Monday, September 28, 2015

My Home for 35 Years

Orchids from my rooftop garden.

Moon cake is of course always enjoyed and shared on this occasion.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

My Concerns

My house is in disarray because of the cracks, leaks and on going repairs on my roof deck. I am in total hysteria, so stressed and in despair as it rains continuously for two weeks. The weather begins to calm down yesterday though and today my heart is more or less at peace. I have to thank God that despite the many troubles, he sends me help in terms of good and kind people: The laborers who work on the roof deck, the store employees who attend to my SOS calls, my househelps who assist me at all times I feel humbled and shamed seeing how hard everybody is working even in the middle of a bad down pour. I am sincerely touched that they are all truly concerned about me and my near nervous breakdown.

Today, the sun is up. It is a blessed Sunday. In the morning, my husband and I attend the Sunday Mass. At church, I am pleasantly surprised that we are requested to bring the bread and wine for the mass offering. Somehow it makes me feel that God is telling me that he is near and listening to me.

Today the Chinese celebrates mid autumn festival. Today is also my house 35th year anniversary. It is an auspicious day! For good vibes, I put potted plants inside the house. I adorn my mini grotto and my sala with orchids plucked from my rooftop garden. I greet my children over the mobiles a "happy moon festival!". In the afternoon, my husband and I snack on tea and moon cake. Sister Jeannette come to visit at night. My heart has somehow quieted down. I do my daily rosary after supper. But I need to pray more....... for aside from the concern regarding my leaking house, the more important concern at the moment is for the good health of Sui Ling, my son Emil's girlfriend who is diagnosed with pre-leukemia disease. Her operation is tentatively postponed due to insurance coverage issue. With out the insurance, there is financial constrain because of the transplant gigantic cost. I have to continuously pray to God for Sui Ling and my son's intentions. Have mercy on them O Lord. Have mercy.

Dear Lord, please graciously hear my prayers. Have mercy on us O Lord! Have mercy!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Guiding Spirit

Yesterday, my friends and I visited our old dance instructor Mr. Pete Capocao and his wife Rosalinda. During our dancing hey days, Mr. Capocao taught the guys how to dance the cha cha, boogie, tango etc. He was a businessman. He owned his own metal work fabricating shop, was active in church and in civic organization too. His wife Linda, I knew had a mild stroke several years ago, although limping, I had seen her attending masses with her husband Pete at church. Yet of late, both of them were nowhere to be seen. We heard Mr. Capocao was sick, we talked about him and decided to make a visit. (On occasions, he invited us to his house for fiesta.) Although the visit was planned but it was delayed for several weeks now because either one of us would be out of town or indisposed. Last Saturday however, I talked to my friends. I told them that if they would not come with me this Sunday, I would go by myself. I would be guilty stricken if in case he happened to die and I was unable to visit. Thankfully, they came along with me yesterday.

The visit was unannounced and so we arrived in a most awkward situation where Mr. Capocao was found seated outside his house, airing himself almost naked, wearing only a boxer short. He had the presence of mind though to cover his groin with a piece of face towel. Hehehe. Anyway, Linda his wife sat on another chair beside him. Both of them did not move from where they were seated. Linda was teary eyed, very thankful of our visit. Pete was kind of senile, not recognizing most of us. He was curious about the red packet I gave him, opened it up like a kid and showed the money to his wife. Linda was more talkative:
" I can not walk."
" My feet hurt."
" Our friends have forgotten us, no one comes to visit."
" Pete fell down from Robinson's. His son tried to pull his hands. The force of pulling hurt his right hand. He can not move his right hand well now. He should have (physical) therapy after the fall but then we came home from Manila already."
" Our friends who used to come here to drink with him, did not visit us anymore."
" Now that we are poor nobody comes to see us."
" Not all children are good." .............
" Pete falls down even when he sneezes."
" I think Pete will die first ahead of me."........

I went home that morning with mixed feelings, although I initially felt good that we had visited him. But by night fall, I was kind of feeling depressed due to maybe because of the many problems I need to face concerning the on going repair of my leaking roof deck. I was tremendously scared for rain to come, afraid lest it leaked on several parts of the house. During supper I talked to Lucas about the fear of getting old. "Until we are together, we will take care of each other. You'll take care of me and I'll take care of you." ......." I don't want to concern any of my children about taking care of us during our old age."........."Maybe I'll prefer a yaya (care giver) and a driver to obey my biddings."...."I know I am not going to stay in this house forever but until I am still here, I shall take care of it.".......and so on and so forth.

Then I began complaining about how I tried my best to put and build up my house as a safe shelter and haven for my family. (The building in LCT has two sections: the front which belongs to Luna and Tina, and the back which belongs to Lucas and me.) I kind of supervised the construction even from the very start, climbed up the building ladders even when I was pregnant, agreed to Luna's decision that Lucas and I stay at the back of the building as our portion, took in my mother-in-law, took care of the common kitchen and watched out for the construction works that were being done. As years went by, I also supervised all the repairs and concerns in the common area, even until now. Yet it turns out everything on my side of the house went wrong against my good intentions. My roof deck is leaking, my downspouts are rotten, my ceilings are opening up, etc, etc......

