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Lia

Making a New Home

Life in El Nido, MOMents By July 20, 2013 Tags: , , , , 2 Comments

The first time I was here was eight years ago and I have always felt that this place was “home,” but when I decided to permanently move back to El Nido this year, I was not as prepared as I thought I was. The first month was truly difficult as my daughter and I went through the tedious process of looking for a house where we both could live peacefully and happily, and feel truly “at home” in all meanings of the words, and the adjustment to the weather, to the flora and fauna, and the new environment took its toll on our health.

For me, it was not so much about location, as I was not too keen on living by the beach front, but was most concerned about cost AND the speed of the internet connection. I have said this often to anyone who cared to listen, “The two things that make me happiest are, 1. really good coffee and, 2. really fast internet connection.” So I was looking for houses near where I knew, from experience, internet connection was fast enough, if not the fastest, in all of the town; but my daughter had an entirely different perspective about this new home of ours.She, of course, did not care about the cost, being four years old, and cared only a little about the speed of the internet connection. Lia was most concerned about comfort and her own idea of happiness – the beach, and being a child, lots of space to run around.

I was not too surprised when, going around houses in the middle of El Nido town, Lia did not find anything she liked enough. She only liked one house, its old paint made pale pink through neglect, because it was really big, with its three rooms and spacious living areas and a garden and yard going around the entirety of the house, that I was told rented out at Php20,000/month. There is only me and my daughter so we did not really need a three-roomed house, and so I started looking farther out of town where I thought it was going to be cheaper. In the end, we found the house a friend of mine was living in last year empty and available, and it sat directly on the beach. Lia, exclaimed exuberantly, “We’re home!” When your 4-year old child declares you are home, you just have to believe that and trust in her instincts. After, of course, checking out how fast the internet connection is. Never mind if it is an expensive bahay kubo! You are paying more for the view – and the opportunity to walk barefoot on the sand everyday, than the house itself.

For my part, I was paying more for my daughter’s happiness. Because as long as she is happy, then I can be happy. And I am saying that realistically. My daughter and I live alone, just the two of us. I have to be able to work, and take care of her, and do all of the house chores all by myself, and all these depend on whether or not she is happily skipping about, or digging sand castles in the yard, rather than clinging to my legs or walking about with a dour face, ninety-seven percent of the time.

I have not been blogging in the past months because between trying to make a home for just two people and trying to make a living, I just had my hands full. The first month was the most difficult as we both had to deal with adjusting to the weather, the island fauna, maladies of all nature, and just getting the basic necessities inside the house. I know I have been living in this little town on and off through the years, one week to two months every year in the past seven years after the initial ten months in 2005-2006, but there is nothing like leaving one home to another that was completely empty. When, after a full month, I went to Puerto Princesa to buy a stove, a rice cooker, a coffee maker, dishes and bowls, utensils and water glasses, brooms and dust pans and trash cans, non-slip bathroom mats, laundry baskets and clothes racks, hooks and hangers, and all kinds of foot rugs, was I ever truly able to breath and exclaim, “Oh, what joy!!”

Our first month was spent getting to know the neighbors, and acquiring a dog, in the process. Elvis, the black Labrador-Doberman mix dog, is our neighbor’s. But he spends the entire day with us while his “dad” goes to work diving during the day. He is Lia’s play mate, and they are almost best friends.

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The SM Cartoon Fest Launch at SM City Fairview

Family, Other Events By April 12, 2013 Tags: , , , , , , , , No Comments

The SM City Fairview Annex Atrium was jam packed with moms, dads, kids, kids-at-heart, babies in strollers, mascots, as well as all kinds of cartoon character goodies this Friday afternoon. We quickly circled the entire area to find entrances, and to get an idea of the event’s general lay out, so we knew what we needed to do in that sea of people. Stage and audience area on one end, the booths and play centers in the middle, and the gift shop on the other end, next to the registration booth and main entrance to the cartoon fest. Check!

SM Cartoon Fest - SM City Fairview

We went around the booths as the characters were being introduced one by one onstage and the booths were still empty. We found a booth that Lia loved at first sight: the Barbie Ballerina booth, where there was a table for coloring pages and activity books, as well as a table where she could get her nails painted. My 4-year old daughter did not like the idea of having her nails painted, but took a seat without a moment’s hesitation on the activity table and started coloring Barbie pages.

