Category Archives: Family

My Father, My Hero

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He will turn 66 on September 12, 2010. When I asked him what he wanted for his birthday, he replied “I just want to eat, enjoy and spend the day with you guys.” I was struck by his answer. I could not fathom how a simple answer could have such a profound effect on me.  And why not. Being the eldest child of four siblings, I knew what responsibility meant at an early age.

My mother went into long labor before I was born. So he went home for a while to take a bath. When he returned, the nurse congratulated him and said, “It’s a girl!”. And he said, “Oh, okay.” I know he wanted a boy he could name after him. But that did not deter him from bringing me up like a boy. No, I did not end up a tomboy. Instead, he shared to me his passion and zest for life. At a young age, I learned to love music. I remember playing the turntable to the tune of the bullfight of Spain while I cleaned our house during Saturday mornings. At the end of the day, we would listen to Chuck Mangione play his trumpet while we put up our feet and sink deep into the couch.

Every summer, my siblings would excitedly wait for him to take out the huge Betamax box full of Marvel and other English comic books. We would join the adventures of Superman, Batman and Spider-man while go to far away places immersed in the stories of famous authors. As I grew up, I shifted my attention to the Reader’s Digest and National Geographic magazines he has collected through the years. Yes, my father is an avid collector of a lot of things. Comic books, Reader’s Digest and National Geographic Magazines, ukay-ukay (surplus) clothes and shoes and digital music. He has a knack (or maybe he is just lucky!) for finding branded clothing and shoes. But, I think it is his perseverance that led to the discovery of those treasures. As far as I can remember, it has been twenty years since he started his love for surplus apparel (Ukay-ukayan at the Sta. Cruz market!). I distinctly remember him giving me three Lacoste polo shirts in red, maroon and white colors. When I was in college back in 1991 in Manila, my Manileña classmate said to me in her kolehiyala twang, ” Is that Lacoste polo shirt real?” I said, “Of, course” while I was giggling inside of me. I was wearing the white Lacoste shirt wherein the words Lacoste were stitched all over it. Anong tingin niya sa akin, can’t afford. Hahaha…When I went to the mall that weekend, I looked for the shirt to see how much it cost. My eyes rolled. No wonder she can’t believe it. One shirt cost P2,000 at that time, while I was wearing a P35 original shirt. Boy, was I laughing out loud.

My father is always hungry to learn new things. He learned how to use the computer at the age of 60, when most senior citizens his age or younger would dare not touch a computer. Translating his love of music to the digital world, he became internet-savvy and explored the wonderful world of the web to download his favorite music. Now, his digital music collections are in the thousands and counting. He is the Flying Dutchman (Davy Jones) of the Music World (a.k.a. pirata ba!hahah!). He has a Facebook account to keep in touch with family and friends. He is comfortable using Google and Yahoo in searching for any subjects under the sun. He is also an amateur photographer. He has tons of pictures in boxes waiting to be indexed and placed in albums.

My father may be simple, but he has great character. I look up to my father because I want to be like him, to live life to the fullest with the talents that the Almighty has given us. I have not achieved even half of what my father is, but I strive to be what he has become. He believes that I can always do better than the mediocre work I have shown him. He believes in me and the great things that I can achieve. And for that I am humbled and inspired.

This is a simple gift I can give to my father. Pa, in everything that I do, I always remember that I can do more and give my best because you believe in me. No words can express the impact you made in my life. I love you, Pa. Happy Birthday.

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So Near…Yet So Far

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family blogThe Family is the most basic social unit in society. It is where we learn our values and beliefs and where we get to be molded as a human being. In today’s world, there are so many dysfunctional families that exist. The basic unit of society is being torn apart by greed, consumerism, and survival. How is it so?

In the Philippines, the Overseas Filipino Workers or OFWs are hailed as the heroes of our country. They keep the economy afloat due to the remittances that they send their loved ones. I present to you a simple case. A middle class family struggles to make both ends meet. Father does not earn enough to support his family of six. Mother is a plain housewife. Father applies for a job abroad and incurred mounds of debt just to pay for his employment abroad. Employer does not honor original contract and slashes the wage by half. Poor father cannot tell his family of his plight in the land of milk and honey. Meanwhile, Mother receives Father’s remittance and feeling like a millionaire, spends the money in a day. The Kids also spend the money like there’s no tomorrow and indulge in vices. The Family breaks apart. The Hero is given a festive welcome by the government, but as he goes to his home, there’s no one to come home to. Sad, but true.

