|Our belen or nativity scene for the last 3 years is this one we got at the Padre Pio Center near Eastwood in Quezon City.|
Tuesday, December 25, 2018
Maligayang Pasko! Nawa’y ang liwanag na ibinahagi sa atin ay ating ibahagi rin sa kapwa [May we be able to share the light that was shared with us.].
Wednesday, August 15, 2018
I started blogging back in 2008 and I was not really in to it at the time. I found writing to be somewhat cathartic for me after the floods of Ondoy/Ketsana so I wrote more frequently since then. Here's something I wrote a few days after Ondoy. We were reeling from the losses and could only wonder about the what-ifs.
Post delugeMy mind was full of ideas of what to write after going through what water resources engineering or hydraulic engineering textbooks term as a 40- or 50-year flood. From my experience (and I am a certified flood veteran) I am more inclined to say that what hit us last September 26 was actually a 25-year flood. I am basing this interpretation from the 1985 flood that inundated our village of Kasibulan in Cainta. Our whole family and all others from the subdivision had to evacuate our home when floods reached waist-deep at road level. We found safe haven in the factory across Imelda Avenue. The guards allowed us to seek refuge in the huge steel structures that housed heavy machinery no longer operating after the factory shutdown because of a labor problem. The striking workers actually assisted many families in getting to higher, safer ground that day.
Fortunately, no one from our village drowned from that 1985 flood. But it left a lot of deep scars that painfully reopened every year for the next 10 years that we were to experience flooding - not as terrible as 1985's but some comparable if you weren't used to them. A lot of memories were lost in those floods. My parents' wedding photos were lost including many of their photos before they got married. We were able to save many photos though - mostly mine and I'm afraid those were all damaged if not wiped out by typhoon Ondoy. We shared the same losses with our neighbors and made people closer in our village. In fact, we there were many of use there who studied at Lourdes Mandaluyong and one of our neighbors happened to be the high school principal at the time. Mr. Ben Dayo would always vouch for us when we claimed we had to miss classes because we had to help in cleaning our houses after the floods receded. I believe those floods have somehow influenced me as I grew up.
I wanted to believe that the floods in Town & Country wouldn't be deeper than what I had experienced in Kasibulan. I desperately wanted to believe that it could get deeper. But it did. When the clairvoyant and I bought a house there, one of the information I sought was about flood experience. Referring to the designs of the houses as well as neighbors stories, our home was supposed to be safe with the deepest flood experience in our area reaching only our gate. We were fortunate to have ample space in our second floor rooms. The clairvoyant and I were able to transfer our books and other personal properties with the help of Manang Aileen with an efficiency anyone can be proud off. Most importantly, we didn't have to abandon our home like many of our neighbors and we always had non-perishable food and drinks stocked. Many, we discovered afterwards, weren't as lucky as we were. We all lost our vehicles that day. Most cars went under overnight and emerged still parked in what everyone thought were garages that were flood-safe. But that's another story.
I was able to save my stamp collection from my parents' house in Kasibulan. Many items from an old brief case (what was my school bag when I was in high school)survived including old letters and bookmarks I had put aside as souvenirs from visits to Kamakura. These included old bookmarks from Tatay's visit to Kamakura in the 1960's.
The past days were blessings in that another super typhoon veered away from Metro Manila and still another will not hit the country. I honestly want to believe again that I won't experience another flood of that magnitude in say, 25 years (not the 40 years that would probably be much more damaging). If there was one thing I didn't want to share with the clairvoyant I guess an actual experience of such a flood would be it. But we did share the experience and we came out survivors (not victims as other people might label us) and I would rather believe that we came out better and will be stronger for this. We still have, after all, our faith.
We learned our lesson well and now live in a flood-free and better neighborhood in Antipolo. We are also glad that our daughter would not have to experience what we went through along with the floods due to the monsoon rains of 2012 and 2013.-
Friday, January 12, 2018
After a week at the hospital, my mother is finally coming home. Mama had a stroke last Friday and it was a good thing my brother was still home to rightly identify her losing her balance and fall as a stroke. This we confirmed after a battery of tests including an MRI that revealed she had other 'small' strokes before. We thought she was lucky this was also a minor one and that the fall didn't result in any complications that could have made things more difficult (some people hit their head or have other injuries). It could have been a whole different situation that could easily have deteriorated given Mama is also diabetic.
Now, we begin the next chapter with Mama's rehabilitation. She will be doing physical therapy to get the strength back in her legs and the balance she lost due to the stroke. We also noticed that there's some memory loss and some slur in her speech days after the stroke but we believe these will eventually be resolved. For now, she will be using a wheelchair but we believe she will heal by the grace of God.
