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Tropical Storm Ofel

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Tropical Storm

Ofel

Hell And High Water

  in

The Leyte Gulf

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Tropical Storm Ofel

Tropical Storm Ofel slams the waves against the sea wall below the MacArthur Landing Memorial in Palo, Tanauan, Leyte, Republic of the Philippines, Wednesday, October 24, 2012.  About the time this photograph was taken the weather bureau was reporting that the storm should be centered over the Leyte Gulf.  Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

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Leyte Landing

68th Anniversary

October 20, 1944, United States Army General Dougas MacArthur and the official party waded ashore in the Leyte Gulf to begin “The Liberation Of The Philippines.”  Two Ausralian warships and warships of the United States Navy’s 3rd Fleet and 7th Fleet sailed toward the Philippine Islands to engage the Imperial Japanese Navy in “The Largest Naval Battle Of World War II “ and “The Largest Naval Engagement Of Human History To The Present” in these waters from October 23 through October 26 in “The Battle Of Leyte Gulf.”  On the 68th Anniversary, the statues of the MacArthur Landing Memorial remain resolute as Tropical Storm Ofel unleashes nature’s bombardment on the Leyte Gulf.  Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

Tropical Storm Ofel MacArthur Landing Palo Tanauan Leyte 007 Nikon D 100 Photo by Sanuel E Warren JrToday, October 24, 2012 – I had been researching and working on an article for my blog since October 20 about “The Liberation Of The Philippines” and “The Battle Of Leyte Gulf.”

 

I needed some photos to go with my story. I could of used file photos that I had shot, but I wanted “fresh” photos. I decided last night, come “Hell Or High Water” I was going to get the photos. I never realized at the time what an “prophetic”description that phrase would be.

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At the MacArthur Landing in Palo, Tanauan on the island of Leyte, the weather unleashed “Hell,: with a muddy brown sky and murky brown water that erased the horizon and created a backdrop of a muddy brown sky and murky brown water that delivered a hail of intense hard driving pellets of rain.

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The “High Water” became the vicious ocean waves that were crashing over the lower sea wall beneath the MacArthur Landing Memorial.

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Hell And High Water” arrived in the Leyte Gulf and her name, “Tropical Storm Ofel.”

 

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In the morning, I had heard in passing about a tropical storm headed for Leyte. Typhoons in the Philippines are like Tornadoes in Missouri, you keep your eyes and ears open and stay aware of the developing weather conditions. If the weather goes bad, then, you cancel your plans for the day and do something else.

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This morning, when we left Barangay Baras, on the island of Leyte, the skies were gray and everything was wet. The wind didn’t seem to be blowing all that bad around 10:30 a.m.

 

Tacloban City was the first stop on the itinerary. Naturally, I ran a few errands before I decided to go do my “photo shoot” at the statues in Palo.

 

By around noon, I came out of the Gaisano store and headed to the Santo Nino Church to pick up some flowers.

 

When a ship goes down at sea or an aircraft is lost at sea, people place a wreath upon the waves as a memorial tribute.

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World War II, the Pacific Ocean claimed many lives during the The Battle Of Leyte Gulf. It seemed placing a wreath of flowers on the water would be an appropriate way to salute the Allies soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen who perished in that battle.

 

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Around 1 p.m., I stepped out of the vehicle into a hard rain. In a few minutes, every stitch of clothes I had on was saturated with water. The wind was strong. I walked toward the statues and wondered, “Maybe, I should come back tomorrow.”

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I raised my camera and began shooting photos. Ramon and Ranyiel sat in the van and watched my every step into the weather.

 

It felt like something other than rain pelleted me. It fell like hail. It made it hard to keep your head up and look into the sky.

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I had left the flowers in the vehicle to concentrate shooting the photos I had on mind. The cliché “Man Against The Elements” was a reality. I was drenched to my skin. The rain fell hard.

 

I used the wet shirt tail of my polo shirt to wipe off the water spots on the lens. Since I always keep a UV Filter on the lens of the camera any scratches end up on a $14 filter and not the more expensive lens.

 

The wind off the ocean kept pushing me farther inland. Still, I managed to move around enough to take the photos I had in mind. The wind, like an insistent mother, kept trying to move me. I finally clasped a hand to the chrome railing down a few steps to work my way down the side steps, since the wind was really trying to move things.

 

I looked up and watched it fall. Clang! One of the tall flagpoles beside the main flagpole fell straight down and the metallic clang echoed. I walked quicker, but more cautious to the vehicle.

