The House Blessing by Kuya Jef

This is an old event, but a new posting here on my blog. During the blessing I was just too busy to post the pictures and the story.

Msgr. Rev. Fr. Jeffrey Garcia starts the blessing.

As the day of the blessing came nearer, so did my departure date to leave for the States. The blessing was held last July 10, and I was scheduled to leave on July 11. So most of the days I was packing up, and basically preparing my computer, as well as doing all things I could do at the house that Marcia might have a hard time doing while I’m gone. So everything I could fix, I fixed, everything related to wiring, electricity, phone line extensions, computer LAN cabling and all physical things as well like drilling, and other stuff. Time was just not enough to fix Marcia’s PC, Janet’s PC and the PC that Ate Dawn will use, as well as for Jamie’s educational games.

Some of the visitors by the side of the house.

And as each day passed by, Marcia was busy preparing the house for the blessing and helped her every time she needed me. One thing about Marcia is when she is pressured; she tends to be hot-headed. But no problem with me, I can take it, and do not face it head on. I just smile and know that she is just like that but she has no intentions of being mad at anyone.

One of memorable blunders is just hours before the blessing, when she poured hot water in the kitchen sink; she felt it on her feet. Poor Marcia, she got hot as well, angry at everything. I checked it out and the tubes are not really sealed. Although it works, pouring something at a fast rate will really make it leak. Good thing Adam was also there to help me out.

Some of the visitors by the side the garage.

When Kuya Jef texted Marcia saying he was at SM Fairview already, I went to pick him up. After a few minutes when I arrived at SM, he was there. Had a small chat on the priest at the Parish of Mary the Queen, whom were kuya’s students.

When we got back home, I was back to being busy and so was Marcia. Then the visitors started to arrive one by one. The groups of visitors were mainly Marcia’s friends from Colegio de San Bartolome, friends at Blue Star Lending Investors, Inc. My high school friends from Sacred Heart Academy of Novaliches, and a few friends from Informatics Computer Institute and people back home at Teresa Heights.

When everything seemed to be ready, the ceremony started. Kuya Jef went to ever corner of the house and after blessing the house, he bless my car and Janet and Harry’s van as well.

Kuya Jef and Marcia

After the blessing, it was eating time. And after that, it was kwentuhan time. When that was done, I went straight up to the room to finish packing my things up preparing to leave the next day, going to the States.

For stories on my departure from the Philippines and arrival in the States, click on the links below:

The trip to the US
Setting Foot on US Ground

Garry & Tess’ Cassava Cake Recipe

I just woke up and heard the answering machine giving this tone that implies that there is a saved message. I got up and pressed the play button.

It was a message for Mama and Papa from Garry who needs the cassava cake recipe again. Since I saved it in the sent items in my email software, I am posting it here on the blog so it will never get lost, if ever they will need it again. Just visit and it will always forward to this page.

Below is a copy of my previous email:

Hi Garry,Here is the recipe from Mama that you requested, I just took notes from Mama and this is what she said:


-3 Bags of Grated Cassava
-1 Can of Coconut Milk
-1 Bottle of Macapuno
-1 Bottle of Sweet Jackfruit (Langka)
-1 Can of Condensed Milk.

Mix all ingredients except the condensed milk and cook. Once you think it is cook, then that is the time to add the condensed milk.

Since I brought my PC here in San Diego, we were able to print all the pictures you sent and Mama and Papa were really happy to see you all.

See you in August, take care.


My New Bike – Updated!

In the Philippines I was a BMXer / Freestyler. I still consider myself one, but my skill depleted through time mainly because of work. I am a bit old, but still a kid at heart still wanting to ride my bike. (Hey Matt Hoffman, Dennis McCoy are pretty old. They are older than me and still rip up on dirt, vert and street)

Since I came here with no bike, I decided to look out for one at the local bike shop. I saw a perfect Redline just for me.

It is way better than my freestyle bike back home in the Philippines. Here some information on my bike that I got from the Redline Website:

FEATURES Set up with Redline’s Trail bars with 6 1/2″ rise, Tektro alloy brakes in the front and rear, along with a SST detangler and one pair of pegs, the Recon is perfect for a early Street machine. Chromoly 170mm cranks and 48hole / 14mm axled Alex wheels, wrapped with Redline’s famous “Freaky-V” tires make this bike equipped for any Recon mission.

