Thursday, April 30, 2015

Salmon Cooked in Tamarind (Sinigang na Salmon)






Asians love sour soups.  The Chinese people have Hot and Sour Soup, the Thais, Tom Yum Soup while the Vietnamese, Pineapple Lemon Grass Soup.  The Filipinos have their Sinigang.  

Sinigang is a popular and well loved Filipino dish featuring meat or seafood cooked with tamarind (sampaloc)  to give the dish its distinct and characteristic sour taste.  One can use pork (baboy), beef (baka) or combination of pork and beef.   Fish, the most popular of which is milkfish (bangus) is also commonly used as well as large shrimps (sugpo).  Typical vegetables that are added to complete the dish are kangkong (water spinach), labanos (daikon radish), tomato, onions, string beans, okra and taro tuber (gabe). Banana peppers can also be added whole which I love to do. 

During the despedida party given by our classmate Boy Garcia and his wife Girlie for the Class '65 of St. James Academy, (it will be in a future post) they served Sinigang na Bangus sa Bayabas (guava).  They used milkfish (bangus) and added guava (bayabas), a tropical fruit for additional flavor.

I live in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where we have some of the major sports teams in the US, namely the Steelers (football), the Penguins (hockey) and the Pirates (baseball).  And yes we are also famous for having three rivers.  Yeah.  All these but we do not have fresh bangus or milkfish available here like in California.  Only frozen ones from the Asian stores.  But I want my Sinigang using fish that is more readily available.  How do I satisfy my craving for this dish then?  Use salmon.  Yes that fish that is in every menu in America. 

How about the tamarind?  Well I succumbed to convenience.  Instead of using tamarind paste or powder readily available in Asian stores here, I used a packet of Knorr brand Tamarind Soup Mix.  (I have also used the other brand, Mama Sita).  It does have a flavor enhancer (MSG) in its list of ingredients.  Please do use the tamarind paste or powder if you are allergic to MSG or monosodium glutamate the manifestation of which is a headache.

I like this recipe because it is fast.  It took only 8 minutes to cook and you practically just need to cut some ingredients in big chunks or as is to prepare the ingredients.  The key here is not to overcook the fish.  Five minutes into cooking time, try using a fork to test if the fish is done.   If you overcook the fish in the broth, it will lose its succulence.

There is an advantage to using salmon also.  I can eat the skin which I love rather than discard it without my worrying about scales.  The frozen bangus that I can buy have scales which I either remove (too much work for me) or live with it but my husband will not.

As for vegetables, I have a lot of kale in the fridge when I prepared this dish so I used it and it turned out to be a good leafy vegetable to go with the sourness of the broth.  It is also convenient to use.  Since it is hardy unlike spinach I can add it at the very beginning and not worry about it being overcooked.

Here is the recipe of my now favorite fish dish, Sinigang na Salmon.  Move over bangus.

Salmon Cooked in Tamarind (Sinigang na Salmon)

Ingredients

  • 1 lb salmon
  • 1 tomato, sliced into wedges
  • 1 onion, sliced in wedges
  • 4 cups fresh kale leaves, cut into bite size pieces and stems removed
  • 1 banana pepper, whole
  • 1/2  of a packet Knorr Tamarind Soup Mix (available at Asian Stores) 
  • 3-4 cups water
In a large pot, add the water and then whisk in the tamarind soup mix into it till the mix all dissolve.  Add the rest of the ingredients with the salmon last.  Boil for around 8 minutes or until the fish is done.  You can eat this with rice and a side of fish sauce (patis) for additional saltiness.  This dish can be eaten as a main dish or it can be the soup to be served with grilled pork chops.  Try it.  It is heaven on earth.


Notes:

1.  As mentioned in the introduction,  guava (bayabas) has been used as an added flavor to the sinigang.  Danny, a classmate from Class '65 at St. James, suggested to add miso paste for added depth to the taste of the sinigang.

2.  If you are using tamarind paste or powder, you would need to add salt or fish sauce.  The Knorr Tamarind Soup Mix is already salted thus I did not list salt in the list of ingredients. 

