missing the beach

goodness! it’s been ages since i’ve been to the beach. i think all the brouhaha of weddings, babies, work transfers and search for greener pastures the previous year has something to do with the now almost absent out of trips that me and my close friends used to conjure. sigh! the price of settling down 🙂 gone are our carefree days when we could just pack up our gear in a moment’s notice to savor the sunshine, fresh air and of course, the water! i miss snorkeling, boating with the hair whipping my hair with only the hum of the motor slicing the still silence of the sea, being in your swimsuit, shorts and flip-flops all day, having a scrumptuous seafood dinner barefoot on the sand, sipping fruit shakes during the day and downing cold beer at night…

and i am forever in love with the waters and sands of sabang beach in palawan and puka beach in boracay.

boracay through my eyes

boracay through my eyes

soaking up the sun during my first time in bora

soaking up the sun during my first time in bora

with childhood friends in panglao

with childhood friends in panglao

on a rather cloudy day in subic bay

on a rather cloudy day in subic bay

bora is sweeter the second time around

bora is sweeter the second time around

puerto galera

puerto galera

on the clear waters of cebu

on the clear waters of cebu

my fave ever, sabang

my fave ever, sabang

honda bay with california friends

honda bay with california friends

isla verde

isla verde

club balai isabel, talisay

club balai isabel, talisay

this summer, even with the heat abound, i have not even been near any body of water. i seriously am having a case of beach-withdrawal (similar to nicotine-withdrawal, nyahahaha!). next year, baby and i will stop at nothing and strut our wares at a beach i haven’t been to, such as pagudpud, camiguin, davao or even nearby laiya. hopefully, i would have said goodbye stretchmarks by then. i can make baby wear those cute swimsuits. too bad for hubby who doesn’t like the sun. he can stay in the room all he likes.

womanhood, femininity and empowerment

how does one separate these three issues? how does a woman become her own self, become whole? does femininity reduce empowerment? does being a “kikay” indicate “weakness”, or no or very little “paninindigan sa buhay”?

i was born in an era when women wear pants but still have to tie her hair at the end of the day to attend to mommy and wifely duties. long gone are the days when they stay at home waiting for the men in their lives to come home after seeking out provisions for their family. women today are partners in all aspects of family and community life. they have earned the well-deserved respect because of their skills, talents and other qualities that enable them to function as well as men in their chosen fields. whether, this is in policitics, communications or some high-profile field, or in low-key areas that nevertheless require their expertise. of course, there still exists the occasional chauvinist pigs who think they own women and treat them as properties who live to serve their every whim and desire. they deprive women of the respect they bestow only on their “fellows”.

i’ve never been one to strongly advocate for women’s rights. of course, i absolutely abhor any form of abuse directed at us because, although we can surely stand up for ourselves, there are physical limitations that cannot simply be overcome. we have seen, heard or read horror stories about the kinds of situation that women find themselves in because of their inability to protect themselves, either because of really abusive people around them or their lack of willpower to stand up for their rights.

so far, i have (or any woman close to me for that matter) never really felt that any real threat to my status just because i’m a woman. maybe because i know where i stood right from the beginning. i’ve never been bullied, i’ve never had to do certain tasks at home or in school or at work, i’ve never had to stand for myself, and i’ve never been whistled at or ogled in a really offensive way. maybe it’s because i seem to send off an aura of confidence that no one has dared to do these things to me. (some even say i seem snotty at some point, but really, i’m not!). the point is, despite my literally small stature, i don’t look like i’m pushover. i don’t look like a “maton” and i’ve never been boyish, but i manage to ward off those moments when people would like to push me around by trying to exude an air of self-assurance that i don’t sometimes feel.

what i’m driving at is, women sometimes are treated badly because they somehow have an air about them of helplessness and vulnerability. unconsciously, they give off vibes that they can be pounced on at any moment. they don’t feel they deserve the respect and love due to them by their partners, family, peers, colleagues and superiors.

but how does a woman stake her rights? does one have to be forcefully strong-willed? do we have to pick fights all the time? do we have to contest every thing that comes our way just to show our might or prove to others who’s the boss? i personally do not believe in this kind of system myself, and feel that women of this kind will not earn the respect they want. a show of force does not necessarily mean strength. on the contrary, it may even be a farce or a cover for the insecurities that one intends to hide. this behavior may likewise be a sign of misguided pride. while this may work for some, this may also create more friction as when wives or women partners tend to emasculate their husbands, which may lead to more problems. we know that men, by nature are also proud, and having their women stomp all over them may not prove to be a pretty sight for them. at one point or another, while some men may seem docile, too giving or even meek, they may turn out to be women’s worst nightmare when pushed over the edge. as women, we can be reasonably submissive without having to lose ourselves. being such does not diminish our persona nor our wholeness as wives, daughters, mothers, sisters or whatever place we have in society. as i said, knowing our place in life will help us carry ourselves with dignity while earning the respect we deserve from other people.

