Sunday, June 26, 2011

Does Anyone Still Own a Walkman?

My 13 years-old Sony Walkman still in top form.
I just need to get a circuit board (I'm guessing) repaired.

The first thing I bought from my first paycheck - after graduating from college and landing a job with P&G - was a Sony Walkman.

I've coveted the Walkman since my grade school and high school days but since we cannot afford these things then, I had to wait until I got my own salary to be able to buy one. It was quite a long wait as you can tell because by the time I bought one, the Discman was already the in-thing for music lovers.

When I started working in Makati, I took the public transport everyday to Ayala Avenue where the Philippine G.O. was located, from our hometown in the countrysides of Binangonan, Rizal. And when I say countryside, I am not exagerrating. Our home lies at the foot of a hill-y terrain. The backyard connects to a creek and vast track of land and a chicken and duck farm (we don't own those, by the way). After living in a dormitory during college days, I want to come home at the end of the day and have a hot, decent home-cooked dinner rather than spend another episode of boarding some place else.

Besides, if I tally the cost of living independently in the Metro, I'll be living a wonderful life of independence with an empty pocket by mid-month while walking along posh Ayala Avenue looking all jazzed up. Nah! I'd rather go home and save some. I even bring my own packed lunch all the way to Makati then.

Back to the Walkman.

That said, the Walkman was my daily companion as I took the 60-minutes or so travel time from Rizal to Makati City. I have at least 2-3 casette tapes lodged in my bag everyday so that I can tune in to my favorite music and block out everything else in the world. This is especially true if the music playing in the jeepney (and later on, the more comfortable Toyota FX vans with the Rizal-Makati route) is an abominable one!

Even after the Discman and much later the Apple's Ipod came to rule the musical universe, I kept my Walkman and my assorted casette tapes. One by one my casette tapes started to fade out of old age and I can't play anything anymore.

Much later I got married and lived in Makati, we had two kids, moved to Laguna, built our new house, moved into Singapore and who knows what future is up to, but I still have my Walkman with me. With one casette tape left (ballroom dancing music).

The Walkman is what my daughter would now call as "a thing from the Olden Days." They had a lesson from school about the so-called Olden Days and they were asked to come to school in an attire to reminisce the Olden Days from their country. They also brought things from the past. Since she can't carry our antique wooden baul (casket), the antique and very heavy plantsa (flat iron, this is one where you need to put hot coals inside the main compartment and strike while the iron is hot) and our iron-casted bowls, we opted to have her bring the old rattan ball (it is lightweight). She should have brought the walkman. None of those kids would recognize it anyway.

As of today, the Walkman can't play a thing anymore. When I attempted to place AA batteries and pressed the 'play' button, it gives off a whirring sound. Some mechanical thing is working but I guess the electronic boards were busted by now. It's a hunch.

But I'm keeping it anyway. Someone may be able to fix it. And then my next problem is where to get a casette tape. But that's another problem for another time.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Through the Years: Our 12th Wedding Anniversary and 18th Years Together

This day twelve years ago, we began a lifelong commitment and journey.
A journey that actually found its beginnings eighteen years ago.

I cant remember when you weren't there. When I didn't care for anyone but you.
Taken by Robert Leal during the UST ChE General Assembly in 1995

I swear, we've been through everything there is.
Can't imagine anything we missed. Can't imagine anything the two us cant do...

UST ChE North Luzon Field Trip. We dont have a lot of pictures from College.

Through the years, you never let me down. You turned my life around.
The sweetest days I found with you.

Our Wedding Day.
June 26, 1999 at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Shrine Parish, New Manila.
You can tell this is an old picture before the digital age.

Through the years, I've never been afraid. I loved the life we made.

And I'm so glad I stayed right here with you through the years.
Punta Fuego, Batanggas, Philippines

Through the years, when everything went wrong, together we were strong.

My surprise Birthday celebration from Alvin

I know that I belonged right here with you. Through the years we never had a doubt.

Back to our Alma Mater in its 400th Year Anniversary
This is where it all began in 1993.

We always worked things out. I learned what life's about.

Our first year in Singapore. Enjoying the sights and sounds of SG.

By loving you, through the years.

18 years (since our college days) and still going strong

I thank God for what Was. Is. And Will Be.
For our life together.
For the special mission we were given for an Angel's earthly life.
For our wonderful gift of all: our children.