3.  Another option from Paeng Robles, another classmate from Class '65, is to add rice flour (glutinous rice) dissolved in water to make the broth of the soup cloudy and a little thicker.  We customarily add to the water the washings of raw rice (hugas-bigas) so this rice flour takes the place of that. 










Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Lory's Crab with Garlic Butter Sauce




I like simple but delicious dishes. This is one of them.  Crabs cooked in only two other ingredients, butter and garlic.  Yes, only three ingredients including the crabs are used and yet it looks spectacular enough to impress your guests not to mention delicious with a capital D.


During our Class '65 unforgettable luncheon at Dulce and Manny's fabulous vacation house in Tagaytay, Dulce requested Lori Sevilla to prepare this crab dish since he lives in Malabon where these creatures of the sea are more readily available fresh. It was perfect to go with the bulalo that I love during Dulce's luncheon buffet. You will see a similar crab dish served during the spectacular despedida or farewell party given by Boy and Girlie Garcia for the St. James Class '65 members. 

Lory Sevilla (leftmost) is pictured with Linda, Nora and Malou resting (in sort of food coma) after the lunch at Dulce and Manny's Tagaytay abode. They are getting ready for the merienda, would you believe.


I fell in love with this dish so I asked Lory to give me the step by step way to prepare it.  I was very surprised to find out how simple it was to make. Here is the recipe.

Lory's Crab with Garlic Butter Sauce

(Provided by Lory Sevilla)

Ingredients

  • 2 kilos or 4.4 lbs crabs, each cut in half
  • 1 cup or two sticks of butter
  • 6 bulbs of garlic, minced
  • Chili powder to taste (optional)
Saute the minced garlic in the butter in a large saucepan. Once the garlic is cooked add the crabs and continue to stir so the garlic will not burn. The juice from the crabs will eventually help in the cooking process so you do not need to add water. Cover the pan and simmer the mixture till the crabs are cooked. You can add chili powder if you like and garnish the dish with green onions. Enjoy this yummy succulent dish.

Monday, April 27, 2015

The St. James Class '65 Trip to Tuguegarao

This is my recollection and reflection of our Trip to Tuguegarao which was part of the two week reunion of our Class '65 of St. James Academy.  We were graciously invited by our classmate Myrna Ibaviosa Guzman and her husband Bob to Tuguegarao and stay at the beautiful Las Palmas Hotel de San Jose which they own. 


Bob and Myrna Guzman, our gracious hosts and owners of the beautiful Las Palmas Hotel, Tuguegarao Philippines.
I have not been to Tuguegarao before this trip. So I decided to look for a map that would give me an idea as to where it is in relation to some familiar places I have been to in the Philippines.



The Philippines is divided into three main regions, Luzon (green), Visayas (blue) and Mindanao (pink). Tuguegarao City is in Luzon just like Manila and Baguio which was the destination of our first activity for this grand reunion of Class '65. It is farther from Manila than Baguio thus we took the plane rather than drive like we did when we went to Baguio. Tuguegarao is the capital of the province of Cagayan and is considered the regional and institutional center of Cagayan Valley region. (Note Cagayan Valley is NOT to be confused with or related to Cagayan de Oro which is way down in the region of Mindanao),

We were all excited and really did not know what to expect from this trip. What we saw, tasted, and felt were beyond our expectations and one of the most heartwarming and memorable parts of the celebration of our Golden Jubilee.

Day 1 February 23, 2015

My nephew, Benjo Lucas, graciously or perhaps a better word would be patiently, drove me to the airport. It took us 2 1/2 hours to get to Terminal 3 of Ninoy Aquino International Airport from Malabon because of the traffic. I luckily saw Esther Gutierrez Banaag and her husband Sani in the line on the way to the initial security check and they squeezed me in. When I checked in at the Cebu Pacific counter, the lady at the counter notified me that most of the other passengers, namely, my dear classmates listed in the itinerary, have already arrived and were waiting at the gate.

