Tuesday, November 20, 2012

I Must Have Done Something Good

It had been almost seven years ago when I decided to say goodbye from being a stay at home mom to a working one, a decision that was one of the most difficult ones I made in my life as I was torn if I was doing the right thing or not. A decision that did not just tore our family apart but one that was a turning point not just with my life but to my kids and my mom as well as I started from scratch with everything -  with work, parenting and learning to live with my decision day to day. Guilt, sadness and a sense of loss had haunted me not once and I have to admit until now. I sometimes feel that even though I have come a long way from the financially dependent and insecure plain housewife that I was to the secured and creative working mom that I have become, there were days that I cannot help but shed some tears of the times lost not being with my kids because I chose to work so I could provide them with their needs. Some days there is this gnawing need just to be with them, cooking and preparing their meals, keeping house, sharing stories and laughing out loud with all of them. Sadly those days had become less and fewer in between and I cannot help but feel guilty of it all. And when that happens I feel that I have become a bad parent , an unfit mom especially when I look at their pictures with happy faces without me  around.

Lately, I have been looking for inspiration with the blogs I read, with the people I meet. Lately more moms are deciding to work from home just so they could be with their kids. I cannot help but feel envious. Sadly I do not have that freedom yet as I have seven kids, three having special needs. With the medical and dental benefits I get from the company, not including the salary and tenure for being with them for almost six years I chose to stay. Though I am very much aware that my methods of parenting   should not be in any way considered as the right way, I am not also insensitive of the talks and stories I hear from strangers and from my kids who unintentionally become well known because of our unconventional family set up and siblings who have special needs. Until I found this inspiring message that conveys what I feel and how I handled my life as parent .



Source: specialchildren.about.com via Kristi on Pinterest


All of a sudden that guilt that has been clouding my days had now lifted, making me realize that every parent has a unique way of bringing up their children. Though the times spent with them can never be under estimated, as long as I will always make them feel they matter and loved no matter how short that time was will always be timeless and precious, enough to last me a lifetime.
                                    
                                           

Monday, November 12, 2012

Tales of Forgotten Soldiers


It was May 1981 when a movie made for television titled "Women at West Point " at Sunday's Big Event was shown on RPN 9. I was an incoming high school freshman and my family eagerly watched for it. The movie was about West Point's opening its gates to women which was a first in American history. It was also a time when I was hooked with watching TV where the artists, directors, theme songs including the dialogue were written in my notebook to the point of rewinding the scenes in my mind before I went to sleep. Strange but after watching that movie I recall asking my dad if there were Math subjects in the military school. He told me that no one ever escaped that subject, even added that there were lots of it especially in the military.That may have been true or not but I felt then that my dad was bluffing. Perhaps he had seen that I have plans of being a soldier which was not really far from the truth at that time.

I grew up in a household where watching movies and mini series about war were a regular thing. Hearing war stories shared by my parents, uncles and aunts was a favorite bonding time during get togethers. Though there were horrible tales they still find to lighten some of those stories that at times it was hard to believe them. My own brother would have enlisted if not for his heart condition. I remembered we had a couple of military books he got from the school library which I read every now and then. I remembered his ardent interest with guns, arms and military warfare to the point of mastering the different types and parts of every kind, even being called "Combat," by his CAT teacher who used to be in the Philippine Army. It was not really surprising that I had seen him wearing an original dog tag and had kept blank bullets in his cabinet as memorabilia.

Sometimes it seemed that the remnants of war and its memories were something that I could not escape from. The house where I was born and grew up belong to my aunt's husband, a military officer who hails from Ilocos Norte and died in action during WWII earning him a Purple Heart. I would  love to write a story about him one day to give honor and thanks for giving us a home and a place to stay though his life was cut short because he chose to serve the country instead. I also have two uncles who had enlisted in the military because they did not have any choice. They were among the 60,000 Filipino and 15,000 American prisoners of war captured in the Bataan Death March, the 128 km (80mi) march characterized by wide range of physical abuse and murder hurting soldiers and civilians alike.They suffered as they marched under the heat of the scorching sun for days without food, water and rest. They had seen how their comrades were bayoneted by the Japanese because they cannot go any further and in order survive had to squeeze whatever juice they could extract from carabao (water buffalo) wastes they saw on the road just to quench their thirst. Though one of my uncles was able to escape barely alive with his comrade whom he carried because of malaria who eventually died in the end, one uncle was able to finish the march. As they reached  San Fernando, Pampanga, these soldiers were railed to Camp O' Donnell in Capas, Tarlac by train. They were cramped in train boxes where there were no ventilation leading others to death  because of dysentry, hunger, thirst, fatigue and heat. Upon reaching the camp some still were not lucky to make it so they were brutally killed by firing squad to end their suffering instead and having them buried by their comrades who were left behind. These two uncles of mine were able to move on with their lives despite the many scars the war have left them. And one of them is still alive until now whom my seven kids always visit every Christmas because they know his story.






