How I want 2010 to be remembered

I know there’s still 3 months left before the year ends but I feel so much has happened already that I have to write them down before I forget them altogether. The year has been crazy, positively crazy if I may call it that.

The hightlights of the year started when Gary found a way to go to Europe. I must admit at first I didn’t took it seriously because I thought that the organizer of the SES London Conference wouldn’t take Gary’s interest seriously as well. But I was completely wrong. SES and PAGCOR’s (Gary’s employer then) approval gave us a couple of weeks to get British visa and get approved. Unfortunately, no time to process Shengen visa so we just maximized our UK trip by including in our itenirary Edinburgh, Scotland and Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Almost the same time, we said goodbye to our very first car (a second-hand Honda civic we bought from my father) and bought an SUV. We got the Montero as soon as we arrived from London, March 1, Marcus’ 11th birthday.

Summer has been busy as well. We started it by trying out the sands of Poro Point, La Union. Summer though was not vacation for Marcus because I enroled him to tutorial (to help him acquire good study habits) and Neurotherapy for his ADHD. I also took the time to transfer Zach from Montessori to a bigger school. Gary on the other hand has his hands full with business work and special projects that he even gave up his employment in PAGCOR.

May 6 was our only daughter’s first birthday so imagine the pressure I went through thinking about the party as a whole. (budget, location, give-aways, invitation, party host and so on)

July 17 was Zach’s 5th birthday and he’s been bugging us for a Jollibee birthday party for months. Giving-in to his request, we celebrated his birthday at Jollibee, Dagupan together with family, relatives and friends from Gary’s side. Next Day, July 18, was the vehicular accident at SCTEX.

After the accident, we had to face so many things. Both positive and well, challenging things. Insurance claims, filing a case, physical and emotional recovery, getting over what was lost… just to name a few. Blessing in disguise, Gary’s sister had to give up her Innova so we decided to get it and just continue paying for the monthly amortization. Two months after the accident, the car insurance claim still being processed, the Innova has been a great help to us not to mention the driver we hired.

August 20, my sister finally gave birth to a healthy baby boy and few days after, our grandfather (father’s side) died.

This October, we rented the unit beside ours so that we can renovate our kitchen and flooring. Also, I finally embraced the fact that I really have to have Internet Marketing expertise and I’m now about to start learning about PPC.

Big things came and bigger things are on the way. God willing, the rest of 2010 and 2011 will be more exciting as it is now. So help us God. :D

Glass Half Full

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt was a rainy Sunday afternoon. Aboard our SUV, we were heading home from Pangasinan. It was a comfortable and peaceful ride as we hear the strong downpour on the roof while running at around 60-70 kph. Suddenly, a white sports car swiveled uncontrollably at the passenger side of our vehicle. I immediately tapped Gary’s hand to alert him but by then we were already hit by the car. The next thing I knew our SUV tipped and skidded to the right side and as the vehicle turned turtle several times, I embraced Lia very tight as she was sleeping in my arms. All I was thinking at that time was that I hope this is not happening and at the same time thought it could be the end. During the final turn, Lia was suddenly gone. I have no idea how she fell or thrown away because all along I was holding her very tight. When our vehicle finally stopped and I saw Gary moving, I immediately unlocked my seat belt and found my way out of the vehicle to find Lia. Scared and half hopeful that she was still alive, I was shouting “Anak ko!” I went to the other side of the vehicle and looked at my right and all I saw were tall grasses. I looked at my left and there she was lying on the mud crying because of the strong rain pouring on her. Thinking back, ‘Jesus on a manger’ is the best description of how she was safely placed. Knee hurting, I ran to her as fast as I could, embraced her tight, checked her for any wound and thanked God she was alive.

