Thursday, April 30, 2009

A Miracle

This is one blog post that I never thought I'd ever make.

I needed a miracle. A fast one. Why? Because my doctors have been hounding me for open heart surgery and we scheduled it initially for sometime in May or June. I have mitral valve regurgitation and my bout of pneumonia last year deteriorated the state of my heart and caused my allergies to get activated and those allergies result in asthma attacks. Oh and did I mention that I have heart failure and this is what is probably causing all my allergies and asthma attacks?

The only other time I got hospitalized was when I gave birth to Miguel almost 15 years ago and I rarely get sick. The past 6 months have been really horrendous. I could barely move around, much less go out, since anything and everything triggered my asthma. I could barely eat as well because of allergies and I more often than not just threw up whatever I ate. The only thing I could eat for weeks was lettuce with a dash of salad dressing. I was also quite dehydrated because the doctor put a cap on my liquid intake. I lost 20 pounds as well. I couldn't sleep because my heart would either palpitate really hard or I would have an asthma attack or have severe backaches. This would happen almost everyday.

Yes, it was that bad.

And all I could do during those hard times was cry and just pray and have Miguel massage on Salonpas on my back.

I was at the doctor every single week and they would do tests and prescribe one medicine after another. The only happy thing about it was that I was not confined again. And getting more points on my Mercury Drug Suki card and SM Advantage Card. 

I felt hopeless and just resigned to the fact that I really have to go through surgery. I just prayed that I would survive it. I got really scared though when one of my friends blogged about her heart surgery experience. It did not push through though because the transesophageal echocardiography test they did before surgery showed that her heart miraculously righted itself. Her detailed account about how painful the test was scared the life out of me and I prayed harder that I wouldn't have to go through that test and surgery.

During Holy Week my parents mentioned that they wanted to bring me to Kamay ni Hesus for healing. I knew in my heart that only the Lord can truly heal me. We scheduled it two days before I left for Singapore. I was really apprehensive the whole week since I was having asthma attacks again and I felt that I was going to have a hard time when I went on my trip.

The trip to Lucban was pretty tedious because of the heavy traffic along SLEX and Laguna. Roadworks never seem to end and there were a lot of people going on outings that weekend. We arrived a bit late for mass. When I settled in and connected to the mass I started being teary eyed and eventually started crying when Fr. Joey Faller, the healing priest, started the prayers for healing. 

When the mass ended Fr. Faller explained that you would feel that the Holy Spirit is within you if -
1. You cannot help but cry
2. You feel a cool breeze within
3. You feel warm

And that you should not be scared if you get "slain" (faint) during the healing process. You have to pray really hard and my Mom reminded me that we should just leave it all up to Him. She also said that if I really had to go through surgery then that is His Will.

I started to cry again when we queued up for healing. I wanted to be healed really badly for my family and loved ones. I put down my bag on the floor when we lined up in front of the altar and we were reminded to just pray and not be scared. I closed my eyes and prayed really hard. I did not even notice Fr. Faller praying over me.

The next thing I knew I was on the floor and someone tapped me to get up. I was crying really hard and saw my Mom crying too. We embraced each other and someone helped us take our seats in the front pew. I was shaking also and dazed, but I had this wonderful, floating feeling inside of me. I felt great love and I knew then that I was healed. 

We headed to the town proper after the healing session and for some strange reason I ordered so many dishes. I had spaghetti, sisig, potato salad, pansit lukban, and leche flan. I was ravenous! 

It's been more than ten days since that fateful day I was healed. I also had a check-up with my cardiologist in Singapore and he was baffled himself with what happened because during my last check-up last November he had a hard time deciding whether to recommend repair of my heart valve. During my check-up a few days ago he said my heart sounded good and after the 2D echogram he said that I did not have heart failure and he scratched out all the medicines I've been drinking the past four months. 

And the most important thing my doctor said was, "Your heart is healthy, if sometime in the future you are not doing anything or bored then maybe you can have your heart repaired. There is no absolute time that you need to do it since there is no guarantee that you will live for 40 years more if you do so." With that the doctor dismissed me and told me to drink as much liquids as I like and that I should not go on a low sodium diet anymore.

Praise the Lord! 

Kamay ni Hesus
Lucban, Quezon 
+(6342) 540-2206
*healing every Monday and Saturday, 9:00 a.m.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Flight PR 5087

If you are a frequent traveller you'd probably wonder why the flight number has 4 numbers instead of just 3. The flight I was in last Sunday (PR 508) got cancelled after 3 hours of being stuck on the tarmac of Changi Airport.

I normally doze off even before the plane takes off, so when the plane backed up and stopped a few meters from the gate I just ignored it and settled down for a nap. I heard the pilot say before I fell asleep that he wanted to have something checked before we took off and that we shouldn't worry. After awhile the pilot announced that something was wrong with the hydraulic system and that were trying to source for a part in Singapore. After my head-banging Cebu Pacific experience back in 2007 I knew this issue was going to take some time so I went back to sleep.

