Remembering Clyde

Clyde was my eldest bunny. I envisioned him to be the ring bearer at my wedding. I have foreseen him as my baby’s first pet and playmate. Unfortunately, he passed away a year ago. Apparently, it has been a long stretch of sorrow and acceptance. Sadness, all this time, cannot help me pin down the right words to actually tell his story. I tried to, a couple of times, but it all went down to me shedding tears like it was his last day with us again.

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Clyde was part of our “We’re Expecting” announcement to our friends. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to meet his tiny human.

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It was January 2012 when the then-boyfriend now-husband and I decided to get a pet. We did not want a dog nor a cat, but something just as cute yet not so usual, so we went on looking for a rabbit instead. We were supposed to get a black bunny with a tiny white dot somewhere in its body. We found one with a spot on its nose! But there was another bunny which kept following to wherever we point our fingers to, we just had to get him as well! This bunny had round blue eyes, which was something different from all other white bunnies out there (with scary red eyes). We named them Bunnie and Clyde.

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Cue, Beyonce and JayZ’s song: ~All I need in this life of sin, is me and my Girlfriend~

Bunnie passed away just a week after we got her. We assumed she was already sick by the time we got her as she was very fragile and was already refraining to eat. Clyde from then on became our only bunny child. He was spoiled. He loved getting a lot of attention. He loved bananas, strawberries, and veggies all to himself. He loved playing and lurking around the house. He loved being cradled like a baby. He loved grooming and getting baths every now and then (we had to give him baths, like twice a year, to smoothen and remove discolored areas of his coat). He loved trips to the park. He loved dressing up in costumes. He loved celebrating birthdays. He loved his photos being taken. He loved welcoming guests and being petted.

Rabbits are often misunderstood, but it was easy to figure out Clyde’s moods. Our family knew Clyde loved us. He’d jump off his home when we arrive at the doorstep. He raises his head for pats, he struggles climbing up the stairs only to struggle again getting up to bed to wake us up on weekend mornings. He follows us in circles, then begs for treats. He loves lying around, listening to our stories, or even school stuff when my sister reviews in the wee hours of the morning. Clyde would lick our hands, our faces, and even docks his face to my chest. Clyde was a furball of affection.

We got him a wife a few years later since he has grown, uhm, horny. He got 3 wives, Quasha, Claudia, and Crumble. They were pretty rabbits. Quasha was same breed as Clyde, while Claudia and Crumble were part Lionhead part Angora. He got kids, some as white as him, some became a mix of white and brown, and white and grey. His every bunny baby was adorable.

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Clyde on his last birthday with us. He was not happy, his humans had more carrot cake than he did.

Clyde was growing old, we knew that – his face has grown lines, he no longer runs like crazy when brought outside. We were supposed to have him castrated as rabbits tend to suffer sickness from their poop and pee in old age. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get to that, Clyde broke down one night. He hasn’t been eating nor drinking. My parents have given him medicines, but he was still sick. I carried him in the car while we were on the way to the veterinarian. He was in pain, I knew, he buried his face to my side while I cradled him. My sister and I were crying and trembling on the way to the hospital. But Clyde was a fighter. He still wanted to stand and jump and binky. He struggled getting on his chubby toes, his body slammed unto the hospital table in his every attempt. It took a few times before the nurse attached the dextrose, his veins already collapsed. His eyes were already wide, his breathing was heavier, and his heartbeat was faster than normal. Clyde never felt so threatened like this before. But we had to leave him at the hospital overnight. We knew that was a bad idea, however we were compelled to, for we can not make him feel better at home too. I was so brokenhearted to see him with a dextrose in his paw, sealed in a cage and warmed with a spotlight. I wish I spent the night with him there, but in my head this was for his good. I was very very afraid, but I knew Clyde was a fighter. He’s a stubborn bunny – I just think of him at the hospital table trying to stand again – such a brave little baby.

The next morning, we received the news. I didn’t know if he just provided some luck or something that day, but our family braved through traffic and number coding to finally lead Clyde to his own paradise. My grandfather picked out a very quiet area for him, where he could visit Clyde often when he farms and plant his vegetables. We laid Clyde in an area surrounded by greens – where his playful soul could play and jump and binky endlessly. He can feed on the grass too, when he’s famished and stay under trees when he gets tired.

