top of page

September 28

Saint of the day:

Saint Lawrence Ruiz & Companions (Filipino)

Patron Saint of The Philippines, Filipinos, Overseas Filipino Workers and migrant workers,

the poor, separated families, Filipino youth, Chinese-Filipinos, Filipino Altar servers, Tagalogs, 

Saint Lorenzo Ruiz and Companions’ Story

Lorenzo was born in Manila of a Chinese father and a Filipino mother, both Christians. Thus he learned Chinese and Tagalog from them, and Spanish from the Dominicans whom he served as altar boy and sacristan. He became a professional calligrapher, transcribing documents in beautiful penmanship. He was a full member of the Confraternity of the Holy Rosary under Dominican auspices. He married and had two sons and a daughter.

Lorenzo’s life took an abrupt turn when he was accused of murder. Nothing further is known except the statement of two Dominicans that “he was sought by the authorities on account of a homicide to which he was present or which was attributed to him.”

At that time, three Dominican priests, Antonio Gonzalez, Guillermo Courtet, and Miguel de Aozaraza, were about to sail to Japan in spite of a violent persecution there. With them was a Japanese priest, Vicente Shiwozuka de la Cruz, and a layman named Lazaro, a leper. Lorenzo, having taken asylum with them, was allowed to accompany them. But only when they were at sea did he learn that they were going to Japan.

They landed at Okinawa. Lorenzo could have gone on to Formosa, but, he reported, “I decided to stay with the Fathers, because the Spaniards would hang me there.” In Japan they were soon found out, arrested, and taken to Nagasaki. The site of wholesale bloodshed when the atomic bomb was dropped had known tragedy before. The 50,000 Catholics who once lived there were dispersed or killed by persecution.

They were subjected to an unspeakable kind of torture: After huge quantities of water were forced down their throats, they were made to lie down. Long boards were placed on their stomachs and guards then stepped on the ends of the boards, forcing the water to spurt violently from mouth, nose and ears.

The superior, Fr. Gonzalez, died after some days. Both Fr. Shiwozuka and Lazaro broke under torture, which included the insertion of bamboo needles under their fingernails. But both were brought back to courage by their companions.

In Lorenzo’s moment of crisis, he asked the interpreter, “I would like to know if, by apostatizing, they will spare my life.” The interpreter was noncommittal, but in the ensuing hours Lorenzo felt his faith grow strong. He became bold, even audacious, with his interrogators.

The five were put to death by being hanged upside down in pits. Boards fitted with semi-circular holes were fitted around their waists and stones put on top to increase the pressure. They were tightly bound, to slow circulation and prevent a speedy death. They were allowed to hang for three days. By that time Lorenzo and Lazaro were dead. Still alive, the three priests were then beheaded.

In 1987, Pope John Paul II canonized these six and 10 others: Asians and Europeans, men and women, who spread the faith in the Philippines, Formosa, and Japan. Lorenzo Ruiz is the first canonized Filipino martyr. The Liturgical Feast of Saint Lorenzo Ruiz and Companions is September 28.





Binondo Church, Binondo, Manila, Philippines







Lumpiang Shanghai (Filipino Spring Rolls)



That these are the best spring rolls is no exaggeration.
Whenever I serve these Lumpiang Shanghai, they’re gone in seconds.
True crunchy deliciousness in every bite. Serve with a sweet chili sauce!



  • 1 kilo / 2 pounds ground pork

  • 8 garlic cloves, finely chopped

  • 2 small Onions, minced

  • 1 big or 2 medium size Carrots, finely chopped

  • 5-6 tablespoons Soy sauce or to taste

  • 1 Jicama (Singkamas) or a small tub of Water Chestnut, finely chopped
    (optional – but I do love the extra crunch and flavor either brings!!!)

  • Salt and Pepper, to taste

  • Oil for frying (enough to cover the rolls)

  • 2 packs of paper thin Spring Roll wrappers (can be found in Asian stores), thawed



  1. Heat a little oil in a frying pan on medium heat. Saute the garlic just until aromatic (less than a minute). Brown the ground pork in the pan and season with a little salt and pepper (just to give the meat a little flavor so go easy with the salt). Stir the meat to prevent clumping.

