Friday, June 14, 2013

Janina Francesca I. Tejada

My Janina was born on May 2, 2013 at the Manila Doctors' Hospital.

I don't know why Tj and Tim chose the name Janina. But I love it. It is the female version of John, Juan, Ian or Ivan. Francesca came from Francis, the chosen name of the recently installed Pope. Good choice, too, since PF1 seems very sincere in his pronouncements on changes in the catholic church. I had a classmate in high school whom we called Nina. And if her demeanor were to be the basis, then we are assured that our Janina shall be as prim and as proper as her. 

Janina took my eyes, and probably my light complexion. I hope she also gets interested in the same things as I do now- like, dresses, accessories, reading, writing, cooking, etc, so that we can bond in the remaining years of my life. In the meantime, I am keeping the things which shall be handed down to her at the right time.

Janina came at the right time. Timmy, her mom and my daughter, is already in her mid-30's. A few more years and getting pregnant may pose some problems for her. Jacob, Janina's elder brother, is already at that stage when he can listen to reason. So far, very little signs of jealousy can be gleaned from his actions. In fact, he is showing signs of  being a very loving, caring brother to his younger sister. His constant kisses, his attempts to help feed his sister, his concern when Janina is upset- all these are good signs that their parents will be spared of the usual problems relative to sibling rivalry in the future.

When we bring the kids out, Jacob makes sure he's holding on to Janina's stroller. In my mind, I can imagine he's acting like a close-in security for his sister. And this makes me very glad. Whether they will have other siblings later or not, it is my prayer that like my own children, they will grow up loving and caring for each other. Thank you, Lord, for precious grandchildren!

Monday, April 1, 2013

A December Weekend in Hongkong

This is long overdue. But I have to write this because Bajek and Aja are fast growing up and soon,  their parents will tell them that at their young age, they have gone to Hongkong and spent a weekend there with the whole family. And surely, they will ask what happened there.

In July, 2006, the hubby and I went to Hongkong in celebration of our 30th wedding anniversary. I was mesmerized by the things I saw. Hongkong is a vibrant city with lots of things a woman like me enjoys.But the hubby found it too commercial and wished that we had gone to Vietnam instead. I wanted to do so many things and see so many places in the islands of Hongkong but I did not get to because my husband's masculine bones did not want to do the walking so we just followed where our tour guide led us to. The only thing that saved the trip was the whole day we spent in HK Disneyland, where both of us enjoyed. So from then on, I vowed to go back and conquer HK- this time with another woman, my daughter Tim, who has been there twice in the past. We were eyeing the months of Oct-Nov, 2010, after her bar exams but a tragic event happened in Manila which resulted in the deaths of several HK tourists, many of whom were children. The sentiment of the people of Hongkong against all Filipinos, even if the lone killer was an errant policeman  who himself was killed by his colleagues, was enough for us to cancel our trip. We wanted to enjoy and not be looked upon with hatred and anger.

Past forward to December,  2012. Timmy booked all of us to an early morning flight to HK on a Thursday, December 13. It was a wrong decision, because we had to leave our house in Bulacan at 12:00mn in order to make it at the airport at least three hours before our flight. That made us all groggy the whole morning. But it was okay in the sense that the two babies, then 1 year and 5 months and 10 months, respectively, fell asleep aboard the plane. At NAIA3, we had to sit like this on the floor while waiting to check in-

We arrived at our Nathan Rd. hostel in Tsim Sha Tsui a shortly before lunch. The hotel manager, Simon, was very accommodating. Really our flight was not ideal because most hotels are vacated at 12:00nn and check in was supposed to be at 2:00pm. Simon let us leave our bags in his private quarters and we went out to wait for 2:00pm outside. Good the place was near the Kowloon Garden. Bajek and Aja enjoyed playing there, while we adults just stayed put in the benches. The December air made us relax for the duration of our wait.

After checking in, we rested for a few hours before we headed out to explore the city. At around 5:00pm, we heard a knock on our door, and to our surprise, Popoy was there, all the way from UAE. The family was complete. What else can we ask for? I was so happy, I cried upon realization that we can celebrate Christmas altogether, albeit much earlier. That night, we went around and around, savoring the cool HK air, minus the pollution that we are used to in Manila.

The following day, Friday, was our Disneyland day. Prior to the trip, Tim and Poy (we later learned) already did some research on the routes of trains and buses we would take to and from a certain place. We all enjoyed the train and bus rides. HK really has a very efficient transport system. We were at Disneyland from 9am to 9pm.I cannot explain the feeling seeing my whole family enjoy a place far away from home. HK, after all, is relatively a safe place for tourists, a lot safer than Manila. Am not sorry.

At Disneyland, I almost shrieked seeing the rides and the attractions. I loved Philharmagic in 2006 and I still loved it this time. I was a child once more, together with my grandchildren.

