Archive for the ‘Love and marriage’ category

How to stay loving for a hundred years

January 5, 2015

Everybody has 24 hours. What you do with each hour is your choice. Devote first 10 minutes when you wake up to gratitude rites : give thanks to the Spirit that wakes up yoturkish tree of lifeur conscious mind. Roll all over the bed and gently snuggle up to your partner. Then flex your muscles, raise your knees and bend up to your chest. Look at your feet, wiggle all your toes up to the fingers. Rise slowly from the bed and take a pee, then drink slowly one glass of water. This will let energies flow. Devote the first hour of the morning enjoying plants,  smell the leaves and their  healing scents and colors. Move around a garden, water the plants and listen to birds sing. Then take your place in the kitchen and make breakfast. Give thanks to the food y20141221_180018ou have and smell the aroma of morning tea ,coffee, chocolate or drink you prefer. Invite your family to share the meal and start the first conversation of the day. Tell the good news and a brief hug after the breakfast. Start your day of work with a smile and an attitude that everything that can be done in an hour will be finished well. If you commute to work, simply focus on being good : good thoughts, good words, good deeds. Dont get caught up with stress, create, be productive : small things like walking to your office with a smile at workmates,cleaning the clutter on your desk and putting a vase with aromatic herbs will lighten up the space. Call up or text friends and greet them Happy New Year . Hug your loved ones if they are around or send those loving stickers via social media. Set a lunch date with a friend who needs you. Then open up the afternoon for something joyful. Be present, the day is still in progress.You will be surprised that the universe has something good for you. Welcome the sunset. Be at peace. The home you love will stay safe and secure. Call up loved ones and ask what dinner they wish for the evening. Give thanks when they join you.Share the day’s good thoughts and deeds. Raise your head to the stars and sense trillions of galaxies. Be thankful you are on earth and gifted with 24 hours each day. Go sleep and wish for another 24 hours. Dream on. The galaxies are constantly giving birth to stars.


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.

Secrets to a Happy Life

October 24, 2013

“Life is short, the path of art long, a moment ephemeral,experience deceptive judgment difficult.”Hippocrates, born before Christ in 460. Today I will write my art lessons each day as my gift to my daughters Ayen and Minette, and to friends who want to live fully as women.

We grow with 4000 eggs already in our  mother’s womb.When our mothers release us  into the light, these eggs start to prepare the art of kindling the fire of humankind. Every lovemaking is a gift because it opens the channel to our womb making powers. But every menstruation signs off  the end of one egg becoming a human being.  As we bleed each month for many many decades, the number of babies we give birth decrease until  the full stop, the menopausal punctuation in every woman .

So my daughters, your bodies are intimate galaxies and treat them as you value gravity ,water and food.

In my career as a daughter, a sibling, a lover, a wife, a mother I have many planets orbiting around my solar womb. Today let me bring you to a small planet, the Klitoris. This part of our geography is the most sensitive, with 8000 firing lines called synapses and brings women to the nearest solar system. Get to know it because it will bring you where you find your most delightful moments . You will discover  the secret thousands of women knew long before modern science and world religions could tag it as sinful and insignificant in the war to dominate womenkind.

So study this planet and let the heavens blossom.

Couples for change

September 9, 2013

In a garden full of laughter and light, Ed and I  went to the 60th birthday of Mon and Iting Isberto, good comrades who shared our decade of activism in the 70’s and have continued to work for a better country. It was an event that brought good friends to dine as one community , sing protest songs and launch Ester and Mon

Iting & Mon,Bicutan

Iting & Mon,Bicutan


‘s  Our 3rd Life, their life story.

The party got us to meet again the  family of Mon and Iting. We saw their children and grandchildren handle the whole celebration with ease and joy. I said to Ed, ” See how well the third generation welcome us seniors into their space with wit and humor.” It was  an event we enjoyed and will remember well into our 80s .

Friends and their families are like vineyards, the more they age, the more new grapes grow to make into new wine. To  enjoy  wine, am gathering the stories of couples who sowed seeds of struggle for a better nation and have taken active roles in communities Ed calls a Komunibersidad.

So friends, am going to write each of you to share a vineyard of life   so many families can  harvest  new grapes and ferment into new wine. Then we can drink as we age into our third lives.

Virthdays with my Ed and family

July 15, 2013

1011971_10151714675087487_1150867278_n1056953_10151543850283450_1967033705_nVirthdays with my Ed and siblings

Going back in time : Ed was born on July 11, 1943. My brother Sonny brought him to our home one summer day in 1970 to meet my father Cesar Sr. I woke up hearing Ed talking to my father and mother. Little did I know that our life would be a series of journeys in four decades. I was twenty years curious and had just graduated from UP Diliman.
I wanted to be a teacher like my parents and was applying to teach in Luzonian College, now known as MSEUF in Quezon. Ed was young, tall, simpatico and interesting but he was a priest and I was not looking for a complicated relationship. So for ten years, I listened to most of his teach-ins and became politically active. When I got arrested and released in 1973, I wrote to Ed asking him for clearance to rejoin the movement.In those days,there were no HR group no Task Force detainees to help release detainees. Ed recruited me to the movement and so I turned to him for special recommendation. Ed sent word that I would be activated and I did, meeting new friends who are still my friends .When Ed got arrested in 1974, I no longer had links and kept to my group. One day in 1979, he called me for a Xmas gathering in his relatives’ house. He was on a Xmas pass and I went to see him again. He hugged me and was so happy to talk to me.

fAST Forward to the present : Ed is now 70 years old. His gift :Thirty-three seasons of learning together,creating spaces with people to find meaning in life, building a family across generations ( Yeyi is turning 40, Ayen is going 23. Minette thirtyish, the twins Ed & Yo running 5). In his Facebook poster art, Ed has painted our life’s series of lessons and I invite family and friends to view them.

There is one lesson I find very apt in our marriage : “But let there be spaces in your togetherness and let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love. let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. ” Kahlil Gibran


March 6, 2013

3 tips for a lasting lovelife

January 4, 2013

IMG_0088DSC_1597</Always find a moment to expand your reach and go for long walks .
Remember you are capable of loving for life.Travel together to new places and enjoy new experiences.

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