Sunday, May 13, 2012

My Mom is My Banteay

Banteay is Sanskrit for citadel or fortress. 

Indeed she is the strongest, most formidable member of my family

Just recently, I went on a six-day trip with my mom to Vietnam and Cambodia. We attended a seminar-convention with colleagues in the psycho-spiritual and emotional healing world. Although there were heavy sessions tackling mostly on issues of transnational families, most of the days were spent on group tours in the different spots amidst the sweltering heat of the sun.

My mom was just as energetic and enthusiastic as ever.

After the Vietnam seminar and tours, we went to Cambodia for a quick trip to Siem Reap for a temple tour. Months before the trip, I already gave her an itinerary and a list of what to expect for the trip. Most especially, i wanted to psych her up that there was gonna be a 13-hour bus ride from Vietnam crossing the border towards Cambodia. And oh, it even included a short ferry ride crossing the huge river of Mekong. But well uh, she didn't read the papers I gave her, and she totally shrugged off the idea of the long trip.

On the bus, I immediately went to sleep as we were picked up at 6am at the hotel that morning. My mom however was laughing out loud and enjoying the movie shown on the bus which was the God's Must Be Crazy. Imagine if they showed all the installments, eh?! She enjoyed it a lot, and although it annoyed me sometimes, I couldn't help but just adore her more.

We arrived past 9pm that evening after that long sleepy ride. And the following morning, we had to be up and about for the sunrise temple tour. And mom was as quick and agile as ever. 

There in the cool Khmer skies, we waited with bated breath, along with hordes of other tourists for the sun to come out. It was just a serene feeling being there with my mom as we stared in awe and wonder at the sight before us.

And we trudged on because it was still going to be a long, long day with temples we would have to discover and explore and take photos in. And guess what, we we able to explore much of the 7-8 (i lost count!) temples the tuktuk driver brought us to. And boy, was i beat! But mom walked on relentlessly resting only every once in a while to drink some water and wipe out the sweat. The sun was fierce but my mom made sure she won't be defeated. She even climbed up some stairs and went uphill towards the temple-mountain where we waited for the sun to set.

I couldn't help but be in awe as to how my mom was able to do that, I was even close to fainting. And she's already 69!

I looked back and remember that hey, this is the same woman who reared us all when my dad got sick for 8 years. This is the same mom who sent us all to school while she continued with her teaching job, came home and took care of our ailing father, and fed us all.

She won't possibly just surrender with such intense physical activity. Most especially when she's  feeding her wanderlust soul as well.

Yeah, Siem Reap, the Angkor Wat, the rest of the temples were awesome, but my mom is more awesome than all of them temples and citadels put together.

I love you, Mama. And I will always be proud of you.

And Happy Mother's Day, mao ra ni akoang gift nimo kay wala man ko wawarts. Didto na lang ka mangayo sa imohang anak nga taga New York  ug katong naa sa TRANSCO. :P

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Turista sa Sugbo

I've been to Cebu so many times over but I've never really explored it turista style till last time when i went there with my officemates. We had an event so it still cannot be considered as a pure RnR trip but we managed to make the most of it somehow.

We stayed at Crown Regency right smack in the middle of Fuente, Cebu. There was an on-going promo so the rates were comparatively cheap plus we got a corporate rate so that just sealed the deal.

After our event we were able to visit the beach, yes, the beach!!

There's a good number of beaches around the entire island of Cebu but the best ones are located 2-3 hours away from the city. We opted for the nearest and the cheapest which is around Mactan area about 30 minutes from the hotel. We went to Porto Fino in Lapu-lapu and paid 90 per head, it was a weekday. And added 350 pesos for 2 tables and 6 chairs for our group. A tent would cost an additional 1000 pesos but we were able to seek some shade near a huge tree so we saved a lot there, teehee!

The white sand wasn't really fine but it was good enough, and the waters clear and cold and blue. Good enough for a quickie beach thirst quenching.

We didn't stay long since people starting pouring in droves and it became unbearably hot and crowded.

We dropped by Mactan Shrine before heading home.

Oh, that's the ahem, rear view. :p

The following day, before our late afternoon flight home to Manila, we went on a day tour around some of Cebu's attractions. Our first stop was at the Taoist Temple, then lunch at Zubochon. I had to go there because Anthony Bourdain touted their lechon as best tasting pig EVER!!

After our rather heavy and delectable lunch, our driver, Manong Tony took us to the different sites in downtown Cebu.

By the way, we rented a van for our group, the rate for the 8 hour tour was at PhP2,500 and I appreciate it much that our driver is very polite and good natured and the SUV van that was assigned to us was rather sleek and new. You may want to call/text 0917-622 3225 if you will be needing transportation services in Cebu. ;)

Our next stop was at Casa Gorordo. I didn't go inside since I'm not really fond of museums. Entrance fee is at P40 and 15 if you can present a student ID.

Then we dropped by at Yap-Sandiego Ancestral Home and the Cebu Heritage at Parian Park, Fort San Pedro, Magellan's Cross, and Santo Nino Church stopping only for picture taking.

Our last stop was at the Taboan Market for danggit and pusit shopping.

