Archive for the ‘health and food’ category

Nanay’s Vignettes

January 24, 2014

ImageFlotilda Nieva Collantes Villariba aka NENE

Nene’s Diet :Nene grew up as a girl in Atimonan, Quezon. Her daily menu consisted of food and seafood. She enjoyed fried pork with soy sauce and Ginataang Súsô, fresh shrimps, and mountain ferns or pakô. Her parents, Mariano and Beatriz Collantes, cooked good food. Mariano’s favorite dish was Prihil with grated papaya. Prihil is dinuguang manok. During her stint in Liliw, Laguna as a student, Nene ate bread pudding and learned how to cook/bake it with old bread.

Nene’s Menu as a young wife and mother :When Nene started teaching in Tongho Institute, she served fish and vegetables. I remember four vegetables that were served daily on our table.

  • Upong Bulanglang or Upo with some shredded meat
  • Tortang Talong  or Inihaw na Talong
  • Patola with miki noodles
  • Kalabasang Ginataan

We also had special Chami and the Sotanghon dish that Ate Fedy served which was Tatay’s favorite food.

Nene as Home Economics student :Home Economics classes ( H.E. 1950-1953) withMrs. Catalina Vicuńa as teacher.  Under Mrs. Vicuńa, Nene mastered the following :

  • Menu planning
  • Balanced diet
  • Deboning Bangus
  • Bangus relleno
  • Spaghetti
  • Baking cakes

Nene as a crafts and arts learner : Earlier in 1947, as a young teacher fresh from college Nene taught in Plaridel town locally known as Shain. She learned to sew and make dresses from her landlady. As early in grade six, she could already sew, embroider and make flower arrangements. Weaving and beadwork are Nene’s other skills and she learned it from asking weavers and bead-seamstress how they do it.  Macrame weaving and beading became a passion for Nene. We remember our cousins Ellen and Isabel Valonzo learning from Nene how to make beautiful macramé bags and beaded purses. I learned how to string beads and make floor rugs from Nanay. We had lovely beaded cocktail dresses made by Nene . My black cocktail dress Nene made has survived up to this decade of 2014.

 Nene’s Beauty tips  : Washing with care our “flower” and douching with a spoonful of vinegar in a can of water, changing panties before they smell, and washing these panties instantly while bathing. Her underwear due for laundery  were fragrant . I wondered how Nene kept herself smelling good after working the whole day  While I could smell myself going the way of “anghit or maasim” after a day in school. Liwayway Gawgaw .We learned  how to starch (almirol) our uniforms and iron them, especially the collar and sleeves, from Nene. We would let our skirts stand on the table to check how well we starched them.

When we began menstruating, Nene taught me to use “pasador”, those soft flour canvas cloth that are folded in rectangles. I remember our cousins Ellen and Isabel Valonzo  going to the river with me to wash our napkins. With so much  blood stains, we used our feet to squeeze  and wash  the napkins. I remember our relief  when commercial cotton napkins came to the stores that saved us from washing blood-stained pasadors  but these products  would clog the environment with non-biodegradable napkins.

Nene as a Womb Mentor : I saw my mother through 6 birthings – from Jojie who was born at home to us in Zamora street, to Melo, Ceres, Heidi, Caloy, and Mina. The last three siblings’ birthing, Deeda, Phey, and Paul were assisted  by our aunts and cousins in the hospital. Nene birthing was fast and easy and would go to the doctor by herself then send notice to us to inform Tatay where she was confined. She would stay for a day or two, then come home with a new baby. After a week in the hospital, she would return to work in Tongho and let the baby be cared for by a big household of relatives who were our parents’ scholars. We always had cousins, close and distant kin, who lived with us to get an education from high school to college. As a result of her managerial acumen, the babies had ample attention and we never were left alone to fend for ourselves. We always had our “Ate” and “Kuya” to bring us to the park ( there were no malls then) and play. I remember Nene teaching each “Ate” to bath a baby and take care for he/she when she was at school. From hindsight, Nene trained many family caregivers and house managers who became good in it when they graduated from college.

When it was my turn to give birth to Ayen, my mother called but couldn’t fly in time to be present on the day Ayen came. But after several months, Nene flew in to Holland to help me care for Ayen. She bought us many gifts but the most precious one was –  knowing she would always be present for us all. She went to mass daily and dedicated her days and nights thinking, thanking God of the growing harvest of grandbabies in her time.

