Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Childhood Memories

I thought I will share some of my childhood memories here. The past typhoon that hit the country reminded me of our life when I was a child. I came from a poor family and I told my hubby that whenever there was a typhoon in my childhood days, my father always put some bamboo braces to our small house made of bamboos and nipa leaves to protect it from the strong typhoon. My parents will not sleep the whole night and kept monitoring the typhoon in case our house will be blown away. It was a good thing that our small and humble house endured those past calamities but there were times also that part of the roof was blown away and my father was the one who restored it.

My father was a very good carpenter and that was his occupation and source of income. He can make cabinets, doors, window and door jambs, beds, tables and other carpentry works. My mother was a plain housewife who took care of me and my 3 siblings. I am the oldest in the family, Violy was next, then my 2 brothers Celso and Albin. We lived a simple life, no luxuries and it was only during Christmas that my parents bought us some new clothes and toys. I always told my nephews that they were so blessed because they have all the luxuries that we didn't have when we were kids. They have all the modern toys, whereas when we were kids we made some improvised toys because our parents can't afford to buy us new toys. But I remember we were happy and contented with what we had. We never missed a meal though most of the time we only had coffee made of rice and some fish and vegetables. Our family was complete and we were happy and contented being together. My siblings and I never got separated from each other that's why we had that bonding and close relationship with each other. Those were the days, the good old days. Now my parents and my li'l sis were gone. Also my grandma and my aunt were gone. It made me so sad remembering them because I miss them so much. All I have are their memories and I will always hold on to that...

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Unforgettable September

There are lots of things I remember that happened in the month of September. Some are happy memories, some are not. Let me start with the not so happy memories. It was September 1978 when my grandpa in my mother side passed away. He was just buried in the morning and some of our relatives from other province were still in the house after the funeral. Then in the afternoon, my mom who was bedridden due to breast cancer passed away. I was only 16 then, my sis Violy was 14, Celso was 12 and Albin was 10. It wasn't easy to lose our mom at our young age. Within that month, we lost 2 of our loved ones. Last month, September 27th, 32 years after my grandpa and my mom passed away, my li'l sister Violy passed away. That was not easy I tell you. My sister and I were very close to each other and it's very hard to accept that she's gone.

There were also happy memories that happened in the month of September. My most unforgettable day that happened in my life is when hubby and I tied the knot on September 11, 2002. It was my most special day because I waited for 40 years before I found the man of my dreams and marched down the isle to marry him. Also, it was in the month of September when I got my US visa and flew to the US on the same month, September 2003. My late li'l sister's birthday falls on September 23rd so we always had a celebration every year and the last one was last month, 4 days before she passed away. The month of September brings back sad and happy memories...

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Our Wedding

It's been 8 years since I married the man that God gave me. I still remember, we only had 10 days to prepare for our wedding. When hubby arrived in the Philippines to meet me for the first time, I never thought that he was planning to marry me. He didn't say anything to me before. I thought he just came to meet me in person. He suggested that we get married in the US so the processing of my visa will be faster if I will apply for a fiancee visa. But I told him I wanted to get married in my homeland so my family and friends can attend our wedding. He agreed and so it was a rush wedding. He had only two weeks to stay and he had to extend another week for our wedding. To my amazement he brought cash money with him for our wedding.

First we went to the US embassy in Manila to get the legal capacity to contract marriage and then we applied for our wedding contract in our town hall. It took 10 days to wait for the contract so while we were waiting, we did the wedding preparations like renting my wedding gown, printing the wedding invitations, shopping for my shoes, contacting friends for my wedding entourage, buying pigs to butchered, buying groceries and decorating the church. I was the one who prepared my wedding giveaways and all those wedding preparations gave me some sleepless nights.

Then came the day of our wedding. That was September 11, 2002 and it rained the night before. We hired a video and camera men. I was like a celebrity posing in front of the camera. I remember I was even coughing that time maybe due to too much stress. After the pictorial was done and my fiancee had seen me, he came to me and told me I was so beautiful! When I was ready, George and I rode in the same car going to the church. We were late on our wedding time. Blame it to the camera man, it took him long to shoot my photos. But in fairness, he really did a very good job including the video man.

