Thursday, January 19, 2017

How do We Bring Things Back to Order?

In elementary school one of the things I remember our teachers kept reiterating was the good values that we have as Filipinos. We were taught that Filipinos are always hospitable, family oriented, have debt of gratitude (utang na loob), being respectful, being simple, hard working, humorous, religious and the bayanihan attitude. On the flip side, there's also the bad stuff - crab mentality, being boastful (mayabang), ningas cogon, bahala na, Filipino time and gossiping. There are many more.

I never thought I would have the opportunity to work for a foreign company. I always thought that I would just be based back home. I assumed that being the youngest I would be the one to stay home with my parents since my siblings both live abroad already. Opportunity came and I found myself working with a diverse set of people and eventually found myself living far away from home. I found that Filipinos always put their best foot forward when abroad. It is when we show that we are hard workers. It's also when we are at our charming best. It's also when we always follow the rules.

When I went home last Christmas I noticed that we do tend to beat/ignore the red light (a lot of jeepney drivers do this). Pedestrians not following the signs. Throwing trash everywhere. And it's not just in Manila because I saw these things happen also in other cities in Northern Luzon. In the compound I live in Manila, my neighbors oftentimes rant in our FB group that there would be others who would just let their pets do their thing and then leave the dirt after without cleaning up. Or when others would just leave trash lying around to be scavenged on by cats. It's sad. It's really, really sad because we all want to have peace and order, but we do not follow these simple rules.

I wonder how we could bring back what the ancient barangay represented. The time when being part of a community meant being helpful and being good neighbors. I know it's going to be hard because life is hard especially in the city (i.e. getting to and from work is a daily struggle), but maybe if we love our neighbor a bit more, maybe we can bring things back to order.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Fire in Paranaque

I got sick and after reading the blogging attempts I did early this month I decided to rest and just re-start the challenge when I felt like doing it. My target was to start again on January 15, but I had a relapse over the weekend and had to use all my energy for our quarterly review. I survived the review, but hope I did not infect anyone else. Saw my favorite EENT right after my last review and he ordered me to take at least one day rest.

So yesterday I rested and as the day progressed I started to feel really sad that I've been sick for more than a week already. I was also sad because the doctor gave me antibiotics again. I know I need it to get well, but I was hoping I wouldn't need to drink antibiotics for several more months. I know that worrying is very unproductive so I took the time to sleep to help heal my body. My brain was also having a hard time anyway figuring out a new assignment that was given to me.

I was still sulking by evening and was quite masungit to my boys. I wanted to work on some projects but my body wasn't cooperating. Past ten in the evening I received a message from Phil about the fire that broke near our place in Paranaque. I immediately checked for news about it to identify the area. I realized that it's quite hard to get the exact area from Twitter because they usually just state the general location. I was starting to panic because the areas were near our place.

Photo by Myra, our neighbor.

After scouring through tweets I finally found the correct area that was on fire -- Sitio Pag-asa, Barangay Sun Valley. I immediately checked the map to see how near/far the area was. It was very near. I kept telling myself, DO NOT PANIC. I then checked on my Mom to see if they already knew about the fire. They did and they said that they could hear explosions coming from it. My neighbors who were chatting on our FB page also indicated that there were many explosions coming from the area. I then informed my other neighbors in Sun Valley about the fire.

Photo by our neighbor Daisy M.

The alarm was eventually set to 5. I did a bit of research to understand better what the alarm levels mean. It's mainly about what level of authority will be in-charge of the situation according to the Bureau of Fire Protection. Because it was already level 5, fire trucks from all over Metro Manila came to respond. Ate Luz said that there was a firetruck already in our street which is about a kilometer away from the fire. I really truly appreciate the hard work the fire fighters did to protect everyone and save properties.

According to GMA the fire was controlled at 12:07am and it was out at past 1 in the morning. Sixty houses and 150 families were affected by the fire. There were no casualties reported (thank God!). The fire hit very close to home. It was just a kilometer away from my home and my Mom's home. Being far away the only thing we could do is to pray that the fire fighters could put it out as soon as they could. I also took it upon myself to find accurate information to share to my family and get as much info to assuage my fears.

The work now is to help the families affected by the fire. My neighbors shared that the Marimar chapel and the school was also affected by the fire. If you would like to send donations, you may send it to the parish through Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary (+632-823-1210).

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Long Day

It's been a very long day and I'm still on the road. Will just post tomorrow zzz.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Pasalubong Shopping in Baguio

Our goal today was to buy pasalubong for our parents and earmarked time to buy goodies at Mountain Main Training Center (Good Shepherd) and get some veggies from the Baguio City Public Market. It was a bit challenging getting on the right road to the Good Shepherd place because some of the roads recommended were closed to traffic. We almost ended up going to Nueva Vizcaya! The view though was very nice and we just turned back to find a safer route to the center. It was real treat to see this lovely view.

We wanted to finish our shopping before lunch and attempted to go to the public market. Finding parking though was very challenging so we decided to just eat lunch first and just go back. Luckily we were able to park at the department store across the public market. I've been to the Baguio City Public Market several times already, but only discovered today that there is a pasilio just for flowers! The area smelled heavenly and it was so tempting to buy a bouquet.

