Archive for June, 2005

Gumamela

Our gumamela plant blooms only about once or twice a year.

Before it bloomed recently, it was this tall. But the weight of the flowers were too much for the branches and the tallest ones broke in half. Down came the branches — flowers and all. Now we have to wait for about six to eight months before we can see flowers from this plant again.

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June 29, 2005 at 7:56 pm Leave a comment

San Juan

June 24 is St. John the Baptist’s Day, known as San Juan in the Philippines. I’m not sure if this is still true today, but when I was still living in Cavite, it was the custom to get people wet on that day. The young people would take buckets of water and threw water at people passing by, or at jeepneys passing by. Since jeepney windows were usually open, people inside got wet, too. I remember Aling Azon, one of our mananahi (hired seamstresses), got really mad one June 24th. She already warned Cesar, Olive’s teen-aged brother, not to make her wet because she had her period that day. But Cesar did not heed her warning. He threw a bucket of water at her and she got wet. She was fuming with anger that day. Well, you see, there was an old wives tale that you should not take a bath, nor get wet when you have your period. I think that’s what the elders believed during that time.

June 24, 2005 at 10:35 pm Leave a comment

Big Band Night



Last month Reggie auditioned for the High School Honour Jazz band. He was very happy when he learned that he made the band. That also meant rehearsals before the “big concert.” The venue of the rehearsals was on the opposite part of the city. And as Lori said, “As a musician, (Reggie) lives in the wrong part of the city.” Reggie’s Flute Recital and Flute Festival were also held in that area. Sometimes we had to travel by bus for over an hour. And we are really lucky and grateful that Reggie’s best pal was able to give him a ride a couple of times. And of course, there were my reliable mother and sister.

Well, anyway, Reggie was one of the flutists of the MB High School Big Band night on Tuesday. It was part of a ten-day-long Cool Jazz Festival in the city. The band’s mentor and conductor said, “If music is the food of the mind, then jazz is the organic, the green salad, of the music world.”

Reggie did a great performance. So did the entire band, which was composed of talented students selected from different High Schools throughout the city and I think some other parts of the province.

Eight months ago, Reggie told Lori that he wanted to be a jazz flutist. He was one that night. I’m really proud of him.

June 23, 2005 at 11:01 pm 1 comment

Failure can set us free


A couple of weeks ago, Brother Jorge said, “Failure can be one of the biggest blessings in life.” That is so true. We learn a lot from our failure or mistakes. And when we know better, we do better. And he gave that lecture at a most appropriate time.

Two days earlier, Ryan and I were discussing about the playoffs of his basketball league. At that time, his team was in seventh place out of nine teams. They were playing against the second place team in the first round of the playoffs. He was asking me different scenarios of what would happen if they win or lose against Team #2. At one point, he asked me, “What if we win against them?” Now, I’ve seen his team get clobbered by Team #2, a really good and experienced team. Even their coach told me when I talked to her on the phone that she didn’t think they’d win. So I said, “Ryan, do you really think you’ll win against Team #2? I don’t think so.” He got upset and said, “Because you!” Then he went upstairs. I just didn’t want him to have too much hope. I wanted to prepare him for disappointment yet I knew that I should have also encouraged him. I felt so guilty.

Later, I came upstairs and asked him if he was mad at me. Nakasimangot lang siya. I said that I was sorry. He forgave me quickly and he was in high spirits during the playoffs. And as in every game, he shone in the court on his last game and their team won against another team in vying for the seventh place.

June 23, 2005 at 10:43 pm Leave a comment

Hot hot hot

Ole ole ole ole !

Ryan and his friends danced to “Hot Hot Hot” while playing musical chairs last week when we celebrated his 11th birthday.

We’re finally feeling hot-hot-hot here. Flowers are blooming. The grass is greener. So are the tree-lined streets of the city.

I can hardly believe that Ryan is already 11. It doesn’t seem that too long ago when I was getting ready to give birth to him.

It was June 1994. We had a sweltering summer weather. I started my maternity leave one week before my due date of June 21. And it was the week that the O.J. Simpson saga began. Read more.

June 22, 2005 at 10:41 pm Leave a comment

Our small miracle

It was June 1994. We had a sweltering summer weather. I started my maternity leave one week before my due date of June 21. And it was the week that the O.J. Simpson saga began.

On my last visit to my Ob-gyn, he gave a sheet that would help me count and monitor the movements of my baby. On June 18, I thought that the baby hardly moved at all. I told my husband, “We better go to the hospital now. I think there’s something wrong with the baby.” So off we went. It turned out that the baby was very much alive and kicking. And I was sent home.

Then on the wee hours of June 20, the third anniversary of my father’s death, just after midnight, I started to have contractions. I called my mother to take my four-year old son, Reggie.

We headed to the maternity ward of Misericordia Hospital. I was in labour the moment we got there, ’til dawn, ’til dusk, basically the entire day. Before this, I have forgotten how painful contractions were. After all, it had been 4 ½ years since I had my first baby. But it all came back to me on that day.

After 21 hours of labour, the baby still won’t come out. The doctor decided that it was time for an emergency C-section. Déjà vu. This was exactly what happened when I had Reggie.

The nurse cleaned me up and wheeled me to the operating room. I told the nurse, “Can you please call my husband in?” After a few minutes, the nurse came back and announced, “Your husband won’t come, but your mother wants to.” I said, “Then yes, please, I need someone here with me.”

I have caught a cold the week before and I had developed a fever during labour. I was shivering when I was given the anaesthesia. I felt numb and so cold. The doctor started operating on me and then my baby was born. “It’s a boy,” I was told. I didn’t hear a cry at first. But after a few minutes, at 10:16 p.m., RYAN CARLO greeted the world with his first wail. He was cleaned up and shown to me. What a lovely baby. Tears rolled down my cheeks.

But something was not right. He had a slight heart murmur. The doctors thought that he might had an infection. I was in labour for a long time and he had pooped while he was still inside me. He must have swallowed his own poop and got an infection. They transferred him to St. Boniface Hospital where there were better facilities for sick babies like him.

The following days had been a roller coaster ride of emotions for me. Although I received daily updates from the doctor who was looking after him, and although he sent me Polaroid pictures of Ryan everyday, I was still apart from my baby. The hospital staff wouldn’t release me since I was still running a fever. I still had the cold and my stitches hurt every time I cough. I had to be quick to put a pillow on my tummy before I attempted to cough. My breasts were engorged from breast milk. On the fourth day, my nurse noticed that I was upset and I broke down. I was quite relieved when she helped me pump my milk. The following day, I was finally feeling better. I was transferred to St. B and I was reunited with my small miracle. He was out of the intensive care unit and was doing very well.

I now look at this energetic boy, almost a young man and I can’t help to look back at that time when he was just a helpless newborn.

Updated on July 5, 2008

June 20, 2005 at 9:25 pm 3 comments

Unconditional love

I was very fond of my father when I was a little girl. I was “Papa’s girl.” I was devastated when my parents had to separate when I was the tender age of 12. I was torn when I was made to choose to live with only one parent. I chose to live with my mother and sister. I knew it was the right decision but I felt that I betrayed Papa. That decision haunted me during my teenage years. I was 17 when I wrote this letter. I am now 40 and sometimes I still weep when I read it. My heart still breaks for the 17-year-old me. This is the reason why I struggle everyday to keep my marriage work. I don’t want my kids to go through what I went through. This is the reason why, when my kids say, “I don’t like Daddy,” when he’s being unreasonable, that I quickly reply, “Of course you do (like Daddy).”

View the English version.

View the entire letter here.

June 19, 2005 at 11:37 pm 2 comments

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