An overnight stay in San Francisco is a welcome treat, especially during the holidays. The streets are abuzz with visitors during the day and there are many bargain finds for the hardy shopper. A stroll around Union Square enchants with decorated display windows vying for attention. And when evening descends upon the City by the Bay, thousands of Christmas lights illuminate the night sky.
Neiman Marcus Atrium
One of my favorite stops is Nieman Marcus. Their Christmas tree is a floor to ceiling giant barely scraping the beautiful stained glass dome. There's at least an hour wait if you decide to eat lunch at the Rotunda restaurant on the fourth floor with a view of Union Square. Best to make a reservation. An alternative would be the food court at The Cellar inside Macy's. It's crowded but there's usually a table or two. I ordered handrolled crab cakes from SC Asian. It came with a salad. It was all surprisingly good. There are also other restaurants to cho…
"Mele Kalikimaka is the thing to say On a warm Hawaiian Christmas Day"
To my friends and family around the world,We Visayans say, Maalipayon nga Pascua. Elsewhere in the the Philippines it's Maligayang Pasko!
To my good friends in Germany - Klara, Sonia, Marico, Trini, a warm Frohes Weihnachtsfest!
Joyeux Nöel to Maryse, my friend of many years.
Mele Kalikimaka to Nancy and Larry in Honolulu.
Feliz Navidad to friends in Mexico, especially Josefina and cousins in Spain.
André, Deborah and family, Rochelle, all in Amsterdam, a big hug and Gelukkig Kerstfeest.
Good Jul to Rahman and family in Sweden.
Veselé Vánoce to my good friend, Noubikko, in Prague.
Bom Natal to Rui in Portugal.
Buon Natale to Sisters Marcellina and Sofia and the Sisters of St.Bridget in Assisi.
Wishing you the joy of Mary on the birth of her son, Jesus Christ, whose birthday we celebrate on Christmas day. May you be blessed a thousandfold with hope and love, both symbols of His birth Merry Christmas. * * *
Glorietta Mall, Makati It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas with temperatures dipping to the low 30's. I'm all bundled up. At this time last year I was in tank tops and pareo walking along Baybay Beach. In the greater metropolitan area of Manila and Makati with a population of roughly 10 million, the malls are a favorite destination on Christmas day. Why not? They are airconditioned, decorated with Christmas finery, offer lots of entertainment, choice of restaurants or food courts, and shops galore. And in a predominantly Catholic country, you can hear mass at the mall. Unthinkable, you say, to spend Christmas day at the mall. But that is exactly where I was on Christmas day last year having lunch with my childhood friend and exchanging gifts. We were vastly entertained and distracted by the noise and hoopla around us. Yes, it was a Maligayang Pasko. May you be blessed with a colorful and lively Christmas day. * * * Photo by Rosario Charie Albar
I heard that a local composer liked the "Little Drummer Boy" Christmas song and he wanted to compose something similar. He came up with Boom tarat tarat, the sound precisely of a drumbeat.
The popularity of this song comes not only from its catchy lyrics but also from the dance steps that locals seem to know and dance by heart. Grandpa, the teacher or professional, the balikbayan, the little kids, the shy teenager, they all have their way of dancing to this music.
The first step is to pull your forearms in (like when you say "Yes!") and right knee up then tap your right behind with your right hand, then your left hand over your left behind. This follows the line, "boom tarat tarat". The second movement follows "tararat tararat", and the hands wave to the right like a hula dancer. The third movement follows "boom, boom, boom" and the foreams pull in while the pelvis pushes out. A very macho movement!
It's Christmas Eve and I'm just now writing my personal greetings to you. As you know, I'm in the Philippines for the construction of my beach cottages on the island of Panay, just southwest of famous Boracay Beach.
We've been through 2 typhoons and I personally have faced many new challenges. But it's been a great 6 weeks and today, my hairstylist convinced me to sport a new look. It was hard to let go my long hair but now that it's done, my head fills lighter (ha ha). Angel, the hairstylist, assured me I would look younger with a layered do. (How can I doubt him with a name like that?) I'm also slimmer (according to my masseuse) from walking on the beach everyday. Don't know how long I can stay this way because I've been invited to so many lunches and dinners, sooner or later, all that eating spree will surely manifest itself in the most obvious places.
The construction of my fence is halfway finished. There was added work because the property is be…