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Clydee Bunny goes to bed

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The skies opened up to meet Clyde in bunny heaven. And yes, there’s a cloud in a bunny head shape

There are still days when I remember Clyde and cry. But maybe Clyde has already lived the best of his days on earth – a happy binky-ful and flop-sy bunny life. Or maybe Clyde found out there’s an even happier place where he’d have unlimited carrots, bananas, cabbage and strawberries, where every time is playtime and where he can binky, jump, and flop all he want.

I miss Clyde everyday. There will never be a bunny as affectionate as my little bunny boy.

 

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Mother’s Day Random Ramblings

Last week, a colleague congratulated me for my first Mother’s Day celebration. I totally forgot about it until tonight that I’ve gone too emotional watching “Mom” videos on my newsfeed. Funny how becoming pre-occupied as a first time mother leave you with remembrances, realizations and emotions at random times (like now while having breaks doing the laundry).

Honestly, I haven’t imagined myself a mother until the moment I got confirmation that I had a tiny human inside. I was not ready, but I guess you’ll never be really ready until you get there. I deemed myself a mother as early as then. After all, I was already nursing and nourishing him. I had to change diet, skip vigorious activities, and even obey weird traditions roughly suggested by the oldies.

Pushing him out to the world is another story. I was never as frightened. I was not only scared for myself, I was scared for him more. But again, when you have no choice but to be courageous, well, you got to be. Imagine my relief when I saw him for the first time lying on my chest.

And motherhood doesn’t end there. Somewhere I’ve read said that real motherhood comes after you leave the hospital and take the baby home. Sure was right! My baby has been around for almost three months and I can no longer count my tears and sighs out of frustration, fear, paranoia, etc. Knowing there’s a lifetime ahead of him, God only knows how much more I need to bear. But I am not complaining, he’s our best gift (cliche, I know), our most terrible weakness (how can you say “no” when he puts up a cute crying face?), and my husband’s replica, only waaay more handsome (if I loved my husband’s annoyingly happy face, how can I not love my son’s?).

You know in art when they put together totally unrelated things to communicate one solid message? That’s how motherhood is like. It’s always a crazy unpredictable mix of emotions – some intense, some so-so. But unlike art which emanates multiple possible meanings, motherhood comes with but one message. It’s always the same every time – Love.

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Happy Mothers’ Day to all the moms out there, most importantly, to my Mama. Now I know the truth in your rants! Hahaha Sending greetings to my husband’s mother as well, for raising such lovely man.

Props to my boys, too, for this wonderful and exciting journey. I love you both.

Like Yesterday

Feels like it was only yesterday we were both sitting in brown armchairs within an airconditioned room. Feels like it was only yesterday I took courage to kiss you in a gush of alcohol. Feels like it was only yesterday I made you a mixtape of music unknown to you. Feels like it was only yesterday since we knew each other more than mere names and faces in our grade school yearbook. 

Feels like yesterday, only, it was actually six years ago. Feels like yesterday, only, we got a month old little boy. Feels like yesterday, only, I married you four months ago. Feels like yesterday, only, my heart is filled with more inexplicable bliss. 

All my gratefulness for making everyday feel like the first time, even if it was already a thousand yesterdays ago. I love you, Husband.

Two is too much. My heart is full.

Kuala Lumpur 2015: Another Overdue

WordPress reminded me that my last post was about a year ago, so publishing one that has been rotting in my Drafts folder.

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So June last year, my colleagues and I traveled to Malaysia for a buying trip for one of our brands. It was a short 3-day stay, but it was a productive trip nonetheless.

We stayed at the St. Giles The Gardens Hotel. Here’s a shot from the top floors. Kuala Lumpur looks like Manila, a few green areas, tall buildings, creeks, etc., only cleaner and a more systematized transport system. They have a lot of freeways and the queue at their tollbooths is the nearest thing they have to traffic. Gawd, Manila sucks.

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As same as all other LDR (Long Distance Relationship) phases my Boyfriend and I go through, he has letters stashed in my office planner for me to read upon arrival at the hotel. Yes, it’s that specific. This time, it came in a form of origami. I just stole a few minutes while my colleague was freshening up to have this one shot and read. It didn’t come in a series though, only one for the weekend.

