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Maraming dahilan kung bakit binabalik- balikan ang isang bagay, lugar o tao. Kadalasan ito ay dahil sa mga magagandang  alaala at karanasan na karugtong sa mga ito.  Katulad ng dalawang malaking pula na sapatos na ito na matatagpuan sa isang fast-food sa tabi ng Lasalle-Taft. Mahaba-habang panahon din ang nakalipas bago ako nakabalik sa lugar na ito kung saan ko kinunan ang mga sapatos na ito. Maraming alaalang nagbalik sa akin… mga tagpo ng pakikipag-kwentuhan sa aking matalik na kaibigan habang sinasawsaw ang mga maninipis na patatas sa malamig na sorbetes na may matamis na tsokolate sa ibabaw.  Dito rin sa lugar na ito nagtapat ang aking asawa sa akin ng kanyang saloobin patungkol sa akin. Nag bago na ng kaunti ang lugar na ito katulad namin ng aking kaibigan at ng aking  asawa. Nagbago na ang aming mga timbang. Unti-unti nang nagbabago ang kulay ng aming buhok (para sa aking asawa, medyo dumadami na ang mukha nya hehehe). Subalit ang mga alaala na paulit-ulit kong sasariwain patungkol sa lugar na ito ay di magbabago at bahagi na ng mga kwentong isasalaysay ko sa mga anak ko.

Salamat, mga sapatos na pula.

Sa mga gustong makisali sa lingguhang pagbabahagi ng mga litrato, halina’t sumali sa LP. Isa rin ito sa mga bagay na babalik-balikan mo pag ito ay naranasan mo na. Sali na!

I survived! I took another trip to Divisoria a few days ago and I can now say to myself I won’t get lost anymore in this jungle of a marketplace. This time I even have pictures to boot! I planned to get to Divisoria early but unfortunately, I got too excited planning my trip the night before and ended up leaving late the next day. I left the house around 9am and expected to arrive at around 10:30am but I got caught in a monstrous traffic jam. I ended up in Divi past 12 noon. Tsk tsk! BUT all things work together for good so I guess it was all for a reason.

My entry route to Divisoria was through Binondo where the you see the famous Chinatown arch landmark after passing the Jones Bridge and the original Savory restaurant. The next landmark you will find is the rotonda where you will see the Binondo Church. Traffic was so bad, I got off at Starbucks and began my hunt in Juan Luna St. Take a look at where I got off.

This is where Juan Luna St. starts coming from Binondo.


WHAT YOU WILL FIND: t-shirts (wholesale), t-shirt printing, commercial paper, printing and binding supplies, office equipment and supplies and a lot of banks in

Juan Luna Bridge – On the left side of the bridge, you will find  Ilaya and Tabora, New Divisoria Mall, M. de Santos etc.. On the right, you will find Juan Luna Plaza, Meisic Mall and 168 Mall. If you go straight up, you’ll end up on C.M. Recto Ave. where you will find Tutuban Mall.

** I turned left 2 streets after the bridge and bought 2 packs of jewelry foam from this lady who didn’t mind my taking a picture of her.


This is how Commoner’s Commercial looks like. These guys were sport enough to “candidly” pose for me. Ü

WHAT YOU WILL FIND: acrylic boxes (be sure to bring a sample of the item you want to box so you can choose your size), plastic bags, sando bags, plastic bags with adhesive, kraft paper bags, round magnets, french fries boxes, plastic containers, cups and boxes for food or baked stuff, acrylic sheets, bubble wrap, cling wrap, colored wire, jewelry tags, paper and other packaging stuff.


Not quite sure if this is Morning Glory or Good Morning but nevertheless they’re both on the same street and both of these store sell sewing stuff.

WHAT YOU WILL FIND: all kinds of beads, thread, glitter, ric rac, lace, fabric flowers, sequins, buttons, ribbons and all kinds of jewelry and sewing stuff that you can imagine.


I don’t have a picture of the store, but yes, there is a Wellmanson store in Divisoria.

