Saturday, November 20, 2004

love, unconditionally

it seems that migueli's been turning out to be quite the cassanova these days. he has been known to be quite a "kisser" in his class, and his recipients are (sometimes) more than willing to return the favor. last week, while in line before entering the classroom, an overeager classmate smothered my nephew with hugs and kisses... on the lips, no less! normally, i would not put any malice on the act since they're just kids anyway, but the classmate was a boy. teka muna... yesterday naman, he kissed our neighbor's daughter, chase, on the lips (sabay hug) after their playdate.

my sister found all this out today as she, miguel and i were on our way to a chidren's party. my sister then started to "educate" migueli on the propriety of showing one's affections to another person.

mommy: who are your loves?

migueli: sam, jed (the male classmate), ate gabbie, and ate chase.

mommy: you know, it's okay to kiss your friends, but only on the cheeks, especially if they're boys. kissing on the lips will just be for relatives.

pregnant pause of about 4 seconds

migueli: (with feelings) so boring naman!

encounters with dr. migueli

yesterday, migueli and i were killing time on the bed before going to school playing "doctor." he was the doctor and i was the patient with a tummy ache.

ninang: doctor, doctor! my tummy's painful!

migueli: okay, we have to operate and remove your tummy.

ninang: (slightly taken aback by his AGGRESSIVE ways) what?! can you repeat that? i think there's something wrong with this ear.

migueli: i said, we have to take out your tummy! we'll also have to take out your ear.

ninang (more shocked and slightly outraged) what kind of doctor are you?!

migueli: (very adamant and so matter-of-factly) I'M FROM
what do you expect from a boy who says that a carpenter is someone who makes "carpents"? i love this kid!

Friday, November 19, 2004

"the chosen one"

last night, i got a call to be a godmother yet again. this time, it's to mike, the16-year old kid who i brought to thailand this summer for CISV. the invitation to stand as a godmother is always an honor and a flattering one. with this one, i know that the choice was his and not his parents'. that made it all the more flattering. he certainly has put a new meaning to my being his "adult leader."

i've made being a ninang a career of sorts. it's not WHO i am but WHAT i am. it's become my given name, not just by my godchildren, but by their siblings, their caregivers, parents and parents' friends as well. my cabinet is stocked with "instant gifts" for ages 0 to 12 year-round. looks like i'll be needing to widen the age range.

mama aly, in her blog honoring me on my birthday (*blush*) wrote:

The honor of being chosen to be godmother is a serious thing. It is usually reserved for very close relatives, people you look up to, and people of stature...

Why does the ninang name stick to her like second skin? Maybe it's because she can fill in a mom's shoe and do everything a mom needs to do (teach, guide, feed, bathe, hug, kiss, spoil, scold)? Maybe it's because she has a rhyme storehouse to mesmerize kids from zero to twenty-one? Or maybe it's her big heart?

i never question why people get me to stand as a ninang or why the kids want me to be theirs. is it because of my gift-giving abilities? my maternal (and yaya) instincts? because i'm a "part-time kid" myself and being so makes me "cool"? i guess we'll just have to ask the lot of them... some 28+ of them.

mama aly was right... being chosen to be a godmother is a serious thing. now, i've got another person (a teenager at that!) looking up to me. ooooh! an image model! do i have stories to entertain him! hahaha! then again, if they can learn from my life story, why not? i certainly have.

kids, it's time to grow up.

Thursday, November 04, 2004


enrolled in UP for the (hopefully) 2nd to the last time. which also meant that i had to get my class cards first.

well, well, i guess my procrastination paid off. i got a grade of 1 for both subjects. pardon me while i gloat. dang! i could be a university scholar at this rate if this were a college course and not an MA course. never got these kinds of grades in college. masmadali kasi kayang bolahin ang mga teachers ng UP? hahaha. uuuy, walang pikon ha?

as my adviser says each semester when i "consult" with her, "sayang naman apilyido mo kung hindi uno grado mo." haaay... hirap naman! preysure!