"Why do I have to end up with all the troubles, God is so unfair......." I complained to Lucas. But as usual, Lucas took my complaints silently and quietly. To un-stress, I opened up my piano and played a few simple pieces hoping to abate my pent up emotions. I played "Let There Be Peace on Earth.", then I played a few Christmas tunes too "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas", " The First Noel" and then "Away in a Manger."

When I had done playing, I looked up at the little Belen figuring on my piano mantel piece and I sang softly."Away in a manger, no crib for a bed...........". Something struck my heart and made me think. In a little while, I went up to Lucas and embraced him. I said. "I am not going to complain anymore. You know, God came and was born in a manger......and so what am I complaining about?!.... I am not going to complain anymore." I promised.

Thank you O Holy Spirit for guiding my heart and mind.

Updates: Pete Capocao passed away last December 23, 2015. Lucas and I were in Manila then and were unable to attend his wake. May his soul rest in peace and find rest with the Lord.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

More Hong Kong Pictures

At Times Square, HK.
It's raining inside! With Totoro at the mall.
Fish congee and siakoy breakfast
With Jean, Jun, Helen, Ollie and Solan.
With Jean enjoying the harbor view.
Lucas and Jun at Charlie Brown Cafe, enjoying pretty, delicious snacks.
Peanuts - my favorite comic strip!!!
Waiting to be seated at Ding Tai Fung - Michelin star restaurant.
Walking around Cause Way Bay....
Taking the star Ferry for a night out.
The night lights along Kowloon harbor
At Peking Garden
Ollie and the yummy Peking duck dinner.
My group going to Victoria Peak. We also went to St. Joseph Church for the anticipated mass.
At Victoria Peak viewing deck.
That's all folks.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Visiting Rev. Father Peter King, OMI in Kowloon

Taking the tram. Took us about an hour ride from Hong Kong to Kowloon.
A picture taken with Father King upon arrival at the Notre Dame College, Kowloon.
Lucas attentively listening to Father King.
Inside the receiving room. Afternoon tea was served to the visitors.
Visiting our long time parish priest who is 93 years old now.
Father King giving us homily and blessings at the prayer room.
Picture taken with the Rev. Father.
Group picture with the head of the Notre Dame College and Parish, Rev. Father Ronnie Gicalao, OMI.
Thank you for looking after the Rev. Father Peter King. You're a kind and hospitable soul Father Ronnie.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Pictures from 2015 Hong Kong Trip

              Lucas and me at the hotel lobby

    Heddy, Helen, Solan, Jean, Jacy, Ollie and Jun (William)

    Diane, Miguel, Martin, Heddy, Boy (Wilson), Jeannette, Helen

 With eldest brother Uy Chiong Bian (center) and his wife (A-so seated beside Jeannette)

                            The Ledesma family get together picture in Hong Kong.

15 of us all seated together for dinner. Lucas took this picture of us. Chiong Bian hosted the dinner.
                                                          Happy together!

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Hong Kong Trip with My Siblings #2

One afternoon, after a long day of walking and shopping with Boy and Diane; we decided to go back to our hotel room early. Lucas and I rested our feet, watched tv and ate some chips and fruits. By 6 PM, I became restless. What to do? Sleep? Go out for supper? Shop again? No way!!!!! I wasn't going to sleep at 6PM nor eat supper when I was still full. I wanted to go out but I didn't want to roam the same vicinity anymore. I wanted to see other places but where to go and how to go? I wasn't really savvy with the train system and  was really afraid of getting lost. Just then, wallah, I received a text from Ollie informing me that he and Solan were just resting in their room, and asking what time to take supper with the broods? Helen who mostly go out with me, was of course in her room too.

I had a sudden bright idea. I wanted to go out and see the night lights of Hong Kong! I would invite Ollie and Solan and Helen. We could take the Star Ferry and go across to the Kowloon side near the Harbor, or take a taxi to Aberdeen Court and eat a sumptuous dinner at the floating Jumbo restaurant. I called up Helen and Ollie. I said. "We are going home in two days. Tomorrow night we will be packing up for an early morning flight. Tonight is our only chance to have a night out. Let's go out and stay up late." Surprisingly they all agreed to come with me. It was the rush hours and after failing several times to get taxis to Aberdeen, we opted to go to the Star Ferry instead. Ollie of course had to lead the way through the subway stations. According to Lucas, it was a long walking trip to reach our destination, however I didn't feel it because I was just too excited to go out. Hehehe.

The Star Ferry ride was breezy and relaxing. It went across the harbor to the Kowloon side.The night lights along Kowloon was pretty. We took several pictures. We walked a little and reached Harbor City. The atmosphere in Harbor City was lively and gay. There were young boys break dancing near the huge mall. There was also another group blowing big bubbles. Big crowds were mingling around and the huge mall was brightly lighted. I remembered a restaurant nearby that served Peking duck. (Lucas and I were once billeted in Harbor City many years ago with Domingo and his wife Jackie). Luckily instead of going to the huge mall, we walked the path to where the restaurants were located, and my eyes quickly spotted the "Peking Garden" that served Peking duck. There and then, I invited everybody to a Peking duck dinner. We had been tirelessly walking. Going out that night was my bright idea, therefore it was but right that I treated them to a sumptuous dinner. To make a long story short, we had a wonderful night out. We only thought of getting back when it started to rain. We went back to the hotel via the Metro rail. All my other siblings were wondering where we'd been. We came back very late almost 12 PM, dead tired and ready to go to sleep. Hahaha!

