Thursday, November 24, 2005


I finally caught the Christmas Spirit the other night. I seem to have been fighting it this year, scoffing at how the Halloween candy didn't even get a chance to get cold before all the store windows were filled with jolly elves and candy canes.....blatant commercialism!.... Or how early they were playing carols on the radio. I didn't even care that Santa was in town for the Santa Claus Parade! HUMBUG I say! Well what pushed me over to the brightWinter_012 side you was a snow storm. I guess there's nothing like a good downfall of snow to give the place the ambience conducive to all things Christmas. These past few days have certainly been a doozie in terms of snowfall, and like the song says "it doesn't show signs of stopping". As I was driving through the white menaceWinter_016 at 1 in the morning from one end of the boondocks to another end of what is now just the semi-boony area of my house, (the word boondocks BTW come's from the Tagalog word bundok which means mountain, but I digress....) I decided to just take it easy, besides, there were hardly any other cars on the road, and I didn't want to ditch my car like I did on that very same road years ago when I was still in high school. Winter_017 So I drove slowly, tuned the radio to 97.3 FM where the annual 24hr carol-fest had already begun a week ago. In between the festive music, was told a really amazing story. Not just amazing, but unbelievably amazing! I like to believe that it's true.....

Anyways, here's the jist of it: A radio listener had written a letter to the radio host about a story that happened over 30 years ago. He told of how his white hair and beard often got him mistaken for the jolly old elf himself. One day, while doing some window shopping, he noticed a young lady staring at him from a distance. Eventually she approached him and addressed him as Santa. She confessed how silly she felt that a grown woman still believed in Santa, but she just didn't know where else to turn. She told him that she had written several letters but just didn't know how to get them to him. She explained that her husband was a soldier sent to the Vietnam War, but that he had been lost. She had been looking for him for the past three years, and she had reached the end of her rope. So our willing Kris Kringle gladly took her letters as well as the lost soldier's info and picture and promised the young lady that he would do what he could. Unfortunately, he had no luck himself......Later that year, our friendly neighbourhood Santa took a trip to the Philippines. A doctor friend of his asked if he could make a trip to his village on the coast so that his young patients there could see Santa in the flesh. While there, he was told a story of how an American soldier had washed up on shore some time ago, suffering from amnesia. He asked to meet the poor guy, and low and behold, he matched the picture that the young wife had given him. When he called the soldier by his name, the soldier began to remember who he was again. Santa made the arrangements, and on Christmas eve of that year, he knocked on the young wife's door in full Santa uniform. Wishing her a Merry Christmas, he pulled the missing husband into the doorway. And the Christmas miracle was complete. Apparently they're still happily married and their kids still call him Santa. Wow....was that for real? What are the chances? Sorry, my re-telling of the story would have more impact if I had some sappy instrumental music in the background, like they did on the radio.....Has anybody else heard this story?

Anyways, as I got closer to home I saw a Winter_015huge flag in the shopping center parking lot being battered by the blizzard of snow and ice much more Canadian an image could you get? But it reminded me of the Christmases I spent away from home in the tropic climes of the Philippines, where there never was so much as a snowflake at Christmas time. My first Christmas away from home, was a little bit lonely, a little bit foreign....I was literally that person singing "White Christmas".....But soon enough the Christmas spirit would get me there too.....Without the snow, I would always look for the road side Christmas lantern (Parol in Filipino) vendors to herald the arrival of the Christmas Parol_vendorsseason for me..... I've always been fascinated by these things, mesmerized by their flashing regularity and their chaotic joyfulness....maybe I was hypnotized by all the blinking lights the first time I saw one, and I've been hooked ever since.....I got snow now, but I do miss the bright lights of a Philippine Christmas. Other things I miss: the little kids who would serenade you with carols for your spare change and their subsequent thank you song, the fact that baby Jesus still outnumbers Santa Claus in the decorations that celebrate His birthday, oh, and the fireworks, did I mention the fireworks? New Year's eve is not the same anywhere else!

Oh 1awwell, Christmas eve is a month away, this Sunday is the first day of Advent - the season of preparation for the birthday of Christ, there's snow on the ground, the Christmas trees have been chopped down and are ready for sale, and the lights are going up everywhere. Time to put up the parols! Christmas is in the air......

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Four Weddings, A Funeral, and a New Life....

That's life as they say.....c'est la vie (en francais) can change in an may seem like the end of the world at times....and then you realize that its actually just the beginning of a new one.....a better one....the one you were meant to be in.....Don't ask me why things happen....I ask the same question myself....pardon the cliche however, but I believe that everything happens for a purpose.... I've learned not to fight it, complain or despair....when I compare my own infintesimally small wisdom to that Wisdom which gonverns the universe, I must yield.....yield and trust that I have placed my life in the right hands..... "Do not be afraid" - John Paul II Angelo de los Angeles

I almost got married once too.....I chose a passage to be read at the ceremony.....instead, I read it to a friend years later.....she liked it enough to ask me to read it at her own wedding:

Anns_attempt_at_taking_a_picture_of_me "Now I will show you the way which surpasses all others. If I speak with human tongues and angelic as well, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong, a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and, with full knowledge, comprehend all mysteries, if I have faith great enough to move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give everything I have to feed the poor and hand over my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient; love is kind. Love is not jealous, it does not put on airs, it is not snobbish. Love is never rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not prone to anger; neither does it brood over injuries. Love does not rejoice in what is wrong but rejoices with the truth. There is no limit to love's forebearance, to its trust, its hope, its power to endure. Love never fails. Prophecies will cease, tongues will be silent, knowledge will pass away. Our knowledge is imperfect and our prophesying is imperfect. When the perfect comes, the imperfect will pass away. When I was a child I used to talk like a child, think like a child, reason like a child. When I became a man I put childish ways aside. Now we see indistinctly, as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. My knowledge is imperfect now; then I shall know even as I am known. There are in the end three things that last: faith, hope, and love, and the greatest of these is love" 1 Cor. 13:1-13

Love is God (not just another cliche)

Congratualtions to the newlyweds.....Laurie_and_lee_1

Laurie and Lee

Allan_and_jen Allan and Jen

JGboy_at_the_altareremy and Catherine


Maricar and Eric

Apmaros_backyardFarewell and Godspeed dear Amparo..........

Aiden Happy Birthday godson! Aiden de los Angeles

Friday, November 11, 2005

Lest we forget...

In Flanders Fields

Poppy_2In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
HeadstoneTo you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

~Lieutenant Colonel John McRae, MD (1872-1918) Canadian Army physician

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

The CN Tower

So what is that giant phalus in the Toronto skyline Maricelanyways.....does it do anything? .... what is is for? ..... these are questions I hear a lot about the C(anadian)N(ational) Tower.... I hadn't been up in 10 long years, but thanks to my friend on a secret mission, and now Maricel-->
I've visited it twice in the past 2 weeks.... Here are some interesting facts about the CN Tower:

Cntower_41) Completed in 1976 after 40 months of construction, by the Canadian National Railway. It was to be a show of the strength of Canadian Industry. It was also built in response to the skyscraper boom of the 60's that resulted in poor radio and television signals in Toronto. Today, the broadcasting facilities on the tower provide for radio, television, and other telecommunication signals. So it IS good for something....

2) At 553.33 m or 1,815 ft, 5 inches tall, it is the world's tallest free-standing structure, and the world's tallest building (depending on what your definition of a building is anyway). Its glass floorGlassfloor and look-out level are at 342 m /1,122 ft, and 346m /1,136 ft respectively. The Skypod is the Skypodworld's highest public observation deck at 147 storeys or 447 m /1,465 ft, and its roof is at 457.2 m.

3) In comparison, the Ostankino Tower in Moscow is 537 m/1,762 ft, the Taipei 101 in Taipei is 508 m/1,670 ft, the Oriental Pearl Tower in Shanghai is 468 m/1,535 ft, the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lampur are 452 m/1,453 ft, the Empire State Building in NY is 443 m /1,453 ft, and the Sears Tower in Chicago is 442 m/1,450 ft (527.3 m if you include its antenna).

4) Declared one of the 7 Wonders of the Modern World by the American Society of Civil Engineers along with the Itaipu Dam on the Brazil/Paraguay border, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Panama Canal, the Chunnel, the North Sea Protection Works off the European coast, and the Empire State Building.

5) Has a revolving restaurant at 351 m, containing the world's highest wine takes 72 min for one complete revolution....

6) It's elevators travel at 6 m/s or 20 ft/s, and only take 58 s to reach the look-out level at 346m /1,136 ft....there are 1,776 stairs if you're afraid of high speed elevators....

7) Visited by approx. 2 million people each year....for more facts comeSkydome_1 to Toronto....

So what's that mammary at the foot of the CN Tower? ....that's another blog.....

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Murder in University College

I used to have a class in the building known as University College (UC) at U of T ......... Uc_5it was a physics tutorial if I recall correctly.....scary...... ya, the physics part, and the fact that this building is haunted by a ghost....Ucarches Here's the ghastly tale in honour of All Hallow's Eve: His name was Ivan Reznikoff, a sculptor who worked on the construction of UC....Ivan was saving up his money so he could marry his long-time girlfriend. Unbeknownst to him, she was having an affair with another sculptor, Paul Diabolos.....they say that if you study the gargoyles on UC you'll find a smirking Diabolos accross from a cuckolded-looking Reznikoff somewhere on the building....Diabolos convinced the girlfriend to steal Reznikoff's money and run away with him. Needless to say Reznikoff Dragon_edited was pissed when he learned the truth.....a fight ensued and if you look carefully, even after more than a hundred years, you can still find the mark of an axe swung against a door during the melee....Ucdoor in the end Reznikoff is killed by Diabolos who buries his body under the stairwell, only to be found many years later after the fire of 1890...he was identified by the initials on his belt buckle. They say he likes to appear on the road near the front entrance, and his appearances indicate an impending disaster.....legend also says that his ghost will not rest until the "language of Greece ceases to show its face upon the college calendar" (Diabolos was Greek).....Greek is still taught at the University of Toronto.....