The ceremony began and I marched down the isle with my aunt while my groom was waiting for me at the altar. I was all smiles while marching. I said to myself this is the day I've been waiting for. To marry the man that God gave me, the answer to my prayers. The officiating minister gave a very inspiring message to us and after that, there was an intermission number rendered by Jhun and then another one, a duet by Jhun and Glo. Then it was the time to say "I do" and that was the time I got nervous. I was thinking, this is it, no more turning back. We made our vows to the Lord to love and to cherish each other for the rest of our lives. It was a vow that we will honor all the days of our lives.

The reception was held in the front yard of our house. A bunch of people came to eat. Some were invited, a lot were not. Most of them were gate crashers, lol! When George had seen the people coming in, he said people are coming out of wood works, lol! I asked him what he means and he said people are coming out from everywhere. The caterer told me after the reception that the 500 plates that she brought were all used. It's a good thing that we had more than enough foods and a lot of left overs. I gave some foods to my relatives to take home.

I thank God for giving me my husband, a man who love the Lord and me. We had our ups and downs in our lives but God was always there for us. We've seen God's faithfulness during those times that we were down physically, financially and emotionally. I give back the honor, praise and thanksgiving to our Lord Almighty. May He give us more anniversaries to come and more years to live so we can serve Him faithfully the best way we can.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Memories Of My Auntie Aning

I’ve been meaning to write a post about my dear auntie Aning here a few months ago to honor her for what she had done for us but it was postponed and my laziness set in until I forgot about it. Now, I can’t help myself but cry whenever I think of her. Auntie Aning went to be with the Lord yesterday around 1:20 PM due to cardiac arrest at Baguio General Hospital. She’s 78 years old.

My auntie Aning is the only sibling of my late mom and 3 years her junior. She was an old maid and she was the one who took care of me and my siblings (we are 4) when our mom passed away in 1978. My father had no permanent job so it was my grandma who was receiving her monthly pension and my aunt who supported and raised us. Auntie Aning cooked for us, wash the dishes, took us to the doctor when we were sick, massaged my back when I needed it, borrowed money from our neighbors when we needed money for our tuition fees when were in college, everything we needed she and my grandma provided. When grandma and my father passed away she was alone in taking care of us. When I was stricken with the big C, she was my prayer warrior and she went with me in the hospital when I had the surgery and chemotherapy. When my youngest brother had undergone knee replacement surgery 7 years ago, she went to watch him in the hospital. She was there during those lowest moments in our lives and when my siblings and I got married, she was there to witness and celebrate with us. When I left for the US in 2003, she told me on the phone that she missed me so much. I told her not to think of me so she won’t be missing me but she said she can’t help it. Until about 3 years ago that I was told by my siblings that auntie had Alzheimer’s disease and she can’t do the things that she used to do like cooking and washing disease. I cried and bawled like a baby after I learned that. Last year when my hubby and I finally came back here in my homeland, auntie can’t remember me no more. She don’t know my name nor my siblings names. Her memory had left her, it’s the effect of Alzheimer’s disease. But one thing that amazed me about auntie is that she didn’t forget her name and to pray. Everytime before we eat, she always said the blessing. I’m thankful that I was able to spend a year with her before the Lord had took her home.

If I were to write everything that my auntie Aning had done for us, this space is not enough. Auntie Aning, I love you, I told you that many times when you were still alive and you just smiled. Forgive me if I did something wrong doing some care giving duties to you because sometimes my patience became short due to your child like attitude in your later years but deep inside I really love you and I appreciate all the things that you have done for us. I thank God for giving you to us and for all the times that we shared together. You’re the best auntie in the whole world, you spent your life taking care of us and your loving memories will always stay fresh in my heart and in my mind. Auntie, I know you are saved, see you in heaven someday where there is no more pain, no Alzheimer’s, no more tears and no more problems. Until then…

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

New Look

It's been a while since I posted in this blog of mine. Now after a long absence I've found time to update it and at the same time changed my blog's layout. My old layout took time to download and I hate waiting because it took ages to wait. So I got this new layout for free and I really like it. I noticed also that it doesn't take long to download my blog with this new layout. Hopefully I can update this blog of mine more often now.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

It's Been A Year...