WHAT YOU WILL FIND: jewelry making materials, findings, beads, jewelry tools, glitter, feathers, ric rac, lace, swarovski crystals, little wire tie twisties,


I just discovered that Tutuban Mall was divided into three buildings – am not quite sure if this is how they’re called : 1) Prime (where National bookstore is)  2) Block (the building with the escalator 3) and Cluster (the one parallel to Recto)

99 Slice and Dice Steak resto – So far this is where we always eat when we are in Divisoria.  We usually have the beef salpicao and kangkong. Affordable and tasty.

I discovered that there were other interesting places to eat just outside Tutuban Prime, near the parking lot. Maybe we’ll try them next time:

This is where we parked. This is directly behind Tutuban Prime.

I asked the security guard to pose for me (feeling John L. hahaha) Ü

Finally, this is what happens when the malls close. NIGHT MARKET!!!!!!! Pardon the blur. I was trying to shoot while in a moving car. Ü I just wanted to show how the shopping is still relentless even at night.

If you’ll notice, my pictures start out bright under the heat of the summer sun and end with  street lights and headlights galore. That’s how long it took us in Divisoria. I think I’ve walked my feet to death. It felt like walking on a treadmill that you can’t get off from. aaaaack.

Overall, despite all the hassles and difficulties of shopping here, Divisoria is still the mother of all markets hands down.

Check out the first post I did on Divisoria here—> http://teystirol.com/2009/11/17/decoding-divisoria/

Hope this post helps someone. HAPPY SHOPPING EVERYONE!!!!!

Food pics for foodies out there! These are some of the food escapades we did with the grandparents during their stay with us early Feb. this year. The kids love it when the grandparents come because part of the fun is finding new places to eat around town.

First stop, TRAVEL CAFE PHILIPPINES – Greenbelt 5

Kids are the best sales people you  can find. We had tried Travel Cafe for a quick snack of pandesal and tsokolate é a couple of years ago so when we passed by the resto with the grandparents, they enthusiastically recommended the place to them. Of course, how could the old folks decline with two persuasive adorable little sales tots. Ü Lunch it is!

My son ordered the tomato soup in a bread bowl…

… while the old folks ordered this deconstructed kare-kare dish. In contrast to kare-kare being served stew-style, the meat and veggies were served on a plate with the kare-kare sauce poured on top like gravy. Quite interesting. I liked the flavor although I would have preferred it to be drenched with more sauce.

Aside from the above we also sampled their adobo and beef ( I forgot the name of the dish but it was yummy and it was gone before I could take a pic). The old folks ended the meal with a hot mug of Cordillera Coffee served in a clay mug with a cute little “pitsel” for the milk- extremely hot and a bit pricey. I’m no coffee drinker but I  sipped a little bit just to taste and boy! it was a like a shot of nicotine straight to my veins! (barako sa tapang! very brave – joke Ü hehehe)

Next stop, MINI SHABU-SHABU – Bonifacio Hi Street

I took a shot of the interiors, nope, these are not cardboard displays

… this geisha was directly above me Ü

Finally, the food… healthy and guilt-free…

…. a little bit guilty

Über guilty!!!!!!

… prepare to meet thy maker!


The kids had fun cooking their own food, although the little one had more fun cooking than eating.

You can almost smell it right?

One last look before they go into the hot pot!

Happy and satisfied! Ü

During the recent visit of my in-laws, we brought them to nearby Solenad at Nuvali to have lunch. We wanted them to see the place as there were new restaurants added since the last time they came for a visit. The kids also wanted them to see the hundreds of koi fish in the man-made lake at Nuvali. My in-laws are not as mobile as they used to be. I probably need to read more information on rheumatoid arthritis to find out what could help them as it has become increasingly difficult for them to walk far.

