Thursday, May 23, 2019

Turning Points.....

In 2011, when I turned 60 years old in November, together with my best friend Imelda Bugayong who was also a zodiac fellow scorpion; despite us turning around the milestone age corner, we seemed to be the giddiest girlfriends at hand. We had just recently received our Quezon City Senior ID cards and booklets that entitled us to discounted grocery items, movie passes, medicines, dining and parking benefits. Together, we went to Shangrila Mall, and at their basement food center to try out our newly acquired ids. We were literary laughing about our new acquisitions, our age and everything else. Looking back, both of us seemed to be the happiest senior citizens ever. Hahaha. During that time, at 60 years old, I was not really feeling the age yet. I may not have looked my age either. Hehehe.

When I was 64, I began to feel my age. My shoulder began to ache, my legs and my back also. At one point, I was brought to the er because of unbearable lumbar pain. After which I started keeping some pain pills inside my medicine pouch, fearful of another episode. Knock on the wood but it has not reoccur yet. Maybe due to the fact that I have been doing some stretching exercises and dancing at home, and  tai chi also. Well at 64, I was still wearing heels and could still walk fast. But there were tale tell signs of aging, of sagging skin, eye bags, thinning hair and blurry eyesights and yes, cataract.....

Now I am 67 years old. I just had my left eye cataract operated. After the operation, I could plainly see myself in the mirror. Gosh I look old. I feel old. These days, I have restricted myself from carrying heavy load, bending and squatting. I still have to resume my dancing and exercises. I hope I can go back to my old frame of keep myself young at heart all the time. “Heal me, O God, and I shall be whole, save me and I shall be safe. In you I hope. Amen. “

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Home Again!

I went to Manila again last April 13, 2019, this time with my husband Lucas. We spent the holy week observance in Manila with my daughter Martha. She had a four day break from work. Most people in Manila went out of town, to the beach, to the province or abroad for the long break. But this year, I decided to be in Manila, rather than for Martha to come home to Cotabato because I was going to see my dentist for a tooth capping before the holiday and undergo a left eye cataract procedure after.

During the Holy Thursday observance, my husband Lucas, my daughter Martha, my sister Theng, my brother Ollie and his wife Solan and and I went visiting different churches in Metro Manila. We began at Santuario de San Jose in San Juan, proceeded to Sacred Heart Church, to the Pink Sister's Chapel at New Manila, to the nearby Mount Carmel Church, and lastly to the Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Cubao, - 5 churches in all. That night, there were plentiful of people doing the visita iglesias. Some like us, visited the transferred  repository; others were doing their way of the cross, others the rosary perhaps. That night, some churches opened up several confessional services to their faithfuls. There were lines of people patiently waiting for their turns. There were so many pilgrims. I was amazed at the throng of believers. I am pretty sure my Lord knows us by our names. He will certainly bless us for our faith. And by the way, I would like to mention that Santuario de San Jose had the most beautiful repository of all. We stayed there longer for the vigil and I made some personal prayers inside, I hope St. Joseph will intercede and bring my petitions to the Lord our God. I promise to go back. I will wait for the Lord to perform many miracles yet. Remember me and remember us, O Lord!

During the remaining holidays, we watched home movies at my sister Helen's place. Helen who walks with two canes now, has put up a big tv and a movie entertainment gadget at her home. To include her in our holy week activities, we watched old academy award movies at her place such as "Song of Bernadette", "Jesus Christ Superstar" a rock musical; and "Fiddler on the Roof". They were beautiful movies.

On Easter Sunday, I suggested a house warming event at Ollie's new place. We brought pot luck dinner. I cooked native chicken adobo and streamed fish with Chinese herbs. Helen brought pork liempo, Theng brought hofan and Solan ordered many delicious dishes from Mannhann. They were all yum-yummy. I also brought my maids to cleanup after dinner. After dinner though, we watched another home movie picture at Ollie's new residence. Ollie had a new television set and Martha used her netflix to scroll down for entertainment. We watched "Operation Finale" a movie about the capture of nazi's head Adolf Eichmann by the Mossad agents. It was an interesting movie but Theng fell asleep and so did Lucas. Hahaha!

 After the holy week, I prepared myself for my cataract procedure. It was a good thing I had the "best doctor" at American Eye. My cataract procedure took longer than usual because my eye was not responding to the medicine drops. It was not dilating so Doctor James Lee had to manually dilate it. My husband Lucas was my companion but he was outside the operating room. Yet with him around, I felt safe and wholly confident, although I was really really scared and nervous inside. During the procedure, I knew something was not right, so I kept on praying...."Heal me Lord and I shall be whole, save me and I shall be safe. In you I hope." In you I trust. I prayed the Hail Mary, reiterating "....pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death....pray for us sinners, now.....". I repeated the guardian angel prayer several times too.... .And then....... thank God it was over.