Still, there are families who decided to stay in our Homeland and make do with what they have. They have simple dreams, and live simple lives. And so, they do not fall into the trap of wanting more than they can have. What can we do to keep the basic unit of our society from falling apart? Each of us has a role to play, no matter how small it may seem. As parents, a little more understanding and stretching of patience can go a long way in dealing with our kids. As children, a little more respect and love for your parents who work hard to give you what you need. Just a little can go so far. May God Bless our Families…

love…simply

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“love you ma…”

these three simple but powerful words were uttered by my two and a half year old son as i was on my way out to work this morning. i was jolted by the profound effect these words had on me. i went to him and gave him a big hug and lots of kisses. i wished that it was a saturday and i did not have to rush to work. i wished that i was a stay at home mom and had to stay with him all day. but alas, today is the middle of the week and i’m late for work.

“love you, too…”

Reminiscing #1

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Sunday is considered a rest day…for even God rested on that day.

For me, Sunday is my workday at home. You see, I’m a working mom with two energetic boys, aged 4 years and 1 year 7 months. I have a yaya for my youngest son. She’s a stay-out yaya. She works from Monday to Saturday. When we arrive from work, that’s the time she goes home. When she does go home, my dear son cries. How come he’s having separation anxiety for her and not for me? It’s because I’m on my way to work when he wakes up in the morning. Sigh…

What is my typical Sunday like? I wake up early, around 7 am, even though I still want to sleep late. I clean the sala, sweep the floors, wash the dishes, cook breakfast, prepare the kids’ clothes and vitamins, eat breakfast, feed them breakfast when they wake up, bathe them, then I take a bath. Then I prepare them to attend the 10:30 am mass. I’m only half concentrating during the Mass because the kids run around the church. It’s my yaya’s day off, so it’s my turn. In the afternoon, I put my youngest son to sleep on the ‘duyan’. When he’s asleep, then I can dose off, too. But not to deep, because he might fall from his hammock.

Where’s my husband when all these are happening? My husband helps me do the chores at home. But, during Sunday he wakes up late since it’s the only day he can do so. He goes to work from Monday to Saturday, and has to wake up early. I don’t want to bother him for I know it’s the only day he can sleep longer. The other things is, he’s having contact dermatitis lately. So there are chores which he cannot do, like washing the dishes, pealing the condiments, bathe the kids. So the bulk of the work rest on me.

I’m not complaining, I’m just ventilating…Hahaha, is there a difference? There may be other working mothers out there who are experiencing the same. I hope you can share your experiences with me. Somehow, it would make the load lighter.

I thank God because He has given me a day to spend with my family, serving them, laughing with them, playing with them, or just spending some quiet time. One whole day…just the four of us. Others may not be as fortunate. So, I’m not complaining. I’m very thankful for life’s endless extra challenges…

Dealing with the sudden death of a loved one

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How do you deal with the sudden death of a loved one?

It was 7:45 a.m. yesterday when my tita died of a single gunshot wound to the heart. I was on my way to the office when my officemate called me and told me that she was in the hospital. I went to my mother’s house to inform her. We were both crying endlessly. We rushed to the hospital hoping that she is still alive. When my officemate texted me again, all the more I cried. She was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital. I could not believe it. She was my dearest Tita, my second mother. I could not believe that someone woud be so heartless. Why? Why her?

My tita is a mother of three boys, age 12, 11 and 2. She is a devoted wife and a

dedicated public servant. She died in the line of duty. She was on her way to work when two unidentified suspects overtook her vehicle and shot her twice. She was usually the one who took her kids to school. Yesterday, she woke up late so her husband took the kids to school. God is merciful, for had the kids been with her, they would have witnessed the gruesome incident or become victims themselves.

She was a lawyer and the legal officer of our office. She was a strong woman, she never backs down on anything. But she also has a gentle heart. I woud usually go to her and ask her advice when I had a misunderstanding with my mother. She never fails to give me pieces of wisdom and guidance that I need in my personal and married life. During the time when emails and texts where not yet popular, she would never fail to send me cards for my birthday and other occasions. And she would always say “I love you” after we had a conversation over the phone.

