North vs. South (The Baguio Adventure)

I spent a fun-filled three days and two nights stay in Baguio with the rest of the “mean girls”…have to say that I love my stay there because I had such good company…I can’t remember ever laughing heartily so hard and so much in my entire life…the mean girls were just so plain crazy (but that would be for another blog entry)…While in Baguio, I came up with this nice idea for this blog, that is to check out the place and compare it to my all time favorite weekend get-away…Tagaytay…

We stayed in this, well, nice place called El Cielito Inn…we had the best room I guess, an apartelle with a sala, mini-kitchen, two bedroom and a bathroom. The Inn was cozy although the breakfast that they serve is just ordinary nothing special. We went around Baguio checking out places such as Burnham, Mines View and the much talked about Session road and SM Baguio. We went all the way to La Trinidad, Benguet (with soaking feet because it was raining so hard that fateful afternoon) just to buy strawberries. What can I say, Baguio known as the Summer Capital of the Philippines, the way I see it, is a big mound of sprouting mushroom of houses…gone where the scenic sites, the “Ahhhhh” views, the “Ooohhhh” sceneries. Instead it was replaced by houses, condos, apartelles, and more houses. Traffic was a bit horrendous in some parts because of rerouting and on-going road constructions. I would have mistaken Session road for Divisoria with its crowded streets and filthy corners if not for the cool and windy weather…It’s a sad reality, this famous City of Pines has become so congested and commercialized that vacationing there can get a little bit stressful and not relaxing anymore….I would have to say Luneta now is much more beautiful compared to Burnham and Mines View now. Burnham just have so many vendors in its street and the view in Mines View is blocked by the many tianges lining up its sides.  They lost their magic. The things I love in Baguio though are the shopping, for the pasalubong and other things, plus of course the fog and the cool, windy weather..I just love it especially during the night when we took a stroll in the streets, in the early mornings when we wake up and in the mid afternoon when the sun is hot but you don’t get that icky sweaty feeling. I also love the honest cab drivers who don’t charge high. I love the drive up north to Baguio where you can see lots of trees lining up the road and the ricefields going to Tarlac.I love the ‘Fried Chicken in Chinese sauce’ in this place called Star Café, a restaurant built in the 1940s and still stands up to this day. The ube of Good Sheperd and of course the strawberries of Benguet. I love the night spent drinking booze where the mean girls were thus born and created. The days spent combing the streets looking for great fun.

There are times during my stay when I would think about Tagaytay, with its cool windy weather and its scenic spots. The Tagaytay Picinic Groove where you can get nice views in places tucked in its secret corners. The great spots nearby such as Pink Sisters, Sonya’s Garden and Caluruega. The highlands and the clean rows of restaurants with the surprisingly perfect view of the famous Taal volcano at their back. The bulalo, oohhh the bulalo of Leslie’s. I would think about the hassle-free trip going there and the feeling of homecoming every time you step out of the car…the peace and quiet and the unhurried way everybody moves there..

So, I threw this question to the other mean girls over bottles of vodka cruiser and bailey’s…North vs. South..hmm…for the mean girls Cavite chapter (hahaha!!!) its south..What about you? What’s your vote…let me know okay…just post your comment ..:)

When Bianca Got the Silver…

This is the first time I’ve ever felt so proud in my life I thought my heart would just simply burst…I saw her walking awkwardly in the stage, steps unsure, shaking the hand of a person who’s larger than life, clutching her prize and bowing in the center smiling straight at us…then she was off the stairs…I almost dragged my husband because I am just simply excited to place her silver medal on her head…she fulfilled my secret dream, she made my prayers come true…

She really deserve that silver medal, she got that on her own. I always feel guilty you know, because I always forget to check her school diary, for things to bring and lessons to review because I am so used to her being responsible. She would finish her homework all by herself and would ask me only in things that she cannot understand. One time, I simply forgot that the following day was her math long test, I totally freaked out, I was screaming, I was cramming, I was frentic in finishing up the math practice exercise…suddenly, she said “Mommy, can I sleep now, I know that already,” and then she was off to bed. It calmed my heart…The following morning, I was at the chapel praying fervently for a miracle…God is great! She passed the exam with flying colors…since then I never doubted her words..That is why when she said in this last math quarter exam, “Mommy the test was really hard…” The following morning, I was at the chapel again very early praying fervently for a miracle…The other time, I read in her diary Sunday night that they had to memorize a poem to be recited Monday, I harassed everybody in the house with my pacing back and forth while reciting each line trying to let it sink in her head only to find out after that she knew the whole poem already by heart…There are a lot of times when I know I let her down with my Alzheimer-like memory. That time when I should have bought a yellow cartolina instead of a pink one, when I should have bought a white paper plate instead of the silver one, when I should have let her bring a raincoat to school for their rainy day theme or when I forgot to provide her with the magazine for her project…those times, she just shrugged off with a smile…never once did she complain, she would just give me her teasing smile…I am so blessed to have a mommy, I mean daughter :) like her…