Though here in the Philippines we do not celebrate Veterans' Day, it does not really matter. I do have a lone uncle who had long retired from the US Navy whose tattoed  arm I vividly recall. I also have cousins who joined the US Air Forces and now live a simple life. They, together with my USAFFE uncles who survived the Death March were living legacies of a family with fractured tales but whose courage and valor can never be measured even though their stories may have long been forgotten.

To every man and woman who had chosen to serve their country to the point of forgetting their lives in return and whose tales should be told over and over again, this post is for you. Veterans' Day or not I am proud of my roots and of the family where I came from. I may have not ended as a soldier but my heart and soul feels for every one of you. And though the country and the people you have fought for may have forgotten you, some do still remember proof that you have not fought in vain.

I salute you all the way .



Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A Basketball Game Worth Waiting


For those who have followed my blog, I have written not once how my nephew Alex Mallari had started as an amateur D League basketball player and has now transitioned to a  rookie for Petron Trailblazers. As what to be expected, it was not just I who wanted to watch him live together with the well known basketball players in the country but my other kids as well. So when they learned that we could ask for free tickets all of them got exited. That was  two weeks before October 21st , I sent him a message if we could watch the Petron vs Ginebra game at SM MOA Arena. As always, my nephew had replied telling me he can spare four tickets for free. My kids upon learning this did not give me a peaceful week especially Kookie and Sidney who both have special needs, always asking when they can get the tickets. I was almost tempted to rain on their parade upon learning I will not be able to go because of my work schedule, but then a mother is always a mother to her kids. So aside from having to work on a Sunday and watch the games at the office pantry's TV, I let my kids have a field day granting them their wish to have that first ever live PBA experience.


My 3 girls with Miakka Lim, Alex's girlfriend 

Though the Petron vs Ginebra game started at 6:30 pm, the kids arrived very early even before 6 pm so they can get their free tickets. The 4 girls were separated as two of them were at the lower boxes and the other two got the patron seats. My eldest daughter as always  took all the pictures at the hardcourt. I will just let the pictures tell their stories.


Warming Up 


 I could not help but feel a sense of pride watching this on TV


Petron and Ginebra fans ready to cheer for their teams 




Sam took a stolen shot at her sisters Kyle and Sidney 


It had always been known in Philippine Basketball that team Ginebra had thousands of fans owing it to the Filipino basketball legend Robert Jaworski who played and acted as coach during his last years before he retired. And his legacy had lived on until now. From my daughter's pictures, a cousin from CA commented that she could sense the tension among the crowd. My girls felt it as well but that did not stop them to cheer and root for their favorite player, Petron Jersey # 20.













                          

Go Mallari !


                              
                              


And despite the close fight, my girls got what they wanted when they saw the final score. It would be an understatement to say they had gone wild knowing Petron won. But that was just the icing on the cake. When the game finished they had rushed to the dug out, like any other fans so they can  get close to the reason why they had watched in the first place.




Excuse me. " Relatives first , " said my gutsy daughter Kyle .


Sam finally get to meet her cousin and favorite PBA player
                              

Seeing their happy faces made  me realize that I just did the right thing. It was indeed worth the wait after all.









Saturday, October 20, 2012

Spontaneous Answers

I love spontaneity. Before I did not even know what that meant until I realized that I was a spontaneous person. Perhaps it is the artist in me who just pops out and comes alive with thoughts and words that I have long kept but now openly shares by blogging.





For the past months I had a random visitor who would be kind enough to drop a line or two. Her name is Bing of  warmstonesite.com. She is a blogger and a writer long before I had started blogging as shown on her articles and the way she writes. It is quite flattering when an experienced and versatile writer visits my site, even tags me  in a meme considering I never had any background in creative writing nor journalism even way back high school. It maybe shallow for some but in writing, blogging or even in life, the best way to learn is for one to realize that humility is the key to learn more.

So for those of you who get a kick for  one word answers, come and get to know me more in this One Word Meme.

1. Where is your cell phone?  bed
2. Describe your boyfriend/girlfriend?  Nuts
3. Your hair?  gray
4. Your mother?  bookworm
5. Your father?  artist
6. Your favourite item? cellphone
7. Your dream last night?  None
8. Your favourite drink? water
9. Your dream car? Benz
10. The room you are in? bedroom
11. Your ex? alive
12. Your fear?  Cancer
13. What do you want to be in 10 years?  content
14. Who did you hang out with last night?  none
15. What you’re not?  mistress
16. The last thing you did?  eat
17. What are you wearing?  boylegs
18. Your favourite book?  Potter
19. The last thing you ate? Sinigang
20. Your life?  Crazy
21. Your mood?  Light
22. Your friends?  Few
23. What are you thinking about right now?  Investments
24. Your car?  None
25. What are you doing at the moment?  Blogging
26. Your summer?  Colorful
27. What is on your TV?  Blank
28. When is the last time you laughed?   Morning
29. Last time you cried?  Weeks
30. School?  Challenging


As I was answering the questions I found out that there were ones where Bing and I have the same responses. Frankly I was not surprised. It maybe hard to understand  but the existence of familiarity can be felt even in the cyber world. And for those interested to join, here are the rules. 

