Tagaytay with Tata

We visited my grandfather, Tata, last Good Friday and, as usual, it was a riot in his house in Amadeo. Never-ending teasing and laughter and horsing around among his children and grandchildren. I know that, deep inside, we all just want to glimpse of even the tiniest smile and hear even the slightest chuckle from Tata to somehow lessen whatever sense of sorrow and loss he still feels now that Nana is gone.

After lunch, a bunch of us played Bet Game, a very Pinoy game of cards. I just stood and watched because the game was intense and I’m not hardcore enough. Haha. Tata even joined in a round or two. All of a sudden, my uncle said we’re going to Tagaytay to treat Tata for merienda. We couldn’t all fit in the car so the gamers stayed behind and off we went to Bag of Beans where my cousin treated us to delicious food.

Here are some photos from my blogger cousin Arnie 🙂

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Daddy just had to call me right when this photo was taken. Hehe.
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Arnie and Tricia
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Tattered Jeans Club
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With our youngest cousin, Jerome, who’s an upcoming Grade 7 honor-student-for-sure. Haha. Pressure much?

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There’s our Tata!

I live practically just an hour away but it was my first time at Bag of Beans. The place was huge but it didn’t feel suffocating and somehow still retained its homey feel. There were a lot of people when we went considering it was a long weekend, but there were no queues and service was relatively quick.

In the end, we’re all very happy with the food, the ambiance, and most of all, Tata’s subtle joy.

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Remembering Nana

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My beautiful grandmother, Liwayway ❤

Barely two weeks after she turned 82, my grandmother Nana passed away last March 30. Honestly, it was not completely unexpected since she’s been in the hospital since January and 90% of such time she was in the intensive care unit. She suffered a stroke shortly after the new year and it took a toll on her heart. On all our hearts, truth be told.

I’m not sure if it’s appropriate to say this, but Nana’s death was such a beautiful and profound experience. I don’t think I can fully articulate the experience, but all I know is that I was a changed person after the death, the wake, and the burial. Of course the grief and sadness was ever-present, but it was just amazing how, even in death, Nana was able to unite us all. Each family member – Nana’s children, grandchildren, extended family members, and family friends – drew strength from each other and I think we all unanimously tried to pass on that strength to Tata because no one is more affected than him. After all, they’ve spent a total of 64 years together. I am reminded of a tidbit I wrote in January:

You know how when you look at some couples, you kind of have an idea on who loves who more? That is not the case with my grandparents, Nana and Tata. They might just be the only couple I know who seems to love each other practically equally. I remember a fleeting moment I was lucky to have witnessed some time ago: Nana and Tata were sitting on their chairs as usual and out of nowhere Tata looked at Nana and just stroked her hair and swept it out of her face. It was such a small, almost unconscious gesture, but undeniably full of affection. I realized these moments are what make up a marriage; the constant evidence and fond reminders of a life built together.

Nana’s passing away made me realize that there’s no limit to how you can touch other people’s lives. So many people turned up during her wake, each with their own story of how Nana Way, as she was fondly called, was a part of their lives. A couple, family friends who have not been in speaking terms with each other for the longest time, even got back together after finding out about Nana. Even in death, Nana still touches lives and leaves a positive impact.

A few weeks before Nana passed away, their neighbor who’s a tailor approached one of my aunts and told her about how Nana has already ordered her dress for her time comes. He said Nana chose the design herself. When we saw the dress, we were astounded; it was very Nana – beautiful and regal, yet still simple and never over-the-top. Even in death, Nana never settles for anything less.

The day Nana died and when my parents and aunts did the funeral arrangements, they were surprised when the owner said Nana already arranged for how she wants things to be for her funeral. Again, we were all blown away. Even in death, Nana still took charge.

On the day of her interment, not a single eye was dry. It was a testament to how much Nana was – and is – loved by everybody around her. It was such a pain to see Tata cry so much but I will always remember how the whole family was there to support him all the while. I guess love and pain just always go hand in hand.

I couldn’t stay every night during the wake because of my early-morning work everyday. However, during the few nights I visited, I learned so much from just observing the people, especially our family. Perhaps my biggest realization was that each person copes with death in their own way and you have to respect that. You can’t impose on people on how they should deal with loss and grief. Most importantly, you can’t judge others just because their grieving phase is not the same with yours. Each one copes differently. But the important thing is each one copes. It is probably no linguistic accident that the word “cope” is just a letter away from “hope.” Even in death, Nana teaches us life lessons.

Baguio Beginnings

Practically everyone I know has a memory of having been in Baguio at one time or another. Except me. I’m 24 years old and I’ve never even stepped foot in my country’s summer capital! I was determined to change that ever since last year but I never really got the chance until last week when my friends Jesrell, Joan and I finally pushed through with our trip to the city of pines. Needless to say, it was an absolutely fun weekend!

 

Our bus was scheduled to leave Cubao at 10:30PM so the three of us met up in Ayala to have some dinner first. EDSA was traffic as usual since it was a Friday night, but thankfully we didn’t miss our bus. We didn’t have a place to stay yet, nor did we have our return tickets for Manila, but we didn’t worry about it as we were determined to just wing it. Hehe. It’s fun being more careless than usual sometimes.

