Friday, November 13, 2009


The indie film '100', starring Mylene Dizon, Eugene Domingo and Tessie Tomas, had such a huge effect on me. It is a sad and lonely film, meant to be watched with people you love. It reminded me to review my bucket list which I made years ago. As of today, my list is as follows:

1. Visit at least five (5) more islands in the Philippines;

2. Volunteer with the GMA7 Kapuso Foundation, in any capacity;

3. Write and publish essays in leading newspapers and magazines;

4. Teach in a teacher-training school for at least two (2) semesters;

5. Go shopping in HK with Timmy;

6. Finish the front yard garden and build an ashes depository thereat;

7.Buy three (3) diamond rings, one each for my three children;

8. Prepare a deed of donation covering our properties in favor of my three kids;

9. Reverently burn all my accumulated souvenirs( cards and letters) through the years;

10. Write and/ or videotape myself expressing my messages to my future grandchildren.

I'm not yet 60 but the feeling that I always run out of time persists. I'm not trying to be morbid but that's how I feel these days. Maybe I need to recharge. Or maybe I need new batteries. Yay, old age, look what you do to me!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

In Loving Memory

All Saints' Day is coming up. In recent years, I have been amiss in my obligations to my dead loved ones. I light no candles, I offer no flowers and I just stay home the whole day of Nov. 1, while the world is trekking to the cemeteries. It doesn't mean though, that I've forgotten the dead. In fact, I think about them, especially when I am in situations that remind me of them. And those are aplenty. I cannot forget about them and their influences in me and in my life.

My parents, Salvador and Milagros, died 40 years apart, with my mother leaving ahead in 1959. This November, we are commemorating her 50th death anniversary. It's my father's 10th death anniversary last April, 2009. My earlier blogs, Of Mothers and Daughters and Buddy Ferrer, are dedicated to their memories.

My sister Connie died at the very young age of 10, in 1967. She had leukemia. I felt the pain of her death only when I came of age. I was a young girl of 14 when she was afflicted with the disease. I did not know anything about it except that she will surely die at a given time. I am pained when I remember the days and nights she would complain to me, "Ate, ang sakit", pointing to me her arms, her legs, her stomach, every part of her. And all I did was to rub the part with vaporub or that ointment that Tatay brought home one time. She had black and blue spots in every part of her body. She was brought to the hospital in mid-November. Four days before Christmas, she died. As I write this, I cannot control my tears. If given more opportunities then, I could have researched on how I could have eased her pain. My only consolation ( that's her full name, Consolacion) is that she was spared of the harsh realities of adult life with her early passing.

Inang Tale and Amang Juan were my grandparents on my mother's side. Amang Juan died a year after my mother's death. I knew nothing about him except that he used to be the cook of Gen. Malvar, a revolutionary leader. He hailed from either Malolos or Hagonoy. I have no way of knowing exactly where. Inang Tale was from the Visayas. This is the reason why we do not know anyone from her family. She said she was a stow-away. Her story was that she and a companion hid in a ship bound for Manila to escape from paying their sea fares. As soon as they disembarked from the ship, they immediately looked for jobs and eventually ended up in Bulacan where she met Amang Juan. Inang Tale raised me and my brother and sister, together with my mother's siblings in a house built by my father. She died in her sleep when I was in college.

Lolo Otik and Lola Ana, on the other hand, were my grandparents on my father's side. I never knew Lola Ana. I am not sure if my mother met her when she married my father. But I vividly remember Lolo Otik's well-crafted, signature cane. He always walked with it, giving him a Spanish genteel look. He seemed like a very intelligent man, perhaps we got our intelligent genes from him. Lolo Otik and Lola Ana were both from Albay in Bicol. An aunt told me once that Lolo Otik was very, very strict. I thought it had a positive effect on his children because in later years, even if they were scattered all over, they remained very close to and very supportive of each other.

My parents-in-law, Inang Ising and Amang Popoy both died of an illness, Inang in June, 2000 and Amang in January, 2009. Amang Popoy lived a very productive, long life. He is perhaps the most industrious man in this corner of the world. His every movement had a purpose. Living with a man like him will make one guilty of indolence. He did not waste his time. ( On many occasions, he would watch tv while asleep.) He always consciously made himself useful. Amang Popoy"s foremost legacy to his children is his very strong character. He did not let his humble roots define him. He went beyond what people think was a lowly livelihood, being a mambubulok. Out of the hundreds of tons of junk that he traded, all his children were educated. I will forever be grateful to him for being the first to accept me in their family- an acceptance I knew was genuine from day one.