recent news events made me again question these kinds of things. everyday we hear a gamut of stories pertaining to women–of survival, of abuse, of childbirth, of growing up, of being fashionable, of surviving your teenage years, of dating, of motherhood. almost all women have stories to tell. but two of them stand out and have become the most talked about because of the complexities of their tales. that of trina etong and nicole, the rape victim. both grabbed headlines for the situations they found themselves in.

trina etong, the other half of famous broadcaster, ted failon, was found with a bullet wound to her head that left her struggling for her life, and eventually losing out on the battle. speculations abound on whether she committed suicide and was shot by somebody else. a supposedly suicide note was found in her room where she repeatedly asked for forgiveness from ted for something she did. allegedly she took her own life because she can’t face him anymore for the thing she apparently did. if this was true, it got me wondering what the hell she did that warrants the taking of her own life. doesn’t she have anything else to live for? doesn’t she have a 12-year kid that needs years and years of her attention and love? yet she choose to give that up. she let go of the privilege of karishma to have a mother to watch and guide her in the next few years or so. i have had my shares of heartaches and failures in life that i thought i couldn’t go on. but after a while, you look at those times, and you may even laugh at them, thinking how stupid you are for even entertaining the thought that your problems are more important than your life. i am not judging her though. trina may have her own reasons for doing what she did. it’s just a pity that she did not value herself that much to stand up for the mistake she did. she lost the fight because she chose to let go because she did not believe in herself.

as for nicole, i had this gut feeling long before her case became a media circus that indeed, she was not raped. don’t get me wrong. i am not saying that she is “bad” woman. i have never been the conservative type. i do not believe in all the hypocrosies of being “pure” because purity in a woman, or a person for that matter, lies not in one’s physical state or condition, but rather on how we think and present ourselves. while it was alright to have fun in bars with your date or even with someone you just met, our decisions on how to conduct ourselves are of highest priority when we find ourselves in these kinds of situation. granted that she was intoxicated and she lost her inhibitions for a night of passion, nicole should have been responsible enough for her own actions. at that time of the supposed crime, she just gave in to her desires, and quite unfortunately, found herself disrespected by a bunch of foreign soldiers. she then thought that she no recourse but to get back at them for somehow ruining her reputation because these men had made fun of her even though she is a woman. she got her wish, and made one of her “attackers” suffer when he was convicted of the rape he never committed, but claimed to have been consensual. two years after, nicole recanted her story, notwithstanding the payment she received for damages. in the end, she acquitted the person she had convicted in the first place. she now doubts whether the crime indeed happened taking into consideration the events leading to the incident–her reckless dancing, shameless flirting in the bar, continuous drinking and eventually going out of the club with the “rapist”. it could’ve been a moment of passion, she now tells. now who would believe her? feminists and women’s rights activists somehow got slapped in their faces. after all those time times fighting for her and taking potshots at the government while making this into a political thing because of the VFA. still, as they couldn’t stand to lose face, they continue to vilify the government for not lifting a finger to help nicole. this might have been political diplomatic suicide because the government actually was torn since nicole’s reputation was in question, as well as her motives, thus it does not warrant angering the US over this small a case. but this is another subject of debate. going back to nicole, they continue to fight for her, or rather, to continually stab the government when the subject has given up on the fight herself. what we must understand here is, while we women sometimes triumph over the odds, we must do so with cautiousness. the now seems like an empty victory for nicole. she might have won the first round, but all she ever accomplished was taint somebody else’s reputation while she gets paid for it. it is quite shameful for women like us.

i’m going to have a daughter soon. i hope i can raise her to become the best possible woman she can be. i pray to God that He give her the wisdom and nerve she needs to make it in this world. my baby, i can’t be there to protect you all the time. mom can only guide you, and cry with you, and lift you up. be strong little one. i cannot promise honey and roses all the time, only love and shoulders and arms to embrace you.

summer rains

we’re having a really bizarre weather the past few weeks. summer rains are not unusual but not unheard of either. it feels weird though because we’re in the middle of about the hottest summer ever. for about a month now or so, everyone in and around manila (or the whole philippines, i think) has been on the verge of heat strokes and high blood pressures because of the constant high throughout the day. you find every inch of your body sweating even when inside airconditioned rooms or under big shady trees where you normally find relief. even your face feels like it is sweating. i’m perspiring even under my eyes and on top of my mouth, jeez! breezes were non-existent! at dawn, usually the coolest time of the day, i always had to push my husband away from my side because of the icky feeling another warm body brings to your already perspiring one even with the aircon turned on full blast. cuddling was a thing of the past. i guess this is another drawback of pregnancy where your body feels hotter and you tend to perspire more because of all those extra hormones you are producing. add to this are the rashes that began developing on my tummy to aggravate the itchiness i already feel in the presence of stretch marks. they itch like hell!! hubby was constantly chastising me for catching me scratch and scratch my tummy like there’s no tomorrow. what can i do? i know i would have to pay later for all this scratching but i couldn’t help it. on weekends when we stay home, i have occasionally felt the desire to strip down to my knickers. i wished that we were near an ocean or pool so that we take a dip in the waters to chill and refresh ourselves. i always longed for those fruit shakes that quenches our bodies like no other.

