Friday, May 30, 2008

Caricatures... better than the truth...hehe

"A caricature is either a portrait that exaggerates or distorts the essence of a person or thing to create an easily identifiable visual likeness, or in literature, a description of a person using exaggeration of some characteristics and oversimplification of others."

That is the definition of a caricature according to Wikipedia. It also adds that it can be insulting or complimentary and can serve a political purpose or be drawn solely for entertainment. On our visit to wonderland today, there on one of the sidestreets, a couple of caricature artists is waiting for people to have their potraits done. There were a few samples to look at and I was attracted by how funny the pictures were.

The above picture is me and the picture on the left is my daughter. As you can see...we do look like we are relatives....hehe. It's not as exagerated as the displayed pictures but they are funny enough and close enough to our real faces. I think ... they are even better looking than the real
I will have these caricatures framed and displayed.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


Tila nilayasan ng pag asa
Ligaw, tuliro, sawi

Tanaw ay malayo
Hinaharap tila malabo
Tanong sa sarili paulit ulit
Paano, saan, bakit?

Paano pupulutin
Paano tatahakin
Buhay na mapagsubok
Kinabukasan na tila marupok?

Nag iisa, walang katuwang
Kapalaran ay tanggap ng maluwang
Subalit sadyang malungkot at mahirap
Mag isang nangangarap

Pilit kinakaya,
Buong lakas tila di magkasya
Katawan ay hapo,
Isipan ay tuliro
Sugatan at manhid, damdamin at puso.

Kailangan ng tulong
Saan at sino, walang bumubulong
Dasal sa tuwina, sa Diyos na mapagpala,
Bigyan ng kahit na ga munggong pag asa.


A friend wrote to me about this poem with a concerned tone behind her words. I should have written a small explanation to why I have allowed my mind to dwell on such a depressing thoughts. It is not my intention to alarm readers of an imminent suicidal tendencies….hehe. But I must confess too and it was quite devious of me, that deep inside I found it interesting to see how people will react to the poem. I have written a response to my friend explaining the reason behind the sad poem enough to restore her peace of mind.

For me, each of us (yes, me, you, everybody) has a core fear. This is not a bad thing; it is rather a good thing. It’s a primitive instinct we were born with. It shapes our lives and is paramount to our very survival as humans (or animals). This core fears were well hidden. Who would want to bare one’s fear? To expose it will make me vulnerable and weak (or so I thought, but that’s another topic). But they are the prime generator of action. They fuel every decision and feat I make. It’s like my body is defending itself from this fear that it can’t dispose of. If I try to understand this fear and help my physical body to react in a way favorable to my goals would be an advantage on my part. This is my core fear point blank… pure as it is. But take heed! Around it in thick layers I have woven this protection. This fabric of protection would tame the fears and put them at bay. At the same time I have used the same fear to propel me to what I need to achieve…to change….to move on…. to pursue my dream.
An important note: God do answer prayers....

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Rock Garden of RBG --- Truly ROCKS!

The Rock Garden is one of the four outdoor gardens of the Royal Botanical Gardens located in Burlington Ontario. It is a six-acre garden consisting of a huge variety of tulips and daffodils, flowering cherries, azaleas and annuals. It also has it’s own teahouse strategically located in a high place to be able to see the whole garden as one enjoys tea or coffee. We were there quite late and the teahouse is already closed so we missed that special moment. But we will be back to enjoy a cup of coffee together with nature at it’s best. Most weddings would use the garden for picture taking and I can’t blame them for it is quite romantic and the cascading of rocks with blooms makes a fantastic background for a wedding. If one wishes to marry in the month of April and May… then the rock Garden is a good choice for it is has the tulips and daffodils bloom. June and July months are for Lilacs and Roses… so that’s another garden.

Here’s some pictures taken of the garden.

600 varieties of tulips. Most came from Holland.

So much to see...

The teahouse that we missed. It could have been so nice to just sit there
with a cup of coffee looking out into the garden. Next time...

Imagine yourself sitting on one of these benches, savoring the beauty all around you.
Just magical!

No picking! Just awwwws and oooooos :)

so solemn, so tranquil... i can write here

Feeling diwata at nimpa ang mag mommy....hehe

Sa Meeting Inaantok

Ako’y naaantok…
Sa gitna ng meeting humahagok..
Mata ay tila bakal sadyang mabigat
Humihikab, kataway gustong umunat.

Biglang naalimpungatan, pangalan may bumigkas
Boss kong puti sa akin may tanong na lumipas
“I’m sorry, pardon me?” paki ulit tanong na namiss
Kasamahang international, sikretong bumubungisngis.