My Ninang Noring or Leonor was my confirmation godmother. We used to be neighbors when I was in elementary up to my high school years. I knew her better than my baptism godmother because she was always around as I grew up. My memories of her include those processions around our town on Good Fridays each year. She taught me to join such church activities and explained to me the importance of being religious. She would buy me candles for those processions and would fetch me for the mass and bring me home afterwards. Since she was a seamstress, every graduation day from 1961 to 1965, she would make me a nice dress to wear for the recognition of honors rites. On my last year in elementary in 1966, she even bought the white, lace cloth which she turned into a very nice graduation dress. Beneath Ninang Noring's very small frame is a ton of determination. In the later part of the 60's, when I was in high school, she continued her college studies at the same time that she kept home for her family. It paid off since not long after, she earned a bachelor's degree that would land her a job in a local bank for years. On Good Friday of 2006, Ninang Noring joined her Creator. She died on duty-while serving the Lord on the last day of the Holy Week.

Years ago, I came across an epitaph which I want to be written on my tombstone. Just like the memories I treasure of my dead loved ones, I would also like to be treasured in the memories of the people I will leave behind. Thus, I want it written- " Here lies a woman who lived in the hope of becoming a memory."

Friday, October 2, 2009

Beautiful In My Eyes

Someone noticed that I don't have a post exclusively about the hubby. I told her I was being careful and that I try to keep sacred grounds sacred. But this month( Oct. 3, actually) is the hubby's 56th birthday and so I reckon that maybe I should write about him so that I can tell him I prepared the best gift ever for him this year.

I call him Ding. High school and college friends call him Gerry. Relatives call him Rading. He may have different names, but he has only one character- a formidable one.

Ding is one of eight siblings born to parents who operated a junkshop that sent all of them to school. Life was tough for them, but resilience led them to where they are now. Ding's journey is an uphill one, characterized by falls and plunges here and there. But he always stood up after each fall.

Our love story is not the best material for a telenovela screenplay. Sure, it was full of sub-plots, but if it were to be shown on primetime tv, I doubt if it could last one season. Viewers might not be able to identify with the characters. They are extraordinarily ordinary.

Let us begin from the very beginning. Ding and I were neighbors since the day we were born. Hence, it was but natural for us to be classmates in elementary school- from 1960 to 1966. Most years we belonged to one section and during those times, we were always listed in the honor roll. Sometimes, he got ahead, sometimes, I did. In high school, I was lucky to have been included in the prime section up until I graduated. He, on the other hand, belonged to section 2. There was never any chance for us to be together in any high school activity. I did not know how he busied himself or who his friends were. I was so engrossed then with myself and my world where he did not belong.

Then, on November 1, 1974, All Saints' Day, I took notice of him because he stood out amongst the many people who flocked to the cemetery. At the time, people prepare their best attire when they converge in public places. Ding was wearing an old pair of faded denims when it was not yet fashionable then, and a plain, tattered, white round collar t-shirt with holes and torn sleeves. (No, it wasn't a fashion statement, I'm sure of that.) He was in rubber slippers, certainly not Havaianas, and most likely Spartan. A few exchanges took place, followed by a class reunion of our elem batch which we both attended and in April, 1975, we were officially together. I never asked him what made him notice me because at the time of that cemetery encounter, I knew he was seeing another hometown girl. I was afraid of what I will hear if I asked.

Our early days together brought out a lot of revelations about his and my character.He was the jealous type, I was very comfortable about myself and so I was never threatened by anyone else. I was very 'ma-kwento' with complete attention to details, he was always quiet and reflective. I set my eyes on being a teacher and earn that PhD later, he wanted to strike it big in business. It was very easy for him to take chances, I was the 'sigurista' type who wouldn't waste time and money even if I had tons of them. He was born to a relatively large family, I can count my immediate relatives with the fingers on my two hands. He was sun to my moon. He was hot. I was cold ( well, not in the bedroom!) He is pancit, I am pasta. Poles apart, we were. He was a very impatient person, while I always believed that there is an appointed time for everything.In later years, the best description I could come up with to describe the two of us was- "Ding is a man of numbers, I am a woman of letters."

What can one expect from a couple with very contrasting personalities and characters? World war, what else? But in our case, it was more of a silent war that brewed for years. I waged my war quietly with the resolve and pure intention to win all the battles to save my family- a complete, functional one, even if during the crossfires, I always find myself losing because I always ran out of ammunition. Funny, but I never ran out of tears. There were sporadic periods of loneliness along the way, but God always gifted me with the best inspirations to go on- like my three beautiful children. They made our lives purposeful despite and inspite of.