Monday, October 25, 2004

simple pleasures part II

turned 37 today. no big celebrations -- i'm saving that for the big 4-0 when my friends will surprise me with a big party (hint! hint!) -- save for the surprise i got at the school kitchen this afternoon.

bless amy's soul. she rounded up friends and family, and they came bearing gifts, too! the theme was "leslie's favorite food" - in line with my english class' topic on adjectives. i'm not a very difficult person to please, as the roster will show you:

  • migueli, who's on sem break, came to school with bananas... lacatan, to be exact
  • mom (yes! she was there!) brought puto from pangasinan, the ones in the brown paper bag
  • mama aly, my bestest cousin in the world, brought me pampanga's best tocino (my former supplier is in jolly england)
  • amy gave me cracker nagaraya in all flavors except the bland original
  • vikki, my pastoral leader, brought planter's cheez curls and la-la fish crackers
  • bicbic sneaked in a box of napoleones and half moons from bacolod (we were on the same flight home yesterday and she said they were all out of stock)
  • steph sent me goldilocks mocha cake... all-time favorite comfort food, there's just nothing like it!
  • gelique supplied the balloons and brought me cheetos!

later at night, my best friend suzie gave me an estrel's caramel birthday cake... memories of my childhood *sigh*

had anyone given me shiny P5 coins, the day would have been perfect. told you i was mababaw.

Friday, October 22, 2004

to infinity and beyond!

my sister's out and i'm leaving for bacolod for the weekend. time to get some "migueli time" to bring along with me.

while in a "sarap" hug:

ninang: i love you.
miguel: i love you, too.
ninang: i love you three.
miguel: i love you aaalllllllll the numbers!

sigh. good thing it'll just be a weekend.

Monday, October 18, 2004

(not so) simple pleasures

spent the good part of yesterday afternoon in the company of good friends from cisv, in a beautiful house that seemed to be misplaced in manila.

i love my cisv batch! i love being with my co-leaders and the kids, even if they're not mine (sweden). going to camp is one of the best things i've done in my life. yesterday afternoon, i wanted to be in sweden all over again; to feel 11-years old again, carefree yet responsible; to be with my 4 kids again, sneaking in a pizza from a pizzeria down the street or savoring smuggled instant yakisoba or having ticklefests in the lullaby room... eating marabou... marabou's are hard to come by. they're not like hershey's or m & m's. that's what makes me and my kids miss it so much.

when i came home last night, my sister had some high school friends over for dinner. she rummaged through the fridge for dessert and brought out truffles and... A LARGE BAR OF MARABOU! heaven in a bar! thank God, they went for the truffles! it was the perfect cap to a cisv afternoon.

Sunday, October 17, 2004


it's been more than a month since i last blogged. can't just yet. dying at work, recuperating from school.

will be back. sem break's less than two weeks away...

Wednesday, September 15, 2004


if there's one thing i'm good at, it's procrastinating. must be a family thing (read alymama's blog).

i work well under pressure; i thrive on it. that was the reason my former boss gave me all the live staging projects we were awarded. the work was feverish, the tension was thick, and the commission was really good.

it's how i operate. give me the whole day to do something - especially something cerebral - and i will sleep the whole morning and while the entire afternoon before starting on it after dinner - say around 10 p.m. but! i won't let at it until i finish, which could be until 9 the next morning (that too seems to run in the genes. i often computer marathon with my workaholic mother).

modesty aside, some of my best works are products of cramming. the school newsletters, my genogram, my MA papers... whenever i'd complain about how i hated going back to school and dreaded the reports, a former colleague of mine would always nudge and reassure me saying, "kaya mo 'yan! pagpupuyatan mo lang 'yan ng dalawang gabi, tapos mauuno mo pa 'yan."

buti lang naniwala ako sa kanya. she seemed to have more confidence in me than i do in myself. and here i am blogging, when i have yet another paper (a feasibility study) and presentation due in two weeks. the concept's all in my head; just need to get it on paper (i have the logo down). i need that push again.

is it healthy to procrastinate? i would think no. will i stop then? HELL, NO! mwahaha!

fine, fine, fine. i will stop procrastinating... tomorrow.

