My Mama

Maybe because it’s Mother’s day on Sunday or me and my mama are pretty much always together these days that is why I am feeling a bit sentimental towards her lately. Me and my mama has been together of course since birth, I often feels like my umbilical cord haven’t really been cut out from her totally because since I was still young I always have a hard time being separated from her. I secretly agreed to live with my parents and not move house when I got married because I just can’t leave my mama behind or bring her with us. I remember when we were young, our lolas will borrow my sister from my mom and dad during vacations and weekends, but me they don’t want to borrow me because I often cry for my mama come night time. The only time they were able to fool me into going with them, they regretted it, because I didn’t sleep a wink. I was literally waiting for the sun to come up because they promised me I would see my mama as soon as the sun was up.

Life was never easy for mama. She was born to a poor family, she had to live with some of her aunt and uncle just so she can go to college. But she studied and worked hard, she graduated summa cum laude and spent most of her professional life teaching in public school. She married my dad and had the two us. She had difficulty giving birth that is why we were preemies, me 8 months and my sister 6 months. She was a traditional wife and a devoted mother. She is some sort of a Maria Clara, she used to wear only pencil skirts even during sportsfest, it is only now that she wears those Capri pants. She is soft spoken but I remember before when I was a kid, when she would get mad at my sister, she would give that loud holler “Elena!!!!!.” My cousins used to envy us because we have a mama who is very sweet and kind. She is not very hard to please also, even the corniest joke can make her laugh. Her being kid at heart is what makes her hit it off quite so well with my daughter. She can outsmart even me in a game of snake in her cellphone She and my dad struggled to give us a comfortable life. I remember trips with mama to SM when I was young every June to buy new bags, shoes and school things, mass and dress shopping every Sunday in Baclaran, lunch date with her in Max’s every report card giving day and trips to the palengke to buy Barbie clothes. She just know how to cut those letters for HE class perfectly, she sew and mend clothes really well up until now, and she cooks a mean kare-kare, morcon, and mechado. She knows how to take care of me when I am sick, somehow, just her presence makes you feel better. I love it when she is fussing over me. She seems tireless. I used to think she was superwoman when I was a kid for she can do many things at the same time. Keep the house, do the laundry, cook our food, take care of our school things, take care of my dad, and teach these pesky high schoolers.

For the past two years, my dad was very sick. It was during this time that I appreciated her more than ever. It was during this time also when I realized just how remarkable she is. She took care of my dad all through out his sickness, never complaining, never resenting the situation, never questioning God. She took everything in stride. She gave all that she can ever give. My dad is a difficult man when he was not sick and all the more difficult when he got sick. But my mom, she never failed him. She stood by his man until his last breath. During dad’s wild days when they were just starting out, during my dad’s dangerous days as a law enforcer, my dad promising days when he completed his college and MBA’s, my dad’s dark days when he was having problems seeing with his eyes, my dad’s struggling days when he was going in and out of the hospital for dialysis, my dad’s last day when he fell right into the arms of my mama never to wake up again. She was right there holding him in her arms when he let go of life.

My mama, she was devastated when my dad died last year. For her, if there is one thing she is very good at, it is taking care of my dad and us. Suddenly, she was robbed of this chance to take care of the only man in her life. It took a while before the haunted look left her, before the smile reached her eyes again, before she can give a hearty and sincere laugh again. There are times when I want to slug my husband for all these silly things that he likes to do and say but whenever I see mama laugh at my husband’s silly antics, I let it go. Because when mama laughs, when she is in a good mood, when she is happy and well, everything is right in our world.

My mama is growing in years, she is feeling aches and pains she never felt before. She is struggling to walk due to arthritis, there are times when she would cry in pain. I wish I can take all that away. But her strength, her resiliency, her love for me, my sister, my husband who also loves her dearly and my daughter who is the apple of her eyes, I know gives her the strength to brush aside the pains.  I love my mama so much, I never really experience that thing about your world falling apart in my entire life…but I know when my mama get separated from me permanently, not only will my world fall apart but my entire universe as well…happy mother’s day mama!:)

College Friendship…

Recently my daughter celebrated her 7th birthday…she had a party and all the special people in her life and my life came to celebrate this special moment with us…I was thrilled to have finally see again two of my dearest friends from college…I haven’t seen them in years, the last time I saw Jenie was during Bianca’s christening when she stood as one of her ninangs and Sally, well I last saw her some two years ago, we were supposed to see each other last Christmas but typical of her, she didn’t make it on time and just totally missed us…These two friends are very special.Why, I’ll tell you why…

During our college days, I belong to this huge group of friends but around third year college, this group split up for the majoring. In our group the three of us chose Behavioral Science as our major.That was the start of us hanging out together most of the time.In UST, when you reach 3rd year, expect the class schedule to be so crazy, we would have classes at 7 a.m then the following schedule would be around 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.so most often we would hang out at Colayco Park making fun of the people around us, swooning over some guy, gossiping about other people or pigging out on something but most of the time, we would just go to my rented apartment in Dapitan buying inihaw na liempo on the way for our lunch.In class, we would make fun of our computer teacher whose name I completely forgotten already or would talk about how Sir Bong of Labor Lawinspired us so much or how our teacher in research confused us with her contradicting statements and highfaluting words.We would spend afternoons lying all around my place talking, from silly to profound things.We would tease each other, tear each other up into pieces or boost each other up.The friendship that we had, it was fun.Laughter and food were always there as much as quiet conversations. We did our thesis together.We were so yabang, we volunteered to be the first to defend the thesis among all fourth years but the truth is we were just afraid that the panel might find a lot of loopholes in it after seeing and hearing everybody’s thesis. That is why it was actually for preventive measure.Hahaha.Up until now, I still can’t believe that we got 1.00 in the thesis, the only ones in our batch, I guess the preventive measure worked.It was crazy coz three days before the defense we were pretending sleepless nights in Jenie’s house completing it and, the night before the defense we were there in SM North Edsa till closing time buying the right outfit for the defense.  The night before our scheduled defense, the 5 minutes nap time when we reached my apartment turned out to be a 12 hour sleep.The day of the defense, we woke up at 10!Screaming and shouting for the defense was at 1pm. hahaha!!!!But we nailed it because I believe it was the three of us, we know it by heart and sweated over it over lunch at SR or Almer’s.