Our contrasting characters contributed mainly to our contrasting love languages. Ding wants to be served. How he loves hot coffee in the early mornings but I stubbornly refuse to wait on him. ( I'm supposed to be a teacher, not a waitress! And what man doesn't know how to make a cup of coffee? Pray, tell me! Well, honestly, there is a story behind this, but that would take another post. ) He wants me to ask him if he's hungry. I prefer him to tell me when he is hungry. I love to be given flowers from time to time. He questions why he had to? ( In fairness, when I ask where the flowers are on certain occasions, his standard answer is- 'Ok, you'll get them tomorrow.) And tomorrows never end.

Let me state bluntly that in our early years, I was disillusioned. However, a magazine article I once read taught me that at times when a spouse starts to focus on the other half's undesireable traits, he or she should immediately begin to list down the other half's very endearing ones. That way, the positive rules over the negative. I did this a million times over ( go, figure why!) and I've proven this to be true. It is one of the many secrets of our successful marriage. I always consciously try to remember his virtues so that I won't lose it.

Ding is a very humble person. Though sometimes, that humility borders on a feeling of inferiority. That was why I always have to come to his rescue. He needed to be pushed sometimes but when he gains momentum, there he goes. He is also a very simple person. He enjoys eating in a carinderia more than in a fancy restaurant. He loathes wearing a barong, but his profession dictates that he had to.

I cannot explain the rationale behind it, but I find it desireable when Ding cries. He cried when our puppy was ran over by a vehicle many years ago. He cried whenever we watch Wish Ko Lang on Saturday afternoons. He cried ( his right hand flashing the L-sign) while Cory's coffin passed by our spot at the Luneta during the funeral for the former president. He cried so many times in the past, and I know he will cry some more when his emotions are stirred. There is something venerable and marvelous about men who cry. ( How I loved John Travolta when he cried on Oprah in one of those 9/11 episodes.)

Perhaps, his most endearing quality is his very good sense of humor. On good days, it is very infectious, all we do is laugh about anything and everything. In the mornings, it has become a daily contest between us as to who passes gas out the loudest and longest. ( Ummm, cover your noses!) We have developed a language all our own such that even if we are in a very public place, we can't help but laugh at things that catch our attention. For a time now, we have been laughing about a request I made long ago which he has not yet granted me. I have always fancied having a stainless pole in the middle of our bedroom so I can dance to my heart's content when there's music. I argued that anyway, he will be the only one to see me do it. He never said no, but when I gyrate to a lively song while we watch tv in bed, he would cover his eyes and turn the other way prompting me to say, "Okay, I get it!".

Just the other day, his birthday, we had a good laugh while we were in the room due to some misunderstanding on my part. I cannot recall what he said exactly, but I asked him, " Ano sinabi mo, may asim ba ako o maasim ako?''. Instead of answering, he laughed, and I did too, realizing the stupidity of my question. It was some ten or more minutes before we calmed down.

Perfect imperfections, that's how i would describe our characters. Our imperfections are perfect for each other. At this point, I have realized that we are God's gifts to each other. And perhaps I can say that we are also God's gifts to our children because through it all, they were foremost in our hearts and minds. Ding and I maybe many things, but our love and commitment to each other never faded, but in fact, grew stronger through the years. Loyalty is our second skin and we are both proud of that.

I may be battle scarred. But the blemishes and scrapes helped in making me the person I am now- stronger and determined. There may be times when I will feel sorry for myself again, especially when the imperfections become very visible once more, but in my heart, I know I am blessed with a very loyal and devoted partner. And so, for now, I'll keep on singing-

" the world will turn, and the seasons will change and all the lessons we will learn, will be beautiful and strange, we'll have our fill of tears, our share of sighs, and my only prayer is that you realize, You'll always be beautiful in my eyes."

Monday, September 14, 2009

If The Shoe Fits

I am overjoyed. i just received a wonderful birthday gift from my niece and inaanak, Rina. the gift makes me smile whenever i look at it. the smile later turns to giggle as i wonder how in the world am i going to walk with it? it is pretty, classic in style (animal prints never go out of style) and fabulously expensive, i suppose. but the most surprising thing about it is that i will enjoy looking at it for hours on end, but will never be able to walk in it for even five minutes. hindi kaya ng powers ko. i am no sarah jessica parker though i'm a fan of her blaniks and jim choos.

