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Friday, October 09, 2009

Heaven Rocks

Dear Daddy,

I was telling mom that to be able to bear the pain of your passing, we should just pretend that you are just back in Jeddah working.

And since you are just back in Jeddah, I will make it very realistic by writing you letters every so often. Then maybe I won’t miss you too much.

So, how are you? Do you love the white outfit that looks like a uniform? I know how you hate wearing uniforms. I remember when you were still working in SSS, you were given your annual set of Barong and Pants (with the SSS logo) but not even once did you wear them.

Are you acting stubborn too during meals up there? Don't! I bet they all serve you corned beef and hungarian sausage and they often ran out of broccoli that you disgust so much.

Do you still shake your head in disbelief or in disagreement when someone says something totally absurd? Do you play chess and beat the crap out of all the grandmasters also residing among the clouds?

I hope you are having a grand time there. Oh well, you can tell me about it...but please not personally. You can send me a letter in my sleep if you like.

I dream of you very often and I know it's your way of letting me know that heaven rocks!

'Til my next letter...


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Forever Daddy's Girl

I seldom tell stories about my dad nor has he ever been a topic of anything I write (in my column when I wrote for the school paper in college, or in any of my blogs).

I love my dad; we get a long really well. In fact I would say I was closer to my dad than my mom. But there seem to have no interesting topic revolving him that is juicy to write about. There is absolutely nothing out of the ordinary about my dad except that he is an extraordinarily great father.

To say that my dad is smart would be an understatement. He finished High School as valedictorian at age 14 (and that's not because they owned the school) and graduated from Electrical Engineering from MIT at age 19. But since he was underaged (21 being the legal), he was not allowed to take the licensure exams. So he spent some time in leisure in Moncada which he enjoyed so much that he overstayed for seven long years! Then when he realized he must make a move, he went to Manila and found a job in SSS where he met my mom who then had just broken her engagement. Few months after, they got married and the following year welcomed a baby who had the loudest cry in the whole nursery (that's me LOL).

Daddy is a very loving father. He would shower us not only with material things but with lots of affection too. He's got an uncanny sense of humor but he was never offensive; just plain crazy too many times. With him, I always get what I wanted, or at least something to pacify me. Like when I asked for a Barbie and it wasn’t payday yet, I cried for hours until he got me something close to a Barbie (but not quite) - a Bar-B-Q! Or when I asked him to buy me a karaoke in the morning and got it in the afternoon. Even when we were all grown up and working on our respective careers, Dad would shop for our shoes, blouses, pants and yes, he would even buy our undies. He drove me to school (and got us a driver when he couldn't), concerts, movies and waited on me while I party. He would never admit it, but yes, it was my dad who spelled the word SPOILED to me.

My favorite memory of myself with Daddy is when he would carry me and my sister at the same time. I would be in his left arm while my sis will have his right. It's a fond memory but I feel a pinch in my heart when I recall that moment.

Back then, Daddy was young, agile and strong. He would climb our tall bayabas (guava) tree just so he has something green to give in their Kris Kringle's gift for the week theme. He managed to push 'til we reached home our old orange Opel car when it stalled on us along Retiro Ave. He was our Iron Man, being the only male in the house. But that strength was never used to physically hurt his kids, well, me actually. I was never spanked by my Daddy. Never.

It was March 2006 when Dad felt a wrenching pain in his right arm. We had it checked and found that a huge portion of his bone in that arm has been fractured which was quite a surprise because he didn't have an accident to cause that. He underwent an operation but that was not the end of it. Tests revealed he had cancer - a rare and difficult to treat. Plasmacytoma. Stage 4.

My sisters and I were in total disbelief; it was like a movie with a horrible plot that unfolded quite quickly. We didn't know how to tell him. Knowing my dad and his unconventional attack on a lot of situation, we were unsure if he would agree to any form of treatment. Thankfully, he underwent chemo and got better and back we went to our usual lives. With Dad's faith also renewed, he thought he was cured of cancer after his first round of treatment.

On January of 2008 we found out he's got a tumor in his head near the sinus. Biopsy confirmed that the cancer has metastasized. It was another blow but nevertheless, we treated it like a test of faith. With the tumor growing, it started to press his optic nerves which made his vision hazy; then one day we realized he could no longer see us. He loves to read, answer cryptic crossword puzzles, hand-mount our stamp collection - things he could no longer do when we went blind. It was heartbreaking. I felt the world closing down on us. Of all the senses he has to lose, the worst could be his eyes.