She had to stop coloring when Spongebob went onstage and shrieked with delight upon the explosion of the confetti. Confetti that kids would love throwing onstage, up in the air, and at each other, afterwards.

SM Cartoon Fest - SM City Fairview

At five o’clock, the characters went to their respective booths one by one so kids could come meet them, or have their photos taken with them. Lia, upon going through all the booths, also one by one, and overwhelmed with the mascots’ sizes, said they were all scary so we went around the shop instead. And here is where she found the most joy, amidst the Barbies.

SM Cartoon Fest - SM City Fairview

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Easter Egg Painting at Young Artists’ Studio Greenhills

Family, Music and Arts By April 4, 2013 Tags: , , , , , , No Comments

It was a really fun Easter activity for the kids last Sunday at the Greenhills branch of Young Artists’ Studio.

Lia had been really looking forward to this egg painting activity and she was delighted to see the venue. The Young Artists’ Studio is located inside Sound Learning Therapy Center on the 3rd floor of the Promenade Bldg. at the corner of Wilson St. and P. Guevarra St., Greenhills, San Juan.

Young Artist's Studio: Easter Egg Painting

Young Artist's Studio: Easter Egg Painting

Young Artist's Studio: Easter Egg Painting

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When I am Emo and I Know It

Life in El Nido, Palawan By March 26, 2013 Tags: , , , , , , , 11 Comments

January 2013 was a very eventful month. And truly, it defined how the rest of the year is going to be for me. I know this year’s only been three months but it was the most difficult time of the year. So far, at least. And when things are difficult for me, I run to my refuge, back to where my heart is, to the place I call home.

Cadlao Island, El Nido, Palawan

View of Cadlao Island from Makulay Lodge

Makulay Lodge, Caalan, El Nido, Palawan

Lia’s put a hairpiece on me. Clever girl.

Makulay Lodge, Caalan, El Nido, Palawan

Makulay Lodge, Caalan, El Nido, Palawan

Good morning. Of Monsters and Men.

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Baby, You and I… So Far.

MOMents By February 3, 2013 Tags: , , , , , 3 Comments

As a new chapter of my life begins, allow me to look back at how we have spent the last four years together.

We used to spend every waking and sleeping hours together, just you and me. But now, there will be less time for you and me to be together because you are growing and things are changing. Soon, you will be four years old, going to school more, and spending time with more and more people outside the family.

Before you came, I was hard at work on my master’s degree and was close to taking up a 5-year doctoral degree at a university abroad. I was also a [highly-paid] Drama teacher at a prestigious all-girls high school. I had more money than I needed. But I was lost.

Only when I had you did I find purpose in life. Indeed, you are the best thing to ever happen to me, and without you, I would have been living a successful, and yet, empty life.

Because you and I will be spending significantly less time with each other, I could not help but look back to the time you came into being until now, to this. The time of being primary and sole caregiver, stay-at-home-and-hands-on mom has ended as I now go back to working full time.

But know that I am your mom and I will always be here for you. I love you in ways unimaginable. You have made me a better person altogether. For all that you have done to me, I am grateful.

Our journey has not been easy but it had been very exciting. You are my daughter and my best friend, and I could not ask for more.

I had loved traveling with you.

July 2008 – Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Albay and Catanduanes
September 2008 – Siquijor, Negros Oriental, and Negros Occidental
November 2008 – Camarines Sur

Angku nuninuninu

At Lake Buhi Resort, Camarines Sur. November 2008. 16 weeks.

January 2009 – Cagayan de Oro and Camiguin

At White Island, Camiguin. Photo by Ver Estotsenberg. January 2009. 28 weeks.

At White Island, Camiguin. Photo by Ver Estotsenberg. January 2009. 28 weeks.

At White Island, Camiguin. Photo by Ver Estotsenberg. January 2009. 28 weeks.

At White Island, Camiguin. Photo by Ver Estotsenberg. January 2009. 28 weeks.

February 2009 – Guimaras and Iloilo
March 2009 – Pangasinan

May 2009 – Camarines Sur

At Surfer’s Paradise, Pasacao, Camarines Sur. May 2009. 1.5 months old.

