Bendigo Filipino Fiesta 2018

And so this blog was silent for over 10 days. Well, if we have to blame it on something, it will have to be the Filipino Fiesta, which we helped organise and also sponsored.

Serious planning started as early as January of this year. Roles were assigned and defined. Suddenly, the weeks and months passed by oh so quickly and next thing we knew, it was April!

Thankfully, a lot of our supplies arrived in the last two weeks, after being delayed by the Easter break and what-nots. Then came the job of repackaging, pricing, and deciding on the mock set-up.  Plus, there was also the shopping of lollies, biscuits, toys and other inexpensive novelty items for the children’s games.

By Saturday morning, hubby wakes me up around 7am, but I sleepily and jokingly asked if I could just arrive at the fiesta venue much later at 10am. Of course, not. I dragged myself to the venue, with a car loaded with TQB merchandise and children’s game props and prizes.

And tah-dah! Here’s one of the children’s games that I prepared for the fiesta:


It is called “pabitin”. During the game, kids stand below this, to this sight…


…and somebody (an adult) holds the other end of the rope and pulls the rope back and forth, so the pabitin goes up and down, teasing the kids, who would jump up and down to try and grab some of the goodies that they could reach.

Here was our stall. We were sharing the marquee with a friend, who’s also selling some bracelets, rings and necklaces, as well as some refreshing drinks.  Those milk crates and white storage boxes served dual purposes – to hold the goods as they were transported, and to hold/elevate the displays at the stall.


Before it got busy, I was able to take a quick walk around to snap some shots.



Then, the Santacruzan parade started. Traditionally, in the Philippines, this parade is held in the month of May. But because May is the last month before it’s winter in Australia, we just couldn’t have it in May, because all those pretty gowns don’t quite match with beanies and ugg boots. 🙂




This was the last decent shot I had taken. After this, a friend of mine from high school arrived, so I had to entertain her. Then customers started coming to the stall. The program started and the games had to be done. Oh well, you can just imagine how busy it became.

But this yummy treat nearby was beckoning me. Luckily, hubby was nearby, so I asked him to buy some of the tempting “ensaymada” (a type of soft Filipino sweet bread) for me. Oooohh! It was delicious! I regretted not buying a dozen of it. (OK, I was too busy to regret during the day, but when the fiesta was over and we were relaxing at home, and there were a couple of these left in our bag, I did regret not buying more.)

So, the fiesta was quite a success, but we are all relieved that it’s finally done and we can relax and get back to our normal lives. Lol!

So now, what do we do for FIG Activity Day?


20 Wedding Traditions From Around the World

8145 180613 6100 Great Hindu Wedding Ritual Hand on Hand

It’s interesting how there are lots of various wedding traditions observed around the world. What’s common in one place might be unheard of in other parts of the world. Some places may have similar traditions, especially if they have been influenced by the same country or group of people.

 Here are 20 of wedding traditions from around the world:

  • Chinese

In China, they have a unique tradition that hides the bride in her mother’s home and the groom has to pass through “obstacles” (from the bridesmaids) to get his bride out. If he needs to bang on the door, he does it and thus, making a fake commotion.

  • Danish

During a Danish wedding reception, if the groom goes to the washroom, all the boys in the party rush over to kiss the bride in the cheek. Vice-versa, when the bride goes to the washroom, too, all the girls in the party rush to the groom to kiss him in the cheek as well.

  • Indian

In Indian weddings, it’s part of their tradition to decorate the bride with henna. The depth of the color of henna symbolizes the depth of the couple’s love.

  • Hungarian

In Hungary, during the wedding dance, some of the bride’s relatives and friends will try to steal her from her new husband.  The groom’s party tries to prevent it. If the action is successful, they will negotiate for a ransom, which is normally taken lightly at first. But as time passes, the groom becomes more uneasy and lenient about the ransom.

  • Pakistani

In Pakistan, the bride and groom both wear flower garlands.

  • Brazilian

It’s usual to give the wedding guests a small cake-like sweet called “bem-casado” meaning ‘well-married’, in Brazil. It apparently represents the joining together of the bride and the groom.

  • Jamaican

 The bride is taken to the street for everyone to see.

  • Japanese

In Japan, the newly-wed couple takes a sip of sake to formalize their wedding.

  • German

In Germany, the family is planning ahead for the financial expenses of their child’s wedding. If a baby girl was born, many trees will be planted. These trees will be sold in the future for their daughter’s wedding expenses.

  • Norwegian

In Norway, the bride is wearing a traditional silver or gold crown with small spoon-shaped bangles that cling when moved. They believe that the music produced from these bangles will push away evil spirits.

  • Wales

A Welsh bride carries myrtle, in her bouquet, that is a symbol of love. She, then, gives a cutting of the plant to her bridesmaids. If the bridesmaid plants the cutting in her yard and it blossom, she’s the next one to get married.

  • American

American weddings always include a garter toss. The bride’s garter will be tossed to all single men in the party. Whoever catches it, will be the one marrying soon.

  • Malaysian

At the wedding, each guest will receive an creatively decorated hard-boiled egg to signify fertility.