I love beautiful things, but i don't lust about them. I don't have branded shoes primarily because i can't afford them. I always rationalize that the cheaper ones at SM, Manel's, Rusty Lopez and 168 Mall are prettier than most LV shoes that cost enough money to feed a hundred families in a month. Besides, buying cheaper shoes (and bags, too) will keep one abreast with the ever changing styles. (chances are, they are torn by the time a new design is introduced).

The new pair given me inspired me to take a second look at what i have. Most of them are still in their boxes cause there aren't many occasions when i can wear them. My Sunday's best comprise mainly of denim pants, a loose top and a slip-on, so my shoes are seldom used. I have a 'ninang' shoes which i wear when i am invited as a wedding sponsor- a beige strappy pair with rhinestones. I love shoes with borloloys. ( my dogs love them too. In fact, Bitoy had a grand time destroying my black and pink embelished slip-on). There's something about borloloys and bling-blings in shoes that attract me, so when my daughter Timmy sent me an mms of a black and silver number while she was window-shopping for me, i said yes at once. i so, so love the pink and mauve pair given to me by Timmy, but just like the new pair from Rina, hindi kaya ng powers ko to wear it for hours. When i wear it to church, there is always a pair of flats in the car, just in case, and i have to be sure we will be seated, so i urge my husband to go to church earlier than usual.

I find strappy shoes smart since i was in college. at syvel's, where stylesetters go in the '70s, the most stylish shoes are always the strappy ones. I realize i haven't given up on the 70's style, judging from the number of strappy sandals i bought and wore when i was still employed. A few months ago, i found a pair of strappy black shoes at SM with heels i can strut about. So i bought it. I wore it in a procession for St. Anthony on June 11 this year, walking for more than two hours around my barangay and surprisingly, despite the two and a half inch heels, i arrived home safely that night, with neither a bruised heel nor a broken bone.

For a time, i was into reds. I found a red beribboned slip on at Otto about two years ago. I had a thousand pesos in my wallet alloted for some grocery items. I went home with a box containing the said pair and no grocery item on hand. I was so ashamed of myself then. There is this old pair of red flats that i used to wear with denims and white shirt. It is so old but i can't get rid of it cause it's so comfy.

Lately, i've been wearing flats since they are really very cool and comfy. Tim has given me several pairs of flat slip-ons. in her last visit to Singapore, she bought me 3 pairs- a charles & keith, a vincci and an ipanema.

Through the years, i have given away a lot of my shoes to friends and relatives. some were borrowed but were never returned. Guess the borrower and i have the same penchant for borloloys. As i write this, i realize i have more than ten pairs of footwear. Not imeldific at all and very few by normal standards, but it got me thinking, am i committing a sin? OMG, i have only two feet!

By the way, i need to add a black pump, another black patent and a pair of sling backs. no gladiators for me. I'm no roman goddess.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

i'm 56

There are people who do not give so much attention to their birthdays. To them, it is just one of those days. Some even forget their own. In such cases, they can't be expected to remember other people's birthdays.

Since i was a little girl, i look forward to september 4 each year. I did not grow up with lavish celebrations, in fact, there was hardly any celebration at all. But still i gave so much significance to this day. As i get older, i consider it not only a day to celebrate but to reflect. Now that i am a lot older, i am beginning to ask God why he created me and what is it that i still have to do on earth. This is nothing dramatic. I just want His assurance that i am here for a reason. More specifically, i ask God, is this all You want of me?

In my teens, i used to dream about becoming so many things. I set my eyes on different preoccupations. I dreamt of going places, literally and otherwise. However, those dreams remained just that. I realized that my world was not as big as i envisioned it then. It was so small, oftentimes i feel so suffocated. I had to search for things to do to widen my perspective and view of the world i am in. Sometimes, it brings tears to my eyes as i realize that i am running out of time there's a great chance i will never see what's beyond the life i'm living.

However, i recognize the fact that what i am now and where i stand is largely because of the choices i made. Like in that pepsi commercial, i believe that i am a product of those choices. I am not complaining about what i am not or what i don't have. The choice was mine. I have to live with it. On hindsight, I may not have gone a lot farther because there was no "someone" who thought that i could. I was not at all courageous and it was aggravated by the fact that no one persuaded me to be so.

