Monday, August 6, 2012

Rediscovering Luneta Park

Daughter T took this photo using her iPod Touch.

It was one wet weekend, thanks to Typhoon Ferdie. The tribe felt a bit glum. The heavy rains meant cancelling our "adventurous" plan to check out Luneta Park. However, when Sunday morning came, bearing the tiniest bit of sunlight, we immediately made the tribal decision to push through with our Luneta plans. Staying at home on a weekend is akin to an exile order. We had gotten used to going somewhere and discover low-cost but high-ROI weekend activities that our tribe loves so much!

So, as Typhoon Ferdie made people choose to stay indoors, our tribe braved the rains to rediscover Luneta Park. Not as a school Field Trip, not as a Business activity for visiting colleagues, but as a Sunday adventure for the tribe. The rains stopped for a while when we got to the almost empty park, long enough for us to get settled at a park bench to enjoy our spaghetti and fried chicken picnic lunch. Of course, the lunch drew park "inhabitants" who helped make sure we didn't go home with too much leftovers.

My son J gives a salute in front of
our National Hero's monument.

Wearing our rain gear, our tribe then set off to explore the park grounds. It felt wonderful rediscovering Luneta Park with the kids, pointing out areas of interest, and recapitulating childhood stories attached to the park. We giddily took the train and the glee on my son's face as he rang the bell during the ride was worth every centavo of the P50/head train fare. We looked at the shrine of our National Hero, Dr. Jose Rizal, and it was a treat and a challenge explaining the concept of heroism to my son, who at 4, only knows about heroes who come wearing capes and have superpowers. We checked out the statue of La Madre Filipina and I felt so proud hearing my daughter's thoughts on what the statue symbolizes. As an adventurous treat, we boarded a Calesa, a P300 "one-horsepower" ride. The "cuchero" (horse carriage driver) was a funny young man whose sense of humor definitely made up for an observed lack in historical knowledge. I thought it would be nice if all the Calesa drivers in the area wore simple Filipino costume and came armed with interesting historical trivia.

Son J had the time of his life aboard the Luneta Train.

Despite it being a wet Sunday, the day's jaunt made me feel I had been able to instill a renewed love for country in my young tribesmen, in a simple, fun way that I hope they will not forget for a long, long time.

Definitely, Typhoon Ferdie did not succeed in raining on our parade that Sunday.
La Madre Filipina

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Mommy (In Boots) Returns

Finally I am back! Into blogging mode, that is. I take a look at the last blog I posted and marvel at the fact that this site's been quiet for 18 months. Wow.

Breaking the silence is worth blogging about, as there's a story behind my "resurrection".

2011 was a phenomenal year at work and in my personal life. So many changes happened and so many things took place it felt like time was managing me instead of the other way around. As 2012 rolled in, I decided to reclaim my throne over the events in my life. From the Breakthrough program I attended at work, I learned INTENTIONALITY (putting Intentions into Actions) was my ticket back to the throne. I listed my two Intentionalities: 1) Be more fit by getting into walking (and eventually, ambitiously, a bit of running), and 2) Be more sane by getting back into blogging. 

Striking a pose at the Ayala Triangle Gardens
to mark the historic walk!
As with all good intentions, putting these two into action was not a walk in the park. Something always came up that needed to be prioritized and took up what little time I had left during the weekend. Again, the idea of Intentionality gave me renewed push. I had to make a breakthrough.

To get started on the fitness thing, I finally got around to buying a new pair of walking/running shoes. I did not scrimp. I figured the price would be an additional source of motivation. In a way, it worked!

So, one fine day, without telling anyone at work, I brought my walking stuff to the office. At exactly 5:30pm, without ceremony and fanfare, I closed the door to my office and changed. Minutes later, I walked out in my exercise outfit, all set to step out and make my intentionality a reality. Members of my team looked up from what they were working on, stared in surprise, and then smiled to cheer me on. After a few seconds of banter, I was off to make my way to Ayala Triangle Gardens, just a block away from my office building. The next 40 minutes were some of the most liberating minutes of my life. From my self-made prison of laziness, complacency, and even indifference, I finally broke through! Finally being able to get on my feet and walk was like the Universe telling me I could do anything and be anything! 

I did not break any record and neither did I set a new trend that day (not yet, anyway!), but boy, the sense of achievement was unlike any other.

So here I am, finally back. The Mommy walked. And now The Mommy (in Boots) blogging!

PS My first walk was on June 26. It's now end July and the Mommy is still walking!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Annual Christmas Gathering of Angels

At my daughter's prodding, the angels strike a pose.

Among the numerous parties that kept me quite preoccupied this Christmas, the one I most cherish was the annual Christmas Party that our very own Yayay organized for the other helpers in our cul-de-sac neighborhood. This Christmas marked the second year of this highly anticipated event. For weeks, it seemed like it was all they could talk about during their mid-afternoon assemblies at the clubhouse where they would take their little charges for an hour of energetic playtime.

Runway worthy poses!