...today since hubby and I arrived here in the Philippines. I vividly remember, we left the states January 5th and arrived at NAIA airport at around 11 PM on January 6th. I was so excited to see my family after 5 long years of not seeing them. They told me on the phone that my siblings will meet us in the airport using my sister's van. When we were already on the waiting area, I kept looking at those people waiting but I didn't see my siblings. We've been standing there for an hour already and my hubby and I felt so uncomfortable. We started to sweat because we were wearing thick clothes. It was winter in the US where we came from and then it was hot in the Philippines. Besides I already got worried why my siblings who were supposed to pick us were not there. We had no cellphone to call them. It's good I had some peso coins ao we tried to use the payphone. I had trouble using it and I was not able to connect. Hubby tried a few times and after a while he was able to contact my sister's cellphone. We learned that their van broke on the way to Manila. They were in Pampanga and their van had to hauled to a shop and had it repaired. We had no choice but to hire a taxi and spent the night in a hotel. The taxi driver asked us to pay him Php300 to take us to the nearest hotel but when were on the way, the driver told us that we should pay him an additional Php100 because we had plenty of luggages. Filipinos take advantage of balikbayans and I was not delighted. I paid the driver a total of Php400 in taking us to the hotel that he recommended. I know he also got a percentage from that hotel for referring customers there. Most of the customers who checked in that night were foreigners. When the bellboy took our luggages to our room, I asked him if I can use his cellphone to text my sister so she will know where to meet us in the morning. He said his cellphone had no load so I gave him Php150 to buy a load. I called my sister's cellphone and gave her the name of the hotel where we checked in. We were not able to sleep the whole night in the hotel because of jet lag. It was night here and it's suppose to be daytime in the US.

Early in the morning, my siblings, my BIL and my 2 nephews came in our hotel. The van was fixed and they told me they slept inside the van that night with all the mosquitoes biting them. They looked so haggard because of what happened. They showered in the hotel and I gave them chocolates to eat. The van was color coded that day and it can't be driven in Manila on that day until 6 PM. We had to kill the time until 6 PM so we rode a taxi and we went to SM Mall Of Asia and did some shopping. Then we went back to the hotel and got the van and my BIL drove it going back to our hometown.

We left Manila at 6:30 PM and before we exited Manila I drifted off to sleep. Then I was woken up because of a very loud voice. Two highway patrol officers had chased our van and my bro-in-law had to pull over. My bro-in-law was surprised what was his violation and one of them said that he was on the wrong lane. He spoke so harsh and he then asked for the driver’s license of my bro-in-law. The van’s window was open and the officer had seen my hubby in the window. My sister got off the van and approached one of the officers. She pleaded to excuse her hubby and not take his driver’s license. He didn’t listen so my sister went inside again. Then I can’t help myself but plead too. My bro-in-law said he will just pay right there and then because it’s a lot of hassle to go back again to Manila from Pangasinan and get back his license. Besides he’s working and he can’t drive without it. So he offered to pay a thousand but the officer didn’t accept it. Would you believe he wanted P3500 as under the table payment. He had seen my hubby and crooked officers here in PI thought that all Americans got lots of money. How disgusting! My bro-in-law made a bargain and ended up paying P2500. He said “nakibalato lang ako”. It’s a shame how those crooked highway patrolmen operate in Manila and that was the second time my hubby had witnessed it. The first time was during his first visit to the Philippines. I had to replace the money that my bro-in-law had to pay so he can concentrate driving. It was really a bad experience for him. Their van broke off in the express way and then got fined by 2 crooked guys in uniforms. Made me wonder if they're really highway patrols or they might be counterfeit.

My bro-in-law apologized to my hubby for the bad experience that he had seen there in Manila regarding the crooked highway patrolmen. My youngest brother had observed that they covered their name tags so it can’t be seen. What a way to make a living and what an experience we encountered on our first 2 days in the Philippines!