 

I spent a few minutes, wiping off the camera lens. I was soaked through to the skin. I could not have gotten any wetter than if I had stepped into the ocean in my clothes. The height and violent nature of the waves made it obvious no one would be getting out into the Pacific Ocean today.

 

The Battle Of Leyte Gulf from Oct. 23 through October 26, 1944 had devastated “The Enemy”, 10,000 men, 27 ships, and the majority of their aircraft.

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I had not been able to get a wreath of flowers, so I looked at the small bouquet. The bouquet of flowers were all I could offer to recognize the sacrifices of the Allies, who lost six ships and 2,800 men.

 

With my camera and the flowers I made my way back to the statues. The crashing waves of water against the lower sea wall made it evident, no one would get anywhere near the beach or Leyte Gulf today.

 

I stepped back and turned to go. I noticed the platform in front of the statues. I placed the flowers on the platform.

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In honor of the men of the USS Gambler Bay and the other Allies ships and aircraft that disappeared beneath the waves, I left the flowers on the platform in front of the statues.

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Nikon D 100 Photos by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

Once, I returned home,I logged on to the Internet to read the latest tropical storm update:

 

PAGASA

Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration

 

 

Hourly update on OFEL
At 1:00 p.m. today, 24 October 2012, Tropical Storm "OFEL" was estimated based on satellite and surface data over Leyte Gulf (10.5°N, 125.5°E).

 

 

The weather bulletin confirmed that Ramon, Ranyiel and I had been on the “front lines” of Tropical Storm Ofel unleashing her wrath on the Leyte Gulf

Sam

 

Weather Link

 

PAGASA

Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration

 

http://www.pagasa.dost.gov.ph/

 

 

Samuel E. Warren Jr.’s

Editor’s Note

 

October 24, 2012 — We returned to Barangay Baras and learned the power had went out about 10 minutes before we got home due to the storm. No problem My Dell laptop had a three-hour charge on the computer battery. I put the Compact Flash card in the card reader and while the pictures downloaded to to the laptop’s hard drive, I began writing the story.

 

I wrote as fast as I could and double checked some of the facts on the Battle of the Leyte Gulf. Alas before I could finish the story, the laptop flashed the warning of low power and went out a few minutes later.

 

October 28 2012 – The power briefly come back on around 4:30 p.m., and only lasted about 20 minutes in Barangay Baras. A transformer blew in Barangay Cameri and wiped out the power in a total of six barangays

 

October 29. 2012 – The power in Barangay Baras came back about 7:45 p.m.

 

October 30. 2012 – The copy and photos finally finished for this article I finally get to publish it – on “My Birthday.”

Sam

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

Lost Bridge Nikon D 70 Photos by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

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Lost Bridge  This bridge is near the Barangay Cameri boundary.  In the shade of thick vegetation it seems to be lost.

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“Happy Birthday, Marife !”

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Happy Birthday, Marife !

May 29, 2012

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

The Birthday Girl – Marife Saldana Roa, the birthday girl, opens her birthday cards. The kids and Tito Sam used their best creative efforts to make some birthday cards for the special day. Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Marife Saldana was about 14 when she came to Angeles City and her sister, Christy, enrolled her in Dau Academy.

The Sisters — Christy Warren and Marife Saldana Roa, the sisters, talk and joke for a fe moments, before the birthday party gets underay. Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

I met Marife, when she was the teenager.

Like her friends in the school’s white uniform blouses and required green skirts they talked about the things teenage girls talk about like: boys.

It was the late 1980s, so cell phones had yet to be invented, thus, classmates talked about things on the way to and from school

“Girl Talk” — Pina Gempis and Marife Roa talk in the kitchen. Pina spent the morning, cooking spaghetti and pancit canton for the birthday party. In the Filipino culture, pancit canton is the Filipino dish you expect to find at a birthday party because tradition states that pancit canton is a symbol of a long life. Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

and on weekends because “texting” had yet to be invented.

May 29 is Marife’s birthday.

Even as a teenager, Marife had a smile and a quiet personality. In 2012, Marife is married to Ninoy Roa and the mother of four boys: Gilbert, Glen, Chrismar and Mac Mac.

“Happy Birthday to you.” — Christy Warren lights the candles on the birthday cake.
Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Today was a milestone, other than age. The last time Christy bought a birthday cake and had a birthday party for her sister, Marife, she was 16. Christy returned to the Republic of the Philippines in December 2011, and this was the first opportunity, she had to have a birthday party for her sister Marife.

