It’s Mother’s Day Here in the US!

Yesterday it was Mother’s Day tribute to my mom halfway ’round the world, today–Happy Mother’s Day to my mom-in-law. So sorry I’m pressed for time to find a more fitting picture of a woman as wonderful as my mom, but I guess mom enjoying her children is just as good as celebrating mom.

Memory of one Christmas gathering when pictures of her younger days were passed around the table after dinner.

Mom sharing memories with 3 of her 5 children. .

I’m having trouble with the rest of the pictures not showing, but Happy Mother’s Day anyway–I celebrate you for having raised a son to be the husband I treasure, and I am proud to be his wife. Thank you…for having met you!

Originally posted @

It’s My Mother’s Day!

Mother’s Day was not a big moment in our lives then when we were on survival mode…besides, we were oceans apart–my parents and youngest brother in the island of Negros and the rest of my siblings with me in Manila. I did not even know there was Mother’s Day in the calendar.

The year 2011 is the year Mamang turned 80 last month–luckily, my youngest brother was able to get a one week vacation to make it a memorable celebration. His family went ahead to make it a worthwhile 3-week vacation. My other brother was able to overlap his 3-week vacation to complete the celebration. Despite Mamang’s complaints about her aching bones, she was ecstatic…enough to make her believe that the 81st will just be as grand as the 80th one. (Let me ask if my sister will still be available for such donation.)

Not everyone of us 9 children could make it home–but everyone’s presence was made possible by the younger generation’s generosity of their time despite their busy lives, not to mention the love and joy they shared. I’m so proud of all my siblings’ and their families’ contribution to the happy memories  our mother will always treasure. That 80th birthday bash was an unexpected event…a blessing for all her hard work, I could only wish our father could have witnessed it–but I know he was smiling on us from somewhere.

Here’s to my Mother who had always put us first…selflessly!

Our mother Rosela at 80...still beautiful!


Just one family who will always love our Mamang!

By now, I know…even in the Philippines, there’s such a thing as Mother’s Day celebration. I just didn’t have a chance to celebrate it…let me greet all the mothers–you deserve all the Love the world has to offer.

Originally posted @

A Glimpse of My Garden

My garden is my refuge…my reality! In a world of chaos and drudgery, I am reminded of life’s simplicity as I touch the soil. Just like the little girl in the farm! I don’t have an award winning garden, but I have a reminder of what is important to me and the people I meet in life. This is for my curious niece, Donna, who wants to see a glimpse of what I have in my garden half-way around her world…maybe, both our connection to the Philippines that we missed. I’m sure the rest of her generation, which I equally treasure, would know a little more of mine.

Rescuing a piece of forsaken yard is a back-breaking exercise but rewarding when a little leaf or flower starts to sprout after a long wait.

It's the baby mint sprouting back to life!


Back to Life...yay!

An apricot tree down yonder the morning glory.

Apricot tree showing off its new leaves.

For a while...I will enjoy its purple flowers.

My Morning it clings to the bare palm base.


When things are in shambles, and thoughts get chaotic…even my not-so-private garden can transport me to another place in time. I remember our small farm  where our mother lovingly tended her flowers and vegetables, despite the absence of running water. She had her creative ways of strecthing our well-water consumption! (It’s our secret!) Here are some of the flowers I remembered most that just came into being in my own garden-in-progress.

Just spouting from different places...even between the bricks.

More of the white flower with forgotten name.

Three of them in this picture!

Nudging its way is another purple variety ...which I like better.

When I look at the plants in my garden…be it a flower or vegetable, I remember faces–or just memories–of people in my 6 decades of traveling life’s path. Too long to document here…just enjoy everyone’s contributions if you may!

This pink bush just grew back last spring...dead again by now.

I love this one...I wait for them every year!

Bougainvilla reminds me of home...needs an arch soon.

I love this ground cover that I had to buy a starter piece.

One of the roses I enherited in this garden.

It's a unique one I call--tiger cactus.

Top of my tiger cactus blossomed to a huge head of flowers.

There goes a full view of my tiger cactus.

They come every with purple and pink, too.

I had to buy this one from Home Depot...glad it was on sale.

Another cheap Home Depot flower, but covers the ground beautifully.

Nothing can beat this 99-cent cactus variety, anyhow!

My favorite mother cactus...more to come!


Originally posted at

Christmas in the Philippines

I just received a call from my cousin, requesting us to take them to the airport on Monday. For some reason, a blessing rained on them that they have to rush to the Philippines for a week. I’m envious, but I’m happy for her that she could celebrate her Gold Birthday (if there’s such a thing) with her family in the province of Negros Occidental.