She is such an angel, she gets bullied most of the time coz she would rather keep the peace than start a fight. She would give her food, her toys, her things without second thought. For her everybody is a good friend. She is a loyal friend because even if all her so called friends finished up her money or food, in the end they are still her friends. She never forgets to say I love you, and would always surprise you with a kiss or a hug…She becomes a scardy cat when there are crawling and flying insects, or crazy people in the streets, but she becomes a brave soldier in times when she needs to take all those medicines or get those painful shots. When I am scared she holds my hand, when I am sick she nursed me with care, when my ego is bruised she knows how to give it a boost, when I am hurt she knows the right words to say, when I am having a tantrum or a screaming fit she just knows how to calm me down…sometimes it seems that she is the mommy and I am the baby ..I am just so simply lucky to have her..so proud and lucky…Imagine if I am the perfect mommy, she would not get that silver award, instead she might just have gotten that coveted gold..I’ll try Bianca, I’ll try really hard next time.:)

Teaching Nine-year-olds

I’m gonna miss teaching for a while…not because I am taking a leave off from work but because it’s also vacation time for us teachers…this year I can say that I’ve never enjoyed teaching this much..I taught in pre-school before to four year olds and five years old, they are cute, cuddly and nice. They will adore you, you are the world to them and your word is the law. The parents will just say your name and ding! Their children will automatically follow… But nothing I can say beats teaching 9 year olds. I handled three sections of grade three this year, I absolutely had a grand time! Each section is unique, I had the brainy-section, the nothing-can-shake-us-not-even-an-earthquake section (which unfortunately is my class advisory) and the everything-goes section. I called the first section the brainy section because great ideas, opinions and point of views flow everytime I teach in this section. The discussion goes so smoothly that the three day lesson plan that I prepare gets cut down to just one day. In this section, you can find the girl with the wide-rimmed glasses often reciting facts straight out of the handout, the girl who is often not just there but when you check her test papers you will be surprised that she gets everything perfect, the girl who hates the world and so she creates her own world in her drawing pad and with her books, and the girl who in whatever she does she excels, and so her classmates absolutely hate and love her for it at the same time…For the nothing-can-shake-us section, I must admit I have to thank them for wringing out in me all the creative juices that I have to make my class an absolutely not! boring class, for they are hard to please. The great and exciting activities just fall flat with them. Not so much because they want to make it hard for you and they are just not interested but simply because they are looking out for more than what you can give sometimes, and so you exert an extra effort here and there until they warmed up to your ideas and join in. You will find here the girl who is too shy to recite but when she recites she has the brightest ideas, the girl who is simply intelligent with no effort at all, and the girl who needs your special attention because she just can’t understand everything on her own…you will realize for yourself when you’re with them that teaching is not simply enumerating facts but also bringing it to the level where they can relate and understand it better…Now, for the everything goes section, no teaching days are ever same with them. They are spontaneous, carefree and smart. A simple discussion can turn into a heated debate to them, a motivational game can turn out to be the best game of their life that they had to win and a simple “settle down girls” won’t do, you have to holler and scream to get their attention, and when you do that, they will holler and scream at each other to remind each other to settle down and so chaos begins. And when you step out of their classroom at the end of the period, you will feel like you’ve been teaching the whole day but even so you will suddenly realize that they made your day….here you can find the girl who is so emotional that happy or sad she will burst into tears, the girl who can’t seem to keep herself from blurting out the answers therefore making her classmates want to kill her for spoiling it for them, and the girl who is often taking her own sweet time in everything that she does making you so frustrated but because of her sweetness you forgive her for it…Teaching is not an effort when you do it for them, it is simply a breeze…I remember when I asked the girls to write a letter to the mayor , I can’t help but laugh at some of their works… one of my students after praising the mayor for a job well done wrote as a closing “..and I hope you die happy and holy..” and another one after criticizing the mayor for the projects in their community that didn’t work out, in her postscript wrote “..by the way, nice shot there in the billboard where did you have it taken?” and the most hilarious of all, my Korean student wrote “…Dear Mr. Aldrin San Pedro, good morning dear…”…Aaawww, I would simply miss the girls…I will miss their intelligence, spontaneity, spark and spunk… I will miss their drawings and little notes that say, “You’re the best teacher “, “Your so cool” or “follow us in intermediate miss, please”..I’m just so thankful and glad that for a year at least, I was able to make a mark and difference in their lives…