Directions: Create a new blog post. Write an introduction. Copy and paste the meme below into your blog, changing the ANSWERS to your own. Use the title of this meme in your subject line or create your own. Feel free to tag your friends or not. A LINK BACK TO THIS POST would be appreciated.

There you go. By the way if you are not too busy feel free to visit my blogger friend Bing here. And once you are there you may find out that you would want to stick around for more.





(photo credits to pinterest.com)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Zumba Love

Zumba, a Latin dance which became popular decades ago. I thought that hype will die down once a new fitness regime gets discovered.

When there was a free Zumba class at Convergys I grabbed that opportunity without second thoughts. The minute I started dancing, I was glad I made the right choice. Every move and dance step felt familiar. There was no pressure to follow without fail. I realized that I was having a great time and enjoyed every minute of it. I was hooked with the Zumba craze and from that day on marked my love affair with Zumba.




(This is my entry for the Zumba Goes Hollyween Holly Win Promo )

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Proudly Versatile

A few weeks ago I was visiting a blogger friend's site to get updated on her current posts. Since I started blogging I had made some friends who I planned to meet in the future and one way to get to know them better was  by reading their stories and articles. But when I blog hopped at Lousie 's blog, author of Mommy Practicality, I found out that she nominated me for the Versatile Blogger Award. And
I had never been happier.

So to accept this award I need to abide with some simple rules :
1. Acknowledge who nominated me for a link back.
2. Write 7 random things about myself.
3. Pass the award to 15 newly discovered blogs and tell them about it.

Here are the seven random things about myself.

1. I was a speech delayed kid. My mom told me that I uttered my first word by the age of two. Though that first word came out clear, she was not a bit worried that I will have difficulty in school.

2. I am a Denzel Washington fan. Though it was my only sister who introduced me to his movies while we were watching "Crimson Tide" on video, it was when I read a Time magazine article and found out that his face was considered to be a perfect symmetry that my admiration was triggered. Though he is uniquely good looking, the movies and characters he had portrayed and performed impeccably were the reasons that had made me an avid fan.

3. My mom became my fourth grade teacher and I even thought that I would fail in her class. She was a tedious teacher who expected her students to take their studies seriously and always did the extra mile in making learning enjoyable. She was very dedicated to her craft that when she retired on her 65th birthday, she chose to render the remaining months left in that school year without pay, worried that her fast learner students will adjust and suffer with the transition.

4. It was my dad who became my teacher in Music and the Arts. Most songs, musicians, movies and artists were introduced by my dad through his stories and songs. The knowledge he shared during my childhood years had widened my world even if it was not gained inside the classroom or from reading.

5. I had a kind hearted aunt who was a real life fairy godmother. The first and last time we were together was during my christening as she had lived in CA together with my uncle for the rest of her life. She had never forgotten to send me gifts until her last days. She succumbed to liver cancer and had crossed over August of this year.

6. Some of my customers over the phone had noticed and commented that I am far from being a Filipina. They usually tell me that I am Dutch, Irish or British. An old woman from CA with a European last name even pointed out that she had lots of Filipino friends and that my accent was definitely not from the Philippines but from Eastern Europe. Another male customer even asked me a question before I let him go over the phone if I had lived in Holland as he grew up there. Quite flattering considering I had never been to any other country other than my own.

7. I was featured on the latest  Linked which is the official Convergys Magazine.The photo was taken and picked by a member of the foreign press last May at a Fun Run  spearheaded by the European Community. My colleagues' group photo was chosen and it landed on the cover. I happened to be at the center and that issue was distributed on all sites including those in other parts of the world.


And here are my chosen Versatile Bloggers .

1. Jennifer of Mamarific.com
2. Ron of RonSilvoza.com
3. Grace of Chronicles of A Domestic Diva
4. Ria of Home Is Where The Heart Is
5. Khaye of Legally Mama
6. Michi of Michi Photostory
7. Crickette of The Drama Queen Can Tell Stories
8. Rossel of Mom's Ups & Downs
9. Janice of Roller Coaster Ride
10. Michelle of Stage Mom's Imaginings
11. Cheryl Ann of Riding the Breeze
12. Faye of Adventures of A Dilettante Mom
13. Yami of  Mom Writes For a Cause
14. Heather of Living On The Perimeter
15. Verabear of In Between The Covers






A versatile is someone who is capable of doing many things competently and  can also describe a person who is inconstant or changeable. In Biology it is the capability of moving freely in all directions, as the toe of an owl, antenna of an insect or the loosely attached anther of a flower. Funny but I feel I can relate more on that Biological term as I personally believe that to live one's life fully, a person should learn to reinvent himself and not just be content with a life that is monotonous and sedentary. One's horizon should not be limited with the workplace, home, family and friends. Learning and dreaming should not stop once we have kids, had sent them to school and built our dream house. The world is such a vast place for opportunities and there is really no harm in having a door opened for one more.

