Sunday, November 23, 2014

Filipino Forever

When I left My Philippines in 2007, my connection with my Filipino friends and family have been limited in more ways than one.
Living in Maine for over 7 years now, I somehow learned how to downsize and that includes my circle of friends. I'm not saying this in a bad way. In fact, I love it. Having just a couple of Filipino friends who I can call and visit anytime I'm having serious Filipino food cravings makes my life simple and uncomplicated.
Though, I meet Filipinos every now and then (at the Mall, the grocery store, park or other public places) and have attended a couple of gatherings where there were a handful of Filipinos, I haven't really get a chance to see a lot of them in one place like last Sunday. 

Yes, for the first time in forever... I found myself in the company of almost close to a hundred Filipinos at The Consular Outreach Service of The Philippine Consulate General New York which was hosted and organized by a dear friend Ate Tess Cardona at Days Inn in South Portland.
 Some early birds filing up forms and catching up with each other.
The event was such an overwhelming experience for me. I was happy to be a part of this outreach service where I got the chance to mingle with fellow kababayans for the entire day. It was fun to talk to people who speak the same language and chat without the pressure of translating your thoughts in the English language. Though some speak in dialect, still just looking at them knowing that you have the same color of skin and same thick black shiny hair (well, some of them had already dyed their hair blond, wink*) and feeling that you are not different at all was an awesome experience.

It was fun to see some Filipino merchandize on sale because gathering like this where the Filipino entrepreneurial spirit is always a part of the event is something to look forward to. It was a good opportunity to acquire Filipino items without the hassle of waiting for the package coming from Motherland. And that includes TFC - The Filipino Channel cable boxes that bring Filipino movies, local news and TV shows right in the Filipino living rooms here in the United States.
Barong Tagalog - The traditional Filipino men's formal wear on sale.
 Souvenir shirts and jackets with printed Filipino wordings as well as Philippine flags were on sale too.
And of course, the famous Parol made of capiz which is just fit for the coming Christmas season.

It was also a great opportunity for me to interview the Head of the Team of the Philippine Consulate General New York - Vice Consul Bong Carino who was very accommodating and approachable. Together with his highly knowledge staff, our kababayans (fellow Filipino) were given the opportunity to process needed paperworks for Dual Citizenship, Philippine Passport Renewal and other legal document processing which are basically the purpose of the outreach program.
The efficient staff of the Philippine Consulate General New York.
Vice Consul Bong Carino with the staff taking a little break.
Oath Taking Ceremony of the new Dual Citizens with Vice Consul Bong Carino.

According to Vice Consul Carino, the Consular Outreach is a yearly event which goal is to provide these kind of services to Filipinos in 10 states (Connecticut, Delaware,Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont)  in the northeastern part of the Unite States. They have been serving our kababayans for almost 15 years now. 
The Volunteers with Vice Consul Carino. (From left, Ate Tess Cardona, Jocelyn Santiago, V-C Bong Carino, Jocelyn Jans and of course, Moi.)
 Me with Vice Consul Carino after the interview.
U.S. Department of Labor Representatives Brian Sullivan and Patricia Colarossi who also took part in the event.
With Ate Tess Cardona and Mr. Israel Lacson Inciong of TFC Pinoy Time Food Mart - one of the generous sponsons of the event.

The event was a great success. It was well attended and supported by other Filipinos who also sponsored the events like Mr. Lacson of TFC Pinoy Time Food Mart and Pinoy Design.  And yes, we are also grateful that representatives from the U.S. Department of Labor Brian Sullivan and Patricia Colarossi came to the event to provide assistance and relevant information regarding "work and the workplace" to our Kababayans.