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And here’s my travel buddy. Yes, we have Nike Golf for years, and we acquired Exclusive Distributorship of Taylormade adidas Golf as well. Hurray! And yes, it’s adidas we did buying for, thus, the pair. I think this is one of the earliest of the boost technology models. It’s light and has a comfortable sole, perfect for all the walking we did the entire trip.

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Breakfast buffets are the best! I take shameless photos of my plate to send on Viber to my boyfriend for ~food~ updates.

Malaysia is basically a basin of culture, but majority of its population is Muslim. It’s mostly obvious through food options. Pork is rarely served. So here I had baked cauli flower, cheesy baked tomatoes, Basmati rice, hash browns, beef bacon, and chicken sausages. I almost cried, why BEEF bacon, why? The chicken sausage was good though, I liked that it had cheese.
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We visited the famed Jalan Alor at Bukit Bintang. It is an entire stretch of Street Food. It’s crazy – different races, all chats and noise, public performers, cars passing by, souvenir vendors, etc.

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Food was mostly spicy, or maybe I was just bound to love spicy food (and get fat, too).
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Of course, everyone’s favorite…

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And so far, the food that has piqued my interest in all of Kuala Lumpur, the chicken fish. I know it’s cute because, the heck, it’s smiling. But more than that, this sea creature has no bones aside from the hard one through the center. It’s white meat, chunky yet soft. It didn’t taste like chicken though. It was served fried – not oily nor spicy. Just the right hint of herbs and spices.
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This was the crowd to my right while dining. Crazy street.

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Of course, we cannot miss the Petronas Towers. Good thing we went there at night as it was majestic with the lights on and with the full moon.

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We left the next day hoarding Old Town Coffee.

Farewell, KL. Hoping to get back and take a not-so-touristy time out with you next time.

 

 

Bangkok 2015: An Overdue

Honestly, I can hardly think of an introduction for this post as this has been rotting in the drafts folder for nearly a year. Guess it is about time to finally send it out there as this was my first trip and Nike Golf CSI to Bangkok.

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The flight to Bangkok took us almost 4 hours. That’s the longest I’ve been on air. As mentioned in previous blogs, I am quite paranoid on flight. I had a hard time napping. I took a few trips to the loo and skipped sleep music on my ipod. Another hour was spent from airport to hotel. I was at my happiest when I arrived at my hotel room. Rest, finally.

As temporary LDRs with my boyfriend go, he sneaked out and had cute postcards sandwiched between pages of my office planner. This one’s for the day.

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I traveled in a group of three. So I went along with the two boys’ manly instincts and grabbed grub. At least they didn’t opt to stay at their mancave, they took me out for a big lunch at MBK instead. That was the first of the many spicy food I am to taste for God knows when time I’d be coming in and out of Thailand for buying trips. The boys were too lazy to walk and take the train, so we hailed a cab instead. They kind of briefed me with the the transportation system.

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Met a friend on the first day. I was brave enough to take the train on my own, but ok, I love getting lost in foreign places. I just had to keep a map with me, just in case.

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My first stop in Bangkok was the famed Jatujak market, no less. It’s like Manila’s Divisoria, but only a lot organized. I already had a pasalubong list, so I just had to do the pressure of hunting at that moment so I can relax the days ahead. I had good buys though. I got my mother a nicely weaved table runner. Also got her and my grandmother silk scarves. Haven’t actually bought for myself then, because I was saving for a pair of Nike’s (LOL) but was already eyeing leather bags. It was humid on that day, just had to cool down with coconut ice cream. I think this was just around THB35-50, toppings included. Jatujak isn’t just a shopping heaven, it also boasts of monstrous street food. They have the spiciest balls and grilled pork around, and they perform while preparing your Thai Iced Tea!

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It was rather late when I got back the hotel room. The boys thought I got lost and I kept receiving Viber messages asking where I was, or if I need help commuting, etc. HAHA This was the last snap before I went to bed. Looks just like our own Manila.

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I was never a morning person, but the breakfast buffet definitely motivated me to get up earlier than usual. Their bacon and sausages are the best!

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Nike Golf’s SEA office is just stone’s throw away from the hotel. Thank God! I can get to the Conference Hall in a matter of 5 minutes, depositing of ID at the Reception Area included. Nike really has a sleek modern office! I haven’t taken any photos though as I might be judged of sneaking around. Their rooms/halls are named after novelty shoes. Isn’t it so cool to hold office at Airforce One or at Air Max?

