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.


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


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. :)

The Great Light Show

I date my mother as much as I can, and lately she’s been bugging me about that ice cream Dylan and I had at the beginning of the year.  It was actually Gelatissimo, but because we were itching to go home, we settled for Caramia in Amici at the Ayala Triangle Gardens.

After our scoop of gelato, we started walking and noticed that there was a set up of Christmas lights in the middle of the garden.  As it turned out, it was the first night of the annual light show they usually have.

My mother kept saying, “Tell Marga to bring Chuchi here, she will enjoy it so much!”  And in my head, I should tell Kuya Paolo to bring Marga and Chuchi here.  Hahahaha.

PS.  We got to taste Gelatissimo and we were fortunate to enjoy it half off!  We visited on their third anniversary.  My mother wants more.

Batangas 2011

The last time we went to Batangas was the first time I took Dylan.  They made him plant a tree.  Hahahahaha.  I loved that time.

Unfortunately, due to domestic responsibilities, he wasn’t able to go this year.  I wasn’t feeling the visit too, so I packed a good deal of reading with me.  I think I read the entire day.  I felt a bit bad for not participating, but I wasn’t in the mood to be all environmental.  I did love the food though.

I just love the books I brought with me.  I highly recommend The Perks of Being A Wallflower.  Review to follow.  :)

And here are the things I experienced in Batangas this year. Continue reading

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. :)