I’d been hoping for the day when my husband could witness Christmas in the Philippines. We’d always gone home in June which allowed us 6 weeks of rainy day vacation–not that I’m complaining–it’s still time with the family! But…Christmas!!! It’s the most celebrated time of the year.

Maybe, I’ll add pictures when I get the chance.

UPDATE: 3-19-2011

After 3 months I finally got to my pictures–dropping off my cousin and family at LAX. Their flight was supposed to leave sometime at 10 a.m.– and 3hrs before departure they must be at the airport, shooting for 7 a.m.! The plan was to leave between 5:30 and 6 a.m., and of course…at 4:30, everyone was getting ready. It was a rainy morning, and Christmas travel being always busy–time allowance should be factored in for wise measure.

Entering LAX

As the light changes colors.

Mesmerizing colors!

Leaving the lights behind.

It's the LAX tower!

It's just another plane!

We're almost there...inch by inch!

Here we come...Philippines!


Of course...we need a cart--or 2!

Sure...3 boxes and counting!

Time to head home in the rain.

Thank G*d for a little break from the rain.

           And most of all, we missed most of the traffic…glad we were not on the other side of the road. I think, there was an accident we just missed.
           Fast forward to them coming back just in one weekI still say not even Christmas can make me do it. (SIDE BAR: I did it once in 2005…for a once in a lifetime family reunion while 9 of us siblings were still complete…still are, which is a blessing! They tried to at least accommodate my one week spring break.)
          Sort of our golden rule–Take the SHUTTLE in coming home, and don’t bring back a lot of stuff. I, most especially, don’t want to wait for any delayed flight…my husband and I take the shuttle ourselves when we come back from vacation. I even refuse to take anything that wouldn’t fit in our carry-on luggage. WHY?
          Here’s just why–my cousin & family missed their connecting flight in another country, waited overnight and almost did not get on the unconfirmed new connecting flight, chanced another available flight from Manila to the province, and– lucky enough to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas (also her 50th Birthday)–with the third day just enough to go back to Manila for their flight back to the US. Mission accomplished!
           However, the following day she had to go back to work…only to find herself too sick to finish a day of work. She and her daughter got sick for the rest of the week. How can anyone convince me that Christmas in the Philippines for a week is worth all the trouble? To me…this would simply be a torture!


Posted at

After a 2-year Hiatus

I find myself reminiscing that without ‘the gap in time’– at this moment I probably would still have some lingering jet lag from a 6-week vacation to the Philippines while catching up with bill payments. Instead, I tried to drag myself in writing the updates to pick up the 2-year slack.

Flashback to June 2008 when we were in the Philippines. We were happy to be almost at the end of the bit-by-bit slow construction of our retirement place except for what should be our master bathroom which I thought I would enjoy supervising personally. However the crashing of the housing market and the economy here in the U.S. had shifted our retirement options. In short, we’re still here in California dabbling in real estate among all things…challenging time to start.

Two-year snapshot:

July 2008: The highlight of our trip to Fairview–Larry spent a 6-scary day hospital stay at FEU due to Dengue fever. Thank G*d we were only 5 minutes away from the hospital. The silver lining to that cloud of doom, it happened in the middle of our 6-week vacation! He had the time to recuperate, and we didn’t have to cancel the trip back home. We got  back and I was the one who got sick…not as bad though. I ate a lot of ‘kamote’ tops from my backyard, just in case I carried the Dengue virus!

***Lots of living in between! Larry is so ready to go home to the Philippines to retire; however, I know how difficult it is to retire in the Metro Manila area if you don’t have the money go some place else half of the time…a house is not enough!

November 2009: I finally convinced him we should try real estate since training shouldn’t be lengthy and may be a good interim job while we push back retirement to 2012. I was hoping the market would get better by the time we’re ready. If I only knew then, I probably would be thinking twice…maybe! Maybe not…

February 2010: We finally scheduled to take the RE State Exam a day before my birthday! I guess passing it was my birthday gift. Then come more training and morrreeee expenses, and I’m not seeing the end of the tunnel at all. The light of the new career has not dawned on us yet. We’re hoping that this is something we can take with us to the Philippines. Meanwhile…Larry continued studying for his broker’s license (NOT for me anymore!).

August 2010: Larry took his RE Broker’s test, and passed! Yay…he was broke, now he’s BROKEr than ever. We just need to sell our “first house” and 9 more…opppsss…did I hear a double-dip recession? I told him that we need to sell 10 houses before we can even go on our regular vacation. I might as well go back to blogging!