Found Rory McIlroy imitating David lying around. Life (Golf) imitating art, eh? So witty.

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Walked around Paragon and suddenly believed in love at first sight. Heehee.

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Same night, Team PH went out with Team Indo for dinner. We were scouting for real Thai food. We wanted to try Chicken Rice but the train queue was unbearable so we dined at Lek Seafood, which was just right under the train station. HAHA! Good thing I was the only girl in the crew and the only first-timer so I always had the first bite of every dish. All four boys battled it out in the table after I’ve taken my part.

I never thought I’d love Thai food, but Lek Seafood’s Tom Yum and Steamed Fish blew me away. See how beautifully legit this fish is served?

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As everyone ended up being full from dinner. We all decided to swim. Team Indo went straight to the pool area and dipped in the same clothes they wore during dinner. Yes, that Suzanne Petersen-signed shirt was immersed in water. Those two guys were a mix of cool and crazy.

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The next day was more serious stuff at the office, so there just had to be a party by night. This was at Cloud 47, one of Bangkok’s tallest buildings. Beautiful Bangkok city lights. We walked to and fro this venue. We made a detour at Pat Pong on the way back to the hotel. That was one of the craziest walks I had in my entire life. Imagine waking and being followed around by people holding menus of what the red light district had to offer! I was actually asking myself what the hell we were doing there!

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Apparently, fun really starts as soon as the sun sets. As Team PH and Team Indo have been lusting for Chicken Rice, Nike Golf’s head took us to this small Chicken Rice shop on the road leading to the Floating Market. We walked from the hotel to this restaurant, took us almost an hour. We were starving. This better be good!

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And Sui Heng Hainanese Chicken did not disappoint. This quaint restaurant boasts of tasty Chicken Rice, beyond par of those famed Sinagapore counterparts. It was summer and I was already having allergies, but I had chicken to my heart’s content.

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Look at that white tender meat!

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The following day was the Marketing Team’s tour. So tempted to take a dip, but ugh, have to prepare for the long road trip ahead.

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As Nike Golf launched the Vapor line of Irons and Metalwoods, Nike Golf shifted its color scheme from red (remember Covert?) to the Volt Green. I believe this is a good marketing move as it possesses a younger, electric, and more energetic feel. Well, aside from the fact that the color really drives attention. Look at this Limited Edition Driver for Michelle Wie. Doesn’t it look hip?

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And this cute headcover for Rory. I actually asked the Nike SEA team why Rory’s was a dog. (I mean, Tiger’s was a tiger for all the obvious reasons) Well, because Rory had the same headcover for years. Good to know, actually. Would have to consider that a selling point aside from the fact that you could get it for free with a purchase of two dozen Nike RZN Balls.

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Getting from one store to another was quite tiring. I just had to have my sugar fix. Now, this one’s the Thai Tea Crepe Cake. Which is like the best dessert I ever had in Bangkok because duh?! That’s Thai Iced tea and Crepe cake in one! My photo makes no justice and I can’t find the right words to describe what heaven on earth this tastes like!

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Had a lot of curries too. This one’s Green Beef Curry with Roti. It’s a mild curry so it’s easy on the palate.

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One of the most anticipated part of the trip, Nike Factory Store!

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Had to take a photo of this washroom, as it looks like a public bath area in Greece circa Renaissance era. I just wish I didn’t include myself in the photo.

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We had a cruise at the Chao Praya River. It was a beautiful tour, I just hope there was someone who actually spoken about the historical landmarks along the river instead of a voiceover which was hardly ever heard.

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I wasn’t able to take enviable photos of the tour. I was just struck in awe with the images of their majestic temples. I can’t believe I’ve seen a temple in gold, shining at night, or a temple with intricate details seen from afar, or parks and homes of royals luminescent in the dark.

This is the Rama VIII bridge. Majestic is an understatement. I’d like to walk upon it one day.

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Met with my friend, or twin should I say, the next day. We met at Jatujak again. She helped me complete my pasalubong list. She was actually on her last days in Bangkok too. After a few days, she flew and relocated to Norway. So sad, I wouldn’t be able to meet her on my future visits to Thailand.

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I always compare Philippine airports with those abroad. That’s a dreadful thing to do, I know, but this one I can’t help to.

