After an entire full week of being in El Nido without my daughter, the little one arrived at the Lio airport on the three PM flight from Manila. I was extremely proud of having her make the flight on her own, with just her faith in me, that I would be there at the airport waiting for her when she gets off that plane.

The first time she was in El Nido, she was only a few days older than a year. Infants younger than one year old are not allowed to take that 16-seater propeller plane to El Nido so I had to wait for her to turn a year old before I could take her back with me. That was back in 2010, and we were in town so I could be at my kids’ graduation from grade school. It was her first time to meet Ate Marigs, my boss and godmother.

The second time was last March when we went to visit them for a few hours at Loyola Memorial for a wake. The meeting at the A. Soriano Hangar was only the third time Lia met Ate Marigs. Lia was at first afraid to go with Ate on the plane so I had to talk to her on the phone,

“Lia, you have to ride on the plane with Teacher Mariglo. Mama will be right here at the other airport waiting for you. While you are on the plane, you promise to be a good little girl? Don’t cry, don’t be noisy and sit still on your seat.”

And she said okay and went along.

I was told she was a exceptionally quiet and a good little girl the entire hour-long flight, assuring Ate she was okay by giving her the thumbs up sign every so often. I was such a proud mom!

When she got there, she said, “Oh wow! Playground!” Though she said to me, “Mama, I missed you. Don’t do that again okay?”