I woke up an hour and a half later and was surprised that we were still at the tarmac. The pilot made an update and said that they were still sourcing for a part and apologized for the delay. Some of the passengers got off the flight and probably took another flight since they had connecting flights in Manila they had to catch. 

After two and a half hours in the plane we were served "lunch" and eventually we were asked to disembark. I had the sinking feeling that I wasn't going home that day. We were then told at the gate that the spare part was going to arrive by 11 in the evening and that the flight was re-scheduled for 8 in the morning the next day. 

Some of the passengers were angry and demanded for compensation, others were excited about the prospect of staying another night in Singapore and planned their evening. I just resigned to the fact that I was stuck in Singapore for another night. Besides it's better to be stranded that to be on a flight that might be headed for disaster. 

I think though that the situation could've been handled by PAL better. The flight crew were quite gracious answering all the questions and tried to make everyone comfortable, but the transit to and from the hotel was just crazy and stressful. I did not even see a PAL representative at the hotel. Drew's suitcase almost got left behind because there wasn't really anyone in charge. We decided to take a taxi instead of the bus because of this. 

The 8 a.m. flight was again delayed by an hour and half because they had to do further tests on the repair and it was quite scary since we could hear the testing and it seemed like it wasn't working properly. I barely slept on the flight home, but I felt quite safe since PAL pilots are known to be the best ones.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Pagtatanan (to Elope)

The thought has crossed my mind several times because of the long list of stuff one has to do for a wedding. A one day event that takes months and months of preparation. It can be crammed but you'll probably end up really ugly on your wedding day because you won't get any sleep. 

I just thought of writing about eloping because I remember that it has occured several times in my family. My paternal grandparents eloped! Nanay was chinese and during her time it was unheard of to marry a Filipino, so they eloped. I have an aunt who also eloped, I think because Tatay was very strict. And then my buddy-cousin also eloped. O diba uso sa pamilya!

But then at my age it would be shameful even to think about it. LOL.

So why do couples elope anyway?

1. Because their parents are against the relationship
2. Because they are forbidden to be together because of their race
3. Because their religion is different
4. Because they don't want to bother getting permission or the blessing of their parents so they just elope and just announce they're married already
5. Because they are very much in love (like some artistas who eventually annul their marriage)

Save for celebrities who eloped and eventually broke-up, all those who eloped in my family have had successful marriages. My aunt even had a grand wedding during their 50th wedding anniversary because they never had a real wedding. 

Would you consider eloping?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

T2 (the Movie)

When the trailer of T2 first came out on TV I knew I had to watch the movie. I like watching local movies, especially suspense/horror ones that have a good story. I felt that T2 had the right elements like Feng Shui, Sukob and Sigaw

And I was right.

Don't expect T2 to make you scream while watching it, but it will keep you awake at night because the story behind it is realistic. The fact that some scenes were shot at the "Emme" in Quezon and the Camarines Sur going to Samar made me squirm in my seat. That's because the road is very familiar to me and I've heard a lot of hair-raising stories about the area. The story also incorporates a lot of local folklore about enkantos and other things that we usually just hear from our yayas, lolo, lolas and titas. 

I used to write horror stories back in college and T2 definitely had a good number of twists, not only story-wise but through it's cast as well! I was pleased that they kept secret who were part of the whole cast because it was a very pleasant surprise. I won't say who it is because that would spoil the surprise. Anyway, I loved every single character in the movie and they were all relevant and played their parts perfectly. 

Psst! Psst! I hope I won't hear that later when I go to sleep.

Here's the trailer of the movie -

T2 (Tenement 2)
Artists: Maricel Soriano, Mika dela Cruz, Eric Fructoso, Derek Ramsay, Tetchie Agbayani, Camille Prats, K Brosas, Mon Confiado
Directed by: Chito Rono

Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Davao F.A.T. Journal

I have finally completed my Davao FAT blog posts and here's the complete story:

Day 1
Early morning visit to Samal Island
Lunch at Tadakuma
Skipped the museum visit to go to Lachi's
Dinner at Lachi's
Coffee at Kangaroo

Day 2
the exhilirating Xcelerator experience (and the proposal)
Went to Lachi's (again)
Crocodile Park and the Butterfly Sanctuary (post coming up this week)
Dinner at Mamu's

Day 3
Lunch at Cafe Andessa
went to see David (ahh I've yet to blog about that)

Thursday, April 9, 2009


I love photos. I like taking photos. Being photographed. Printing photos. Looking at photos and I ooh and aah whenever I see something awesome. And I try my best to take nice, decent photos.

A few weeks ago I was invited to attend a photography workshop sponsored by Pixel Pro and I grabbed the chance to go since: (1) It's free; (2) I want to learn more about taking photos; and (3) I definitely need help in taking photos of food (to make `em look delectable).