  • Russian

In Russia, only civil weddings are considered valid. If the couple wants to have a religious ceremony must also have a civil one.

  • Italian

Part of the Italian tradition is not to marry on a Friday or Tuesday as this will bring the couple bad luck.

  • Mexican

Mexican weddings include a part when the groom gives 13 gold coins to his bride. These symbolize Jesus Christ and His twelve disciples.

John Nash, The American Mathematician and Nobel Prize Winner…Farewell!


Last Monday morning, I was in Sydney with hubby, enjoying a nice relaxing breakfast at a nice cozy cafe near Hyde Park, when the TV news announced the accidental passing of John Nash – one of the greatest mathematicians and geniuses in the world, and a Nobel Prize winner.

If you have seen Russell Crowe’s film ‘A Beautiful Mind’, most likely you’d know something about John Nash. The film was based on his life story. I greatly admired his wife, Alicia, (as portrayed in the film) for sticking with him and caring for him through all those troubles they faced. In case you’ve never heard of him, let me tell you a little bit about one of the world’s most beautiful minds.

John Nash was known as one of the greatest mathematicians of the 20th century, known for the originality of his thoughts and for his bravery in wrestling down problems so difficult few others dared talk about them. He is described by one word, “genius”.

John F. Nash Jr., born on June 13, 1928 in Bluefield, West Virginia, was the son of John Forbes Nash, an electrical engineer, and Margaret Virginia, a schoolteacher. He had also a younger sister, Martha F. Nash, born on November 16, 1930.

Nash had a humble beginning. He attended public school during student years. He went to Carnegie Institute of Technology after high school, with a full scholarship, the “George Westinghouse Scholarship”, and took up chemical engineering. He, then, changed to chemistry and then to mathematics. With a B.S. degree and an M.S. degree in Mathematics, he graduated in 1948. He pursued his graduate studies at Princeton University also as a scholar.

It was Nash’s adviser and former professor who wrote a recommendation letter for graduate school consisting of a single sentence, “This man is a genius.”

His Major Contributions

Nash’s biggest contribution was his equilibrium theory known as “ Nash Equilibrium”, an important concept of non-cooperative games, that gave him the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 1994.

Nash’s major publications are the following:

•    Nash, John Forbes (1950). “Equilibrium Points in N-person Games”. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 36 (1): 48–49. doi:10.1073/pnas.36.1.48. MR 0031701. PMC 1063129. PMID 16588946.

•    Nash, John Forbes (1950). “The Bargaining Problem”. Econometrica 18 (2): 155–62. doi:10.2307/1907266. MR 0035977.

•    Nash, John Forbes (1951). “Non-cooperative Games”. Annals of Mathematics 54 (2): 286–95. doi:10.2307/1969529. JSTOR 1969529. MR 0043432.

•    Nash, John Forbes (1953). “Two-person Cooperative Games”. Econometrica 21 (1): 128–40. doi:10.2307/1906951. MR 0053471.

The Nash embedding theorem that shows that every abstract Riemannian manifold can be isometrically realized as a sub manifold of Euclidean space, is also one of his great works in mathematics. He also made noteworthy contributions to the theory of nonlinear parabolic partial differential equations and to singularity theory.

His Personal Life

He had a relationship with Eleanor Stier, the nurse who took care of him as a patient, and they had a son, John David Stier. However, when Stier told Nash about her pregnancy, Nash left her. “A Beautiful Mind”, the movie based on Nash’s life, was criticized for omitting this aspect of his life.

Nash met Alicia Lopez-Harrison de Lardé, a U.S. citizen from El Salvador, not long after his break up with Stier. They married in February 1957 at a Roman Catholic Church (although he’s an atheist).

Before his connection with Stier, Nash was hired as an instructor in mathematics by Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1951, where he was given a permanent position. In 1959, the first symptoms of his mental illness manifested.  His wife had him admitted to McClean Hospital for treatment of schizophrenia during the spring of that same year. Soon afterward, their son was born named John Charles Martin Nash.

In 1963, Nash divorced her wife due to the stress in dealing with his mental condition. They remarried in 2001 when Nash already knew how to get rid of his paranoid delusions and was allowed to go back to teaching.

At the age of 86, Nash died last May 23, 2015, together with his wife, due to vehicular accident in New Jersey.  They were on their way home from Norway, where he had received the Abel Prize – Norway’s annual international prize award to outstanding mathematicians.

Evidently, John Nash became famous because of his exemplary intelligence in the field of mathematics. He was known as “The Phantom of Fine Hall” (Princeton’s math center). His intellect was amazingly one-of-a-kind.  Although he had a mental illness, it did not hamper his success. He was a legend and had been a great inspiration to the world.

Eurovision Song Contest 2015 Contender – Australia’s Guy Sebastian

Charcoal/pastel portrait of Guy Sebastian, by Brian Rabacal

The Eurovision Song Contest 2015 is here! And, of course, just like every other nation in the contest, Australia sends one of its best singers – Guy Sebastian.