When Esther, Sani and I got to the gate we saw that the party had started. The mood was reminiscent of what it used to be when we went on class excursions in high school. Loud kuwentuhans (story telling) and halakhakan (laughter) plus sharing of baon (food from home) had already begun. Our classmates were passing out ensaimadas and chiffon cakes. Malou Santos Salumbides shared with me her Goldilocks chiffon cake while Susie Magcalas the ensaimada that Lita Garcia Tangonan's friend lovingly baked for her. These Filipino pastries really quieted my hunger pangs.

Our Cebu Pacific flight departed on time for Tuguegarao and we landed safe and sound at the airport.

Cebu Pacific has really new impressive planes.

Our arrival at the Tuguegarao Airport
Paeng's delightful email vividly describes what it was like when we arrived at the Tuguegarao airport.

For a start, when we arrived and exited the airport, bumulaga sa amin ang isang nang-dudumilat na tarp welcoming SJA '65 (see photo below). We were taken aback when we saw two BRAND NEW TOYOTA VANS bought by Bob and Baby for our exclusive use to bring us Klasmeyts to our desired destination. A slightly used third van carried members of the class.



These slick vans then drove us to the fabulous, sprawling Las Palmas de San Jose Hotel owned by our classmate Myrna Ibaviosa Guzman and her husband Bob. I really felt I was entering a tropical paradise when we drove into the hotel compound. Scattered in the grounds were palm trees and other tropical plants as well as several buildings and facilities designed for the tourists and business people holding their conferences there.

The beautiful Las Palmas de San Jose Hotel, Tuguegarao.





The view of the swimming pool and the hotel buildings.

Upon arrival, we were immediately assigned our rooms. Every room I found out is unique in its design and configuration. Almost all including the lobby are simply but elegantly decorated with kamagong accessories.


Hotel lobby.


This was the room where I stayed with my two roommates, Susie Magcalas and Zeny Gutierrez. I love the way the beds were decorated. I might imitate this for one of our bedrooms at home.


This is the close up of the decoration above the beds in our room. I love its utter simplicity and again I might imitate this. Gaya gaya talaga. (In other words I am a copycat))


Our gracious hosts then invited us to the hotel's elegant dining room which used to be part of their old residence. We dined there to our hearts' content from the fabulous buffet prepared for our lunch.

The dining room where we ate our meals,
Dulce, Paeng and Flor

Rudy, ZenyM's husband looks overwhelmed while Lulu Gutierrez Yambao just "attacks" the buffet.





The food served by our gracious hosts are shown above and consisted of embutido, fish fillet with tartar sauce, chopsuey, pancit canton, beef mechado and my favorite the "to die for" chicken curry. (My mouth is watering as I type this list and it is only 6 in the morning).

After being envigorated by the sumptuous lunch, we went sightseeing. We embarked on what I would consider a heritage tour where we would be learning about the culture of Tuguegarao and also the Philippines through the churches we would visit. We would see for example the strong influence of the Spaniards on how the Filipinos practiced and deepened their Catholic faith in the three centuries they colonized us. We will glean this through the history of the architecture and design of the buildings as well as stories behind the statues in the churches.

Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral also known as the Tuguegarao Metropolitan Cathedral

The first stop in our "Church tour" was the Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral also known as the Tuguegarao Metropolitan Cathedral. It is the seat of the Archdiocese of Tuguegarao and the biggest church in Tuguegarao. It has been recently restored to its 18th century design.  This restoration was completed in 2014. Its most dazzling feature is its beautiful ceiling. Relics of St. Peter and St. Pope John Paul II are encased in a small container in the middle of the newly installed altar. Inside this small niche are the bones of St. Peter and a piece of hair from St. Pope John Paul II.

The magnificent ceiling of the church.
The view of the church interior.


Members of Class '65 pose behind the altar. Note in the middle of the altar is where the relics are encased.


Inside the small niche in the altar are the bones of St. Peter and the hair from St. Pope John Paul II.






Our class poses in front of the St. Peter and Paul Cathedral also known as the Metropolitan Cathedral of Tuguegarao. The facade features red bricks with white columns. Red bricks are used in most of the churches we visited in Cagayan. It is more commonly found in this area than limestone and coral stone which are used in old churches in other parts of the Philippines.

