June 26, 2011

Our Life's Like A Sitcom

This post is just a longer version of our Facebook status this morning but it’s just too good to not be chronicled here in my blog.

 Our nanny asked my daughter Unna, now 8, how her day was on her first day in school. Unna replied, “I played like there’s no tomorrow.” 

Our other daughter, Laila, who’s 7 years of age, watched intently as the priest released some incense during the mass this morning. Then she whispered to me, “Mom, is that the holy smokes?”

June 25, 2011

There's Nothing You Can't Do....Let's Give It To New York, New York, New Yoooorrrkkkk....

I already wrote about New York in the past but since its city skies turned rainbow today, I thought I should revisit memories from my first (and only) tour of this fab city.  Actually, I just want to ask the question...........why is it that my pictures in other states look so “normal” and so….."sedate"..........

San Francisco
.......…while my pictures in New York are a bit on the.........."wild" side?  

Maybe, there really is something about this city that makes somebody feel free-spirited, so uninhibited, so happy and gay. I <3 NY.

June 20, 2011

I Bet You'd Think This Post Is About Me

They say I am strong-willed, that I have such a strong character. I’m known to not back out of a debate, even with men, even with those 20, 30 years older than me, and even if it leaves me breathless and wasted at the end of a drunken discourse. And speaking of…I drink very well, thank you very much.

I make my own money. I’ve done pretty ok in my career. I am ambitious. I am independent.  I can be aggressive. I don't easily back out. I don't back down. 

I can be the ultimate alpha chick.

But in our house, my husband is the one and only boss. Bow.

King For The Day

We woke up early to prepare for the Father’s Day surprise. Our menu was simple: spaghetti with tomato sauce and four cheese, burger patties with mozzarella filling, and fruit salad. But for somebody who doesn’t know how to cook, this is a big deal for me. My two little helpers excitedly donned their aprons to help out.

Cooking for me entails a daughter yelling out the instructions from a computer.

 After cooking, we cleaned our table and ensured that its wood shine and smell lemony good. 

My friend and officemate, Maki, helped out in making these special placemats. Purple is my husband’s favorite color.

 We bought flowers from the supermarket and just added greens from our little garden. The arrangement just shows I’m no Martha Stewart. I just couldn’t get it right ;-(

Presenting…..our Father’s Day special!!! We made burger flags and napkin decors out of Daddy’s pictures with his girls. By the way, the recipes were handed over by good friends Lei and Russ.

The royal family with our neighbor Bettina, my girls’ best friend. I later gave my crown to her. Crown courtesy of another friend, Argem (yes, it takes a village to spring this surprise).

The king of the house with the girls-in-waiting. Happy Father’s Day, Jake!  We love you so much.

June 19, 2011

The Kite Runners

While their Dad was out running 10k somewhere in Timberland, us girls went kite flying at an open field near our village. It was actually an event sponsored by Mead Johnson and for only P300 per participant, you get a kite kit and you also give a donation to kids with disabilities.

The girls colored their kites and wrote Father’s Day love messages on them.

Finally, in the field, my nasal voice, which was brought about by my clogged nose, got worse from all the cheering I did to my girls.

The girls managed to make the kite fly high but it would also nose dive quickly. Then they’d run again, make the kite fly a bit before it would crash to the ground.

I wanted to tell them to unfurl the string some more to make it longer, let loose, or tug when necessary. But that sort of cancels the very idea behind kite flying, doesn’t it? So I just cheered on and enjoyed the sight of the girls as they discover the joy of tugging and pulling, of invariably controlling and letting go and of succeeding and failing as well. And finally, of trying and trying again. 

June 17, 2011

Rainy Day Fash

Rainy days mean turtlenecks and leather jackets and ponchos and bonnets and cardigans and other stuff that we buried for so long in our closets.

Rainy day fashion calls for a break in a meeting about numbers, cost estimates, revenues, forecasts and all things that give us 17.65% to pause for some shots for Fancy Pants, Look Book, Twitter and Facebook.

Just bloggin' about last week's fashion pick in an effort to attract cold weather again. This week has been quite hot. And I don't like hot weather if I'm not in the beach.

June 13, 2011

Her Name Is Liberty

She is my mom and she just celebrated her 81st birthday last June 9. She is the second child in a family of seven and the oldest girl. She lost her mom before she turned 10 and her Dad, my grandfather, took a second wife who just doted on her daughter and did not care much for the seven kids she inherited from her husband.

So at a tender age of 9, she would mother her siblings, cook for them, clean their huge narra house, carry heavy stuff. She spent her “childhood” in Mindoro and in the province, kids would walk 4 kilometers just to go to school. She would walk 4 kilometers again to go back home, where chores, that now include working for the stepmom and her daughter, the 8th sib, await her.

When she turned 12, Japan invaded the Philippines. Although nothing horrible happened to our family, she experienced how it was to hide and be terrified at a young age.

At 23, she married my father and gave birth to 8 children. One of my brothers, Kuya Nick, died of leukemia at the age of 5. When my Dad was in his 50’s, he became sickly because of a bout with cirrhosis and was in and out of the hospital (and in and out of coma) for three years before he died at 58. In the wake, all of us looked so frail and vulnerable as a result of this devastation but my Mom remained strong and almost stoic, as if tired and resigned from all the tragedies that befell her.