I guess I should continue to promote Fairview Apartments and open it to travelers.

Originally posted @

The Philippines Before Magellan

What was life like in the Philippines before its discovery on March 16, 1521, or is it March 17? Who discovered Pigafetta’s failure to register their fleet’s passage across the International Dateline before reaching Cebu? Was he the chronicler that committed this error of omission? Does it really matter?

When Ferdinand Magellan and his crew reached the shores of the place they named Islas de San Lazaro, did they even know there were 7,107 islands considered as one country? I’m sure the natives didn’t even realize they had an archipelago for a nation–they probably were just group of islands to them. They even spoke different dialects that did not help in unifying the different tribal groups. Should you wonder then that Magellan encountered warring tribes?  Remember then that the ancient time was so far way from the modern technology we have now.  Think hard and envision how travel and communication worked in a place as fragmented as what we now know as one nation of Filipinos…if this notion even existed then.

People that came to trade with them thought the one or two islands they have seen were already what comprised the entire country. Magellan’s ‘Las Islas Filipinas’ (or is it Felipinas or Felipenas?) may had only been the surrounding islands of Samar-Leyte-Cebu areas. The Panay Island may had been discovered by another group who had named Ilo-ilo from Ilong-Ilong as the island resembled a nose to them. How much of this is a legend or reality depends on the documentation you encountered and you perceived as reliable.

We have no solid written history before the Spaniards came. Despite some semblance of literacy present at in that era, it was enough for them to have the necessary communication as probably just means of day-to-day survival…akin to the jungle survival we have to let others know I’d-been-here kind of thing, or I have extra ‘kamote’ (sweet yam) from my garden and help yourself if you are a hungry traveler. They  had only bamboos and leaves for materials used…how long could they last?

Strategically speaking, Chinese may had landed in Mindoro and called it Ma’i, which simply means ‘south of China’ and at some point discovered the bigger island they called ‘Lui Sung’ and what is now known as Luzon. By the same token, some Europeans may have landed in some smaller islands that were not even documented.

In the course of your research you will come across information that would somehow satisfy the gaps in our history classes. Have fun with whatever could peak your curiosity, but let the fire of love keep burning in your heart…thus, read the easy: A Korean and the Philippines

If you walk down the streets of anywhere you are in the Philippines, remember what many scholars and historians wrote about our country, but be proud that among the ordinary Filipinos eking their own living–we still have the time to help each other for the love of our country…Philippines or otherwise: We are one!

Note: See my other post here: Different Names of the Philippines.

Originally posted @

Where Dreams Come True

Disneyland is synonymous to Fairylandia in every Filipino vocabulary–from the time of growing up days to learning the use of computer when the internet brings the magic of Disney to the home. So commercialized…yet still a dream destination to some who finally have the chance to come close to its entrance. There’s Hong Kong Disney that’s a little closer to the Philippines and therefore a favorite dream destination for those who can afford, but when there’s a chance to make it to the U.S.–Florida or California–Disneyland is in the list of must-see places.

Florida might be the ultimate Disney, but if you are in Anaheim, California, and just 10 min away, then Disney destination it is. My niece was lucky enough to have more time this summer than when she just got here a year ago from the Philippines. Here’s her day at Disneyland with her younger cousin. To me Disney has already lost her magic, and I don’t do more than being just the drop-off and pick-up chauffer.

I should say there’s a free area that you can walk around…even with free parking if you don’t exceed 3 hours. It’s a good deal for those who really wouldn’t care for the rides and would just need a peek to the wonders of Disney. That’s as far I would suggest one should go, but that’s just me. The real experience begins when you pay for it.

There she is…with her smile, ready to blend in with the crowd–dream no more!

Not a bad place to take the kids for a couple of hours and walk off their energy.

Ever tried going in here?…uh, too bad there are still lots of things to see around.

Teen-agers could have fun, too…tons of rides to choose from after the fun walk.

Not just teen-agers and kids…maybe business associates might like it, too.


However, the real fun begins when you get to the rides where you can have choices from the kiddie stuff to the scary ones. It might take you the entire day until you drop….You want to get the most of what you pay for. Anaheim residents can still get a lower prices of $46.00 or $56 for two days which you can use within 30 days. Otherwise, you’ll pay the full prize of $86 I believe.

Since we are only 10 minutes away from it, we tried to schedule the activity in such a way that my niece and company could go out of the park and have lunch at our place for a tiny fraction or resort charges…then go back in the afternoon. That break allowed them not only to save  a bundle but also recharge to last until the closing time that usually culminates with the magic of firework dislay. 