We are very thankful to people who were there to support us especially relatives and friends who prayed with us and shared positive thoughts and vibes. You know who you are whom we chose to let know about this trying experience. May God bless you for the comfort you brought us.
Monday, January 1, 2018
With just a few hours until the new year, I looked back at a very blessed 2017. This was a very productive year for me and a momentous one. I turned 45 earlier this year and among the things I wanted to do were to travel to new places. I was able to do these with new places both international and domestic. Among my travels this year were my trips to Australia, Vietnam, and Zamboanga.
|The Sydney Opera House|
|Ho Chi Minh City Hall and statue of the man credited for uniting Vietnam|
|Zamboanga City airport|
I look forward to an even more exciting year ahead with new places to explore and more experiences to live. More importantly, I look forward to spending more time with family, especially our soon to be four-year old daughter who is growing and developing so fast before our eyes. Here's to life and love!
God bless us all this 2018!-
Saturday, July 22, 2017
To celebrate the 50th wedding anniversary of my in-laws and the 75th birthday of my father-in-law last week, we decided to have a different kind of celebration where family can enjoy catching-up over good food and some swimming. This time, too, it helped that we had additional conversation pieces in the views from the resort.
Mi Terraza is located in the mountains of Antipolo City, Rizal, our chosen hometown, The infinity pool, terraces and porch affords a splendid view of Metro Manila. I'll let the photos
|Infinity pool with a nice view of Metro Manila|
|The porch of the house is spacious and features really good seating areas|
|The living area has these two daybeds. Behind is the staircase leading to the 2nd and 3rd floors|
|View from the third floor|
|The grounds are expansive and you can do some grilling or eating outdoors. There's also a gazebo away from the house where you can also have a separate session (drinking?).|
|Here's a photo I took from the infinity pool of the cityscape of Metro Manila. The clouds helped make this a more dramatic image. No filters here for a photo taken with my iPhone 6.|
Our daughter had a great time swimming together with her cousins. Our relatives also had a great time. Many of them inquired about reserving the place for future events/celebrations. We were lucky to have good weather so we were able to maximize our day at the resort. I guess it would be difficult to get reservations for the resort during the summer. Nevertheless, with the weather these days, perhaps the place would still make for a good venue for family or even office affairs like team-building seminars.-
Tuesday, July 11, 2017
A painting in our daughter's bedroom is an abstract image of the classic mother and child. It is a work by well-known Cebuano artist Boy Kiamko. I got it the first time I met him, introduced by a common friend who also got some of his works.
Our daughter likes this painting as she understood what it represented and our explanation of its meaning to us. We have several mother and child pieces at our home including figures we got from trips abroad. I have another painting by Kiamko at my office. The subject of that painting is the jeepney.-
Friday, June 16, 2017
Another work of art is one that graces our living room and definitely one of our favorites in our small collection. This oil painting by Norma Belleza depicts a family of three among fruits and fishes. It is a typical scene in many of the artist's paintings. We got this one within about a year after we had moved to our new home away from the flood-prone area we used to reside at. We like to think that the painting also expressed one of our most fervent wishes. That is, we had wanted to have our own child for a long time. Little did we know that at the time we got the painting that our daughter was soon on her way. :)
Our daughter loves looking at this painting. And she always points to the child being her with her Mommy and Daddy. She also likes to identify the different fruits in the painting. I like the painting for its bright (happy colors) and the Filipino features on the persons in the painting. It currently is grouped with the Antonio Ko and Amador Barquilla paintings I wrote about in previous posts here.-
Saturday, May 20, 2017
Last Sunday was Mothers' Day and as we were hosting lunch at our home, we decided to get something for our mothers and my sister whom we were expecting at noon. One of the first things that came to my mind was orchids. My mother has a nice garden where she has a lot of flowering plants. Among these were those that Tatay, my siblings and I had given her in the past that she nurtured and succeeded in propagating. My mother-in-law also has a garden in their home and there are many nice plants there under her care including fruit bearing ones.
|Orchids I got from one of the shops at the Quezon Memorial Circle|
|Two things that go well together it seems are flowers and art. Here are two of the orchids and some of the paintings at our living room.|
|Here's another photo with the remaining orchid together with one of our favorite paintings.|
My mother chose the lighter pink orchids while my mother-in-law chose the white with the pink interior. My sister opted not to get hers as she said it was going to be difficult for her to care for the orchids. I was going to give it to my mother but Tatay said we could keep it and then we could give it to Mama for her to nurture them until they flower again.-
Tuesday, April 11, 2017
I have posted a lot of photos of sunrises and sunsets in this blog and on social media. Among my favorites are the sunsets in Panglao, Bohol and Puerto Princesa, Palawan and the sunrises in Tagaytay, Cavite. Of course there are the sunsets over Metro Manila that we have had the chance to take photos of on many occasions from on top of the highest point in our village.