In fairness to Victory Liner, they were right on schedule and by 10:30PM, we were already on the road to Baguio. Barely half an hour later, I was already asleep and knocked out and my next memory was when we had our stopover in Pangasinan at around 2:00AM. We had some mami noodles and hopia, but we didn’t have the common sense to remember our bus number. We just knew it was the bus parked nearest the comfort room so when we heard someone announcing that bus no. 7056 was already leaving, we didn’t panic because we could see from where we were sitting that the bus we thought was ours was still parked there. Finally we finished our food and hopped on the bus, but the moment we stepped inside, something didn’t feel right. I told Jesrell I remember stepping on a yellow curb when we got out, but why are we stepping on a white curb this time? The passengers didn’t look familiar and we couldn’t find our bags on our designated seat numbers! The three of us exchanged split-second “we’re dead” glances, mumbled vague apologies to the other passengers, and went down the bus. “Wrong bus!” we screamed, though the truth was terrifying. One of the guards asked where we were heading and we said Baguio, and he said we were the last remaining passengers of that bus no. 7056. We ran like our life depended on it (it probably did) and finally reached the right bus. The conductor said they’ve been looking for us all over the place and we apologized profusely. One of the passengers asked where we’ve been and we just apologized again. It was so embarrassing! When we got to our seats, we didn’t speak a word to each other because of utter shame. How could we forget to remember our freakin bus number?! Was it naivete or stupidity? Maybe a mixture of both. I was too embarrassed that I immediately fell asleep because everything feels safer when you’re sleeping. Hehe.

The next time I woke up, it was a little before 4:00AM, the bus was traversing this uphill road and I knew we were already in Baguio. I smiled to myself, murmured a small prayer of thanks, then turned to my friends and flashed them a big smile. “We made it!” 😀 Continue reading

#Sepanx

It’s almost midnight on a Friday and I’m feeling #sepanx blues all over because my very good friend left our office today. Our boss threw her a send-off party and though the photos are all fun and laughter, it was actually bittersweet. She is such a great friend and I’m going to have to get used to no longer seeing her everyday. What a girl, this girl.

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Thanks to Aaron for sharing these photos.

Dear Red, we wish you all the best because you deserve no less!

Mystery Manila

What would you do if you had an hour to play make-believe? Fore me and my friends Jesrell, Bea, Joan, we chose a game of escaping a room haunted by dolls possessed y evil spirits. Yes, very Conjuring and Annabelle. Thanks to Mystery Manila, we were able to do just that through their Debby’s Doll mystery challenge. Hehe. Here’s a little backgrounder from Mystery Manila’s website:

Days after your family moved in to a secluded house, strange things started to happen. You found out that these occurrences were caused by an old doll which your little sister, Debby, found inside the house. Because of these paranormal events, your family decided to move out. Just when you were about to move out, the evil spirit starts to manifest itself to keep you from leaving. Can you escape the mysterious entity behind Debby’s Doll?

Full disclosure: We didn’t solve the mystery, but we were this close. We just needed one last key to escape but sadly, our 60 minutes was up. And yes, we asked for clues twice. During the game, you could ask for unlimited clues from the Mystery Manila crew and they will just add 5 minutes to your total time played when finished but your 60 minutes of game time will not be affected.

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Ayan tayo sa Almost eh
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See what we did there? Hahaha

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After our game, we went around Century City Mall trying to decide where to eat. Strangely, we weren’t very hungry; maybe all the adrenaline fueled us.

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JBJ

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Joan is one of my kindest friends! I just realized yesterday how much I missed this girl.
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He needs some space

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Cuties

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Ang labo nito haha

Finally, we decided to eat shaved ice at Mango and Cheese Korean Bingsu Dessert, a place that Bea recommended. It still amazes me how ice can be that fine. It felt like eating snowflakes, not that I’d ever tried it before, but I imagine it would be like that. Hehe.

 

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Can you guess who ordered which flavor?

Probably not so I’m just gonna say it: I ordered red beans, Jesrell ordered mango, Bea had choco brownie, and Joan chose strawberry. Like all true friends, we took turns trying out each other’s flavors. Haha.

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Let’s face it: They’re too pretty not to take close-up shots of. Hehe.

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My favorite among the four flavors was the red bean. Ironically, I don’t have a photo of it. Hehe. As I was ordering, I suddenly remembered this scene from the Korean drama Healer when the character was eating patbingsu with his mom. So I thought I’d have red bean patbingsu as well. Hehe. Great choice because it was yummy!

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I couldn’t find a picture of the scene I described so in my frustration, I chose this cute one instead. Hehe.
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Hihihi

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Hirap mag-selfie with an actual camera ha
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So we switched to Bea’s phone instead hehe
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Effort to include the cafe name in the frame haha
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I love us 🙂

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I don’t know if I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again: Honestly, I don’t have that much friends, but the ones that I have, I love dearly with all my fragile little heart. ❤

National Museum

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I went to the National Museum last Saturday with my good friend Bea and just marveled at all the artwork by fellow Filipinos. Because of the lighting, natural or otherwise, some of the paintings couldn’t be seen properly when you’re standing too close so I had to distance myself a bit for a better perspective. How very much like life itself, where certain things are sometimes better appreciated in hindsight.

