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It’s official – we are now Metro Manila residents.  After a year of planning and anticipation, we finally made the big move.  I found it easy to decide to leave my job and my friends, but it was very hard to leave the parents.  I worry for them, especially because they are both getting old and Nanay still has not regained her full functionality.

For the last two weeks, the kids and I have spent most of our days cooped up in the apartment. They stay in bed, play, or watch TV, while I do motherly stuff – i.e., cook, clean, wash clothes, fix the apartment.  Since I rarely got the chance to do these home economics activities while we were in Bacolod (thanks to our very capable helper), I’m actually enjoying this.  🙂

I’m supposed to start work next week, but my contract hasn’t been finalized yet, so I’m given more time to spend with the kids.  No big deal.  I’m happy that I can still be here for them, if only for one more week.  Because the minute work starts, I know that my attention will be divided – into three!  That’s Dean, the kids, and work.  For now, I’m just enjoying being a mom and wife.  I’m happy to see my husband every day.  I’m happy that after a long day at work, he can come home to a hot meal and a family that he can enjoy eating the meal with.

Enzo asked me the other day, “Is our apartment a house or a home?”  I told him, a home is a place where everybody loves each other and where there is happiness.  No matter how small this space of ours may be, I still know that this is a home.

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I don’t get it.  One minute everything seems to be falling into place, and then the next minute things are going out of whack.  What the..?

I’d like to think that the BIG decision I made this past year is in tune with what God actually wants for my life.  All of a sudden, it seems that I’ve been getting the wrong signals.  Or did I?

I just wish that things will fall into place.  Moving to a different place and transferring to a different job is not for the faint of heart.  I’m not scared of taking that leap of faith, but  I just wish things were clearer.

Can somebody just please tell me what God is up to?  Please.

We experienced one of the strongest typhoons yesterday.  Heavy rains coupled with howling winds drove us out of the house at around 11 am.  The rains started the night before and did not stop at all.  I was getting worried when I saw that the water almost reached our gate and the fish pond fronting the house was nearly overflowing.  When I found out that high tide would be at 12 noon, I made the decision to bring Nanay and the kids to my tito’s house, which is in the upper part of Bacolod. 

Maybe I was a bit paranoid, but I could still clearly see in my mind the flood waters which came into our living room last December 2006.  My first thought was of Nanay.  If the waters came into the house and we had to evacuate, how would we move her?  So then I decided that I’d rather be safe than sorry.  We spent the day at my tito’s house and although the waters did not go into the house, I still think it was a right decision because I was able to relax, knowing that Nanay and the kids were safe.

As early as February, hubby and I had been planning to bring the kids to Boracay this summer. We scheduled the trip for May 15 because Dean had many activities before that (the trip to Manila, monthly meetings in Cebu, visits to his area by Kraft’s head honchos, cut-off dates, etc.). Unfortunately, rainy season came early to the Philippines and we had to forego the trip to Bora.

But since we promised the kids a trip to the beach, we opted for Guimaras instead. So on Friday, May 16, while a typhoon was raging somewhere else in the country, we packed our bags for Raymen Beach in Nueva Valencia, Guimaras. Despite the dark clouds and moderate winds, the 15-minute pumpboat ride to Jordan, Guimaras was not as bad as I expected. The kids would say UP, DOWN every time the boat would rock to the movement of the waves.

After a 40-minute drive, we go to Raymen Beach safely and immediately hit the beach. The waves were quite big, but we enjoyed the dip. We stayed by the shoreline since the waves were quite strong and the beach wasn’t that flat (kantilado in Ilonngo). Enzo enjoyed playing with the sand but he was scared to venture into the water. Evie, on the other hand, liked the water so much she wasn’t even scared when the big waves came.

The next morning, we were able to buy fresh crabs and fish from the local fishermen who just pulled in from the sea. We had seafoods for breakfast! We didn’t stay too long, though, since we had to hurry back to Iloilo to attend a baptism the next morning. Raymen wasn’t Boracay, but for me, it was good enough. I’m just glad that we were able to relax and have fun with the kids.

My family and I got back from Manila yesterday evening.  It was a tiring, but fun-filled trip.  I thought I was going to have a difficult time with the kids considering that we took the plane by ourselves since Dean was already in Manila.  But surprisingly, the kids were quite well-behaved.  I brought along their favorite toys (truck for Enzo and Mickey Mouse stuffed toy for Evie) and books (Green Eggs and Ham for Enzo and Mickey Mouse book for Evie), and some scratch papers, pencils and crayons for the plane ride. 

We arrived in Manila quite late na, around 8pm and we were picked up by my siblings who brought us to our hotel in Makati.  After moving around in circles three times, we were finally able to find our hotel where Dean was already waiting for us. 

The next day, we went to Molino, Bacoor, Cavite to visit Dean’s maternal grandmother.  For a lady who has stage four cancer she seemed pretty okay, although according to Dean’s uncle she still doesn’t know that she’s sick.  Maybe that’s why she had a happy disposition.  It was the first time for her to see Evie and I could see that she was really happy to see the kids, even for just a day.  That was really a tiring day for us, though, because we commuted all the way to Bacoor and back to Makati.  Nonetheless, I’m happy that we were able to visit her and Dean’s other relatives.  Maybe it would take another five years or so for us to visit again.

The highlight of our trip was a visit to Avilon Zoo in Montalban, Rizal.  We really had a fun time with the kids.  Here are some of our pics. 🙂

I’m really just grateful to have had 4 days of fun with my hubby, kids, siblings, sis-in-law, and niece. 🙂  It WAS a great vacation. 🙂

Dean surprised me this Monday by telling me that we’re going to Manila with the kids.  Turns out they have a meeting there today and he wants to take advantage of the time to visit his paternal grandmother who has stage 4 colon cancer.  He wants to bring the kids so his lola could see them also, while she still can.  He’s actually been meaning to go there but we just couldn’t find the right time to go since I’m always busy.  Well, now that classes are over and he is getting a free ticket (thanks to his company), maybe this is the right time.