So to the 15 bloggers that I have chosen. kudos to all of you!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Another Milestone

Last Friday, my three kids who have special needs went out on a date at McDonalds together with their eldest sister Sam to watch over them. They just literally walked to get there which had helped in calming them down as Sam had noticed each time youngest brother Red bug her to go out for a walk. On their way to McDonalds, Sam had instructed seventeen year old Kookie, who is now a freshman to order their food. She made her remember what meal needs to be ordered which was not that much (Their budget was just P200 or approximately $5.00 US dollars). Kookie slipped once when she was trying to recall what needs to be said, still Sam was confident that her sister will be able to do it. Besides it was Kookie's persons with disability id that will be used and her signature needed so they could have their meal at a discounted rate. Sam also felt that it was about time Kookie learned to do this on her own.



(Kookie, Red and Sidney enjoying their meal at McDonalds)


Their short order consisted of 4 McFloats and a couple of French Fries which only cost approximately P150 all because of the discount. It was just a simple date with a very basic meal, perhaps not even enough for my kids ever growing appetite. But it was another milestone for my learning disabled Kookie and in our lives as well, a sign that trust coupled with patience and love bring out the best in our children, wether they have special disabilities or none at all. Another feat deserved to be shared, remembered and write about knowing that this will just be one of the many milestones my children are about to discover and achieve in their pursuit for acceptance and independence.





Sunday, September 16, 2012

Zumba All The Way

I had written, not once how I now usually start my weekends early with brisk walking and joining the taebo/aerobics class at Bonifacio Global City. Coming from an industry where it takes too much to wake up early in the morning since we spend our evenings working, most of my colleagues not only noticed but had seen how serious I am on my journey through fitness. However the weather had not really been cooperative these past days so I just had to accept I will be missing 2 days worth of exercise. So last night, I decided not to set my alarm since I will just be spending indoors the whole day.

Surprisingly I woke up at 4:30 am. It seemed my body had gotten used to waking this early during Sundays. I looked outside the window, hoping to see some stars but there appeared to be gloomy skies instead. Still I took a light breakfast consisting of a cup of cereal and two slices of wheat bread. I longingly looked at my running shoes hoping I could wear them that day until I heard the gushing of wind accompanied by light rains, sign that I have no choice but really stay home this time.That was when I turn on the computer and directly searched the word "Zumba" at google.com.

The Zumba is a dance fitness program created by Colombian dancer, choreographer and fitness instructor Alberto "Beto" Perez way back 1990's. Not known to many, Beto had created this widely renowned dance fitness by accident when he forgot the tapes for his traditional aerobics music on his way to teach a fitness class. Though what's inside his backpack were tapes of salsa and merengue, music that he grew up with as he was a native of Cali, Colombia, Beto spontaneously created his own dance-fitness routine where it focused on letting the music move you instead of counting repetitions just like in any aerobics class. Surprisingly, Beto's class became energized even smiling, proof that they loved what they were doing. And on that day a new fitness revolution was born - the Zumba Fitness Party.

The Zumba icon originally designed by Alberto "Beto" Perez

Zumba sessions typically lasts for an hour and the exercises include music with fast and slow tempos as well as resistance training. The music comes from cumbia, salsa,merengue, flamenco, chacha, samba, reggaeton, belly dancing, bhangra, hiphop music, axe music and tango. There are also types and classes for different ages and exertion.

1. Zumba Gold
   This targets the elderly generation (good thing I became interested early and not 14 years later) and it specifically designed to the needs of the elderly which also includes the same kind of music. That also gives one an idea how Zumba can encourage our mothers or fathers to join. One might even be surprised how quick they learn once they hear their favorite tango and chacha music.

2. Zumba Toning
    This are for people who do their workouts with toning sticks as this will target the abs,thighs,arms and other areas.

3. Aqua Zumba
    This is Zumba at its finest as it is done in a swimming pool.

4. Zumba in the circuit
    This is dancing combined with circuit training.

Since Zumba is low impact , it is safe for all ages and some of the classes are specifically aimed at elderly people, helping them build strength, improve motion and posture.

As I was doing my reading I also stumbled upon a video with no less than Beto  together with other fitness instructors doing the Zumba. While watching the first routine, it suddenly became familiar. I realized then that I had danced the same thing at a free Zumba class held last month at Convergys.