Who doesn’t want to see Cinderella’s pink castle? Appealing to all young and old.

And, just to prove the appeal to all kinds of people from all walks of life–smile!

Little tea cups for the kids…nope! Of course, for the adults and teen-agers, too.

This was even my favorite, going around the theme park and looking down on it!

Another of my favorite…Tom Sawyer’s cruise line. If only it would last–aahhh!

Not anymore for me but the fun at Disneyland could continue for the rest of ’em.

Mary Poppins and escort are not busy…it’s time for a souvenir picture–quick!!!

Had this fire truck ever served its purpose before? Hmm…may need to research.


When one gets tired from wandering around, it’s a chance to get in line and find some place to sit down for a little while. This time the Safari Jungle seems to be a restful stop-over; what could be better than a boat ride?

A boat ride is a fabulous way to rest your feet while the eyes continue to feast!!!

This must be a trophy for one hunter who proved to be mightier than the beast.

Who wants to enter the lions’ den? Is it bonding time…the Lion King family of 4?

Where giraffes and zebras roam…a perfect picture of tranquility & co-existence.

Must be fun ride with dumbo in the jungle…looking so alive, posing like a king. 

In the green green river…gently swim with Hippo, the snorting hippopotamus.

Sneaky snake as he blends in with the tree roots…lost in its silvery color. Eeehh!


Then we go down yonder…where the pirates hide. The hidden life of booze, women, and wealth. Was this the ultimate life of fun and joy? Where could we find some left-over treasures? Would it be in this secret passage

Discover the pirates’ secret passage as we start from this house at the entrance.

As we follow the course of the river,… only little lights punctuate the darkness!

This must be the ship that takes them to places outside their world of wonders.

Are they ever home when they’re not out in the sea?  Is there a need for sleep???

What’s their market like? Can you tell how their day in the ‘mercado’ goes at all?

La Cantina? What a life! What could have been their contributions to this world?

What now? Is this some ceremonial gathering of some sort, or just death march?

Where could these treasures be? Is it sunken somewhere for you and me to find?

I don’t want to be like her… before I could find the pirates’ legacy to civilization.


Time for late lunch and a much needed rest…keep that hand stamped as a pass to come back later for the parade. Yes…there’s a parade of Disney characters later. We woudn’t want to miss all the wonderful stuff. Then 4pm came and time to be back at Disneyland grounds. (Videos will be posted when I have the time to learn the wonderful ins and outs of it.)

Here comes the parade…with everyone lined up on the streets waiting patiently!

Can you find Alice in her Wonderland…see the other side of blue wonder worm?

How can Ariel not have fun? Up, up in the air after being hidden down the ocean.

Ursula with her monstrous charm…what would Ariel’s life without her? Heaven!

Beautiful seaweeds…colorfully floating on the ocean and playing with the waves.

Time to say thank you for the magical day…California Adventure in another day!


Originally posted @

One Saturday Afternoon at the Beach

It’s getting close to summer again…with the heat and my niece being here in California, what better free entertainment for kids on Saturday afternoon than the beach. In her heart she’d rather be in the Philippines, but this is the closest she can get to home. And she’s still enjoying it anyhow. A beach is a beach is a beach.

Since we had some kids to help grow up 11 years ago, we had a few free tricks to keep them entertained. Somehow we never ran out of kids. We revisited our favorite beach hang out–still with the same 3 boogie boards we have kept in our garage. My husband and I were lazy then, and we’re still lazy now. We have our chairs, ensuring that we could see them not going too far out in the water. My niece was really comfortable playing with the younger ones.

Did we say it’s free? So…the kids had to go ahead while we were wasting our precious gas going around–waiting for a break to find a parking space. What better way to find them than being close to guardpost #27?

Then they were gone as we got there…off to the water. Nevermind the big waves.

Still hot at 5 pm…really windy, and we could see that the waves were bigger than they would have wanted it to be to swim comfortably enough.

Hhmmm! Should we really dare? Now touching it–the water seems colder too.

Maybe it’s not so bad if we start getting wet…isn’t that right? Aren’t we brave???

Why don’t we build sandcastles first? That could probably keep the chills away.

Yeah! Sure, isn’t it fun? Just wait a minute…the sand is starting to hurt my palms.

Whoaaa! How can we keep the waves from destroying our castle? More…more!

Okay…okay…stop! Our little hands can’t stop the waves from crashing into it.

Going…going…Gone! It’s time to really enjoy the waves…not that cold anymore!

Ha…ha…ha…didn’t I tell you the water is fun and not that cold once we’re in it?

The two kids didn’t really seem convinced they could ride their boogie boards.

