I just want to share with you some of the photos I have captured while my youngest sister, Bembem and my son, Elijah, experienced Kidzoona for the first time. Luckily, as their guardian, I was allowed to play too.
A three-hour drive from Manila, we found our way to another worth-visiting beach in the Philippines, the shore and surfing waters of Liwliwa, San Felipe, Zambales.
It is our yearly post-Christmas getaway with the whole family. Suggestions from Laguna, Batangas, Cavite and Zambales resorts poured in days before the trip, but our van is coding on Wednesdays, so we decided to go up North.
We booked our stay in Kapitan Liwa. Upon entering the street to the accommodation, you will see a lot of hostels, side-by-side, most are still not so commercialized, some have nipa huts, some have camping sites, but there are a lot of houses-turned-hostels as well. The famous “Circle” hostel is just nearby.
We rented a fan-room because that’s the only room which can accommodate all of us. Though it needs repair touches, it is nevertheless a quite accommodating place.
On the other hand, the environment is “instagrammable”, nature revealed itself beautifully with the soaring high pine trees. The houses are made of bamboos and woods, there are swings, camping areas and a lot of places to rest which made the hostel’s surroundings very laid back.
The hostel is about two-minutes away from the beach. There are cottages near the shore that you can rent. The waves are incredibly big. No wonder it is one of the favorite spots of surfers. You can feel the cold wind as you approach the sea. The sand is not so white, it is grayish but fine.
There is a small body of water near the beach during low tide, which is a good spot for kids who can’t swim yet.
It was a very nice family getaway. Since our family keeps on exploring beautiful yet value-for-money places in the country, San Felipe is definitely included on the top of our list. Coming back to this place is a very big possibility!
Anyway, I just want to greet you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! 💕 May you all have a good bonding time with your family.
“Today was a heartbreak. Like my heart is literally taken away from my chest. Mother’s love. Immeasurable. I thought I could sleep all through out this flight, but I can’t. I am demanding myself to get this so-much-sought-for-straight sleep for the past few months, but I just can’t close my eyes peacefully at this very moment. Maybe because I left my heart in the Philippines, I left my ‘life’ in the Philippines.”
I saw these words on my notepad, written last March 26, 2016. This was the first-time I left Philippines without bringing my baby. I still remember the pain I felt on that very night, and how I unrestrainedly cried during the flight. I was seated on the window seat, which was a good thing, I was able to look at the window, and cry silently. I was so depressed. It was a mixture of sadness and guilt. “What kind of mother was I? A bad mother” I thought to myself. It was a peaceful flight but emotionally, it was chaotic inside.
I had a challenging first year of motherhood. Looking back, Kiko and I had a crazy year of parenthood. We booked and travelled back home almost every month to see our baby. Even though it was costly, we brought our baby to Singapore everytime my Tita or Mother is available to babysit.
In all honesty, my husband and I shared a lot of tears together the past year. Every time our baby gets sick, we helplessly cry. We fought a lot as well, arguing again and again, even though we always knew the best answer to our situation.
My husband is my life’s biggest and most significant gem. He calms my emotions when they are bursting. He holds my hand whenever I am trembling. He listens patiently even though I am already shouting. He endured a lot. If there is a living guardian angel, that’s my husband. Sometimes I am thinking if I am worthy for him. But God has reasons why He let me marry him.
I learned that we must not let anger prevail. In marriage, try to turn bad moments to good. Do not waste your time being angry. If you need to be angry, then be. But forgive immediately and move on. Time wasted cannot be gained back.
Do not put all your burdens to your partner. You are one, you should share everything. Explain patiently. Take your part. Embrace the situation and face it together. That’s what marriage is all about.
Worrying will not solve anything. For the things out of your control, pray. Prayer changes things. It is your most powerful tool to overcome any situation. Pray together with your partner, so it will be ‘louder’.
Trust God. As they say, He has written every thing beforehand. The pain is temporary. Have faith that brighter days are coming.