Instantly I grabbed my rubber shoes, put on the headset making sure not to bother those who were still asleep. And mind you I did not notice that almost two hours had passed as I followed, sweat, even cursed when I can't follow the steps immediately and the video lapsed. I even thought that I did not perspire much. Until I took off my shirt to shower and found that most of it was wet with sweat.

Typically a Zumba session burns between 500 to 1000 calories. Really? No sweat then. I think I just found another way to get fit even on a rainy day.


Below is the video where the first part of the routine was the exact dance I had done during a free Zumba class sponsored by our company. The man with the awesome abs is no other than Alberto "Beto" Perez. Feel free to join him  and you will realize it will be worth it. 






Zumba Fitness Live Workout



(Image credits to dailymotion.com. Zumba knowledge from google.com and zumba.com for references)

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Be Fearless, Be Proud

I just created an account at Pinterest and I think I will be a constant visitor and follower from now on. There are a lot of awesome pictures, quotations either from famous people or anonymous ones. This early I already had some pins that are worth sharing and one of them is this.





I do not know who wrote this but it exactly describes what I have been through and the dreams I still want to achieve, may they be unrealistic or nearly impossible. The minute I read this I immediately chose and re pin it, inspiring me even to write a short post. It made me look back on that old movie "Hook" where Peter Pan played by Robin Williams, had grown old in the real world and whose  children were kidnapped by Captain Hook played by Dustin Hoffman. Good thing his friend Wendy, played by Maggie Smith now his mother in law helped him remember who he was and ever loyal  fairy, Tinkerbell played by Julia Roberts guided him back to Neverland so he can rescue his two kids. Thing was Peter Pan had long forgotten how to fly. The demands of the real world and the overwhelming responsibilities of parenting made it hard for him to remember. It was only when he started learning how to fly again and about to fall that he finally recalled everything especially when his  Neverland friends shouted "Do not forget that happy thought !"

I sometimes loose faith on things I still want to achieve because most of them are near impossible, even unrealistic. At times I feel time is my enemy, something that all of us do not have any control. Still, I keep hanging on to those dreams, those happy thoughts. I write about them, tell my kids and friends about it, never letting go. Time maybe running short but faith has a way of turning the impossible into a reality.

Besides I may find all of them coming true sooner than I expected.




BC_BLOGGERS





(I would like to thank Rochelle who hosted this week's BC Bloggers Meme. Do have the time to visit her at My Not So Secret Diary here )

Sunday, September 9, 2012

An Award Like No Other

When I was new to blogging, I came across some blogs that were awarded the Liebster Award. Though I have learned that one blogger should be nominated  to get one, I told myself then it would still be cool to be recognized and validated by other bloggers as well.

Since then a lot of things happened. I joined communities, contests, submitted articles, some  eventually getting published. I started to have friends and followers. Suddenly,the blogging world no longer appeared strange. It became a place where information was shared and ordinary people whose extraordinary stories became sources of inspiration, an abode where I can just be my true self. It had only been less than a year and I already had forgotten about that particular award with a foreign name until a blogger named Jane Ridgewood of  janeridgewood.blogspot.com nominated me for it. You can read Jane's post about my nomination here.I could not help but smile and be thankful to Jane who chose me among the many bloggers in this blogging world. She finally made my wish come true.

The Liebster Award recognizes new and upcoming bloggers who have less than 200 followers (or friends) on their contribution to the blogging world. Liebster is a German word whose meanings include kindest, dearest,favorite,valued,welcome.There maybe a lot of wonderful things associated with the word Liebster and I could add just one more to it - appreciated,  as I will always remember this German word and the appreciation that went along with it.


In order to accept this award, one must abide the following rules. And they are as follows :

The Rules:
01)  Each person must list 11 things about themselves.
02)  Answer the 11 questions that the tagger has set for you PLUS you MUST create 11 questions of your own for the 11 people you will nominate with this award.
03)  Choose up to 11 bloggers linking them to your post.
04)  Go to their page and inform them of the nomination.
05)  Absolutely NO tags back. Remember to ONLY tag bloggers with less than 200 followers.

So, here are the eleven (and not so ordinary things) about me.

1.When I am infront of the computer, I use the mouse with my left hand. I am not a leftie but my brother and three of my kids are. Perhaps it runs in the family as I also have cousins and nephews who are lefties as well.

2. I am very quick to learn new tunes and dance steps. I come from a musically gifted family where my uncles, including my dad learned to play at least three musical instruments by self study. Most of them, including my aunts, cousins, nephews and nieces can sing as well.

3. My dad used to act in the Zarzuela, a Spanish term equivalent to a musical stage theater and three of the cast were historical figures in the Philippines. They were the Dela Rosa brothers, Rogelio and Jaime who became  icons of the  Philippine Movie Industry  and Diosdado Macapagal, the poor boy from Lubao, who eventually became one of the Presidents of the Philippines.