Outside the church is this sign indicative of the recent visit of Pope Francis to the Philippines in January 2015. It lists 10 practical and doable things one can do after the historic papal visit to the Philippines.

San Jacinto Chapel and St. Paul University and its Our Lady of Chartres Chapel


The next church we visited was the San Jacinto Chapel where our class attended an afternoon Mass. This small chapel is being taken cared of by the Sisters of St. Paul of Chartres (SPC) who run the nearby St. Paul University.

San Jacinto Chapel

Both the San Jacinto Chapel and St. Paul University are located on the busy, crowded street shown below. The university which offers basic education to graduate studies including in the field of nursing has an entrance with a humble looking facade which is misleading.
 
The busy street where both the Saint Jacinto Chapel and the University of St. Paul is located. Note the countless tricycles waiting for passengers.


Once you are inside the campus, the grounds look like a park and situated in it is the magnificent Our Lady of the Chartres Chapel which was designed by one of its sisters after the Chartres Cathedral in France. This is a far cry from the other churches that are parts of our heritage tour which are has mostly brick Baroque architecture. The architecture of this chapel is French Gothic.

Our Lady of Chartres Chapel.
Our Lady of the Chartres Chapel, St. Paul University, Tuguegarao. Photo Credits
The altar is in the middle of this newly renovated, beautiful chapel. Ooo la la, C'est Magnifique as the French says.

The view of the exterior of the church at night. The windows are just dazzling.

Several members of our Class '65 graduated from this university's sister school, St. Paul University in Manila, and two of them, Lita and Malou, are seen posing with the President of the Tuguegarao campus in one of the photos below.
The president of the University of St. Paul, Sr. Merceditas O. Ang, spc, was kind enough to meet with us on our unplanned visit to their university.

Two of our classmates, who graduated from St. Paul University in Manila, pose with the gracious President of the sister school in Tuguegarao. The other two alumnae are Nilda Lorenzo Tuazon and Irma de Guzman who were not able to join the tour.
Day 1 ended with more bonding at the so called Tree Room of the hotel which was occupied by Linda Paez Calixto and Nora Yanga Miranda during our stay in Las Palmas. The room was built around two trees. The trunks of both trees that are showing inside the room are encased in glass. It is indeed a very unique room as well as the other rooms in this hotel.
In this room to nobody's surprise, the ladies had a marathon joke session before dinner. Again our Queen Vida (Napoleon joke) and Princess Esther (Japanese accent joke. Yes Esther does accents too like Meryl Streep) headed the session but new talents surfaced that evening. I am referring to Flor (Bonifacio joke), Dulce (I will not give a hint because it is actually clean and you might be misled by my hint) and Nora (the banig, broken watch etc clean jokes). Let me just say they were very funny jokes and some were extremely colorful. Okay here is one of Nora's jokes.

Vendor: Madam, buy this banig (mat). Only 50 Pesos. It can accommodate 15 people.

Buyer: Oh really. I will buy one.

The next day the buyer angrily went back to the vendor wanting to return the banig (mat).

Buyer: You told me that 15 people can fit in the banig (mat). There were only 6 that fitted.

Vendor: Were they standing or lying down? (He he)

After spending our energy laughing we went down again to that gorgeous dining room for dinner consisting of barbecued and grilled meat and seafood as shown in the picture below plus sotanghon soup and dinuguan. OMG. They were unforgettable!

I am ending my account of Day 1 on this gushing note. It was a great and wonderful day. It reflected the hearts of our excellent and caring hosts Myrna and Bob which are as vast as the Sierra Madres. Thank you.

Clockwise from the top, roast pork belly, barbecue pork on skewers, fried fish, fried shrimp, green mangoes, fried fish and barbecue chicken on skewers. In the center is an eggplant salad.


Paeng, Elvie, Flor and Ondes

I wonder what shocking thing Danny is saying. Lita seems embarassed. From left: Ondes, Lita, Vida and Danny.