Seconds after, my husband, 2 sons and our yaya came running at our side. My eldest son, Marcus, embraced me tight crying and yelling, “Mama, ayoko na! Ayoko na!” Zach, on the other hand, was also crying maybe from shock because he was sleeping before the incident happened. Gary and I looked at each other without saying a word but thinking the same thing, “we are all safe now.” A van stopped and a woman calling to help us. She allowed the children to go inside her van because it was raining really hard and the kids are cold. Marcus doesn’t want to leave me alone, but I assured him that everything is ok now, that he has to look after his two younger siblings because I’m wounded and that I love him very much. I was left sitting where I found Lia because Gary doesn’t want me to move any further because he saw the deep wound on my knee. While the kids were inside the van and Gary calling for help, I tried to get up and go farther but my right knee is not helping. So I just decided to sit down and wait for the rescue to come. It was the time I got the chance to see everything that’s left of us. Our 4-month old SUV was a total wreck, my phone gone and our other belongings wet and scattered. I can’t help but wonder, “Why did God allowed this to happen?” But it was not anger or hatred that was in my heart at the time, it was gratitude and relief. Looking at the glass half full, I thanked the Lord and praised Him because all that were gone can be replaced.

Looking back, I don’t remember anything that could have stopped us from encountering the incident. One thing’s for sure though, God has prepared everything to ensure that we’ll be safe and taken cared of. It was indeed a miracle. When I saw the pictures of our wrecked vehicle, it made me cry because I cannot possibly think how all of us survived.

I remember the words I said after we prayed the Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be and Angel of God while on the road and before the incident… “Lord, please keep us safe.” He did.

We are a living testimony of His Greatness.

Internet @ Home: Need or Want?

Speaking for myself, it is unimaginable not to have internet connection at home. If it only means having to update my social network accounts, chat with friends, check emails regularly or do some research work, free wi-fi establishments would have been enough. Unfortunately, my income depends on the speed, availability and dependability of internet. What more, online transaction has made my life a lot easier and by going out to look for an internet connection would definitely defeat the purpose. This made me thinking, is having internet at home nowadays comparable to having electricity, water, cable or what have you?

I know many people like me can’t live without internet. We start the day by checking our emails and end it by saying goodnight to online friends. In between, we would check the tweets and status of our friends, chat, play online games, upload photos and videos, answer emails and of course try to do some work. haha! On the other hand, other people literally depends on the internet to survive the growing business of internet marketing.

Sadly though, there is much greater number of people who can’t barely eat a decent 3x-a-day meal, more so afford a PC and monthly internet fee. Worse, children in public schools are deprived from learning to use the computer because the government provides either obsolete computers or those that are not working.

So then I realized that thanks to internet, our country has been divided into groups of those who really needs the internet, those who thinks that internet is cool but can actually live without it, those who knows about it but thinks it is not important and finally those who have no idea about it at all.

10 BIG reasons

I love my husband for a thousand and one reasons, but since it’s not feasible to put them all in writing, I just decided to list my top ten in time for his birthday;

10. He is a Clown. He can make me laugh even in my most worried/problematic state. Others may think that I play for laughs and he is the serious one, in real life, it’s the opposite.

9. Very generous (He should be thankful that I am not a shopaholic, haha!). One of the reasons why God has been showering him and his family with so much blessings.

8. He makes sure that we still spend time as a couple despite the busy schedule and having 3 kids. Our favorite thing to do? Eat and have coffee at Bonifacio Highstreet. Hopefully in the near future we’ll eat out less but travel more.

7. He is a loving, responsible and supportive father. He prepares everything for the kids’ future and gives them more than what’s expected of him.

6. He is independent, intelligent and street smart… a few of the reasons why I was so sure I should be married to him.

5. Unpredictable and risk-taker. Or else he would be boring.

4. He lets me see his vulnerable side (even Superman has kryptonite) and makes me feel needed.

3. He has taught me so much and made me realize that life is not a fairy tale. What we have shared together (trials, victory, dreams, failure, sickness, joy, tears, laughter, comfort, faith and so much more), as a whole, is irreplaceable.

2. He is very loving and sweet. No need to expound…

1. Most of all, he is God’s gift to me.

Lastly, quoting Roy Croft like he did more than a decade ago in one of his letters,

“I love you, not only for what you are
But for what I am when I am with you.

I love you, not only for what you have made of yourself,
But for what you are making of me.

…. You have done it
Without a touch, Without a word, Without a sign.
You have done it by being yourself.”

Need I say more?