Thais are deeply rooted in their history. They take so much pride in their country and culture. Their gateways (airports) have guardians (see pictured below), narratives and depictions of their gods and goddesses. And mind you, these are enormous.

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Finally, it’s time to board the plane. Farewell, Bangkok. Until the next Nike Golf CSI.

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Dear Lover, Some Little Thing I Owe You

Dear Lover,

I don’t remember saying “We’d see the entire world together”. Or maybe I did, but entirely forgotten because a few memorable places would actually already do.

Remember when I told you I’m taking you to Baguio? In my head I was actually telling you I’m taking you home. And just a month ago, I did. As promised, we took the midnight bus. We did not have the luxury to recline our seats as we missed the bus we’re supposed to take. I would have wanted to keep the curtains open for you to watch the outside pass us by, but I chose that you take rest instead, for mostly, the ride we took were all freeways in sight.

The sun had already declared its might by the time we arrived. I briefed you of my soon-to-be tendency to point out random places and tell stories of what happened then and there. You let out a small laugh because I have already started right before I warned.

We jetted to Tam-Awan Village after that. We were greeted with a massive wall of graffiti my friends did for the village. It looks brighter and a lot less gruesome than it had been. We were welcomed by my old friends, whom to you are new. But at that moment, I knew you knew what I meant how faces become places and how places become faces. Their sanctuary has also become ours.

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You insisted we take the trek past the view deck before leaving. You loved how the weather afforded us a sweat-free trek up until the borders of the village. We hopped on to museums – of people and works you knew. Might have been because you met them once, or I acquainted you with them as per stories told then and there. We took the road up to meet the Oble of the North. I roamed the halls I used to roam. Some ten years ago, I was here, without any idea we’d exist here at one point.

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The night has finally put on its veil just as the rain poured, we sought refuge in a cafe because I promised to give you a taste of the best Strawberry Shortcake. I knew you’d find it not sweet enough, you requested for a slice of Apple pie. We felt we needed something to refresh our palette so we crossed Session Road and headed to an artsy vegetarian restaurant. I know I promised you a glimpse of a lesser known road but equally beautiful as Session, but the weather did not afford us – it was washed white from where we stood. Oh, it was that night you took literally The Magnetic Fields’ The Night You Can’t Remember – deluded with alcohol, you forgot how you wounded up in our room the following morning. And I, of course remembered, how you took a cold shower and jumped to the bottom bunker naked.

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The next day was a stroll on Baguio’s scariest. I must say, I am one lucky person – to have someone like you who looks at these kinds of places with utter admiration of beauty and history rather than what they are shallowly known for. I love how you marvel and wonder like a kid presented with an idea that aliens exist or something. And of course, you made the same face when confronted with a plate full of meat and protein. We took a cab home that evening. It was a toil getting one along Session Road, but it was along the trip you admired Baguio’s city lights. You struggled to take a photo from the moving vehicle. I laughed a small laugh and slipped into my mind that image of you in awe of Baguio’s lights.

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I took you out for touristy things the following day. You knew this was not my forte, I hated to do this actually. We strolled Burnham Park, maybe I just had to lend you stories which unfolded there – afternoons at the playground and some moments affront the lake. We judged a few people because it was what I used to do there. We felt a pull towards SM Baguio, you insisted we watch a movie for sixty pesos. But that was then, two hours spent at the cinema now costs a hundred and fifty. Well, still not bad these days. We stayed a little while at Harrison as we did thrift shopping that evening. It was not really your thing, but I got you sniffing around looking for vintage shirts you could parade and be proud of.

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We woke up early the next morning to oblige for everyone’s pasalubong requests. I took you to the outskirts of the wet market – not everyone has ever been to where vegetables from La Trinidad or Sagada is dropped off, not everyone sees how vendors wash their goods onsite, and not everyone knows there’s a fifteen peso kilo of carrots there.

We no longer left the village after that. We strolled back again to the roof deck, but we caught rain. We missed the sunset, which beauty I promised you forevers ago. However, we were presented with a dazed view of the mountains and South China Sea. We stayed there for a little more while, unmindful of the sharp shudders, without need of a coat, a jacket, or a warm cup of coffee. It’s like a cheesy scene in a movie bound to make you cringe and giggle at the same time.

