To our very own Man of Steel, to the admirable men who carry on the noble mission of fatherhood, and to the great women who lovingly fulfill the duties of both mother and father, may the good Lord bless you with immeasurable joy and happiness always!
HAPPY FATHERS' DAY, DAD! WE LOVE YOU! P.S. Made this layout for Dad's 75th and Sofia's 5th joint birthday celebration in 2011.
When I was younger, I had all the time in the world to create handmade gifts to my family and friends whenever there’s a special occasion. I love to do crafts and shop for cute and useful things that I would put together, redesign and personalize. Preparing gifts and surprising my loved ones with inexpensive, yet unique creations always give me a different sense of fulfillment. But when I became an adult with real life responsibilities to prioritize, I realized what “so much to do, so little time” meant in its truest sense.
Fortunately, while the luxury of time has become limited, the creative expression need not be compromised. There are a lot of online gift shops today that cater to this specific kind of need, where you can browse a lovely range of selections and conveniently order in just a few clicks, without going to a physical store. So whether one is too busy to shop for dog gift baskets for a furry friend, or has ran out of ideas of what to give during the holiday rush, the warmth of Christmas food gift baskets never fail to spread the holiday cheer.
One of the best things that my parents taught me early in life is how to be a joyful giver. It does not matter how little or how much you give, for the thought of sharing without expecting anything in return, is what’s truly important. Gift-giving does not always require a special occasion. Whenever you feel like sharing, please do. The profound happiness it brings is meaningful both to the giver and the receiver, especially when it comes from the heart.
I started blogging in 2008, over enthusiastic yet clueless. I was nervous working on the first article I’m sharing to the world, for the OC in me had to make sure it’s free from typos and grammatical errors. Just as I mentally edit the words before I speak, I re-read and revised my first blog post so many times before clicking the ‘Publish’ button. The thought of someone reading it and finding mistakes, made me cringe.
As I journeyed through the blogosphere, I learned by making baby steps on how to make my blog presence felt online; became more comfortable with writing for myself and others, as well; connected and made friends both local and abroad; gained followers who actually read my thoughts and anticipate the next letters that I will type; and ultimately, profit from what I write.
It has been almost 5 years and I’m fully aware that I have grown laid-back and MIA most of the time, as my blog aged and survived purely through traffic source from search engines (I’m lucky I wrote about things that people look for all the time). But through the years, I've always had the deep yearning to share new insights and experiences regularly and make my existence felt, only that I have yet to find the inspiration to let it happen.
For what it felt like the longest time, I have postponed writing lengthy posts in exchange of real world activities that consume my days. I have resorted to posting photos instead, that need very little words to spare me from having to say more than what is called for. And testament to that, is a grand total of 3 posts last year that clearly say, it’s time to light up my fire in a major way and keep it burning once again.
I had two wakeup calls last year when I attended seminar-workshops about Innovating Governance through the Social Web and the Nuffnang Blogopolis. I’m so glad I went to both events for I came to realize the great opportunities I have been missing by putting blogging on hold. One significant thing I learned is to ‘under promise and over deliver’ instead of what I've been doing, which is completely the other way around. I realized that promising to write and going MIA all of a sudden is a clear injustice to my readers.
So just as resolutions and diet promises begin whenever a brand new year unfolds, I’m jumping in the bandwagon and try to fulfill undelivered promises this time around. I still have a lot of words and ideas kept hostage inside my head that will be put into writing, so please stick around and watch them finally unravel. :)
Get a chance to win an exclusive pass - a pair of orchestra tickets to meet the stellar cast of The Phantom of the Opera on October 9, 2012, Tuesday, right after the 8:00 pm show.
To join, 'like' the Concertus Manila Fan Page on Facebook, post and share a photo or video of your favorite song or character from The Phantom of the Opera, and tell them why.
Deadline of entries is on October 8, 2012, 12:00 noon, and winners will be posted on the same date.
