Category: Believe It or Not

Agbayo (Life Size Mortar & Pestle)

Life size mortar and pestle, photo by JMorton

Agbayo (Life Size Mortar & Pestle)

The above photo was taken in Ferdinand Marcos’s Batac ancestral house.  It was used when he was obviously younger as the mortar shows sign of erosion or depreciation.

Having lived in a farming community when I was a young girl, this life-size mortar and pestle is a familiar sight.

It was used in many things that needed pulping like my favourite sweet rice dessert called nilupak or dehusking palay, especially when going to a rice mill is a bit of a hustle.

The term used by Ilocanos, people of Northern Luzon, is agbayo, which means to pound.

Rice comes from palay grains, and if you only wanted a chupa or a ganta of rice, most Ilocanos would probably use a pestle and mortar to pound the palay to dehusk and turn into rice which then ready to cook.

Pounding rice is sometimes more than just a chore.  It can be a way of bonding with friends and family.

I used to help my cousins when they were pounding in the mortar.  Usually there are extra pestles around and two or three people can pound together but take turn.  It is a matter of timing.  It was a lot of fun though can be hard work.  Having someone to help makes this arduous repetitive task less of a chore.

Toilet Queueing – Filipino Style

Harrison Plaza Comfort Rooms, Photo by JMorton

Cultural Center of the Philippines Ladies, Photo by JMorton

Toilet Queueing – Filipino Style

We were shopping at Tutuban Centre and Divisoria today, when we had to use the toilet.  Toilet in the Philippines is more popularly known as CR, short for Comfort Room.

Though there were plenty of women waiting for a vacant cubicle, like everyday anywhere else in the world, I noticed the queuing system is different from the process practised by the queue-loving people of the United Kingdom 🙂 , who hate queue jumpers and disorderly lines.

In the Philippines, the queue is not a single line like in the UK, where you don’t get to choose which toilet to go to but what is available after those ahead of you are finished.

Today, I noticed that you form a line in front of the toilet of your choice.

Without knowing this at first, I almost blurted out that I was there first and not to queue-jump.  Thankfully, I noticed what was happening immediately, otherwise I may have been lynched by bladder-bursting compatriots 🙂 🙂 🙂


Toilets at the Cultural Center of the Philippines was the most beautiful and cleanest I have been to in the Manila.

Wedding & The Basics

Who can get married?

The month of June for me will always be about weddings, ergo, we will be talking about weddings, engagements and marriages this beautiful June.

I have heard quotes of this nature:

Engagement is the future tense of courtship.  (Although courtship nowadays is not as regimental as a few decades ago; it is quite natural now to get a quick beer together  and ends up “going out” together 😉 lol)

Marriage is the future tense of engagement.

Divorce is the future tense of marriage. (Sadly in many cases this can be the truth!)

I know many people who are in a serious relationship; some are already living together and have created a family.  Though it is serious  and they are looking forward to making the relationship “legal” they cannot somehow take the final step.

The reason given, most of the time, is that a wedding is just too darn expensive.

But should a wedding really be that expensive?  Who said that you have to hold the reception in a castle, or a 5-star hotel?  Who said that you have to wear a designer wedding dress or a wedding dress at all? Who said that you have to feed the five thousand?  Who said that you have to get a professional photographer?

You can get married on the cheap if you want to.


The weddingThe only thing that really matters is that you marry because you wanted to and prepared and ready to embalk in a life of togetherness till death do you part, for better or for worse,  for richer, for poor, forsaking all others in a life everlasting.  This vow was created because that is exactly what a marriage should.  It is about giving and taking, caring, respect and compassion between the partners.


What are the legal requirement for a wedding in UK?

  • You can get married at 16 but as you are until 18, you will need parental/legal guardian  written consent.
  • You are both consenting to the marriage. (Not because your parents want you to get married)
  • You need proof of identity and address.
  • Eligibility (not committing bigamy/poligamy or much worst marrying a close blood relative)
  • You need two witnesses
  • Are to be married by a priest, registered registrar, celebrant in a licensed location.
  • Given a 15 days notice to marry.  Longer if marrying in a religious ceremony.



Combustible Cow Farts (Flatulence) Blows Up Cowshed!

Here is a story to hopefully make you smile and banish those Monday blues. 🙂

Most of us are aware that cows and other grazing cattle produce a lot of methane gas, a greenhouse gas and highly combustible too!

At a cowshed in Rasdorf, Germany 90 cows produced so much methane gas that it caught fire and blew up the shed


The gas had steadily built up in the structure and was ignited on Monday when ‘a static electric charge caused the gas to explode with flashes of flames,’ the police said in a statement.

It is estimated that cow made methane produced is 500 litres (liters) (about 132 gallons) a day. A large volume of methane, comparable to the pollution produced by a car in a day.

Luckily only one cow suffered minor injuries but the shed now needs a new roof 😉

Stress from Pork Barrel Lunacy

I got this stress buster from an e-mail forum I am a member in.

If you are like me, stressed from the goings-on of the scandalous Pork Barrel then the following technique to relieve strain and tension might do you good.  Please tell us if it does work.





Here's a stress management technique recommended in all the latest psychological journals. The funny thing is that it really does work and will make you smile.
1. Picture yourself lying on your belly on a warm rock that hangs out over a crystal clear stream.
2. Picture yourself with both your hands dangling in the cool running water.
3. Birds are sweetly singing in the cool mountain air.
4. No one knows your secret place.
5. You are in total seclusion from that hectic place called the world.
6. The soothing sound of a gentle waterfall fills the air with a cascade of serenity.
7. The water is so clear that you can make out the face of the Congressman you are holding underwater.
See it worked. You're smiling. You feel better already.