then why the sudden downpour in the past couple of days? not that i’m not thankful for the cooling down of the weather. just surprised that the midsummer weather has brought on torrential rains earlier than expected. and with it are the usual manila weather suspects that provides a lot of inconvenience–floods, mud, traffic and the hassle of getting out of the house to go from one place to another. since we don’t have a car, and as i am on the vestiges of my last trimester, this has brought another level of things i complain about. i am afraid all the time of slipping on the roads and public transportation that i take, in the process hurting me and baby. good that i have my husband with me all the time. i just pray that she remains safe and warm inside mommy.

for now, i guess we have to bear with the rains that are intermittently coming along every few days or so. i just thank god that it has cooled down a bit, and slowed things down after those days of high temperatures. the rain has a way to wash away a lot of unwanted things around us anyhow, making you feel alive at about the time it stops and the sun hopefully peeks out. you begin to almost feel renewed and clean. i do hope that work gets suspended some time so we can just snuggle under the covers, do nothing but turn on the tv and hear the pitter-patter of the rain outside the house. hmmm maybe i can take a leave of absence earlier and just wait for baby to arrive. just a few more weeks now..

on another note, hubby and i thought about this time, and realized that tomorrow should have been our real wedding day. but god had other plans for us, and we got hitched three months earlier. it would’ve been raining on our wedding, a thing most dreaded by couples. instead we had the most wonderful weather last january with the stars out, a breeze blowing gently and caressing us, and some remainder of the christmas season lingering about. the timing was just perfect.

ten things

with the baby coming up in a few weeks time, my recent bouts of boredom with work and domain issues at home (which is another matter i ought to take up in the next posts), and in view of my turning 30 in less than a month, my mind has been going a bit to overdrive because of constantly mulling over the things that i still wanted to do with my life. of course, baby is so top priority, nothing can change that. but i want to take stock of things that i want to accomplish possibly in the next five years or so without feeling guilty that you’re sort of abandoning your child in pursuit of your interests. this is normal, right? for an expectant mom to still feel an itch or two about doing things for herself. sometimes, you try to stop thinking about things you want to do because you’re having a kid. but if one can do both (being a mom and doing the things she likes that doesn’t have anything to do with the baby), why not? and it’s never too late to learn something new. and so, here are my “must do’s”:

1. take up photography – i envy my colleagues who lately caught the bug from frenz, and bought their own SLR cameras in view of the various trips they have taken. while a good equipment is a must, what i want more really is to take up a course on photography. i did a few years back, but had not really taken in much of the lecture given to us. i want the real thing, not just two hours of a photojournalist teaching you how to operate your camera’s manual settings. i want the whole works! in the past, i’ve pretty much just took pictures of some sceneries of the places i’ve gone to (minus the artwork), and let somebody else took my pictures being the vain individual that i am.

2. learn how to swim properly – i love the water! i am at my calmest and most serene self when i am on the beach. i cherish the feel of being buoyant. but more often than not, i do not dare stray too far away from the shore, or if in a pool, i cling to the tiles on the sides or stay in areas not more than five feet. pathetic! i can float to save my life and do about 3 meters of laps (nyahaha). i can snorkle perfectly but that’s because of the vest enveloping me. but that’s about it. i want to be able to do the breathing thing, treading water, go across a pool and not have to gasp for breath when i could no longer touch the floor with my toes. i should’ve taken this up much, much earlier considering i am asthmatic and could’ve helped my poor lungs get the much needed exercise, thereby saving me from some attacks. swimming i think i can do with my kid as soon as i can put her in the water. her swimming lessons can be my excuse to attend them myself 🙂

3. be a really good cook / chef, if you may – fortunately (for my husband), i can cook. i can whip up those dishes in a jiffy or slave over the more complicated ones during weekends. i have naturally mastered filipino dishes, some pastas, chinese, etc. but what i really want to do is specialize in different cuisines. i want to try my hand at those french, mediterranean, greek, japanese food that i can only see on the food network and magazines. and also, one thing i haven’t done is bake, and do all those scrumptuous desserts. add to this, i dream for a really nice and fully-functional kitchen.

4. travel to europe – this should have been number 1 on my list for i have been dreaming of coming here for the longest time. i am quite the traveler. i love seeing and being in new places, trying out the food, walking through foreign streets with the locals, sightseeing. unfortunately, i have only gone to countries near the phils because of budgetary concerns. in the philippines, i have gone to lots of places of interest. still, my yearning for europe and its culture have not been extinguished. yeah, have gone to london but it only served to whet my appetite to be in mainland west europe. if only hubby and i had got enough money, we would have gone there for our honeymoon. but who knows, we might be able to get there sooner. keeping my fingers crossed.