 A Real Accomplishment : Giving birth to thirteen (13) babies, then harvesting 44 apos, 6 great grandchildren or apo sa tuhod.

Nene ‘s mission : from Womb to Tomb “We are not human beings on a spiritual journey. We are spiritual beings on a human journey.”

 –Stephen Covey

PagpapaHesus : the rites of pagtatawid or crossing over

Nene is a much-sought after “magtatawid”, a guide through the “final boarding phase” as my Tatay would describe a person’s life in its  final moments. She would administrate “PagpapaHesus” to the dying and supervise the process of insuring a peaceful and graceful internment. In one of many services I witnessed, Nene gave Tita Cecilia Patron, her best friend, a very lovely wake and internment. She chose what picture to display, the menu to be served during the wake, and all the prayers that need to be recited each day.

I began to go with Nene to wakes when I graduated from college but it was only when Nene couldn’t attend wakes in Metro Manila  that she asked me to stand for her and Tatay.Initially  I paid my respects the way I saw it  . I didn’t know how to pray for the deceased in Nene’s style and it was only when Nene came to fetch me one day to find a cousin, Rorie Salvanera – Mercader, whom she sensed were in her final moments. We didn’t know her exact home address and got Phey to drive us. With Nene’s determination, somewhat like a spiritual GPS, we found Rorie in state of dying alone with only one daughter present. Nene gave her the “PagpapaHesus” as I cried profusely. There was a moment of recognition by Rorie and she followed Nene’s prayers. When we got the rest of the family to prepare Rorie, we bid goodbye and promised to offer masses for her peaceful journey. That was my first on-the-job-training. Since then, we have been giving succour to the dying and learned Nene’s pagtatawid.

 It was understood tacitly by the family that I would be Nene’s proxy in wakes where she cannot attend due to her physical state. I would  call her whenever a friend, a relative, a friend of a friend would ask for prayers in the final boarding phase. When I reached fifty, I already had Nene’s  tacit blessings  to carry on the services that she willingly gave to the final departees. Thus, I am now the family magtatawid.

Nene learned pagpapaHesus  from her mother, Beatriz Nieva Collantes. It is simple. The dying person is asked to repeat these lines in Tagalog or the dialect she is familiar with.

“I love Jesus, Jesus loves me. I love Mary, Mary loves me. I love Joseph, Joseph loves me. I commend my soul to Jesus, Mary, Joseph.” This is what I recite  as a  prayer when assisting a departee cross to the after life.


Electric circuits in our brains: how to be smart, happy and active

May 24, 2013

Our own bodies ,especially our brains have electric circuits.Every energy inside us has a bio-electric element.I have friends who make televisions and electronic gadgets go haywire when they touch these gadgets.

I downloaded Dr. Andres Lozano demonstration in  TED Talks and studied his work in curing destonia, depression and brain issues by deep brain stimulation. He has a theory of brain electric circuits; that by stimulating these circuits, moods, movement and brain functions can be affirmed, added and altered ( our three As in learning).

Though his theory is somewhat risky in curing deteriorating brain functions, am not sure i want to support all his methods of implanting electrodes in the brain and stimulating the person with a switch. Is it possible to consider non-invasive approaches to healing people with depression ? Can children with destonia recover their movement with music and dance? Can people with  mood disorders be assisted with good diets and loving care?

Many surgeons advise people to undertake operations and it is always a risky procedure. I accept many people take these decisions, eg. Angelina Jolie, but I prefer exploring less risky and doable ways of making our brains work in correcting challenges. There are various meditation disciplines and some monks have been documented to alter their body temperatures in freezing rooms. There are  health protocols such as bodytalk systems, reiki, pranic healing, cranium massage, yoga, etc. that seek to release healing energies .

Imagination, as many scientists prove, is superior to knowledge and with our brains, stimulate  the best circuit in being human. Switch on!