The public market in Baguio City is one of the cleanest I have been too and I absolutely love shopping for vegetables and rice there. The best brown rice I have tried is from Baguio City and that was the main reason why I wanted to go. Aside from rice we got 2 brooms, strawberries and some veggies for our parents. There was also some fun zumba ongoing inside the market!

I realized that three nights in Baguio isn't enough! I still have a long list of new restaurants I want to try, but will have to save it for another time. I hope it won't take me another three years to go back! 

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Happy Tummy in Baguio

Ahhh tonight I'm blogging using a tablet (with a bluetooth keyboard), so hopefully I will have an easier time. Hotel wifi though is a bit slow, but much better than the last time I stayed here in 2014.

Our family vacations generally revolve around finding good local restaurants we could dine in. Friends usually help with recommendations. Our friend, Vince, told us that there are now a lot of new places to try in Baguio. We've been to Baguio numerous times and have been to the usual tourist places several times so our theme for this vacation is, "Happy tummy!".

Our first stop last night was "Don Henrico's". Don Hen is a well-known local restaurant that originated in Baguio. We always eat at Don Hen whenever we visit Baguio. I'm glad though they now have sampler plates because I don't need to bring home any leftover anymore.

Next door was "Vizco's". Vince described it as the locals' sosyal (affluent) cake shop. The cake display looked amazing so we sat down and took a look at their gigantic menu (it's much bigger than the ballot cover folder when you vote). We ordered a strawberry cake and oreo cheesecake. It was absolutely heavenly! We'll definitely go back!

After dinner and dessert we were too tired to do anything else and went back to the hotel and immediately conked out. Well I managed to blog a bit about our trip last night (I don't really remember what I wrote anymore hehe). Ahhh Baguio, the cool air would definitely force you to catch up on zzzs.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Family Road Trip: Baguio

We usually try to take a few family trips every year. We always avoid crowds though and prefer to travel after the holidays.

We decided to head north again this year. We have not been to the summer capital of the Philippines since January 2014. It was an easy drive up from Manila with lots of stop overs to check out Poke Stops and to contribute new gas station locations on Google Maps. We left Intramuros at around 9 and reached Baguio at 4 in the afternoon. The trip would have been shorter, but we took time eating at Matutina's and checking out the new gas stations along the way and we went via Marcos Highway because it's safer.

We rested for awhile and then headed to SM to buy a few things and then walked over to Session Road to eat at Don Henrico's (the original!). We had dessert at "where the locals get their dessert fix" (Accord to my friend Vince) - Vizco's. After eating so much we were too tired to do anything else and headed back to the hotel.
I decided not to bring my laptop so I'm just blogging using the Blogger app. More photos when I get to blog on my laptop!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

How to Make Your Love Last a Lifetime

Today is my parents 56th wedding anniversary. We had celebrated their golden wedding anniversary back in 2010 with a simple renewal of vows and a party with family and friends at home. It is going to be a milestone year for me as I have been asked to be a godmother for two weddings. I honestly got freaked out the first time I got asked and it took about a year before I was ready to accept an invitation.

My parents imparted on us the seriousness of marriage. As the old saying goes, "Hindi yan tulad ng mainit na kanin na pwede mo na lang iluwa" (It's not like newly cooked rice that you could just spit out). Your love should go hand in hand with commitment.

I never saw my parents fight when I was growing up. The only time I saw them not talk to each other was after their golden wedding anniversary. For three days they did not talk to each other and refused to say why. I panicked and called up my siblings to let them know. It was a bizarre experience. And then on the third day they just started talking again and explained that they had forgotten about what they had argued about. My Mom explained to me later after Dad passed away that they would fight, but agreed to never show it to us.

My parents were great role models for me. I had stumbled a couple of times along the way, but my Mom always reminded me that when I find a spouse he should have the same values as we had. I remember making a very long list of the ideal guy. The only item that Sweetie didn't get was to have straight hair (haha). Finding the right one is another story I will tell on another day, but here's a list of bilins from my parents before I got married and some stuff I've picked up from them.

1. Put God at the center of your family.
2. Always settle your differences before you sleep.
3. Give and take. Negotiate.
4. Talk, always. Laugh everyday and be playful.
5. Be on time all the time. Follow the 5Ps.
6. Be happy to be in each other's company and do things together. (My parents rarely went out and were always together).
7. Share your friends!
8. Budget very wisely.
9. Live simply.
10. Family first.

My parents lived a very simple life. We lived on a bungalow with lots of space which took my parents 15 years to pay. We rarely took out of the country family trips (only 3) and usually stayed with relatives. Their idea of a family vacation was taking a rode trip to go to our hometown in Bicol where we'd live in a nipa hut by the beach. Our home was also like a mini-farm. We had fruits and veggies growing in our backyard and had chickens, quail, kuhol, dogs, cats, birds, fish etc. as well. Eating out was a luxury. We were simply just together all the time.

We are far from being a perfect family, but my parents strong marriage always kept us together. Their original wedding date was supposed to be January 2, 1960, but because of a very strong typhoon they had to move it the next day. Their marriage may have started from a disaster, but their resilience and their commitment made it strong and a love that is forever.