From left: Lulu Gutierrez Yambao, Ondes, Dulce, ZenyG, Nora and Linda.


Day 2

Dulce, the ideal housewife of Tagaytay, made Dulce's Liver Pate and shared it with us during breakfast. It rocked our breakfast. Everybody was asking for its recipe which I featured in this blog. It was heavenly on Skyflake crackers.


Skyflake crackers spread with Dulce's Liver Pate.

After our sumptuous breakfast provided by Myrna and Bob, we rode our respective vans to continue our heritage tour.

Minor Basilica of Our Lady of Piat

The next destination in our Heritage Tour is the Minor Basilica of Our Lady of Piat. It is located in the town of Piat which is 41 kilometers or 25 miles northwest of Tuguegarao City.

Our Lady of Piat is a dark skinned Blessed Mother carrying the infant Jesus on her left arm. It is often mentioned that it is made from paper-masche. It is one of the oldest Marian statues in the Philippines dating back to the 16th century. It is also one of the most beloved icons in the Philippines.



The Domicans first brought the statue to Manila from Macau. After being transferred from one place to another, it finally made its way to Piat where the people felt a strong attachment (bordering on the fanatical) to the figure because of the many miracles attributed to her. One of these is the end of a drought that would have brought famine to the people in the Itawes homeland of the Cagayan Valley. Another miracle is portrayed in one of the stained windows in the church. This holy image is given the credit of starting the early Christians in Cagayan. It has "moved the natives ("indians") to love, esteem and revere her."


The Church is located on top of a hill to avoid the flooding due to the occasional overflowing of the Chico River. It is made of red bricks like most churches in the Cagayan region. The interior has a simple curved wooden roof and in the altar is Our Lady enclosed in glass. Devotees can touch the dress of Our Lady of Piat through a window that is located behind the statue and is accessible through a staircase at the back of the church. I remember touching the dress of Our Lady of Concepcion in Bisita, Malabon with my handkerchief when my family used to attend mass in that church as a little girl.



We were late for an earlier Mass but we had a wonderful surprize awating us. There was an extra Mass scheduled for the day namely, the con-celebrated Mass led by Archbishop Jose Advincula of Capiz and 29 other priests from his archdiocese. As Paeng mentioned in his email, that is one priest for each of the 29 who took the trip to Tuguegarao. Archbishop Advincula is the fourth Bishop we have met in our two week reunion which include our classmate Bishop Rolly Santos of Papua, New Guinea, Bishop Jose Palma of Cebu and Bishop Soc Villegas of Lingayen Dagupan who we met during our trip to Baguio. How blessed is our class.




Archbishop Jose Advincula of Capiz

San Matias Parish Church, commonly known as Tumauini Church.

After the exciting meeting with the Bishop of Capiz, we proceeded to Tumauini, Isabela for our next destination in our heritage tour, the San Matias Parish Church, commonly known as Tumauini Church. I remember it to be quite a drive to get there. I have heard of Isabela before from stories told by Sr. Patrice, our religion teacher during our senior year in high school. If my memory is correct she taught at Santiago, Isabela.

I wanted to have a handle as to where Isabela is in the Philippines. The maps below gave me a visual feel where it is and the same with Tumauino. Isabela is the province next to Cagayan where Tuguegarao City is located. It is the second largest province in the Philippines and one of the richest. It is actually the greatest producer of corn in the Philippines.

Cagayan Valley Map of Isabela showing the location of Tumauini


On our way there, Lita Garcia Tangonan, my seatmate in the van we were riding, mentioned that it is impossible to be poor in Isabela since everybody can find work due to its rich agricultural land. It is the rice and corn granary of Luzon. Lita and her late husband were assigned in Isabela when they were in the military service. Unfortunately, that was also the place where her husband at the young age of I believe 39 years old and already a high ranking officer in the Philippine army, died from a vehicular accident. This was an emotional trip for Lita since it brought back a lot of memories.