Being Yayay's employer, I was unofficially tapped as the "sponsor". It was a role I relished. After all, it was not everyday that I was gifted with the privilege and the opportunity to actually serve our two heavensent angels, Yayay and Ate M. And, yes, angels they truly are. How else would you call people with such generous hearts who look after your children and household like these were their own so you could go to work and even play with tremendous peace of mind?

Crazy fun during a relay game.

In the days that led to the party of the year, I shopped for gifts and prizes and also requested for support from officemates. My daughter took care of preparing the games and even came up with a program flow (a daughter after my own heart, indeed.)! During the actual party, mother and daughter took turns hosting and taking photos while a little boy provided entertainment with his charms and antics.

A party ain't complete without Pinoy Henyo!
It filled the heart to see Yayay, Ate M and the other angels having the time of their lives playing games, eating, singing and opening their gifts. And as we bade them goodbye so they could party among themselves, all of them extended their thanks. A gesture much appreciated but rendered absolutely unnecessary by the joy in our hearts. Joy that sprang from the honor of being able to serve these wingless angels, even in a simple way.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Be Tatay's Girl Again

EDSA was like a parking lot from hell. But on that particular evening, I didn't mind the standstill traffic. I wanted to make sense of things and the time alone in the car was a welcome respite.  There was this project I had been working on for over two years, a project close to my heart. I had invested much and poured my heart into it. Many had advised me against it but I paid no heed. Only because I trusted my partners. Now, it seemed like they didn't deserve that. They had gone ahead and made a decision to close shop without even telling me. I attempted to reach out to no avail. They had wordlessly cast me aside. My investments had meant nothing. I felt heartbroken.

You know those times as a child when you would run crying to your dad, seeking his help? I was big on that as a kid. Whether it's because I tripped and hurt myself or I got bullied by my big brother, I would always speed off to my dad for comfort and protection. The bruises didn't heal any faster and my brother didn't behave any better but still, having my dad there for me somehow held a magic that made everything alright.

That evening on EDSA, more than anything in the world I wanted to run to my Tatay. And my longing was so strong it was easy to imagine him sitting beside me, reaching out to hold my hand. It was just as easy to hear him tell me that things will turn out fine. That, no, I didn't deserve to get hurt that way by anyone when I had enough to deal with as it was. He would argue that, yes, I may be badly wounded but definitely not broken. That his Pangga could not be broken just like that.

When we are hurt, it is the most natural thing in the world to run to the people whom we are certain will never hurt us. And we find solace hearing their words of comfort. From his special nook in Heaven, I heard my Tatay loud and clear.

Yes, wounded but not broken. Tatay's Pangga would be just fine.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A Saturday Morning Tryst

Over the entire household, a comfortable silence hung like a cozy blanket. The serenity was broken every now and then by sounds of dream-filled breathing. It was early Saturday morning in this tribal cave and the tribesmen were still in peaceful slumber.

Well, save for two tribesmen. With nary a sound, these two turned and looked into each other’s eyes. They smiled a wordless good morning and shared a kiss. One tribesman whispered into the other’s ear. And the smiles grew bigger.

Quietly, they climbed out of bed and walked out of the room, careful not to awaken the others. As even the tribal guardians were still in Morpheus’ arms, nobody witnessed how the two rode away in the car. They were in their sleeping garbs and the scent and traces of sleep were still on their faces. But nothing mattered. This was their special time. It was a time that had become like a weekly religious pilgrimage for them.

After a few minutes, the car stopped in front of a roadside store situated within a small marketplace. Rolling down the window, the tribesman behind the wheel would engage in modern barter with a merchant. Money and goods changed hands. But always, the tribesmen felt that they got the better end of the deal. For the goods would incite a renewed brightness to their smiles.

Afterwards, the two journeyed back to their home, partaking of the goods along the way. They shared tales that were as delicious as each morsel of what they had bartered for. Pretty soon, they were back in their home, where the lovely silence was no longer as the rest of the tribesmen roused from their slumber.

But the magic had already happened. And would happen again in a week’s time.

This enchanting tale is about me and my little boy.
On Saturday mornings.
Buying hot pandesal from Sta. Lucia market.

When my lil boy becomes a man, I hope that the aroma of hot pandesal would ferry him back to those happy, halcyon moments of our special Saturday morning jaunts. And I hope these will count among his special memories, as they will always do among mine.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Just Like Mom...Not!

Tired and weary, I came home late Friday night and was greeted by two shining gold medals that hung on one of the wall frames. Ate M told me that my daughter had won those for track and volleyball. All my body aches and exhaustion vanished as my heart swelled with pride for this unexpected achievement. Unexpected because my tween, characteristically, had achieved it without fanfare. While we all knew she was taking part in a track event and was attending volleyball practices, none of us thought that she was serious enough to vie for a medal.

Like any typical parent, it would have been immensely delightful to be able to say that I had something to do with it. But that would constitute a lie big enough to shame me till kingdom come. So once more, I found myself assailed by the yet unsolved genetic mystery that has intrigued me ever since she kicked her way to high-red-belt status in Tae Kwon Do in record time. It has become a family joke that someone must have switched babies on us when she was born. How else would two totally athletically challenged parents produce such a sporty human being? A girl jock who plays piano and guitar ouido, at that.