The day's highlight was the Disney on Parade which we waited for with much eagerness. The sights and sounds, the colors and the clean, cool air all made the experience a pleasurable one.

We spent our third day at the Madame Tussaud Museum in Central taking souvenir photos. The journey up the tram was quite difficult. But the tram ride was enjoyed by the kids.

The third afternoon was reserved for some shopping, but we only went as far as the Giordano stores and in ISquare in Nathan Rd. So much time was spent looking for a fish cracker requested by our friend and compadre, Lito de Dios, but we didn't find any of this-

We asked ALL of the stores along the road for this product, but all our efforts were in vain. I ended up buying chocolates for his kids, instead.

On our last day, we woke up early and headed to the airport for out 10am flight back home. We were thinking we still could do some shopping at the airport. But we found out our third world budget plane was in the far end of the airport. we had to walk and walk and walk. Good there is a watch store near our gate so Tim was still able to buy herself an Anne Klein piece. The saddest part of our departure is leaving Popoy behind since his flight back to Dubai/UAE was still in the afternoon. He went back to our hotel to rest a little more but headed back again to the airport to do some window shopping. Poy was very excited to see his nephews, especially Aja whom he is seeing for the first time.

Someday, I wish we could go on a trip again as a family. Doesn't matter where. As long as we are all together. It is not just because we have to, but because we love to.

As far as Hongkong is concerned, I haven't got my fill yet. I want to explore Causeway Bay, Wanchai and Harbour City.  I haven't seen the shopping havens yet. I haven't gone on a food trip yet. And before this lifetime is over, I have to. I am a woman, after all.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

From March to June

It's been four long months since I last posted.

Jacob is now 11 months and knows so many things already. He has been iPadding since December and shuttles between Disney Junior and BabyFirst TV. His antics have become diverse and his language skills are speedily developing. When he grows up, I will ask him what "digde" means. For now, it could be anything, but I sincerely hope it's his word for "pretty" when he refers to me.

Rajan, on the other hand, is now 4 months old but he holds his feeding bottle like a ten-month old. He has become very communicative and always displays a very wholesome disposition at such a young age. He has also become and iPadder, quickly turning his attention on the screen when his favorite nursery rhymes are played.

With my attention equally divided between my two Laway Boys, especially during weekdays, the hubby has to be content with occasional and somewhat robotic questions as " Nagkape ka na?". Of course I was only asking. That didn't mean I will make him a cup. He can do it very well for himself. Ha ha!

Having babies around requires giving up most of what I usually do before they came. Blogging, for instance, and going out just for the sake of going out. But I have no regret. In fact, I am grateful. Because I realize now how much I missed in the past,  when my own children were still babies and I was always away, doing something I hated doing but had to do for my family's survival. My days with Jacob and Rajan growing up before my eyes also made me realize that I made the wrong choices then, considering that today, I find it hard to remember what my children's first words were, when were they able to crawl,sit, stand and walk by themselves. What mother does not remember all these?

Enough of bitter memories...

In April, my beloved Poy was given a brand new car by his UAE employer. I can only guess he did good in his job. But knowing this gem of a son, I know he would have had the same or even better perks anywhere he may be employed. 

In early May, our group, Batch 66, headed south to Boracay for a three-day respite. We are fortunate to be at the receiving end of our friend and classmate, Abeng Calata's generosity, who took all 9 of us on a round-trip flight to the island. She has  time-sharing benefits at the Fairways and Bluewater and so she called us up to join her. Good my Mareng Alice just arrived from the US for a short vacation so that made us almost complete. Since I and the hubby were classmates, we received a double blessing by being together with our best friends.

On June 17, my high school friends based in Bulacan had lunch at my house. My high school buddy, Pearlie, G., was home for a vacation from New Jersey. Upon returning from Bicol where she has a house, she came over to spend a few hours with us. Funny how classmates are always on the look-out for each other. It is our wish to be together someplace where we can spend a few days of fun and laughter.

Just last week, June 20, to be exact, the hubby and I celebrated our 36th wedding anniversary. As I posted in my Facebook account, ours is a story of falling and rising and falling and rising again, but each time we rose, we looked at the same direction and we never got lost.

I wonder when I will be posting again...

But it feels good, really good, downloading all these from the heart.

Monday, February 27, 2012

LoLa Pretty, Chapter 2

With God's grace, I am now a LoLa, twice over.

I have settled for Wowa instead of lola, because I do not want to lose the wow factor in being a grandmother. But as i've said in an earlier post, I will have no objection should my grandsons decide to call me LoLa Pretty, instead.

Rajan Adam Delos Santos Inocencio was born on February 12, 2012, 2:55am, at the Capitol Medical Center in QC where his parents, my very handsome son, Nad and his beauteous wife, Ann, both work. Rajan was all of 7.13 lbs when he was born.