Happy 12th Year Wedding Anniversary!
And cheers for 18 years of togetherness!


Saturday, June 18, 2011


Someday I hope the kids will be able to read this blog; and even if they might not, I know deep on their hearts, they share a special bond with their father.

In 2004, my husband made an extraordinary decision to leave this career so that one of us will be able to focus for Kevin's daily needs, go with him with his therapies and special education ans be his guardian angel. It was not easy but we made it through. He made it through. Kevin and his dad share so many stories, happy and poignant, hilarious and outrageous - as they weaved through Kevin's early years together.

Much later when it was time for us to move in Singapore, Alvin has been there for my little girl, during the days when I couldn't -- like the first day in her new school, her weekly soccer games, the student-led conference and the class parties.

You are our hero, Daddy!

This poem is an adaptation from Joanna Fuchs, dedicated to the Hero in our lives.

You are my hero, Dad
You're my secure foundation.
When I think of you, I'm filled with love
And fond appreciation.

You make me feel protected;
I'm sheltered by your care.
You're always my true friend; and Dad,
When I need you, you're always there.

You have a place of honor
Deep within my heart.
You've been my superhero, Dad,
Right from the very start.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Missing Our Lanai

My facebook status went like this: "......suddenly missing our Sta Rosa home, hanging out at the lanai while kids play by the swing under that weird tree at the yard..."

Been watching an episode of the Australian Masterchef 2 where one of the ex-wanna-be-masterchef  got booted out. They have a post-mortem shot of the contestant arriving at her home while being welcomed by her family. That scene reminded me of our home. Better yet, our lanai.

Our lanai is an open air extension of the living room, framed by a heavy wooden sliding doors. Most people thought these sliding doors were the main door to the house!

We installed a set of hardwood bench and table we bought from Tagaytay for a very reasonable price. We love hanging out at the lanai during summer nights when it is too stuffy inside the house, every weekend nights before retiring to sleep and during the Christmas season too, even though we freeze to death sitting at the benches with cold wind blowing freely. Christmas carolers also flock this area during yuletide season.

The lanai shortly after the house construction.

The kids love to have their afternoon snack by the lanai. Or play games. And hang out with Kimby. And with our neighbors' kids. It opens up to a wide cul-de-sac road which is an open area.

Our Family Reunion in 2009.
All four siblings were in Manila for the first time after 9 years.
Kevin's favorite spot at the lanai is the left bench. If he caught you sitting in his favorite spot, he'll shoo you away.

Kevin's Corner

Just beside the lanai is a weird looking tree (I learned it was a Banaba tree). Before the house was constructed, we wanted to cut it down and plant a new one (like an Indian Mango tree) because it looked so awful with dark stains marring its leaves. But it was part and parcel of the village developers' design and we were not allowed to cut them down.

 So Alvin put it to good use and installed a swing beneath the tree. Eventually, the tree looked vital and light purple flowers blossomed from the tree.   I believe that when the area was inhabited, the tree came to life again. Kids loved the swing. Even Kimby loved it.

Even Kimby loved the swing!

With my Cabuyao "Outer Circle" Friends
I miss our lanai. It held a lot of memories from our home. With loved ones.  Neighbors. Friends.

When life was as I know it.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Kevin's Birthday Weekend

Last year, I made a checklist of "places to visit." To celebrate Kevin's Birthday this year, it was a toss between Bintan or Star Cruise Virgo. We thought that Bintan, given its proximity to Singapore is a great weekend getaway.

Bintan Island, Indonesia is located southeast of Singapore is a convenient 55-minute Ferry ride from Tanah Merah Ferry terminal.  There are networks of resorts along the Bintan Island coastline and we chosed to stay at Angsana Resort. They also have a sister resort: Banyan Tree located just beside Angsana but I thought it caters more to couples looking for a serene getaway paradise. Angsana Resort is more family oriented. It is also ideal for corporate events because they have plenty of hotel rooms.

 Here are snippets from our vacation...

We took the Emerald Class on our way to Bintan. Actually I booked late all I got were early morning seats at Emerald class. The upside is you can stay at the lounge with free drinks and wi-fi.