Although Marife Saldana Roa is my sister-in-law, I have always believed, “She is the daughter I should of had.”  As a teenager, Marife was always respectful to her elders, did well in school, and never hesitated to use her English skills to tell me what was going on in school.  As a teenager, she always treated me like a father and since our return to the Philippines, Marife continues to be the daughter I should of had.

The Good Morning Bakery Birthday Cake. Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

May 28, Christy went to the “Good Morning Bakery” in Palo and ordered the birthday cake. Christy looked through the pictures of the birthday cakes and picked out the design.  The selection of the birthday cake became a Major Military Operation because I went along to order the birthday cake.  I’m one of those people, who as a child was always “picky” about the kind of food I ate and “where I ate.”  As a senior citizen, I remain “picky” about my food from birthday cakes to anything I eat.

While the bakers were discussing the cake with Christy, I had questions about the size and flavor.  Christy remembered that Marife like vanilla.  One of the baker’s assistants brought out a cake pan to show up the size.  I took one look and figured three people would get birthday cake and everyone else would watch them eat.  I smiled and asked bigger.  The assistant then explained that they had a cake pan about twice the size.  I nodded, “Texas size.”

When selecting the novelty to place on the cake, Christy remembered as a teenager that Marife liked the TV show, “Darna.”  Darna is a Filipino super heroine, whose American counterpart is “Wonder Woman.”  Like “Wonder Woman” in the United States, “Darna” is a character in the Philippines that is always portrayed by the most beautiful Filipina actresses of every generation in the movies and on TV.  Darna has always been a positive role model for Filipina girls.

Back in the 1980s, whenever a Darna TV show or movie came on, I plopped down on the sofa beside Ramon and Marife to watch.  Thus, the Darna super heroine doll stood tall in a corner of the cake.

The Good Morning Bakery birthday cake was pleasing to the eye.  I was impressed by the taste.  The vanilla cake was moist to the tongue.  Regardless of where I have been in the world and had birthday cakes or wedding cakes, one thing I always remember is that sometimes the cakes are dry.

Once the cake comes in contact with your tongue you dash like a man in the desert for the nearest source of liquid to quench your steel wool thirst.  Christy overcomes the dryness problem with cakes by using butter to keep the cake moist.

Christy Warren serves up a helping of birthday cake and pancit canton to Edwin Mora. Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

I do not know how the Good Morning Bakery kept this cake moist, but it passed my tongue test and I enjoyed the cake.  Naturally, I would of liked the cake to be a tad more moist, but, when it comes to food I am “picky.”  I am a Scorpio, but, when it comes to food, my taste buds and stomach are obviously Virgo in the extreme – my eyes and digestive system give new meaning to the phrase, “Attention To Detail” and the word, “Perfection.”

The smiling faces of the attendees and the second-helpings were a testament to the flavor of the birthday cake.  And the icing was a favorite with the adults as well as the kids.

Marife is not the only Saldana relative, who celebrates May 29 as the birthday. Randy Abano, a second cousin, is a close family member, who also shares the Gemini day.

All Western astrological signs have their positive and negative values and Gemini is a sign often considered to be “moody.”  However, Marife and Randy remind me of  the famous American Gemini, who served as a United States Navy PT boat commander, who went on to become a great American President – John Fitzgerald Kennedy.

Before the birthday party began, Ranyiel Saldana handed one of the pet pigeons to Randy Abano to examine. Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Randy is a quiet young man, who is always ready to help out.

Perhaps, he is “picky” about dating because he is still a single man.

Before I conclude this birthday article, I leave my readers two points to ponder.

Point Number One

In my lifetime, at birthday parties, I have always noticed that usually it seems the birthday boy or the birthday girl is expected “to cut the cake.”  Why is that ?

The birthday is the day of days, when the individual can truly celebrate the anniversary of their birth into this world.  It is the one time every year, when every man, woman and child should be respected as one of “God’s unique gifts to the Universe.”  While family and friends usually do try to honor the person, the glitch always seems to come at cake time.  Instead of a family member or friend stepping up from the ranks to do the honor, the birthday boy or birthday girl is usually left positioned behind the cake to decide how to cut if, while the fate of the Free World and human civilization hangs in the balance.

Someone hands them a knife, and leaves the birthday boy or birthday girl to decide, “How do I cut the cake ?”

On my birthday, I always smile, step back and would hand the knife to my mother, Cousin Donna, or my wife, Christy, and reply, “I do a lousy job of cutting a cake.”  I knew my talents in life did not include cake cutting, thus, one of my trusted love ones had to have a more precise skill of cake cutting than I would ever master.

