Sunday, May 13, 2018

Not the Achiever Type.....

I have to confess, concede.....I am not the achiever type. I don't aim to be the best, to be at the top. I never desire to be the richest nor wish to be famous. (This is not sour grape-ing, although, I do agree that many times I do get envious too. Hehehe.) My only desire is to be loved. I was the favorite girl at home, an obedient student to many teachers, well loved and liked by a closed circle of friends, respected by my students and casual to a lot of acquaintances and people. What my heart desires most, is to be loved; most specially by my Creator, my God, my Savior and Redeemer and the Holy Spirit. I know I am loved, that I have a special place in the heart of Jesus. I try my best to be pleasing to him. I pray constantly to be guided and blessed and protected by my Lord. I ask help when in times of troubles, doubt and darkness. I reach out for intercessions from our Blessed Mother, St. Joseph and all the angels and saints. This special love, I also ask for my husband Lucas and all my children and grandchildren, my siblings, and the people whom I love. I am honestly grateful for the countless personal encounters, the help He has given me in times of trouble (or even before). I have been saved, together with my love ones many times in the face of accidents and dangers. He has also given me beautiful gifts that I did not pray for. I only have to knock and ask. He always knows what is best for me.What else would I desire more..........

My life however has been marred by imperfections: When I was young, I had nightmares, night terrors and intermittent visions of paranormal faces. Could they possibly have existed only in my mind? My parents were extremely concerned  and I was so scared. With lots of prayers and personal struggles; and with God's help, some how I was able to overcome these my childhood maladies and episodes.

While growing up though, I was most of the time lazy, unkempt, dirty, happy-go-lucky. I hate doing school work specially those routed Chinese lessons. When I went to college, I had a culture shock. I realized I wasn't any good at all. In UST, Manila, I was having a hard time with chemistry, so I shifted from Biochemistry to Education. It was the easiest way out, I thought, for me to earn a bachelor's degree without much studying. Hehehe. In my heart though, I knew I could have been a good nurse or a doctor, but the problem was, I never did like burning the midnight oil. Ay, there's the rub!

When I got married to my husband Lucas Tan, I got married to the family business as well. I had to help my husband in the family store but, alas, I wasn't cut out for it. Embarrassingly, I did not even do good as a store cashier, because I simply could not stay put in one place for hours. My husband and in-laws must have been aghast that I was such a misfit.

Later, I did get to practice my profession as a teacher when my eldest son Roy was in kindergarten at CCI. I was bringing him to school and I was spotted by my college teaching supervisor from Notre Dame University, who was by then the principal of CCI.  (Let it be known that I came back to study in Cotabato when my mother died in 1971.) To make a long story short, Dr. Teodoro Carrasco offered me to teach, and wallah! Did I ever become the best teacher in CCI!!! Hahaha.

As a school teacher, my professional forte became noticeable and popular. Few years early on, I wishfully contemplated to put up my own school, but in 1993 however, I was able to see my dreams fulfilled. I was able to establish and run my own kindergarten school known as St. Martha School. It was a gift from God. Things just fell into places. Everything happened so quickly, liked a snap. (Not that I had not encounter any problems at all.) But all of a sudden, opportunities were opened. It was no easy task for I was doing all the work by my lonesome. But thank God, people just popped up to offer their help in a blessed silver platter. I had only but to put and assemble all the pieces together. And wallah, did I ever assemble and put everything beautifully all together at St. Martha School!!! Teaching was a challenging task with big responsibility, but it was great! I was a good teacher, and I was exceptionally even better running my own school. Everything boiled down to the work for which I was trained for and loved most! I need not even have to prove myself, I was just simply a natural.

But alas again, after 15 years, when the lease contract ended, my land lord and/or business associate became difficult. He wanted his land back. So I gave it up and closed shop. Before retiring, I relocated my St. Martha School teachers and pupils to CCI. Bragging aside, every school in town wanted my products. My teachers were well trained and the school kids were all smart and lovable. 

An after thought - Right after I retired from teaching, there was a resurgence of rampant kidnapping for ransom in Cotabato City. I instantly knew why closing the school was by then my only option. I verily thank God for saving and protecting me. If I had not given up St. Martha School, my school kids and myself would have been easy targets. It would have been the dead of me. Thank God for the right timing. Thank you my guardian angels too.

