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Showing posts from May, 2014

Yes Meding, Grapes Grow In The Philippines!

I got a viber message from my friend Dom Hernandez asking if I'm free Monday for a day trip to La Union to look at vineyards. My first response was "we grow grapes in the Philippines?" and he replied with a photograph of three happy people clowning under the grape vines. I immediately marked my calendar and moved a few appointments to the evening. This was my kind of trip, only Julie Andrews can stop me from going.
The visit to the vineyards was arranged by the Department of Agriculture. The department's charming undersecretary Berna Romulo-Puyat invited food writers and wine connoisseurs to look at the many possibilities of these locally grown grapes. Avelino Lomboy started planting grapes in Bauang, La Union in the 70s. President Corazon Aquino visited in 1988, picking grapes herself from Mr. Lomboy's lovely vineyard. Today, there are more vineyards in La Union. You can see them in between mango orchards and tobacco plantations. The province has wisely diversifi…

Faith and History

In our road trips, my friends and I make it a point to visit a church, not only to admire the architecture but to give thanks for the gift of life, love and friendship. Every time we visit a church for the first time, I get to say my three wishes. I pray for good health, for me, my family and my friends. I pray for my nephews, nieces and their generation to grow up as kindhearted human beings, I believe when you're a good soul, everything that's good in the world will surround you. Finally, I pray that I constantly get inspired creating beautiful things so I can continue being a blessing to others. We were able to visit two historic churches, the Malolos Cathedral and the Barasoain Church. Visiting churches in the provinces has further strengthened my faith. I am moved by the simple folks' piety and total surrender to our Maker. You feel it when they respond to the priest aloud and when they sing, eyes closed. Once more, my soul is enriched with faith and history. My deep…

The House Of Dr. Luis Santos

Our tour of Malolos continues, from the Cojuangco ancestral house http://myrefrigeratordoor.blogspot.com/2014/05/the-cojuangco-ancestral-house.html, our gracious host Melecio Cojuangco brought us to the house of Dr. Luis Santos. Mel arranged the visit with one of the heirs of Dr. Santos, George Imperial. From the outside, one would already be in awe of the sheer size of the house. The house was built in 1933, according to the marker by the gate. Upon entering, you will marvel at the grand staircase, the expansive receiving room and the foyer filled with hard bound medical books and mementos of Dr. Santos' career as a well loved doctor in this town. The second floor was something else, as our group slowly ascended the magnificent staircase, my heart literally skipped a beat at the sight of the ceiling mural and Art Deco details. We found out later that the mural was painted by the great Fernando Amorsolo himself. There was a private chapel in honour of Our Lady of Lourdes and a be…

The Cojuangco Ancestral House

Our next journey takes us to a historic town in Bulacan, thirty minutes north of Manila. My road trip buddies, my college friends who all share with me the same fascination for heritage houses were privileged by an invitation from Melecio Cojuangco to visit their ancestral house in Malolos. Mel, his cousin in law Marissa Lopa, Rima Datuin and Evelyn Bautista and I discovered each other's funny bonebecause of our love for the ice cream served in a huge bowl at Peninsula Manila's lobby. One evening, to justify our appetite, we pretended it was my birthday and we had the string quartet play happy birthday for me, from then on, we became good friends. Mel's grandfather, Jose Cojuangco was born at the Malolos house, very near the Barasoain Church. Jose's mother traded rice from Nueva Ecija, sacks transported by boat via the river at the back of the kamalig to Binondo, Manila. Like most turn of the century houses, the Cojuangco house uses piedra china stones for the ground …