House sitting

We stayed for a week or so at Mico’s home in Quezon City. It was partly vacation, especially for the kids, and partly house sitting when Mico went out of town for a few days. He had new helpers and of course, wouldn’t want to leave the house at their disposal. So off we went. It was actually bliss because I haven’t had to get up early, cook, wash the dishes and do the laundry. However, it was a bit farther than the office, and traffic going to and fro was horrendous to say the least. It was still fun, though, while it lasted. And we were there to celebrate the day of Dads for this year. We decided to stay in, and order some Chinese.

Parmigiano Pizzeria Ristorante

We seldom get to go out anymore as a nuclear family. Usually, we have my parents in tow. So despite being tired from a day out with the kids, we took this opportunity to dine out one fine day. We were surprised as we went around Molito Lifestyle Complex in Alabang! The area has grown since the last time we set foot there. A dozen or so new specialty restaurants now line up what used to be just a handful of stores. Now it is a great place for families, couples, even individuals out on a cool afternoon or night. We’ve seen dogs being walked, and lots of people just milling around and relaxing. Great place to hang out now.

We chose the Parmigiano Pizzeria Ristorante, one because it was very conspicuous and two, we were attracted by the waft of Italian. The restaurant was very cheerful and inviting. Half of the restaurant has a mezzanine that looks over the other half, which with its high ceiling, creates breathing space even though the tables were a bit crowded at the main part of the restaurant.

There was a whole variety of pasta, pizzas and other Italian goodies. It was so hard to choose, but we decided on the following: some salad, six cheese pizza and a creamy carbonara, all kids-approved! There was the ubiquitous bread basket to start everything with. All were a little pricey, but for good reason, they were just delish! For the pasta and pizza, the cheesy and creamy taste was just overwhelming, perfect for our taste buds.

Mischa’s 9th

I cannot believe she is 9! No matter how I ask time to slow down, there is no stopping that growth spurt, and all things that go with it. Give it another six months or so, and I think she’ll outgrow me vertically. Ayayay!

I didn’t get to spend the whole day with her since I had work but we had a rare family dinner with both sets of families around. Hooray! (We are currently staying at my brother’s house). Also, she got her dream gifts – phone, hamster and her favorite books from Thea Stilton. She is one happy kid.

We love you much, anak! I pray for nothing but the best, good health and constant happiness for you and your sister. I will celebrate your life for as long as I live.

Baby Matteo

The newest addition to our extended family, Samuel Matteo, was baptized last weekend. I am honored to be chosen as one of his godmothers. Matteo is very, very special, most especially to his parents who have long awaited his arrival. My cousin and her husband has had to endure the deaths of earlier babies and babies who were conceived but did not have heartbeats. Losing an unborn child myself, I could understand their longing, and theirs is magnified many times over. I know how it feels to have your happiness snatched from you by your fingertips.

But their happiness is very evident now as they hold their Baby Matteo close to their hearts. He is their happy ending. And who knows, there might be more after him.

Welcome baby! You are loved and cherished.

Simplicity is key

Today, I celebrate my last year in my 30s. No fuss, no fanfare.

I am fast approaching mid-life. I am struggling to achieve many things, most of them revolving my family. At this point, there is nothing more important that this. Everything else is secondary, and I am only endeavoring to complete them, so that I can fulfill our dreams.

So I lift everything to the Almighty Father for He alone can hear my prayers and give me what I deserve.

But first, some cake and pansit for long life. Cheers!

Hundred Islands

This is sooo late, but better than never right?

So last Holy Week, we brought ourselves to Pangasinan so we can try something new. The highlight of our trip was the famed Hundred Islands. Mischa has been dying to go here because it has continuously cropped up in her lessons, mostly in Social Studies, and one of the major tourist destinations in the Philippines.

We set out very early because we knew it would be so crowded given that 90% of the workforce is on holiday. Thank goodness we had a wonderful host, and Mommy Ann, being a local of Alaminos, pre-arranged everything for us, including our boat ride. We had to spend some time at the port, which was teeming with people of all sizes, ages, gender, etc. on that Holy Friday. The local government requires all visitors to register with them first prior to venturing out to sea plus pay a minimal amount for the continued maintenance of the islands and its surroundings. Since we were a large group, we had to be in two boats.

We just got off one island-Marcos Island-and stayed there for lunch and of course, beach frolicking. You wouldn’t believe how clear the water is and how semi-fine the sand. It is a bit rocky near the edge of the beach though.

Afterwards, we went around the area and just viewed all the other islands from our boat. Almost all the beaches were occupied. Most of the bigger and dock-able islands are named. It is noteworthy that those that we went to or seen even from afar seemed to be impeccable and well-maintained. Good for the people and environment, as well. I am not sorry we came here at all.

Gone too soon

We buried my 36-year old cousin over the weekend after a short but very painful battle with lung cancer that has metastasised into his bones. It was devastating, and just plain sad given that he and his only surviving brother drifted apart from our family for years ever since their parents died during their teens and early twenties. In the last couple of years, his brother sort of slowly came back to us when he got married and started a family. They become part and parcel of weddings, birthday parties and family reunions again. But, Erik, he continued to stay away.

He has actually been the loner among us. Whenever we spent time in our grandparents’ house in Batangas, he would join and play with us. Young as I was, I could already feel the aloofness. It’s like he was there but he wasn’t there. I chalk it up to personality. I could feel that he liked it though, and he didn’t feel left out at all. As we grew older and our folks had a harder time putting us together in place because our interests have already varied, some of us do keep in touch sometimes. We still see each other from time to time, introducing boyfriends and girlfriends, that kind of thing. But maybe their parents weren’t there anymore to push them a little, that started the years of isolation.

I am just glad that our family was there even for Erik’s last remaining months, weeks, days, hours and minutes before he drew his last breath. More for his living brother, that he be able to cope physically, emotionally, mentally and economically, we tried to be there. There was so much to do, so much he left behind, so many questions the answers to which he took to the grave. We literally do not know anything about the man. We still wonder up to now if there was anyone who managed to break through that shell and carefully masked facade.

Good bye Erik. We will meet again.