Tag Archives: holiday

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 @ https://zylla3.wordpress.com

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 https://zylla3.wordpress.com

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 @ https://zylla3.wordpress.com

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 @ https://zylla3.wordpress.com

Motorbike Ban on Philippine Highways?

Ban? What ban? That would be the day…just for the sake of some wishful thinking: Lawmakers seek motorbike ban on highways (Thursday, January 3, 2008 )

Two lawmakers have filed a bill at the House of Representatives seeking to ban motorcycles on main thoroughfares and national highways.

Can you imagine how many oppositions they’re going to have? Just among my brother-in-law and his bike-riding friends who have their own organization: Samahan ng mga Amang Walang Pakinabang (Useless Father’s Club). Why?

  • If you have children under the age of 18, you should be home helping them with homework.
  • On weekends, you should be home with your family and not with your buddies polluting the highways…worse, making your wife believe that you’re working overtime.
  • Considering that you can’t even afford a P5M insurance…well, if you have a job that is only enough for the upkeep of your motorcycle–I guess, nothing could be lost.
  • I could rant and rave like a raging lunatic, but this is a facet in the selfish man’s life that would never change unless something drastic happen–loss of limb or life.

I just hope they’re not going to be their children’s role model. Though, sad to say, this is a very enticing lifestyle from the teen-agers perspective. However, even families ride together–not just husband and wife, sometimes with 2 children between them.

Citing a World Health Organization report, Santiago said in many Asian countries including the Philippines, road accidents are usually caused by motorcycles….“Nearly 1.2 million persons die of road traffic accidents every year, 40 percent of which are under 25 years old,” he said…..”young motorcyclists make up a significant percentage of injuries and fatalities among road users in many Asian countries”.

I don’t believe on statistics alone. Numbers may not be everything…but my eyes had seen enough. My niece’s driver landed in the hospital, luckily, just a few days and a few thousand pesos to fix the bike–more than any savings he made–if he ever did. How many more like him? We can only guess!

Among the accident reports cited by WHO, speeding, non-use of helmets, risk-taking behavior and drunk driving were contributing factors to the rising trend of traffic accidents, he added….Teodoro said an Asian Development Bank report on road safety in the Philippines showed that motorcyclists were the “second most at risk” of being killed or injured in a road accident.

Many times that we had been on the road there, we have seen quite a few minor accidents. There was even one couple that skidded behind us one rainy night. I could only gasp, and luckily the traffic was awfully slow… almost to a halt; otherwise, the bus following them would have run them over. Still, a few unlucky ones like my brother-in-law’s friend didn’t expect to meet their end. Motorcycles are fun, convenient, but dangerous and are getting to be a continuing hazard on the road as their number continues to grow.

Records from the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority showed that motorcycles have the highest fatality accident rate with 122 motorcycles or 23.6 percent of the total fatal accidents. – Delon Porcalla

If you visit the website www.motorcyclephilippines.com , you will find more information from the serious to humorous. One picture I love was that of the dog backriding…and without helmet [or any harness], enjoying the ride in perfect balance. At least the human had one…I mean the helmet!

*Originally posted @ https://zylla3.wordpress.com

 

 

Love from the Heart, Life from the Hearth

You have to love the Philippines to come back and retire there; you have to love life to be in front of the hearth without complaint. I don’t know why someone would search for ‘kitchen in the Philippines’ but it reminded me of the ‘dapog’ [hearth] we have while growing up in the remote farm of Hacienda Estrellas [I think it’s Spanish, meaning ‘farm of stars’] but it was really named after the sugarcane plantation owner’s last name of Estrellas.

However, let’s go back to that kitchen a long time ago. Oh, I wish I had the picture of that hearth as it was the essence of our family’s simple existence. Numerous poignant stories of growing up revolved around there. [Another blog later maybe or when I learn to do the links]. I should probably mention…there was no electricity and running water. Unless you have gone camping, you probably won’t understand that kind of survival. Don’t get me wrong, it was the time dearest to my heart. Maybe one day, I’ll recreate our place in my dream village.

The hearth inside the house is a luxury in the farm. That’s how I look at it now, considering that most farmers and laborers have a Nipa Hut just enough to give the family a roof over their heads…that when the night comes, they would find shelter from whatever lurks in the darkness of the night. They usually cook outside [lucky to have a make-shift cover to protect the hearth from rain].

If you can visualize 3 rocks arranged in a triangle, that’s the basic of the hearth. These rocks elevate the pot and allow the chopped pieces of wood to be positioned underneath the pot. This is just the preliminary activity; the actual cooking has not begun yet. If the luxury of an old newspaper wrap is not available, you just have to be resourceful to find your fire starter from nature as wood will not catch fire like the way the stove’s pilot light would start your cooking. It’s a lot of blowing, which is probably a good lung exercise. It could be a lot of crying too–from the smoke…or maybe from the hard work. Nobody questions…it’s a chore to be done.

I actually came across a few of the different pictures of bathrooms that one of the Lonely Planet pioneers took in his travels, and I think that was pretty interesting. You reeeally wouldn’t want me to post the Philippine ones, but that’s an idea someday when I travel to the bundoks [Tagalog origin of boondocks]. I’ll try to see what I can find on these kitchens though. I think I have one blurry picture from 50 years ago when they were cooking outside during some celebration [not digital…scanning???]. This must have been the reason why Filipinos have traditionally want a ‘dirty kitchen’ in their houses. Did you say why would someone want a dirty kitchen? Believe me, we cook a lottttt of things that could make our kitchen dirty. I’ll show you some when I get to it.

For now, I have the ready pictures of — what can be better than Fairrr[h]view kitchens. I was ambitious at first and I thought I’ll have the small stove/oven combination in the furnished unit. My sister was practically aghast at the idea, but she went along with one trial. After a year without any takers, it was transferred downstairs when we finally did my own kitchen.

      grn rm

 This is the kitchen [fan-only unit] with the ‘dirty kitchen’/laundry area. 

    

Our A/C unit kitchen–same layout in all other units, just different colors.

This kitchen [from the window] shows the location of the cooking area.

The second floor 1st unit has an extended area intended for family gatherings.

This family hub is still at its finishing stage; now it’s the hubbub of activity.

This picture has no bottom cupboard yet, same style as the one above the sink.

My sister wanted to finish the kitchen downstairs so she transferred the stove.

 The cupboards were done by one of the workers with doors bought from SM.

 

This island needs bar stools but I’m too cheap…maybe my worker can make one.

Still with miniature fridge…and on the other side of the door is the dirty kitchen.

 The dirty kitchen…still clean–no plans for dirty cooking yet.

    

My favorite nook–adjacent to the dirty kitchen/our bedroom extension.

Our bedroom is connected to my favorite little nook…a secret access just for me.

From the hearth…to the heart of Fairview, or should it be from the heart to the hearths of Fairview apartments. Where are we? Stuck here in California in an old house [that I equally love] but hard to maintain for just the two of us–again! Even my husband misses my family as much as I do…especially the bigger kids that keep him company. I can’t blame the guy for wanting to retire before retirement.

*Originally posted @ https://zylla3.wordpress.com