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Archive for the ‘family’ Category


The family  celebrated Mother’s Day today, a day earlier than May 11. We decided to meet at SM Megamall for lunch. Another day worth-remembering. One thing that highlights  the day is of course Nate’s presence. The moment he saw us, he let his dad undo the strap of  his stroller and let Josef carry him along. There is a special affinity between the “magninong” (that’s a Tagalog word for godparent) even if they don’t see each other often.  He can pronounce Nonna clearly now and I was so glad when he took my hand and planted a loud kiss on my face.  Nissa said he learned new words in the three weeks that I haven’t seen him.

We opted to dine at the newly opened wing of SM  Megamall. The Mega Fashion Hall  is the new high-end extension of the mall. It houses several restaurants and other international clothing brands. The set-up is somehow similar to the Ayala Malls. Aside from the more popular Vikings, there is another branch of  Lugang Café where we took our lunch. So it’s Chinese food for lunch. I took some shots but mostly of Nate banging a spoon and fork on the table and playing with the plastic green cup which they provided for him along with a green plastic plate and bowl. I had a good time watching him eat what was served on the table. He loved the Fried Beef Noodles and Fried Rice.

He was behaved...at first but he clearly knows when to stop and say sorry to Mom and Dad.

He was behaved…at first but he clearly knows when to stop and say sorry to Mom and Dad.

Mother and daughter team.

Mother and daughter team.

Three generations of Abuel.

Three generations of Abuel.

Nothing is more important than having the family around.

Nothing is more important than having the family around.

Busog na baby? Our little man!

Busog na baby? Our little man!

That's his way of saying,  "I'm full, it's your turn to eat Dad".

That’s his way of saying, “I’m full, it’s your turn to eat Dad”.

I love the Garlic Pork Roll and Steamed Fish Fillet. No room for dessert...

I love the Garlic Pork Roll and Steamed Fish Fillet. No room for dessert…

He is probably looking forward to going swimming tomorrow  with his Dad’s side of the family. Enjoy Nate  but be careful with the sun. I know how much you love to paddle your feet and splash water with your hands.  Until we see each other again.

(Note: This is my 1,440th post…can’t believe it)

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It seldom happens now because they are always busy at work, yesterday though, Josef and his girlfriend Jovy took me to Mont Albo in Timog Avenue in Quezon City, a spa and massage facility that offers several massage therapies including body scrub. The three of us availed of the Hilot, a Filipino healing method practiced for  thousands of years. It is a total body massage characterized by slow deliberate strokes to remove blockages by using virgin coconut oil.  It was a very relaxing one hour therapy. The three of us also availed of the additional  Bentosa, a therapy used by placing suction glass cups at one’s back to remove energy blockages. Josef practically went to sleep when  the therapist did that because we could hear his gentle snore while waiting for ten minutes before they remove the suction glasses and resume massage of the arms  and legs. I used to have foot massages  before (another way to unwind and relax) in the nearby beauty salon but it has become quite expensive so I only go there when I need to rest and enjoy the quiet times.

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We had an early dinner at Papa John’s  in  Tomas Morato before going home. I told Josef that we used to live in that area back when he wasn’t born yet. The quiet neighborhood in the early eighties has now become a busy avenue of several high-end restaurants and eateries.  It was my first time to sample Papa John’s cheese and bacon pizza and its crispy onion rings, better than what we usually order at Burgoo’s. Such  a lovely day to spend  it  with them. I wish that next time we do this, my daughter and son-in-law and of course my darling baby Nate  could join us.

The weather here for the past  two or three weeks was a good 20 degrees Celsius.  It is colder at night and windy in the early morning and late noon.  The coldest morning so far in Metro Manila was at   17.5 degrees Celsius early Saturday  while Baguio City was at its coldest at 8.1 degrees Celsius last Sunday. Most days it’s cloudy, a perfect time to catch up on gardening and do a little weeding too.  It’s  a lovely time too to read. I’ve done six books since the start of the year and I planned to read around 50 books till the end of December. I really hope I could do it since I neglected reading last year, read a measly 20 titles, I guess.

