Sam I Am Blog

My Newspaper of News, Lifestyle,Culture

Posts Tagged ‘pomp and circumstance

“Happy Birthday, Marife !”

with 20 comments

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

Raise The Colors !

with 15 comments

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

I love to see a flag flying in the breeze.

A1_THE COLORS UNFURL_8341A_resized

  The Saldana Family proudly flies their Republic of the Philippines flag in Barangay Baras among the coconut and guava trees.

  Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

Thanks to my brother-in-law, Ramon Q. Saldana Jr.,in a matter of days, we had a beautiful, tall, functional flagpole in our front yard. 

In the United States of America when a military installation or a government agency is ready to begin business, there is a formal ceremony that focuses on the raising of the United States flag to announce the”official” commencement of operations. Even homes, in the United States, with a flagpole usually has some type of ceremony before the flag is raised for the first time. 

Once a flagpole is ready, you need to understand your feelings toward the flag that will rise up the standard.  If the banner is a national flag, then, you need to understand your emotions and beliefs about patriotism.

Patriotism involves your love of your country and the respect to honor the memory of the people who have sacrificed their lives for your country.  If you don’t love your country or feel little to no emotion for the people who have sacrificed their lives for your country; then, you have no business flying a national flag.

In observing my nephews and nieces, they have shown care, concern and compassion for their community and have demonstrated their responsibility in their schoolwork, which translates to me as responsible citizenship.  I’m proud to watch them show an interest in current events and Filipino history, which I also view as personal pride in their country. 

 

When you fly a national flag, you should always be aware of your nation’s flag protocol.  In the United States Armed Forces, I was taught customs and courtesies, which addressed guidelines for the use and display of the United States flag.  And, I know there are detailed procedures for the use and display of the US flag at embassies, consulates and official government agencies.  I would theorize that most governments probably have similar procedures and guidelines for the display and use of their national flags.

 

I explained to my nephews and nieces that proper display of the flag is their responsibility and suggested they ask a teacher or go online and research Republic of the Philippines protocol for the display of the national flag.

1_RAMON AND FE ADJUST THE LINE_6711_resized

 

 

 

 

 

 

  Ramon Q. Saldana Jr., and Marife Saldana Roa adjust the flagpole line. 

  Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Before we raised the flag, Ramon and Fe asked me if we were going to do “a formal flag ceremony ?”  I smiled and answered, “I’m retired.  My days of military protocol are behind me.”  The truth is before putting together anything like a formal flag ceremony, I wanted to be sure that the flagpole and the flag would work without any flaws. 

 

4_CHRISTY AND RAMONWATCH WHILE FE ADJUSTS THE LINE_6713_resized

 

 

 

 

 

Christy Warren and Ramon Saldana hold the banner while Marife threads a tie through the top grommet to tie the banner to the flagpole line.

Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Since I had not tested the flag raising procedure, I didn’t want to risk the kids being assembled for a flag raising and have the line hang up so that the flag did not rise or discover that the grommets were not tied properly and have the flag come loose and fall to the ground.  My favorite “Uncle Sam” had taught me to always hope for the “Best Case Scenario” and to be ready to expect the “Worst Case Scenario.”  Without a “dry run” to test the procedure, I suggested that we just try to raise the flag the next morning.

5_RAMON HELPSFE TIE THEGROMMET_6714_resized

Ramon and Fe make sure the top grommet is securely tied to the flagpole line as a part of the process to raise the banner. 

Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

I simply hoped that we would have the colors flying when the kids returned home from school the next day.

7_MARLON SALDANA CLIMBS A GUAVA TREE TO RETRIEVE THE FLAGPOLE LINE_6723_resized

Nephew Marlon Saldana climbs up a nearby guava tree to snatch the flagpole line which came loose from the bottom of the banner and did not allow it to rise in the first attempt.The failure revealed that the line should pass through the top grommet and the bottom grommet.  To keep the banner attached to the line, then, the bottom grommet would also have to be tied to the nylon flagpole line to allow the flag to rise with the line up to the pulley at the top of the staff.  Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

February 1, 2012, Christy, Ramon and Marife, three of the adult children of Ramon and Nenita Saldana, raised the colors in the front yard for the first time. I, of course, photographed the event.

Murphy’s Law – “Anything that can go wrong; will go wrong,” seems to pinpoint first time events.  The initial flag raising did not go smoothly.

 

None of us had ever tied a flag to the line before.  The tie at the bottom grommets of the flag did not hold and the bottom of the flag came loose as it was raised.

Fortunately, the flag did not touch the ground. U.S. Flag protocol states that if the flag falls and touches the ground, then, that flag must be destroyed.

When we attempted to lower the flag, too much of the line came through the pulley at the top and the line rushed through until the knot at the end of the line caught in the pulley.   My nephew, Marlon Saldana climbed up the nearby guava tree and retrieved the knotted line caught up in the pulley and brought the line back down.

By the second attempt, the glitches had been remedied and the colors rose up the line to the top of the flagpole.

8_RAMON ADJUST THE LINE AND CHRISTY STRAIGHTENS THE FLAG_6717

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ramon Saldana examines the flagpole line to make sure  it passes through the grommets of the banner to allow the cloth to rise up the line.  Christy Warren straightens the material, so that the cloth should rise like the sail of a ship up to the top of the mast.  Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The colors raised – there was only one item missing – a breeze.

FLAG RISES TO THE TOP OF THE FLAGPOLE_6738

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The flagpole line raises the flag up to the top of the flagpole on the second attempt.  Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Time passed. The kids returned home from school, but the flag was not flying. That fact was a disappointment. Unfortunately, there was no breeze.

The irony is ,it was about, a week and a half later before the flag waved.  Typhoon winds off of the ocean actually spawned enough of a breeze to unfurl the colors.

SALDANA FAMILY FLIES THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES FLAG_8424_resized 

The colors unfurl.  The Republic of the Philippines flag flies above the Saldana Family residence in Barangay Baras, Tanauan, Leyte. 

Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

If you pass through Barangay Baras, keep looking through the tall coconut trees.   When you see a flash of colors in the trees look for the flagpole.  The Saldana Family flagpole stands proud and unfurls the colors of the Republic of the Philippines against the sky.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.
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