After the last batch of Dual Citizens was sworn-in, the organizers started planning for the next event for 2015. The last paperwork was processed before 2pm so we were able to clean up early and that gave the Consulate Staff a chance to go shopping for some lobstah.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Last Hurrah for Summer 2014

We just got back from another weekend camping. This I presumed is our last for the season. I will be back to work starting this Tuesday. This means fun is over for me. But then maybe not. I will surely find time to have fun even if summer is over, I promise!
 Our luxury accommodation for the weekend. LOL
 My Sweetest sleeping in.
 I'm all up and waiting for my breakfast chef to wake up. LOL
So for the last time we went camping and did a little gold panning, of course. But this time we stayed at Mt. Blue State Park in Weld instead of Byron where we usually camp. Coos Canyon was already fully booked when my Sweetest called so he asked me to look for a campground closer to the river where we usually do gold prospecting. I found Mt. Blue State Park.
I was surprised how clean and nice the park was. Though it was a little crowded because it was the last weekend of summer vacation for most schools here in Maine, I was happy that I found a place to camp where there were human beings around instead of bears like one summer of 2011.
The State Park Information and Registration Office
 The restroom/shower area. So nice and clean.
The campsite

Markings all over the place are visible and properly placed.
Even the dumpster.

We didn't go back to Byron the following day. Instead we spent half a day exploring the State Park and see what it has to offer. It was indeed a nice place to go and I promise to go back there when my brothers come to visit Maine in summertime.

Author's Note: Follow up post about Mt. Blue State Park coming up soon! (Cross your fingers! LOL)

Thursday, August 21, 2014


Yellow is one of my favorite colors. I love taking photos of everything yellow.
 I love taking photos of yellow flowers.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Camping with Fam Bam

The weather last weekend was really gorgeous so we took advantage of it. We spent it at Byron again. This time B joined us. Though it took a little convincing because B also knows that camping with Daddy means gold panning which means he will be bored all day waiting for him to be done with his thingy in the river. LOL
Our accommodation for the night.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Comfort Food - Recycled!

I'm cheap and lazy! Yeah, I am that horrible!
I'm cheap because I don't want to waste food. I don't want to throw out left-over food specially if they are still good and got lots of potential. "Potential" in food for me means recyclable. Well, it doesn't sound yummy, does it? Just read the whole post HERE. Now, I'm hungry again! LOL

Thursday, August 14, 2014


"In the world there is nothing more submissive and weak than water.Yet for attacking that which is hard and strong nothing can surpass it."

Lao Tzu

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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Cool Coos Canyon

Coos Canyon in Byron, Maine has been our favorite place for camping since my Sweetest introduced me to camping. Though I didn't really do a "camping" camping during my first year here in Maine, (because for some reason we always ended up in a hotel. I call it - glamping) my first "real" camping experience was fun and memorable.
Anyways, after the whole summer of hotel camping or glamping in 2007, I was finally convinced to go camping for real. Coos Canyon Wilderness Campground was my training ground for real camping. And since then we kept coming back. Though through the years we tried to camp in different places that were free of charge [Translation: NO basic amenities available.] around Byron. But still we did stay at the CCW Campground at least once every summer.
Yes, we did camp wherever we found a clearing to pitch a tent and where there is a nearby river for easy access to water. It doesn't matter if it was just 100 yards away from a bear trap as long as it's free and nearby a river where Hubby can dredge for gold and I can get water for cooking and washing. But still those odd places where we stayed during the span of 6 years are just around the Byron area and near Coos Canyon.
Coos Canyon is famous for gold prospecting and panning. It is located along Route 17 in Byron Maine. There is a picnic area by the road side near the canyon where people can stop and have a picnic and take a dip in the cool waters of the Swift River.
Some tourists heading to the canyon picnic area.
Aside from gold panning and prospecting. Coos Canyon has lots of trails to hike and dirt roads for 4-wheeling and snowmobiling in the winter.
Did I say it is a fun place for family camping?
As for gold, we heard lots of stories about people getting lucky and finding their gold nuggets. Those stories are the very reason why we kept coming to Byron. Well, for my Sweetest it is. As for me, I just want a reason to go away for the weekends.
 And yes, to take lots and lots of photos.

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This is a SPECIAL POST for MAINE Attraction... a regular blog that features everything and anything about my home - Maine.
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