Tuesday, November 22, 2005

On Being Grateful

This is an account of a wife who was left behind by her husband for 3 days! (mwahaha, OA noh?)
You see, since we got married in 2001 or even before that (9 years earlier), we have never been apart. The rare times that we 'separated' was during hubby's short 1-week work-related trip to Malaysia, and another shorter 5-day trip in November last year when he accompanied Aunt Lina to Oras.
So when I learned that he's off to Bangkok, I made the effort to search for low fares as early as September, hoping that i'd be able to squeeze in (ha ha!). The PAL round-trip was just around P13T that time, but when I got back several days later, the rates escalated to a whooping P22T! I just realized that it was peak season 'coz of the SEA Games here in Manila (grrr!). Because of that, husband was not able to get a Nov. 19 return booking, what with the many delegates coming over.
The new rates being over the budget, I had to beg off. Ok fine.
Hubby said the Rama Gardens were he was billeted was rather imnpressive, better than Hilton, true to its 'hotel in a resort' subtitle. On the 19th, he took a chance flight back to Manila but had to shell out a few dollars for that. He could have just galivant around Bangkok considering that the remaining 4 days at the hotel have been paid, but he chose to go home. Aaaws, that's sweeet.
He had for me a pair of gold dangling earrings which he placed in a fancy jewel box. Bad as it may sound, but I'm not an earrings person. I was hoping for gold bangles, but he didn't remember (haaay). And because I'm such a brat, I went like arrrrgh instead of being grateful.
I soon realized my bad, and really felt sorry. So from the office, in order to make up, I bought him a slice each of sans rival, fudge cake, banana cake & an ube ensaymada at the newly-opened, neigborhood bakeshop, Ella's. To my surprise & embarrasment (haay, torture ito!), he was already home & on our dining table lay a beautiful box of Aggy's brownies. I just hugged him.
Anyway, I just learned another lesson. I realized the importance of being grateful for whatever comes your way.
Speaking of being grateful, hubby said that at the Bangkok airport, an old man claimimg to be a Singaporean approached and told him that he dropped his wallet! The old man patiently compared every human face at the airport w/ husband's ID in the wallet. When the man handed him his wallet, he embraced the good fellow with utter happiness. Oh I thought, thanks heavens for that honest to goodness man. I wish he had at least an email address so we culd have thanked him endlessly, but he don't have.
Now, that's another thing to be grateful about.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

10-day October Fun

I should have blogged the moment husband & I arrived Manila after a 10-day hiatus in Oras. But I got very lazzzy (yah! I just can't get enough).

here's my travelogue:

Oct. 15 - our PAL tickets say 0600 hrs but as early as quarter to four, Nanay, husband & I were already at the centennial airport. After checking-in, I had to find a place to sleep (side kwento: I didn't sleep the previous night; after a brief, crammed, shopping, I realized that I left at the office 'what-should-have-been-our-first-born' [product of miscarriage on 2-13-05], so we had to get it at midnight 'coz we want to have it buried with father-in-law in Oras; by 4am, I was finished packing our things!). The cold steel chairs at the airport didn't prevent me from catching a 1-hr sleep. It was only when i waas awakened did I get back to my senses in time for boarding.

The PAL airbus 320 impressed me. It's sleek as new. Thanks God for Cebu Pacific, otherwise, PAL will enjoy monopoly & not improve their services. In fairness, we took off on the dot. After having travelled so many times to Tacloban, it was my first time not to experience a delayed PAL flight. Isn't it that PAL stands for PAlaging Late?

We were in Tacloban 45 minutes later without the bumpy feeling although the stewardesses remeained stoic, still.

While alighting, a crowd frenzy caught our attention. The banners say: Welcome Jericho! (with the exclamation point in the banners, huh). I found out that it was meant for Jericho R., the actor who was in the same flight. In fairness, he looked good (at least that day, LOL). From the airport, my bro-in-law treated us to a seafood breakfast in a nearby resto. Life must be beautiful!