We made a quich trip to Shamrock for otap and freshly baked bread before Manong Tony brought us to the airport in Mactan to catch our flight.

It was a rather interesting trip albeit short but fun-filled. When i could go back there again maybe I could try and make it more leisurely somehow. 

Salamat, Sugbo!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

I'm just a girl in the world!

I went on a shoe shopping spree with my officemates last weekend at Paseo in Sta Rosa Laguna, please don't ask me how to get there because I was half asleep during our travel. We left quite early that morning and well, it was a weekend. But I could not bear the chance to pass this trip up since the prospect of being able to buy shoes was just too enticing. 

So yes, here's what I got...Charles and Keith for 799.00!

Everytime I'd pass by Gateway in Cubao I'd always drop by their store and drool on their shoes. But I always find it too expensive with prices ranging from 1799.00 to 2799.00, yes I'm stingy! And well yes, I am poor! So imagine my delight when I found this. There were a lot of other styles there and sale prices were from 599 to 999, dirt-cheap eh!

And then we went to Payless, my that's another story hihi!

Shoes were on sale from 20% off to just 200.00 pesos!

I got this, it's a chocolate brown Fioni sandals...(P200.00)

and this, some Gladiator-looking sandals (or is that what they still call it?). It's a half size bigger, because there are no other stocks with my size but it still looks alright. Or I can opt to give this to my mom.

This one is my best find even though it's not on sale. But hey, it's red and velvety and very comfortable I could run away with it hehe :P

I love, love, love my new pairs shoes.

So i guess I'd go shop again next year. :p

Thursday, February 09, 2012

That long arduous road to being slim again...:p

About 4 years ago i was this slim, kinda toned arms and legs, minimal almost non existent love handles. But i got too complacent, i learned to love food. I was once "takaw-tingin" but later became plain "matakaw" that i gained more pounds.

When i went to the US 2 years ago, i felt the added weight was necessary for better er, insulation. And we all know what a lot of American food does to our body, ey!

And so the added poundage accumulated, got comfortably stuck on my thighs, my butt, my arms as if it never wanted to go anywhere else.

I am barely 5 feet, i was about 100 lbs then it became 115, then 119, eek!

The heaviest I've been was about 130 but I was then carrying my son full term. :p

November, 2011 I was about 113 pounds so i decided it's time to really do something about it.

But of course, I waited for the long holidays to be over.

About two weeks ago, first week of February I decided to just kick the habit of overeating and do something with my voracious appetite, rawr!

I had to eat smaller portions and cut my rice intake to a maximum of a just half cup per day. I substituted it with wheat bread and lettuce and tomatoes and light mayo, just because i can't live without any dressing for my sandwich. And then i learned to appreciate wheat pasta.

I try hard to stay away from soft drinks even bottled juice.

I'm learning to eat a lot of bananas and papaya and apples.

Fairly recently I started taking 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar diluted in a glass of water each morning.

So far I've lost 3 pounds already, ah well it has only been 2 weeks.

And I know I should go out and jog once again.

Meanwhile, I wanna take my own sweet time and concentrate on eating less but healthier food.

But oops, I still have my cheat day Thursdays, teehee! Good luck to me then.

I'll definitely keep you posted.  ;)

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Hello, February!

I saw this online while browsing on some reading materials and I want to share this because it's just so beautiful...:)

It's by Eduardo Jose Calasanz, he was a known professor in philosophy from Ateneo.


I have never met a man who didn't want to be loved. But I have seldom met a man who didn't fear marriage. Something about the closure seems constricting, not enabling. Marriage seems easier to understand for what it cuts out of our lives than for what it makes possible within our lives.

    When I was younger this fear immobilized me. I did not want to make a mistake. I saw my friends get married for reasons of social acceptability, or sexual fever, or just because they thought it was the logical thing to do. Then I watched, as they and their partners became embittered and petty in their dealings with each other. I looked at older couples and saw, at best, mutual toleration of each other. I imagined a lifetime of loveless nights and bickering days and could not imagine subjecting myself or someone else to such a fate.

    And yet, on rare occasions, I would see old couples who somehow seemed to glow in each other's presence. They seemed really in love, not just dependent upon each other and tolerant of each other's foibles.

    It was an astounding sight, and it seemed impossible. How, I asked myself, can they have survived so many years of sameness, so much irritation at the others habits? What keeps love alive in them, when most of us seem unable to even stay together, much less love each other?

    The central secret seems to be in choosing well. There is something to the claim of fundamental compatibility. Good people can create a bad relationship, even though they both dearly want the relationship to succeed. It is important to find someone with whom you can create a good relationship from the outset. Unfortunately, it is hard to see clearly in the early stages. Sexual hunger draws you to each other and colors the way you see yourselves together. It blinds you to the thousands of little things by which relationships eventually survive or fail. You need to find a way to see beyond this initial overwhelming sexual fascination. Some people choose to involve themselves sexually and ride out the most heated period of sexual attraction in order to see what is on the other side.