If I win the jackpot price

The last time I heard about it in the news, the approximate winning amount for lotto is P180 million and though I don’t buy lotto tickets, it just occurred to me what would it be like winning the jackpot. My son would always ask me what I plan to do just in case I won millions of pesos and without giving it much thought I would always give him this answer, “I’ll buy whatever I want.” He would then ask me with a wide grin, “Aren’t you going to give me some?” I can imagine my son day dreaming about the toys, books, psp games and a lot more that he plans to buy just in case his mom won millions. And that gave me an idea of making my own wish list just in case I won the P180 million jackpot price.

Here’s my list:

1. I’ll buy my parents a condominium unit – P5M

2. We’ll build our dream house in Pangasinan where we already bought a land – P10M

3. We’ll settle the remaining payments that has to be made in our condo – P2M

4. I’ll buy Gary his dream car (The Hummer) – P5M (I really don’t have any idea how much it costs but maybe P5M is enough… hehe)

5. Hello Dra. Belo (hahha!) – P1M (This is not a one-time visit though…)

6. I’ll buy myself an SUV – P2M

7. Budget for Around the World Travel – P10M (Do you think this is enough?)

8. Shopping, shopping, shopping – P5M

– watch out LV and RL stores for my bags!
– I’ll buy a new celphone (haha… babaw)
– I’ll let my kids get all their dream toys
– more watch for Gary
– La Coste and RL Shirts in all colors… haha!
– Books!
– Laptop each for my kids
etc. etc.

9. Charity (For Children who are sick especially of Cancer) – P5M

10. A million each for my parents, siblings and In-laws – P10M

11. I’ll buy our ancestral home in Cagayan de Oro (they are selling it now) – P5M (Is it?)

This is getting more and more exciting…

12. I’ll deposit P10M each for my children’s savings account – P30M

13. I’ll buy a parlor and fast food franchise – P10M

14. We’ll get a town house in Mahogany Place in Taguig – P10M (including home furniture and interior design)

15. Another Church Wedding – P1M

16. Balato – hmmm… bahala na magkano. (haha!) But for sure my yayas will get their share.

The rest will still be on investments and savings. Huh! I just realized it’s tiring to be too rich, but I am not complaining. :D

Another year worth celebrating

Last year I celebrated my 30th birthday and it was really worth celebrating because of milestones I have set for myself and successfully achieved, not to mention the blessings that God has showered us with – big and small alike. And now, celebrating my 31st birthday, I would just want to make a list of all the major things that happened to me while being 30.

1. I left International Container Terminal Services Inc. (the last company I was in) to become a full time mother and wife.
2. Few weeks after I resigned I learned that I was pregnant. (And six months after, I learned that we are having a girl this time)
3. While being jobless and pregnant, I was reviewing for CISA (Certified Information Systems Audit) Certification. I finished the review but I postponed the exam.
4. I started getting busy blogging for money… and inviting friends to write reviews as well.
5. I finally learned how to drive.
6. We paid all our credit card dues and other liabilities in full, except for our condo which we still have to pay for monthly.
7. We bought a land in Pangasinan where we could build our dream house in the future.

Looking back, it was indeed not a boring year for me. Being jobless and all, I realized that I – together with God and my family – still had a fruitful year. It is really true that dreaming together as a couple could make wonders. It did work for us and I thank my husband for being a great dreamer dragging me where we are right now and where we will be in the future… heheh.

EK then and now

As I aged 10 years more, Enchanted Kingdom has surprisingly maintained its features, rides and attractions. It was the very same place I saw a decade ago, except for the kart track, paintball and some additional food stalls. I was a month pregnant then, though it was not a disadvantage because I don’t really like those rides much due to my motion sickness. Funny how the baby in my stomach at that time turned out to be my opposite. I can’t help but feel dizzy and really worry as I watched my 10 year old son ride the Flying Fiesta 4 times, Anchor’s Away 7 times, Jungle Log Jam twice and all the other rides once. Yes! He even tried the Space Shuttle and was really relieved when he learned that he was tall enough to be allowed to. Huh?! As for me, being 7 months pregnant this time, I was again saved from the pressure that my husband, kids and siblings could have given me just to try those attractions that I won’t dare ride even in my wildest dreams. All in all, though we missed Mabelle and her family, it was a fun experience and I am just glad that EK has successfully preserved their park grounds and attractions so that my children were able to see, experience and enjoy them more than I did a decade ago.