5. exercise and lose weight – pregnant or not, i have always been on the round side. i really can’t call myself fat, but i am far from being rail thin. it doesn’t help that my family is on the short side. so you can hardly describe me as statuesque. well, you get the picture. and pregnancy of course, has not diminished my appetite, instead has more than doubled it as my young one is dependent on me for nourishment and energy. add to that is the knowledge that i will undergo a c-section so i kept on putting on the calories having in mind that i would not have to push baby out so it doesn’t matter if she gets big or not. but i know that i would have to pay for it sooner 😦 must keep in mind that i only not have to lose weight, but have to lose all those unsightly bulges, expecially around the tummy area. (hmmm, i wonder if they can do a tummy tuck while they’re closing my ab area after they take baby out..)

6. learn a foreign language – i tried to get into dfa’s free foreign language classes, which they offer for employees who are for posting abroad. obviously, didn’t get in. should look into getting this done soon. it’s my fondest wish to be able to talk in a different sophisticated language. i so love the way the words roll over the mouth when somebody speaks something different. my preference–french, japanese, greek, russian, italian, german, and all the nordic languages.

7. live in a beach house – why not? as i’ve said, i feel nature at its best when i am on the beach. so why not complete the picture of perfect contentedness by dreaming of spending weekends and vacations in your own tropical getaway. waking up each morning to the sunlight, walking barefoot down the sand, having your meals with the sound of the wind and water lapping on the shore, taking a dip, having a nap on a hammock in the front porch of the house..ahhh bliss…

8. do any or all of the following activities – maybe the adventurer in me longing to go out. or i just want the plain adrenaline rush.

9. read and write more – started on the writing part again. have to catch up on my reading, which i used to love so much. it would be better if i can get some of those earn-additional-income schemes by doing some writing online. if you could earn from doing that, then great! there’s no pressure at all because you work at your own pace. i wonder how you come across all that. and gotta buy those books i’ve been seeing on the shelves of my favorite bookstores. i am so behind in my reading. i’ve got books stacked at home which i have not opened or just gone over a few chapters. maybe i can do a little catch-up when i go on leave and am waiting for baby’s arrival.

10. save! – this i need to do straightaway. now i know that having a baby spells more expenses for the household. but this is a must to secure baby’s future. coupled with this, i guess is finding an additional sources of income or finding a higher-paying work. i don’t know how i could have gotten so lax with money in the last few years when all my life, i’ve been such a spendthrift. and the items i’ve listed above would likely cost me more money. oh well, time to realign priorities.

shopping for the little one

we met my parents for lunch after the ultrasound confirming baby’s gender. so excited were they for their first “apo”, that they eagerly bought baby’s first major gadget or equipment — her graco pack n’ play playard, complete with mattress, changing table, side nettings, mobile, etc. they wanted me to buy her clothes and stuff but hubby and i thought it best to wait a while longer.

as if i can wait much longer. the following week, aware of a big sale in one of the SM malls in our area, i dragged hubby to go shopping. he dutifully but reluctantly came with me. i thought i would have to drag his feet and told myself that i would be really quick in picking up items for our daughter. after all, considering it was our first shopping trip for her, how hard and long can it take for me to choose the basics? i already have a list of essentials, which i thankfully picked up from www.pinoybaby.com, a site which i found really helpful. and so, i promised myself that i would not be my usual window-shopper self, and go and look directly for the things that we needed. but after 30 minutes of browsing and scrutinizing those tiny baby items, i was delightedly surprised with the enthusiasm hubby showed in getting baby’s things. i saw it in his eyes and knew he was hooked! i had to stop him every now and then from putting too much stuff in our shopping basket. we agreed not to buy too much clothes since baby would outgrow them right away, and chances are, many titos and titas would lovingly give her presents when she’s born. also, there was some nagging thought at the back of our heads that the ultrasound might be wrong, and it could a boy (dream on michael!). but of course, i couldn’t help myself from getting those irresistible pinks and yellows and throwing them in for good measure. but mostly, we settled for a lot of whites especially on the clothes. they have a nice, crisp look to them.

so we went home with our arms loaded with bags of side-tie shirts, booties, socks, caps, mittens, overalls, rompers, pajamas, wash cloths, and diaper cloths. yes, i am really planning on baby being cloth-diapered. at least in the mornings. i read up a lot of this stuff on the net, and feel like we could do it. for how long, i really don’t know. i just want to try my hand on this. plus there’s immeasurable help we could be to our environment. while i don’t see myself being a fanatic advocate of environmental rights, it would be great if we could do our little share not to add to our overflowing landfills. there’s just this drawback of having to laundry the “lampins”, but what the heck. if we couldn’t handle it, we can always go back to disposables. as i said, we would do it in the mornings when, aside from mom and dad, there’s lola, lolo and yaya watching her and can immediately clean her up when she gets wet or soiled. i also bought different kinds of disposables available for us to bring to the hospital. i got those 4-packs in different brands (pro-kids, pampers, huggies and EQ) so we can see if she’s allergic to anything. we also splurged on an avent newborn kit complete with bottles and teats, a chicco sterilizer (there were more expensive items on the market ha), and a safety 1st kit. we figured the last mentioned items would last for quite some time, unlike clothing, so we didn’t mind buying them. we really didn’t want to scrimp on baby but at the same time, we also didn’t want to use up all our savings for when i give birth. several shopping trips followed after that. getting the tub, her earrings (hopefully she’ll get her ears pierced before we go home from the hospital) and other pahabol stuff. it seems like we keep forgetting to buy certain stuff when we’re out. either that, or i just can’t keep myself from going to the baby section whenever we are inside a mall. i couldn’t help but get drawn to those cutie things meant for babies who of course, wouldn’t be able to appreciate them, and would probably only throw up on these anyway.