Kaya eto ako…nakakatatlong kape napo
Para antok tuluyang umiskapo
Dahil dalawa pang meeting aking katagpo
Huwag sana, huwag sanang masisante nakupo!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

WS#004 - Tulips, Star of the Rock Gardens

I am speechles....

I cannot express in words........

the beauty of this flower....

for there is not a word that would adequately describe it's splendor.......

I will have to let your eyes behold natures finest.........

to admire and to be witness .....

to Gods creation......

rejoice and be glad.......

Sweeney Todd --- The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

We saw the film last night on TV (Rogers on demand). It was a musical film directed by Tim Burton (who also wrote Nightmare Before Christmas). I’ve read that there were several broadway shows about this story before. I could not comment their difference but I am sure that they are equally excellent.

The film has excellent choice of actors and actresses for lead characters. It amuses me to find most of the actors in the Harry Potter movie in the film. Actor Johnny Depp takes the lead character by the name Todd Sweeney (or Benjamin Barker before his unfortunate fate). Helena Bonham Carter is the leading actress for the character Mrs. Lovette ( who also performed Bellatrix Lestrange in Harry Potter movie). Alan Rickman, more known as Professor Snape in Harry Potter, played the wicked judge who is the root of all Todd Sweeney’s misfortune. The judge has a sidekick named Beadle (another Harry Potter character in the name of Peter Pettigrew) who is as foul as the judge himself. I should also mention Pirelli although his role is not as big as the others just for the fact that he has played Borat in another movie … hehe. The rest of the charcters are Anthony, a young lad who is with Todd Sweeney on the boat to London. Joanna is the daughter of Todd sweeney who grew up with the evil Judge. And the beggar woman who darts in and out of scenes.

The location was in London during the year 1846. It’s about the misfortune of a barber named Benjamin Barker. He had a beautiful wife and a baby that he adores greatly. But there is this evil and corrupt judge who also had an eye for his wife. The judge staged a false accusation to get Benjamin in prison and away from his family. He was sent to Australia to be exiled for 16 years. His wife desperate and alone was left vulnerable to the aggression and deception of the evil judge. After 16 years, he is back in London under anew name…Todd Sweeney. He met a young lad on the boat named Anthony. Upon his return, he met Mr. Lovette who owns a meat pie shop. Although he may have changed his name, Mrs Lovette was able to find out that he is Benjamin Barker. She told him that his wife has poisoned herself and that his daughter was adopted by the cruel Judge. He had found his old silver razors and has planned his revenge with the help of Mrs. Lovette. His first attempt to kill the judge has failed when the judge discovered that he is a friend of the young lad Anthony who threaten to take Johanna away. This has caused the young girl to be sent away to unknown place. This has greatly saddened Todd Sweeny and it started his serial killings. Using his razors to kill his unsuspecting clients. To make things worst and more gross, the cadavers were turned to ground meat and made into Mrs. Lovette’s meat pies. Suddenly, people are frequenting her shop for the delicious meat pies (gross!). One day, Todd Sweeney heard from Anthony that he knows were to find his daughter Johanna. He help Anthony how he can go in to the mental asylum where she is. And lured the judge to come to him once again. He told the judge that he has Johanna and has agreed to marry him. That is when he was able to get his revenge, he killed the judge and sent him to the meat pie gallows. And then he found the beggar woman snooping around in his shop… and he killed her too. He found his daughter hiding and almost killed her too for he can’t recognize her. He was helping Mrs Lovette to dispose the deads when he finally recognize the beggar woman. She is not dead as Mrs. Lovette said and he himself has killed her. He turned to Mrs. Lovette with accusing looks and Mrs. Lovette said she did it only because she loves him. Mrs. Lovette ended up in the furnace. He was cradling his wife when Toby (the child who was cared after by Mrs. Lovette) came and using his razors, slashed his neck… thus ending his life as well.

This is a typical story of love and revenge. What made it interesting is the music and opera like content. It’s the bass-baritone voice of Todd Sweeney, the mezzo-soprano voice of Mrs. Lovette, Tenor by Perelli and bass by the judge. The way they mix together to create the story is quite entertaining. Creating a gothic background and setting has greatly helped generate a feeling of ominous darkness in the air. Johnny Depp has done a great job potraying this kind of character as he has done on so many like Edward scisorhands.

Lessons were obvious .. vengeance is always not the way to go. But how can one find justice in a corrupt world?

Friday, May 23, 2008

Playing with the Dogwood and the Red Bud Trees

The Alberetum Garden is vast. Lilac Walk is only a small portion of it. While we are busy with the lilacs… our eyes were caught by far away trees that seemed to have an all white leaves side by side with trees having pink leaves. Hmm…true enough, our curiosity guided our feet to that direction.