Now that I am on my flight back to Philippines, I am thinking about how God made us stronger this past year. We might have lot of weaknesses, missed chances, wrong decisions and doubts, but He still let us feel the joy of having a child. An unexplainable feeling only a parent can feel. A sense of worthiness, a sense of fulfillment.
We are now facing another chapter of our lives. I am moving back to Philippines to raise our son, my husband will be staying in Singapore to save more. I know with God’s grace the time will come when we will be together.
Geographically apart, we will face this unpredictable life together. Hand in hand, we will be raising Elijah to be a good person. I am ready to face more challenges because I am not alone,
I have my husband,
I have my son
and most importantly,
I have my God.
P.S. To my husband, if you are reading this, please always remember that I love you. Thank you for everything.
Originally written last December 22, 2016 while I was on my flight from Singapore to Manila
To my dearest Elijah,
Colored flashbacks, some are black-and-white flickers, all memories revolve around you.
From the very day we knew you existed until the moment we held you in our arms. From the first days of breastfeeding, until the day you learned to eat on your own. From your unpredictable sleeping schedule, to the cute snoring sound you make as you sleep through the night. From the first time you learned how to sit, to the recent days you worked and succeeded to walk.
From your irrepressible cries, to your first-spoken syllables. From our first domestic travel, to our overseas travels to Singapore. From your first check-up, to your monthly schedule of vaccination, down to unfortunate days of your hospitalization. From your immature immune system, up to your good and stable health. All of these memories are stored in Mommy’s subconsciousness, awaiting to be utilized when needed.
Like retrospect in medium speed, this day gives me a recollection of your firsts. I find strength in imagining your smiles and recalling your contagious laughter. It is my joy to reminisce your innocent summons and your silly antics. But along with the happy memories, there are the ones that I barely like rewinding, those are the times when we were apart, the times you fell sick, and the times we missed to spend together. But that moments are the ones which made our bond closer, and our faith stronger.
In every endeavor, all I can see is your beautiful face, and all I can feel is my great love for you. A love so significant, it made everything seemed to have a beautiful purpose.
You are my core, my heart, my life. You are everything to Mommy and Daddy. There is no greater love in this world, than of the love we have for you. But always remember there is God who loves you more than most. He lives not on Earth, but in Heaven. Your birthday is a beautiful reminder of God’s unconditional love for all of us. Aside from the immense love He have for you, I genuinely believe that God loves me and your father so much, He allowed us to be your parents. He let us feel this kind of love for you and that sense of God’s trust is priceless.
I have never been so close to God and to Mama Mary until we had you. Amidst uncertainties, I find solace in my prayers. For your guidance, I consistently prayed for God to send you more guardian angels. I requested God to send you even my own guardian angel for your increased protection and security. As always, God is true to His promises. Because He truly sent angels for you, they always have been around you. The ones who take good care of you whenever I am away. He gave you your Lolos, Lolas, Tiyas, and Tiyos.
When I asked God to send my own guardian angel to protect you, I realized that He sent you my mother, your Lola Evelyn to love you, nurture you, and care for you in my absence. And for all of that I am deeply, sincerely grateful to God. He answered all my prayers in form of the people who loves you as much as I do.
Not only a celebration of life, your birthday is also thanksgiving day for the whole family. Because aside from being blessed by you, God reminded me how truly blessed we are as a family.
There was only one angel God allowed me to have by my side consistently, and that is Francis. In my darkest hours, God manifested His never-ending love and compassion through your Daddy. It is because of your father’s wisdom, strength and understanding that I managed to overcome my postpartum depression. I will always be thankful to God for giving me a good husband. With God’s grace, we conquered those dark times and won the battle together. Hand in hand, we faced every challenge of early parenthood. Together, we have been working hard to build your future. We loved each other so much more because we have you. And we know that with our combined love, you can grow abundantly with the blessings of health, love, friendship, knowledge, and wisdom.
You are the purpose of our existence. It is because of you why your Daddy and I want to live longer and better. You are worth every heartache and hard work. You are the light at the end of a tunnel. You are our ultimate source of inspiration. You are our happiness, and our greatest achievement.