add to that is my never-ending search for great stuff online. i’ve searched and found so many possibilities. but i still prefer to buy stuff in the malls so that i could immediately look at them and examine them personally. i only gave in to a whim when i saw this great diaper bag from baby couture (which i found eventually in moa). and as disposable diapers are more popular in the philippines, i continually scout for great cloth diapers, especially covers. i am inclined to buy the tushy wushies or thirsties or bummies or kushies. for now, i have this set of enfant / sanggol / curity gauze lampins, and 2 enfant covers.

also, it has taken me several ounces of willpower not to get breastfeeding stuff yet. i like all the contraptions and the accessories that goes with the breast pump. but i would have to buy them when i am sure i can produce milk, for which i am crossing my fingers that i would really be able to do. but desire and physiological make don’t necessarily come hand in hand, which is very unfortunate for me. and so we wait for that day when i see actual milk flowing from me and then off we buy my avent breast pump, which i know will put a serious dent again on our budget. how i wish hubby won that freakin contest where you assemble the pump together and then its yours. unfortunately again, hubby chose to be meticulous rather than fast, so i could only look on mournfully as another couple happily took the gadget home huhuhu.

anyways, toys and learning materials are next on my agenda. (if i can persuade hubby that is.) till next.

on to my next great adventure

to carry on from my previous posts where i crammed my life story, i am at this juncture in my life where i have stopped searching and asking “where is this road leading me” questions. i did the whole having a relationship-getting your heart broken-moving on-marrying the love of my life drama. so now i’m off to the next greatest adventure a woman could ever have in her life–mommyhood. as of this writing, i am 32 weeks on the way to having the greatest joy in my life. while this baby came at a really unexpected time in my and hubby’s life (read: middle of wedding preparations), neither of us even blinked at the thought of having the baby too soon in our lives. during the time we found out of her existence, we’ve been together only for eight months, and been engaged for six. it was a little unnerving of course, as we have to do the wedding earlier than scheduled, and then we have to deal with the ire of our parents, most especially mine. for them, having a ring on one’s finger does not of course mean you can have your liberties as you please. in this day and age, Filipino parents still expect their daughters to walk down the aisle embodying the virginal bride wearing the long, white gown.

moving along as mature individuals, we did not dilly-daly on this, and immediately put our heads together on how to work this out. since that fateful day in october when two lines appeared on two separate pregnancy kits we bought (i wanted another test just to be sure), we were spurred into action. went to an OB right away, told my parents right away (thank God for the little drama this actually created), had the pamamanhikan right away (thank God his parents were here from the province at that time), and immediately doubled our efforts for the wedding preparations.

amidst all the hustle, there were quiet times when i would still question myself if this is for real. naturally, anxieties did not fail to visit me. i was badly burned before (3rd degree pa nga!), and of course, i occasionally had doubts whether he would bolt or not. old habits die hard as old wounds don’t heal completely. they leave scars you know. there were times when i was more in doubt of myself than his intentions for he hasn’t given me any indications regarding his feelings for me and our unborn baby. i knew that we were so already into the preparations but i can’t help but feel some insecurity because i know having a baby is a another matter. it bound us together in a way that marriage can’t. but with him never giving up on me, i managed to let go of the uncertainties that always threaten to envelop me, and cast shadows on our relationship. i have learned to get over that tricky part, thanks to his love, patience and understanding. it’s safe to say we have both grown and matured in the few months’ time we have been together, for ourselves and for this tiny being currently swimming in my tummy.

i say swimming because that’s how it feels like most of the time she moves. and yes, she is a SHE!. before the wedding, while we are very much aware of her presence between us, she actually took a backseat when it comes to prioritizing our time. yeah, we went to doctor’s appointments, i religiously drank my pre-natal vitamins and the obiquitous anmum, i was careful about what i eat, i stopped vices… but really, it was after the brouhaha of the wedding that reality really sunk and that we’re having a baby. of course, it was cool of her too that she didn’t give mommy too much trouble as she was growing during the first trimester. i was one of the few lucky ones who didn’t have morning sickness, dizziness, nausea, cravings, that usually accompanies early pregnancy. baby was just be quietly lying inside mommy’s womb, fattening up and developing without being a hassle. i would not even think i was pregnant except for the fact that i didn’t have my period. also, my tummy grew too fast for comfort, my pants getting snug a bit earlier than expected, but i was used to that since i am on the round side. i showed very early when most pregnant women do this in their fourth or fifth month. in my case, everybody knew at once when i was in the second month.

we got a little scared when my first ultrasound during the 7th week revealed that i had a uterine fibroid or myoma. it caused some minor bleeding otherwise, baby and i carried on. we even found out that some fibroids can be a cause for infertility. so while unplanned, we are nevertheless very glad and thankful that we were going to be blessed with this baby.

