Friday, April 20, 2012

Of distance and friendships

Time is a great equalizer. It can tip the scale whether friendship endure or just gently fade into the distant background of our life. 

A decade ago, I was privileged to be friends with Berna and Doc Gerry's family. I remembered, I met them in church. All their three children were very young then.

I had sleepovers in their house as a halfway home in between home leaves when I took a job outside of Cebu. I remember dancing the tambourine with the two girls. And I remember that at one time, I taught them at Sunday school.

Many years later, my life took a spin in Manila. But I've always managed to set foot in Cebu, every once in a while, for work. But I can only count the times that we actually met up. 

So, when I was scheduled to have a business trip in Cebu this week, I made sure that I see them. And we did! Meet the Teveses.

with Berna and Abigail (the eldest).
Here with Berna and Annah (the midkid).
I saw the years pass by when I saw them. The hugs were awesome. Here are two beautiful kids who are no longer kids. Abby, grew up to have so many talents, singing among them. I learned that she sings professionally, on the side. Annah, on one hand, is on her third year in pre-med. And Aaron, the youngest and wonder boy, will be a high school senior, this June.  

Am not surprised, though how these kids turned out to be. Their parents are an inspiration to me, even then. It's just so awesome to learn of God's faithfulness to this God-fearing Christian teens. 

And Berna. She's the personification of a Proverbs 31 woman. It was but normal that I asked for her to be my wedding sponsor. The years did not put a dent to her. She still looked the same. So young. 

And our God is really an awesome God. When we met yesterday, I told her that yes, am getting married in October and that they're invited. The kids and her are all very excited. Which makes me very giddy, also. 

Suddenly, many amazing things started to unfold. One, Abby will be singing during the ceremony. Another, Berna will sponsor me my flowers! I am so overwhelmed! 

As a big sister to me, she asked where am I on my checklist. I told her that my most pressing issue is getting an officiating minister. Lo and behold, she told me that she'll re-introduce me to Pastor Alvin. 

This morning, I received the most wonderful news. Pastor Alvin has already affirmed to her that he can fly in to Davao on my wedding. I feel so blessed and so loved. 

On my wedding, I only prayed for three things: a husband who is God's plan for me, a meaningful ceremony and a celebration of God's faithfulness in our lives surrounded by family and friends. 

Indeed, He is letting me know not to worry. For His faithfulness and grace will always be bestowed upon us. 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Hot, hot Ilocos!

I arrived at Laoag International Airport at high noon, today. Yahoo weather registered the temperature at 35 degrees. Whew, hot!

This, I think, is already my fourth time in Ilocos, second in Laoag. In Vigan, my accommodation was always at the Vigan Plaza which is within the Heritage Village, the UNESCO protected site. Have good memories there. Will write a blog about it. 

In Laoag, I stayed at the Malacanang of the North, the first time. Today, I am staying at the charming Fort Ilocandia Resort and Casino. Yes, it's old. Very old world. And steeped with history. Especially, if you judge it by the photographs mounted on the arches and walls of the main reception hall.

What impresses me most about this place is the fact that it is solidly build with fine materials like Vigan tiles and hard wood, as planks and ceiling. The expanse of the premises is breathtaking. If only the management (Government?) would develop some more the landscaping of the gardens and the little pockets of smaller themed gardens, it would be really one for the books. 

As I took a break from work this afternoon, yes, I came here for work, I explored the place. I acted like a tourist for about over an hour. Interestingly, I caught a beautiful sunset. Of late, I have developed a fascination for sunsets. 

Here are some photos I've managed to snap from my iPhone. Hope you enjoy them. 
Beautiful arch.
Arches everywhere.
 Finely crafted furniture. The ceiling has cornices with delicately hand-carved intricate flowers.
Balcony with a view.
A Northern Sunset. Beautiful, isn't it?
Hopefully, I can post some more pictures tomorrow. I'd like to include a picture or two of La Preciosa.

Good night from Ilocandia!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Moving in, Moving out

I am a modern day nomad. For as long as I could remember, I had been moving around. In college, I tried living in two dormitories before finally settling into the last one. I stayed there for a little over two years. 

When I started working, I have tried several types of living arrangements. I lived in an apartment with five of my friends. It was okay and fun. But it offered very little privacy. But what it lacks in comfort totally made up for the much needed savings on cost of living expense. It worked out for almost a year. Then, one by one, my flatmates moved out. One got married, another got assigned to another city, another dropped from university. And so, we had to give up the huge apartment. 

Since then, I have lived in a small house on a hill in a charming village, in a crowded boarding house, in a converted garage, in a pad in an executive village, in the basement of a rich landlady -- this by far was my most memorable because the landlady ensures that the place is cleaned and tidied up by the house help everyday; it's like hotel living. 