Currently I am 66 years old and enjoying my retirement. O Lord, do keep on blessing me and my family. I only wish to be loved by you.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Parties, Beach and Fun at 50th Year Reunion

 All girls dance presentation
Ten girl attendees, very graceful all.

 Seated: Anita Go, Imelda, Anita Du Siy, Corazon, Rosalinda, Herminigilda
Standing: Heddy, Erlinda, Wee Eng, Rita
 Class picture with our anniversary cake
Beach Time: Who might this sexy girl be on the beach? Hahaha! Rita and her beach wear!!!

Beach Game: Relay by passing the water over the head to the next team member. Game master Imelda explaining the game procedure.
How come the first players Efren and Ricky were starting the relay game too slowly by walking instead of running. Hahaha! Infact Ricky slowed down to wait for Efren to reach the water.
 Guess which team won the game? I felt so comical playing this game. I never laughed so hard and so long in a long long time that my ribs really hurt.
 Dusk at Misibis Bay Beach
 Picture, picture at the beach before dark.
My roommate Anita Go and I
 Solo picture posing with the jet ski. Haha.
 Class picture at Misibis Bay
 Reunion commencement picture at Hotel La Venezia, Legaspi City
 Awarding of class pin: at random
1. Rita Cua Uy - Most charming                       
2. Efren Yap - Best class composer                    
3. Anita Du Siy - Best New Yorker classmate   
4. Benjamin Tan - Most informative and helpful classmate
5. Pablo Lu - Most youngish looking classmate
6. Ricky Lim - Most cheerful and agreeable classmate
7. Roberto Co - Best gentleman                            
8. Corazon Te Taeza - Most loveable                     
9. Erlinda Ko Chua - Most sweet                            
10. Rosalinda Ko - Tallest girl in class               
 11. Wee Eng Lu Ong - Most shy                              
12. Roberto Yap - Best class gaming king   
13. William Lee - Best class accountant
14. Johnny Co - Best class insurance agent
15. Herminigilda Chew Arispe - Most amiable
16. Anita Go - Most quiet
17. Ramon Yee Fon - Most friendly
18. Quan Minton - Best poultry and farming king
19. Geraldo Tan - Most charming tisoy
20. Alberto Lim - Most piety and civic minded classmate
21. Roberto Atienza - Best class architect. 
22 Antonio Dy - Best class sales representative.
23. Imelda Tan Bugayong - Most busy class secretary and treasurer
24. Heddy Ledesma Tan - Most active class coordinator. Hahaha!
25. Jose Tan Lim - And most importantly, our best class president for life. The biggest donor!!
I take full responsibility in the description of my classmates. Hahaha! 
Hope to see you all again in two years time. If God is willing. Love you all!!!

Friday, April 13, 2018

Pictures from 50th Year Class Reunion (Albay Tour)

March 8, 2018
CCI Batch members of Class 1968 flew to Legaspi City early at 4:30 in the morning. We arrived Legaspi around 5:20 A.M. As the plane was descending and everybody else seemed to be sleeping on the plane,  I saw from the window on my aisle seat, together with Yannie who was by the window, a faint reddish glow from the mouth of the volcano. The faint glow came intermittently, and I was ecstatic; but alas, I was not quick enough with my camera. I just had to enjoy the spectacle with my own naked eyes instead of capturing it in photo.
Upon landing, I quickly took few shots of this beautiful majestic volcano with its smoke arising in amber color.
  Mayon Volcano
Legaspi City, here we come!!!

Since it was too early to go to Misibis Bay, and some of our classmates were arriving in another morning flight via Cebu Pacific, we opted to wait for them by taking our breakfast at Mcdonald's and go for the Albay Tour in three vans. 

