Last  Saturday evening, my husband received an SMS message from her niece telling him that it was her son’s baptism-con-birthday the following day. She only learned of our new number that day so she was unable to inform us ahead of time.

The next morning, we went to MOA to buy some books and school supplies and, of course, gift for the birthday boy. I already have in mind what things I am going to buy and where to get them so I know shopping will not take us more than an hour. However, the clerk at the gift-wrapping service at Toy Kingdom was sooooo slow it took him half an hour to wrap one simple box. Yes, it may be large but it should not take him that long! I should know because I have wrapped a gift that big before and it only took me 10 minutes!

It was already 12PM when we went out of MOA. It was raining when we hit the road. But it got harder when reached Manila area. We even need to make a U-turn when we got to A. Bonifacio Avenue just near the North Cemetery gate. Water is all over the road and it is flowing like river. Retreat! We looked for another route going to North Luzon Expressway (NLEx). We took Espana Blvd., then straight to Quezon Avenue. Though there was water along Araneta Ave., cars can pass through it. From Quezon Ave. we made a turn going to West Ave. hitting EDSA then NLEX. Reaching the Valenzuela area, rain almost stopped, and not even a drop when we reached Bulacan. That was 2:30PM. A should-be hour drive took us 2.5 hours due to the rain!

Though there was drizzle in Bulacan, it was not even enough to get you wet so we forgot all about the rain in Manila as we enjoy the chats with relatives we have not seen for quite some time now. We saw the kids were also enjoying the party so we have to wait for them to tell us when to go home; otherwise, they will be cranky inside the car.

We left Bulacan before 5PM. Before reaching Tabang exit, I asked my husband to stop at one of the plant and garden shops. I want to see if they have the herbs I am planning to buy in Tagaytay. Unfortunately, they don’t have herbs. They only sell ornamental plants which I am not really interested with. I just purchased 2 small trees of calamansi for 50 pesos each, and a pot where I will plant the calamansi.

By 5:30PM, we are almost at the Malinta exit when we observed the temperature gauge going up. Car overheated just in time we reached the emergency bay. We wondered why because we added water when we gassed up, and it was also raining so who would expect the car to heat up? Just the same, we waited for the engine to cool down while waiting for the traffic to go lighter and the rain to stop. But as we waited, rain became harder and traffic became heavier. It took half an hour for the truck beside us to move forward for only a few meters! Whoa! I couldn’ t believe it. After adding water on radiator and seeing that cars are moving slowly, we decided to go on with the trip home as it was getting late as well. Unfortunately, we were only able to move about a hundred meters because we see that car temperature is going up again. So we have to stop by the shoulder on the road. We saw a wide shoulder area where other cars are parked. This is where we got stuck for almost the entire evening. The advantageous part was the other drivers and travelers who also parked beside us were friendly and helpful. It was through one of the drivers who checked the fan belt making us realize that it was broken. I felt the Filipino “Bayanihan” spirit alive once again. We had a temporary fix hoping that we could go out of the expressway, at the least.

Around 11:30PM, traffic started to lighten up. We started to drive home again. As soon as we passed by Balintawak tollgate, the car heated up again. This time, battery also got discharged. The tollgate personnel were courteous at first. They pushed the car to the side of the road, asked us what the problem was but they NEVER offered help aside from calling the towing service. We knew it! One of them even had the nerve to turn his back on us while we were still talking to him! Bitch! We told them we will try to fix it first but they were insistent and arrogant! I felt my blood rushed through my head. I tried to keep my cool though.

At exactly 1AM, the towing service arrived and pulled the car to the nearest-and-only-opened repair shop at that time. The towing service personnel were truly helpful and courteous. They referred us a repair shop so we do not have to wait until the morning to get the car running. They even pushed the car inside the repair shop so that it will be parked properly. Applause to them! The mechanic and his wife were also friendly. They even offered their place for the kids to have a comfortable sleep.Good thing he has a replacement part available, the car was fixed in two hours. We arrived home at exactly 5AM. Whew! What an exhausting evening!


A Lesson From a Child

Saturday is market day so I went to market yesterday along with Joma, my 5-year old son. While riding the motorbike with my son, he started a conversation that went like this:

JomaJoma: Mommy, why does the clouds move along with us? It seems to go with us everywhere we go.

Mommy: The clouds are very big so you see the same cloud anywhere you go.

Joma: Are they following us? Why are they following us?

Mommy: They are not following us.

Joma: No. They are following us! It is the same set of clouds I saw earlier before we left the house.

I simply sighed with his remark. I can’t give any logical answer anymore. I wanted to use the Newton’s Law of Motion and Acceleration for him to stop bugging me with his questions! I can’t find the right explanation that will satisfy me because I also have the same question when I was his age.

That night, I asked God to give me more patience with Joma’s never ending questions of hows and whys. I need His guidance so that I can explain the answers to my son’s questions in a level that he will understand.

Earlier today, while going to church, he repeated the same question about the clouds. All of a sudden, words came out of my mouth. I explained that God is watching us from up above and that His angels are on the clouds following us, guiding us and protecting us upon God’s order. He nodded his head and became quiet. What a relief!

I do not know where I got the answer but I know it was the Holy Spirit who guided me to the explanation that will temporarily silence my son’s inquisitive mind. It was His answer to my prayer. Thank you, Lord!