Mike Mariano, a renowned fashion photographer did the session for us and I'm happy to say that I learned a couple of new tricks! 

Here's some photos I took during the workshop, check out the fruits!

Pixel Pro by the way sells really cool cameras and accessories. I finally got the perfect camera stand for my Canon G9 (thanks ha!). They have a shop in Greenhills (3rd floor, near Filbars). 

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

HeLluR P0wH!

If you're my age you would've probably shuddered at the title of this post. That's exactly how I feel whenever I chance upon text-speak on non-mobile phone platforms. 

The other day I saw a message written by my nephew in his Facebook account and it was in terrible text-speak! I almost called up my brother to tell him about it. I didn't because I don't want to get my nephew in trouble (and I don't want my brother on FB, LOL). 

I am totally disconcerted about seeing text-speak outside of mobile phones. I dunno why, but I just find it totally unacceptable and I have forbidden my son to write in such fashion. 

I do remember being terrified of my strict first-grade English teach, Miss Parcon. I remember her because she was so strict and demanded for perfection. I always got low marks in her class and I was in the slow-reader segment too. It was only when I was ten that I realized I had to shape up and eventually started to read more and work on my writing. I joined the creative writers club in high school just so I'd learn to write better. 

I was never a superstar in writing. Never won any literary contests, save for a distinction from renowned-Filipino author Cirilo Bautista for my one and only masterpiece (a short story titled "Amalanhig"). Always second or third place in essay contests, but nothing noteworthy. But writing has been an edge in the jobs I've taken. I can write decent copy when needed and churn out studies, business plans, research etc. in a jiffy because I can write. And I've been writing since I was 8 because my Mom encouraged me to do so. 

I hope other parents can check if their kids practice the proper way of writing outside of the mobile phone. UnLez u wnt uR kIdz 2 wRiTe dis way.

What do you think?

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Going through Pamamanhikan

I've gone through two pamamanhikans. One was for my sister who was lucky coz she was in the US when her fiance's family came over to ask her hand for marriage. The other one was for my brother where the whole clan trooped to Pangasinan. I don't really remember much of it since I was just about 11 or 12 years old back then.

So when my Mom nonchalantly reminded me that I had to go through the same thing I immediately told Sweetie about it. We prepared by doing some research about it and he briefed his parents on what to do. 

But nothing really prepares you for it. 

I was quite normal earlier in the day, but at the scheduled arrival of Sweetie and his parents drew near I felt anxious and started to hyperventilate. All the nightmare stories I heard about pamamanhikans started to replay in my mind. A friend's story about her recent pamamanhikan terrorized me. Sweetie was also very anxious and this reflected in his Plurks.

I settled for a pale pink dress since that's what bride-to-be's usually wear based on some Youtube videos I checked out. I wanted to wear an off-white dress, but it was suddenly 2 sizes too big for me! My Mom was busy with the food and she normally doesn't want me around the area for that, so I just hung-out online while waiting for Sweetie to arrive.

I was already having symptoms of an impending asthma attack when one of my Titos arrived. I was really surprised since my Mom didn't tell me he was arriving. And then Sweetie arrived while I was ushering in my Tito and Tita. I was already in a panic then since I was surprised with my Titos arrival. I forgot that my Mom prefers to have all her brothers and sisters around during pamamanhikans

And then things were a blur after that. Introductions were made and then the elders settled down to chat a bit. They immediately switched to speaking in Bicol after just a few minutes and then they started talking about common friends. Eventually they started to trace the family tree just to be sure that we aren't related. (My brother had quite a scare about this during his pamamanhikan). 

We had dinner first and sat on a separate table. After several servings of food, Sweetie and I were called to the "elders table". It was actually Miguel who broke the ice by asking, "Start na ba?" Everybody laughed and then fell silent. Then Sweetie's Dad did the opening by saying, "Maaaring nagkakaintindihan na ang mga bata..." and then Sweetie took over and said his intentions. My Dad's answer was, "O kuha na kayo ng kutsilyo, hinihingi pala kamay ni Aileen."


I did not know if I wanted to laugh or cry then.

I just said, "So Dad ano na?" And my Dad fell silent for a long time before he answered. I thought he was going to cry. I was teary eyed when he gave his answer. He asked us first if we had thought about it thoroughly. We both said yes. My Dad then gave us some advice and emphasized that it would really crush them if this did not work. My Mom and Sweetie's parents also gave some words of wisdom and then we started talking about the wedding arrangements.

I know I should not have doubted that my Dad would give his blessing, but for a few moments there I thought he wouldn't. I know it's very hard for him since I'm his youngest child and my colorful life certainly made him more over-protective. I couldn't speak last night because I was trying hard to keep my tears from falling, but I wanted to say that I believe my parents have raised me properly and have equiped me to make this work and that they should not worry about it because we will not disappoint them.

It may have taken me a long time to settle, but I know God has chosen the right one for me.