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Posts Tagged ‘Gilbert Roa

Operation Birthday !

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After Action Report – A Success !

Operation Birthday”

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"Happy Birthday To Me Crystal !"  –  Christy Warren dug up this crystal out of the ground in Arkansas, August 19, 2005, on her 40th Birthday  The crystal came from the ground near a crystal mine close to the Crater of Diamonds State Park, in Murfreesboro, Arkansas.  When Christy dug the big crystal out of the earth, she smiled and sang, "Happy Birthday To Me !"  The crystal still shines in her home in Leyte, Republic of the Philippines.  Nikon D 70 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr,

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Cooking. The reason Christy Warren was not looking forward to any birthday celebration this year came down to one word: “cooking.”

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Rinald cooks a dish for Christy Warren’s birthday.

Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Through the years, Christy, has always been the person, who almost always does the “cooking” for family and friends birthday celebrations. And, when “Her Day” arrives, she was the person, who did the “cooking” for her own birthday celebration.

Born a Leo, Christy, like all Leos, likes “being in the spotlight.” It helps to share your birthday with a famous American president: William Jefferson “Bill” Clinton, born August 19, 1946. Christy Warren entered this life, August 19, 1964.

Like all Leos, Christy has the natural inclination “to keep an eye” on a project that she is in charge of. In her case, that usually means that she steps in from the “sidelines” and actually does the job herself. Military concepts like “Unity Of Command,” “Span Of Control,” and “Delegation Of Authority,” doesn’t conform to her “hands-on-do-it-yourself” approach.

Sunrise, August 19, 2012, while she had her morning coffee, I once again brought up the subject, “. . . so, what do you want to do for your birthday ?”

Fortunately, this year, there were options to the traditional birthday celebration. Rinald, a cook was available to cook for the celebration. Family stood ready to help: Marife, Christy’s sister, Ramon, Christy’s brother, Lanail, her sister-in-law, Ann Ann, a neighbor, and, of course, Christy’s husband, Sam.

One major factor in the Philippines, that isn’t always a issue in the United States with it’s “temperate climate” is “heat,” which is the hot and humid temperatures of the Philippines that always steps into place at sunrise. Air conditioning is not always as prevalent in the Philippines as it is in the United States.

Thus, the people working in the kitchen will have to endure the daily temperatures, as well as, the heat that the process of cooking gives off. Thus, imagine trying to prepare food for a birthday celebration in a sauna and you understand a major effort that goes into preparing the food.

Christy admits that one factor in her decision to move forward with the birthday celebration is Mac Mac Roa and Glen Roa. Mac Mac had a birthday, August 6. Glen had a birthday, August 8.

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Liraniza Abano, Christy Warren’s second cousin, and Catalina Saldana Mora, one of Christy Warren’s aunts visit with Christy before the party.

Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Unfortunately, daily activities did not allow for a birthday celebration, so I explained to the boys, that we would have to “postpone” the birthday celebrations. Thus, with Christy’s Birthday: we now had a chance to “set the record straight” and celebrate all three birthdays.

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Rachel and Randolph Mora and their mother, Babysel Mora, visit with Christy before the party.  Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

While the cooking staff began their preparations, Ramon, Gilbert, Ranillo and I are ready to go to a bakery in Palo for the birthday cake. Once, we start to travel down the Barangay Road, I tell Ramon, that I want to check out a bakery in Tacloban City.

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Nelda Lago . a neighbor, visits with Christy before the party.  Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

We go to “Pannys” for the mocha birthday cake. Then, aware that children like “surprises” for their birthday parties, I come up with the idea of the Piñata. We head for the “578 Emporium” to find a “Piñata.” A salesgirl shows me the Piñata that has to be filled with toys and candy.

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Christy’s Aunts, Magdalena Patanao and Catalina Mora supervise the birthday buffet line, Jimmy Navoa and Kmar Patanao, Christy’s first cousins, start off the birthday buffet line.  Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

while supervise When I describe the slender wood tic-tac-toe device that I had in mind, she replies, “You want a Pabitay (pronounced “pah-bee-tie).” She points at the box of oversized tic-tac-toe wooden frames at the end of an alise. You still have to find the toys to tight to the pabitay, but, I was now one step closer to my idea.