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I thought the trip would be totally over when we set foot at the bus. On the way down Marcos Highway though, you pointed out again how beautiful Baguio’s city lights were and how it kind of reflected the serene night sky. Just when I thought we missed that part on the beginning of our journey, you brought it to me even before it came to an end.

I kind of smiled myself to sleep, knowing those days have been very exhausting, but promising and exciting. We may not have been able to tick off all that was in my Baguio checklist, but I was glad to have brought you to my heart’s home. Now, it’s yours as well.

Love always,

Asteorra

Lover, Here’s An In-Flight Postcard

Dear Lover,

At this point, I may already be somewhere in the clouds snoozing and dreaming we’d spend the flight and days I am away together. I have never told you, but I actually always felt uneasy flying. There’s a certain paranoia to me being up there seeing nothing, doing nothing. You never noticed that, did you? How can you, actually, when all flights spent with you I always feel safe and assured – with just your hand in mine or with my head on your shoulder. I’ll force myself to sleep again, uncomfortable it may be. Or maybe I just have to play your voice records or some relaxation music you have downloaded for me, just to compensate.

As early as now, I am telling you I might not speak as much as we do. As you see, our day has already started and would end maybe when the city lights come to a close. I will make up to you though in the morning, I promise. I will send you photos of our hotel room. I will take snaps of food served (though I get a bit shy when there’s too many people around). I will speak of my evil comparisons between you know what and what. I will tell you stories of people, how they look like, what they do, and how I think about them. I now imagine your chubby face taking over my screen, laughing, making snark comments, and looking at me lovingly like a normal PDA moment back home. Haha!

Just a few reminders: First, get the little rabbits water bottles and look for their shampoo, I can’t remember where I put it, but we need to give them a shower before we send them off for adoption. Second, NBC has cancelled Hannibal and I think they’re airing the entire series in a faster pace than it’s supposed to. Download, do not watch. You have to watch it with me. Lastly, do not miss me yet, there are two more days to go, you might already feel too much longing and anticipation by the last day. I do not want you fuming in anger or crying in frustration when our flight back home gets delayed.

Well, this has become embarrassing, I am too random.

That, and I love you. A million hugs await you.

To my Little Penguin

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I know it embarrasses you to have been called as such now that you’re a grown man. On my part though, it makes me a bit melodramatic.

Everything is vivid. From the little boy bound to piss me off everyday, to a teenager whom I was in charge of looking over aka take cover when school trouble arises, to a yuppie whom I did style consultation for in exchange of free food or a pair of pants, then suddenly to an army official.

You were a bright kid, but you were equally hard-headed and mischievous. Some of your teachers even disliked you for your curious and sometimes sarcastic inquisitions. I was called to office a few times because you were caught throwing pieces of paper at ceiling fans, vandalizing school property, forging our parents’ signature, etc. We kept these our little secrets then. Our parents only knew of a few years ago, they only laughed their heads off, but could have fumed in anger that time.

Everyone knew you as the happy-go-lucky kind. I guess it’s just us, your family, who believed that there’s a grown man underneath your childish antics. Because we listened more than your words, we took notice of your silent sacrifices, we took note of your dreams. But who knew, right? You were sneaky. You never told anybody. There were a few signs, but no hints. I didn’t even know that the reason you borrowed my neck ties was for your application for the army. Still I mull, if I had known, would I let you? Maybe yes, maybe no.

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And here you are now, looking mighty and strong, with a respectful stance and assertive but calm demeanor. You’ve come so far from the laid back and annoying guy we all knew. Look how a year has changed you!

Proud as we are, it worries and saddens us even how all of these entail threat upon your life. You may have briefed, acquainted, and had us ready for this, but we never were. Never will we be. If only there’s a way I could make offering to the gods just to have you assigned some part of Luzon or Visayas instead of Mindanao, I swear, I’d roast a thousand suckling pigs!

We have barely three days to spend with you before you proceed to your assigned division. Can tomorrow until Sunday be composed of 48 hours each? I’d cut the drama, just get home safe.

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I look real mean in this photo, but I love you in real life, abnormal penguin brother Bobek!

Lanuza Walking Tour

Lanuza they say, is a hidden surfing gem, mostly overshadowed by its northern counterpart, Siargao. In the last few years however, they are marketing the area for tourism. Every November, they hold a music and surfing festival for three days. Curiosity had us cruising for thirty minutes from Parang to Lanuza.

