Dear Binatoy

Today is your birthday!

Thank you for taking over when Tatay passed away.  (It’s still hard to accept that you had to take over, but eh, that’s life.  What can we do but take it right?)

Thank you for always going to the market for our meals.

Thank you for always picking me up (also Bunso) even though you really hate that I always have to be picked up at the most inconvenient time in the most inconvenient places.

You’re a husband now, but in my head, you’re still that kid that waited for me by the emergency room and asked me, “Ate, what do we do?” You were 26 then, but I could have sworn you looked 8.

Brother 3

I will always be your Ate.  No matter how many times life forces us to speed by, makes us mature sooner than later, older with every grain of sand that hits our faces.

(I say this because Daniel doesn’t seem to age, so this doesn’t apply to him.)

A lot of people have come up to me and expressed their admiration for you when you took on the role of being the head of a family.  Each time they say that though, I get confused.  It’s not like you looked at the love of your life and saw her and her beautiful daughter as an option.  They were clearly the only choice, and that, my brother, so far, has been the best choice you’ve made in your life.

I knew it then, and all the more, now.

What makes you a man

You were raised by a man who has never shied away from responsibility and obligation.  So people should not be surprised by how you came to be.

But then again, they didn’t know Sir Boy.

So yeah.  Keep making choices as good as the last one.

Happy birthday.

My mother and her iPad

My mother is modest.  She was never attentive to designer labels or overseas travels.  Not luxury cars or big houses with walk-in closets and large kitchens.  She has always been self-assured and has always known what she wanted.  And the things she wanted were simple.

Nanay portrait

The third among four siblings, my grandparents raised them in a modest household, where giving is a mandate and food is always shared.  I have never seen my mother — or any of my uncles and aunt rather — want more than what they can afford.  What they have always taken pride in was the fact that their family was raised by parents, who never even made it past grade school, that worked hard for them to finish college.

Nanay graduating

My grandfather passed away some years ago, but my grandmother just turned 90 this year.

Nanay in the province

My mother grew up in a household where cousins and second cousins stay and go for free.  They have shared clothing, housing, food, basically everything, without expecting anything in return.  They are the model family of selflessness; they are the change they wished to be in the world.  They have worked hard in making sure that we, their children, become as giving as they are.  We hope to never disappoint them in that respect.

So when we realized our mother is turning 60 this year, we only thought of one thing to give her:  an iPad.  She looooves the iPhone I handed down to her when I upgraded to the iPhone 5.  She uses it religiously, playing Candy Crush to relax after a long day at work, streams iWantTv whenever she misses her soaps.  She doesn’t really use it for the purposes it was originally intended to be — managing contacts, businesses, emails etc. — but it’s her source of entertainment.  And it’s such a small screen.

The iPad is the perfect gift for her.  Because she will never get one for herself.  Because she will just keep saying she doesn’t need it.  That it’s too expensive for her.  That there’s no need for it really.

But there is a need.  We need to make her happy.  We need that validation that, in spite of the emotional roller coaster of the past year, we can make her so damn giddy still.  That we can get her something she finds expensive.  That we can take care of her whims as she grows older.  That she can have whims now as we are here to get it for her.

AND IT WILL BE A CHALLENGE TO SURPRISE HER BECAUSE SHE IS A DETECTIVE TO THE BONE.  My brothers and I worked extra hard to keep the gift under wraps because the woman that is my mother — or rather ALL mothers — have this uncanny manner of finding out everything effortlessly.

My mother loves Japanese food so we took her to Mangetsu in Jupiter Street, Makati for dinner on her birthday last May 15.  She was completely unsuspecting.

Mangetsu 1

Mangetsu 2

I love the food here, and I’m happy that my brothers trusted my taste.  I ordered for everyone on the table.  Prepare to drool.

(L-R, clockwise):  Salmon Sashimi, Spicy Tuna Sashimi, Chicken Thigh Karaage with Three Kinds of Salt, Beef Sukiyaki, Pork Gyoza, Shio Ramen

(L-R, clockwise): Salmon Sashimi, Spicy Tuna Sashimi, Chicken Thigh Karaage with Three Kinds of Salt, Beef Sukiyaki, Pork Gyoza, Shio Ramen

My brother couldn’t wait anymore.  He was too excited.

Screencap

So I handed over the gift box that she opened ever so slowly.  Ted captured it all on video:  Nanay and her iPad.

Nanay reading her card

I have never seen her smile so big in her life.  Moreover, WE MANAGED TO SURPRISE OUR MOTHER.  That is the true accomplishment for the night.

Nanay and her iPad

We filled the iPad with her favorite apps:  Facebook, Candy Crush, iWantTV.   Now, she wants Clumsy Ninja installed also.  We even arranged it in order of priority.  Hahaha.  We set up her Apple ID and put Facetime right on the first page so she can call our relatives in New Jersey whenever she wanted.

And of course, every single photo of our father that we can scour.

I think to date, she’s still in awe that we gave her something like that.  I mean, for some people, you’d think that a gift like this is easy peasy, but not for my modest mother.  She wouldn’t even think of getting one for herself.  It’s too much for too little a function for her.

Now, this is how she watches her soaps.  Hahahaha.

Now, this is how she watches her soaps. Hahahaha.  Lola doesn’t get what the fuss is about.  Hahahaha. 

But then, we all know mothers more than know better.  They deserve the best.

Happy birthday, Nanay.  You do not look a day over 40.

Working Nanay

Cookie Turns 7

Philip and Marge is just one of our many couple friends.  I’ve known them since Dylan and I started dating.

We all went out — with Uncle Bong, JD, Chico (I wonder if I ever got a shot of him) in tow — to celebrate Cookie’s 7th birthday.  The little princess received lovebirds from Philip and Marge, and a book on caring for them from Uncle Bong.  We beered and dined at Barrio Fiesta, so yes, prepare yourself for food.

Everything was divine, and to be honest, I missed how good Filipino food can be.  I wonder where we stand on standardizing its taste and recipe.  We could so pass for international cuisine. :)

 

I almost forgot how fun it is to hang out with this family.  I should definitely not wait more than a year to see them again.

Birthday wishlist

Just stuff I want for my birthday.  Which is today.  So because I really want it, I’m going to make it happen.  Because I own 2012.  Yes.  I just said that.

For a girl who has tons of shoes, I shamefully admit I do not have this fashion staple.  So I must therefore get myself a pair.

I’m still having a hard time looking for this book.  Please show yourself to me?

A floppy hat to prepare for the summer.

Comfy cardigan and soft fluffy big scarf that can permanently reside in my office so I can easily curl up whenever I want to (or rather whenever I am tired).

Red wine.  I can never have enough of red wine.  If you have bottles waiting to be opened at home, I will happily adopt them.

Dinner with my family and Dylan.  We only get to have dinner (just us) when there’s an event.  I know we should be making it more a daily habit, especially now that I am about to look for a place on my own.  Maybe when I’m moved out, we’ll have this more often.

I am yet to get my dose of Dylan — we haven’t really spent much time together since the year started.  But I did have a good dose of Chuchi. :)

She gets goo goo gaga over bread. :)

Guess who’s turning 1

We were in Antipolo over the weekend and we did a mini pictorial!  Hahahaha.  Here’s one of them.

To all friends and family, wait for your save the date!  Chuchi is growing up pretty quick. :)