 Cagsawa Ruins
 10 girls in a row.
 By the rice fields.
 10 girls and some boys. Haha!
 At the church
 Spelunking and group picture
 Group picture at Hoyop Hoyopan Cave. Not all girls were capable of doing the spelunking, so they stayed inside the van.
Arriving Misibis Bay in the afternoon around 4:30pm

More pictures next posting.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

2018 Golden Jubilee Reunion at Legaspi (Planning Stage)

2018 is our batch golden jubilee reunion year. Earlier on last year, my classmates Jose T. Lim, Ricky Lim, Roberto Atienza, Quan Minton, Gerry Tan, Imelda Bugayong, Anita Go and I met at Robinson's Magnolia, Quezon City to discuss our forthcoming reunion event. The venue and date were initially most important. Our class president Joe suggested Legaspi City with the beautiful Mayon Volcano as backdrop and Misibis Bay Resort for beach and hotel accommodation. Joe as you may know, has been doing business with the Misibis Bay Hotel Resort owner, it was therefor a practical move for us to avail of his business connection for a discounted rate. "Aye, aye, aye..." and so we voted. During the meeting, we also agreed on the date, from March 8, 2018 (Thursday) to March 11 (Sunday). Some deciding factors were considred: 1. It being a lean tourist season. 2. March has better climate too, it being less stormy and not too hot. 3. Early March is also for the benefit of some accountant classmates who would be busy for April's taxation. And 4. It was also to accommodate Rita Cua Uy who was coming home for the third year death anniversary of her father. And so, with the date and venue so decided, we can now book cheaper promotional flights to Legaspi City as early as possible. Thus, being the class coordinator, I wrote the following letter:

June 10, 2017

Dear Classmates,
Greetings! This is to inform you regarding our grand 50th year class reunion for 2018:
A.    That during our 48th year class reunion in Bagac, Bataan; we had a meeting and majority voted on the following:
1.     To hold a celebratory excursion in the Philippines for our 50th year class reunion against going abroad in 2018.
2.     That the excursion will be exclusively for class members only, with exception for classmates with health issue or other acceptable reasons.
3.     That the excursion date will take place more or less around February and/or March of 2018.

B.     Basing from this majority rule decision, last May 30, 2017; I met with Joe, 
      Ricky, Berto, Minton, Gerry, Imelda and Anita Go at Robinson's Magnolia, 
      although other class members were contacted to come. During the lunch meeting, 
      we came up with the following:
1.     Reunion date – March 8, 2018 to March 11, 2018 (Thursday to Sunday)
2.     Venue of excursion – Legaspi City and Misibis Bay Beach Resort.
3.     Logistics:
a.     Buy your own plane tickets to avail of promo fare or you may buy your tickets in groups.
b.     Please buy the first early morning flight to Legaspi City via PAL on March 8, 2018.
c.      Upon arrival at Legaspi City airport, we will take a chartered bus to Misibis Bay Resort ( Shangrila Hotel equivalent)
d.     3D2N stay at Misibis.
e.     Leave Misibis for Legaspi City by bus on March 10, 2018. Tour scenic spots of Legaspi. The main attraction of which is the Mayon Volcano.
f.       Overnight stay at Legaspi City on March 10 (Saturday)
g.     Return home on March 11, 2018 (Sunday)
4.     Contribution – P10,00.00 per person inclusive of hotels, bus and food.
5.     Add on – urging classmates who can afford to contribute more.
6.     No traditional class party prior to excursion.
7.     Be seeing each other at the airport in the early morning flight of March  8, 2018
8.     Please make us know if you are coming or not as early as possible so Joe can make the necessary hotel reservations.
9.     Send your contribution online to Imelda Bugayong/Jose T. Lim at Metro Bank account #.....  After your deposit, please inform Imelda through her phone #..... so she can properly check the transfer. Thank you for your cooperation.


My letter was sent via email, others were personally delivered to my classmates' front doors or establishments, and some were coursed through William Lee who helped me disseminate to classmates in Davao City. The first to respond was Efren Yap. I was very happy when he replied he was attending from his Facebook account. Efren, you see, lived in Los Angeles, USA. In addition, Sitinela Bansuan who was also living in LA, Rita Cua Uy from Canada, and Anita Du Siy from New York, USA, all responded favorably to come home for this our 50th year event. Yehey! This would be the first time that classmates from abroad were coming home for the reunion! To add to the attendees, another elusive classmate Erlinda Ko Chua in Iloilo was also persuaded by Wee Eng Lu Ong to join. I was simply elated. The female attendees were increasing. We had to make this reunion worthwhile and successful!