and so the first trimester came and went without much ado. with the wedding now out of the way, excitement again mounted as we begin preparing for baby’s arrival in this world. we always looked forward to ultrasounds since the 16th week when gender can be determined. i have always wanted a little girl whom i can dress up and be best friends with when she grows up. of course, the dad wanted the firstborn to be a boy. and so, it became a battle of wills between us. i often jokingly tell him that he didn’t want a girl because he was afraid of how men will treat her when she’s all grown up as he is a man himself. hmmm, knowing all the maneuvers, the pick up lines, the moves.. i’m guessing he couldn’t bear the thought of those being done on his baby daughter. he laughingly often answers that boys are just easier to manage, plus of course, the family name will not be lost somehow. anyway, i know deep in my heart (i guess my first stab at mother’s instinct), that it was going to be a girl.

and so, in eager anticipation, we scheduled an ultrasound at the first possible time when we could see if baby was a girl or a boy. only to fail the first time. and the second time. oh god! i think my babe is trying to show how she has a mind of her own, and would only succumb to mommy’s and daddy’s wishes when she feels like it. the first time the lady doctor sonologist tried to look into her “goods”, she flexed her knees and tried to hide her lower torso in the deep recesses of mommy’s womb, making it impossible to make out anything from that area. the doctor tried very hard to prod her, and we ended up frustrated, with the gel on my tummy drying out, and still couldn’t get anything from her. a month after that, a diagnostics exams were done at the office. i took this opportunity to have another ultrasound although it was not my schedule to have one yet. and lo and behold! baby tried another tactic so that the technician is again unsuccessful in determining her gender. finally, on the third attempt in our 27th week, she was behaving like an angel. i beamed immediately upon hearing the news that she was indeed a girl, just like i knew she would be. i saw michael’s crestfallen face, which i laughed at. but then he brightened up again. i told him baby could feel that he didn’t want her just because she was a girl.

i will tell the story of how her 3D/4D ultrasound sessions went when i have pictures to show for it.

i guess my unborn child keeps me preoccupied and sane nowadays. a minute doesn’t pass by without me thinking of her. in case i do forget her, she nudges or does sommersaults to remind me she’s there. it seems like we are waiting forever for my babe to get here. i’m literally counting the days and weeks until she’s here. at the same time, i’m also anxious how the birth would be. i knew from the start that i would have to go through a c-section because of the myoma. i have another batch of fears for that one but i’m trying hard not to dwell on them lest i go crazy. june couldn’t come fast enough.

wedding supplier ratings

am reposting supplier ratings for our wedding last january 25. i know it’s so delayed already but i initially only wrote about at weddings@work for consumption of the ever-reliable community of sisters preparing for their weddings. just in case somebody stumbles upon this. might be helpful for other bloggers. i kinda miss doing the wedding preps you know 😛 our motif was aqua blue with touches of yellow, and we had this logo on some of our paraphernalia

and here are my ratings.. sana wala akong makalimutan

5 – exceeds expectations, highly recommended
4 – very good
3 – so-so
wala na kong lower kasi parang wala namang pumalpak sa suppliers namin. (none that i know of, or i was made aware of :)), so here goes..

Rating: 5+++
Inclusions: stipend, priest, electricity, red carpet, organist and soloist, floral decor, use of chandeliers
Contact person: Ms. Belen

forever, my dream church. bata pa lang ako and my parents showed me where they tied the knot in 1972, dito na talaga ang pinangarap kong makasal. at hindi naman kami nadisappoint. going through the
whole thing (requirements, etc.) was a breeze. madali kausap ang mga taga-san agustin, especially ms. belen kahit ang kulit ko sa phone. kung ano yung sinabi nila basta gawin at i-submit, walang magiging problema. very accommodating sila eh may mga additional requirements pa kasi si hubby is not catholic.

medyo expensive lang sya kasi madami namang church. pero it was all worth it. the church was grand and beautiful and historic. plus gift ito nina mama because of sentimental reasons nga. and kahit mas mura sa ibang church, ayaw nila 🙂 it was a great place to be married in!

on the side, medyo na-alarm lang ako dun sa sinabi ng dating nakasal dito na super bilis or minamadali ang wedding kasi nga hourly may kinakasal. contrary to that, ang napansin ko naman, very organized ang mga coordinators nila kaya followed to the letter ang schedule, which is very nice. wala kaming sinusundang wedding tapos wla rin after us. so parang solo namin. matagal nakapag-picture taking, and we were rushed out of the church. di ko lang masyado naramdaman ang ceremony kasi nakalutang nga ako hehe, and what mattered is katabi ko lang si hubby. pero sabi nila ang bilis ko maglakad, shocks di ko man lang nanamnam ang bridal ko, eh once in a lifetime yon. hay!