With his condition going downhill, we started to live by the day but looked forward to many more years with my Daddy. Even if he has lost his sight, we knew the warmth of our love and the tickle of our laughter would fill colors to his everyday. He continued to attend family gatherings, prayer meetings with their religious community, and select parties with his friends as if proving to the world that life must go on and that his new-found faith remains unshaken.

Last April he was admitted at St. Lukes with what was suspected to be renal failure and had to start undergoing dialysis. I held his hand and stayed with him as doctors put a tube through his neck in preparation for the procedure. It was the moment when I felt his pain, when all the pent up emotion and tears I have been holding for the past three years started falling. It was the moment when I knew in my heart I would lose him and soon it will be.

I will never forget that day in the hospital when (after mom has left the room) my dad told me, "Sweetheart, I am leaving soon." No matter how hard I fought back the tears, I was defeated. He couldn't see me but he heard my sobs and asked me if I was crying. Sensing how hard I was taking his farewell, he took my hand and comforted me, saying he will fight 'til the very end. I told him I love him and that I am sorry for the times when he wanted me to be around but I kept traveling instead. I knew he understood but I could not blame him when he expressed his doubts on how much I love him.

That was the last meaningful conversation I had with my Dad. When we brought him home, it's as if he wasn't there anymore. It's like we brought home an empty shell that only looked like him. He could no longer eat and must be tube-fed. He couldn’t move so he wore diapers and we hired a caregiver. He slept most of the time and could barely utter any coherent sentence. What used to be their bedroom became a makeshift hospital room with a hospital bed, suction machine, equipment for tube-feeding and bottles after bottles of medicines.

On 2nd of June, my mom told me they rushed him again to the hospital and the doctors need to put him on respirator. The moment I read the message, I started crying. This is going to be It. When I reached the ER, he was already affixed with tubes; he smelled of blood and didn't look like my father at all. My mom kept telling me to prepare myself for the inevitable, as if it's the easiest thing in the world to do. The selfish me wants him alive no matter what. I don’t care if he suffers with the quality of life he has being bed-ridden and all. All I want is for him to live but I know God wants him more than I do.

At dawn the following day we gathered around him as he breathed his last and surrendered himself to God. There was no struggle like those you see in the movies. It was a peaceful passing, so peaceful that we didn't even know the exact time when he left.

It's been 100 days since he went towards the Light, but the pain in my heart feels like it's only been just 10 days. I think of him every single day. Everytime I come by to my parent’s house, I would look up the stairs expecting him to come down. Or when I eat, I sometimes wait for that special goblet to arrive with that sour fruit juice he hand-squeezed for me.

Daddy, your leaving left a permanent void in my heart. No amount of wealth nor success could fill that. No one else could love me and spoil me the way you did.

I love you so much and I miss you terribly.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Pinoy Driver's Oath

If PUV drivers are made to take an oath, this will be it:

I am a public transporation driver and I am a Filipino.

I will park my vehicle whenever and wherever I want to. I will not care if the road is only 2 meters wide and nothing else, not even a bicycle, can go through because of my incredible parking.

I will load and unload passengers on designated areas only, specifically where there is a sign that reads, 'NO Loading, NO Unloading'.

I will swerve and cut other vehicles with total abandon.

I will limit my speed to 120kph when driving along EDSA. It is a good venue to hone my Kimi Raikkonen skills.

I will obey traffic rules and regulations only when a policeman or a traffic enforcer is in sight.

I will remember the meaning of each traffic light: Red means STOP LATER, Green means GO AHEAD OF EVERYONE ELSE and Yellow means GO FASTER.

I will send SMS and make phone calls while driving. Multi-tasking is a good way to improve the economy.

I will smoke stick after stick on the road so my passengers can inhale the nicotine too.

I will wear sando, ragged shorts and slippers when driving. Clean fingernails and combing is not part of my grooming.

I am a public transporation driver and I am a Filipino.

Friday, May 08, 2009

It's a mistake to always have the Yaya in tow...

It was Eone's scheduled checkup with her pedia and we had to wait for hours because when we arrived at 11AM there were about 20 more on queue ahead of us. As usual, it would be a pretty long and boring wait.

But not too boring this time.

There was this boy who seemed to be lost and looking for his mom. He was crying out, frantically searching for his parents around the corridors. My Yaya attempted to talk to little boy but hesitated, perhaps unsure of what to tell him. Then Yaya came to me, shaking her head while murmuring her disbelief as how could a parent lose a child in a hospital where there's not too much people.

After a few more wailing (which started to break a few onlookers heart), a lady approached the boy and asked him where his parents were. Minutes later, the boy came out with his mother holding him by the hand. It turned out the parents were inside the clinic with the boy's younger sibling.

So that was the end of the story? Not yet.