I often hear people say they wanted to make a difference. I do, too. And i have certain ideas on how i could do it, i mean, making a good difference. But as i've said, my choices are very limited. I find consolation in what somebody said, thus, " A person is no greater than his dreams, ideals, hopes and plans. A person dreams the dream and dreams of fulfilling it. It's the dream that makes the person." Perhaps, this is my license to go on dreaming. For i still dream of becoming the best that i can be.

On this my 56th birthday, i am happy, even if i find myself short of what i should have been. I have a dream and for now, that may be enough.

Happy birthday to me!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Woman In Yellow

I have to write about Cory Aquino. That's the least I can do to honor her and her memory.

On February 16, 1986, Ding and I went to Luneta to join the hundreds of thousands of people who believe, with full conviction, that Cory Aquino was elected by a great majority of Filipinos in the snap election earlier the same year. With so much challenges that we had to face on the domestic front at the time, we still managed to squeeze in our patriotic duties, because after all, our children will have to face an uncertain future given the turbulent times then. I need not write how this episode in Philippine history ended. It was one glorious moment for the country.

On August 5, 2009, Ding and I again went to Luneta. This time, we came to bid Cory Aquino goodbye. The woman in yellow died quietly and peacefully at dawn of August 1, 2009. It was so sad I felt it would be contrary to human nature if I didn't cry. And I did, like the hundreds of thousands of other Filipinos who loved Cory and the ideals she represents.

It was raining so hard that day. We decided against bringing a car since we expected heavy traffic even if it was declared a holiday. We thought it would be better to just wait for the funeral cortege at the Luneta where many people converged. We positioned ourselves at the middle of Roxas Blvd. where buses and cars were parked. I kidded the driver of a GMA7 pick-up to allow us to ride at the back and he was gracious enough to invite us to join them ( despite a reporter's refusal) even up to Manila Memorial Park in Paranaque. Ding welcomed the idea but expecting that it would reach the park at around 6pm or even later, we foresaw that the travel back to Bulacan in heavy rains would be pretty messy. So we decided to just wait for the cortege at the Luneta and catch the procession on tv as soon as we arrive back home.

To get a better view of the truck carrying her coffin and the funeral cortege, Ding and I went up the carabao sculpture facing Jose Rizal's monument. There we saw all sorts of people, young and old, men and women, boys and girls, barkadas, classmates, cause-oriented groups, media people- everyone cheered for Pres. Cory as if it were another political rally that she led. There was a fiesta atmosphere and yet there was sadness all around, especially in the faces of those who, in all likelihood, were veterans of the Edsa Revolution.

Pres. Cory was a personal inspiration for me. I particularly am so awed by her faithfulness and submission to God's will. She was THE biblical wife. And she was a great mother. Everything has been said about her and all the facets of her life. It will take another lifetime for this country to have another one of her kind.

Pres. Cory, the woman in yellow, is too well loved to ever be forgotten.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Pretty Women

We were classmates in grade school- or elementary school as we knew it. We were graduates of the year 1966- the era of the twist, Elvis and the Beatles.

There are eleven of us in the group which we call Batch 66. Abeng, Alice, Elvie, Guy, Liza and I make up the girls. The boys include Hermie, Lito, Bandong, Geny and my hubby, Ding. Among us girls, Abeng is our designated Nanay. Most of the time she brings us to places she’d been to and she feeds us the specialty of the place. She is the most kalog among us . Her one-liners always elicit a lot of laughter among us girls. ( Funny how four years short of being senior citizens, we still call ourselves GIRLS) Alice is the tagatawa. All jokes are a hit with her. She always brings us her specialty-adobong mani with lots of garlic. Guy used to be the sakitin in the group. I grabbed the title from her. ( 3 hospital confinements in 6 months, kaya nyo yun?) Now she’s our doctor. She’s armed with a med tech degree, anyway. She and Abeng are sangang-dikit. But no worry, there is no space for jealousy in the group. Liza is the wife of an OFW. In her husband’s absence, she spends her free time for church activities. Elvie used to be a teacher like me. But for health reasons, she decided to retire early. Now she works in her hubby’s engineering office. ( Parallel lives kami. I also work for my hubby, but it’s about time I quit. So stressful. The only bonus is I get to sleep with my boss).

We girls make it a point to meet regularly-with or without the boys. And we so enjoy each other’s company. We each have our own individuality, but together, we are one in terms of caring for one another and sharing each other’s highs and lows. God really has a way of giving us what we really need. At this point in our lives when our candles are slowly being consumed, He gathered us altogether to make the light brighter as we go along our way. Life may really be coming full circle for us now.