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Lia and her Mama at Stonehouse Gardens

Camarines Sur, Family, MOMents, Photography By January 1, 2013 Tags: , , , , , , , , No Comments

Having finally decided that Lia and I will never come back to live in Bicol, we embarked on a road trip to haul all of our stuff back to Manila. We used to travel together every two weeks when Lia and I were both based in Bicol in 2011 but this was Lia’s first return trip to Bicol after leaving nearly ten months before. We allotted two out of the three-day long weekend for just driving the 900+ kilometers back and forth, and only one day to stay and roam around the area. This mainly meant having coffee at Starbucks Magsaysay, dropping by Bigg’s Diner and Red Platter, having kinalas and puto bucayo. Of course we could have done more but with the limited time, we had to prioritize the ones I missed the most.

I have always wanted to go up and visit Stonehouse Gardens, and because we had no plans of ever coming back, it was imperative that we go this time.

Finally.

We arrived a few minutes before four in the afternoon on the first Saturday of December. The sun was nearly at the horizon and behind the clump of trees by the fence. After refreshing ourselves with glasses of juice served by the resort and take-out food from Bigg’s Diner, we went on a walk around the place and took photos. The setting sun gave just the right light for what would become some of my favorite photos for the year 2012.

At Stonehouse Gardens Resort

At Stonehouse Gardens Resort

At Stonehouse Gardens Resort

At Stonehouse Gardens Resort

At Stonehouse Gardens Resort

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Lia Finds the “Dumb Ways to Die” Video

Family, Music, Music and Arts By November 17, 2012 Tags: , , , , , , , No Comments

We were all sitting in our respective “offices”, mine under the stairs, Lia in her designated sofa space, and H on the dining table, when we heard this song playing on Lia’s tablet. It’s a pretty catchy tune, and more often than not, it’s the music that I hear and never the lyrics of a song. H says, “I like that music Lia. Great music choice,” so I go over and look at her tablet to see what’s playing, because earlier she was just singing along to Umizoomi videos on YouTube. And I see the cartoons and hear the “dumb ways to die” lyrics. The mother in me says, “Uh-oh, what is this song about? Masquerading in great, catchy tunes and adorable animation, BUT what is the message?” So we google.

Details are found here from huffingtonpost.

“Well, this is definitely the most precious way to convey the message, “Don’t stand in front of a train, idiot.”

Australian Metro put out this twee-soaked, very creative animated music video listing things that end in tragedy that are just as preventable as being careless around trains — like using your private parts as piranha bait and taking your helmet off in outer space. The song is by a band called Tangerine Kitty, of course, and can also be downloaded here.

This is a message that anyone living in a city with public transportation should listen to.”- Huffingtonpost

You can listen to it here on soundcloud.

Watch the animated video at dumbwaystodie.com

Enjoy all the scenes from the video as animated GIF’s on the tumblr dumbwaystodie.tumblr.com

Direct download of the mp3 here.

This song and video is now going viral and I can only say thanks Lia for finding this, you are amazing! Though wait, I might have to re-think about what this does to 3-year old minds.

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A Sunday for Lia

Family By November 17, 2012 Tags: , , , , No Comments

As much as Lia loves the beach, Lia also loves the malls. But only if there are reindeers. No, just kidding. Lia loves the beach more. She will never say no to the question, “Do you want to go to the beach?” regardless of her mood or her state of hunger or tiredness. On the other hand, she would say no to the question “Do you want to go to the mall?” eighty percent of the time. Sometimes I even have to force her.

Lia also didn’t want me to take photos of her. She wanted me to take photos of puppy wearing her new funky plastic glasses that we bought at a street stall while waiting for the car’s tank to get filled up at a gas station the day before.

I had planned on going to the Global Pinoy Bazaar at Rockwell Tent earlier but Lia had fallen asleep on the sofa. We let her sleep because we knew she needed the energy, and we needed her to be in a good mood for a time at the mall and the bazaar. We left before six in the evening and traffic from Junction at the Ortigas Ave. Ext. all the way to Ever Gotesco mall was a crawl. Slower than crawl actually. The traffic was light past the mall though and we arrived in Rockwell Makati an hour later – hungry and tired already.

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