After dropping by to see my 7 mo old baby niece Bea, we headed off to Oras at exactly 10am. My bro-in-law lent us his pajero and my cousin Kevin & his family of 3 rode w/ us so it wasn't a lonely ride. We hit our destination at 2pm on the dot & found our household in Paypayon running agog for Tatay & Anjo's birthday party later that night.

After a brief nap in my in-law's house, we reported to Remedios Garden to help. To my surprise, we were in for a blast, complete with skirted buffet tables - - you know, the works. Indeed it was a celebration: Tatay's 60th and Anjo's 13th bday. They blowed candles atop layered Go Nuts Donuts w/c we painstakingly hand-carried.
Oct. 16 - we were awakend at 8am by the Holy Cross Academy Alumni parade, led by the pioneering batch -- 1950's (?) that's why they had to ride tricycles! My unconformist Auntie Lina from batch '58 was grinning from ear to ear, while Nanay was in chika-mode w/ her classmate Auntie Estring. Tatay was also with his classmates.

that's my sassy mother in dark sunglasses w/ her hi-school classmates

For me, the best shirt was that of batch '70 that says "batch, miss na kita, txt back" (cute 'no). Batch '85 was also a blast w/ a gay Darna.

When husband's batch '87 came, they were teasing him 'coz he didn't join (here, his mind was willing but his flesh was weak). The culminating dance that followed in the evening was rather enjoyable, what with the older batches' production numbers. I was so happy with for Auntie Lina, Tatay & Nanay 'coz they all participated in their respective presentations.

The night ended w/ a brawl w/c I'd rather not elaborate. Batch '87 'continued' the night 'til dawn of Oct. 17! (that makes it our 3rd no-tulog night!).

Oct. 17 - We hit the sack at 6am, yet still woke up before noon 'coz we were scheduled to see Burak-ay for the first time (background: Burak-ay is a beachfront along the stretch of Burak, thus, the name, inherited by Nanay & her siblings from their father. Tatay started developing my uncle's share last August only). A huge cottage is ready for use & 2 big ones are under way. Two concrete restrooms & an artesian well are already working. In time, it will be open to the public.

Oct. 18
- The previous night, husband & I promised to have a good sleep, but lo & behold, we were awakened by shouting in our adjacent bedroom (background: bro-in-law & wife, the same characters discussed in my Sept. 9 entry). Husband & I opted to leave Tiguib in the morning since we knew there'd be continuing arguments. He headed to the plaza to help coach the Tiguib team in the basketball championship vs. Balocaue (yap! Tiguib won 2-1) while I went to Paypayon. I whiled my time wrapping spoon & fork since it's my only talent. After dinner in Paypayon late in the evening, I had a long conversation w/ my sisters-in-law w/c lasted 'til 3am!

Oct. 19
- It's our 5th day in Oras & we haven't had a decent sleep yet. At 6am, we were again awakened by a brawl (yes, same characters). To my disgust, husband reprimanded his brother & sis-in law! And there was silence & peace.

It's fiesta day! In Paypayon, visitors included my sisters' friends & several others I don't even know; same thing in Tiguib. In the evening, we visited 2 addresses: Auntie Mitang's & Uncle Rady's.

Oct. 20
- We visited Tatay Bett's musoleum. At last, we were able to finally bring to rest our 'what-should-have-been-our-first-born'. From there, we visited our 6mo old niece Chin-Chin. By 12 noon, Uncle Andy was already sending us a message that he wants us to leave for Borongan. And so we did.

I was amazed at how Borongan has become. In fact, it already has a mall & what looks like a decent hotel. The hotel's coffee shop 'Se La Vee' (yes, just as how you pronounce ces't la vie) is a good experience - - - nice place w/ really cheap food.

When we got back to Oras in the afternoon, we headed to Dundee's place for another batch '87 reunion. In the evening, we tried the new Mucho Beer Garden (yah! that's how petty it sounds).

Oct. 21
- Husband promised that he'd have an undisturbed day w/ my 'latest' bro-in-law, Jerome. And yes they did, despite the 1st Balic-Balic Boys Reunion in the adjacent vacant lot & another batch '87 reunion in Tru-Cut.