In my experience, most people usually stand there bewildered until some hungry family member takes pity and decides to step up to assist.  I am no protocol person, but on someone’s special day, the goal is to honor and celebrate their birthday.  Thus, it should already be decided long before the traditional song is sung, who will step up to assume command of “The Cutting Of The Cake.”

Point Number Two

Most often a Wedding is an expensive personal ceremony that ranks right up their with Presidential Ignauration Ceremonies.  All the planning, pomp and circumstance goes into planning weddings as though it were a re-enactment of “The D-Day Landing.”  After the traditional “cutesie moment” of the bride “smushing” cake into her new husband’s face and him doing likewise to his new wife, then, the marvelous machinery of the wedding celebration rockets into high gear and the wedding cake is quickly distributed to the masses.

Unfortunately, Birthday Celebrations are sometimes one of those “Fly By The Seat Of Your Pants” events that suggests you are making it up as you go along.  The best birthday celebrations always seem to collapse like a fallen cake at serving time.  One reason maybe the absence of the ingenious device – “The Cake Server” – a utensil shaped like a pizza slice with a laid back L shaped handle that allows the utensil to slide in under the cake and raise it triumphantly in one piece up into the atmosphere.

Without the cake server, people’s stomachs always override their sense of logistics and spoons and forks are stabbed at the cake like prehistoric cave people trying to free the charbroiled dinosaur bone from the family flame pit.  It is a given, that the piece of cake will wobble and collapse like a badly constructed tower, near, and sometimes actually in the plate.  My solution is to use a knife and a fork or spoon to actually “balance” the piece of cake to the nearby plate.  My crude forklift tactic usually prevents the cake from becoming a Tower of Babble re-enactment.

The Royal Imperial Professional College of Birthday Cake Taste Testers — of any country is kids. The Saldana and Roa kids enjoyment of The Good Morning Bakery of Palo’s birthday cake quickly attained a positive five-star rating from the M &Ms, to the vanilla flavor and the icing. Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Of course, Marife and Randy’s birthday party went off without a hitch because Christy Warren is a natural born protocol officer.  I suspect my wife must have been a protocol officer at a Royal European Court in one of her past lives.

Thus, when it came time to blow out the candles Marife and Randy made their wishes and blew out the candles.

The Birthday Dignitaries – Marife Saldana Roa and Randy Abano gather around the birthday cake, while Ann Ann Natividad watches in the background. Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Happy Birthday, Marife ! Happy Birthday, Randy !

Sam

“1, 2, 3, Kick !” Barangay Cameri Festival Dance Troupe

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by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Dance is a universal language of fun and celebration. “School is Out” in the Republic of the Philippines and youth are always on the lookout to keep themselves entertained on their summer vacation.

In Barangay Cameri, a rural area in the Republic of the Philippines, the youth have decided to spend some of their time to get ready to dance in the barangay festival.

As of Thursday, April 26, 2012, the eleven youth have decided to put their creative dance skills together to perform a Ute dance, which allows them to come up with their own dance ideas and work it into a routine to perform at the festival.

Angeline Natividad and Dean Carl Villacorte are working with the youth to provide the dance instruction.

While the youth have practiced a few days, April 26, 2012, my wife, Christy invited them to practice at the house. And, thus, we watched the youth working on their dance routines.

Using my Nikon Coolpix 3200 camera, I created a video of the Barangay Cameri Festival Dance Troupe, which I uploaded to You Tube at this link:  http://youtu.be/cdocwEr2zKA

Photography Patrol – Nails by Paulina – Photos by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

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Nails by Paulina

Paulina Josefina gives Leneil Saldana a manicure. 

Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

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Paulina Josefina, of Barangay Cameri, manicures Leniel Saldana’s nails. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

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Paulina Josefina gives a pedicure.  Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

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Women tend to pay more attention to the care of their hands and feet than men, in my observations of life. 

Paulina Josefina performs manicures and pedicures in Barangay Cameri and Barangay Baras.

Photos by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

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Easter In The P.I. Photos by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

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Easter In The P.I.

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Easter in the Philippine Islands is a different custom than Easter in the Good Ole USA.

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Ranillo and Chrismar paint Easter eggs.

Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

My wife, Christy, never ceases to amaze me. When I got up and headed for my first cup of morning coffee, my nieces and nephews were sitting at the kitchen table painting Easter eggs.

Christy smiled and said, “I told the kids that I would teach them about Easter traditions in the States.”

I smiled and nodded.

Suddenly, I remembered that things you take for granted in one country can be a whole new idea in another country.