Monday, September 06, 2004

maligaya sa Ligaya

i write this blog at the risk of sounding preachy. i don't care. i am a Christian and proud of it!

i met Jesus six years ago and He forever changed my life. i don't know how i managed to live so long without truly having Him as a friend. He's been around, always in the background; allowing me to stay in the limelight when it was always Him who should have been there.

last year, i moved to a different community, the Ang Ligaya ng Panginoon. He's there too. they certainly live up to their name, i can tell you that! once a month, we gather as a sector and worship together. today was that day.

i always look forward to these gatherings. God is truly alive in the lives of these people. He speaks to us... literally! today, God sang to me.

as we gathered to worship, the Spirit befell on Jun Cruz and Kuya Jun sang so beautifully! He called us "My sons and daughters," a title i have always been called. Menchie came up to the mic next and sang as well. through her, God called us "sons and daughters of the Spirit" and she continued to spread His message. absolutely lovely!

i had my eyes closed most of the time. when i finally opened my eyes, i saw a sight that jolted me. there in the center of the gathering, was a man whose profile was the spitting image of my father! i couldn't take my eyes off of him!

i pointed him out to amy and diday, who were sitting next to me. diday gave me his name. i don't recall it. it doesn't matter. diday verbalized what i had felt all along. truly, Ligaya has become my family! dad was even there. i am spoiled to this day.

I AM GOD's DAUGHTER. i know it! i feel it! i love it!

Thursday, September 02, 2004

if a=b, and b=c...

so miguel cozies up to me while i'm at the computer yet again. as i try to distract him from my feeble attempts to work, i try to get some sugar from him in the process.

ninang: make me lambing.
miguel: i love you thiiiiiiiis much (makes a HUGE circle that reaches his back)
ninang: what else?
miguel: we will always be friends.
ninang: what else?
miguel: i will always, always, always love you, even if you're mad at me.

ninang pathetically asks for more.

ninang: what else?
miguel: i hope we will always be close.

ninang, fishing, drops a clue (which is even more pathetic)

ninang: am i fat?
miguel: yes

heart breaks here. kids never lie (sigh). kasi naman noh?! okay, okay, i should have quit while i was ahead, but dang it, i will have the last laugh here!

light bulb goes on.

ninang: who is fatter, tito a or ninang?
miguel: tito a
ninang: so, is ninang fat?
miguel: no.

definitely quit here. aaaah... syllogisms! ü

Sunday, August 29, 2004

to the rescue

i love it when a friend says the right thing at the right time and washes all your guilt away.

thanks, F! oh, the secrets we share! i love it and i love you! ü

Saturday, August 28, 2004

tv debut

came out on tv this morning.

actually, it's not a first. i once appeared on a tv commercial for breeze detergent with ate vi... all of 2 seconds (babad!). hahaha. wala lang ü

Friday, August 27, 2004

from the mouth of a babe

thursday afternoons and nights, i become a surrogate mom to my nephew miguel. that's the night my sis stays out late for some spiritual energizing (i.e., her prayer meeting).

i have spent most of my life in the company of children. that's why i became a pre-school teacher. but the beauty of being a teacher, as i always explain to those who ask, is that there's always the prospect (sometimes, the excitement!) of sending them home. it's a 3-hour play day, work is. such is not the case when the child lives in your home.

i don't get much work done once i get home. miguel's always around wanting to type something (funny how it happens whenever you're on the computer), wants you to fold something, borrow your "stuff", brush his teeth, read him a book, write him a book, make an art attack, find cardboard... get the idea? motherhood IS an on-call job, and i'm just the ninang!

don't get me wrong; i love miguel to death - as i do my other 30+ godchildren. sucker that i am, i let him get away with his "demands" then try to steal away when he's busy. tonight (last night) was not any different.

migueli and i were on his bed. i was trying to put him to sleep; he was trying anything but sleep. as is his routine when he is with me, i reminded him to say his evening prayers. and off we go...

dear jesus,

thank you for today. thank you for all i have and for the world.

please don't make it rain tomorrow because i'm going to school.

please protect my mom. please make her come home safe. make her car drive very, very fast, but don't make it bump anything. make her come home in one piece and safe... not even a booboo.

please bless my family and, and, and my house, and my household.

i love you, jesus. amen.