“Anyway” by Mother Teresa

This poem was reported to be found in 1997 inscribed on the wall of Mother Teresa’s children home in Calcutta, India so it was widely attributed to her. Its association with  Mother Teresa and the Missionaries of Charity has made it popular worldwide, the spirit in which they lived their lives.

by Mother Teresa

People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered.
Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.
Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies.
Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and sincere, people may deceive you.
Be honest and sincere anyway.

What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight.
Create anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous.
Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, will often be forgotten.
Do good anyway.

Give the best you have, and it will never be enough.
Give your best anyway.

In the final analysis, is it between you and God.
It was never between you and them anyway.

However, an article in the New York Times on March 8, 2002 wrote that the original version of this poem, The Paradoxical Commandments, was written by Dr. Kent M. Keith. The said poem is also shown below.

The Paradoxical Commandments
by Dr. Kent M. Keith

People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.

If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.

If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.

Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.

The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.

People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.

People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway.

Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.

© Copyright Kent M. Keith 1968, renewed 2001

Top 10 Filipino Celebrities on Twitter

I once had a client who asked me to write an article about the 15 Famous Australian Twitterers. I did my own research and was able to come up with the data and the article after two days. Last Monday, I came across another article that features Pinoy Celebrities on Twitter. Although the list is incomplete, it reminded me of the article I wrote for my former client. I also remembered seeing a TV program that featured Pinoy celebrities with Twitter accounts. These  inspired me do my own research and come up with a summary of the Top 10 Filipino Celebrities on Twitter.

Here is my own list of celebrities and their number of followers (as of 06/06/2009 GMT) that I have put together & ranked them in order of popularity. You can check out their Twitter pages to see what they’ve been up to.

Anne Curtis – 4,398
Raymond Gutierrez – 3,412
Lea Salonga – 2,500
BB Gandanghari – 2,334
Georgina Wilson – 2,181
Camille Prats-Linsangan – 2,120
Bubbles Paraiso – 1,925
Charice Pempengco – 1,883
Alessandra de Rossi – 1,801
Ciara Sotto – 1,766
Maxene Magalona – 1,164

I wanted to include politicians, businessmen, broadcasters/journalists, sports personalities, and others. Sadly, they did not make it to the list. Does it mean people think their lives are not interesting enough?

Manila-Baguio-Manila in 24 hours

Over a month ago, we had a 24-hour Manila-Baguio-Manila trip. It was not something that we planned to do because we wanted to experiment, but it was rather a  spur-of-the-moment decision.

We received a text message from our Ninong Chris that his father-in-law, Fidel Rillera, passed away earlier that day. By lunchtime, we received another text message from another friend, Mafe, who asked us if we wanted to go and offer funeral service. A couple of other friends agreed and we arranged to hire a vehicle.

Since that was a Saturday, we have to be back by Sunday evening for those who needs to report to their offices the next day. After a 6-hour trip, we arrived safely in Baguio City at 4AM. We were given the directions how to get to the funeral chapel and we did not hard a hard time looking for it.

St. Joseph ParishAfter offering a short prayer for the dead and his family, our group agreed to attend the mass at the St. Joseph Parish. I wanted to visit this church because I have never been here. We always go to Baguio Cathedral whenever we are in the city.

Sadly, the mass we attended was in Ilocano so we did not understand it much, not even the homily! Only two persons in the group can understand the Ilocano dialect.

It was a good thing I brought my Bible Diary 2009 which contains the daily mass readings for the whole year. At least, I was able to do my own reflection of the Gospel for that day.

Emil-Rose Breakfast

Our host invited us for a breakfast after the mass. He drove us to Emil-Rose Restaurant in Bgy. Scout Barrio, about a hundred meters away from the main gate of Camp John Hay. We ordered their Emil-Rose breakfast.

It was a very sumptuous breakfast, a complete meal I will say. There was rice, sunny-side-up fried egg, two slices of pork asado, a slice of fried chicken, and vegetables as well. Not bad for a meal of Php180 (almost $4 with the current exchange rate). The rice was newly-cooked. It was still smoking when they served it on our table and the vegetables are really fresh and crunchy.

He also ordered pancit canton for us, another specialty of the place. It has all the vegetables one finds in the original recipe of a pancit canton. Additionally, the noodles are not soggy. I have never eaten any pancit canton cooked this way.

Pancit Canton

I told myself I will definitely recommend Emil-Rose Restaurant to my friends who will be spending their vacation or weekends in Baguio City. I also made a promise to myself that I will be going back to this place on my return to the city, hopefully before Christmas.

After the heavy and filling breakfast, we headed our way back to the funeral chapel, met other friends from Manila who just arrived and bade goodbye to the family and the wife of the dead. Meanwhile, the second group was treated for lunch on the same restaurant and they gave very good feedback as well.

Before the trip back to Manila, we stopped at the Baguio City public market to buy some pasalubong and souvenirs.We were also invited by a friend to stop over Moncada, Tarlac. She is a native of the province and her parents prepared a light snack for us.

We arrived back in Manila at 10PM, the same time we left Manila the day before. It was indeed a 24-hour trip.

At the Break of Dawn

I have been practicing to wake up at 4AM for the past week to prepare myself for the start of the school next week. Lo and behold, I was able to get up from my sleep at the second alarm today. Congratulations to me!

At around 5:30AM, I noticed the sun is starting to come out. I thought of taking pictures of the rising sun so immediately grabbed my camera and ran to the roof deck of the three-storey apartment building we live in. I took as many pictures as I can to capture the moment.

Although it was drizzling when I took the last set of pictures, I was pretty satisfied with the outcome. I am looking forward to get a better set on my next attempt…using a digital camera with higher specifications… hopefully.