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The kids “jump” up to get the toys that hang from the pabitay. 

Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

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Gilbert and Ranillo help me shop for the trinket toys to tie to the pabitay. Whistles, yo yos, a couple of packs of balls and jacks, and a couple of small bottles of bubbles as well as Dragon ball trading cards compose the trinkets for the pabitay.

I always like to try and add some things that will catch the eye and inspire the kids, so I find a set of metal racing cars at a good price, a couple of magnetized chess travel sets and, after a quick visit to the nearby, Gaisano store, a die-cast metal miniature friction motor 747 airplane.

The toy manufacturers of the world really don’t seem to be all that creative in creating small trinket type toys for girls. Fortunately, I like a challenge. Since I remain “a kid at heart,” I know I will find something. I stroll into the doll section and begin the intense browsing procedure. I find a package of plastic rings and a card of play makeup for girls with two tiny lipsticks and a small compact.

Back at home, I ask Gilbert and Ranillo to put the toys into bags to tie to the pabitay. While they go to work in fixing up the pabitay, family and friends begin to arrive to help Christy celebrate her birthday.

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Andres Cinco, Analyn Natividad’s husband, looks over the pabitay.  He raised and lowered the pabitay to allow the children to “jump” up and get the birthday surprises.  Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Time for “Sam The Photographer.” I pick up the Nikon D 100, format the media card, and begin looking for moments that will become memorable photos.

Renald, the chef, prepares the Pancit Bihon, which is a classic Filipino dish that at birthday celebrations always symbolizes “the wish for a long life.” The Pork Asado, Filipino Sweet Potatoes, Steamed Rice are some of the dishes that find their way to the birthday table. Years of celebrations, suggest that the most efficient way to serve a large number of people quickly is to set the dishes and silverware at the end of the table and to allow the guests to select their own choices like in a buffet style restaurant.

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The Birthday Cake for Mac Mac Roa, Glen Roa and Christy Warren.  Mac Mac blew out the candle on the cake.  Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

After the birthday dinner, while the adults visit, the pabitay is hung up, so that it can be raised and lowered to allow the kids to “jump up and grab at the toys.” The kids get the toys and the destroyed pabitay is put aside for the recycle pile.

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Mac Mac Roa, Junea Tanhale and Vanissa Saldana play chess after the birthday party.  Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

While the adults talk, the birthday celebration stretches into the evening hours. Christy has managed to stay out of the kitchen all day and allow other family members to do the “cooking.” For “a hands on person”, like Christy, to be able to “delegate authority” to allow someone else to do a job is not a common condition.

Later, Christy logs on to facebook and reads the birthday wishes from some family and friends.  Those birthday wishes and the nieces and nephews birthday cards really added to the overall success of Christy’s birthday, this year, Sunday, August 19, 2012.

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Surprise of the Day  – While I had tried to plan all the surprises for my wife’s birthday party; my nieces and nephews delivered the surprise of the day.  They had created birthday cards for their Aunt Christy.  Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Looking around at the guests, I rate “Operation Birthday – A Five Star Success !”

Sam

Samar–Leyte Earthquake Aftermath

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Earthquake Memoir

Samar – Leyte Earthquake Aftermath

by Samuel E. Warren Jr,

Today is Monday, September 3, 2012 in the Republic of the Philippines. In Barangay Baras, Leyte, life has returned to normal.

The Friday night, August 31, 2012 earthquake at 8:47 p.m., came as a surprise. Mano Bito Mora, and our nephews and nieces were watching the movie, “The Bourne Identity”Chrismar Roa, Ranyiel Saldana, Ranillo Saldana, Gilbert Roa, Junea Tanhale, and Vanissa Saldana. My wife, Christy Warren watched TV and knitted on an afghan.

Writing My Election Year Political Editorial

I sat at the laptop, writing a political editorial: “The Worser Of Two Evils,” were I compared this year’s monotonous American Presidential Election Campaign to 1972, where all American voters had were the selected Democrat and Republican Party nominees. What American’s wanted was a leader; in 1972, they did not believe they had a choice other than Democrat and Republican.