I watched Chrismar meticulously painting an Easter egg and realized that he had probably never heard the stories about “the Easter bunny.”

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Chrismar patiently paints an Easter egg. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Ranillo sat beside Chrismar and applied brush strokes to an egg like Leonardo da Vinci at work on the Mona Lisa.

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Ranillo concentrates on carefully placing paint on an Easter egg. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

“Face painting,” smiled Christy.

“Excuse me,” I replied.

“Kids in the United States get their faces painted for Easter,” smiled Christy.

“Yeah, but, kids getting their faces painted isn’t really an Easter custom. The whole face painting thing goes with carnivals, county fairs, shopping mall openings and events like that.”

THE-ROUGH-SKETCH-FACE-PAINT-DESIGNS-[2]Christy wanted me to sketch out some face painting ideas. I sketched out some rough ideas with a black ball point pen and Christy got out her cosmetics to allow the kids to practice their face painting artistic skills. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Christy gave me that “it could be an Easter tradition” look. “Then, again, kids do seem to like having their faces painted,” I acknowledge.

“Good, get your pad and pen and draw up some designs,” suggested Christy. I tossed down the old yellow legal pad and placed the black ball point pen on the surface and quickly sketched out some designs. “But, we don’t have any face paints or body paints,” I point out.

Christy grins, “I have my makeup.”

Junea smiles and lets Aunt Christy apply the makeup.

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Junea models “The Bunny” face paint design by Christy. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Vanissa watches skeptically. I can tell that she is less than enthusiastic about her face being a painter’s blank canvas. Ranyiel Saldana and Mac Mac Roa watch more like multinational business tycoons than curious little boys. Nonetheless, Junea grasp the concept and convinces Vanissa to allow her to apply a flower.

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Junea displays her artistic cosmetic skills to face paint a flower on Vanissa. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

“Face painting is one of those activities at county fairs that groups do to raise money. They charge like a buck or two for the face painting,” I explain. Ranyiel and Mac Mac give me the old, but how does face painting apply to men look? “Camouflage. Native Americans — the American Indian, their braves would put on ‘war paint’ before going off into battle. The war paint on the face was part of the custom designed to scare the enemy. And, in American and Filipino action movies, you always see the soldiers put camo paint on their faces, so that they blend into the night or the landscape. Camo painting by Special Ops type guys is a form of face painting,” I explain.

Mac Mac is up for the challenge and earns a star on the face. Ranyiel isn’t fond of his Schwarzenegger Style Combat Commando Camouflage design, so he quickly washes off the design.

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Mac Mac relaxes to allow Aunt Christy to apply her face painting skills to add a star to his face. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

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Christy brushes on “The Star” face paint design to Mac Mac’s face. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

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Ranyiel decides against the Schwarzenegger Style Camo Combat Commander face paint design and goes to wash it off. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Christy’s face painting idea might become part of the Saldana Family’s Easter traditions. At least, the “face painting” technique provided the kids some artistic entertainment for an afternoon.

Photography Patrol–Lumpia Making In The Province–Photos by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

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Lumpia Making In The Province – Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.  Pina Gempis reaches into the shopping bag.  Leneil Saldana straightens the ingredients on the spoon.  Vergie Saldana takes a banana break.  Analyn rolls a lumpia wrapper, while Endoy reaches for the lumpia ingredients with a spoon.  Edwin Saldana watches and smiles.  Lumpia is a Filipino favorite that is like a burrito or an egg roll.  Christy Warren and the Saldana women all have their recopies for making lumpia, which can be a time-consuming process.  However, once the lumpia is rolled, it can be placed in the ice box until it is time to cook.  Lumpia is a great snack and with fried rice can make for a complete meal.  The Saldana women and their male recruits rolled the lumpia as one of the foods to be served, during this Holy Week.  Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

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Lumpia Ready To Cook – Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.  This plate of lumpia is ready to cook.  What makes lumpia preparation time consuming is the chopping up of the ingredients like carrots, onions, bell pepper, and pork.  Lumpia wrapper tend to be extremely thin, thus, the wrappers stick together quite easily and you have to have patience to carefully separate the wrappers from each other.  In the States, when Christy could not find lumpia wrappers, she would use egg roll wrappers, which also work well.  Once the lumpia is wrapped, it simply has to be cooked.  The cooking process is more like frying, but the lumpia rolls turn out to be a crispy, delicious, golden brown.  No doubt there are many places on the World Wide Web were you can find a lumpia recipe, but if you want Christy’s Lumpia Recipe, then, you will have to email me at samuelwarren55@gmail.com  Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

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