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Hong Kong Trip With My Siblings

I was about to post some pictures taken with my siblings in Hong Kong but my Nikon camera went kaput on me again. Anyway......

Last August 25 to 30, 2015, the Ledesma siblings except Imelda (our eldest sister) went to Hong Kong for a family bonding get-together trip. We were:
                                                                 Jun, Jean and Jacy
                                                                 Heddy and Lucas
                                                                 Wilson, Diane, Miguel and Martin
                                                                 Ollie and Solan
Thirteen of us from the Philippines. Our Hong Kong brother Uy Chiong Bian and his wife who lived in Kowloon came to meet us too.

All 13 of us from the Philippines stayed at Best Western Inn in Cause Way Bay. It was an old town location but very conveniently located. All the good and small street eateries, restaurants, stores, bakeshops, groceries, wet market, and shopping district called "Time Square" were just 'around the corner'. Each morning Lucas and I would walked the stretch to have our breakfast. We found two perfect places to satisfy our cravings: Favorite Chinese breakfast would be Chiakoy, fish congee and soya milk at a roadside eatery; for western breakfast, we ate at Maxim and ordered eggs with bread and sausages and coffee. At night, before ending up at the hotel, we bought bread or pastries or fruits or frozen ice cream to munch. I tell you Hong Kong was truly a lively place and a gastronomical heaven. Hahaha.

In Hong Kong, the family members met and ate together during lunch. The restaurant would sit the fifteen of us around one table. The Ledesma ate fast and with gusto. There was no denying that we were voracious eaters, hahaha. For 5 days, I got to eat Hainanese chicken, roast goose, roast duck, Peking duck even, siao long pao, all sorts of dumplings, noodles, birds nest soup, herbal soup, fried rice etc, etc........After lunch we split in groups to go shopping.

My sister Jeannette however visited her acupuncturist every afternoon. She would be accompanied either by Jun and Jean or by Chiong Bian or via taxi by herself. She relentlessly met her doctor for 4 succeeding afternoons to treat her tri-geminal nerve pain. My companions on the other hand, most of the time were Lucas, Helen, Ollie and Solan. One afternoon, together with Jun, Jean and Jacy, we explored the Kowloon side, reaching Tsim Cha Tsui, went to the museums around the harbor, walked a part of the Avenue of the Stars and went farther through Nathan Road and more.... finally reaching the cozy Charlie Brown Cafe, which (niece) Jacy was looking for. Hahaha! Sister-in-law Solan said "It was worth it." the long walk. Peanuts was my favorite comic strip by the way. Hehehe...

One memorable event was visiting Rev. Father Peter King, OMI at Notre Dame Parish/ Collge in Kowloon - Jeannette my sister was insistent on locating and meeting our long time Cotabato City, Queen of Peace parish priest in Hong Kong. It was not an easy feat, but after several persistent phone calls, she was able to take hold of the Reverend address in Kowloon. Chiong Bian took the task to bring us there. We were Jeannette, Lucas , Jun, Jean, Helen, Ollie, Solan and I. It took us about an hour of tram ride and a quick walk to reach the place. Father King was waiting for us, but alas, he could not remember any of us, even Jeannette nor Lucas and me. I guess because at 93, although still strong and healthy for his age, he could not see very clearly anymore. He however remembered my sister-in-law Conchita Tan, when I mentioned that Lucas and I were from LCT Hardware. As a gregarious host, Father King took us (we used the lift) to the 4th floor where he was staying. We were extremely glad to see that he lived in a nice, clean and  comfortable environment. He showed us around. He took us first to the prayer room, where me and my siblings said a few prayers before proceeding. He showed us his private room and it looked clean and spacious. He brought us to the receiving room or library. On the coffee table of the receiving room were copies of his curriculum vitae. Adjacent to the receiving room were the dining room and the kitchen. The parish even had a maid (a Filipina) who prepared our tea. There were tea cups and cakes and cookies on the coffee table waiting for us to partake. Father King received us with great enthusiasm and he talked lengthily. The afternoon was extremely hot, even the air conditioning unit was not functioning good. I offered to open the windows instead. My husband Lucas was most attentively listening to him talked, while I took pictures of everybody and moved around. When we finally had to leave, we asked for his blessings. He readily brought us to the prayer room, gave another lengthy homily, and concluded the blessings in Latin. So we bade farewell to him. My husband Lucas who had a soft spot for Father King in his heart, hugged him and his tears swelled. We were all thankful and so grateful for this opportunity to visit our long time parish priest. Who knows when will we be able to visit Hong Kong or see Father King again.

(to be continued)