I don’t believe “History repeats itself.” I believe “History being cyclical, more or less rewinds to allow a new version of current events to unfold. Senator Eugene McCarthy in 1972, I believed was a leader in the Democratic Party, but, the Republicans were creative enough to label him a “Dove” in the ongoing debate over the Vietnam War and that label “doomed” his chances.

I point out that like 1972, in 2012, American Voters want a leader and a choice. I don’t see a choice in 2012. The Republicans have given Americans a rich Republican. Herbert Hoover, an orphan, who became a self-made millionaire was a Republican president, who sat in the White House and watched America come apart in The Great Depression.

We, Americans have the current Democrat, President Obama, who has let Congress keep him sedated in The Oval Office for four years.

The US Economy and the Global Economy is Stagnant Standing Water that on the best day seems to seep, but no longer flows because leaders seem “clueless” as to “how to open the dam” and get the global economy flowing.

I had made these and other points in my political editorial, when everyone jumped up and headed for the door.

Earthquake!

Earthquake, Christy shouted and dashed out the door behind the kids. The lights went out. “Brown out,” everyone shrieked. “Black out,” I grumbled stepping out the door.

Fortunately, it was a Full Moon, so the night was not that dark. The old years of military training kicked in – I made sure everyone was present and accounted for.

I had felt the ground move under my feet for a minute or so. You could feel the energy of the earth under your feet, as I had stepped outside on to the porch. Gilbert Roa, my nephew, had tuned into the Tagalog news reports on his cell phone and the kids were huddled around him to listen. I glanced back and through the window, noticed the light of my laptop glowing into the darkness.

Once a newsman; always a newsman. I went back and sit down at the laptop. I didn’t find any reports within the first few minutes, so I logged on to facebook and posted that we had had an earthquake that was felt in Barangay Baras.

I checked for breaking news and found a short release from the United States Geologic Survey, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Inquirer Net of the Philippine Inquirer. The initial releases all claimed 7.9 magnitude.

The Numbers Game Of Natural Disasters

I told my brother in law, Ramon, come sunrise, I’m sure they will downgrade that magnitude number. In my career as a reporter, I have reported on hurricanes in Louisiana and earthquakes in the Philippines; I have learned in crisis and natural disasters, people usually “go with their best guess at the time.”

Human nature means we all need some way to relate to an explain natural disasters. Thus, over time the system of numbers developed to help people to explain the intensity of a natural disaster.

Having covered natural disasters through the years, I have taken time to do research on hurricanes, typhoons, cyclones, volcanoes, and earthquakes.

Usually the experts will decide on a “number” that represents “an Armageddon, Apocalypse, Doomsday, End Of The World scenario.” Based on my research, I was convinced that come sunrise “the experts” would have to “downgrade’ the number.

Mother Nature Doesn’t Use A Day Planner

The earthquake happened on “a Friday night.” It happened “on the weekend.” Thus, without knowing the duty rosters of the “experts” organizations, I knew the earthquake happened on the “night shift, at the start of the weekend.”

My guess, based on human nature and experience is the people on duty monitoring Mother Earth, were, for the most part, single men and women, who would be on duty while most if not all the married people were at home with their families.

Thus, when the quake happened, the veteran senior earthquake experts were probably all at home with their families. Therefore, it would be the young researchers monitoring the planet and reacting to the sudden natural event.

My theory about 7.9 being “Too High A Number” was right. Now, the number has been downgraded.

Absence of Aftershocks ?

What impressed me about this earthquake, was I felt no aftershocks. In my experience, earthquakes ALWAYS have aftershocks. In Barangay Baras, Leyte, I waited until almost 1 am, to feel an aftershock. I did not feel an aftershock.

Yet, my gut instinct, tells me seismic devices probably did record some type of faint tremors because the shifting of the plates suggests that some of the excess energy had to go somewhere on the planet.

Higher Ground

Within minutes after the earthquake, vehicles and people were moving along the Barangay Baras Road. I learned the next day that a tsunami warning had been issued for low-lying areas near the ocean. The City of Tanauan is a low-lying area that borders Pedro Bay, which is a child of the Pacific Ocean.