Oct. 22
- We were awakened early in the morning, thanks God not by a brawl, but by nephew Kobe telling us that it's breakfast time. The Tiguib people reminded us that it's our 4th wedding anniversary! How could husband ever forget! Instead of going back to Manila as previously planned, we headed off to a beach in Binogawan & had a great time.

here i am at the beach w/ my baby niece bea

Oct. 23 - In the morning, we watched the Del Rosario procession pass by our house in Paypayon. Nanay is next year's hermana so we better observe. By 2pm, we (w/ Chinky, Baby & Jerome) were on our way to Tacloban. In the evening, Mano Alex treated us for a b-b-q dinner along Mac Arthur Park.

Oct. 24 - We were supposed to take the 8am flight back to Manila but didn't catch a plane. As if perfectly planned, we instead had lunch at Mano Alex's parents' house in Sagkahan: fiesta time! Talk about eat & run, by 1pm, we were on our way to the airport to make sure we make it to the 3pm schedule.

Cebu Pacific's Airbus 320 was not as polished as PAL's version. Ha ha, after that super bumpy ride, I promised not to ride CP anymore (that, even if I won a t-shirt in their "fun flight game"). I wouldn't trade that for a smooth PAL experience.

By 4pm, touchdown Manila na. Waaa! back to reality again.

In hindsight, in spite the hectic schedule, our 10-day hiatus was a blast. Thanks God for treats like Oras!

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Attaining a Secret Wish

God really answers prayers, even secret wishes (yes, even those that you just keep to yourself!).
Last Sunday, Oct. 23 while Nanay Luz (my mother-in-law) was preparing to attend the mass and procession for the Feast of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary in Oras, she handed to me a small white thing, which I thought was a paper - - - a pasalubong from Dada, our auntie-nun who just got from Rome. I couldn't contain my happiness 'coz it's the rosary beads that I have been longing for!!! Wow, nice na the silver packaging, smells like roses pa.
Back in Manila, I texted Dada:
me: good afternoon. i received the rosary beads i longed 4. i couldn't thank u enough Dada.
salamat talaga. i'm blessed!
dada: ok. iyon lang naman kaya kong bilhin. i am glad u lyk it.
It's a reassuring feeling that it was given to me on such perfect timing. Believe me, it's my treasured possession.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

October - The Rosary Month

I love Octobers! I really don't know why....ok, maybe it's because Tatay's bday is in Oct. 3, my first ever nephew, Anjo's bday falls on Oct. 14; October also means going home to Oras for the fiesta, and yes, it now means looking forward to celebrating our wedding annivesary!
I also grew up in a family which prays the rosary as the clock ticks 6pm, even before the adage that "the family that prays together, stays together" became a by-word. And so when my bf then, suggested that we marry in October because it's one perfect month to gather our families, I thought the better reason would be because it's the rosary month, and the rosary means perpetual grace. I am also used to being secured with my rosary beads in handy & putting it beneath my pillow when I sleep. When my mother-in-law gave me luminous rosary beads as her wedding gift, I was ecstatic not only because I think of it as lucky to receive one (rather than buy one for yourself), but also because I feel special since that was also just given to her by her sister-nun. Unfortunately though, I lost it & haven't received a replacement yet *sigh*.
In Fr. Jerry Orbos' column, he wrote about praying the rosary in this context "A folly maybe to some, but the lowly rosary is very powerful. Never understimate the power of the prayer. Pray on. Pray without ceasing. Pray desperately". And since it's the rosary month, our office was 'home' to a statue of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary yesterday. Our makeshift altar was adorned with flowers taken from the hospital garden & I made a little artsy thing to serve as backdrop. I think hubby would have done a really better version, but hey, I'm sure Mama Mary wouldn't mind. Don't you think?

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Tatay is a certified senior citizen!