4. I have an uncle who was awarded the Purple Heart of Valor as he was killed in action during World War II. His name was Romeo Guerrero, husband to my aunt, Africa Mallari. Their marriage only lasted for a few years, cut short by uncle's passing. They had two kids but their love lasted many decades later as my aunt never remarried after that.

5. I love to laugh my heart out. It does not really bother me even though a lot of people noticed that. I also do not join the laughter when I don't  find a funny thing in what was just shared or said. Laughter should be free, not to be analyzed if it is done properly or not.

 6. I love stories about kids and kid stuff. I enjoy watching these kind of movies together with my kids. For me it is something that I will not get tired of doing.

7. I love looking pictures about food. Hmm, that thought suddenly made me hungry.

8. I am starting to get the habit of starting my weekends early with brisk walking and joining the aero class at the park. It is just a great way to start one's day.

9. I have been reading as early as I can remember. There was even a time that I read more than I studied my lessons during my freshman years.

10. I am a T.V. addict. I have to admit that I had learned a lot watching good and informative shows, lessons which I had not learned inside the classroom.

11. The coolest thing that I had recently was winning an  Apple ipad 2 from an online magazine.

And now here the answers to Jane's eleven questions 

01: What is your favorite scent? 
I am not really into perfume or fragrances. But I do love the scent of clean clothes, babies and after I just bathed my kids. I also love the smell of my mom's cooking. It reminds me of my childhood and all the happy memories spent at our old home. 

02: What is your favorite season?
Christmas will always be my most favorite part of the year. The Christmas spirit, the songs and Yuletide cheers which you just want to spread to every one, wether you know them or not.

03: Where is your favorite vacation spot?
If my budget permits, Tagaytay would be a practical vacation spot. Just near Manila and accessible to go to. Abroad I would choose CA or NY because I also have relatives there. 

04: Who is your favorite band/artist?
I love the songs of Earth, Wind and Fire, Chicago, Quincy Jones, Burt Bacharach, Michelle Legrand,Henry Mancini and Sergio Mendez. Songs of Stevie Wonder, Barbara Streisand, Patti Austin and James Ingram are also some of my favorite artists of all time.

05: What is your earliest memory?
This was a hard one. One of my earliest memories was when I would count the "Curly Tops" chocolate candies inside the box bought by my dad. Same thing with MnM's chocolate candies. Every time I opened one, it seems that my dad is still there watching me eat them, and that brings back a lot of good memories.

06: When did you start blogging?
I started blogging November of 2011. I was encouraged by a blogger friend who I met in a game show audition. That was also the last time I saw her.

07: What is your favorite T.V. show?
I love watching NCIS and the CSI Series. They are fast paced, filled with action with drama on the side.

08: What genre do you enjoy reading?
I enjoy reading  legal/action/suspense thriller. I am not into romance that much. I also enjoyed reading all Harry Potter Books.

09: Would you ever (or do you) run more than one blog?
If I have more time. I might run another blog about fitness and health. 

10: What is your favorite animal? Why?
I love cats and dogs. For me they are the safest pets and had grown accustomed to having them around most of my life.

11: What are you most thankful for in life?
I am thankful for a lot of things. My family, friends, work, writing, good health. I try to find time to be thankful very early in the morning  or even at the most unexpected places.

I hope you are still with me on this one because now comes the exiting part. (drumroll please )

I now give the list of my nominated bloggers who I chose to hand this prestigious award. 

1.http://legallymama.blogspot.com/                                        2. http://www.iheartgoodhealth.com/
3. http://mommypracticality.blogspot.com/                              4. http://joandestacio.blogspot.com/
5. http://adventuresonplanetmom.blogspot.com/                      6. http://jonathinks.blogspot.com/ 
7. http://www.womanscribbles.net/                                         8. http://beforeiturn25.blogspot.com/
9. http://dilettantesinglemom.blogspot.com/                        10http://cazzapoeia.blogspot.com/ 
                                        
                                             11. http://theblackswampcornucopia.blogspot.com/



Finally here are the eleven questions for the lucky bloggers I have chosen for this award.

1. What do you love most about blogging ?
2. What  was the first song or tune that you sang ?
3. What was the first gift  that you had ever received ?
4. What is one historical story in your family that you are most proud of?
5. When did you first learn to go home on your own?
6. When did you first learn to live on your own ?
7. Who is your favorite author and why?
8. What is (are) your favorite  movie(s) that touched on  history or based on real life events ?
9. What do you do when you experience writer's block?
10. What book or story that you will never get tired of reading?
11. What difficult decision had you done in your life that was worth it?