We arrived a little early. We went directly to the surf camp but there was no one to welcome us. We took a look at the beach and the waves were rather tame. Perhaps it was because of the time, like in San Juan, La Union, waves were wilder in the afternoon. So we decided to look around other sites first.

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I made a research prior to this trip and have read good reviews about the Centennial Old White House. It’s a hundred and twelve year old house which showcases antiques and relics. Several blogs have mentioned that this is a municipality museum. Much was our surprise when we arrived there and found out that there were still people living in the house! Apparently, heirs of the house’s original owner still reside there.

They were very warm. Kuya Armando, our tour guide, led us around the house. According to him (and some notes posted around), the structure was built on May 28, 1898 through the help of Chinese artisans. It served as the business residence of then Mayor of Cantilan, Don Gabriel Uriarte Herrera.

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Pottery and earthenwares can be found in random corners of the house.

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Corners of their ceilings were painted of this kind.

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This dragon detail on a jar caught my attention. Chinese artisans, maybe.

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That’s Kuya Armando in a white shirt. The boyfriend (in backpack) was too eager to listen to him, while I took photos of things I found interesting.

This is their living room. That guy in the piano is related to the Herrera family, methinks. He was chatting with them. Also, I remember him playing the piano while we were having the tour.

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Such beautiful piece.

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Works of different media can be found throughout the house. There are paintings, charcoal drawings, carved wooden reliefs.

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I remember old wooden cabinets at home having this kind of details.

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Old gasera(s). My father used to collect these things.

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This globe looks ancient in actual.

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Some other old finds.

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Some other too many old finds.

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Their santo(s). All of these are made of wood and some have already been infested with termites.

The Herreras sponsor holy week and other church activities. They had a locker for dresses of these saints.

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They have a pretty good collection of Chinaware. We have been told that some of these even came from ship wreckages.

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Los Mexicanos. Yes, they do have these puppets hanging on their plants.

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We then proceeded to their garden.

Mama Mary was surrounded with water. She even had another statue praying to her.

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This, they say, is where the Herreras also welcome visitors aside from their sala.

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Dr. Herrera, Don Gabriel’s grandson I assume, joked that this well’s too old it could pass for a wishing well.

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Then we hopped to Propsero Pichay Sr. Boulevard, still with Kuya Armando. He told stories of people around, like who owns the houses and the resorts at the beachfront, stories of political clans, and gossip like who married who.

It was during this walk we realized that the old political families were the boyfriend’s second to third degree relatives, the Azarcons and Orozcos. They were also former mayors and vice mayors of the municipality.

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I wonder if this is where lifeguards chill during the height of the surfing season.

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Facade of the Orozco house in Lanuza.

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Of course, upon realization that the boyfriend’s related to once political families, we just had to visit the Lanuza Municipal Hall. It was closed at that time, but Kuya Armando being the ultimate tour guide knows the ins and outs of the building. I kid, he knows his way around because he was the assistant and landscapist of Mayor Herrera during his term.

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Blocks away from the municipal hall is the Herrera’s mausoleum.

It was a small structure, more like a chapel, where the family visit their departed relatives. Sometimes, they attend mass here.

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And surprisingly, we found familiar names in the mausoleum: Monteclaros. There were even Orozcos, Azarcons, and Limguangcos. We offered silence and prayers for a while.

It felt like we were walking for hours (well, we actually did). The heat of the sun made us tired.

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We headed back to the white house and ended up at the Herrera’s dining table.

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We thanked them for their very warm hospitality. They even told us to pay them a visit every time we fly to Surigao.

We went back to the surfing area. Unfortunately, the waves weren’t what we expected. It wasn’t the surfing season anyway.

We cruised back to Parang midst the rain. The boyfriend’s spirit did not dampen. He was obviously giddy and ecstatic about knowing people from his extended family. If only he could draft a family genealogy right then and there, he would. He was so amazed by how he found blood ties in far (relatively) and different places.

It may have been a swift and tiring walking tour, but it was all worthwhile, Lanuza. You made my annoyingly happy man a lot happier.