I didn't realize the seriousness of being a grandmother when, during the times when I had to put my grandsons to sleep, I always ran out of a lullaby to sing. Worst, I realize that I no longer remember the complete and correct lyrics of Paruparong Bukid, Leron-Leron Sinta and PenPen de Sarapen. Talk about aging! Most times, I end up singing the first two stanzas of Home On The Range, a song I learned in elementary school, back when the American model of instruction was the norm. The song goes-

Oh, give me a home where the Buffaloes roam
Where the Deer and the Antelope play;
Where seldom is heard of discouraging word,
And the skies are not cloudy all day.

Home, home on the range,
Where the deer and the antelope play;
Where seldom is heard of discouraging word
And the skies are not cloudy all day.
Its melody is very easy on the ears. It lulls anyone to sleep, as all lullabys should. But the most important thing this song does for me is that it connects my youth with my journey to senility.

Mr dear Jacob and Rajan, i love you both beyond the stars!

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Goodbye to the Angry Years

I am taking a break from the preps for tonight's media noche. I remember I had no time to post the whole month of December as it was the busiest month I've had this year. But as a year ender, I'd like to say goodbye to the last last four years.

2008 was a very trying year for me and my family. That year was the start of the "angry mode" I was automatically shifted to by some strange forces I had little control of. I was angry at certain individuals, some of whom were even very significant to me; I was angry at institutions, for their lack of mechanisms that could have made my plight easier to handle. I was so angry and the anger stretched into years. I floundered helplessly as the objects of my anger came to fore and I was destroyed beyond recognition. Until one day, I came face to face with what I have become and I was astounded and frightened that I am fast becoming someone I am not meant to be. I remembered the one person -my father- who was such a great model of kindness and amiability and asked God to save me from the elements of evil that have turned my person upside down.

I knew I had to exert more efforts towards the changes that I long for myself. With a lot of help from my trusted friends and with my family as my inspiration, I slowly got back on the right track. The antagonism that occupied the space between me and some persons have slowly faded and civility followed. Except for this one lost soul who chose to perpetuate the evil she was used to in her formative years, I can say 2011 will end with a happy note. I am now deliberately checking on myself whenever I am piqued so that whatever she does to annoy me, I just turn my head the other way, where I can see better people who can take me to better places- where things shape up in more positive ways.

Goodbye, angry years. From now on, I will strive to connect with my inner self more so that I can achieve the change that I seek.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Losing Nina

I wanted to write about her since the week she died, but I didn't get to. There was that hole-like something inside me since that moment that I read this message on the night of November 8, 2011 from our classmate Vicky Pagsibigan in our group site:

Re: [fabfourone70] Carolina B. Cruz


The next day, I opened her account at Facebook and posted this on her wall- wishing that somehow, she would know that I mourn her death-

How do we say goodbye to a dear, dear friend who did not want to bother us with all her worries and pains and instead kept them all to herself? It's pretty difficult. I will miss you, Nina. I will forever treasure our days together at Marcelo; our days at T-170B, UP Diliman; the semester we spent together in your aunt's apartment in Cataluna St., in Sampaloc, wading into the floodwaters of Espana as we go to Diliman for our classes; your assistance to my son at BSU; the little secrets we shared; your gentle ways. You've been an angel here on earth. No doubt the Lord has a special place for you in heaven.
Like ·  · See Friendship · November 9 at 6:49am ·

I last spoke to her on the phone sometime in July this year- when Yollie Torres, another classmate, came for a short visit. That call was for her to attend a dinner with Yollie, hosted by our class valedictorian, Vic Mariano, who has just been appointed DOST Regional Director for Reg. 3 then. She begged off saying she is still recuperating from an illness. It showed in her voice so I did not insist. Her last outing with our classmates was in 2005, when Angie San Pedro went home for a quick visit and a little later, when Frank Santiago came home to bury his mother in Hagonoy.

When we went to UP together, along with a number of our classmates, Nina took up Business Administration. She was persuading me to shift to BA, but it was her who ended up shifting to BSE, major in Math. There were times during our college years when my Tatay and I would come over to their house in Sto. Rosario, Malolos. I distinctly remember one time when we were served nilagang gabi with niyog and asukal by her parents. It was so good I took note of it and made it a regular merienda fare at home, until now.

She has been sick for while, owing to the fact that her heart is not functioning so well. She even asked me once to go with her to see my son's heart doctor. But it never happened. For some reason, she changed her mind about seeking another opinion. According to her eldest sister, there was a need to replace a valve in her heart, a procedure she did not undergo. It must have been so painful and heartbreaking for her mother, sister, brother, nephews and nieces to lose her within a month of her younger sister Choly's death. She and Choly had the exact, same heart condition. She was buried alongside the graves of her father Andres and her sister Choly. The family lost two daughters with the same medical condition in less than a month's time. Life is really strange.