FRAME Trail w/chamber head tube gusset, Hi-Ten w/ ovalized stays
FORK 1 1/8″ “Monster” fork, threadless
HEADSET Threadless
BARS 25″ X 6 1/2″ Trail bars
STEM alloy “Proline” threadless
GRIPS flangeless Redline “Freaky-G” soft compound
LEVER Tektro aluminum L&R
BRAKES Tektro aluminum front and rear U-brakes SEAT
Redline “Blvd.” 6.0 saddle w/ 8mm rails & rubber wrap
POST 14″ hi-ten
CLAMP alloy “Proline”
CRANKS Chromoly 1-pc forged, 170mm
PEDALS resin Redline platform
B/B SET looseball
CHAINRING 44t “Solid-S” chainwheel
HUBS 48hole w/ 14mm axles
RIMS Alex aluminum alloy rims, 20X1.75, 48spoke
SPOKES 14 gauge
TIRES Redline “Freaky-V” tires, – 20 X 1.95 front & rear, all black.
EXTRAS SST “Oryg” detangler, 1 pair pegs
COLORS Nickel, Green or Trans Blue

The highlight of this bike, compared to my old Haro Taiwan Reject in the Philippines is I have both front and back U-brakes, very large hub axles, Oryg II Detangler, 48 spoke wheels. I wanted to change the handle bars though and found a cool Hoffman Love Bars but it was an extra $89 and I decided to buy this next time.

I now met Ryan by email, the webmaster of and probably hangout with them if given the time.

I do not know what it is about BMX and Freestyle, I can’t out grow it, it gives me this ‘natural high’ (next best thing to sex for me, nyhahaha. Of course my main natural high is being with my wife in bed. nyhahaha Hi babe, I know you always read my stories here.)

Will keep you updated with my BMX / Freestyle life here. I bought my bike from The Cycle Center from Sami. A cool guy, he looks a bit old, but at least he knows what he is selling. Unlike the many bike shops in the Philippines, they do not know what they are selling, they just sell. In the Philippines they do not know what is a BMX bike, a Freestyle bike for flatland, for street, for ramp. They just know they are bicycles and BMX are for kids and Mountain Bikes and Racers are for adults.

*** Story Updates ***

I tried out my bike right after I got it, the stem twisted on my fronthops. Spinning and hopping tricks were hard with the low tire pressure. Handlebar angle was bent back a bit that gave me a hard time on a simple rock walk and bunny hopping. Did the neccessary adjustments already, but I do not like the handle bar, it’s too short, but when I start earning money I’ll get the Hoffman Love Bars. In the meantime since I am an oldschool freestyler, I will start working on my scuffing tricks and rolling tricks since that is where freestyle is today.

Taekwondo USA Style vs. Philippine Style

I started out taekwondo in 1991 in the Philippines. I have competed in several competitions and practiced in several schools under different instructors, depending who has the most convenient location and time that time. I stopped in 1996 due to an accident where I had torn ligaments in my right knee. I was advised to rest for 2 years and I never got back in shape to what I was before. Not because of my knee, but because I was already working and I didn’t have much time freedom to workout.

Now I had two accounts of going into taekwondo here in the States, first was in 1999 at a taekwondo school along Wilshire Avenue in LA and now at Champion Taekwondo Academy in Rancho Peñasquitos in San Diego. And here are the major differences I have observed.

Treatment to new students from other schools

USA: They are treated with a very warm welcome.

Philippines: They are treated with a welcome, and if their belt is colored already, they are challenged. Other students check how good you are and try to beat you up in sparring. If they see your good, you gain more respect.


USA: One hour.

Philippines: Usually two hours. One and a half hour for kids.


USA: A lot of endurance exercises, a lot of forms.

Philippines: A lot of kicking exercises, shadow sparring drills. Competition sparring drills.


USA: Done about once a week.

Philippines: Done every meeting. And is a personal favorite of higher belts. It is like, everything is boring, and everyone is just waiting for the sparring.

Personally, I was a bit bored in my first taekwondo class here, since I didn’t get to spar. But it was still fine since my endurance was really down. I still need more time to get back my aerobic endurance.

How’s Everything!

Summary in a few words:

Still looking for a job, 2nd Screening for Lindows
Trying to close a deal
Having fun Chatting with Marcia
Passed the Driver’s License Exam
Joined a Taekwondo School

The Brief Details:

After applying for tons of jobs on and ever since I came here, on the first batch of jobs I applied for, one already replied saying I passed the initial screening and was asked to fill up another questionnaire for the second screening. The company was Lindows, Inc.. Position as a PHP / MySQL Programmer

I got a proposal with a major publication company for my company YDS Web Solution, and it is still in the works. No contract signing yet, but if ever I get this, this will be a major break for my company in the States.