She now shuttles between the Philippines, where I and 3 other brothers stay, and the US, where 2 sisters and 1 brother now live. She spent her 81st birthday there and these are her recent pictures.

Growing up, we idolized our Dad because of his intelligence, fortitude and his ramrod straight values that we still remember to this day. My Mom idolized him, too. But if he were still alive, I am sure he would be proud of what my Mom has achieved. She’s emotionally strong, unwavering in her faith, fiercely passionate about her children and grandchildren, eternally optimistic, overly funny (silly even). I cannot imagine that one will have such an incredible sense of humor after going through so much in life. I am so lucky to have a mother like her.

Happy girl with my brother in law, Steve and friends.
I just love the reversed birthday candles. 

June 12, 2011

Happy Independence Day, Philippines

                    Jose Rizal statue in New Jersey
        Philippine Embassy, Fifth Avenue, New York
  And here at home, with our nation’s most famous drink.


As a follow up to my post yesterday about the movie, I thought I should show you our little collection of panda items. We bought panda shirts, hats and stuffed toys when we went to Beijing two years ago. We have a collection of Kung Fu Panda Happy Meal toys. We also bought a Kung Fu Panda Wii game. A sucker Mom, I really am.

June 11, 2011

Wide-Eyed Wonder

I am at that lifestage when I’d miss all the cool movies like Insidious, X-men, Hangover 2 but NOT Hop, Gnomeo and Juliet, Rio and all the other kiddie movies.

Last weekend, we trooped to the Powerplant Mall again to watch Kung Fu Panda 2. The animation is great (my favorite is not really the 3D effects but the narrative on Lord Shen and how he was banished by the peacock clan). I thought the story is better than the first one as it brings out its Chinese heritage more. And the voice actors are just awesome, especially Jack Black and Gary Oldman.

But wait, here I am again, blabbing about the movie as an adult and thin-slicing it so much. All I want to say is….I laughed a lot in this movie and loved the kung fu scenes as well.

I guess that’s what happens when you are a parent. You try to invade your kids’ world and experience everything through their eyes. You laugh so easy and you find a lump in your throat at some silly scene involving a panda and his father goose.

Parenthood sure is difficult but it comes with many gifts that outweigh the troubles, one of which is a newfound appreciation for cartoons and other made-for-children movies. It is such a blessing to be like a kid again, even for just two hours.

June 6, 2011

Chocolate Hills

There are 1,776 hills all in all. They only turn “chocolatey” during the dry season. But since we had a “rainy summer” this year, we saw minty greens instead. It is a fluke of nature to have produced these cone-shaped, almost identical hills. 

There is a scientific explanation for this wonder, one that has to do with geological shifts. But I chose to tell my girls a melodramatic tale of star-crossed giants so that I can get to that part where the giantess sheds tears that dried up and turned into what is now known as the Chocolate Hills.

My daughters were impressed with my “imaginative” storytelling, not knowing that I only borrowed from Romeo and Juliet and some Filipino telenovelas. Anyways, I thought that this tale befits Bohol’s famous tourist attraction. Chocolate Hills may not have the grandeur of the other wonders like say, The Mt. Fuji or The Grand Canyons. But this proves one thing--- that God also knows how to create something extraordinarily cute.

June 5, 2011

A Little Bit of Country

What is Bohol without the countryside tour? 

First stop: Baclayon Church. As Bohol is an isolated island, this belfry served as a watchtower for pirates in the olden days.

Baclayon is the second oldest church in the country. The construction for this church started in 1591. Designed by Jesuits and built by locals through forced labor. I imagine scenes from “Noli Me Tangere” as I tread this church and the museum.

Next stop: Tarsier watch. Tarsiers are the world’s smallest monkeys and according to our guide, can only be found in the Philippines and in Indonesia. They’ve been in existence for 45 million years but are now in danger of being extinct.

Beside the tarsier habitat is this funny guy. I just wanted a picture taken with him but in a few seconds, I felt the cold, slithering skin of the snake on my shoulder! I froze and screamed in silence ;-O

Lunch: Loboc River Cruise. We had a sumptuous buffet of native dishes while we enjoyed the music of the local band and the lush greens along the riverbanks.

This is actually my favorite part of the tour. At one point in the cruise, we went down to watch kids and old women from the barrio singing folk songs and dancing the tinikling. It was very festive and there was just so much joy around. Rare is a picture of my husband smiling like this ;-D

Last stop: The Rainforest. The Boy Scouts planted this beautiful stretch of mahogany trees sometime in the 60’s. The trees have grown tall and lovely, as you can see.

And this ends our countryside tour. Beautiful Bohol, we will go back for sure.

June 3, 2011

The Big 10

It was our 10th anniversary May 26 and we had an early celebration at Amorita
Resort in Bohol. On our first night, we spent the whole day in the infinity pool.

 After that, we took a shower, went to dinner at the restaurant and went back to our villa. Then surprise!!! We were welcomed by the sight of rose petals strewn on our bed, forming the words “Happy 10th Wedding Anniversary”.

We also received a card and a bottle of wine…

 ..plus a thoughtful towel arrangement.

The kids were thrilled.

 And so were the parents.

Grazie, Amorita. We had a wonderful time ;-D