Suddenly, I overheard my Yaya talking to the boy's mother saying (in her very disticnt Batangena accent) 'Kayo po pala ang Ina nyan? Eh kanina pa hanap ng hanap eh. Utas na nga sa pag iyak. Sabi nya "Mommy, Daddy, how are you?"'

I didn't know what to do first. Drag her away or pretend I didn't know her.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

The Welcome Letter

My job enables me to spend lovely mornings in beautiful and exciting places. But hey, when I say exciting it doesn't always mean fun.

Take for example one trip I had in Sri Lanka, where everybody knows there is an ongoing civil war between the government and the Tamils.

Sure, they said that tourists and foreigners were not targets. Yes, the country is amazingly aged and old fashioned, but nevertheless beautiful. And thank you, I flew there on business class (as consuelo de bobo). But if you get a welcome letter like this, would you be able to settle snuggly in bed at night?

I wasn't allowed to take any pictures (but of course I manage to steal some shots, hihihi) and forbidden to step outside the hotel. On one occassion when I tried walking towards the beach, military men patrolling the streets stared at me as if I have a big sign on my head saying, "I have no underwear!".

Jeez, I need a hazard pay!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Vanity Mom

The only cure for vanity is laughter, and the only fault that's laughable is vanity. - Henri Bergson

kikay: pssst
rubyle: huy
rubyle: ano nangyari kay eone????
kikay: npaso
rubyle: kelan nangyari?
kikay: kgbi
rubyle: eh bakit napaso?
rubyle: likot?
kikay: yung lampshade pinatay nya
kikay: e natumba
kikay: sa kamay nya lumanding
kikay: natanggal ang takip
rubyle: shiyet
kikay: dumampi yung bulb sa kanya
rubyle: saan napaso?
kikay: tapos wala lang
kikay: sa kamay
kikay: hindi naman reklamo
kikay: after 45 minutes pa namin nalaman
kikay: nung tinamaan ng plastic ng jelly ace yung paso
kikay: ayun symepre kumirot
kikay: nun lang dumaing
rubyle: shet
kikay: kaya ngyn kapag ask mo sya ano nangyari...sasabihin nya napaso sya ng jelly ace
rubyle: hahhahahahhahahah
kikay: kasi yung jelly ace ang nakasakit sa kanya e
kikay: hay
kikay: panic ever ako
kikay: nakita ko yung paso nya
kikay: parang ako ang iiyak e
rubyle: malaki?
kikay: medyo
rubyle: shet
kikay: mga singlaki ng piso
kikay: ang unang tanong ko nga sa doctor "Doc, magpepeklat ba yan?
kikay: para akong sira
rubyle: hahhahahahahahhahahahhahhahaha
rubyle: KIKAY
rubyle: dapat diba "doc, masakit ba yan?"
rubyle: o kaya, maiinfect ba?
rubyle: hahahhahahaha
kikay: sorry, di ko kayang mag panggap
kikay: yun ang natanong ko e
kikay: kakainis pag naiisip ko
kikay: parang nung nadapa si eone
kikay: takbo ako ..sabi ko : "me sugat ba me sugat? baka magpeklat!"
rubyle: hahahahhahahahahhahahahahhhaha
kikay: imbes na ask ko "baka napilayan?"
rubyle: 1) anak masakit ba?
kikay: oo nga e
rubyle: 2) san masakit?
kikay: aaralin ko na itanong yan next time
rubyle: 3) may sugat ka?
rubyle: hahahhahahahhahahahhaha
rubyle: ireview mo ha
kikay: oo i will keep in mind
kikay: dapat yan ang sequence
kikay: shet
kikay: hampaslupang ina ako
kikay: parang nung nahulog ako sa kabayo before
kikay: unang sabi ko, "my face! me sugat ako sa face?"
rubyle: pokeh
kikay: habang naka handusay ako sa batuhan
kikay: yun ang aking sinasabi...keber kung bali ang tadyang ko
rubyle: kasehodang lumpo ka no
kikay: kesehodang komang ako
kikay: basta ang important is the fez!
kikay: banidosang umaariba
rubyle: maganda ka sa wheelchair di ba
kikay: hahahaha!
kikay: i need to rethink my priorities
rubyle: medyo mare hahahahhahaa

Friday, February 27, 2009

50 Things Deleted From My Fact Sheet

I was tagged many times in 25 Random's mine; only difference is that I have twice as much.