Drive through Tacloban City and on to The San Juanico Bridge and you are on the long bridge that connects the island of Leyte with the island of Samar. Thus, an ocean earthquake, near Tanauan or Tacloban City is going to cause people to move inland to seek “higher ground.”

Some of the residents of Barangay Mohon and Barangay Cameri are said to spent the night sleeping in the schools, since they didn’t feel safe returning home. Residents of Tanauan and Tacloban City are also reported to have spent the night in one of the schools.

Blue Moon Over Leyte

In glancing at different news headlines, a reference to “Blue Moon In Pisces” caught my eye. I left my ephemeris back in the United States when we moved to the Philippines.

What I have learned about Western Astrology through the years, a “Blue Moon” in a water related Zodiac sign in Pisces would definitely be an indication of some eye-opening activity involving water.

The moon scientifically exerts a gravitational “pull” on the earth. Almanacs use this knowledge to predict “high” and “low” tides. The moon works on a lunar cycle. Every woman on planet earth is aware of the lunar cycle, whether they realize it or not because the moon, or it’s gravitational “pull” affects the biological changes in a woman’s body.

Believe it or not hospitals and law enforcement agencies know that a “Full Moon” is going to give them a “busy night shift.” Every month has at least one Full Moon. Sometimes a month will have two Full Moons. It is the “Third Full Moon” that is rare. A “Blue Moon” is a Full Moon that happens “twice” in the same zodiac sign in the same year. While the moon is not blue in color, the phrase, “Once in a blue moon,” reminds us that this type of Full Moon is rare.

The Western Astrology Zodiac Signs of Water are Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces. Water in people is described as “emotions.” The Water Sign of Cancer rules babbling brooks and small streams of water.

The Water Sign of Scorpio rules larger bodies of water like the Amazon River, the Nile and the Mississippi River, thus, the Scorpio adage of “Still water runs deep.”

The Water Sign of Pisces is “The Mother Of All Large Bodies Of Water.” Pisces rules the Pacific Ocean, the Atlantic Ocean, and all the “Seven Seas.” It is left up to the oceanographers and astrologers to figure out which massive lakes come under Scorpio or Pisces.

An astrological indication of a “Blue Moon in Pisces” based on traditional Western astrology suggests “Motion In The Ocean.” Fortunately, the scientific experts were watching for the motion in the ocean to issue the tsunami warnings in the Pacific.

Saturday, Sunday Smooth Sailing

Saturday, I didn’t notice any earthquake related damage in Barangay Baras. Saturday morning, my nieces and some of the nephews attended the Special Mass at the Barangay Cameri Church.

Saturday evening, I looked at the clock as the lights came back on at 10:22 p.m.

Sunday, Ramon, Ranillo and I went to Tacloban City and Tanauan. I did not see any earthquake or tidal wave related damage in the area. From what I have seen the island of Leyte was fortunate and did not sustain the damage that is being reported that happened on the nearby island of Samar.

Sam

“Happy Birthday, Gilbert – My Aide-de-camp !”

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Happy Birthday, Gilbert –  My Aide-de-Camp !

Gilbert Roa, my nephew, an education major at Leyte Normal University. In the background is a swinging bridge in a nearby barangay. Gilbert is the type person, you want by your side when you cross those swinging bridges of Life.
June 12, 2012, Republic of the Philippines Independence Day is also Gilbert Roa’s 18th Birthday. My nephew, Gilbert, exhibits the qualities a person usually finds in a military aide-de-camp assigned to a general or admiral. Canon EOS 40 D Photo by Samuel E, Warren Jr.

By Samuel E. Warren Jr.

World history from the Roman General Julius Caesar to United States Army General Herbert Norman”Stormin’ Norman” Schwarzkopf , who, served as Commander of the Coalition Forces in the Gulf War of 1991 and Commander of U.S. Central Command, always records the battles, honors, achievements of the great military leaders, who have made a definite difference in global civilizations and history.

While history is quick to record the names and deeds of the great generals and admirals, who changed the world, sometimes one of the people closest to the great men or women go completely unnoticed by history.

