Live, Love & Sparkle This Christmas

I was a bit nervous that Christmas might be cancelled.  Reason?  I thought Santa would die of laughter because someone told him that I was no longer naughty and gone nice this year!

christmas tree like tree in queenstown new zealand
christmas tree like tree in queenstown new zealand
the manger in bethlehem where baby jesus was born
the manger in bethlehem where baby jesus was born
merry christmas! (inside a chapel in bethlehem during the recent israel visit)
merry christmas!
(inside a chapel in bethlehem during my recent israel visit)

I hope that your Christmas will be full of fun and laughter and may you live, love and sparkle in the coming New Year!

Mabuhay, Umibig, Kuminang! Meri Krismas…

Pater Noster: Prayer For Life

Just like missing prayers before a meal or going to sleep I missed writing about the Church of Pater Noster. Also known as the Sanctuary of the Eleona, Pater Noster church is located on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.

pater noster church
pater noster church
lords prayer in its first two language...
lords prayer in its first two languages…

Being a Catholic, my not writing about this place felt like heresy of some sort.  It is because this special spot, where I and my sister visited when we were in Israel, is where Lord Jesus believed to have taught the Lord’s Prayer.

Not all Catholics were blessed enough of being able to see and experience what it was to be like in such a special place.  Honestly, I consider Pater Noster to be one of the highlights of me and my sister’s tour of the Mount of Olives.

This 4th century Byzantine church is serene and beautiful.  And underneath this massive structure is a cave which I think is considered the holiest spot of the area for it is believed to be where Lord Jesus taught his disciples  the ‘Ama Namin’ (translation: Our Father) prayer.

highlight!
highlight!
selfie inside where it's taught
selfie inside where it’s taught
searching for the tagalog version...
searching for the tagalog version…
got the ilonggo version
got the ilonggo version
feeling so blessed...
feeling so blessed…

The walls of the structure are placed with multilingual plaques bearing the Lord’s Prayer in different languages.  Feeling proud Pinoys, I and my sister failed to locate the plaque in Filipino-Tagalog language.  We nevertheless was successful in locating the English and the Filipino-Ilonggo prayer versions.

Saying the Our Father has always been part of my prayer, in whatever form or state of mind I am.  And I may miss saying prayers before meals and before sleep but I will forever be so thankful that the stars has aligned for me to see and experience this holy place where the prayer for life started.

Oh ‘di ba, ang banal banal ko na??  

Too Early & Too Late for Tel Aviv Pride 2016

I arrived too early and left too early for the party.  Now I’m celebrating too late…

where fun is supposed happen! (in front of the iconic dan hotel)
where fun is supposed happen! (in front of the iconic dan hotel)
was too early for the party...
was too early for the party…

Here’s a bunch of beautiful people who were blessed to feel, see, smell and experience  the fun and excitement of this year’s Pride in the city that I came to love.

Hapi Prayd Tel Abib!

Chronicling a Momentous Holy Mass in Old Jaffa

According to history, Old Jaffa in Tel Aviv was a place that was monopolized by the Canaanites and Philistines.  It was also the ancient town brought to knees by Biblcal King David, ruled by King Solomon and vanquished by the Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Persians and the Phoenicians.  It was the historic site where Alexander the Great stationed his troops.  And it was reconquered by the Jews through the Maccabean rebels and also fell into the hands of the Romans.  Old Jaffa is also where some of the stories in the Holy Bible about Jonah and Apostle Peter took place.

Old Jaffa is also even written about in some Egyptian letters by an ancient pharaoh.  It is also believed to be the place where Andromeda (of the Greek mythology) was chained to a rock by her king father so as to pacify the tantrums of Poseidon.

st peter's church
st peter’s church
amen!
amen!
my sister outside the st peter's church...
my sister outside the st peter’s church…

And in the event I happen to become very famous and significant, let me pronounce and put in writing (so that people would know) that this historic site is where I attended my first Holy Catholic Mass in Israel.  Not in Jerusalem, not in Nazareth neither in Bethlehem.  It is in old, historic and colorful Jaffa!  This I guess would be one notable event that will be recognized in the future!