My cousin has been bugging me to inquire about getting a tourist visa from the US embassy, for the longest time. She left for the States more than seven years ago, where she worked as a nurse for different hospitals in Arizona. She wanted me to visit her, show me around the state, take me shopping (which she knows I love the most!), and visit our relatives too, in San Francisco and California. It’s a long overdue invitation, but until now I haven’t gotten the time and energy to even ask about the requirements. I’m still tied at work and don’t know when I will finally get the chance to plan this escapade.
She and her husband built a beautiful home. Whenever we receive photos of her big yet cozy place, I couldn’t help but admire how she designed her home so tastefully. They are still waiting for a baby to finally come and complete their lovely family though. But for now, they have their hands full of adorable pet dogs that fill the place with warmth and delight.
I know she loves her home and is very much happy where she is right now. But the last time we talked, she was searching for ShipSmart testimonials online. According to her, she is keeping it a secret for now, but judging by the excitement in the sound of her voice, I suspect it has something to do with a big career move she’s been gushing about for the past months. My best guess is that maybe she has finally decided to accept a better offer in another hospital that requires her to move out of state. Well nobody knows for sure, until she finally announces it.
Good thing I have yet another reason to put my plans for visa application on hold, until I’m sure where the trip will bring me in the future. For now, I will save up to make sure shopping in that undisclosed destination will be truly worth it when the time finally comes.
I got my Sony Vaio laptop as a gift from an angel for my birthday last year, while I got a Blackberry phone as a gift for myself (truly deserved and long overdue!) after finally moving on from my handy white Nokia of 4 years, that hanged frequently simply because I refused to delete 1,500++ messages from my inbox I felt were too precious to be erased.
Yes, I’m sentimentally foolish like that.
Just like I fill my drawers with personalized table napkins I take from restaurants I have fond memories of, bits and pieces of mementos from happy occasions I’ve been to, baby stuff— like the umbilical cord clip, locks of hair from my Little Lady’s 1st, 2nd, 3rd haircut, baby nail clippings, and the teeth that fell off before she turned 7, these little reminders of her milestones are tucked away safely in my memory drawer. Some people may consider it accumulated trash, but the sentimental ones consider them a treasure chest of memories meant to be cherished.
Anyways, back to one of my babies. It’s funny how a year passed by quickly and still I haven’t used my laptop as I intended it to— for writing my thoughts and translating them into blog posts. Sure, I have used it for a multitude of things like surfing the internet, watching movies, playing music and games, designing in Photoshop, writing sponsored posts, and it had also been useful to my Little Lady for making reports, other assignments and her own blog posts, but not as I originally planned, dreamed and imagined.
Remember Doogie Howser? The TV series of a whiz kid who became a doctor at a young age? It was watching him then that inspired my fascination of having my own desktop computer and typing my diary entries instead of writing them by hand on a notebook, at the end of the day.
I still remember vividly the first computer I bought from a surplus shop (fuelled by the same dream). The CPU was a big IBM-XT with really sturdy casing and a wide floppy disk slot, with the corresponding CRT monitor with a chunky back. Sturdy as it looked, it’s quite sensitive on the inside that’s why I had to be careful not to move it unnecessarily or shake it, or else the hard disk will malfunction.
I intended for it to become the realization of my ‘Doogie Howser dream’, but I ended up using it to record my sales when I had a small business stint selling sleepwear. Now I realized that I’m quite consistent with getting distracted and putting things on hold, so I decided it’s time to get things actually done and be more productive.
So what I’m actually trying to say here after 460 words of flashback and storytelling is that, this is my very first official blog post from my laptop and I’m very happy to have finally ticked this off my THINGS TO DO list. :)
Originally posted on June 2008, as a Father's Day tribute to my Dad, I'm re-posting this on the occasion of his 75th Diamond birthday this year. I may have written this 3 years ago, yet it still carries the overflowing love I have for him and the pride it brings to be his daughter. I read this during his surprise party, to share with everyone how great he is in so many ways and how we love and treasure his presence in our lives.
June is already about to end, but I cannot let it pass without writing about the first man that I ever loved.