Jenie was the loud one.She laugh the loudest, talk the loudest and shout the loudest.She was the pretty girl with the brains.She is naturally a leader.She is all cheerful, merry and bright just like a Christmas tree.Everybody is her friend and everybody wants to be her friend.You can count on her if you want an honest to goodness piece of advice.Well after giving you an honest to goodness paglalapastangan first. Well, as for Sally, she is, if a may say so, a character (from Disney..Hollywood..LVN..Regal shocker or Viva you name it she can be one of those).She would come to class and final exams when the teacher is about ready to wrap up the class and the amazing thing is she often got a way with it (well, with daggers look from the teachers I swear!).She takes her own sweet time in just about anything for she believes that she has all the time in the world and the world literally waits for her. In short she is always late!But if you strip her (pimpled) layer, she really is quite deep, you will be surprised that she has all these profound (insane?) ideas inside her brain.

I remember one lazy afternoon while hanging out in Colayco Park, looking at the bloated fishes there, we out of the blue talked about our plans after college.Jenie shared that all she wants after college is to get married and just be a plain housewife, me I said I never want to get married ever, I probably will try to climb the corporate ladder, and Sally said she still don’t know but claimed she would like to try working like in UNICEF doing volunteer work.It amazes me how life has its own funny way of charting our courses not according to our plans and wishes but according to where we are really destined to be.Jenie, well she is still single and is the one climbing the corporate ladder and making big waves in sales right now.Me, I did try climbing that same ladder until I simply got tired of it and finally found my niche’ in teaching and, two years after college, I found my man and got married.As for Sally, well she was like a drifter passing through the great walls of the Pontifical University of Santo Tomas. Never really intending to make a mark in the world as human resource practitioner but as a nurse, she just graduated last March with a Nursing degree and will make true of her plans to do volunteer medical mission in the remote malaria or dengue infested provinces (well, sabi nya!).

Seeing them and being with them brings back so many great college memories.We’ve grown much in lines, sizes, experiences.So many things happened and we’ve had so many other friendships in between those years but everytime we meet, it was still just like college days when we were just over twenty.Teasing, throwing candid insults, finishing each other’s sentence, knowing what’s on the mind of each other, laughing, giggling…I am so blessed to have friends like them, friends that you don’t need to call often, friends you don’t need to see often, friends that you don’t have to always reassure…friends that you know are just there and will stick around…oh by the way, I stand corrected, Sally didn’t make it on the day of Bianca’s party, she came late actually, the day after the party.See, I told ya.:)

The Truth About Famous Quotes

I was busy bathing my daughter when suddenly famous quotations keep popping in my mind at random. The funny thing is, as I keep reciting these famous quotations in my mind, I also keep thinking of the things that made them so untrue…well with the help of two friends who can put the google search engine to shame, I came up with a list…here are some…

First Love Never Dies…yeah right! In my case and I guess in the cases of some people out there, my first love died at the first sign of maturity and buried with the rest of its sloppy memories…

Where there’s smoke, there’s fire…not true in all cases, sometimes there are people who get a kick out of telling false stories and lies. More like making a mountain out of a molehill…

Love means never having to say you’re sorry…(sigh!) love involves hurting, mending, forgiving…if love is like a walk in the park well its not love at all, its just a passing thing…

Its better to give than to receive…not all the time, when you keep on giving and the person is just doing nothing in return…Well, wake up girl! You are just being taken for a ride!

Love is like a rosary that is full of mysteries… love is not that complicated. It is us who are making it so complicated. It is very simple actually, if it is something that brings out the best in you and gives other people the right kind of happiness then it is love…what is so mysterious about that, huh?

Heart is like a puzzle. someone has to mess it so that someone could fix it again…heart definitely is no puzzle, it is an organ that keeps you alive, nobody can really mess it up if you do not let it and nobody can mend it or fix it better than yourself…

Good things come to those who wait…hello?! You have to work your butt out if you want something happening in your life…much more good things come to those who persevere I guess.

Many are called but few are chosen…it’s not because you were not chosen, it’s because it’s just not right for you and you moved on.

Leaders are born not made…if leaders are born then the baby who can wail the loudest in the delivery room is probably the leader of them all…leaders are molded not by their birth right but by the people and environment that they have come in contact with…

Faith is believing in things hoped for …it is believing in things that can’t be explained by reason…

Honesty is the best policy…not to Bobby Dacer and Ninoy Aquino probably…

Try and try until you succeed…honey, I’m sure you know when to give up…when it is time to let go… and when it is time to move on…

A day without laughter is a day wasted…not really, a day spent crying your heart out may turn out to be the day of new beginning…

Don’t look too far for happiness… it’s always where the heart is…and where is the heart…it is within you…

Forgive and forget…you can forgive, but you can never really forget, trust me…if you claim that you can do both, then you’re a hypocrite…

Know other famous quotations and why it is so untrue…well share it here…Your thoughts are always welcome…

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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