And for the record, the Holy Mass me and my sister fortuitously attended was celebrated in the Spanish language.  It was a special Mass for some Latin American looking tourists. Too bad I did not intently listened to my profesora in Spanish language subjects during my schooldays, only little could I understand on what the priest was saying.

But since me and my sister knows the dynamics of the Holy Catholic Mass – when to say amen, when to kneel, when to do the sign of the cross, when to pray a specific/standard prayer, when to stand and bow the head, when to respond (our response was in English though), when to say “peace be with you”, etc. – the experience was as divine and as hallowed like attending a Holy Mass which we could totally understand.

No, I don’t have plans of conquering this awesome place but it can now be said that Old Jaffa is now a part of my soon to be famous life.  Or the other way around, that is, I have at least in some strange twist of fate have been part of the historic Old Jaffa.

took a shot while the first reading is on-going...
took a shot while the first reading is on-going…
the massive church was aptly called st peter's church because this is where st peter lived for a while (inside simon the tanner's house) and had a vision/dream which started the christian  catholic religion.  old jaffa is also where st peter raised tabitha from the dead
the massive house of prayer was aptly called st peter’s church because this is where st peter lived for a while (inside simon the tanner’s house) and had a vision/dream which started the christian catholic religion. this house is also where st peter raised tabitha from the dead
up the hill in old jaffa. behind me is the catholic church of st peter.
up the hill in old jaffa. behind me is the catholic church of st peter.

Parang gusto ko tuloy sakupin at ikongker ang baryong ito.

The Rare Remarkability of Old Jaffa

zodiac sign fountain inside old jaffa square
zodiac sign fountain inside old jaffa square

Old Jaffa is a very old port town situated in the south of Tel Aviv.  It is believed that this town was built by the son of Noah (Japheth) after the great flood.  Thus, this town is considered one of the oldest inhabited towns on the planet.

With the more than 3,000 years old history of this town, there is so much to see, hear, feel and smell in Old Jaffa.  This place is actually my most photographed place in my recent trip to Israel with my sister.  That is why this old town would definitely be one place in Israel that I will be back in case I will again be blessed to visit Israel.

Walking through the narrow streets and alleyways of Old Jaffa, it is very evident that the place is now a haven for artists and craftsmen.  The artistry of the people who presently inhabits the place are truly mind-blowing!

With the rich and remarkable history of Old Jaffa, there is indeed so much to write about this ancient place.  Yet, I could not seem to focus on what to say and write about this beautiful town.  I guess I was too mesmerized by the special remarkability, rich exceptionality and the rareness of the magic of Old Jaffa.

this art piece is called "gate of faith"
this art piece is called “gate of faith”
there's so much to see, feel and smell...
there’s so much to see, feel and smell…
super nice!
super nice!
my sister love the colors of this artpiece
my sister love the colors of this artpiece
i love this place!!!
i love this place!!!
mesmerizing!
mesmerized!

Ibang lebel ang historik at kulchural ng baryong ‘to

Craved for Rice & Shopping Mall in Tel Aviv

My being a Far East Asian cracked up and transcended when me and my sister were in Tel Aviv.  First was when both of us were craving for rice, the staple food of Far East Asians.  After a couple of days gobbling over falafels, hummus, schnitzels and loads of bread and pastry varieties, part of my sleep were dreams about munching on a bowl of hot and freshly cooked rice.

These was further amplified when both of us where hankering whether a shopping mall exists in Tel Aviv.  Yeah, the biggest shopping malls on the planet are found in our part of the world!  Thus, a week without going to a shopping mall for Far East Asians like me and my sister makes us intensely loony.