1. I was the first grandchild on my mother's side. I grew up pampered, nurtured and spoiled by everyone. (Thus, I normally get what I want...then I became an adult and reality hit me big time.)
2. I can't sleep in the dark or without at least a lamp turned on.
3. Before I reached 1.5 yrs old I have already endured 3 dog bites, all from the same dog. He was sent to someone's tummy.
4. My adolescent years were spent in Jeddah where I had my first exposure to shopping. There's no other hobby.
5. I am a makeup and beauty products junkie. Vanity is my favorite sin.
6. I've had asthma since I was 2 yrs old.
7. Because of #6, I relented to several 'non-conventional' treatments, went to quack doctors, and ate grilled lizard (straight from the ceiling, down to the fire and viola, dinner!) and turtle soup.
8. If snoring is a sport, I'd take home the Gold.
9. I was very active in extra-curricular activities in school. I was involved in the Student Council, associate editor of the College paper, head of the Dance Troupe and head of the Cultural Committee.
10. When I was a kid, I was such a spoiled brat that my cousins were not allowed to play with me.
11.When I say "I love you", I really mean it.
12. It takes years (sometimes decades) for me to forgive. I bear grudges.
13. New Kids On The Block was the love of my life when I was 14. I collected anything with their pictures on, and watched their concert in Manila. I used to sign Knight as my surname.
14. I have a birthmark where no one can see it. hahaha (don't imagine where! LOL!)
15. Kikay is the description that best suits me.
16. Over the years, I've realized that my circle of friends get smaller and smaller but the quality gets higher and higher.
17. I’m scared of flying.
18. My mom and dad used to pay for all my credit cards.
19. When I was five, I was walking with my gradma's sister (who then was 70) going to a health care center. She fell in a manhole. I laughed instead of helping her out (what must I be thinking back then?).
20. I had a fight with a 33 year old woman. I pulled her hair and slapped her. I was 11.
21. I married my college boyfriend.
22. I read all the Harry Potter books and named my daughter after one of the characters.
23. I was Ms. Brazil in a Miss United Nations pageant.
24. Language is one of my fascinations. I can speak Bicolano and can understand Ilocano, Visaya and Kapampangan (a bit). I can read, understand and would like to be fluent in Spanish. I'm also good in swardspeak.
25. I can play the piano. My mom said I don't play with feelings. (Gusto ata ni Mommy e yung emote na emote. LOL)
26. On one trip to Phuket, we went to a Sing Along restaurant where the owner thought I was a professional singer in Manila (I think he’s got an ear problem). He requested so many songs that I felt like a jukebox.
27. Driving is my waterloo. I was once told that if I drive in Australia, I will get 'the finger'.
28. I pushed someone off an escalator.
29. Ask me to do any household chores except laundry and ironing...(also dishwashing, cleaning, making my own bed...hahaha!)
30. A driver used to take me (and my sisters) to school so I didn’t get a chance to cut class to go to the mall.
31. My first job was as an Industrial Engineer for a garments manufacturing company. I quit before the workers could do witchcraft on me everytime I raise their quota level.
32. I had a boyfriend with the same surname as mine. We didn't know that we're related until many years after we broke up.
33. When I was 8, my classmate gave me flowers and chocolates for Valentines. I threw a rock at him which made him bleed on the forehead.
34. In first grade, my teacher threw my bag outside the classroom because I was too talkative in class. I stood up and threw out her bag as well.
35. I used to be very conservative. (Take note, past tense. Hahaha!)
36. I gave my little sister's eyelashes some good trimming when we were still kids.
37. Making me cry is as easy as making me laugh.
38. When I was 12, I joined the town fiesta dance contest with 2 girls whose names I couldn't even remember.
39. I can cook well but I hate the preparation part. Someone has to do all the peeling, cutting and mincing.
40. I can live without TV, but not without internet.
41. I used to think that kissing can get girls pregnant (now I know we need to be more 'creative' than that, hahaha!)
42. You can bribe me with chocolates.
43. I had a suitor who was a leader of a fraternity. He would ask his neophytes during initiation rites to bring me flowers and love letters. I enjoyed it tremendously (ang haba ng hair ng lola nyo - abot hanggang Dumaguete!) but didn't like the guy so I turned him down.
44. I passed out while riding the Anchor's Away in Enchanted Kingdom.
45. I am allergic to seafoods. I'm trying to overcome it by eating every so often when my condition is good (not stressed, with enough rest, and no colds).
46. Switzerland is my dream vacation country.
47. I belong to a clan (mom's side) of eaters and singers. Reunions (which is quite often) revolve around food and videoke.
48. Worms and maggots scare the shit out of me. There should always be at least 10 feet of space between me and them.
49. I am a very transparent person. I'm not good at hiding my feelings.
50. I am proud to be a Filipino. I love my roots, my race, and my culture. Sure, there are things that are undesirable about the Philippines, but I love it nevertheless. I will not give up my nationality unless my family's life is at stake.
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