In pictures, from the top- Saling ( your blogger), Abeng, Alice, Guy, Elvie & Liza, the pretty women of Batch 66. Pictures taken at Abeng's Rennaisance condo unit in Ortigas July 27, 2009.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

my jewels

In January, 1978, God gave me a garnet. The following year, in February, 1979, He gave me an amethyst. Finally, in November, 1980, God gifted me with a topaz. They are no diamonds nor gold, but they are God's most precious gifts to me. I love my jewels- beyond the stars!

Sunday, July 12, 2009


My father was a man of few words. Yet, he spoke to me eloquently in silence. Through his deeds, I learned so many good things. Through his barely spoken words, I learned to learn.

I wanted very much to be like my father to my children. Sadly, I can never duplicate the man who molded me to become a good human being. When he died, I knew I could never show my children the goodness I saw in him. He was not a preacher nor a teacher, but he ably taught me the whys and the wherefores of life.

I can hear my father's voice as I listen to a poem set to music by some musical geniuses. The poem Desiderata has everything that parents should be able to impart to their children. If only children could recite the poem by heart, they wouldn't lose their way.


-- written by Max Ehrmann in the 1920s --

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible, without surrender,
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even to the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons;
they are vexatious to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain or bitter,
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs,
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals,
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love,
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment,
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be.
And whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life,
keep peace in your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

sick and tired

It's been eleven days since my last post. I would have written about any topic of interest to me had it not been for the very bad cough and cold that i caught. Last weekend, I was placed under observation by my doctor and on Monday, it was determined that I had dengue. So, it was time again to check in at the Padilla Resort and Spa in Plaridel, Bulacan ( he he he). I stayed there only until Wednesday afternoon. Whenever the doctor does his rounds, I always tell him I am ready to be discharged. Nakulitan siguro, pinalabas na din ako.

It's my third confinement in six months, first in January, after Amang's burial, for hypertension, then in late May, for hypotension and now, for dengue. Seems like I am becoming a good specimen for medical students. And Dr. Padilla is getting richer and richer because of me.
Seriously, these latest experiences make me think that I am probably in the last stretch of the race. At the risk of sounding morbid, I have become so courageous of facing the inevitable, yet, i still pray that I be given enough time to finish what I want to do before my time is up. Some of those things I can't do by my lonesome self. I need the cooperation of the significant people in my life. At this point, I no longer desire material things and any form of validation. I simply wish to smell the flowers once again.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

my dogidogs- (6) Bonnie (Tyler)

This will be the last entry in this series. And this is about a very special dog. Her name is Bonnie. I also call her Tyler. That's because she has a very husky voice similar to that of her namesake. Bonnie has been with us for only a few months now. A man, who introduced himself as the dog's owner, was selling this dog for two thousand pesos since according to him, he had to pay the machine shop, where Ding was at the time, for some work he had asked to be done. The original buyer did not come as agreed. Ding got interested because it was a lovely dog- a siberian husky with brown and blue eyes. He has not seen any other dog with two different colors of the eyes. Ding further interrogated the man, and later, convinced that he was the real owner, he haggled and got the dog for one-five.

We are still in the process of discovering the traits of Bonnie but what struck us was her gentle ways despite her enormous size. She was the kindest big dog i've ever seen. ( Oh, I suddenly remember Rotty, our dalmatian who died three years ago. He was also very big and very kind). Bonnie, though, refuses to be touched in the head. We surmised that where she came from, she was never considered a pet, just a guard dog. She is not in good terms with Bugaki but her constant companion is Purlak. Both of them stay outside in the laundry area and goes to and from the back garden. They seldom go inside the house. that is not their territory.

The very little Bitoy always barks at Bonnie whenever he sees her. But to date, there has never been any major war between the outsiders and the insiders.

my dogidogs-(5) Purlak

Purlak is an all-black aspin. She is a daughter of Lupin, a descendant of my dear Puti. We gave Lupin to my sis-in-law and it was in their place where Purlak was born. She was meant to be raised as a guard dog in a bodega which we are renting. Somehow, we learned to like her despite her being difficult. She has bitten at least two neighbors who came into our house. One was a little girl who asked for some research materials from my daughter and the other is our electrician. Both times, I had to shoulder the expenses for their vaccinations.

Purlak had the habit of biting into the hem of my housedress whenever she sees me. She wont let go of me so that wherever in the house I'm going, she goes with me, with her teeth glued to my housedress. She considers it her playtime with me. Because of that, I and Purlak have a special bond. Now, she listens to me whenever I tell her to be still. Despite her being a difficult dog, Purlak loves to bathe. And like the rest of my dogidogs, she likes the sound of her name being sung to the tune of the happy birthday song. No other words for the lyrics except her name.