Crisostomo is one of the latest additions to Solenad, the commercial area of Nuvali along the Sta. Rosa-Tagaytay road. We weren’t quite sure about it because I haven’t seen or heard of it before but since that was the nearest we could find and that was all that two hungry and grumpy old folks could bear, we went in to have lunch. Entering the restaurant reminded me of Maria Clara and old Manila. It dawned on me that the name Crisostomo was probably taken from Jose Rizal’s Noli Me Tangere of which Crisostomo Ibarra was one of the lead characters. I looked around and surveyed the interiors. It was nicely furnished and I particularly loved the old electric fan that you only see in your great great grandparents’ house. Their menu offered Filipino-Spanish cuisine with a twist. I glanced at the station where they had a computer and I saw the name Florabel. I had seen the chef/owner of Florabel being interviewed once on TV so I assumed it was part of a chain of restaurants. A little while later, I think I actually saw the chef/owner of Florabel gesturing to her staff to make sure our orders were taken care of. THAT is a good sign.

We ordered the monggo soup and a salad with green mangoes in it. Then we ordered the mixed platter that had everything on it – barbeque, pork chop, vegetables, oysters, fish etc. It was quite nice and just the right portion for a party of 7. I don’t remember any particular dish that stood out but for me it was enough to satisfy the old folks so it was fine. The service was good and the staff was attentive to our needs. It was a nice little discovery borne out of necessity. There are more new restaurants popping up here in Nuvali. So for all you foodies out there, I’ll try to post our food escapades as they happen.

Ciao or better yet, Chow!

We arrived a few days ago from our unexpected extended Christmas holiday in Davao. Our little girl was confined for 6 days due to a severe asthma attack and bronchopneumonia. That’s a whole other story that I might post later on when I’ve gathered my thoughts on it but for now, I’d like to share some of our pig-out adventures in the ultimate adventurer’s eco-tourist mecca down south – Davao. Some might like to talk about online life insurance, but we love to travel and dine. Ü

I am not an expert food critic so these are just my opinions about the places we’ve eaten at this year.

The Food Scene:

  1. Tsuru’s – One of the favorite Japanese Restaurants my in-laws frequent in Davao. You can find it right in front of People’s Park. We had a little incident where the waitress (she was new) didn’t write down a couple of our orders and thus didn’t inform the kitchen. I had asked the husband if she repeated the orders and he said she did only to find out later that she really didn’t write it down. So we ended up waiting for something that wasn’t really going to come. Unfortunately, it was the order of our Australian guest. How embarrassing! Muy disgusto! The maitre ‘d however saved the day. She was quick to soothe our ruffled hungry tummies. She told the kitchen to serve the forgotten orders and told us that it was complements of the house.  Whew! For that quick response, I’d still recommend this place. Tsuru’s is located right in front of the People’s Park in Davao. It also has a sister restaurant serving Vietnamese cuisine called Hanoi.
  2. Bistro Rosario – This is an all-time favorite. Owned by Lola Charito, Bistro Rosario is part of a chain of restaurants in Davao which include Harana, Sarungbanggi and Peter Pan Bakeshop.  We were in search of the famous Wagyu beef so we dropped by Harana to sample it out. Wagyu beef is Japanese beef well-known for its juiciness and tenderness due to the intense marbling of unsaturated fat throughout the meat. Unfortunately, we arrived too late for the lunch hour so we transferred to Bistro Rosario since they serve Wagyu as well. While there, we sampled the clam chowder soup, the fresh lumpia, the sinfully delicious buko pandan dessert and of course the surprisingly, affordable Wagyu beef! Everything was delicious and the beef was worth the wait.  We also had a chance to chat with owner, Lola Charito. She told us the story behind her restaurants. She has been operating her business for more than 40 years and it was really inspiring to listen to her. If you want to try affordable Wagyu beef you can order them at Harana, Sarungbanggi or Bistro Rosario along Torres Street in Davao.
  3. Chippens Garden – Owned and managed by the Chippens restaurant, this one is located just outside the gate of my in-laws house. It’s usually booked for special functions and occasions and is neatly tucked away right in front of the house in Davao.
  4. Piccobello a Ristorante Italiano found in the old Gaisano mall. I am a pasta girl and so when we eat out I prefer to have my pesto pasta fix and this is one place I’d like to come back to. They have an authentic wood burning oven where they cook their pizza (which is also good, btw). The pesto was great and so was the carbonara. yum!
  5. Bigby’s – was a pleasant surprise. I liked the interiors because there were old world maps on the walls and we had fun guessing the names of the countries while waiting for the food. I also noticed the ceiling lamps were done using old magazine clippings and newspaper articles-really creative way to recycle stuff. The husband and I ordered steak and the portion was just right. My in-laws split a baby-back ribs rack and the kids had chicken in a basket while our Australian friends had pasta. It was definitely a nice meal altogether plus the service was definitely good. They have a unique little buzzer that you press if you need anything else. I’ve seen other restaurants have their own little signals to call the waiters, this was my first time to see something like this. Check them out.