Last Monday, Oct. 3, the person who fed me, clothe me, sent me to school, loves me unconditionally & continues to support me when the 'need arises' - - -my father, turned 60! To celebrate this milestone, our immedite family members in Manila [minus Joni & Baby Bach who had to stay home 'coz Bach has rashes] had an eat-all-you-can dinner at Kamay Kainan in West Avenue. Absentees were Baby & Jerome, my nephew Anjo who are all in Oras, & Jingle who's in Doha.
We all had a feast, what with KK's 60 dishes. I don't really go for oyster but when Misa soaked oysters in vinegar, I ate at least 3! Because I truly love veggies cooked in coconut milk, I had multiple serving of laing *burp burp*. Despite our appetite however, we all agreed that Tatay has better versions of KK's dishes. Tatay wanted to cook for his bday dinner (as he always do), but we figured that for his bday it was but appropriate to spoil him.
As his present, Chinky & I bought a red polo shirt in Robinsons Ermita & had it wrapped in red too. Misa gave him a Bartlet brandy & patiently looked for a buri bag to go w/ the brandy (I guess, my husband is really sweet).
The next day, the celebration continued in Kamias, this time with our relatives. Highlight was an 'all boaut Tatay' trivia game participated by my 2 nephews. It was a tie :)
I can only thank God for Tatay & look forward to many birthdays ahead!

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Tagging myself - Down Memory Lane

Here's a flashback...

25 years ago...1980 - I was in grade 3 in Divine Word University, Tacloban City. I vividly remember our class adviser, Mrs. Flor Manuel, the epitome of a refined lady who taught our 3-A class many things from GMRC to proper handwriting. That answers why my classmates & I have similarities in handwriting. Ok, I'd have to brag that I'm one of the few left-handed in this world who has a good script *sorry, mayabang lang po*. During our Christmas party, I received a white puppy toy which I didn't like, but I pretended to be 'happy about it' lest I embarass my 'manita'. See, that's fast learning my GMRC! And oh, during that party, I wore a white & yellow dress and a ponytail, geee!

15 years ago...1990 - I was in 3rd year nursing at United Doctors Medical Center in Quezon City. Nursing school was tough at this point but I still managed to have a very active social life (read: gimmick left & right). I remember during a Nutrition class (it was such a bore!), Liza, my bestfriend (who I believe was also bored with Botany in UST) dropped by our class (you see, we had the same uniform cut that's why she easily slipped through the UDMC guards), made a hand-signal which meant I had to cut class with her. Since I was seated in the middle, I passed my bag to my seatmates leading to the door. Exactly when our teacher faced the blackboard, I skipped my way out of the door with Liza holding onto my bag. I looked back & my 'understanding' classmates were all grinning at me!

10 years ago...1995 - I was a bum! After becoming a registered nurse in Aug. 1993, passing the CGFNS in September 1994, my application forms were all over the hospitals in Manila. Despite my good grades *wink* & line of 8 board rating *wink wink*, it proved to be the most difficult period for nurses because of the recession in US & local hospitals had no openings *sigh*. So I opted to undergo a 6 months volunteer job (read: no pay) at Quezon City Medical Center if only for experience. Summer of that year, my friends & I (actually, husband-wife/bf-gf pairs from Oras) opened a canteen beside Unciano Hospital in Sta. Mesa. It was a promising venture at first, but probably because we weren't prepared & considering our respective 'jobs', we called it off after a few months. It was my first taste of entrepreneural skills & learned a lot from it.

5 years ago...2000 - I was on my last year in Law school at FEU. I was mighty proud to graduate among the 'regulars' in April, mourned the sudden death of my maternal grandmother in May & took the Bar in September. On Oct 22, my bf then for 8 yrs & 5 mos, 'suggested' that we marry in Oct 2001. I thought it was just a corny joke (read: in denial 'coz I wanted the proposal to be romantic!). But when he insisted "it's October or nothing" (aba, takutin ba ako?), I realized he was serious.

We had a hard time telling our parents about the plans. Not that they would object, but it was an unexplainable fear. He started off with his sister Adette & I, through my sister, Dodit, who had a hard time telling my mother, who had a harder time telling my father. It was on their first visit ever to a Starbucks joint when my mother had the 'courage' to inform my father of our Oct 2001 wedding plans. His immediate response was to have it postponed to 2002 (until now I have no idea what's good about 2002).