Her crib is the old billiard table that we placed outside- near the very dirty kitchen and the laundry area. She loves it there and seldom enters the house. But the trouble is -the billiard cloth has to be replaced again and again.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

my dogidogs- (4) bitoy

in mid-2008, we were in grief due to a very difficult trial that befell our family. that very sad episode in our life does not deserve a post in this blog. many people not worth mentioning are involved, hence. it is best to just pray that the sad memories will soon be forgotten. As someone said wisely, "Like wild violets, some memories are better oft left untouched." However, in the midst of the said trial came a very beautiful, loveable creature- a small, long, wiry haired dachshund we called Bitoy.

Of all our dogs, only Bitoy came with a price. By normal standards, he was cheap- only Php3,000.00. But when I first saw him, I thought, how could my children have parted with their 3thou in exchange of this very little creature that doesn't know how to bark? And his hair- yuck! Little did I know that this little doggie would bring gigantic joy in our life. Bitoy, like Kotong is very makiya. I was so impatient waiting for him to grow up. Today, a year later, he is still very small. But he is so huggable and cuddly.

Bitoy is so afraid of Kotong, but he is best friends with Chuchay. While i'm busy in the kitchen, I would hear the two of them playing like children. Perhaps that's the greatest joy I derive from having them around- in the absence of my children, when I have no one with me at home, Chu, Bitoy, Kotong and Gaki and the two other dogs that i will introduce later, keep me company. And I feel safe and secure having them around.

the true, the good and the beautiful

for those who are following this blog, you might have noticed that i dwelt on very positive matters in my early posts. as much as possible, i want this to be a very positive blog- no issues, no politics, no badmouthing, etc, etc.
so just in case you find this boring, i really can't do anything about it cause this is what it will be forever.

my dogidogs- (3) chuchay

Among God's many gifts to my family, Chuchay is one of the best. My dogness, she thinks she is human. Because of the joy that she gives to each one of us, i once told her, " Wag kang mamamatay. Pag namatay ka, papatayin kita!" He he he!

Chuchay was a gift from Ding's best friend, Boots. She was actually a "pinagpilian" among the puppies born in September, 2007 to a dachshund mom and a mestisong dachshund dad. She is a 97% dachshund, according to Ding's computation. I really did not bother asking how he arrived at such conclusion. We got her from Boots' house right after I had a check-up in the hospital in November, 2007. I am convinced that I got well because of Chuchay. We named her after Gladys Guevarra's character in Eat Bulaga. It fits her so well since she is as lively and lovable as Gladys' Chuchay. In the beginning, her ears are so much bigger than her face. But now she is as normal as any dachshund is except that she has grown so big (15 kgs to date) it is nearly impossible for her to get pregnant.

At night, Chuchay and the other dachshund, Bitoy, stays in either Tim's or Nad's room. But when either of them sense that we are awake, they force their way into our room. At first, they sleep on the floor. Before dawn, they are either on Ding's side or on my side of the bed or in between us. Di ba sabi ko nga, she thinks she's human?

I don't know what it is with Chuchay, but just the sight of her gives me overflowing joy. Hindi kaya ako dachshund in my previous life?

my dogidogs- (2) kotong

his given name is cotton. he came into our family one day after we buried puti. he was a cross between an aspin and a japanese spitz. cotton was really like a lump of white, soft cotton when he was still small. at first, there was no difficulty giving him a bath. but later, when he grew bigger, giving him a bath became an agony for us. his white, cottony hair has become dirty white, hence, we baptized him with a new name- kotong.

kotong is a difficult dog to handle. he was the perfect guard dog, though. no one can enter our gate without him barking to his heart's content. that's why when we have visitors, we lock him up in one of the rooms ( my kids wont hear of a dog house. they have to be with us all day. at night, though, gaki and kotong stand guard outside on the porch). despite his being difficult, kotong is very "makiya" a term for someone who always wants to be near someone else. since i am home most of the time, kotong was so "makiya" with me. he obeys me especially when i get angry with him. that is why despite his dirty white hair today, i still find ways to caress him on the head so he'll know he is loved.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

my dogidogs- ( 1) bugaki

i will start this series with the oldest of my six dogs- bugaki.