After all that eating, I think I’m going to look for the best fat burner out there. LOL  We’ve eaten at many other places before that are not in this list but I will update this one as soon as I have time. Meanwhile, if you are in Davao check out these places to dine and discover for yourself the many flavors of Durian country.

It’s been just three days here in Davao and we are stuffed to our ears. The eating has been non-stop. The parties and festivities go on and on every day and the kids have been eating to their hearts’ content. Of course, this only happens once a year during Christmas with the grandparents. The rest of the year, they make do with what the husband and I can dish out which is nothing compared to what they have right now. Thank God it’s only once a year though because if it was like this everyday, we might be needing an implant dentist Plano en punto! There’s still a lot more eating ahead of us and a little adventure as well. I’m looking forward to doing that zip cord thing in Kapatagan in a few days. I’ve seen it in Sports Unlimited on TV so I hope I’m brave enough to try it. LOL

Merry Christmas everyone!

To all who are celebrating thanksgiving in the USA… HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!! I remember spending a few thanksgiving celebrations in the US some time ago… mmmmm. Huge turkeys deep fried in peanut oil, cranberry sauce, cornbread, smothered greens, backyard barbecue with family and friends. I can almost taste the turkey in my mouth. yum!

We don’t celebrate Thanksgiving here in Pinas but I think we should set aside a day just to be thankful as a nation. More than the xbox 360‘s, the psp’s, the fully loaded iphones and all the tech gadgets galore… or the LV’s and the Hermes and the Gucci’s we’ve saved up for… there’s more to life than all that.

Thanksgiving in the US is one of their most awaited holidays. It’s a time when families get together at the dinner table… to remember… to be thankful… to acknowledge the Providence of the Almighty God.

Here’s an excerpt that says it best.

The First National Proclamation of Thanksgiving given by the Continental Congress       in 1777:

FOR AS MUCH as it is the indispensable Duty of all Men to adore the superintending Providence of Almighty God; to acknowledge with Gratitude their Obligation to him for Benefits received, and to implore such farther Blessings as they stand in Need of: And it having pleased him in his abundant Mercy, not only to continue to us the innumerable Bounties of his common Providence; but also to smile upon us in the Prosecution of a just and necessary War, for the Defense and Establishment of our unalienable Rights and Liberties; particularly in that he hath been pleased, in so great a Measure, to prosper the Means used for the Support of our Troops, and to crown our Arms with most signal success:

It is therefore recommended to the legislative or executive Powers of these UNITED STATES to set apart THURSDAY, the eighteenth Day of December next, for SOLEMN THANKSGIVING and PRAISE: That at one Time and with one Voice, the good People may express the grateful Feelings of their Hearts, and consecrate themselves to the Service of their Divine Benefactor;

and that, together with their sincere Acknowledgments and Offerings, they may join the penitent Confession of their manifold Sins, whereby they had forfeited every Favor; and their humble and earnest Supplication that it may please GOD through the Merits of JESUS CHRIST, mercifully to forgive and blot them out of Remembrance;

That it may please him graciously to afford his Blessing on the Governments of these States respectively, and prosper the public Council of the whole: To inspire our Commanders, both by Land and Sea, and all under them, with that Wisdom and Fortitude which may render them fit Instruments, under the Providence of Almighty GOD, to secure for these United States, the greatest of all human Blessings, INDEPENDENCE and PEACE: That it may please him, to prosper the Trade and Manufactures of the People, and the Labor of the Husbandman, that our Land may yield its Increase:

To take Schools and Seminaries of Education, so necessary for cultivating the Principles of true Liberty, Virtue and Piety, under his nurturing Hand; and to prosper the Means of Religion, for the promotion and enlargement of that Kingdom, which consisteth “in Righteousness, Peace and Joy in the Holy Ghost.