"not even a booboo." how can anyone resist that? that is one blessed mother, my sister is, who came home about an hour later, sans any booboos.

goonight, migueli! sleep tight. your prayers have come true.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

good old abe

inspired and amused. at least i'm not a macedonian dwarf! hahaha!

Sunday, August 22, 2004


i got up bright and early this morning to plant a tree. our school was chosen by "magandang umaga, bayan" to be part of their tree-planting activity at the la mesa watershed as part of their month-long anniversary celebration. the idea of appearing on television is always an attractive come-on to kids (especially their parents). so off we went, 18 kids, teachers and stage parents.

planting a tree is not too difficult, if you paid attention to the briefing well.
  1. find stick marker by dug hole
  2. remove plastic bag from seedling base
  3. place seedling into hole, leaf side up
  4. replace soil into hole, making sure not to go beyond the seedling's "soil level" - there's a scientific explanation to this
  5. lightly pack replaced soil with your foot
  6. place torn plastic bag on stick marker or get fined P500 and dig out seedling again

nothing to it! together with the staff of m.u.b., we were able to plant a total of 400 trees today. that's practically a mini-forest! i've always considered myself a closet environmentalist, so this activity totally appeals to me. today was a "feel good" day. i look forward to doing it again... and again... and again.

let's see... i have about 4 adopted trees to my name at the la mesa watershed. they say that it takes 10 trees to clean the pollution emitted by 1 car. with all the trees we planted today, i can drive my car in peace for now.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

my parallel universe

created a parallel blog (this is it, by the way) for the mere mortals whose PCs couldn't access URLs with underscores. duh. it's the same old, same old anyway. you would think that geniuses (or geeks?) who wrote such computer programs could give us some leeway, but NOOOOOOOOOO!

to their credit, at least they invented the cut and paste.

panic sort of set in this morning when my cousin said that there was a blog with the same name, except that the other one used a period instead of an underscore. maybe there IS a parallel universe.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

missing dad all over again

today is dad's 4th death anniversary. he would have been 69.

if there's one person i REAAAAAAAAAAALLY miss, it would be him. he was GREAT. he was my idol. he was my friend. excuse me while i sob.

the day he died is still so vivid to me. i remember EVERYTHING. there weren't blogs then but i did write about it for my genogram for a subject in UP three years ago. so today, i brave the world as i "publish" a small portion of it, as my professor recommended then.

Promises made, promises kept

There was a time when I knew that Dad felt that we were all against him. He had decided to move out of the house and live with another woman. And although he had asked me once to leave the house with him, I only thought it proper to be with Mom and my siblings.

Dad was checking in and out of the hospital for a while. At one point, we had gotten tired of seeing him there and caring for him.
It was as if we always made him well enough so he could leave us again.

But there was this one time when he was home for good that, while in a tight embrace, he sincerely asked me to promise to never leave him. I fulfilled that promise on August 16, 2000, the day he died. It was I who accompanied Daddy to the morgue to “put things in order.”

Alone, with him on a stainless steel gurney, I told him that I had made good my promise to him and bade him goodbye. I saw to the last of the details. I think he would have wanted it that way.

The death of my Dad has been the biggest blow in my life. To this day, I cry tears for his loss. When he died, I not only lost a father but a very, very good friend.

I dreamt about him a few weeks back for two straight nights. He was walking and talking, and hungry too! Just the way I would always like to remember him. It was really great to see him okay. I am very glad to know that he is in a much better place.