Thank God, the doctor did well. Everything was good. When I reached home, I felt exhausted and slept the whole day at home, waking up every two hours for the eye drops and back to sleep again. I also went to sleep the next day too. Lucas watched over me while I slept. He woke me up for meal time and my eye drops too. I was so glad he was with me. I would be lost without him. Thank God, all is well and that I am back home to Cotabato and blogging about it right now. Thank you God, so very very much!!! 

Friday, April 12, 2019

Pictures from Last March......

Here are pictures from Last March........

 Group picture with some of the Lecom members at the Trapesstine Monastery compound.
 With my roommate Mildred Lim. Behind us was the retreat hall.
 The chapel/church of the monastery.
 Group picture with Sister Julie Pesongco, my former student, a cloistered nun at the monastery
 After an over night stay at the monastery in Polomolok, we left for Cotabato and  stopped at Blooming Garden in Tupi for lunch.
 At the restaurant.
 Vegetable salad and healthy blue tea for our starter.
 Group picture.....
 More pictures and striking poses before going home. Hehehe.
 Can you spot me? Hehehe.
 Surely, the one with the more lively pose. Hahaha.
Lucio, Conchita,Tony,Bibi and Lucas, before the Canadian visitors left Cotabato for Manila.

Monday, April 8, 2019

Last March 2019

Last March, my in-laws Dr. Antonio C. Tan and his wife Bibi Tan came home to Cotabato from Canada. Whenever they are here in Cotabato, they stay with me at my home. Bibi Tan is also from Cotabato. For a little bit of Cotabato history and background, her family, the Lim-Go used to open a fabric store in Sinsuat Avenue. Her family had since closed that store, instead they went into the more lucrative business of trading agricultural products. Their family establishment is called Comart. And boy, did they really make good and prosper. These days however Cotabato's business environment had drastically changed. Agricultural trading has lost its luster because of the costly and difficult process of sending out the produce via water transport. Rio Grande River is now hardly pliable due to the silting of the delta. The port and pier have shifted to Polloc, Parang; but even there, the boats are not docking because of the unreasonable fees and labors and costs imposed on the ships and the businessmen. Many a trading establishment has since folded up. Despite that, their family business continues to be operative in the City, although not as progressively as before. Anyway, my sister-in-law Bibi comes home to Cotabato, I think to primarily visit her maiden family, most specially her sister Agiok who mans their business establishment called Comart. During the daytime, she would go visit her maiden family, eat lunch with them, come home in the afternoon, have supper at my place and sleep at LCT Hardware Residence.That is because her husband Tony, who is the second eldest child in the Tan family prefered to spend time with his Tan siblings and sleep at my abode. While spending time in Cotabato though, Bibi had much decisions regarding the couple’s daily activities which were mostly meetings old family friends. Lucas and I were not very good hosts, we just let them be. We let them do or go to whatever and where ever they want to do or go. They come to visit every year, and after many years, I guess I know what they really want already, and that is to just let them be. Infact they would not hesitate to tell us what they like and prefer. The important thing is for me to buy more local fruits because you know Canadians are so much into healthy eating. I have come to be quite adjusted to their yearly visit. This year they stayed for ten days before leaving for Manila.

During their 10 day stay this March, I went for a one day lenten retreat at the Trapessitne Monastery in Polomolok, South Cotabato with the lector community of our parish, the Queen of Peace Church. It was a refreshingly and learning retreat. I roommate with Mildred Lim. I got to met Julie Pesongco, my former student in CCI who has become a cloistered nun. The vespers and the mass were very solemn. The monastery was a peaceful place and I liked the serenity of the surroundings. Not to mention that I simply enjoyed land trips and chatting with the ladies and buying pasalubong to bring home too. Hahaha. At the monastery gift shop, I bought lots of cookies for myself, my husband, the maids and the secretaries. Surely my husband’s and mine sugar will go rocket high because of our many sugar intake from the cookies and biscotti. (The Canadians were not eating any of those sweets by the way.) Hahaha. I also bought a Madonna and Child picture from the gift shop. We had all the religious items we bought blessed by our parish priest, Rev. Father Simeon Samson. On our way home, we passed by the roadside fruit strands and I bought lots of fruits for my visitors too such as pineapples, papayas, avocados, guyabano, corns, and also fish. Coming home, we had lunch at the Blooming Garden in Tupi and bought more pasalubong. Hahaha. Truly, this was such an enjoyable retreat trip for me.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Feeling Blue.....