Not every child is blessed with the opportunity to be with his/her parents. It is a fact and a sad reality that has become increasingly common nowadays in the society. The prevalence of failed marriages and other factors that break families apart or prevent them from being whole, makes me feel fortunate to have lived my life with the loving presence and guidance of both my mother and father under one sturdy roof.
My dad was a soldier and an officer in the Philippine Army. In his youth, he was a consistent honor student; he was able to put himself through college as a working student, all the way to an MBA degree in Ateneo, by sheer patience and perseverance.
While simultaneously working and attending school, he also devoted his time to help out his family by sending his siblings to school. He is second among the brood of 3 boys and 2 girls, yet he stood as the family's breadwinner.
He met my Mom when he was assigned in Leyte during the late '60s; he fell in love with the lovely Waray lass 11 years his junior and later married her a month after he turned 32. Theirs is a love story that spans 39 years of marriage to date, yet it still carries the same warmth and magic it always had.
I am more like my dad, in many aspects. In fact, he would always joke about me being his 'junior', because of our unmistakable similarities. Apart from our shared love for spicy food, just like him, I am also being commonly referred to as the enigmatic and intimidating silent type who writes more and talks less.
A voracious reader, he ingrained in me the love for reading at a very tender age. I remember his shelf full of books on health, power, how to get rich and positive thinking. Two of his favorite books that he shared with me are Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People and Norman Vincent Peale’s The Power of Positive Thinking.
So that’s how I got the optimistic virus, huh? He gave me a gift that would carry me through a lifetime.
A Good Soldier
Majority of his assignments were in provinces and NPA (New People's Army) infested remote barrios, where my mom bravely tagged along and experienced distributing hand grenades to soldiers' wives, whenever there's a threat of rebel attack in the community.
My sister and I on the other hand, stayed in Manila counting the days when they will be back home again. We survived the distance through prayers, radio to phone patches, letters, telegrams and scheduled school break vacations with them.
The magic acronym to us then was ETA (Expected Time of Arrival), for that's the time when we will see each other again.
He finally tendered his early retirement in 1987 to be with us, but mainly to spare his integrity from the pressures of corruption from his superiors.
Dad became a health buff later on and buried his nose in health books and medical research. It was then that fate played a trick on him and out of the blue came out the big bad 'C'.
He was diagnosed to have Cancer of the vocal cord in 2003.
It was heartbreaking and world-shattering to be told that this man who hasn't smoked a cigar in his lifetime, doesn't drink liquor and is leading a relatively healthy lifestyle had this particular disease already in its advanced stage.
Nevertheless, we did not lose hope. As a family, we had to be strong enough to face this trial head-on. We armed ourselves by storming the heavens with prayers and thoroughly researched about the disease and its treatment. We opted for surgery, but dad compromised that whatever happens, chemotherapy and radiotherapy will never be an option.
The operation was successful, but the recuperating stage was the most emotionally and physically draining aspect of the treatment. A tracheostomy tube was temporarily placed in the hole/stoma in his throat after the operation, where a continuous supply of mucus come from.
I had to learn how to suction to keep his air passage clear, every time. I, who faint at the mere sight of blood, was able to survive this medical nightmare.
This has made our family stronger in more ways imaginable. With God's grace, dad has remained Cancer-free to date, but the trial doesn't end there. Currently, he is under continuous medication for congestive heart failure.
Physically he is strong, but anatomically, his heart has gone weak. Even the doctors were amazed on how he survived this condition without major attacks and other physical manifestations. He attributes this miracle to taking alternative supplements religiously that improved his overall well-being.
The Best Father
I know this post has gone longer than I originally planned, but there will never be enough words to describe this great man who is a loving and loyal husband, a good father, a role model and a prayerful son of God. He is one of the few men who gives justice to the word 'father' in its truest essence and meaning.
They say that a dad will know if he has been a good father when his daughter's ideal man is 'just like daddy'. This rings true because I would also like to end up with someone who is just like my first love, my hero and real super man.
Thank you dad, for all that you are and all that you've given to make our family what it is today - solid and God-centered. In my heart, you will always be the best father and teacher. I love you!