Sometimes a diligent search of military history might reveal the name of the person, but more likely, you will have to find someone on active duty or a veteran, who served at headquarters to learn the name of the individual.

In the prehistoric global civilization of humankind, before the Internet and cell phones, general officers and navy flag officers had a special individual assigned to them: The Aide-de-Camp.

The United States Armed Forces like many nations armed forces base their traditions, ceremonies and

Gilbert Roa, at this point, in his life, plans to become a teacher. He is a student at Leyte Normal University in Tacloban City. Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

rituals on the lessons of history, so while the French, Russian or British military may not use the same words for the position – there is a very good chance that their generals and admiral still rely on a certain individual to accomplish some task on their behalf

The unsung “Aide-de-camp” to, my knowledge, has never had books written about them, Hollywood movies made of their life stories or even an exhibit in a museum, but, the aide-de-camp was an indispensable person to a general or admiral because while the senior military officer was engaged in official duties like planning how to use thousands of men and resources from combat boots to tanks to win a battle or the overall strategy to win a war; it was the aide-de-camp, who handled mundane tasks for the general.

While United States Army General Dwight David Eisenhower is meeting with Allied generals and admirals to plan the D-Day Invasion, you can bet the general’s aide-de-camp was the one worrying about the date to pay the general’s utility bills and phone bills back home in the States and worrying about if the protocol officer at the next base, the general is scheduled to visit has made all the arrangements for the general to present medals to the men and women to be honored.

No doubt, United States Army General William Childs Westmoreland, in command of United States military operations in the Vietnam War, was dedicated to trying to convince President Lyndon Baines Johnson to send military forces into Cambodia and Laos to close the Vietnamese supply line of the Ho Chi Minh Trail.

In the course of official duties, communication with the President of the United States of America was an absolute necessity. General Westmoreland had to have daily communications with army commanders in the field, air force commanders on the bases, naval and marine corps commanders afloat or on a base. And, then, of course, in a democracy, a general and admiral have to be ready to answers questions from senators, congressmen, and the international news media. If there are any hours left at the end of the day, that time is called: sleep.

Thus, an aide-de-camp for General Westmoreland would have had to take care of the mundane tasks of life like making sure the general’s uniforms gets to and from the cleaners. And, if the general is to meet with the president, senator, congressman or another commander, then, the collar brass, insignias, name tag, stars on the uniform, and “the fruit salad”, i.e. the ribbons have to be in arranged in order on the dress uniform. If the uniform of the day is “fatigues,” then, the aide-de-camp would be the one to make sure that all the crest patches are current and not showing any signs of age or wear.

The military aide-de-camp in the United States Armed Forces was usually a junior officer from 1st lieutenant to major.

In a nutshell, the aide-de-camp’s mission was simple – “take care of the boss”- which meant the general or admiral’s day would not be wasted.

In the civilian world, businessmen, politicians, and some leaders have the secretary to rely on, but the aide-de-camp didn’t clock out at 4 p.m., and go home. In recent years the civilian world leaders have adopted the aide-de-camp position to positions like “personal assistants.”

But, there is one area between an “aide-de-camp” and a “personal assistant” that will probably always be different and that is esprit de corps and loyalty. Military people understand the value and the integrity of those concepts as a way of life. In the civilian world, the idea of “loyalty” usually translates to some boss getting a lawyer and having an employee sign a “nondisclosure agreement.”

Of course, as a sergeant on active duty, I would work with various senior officers’ aide-de-camps, but I would never have one of my own.

The nice thing about retirement is sometimes Life allows you to enjoy your fantasies in the Real World.

The Birthday Cake was baked by the Twilight Bakery in Tanauan. Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Upon returning to the Republic of the Philippines, I needed an individual that I could trust to help me in day to day matters – my own “aide-de-camp.”

My nephew, Gilbert Roa, a student at Leyte Normal University is my aide-de-camp. Whenever I need the answer to a question or want to understand the proper way of doing something the way it is done in the Philippines, my nephew – “Gilbert is The Man With The Plan.”

Today, June 12, 2012 is Independence Day in the Republic of the Philippines and also the birthday of my nephew, Gilbert.

Happy Birthday, Gilbert !

Tito Sam

“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

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