I went to Manila on February 27 to visit my daughter Martha, at the same time for purposes of seeing an eye doctor and a dentist for check up, among many other minor errands. I enplaned alone and left my husband Lucas in Cotabato. In Manila my daughter Martha was having colds and cough due to allergies. I slept with her in her room. When I woke up, she was already out for work. Martha, being an industrial engineer (a black belter six sigma), works for a company that provides consultancy and services for different industries, hence she goes to work visiting different firms everyday. She goes as far as Laguna, Las Pinas, Taguig, Pasig etc. After work, she attends company meetings too. After work, she also plays tennis and trains for group tournament. She is such a hard working person, taking great responsibility with whatever she is doing. Martha and her twin, Marion (in New Zealand) were raised since infancy with maids and other house helps attending to their needs. But my two girls despite their easy domestic life, were academically and professionally driven and were very conscientious in their endeavors and undertakings. With regards to Martha, I know she is well compensated, she is happy with her work and enjoys time with her friends. I am so very proud of her, yet as a mother, how I wish that she had an easier profession with a good husband to take care of her. But as we all know, a mother's wish does not always come true. Henceforth I was feeling a little blue while I was in Manila.

Other things that added to my sadness were.......
1. That my sister Helen was physically not very mobile. She had a fall last year and had a partial hip replacement. With her weak knees and arthritis, she was not able to regain her former gait. She walked with two canes. One on the right and another one on the left, with most of her hands carrying the body load. Seeing her in such condition made my heart sank. Before we used to go out malling and shopping together, These times, our activity together has become limited.
2. This particular trip, I was not able to meet most of my siblings because each one of them was busy with his own business. Not bonding with them made me a little sad though.
3. And the thought of growing old, going for eye check-up and scheduling a cataract operation, just made me miserable. Although I should be really so much thankful that my eye check up went well, no glaucoma and retina problems as I previously feared. Thank you my God.
4. When I came home to Cotabato, I still continue to worry much about Martha's hectic schedule, plus the water crisis that everybody is experiencing in Metro Manila. I am such a worrywart really!
5. My maids in Manila are not as capable as my previous helpers. I really want to replace them right now, but I am not doing it because there are no replacement yet. Hehe.
5. And I came back home to Cotabato to tackle new domestic helpers problem here. Oh no, not again! This is a yearly occurrence right now in every household.
6. Right now, I am having colds and cough. Will problems never end? Would you fault me if I am feeling blue? I really should start counting my blessings after this......

Oh God, Please help me! I know you will. Love You.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Elusive Peace

Peace seems to be elusive. After the bombing at the entrance of South Sea's Mall last New Year's Eve, the campaign for the plebiscite for the inclusion of Cotabato City to the Bangsang Moro (Muslim autonomy) ensued in January. There were caravans of rallies of pro supporters coming in from the out skirts. Many Christians were scared of another Marawi (Isis atrocity) scenario and thus fled the city in a hurry. The true Cotabatenos stayed on, but alas, for the ensuing procedures for the incoming plebiscite, the comelec was seemingly lax and so were the military manning the check points. Too many flying voters were able to infiltrate. To the dismay of many Cotabatenos, after the plebiscite, Cotabato City lost the area to the Moros. It looked like we were made a sacrificial cow to appease the Bangsang Moro leadership. Maybe, I was thinking, the soldiers also do not like to fight the long running moro insurgency war anymore, hence Cotabato City was easily taken in such manner. O God have mercy on us.

Jolo City of Sulu, Philippines, however won its independency from the inclusion but few weeks later, horrifyingly, the cathedral in Jolo was bombed during a mass, more than 20 people died and scores were injured. O God have mercy on us.

Personally, I was on the other hand having a conflict with my high school friend. It seemed that I had offended her in one of our high school chums get together last January. She accused me of being rude to her with my boisterous voice. Well honestly, whenever there is an exchange of opinions, I have always been very vocal and loud, maybe to the extend of rudeness. So, I apologized to her and my batch mates as well in an email addressed to all, but the kitten had turned into a tigress. The tone of her reply to my letter of apology was indeed very harsh and full of ire. Well, maybe I deserved it rightly for explaining something very emphatically to someone whom I thought could not get my message rightly. Well, I did my part to make peace, if she is unforgiving, I am indeed truly sorry.

Oh then, why is peace so elusive. Correct me and protect us O Lord!!!

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Happy New Year Photos

 Group picture on new year's eve at Lucio and Conchita's residence.
 Group picture with our parish priest in the center Rev. Father Charlie Celeste DCC.
 At home after the evening mass, Martha and Marion happily found an old baptism souvenir item.
 Brightening up the kitchen with fruits.
 My noche buena table setting.
 My noche buena spread.
 Getting ready for the new year, playing aloud Christmas songs on cds.
 Happy family picture with my twins. Happy New Year to all!!!
Lighted a candle for peace through out the year! Happy New Year 2019!