Simbang Gabi – Philippine Christmas Tradition

A cherished Christmas tradition of the Filipinos!

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Christmas Manger by Pinterest

Tradition has it that Christmas celebration in the Philippines begins on December 16, nine days before Christmas Day and ends on January 6, the feast of the Three Kings.

Simbang Gabi is a series of nine predawn masses. The predawn mass was celebrated every morning from December 16 to December 24. Then on midnight of Christmas Eve, we all went to church for Misa de Gallo to celebrate the birth of Christ.

I remember starting on December 16, we would wake up very early in the morning at around 3 am when the church bells started ringing to wake up people so they could get ready for the 4 am predawn mass. The air was usually cool and we walked to church about a mile and a half with sweaters on with the nice cool air in semi-darkness. After mass, we enjoyed seeing our relatives, friends and neighbors in front…

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Remembering Dec. 8, 1941

The Philippines – The Second Pearl Harbor

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Smoking rising from Clark Field during Japanese air raid. Photo Credit – warfarehistorynetwork.com

Smoke rises from Clark Field after a Japanese air attack.

Dec. 8, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, is one of the most holy days in the Philippine Christian calendar. On the eve of the Feast in 1941, there was a festive mood all around. Because of international dateline, it was Saturday, Dec. 6, 1941 in Hawaii, but across the Pacific Ocean west of the International Date Line in Manila, it was already Sunday, Dec. 7, 1941. The Americans were holding a big birthday bash for Brigadier General Lewis Brereton, MacArthur’s Army Air Force commander at the Manila Hotel given by 1,200 men of the 27th Bombardment Group.

While the party was going on in Manila, on the other side of the Pacific Ocean, some 320 miles north of Hawaii, Commander Kanjiro Ono of the Japanese aircraft carrier Akagi was listening to the radio…

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Lumpia – Filipino Spring Roll

A great appetizer!

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Lumpia Photo Credit – Pinterest

With Christmas around the corner, most Filipinos think about feast and the coming Christmas season. That can only mean food. At every Filipino home, there are certain food that always grace the table during family gatherings. The most prominent among them are lechon (a roast pig), pancit (a noodle dish), and lumpia (a spring roll). I particularly like Lumpiang Shanghai. It’s a great appetizer and a hit with everyone all the time.

When I lived in New York, I usually brought a tray of them whenever I went to the Christmas parties of the various charities I belonged to. I have to admit this but I didn’t cook them. I was working long hours and had no time to cook. I had a friend in New York who sold them and for $25, I could have 100 pieces and everyone loved them.

Here is a…

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Marriage Culture in the Philippines

Well said.

Philippine Women

The Philippines is home to loyal and beautiful women who have grown up in families with strong bonds and teachings. Philippine traditions are still being practiced today and they surely reflect from the attitudes and moral values of Filipinas. Marriage in the Philippines is considered a sacred event that lasts a lifetime. Filipinas are brought up at a very young age to mature independently and follow rules. A great aspect you can notice from these single Philippine ladies is how they hold a strong sense of values and how they love unconditionally– the key qualities they take on from their families.

Philippine Brides, Philippine Women

Our Philippine women seeking men are some of the most loyal and caring partners you could ask for. These ladies are not just stunning on the outside but shine brightly on the inside as well. They take marriage very seriously and will not just fight for it but will go…

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Limahong, A Chinese Pirate Invaded the Philippines, Part II

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limahong 2 Invasion by Limahong. Painting by Carolos ‘Botong’ Franciscco, 1956

Limahong was determined to capture Manila in spite of the loss in Parañaque. He set sail again and arrived in Manila Bay. He sent forward his Lieutenant, Sioco, and 600 fighting men to demand the surrender of the Spaniards.

Alarm was raised in Malate which is close to Intramuros but the Spaniards took no credence to the report so no resistance was offered until the invaders were within the gates to the city.

Martin de Goiti, the Maestre de Campo and second in command to the Governor, was the first victim of the attack. Goiti and several Filipinos under the leadership of Rajah Lakandula were killed. Goiti’s wife was badly wounded but survived.

The Spaniards took refuge in Fort Santiago which the Chinese were about to take control when they were interrupted by the arrival of fresh troops led by a…

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Oldest Pearl Harbor veteran dies at 106

As reported by The Conservative Brief on Nov. 24, 2018.

Ray Chavez at the White House.
Ray Chavez at the White House in May 2018

Ray Chavez, a man who was celebrated as the oldest living veteran of the Pearl Harbor attack, died Wednesday at the age of 106 in the San Diego suburb of Poway after a battle with pneumonia.

The mild-mannered Chavez became a national figure three years ago when he was recognized as the oldest survivor of the 1941 attack by other Pearl Harbor survivors, The San Diego Union-Tribune reports.

When praised for his service, his reaction was often to shrug, according to his daughter Kathleen Chavez. “I was just doing my job,” he would say.

His death was mourned in a tweet by the White House: “We are saddened to hear the oldest living Pearl Harbor veteran, Ray Chavez, has passed away at the age of 106. We were honored to host him at the White House earlier this year. Thank you for your service to our great Nation, Ray!

In May, President Donald Trump praised Chavez as he attended a Memorial Day service at Arlington National Cemetery.

Chavez “doesn’t look a day over 60,” Trump said. He called Chavez “truly an inspiration to all who are here today.”

Trump pledged, “We will never forget our heroes.”

Seventy-five years after the attack, Chavez said its memory still haunted him: “I still feel a loss … We were all together. We were friends and brothers. I feel close to all of them.”

Japan’s surprise attack crippled the U.S. Navy’s Pacific fleet and killed 2,335 U.S. military personnel and 68 civilians.

Chavez suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder following the attack. He returned to his hometown of San Diego, where working in nature helped him recover from his symptoms of anxiety and shaking.

Chavez was not wounded in the attack, but he witnessed the aftermath in around-the-clock shifts.

Before the attack, Chavez helped identify and sink a Japanese submarine. After working through the early morning, he returned home to sleep. That’s when the bombers arrived.

In 2016, he recalled his wife waking him as the attack raged: “The Japanese are here, and they’re attacking everything,” she told him.

The harbor was in flames when he arrived.

After sifting through destruction for days, he was later assigned to a transport ship to ferry troops, tanks and other equipment to war-torn islands across the Pacific.

Chavez did not talk of the attack until its 50th anniversary. At that time, he began regularly attending anniversary events.

Chavez was preceded in death by his wife, Margaret. His daughter is his only survivor.