He’s well known in Australia, but probably, not in many other parts of the world. That’s not such a problem, because today, I’m gonna tell you bits about Australia’s contender at the Eurovision 2015.

The Australian singer-songwriter, Guy Theodore Sebastian, was born on October 26, 1981 in Malaysia. He’s the second of the four sons of Ivan and Nellie.

On May 17, 2008, he married his eight-year Jules Egan. They have two sons, three-year old Hudson James, and 1 year-old Archer Jones. He knows how to play violin, guitar, piano and drums. He is one of the main worship singers in their church, “Paradise Community Church”.

Guy Sebastian became famous when he joined and won as the first Australian Idol in 2003. He also became a judge on Australia’s “The X Factor”. He studied Medical Radiation and Radiotherapy at the University of South Australia but left to pursue his singing career.

His first album is Just as I Am with the winning single “Angels Brought Me Here” that was released in December 2003. Beautiful Life, his second album, has the lead single “Out with My Baby” which was known as the number one hit in October 2004.

In 2006, the song “Taller, Stronger, Better” which was debuted at number three, was the carrying single of his third album, Closer to the Sun. His fourth album, The Memphis Album debuted at number three in November 2007, and was the seventh highest selling Australian artist album of the year.

Next album, Like It Like That was released on 2009. It included all original soul songs that were co-written or written by Sebastian, himself. In 2010, another album was released with the name Twenty Ten. It’s a retrospective album and gained a title being the 5th highest selling Australian artist album of the year.

In 2012, Armageddon was released as the seventh album with his original pop song composition lead single “Don’t Worry Be Happy”. After a year, Sebastian released the main single of his eighth album Madness, titled as “Like A Drum”. He was, then, announced as the Australian candidate in the Eurovision Song Contest 2015 on 5 March 2015, making him Australia’s first ever contestant at the Eurovision.

Despite of the fame and popularity, Guy Sebastian remained down-to-earth. He is inclined with several charitable projects and is involved in different organizations that help poor families. That’s definitely one of the best things about him that people love – he’s not just a talented singer, but a man with a big heart.

Wishing you the best of luck at the Eurovision 2015, Guy Sebastian!

The Guest List

Creating your wedding guest list is not exactly as easy as 1-2-3. It can be stressful and confusing. It can mean having to make some tough decisions. And of course, every bride would not want to forget any important guest, nor miss to record a positive reply from a couple of invitees and end up having more guests than the final head count you gave to the caterer two days ago.


Do not worry if you cannot come up with a final guest list overnight. Nobody does that, unless your wedding is tomorrow and you started planning today. The guest list often starts as a draft, with everyone you would like to share the special event with on it. As you gain a clearer vision of how you want your wedding to be, you get a better idea of how small or how large your final list ought to be.

You may also start planning with a specific budget in mind, which you will consider in determining the size of your guest list. While you would like to stick to this budget, it is also possible that in the next month or so, there might be changes in this budget, such as an additional donation from Uncle Joe, or on the opposite, a loss of one important source of funds. These possibilities are also factors in determining your guest list.

Even if you think you have finalized your list, there’s still the guests’ availability on your wedding date. You may have prepared a list of 100 guests, but when the invitations are out, you get 17 replies that they can’t make it. This is where you’ll need your B-list, where you invite some more people to make up for those who can’t attend and still keep the same intended number of guests of the wedding.

On the other hand, you should also be prepared to cut down your guest list if necessary. This is pretty tricky and if you are not careful, you might offend some dear ones. Often you might want to keep only “the dearest and nearest” in your list. Some of those you might need to consider getting off the list are:

~ People you haven’t spoken to in five years or more.

~ Boyfriends or girlfriends of your guests whom you haven’t even met or aren’t close to.

~ People you aren’t really close to but are in your list just because they also invited you to their weddings, or just because they sent you a gift in advance.

~ Co-workers whom you aren’t really close with or don’t socialize with after office hours.

~ Children, especially those who aren’t family. If most of your guests have lots of kids, this can cut down the list dramatically.

~ You don’t have to allow your single guests to bring a date. If you are worried that some singles might not know others or might feel alone & out of place at the event, the better option would be to invite a mutual friend, or to arrange them to be seated beside some of your friendliest guests.

~ Ex-boyfriends and ex-girlfriends, or ex-spouses, of you and your spouse-to-be are definitely not to be invited, even if you are still “friends”. All wedding planning experts highly discourage inviting them.

~ It is also wise to avoid inviting people who tend to drink too much. You wouldn’t want to run the risk of them getting drunk at the reception and ruining the party, nor would you want to have a large bill on alcohol.

~ Also avoid inviting people whom you think would “speak up” instead of “holding their peace” at the ceremony and people with whom you aren’t exactly in good terms. You want to be happy and relaxed on your big day, not worried about these people and their behavior.

Be sure that you and your fiance have a good communication about your final guest list. Bear in mind that you’ll need to prepare at least an invitation, a stamp for that invite, a copy of the wedding/reception program, a place card, a favor, a meal, a drink, and a slice of the wedding cake, to each name that you have on your final guest list. These are just some of the reasons why your guest list has definitely a lot to do in all your wedding planning.