She recently went abroad as part of her work. I planned to call her when she came back but I never had the chance to do so. Now, it’s too late. How do you deal with this kind of situation? Everytime I think of her, tears roll down my eyes and I would cry endlessly. She does not deserve this kind of death. It is unfair. There are so many bad people in this world and yet they are alive. Why
take a dedicated public servant, or a devoted wife, or a loving mother?

My heart is still grieving. My life would never be the same without her. My world will never be the same without her.

“Tita Vi, wherever you are, may your soul find rest in God. I will never forget you. I will always treasure every memory and every moment I have of you. You will always be in my heart for as long as I live. I love you very much.”

twice hospitalized

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been to the hospital twice…

the first time was last week of may. my son, doldy, was diagnosed with bilateral pneumonitis. he had low grade fever for ten days. he was active and his appetite was the same. we treated him at home. by the seventh day, he was admitted to the hospital because the fever wouldn’t go away. rashes came out of his upper torso. we thought it was dengue fever, and was grateful that it was not. after two days, he attended pre-school.

then, ten days after he had fever again. this time it was high-grade. meaning, 38 to 39 degrees celsius and would not go down despite the paracetamol being given every four hours, plus the sponge bath and regular hydrite liquid to replenish his lost nutrients. unlike his previous fever, he was weak and would not eat much. we checked his platelet on monday. it was 275. by thursday, when the fever persisted, his platelet went down to 115 after checkup. his pediatrician suggested that we admit him to the hospital for monitoring of his platelet. he had rashes on his body as well as his legs and arms. it was the classical signs of dengue fever. we were in the hospital for two days. his platelet count remained stable. that’s a good sign because the next 48 hours after the fever has left is considered the most critical. good thing his platelet did not go below 100.

i hope his platelet count will continue to rise. it would take a while, said his doctor. i love my son and i hope that he will grow healthy and strong. i pray that there will be no more going to the hospital for a long while.

my mid-30′s wishlist

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I turned 34 this year. Looking back at my life, I can say that there are still so many things that I wish to do but have not found the time. You see, I’m a working mom. I have two gorgeous little boys aged 4 and 2. My husband also works. The only time we have for our kids are after office hours and during weekends. I have a helper but she’s just part-time. When we come home from work, we take over since she goes home, too. Sunday is her day off. I hardly have time for myself. Motherhood is such a challenging vocation. I would not label it as a “job” since the reward I get is beyond financial gain. When I was still single, there are two things that I love to do, read books and do some crafts.

I love to read books. When I was in grade school, I started with the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew series. I was such a bookworm, that I would read Nancy Drew in class, cover it with the current subject’s book, and pretend that I was listening to the lessons at hand. Good thing the teacher owned the Nancy Drew book I was reading, so I didn’t get into trouble. Then, I went on to read Agatha Christie and Sidney Sheldon in high school. In college, my favorite author was Robert Ludlum. I love mystery books. I get thrilled when their books are turned into movies. There might be deviations from the book, but I don’t mind. When I started working, I was into the Harry Potter series. Nope, it’s not just for kids. It’s my favorite. There are still other books that I would love to read. But, time is not on my side. You see, when I read a book, I want the time for myself alone. I want to be in the book, to jump into the pages and be engulfed in the excitement of it all. But, with two active boys who constantly fight for my attention, no time for my books.

I love doing crafts, like cross stitching, making things out of scraps, and many little kikay things. But, alas, there’s a cross stitch project that is half done and gathering dust. My scrapbook project for our wedding album, and for each of my kids is still in the gathering stage, as in gathering only the photos and acecessories but not organizing it into a scrapbook. So many projects, so little time.

I love to cook, too. I’m a big fan of Lifestyle Network. I’m a closet Martha Stewart. I wish I was a stay at home mom but I can’t afford it. Even with both me and my husband working, the budget still gets busted. Again, time is precious. So here is my mid-30’s wish list:

1. Have time alone with my husband;

2. Read all the books I want;

3. Do all the crafts that I love to do;

4. Cook ala Martha Stewart style; and

5. Travel around the world.

Am I being selfish? I hope not. Calling all seasoned mothers out there, please help me. What should I do to maximize my time, especially between personal and family time? I want to bond with my family every chance I get. But, I also want some time for myself? This is what my husband says when he sees that I’m in the verge of losing my patience, “Sweety, the kids will grow up someday. And when they do, we will have time for ourselves.” Such a sweet husband. Well, maybe i’ll just wait for that time and hope my wishes do come true.

happy birthday…no rice?