Whenever I go to my favorite mall, I always hear the fun and cheering when the bell rings loudly in a particular section of its 2nd floor, just a few stores away from the bookstore I frequent. One day, out of curiosity, I checked it out and discovered that it’s actually a Bingo hall where people from all walks of life spend their leisure time, with the hope of winning the varying prizes at stake being offered daily. I wish I have the luxury to sit, play and enjoy even a single game. But whatever time I have gets spent in browsing for books and more books for my little lady, so before I know it, it’s closing time already and I haven’t accomplished much - not even the reason why I went there in the first place. It happens all the time so I just resort to making a mental note to play online bingo games instead, since I spend a generous time in the internet. Being online is where I need not worry about the pressure of rushing things I love to do, just to squeeze in a game schedule. Anything can be done in the comfort of my room, in my fluffy slippers and goofy pajamas.
Playing Bingo is one of the first adult games I learned as a kid. My favorite aunt would always bring me along whenever she gets invited to play Bingo in our neighbor’s house. I enjoy the simplicity of the game and the rush of excitement whenever my card number is drawn and the desired pattern is formed. We play a few games and when we have enough winnings to buy us snacks, we go to a convenience store to buy soda and baked goodies. It seems nothing special, but it's a delightful memory I will never forget.
When I was in college, my sister and I organized Bingo nights at home exclusively for the family. It became a regular thing where my aunts and cousins would go to our house right after dinner to spend time with us and play. A bonding activity that made each of us closer in more ways than one, it’s one of the moments I wish I could bring back, to revive and sustain our warm relationship with relatives again.
I'm sure almost everyone has played Bingo at one point in their lives. Please feel free to share, I would love to hear your fond Bingo memories, too. =)
My sister is finally doing the finishing touches of her bridals shop and office, after working on every minute detail of each element and design for almost year now. What can I say? She set her mind and heart to it years ago and for her, perfection is the only way to go, no matter how long it takes to achieve her dream.
She is still choosing furniture, frames and decorations, so it would probably take a few more months before she officially launches her shop to the public. But before that, she needs to finalize her product and service branding to complete its professional business personality. We are already brainstorming for a business sign that would embody the shop image that she wants to project. The symbol that we are envisioning represents a mixture of style and class without being too bold or intimidating.
While thinking of ways on how to execute the design of the signage, my mind couldn’t help but wander fast forward, to the time when her shop becomes well-known all over the country. It thrills me to visualize that she could already have one of those lovely bronze plaques attached to the exterior of the shop that gives the impression of professionalism, success and stability in the industry.
It's still premature to tell, but I believe so much in my sister because I know she has what it takes to make it big in any endeavor she wishes to pursue. Besides, a lot of positive thinking benefits any dream that is worth realizing, don't you think?
I have been really busy with my Christmas list lately, thinking of appropriate gifts for everybody. It’s barely a month away from the big holiday, I haven’t done any shopping yet and I’m already anxious at this point. Last week, I started writing the names of my family, relatives, friends, officemates, plus my little lady’s 11 teachers and 45 classmates. Yes, that is equal to almost a hundred things to shop!
While thinking of more people I might have missed adding to my already extensive list, I began scribbling gift suggestions opposite the names to maximize my time. What do they like? What will fit their personality? What do they need? These are just some of the factors that helped me come up with possible items that the recipients would actually love.
I don’t have a huge budget, so I have to rely on my creativity and shopping wisdom to source the best buys without draining my piggy bank. For example, as much as my generous heart would love to give iPhones this year, I think giving protective sleeves for iPhone instead, is a very practical gift any iPhone owner could have. My cousins who are also moms like myself, often complain about how their phones always get accidentally wet and sticky whenever their little tots are near. I think it would be a perfect gift for them, don't you agree?
Christmas for our family had always been a celebration of sharing. It makes us happy to see that the love we express through whatever we manage to give brings joy to those who receive them. I also believe that nothing should get in the way of showing people how much you appreciate them. And as always, believe that it’s the thought that matters, and what you heartily give is what really counts.