When we got Tumauini we were met with the colorful, joyous atmosphere in the church grounds typical of a fiesta. We saw bands, dancers, food stalls, toy stalls, carnival rides and the streamers all characteric features of fiestas in the Philippines. To us who have been living in the United States for some time this was quite a treat to witness a true blue fiesta.


After wading through the thick crowd attending the fiesta, we finally got to see the well-preserved San Matias Church which is known for its Baroque-style architecture and the "best and most artistic brick structure in the Philippines." It was declared a National Cultural Treasure by the National Museum of the Philippines and have been considered for UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List since 2006. Its intricate brickwork extends to the unique, cylindrical, cake-like bell tower which was added later to the church. It is so cake-like you would want to put your finger into it and take a lick of its icing,


Façade of St. Mathias Parish Church
The interior of the church is as impressive as its exterior. Note the beautiful altar and columns.


The Nazarene to whom the Filipinos have great devotion are in the side altar of the church.

Glory is shown touching the Nazarene with her handkerchief, a common gesture of devotion for revered statues in the Philippines.

Lunch

We ate our lunch at a local restaurant. We all wanted to eat the famous Pancit Cabagan of Tuguegarao which is topped with chopped lechon kawali. This lunch was a generous treat from Vida and Ben Isip and we would like to thank them.

Pancit Cabagan at Triple J

Merienda at Ron and Vilma's Residence

We went home to the hotel where an announcement was made that we were invited to a merienda (afternoon food break) at Dr. Ron and Vilma Guzman's house. Ron is the brother of Bob Guzman our host. While we were in the stainless jeep, I was enumerating to Boy Garcia my dream food for a merienda since he is hosting the Despedida party which starts at 3 pm, the perfect time for a merienda to be served. I mentioned arroz caldo with all the sides, guinatan and halo halo in the long list.

We were brought by the jeep to a gorgeous house on a hill with a panaromic view of the Sierra Madre mountains. This was Ron and Vilma's house. After a short tour of the house, we were ushered outside to see the scenic view of the Sierra Madre mountains and the Cagayan valley from the back of their house.



After the end of the photo taking session, our gracious hosts led us to the buffet at the veranda of the house. Lo and behold, three of the food items in my list for a perfect merienda was on the buffet table, arroz caldo, guinatan and halo halo. Dreams do come true!

Arroz caldo with the toppings consisting calamansi, green onions, and fried, crushed garlic.

Tokwa't at baboy. Fried firm tofu and pork cheeks and jowls.

Dipping sauce for the Tokwa't Baboy.
This is Palitao, a popular dessert in the Philippines. I missed taking a picture of both the guinatan and halo halo.


Shown enjoying the fabulous merienda fare in the veranda are clockwise from left, the gorgeous Michael, the favorite driver of the two trips in our Grand Reunion, Danny, Vida and Ben Isip.

Dr. Ron Guzman was at the same table I was in. He told us the story behind the reason why their house was built. In 2005, he was diagnosed with late stage cancer of the liver that had metastesized already to different parts of his body including his lungs. When his wife Vilma, a nurse, learned about this sad news she immediately went to action and decided they will move away from the city and build the house they have now. She wanted him to live in a place with the healthiest atmosphere and high quality air. She also made sure that the house would have plenty of rooms to accommodate Ron's siblings who would come to visit and support him during his treatments. Ron underwent 49 chemo treatments. This was a very aggressive protocol which very few survive. The success was so rare that his case has been published in the journal. It has been ten years and he is still cancer free.

Vilma's proactive approach and her love for him as well as his willingness to want to follow her suggestions and embrace the treatments of the doctors have a lot to do with his survival. Of course the hand of God is in it too. In fact, the owner of United Drug in the Philippines came to him because he had read about his case. He told Ron he would follow whatever Ron did. Sadly it did not work for him. He died six months after visiting Ron.

For Ron, he thinks he is alive for a reason. The students at the school for allied health programs that he and Vilma own and run are always eager to see him when he visits the school. They are so grateful for the scholarship opportunities afforded them by Ron and Vilma.

Ron has also undergone stem cell therapy to better increase the length of his remission from his cancer. Again he heeded his wife, Vilma's advice. This is really a story of love, faith and hope.