But alas! Mayon Volcano in Albay was erupting! It was at its peak of eruption early this year. The volcanologist raised the alert system to level four. For months on, there were lava flows and ash falls. At sometime, flights to Legaspi were also suspended. Nearby villages were also evacuated. This geological upheaval raised concerns for many. Because of this, I requested for a meeting and asked Joe and Ricky and Imelda to have some contingency plan, but my classmates in Manila were unfazed. According to Joe, there were even more tourists going to Legaspi to watch the eruption of Mayon Volcano. Ricky even jokingly said, that if ever the planes won't fly, then we will take the bus to Legaspi instead. Hahaha. So thus subdued by my very positively thinking friends, I began writing some assurance letter to my concerned classmates that in the event of a major eruption, we will find some other place in Manila for our reunion (with fingers crossed). Hehehe. There were also some changes as we moved along. Most of us had decided to stay for another day in Legaspi City and go home on March 12.

Unknown to them, I had been calling up Hotel La Venezia in Legaspi City to oftenly inquire about the situation of Mayon Volcano. The people whom I talked to, all assured me that the lava flow and ash fall were in the opposite direction of the volcano, that Legaspi City indeed was safe for the reunion. With some kind of assurance, my classmates one by one began to arrive Philippines and Manila. I was hopeful for 30 pax attendance, but at the last stage of counting, 27 seemed to be the number. At the last moment though, Sitinela Bansuan from L.A. was unable to come due to one reason or another. Samto Uy too from Cagayan de Oro failed to be present due to sickness. The total number of person hence attending became 25. On the day before we flew to Legaspi City on March 7, the alert level of Mayon Volcano was brought down from four to  three. Yehey! Legaspi City, here we come!!!

Pictures to be included on next posting.............

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Class Reunion

I graduated high school in 1968 at Cotabato Chinese High School in Cotabato City. (It is now called Cotabato City Institute.) Because our graduation took placed during a leap year, we agreed upon to hold our class reunion every leap year, so as to easily remember the time for our get together. My husband Lucas once even jokingly said that we were like Olympians, like the Olympic events that transpire every leap year too. And so for the record, ever since after our graduation, our class reunion never failed to materialize every four years since then.

The girls from our batch were specially very closed. We were only a hand few compared to the majority of the boys. The ratio during that time if I am not mistaken was about one girl to five boys. Most of us girls were not very chummy chummy with the boys in our class either, because during those days, it was a mortal sin to be a flirt. People would tease you incessantly even at the slightest show of friendliness or admiration. Besides, at sixteen years of age, graduating high school from far flung Cotabato province, the girls of CCHS class 1968 were mostly very very innocent, carefree, silly, tomboyish and un-poised. (if there is such a thing as un-poised. Hahaha.)

Through the early years, after our graduation, we had reunions every four years during December in Cotabato City. Until such time when classmate Erlinda Ko Chua suggested that we should change the venue and its seasonal month of conducting the reunion, because many had left Cotabato and were married, and couldn't possibly come to attend in December. Following her very sensible advise, the class held our very first out of town reunion at Midtown Ramada, Manila during the summer. We held a formal class party at the hotel venue. The next day, together with our families we went to Batulao, Batangas for an excursion. The attendance was high but the success rating was so so. The cooperation of both boys and girls were a big factor for success. During the excursion, we held a class meeting. The whole bunch agreed to maintain Jose T. Lim as our class president because truly he was more level headed than the rest of us. Hehehe.

On the 25th year, silver jubilee celebration; our class hosted (customarily) the song and dance programme of our school Alumni Homecoming event at the CCI gym on December 28, 1993. The turn out was a big success!!! We prepared well for it. We had "Kumukuti-Kutitap " (glitters) as our theme. Here in Cotabato, we rehearsed for months on end selected songs and dances. The Manila contingent not to be out done, prepared their own song and dance numbers too. Many came home with their families. They even brought home their choreographer. After the dance program on stage, the lady choreographer initiated group dancing for all on the dance floor. Never in the CCI Alumni Homecoming history could you see people dancing non stop even up on the bleachers and on the stage. This was indeed another one for the record. Our class was simply spectacular!