I will be looking forward to read all of  your posts. And by the way, let me end this by saying, "Congratulations to all of you! "




Sunday, August 19, 2012

A Winner in His Own Right


My daughter Kyle could not contain her excitement when she told that Alex Mallari was the third pick overall for the PBA Draft last Sunday, August 19, 2012. Honestly I was not really surprised as my nephew had been a favorite even before the draft had started. I could not help but smile how he had gone a long way.


( A  few days before the PBA draft)

When Alex first came to the country more than a year ago, her aunt had sent a message to all his relatives that had a facebook account, even adding that before he left CA, his grandparents told him of the places and relatives that he needed to visit. I thought then that he was just a tourist but when I started browsing his profile photos, I was surprised to see that he was wearing a basketball jersey and being interviewed by a courtside reporter. That was when I sent him a message and introduced myself which he kindly responded. When I told my kids about these,  they turned to google to know more about him, even stumbling a picture of a young Alex during his days at Lewis - State Clark College. From then on, we became avid fans, always looking at the updates for every game, making sure to watch him if my schedule permits and if the venue is accessible to our place. Sadly, we only got to see him live twice since then but every time we do, we get to bring him some "ensaymada, " which was more than enough excuse so we can to talk and hug him for a few minutes once the game had ended.

Seemed it was like yesterday when we watched and took a video of that first game which we uploaded so that his family can watched it back home. And that last game where he just recovered from an eye injury, leaving him ten stitches, but still managed to play and score for his team, though loosing the game in the end. That was when I told him, "keep safe," pointing to his left eye, which was slightly red from the injury.

Perhaps a lot of us may think that basketball players who came from abroad  have all the advantage of entering the Philippine Basketball League. As far as height, built and looks are concerned, people may think that these players can pull all the strings to their benefit. But what others do not know is that they also have their share of challenges, ridicule and discrimination. Same thing when our love ones choose to live and work for a foreign country. My kids and I were not blind with the thread of comments we read at one point when Alex was getting negative feedback on how he played his games. I told them they should get used to it because it was part of being in the limelight. What matters is we know him better than other people do. And that some are just really good in giving feedback and in finding other people's faults.

All too often we forgot that hard work and determination can never dampen one's spirit in order to achieve a dream. That feedback, subjective or otherwise can only add fuel to continue what had been started. Not even distance, loneliness or the longing to be home during special occasions or time of illness can affect one's sense of focus and professionalism just to reach that certain goal. Some perhaps were just born lucky as others were born winners.


(Alex's defining moment when PETRON  finally chose him to be part of its  team)


The Robinson's Place at Ermita, Manila was filled with basketball fans and spectators. I told my kids it will be hard to get near him unlike before as he is now a celebrity in his own right with reporters asking for interviews left and right. But my daughter Kyle would not budge. "Once he sees us, he will recognize us immediately." I know that. Alex is one person who has his two feet planted firmly on the ground and remembers his humble beginnings. I added there will be other days that we will be able to talk to him again. I even assured them that day will not be long from now.

Besides, what matters is that he finally got what he deserved and  we should thank him for making us all proud.








(image credit to spin.ph and Ms Miakka Lim's facebook.com  photos)







Friday, August 17, 2012

It Is About Time We Exercise

I recently found a fitness buddy who had long wanted to get back into shape for some time now. This strong woman is also a single parent who used to be a gym buff years ago. Sadly that had changed when she gave birth to her youngest and became busy with work.

One great motivation to get fit is to have a buddy. For some of us who are not that lucky, we only have our determination and discipline to get fit. Others find the wisdom on the people they care about who had gotten ill as a result of an unhealthy lifestyle.

Whatever drives us to exercise, it pays to remember that it is never too late to start. And allow me to share why I decided to listen to my body clock and finally focus on wellness and getting fit.



My first hip hop class at Bonifacio Global City




It is About Time We Exercise | Healthmad

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Five Countries I Want to Visit Before I Retire

I often ask myself what is with traveling that attracts most people? Is it because of the fad or the adventure that comes with it? Have people become so stressed with their lives that their souls are dying to get some fresh air, a change of scenery even if it will cost them a hefty amount? Whatever the reasons behind why people travel, be it a personal or a fancy one, there really must be something unique that makes the experience worth remembering and sharing it with the ones you love.

I have travelled many times with the stories I have read, heard and watched on the screen since I was a kid. And with these stories, some places did struck my interest not just because of the rich history and culture but the people who lived in it. They maybe fictional, historical or real, still it will not do any harm to visit and get a glimpse of how it felt to walk, dine and breath the same air these colorful characters had given life while I was growing up.

Below are the five countries I want to visit before I retire.


(The Buckingham Palace)

1. England. London, The Buckingham Palace, The Westminster Abbey,Wales and if possible get to visit the places where CS Lewis, Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, Jane Austen and JK Rowling grew up and studied. It would also be a plus to visit some of the historical places while they were in the process of writing the drafts of their stories like that cafe where JK Rowling visited as she wrote the lines that will ultimately become the best loved story of all time - Harry Potter.