Marcia bought a webcam and headset with microphone so I’m happy to see her in the flesh and hear her as well. I get to talk to and see Jamie as well.

I took the examination at the Department of Motor Vehicles for my driver’s license and passed the examination with a perfect 100%. They gave me a temporary license that I could use till September 20, 2004 until I get my actual driving examination.

Just joined Champion Taekwondo Academy under Master Won K Min. They are WTF style so my belt will be accredited. In the Philippines I am a high red belt, where that is 3 belts away from Black Belt, and Master Kim was offering me the same belt, 3 belts away from black belt, but I asked for a belt one step lower since it has been 1996 since the my last active practice of taekwondo. I might be pressured with the same ranking and my skill depleted through the years. I might get beat up with the same belt so I opted for one belt lower.

Of course Master Min knows Master Sung Chun Hong of the Philippines and I told him I am a student of the student of Master Hong. With my hyperthyroidism still hyper, I took some tapazole to lower my thyroid activity to lessen my heart rate in preparation for later, which is my first Taekwondo class in years. I will do some stretching before I leave so my body won’t have a big adjustment.

Hello to my family, I miss you all.

My PC Metamorphosis

I came to the States with a Pentium 4 1.6Ghz, 256MB DDR with two 40GB Samsung Hard Disk Drives, One 1GB Seagate Hard Disk Drive, a 32x/12x/48x CD/CDRW/CDR CyberDrive all on top of a Elitegroup Mainboard. I also brought the following peripherals with me: A Kworld USB TV Box, LifeView TV Out adapter, iOmega Parallel Port Zip 100 drive, DVII Video Cam / 2 MegaPixel Cam and Webcam in one. I also brought my Olympus D-220L Digital Camera with defective flash, Palm Zire 7.1 PDA and Nokia 3650 Cellphone.

I was not able to bring my HP Deskjet 3325 Printer and Canon Scanner. Mama and Papa said they’ll buy me one and I said we could buy it next time, but they insisted to buy it now. Actually they look more excited in buying that I was, thanks so much Mama and Papa. When we got to Best Buy, which was an electronic appliances store, they had everything there. When we went to the printers, there were a lot of them. There were three main HP models, we got the mid-range priced one, it was an HP PhotoSmart 7760, way better than the printer I left in the Philippines. The printer I had in the Philippines I guess was obsolete already in the States. They also bought me a new scanner, a Microtek ScanMaker i320.

I started applying online to tons of job opening at and I came across one job posting that required me to fax and will not consider resumes sent by mail or email, nor phone inquiries are not accepted. So I ask Papa where could I fax? He said, Bili na tayo ng fax mahine! I said: “Hindi na po, isang padalahan lang ito…” Papa insisted, saying “kailangan mo yan!” and parang galit pa na ayaw kong bumili. This time we went to Circuit City since it was their clearance sale and we bought a Panasonic KX-FPG381. It had a wireless phone with it, with telephone answering machine functions.

One major difference I noticed is that in the Philippines, when you buy something, before leaving the store, you open it and test it if it works before buying it. In the State, you cannot test it, nor open the box. Opening the box already voids the warranty. In the Philippines, warranty is void only if you open the product itself. You can even leave the box behind if you want.

In the Philippines, I test my products before I leave the store because I never trust the product quality and always need to test it before I leave just to be sure everything is running fine. Here in the States it seems QC people do a good job and they are the ones that assure you everything is working, if ever something doesn’t work, it’s the QC people that get the reprimands I guess.

Yesterday, people in the company where Ma and Pa works were throwing away computers, as in really throwing them in the trash! Papa said he got two CPUs right away and Mama even told him aan’hin mo pa ‘yan? And Papa said that I am here back home, baka kailangan ko and Mama started to get some na rin!

Well it was a good decision. Papa got an old Dell PC running a Pentium II processor, still with the old EDO RAM. The processor was Philippine made in Intel’s plant in the Philippines. The other CPU was a Gateway 2000 Pentium III, no memory installed. It had a Quantum 6GB Hard Disk and Philippine made Toshiba CD ROM drive. It had an internal ATAPI/IDE iOmega Zip 100 Drive. The drive was on a Promise Technology Ultra33 Raid IDE Controller card.