I am listening to Richard Clayderman  and Ernesto Cortazar  while writing this blog. It’s a lovely day :)

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Would love to try another language to say Happy New Year.  In Tagalog we say, Manigong Bagong Taon. Whew, Christmas has come and gone and I am stuck here with so much to do, fixing things here and there, cleaning the house and getting rid of unwanted items that are no longer in use.  Just wanted to greet  2014 not just with a trimmed garden but with  lesser bits and pieces in my  cabinet. I’ll be hosting a party for a small group of friends on January 11 including two priests who are also members  of my Catholic group at Facebook where I am one of the admins.  We have decided on a potluck lunch and snacks so we could concentrate on sharing news and tidbits  about our individual journeys in life.  My co-admin and creator of the online group Fr. Louie Coronel, OP used to say, ” you can share anything under the Catholic sun except sin”. Believe me, in all these years that we’ve journeyed together, some members have become real friends. And that’s something to be thankful for, finding friends in social media and bonding with them and we’re like brothers and sisters who have found a home through our page.

How was your Christmas? It was another peaceful, joyous and happy celebration for us, just the family with Nate (my grandson) grabbing the limelight sharing what he has learned the last month since his birthday. The joys of being a grandma, more greatly felt with Nate’s generous kisses that made my day and   the celebration of Christmas a happy one for me. He is walking on his own now and beginning to touch things that his hands could reach. I told Nissa to say goodbye (in the meantime)  to small objects that  he could grab and play with. He was amazed when he discovered the knob of our CD player and turned the sound off while we were listening to some Christmas carols of old.

I made a video of our Christmas pictures at OneTrueMedia but I forgot that I can’t listen to the music that I chose as a background since my son detached the defective speakers of my PC a month ago. Anyway, I am sharing some pics I took in a photo box so as to save on my allowed limits here at WordPress.

photoboxI baked lots of chocolate chips cookies that I gave to friends and neighbors. I think there are two or three more left in the cookie jar.  I received cash gifts from the kids but one thing that I really love is one of the additional gifts from Nissa, a lovely infusion bottle which I could use later. Kev brought a bottle of Novellino red wine.

photobox2Christmas was a simple celebration but it was one of the best ever. What about you, how did you celebrate  Christmas? And before I forget, let me greet you Bonne année  . Let 2014 be a happy, peaceful and a fruitful year for all of us.

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Remembering. Always remembering. And it’s like a dull ache that never goes away but just stays somewhere in the recesses of the mind, never forgotten but remembered with joys and pains.

It’s Daddy’s 6th death anniversary today. Every year since I started blogging, I would always write about him during his birthday and his death anniversary. How can you write about the pains of losing someone so loved and cherished in your life?  How can you write about someone who taught you the values of living and taught you how to be strong despite all the hardships that life brings?  Why do you need to remember and cry in pain?  It’s because he will always be a constant presence in my life. 629906-R1-00-20AThe good  and lovely memories will get you through somehow and you smile in remembrance of the long-ago days when you needed to hear life’s stories and words of wisdom, things that somehow shaped your views on what life is all about.

If dad were alive today, he’d be 91 years old. If he were alive today, I know he would smile   and wonder why I am even writing about him. I know he would smile seeing  Nate, his great-grandchild, walk on his own and point to himself and say, “baby, baby”. Yes, Nate has added more words in his vocabulary. I know he would be happy for all of us and would probably say, “there is nothing like a grandchild to put a smile on your face and warmth in your heart”. My children are so lucky having known him as a loving, lovable, affectionate and a caring grandfather. They fondly called him Tatay.

Wherever you are Dad, I know you are looking down on us with an indulgent smile.  I offered a prayer for you today. I still miss you after all these years because you  hold a special place in my heart.