Reunion and Death

“There’s no such thing as accident” they say, but if that’s the case, what do you call those 2 deaths happening a few days before the Eheads reunion concert? The first one happened last year when the first reunion concert finally pushed through. Everything was about to go smoothly until Ely Buendia’s mom died. I thought the concert will be canceled or at least postponed, fortunately (or unfortunately) it did not. A few months after, with Ely’s condition a lot better, the 2nd reunion concert which they call the ‘final set’ is about to take place tomorrow. Again, rehearsals and preparations were doing great, as confirmed by Raymund Marasigan’s message in Sandwich’s yahoogroup, not until this afternoon when Francis Magalona died. Well, the death of the master rapper would not really affect the concert to a big extent, though he was supposed to be a “special guest” in the concert, doing the rap part of the song “Superproxy.” More than being a guest actually, have you given this question a thought, ‘who is Francis M to Eheads?’ I think it was like asking who’s Ely’s mom to the group. I do want to play innocent and treat it as something which is just ’scheduled’ to happen. Period. But I just can’t help but wonder why there should be a death of someone close to Eheads happening before their two reunion concerts. Does that mean that the final set should really be the final set? Or is that again a warning to Ely and his health? Did Francis M saved Ely from death this time like what could have happened when Ely’s mom passed away? All I can do now is pray that the concert will finally reach its end successfully, even if I won’t be there this time because I am 7 months pregnant and obviously not allowed to watch the concert. To Eheads, break a leg! To Ely, good health! To Ely’s mom and Francis M, peace! Amen! Tiyak yon! Amen!

Should I lose my grip?

It’s a little bit weird seeing everyone so busy buying items for exchange gifts and preparing for Christmas party while I am busy paying bills, thinking about what to serve on the table and buying what my children and husband needs. Well, you see, I have been a corporate slave since 2001 and my body seems to be looking for that Christmas rush. I may still have a couple of things to buy this Christmas like gifts for family, relatives and godchildren, not to mention Santa Claus’ list for Zach, (Marcus already knows about it so he just gets a gift from me) but there’s no rush for it, knowing that I have all the time in the world.

This made me realize that being a full time housewife is a lot more serious decision than I thought it would be. Being at home and not knowing when to be back in the corporate world (that is if I’ll ever be back), the world I have known for many years, is like losing that grip of who I am as a person. Or should I say who I used to be for so long. I did not realize that changing careers would be like changing personalities.

Staying at home is a lot more complicated, though compensation is beyond monetary terms. You don’t get any appraisal at the end of the year, meaning you don’t get any feedback of how you are as a mother and wife. I guess those can be realized after you see your children grow up and learn who they come to be in the future. Risky, yes, but when they start telling stories to you like a friend does to another or just kiss and hug you for no reason at all, it all becomes worth it.

I am now in the midst of thinking if I should not lose that grip of being a corporate person or finally accept that my future is geared towards serving my kids and husband’s needs full time. I don’t have any answer yet, but I know God has been leading me to where I should be. I guess it’s all a matter of patience and acceptance.

Living and Loving

I have written this article a couple of years ago…
With some re-touch, finally I can post it on my own site.

‘I felt I could die happily 13 years ago, hearing the
confession of the guy who for months was the object of
my affection. He was not the boy-next-door-type, he
was never predictable, he was not ordinary… and our
story neither was.

I have loved him from the very moment I saw him came
out of the fast-food chain that was our meeting place.
He was wearing a red-colored shirt, and so was I.

I thought I loved him more when all we did was spend
our money, mostly his, and do everything together.

I thought my love for him was far greater when all we
had was each other and a couple of bucks in our
pockets.

I thought it was my heart’s peak when he looked at my
eyes and told me that he’ll spend the rest of his life
with me, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in
health…

I thought I’ll have enough of this love… but enough
didn’t came. There was always growth, there was always
more.

More when I delivered our 7.8lbs son, more when he was
operated because of his tumor (praying and thanking
God that it was benign), more when our son is sick and
nobody but ourselves could understand the worry and
pain we feel, more when we learned that we were having
another baby and lost it after few weeks, more when I gave
birth again to another baby boy, more and more when we
laugh ourselves out joking around, and a lot more each
day when unknowingly we were getting strength from
each other by just being together.

I’m glad I didn’t die happily 13 years ago, I could
not have experienced life.’