Sometimes in 2004( I may have forgotten the exact year actually), we had our reunion held in Davao City. The Davao contingent group of classmates hosted the affair. The reunion was well attended. Many came. We were billeted at the Davao Insular Hotel but this reunion also put a big strain on our class funds. I was bickering with Jose (Pepe) Chio about taxing or rather not imposing more contributions over some people. It also marked the end of the reunion that included spouses and families. Per Rita Cua Uy suggestion, " make things easier and not complicated, let us just have reunions among ourselves not including spouses and families." So the good advise was taken up and carried on.......

After Davao, we celebrated more reunions among ourselves. We went to Tagaytay, and to Puerto Princesa in 2012. Here, I have to specially mention Puerto Princesa. We had some difficulty at first at planning because of earlier protests and hidden agenda from wives to be included. After the unsuccessful attempts of some wives to disrupt our gathering, the reunion pushed through without a hitch. It was a big success! We had fun with our party and excursions. When the meeting was conducted in Puerto Princesa, it was even proposed and decided that the class should hold reunion every two years now instead of four! Hahaha. And so from then on, until now, we begun having bi-annual gatherings without the spouses. Sometimes, at the spur of the moment, the girls in Manila, together with some boys, we would get away and have lunch at Quan Mintons's farm house in Batangas. (Hehehe, we would bring along our husbands as well.) Last year, a peer group of boys from our class went to Boracay with their wives. Yet, when it comes to the bi-annual class gatherings, it still remains to be exclusively for class members only. In a span of every two years, we were able to go to Tagaytay again, to Shangrila, Mactan; to Bagac, Bataan and most recently this year to Misibis Bay and Legaspi City.

Our class members were dwindling. We were not getting any younger. Some died, some sick and incapacitated, others just simply unwilling to join.

This year 2018, for our 50th year class reunion; my partner in crimes, Imelda Tan Bugayong  and I conspired to celebrate the golden jubilee with aplomb. Thanks to our class president Jose T. Lim, our classmates Ricky Lim and Roberto Atienza who not only gave their financial support but also their full moral support as well. Three classmates, Efren Yap, Rita Cua Uy, Anita Du Siy came home from abroad. The number of girls increased to ten. Although only 25 members attended, yet we had so much fun. It could have been 27 but two were not able to come despite having paid their dues. The class had a most wonderful time though. We had a blast! Our 50th class reunion in Misibis and Legaspi was a huge success!!! Thanks and kudos to all! And thank you God for our safe trip! Thank you very much!

(to be continued) coming up next... 50th year, golden jubilee reunion.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

A Chronicle - Balamban and Sileo, Cebu

After Aloguinsan, we had to move along. We were going to Balamban to meet relatives; nephew Jerome Chua and his wife Reizl and their children and Jerome's mom, Rosita Chua (the sister of Lucas). Jerome and Reizl and children lived in Balamban. (Reizl hails from Balamban, Cebu.) The couple had a thriving business in Balamban. Rosita was on the other hand in Cebu for Emil and Suiling's wedding. So we were supposed to see them in Balamban that day, then to proceed to Sileo mountain house for an overnight stay. Tom had invited Jerome and family for an overnight stay at Sileo. He rented a big mountain house with ample rooms for everyone to spend quality family time together. Sileo sat on a mountainous location. It was cool on the top. There was no where else particular to go except to relax and enjoy the cool air.

But alas, we arrived Balamban late in the afternoon due to heavy traffic along the way. So we decided instead to meet them, the relatives somewhere around town and went straight to Sileo. On the way to Sileo, we were met by total blackout. We reached our destination in total darkness. The wind was blowing hard. We could hear loud howling sound. The children were scared. The kids were all embracing their mothers due to the cold air, the horryfying howling sound of the wind and the scary liked situation of the darkness. Some of the adults (including me) were laughing out loud for such a movie liked scenario. The young ones though were very helpful, going ahead of us inside the house, locating our rooms with the help of an overseeing house lady.

Inside the pitched black mountain house, the elders and the young children all gathered in one place which was the big living room. After sometimes, the power came back. Wallah! It turned out, the mountain house was well furnished with modern facilities. It was really very nice! But after a long day of fun and adventure from Moalboal, to Aloguinsan, to Sileo, everybody was just simply too tired. and all we wanted to do was to have a good night sleep.