(note: this is my 1,350th post at WordPress)

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For quite some time now, Josef and I were toying with the idea of repainting the house (retouches would be more like it). I asked him,  “Will we be  able to do that?” and he said, “Sure, why not?” 

Easier said than done.  About two weeks ago, Nissa sent me several pictures of Nate and I  was of course excited to have them printed  and had three of them enlarged and framed. They’re now occupying pride of place between our sala and dining area. And since our house is a free open plan, it’s quite easy to get them painted in the same color all over to maximize space and make it look larger than it really is. We have an accent wall though where our family pictures are displayed. And when son suggested that we retouch it, I readily agreed and went to the paint center to have the color mixed  in the original tomato red. It’s complimentary to the almost peach look of the walls and the off-white ceiling and dark peach color on the cornices and base boards.

IMG_5328See, the framed pics are almost all of our baby Nate, some family pics and the Papal Blessing from Rome which Nissa applied for when she got married two years ago and a cross stitch I did several years ago.

Last Friday, Josef and I visited Wilcon Home Depot  to buy paints for our project. I had written the exact shade and paint colors that we have to buy. Four years ago, I blogged about our house renovation after typhoon Ondoy destroyed most of our cabinets and furnitures,  so I took note of the colors that we used in the painting job. Davies’ Bio-fresh paints are odorless and easy to apply. Almost Peach for the walls and True Blue for the bedrooms but we didn’t touch the ceiling though because it is hard to paint the cornices and the ladder is not long enough for the job.  We have finished one bedroom, done with the comfort room and I did retouches on the kitchen walls including the dirty kitchen adjoining it.  It’s quite fun when you get engrossed in a project and you finally see the big difference once it’s done. Last summer, we did the same with the concrete fence and our two gates outside.  My only frustration is I still have to hire a painter to do our roof. It’s a difficult job if you ask me because you are at the mercy of the heat of the sun.  Josef  suggested we’ll  have it done after Christmas.

Speaking of Christmas, I have put up some decor that I recently bought at National Bookstore, four  small stockings for the family, and a Merry Christmas wall decor in silver.  I am not so keen in putting up our seven-foot Christmas tree, it’s hard to remove all the trimmings when the season is over. I have my favorite Nativity set inside a large water globe which has been with us for a number of years but I still dream of buying the real thing which is the Belen, which I think is more symbolic of Christmas than the tree itself.

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Last year, I was so excited to make these Christmas decor.  Let’s see how I could fashion something else with old  Christmas decorations  which we  have plenty of. Recycling is the key and a simple DIY project won’t hurt, my wise son says.

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I wonder if you have associated the gift of motherhood on your kids’ birthdays.  I do. Every time  a birthday comes, I remember the moment I heard my baby cry and the elation I felt knowing that here’s someone I will truly and dearly love. There is that pleasant ache of remembrance, the years in between, the blessed days of enjoying life at their side.

Today is my son’s 29th birthday. It makes me feel old, but then with it comes the realization that I have brought him up to be a good, loving, responsible and lovable kid.  And always, we love to reminisce on how  they came into this world. Just this morning, I told Josef that his birthday is not until 11:45pm, a few minutes to June 22. He smiled and said, “wow”.  If Nissa’s was a difficult birth (she was born premature), Josef’s was a breeze. He was a bouncy 7.3 lbs baby. We just stayed at the hospital overnight.

Time flies! Thank God for another year of celebrating life. The gift of motherhood is a gift of life. I took a few shots to remind me how he looked on his 29th birthday.

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Josef at 29

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With mom. They’re 55 years apart.

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Nate from Fr. Louie

How can you even know how precious your baby is until you feel the soft touch of his fingers on your face, the complete trust he has in you as you hold his hands and take a step or two, the smile on his face as he recognizes your voice, the warm embrace, the wet kisses on your face, the moments you pick him up and he snuggle close to you, safe and warm in your arms. It’s the unspeakable happiness he shows when you are around and the inexpressible love that  make him so precious, so loved, so treasured.