The white and pink leaves turned out to be not leaves at all but flowers. Small flowers that proliferate all the braches in clusters and there are no leaves at all. This tree has devoted its time to flowers and it was really pretty.

This is a Redbud Tree. It is a large shrub or small tree native to eastern North America from southern Ontario, Canada south to northern Florida, United States. The flowers are showy, light to dark magenta pink in color, 1.5 cm (½ inch) long, appearing in clusters from March to May, on bare stems before the leaves, sometimes on the trunk itself.

Dogwood Tree has bigger flowers than the redbud tree but like the latter, the dogweed tree flowers greatly outnumber it’s leaves.

To be able to see these trees/shrubs producing so much flowers to the point of sacrificing their ability to generate food is completely new to me. Well, for me who came from the tropics where leaves are a constant part of plants all year around, it is quite a shock. My future garden will definitely have these trees.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

American Gods ---- by Neil Gaiman

“ I am not scared of what tomorrow might bring, because yesterday has brought it.”

American Gods is a fiction fantasy story. It’s more like a birth or a beginning of a future super hero. I can smell a sequel in the future.

The story revolves around a man named Shadow (see…the name itself sounds like that of superheroes). He was in prison for three years for aggravated assault and is about to be released. Two days before his release, he received news that his wife had an accident and is now dead. To make matters worst, he also found out that his best friend died with his wife and that they are having an affair. The same best friend who will give him a job after prison. He was left with nothing, all his plans thwarted, nowhere to go. Until he met a man named Wednesday (hehe…good idea, I’d name my future dog after a day of the week in French!). He was hired by this man to be his driver, bodyguard and gofer. Thus began his saga to the world of magic, of Gods, of legends, of myths, of monsters and undead. As the story progresses, Shadow found that Wednesday is a God. He is an embodiment of the God Odin, god of wisdom, war, battle and death. He is also attested as being a god of magic, poetry, prophecy, victory and the hunt. It was hard for him to believe at first but circumstances have proven otherwise. He also learned from Wednesday that there were other Gods around. Old ones and new ones. Gods brought to being by the peoples belief and faith. Seemingly ordinary people with power and secrets behind them feeding on peoples adherance to their devotions and sacrifices. There were old Gods and new Gods. People who came from distant places have brought their Gods with them when they reached America and as time passes they move on to newer Gods leaving behind the old Gods unloved and forgotten. Old Gods that were mentioned in the book was Loki (God of fraud), Thor (God of Thunder), Anansi (Folklore God of Culture), Leprechauns (Irish folklore, men of mischief and wealth) and Kobolds (German folklore, spirits who does domestic chores) and Banshees (Omen of death), Kubera (Hindu God of wealth) and Fraue Holle (Lake Godess) and Ashtaroth (prince of accusers and inquisitors). Unfortunately, these Gods are facing obsolescence for less and less people belived in them. No sacrifices were done on their name and they are getting weaker and older. People are now believing in new Gods. The God of credit cards, of freeway, of internent and telephone, of radio and hospital and television. The new Gods has their own leader called Mr. World. Wednesday has this belief that the new Gods will completely throw them in oblivion and that he must stop them before it is too late. So he is recruiting old Gods to join him in confronting the new Gods. In the end, shadow realized that Wednesdays plan is a trick to get all the Gods go in battle and in the process all death arising from that battle will serve as a sacrifice to him and his conniving partner Mr. World (turned out to be Loki, the God of fraud) and they will be both once again powerful for the blood of sacrificed Gods are far more superior than ordinary people.He also learned that Odin is his father. He tried to stop the battle and prevent Wednesdays plan to be completed. He was able to learn that he has qualities and capabilities to play on peoples memory and to be completely hide to the real world…thus giving meaning to his name. At the end…all Gods have accepted their faith and learned to live together the best they can. As for shadow, he preffered to live behind the curtain, trying get things right when they are going wrong.

Okay, that was the story, as short as I can re-tell it. Typical of any fantasy stories mostly found in comic books, it creates this other world existing only in my mind. Although at times I would occationaly look over my shoulder for possible truth. You know, hey, maybe we do have some Odin in our midst, or a Banshee or a shadow. I’m a sucker for a superheroes I must admit. I have a crush on Superman, an infatuation with Batman….lol. There were momments in the story that completely creeps me how they do the sacrificial rites or the description of the zombie Laura. All in all, it is a good story. I should mention it did gave me a nightmare one night after reading it before bed. After that, no more bed time stories like that for me.