Monday, August 16, 2004


chanced upon a national geographic episode tonight where they showed 2 people walking through a bat cave... and LOTS of bat dung.

now i know what guano really looks like and i can heave a big sigh of relief. that must have been plain old mud in sierra cave in tuguegarao. it's just not the same... umm... consistency! whew!

Friday, August 13, 2004

God has ears

so i tell amy in the car about my last blog (august 9) and tonight i get an SMS from her saying that she read in the newspaper that oprah will be on air until 2011. yessssss!

maybe i can still add "get into the oprah show" to my "things i want to do before i die" list.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

dear oprah

one of the perks of not needing to be at work until 11:00 a.m. is that i get to watch oprah at 9:00 a.m. each morning. today, they featured "Oprah's favorite things." it's an annual thing she does where she highlights her finds for the year and shares it with the members of the audience... all 300 of them!

today (or at least in today's show), she gave out, among other things that i can remember, samsung cellphones - plus a free 3-month subscription to t-mobile, j lo athletic outfits that retail for more than $400 a set, body care products (keil, i think was the name) worth around $270. there was what she claims as the best hot chocolate in a can (who am i to doubt her?) and fresh croissants - "just like they are in paris" - that she had delivered to each of the audience members' homes (she got their addresses). there were these fuzzy booties that you nuke in the microwave for 20 seconds to warm your toes in winter and place in the freezer to keep your feet cool in the summer, and gloves that you wear with something in them to keep your hands soft and smooth. she also gave each one the perfect white t-shirt. they're made of peruvian cotton (i think) and retail for about $49 a piece - they're so pricey because they get softer with every wash. she also gave out a year's subscription to O magazine to everyone in her studio. all these within the last half of her show! lord knows what else she gave in the first half that i missed! what i would give to be in her show!! i would be happy to be just one of her elves distributing the presents

a friend and i have long "fantasized" to be on the oprah show. not as guests, mind you; just as regular, well-dressed members of the audience. we would start to compose these "dear oprah" letters and think of something significant in our lives that would get her attention and make us "must haves" in chicago. hmmm... i can tell her about how i quit my high-paying job to be a teacher. how courageous! how inspiring! maybe i can lose 100 pounds or something! nah! i'm not asking for much. i'm not asking her to redo the house (though i'd love it if nate did my room) or pay my bills... i'm not even asking for her shoes (although they are delish!). i just want to be in her show... even if she doesn't give me a doggie bag to bring home. i got a us visa :-)

time's a-ticking here! i read somewhere that she would only remain on air until 2006. gosh! that's not much time to write a book for her to turn into a bestseller. maybe my genogram or unpublished children's book can do. hmmm...

so please, if you're reading this and you know oprah, feel free to forward this to her. i'll even take you along on the trip (she knows that i would want that).

Tuesday, July 20, 2004


tita ree said that was what it was but i'd like to think otherwise. who would ever think that having your feet stuck in that ick could be so much fun?! this past weekend was a blast!

adventure seekers on a budget, taking (and missing) long bus rides, enduring pathetic public toilets, sharing chicharon, remembering bananarama songs, being wined and dined, swooning (albeit belatedly) over our cute guide.

tuguegarao... i will never forget you. i have my battle scars to remember you by. your caves... guano or no guano. your circadian bats. your river and your rapids (B-B-F! -- belly, butt, f**k!). your hospitality. your food (manang julie!).

thank God for the great company! how else could we endure anton carag barking out his orders? "you have 30 minutes to get dressed. that's 7 and a half minutes each!" yes, thank you for doing the math, but with 4 girls and 1 "disabled" bathroom? i don't think so! well, we did our best.

in fairness to the man, he's all bark. truth is, he's a puppy! he's a big man with a big belly and a soft spot for the femme fatales that we are... or our CISV moms who truly rock! how i'd love to grow up to be like tita mitos one day!

tita ree, tita maite, tita betina... tuguegarao beckons! white water rafting in september! shall we?