(Note: this is our baby Nate’s first published photo in a national Catholic journal). Proud to be a grandma.

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One of my favorite subjects in photography – clouds. I love the mystery they evoke, what could be hiding behind those thick formations up there? I love watching  them drift by. Then I remember a quote from Rabindranath Tagore, “Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.”

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And I  do remember taking this shot more than two years ago when my kids and I  went to the cemetery in our home province to visit Dad’s grave.  Another sunset scene when the heart is so vulnerable it breaks into silent tears of goodbye.

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Not long ago, two years to be exact, I blogged about these men on two wheels that ply Metro Manila in droves nowadays. Kindly click  this link  so you’ll know  what I am talking about.

In our more than seventeen years of stay here in our subdivision, this is the first time that our security (my family and I) was threatened by a crazed-gun-toting man who calls himself “police”   as if the mere mention of the word would scare the living daylights out of you instead of protecting you from  the harmful elements of the society. Do you think this is normal? Or maybe it  has become the norm in our world instead that these men exist. Evil lurks everywhere. I am not writing about this to scare everyone, rather it’s just to make you aware that  there are people out there who earn their keeps by doing something unacceptable and scary at most. You’re no longer safe even in your own homes or right in front of it. Generally, our place is peaceful, our immediate neighbors are like extended family to us and some of them are nodding acquaintances who we all know by face. What happened last night though makes me think otherwise.

My son was on his way home last night at around 8:15pm (still early), just about a few meters away from our front gate when he was accosted by a man in a motorcycle and asked him if he has seen a boy who allegedly snatched a  cellphone.  Their exact conversation  was:

“May nakita ka bang bata na tumakbo rito, nag-agaw ng cellphone?” The man was on a motorbike wearing a dark helmet. My son answered “wala eh” at the same time went on his way to our gate. Then the man said “police ako” and repeated the same question and asked where he lives. My son pointed to our house which is right behind them. Then he asked to see his cellphone and my son showed it to him. He snatched it at the same time pointing a gun at him and a few seconds later fired the gun he was holding into the air. There is a sari-sari store right next to our house  and someone saw what happened. The latter recalled that the supposed “police”   shouted  “takbo”   so even the bystander ran for cover. To cut the story short, the security team of our subdivision arrived and later a police and some of the officers of our village association. Earlier on, they told us that someone was also victimized in  the town proper and they  ran after  the motorcycle riding hold-upper.  And one  of the security officers said that it  has been the usual story told by previous victims of snatching in other Rizal towns in  the past two years. My question is,  why is the gunman still at large? Based on the description of the  bystander, it seemed that it was the same individual who did the firing. My son was not able to recognize his face because he wore a  dark helmet.  The thing is, one of our neighbors in the next street joined us and asked, “dito po ba galing yung putok ng baril?” Everyone answered in the affirmative. He said further that the bullet passed through the plywood covering the vacant aircon  unit  in their bedroom and their baby was there inside. Good thing, the baby’s toys cushioned the impact of the slug. What if the bullet pierced the glass windows of their bedroom, it might have hurt the child.  The moment I heard this, I felt like I was walking on air.  It was too much  to hear that an innocent baby could have been hurt.

We see violence every day on television or hear it over the radio but when  you are the victim, it’s a different story. I urge everyone to be cautious always in their surroundings  and when they see suspicious-acting men in bikes.  Most accidents that are reported nowadays  are  on motorbikes. I have nothing against people who use this type of conveyance but there are  riders  out there who use them for victimizing innocent  people.

I also urge our subdivision officers and security personnel to strictly impose “no helmet” policy inside the subdivision when they let passersby access our roads.  I urge my fellow  homeowners to be alert all the time and report any incident that affects our security as a whole. May this be a lesson to all of us that we should not be complacent even if we are familiar with a place, we’ll never know when something like this happens again.  The scenario keeps playing in my head.  It’s quite different when you are divested of your belongings like cellphones  but to be threatened by a gun?

What is happening to the world?

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