molligen Eisbärinnen hingegen ist klar: Das Trio hat sich gegen Knut verbündet. Sie streifen zu dritt, Fell an Fell, stets eng zusammen im Felsengelände umher und thronen demonstrativ auf dem höchsten Punkt. Von dort beäugen sie Knut am Wasser, gut sechs Meter unter ihnen. Fachmann Klös: "Das ist das typische Königsspiel, wer sitzt oben?"

Das Gehege ist wie aufgeteilt, wobei Knut nur eine bescheidene Fläche in unteren Regionen bleibt. Dort posiert er wie früher allein fürs Publikum und sucht stets Kontakt mit den Menschen. Für Klös sind die Fans an der tristen Situation nicht ganz unschuldig. "Für die Leute baut Knut Männchen, wie er es gewohnt ist. Er ist da, wo die Menschen sind." Die Bärinnen spielen dabei keine Rolle.

Der im Dezember 2006 geborene Knut war von seiner Mutter Tosca nach der Geburt verstoßen worden. Er wurde von einem Pfleger mit der Flasche aufgezogen und stieg bald darauf zum Medienstar auf. Sogar zusätzliches Fressen, meist Croissants, wurden ihm immer wieder zugeworfen, obwohl es verboten ist. Doch selbst die Futterlage hat sich für Knut verschlechtert. Als pünktlich um 11.30 Uhr der Tierpfleger mit großen Eimern kommt, Fische, Fleischstücke und Brötchen, ins Gehege wirft, bedienen sich die Bärinnen zuerst. Knut muss warten und kommt als Letzter dran.

See also this posted news info taken from The Daily Telegraph

Polar bear girl gang bully Knut

* From: AFP
* October 20, 2010

KNUT, the polar bear in Berlin's zoo that shot to global fame as a cub, is reportedly being bullied by a trio of older females, causing the country's media to worry about the superstar's love life.

"Knut, the public's favourite, has become a heap of misery," said Germany's mass-selling daily Bild. "Instead of enjoying himself with the three ladies, he cowers fearfully in a corner," added the more staid Sueddeutsche Zeitung.

For several weeks, the three-year-old bear has shared his zoo enclosure with his mother, Tosca, and two other females, Nancy and Katjuscha.

But hopes that Knut might form a romantic attachment with one of the females appear to have been dashed as stories emerged of violent maulings.

One video posted online showed Katjuscha hurling herself at Knut's throat, in an apparent attempt to bite him, before tipping him into the water.

"These sad images of Knut are pulling the heartstrings of people around the world," said Bild.

But Heiner Kloes, Knut's keeper, downplayed the affair, telling AFP it was "only two minutes in the life of a bear."

"It was a small altercation that is completely normal among bears," he said, underlining that the four bears were still getting used to living together.

"For the time being, Knut is not yet an adult male and doesn't yet know how to get respect like his father did. But day by day, he is imposing himself and with time, this type of problem will go away," he said.
End of the news.

Don't let Knut be mobbed. Find him a MOB...even if this means
a mail-order-bear. Spread the news!

Monday 18 October 2010

Ecumenical Conference on Filipinos in Diaspora

26th Ecumenical Philippine Conference
in Eisenach, Thueringen
Theme: Filipinos in the Diaspora
Important Agents in the Social Development of Their Home Country?