i never liked dogs before. my children were the ones who taught me to love and to take care of them. when we first set up home in agnaya in 1997, we figured we needed at least two dogs because we all leave the house on week-days. so we bought two three-month old aspins ( asong pinoy) at the malolos public market one sunday. one we named puti ( a very kind and obedient dog. she died in 2006), the other we called mocha, but he died soon after we brought him home. puti bore many puppies- one of them is bugak. she was so much like a very precocious child who did nothing but follow me around. because of that she earned the name bugak. she has so many nicknames like me. depending on the circumstances, she is called bugaki, gaki, bugingging, buging, etc, etc. in her prime, gaki was so strong and yet so gentle with us, specially my children. she gave us no headaches. she loves to eat as much as she loves to bathe. unfortunately for her, she became blind several years ago. she is 11 human years old now, but i don't know how to ler her go when her time is up.
in the picture above, the white dog with a black patch is puti. the brown one in a very scandalous pose is bugaki.

Monday, June 15, 2009

we're 33

“In a manual of marriage, I read how to, when and why.
Then I met you, and I threw away the book”.

Thus summarizes my love affair with Ding, my husband. I got that quotation from the Expressweek magazine sometime in the first half of 1976. By June 20, 1976, I became Mrs. Rosalina Ferrer Inocencio.

This year we’re 33. And I am rejoicing. I hope my Ding does too.

Among the many celebrations within a year, our wedding anniversary is big deal for me. Trite as it may sound, but Ding completes me. Back when all I felt was emptiness in my life, God gave me the answer to my prayers-Ding.

What makes celebrating our wedding anniversary a thrilling experience is the fact that our life together is a miracle in progress. How we lasted this long and this strong can only be because of God’s overflowing love. Two very different people from two very different backgrounds spell disaster. We are as different as night and day, hot and cold, north and south, black and white.

I have always described the two of us this way- I am a woman of letters, Ding is a man of numbers.

Still, we reached this far and we’re still moving. That calls for a celebration!

And we do. We celebrate no matter what. We may have different ideas (Ding loathes hosting parties, I am a natural at entertaining guests), but somehow we reach a decision without declaring a war.

In the early years when our resources were allotted mainly for the kids' education and our household needs, our anniversary celebrations were confined mainly to a movie date and then a bowl of Ma Mon Luk mami with special siopao later.

It actually depends on both our moods, though. When we feel like just staying home, I just do some home cooking. I am a kitchen lady, so it’s not a problem.

Perhaps the most memorable celebration we ever had was during our 30th year in 2006. Our kids booked us on an overnight stay at the Manila Diamond Hotel on the exact day of our anniversary. It was only near perfect cause there were a couple of distractions. First, it was the NBA finals that day (Ding is an NBA fanatic so he was glued to the TV set). Second, a client has been pestering Ding with calls. One thing we have in common is that we enjoy the same kind of music, so on the night of 06/20/06, we left our hotel room and headed to the Baywalk area where bands are playing and promenaders can watch for free. Isn’t God really good?

On July 1, 2006, as an extension of our celebration, we flew to Hongkong for a four-day visit. I failed to do some research before booking our flight. I didn’t realize it was summer in HK that time. It was scorching hot but what right do I have to complain? I may not have done what most women do in HK (like shopping to the max), but it was one episode in my life that I will forever cherish. Someday, I’d like to go back there, but this time with my daughter who is an excellent shopper.

The year 2008 was what Queen Elizabeth calls “annus horribilis” or horrible year for my family. We were eyeing Macau last year but God had other plans for us. With His guidance and infinite goodness, we managed to rise up from a crippling fall. We were in the midst of that tragedy so we were adamant to celebrate our anniversary. Nevertheless, we prepared a simple dinner for our very good friends who have not forsaken us during those dark days.

Five days from now, we will be celebrating our 33rd. My son Popoy sent word that he is sending a very special gift for us and for his Tay ( it’s Father’s Day on Sunday). I’m sure I will get my customary bouquet from Timmy. We have not made plans, actually. So, I, particularly, am playing it by ear.

We can perhaps hear mass at the Shrine of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Makati, then proceed to Greenbelt or at the Quiapo Church and proceed to one of the two existing Ma Mon Luk outlets in Quezon Ave. Wherever. Doesn’t matter now. We’re ecstatic and exultant, after all, we’re 33 and still counting.

Photos 1 & 2 are taken at HK Intl Airport; 3 & 5 at the Avenue of the Stars, Kowloon, 4 & 6 at the gates of HK Disneyland and 7 & 8 at the Manila Diamond Hotel.