4 years ago...2001 was my year! (read: roller coaster ride). On Feb 29, my bf-then-hubby-now flew to Oras for the 'bat-ul' (tagalog: pamamanhikan; english: is there a translation?, ok, it's when the would-be groom formally asks his would-be bride's family for her hand in marriage *whew* ). The success of the 'bat-ul' was without a blooper. my bf-then-hubby-now fell from our stairs *har har har*. Our first order of the day in Manila was to consult an orthopedics doctor. Good thing it was just a sprain. And the worst is yet to come in May.

On May 5, one day before my 30th bday, the Supreme Court announced the release of the Bar result. My bf-then-hubby-now egged his way to SC while I stayed home. Even before he returned, I received a text message from Mimi (my closefriend in Law school & room mate in Angelo King where we were billeted during the Bar exams): "I didn't make it Darlene. We didn't make it". My world crumbled. I told by-then-hubby-now I wanted to die *so so sad*. Liza called & said she didn't know what to tell me. We both cried. I have never felt so much pain. Several days later, I resolved to set aside (read: hide) my books & things. I realized that my wedding was just 5 months away!

In beween wedding preparations & work at PGH, I slowly recovered from the pain of flunking the Bar *argh!*. My younger sister Jingle took charge of the fashion part of our wedding (read: design, style, fabric & several other essentials), Dodit made the 300+ jelly candles, Baby printed the souvenir tags, Liza shouldered the invites from QP Designs *mwah mwah* & my bf-then-hubby-now worked double hard to augment the wedding fund *wink*. Come Oct 22, we had a rain-free wedding officiated by Bishop Medroso & concelebrated by 9 other priest-friends at St. Peter of Alcantara Parish in Oras. A garden reception at our backyard which we coined Remedios Garden (in honor of my maternal grandmother) completed the event. We wanted it that way: intimate & private. We could never ask for more. Our wedding story deserves a separate space in this blog. So I'll spare you with the details.

After our wedding 'high', a low point closed 2001 - my father-in-law for 2 months died of an asthma attack on Dec 16. We had a blue Christmas.

3 years ago... 2002 - my immigrant petition for the US was approved by the INS on Nov. 15. A day before that, on Nov 14, my cousin Liza A. (who was part of my bridal entourage) said her vows to Mayor Tony at San Sebastian with a reception at Westin Phil. Plaza. Liza P., Meline & I were among the usherettes at the reception. We had a good time.

2 years ago...2003 - in July, I was confined for 3 days in PGH due to severe stomach pain - - - my first hospital confinement ever. I stayed at the pediatric area 'coz I didn't like the infirmary. My Mickey Mouse PJs & Mickey Mouse blanket went well w/ the walls of my room *laugh*. Thank God it was just simple gastritis & my AP, Dr. Labio didn't charge me a cent 'coz I'm a PGH employee *clap clap clap* (discIaimer: case-to-case basis only).

On Aug. 26, hubby & I stood as cord sponsors at Kevin's wedding to Minerva at Sacred Heart Parish in Tacloban & Kanhuraw Convention Center (Kevin was his best man in our wedding). We had a great after-wedding party but had to leave Tacloban the following day since hubby had to leave for Malaysia on Aug. 28 for a 1-week business trip.

Last year...2004 - Husband & I finally decided to have our own space. We transferred to a 2-bedroom unit in Makati on Nov. 1 & painted the cupboard, cabinets & bedroom doors yellow against the all-white walls & ceiling. Our dining chairs are in yellow & black, & we eat in yellow china *smile, sigh*. We find it soothing. It's our space anyway. During the last week of November, he left for a 1-week 'official trip' to Oras. He had to do site inspection of the Cagpajo farm Auntie Lina plans to retire, 'coz he had to design of the river landing, pathwalk & farm house. During that week, Jingle stayed with me at home & whiled her time by making 3 fruit paintings which now hang in our kitchen (I had it framed in black w/ yellow borders in keeping w/ the house motif *wink*).

This year...2005 - In the despedida for Arnel & Litos (who had to return back to Arizona) on the 1st week of February, I was cajoled to drink tequila for the first time. I don't know why, but I just can't stand the after-taste. I guess I did it for the love of a friend who I have't seen for a long while.