Surigao Del Sur Weekend

My boyfriend and I have been itching for a trip to Surigao for years since he has always told me stories of how beautiful and amazing the place is. Fortunately, we were able to book cheap flights late last year. We traveled to Surigao del Sur last weekend. The province’s biggest town, Cantilan, was having their fiesta. What better way to be meet the boyfriend’s relatives but with a celebration!

Experiences really makes you learn. I kind of expected our flight to be delayed, so I brought company,  J.D. Salinger (for re-reading) and this ipod. I was right, our carrier was forty minutes late this time.

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It was my first time to ride a propeller aircraft so we had to take (stupid) photos inside the plane. It’s a lot smaller than the ones I have flown. It’s a 40 to 42 seater aircraft. And since it’s small, you can really feel the take off, the landing, and the turbulences along the way.

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Finally arrived! I just had to include this photo since we had a similar one from our first travel together.

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After an hour’s travel in the air, we rode a van bound to Cantilan.

Surigao, I believe, is a beautiful place. It is surrounded with cerulean waters and lush green mountains. However, some of these mountains have been reduced to dark red dust due to mining. Even the bodies of water nearby have been contaminated and have already bled red.

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After almost five hours of travel, we’ve finally reached Cantilan!

Here’s the boyfriend’s extended family from his grandfather’s side.

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And another shot from his grandmother’s side.

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Each household served lechon (roasted pig), seafoods, and carabao meat. It was my first time to try the carabao meat, I would have mistaken it for beef.

This is the Monteclaro house, as my boyfriend would call it. This is Tiya Petra and Tiyo Nic’s home.

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I was amazed by Tiya Petra’s greens! She had chilis, lagundi, orchids, ferns, macopa fruits, sponge gourd (patola), cactuses, and other plants around.

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The beach was just stone’s throw away. It isn’t as beautiful as the beaches of Boracay or Palawan but is promising in its own way. It is more serene, though the waves could get fierce at certain times of the day. It has clear waters, you can actually see your soaked feet midst the dark sand. And a few feet away is the distance between you and fishes.

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We also passed by the cemetery to pay visit to the boyfriend’s ancestors.

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This is Tito Tom’s place. His sari-sari store had everything! From grocery items to hardware finds to gas tanks and unlimited wifi connection/subscription.

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A few blocks away from Tito Tom’s house is the Coraler’s home. The bottom part of the house used to be open and supported by pillars, but since they needed to have a storage for the goods they supply, they needed to have it covered and cemented. Now it also functions as Tito Josue’s pad and office.

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Their house was filled with bougainvilleas of different kinds and colors. They were so beautiful!

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I loved this small and old poso (water pump) installed in their kitchen. Apparently, it still works!

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What gas ranges? This is one medium of cooking their meals.

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Coconuts

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Corn

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Pineapple

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Pigs (I want the smaller one as pet)

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Most people in Surigao del Sur use their motorcycles as mode of transportation. Unlike in Manila which enforces strict traffic rules, they are kind of lax there. People can ride the motorcycle is threes, fours, and so on without helmets. The boyfriend and I even cruised without license.

4×4’s are also favored in the area, considering the trail you have to go through when traveling, you really need a car that can survive the dirt road. I haven’t seen a single sedan in my entire stay.

Public transportation is also available in the area. There are multicabs, which look like baranggay patrol cars in Manila. Tricycles can also be hired. Their tricycles look like Cagayan de Oro’s motorellas. Their only difference is the number of wheels.

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A photo of the Coraler’s.

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This is the kind of food that always greeted us in the morning. Way to go to a long lovely day.

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There was also a spring nearby. We just had to take a dip (and beer and lechon too).

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The boyfriend kind of arranged a simple family reunion for both sides.

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This is me with the boyfriend’s nephew and nieces.

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We had lunch by the beach.

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Lechon, the star of every meal.

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We witnessed men (and women) fishing. We even tried to help them by pulling the net towards the shore. They caught only a few fishes that day, two buckets of dilis (a variety of small fish, anchovies?). The kids asked five fishes from the fishermen for them to keep. They temporarily put them in a plastic cup.

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Boyfriend enjoyed playing with the kids as they buried him in the sand. He had sunburn after.

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And here I am overly happy.

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It was wonderful, Surigao. I can only promise to be back.

 

P.S. Wait, there’s more! Part 2 (How to Eat in a Town Fiesta) and Part 3 (Lanuza Walking Tour) coming up.