On a very recent trip to Cebu where went on vacation, I noticed for a couple of mornings that the sun rose early and the hues from our room indicated how beautiful they were. Unfortunately, I was still sleepy or too lazy to get up and capture the scenes. On our last morning in Mactan, Cebu, I made sure I would be up early to see the magnificent sunrise from our hotel room. We didn't have professional cameras but our smart phones did a great job capturing the following images. These have not been filtered or altered or enhanced in any way. I guess with such beauty you can't really go wrong with any camera?
Here are three photos of the sunrise from Mactan, Cebu taken before 6:00 AM and only minutes apart:
Thursday, April 6, 2017
My recent homecoming trip to Cabatuan, Iloilo was a most welcome change of pace. I remembered that I used to come home to recharge my batteries regularly including the time when I was studying in Japan. That was almost every year until the streak basically stopped after I came home, got married, and got busier at work. Last month, I finally was able to return to our home in Cabatuan where I have a lot of happy memories that to this day I cherish and remember with fondness.
Among the memories was the good food I ate there. This was usually cooked by my aunts with Nanay Paring and Nanay Nene usually rotating in cooking our favorite dishes. Of course, it won't be Iloilo if we didn't have the popular Ilonggo dishes. As if she read my mind, one of my closest cousins, Manang Dora, cooked molo. This was quite the perfect comfort food for me and the taste brought back a lot of my childhood memories.
|Molo just the way I like it|
It happened to be quite rainy when I was in Iloilo and so the hot soup and dumplings were just right for us to keep warm during the cool weather. Now I do look forward to the next trip back to Cabatuan. Perhaps that should be soon and with our daughter Ally coming, too, to meet her relatives from Tatay's side of the family.
Sunday, April 2, 2017
I searched for my father's hometown in Iloilo on Google Earth and Google Maps before but didn't use the street view option. Last time around and after coming home I decided to take another look and to check if Google's street view includes the streets near our home there. Lo and behold! It does include them and the Google survey vehicle even passed in front of our home. And so we now have nice images of our home online. Below are the images that I embedded here using Google's features:
I can now go to Google Maps and click on the Street View option whenever I feel like I need to "go home".-
Thursday, March 23, 2017
Last Monday, another loved one was laid to rest. Froilan Laudit, or Tito Froi as my wife fondly called him, passed away almost two weeks ago after succumbing to organ failure due to complications brought about by a severe asthma attack. He was visiting his son's family in Auckland, New Zealand where the latter had immigrated. I could imagine it was a very joyful and exciting trip to Auckland as his first grandchild was born last year and only recently turned one. Who knew that only a few days after arriving there that he would have a fatal asthma attack.
The youngest sibling of my mother-in-law (the eldest), I have known him almost two decades now. The Clairvoyant also had told many stories about him. He spent a significant part of his life as an overseas worker in Tokyo, Japan. We could have been there at the same time when I was a student from 1996-1999. I'm just not sure our paths crossed at least one time because he resided and worked in the northern part of Tokyo while I spend most in Yokohama and the southern part of the capital.
Tito Froi was a doting uncle to his nieces and nephews. He was a good man, a kind person. He will be missed!
Saturday, March 4, 2017
A week and a half ago, we were struck hard with news of a beloved aunt, Nay Nene, the elder sister of my father, being hit by a jeepney in Iloilo. She has since been transferred from the ER to the ICU where she survives, albeit miraculously, and is still in critical condition. As I write this, relatives are trying to figure out how to go about paying the hospital bills and transferring her to the district hospital (she's currently in a hospital in the city) closer to our home there. From the looks of it, her case will be one that will be lingering for a while. Although it is a sensitive matter, the mounting costs will definitely be a major concern as this is the sort of situation that could drain a family's resources. Whether she fully recovers or not, we expect some difficult times ahead, especially emotionally and even perhaps spiritually.
Now comes news of an uncle, Tito Froi, the younger brother of my mother-in-law, having a severe asthma attack and went into coma almost immediately. He only recently flew to New Zealand to visit his son's family. The latter recently had a baby, the first grandchild of our uncle from any of his children. And so it came as a big surprise to a lot of people especially his siblings that this would suddenly happen. As I write this, his son, a nurse in Auckland, would have had the prognosis from the doctors. He would have to make what we think is an extremely painful decision to let go. The asthma attack starved his father's brain and heart of oxygen, and there have been too much damage for him to recover. We await for news from New Zealand but the Clairvoyant is now en route to their home in Novaliches to talk to and comfort her mother and aunts who have congregated there and now stricken with grief about the situation.