If I were to solve Poverty as a newly elected Senator

May 22, 2013

 Brief Background :2013 marks our 21st year as ELF in sustaining learning partnerships with the grassroots,eg. the Aetas, our first indigenous people in the archipelago. Remembering and reflecting on our work as an ngo, Education for Life Foundation (ELF) has led me to focus on five insights that the new and young Senators should consider in solving our poverty issues:

1. Learning is not always a product of teaching by educated people or specialists. Those who work as educators-citizens must accept humility in teaching, that their knowledge and skills are needed by our citizens but the learning that happens may not always be the product of their efforts.

2. Knowledge can be shared and organized in many settings but the language and the culture where we share it must be the major features of the context of learning. When we use a language that is foreign to learners, eg. English or the dominant Tagalog vocabulary, learning will not succeed.

3. Learning  in actual life, learning from life is far more better than teaching  from books, from publications or videos.

4. Relationships matter in teaching and learning. Ken Robinson said “Education is a human system.” We cannot rely to learn mainly from educational systems that do not enhance human relationships. Computers and technologies can provide material for e-learning but human experiences are far superior to nurturing the need to learn.

5. The mind has two systems of thinking and remembering. Thinking and learning can happen in many instances,from being curious constantly to going into deep reflection and meditation. The science of thinking is still a vast frontier and developing philosophies of learning is a necessary task of educators.

Now if i were a senator, i will think and reflect regularly on current issues and memes. I will learn to articulate the micro, meso and macro needs of our citizens in order to legislate and lead our people to rise above poverty?

Having focused on these five lessons, i am challenging my colleagues, especially the newly elected women senators to think and learn how hunger can end and food security be realized in our lifetime. Our people deserve better .

20 minutes bodytalk for all

January 7, 2013


I have found more energy by tapping my bodymind every morning before i rise from bed. This tapping is like charging one’s 5 g fone or laptap  with the energies that illuminate our lives.  Senior citizens like me have continued working,pro bono, in projects to make life enjoyable. How ? With wellness security at its core, i have started my 10,000 hours of energizer system since 2009. This 10,000 hours means 20 minutes daily of body mindfulness  . According to  brain studies, our brains abhor boredom and need new stimuli  every 20 minutes to get better. When i trained with Dorothy Friesen and Ben Manalo on Access and Bodytalk fundamentals , I learned how to take care of my health concerns better. It even led me to help  people who are in remote or  difficult states of awareness, eg. forgetfulness,lethargic, ill, comatose .

People have requested me to share what and how i do this health service. I have blogged many times how i do it but there is one answer   : bodytalk system.  there is a website: of the International Bodytalk Association (IBA). visit it.  learn from its videos.

This January 19-28 ,2013 to  we will start  bodytalk lessons and wellImagenness with Dorothy and a core of practitioners like me. NCR Contacts : Annie Lao 09178219587,Didi Estipona 09064734038, Gemma Bunag 09267183128. Please reserve slots now.


Why we need to help Mt. Pinatubo Aetas do Organic Farming cum Rainforestation

December 5, 2011

Three Advent Calls to help our Aeta friends sustain the organic farming and rainforestation in Mt. Pinatubo now.

Please consider the following and read more from the web sources.
“Scientists know that increasing SO2 in the air deflects sunlight, which cools down the earth; when Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines exploded in 1992, for instance, the SO2 sent into the atmosphere created a brief global cooling spell.”

“When Mount Pinatubo erupted in 1991, the amount of sulfuric ash it sent into the stratosphere cooled global ground temperatures by 1°F for the next two years. To be fair, it hadn’t erupted for six centuries, so there was some catching up to do. A year before the eruption, a 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck about 60 miles northeast of Pinatubo, causing landslides and an increase in steam emissions from one of the volcano’s geothermal areas, ultimately setting the stage for the 1991 explosion. While the eruption resulted in more than 700 deaths, many scientists predicted the explosion, thus saving the lives of an estimated 5,000. Still, the eruption produced one of the most dramatic environmental scenes ever witnessed. With ash that rose 22 miles into the sky, it is considered the second largest volcanic eruption of the 20th century.”