And it is further recommended, That servile Labor, and such Recreation, as, though at other Times innocent, may be unbecoming the Purpose of this Appointment, be omitted on so solemn an Occasion.

(souce: Wikipedia)

For us as a nation, we have a lot to be thankful for, in spite of all the overwhelming challenges that we continuously face. From the devastation caused by typhoons to the recent horrific events in Maguindanao… these may make it more difficult to be grateful. It may be harder to see the favor of the Divine Providence. But in the end… in the end…  we need to remember that what was meant for evil, God can always turn around for good. I was watching the news earlier and the candidate whose wife got killed in that incident said something about her being instrumental to the LIBERATION of his town… that DEMOCRACY, finally, has a chance, now that the alleged mastermind behind the massacre has been taken into custody. Perhaps he has seen a tiny seed to be thankful for in the midst of his tragedy.  I hope that all of us will see what he sees…even in the midst of difficulties.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  May we always remember why.

It’s been two weeks or so since I posted because I got sick after our trip to Divisoria. It became a family field trip of sorts because it was the first time for the husband and the kids to experience the magic that is Divisoria. I discovered that bringing a car was not that hard if you go early and you know where to park. We found parking behind the Tutuban Mall. Of course, it was a bit of a risk with the kids but I think we managed quite well with lots of prep work and instruction. It was the husband’s first salvo into this urban retail jungle and he is definitely hooked! From wedding gowns to kitchen sinks, it’s a shopper’s paradise. It can get pretty confusing if it’s your first time so it helps to do your research before you go. Knowing what you want to buy and where to go will save you a lot of time. But if you are going purely to bargain hunt then the search becomes part of the pleasure.

Here’s a list of of Divisoria /Binondo Suppliers that might help you out. I still have a lot to learn but you might find this useful just in case:

A. Food Containers and Gift Boxes – along Ilaya St.

  1. Commoner’s Commercial – 725 Ilaya St. near Juan Luna across fire station. ( I got lost looking for this store because I asked somebody who gave me the wrong direction instead of following my instinct) Like most stores that I was looking for, this one was hard to find if you are not familiar with Divi because it’s behind a slew of sidewalk vendors occupying the front of the store. You will find resealable plastic bags, acetate boxes, paper bags, gift boxes, rolls of cling wrap etc. etc.
  2. Ilaya Plastic and Packaging – 763 Ilaya St. I didn’t find this one but it’s probably close to Commoner’s

B. Sewing Notions, Beads, Ribbons – along Tabora St.

  1. House of Decor – hidden behind the sidewalk vendors
  2. Morning Glory hidden behind the sidewalk vendors
  3. Remy Filipinas

C. Office/Paper products

  1. Golden Era Paper Products – 623 M. de Santos St. Binondo; Tel nos. 2411394/244395
  2. Times Trading – 525 Quintin Paredes St. Manila; Tel nos. 2425741 to 24257418

D. Malls

  1. 168 Mall – near Juan Luna and Sta. Elena
  2. Juan Luna Mall – along Juan Luna
  3. Tutuban Mall – along C.M. Recto
  4. New Divisoria Mall – along Sto. Cristo and De Santos

I think one more trip to Divi will help me memorize the ins and outs there. I just have to make sure I’m well rested and my resistance is up so I don’t get sick again.

Later, folks!

We usually spend Christmas with the kids’ grandparents every year but this year, home for the holidays will be a little late. The recent typhoons have affected school holiday schedules so instead of being two weeks early for Christmas with them, we leave Manila on December 24 because the husband still has classes till December 23. We’ve never traveled one day before Christmas ever since I can remember, so I really don’t know what it’s like to be in the airport on Christmas Eve.