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happy birthday placido…hehehe. last april 21, my eldest son  celebrated his 4th birthday. my mom and i planned the occasion weeks ahead. placido is an endearment we gave him since he was born through ceasarion section due to placenta previa totalis. his birthday is actually the day before. we attended mass at the Metropolitan Cathedral after having lunch at McDonald’s. he asked me to buy him the teenage mutant ninja turtle toy.

since the party was set at 4 p.m., we had plenty of time to prepare. i helped my mom prepare the ingredients while she cooked the dinuguan, indulsao (humba type of cooking pork), and fried the fish for the fish fillet. then i went home and prepared the utensils, tables and chairs. i headed back to my parent’s house, since it was just walking distance from us. my mom then cooked the spaghetti, fish fillet, fried chicken and squid balls. i went back home to finish arranging the tables and chairs, and utensils. since i thought there was plenty of time left, i fried the hotdogs and cheese sticks.

the menu was simple : spaghetti, fried chicken, hotdogs on stick, squidballs, cheese sticks, chocolate cake for the kids, and dinuguan, fish fillet, indulsao, rice, fruit salad for the adults. we invited around fifty people composed of his playmates from our neighborhood, his ninongs and ninangs, a few of our officemates, and our family. i prepared assorted candies for the kids and some balloons.

it was nearly 4 p.m. and i was still frying the cheese sticks. my brother helped me finish the rest as i rush to dress him and his little brother with their new tshirt courtesy of my brother. some guests started to arrive and i was waiting or my mom to help me plate the dishes. she was so exhausted, so i had to do it myself. my sister in law, angging, helped me. lo and behold, as i was putting the food in their serving platters, there was no rice. aarrgghhh…we forgot the rice!!! hahaha…i instructed my father in law to cook rice and told my husband to buy some at the nearest restaurant. as i completed the buffet table with all the food, i mingled with the guests. it was nearly 5 p.m. when the party started. so far, so good.

i entertained the guests while refilling the serving platters. the children got their bag of goodies and balloons. my husband was watching over them. he said that the children were chanting, ‘vote D for vice-president.’ they gave candies to the other children who were playing outside. the party mellowed down at around 8 p.m. although very tired, i was so happy since the party was a success and my child was happy…well, time to prepare for the next party.

swimming

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hubby d suddenly decided that we go swimming last sunday. it was 9 in the morning and the kids just finished breakfast…well, what a nice thought. it’s been awhile since we went swimming. we decided to go to the swimming pool near our place, hilltop resort.

after hastily packing the kids’ extra shirts and pants, a towel, water, and sme essentials. we were off…yeehee!!! when we arrived there, a group of children and their parents were busily surrounding the fee collector. entrance fee for adult is P25, while it’s P15 for children. we waited…and finally decided to changes venue…my eldest son protested. with the size of the group before us, the pool wasn’t big enough…

so off we went to pasonanca park, to the tanada swimming pool…it consist of an olympic size pool, a medium sized rectangular pool and a circular pool for children…since it’s el nino time, only the children’s pool has water. the tanada pool does have water, but only knee length since it was up for cleaning…

so we dived into the kiddie pool…bruugh!!! the water was cold. but, my k did not mind. i thought that he wouldn’t enjoy it because the last time we went swimming, he was afraid of the water. what can you expect from a one year old child? hubby d was surprised, too. he accompanied my eldest son, d, while i was incharge of k...

the time went by fast…my little k did not want to go home. so does little d…but lunchtime was fast approaching and we did not bring any food except for some mamon and water. one our way home, we stopped by dodong’s lechon and bought a half kilo of lechon for lunch…

thank you for making my little boy’s wish come true…

corned beef day

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breakfast on sunday is corned beef day…we especially like the Argentina brand. I usually out in a lot of onion, garlic, tomatoes and potatoes. we don’t eat beef during the week so I take the opportunity to serve beef during weekends. here’s a photo of the dish and the spices while it was cooked, taken using my 1.3 megapixel camera phone. I don’t have the budget to buy a digital camera…i hope my brother will give me one on my birthday.

I’m open to other suggestions for sunday breakfast…but, this will do for now. we usually wake up late in the morning and this is the fastest way I can whip up breakfast…
being the queen ain’t that easy…