Category Archives: Family

The thrill and fear of starting over

If I were born American, I’d probably be kicked out of my parents home six years ago. Hah. I’m lucky I grew up in the Philippines–a land where mothers and fathers keep their offspring until they’re practically wrinkly and toothless.

For years, I’ve been used to being fed, roofed, and cared for by my parents. We may have our fair share of misunderstandings but I’m always the one who raises the white flag. After all, it’s their rules and conditions that always must matter in the household.

I’ve thought of moving out a number of times. You know, those times I’d feel I’m being leashed inside my own house. I’m an adult, I’d say. But I’ve never really made a move to pack up and go. I couldn’t. My heart wages no.

Spankin’ new 1-peso coin

But yesterday, I’ve finally decided to jump into something I’ve been planning for  more than a year. And boy, was it the biggest, most crazy-scary decision I have made in my life so far.

I have less than 9 weeks to bid my family and friends goodbye. Temporarily, of course, if everything goes according to plan.

Yep, March is the new New Year for me.

P.S. Blog title is borrowed from a colleague’s Tweet. He couldn’t have coined it better.  Thanks, Arj.



Filed under Family, Friends, Sentiments

Meanings and digits

1990s: The long, arduous wait to open gifts at the stroke of midnight.  Being forced to get some shuteye at 9 PM. Woken up with a whispered, “Merry Christmas, baby!” Picking out new clothes. Sitting on the floor, excitedly tearing away gift wrappers from presents. 2-week vacations. Ampaos, lots of it. The whole family kneeling down in prayer. Christmas parties at school. Neatly arranging presents. A Barbie doll from Italy. Family.

2000: Gabber-Gab. Fussing over presents to give. Cheesy the Dog. 13th month payout. Innumerable parties. The Mayan calendar. Godchildren you never knew you had.  Endless lists. Savoring what’s left on your Christmas break. Oatmeal cookies.  A legit excuse to get drunk. Picture frames. Wishing for your loved ones’ safety and health. Family.


Be kids and let kids be kids. It’s the most wonderful feeling this yuletide season.

Oh, and one more thing: Easy on the booze, bud.

Happy Christmas, folks!

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Filed under Family, Friends, Happy

Finding the good in goodbye

A few days after my grandmother was cremated, I posted this photo on Facebook with a long and emotional caption. It garnered a lot of “Likes” than average. I was deeply touched.

But a comment from a former college classmate struck me the most:

Leo, I was afraid of losing my lola, too. When Papa told me she had cancer, I didn’t know what to think or do. I just felt sick in the pit of my stomach and wanted to scream until I can scream no more.

My lola’s condition deteriorated quickly—and so was my religious faith. I was lost. I felt like I was abandoned in the middle of nowhere with nothing to get me by. Everyday was a nightmare –a torturous one.

During those dark times, nothing made sense to me anymore. How could someone so kind be inflicted with such illness? What have she done to deserve this? I was angry and bitter and saw only negativity on all things. Before I knew it, I made no effort to pray or hear mass. I often fronted my happy, perky self but underneath, I had a whirlwind of emotions.

It was extremely difficult to watch my grandmother struggle for dear life. Cancer gave her hell and it took its own sweet time doing so.

When my lola passed away last September 23rd, I was heartbroken. It was inevitable, I know. I should have accepted the fact long ago that she’ll be leaving us sooner or later. But I was in denial because I loved her too much.

Two months after, I’m still on the road to acceptance. I’d like to think that maybe there really is a reason behind her passing. Someday, I’ll find what the reason is. Someday.

Leo, I hope you assure your grandmother that you love her. Find every opportunity to show how much you care.  Pamper her, spoil her.. Make every moment count. Those are just the few priceless things you could give that will keep her spirits high.

Keep the faith,


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Filed under Family, Poignant

Missing her. Again.

What a strong woman my  grandmother is. Here’s a short clip of her, smiling despite her sickness. This was the day after she learned she had stage 4 lung cancer. Sigh. I miss her terribly. It has been exactly 42 days since she left us.

I knew she was trying to stay strong for us. She wanted to keep fighting. Her body weakened each day but her willpower was just.. WOW. Every day was struggle but it wasn’t enough reason to give  up. She was given 4 months to live, yet she survived until her 8th month.

Look at her.. Is this a portrait of a person who has cancer? I love her smile.

My nephew, Gab, couldn’t sit still for a photo. He tried to wriggle free of Lola’s grip here. She also loved the little critter to bits.

Haay. Excuse me, I need to blow my nose.

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Filed under Family, Happy, Poignant


I forget the bad when I gaze at him adoringly.

Folks, I present you my nephew, Ethan Gabriel. I love him from his thick head of hair, down to his cute little toenails.

The world looks like a better place now, don’t you think? I do–and it’s just what I need.

(More photos of the little bundle of joy HERE)


Filed under Family, Happy