Although the parts were not complete, I could get the best parts of each and put them together and build a computer for Mama and Papa and teach them using their email. It had an Internet Lucent Technologies 56K Modem and 3COM LAN Card.

After putting the good parts together, I was not able to test it yet since I have no SDRAM which was missing in the Gateway 2000 PC. The other PC was using EDO RAM while my PC was running on DDR, so there was really no way to test it, until we buy some SDRAM. Since there were two CD ROM drives, an LG and a Toshiba, I got the LG and fitted in my PC. Since I only had one CD/CDRW/CDR drive, having another CD is great for faster CD copying and my burner would not be worn out right away since I will use another player for playing alone. My external iOmega Zip drive was not functioning well it was great Papa got the CPUs, I could now still read my zip disk since I installed the internal iOmega Zip drive on my PC.

One problem I encountered though is my IDE ports were filled up on my motherboard. My primary IDE had a 40 GB hard disk as master and the CD/CDRW/CDR as slave. My secondary IDE port had another 40 GB hard disk as master and 1 GB hard disk as slave. I had no places to add the CD ROM drive and Internal Zip Drive. But it was also a good thing the Gateway 2000 CPU had a Promise Technology Raid IDE Controller card. Just what I needed to add ports.

I added the card and noticed my PC was booting on the added IDE ports. I checked the boot order settings and they were fine. Until I noticed the BIOS chip on the controller card. I removed it and it now booted fine. WinXP had no problems in installing the correct driver for it as well. I removed the 1GB Secondary Slave and made it the Tertiary Master (The primary IDE port of the controller card) and the Internal Zip Drive as Quaternary Master (The secondary IDE port of the controller card.). The Secondary slave now has the LG CD ROM Drive.

Since I also ran out of power connectors from the power supply, I got two connectors from the Dell computer, cut them and soldered them on another connector of my current power supply. Since my soldering iron came from the Philippines, it was a 200 to 220V, 60W soldering iron and it took quite a while to heat up and the lead gets cold easily because of the 110V voltage standard here in the States.

Setting Foot on US Ground

First thing I noticed was the sunlight. The sun was still up high and it was 8:00 pm. I’ve been living so long in an equatorial country like the Philippines, and observing the effect of the 23o angle of the axis of rotation of the earth was pretty cool. It is summer time and during these months of the year, the northern hemisphere is receiving a lot of sunlight, and the southern hemisphere should be winter time. In extreme polar regions, up north it is daytime everyday and down south, it is nighttime everyday.

Mama and Papa gave me a warm welcome. Uncle Totoy and Auntie was there and they were cool tool. As we hit the road, the roads were still clean, nearly white. Comparing it to the roads in the Philippines, if they reach one year or more, they start to get dirty, nearly black. Due to combustion exhaust probably. All roads were fast flowing and very wide. So there was no traffic as the traffic you experience in the Philippines. Flyovers are seldom since the volume of vehicles is in correct proportion with the road size, having nearly no traffic at all. I learned that there are also diesel vehicles but are seldom since gasoline stations with diesoline is also seldom. And the major cause of smoke belching in the Philippines is diesel engines not in tip-top shape.

Even aboard the plane, California seemed to have mountainous areas as well as planar areas. And on the road, you will always pass by a hill or two. Inhabited land grows certain shrubs and are a bit far apart, even grass is far apart and they look dry. Unlike in the Philippines, land with nothing is filled with the tall grass Talahib. Plants and trees were also hard to recognize what specie they were.

My global roaming Smart phone got a AT&T Wireless signal and as we kept moving, it occasionally changes to Cingular. Yahoo Messenger was still working well with my roaming phone. Each text message I sent back to the Philippines cost me P15, even for balance inquiry!

One probably reason why the all streets seemed clean is I noticed the soil, it looks sandy and sand is not that soluble in water to you don’t get much mud as you get in the Philippines. The mountainous area I saw over the plane really looks rock hard and topsoil is usually formed by erosion on higher areas that move soil down below. But the mountains here look like they do not have much soil to erode.