However, I’m a little bit apprehensive about this trip for several reasons.  First of all, I’ll be traveling alone with the kids since Dean is already there.  I told my friend Jaja about this and the first thing she said was “kaya mo na?” If you know my kids (especially Evie), you’d probably say the same thing.  Evie by herself is already a handful.  Evie AND Enzo together is double trouble.  But I’ve been psyching Enzo for the trip and I’ve been telling him that he has to behave, that he has to be responsible and help mommy by being a good boy.  I just hope he will behave so that if Evie doesn’t, I won’t have a hard time.  Sana lang they will both be good kids during the flight tomorrow and the flight back home.  I still will be traveling alone with them because Dean is taking a different airline.  Sobrang mahal if we take the same airline coming home eh.

The second reason why I’m a bit apprehensive about going to Manila is the fact that I haven’t finished making my grades and list of failures are due on the 8th and we’re flying back home on the 7th.  I’ve checked all my exams, but I still have a few test papers and projects to check.  Plus I have a research work going on and I’m just in the data analysis stage.  I guess I just have to do all that I can before I go… bahala na si Batman! 

Another thing is, I’m not so comfortable with the thought that I’m going to Manila on such short notice – with the kids in tow pa!  I’m very OC and I rarely do something like this (going on a trip) without having planned it in advance.  For instance, we are planning to spend about a month in Iloilo this April-May since I won’t be teaching, and I’ve already lined up activities for the kids (trips to Museo Iloilo and old churches, art activities, etc).  

But I guess this trip is really meant to be.  At such short notice I was able to get discounted plane tickets although I only booked 3 days before the scheduled trip.  So far, everything is falling into place.  I just hope things will go as planned tomorrow.  Or maybe I do need to lighten up and not make plans na lang and just enjoy this spur-of-the-moment trip with my family.  

Enzo turned 4 last Friday, July 20.  How fast time flies!  I can hardly believe that I have a four-year old already!

We celebrated his birthday in school.  I just ordered spaghetti and cupcakes for his class.  I just made nice give-aways for him to give to his classmates.  And of course, we had a Zaldarriaga cake.  Yum! It was a simple celebration, we didn’t want to spend too much.  But Enzo enjoyed his party (and I wasn’t too harrassed!).

Here are some pictures!

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Last June 9 to 24 my favorite aunt (I’d like to think I’m her favorite niece, too!) came home from Jakarta with her husband and daughter for a much-awaited vacation.  She’s my mom’s youngest sister and I have always been close to her since she stayed with us when she was still single and she used to take care of me when I was a baby.  We had a lot of fun times, too, when I was in college in Manila and she was working there.  She would bring me to her outings (Subic, Agoo, Laguna, etc.) and we would scour Baclaran and Divisoria for bargains.  She was my second mother during that time and I’m always grateful to her especially during the times that I needed a break from dorm food or when I ran out of allowance.

We really enjoyed having them home in Bacolod, even for just a short while.  We went swimming, had a facial, ate out, went malling, and just enjoyed each other’s company.  Nanay was very happy to see her and Tito and Angel, too.  Here are some pictures taken during their short, but fun vacation in Bacolod.

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‘Ta Ming, ‘To Luis, and Angel, we hope to see you again soon!  Thanks for coming to visit! Mwah!

We’re fortunate to have a park within city limits where we can relax and unwind for the weekend.  One Sunday (I think it was two weeks ago), we all decided to go to Forest Park in Taculing (about 15 minutes from our place) for a picnic.  There was a scheduled 8-hour brownout that day Sunday because Ceneco was putting up new electric posts along the newly finished Tangub Road, and we didn’t want to spend the whole day cooped up inside the house with no electricity.

With the kids and Nanay in tow, we ate lunch there (grilled porkchop and gindara – yummy!) and had dirty ice cream afterwards!  It’s a great place to spend time with the family.  We’re definitely going back there for another picnic. It was truly a great way to bond as a family – and it sure beats wandering aimlessly around the mall!

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It's my sister's birthday today and she's home with us for the Holy Week.  Nene (that's our pet name for her) is the youngest in the family, but she's the most determined of us siblings to succeed in life.  She's very goal-oriented and is very dedicated to her work (much like our Nanay).  I'm really proud of her and I know she will accomplish so much more because she's smart, talented, and a go-getter. 

Ne, here's something I picked up from the Net.  You know I was never the poet (kamo lang na ya ni Nay) so hanggang cut-and-paste lang ko.  Hehe 🙂  But, this says what I want to say so perfectly that I'm posting it here.

THERE IS NO FRIEND LIKE A SISTER

by Mary Engelbreit

There's no better friend than a sister –

There's no one more loyal and true

And even when sisters are different

Their likeness come shining through

Perhaps it's a family resemblance

That strengtens the bond they share

Or maybe it's just that sisters live life with a similar flair!

A sister remembers your collegehood

She knows more than you will admit

Of times you were LIttle Miss Perfect

And times you gave others a fit!

She's seen you in situations

When silence just wouldn't suffice

And managed somehow to get by

With those sisterly words of advice!

And when some encouragement's needed

A sister will always be there….

To listen…

To laugh…

Or to lean on…

To comfort, or simply to care.

There's no one who's more in your corner

And no one you're more grateful to

There's no better friend than a sister

And no better sister than you!

 

Love you, sis!  You're my bestest friend!  Mwah!  Enjoy your day and your vacation!