    This can work, but it can also leave a trail of wounded hearts. Others deny the sexual side altogether in an attempt to get to know each other apart from their sexuality. But they cannot see clearly, because the presence of unfulfilled sexual desire looms so large that it keeps them from having any normal perception of what life would be like together.

    The truly lucky people are the ones who manage to become long-time friends before they realize they are attracted to each other. They get to know each other's laughs, passions, sadness, and fears. They see each other at their worst and at their best. They share time together before they get swept up into the entangling intimacy of their sexuality.

    This is the ideal, but not often possible. If you fall under the spell of your sexual attraction immediately, you need to look beyond it for other keys to compatibility. One of these is laughter. Laughter tells you how much you will enjoy each other's company over the long term.

    If your laughter together is good and healthy, and not at the expense of others, then you have a healthy relationship to the world. Laughter is the child of surprise. If you can make each other laugh, you can always surprise each other. And if you can always surprise each other, you can always keep the world around you new.

    Beware of a relationship in which there is no laughter. Even the most intimate relationships based only on seriousness have a tendency to turn sour. Over time, sharing a common serious viewpoint on the world tends to turn you against those who do not share the same viewpoint, and your relationship can become based on being critical together.

    After laughter, look for a partner who deals with the world in a way you respect. When two people first get together, they tend to see their relationship as existing only in the space between the two of them. They find each other endlessly fascinating, and the overwhelming power of the emotions they are sharing obscures the outside world. As the relationship ages and grows, the outside world becomes important again. If your partner treats people or circumstances in a way you can't accept, you will inevitably come to grief. Look at the way she cares for others and deals with the daily affairs of life. If that makes you love her more, your love will grow. If it does not, be careful. If you do not respect the way you each deal with the world around you, eventually the two of you will not respect each other.

    Look also at how your partner confronts the mysteries of life. We live on the cusp of poetry and practicality, and the real life of the heart resides in the poetic. If one of you is deeply affected by the mystery of the unseen in life and relationships, while the other is drawn only to the literal and the practical, you must take care that the distance does not become an unbridgeable gap that leaves you each feeling isolated and misunderstood.

    There are many other keys, but you must find them by yourself. We all have unchangeable parts of our hearts that we will not betray and private commitments to a vision of life that we will not deny. If you fall in love with someone who cannot nourish those inviolable parts of you, or if you cannot nourish them in her, you will find yourselves growing further apart until you live in separate worlds where you share the business of life, but never touch each other where the heart lives and dreams. From there it is only a small leap to the cataloging of petty hurts and daily failures that leaves so many couples bitter and unsatisfied with their mates.

    So choose carefully and well. If you do, you will have chosen a partner with whom you can grow, and then the real miracle of marriage can take place in your hearts. I pick my words carefully when I speak of a miracle. But I think it is not too strong a word. There is a miracle in marriage. It is called transformation. Transformation is one of the most common events of nature. The seed becomes the flower. The cocoon becomes the butterfly. Winter becomes spring and love becomes a child. We never question these, because we see them around us every day. To us they are not miracles, though if we did not know them they would be impossible to believe.

    Marriage is a transformation we choose to make. Our love is planted like a seed, and in time it begins to flower. We cannot know the flower that will blossom, but we can be sure that a bloom will come.

    If you have chosen carefully and wisely, the bloom will be good. If you have chosen poorly or for the wrong reason, the bloom will be flawed.

    We are quite willing to accept the reality of negative transformation in a marriage. It was negative transformation that always had me terrified of the bitter marriages that I feared when I was younger. It never occurred to me to question the dark miracle that transformed love into harshness and bitterness. Yet I was unable to accept the possibility that the first heat of love could be transformed into something positive that was actually deeper and more meaningful than the heat of fresh passion. All I could believe in was the power of this passion and the fear that when it cooled I would be left with something lesser and bitter.

    But there is positive transformation as well. Like negative transformation, it results from a slow accretion of little things. But instead of death by a thousand blows, it is growth by a thousand touches of love. Two histories intermingle. Two separate beings, two separate presence, two separate consciousness come together and share a view of life that passes before them. They remain separate, but they also become one. There is an expansion of awareness, not a closure and a constriction, as I had once feared. This is not to say that there is not tension and there are not traps. Tension and traps are part of every choice of life, from celibate to monogamous to having multiple lovers. Each choice contains within it the lingering doubt that the road not taken somehow more fruitful and exciting, and each becomes dulled to the richness that it alone contains. But only marriage allows life to deepen and expand and be leavened by the knowledge that two have chosen, against all odds, to become one. Those who live together without marriage can know the pleasure of shared company, but there is a specific gravity in the marriage commitment that deepens that experience into something richer and more complex.

    So do not fear marriage, just as you should not rush into it for the wrong reasons. It is an act of faith and it contains within it the power of transformation. If you believe in your heart that you have found someone with whom you are able to grow, if you have sufficient faith that you can resist the endless attraction of the road not taken and the partner not chosen, if you have the strength of heart to embrace the cycles and seasons that your love will experience, then you may be ready to seek the miracle that marriage offers. If not, then wait. The easy grace of a marriage well made is worth your patience. When the time comes, a thousand flowers will bloom...endlessly.