Lessons! Problem in the story is survival of the Old Gods. And Shadows part in it. Was it solved? The solution is acceptance and not war. Acceptance that in this world, change is inevitable. We may try not to change but eventually change will overtake us. New things will come and becomes old and they go. Good things may last more than the bad things but they will succumb to time as we all do. Greed is never good, as well as thrickery and they never suceed.

Shall I recommend this book to my friends? Why not?? With a warning not to read it before bed…

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

A special request from the Brazo de Mercedes monster

“Mommy….mommyyyy”. My ears are now getting tired of the constant nagging! I am in the kitchen doing my thing and my son is hovering around me like a ghost that won’t leave me at peace. “Can you? Please??? Can you?”, he pleads. He’s like a conceiving woman that would practically loose something important if her wants is ignored. Ever since I made that Brazo de Mercedes and he had a taste of it…he was not able to forget it. But I’m not in the mood of making one just yet. I’d like to make something different. I tried to recommend other desserts but he is truly relentless.

What will it take to get a nagging ghost off my back? You got it! Give in! So, while I finally resigned to making it, I thought I should document it more properly for posterity. A friend is also asking for the recipe anyway.

So, it is a short notice request and there’s no time to go to the grocery but the ingredients are so ordinary that most pantries would have it. I just need a tray of eggs, condensed milk, some butter and sugar. That’s it! It’s my third time to make this. The first one was a bit too sweet that my mom would not dare touch it. The second wasjust right in sweetness but the meringue collapsed because I put too much oil and the oven temp is not right (plus the fact that I’m all stressed up for a presentation). This time I did not have the same problem but I still need to improve.


For the egg custard: 8 egg yolks
¾ cup condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp unsalted butter

For the meringue: 8 egg whites
1 tsp of cream of tartar
1 cup of sugar
1 tsp of vanilla


For the egg custard

1. In a large metal/pyrex mixing bowl, mix the egg yolk with the condensed milk.
2. Place the mixing bowl over a casserole of boiling water.
3. Let the mixture cook while constantly mixing until the consistency becomes firm
4. by this time mix in the vanilla and the butter and continue mixing for a minute more or until the butter melts and blended
5. set aside.

For the Meringue:

1. In another mixing bowl, placed the egg whites and the cream of tartar
2. Mix the egg whites in high speed until it can form spikes
3. Gradually mix the sugar while mixing
4. Add the vanilla


1. Underline a cookie sheet or a roll baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Brush oil on the parchment paper
3. pour the prepared meringue on the parchment paper and level it evenly.
4. place in a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes or until the surface is slightly browned. The meringue will expand double the size of the original
5. Remove from oven

Final Assembly

While the meringue is hot, pour the egg custard on one side of the meringue
Release the edge and roll the meringue to the other end.
It would look like the top picture after...or near it...hehe. I was taking picture while the dessert monster has his plate and fork ready (drooling if I may add). The dessert tastes excellent. Not too sweet for both custard and meringue. Although I still have to work on properly rolling the meringue without messing it up.
Ahhh...the monster is quiet now... and full.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Arboretum Garden and it's Lilac Collection

The Arboterum Graden is one of the four outdoor gardens of the Royal Botanical Garden. It features one of the world's largest lilac collections - 600 varieties - extensive magnolia and crabapple collection, rhododendrons, conifers, hedges, and native Ontario trees and shrubs.

For now, I will concentrate on the Lilac celebration. Lilac is in full bloom at the moment and they have such beautiful and fragrant flowers.

I am thinking of the lilac-trees, That shook their purple plumes, And when the sash was open, Shed fragrance through the room.

- Mrs. Anna S. Stephens, The Old Apple-Tree

Monday, May 19, 2008

WS#005: Victoria Day at Royal Botanical Gardens

It's Victoria Day! It's a national holiday to celebrate Queen Victoria's birthday. Most malls and commercial establishments are closed so we were off to the Royal Botanical Gardens located in Burlington/Hamilton, Ontario. This place is outside Toronto and it took us around an hour by car to get there.

The Royal Botanical Gardens is a National Historic Site of Canada, featuring over 2,700 acres of breathtaking gardens and spectacular nature sanctuaries. It has 6 Gradens each showcases the many varieties of plants and flowers found all over the world. I am so excited to post all the pictures I've taken because they are soooo beautiful. We were not able to go to all the 6 Gradens so I guess we are coming back for more. I will probably do separate post for each Garden to be able to attach all the wonderful pictures of flowers and plants.

First we went to the Mediterranian Garden. A two-story indoor garden featuring plant species from the worlds five Mediterranean climate regions.

Here are my favorite flowers in this garden:

Look what I found!