“Convert agriculture from chemical fertilizer to organic fertilizer derived from biodigestion of the biomass waste stream. That’s a way to cancel huge amounts of methane (due to fertilizer and manure runoff acting to decompose cellulose in wetlands) and nitrous oxide from chemical fertilizer and manure. Not to mention that biogas from the process of making organic fertilizer can help to backup distributed generation and storage smart grids.” The AETAS with Education for Life (ELF) and the Dept of Agriculture (DA) have a FOOD Security project in Zambales, especially in Botolan. We are assisting them in developing  biodiversity in their ancestral domain in Mt. Pinatubo and provide enough organic food for the indigenous communities so they will live above the poverty line. Their work is  beneficial to all of us, locally,nationally and globally. For every peso/dollar we give to the project, it saves the Earth from heating up.

1.Read more:,8599,1931993,00.html#ixzz1fdeXpBBJ

2.,28804,2014572_2014574_2014585,00.html #ixzz1fdfqRHdw


celebrating the new year with growing minds

December 31, 2010

ed and i are  past, present and future positives – we live in three zones. as the old year 2010 ends in a few hours, i went to pray for the people who crossed over this week. i went to my altar and lighted five candles and thought of all the journeys the “crossees” are experiencing in the cosmic worlds. i remembered lito tiongson, husband of maloy quesada tiongson, who crossed over in 2003 . he sent me many messages and told me of the nebulous worlds he is travelling into. i think of these nebulous worlds when i pray for those who crossed beyond this life.

earlier i went to reflect on what the year 2010 brought us. the korean award  for ed’s public service was a most pleasant event and we didn’t expect it. it brought us to a part of the korean culture – agriculture – that we didnt know much about. it also gave us new friends – the kim family – and reunited us with an old friend oh jae shik. ed and i travelled to cambodia and met more new friends. there i practice a new health protocol called bodytalk and surprised these new friends with a reading of their bodies. ayen asked us to fly to hongkong and we had a good time with edna aquino, milabel cristobal and her daughters. ayen found hongkong shopping so good that she flew there again with two friends during their semestral break.

i asked myself, what more could i be thankful for in 2010? my becoming a senior citizen! ed celebrated  it with many gifts – from taking time to design my aphorism album to planning a grand concert. the album came out beautifully with 56 aphorisms, 4 short of 60. the grand love concert – i requested to be rescheduled for 2011 when we have enough time and funds.

so what are these growing minds? it means going to all the 3 time zones that ed blogged about earlier and leaping into 2011 with more hope and joy. as netizens, we think we have refired our synapses and are ready for more challenges. so family and friends, join ed and i as we refire our hearts and minds to welcome 2011.

Being quiet with a grateful heart

August 23, 2010

Each day, I learn to be quiet and listen to my heart. There are many things that occupy us each day but there is something so rewarding as being quiet and attentive to the  heart and the love inside us. If we know what our heart does each second, we will be mindful of its health, the many things that it brings, the joys and love it sustains.

I focus on my heart love beats, each beat with a rhythm, each flow with its life energy. Why? because the heart is where we have our life force. According to dr. oz, if there is a soul, it is in the heart. My friends, loved ones, mind your heart. Be gentle with yourself, listen and be thankful. A grateful heart is the source of wellness. This wellness  goes beyond the normal sense, it is the good sense.

Why am I talking of the good sense ? because it is my definition of the spiritual sense, a sense bigger than the ordinary sense. when we eat, drink,walk,talk, we need to know what a good sense is. each day we are able to use our sense organs and  we feel alive. but do we know how precious this sensing is? am talking from the perspective of someone who has been witnessing friends and loved ones go into a deep sleep, or a comatose state.

when you are face to face with a loved one or a friend who is in coma, you begin to feel at a loss initially. you dont know how to respond and so you stay quiet. it is not easy . but if you reach out to the heart of the person in coma, you may feel a life throbbing, except you are not sure how to communicate. here is what i know from experience – you can talk and share the moment. you can listen and if you stay focused, you will hear or receive something from the person. a deep sense of love can reach out to anyone in need. each  love sense (from the auditory to the visual) has a spiritual energy. this energy can be fine tuned and you have to stay quiet for long periods if you want to develop it. that is why mystics go on long meditations or retreats. the ancient mystics practiced it for long yogins and sufis. going on long inner journeys gave them the enlightenment they longed for. but this period of silence was powered by a deep love for all – not just a sense of the divine but a sense of love that went beyond the ordinary. a deep love is defined as –  loving others as you love yourself  and the golden rule “do not do unto others what you dont want others to do unto you.”

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