We went home tired but happy, inspired and very full. We went straight to bed and did not have the supper Myrna prepared. Myrna actually hired a band and a video-ke session but we showed our age and just collapsed in bed.

Day 3

Our last day started with a sumptous breakfast. I took a picture of my plate that morning and it shows that we had longanisa, eggs, rice, tomato and mango salsa, fried calamari and beef steak. It was an OMG breakfast.




After breakfast, we proceeded to the Chapel that Myrna and Ron also built which was located across from the hotel. I consider this the last but not the least of our Church tour.




We did not have Mass but instead Boy and Girlie Garcia alternated in leading us in saying the rosary. As Boy explained before the rosary was prayed, this was only appropriate because we have been blessed.


Towards the end of the rosary, when we got to saying Hail Holy Queen and Memorare, I just could not control myself and cried. I immediately put on my sunglasses so nobody would notice. It so happened that Girlie also was crying after the rosary. She thanked Myrna for her and her husband Bob's generosity and kindness.


As we were leaving the chapel I saw Danny looking at me as tears flowed down my cheeks. The others did not look at all so as not to embarass me. I really do not know why I was crying. Perhaps the quote from Les Miserables says it all.

“To love another person is to see the face of God.”
Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

We were shown so much love by Myrna and Bob, Ron and Vilma. Vida and Ben, the organizers of the reunion, Linda, Paeng, Lory, Danny, Boy, the other hosts, Dulce and Manny, Boy and Girlie, Bishop Rolly, SJAAA organizers and our classmates that I could not help but behold the face of God in what I was witnessing. As we were praying I had vision of our teachers and the sisters instilling in us lessons in life including good solid values and the love of God. Also I remember my parents who made it a point we prayed the rosary together at night and that we study at St. James. It is really a combination of many things.  I have seen the face of God in all these blessings we have received. 

If it is any consolation to me and Girlie, here is another quote from Les Miserables.

“Those who do not weep, do not see.”
Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

We wept because we saw it, really? and the others did not? No. The others also saw it they just did not show the tears or they are more in control or they are just not drama queens. (ha, ha)

As to how day 3 ended, here is a quote from Paeng's email.
Our last day in Tuguegarao went smoothly as expected, we were brought to the airport, enjoyed the Senior Citizen's perks at checking in and occupying the VIP Lounge...hehe.
Then the monstrous traffic of EDSA, it took everybody sometime just to leave the vicinity of the airport for the trip home. We retired home to our comfort bed filled with happy thoughts and experience of again being with the people we have known, liked and close friends with way back 50-60 years.
As a parting message for this Tuguegaro trip, let me quote Paeng's email once again:

Hi KLASMEYTS, the trip to Tuguegarao would be remembered and shall stay in our memory for a long long while prior to Dementia...hehe. Thanks to our gracious, caring and excellent hosts, Bob and Myrna "Baby" Guzman, who took care of all our needs, served us delicious, specially selected, santambak na pagkasasarap na (libreng) pagkain that only Baby can dish out with style. Maraming maraming salamat sa inyo Bob and Baby from the bottom of our heart!
 
Update.  Myrna Guzman informed me that the retired Archbishop Diosdado Talamayan of Tuguegarao was on the same Cebu Pacific flight back to Manila from Tuguegarao that our Class '65 was in.  As she said in her comment in Facebook, "We were blessed all along."

Note:

Our Class '65 Reunion Committee planned a multiple events to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of our graduation from St. James Academy, Malabon City, Philippines. I have written about the following an Overview of the Golden Jubilee, Day 1 and Days 2 and 3 of our Trip to Baguio, the Luncheon at the Quimson's Tagaytay Place and the Homecoming at the St. James Academy Auditorium in Malabon in past blogposts.

Acknowledgements:  Thanks to Glory Camus Orlina, Florie Cruz, Rudy Parayo and Jun Salumbides for some of the photos here.  The photos of the St. Paul Chapel and St. Matias Church came from Google Images and we thank their respective talented authors.