Although flies, mosquitoes, spiders and cockroaches seem a lot more seldom here, I’ve seen a few. Flies here are a bit gray with raisin-backs. In the Philippines, although I also see these flies there too, flies in the Philippines are generally smooth and black backs. I haven’t noticed the mosquitoes that much and when I saw one, Mama was trying to kill it right away. I saw a gray walking spider and was wondering what it was doing in the house since I didn’t notice much mosquitoes nor flies that it could eat. The cockroaches I’ve noticed are mostly small and I can’t see their wings and has transparent skin. Maybe I have yet to see the full grown cockroaches and notice the difference. But for sure the flies are different since flies in the Philippines start to die in air conditioned rooms.

Well that’s all for today, other observations on some other post. Got to go back to work.

The trip to the US

The first long plane trip I had was in December 1978. Can’t remember much then and I was 5 years old. I was probably asleep most of the time.

In December 1999, I flew again to the US. It was a day trip so there was a lot more to see..

Today, it’s July 2004, I had a night trip. And for me the experience is a bit boring.

At the airport:
It was my first time to 1) fly straight to US, MNL to LAX, 2) ride on PAL, 3) depart from the Centennial Terminal.

The Centennial Terminal seems far way better than the NAIA Terminal. It’s newer than NAIA, and has less people.

My Baggage Problem
Each passenger is allowed to check-in 2 baggages both not more than 70lbs. And a handcarry baggage not more than 15lbs according to PAL’s websites. (Some frequent flyers I know said that you could bring a 15lbs or less shoulder bag and a 25lbs or less bag with wheels. Another said you could bring anything as long as it’s less than or equal to 25lbs. Another person advised me as long as I can carry it and it fits in the overhead compartment.) I had a 25lbs sports bag as my handcarry.

When I was packing up, I left a lot of clothes as well as my printer and scanner that once I get there I’m going to check if it’s cheaper to have them sent over, or for me to buy new ones in the States.

Being the computer freak that I am, I had a bunch of tools with me. Aside from the standard screwdrivers and pliers, I had RJ11 and RJ45 connectors and crimping tools, a soldering iron and some lead. On the xray machine, they saw these in my handcarry bag. And they said I cannot bring it. I insisted that I should bring it since I need them with my work. So since my boxes were both less than 70lbs, they checked-in my tools in the cargo which was also 2.4lbs.

On the Plane
I could say it was boring since it was night time. I could not see a thing but lights down below. Nothing special, you could see the same thing at Antipolo.

Since it was dark and I had no sleep the night before, I spent most of the time sleeping in the plane.

The only thing I noticed were these:
1) The TV screens were showing real-time data, speed, temperature, distance, time at departing country, time at arriving country. At a speed of 136km/hr the plane started to rise! What wonders wings can do! I drive a car sometimes reaching 120km/hr and is still on the ground, and the plane is so heavy and large that it only needs 100+km/hr to lift off! Cool isn’t it?

2) On the ground I looked outside the window, I see nothing but lights since it’s night time. After sometime, I saw moisture build up. So what? That happens when it’s cold. After sometime again, I noticed crytals on the window. I was actually between the glasses since there is a thick glass for the outside of the plane, and the thin glass that you see and touch from the inside of the plane. The crystal were actually water crystals that form the famous structure sometimes drawn in oversized proportions as Christmas decorations signifying snow. This struction is actually a fractal pattern which is a exponential (or logarithmic) pattern that goes over and over again. This happen in solid water (which is ice) but is not observable in large quantities of ice since they are stuck so much together. You could observe this in small quantities but if would be hard to view it from your freezer since once you take out a chunk of ice and try to break it into smaller pieces, they melt and it is no longer solid water but liquid water. Actually you may get to see it when it is snowing since the whole surroundings is cold that thinner layers of ice do not melt right away and you could see the crytal structure. Once property easily observable here is that when this happens, water turns into white and no longer transparent. (So that explains why clouds are white, they are water, but solid water, but not stuck together but a very fine particles.)

So back to the window… In the gaseous state, molecules are farther apart, and are closer in liquid and closest in solids. So the air between the two glasses in the window already had water in the first place. As the plane went higher, temperature dropped and so did pressure and it reached freezing point (which is 0oC and is even higher as lower pressures. Meaning when the pressure gets lower, it is easier to freeze water.) I saw in the monitor on the TV screens on the plane that the temperature was -570oC! That’s subzero! Any glass of water outside the plane should really be ice! And since between the glasses was only a small amount of water vapor, thus with a very small amount and stable temperature and pressure way up there, I was able to see the nice pretty crystals, just like the ones you see during Christmas on some decorations. Cool isn’t it? Literally really cool!