Rating: 4
Inclusions: 6 hours use of venue, plus 4 hours setup of caterer
Website: www.intramurosadministration.com

madali din sila kausap. we got this place din becaue of its proximity to the church natatawirin lang. we originally booked teatrillo, which was also inside the casa manila complex pero dahil nga we had to move the wedding, di na yon available. which turned out very fine indeed! i like the way it has a rustic feel na spanish era ekek. di lang maganda yung ibang columns pero di ko na rin gano napansin nung wedding day mismo. ang ganda rin kasi ng setup ng caterer kaya ang ganda ng ambiance. meron na syang sariling personality, ika nga, so konting spruce up na lang ang necessary. ang downside lang dito is, aside from the venue fee, they charge you for an additional 10% catering fee, which is not too much naman pero sayang din if you’re really tight on the budget.

Rating: 5+
Inclusions: 6-course meal (3 appetizers+2 desserts), bridal car, cake (which we upgraded to 200 pcs cupcake w/ thank you cards and cutting cake), bubble machine, floral arrangement, complete sound system
Contact person: Becka Furiel and Jun Garcia
Website: www.eloquentecatering.com

masaya kami sa eloquente. walang naging problema from the start, maayos kausap ang mga AE. lahat ng requests namin followed diligently. natuwa ako sa mga decor nila pagdating namin sa venue kasing kuha nila motif namin. pati yung combination ng kulay ng tubig sa tube glass at runners hehe. ang the guests were raving about the good. may mga qualms ako before the wedding kasi merong di magandang incident na na-post dito sa w@w. naawa ako sa sis natin na yon pero wala namang nangyari sa amin na kakaiba. siguro they learned their lesson after that.

comment lang: ang aga ng bridal car grabe. actually maaaga lahat ng suppliers ko kaya mga before 6pm andun na kami sa church. marami na ring tao agad. kaya matagal pa ko naghintay sa loob ng car pero oks lang. kesa naman late di ba.

Rating: prenup-3
on the day-4.5
Inclusions: photo and video coverage (10% off during bridal fair), prenup, guestbook w/ pen, on-site video, projector, widescreen, storybook photo album, 2 mini albums, blow up pic with frame
Contact person: Grace Chan
Main photographer: Leo
Website: www.arieljavelosa.ph

i have yet to see raw photos ng wedding. pero mukhang magaganda naman shots nina leo. nung una sa prenup, parang di lang kami masyado natuwa ni hubby kasi mahilig kami magpapicture tapos sabi namin, parang walang extraordinary sa mga shots. tapos kami na lang nagpopose hehe. buti na lang di kami camera-shy. pano na lang pag mahiyain yung couple. eh dapat pag photographer ka, you’re able to bring out the emotions of your subject. pero ayos naman. the guestbook na nilagay yung prenup pics turned out great. tsaka mas less inhibited na si leo nung actual wedding namin. sana maganda ang album.

Rating: 5+++
Contact person: Janice Dadap and Rina Fisalbon
Website: jdadap.multiply.com

i love this pair! very helpful from the start, di pa man kami nakakabook sa kanila. pati yung mga mundane things that pops into my head at bigla ko na lang itatanong, naiistorbo ko sila. tapos parang dalawa pa silang head coordinator ko. dapat may isang meeting pa kami prior to the event pero ako na yung nagdecline. kasi kampante naman ako sa kanila. and true enough, they didn’t let me down. all details were taken cared of. di ako napabayaan from the dressing venue to the church to the reception.
at talagang wala akong inisip nung day itself. finally, naconvince nga si hubby na tama ang decision namin to hire an OTD. syempre pag naiisip mong additional expense, magdadalawang isip ka. pero flawless talaga lahat. or sa paningin ko lang kasi di naman ako nabother ng kahit ako. nagtatanong sila sa ibang bagay na wala sa pinag-usapan namin pero pinaubaya ko na talaga lahat.

Bridal and moms’ gowns: MIA BARLAAN
Rating: gown-5
Inclusions: bridal and moms’ gowns, pillows, veils, coins, arrhae, hair studs, cord
Website: www.miabarlaan.com

ang ganda ng gown ko! everybody loved it! medyo isa lang to sa konting pinoblema ko pero very minor naman. kasi nasukatan na ako nung september after ko nag-book kay mia. she’s very nice naman and easy to talk to. she understands the needs of a bride. nung nagdesign sya for me, ginawa nya na maha-hide ang tummy ko kasi chubby talaga ako at problem area ko yon. then come october, when i found out i was pregnant, sya ang unang una kong tinawagan kasi concerned talaga ako how my gown would turn out, at kung kakayanin kasi na-move na nga ang wedding to january imbes na april. sabi nya no problem naman daw. mga after two months nung december di pa rin nya ko tinatawagan medyo kinakabahan na ko kasi one month to go na lang. eh medyo busy sila kasi ang dami nilang brides nung december. so ok, mga 1st week ng january pinapunta na nya ko sa shop para mag-fit. ayon, nagpanic lang ako nung pumunta ako, di pala sila nagkaintindihan ng assistants nya sa shop kaya i have no gown, not even a lining to fit. syempre galit si hubby nun. pero after 3 days ok na yung lining at least and then after a week, na-fit ko na rin na gawa na except for the beadworks at the back. kaso eto, yung sa mama ko gold ang pinili kong colord. pero di ko alam what happened, pero nung sinukat nya, it was green! anyway, super masaya naman ako how it turned out. i got the gown 5 days before the big day. i soooo love it! mia was apologetic naman about the palpak stuff. naayos naman yung kay mama. at saka worth it yung minor episodes kasi they came through in the end, na maganda pa rin ang kinalabasan. na-hide ang tummy ko for a while, eh malaki na ko in real life.