So as to resolve our impending bouts of madness we scrambled on googling the net so as to determine where’s the nearest mall and where rice are most likely sold.  Thanks to the ever reliable google and google map we found Dizengoff Center, the first mall in Israel.  Luckily, this mall was only a couple of minutes walk from our hotel.  In this mall was when our rice-cravings was resolved.  My theory that Filipinos loves or needs shopping malls was validated because in Dizengoff Center did we saw the most number of Filipinos in Israel.

craving for rice, we passed by dizengoff square a few steps away from the dizengoff center
craving for rice, we passed by dizengoff square a few steps away from the dizengoff center
having fun inside a tel aviv bus!
having fun inside a tel aviv bus!

And after a couple of days, me and my sister bravely rode a bus and headed to the most modern and one of the biggest malls in Tel Aviv known as Azrieli Center.  This complex houses three iconic modern towers of Tel Aviv simply known as the Circular, the Square and the Triangular towers.  Circular Tower is the tallest building in Tel Aviv and at its top-most floor is where the breath-taking Azrieli Observatory is located.

a ceiling shot of the mall... now try to find the triangulat, square and circular towers
a ceiling shot at the center of the mall… now try to find the triangular, square and circular towers
spectacular view from the Azrieli Observatory. The Mediterranean Sea at the far end!
spectacular view from the Azrieli Observatory. The majestic Mediterranean Sea at the far end!
beautiful!!!
beautiful!!!
pa-kyut
pa-kyut
jackpot!
jackpot!
2 happy pinoys in tel aviv
2 happy pinoys in tel aviv

I love Azrieli Observatory!!!

Discovering the malls of Tel Aviv by ourselves was one advantage of not booking a tour package for our entire stay and trip to Israel.  Going and planning on our own, enables me and my sister resolve these kinds of insane issues.  I’m pretty sure those expensive yet inflexible tour packages basically offers the more popular Israeli destinations which of course would not include moments inside a mall.  And those who availed those rigid package tours failed to see other dimensions of what Tel Aviv or Israel as a whole got to offer.

Without rice and the absence of a shopping mall experience for the entire trip to Israel could have made me and my sister gone mad and demented at the end of the trip.  Thanks to Dizengoff and Azrieli Centers for keeping the both of us sane.

‘Yun nga lang, walang Tosilog sa mol nila.

Too Thankful to Wail at the Wailing Wall

The Western Wall (which others call The Wailing Wall) has been regarded by the Jews as the sole remnant of the Holy Temple.  It is considered to be the closest accessible site to the holiest spot in Judaism known as the Foundation Stone which lies on the Temple Mount.  Because of these, the Western Wall has become a place of pilgrimage among the Jews around the world.

a holy site to behold
a holy site to behold
selfie muna
selfie muna
amen!
amen!
i could not believe i would be this blessed!
i could not believe i would be this blessed!

Since it is the holiest accessible site, the Western Wall would be the site where Jewish believers would lament about the obliteration of the temple as well as the site where they would pray for intentions.  As a tradition, people would write a note on a piece of paper about their intentions, their petitions, their requests, wishes, longings and yearnings.  And insert the paper into the crevices of the walls for the heavenly beings to grant such wishes, requests and appeals.

Though a non-Jewish, I have been gifted by the heavens to set foot, see, smell and feel the massive and majestic walls of the Western Wall.  Some perhaps must be envious that a pathetic underachiever like me was granted the rare chance to pray and ask for anything that I need and want to the Holy God of the Jewish world.

me and my sister on our 2nd visit
me and my sister on our 2nd visit
too overjoyed to ask for anything...
too overjoyed to ask for anything…

But honestly, I failed to write any petition neither did I fail to even murmur on the stones about any wish.  It is because I was too overjoyed and too thankful to ask for anything at that moment.  The mere fact that I was blessed to be in the Holy Land is already a massive and colossal gift from the heavens.  I was so thrilled and delighted I could no longer ask for anything else at that moment.

Mapapasigaw ka talaga ng “Tenk Yu Lord!”