(The Palace of Versailles)




2. France. Known for its art, music and rich history, it is a country that I will want to visit simply because someone close to my heart who had very humble beginnings was able to get a financially secured life in France, proof that nothing is impossible as long as you put your heart into it.











3. Egypt. Blame it on my undying love for the "The Mummy" and "The Mummy Returns" movies. But I guess even during the time of Elizabeth Taylor's "Cleopatra," I have gotten bewitched with Egyptians, pyramids, pharoahs, mummies plus the woven tales and legends that go with it. 









(Old Montreal At Sunrise)




4. Canada. From what I have heard and read, a lot of Filipinos tried their luck in this country and became successful. Though I believe that life is what we make it, still my curiosity was triggered on why this country had become so popular that it deserves to be visited. Perhaps I just need to find out, if I am lucky to set foot on it in the future. 





5. USA. I already have my map marked on this one. The trip will start in NY where I get to visit my only sister and her family. Since NJ is just a 30 minute walk from her place, I will take advantage of that. We will walk the streets, take the subway, perhaps visit even the NY Public Library, Ground Zero and other places where I only had read or seen at the movies.


(My sister Xenia and her daughter Ingrid)

Then after two weeks, I will visit the rest of my relatives in CA. Most of them are already there, in Los Angeles, Glendale, Los Alamitos, Long Beach, Lakewood. These places I knew by heart because of the endless stories my dad told me, about his only brother who I've only met once, his wife who is my godmother, and their kids whose names had become all too familiar, but never got the chance to meet even until now. Now when all of us have families of our own. Now where we get to keep in touch through Facebook.com, whose pictures had been sent via snail mail since I was a kid which my family had kept all these years, proof that we are related and whose ties can never be broken despite the many decades that had passed.


(My cousins from CA - Paul, Kuya Percy, Ate Marilyn, Kuya Val and Ate Olivia)

One avid traveller once shared that life does not only consist of how many breaths you have taken but how many times it took your breath away. At the back of my mind I know it will be ages to set foot in any of these countries but then again everything is possible if one believes that one day, this will all come true. And I have a strong feeling that it might just happen very soon. 


BC_BLOGGERS
                                                


Many thanks to Jimmy who is the host of this week's BC Bloggers Meme. You can drop him a visit at
jimmylifeadventure.blogspot.com








(image credit to google and facebook.com)









Sunday, July 15, 2012

When You Were Born


You know what  all mothers say when they had their first born? They did not have any clue on what to do. From breastfeeding, to bathing, to taking care of a wailing and sick babe so she can be put to sleep. I felt then that I would not survive in all departments, sometimes even wished that you shut up for a short while so I can get some sleep.


(Sam's first photo taken twenty years ago)
                                                  
 When you became a toddler, I asked myself not once what planet you came from. When I read you stories, you wanted me to hear your version's ending, cutting me off before the finish. You doodled almost every where.You loved watching TV so I was very selective on what shows you should watch. You also became very observant and careful with words. My sister instantly noticed how you did not answer immediately if the question seemed testy.  

Your Grandma told me you were very independent, not needing a lot of instructions and doting. In school she can leave you with her students with no fuss while she attended a short meeting.You took your studies seriously, effortlessly that you stood out in every class, in every competition. I remembered that time when you asked me what a gold medal looked like. I smiled. At a young age I knew you always aimed for the gold.

We did not always look eye to eye. Perhaps it was just my age or the generation nowadays.You were completely aware of my rules, respected every one of them because not doing so would mean an argument that you will not win. I maybe hard to live with sometimes but it was not also easy being your mother.

I also knew it was not easy being the eldest among six siblings who look up to you for almost every thing. Patience, attention and understanding multiplied by six, not to mention three of them were special kids. I knew there were instances that you almost wanted to snap, with such responsibility that was given yet  did not even ask. And perhaps you knew that I was not blind enough to see, deaf enough  to hear, the pain and struggle that you went through every day.



(One of my best loved pictures with Samantha)
                                            
We had gone a long way. At a glance you seemed like an ordinary girl but by far a lady with so much character. If dysfunctional families were words you have shunned, unconventionalism was one thing you had embraced. Books, classical movies, music, writing, photography, family, friendships and laughter all made up your world. As you journey through life, every adventure means conquering one's fears. And you know by heart that conquering ones' fears means facing it.

Looking you from afar, sometimes I cannot help but smile and ask where you got that spark, that free spirit. Looking back now, out of the many wrong decisions I had made in my life, one right deed stood out and that was having you.


(A daughter every mom would be proud of )


Seeing you now and what you had become was all worth it.

And I would not have it any other way.













(image credits to facebook.com)