Because of our shortened holiday, I guess, I don’t really have to pack so much. I think the kids’ stuff will fit in their Sammie, the ladybug Samsonite luggage set we got on sale years ago. I’m also thinking if all our stuff (the husband’s and mine) will fit in our carry-on luggage as well so we can just use the express check-in. My siblings and I did that a few months ago when we traveled together to Cebu. Absolutely less hassle. It’s still approximately 7 weeks away. That gives me a little more time to fix things around our house before we leave. I’m sure the kids can’t wait to see the tree house and the little house in the woods.

Have you seen GMA 7’s latest videoke singing game show? If you haven’t then you should! Of course, I am biased because one of the band members is Michael Gemina! I’ve seen him when he was still a little boy and now he’s all grown up (nope, I don’t recall him having any acne treatment) and making a name for himself and doing what he loves to do most. Play music!

It was just a few months ago when we were believing God to send Michael to Berklee. Now, God has opened up doors for him in the music industry. I know that God will do wonderful things for him in the coming days and his future is definitely bright. Not only is he an excellent musician, he also has a good head on his shoulders and more importantly, a heart that wants to honor God. Bravo, Michael! More! More!

Here’s how the show went :


It’s been quite busy in our little world lately I can hardly keep up with life. I realized just today that this week was already Halloween week! I thought it was still next week but oh well, the kids are done with their costume party anyway. LOL They had it last Sunday and the husband let out all his competitive juices and came up with his version of King Edmund of Narnia complete with the lion crest, swords and a banner for ds (with a little help from the crafty mom of course… wink! wink!) and Captain Elizabeth Swann, Pirate Captain of the Pirate Lords for dd.  Guess what, the kids won! Hah! DS was a little late and so when he went inside the kids’ church room all eyes turned to him and according to the kids’ church teacher – his costume was just a different standard. DD on the other hand was a savvy pirate captain complete with her Chinese cheongsam, pirate eye patch, bandanna and giant hoop earring. Of course, we can’t forget the axe, the sword and the dagger too. They were so excited that they won. And so were we.

Later on that night we waited for GMA’s newest sing-along show to come on. It was the launching of their newest show BANDAOKE! featuring my kids’ all-time favorite drummer (mine too :P), fresh from his Berklee stint, MICHAEL GEMINA!!!! The musicians were great! Although we had to do a lot of explaining to the kids about the lyrics of some of the songs. It’s a bit like doing a colon cleanse on them where we had to make sure that what they take in doesn’t cause any internal trouble later on. Huh? What was I saying? In short, they’re still too young! LOL

Don’t forget to check out the hottest band to hit TV land – the Bandaoke band! Catch them every Sunday night right after Mel and Joey. Go Michael Go!


On the heels of the revival of patriotism and love for country spurred by the passing of President Cory, the country faces another battle over the will of one and the will of the many. It is sad to note that the ongoing controversy between Malacañang and the members of the Arts community over the latest ‘National Artists’ recipients is tainted with politics and payback. I am not one of the experts who can claim to have the expertise in choosing who should or should not be proclaimed National Artist but as a parent raising children who might someday (who knows?) be qualified for that honor I would rather that it be bestowed upon them by those who are in the best position to give it to them. I would consider it an insult if it were granted to them on a silver platter without them truly deserving it.

For what does it profit a man if he gains the world and loses his soul instead?

As I watched the final funeral rites being given to President Cory yesterday I could not help but wonder at the outpouring of love and honor by people from all walks of life. Thousands upon thousands waited, stood in the rain to pay their last respects to her. It was spontaneous in the sense that this was not a “hakot” crowd. They were not programmed like “custom software” to behave a certain way, say the right words at the right time, to lift their hands and flash the L sign. They were not ordered to bring yellow posters, banners, balloons. Anonymous donors gave out bottled water and boiled eggs to those who wanted to get a last glimpse of her not because they wanted recognition but out of the generosity of their hearts and out of respect for the leader they loved.