Stare at the waves!!! If we wait a little while, these waves might take pity on us.

Wheeeew! I don’t think so…it’s eating me alive! Where am I??? Can you see me?

Yay! I’m still alive. Actually it’s really fun being swallowed and spit up by a wave.

As the kids continued to find joy in the cold water, which they swore wasn’t cold anymore, I found some other entertaining diversions with a little help from my ‘lil camera. My niece thought my shots were pretty creative and my husband wondered if it was the same camera he was using to take his drum pictures for his website and eBay auctions. Of course, it is! It gave me simple pleasures today.

I love this picture! Can you guess what you see up in the sky? A crescent moon?

I guess, this is what they call wind surfing…and this guy is having a blast! Yes!

I just can’t catch him doing the flips too. It’s fun watching him. No, no…not me!

Here’s another one…*flip*…truly mesmerizing! He has the ocean all to himself.

Footprints in the sand…little footprints…wonderful sand…happy children…sigh!

And that’s my foot…against the sandy shore, inching to test the water. Bbrrrrr!

…my husband lost into oblivion…starting to wonder if the kids aren’t cold at all.

Sure, it’s getting windier…and colder…and darker. If we’ll leave it to the kids, they’ll keep saying it’s not cold even if the little one had said to her older cousin: “Why do we enjoy the sand hurting our hands?” “Why are we having fun in this cold water?” And, I’m sure there are many more questions similar to what I’m asking…but it was a fun afternoon for them, and a welcome break for us–even for just the change of venue.

Originally Posted @

Maria Clara in Action

April 8, 2008, marked the EIU Asian Heritage celebration where students wore their native dresses. While the ‘baro’t saya’ I sewed for my niece fitted her, it was also small enough to be worn by a young girl. At some point, the organizers thought the color would be more suitable for a child, and the Maria Clara dress would be more appropriate for someone a little older. So, here’s Maria Clara in action; it would not be complete without the ‘Barong Tagalog’ for the male counterpart.


      Maria Clara dress for women                         Barong Tagalog for men


Students were encouraged to wear their native costumes, but it was also possible for just anyone to participate in however way necessary. Looking at the little girl, I couldn’t agree more that the exchange with my niece wearing the Maria Clara was a good call.

The Eastern Illinois University participants in their Asian Heritage celebration.


Here’s a closer look at the intricate designs and the very fine weaving of either  ‘jusi’ (jute) or ‘pinya’ (pineapple) cloth, both from plant material.

My niece (R) — presenting Maria Clara in action at EIU — and her friends.

Originally Posted @

“Little Manila: Filipinos in CA’s Heartland”

I must have missed this in my email yeterday…which means I’ve missed watching it last night as scheduled in LA Channel 58. Maybe I’ll find it another time. Thanks M– anyway!

Please check out the documentary, “Little Manila : Filipinos in California
‘s Heartland,” which is going to be aired nationally on select PBS Stations.
We’d love it if you could watch the program on your local station and spread
the news, too.

About the Program:
Narrated by Dean Devlin, famed Filipino-American movie producer
(Independence Day, The Patriot), the program is about the infamous
neighborhood in Stockton, CA, once called, “The City of Gold” by Filipinos.
Filled with chop-suey houses, gambling dens, and dance halls, Little Manila
was once home to the largest number of Filipino immigrants outside of the
Philippines .

The show is part of the Asian Pacific American Heritage Month on PBS. Below
are a few broadcast dates and times, but if your station isn’t listed here,
please download the PDF schedule for broadcast times all over the US .

San Francisco Bay Area:
on KQED Channel 9 and KTEH 54 on Sunday May 4, at 1:30 PM

New York :
on WNET Channel 13 on Sunday May 4, at 7:00 PM
Monday May 5, at 4:00 AM
Friday May 9, at 11:00 PM

Los Angeles :
on KLCS Channel 58 on May 1st, at 11 PM

Boston :
on WGBH Channel 2 on Friday May 30, at 7:00 PM
Saturday May 31 at 12:00 AM
Saturday May 31 at 8:00 AM, 2:00 PM

We’re also working on another documentary about the Filipino farm workers in
Delano , CA called “The Delano Manongs: Forgotten Heroes of the UFW.”
For more information on it and our other programs please go to:
http://www.mediafactory. tv.

And feel free to email us with any questions!


Sheila Flores

http://www.mediafactory. tv
Saul Zaentz Media Center
2600 Tenth St. Ste. 600
Berkeley CA 94710
office: 510-295-4305

Thanks to the above original source of this email, too.

*Originally posted @