We thought February was a sad month because of what happened to Nay Nene. We truly didn't expect it to be sadder with what happened to Tito Froi. Very recently, too, a couple of friends lost their mothers, both mainly due to lingering illnesses. We can only pray for them and ask for our Creator to comfort loved ones they left behind. We can only beg the Lord for mercy on their souls and by His grace that they be with Him in heaven.
Wednesday, February 22, 2017
February has always been a happy month for me. For one, it is my birth month and so we usually have some celebration during the latter part of the month. It is also the birth month of my niece and I have a lot of happy memories of things happening in February (e.g., my first trip to Japan, my first experience of snow, etc.). This year was not supposed to be different because it is my 45th and we had already planned a family trip over the weekend. So much for a happy February...
Earlier today, I received news from my father that a beloved aunt (his elder sister) was hit by a jeepney. She is now in critical condition in a hospital in Iloilo and we are trying to confirm exactly what injuries she sustained. My brother says that from his conversation with our cousins, it looks bleak and we can only hope for a miracle for my aunt to get through this.
Nanay Nene or Enriqueta Regidor is one of only two living siblings of my father. The other, Nay Paring (Amparo Torre) is older and lives with her in my paternal side's ancestral home in Cabatuan, Iloilo. Although Nay Nene has had some health problems recently and the past few years, these were mostly the typical illnesses attributed to her advanced age (sakit ng matatanda). I've known her to be a tough lady but she was very kind, very cheerful and that is how I want to remember her from my childhood days spent in Iloilo during summer breaks.
|Nay Nene (4th from left) beside my lola (3rd from left) in front of our old house in Cabatuan, Iloilo (photo taken in March 1974, just after my 2nd birthday)|
She was like a mother to me and I was very fond of her. I used to tag along with her whenever I was in Iloilo whether its going to the market, on a religious procession or to church. It was she who usually cooked for us whenever we were in Iloilo. It was she who usually accompanied us to the airport when we returned to Manila. Nay Nene was a teacher and one among many close relatives who probably influenced me into teaching, too.
This is going to be a long night and a critical one at that. We can only pray that Nay Nene will get through the night and hopefully recover. Only God knows what about His plan for her and we surrender to His will.-
Sunday, January 1, 2017
I had wanted to write about some happy memories late last year but thought it was most apt for New Year's Day. This is about the adobong manok (chicken stewed in vinegar and soy sauce with bay (laurel) leaves) that my lola, Tatay's mother, cooked for us when she was still able. I remember she used to travel to Manila from Iloilo almost every Christmas in the 1970s. We usually went home for vacation during the Holy Week when Tatay could have longer leaves. Those times, it usually took from 22 to 26 hours by boat between Iloilo and Manila but as long as the weather was okay, travel didn't make you tired so lola wasn't so tired when Tatay fetched her at the port (Pier 2 as I recall as this was where the Negros Navigation ships docked). Every time, she brought with her a small pot or caldero containing adobong native chicken that she had cooked at our home in Cabatuan. Adobo is just the kind of food that could survive a whole day's travel. There was something special about that adobo and not just because lola made it from ingredients from Iloilo but because it was made with a lot of love.
We could never enjoy my lola's cooking again since she passed away in the early 1980s. But then whenever we had a chance we brought native chicken raised at our home in Cabatuan so we can at least recreate some of our favorite chicken dishes with the main ingredient no less. Recently, Tatay came back from Iloilo with some native chicken and below are a couple of photos of the adobo.
|Adobo using native chicken from our home in Cabatuan, Iloilo|
|A close-up of the native chicken adobo|
Saturday, December 24, 2016
Thursday, December 1, 2016
Today is my father's 78th birthday. As he has done every year, he started his day by going to church to pray and express his thanksgiving to God. I called him this morning but initially wasn't able to greet him and talk to him as he was at church. A few minutes later, he made a return call but I was in the bathroom. So it took a third call between us before I finally was able to speak with him. I actually wanted his apo to sing "Happy birthday!" to Tatay. His granddaughter was looking forward to it after we had told her it was her lolo Tatay's birthday. I guess it brought a lot of joy for him to hear his apo greet and sing to him. I believe it was a very good start for the day and we look forward to our celebration of Tatay's 78th this coming weekend at my parents' home in Cainta.
|Tatay with my first cousin Manang Ayo during the wedding of my nephew Ariel|
Thursday, August 11, 2016
I first met Kuya Andy at his wedding with my first cousin Ate Judy. That was at the St. Vincent De Paul Church in Manila, which was the church of Adamson University where my cousins from my father's side graduated. The Kuya Andy I knew was a cheerful, easygoing fellow who easily made friends and apparently could charm his way through problems or obstacles that came his way.