In my mid-20s, I was fortunate to live in a compound of several newly-built bachelor's pads. I was among the first tenants. Back then, the owners who were doctors would only accept friends (doctors, also). Lucky for me, I may not be a doctor but I am good friends with the wife's best friend, naturally, a doctor also. ha ha ha. I stayed in the Agnila Pad for over 2 years. It was amazing. My pad was the coziest, my neighbors were the coolest and my landlords were the chummiest. There, I made friends for life. 
My pad in Tacloban at Doc Connie & Deo's beautiful compound. Memories. and. Parties.

In 2007, I moved to Manila. My first condo unit was in a very old condominium. But it was grand in a sense that it's just a block away from my workplace. In less than a year, the owner decided to sell the place. But I wasn't a taker so, I had to move out. Again. 

For three steady years, I lived in a very nice condominium with all the amenities one could ask for: a lap pool, I barely swam in; a gym, I rarely use; a game room, I have not played in; a function room, I have not used. But it was perfect -- proximity- and security-wise. Expensive, too. 

Reality bit me. It's either I move out and find a less pricey home or stay and be forever just barely making ends meet. I chose the former. 

So, I found myself living in the outskirts of the big city. At first, it was uncomfortable. The mind does a lot of tricks, you know. Yet, I found myself loving my community. My building isn't as nice but the neighborhood barangay tanod (citizen police) patrols the night. It makes me feel real safe. And my building guards are alright. 

And then again, I found myself in yet another dilemma, just a year later. My unit's owner wanted to sell it to me. But I wasn't up to it. So, I had to move out. Again! Since, I like my place very much, I didn't look far. I just moved one floor up. 

When you think long and hard, the constant moving takes a toll in one's well-being. I feel that I am not giving myself an opportunity to grow roots so I could truly be part of a community. 
My old condo unit. Just had to take a photo after it got emptied out of 3 years of my life.

However, a friend of mine once told me, "grow where you are planted." So, I've come to terms with my lifestyle. Until such time that I finally find my very own home, I shall make a home of the flats or condos where I temporarily live.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Earth Hour

This year, we missed the Earth Hour celebration. But the significance is not lost in me. My personal crusade has always been to lessen my carbon footprint. 

Living in the city has afforded so many conveniences but it comes with so much responsibility attached to it. Unfortunately, for most city folks, this is a blur to the hustle and bustle of everyday living. 

This year's campaign of "I will, if you will" is something that anyone can do. Even if we don't submit a video to broadcast our pledge. 

I've always advocated a greening of the metropolis. I really don't know how to get my message across to the authorities but I've always fantasized about more trees or shrubs in the metro. The streets are virtually no-tree zone as it is very congested already and will take so much political power, am afraid our local officials don't have the bone to do it, I surmised we can persuade all building developers to put up roof gardens. 
Beautiful roof garden, eh?
Imagine seeing all of the metro's buildings sporting a green roof top. Imagine that.
 My goal this year is to grow as many potted plants as I can. 
Am looking at planting ornamental bamboos in my new patio.
My plant in the office. I hope to add one more vase by this month.
 This year, I hope I'll be brave enough to do something about my dream of greening the city.


In March, we walk to the beat of life's drum with more spring in our steps. Traditionally, it marks the passage of time. Of beginnings. And endings. 

Tying the knot. School graduation. Women's month. Earth Hour. Travel. Springtime. Or summer. 

The kids had a grand time on their moving up days. The adults smile and the parents are bursting with pride in their hearts. The little ones are getting ready for the world. They show off their little talents -- out of tune song number, uncoordinated dance steps, and the beautiful chaos, that's associated when all the children in the world are gathered in one room.  Ah, it's called, play. 

Quo vadis, that's what is asked of college graduates. Now that they're officially adults, it's time for them to find their own niche in this world. It marked the passage of years learning life in the comfort of the walls of the academe. They now have to shake off the giddiness of youth to enter into the austere corporate world of adults. And for those who are braver, they begin to build their entrepreneurial empire. 

Somewhere along the way, the once carefree teens are thinking of building a life with their God's gift. I've been fortunate to witness two friends who had beautiful wedding ceremonies. In a space of one week, I've attended two celebrations. The first one, a study in restraint, serenity and formality. The second, a burst of pastel colors in the midst of a mango farm. 

Both spoke volume to me. Both communicated their love for each other, not just in spoken words but in the way the air was just permeated with the glow of love, from the couple to everyone privileged enough to witness the events. 

This is a salute to life's continuous thread that unravels with each passing of time and of each celebration. 
Sketch by Gio, the genius.

The girls of Table 10.

Cam whoring while waiting for the party to start.

Thanks, Erica. You've thought of others even if it's your special day. 

If you think positively
Sound becomes Music
Movement Becomes Dance
Smile Becomes Laughter
Mind Becomes Meditation
And Life Becomes a Celebration - Anon