Upon arrival at the Bintan Ferry Terminal, we were escorted to the reception lounge of Angsana Resort while waiting for the car that will take us to the resort. Angsana/Banyan has the coziest lounge. Loved the interior design.

 We stayed at a 2 bedroom suite with a living and dining room. We were so amused that it seemed bigger than our condo in SG.

We loved the living room sofa which also doubles as a day bed. Kevin takes his afternoon nap in this day bed. Even their bathroom have great amenities that you can use for the duration of your stay.

This is the living room and the sofa / day bed.

It also has a terrace and sundeck that leads to the beachfront. There was a jacuzzi too but we never got to use it.

Birthday greetings welcomed Kevin! Very thoughtful of the staff!

 Kevin was also treated with a complimentary birthday cake and a champagne for us! It was delivered to our room during our first night at the resort.

Kyla and I decided to explore the resort...

View of Spacious Lotus Cafe

I fondly call this the Boat-Henge

While waiting for sundown, the kids stayed over at the Kids Club where kids can do art stuff, crafts and play indoor games.

With Ms Maria of the Kids Club taken before we left Angsana

We hit the beach and the pool soon after Mr. Sun was out :-)

Despite the heat, we decided to try the Pantai Grill for a seaside lunch with an awesome view of South China Sea. They had a BBQ Buffet Feast in the same area every Friday nights and the food is really good! Even the kids loved coming back for servings. A group of local musicians serenade the diners.

Pantai Grill by day.
By Friday night, this is transformed into BBQ feast with awesome buffet fare.

We also hopped by to Banyan Tree's Treetop Restaurant. It was interesting because you need a buggy ride within Banyan Tree. Treetops Cafe is very Asian and classy. Kevin loved his dinner of Salmon while Kyla is loyal to her pasta.
The relaxing ambience of Treetop makes a great backdrop.
I loooved the candle holder centerpiece!

This was our last breakfast before hitting home. We also had a last tour around the resort before taking off. The friendly staff bade us all goodbye and we felt at home in this place. They gave us souvenir photo card and a memento for Kyla from the Angsana Gallery!

The staff of Lotus Cafe were always very accomodating whenever we ask for steamed plain rice for Kevin.
Their buffet serves fried rice and Kevin looks for plain rice.

Trek to The Boulders at the Coastline

We truly appreciate the very friendly staff of Angsana resort. We were always greeted by everyone with a welcome smile and you will notice this throughout the entire resort.

Thank you Angsana Resort Bintan for fond memories !

Friday, June 3, 2011

Kevin is Now 11!

Here are snippets from Kevin's 11th Birthday...
I can't believe how time flies indeed. Instead of the usual musings, I decided to have a photoblog for Kevin's birthday!

The night before his birthday, we bought a Thomas the Train Banner and balloons.

This was the morning of his birthday, before I left for work. He was already preparing for his "school." Am glad he obliged to wear polo and slacks instead of the usual shorts and shirt.

The Therapists and Staff gave him this colorful Birthday card. The kids from the ABC Learning Center also signed too! How thoughtful of them.

There was also a Birthday greeting at their Board.

His Dad accompanied him today. We bought cake, fancy cupcakes and juices to share during their snavk time. There were about 5 kids at that time of the day. They sang Happy Birthday and have him blow the candles from his chocolate cake. They also had a group picture taking but I cant post it here (for kids' confidentiality).

We had a family dinner at Swensen's. Tita Cindy and Ate Jhane were with us too!

Kevin had Chicken Muliniere (fancy name for breaded chicken with sidings....I suppose)

... and it wont be complete without Kevin's favorite: Pizza!!! Swensen's at the United Square Mall is an ideal dining place for families. They have a wide selection of western dishes that include pizza, pasta, burgers, steaks and loads of ice cream and sundaes. No wonder the kids love it.

For a change, we had an Ice Cream Cake. I chosed a basketball motiff, which is his favorite. And Kyla reminded me her cake will be soccer theme. She even took a brochure and insisted we take it home. Fine.

Happy Birthday Kevin!!!

Kyla's present to Kuya was a hand-made birthday card. Very sweet of her.

And this mother of all ladybug is the present from Tita Cindy. Reminds of the ladybug from Bug's Life who was a "he." As you can see Kevin loves ladybugs. The smaller one was a Snooze-em.

More to come... for Kevin's weekend Birthday treat at Bintan!!!