Thank you for choosing us to be your parents.
We love you so much Francis Elijah.
Happy First Birthday!
Loving you always,
PHOTO Grabbed from Rappler.com
They say that we must let go and must go on. They also said that the problem with Filipino people is that we do not know how to forgive, saying that the lack of clemency is a big hindrance to our country’s progress. I say the problem with us is that WE DO NOT WANT TO REMEMBER and WE DO NOT WANT TO LOOK BACK TO OUR DIRTY PAST. Most of the time, these are the factors that lead us to repeat the same mistake over and over again. This issue is not about forgiveness. It is about JUSTICE. It is about the essence of DEMOCRACY. It is about our DIGNITY. #MarcosIsNotAHero #HindiPaAkoTapos
According to a DISC personality test I just took few days ago, I scored comparatively high in dominance.I pasted the results of this test below, indicating some of the traits and behaviors that usually describe people who scored high in this aspect. When I saw these results, I immediately thought about my marriage, and how these might affect my relationship with my husband. Because, honestly, even in marriage, I tend to be dominant. And being so has its own advantages and disadvantages.
So let us relate these results to my married life:
Enjoy competition and challenge. This one is definitely not applicable to my married life perspective. First of all, I do not want a competition between me and my husband. The goal in marriage is to think and act together. There’s no point of proving who’s better than the other. You are one in the eyes of God, therefore, you should act as one. I do not enjoy challenges as well, but honestly in life, we need them. Challenges make us stronger. And by facing challenges together, our marriage becomes stronger as well.
Goal orientated and want to be recognized for their efforts. Who does not want to be recognized for their efforts especially in marriage? I actually do not need a recognition, I only need the affirmation from my husband that I am doing a good job. Whether it may be a simple gesture of saying that the food I cooked tastes good, or commending that I am making a good parenting decision. Marriage is an everyday effort. If you want to stay married, exert huge effort to let your partner feel that he is loved. A daily commitment is a must. You cannot just love, marriage needs actions from love. And most of the time, an affirmation or a simple acknowledgement is greatly appreciated. Goal-oriented, yes I am. I usually share all of my short-term and long-term goals to my husband. I want him to know my goals so he can help me attain them. I may be dominant at times, but sometimes, you need to have the initiative to make things happen.
Aim high, want authority and are generally resourceful and adaptable. Being married, you should always have equal authority on each other. But once you become a parent, it is already a different matter. Now that we have a child, the hierarchy of authority should be clear at home. I intend to have the highest. Yes, I am claiming it. Because I am THE MOM. But I think is it wise that we both be the leaders of the house. Because my husband is good at making certain decisions, and I am good at another.
Usually self-sufficient and individualistic. When I am still single, I can say that I was self-sufficient. I always tell myself that I can take care of my own. Many of my friends can attest to it. But when it comes to marriage, you will always need each other. And as the time goes by, you will be more dependent on each other, and you will most likely declare that you cannot live without the other. Honestly, once my husband and I have a heated argument, I unexpectedly told him that I can do things on my own and I do not need him anymore. But after I uttered those words, I felt so guilty. It is because I honestly cannot imagine my life without him. He is my life. And imagining him out of the picture is too heartbreaking. I am always sorry for the times I said those stupid sentences. I am trying my best to not say anything when I am too pissed or angry.
Tend to be impatient and dissatisfied with minor detail. Okay, dear self, stop being impatient. This is one of disadvantages of being dominant. Most of the time, I become angry because of a very simple matter. But I am working very hard to avoid nagging. There are a lot of things that can cause arguments between husband and wife, and I do not want our marriage to be broken by just the reason that my husband forgot to arrange the chairs back after dinner. I also do not want our marriage to end because of not putting back the dipper on its place every after use. I told you, marriage is an everyday effort. Try to fulfill your duties and avoid the trouble.
They say when you commit your life to a person, you do not have to change for that person because that person will love you no matter what. I say, if you commit to your partner, and agreed to spend the rest of your life with him, try to change for the better. It will always be a good idea to compromise.