In the evening of Feb. 12, I just got back from Rustan's Makati where I accompanied my sister Baby to register in their Bridal Registry when suddenly, my stomach surged w/ intense pain. I figured it was my not-so-monthly cycle. My OB, Dr. Ching Ilao-Oreta's phone was off *gasp gasp* so I endured the pain rather than be sent to the hospital. The next day, a rather meaty substance went w/ the bleeding & I suspected something was wrong. The first order of Feb 14, a Monday (we forgot it was Valentine's day!) was to see a doctor. Since I was in PGH, & St. Luke's is rather far from there, I was referred to see Dr. Aguilar. The pregnancy test strip yielded 2 stripes. My! you can just imagine our surprise. I had to have a trans-V ultrasound the next day to find out if, in Dr. Aguilar's word "something was left". When the doctor said during the trans-V that "it's gone", I cried. God, it felt like flunking the Bar again *sniff*. I didn't return to the office at once as I was really down & out. I just found myself walking back & forth the parking space of UP Manila Pedro Gil wing. At that time, husband was at the airport to fetch her sister. He texted saying how sorry he was for not taking care of me enough. I cried more 'coz I know he's taking care of me more than enough *sniff again*. If only for the thought that I am in fact capable of conceiving, I was relieved despite the diagnosis that I had a complete, non-septic abortion. But the days that followed left my husband devastated *sniff more*.

In the evening of March 30, we started our long drive to Oras. The AUV husband was driving carried dozens & dozens of fresh flowers & loads of apples, pears & oranges for Baby's abundant harvest-themed wedding, so you can just imagine Baby's sigh of relief when we arrived Oras in one piece. On April 1, the clock ticked so fast amidst the busy wedding jitters. After the church practice, we had a surprise shower for Baby complete w/ balloons, a drawing of a giddy bride by Anjo, naughty gifts & games.

As early as 9 a.m., I started decorating the 3-layered white fondant cake w/ fruits while Remedios Garden was in its final sprucing-up stage (read: hubby & my sister Jingle climbing the walls to hang the yards & yards of white tulle to create a ceiling *argh*). By 12 noon, the minutes ticked like a bullet. Before we know it, Jerome (our soon-to-be brother-in-law) was already calling Baby that the Bishop was at the church & we were running late! As planned & expected, the event was a success.

On May 6, I stood as ninang to my cutie niece, Bea Alexa Macato in Tacloban. Yes, it was also my 34th bday. In the afternoon, we attended my cousin Jumbee's wedding to Bing in Sacred Heart. At the reception in Kanhuraw, I met Lilian, Grace & Lorelie - - -3 high school classmates who I haven't seen for ages. Small world indeed! The next day, we went to Guiuan & had a really great time for 2 days (read: cheap seafoods & beachfront).

On July 24, Jingle left for Doha, Qatar where she works as a designer in a fashion line, and on Aug. 13, our brand-new nephew - - - Bach Cordero was born in Chinese Gen. Hosp. c/o my brother Nonoy & Joni.

Yesterday...Sept. 27 - 1 day after my mother's 61st bday & 7 days before my father's 60th bday, was just another ordinary day at the office & went home to a hearty dinner c/o, as usual, dear hubby *huuug*.

Last night...We were not happy with HBO.

Today...Sept. 28 - another ordinary day at the office. I look forward to tonight's 'American President' starring Michael Douglas & Meg Ryan on HBO (I'm a Meg Ryan fan). That's not saying that I'm not as excited to see my hubby dear 'coz I always am.

Tomorrow...I hope it's another good day.

Next year...Aside from a baby, I wish we'd finally be able to immigrate to the US. That's not asking for too much after the petition's approval in 2002. Otherwise, I'll start reviewing for a 2nd try of the Bar in 2007 *fingers crossed*.

5-10 years from now...I pray for good health of my family. If it's not an abuse, I pray that by that time, we are already blessed w/ an improved version of a mini-me or a mini-Misa *he he*. Can I wish that I hope by that time, we are finally relocated in the land of milk & honey?

Now, who do I want to tag? YOU. Try it & see what you've been up to.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

My Birth-blog?

At last I have my own blog. Geee!, I'm excited to write whatever, whenever & no matter how others (who will come across this blog) may find this boring. Isn't technology great?