I’m glad to have brought my camera with me because even though I cannot fully capture the magnitude of the masterpieces, it’s still comforting to know I was able to somehow bring home a piece of them with me and even share them with you.

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We didn’t get to go inside the National Museum of Anthropology due to lack of time. Must visit next time.

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Look at these architectural masterpieces. Manila is beautiful and the fact that it’s scary at times just adds up to its mystery and charm. Navigating your way through the city can be intimidating, but you just have to bring out your street smarts and you’re good to go.

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I love that our National Museum comes with no entrance fee at all because it just opened its doors to more people. When we went there, the museum was actually buzzing with people. There were students on their field trips and some other enthusiasts who chose to spend their Saturday morning soaking up some culture.

We registered and deposited our bags. We only brought with us our phones and wallets and my camera with no flash. Bea and I are suckers for notebooks and actually writing things down that’s why we were both a bit crushed when we were told pens are not allowed inside. We didn’t bring any pencils so our notebooks would be futile. We ended up leaving them in the baggage counter.

Once inside, the first thing that greeted us was the majestic Spoliarium by Juan Luna. I kid you not, we were both speechless and just stood there staring at the glory of it all.

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This photo doesn’t even do justice to the painting

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I am not worthy. I apologize if this is borderline blasphemy; just couldn’t pass up the opportunity.

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Memento Mori of a Child

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“O Youth, where now you Stand… Fair hope of my Fatherland!”

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While inside the Jose Rizal Room, I realized I felt all sorts of emotions about the fact that I come from the same nation, same roots, and same lineage as the ultimate Renaissance Man. I felt a mixture of pride, bewilderment, and the general sense that I am not worthy.

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I knew I’ve matured when I realized my dream in life is to have a place of my own in a quiet province somewhere with my family where we can all enjoy the breeze and calmness as depicted in these rural scenes.

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A whole room was dedicated to Fernando Amorsolo’s sketches and drawings totaling over a hundred

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A recreation of Amorsolo’s work studio, complete with an unfinished painting. I love it.
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Beautiful even in its half-complete state
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The master’s tools

Perhaps my favorite section of the whole Museum was the one dedicated to portraits. So much life in the stillness.

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Dalagang Bukid by Fernando Amorsolo

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A Filipina Beauty by Vicente Alvarez Dizon
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Head of a Spanish Lady (Type Study) by Fabia De La Rosa Y Cueto

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Bea
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Dignified Stranger

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Vicente Manasala
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Planting of the First Cross by Vicente Silva Manansala

I heard from a private guide tour that this painting marked Manansala’s shift to the use of colorful strokes, a deviation from his previous monotone works.

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Maria Clara, Blumentritt, and Celia – all by Manansala
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Some of Manansala’s old paintbrushes

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Literary master Jose Garcia Villa by Federico Aguilar Alcuaz
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Sunset in Intramuros by Federico Aguilar Alcuaz

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National Museum’s current featured artist: Agustin Goy.

“What I want is to simply feature the three things that every artist has to be capable of doing: still life, landscapes, and figures. For me, they show progression in terms of movement and level of difficulty in execution.”

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Apart from the classics, there were also some contemporary works of art on display.

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Before long, it was time to go. It was a quiet, peaceful and reflective Saturday morning and I look forward to more of these “slow sessions” in the future. Thank you, National Museum!

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Not goodbye, just see you soon.

High Five

So apparently, five years ago today, I set up this blog. It’s such a cliche, but time sure flies, doesn’t it? I know I’ve been really inconsistent when it comes to posting stuff here and that’s because of a lot of factors such as my erratic schedule, lack of discipline, and slow Internet connection. Honestly I didn’t even know it’s the fifth year anniversary of this humble little blog, had I not seen that tiny notification bell that told me all about it. (Thanks WordPress, you’re so sweet.)

It’s Saturday afternoon right now on my part of the world and it’s the first Saturday in a long time that I’ve been home on a Saturday so now I’m just savoring the slow steadiness of it all and thought I’d visit this one-person secret society called Instinktual. (Too many S in that sentence I love it hehe)

Well, just thought I’d drop by and say Hi! I wish I can say that Life has been Grand, but it hasn’t. But it hasn’t been Devastating or Miserable either. That’s the thing about me, though. Everything is just steady and I know I should be thankful for that, but this stubborn part of me just craves for something that will sort of shake things up and just add a little bit of action to the plot. And I know, I know, the world has Bigger and More Relevant problems so I really shouldn’t dwell on my Emotions and Post-teenage Angst, but forgive me, they just feel So Real to me, always weighing on me, always being the elephant in the room. BUT as always, I am now better after having let them out. I don’t really have anyone to talk to about these things because I’m Shy and my friends have enough drama of their own so I mostly just listen. Hehe.

If you read until the very end, thanks a lot and here’s a grateful cyber hug! ❤

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This is me five years ago! 😀