CLOSING SHOP – holy week ramblings

Holy Week has always been marked by Closing Shop.

Holidays would be declared. Businesses would force their employees to go on leaves. Even Greenhills would, for at least a day or two, put its pirated head in the sand. Radio stations would go on static. Before the era of ubiquitous cable, TV stations would show nothing but the The Ten Commandments and Jesus films (all Biblical characters seemed to have British accents). In the pre-wifi age, kids certainly saw nothing “good” about Good Friday, and Black Saturday was indeed dark.

We may have confused some of our theology with tradition, but closing shop at least taught us something that Holy Week itself was trying to teach us. It is REST. Not just the Boracay-on-Holy-Week, or Easter Tagaytay Break, or even the Pirated DVD Marathon, but REST as interpreted by The Man Himself – Jesus.

When God created the world, he rested on the seventh day, thereby instituting the Sabbath. Instead of resting, wouldn’t he have been more productive if he had spent the seventh day still creating? With his vast wisdom and omnipotence, think of the potentially exciting new stuff God missed creating!

But he was teaching us something else. Something he most probably deemed better than some newfangled narwhal. He reserved one day of the week for shutting up, for cherishing what we had, and remembering the one from whom it all came from.

Millennia later, His Son would teach us something about that, too. He was laid to rest after he suffered and died for our sins. For his disciples, the wait must have been torturous. What’s going to happen to us now? Is this really the end? But like the disciples, we miss the point. God wasn’t dead. He was saying, ‘Nuff Said. He was now teaching us a bit more  about resting in His Love, instead of trying to earn it.

Resting isn’t a very modern thing to do, really. In an age that lives at the speed of one’s internet connection, missing a beat, even for Sick Leave, could be costly. Overtime becomes Regular Hours. Deadlines are always yesterday. And when we have to wait, we’re more fidgety than a mouse. We’ve forgotten how to sit still. We’re all living with some undiagnosed form of communal ADD. Creation and our Re-Creation in Christ teaches us that the crucial part of living, is breathing. Holy Week’s closed shops teach us to shut up, and remember from whom it all came from.

And that is in whom we rest. That is what resting means, I guess, in the cosmic sense. Resting our heads on a power bigger than we can imagine. On a Love we can not win, but that which he freely gives.

He will spin Saturn into its next orbit without you having to move a fiber of your finger. Can you not be still for a day and remember who birthed and re-birthed you?

With deadlines and commitments and agreements and trysts and dinners and bar mitzvahs and God-knows-freakin’-what, it gets tougher and tougher to do it every year. Maybe that’s part of the sacrifice: Closing shop to the outside world so we can take a good inventory of what’s inside.


New Pinoy Desserts (or Midsummer Night’s Experimental Children)

Here’s a shout-out to all the Filipino (or Filipino Fusion, Modernized Filipino, etc.) restos:Mesa, Pia y Damaso, Felix, Lorenzo’s Way, Abe, etc. How about having these babies on your menu (with my name, of course!)  ?

Here’s a Filipinized take on ice cream sandwiches (DQ and Sebastian’s being inspirations), with the “filling” and “bread” also seen (and tasted) differently because of the new pairings.

Note: These test-shots were, like the desserts, experimental. The ice cream is not in optimum condition. Plus, I couldn’t redo shots and make another set of desserts just to shoot them. I had to eat everything – good takes and bad.

First off,


Mestiza looks a bit like an eclair here, I guess. But don't tell her I said that.

It’s Broas (Lady Fingers) embracing Pastillas Ice Cream. The sweetness of the Pastillas blends well with the neutrality and tenderness of the Broas.

Next, is

Nardong Tsokoleyt

(because Nardong Putik might not be too appetizing)

He rolls, he tumbles, he defies gravity, and he is Tsokolate Ice Cream in between two layers of Otap.

The multi-textured Nardo

An interesting study in texture, as the flaky, multi-ringed Otap breaks as you get into the soft, cool tsokolate ice cream. The tsokolate, itself a study in bittersweetness, also contrasts with the almost-neutral Otap.

Alas, the heat yielded something productive.

What’s Black, and White, and Spells?

The Panda Poet. That’s what.
PANDA POET is a game you can either access from the Google Chrome App Store, or at, or on Kindle. In any case, it’s a delight of a download – a surprise, actually. And before you think someone paid me to review this, let me say right off the bat: no. It was just fun playing it, and I just wanted to share it with y’all.

you can access it from the Google App Store!

It’s Scrabble meets Boggle meets Reversi. The gameplay is ALMOST intuitive. I say ALMOST because while there is a tutorial and you can get the hang of it in one and a half games, there are some rules on points (and Panda points) that might not be easily graspable. Not to worry, though. The Point System comes tertiary to the mind-tease and the panda cuteness.
At first, you think it’s a traditional word search game. But here, the letters have corresponding points, some with triple word or double word value. Then, certain combinations of words will give you….(drum roll…) a panda. The Pandas give you extra points at the end (think about the Strikes in Bowling). But here’s more – you can steal your opponent’s panda!
You take turns with other people (both people you know and those you have yet to meet), and wait for them to finish their turns (much like other Facebook Games, or the phenom Draw Something). There’s also an option wherein you can take turns on just one computer – so you can play it with a friend who’s with you, too.

spelling and stealing: all in a day's work for the ol' black n' white

The animation of the pandas and the ensuing panda-stealing are endearing, but not overdone in saccharine. It’s charming and interesting enough to let you just look at it between turns.
A Chat Window also allows you to converse with opponents. I wonder, though if people actually trash talk.
The Music is cute and interesting, too, but too much will have it ringing annoyingly in your ears.
So Word Game fans – (scrabble-sensations, boggle gurus), Panda fans, and Free App fans – you can’t go wrong. You can start playing it during this long weekend (Prayers first. Pandas later.).