My athletic skills are a source of amusement among friends. As a college chum pointed out when I posted my pride on Facebook, I had no passion for sports that I took up Social Dancing for PE during sophomore year. And only because it was the PE course with the shortest queue during enlistment period! My friends and I even ended up being the bane of our teacher's dancing life at the time. She instituted a strict dress code requiring girls to be in dancing skirts. We tried conveniently forgetting to bring skirts for a few weeks until she issued us a stern warning. The next PE day, she was delighted to see us finally looking like belles of the ball with our swinging balloon skirts. Until, of course, we had to make that turn in Paso Doble which revealed our denims, hitched up to our knees, underneath!

Anyway, while my daughter could thank neither of her parents for that mysterious sporty gene, she can be sure of one thing: her parents' pride.

On this score, I thank God that she's just UNLIKE her mom.
Congratulations, T!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

A Walk of Faith

The company I work for has been organizing breast cancer crusade fundraising walks for 5 years now. This year, organizing the walk took on new levels of newness and excitement. We wanted to beat last year's numbers in terms of walkers and funds. And, because so many had clamored for it, we expanded this year's event to include a 5K Run.

After months and months of endless planning and preparations, my team and I finally reached the home stretch. But things did not look good. Walk participation numbers came in trickles. Our 5K Run registration was not as robust as intended. A major sponsor backed out at the last minute due to budget constraints, putting our funds target below expectation. And to make matters worse, the weather was not on our side. Memories of how Ondoy and Pepeng wrought havoc on last year's event were still vivid and we certainly did not want a repeat.

I was on tenterhooks on the eve of the big day. The weather forecast was far from cheerful. And all throughout the Breast Cancer Forum which we hosted the day before the walk, my eyes kept darting to the window, desperate to see rays of sunshine outside. But the skies stubbornly remained cloudy and by the time I went to hear anticipated mass, it was starting to rain.

So, I sat there inside Greenbelt Chapel, feeling helpless and hopeless, thinking we've done what we could, in the best way that we could. There really was nothing else to do except let go. And in that moment of surrender, I finally realized that that was exactly what God wanted me to do.

Let go of my OC list.
Let go of the weather forecasts.
And. Just. Let. Him.
And to prove this point, the homily that evening was about "increasing our faith". Boy, did I get an earful but yes, lesson learned.

It was still raining when the priest gave the final blessing but I felt completely at peace. I got the message. God was in control so I had absolutely nothing to worry about. Once more, it was time to live up to my name and just have faith.

The miracles started unfolding later that evening. The rains stopped by 9pm and by the time the working staff trooped back to the hotel to snatch a few ZZZs before our 3am call time, it looked like it never rained at all. Sunday morning came and brought with it the most sunny, the most cheerful morning ever! All our celebrity hosts came on time. Our 5K Run drew a great crowd of 1,400! And the walk gathered 18,000 participants, breaking last year's 17,000!

My heart was so full as I looked at the crowd, amazed at how great things turned out. I looked up to the clear blue sky and smiled. So much for being OC. I totally forgot the all-important OC: Our Creator. And He made these things happen.

The crowd scene a.k.a. 18,000 bodies of evidence that God's hand was at work!

Beauties All: (from left) Ada, Ms. Paul Lopez' Universe Title Holder; Me, the undisputed Ms. Star for All Seasons of Her Tribe; Venus Raj, Ms. Universe Runner Up; Louie, Ms. Jonathan's World Titlist.

The Communications Team with 2 Ambassadors. US Ambassador Harry Thomas, Jr. (in maroon shirt) and Avon Breast Cancer Crusade Ambassador Iza Calzado.

Firing the starting gun was a rather scary experience for me. Scarier than the threat of shooting at myself or at anyone, I dreaded pulling the trigger at the wrong time and having those serious runners gang up on me for a fatal mistake!

Ms. International 2005 and now a sought after TV and movie actress, Lara Quigaman, is one of my most favorite beauty queens. A real beauty inside and out. All it took was one simple SMS request for her help and she said a resounding YES to come and be one of the emcees for the event. That's how generous and down to earth this woman is. Lara took time to charm my kids backstage.

GMA 7 TV interview at 4AM! Before I even had coffee! But the ungodly hour and lack of caffeine didn't make a dent on the energy and enthusiasm. Not at all! :-)

We asked: Ken Ya Do It? The Kenyans certainly could! The Run champs with me and our GM MDG.

A light moment with US Ambassador Thomas and APMI Head Colin.

The Unang Hirit peeps have been our walk's favorite emcees. Doing the walk has been a tradition for them, they said. This year, Iza, Lara and Luane Dy joined the lineup.

My lil big boy. My biggest fan (well, second to his ate of course). He was so supportive of his mom he finished the entire 3K! Mom felt so proud ( and, well, guilty, when he fell ill a day after).