Goodbye for now, dear Nina. Your time has come while we, the ones you left behind, have no way of knowing when ours will come. But your death is a reminder to us that we have to live each day to the fullest, after all, it's the only life we've got.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Finding Rachel

She wasn’t really lost. I just lost track of her.

Rachel Recomono was my boardmate at 103 Valenzuela St., Area 2, UP Diliman, Quezon City. It was one of those row houses inside the UP campus, then occupied by Mrs. Nenita Ocampo, a math professor, and her family. There were six boarders occupying three double deck beds in one of the two rooms in that house. I recall that I was there ahead of Rachel. Although we both entered the university in 1970, we did not have a chance to be classmates even in a single general education subject. I was taking up BSE, she was pursuing AB Mass. Comm.

Rachel and I had different circles of friends, owing to our respective courses, but it became easy for us to befriend each other. In fact, as our stay in that boarding house progressed, we became a threesome with a much younger student, Joy Versoza.  The three of us shared an experience which has now become a memory, one which a wise man said is like wild violets, better oft left untouched.

After graduation in 1975, I stayed one more year in that house, which I loved so much, since I was accepted at the high school department of Maryknoll College. Joy was still with me then. Rachel went on carving her own future, but we had no cue as to what she was into at the time. When I decided to get married in 1976, I wanted very much to have both her and Joy in the entourage. Since I did not know where she was then, I ended up having only Joy as my bridesmaid. She should have been the other one.

Sometime after my marriage, I was surprised when she came to my hometown and asked around about my whereabouts. We hugged each other so tightly when she was guided by a neighbor into my in laws’ house where my husband and I were staying. We spent the afternoon just chatting on the second floor of the house.  Then she was gone again.

In the early 80’s, she again surprised me by coming over, this time to a house where I, my husband and three children were staying. I was overjoyed upon seeing her again and learning that she was then with UNESCO in Paris, France. She, in fact, brought me a bottle of red wine then. Early on, she has sent me some pictures of her taken with the Eiffel Tower as the background.  My daughter Timmy was still a little girl then, and up till now, she remembers that in that visit, her Tita Rachel gave her a lavender bag, which I know is just somewhere in our closets, since neither Tim nor I don’t just throw away things given to us.

Many years passed and we lost track of each other. When I learned how to work on the internet, I tried looking for her in as many ways as I knew how. On Facebook, I tried dropping some messages to people surnamed Recomono but I did not get positive results. In fact, I wrote a certain Rach Recomono, whose name I thought may have come from my friend’s name, but I did not get a reply. I was disappointed, but I very well understood her since I was a total stranger. One time I searched and found there a Rachel Recomono from France  without an email address. Since the name was part of a group, I tried emailing one with an address. The lady replied that the Rachel Recomono she knows was a 22 year old student and might not be the one I was looking for based on my given description.

Life went on.

Until Thursday, November 25, 2011. I was about to shut off the computer when I remembered checking my email for messages coming from my husband’s clients in Saudi Arabia and in Canada. I no longer email my friends since all of us are in Facebook, anyway. As I opened my inbox, my attention was caught by one from a Rachel Apertiti with the subject Rachel Recomono. It turned out it was my friend Rachel’s daughter and she was giving me the address where I can communicate with her mom. Somewhere in my inbox was another email, this time from Rachel Jakubowicz, the Rachel I knew, telling me she discovered my blog through her daughter. After an exchange of short emails, we are linked once again. Now we are reconnected. And it was such a blessing my heart overflows with so much happiness.

I was looking for Rachel, but she found me, instead!

Now I remember again the Rachel I knew. She -with that very voluptuous body (she loves figure hugging shirts which she carried with aplomb), with hair so fine and so long. She who reads and reads very thick paper bound novels  in between her  school activities. She who goes to the beach alone to unwind. She who loved "Harry" or Cliff Richard with all her heart. She who said I was a good letter writer which made me think I can write, even if the topics are limited to my own experiences. It was Rachel who brought me all the way to her aunt’s house in Olongapo City one week end without my father’s knowledge.  If it wasn’t her, my very smart and audacious friend, who talked me into going there, I would not have gone. Rachel was so gutsy and fearless I knew I was safe in her company. As I write this, I recall bits and pieces of the many times we would go to her place in Pasig, near the kapitolyo, especially that one time when her mother cooked chicken adobado for us- a Bicolano fare. Both I and Rachel have Bicolano roots- maybe it was one of the reasons why despite the years of being apart, our hearts remained connected.

I know I won’t lose Rachel again. I just have to remember-

"We all lose friends...we lose them in death, to distance and over time.
But even though they may be lost, hope is not. The key is to keep them in
your heart, and when the time is right, you can pick up the friendship right
where you left off. Even the lost find their way home when you leave
the light on." - Amy Marie Walz