Respect cannot be coerced. True honor when given is not mere lip service that can be cloaked by plaques, trophies or medals. It springs from the heart and is freely given much like the woman who broke the alabaster jar and poured it over the Master whom she so loved. The trophies, the medals, the public honor are just tangible representations of the inner reverence and recognition we accord to those who truly deserve it. Even a simple person can sense true honor versus mere flattery. Honor if forced, leaves a bitter taste in the mouth and is tainted with resentment.

I think one of the great legacies that President Cory has left us is her humility. It is to her credit that she leads and inspires so many without the fanfare and the propaganda. She lived not for the applause of men but for the applause of heaven… for an audience of One.

I heard someone say during one of the many speeches said at her wake that “there are many leaders who lead, but great leaders inspire“. In light of this current challenge re the ‘National Artist’ imbroglio, I watch on the sidelines to see if there are any great leaders among them. If there are any who live not just for the temporary honor that may be remembered by men but more so by heaven. I hope some if not all will rise to the call for greatness. Meanwhile, it is time to bow the head and bend the knees.

Let your voice be heard. I missed going to the streets during EDSA 1. I missed going to the streets yesterday again. The many gifts of EDSA and the restoration of democracy was the freedom to speak freely without fear of being arrested.  I will use this gift to speak here on my blog for the sake of my children and the generations after us. How about you? Share your thoughts and let your voice be heard.

The past few days my emotions have been on a roller coaster ride. I have been quiet on this blog. The death of President Cory stirred up so many emotions I have tried to manage for the past two years. August 4 marks the second death anniversary of my father and I couldn’t help but go back to those moments while I was watching the necrological service of Tita Cory at the Manila Cathedral late this afternoon. The circumstances have been so similar it just brought me to tears. I am reminded of these two verses that somehow give me a glimpse of what still needs to be worked on in my own heart.

Genesis 32:28 (NIV 1984)

When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.” But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” The man asked him, “What is your name?” “Jacob,” he answered. Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome.”

2Corinthians 12:7 (NASB 1995)

Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me– to keep me from exalting myself!

A broken spirit and a contrite heart, I know God will not despise and that is what He so desires. It is the best heart jewelry one can wear and worth more than all the jewels in the whole wide world. It is what pleases God. The question is, is pain necessary to achieve closeness to God? Is the path of sorrow and suffering the only way to be near God?  In my opinion, my answer would be yes. It is necessary.

We do not need Faith if we have the ability to do things on our own. It is the impossible that requires the divine to be employed. Faith is what moves the mountains of pain and suffering aside and parts the sea of sorrow so that we can take one more step closer to the promised land. Faith enables us to struggle and wrestle inspite of the thorns of imperfection and the flaws of our character. It is the adrenalin that pushes us forward to overcome all odds and step into victory. Without faith it is impossible to please God.

Unfortunately, this does not happen overnight. This is where patience comes in. Through plodding and perseverance. Mountain after mountain, valley after valley, struggle after struggle… day after day. Through faith and patience we will overcome. It has already been two years since I have started on this road of coping with the grief and pain because of my father’s death. I am reminded more so today because of President Cory’s death.

My father was working for the Marcos government during that time when the People Power Revolution happened. He was the Chief Engineer in charge of setting up the government transmitters all over the Philippines. How he got into government is a whole other story but I knew he was a man of integrity and uncorrupted by what was around him. He knew what was going on when the transmitters in Malolos were taken over by the military sympathetic to Cory. He told me how crucial communications and media were that’s why these were one of the first things that were taken over aside from power and transportation. He often told me inside stories about media and propaganda and the psy-war tactics that were being employed by both sides. Aside from being an employee of the government, he was also a son of Tacloban and a kababayan of Imelda Marcos. A lot of what I know about government and country I have learned through him. His love for country and integrity in fulfilling his duties have been imparted to me and have made me come to love this country as well.  This is his legacy to me. Every province where I see a government transmitter, I am reminded of him. It is a struggle to hold back my tears…to wish for him to still be here. It is a journey that anyone who has lost a loved one deals with everyday. And I guess a “thorn in the flesh” to ground us and remind us of our need for God each day.

