food turner1In my years as a single woman, I seldom cook and hold a sianse (kitchen food turner) in my hand. Until I got married. I had to learn how to cook, whether I like it or not, or my husband and I will go hungry. ūüôā

The very first few dishes I learned were the easiest ones – fried foods. All I needed was some cooking oil, my sianse and my ever dependable kawali (pan). And voila, there’s our dinner matched with some cucumber salad.

Then I experimented with dishes that require some sauce mixture, such as caldereta and afritada. My caldereta wasn’t a smash hit. The beef cubes needed much more boiling than what I have done. My afritada was much better. I knew this¬†because of the way my husband appreciated its flavor.

While my husband had the opportunity to work out of the country, I, on the other hand had an opportunity to learn more dishes. I was able to hone my cooking skills even more. I began searching for easy-to-do recipes that will ensure my success in cooking. My caldereta improved a lot and I discovered cooking techniques. I perfected a chicken adobo aloha, to which I am very proud of. My chicken tinola can be likened to a Hainanese dish, what with all the ginger I poured into the dish.

All these I did with my sianse. She’s now my best friend in the kitchen. My dishes are waiting for you, honey. ūüôā



This post is in response to the weekly writing challenge in the Daily Post:


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Tainted Love: A Farewell Note

Breaking-Up-CoupleWe all had our first loves. We all had our first break-ups. This poem was buried in my chest of written treasures only to be released just now.


By Leah Lyn E. Albano

The symphony’s been playing our song.

It seems to be the same melody

That swept my heart away.

It seems to be the same rhyme

That made me fell for you.

Yet all these sameness

Is a bit different now.

The melody carries a lonelier tune

And as I listen intently,

I find that there’s no more rhyme.

The promised waiting

Isn’t over just yet.

But I can no longer

Hang on much further.

I’ve waited for you

To write me a letter,

To call me on the phone.

I have always waited for you

But you no longer seem to care.

Has something happened to your heart?

Have you forgotten our covenant?

I can no longer wait for you

Unless you break the cold silence

Unless you affirm your devotion to me.

I shall stop longing for you.

I shall begin opening up myself

To other people

Who are more than willing

To get involved with me.

I shall begin a new journey

Without you.

I shall be listening

To the new song

The symphony is playing

For me and for me alone.


February 15, 2000



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Depression: Breaking the Silence


Apparently, I wrote sad stuff when I was much younger. My poems and journal entries speak of anger, frustration and sadness, to say the least. I had a lot of hang-ups back then. Little did I know that I was being pulled into the abyss of depression. Until I finally succumbed to it. There were triggers that led me to the hell that was depression. Few people understand this condition. Fewer people even accept what it really is.

While I was going through that difficult period in my life, people closest to me would say, “You just don’t pray enough.” Or perhaps they would utter, “Maybe you are harboring an unconfessed sin in your life, that’s why you’re depressed.” Or they would say, “That’s just momentary.”

They did not help me in any way. They even added to the hurt that I was already feeling. At some point, I would like to believe them, until that fateful day happened.

I realized I needed professional help when I found myself attempting to end my life. I was already  crying for desperate help! I have been silent on this area in my life for so long, since I know that not all would understand, especially I am of Christian background.

But I am now ready to break my silence. I would like to put a real face to what depression really is.

I was diagnosed to have clinical depression last 1997. There was a chemical imbalance in my brain and I was treated for it with oral medications combined with a series of psychotherapy sessions to deal with my pressing issues at hand. It recurred in 1999. And reappeared many years after. It was safe to say I was struggling with the condition. Research says, that once a person was diagnosed with depression, it is more likely that he or she  will experience a recurrence. It may also be genetic in nature.

Tell-tale signs of my depression was lack of appetite, inability to  sleep, lack of interest in the things that I previously enjoy, fear of people, anxiety over the future, crying bouts and the angry, emotional outbursts I would often have.

My family and friends did not know how to handle me anymore. Till I realized that only few people stayed with me during this dark night of my soul. That’s when I discovered who my real friends were. They were the ones who would sit with me in silence, offer me a comforting prayer and embrace, and visit me at home even when I couldn’t relate with them normally. They were the ones who loved and accepted me for who I really was. Stripped of my usual, smart, confident self; they came to know the scared, insecure self that ¬†I really was.

Depression may be ugly. But it brings out the beauty in every person that goes through with it. It sheds off the mask that most people put on to gain acceptance in society. It brings forth compassion for the unloved and the unaccepted. It gives new meaning to deliverance from darkness after one has gained victory over that condition. It assures you that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

I am now in my mid-30s. I am still under maintenance medication to ensure chemical balance in my brain to prevent me from having to succumb to depression again. But what gives me joy now, is that I have learned to develop coping mechanisms to deal with my daily struggles. I have faced my issues head-on. I have a loving, supportive family who completely accepts me. And I have a God of hope bigger than any depression.


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