Motherhood is a Tough Job

They always say that motherhood is a tough job. As your child goes through the different developmental stages marked by different developmental milestones, the mother (dragging the father along) goes through also these agonizing stages with her child. Toddler years witness the struggle of the child through the painful period of teething, for the mothers (again dragging the fathers along) it spells days and nights of pacifying a crying, uncomfortable child, trips to the pedia due to the different illnesses that comes with teething and thousand diaper changes as the baby goes through to use the tagalog lingo–“nagtatae kasi nagiipin” stage…When the baby has a complete set of milk teeth and in the case of most babies, complete pair of front teeth up and down, the next painful stage for the moms (with the daddy as shock absorbers) is teaching the baby to learn how to walk and at the same time talk. You go through the back breaking “practice walking” while going hysterics everytime your baby falls and hurt herself. You get frustrated (like me!!) when at one year and 4 months she is still walking on tiptoes, as if wearing high heels that’s why she can’t seem to walk. Of course the oldies will say, “nauna kasi magsalita” and if in the case of being able to walk first and can’t seem to utter a coherent word yet, “naupuan kasi ang dila kasi naunang maglakad”…of course your baby (well, mine did) will just suddenly stand up in front of your very eyes one day just like that as if she does it all the time and start walking never to sit down again for the rest of her toddler life…See, its nerve racking being a mother..and that’s not all..the mother (angkinin ba ang developmental stage!), well actually the baby, has to go through the transition of drinking milk from the bottle to cup and making poops and wewee in the diaper to the toilet bowl…here, the mother’s creative power comes to work for she has to think of ways on how to con her child into drinking from the cup. My wicked mother put pepper in my bottle while this mother is a softie, I made the milk in the bottle taste so bland while the one in the cup so sweet and yummy. But of course at first it wasn’t that easy, I used the excuses of the bottles getting burned and the bottles getting lost which didn’t work….As for the transition from diaper to using the toilet, you have to seek not only the help of your husband but also the teachers of your child (Ms. Owen, remember?!hahaha). There will be crying days where you and your child will have a test of wills and shouting matches. In the case of my daughter, the one that made her finally use the bathroom after 3 straight days of not making poops is the illusive and beautiful—plantsa plantsahan (ironing toy) set in Toy Kingdom.:) Well, for the delicate growing years that’s about it..but I’m not done yet..The following developmental stages may not be as frustrating and nerve racking as the toddler years but still something that sometimes freaks us moms. There’s the first day in pre-school, the separation stage, wherein the child has to be left in school all by herself, my daughter had hers after being in school for a month and it was heartbreaking to see and hear her cry coz I was just in the other room teaching other kids. There’s the entrance exam in the big school, sleepless nights thinking if you made the right decision in letting her go to the big school and if you choose the right school. But then you will see her happy with the other kids, having group of friends, learning how to read all by herself, solving complex problems, you’ll ask yourself, “what was all that worrying about!”. Of course, its not nice and dandy after that, there will be days when your child comes to you crying because she just discovered that her friend didn’t turn out to be a nice friend after all or because some girls do not want her to play with them..Then you go through that worrying and agonizing stage of boosting up your child’s self-esteem…And of course not to forget, reviewing for the quarter exams, trying to understand and comprehend number bonds, making reviewers and answer sheets for a mock tests, sleeping late helping your child memorize a poem, making props and making projects (but of course these things you forced your husband to do)..Yup, motherhood is indeed a tough job…as your child goes through these developmental stages and you go through these stages with her, a kiss, a hug and  words of encouragement are the only things that she needs…in the mother’s case, its just a simple, “I love you mommy, you’re the best mommy ever!” is everything that you need..I love you too Bianca and you’re the best daughter ever!!:)Me and my kiddo

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