  2. When the meat has changed its color add the onions. Cook for another 3-4 minutes or until the chopped onions have softened. Add the carrots and season with the soy sauce. Stir to mix. Lower the heat and simmer for about half an hour (to allow the meat to absorb the seasonings). At this point, I add the water chestnuts or jicama and just let it cook for another couple of minutes. Adjust seasoning to your taste. Set aside to cool down. Drain completely to remove any excess liquid. I use a strainer to do this. It should be dry and not dripping with sauce. 

  3. Prepare the spring roll wrappers and have a small bowl filled water near you. Place about 1 heaping tablespoon of the cold pork mixture in one of the corners of the wrapper. Spread the filling into the wrapper horizontally. Roll the meat mixture towards the middle. Fold both sides inward to seal, then continue to roll until you have about an inch left of the wrapper. Using your finger, brush the edges with a little water to seal completely. Make sure it is tightly secured. Place the finished roll on a deep baking dish (casserole) with the sealed side downwards. Repeat until all the meat is gone. To ensure that the seal does not open while you are frying it, I keep the rolls overnight in the refrigerator. This way they seal properly and won’t open when frying.

  4. Before you heat the oil, take the spring rolls out of the fridge so it will be a little warmer when you fry it. (Others have fried it from frozen, I heard). Pour cooking oil (enough to cover the rolls) in a deep pan and turn heat to medium and let heat up for about 10-12 mins. (If you have a deep fryer, preheat to about 350 F). To make sure the oil is hot enough, test one roll and see if it browns quickly. Fry the lumpia in batches until they turn golden brown. This shouldn’t take too long if the oil is hot enough and because they have been previously cooked. Do not overcrowd the rolls to allow them to brown evenly.

  5. Place the cooked rolls in a strainer with paper towels to drain the oil while the other rolls are cooking. Transfer the cooked ones in a serving dish. You may again wrap them in paper towels to extract any remaining oil.

  6. To double the amount, cut the rolls in half. Serve with sweet chili sauce, a yummy chutney or even plain old ketchup as dip! Yum!

Yield: 60-80 pieces depending on the size 

IMG_2937 (1).JPG
IMG_2404 2.JPG


Pancit / Pansit (Philippine Noodle Dish)


  • 1-2 Tbsp olive oil

  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped

  • 1 onion, chopped

  • Shredded cooked (pre-boiled) chicken – (Use 1 breast or 2 thighs).

  • 1 1/2 cups of any two of these

  • veggies, chopped (except for snow peas): carrots, green beans, snow peas and cabbage (I prefer using carrots and green beans)

  • 2 (8 oz) packs of Pansit Bihon  (Rice Noodles)- can be found  in Asian stores – look for the Philippine

  • brand.

Note: If you do not have wheat or egg allergy try this 2 noodles combo – replace one pack of Bihon noodles with another 8 oz pack of Pansit Canton (Egg-Wheat Noodles) Philippine Brand. Of course, you can use other Asian brands but the Philippine brands I have tried and tested for this recipe. Other Asian brand of noodles (especially the Bihon variety) may take longer to cook and may have to be soaked in water first before using.

For the sauce:

  • 5 Tbsp dark soy sauce (regular or wheat/gluten-free)

  • 1 1/2 Tbsp oyster

  • sauce (regular or gluten-free)

  • 2 tsp sugar

  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Boil the chicken breast or thighs in just a little over 3 cups of water (or enough water to cover the meat). Cook until tender. Reserve about 3 cups of the stock. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, shred them or chop into small pieces. Set aside.

  2. Heat oil in a big wok. Saute garlic and onion for a minute. Add the cooked chicken and season with a little salt and pepper.

  3. Stir in the veggies and cook for another 3-4 minutes or until a little tender.

  4. Pour about 2 1/2 cups of the chicken stock into the wok. Season with the soy and oyster sauces and sugar. Bring to a boil.

  5. When it begins to boil add the rice noodles. Stir to ensure it gets soaked in the sauce. When it starts to soften a bit stir in the egg/wheat noodles/Canton (if using). Continue to stir the noodles while trying to soak them in the sauce until all the liquid has dried up.

  6. Add some more stock or water if the sauce dries up before the noodles are tender. Adjust seasoning if necessary. Don’t forget the calamansi (or lemon/lime) – squeeze a few drops on your noodles for some tang! Enjoy!


bottom of page