When I awoke the next morning, the breakfast table was already set. I was the second to the last to rise up. Martha was the last but then she was sick that day. Here are some nice pictures: 

Breakfast at the mountain house.
With Luz Co taking charge of the kitchen.
 View from the mountain house.
 View from Lucas and mine room.
The grandchildren eating breakfast and playing already.
Lucas and his sister Rosita (Lechu) Chua
Jerome and Reizl Chua
The kids watching television at the living room.
 This group went to the market to prepare our lunch and got busy inside the kitchen.
Emil and Suiling, our chief cooks.
The loafers. Where is Roy?! Hahaha!
Home cooked lunch at the mountain house. More dishes on the way. 

After lunch, we lingered at the mountain house for awhile. The young ones explored some nearby vicinity. We had some househelps who took care of cleaning up. The whole bunch left Sileo at around, the Chuas for Balamban and the Tan's contingent to Cebu City. In a few days we shall be saying good bye to Luz Co and Marion Olmillo, and thanking them for joining this our family gathering and trip. 
And from here, I shall conclude my chronicle from Emil and Suiling's wedding, to our family trip from Cebu City, to Sumilon Island, to Kawasan Falls, Moalboal, Aloguinsan, Balamban and Sileo and back to Cebu City. Thank you God for blessing us with a safe, memorable, happy, one in a life time family event and vacation. Thank You so much. Thank you so very very much!!!

See you again on my next blog........

Thursday, January 25, 2018

A Chronicle - Aloguinsan, Cebu

On November 24, the Tan family left Moalboal at noon for a late lunch at Aloguinsan, to proceed on  a local bangka cruise at Bojo River. This Aloguinsan sustainable tour was a special trip we had never experienced before. It was very Filipino, cultural, educational and fun. It featured everything native to the place. This sustainable tour was and is under the supervision of the Department of Tourism and the Department of Trade. Taking this trip made us proud and hopeful for our country so beautiful. We do really need to preserve our scenery and not deface it. This eco-system tour was really one of its kind. We totally enjoyed and appreciated this day tour. Thank you Tom for bringing us to Alonguinsan.

While Tom was registering the group tour at the lobby, Lucas and I posed for a picture at the farm entrance. Luz Co on the other hand wanted to pose with the DTI sign board, so I posed with her too. Hahaha.

Father and son enjoying the forested pathway to the river.
We were welcome with leis made from the seeds, fruits and flowers of tropical plants. They were not edible though.

Suiling and myself with our beaded leis.

 This way to Bojo River.


Upon arriving the river bank, we were welcome with Visayan songs and dance. Martha and Angel dancing to the lively tunes.

Look at the beautiful and colorful table setting!
All these fresh young coconuts made us extremely happy!

Healthy lunch! Tom was so proud that we were enjoying this experience to the max!

After lunch, we proceeded to the river bank for the eco-system river tour. Here everybody was getting his life vest and buri hat preparing for the cruise.

We took a bangka (paddled boat) around Bojo River. The guide pointed out different species of mangrove trees, the most popular ones were the nipa (palm) and the bakawan. It brought back a lot of childhood memories where I used to take a motorized boat with my uncle and cousins through the Rio Grande River of Cotabato City.

This was the mouth of the Bojo River going out to the sea. We were supposed to be brought out to the sea and go to a nearby beach. But because of the big waves that afternoon, the boat just stopped right at the mouth of the river for us to take a dip at the salty river water.

Hey look, who's that guy who jumped into the river first? 

After Dylan, all the young ones went down for a dip. The blue green river looked very enticing and invigorating

So I removed my life vest. (I find it more difficult to swim with a vest that is trying to go up to my throat. Haha.) and jumped into the water too. 

Upon seeing me enjoying my swim, Lucas and Luz also joined in. Emil and Suiling decided to stay dry on the boat.

More pictures from the Bojo River swim.

To those who intend to go for the river cruise, be prepared for a dip from the bangka or the beach. After the swim, you will be brought back to the river bank again. Leave your dry clothes at the river bank for a change of clothing for your next destination. Bring along towels, soap and shampoo. They have bathrooms for shower at the river bank huts. You can leave your things at the dining area while on cruise.

After drying oneselves, the tour package includes kakanin snacks like puto, biko, cassava cake and drinks. But because we have another place to visit for the night, we decided to pack along our snacks and enjoyed them inside the van instead.