He was quick to warm up to his new relatives from his marriage to my cousin and we all enjoyed his company and his humor. I remember them always visiting my parents' home during Christmas Day as we had our annual family gathering in Cainta, usually with my close relatives from my mothers' side and my cousins families from my father's side. We enjoyed good food and drink, exchanged many amusing stories and experiences often with laughter, and played chess. He was a good player and we often joked about us pulling back and often ending up drawing our matches much to the disappointment of our cousins and uncles who couldn't figure who was the better player between us.
He was also a strong drinker though not as strong as one cousin and another cousin-in-law and my uncle who were seamen. He always knew his limit and Tatay would just give him a bottle of good whiskey as pabaon. Always respectful, he always feigned shyness while accepting the bottle. Though I recall these as happy memories, I cannot but think now that perhaps he had more than enough alcohol to drink and that contributed to his illness.
Kuya Andy was only 46 when he passed away early morning of last Saturday, August 6. It was a relatively long 4-year fight with kidney disease that required him to go on dialysis until finally his body could no longer take the complications from his treatments. He was laid to rest today in his hometown of Arayat, Pampanga beside his relatives who passed before him.
Paalam Kuya Andy! Salamat sa maliligayang mga pagsasama noon na ngayon ay mga alaalang aming sasariwain. Kung pwede lang sana tayong tumagay ng isa pa bago ang iyong paglisan...Huwag mong alalahanin ang iyong naiwang pamilya. Kami na ang bahala sa kanila. Sumalangit nawa ang iyong kaluluwa at manahan kasama ang Maykapal.-
Monday, June 13, 2016
We were talking about where to have breakfast the following morning when we arrived in Baguio. One idea was to buy food, heat it and eat at our hotel suite. The decision where to have breakfast became simple as we saw the Chocolate de Batirol restaurant along the road to The Manor in Camp John Hay.
|The place had a makeshift but homey feel about it.|
|A closer look at the structure shows outdoor tables for those who want to have space to themselves.|
|There are also chairs and tables inviting people to sit around (tambay).|
|There are many plants around the garden restaurant.|
|The view from the cafe to the main entrance and parking for vehicles.|
|Restaurant interior with locally made tables and chairs adding to the ambiance.|
|People come here for the native hot chocolate ground using a local implement (batirol).|
|Our order of Vigan longanisa, eggs and rice with tomatoes on the side.|
|That's our daughter Ally running towards the cafe. She was quite curious of the place and had some fun picking up rocks and twigs around the cafe grounds.|
Chocolate de Batirol is located strategically along the main road in Camp John Hay. There are many people walking or driving around and so they have a steady stream of customers, particularly those wanting to have a cup of hot chocolate to drink and enjoy in Baguio's cool climate. You don't really go there for the food. It is okay but, to be frank, nothing spectacular. But the hot chocolate is really good and worth the visit.-
Sunday, June 12, 2016
I make it a point to visit the church in the cities I go to especially when it is my first time there. I did this with my first trips out of Manila, including Baguio and Cebu in 1995 but with the exception of Bacolod and Tagbilaran when I had quick trips there back in 1996.
|The interior of the cathedral is basically according to how I remember it. The stained glass windows are impressive and look well preserved. There has been no major earthquake to affect the city since the 1990 big one that destroyed much of the city.|
|Baguio's Roman Catholic Cathedral is located on top of a hill near Session Road.|
|A view of the interior from the main door reveals a long aisle (I guess nice for brides marching on their wedding days) towards the altar.|
|A view of the cathedral as we leave to go back to our hotel. This was taken as an opportunistic shot while our vehicle was turning towards Session Road.|
It rained just after we alighted from our vehicle to go into the church and the drizzle continued until just before we left. We liked to think the rains were blessings and we were very thankful for this family trip and that Baguio and its attractions weren't as crowded as we thought (or read about) it would be. We were actually lucky that the weather also cooperated and we were able to get enough sun to go around Baguio and La Trinidad. We enjoyed the cool climate (Our daughter was very happy and was in her element the whole time.) and the good food. We should be back sometime in the future but hopefully the city won't deteriorate further.-