HMUA: Dave Astillero
Rating: 5++
Inclusions: bride+groom+2 moms

si mama dave ang unang una dumating sa hotel nung araw na yon. as with the prenup, napaganda na naman nya ko. i had three trials before him, at sya talaga ko click. wala akong masabi sa kanya. all praises ang mga tao on how i looked. na-enhance nya ang mga dapat ienhance sa akin.

HMUA for ento: Cristy Sanchez
Rating: 3
Inclusions: 7 ento

eto last minute booking, mga 1 week before the wedding. although nakausap ko na sya nung december kasi she did our makeup for a corporate event. akala ko ok na sya agad. pero ang hirap nya hagilapin at di sya sumasagot sa text. pero medyo naging desperate na kasi ako kasi di ko kagad naayos ng mabuti tsaka mura sya so i prayed to the heavens na sumipot na lang sya. and she did! maganda naman makeup nila, buti na lang magaganda din ento ko hehe. pero parang minadali din. well, ako ngang may kasalanan dito..

Rating: 4.5
Inclusions: yellow tulips for bride, flower balls and headdresses for flower girls, 15 bouquets (roses, gerberas and carnations) for moms and ninangs and ento, tossing bouquet (which we converted to loose long stemmed roses for the bouquet game), offertory basket and loose petals, bouttoniere for groom
Contact person: Lawrence dela Rosa

smooth sailing ang relationship namin with lawrence. ang pintas ko lang sa flowers nya eh a couple of the tulips in my bouquet nalaglag na di pa man ako nakakalabas ng bridal car. pero ok lang. maaga rin kasi dinilever. they’re so pretty naman so no fret!

String quartet: VELVET MOOD
Rating: 4
Inclusions: Trio+1 female singer for the reception
Contact person: April Silangcruz

wala akong na-meet sa velvet mood during the preps, sa reception or kahit saan. hehee..booked them over the phone, paid through bank transaction. tapos di ko pa sila namalayan during the wedding. pero sabi ng guests, they were very good.

Rating: 5++ for barongs
3 for pants
Inclusions: Groom’s barong (pure piña), 2 fathers (piña silk), 1 bearer, inner shirts

my groom was raving about his barong kasi ang daming pumuri. ang ganda talaga, pulido ang gawa ni mang rey. wala ring ka-hassle hassle ang pag-deal sa kanya kasi home service. kahit yung papa ni hubby na di nasukatan kasi nasa province, ang galing ng pagkagawa. ang glitch lang sa kanya, nung dinilever nya yung barongs, nakalimutan yung pants nya. tapos na-lbc naman ni mang rey after a few days. kaso di kasya kay hubby. oh well, bumili na lang sya ng bago na mas maganda.

INVITES and EMCEE: Cheng Veniles
Rating: 5

gift ito lahat. muchos gracias amiga. babawi ako sa wedding mo. hehe.

Rating: 5

first thing we accomplished during the preps. had to go back lang to change the engraving sa date kasi nakuha na namin with the april date. wala ring naging problema. we love it. at ewan ko lang kung may malas or what, pero pinapractice na namin sya isuot nuon pa pag nasa house kami hehe.

Rating: 4
Contact person: Lilian Geling

not my first choice pero nahirapan na rin ako magbook kasi it was the weekend pala before the chinese new year. ok naman ang room. i’ve been in better hotels hehe. medyo di ko gusto ang bathroom kasi may rust yung bathtub tsaka ang faucets. pero as i said, di naman ako masyadong na-faze ng mga disappointments.

SOUVENIRS for PS and abays: Kultura, Home World and SM Department Store
Rating: 4

simple gifts lang. capiz frames for ninongs and ninangs, oil burners for female ento, necktie pin for male ento and art materials for kids. bought special wrapper in Kultura, the same material na pinang-wrap sa PS gifts then made our own tags.

KRISTINE’S TEXTILES, Divisoria for cloth of female ento
Rating: 4

had my ento find their own mananahi and designs. just gave them two-toned satin in aqua for uniformity.


MISALETTE: DIY with help of 1 ninong and 1 groomsman for layout
Rating: 5 hahaha!

Rating: 4

BIBLE: Saint Paul’s

MATCHES: Wedding Library

sana wala akong nakalimutan. best wishes sa lahat pa ng ikakasal! enjoy the preps. tsaka relax lang. this should be an enjoyable journey. di dapat maging contest with other friends or relatives who are getting married or have gotten married right about the same time. tsaka di dapat sumakit ang ulo or ma-stress. kasi in the end, ang magma-matter lang is the two of you na nakaharap sa altar, promising to God that you’ll love one another forever.