Yet inspite the pain, the thought of knowing that the memories and the legacies of our loved ones will live on through us they have left behind, is an assurance that their lives are not in vain. Thank you Tita Cory for reminding me about my father once again. My father is not a well-known figure. He lived a simple quiet life. A life of faith. A life of patience. A life of forgiveness and generosity. A life that overcame self and became selfless for others. A life that mattered to me. A life I will remember always and will be grateful for forever.

Thank you, Jan.

In loving memory of former President Corazon C. Aquino, I am encouraging the blogosphere to light a candle for her. Grab the image below, add your prayer for Mrs. Aquino and link up.

1. Bits & Pieces – Thank you Lord for giving President Aquino
the gift of life. It was a well-lived life as she
touched nations all over the world.
It must have been difficult for her
especially the last months of her life.
But everything is well now as she joins you.
May her family find comfort knowing that
she is now safe in your kingdom.

2. A Matter of tEys.T
Dear God, we share the grief and we identify
with their pain. No words can describe the loss and the
void one feels when you lose someone you love
and only You, O Lord can reach into the depths
of our hearts where no one can.
Comfort them, be with them, let the silence
speak gently of your peace. Wrap your arms around them, God.

Let them know that though the world may be a little dimmer this day,

the heavens are much brighter than yesterday. Shalom.

3. your blog here

I condole with the Aquino family at this time. Our family lost our dad on Aug. 4, 2007. Though it has been almost two years already, the pain is still there… I followed President Cory’s story in the news and saw and heard what was not said. I knew what went on behind the scenes even if  it was not reported. My father spent almost the same number of days at the hospital. My siblings and I had our share of hospital vigils. The stress, pain and fear of the unevitable loomed over us each day. The anguish when the expected finally came goes beyond words. The finality of the struggle became evident once we saw him in his coffin. I clung to the grace of God in the days that followed. I still do to this day. My selfishness wanted him alive. There were many what-ifs that followed but in the end I know God’s ways are higher. I see those reasons each day and I have to admit to myself, truly, God knows what is best.


Remember this?

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things

Cream colored ponies and crisp apple strudels
Door bells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles
Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings
These are a few of my favorite things

Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes
Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes
Silver white winters that melt into Springs
These are a few of my favorite things

When the dog bites
When the bee stings
When I’m feeling sad
I simply remember my favorite things
And then I don’t feel so bad.

(from the Musical – The Sound of Music)

I have a few of my favorite things that make me feel happy on the inside and no, it doesn’t include the latest tech gadgets today. I was thinking more of the “rustic, make you feel warm and cozy” type of stuff much like patintero, kite flying and playing on swing sets make you feel.

So what are some of my favorite “comfort” things:

  1. Chocnut – who needs See’s or Godiva when you’ve got chocnut! The fat one of course.
  2. Lugaw Tokwa – I miss the authentic probinsya lugaw-tokwa with lots of browned garlic on top.
  3. Rain – not the typhoon kind or the ones that cause flash floods but I remember growing up listening to the raindrops pitter-pattering on our roof. Music to my ears.
  4. Fresh bedsheets – especially when they’re cool because of the rain in #3. 🙂
  5. Fishballs in UP – I’m not a UP grad but I remember going to UP with my roomate and just pigging out on fishballs and sago. I loooove it when my little fishball swells up with vinegar and the sweet and sour sauce. yum!
  6. Chinese garter, tumbang preso, patintero, sipa and piko – nope. no Counterstrike for me.
  7. Ice drop with munggo, keso, beans or buko – they used to make it with those metal molds.
  8. Chikam – a word coined by my little girl. It’s actually, pork adobo fat cut up into little pieces and fried till crunchy before adding rice from the night before – something I learned from my dad. Singangag to the max.
  9. DZFE FM – there’s something soothing about classical music. I love listening to the classics especially on a rainy day.
  10. My dad’s keys with his dogtags – I miss hearing the sound of the clicking of those keys with his dogtags. Once I hear those keys, I immediately know my dad’s finally home. I miss you, daddy!

So these are some of my favorite things. How about you? Care to share what your favorite things are? Just leave a comment if you do.