Thursday, May 27, 2010

Upsides of traveling with MOM

I’ve heard it from other parents too often. Their children eventually grew up and reached a point when they refuse to tag along with their parents. They refuse attending get-togethers, weddings, alumni homecomings, office Christmas parties and what-not. So, inevitably, they get surprised when I show up in their monthly dinners, arm looped around my mom’s, without a trace of unwillingness in my face. I don’t know if that makes me a better daughter. What I do know is that I genuinely enjoy being with my mom.

This summer, we took a special 3-day trip to Ilocos together.

Traveling with her is like traveling with everything I need without having to bring a suitcase. Seriously, I can forget all my necessities and need not worry because I can find two of everything in her luggage. She is always prepared like that. My mom even made this mental note of people expecting pasalubong and I was deeply touched upon hearing my boyfriend’s name when she recited the list for me to check.

The trip was extra-special, not just for the places we visited, but more for the conversations we had. Grown-up conversation, that is. Hotel nights talking about career plans, love life and yes, even dream wedding destinations. There is something about the way we converse now that I can sense the amount of authority she is giving me to handle my life and make my own decisions. Even so, I would never want her to completely let go of me because there is no way I would let go of her. Not when I'm married, not when I'm 40, not ever.

At Cape Bojeador Lighthouse

Bagui Windmills

Not so grown-up here

Everything went perfectly well. Only that there is one downside.

Mom made me stand beside every picture-worthy view, every entrance gate, every museum corner and just about everywhere, hand side by side like an awkward schoolgirl, and took my picture- which would document that embarrassing moment forever!

not only oncenot even just twicebut too many pictures looking too awkward to share

But this one, I like. :))

Other than that, it was AMAZING.

Two 10-hour drives, 2 hotel nights and countless hours of being with my mom, which felt a lot like being with my best friend. I love my mom to pieces. And I will never let growing up and adult life, even love life, get in the way of us being us.

I guess we just found ourselves a new Summer Tradition. :)

Monday, May 24, 2010

Three Sacred Letters

Today is certainly going to be someone’s best or worst day. The CPA board exam results will be out in a few hours and I just can’t imagine how the hopefuls are doing right now.

A year ago, I was in the same uncertain ground. I don’t know exactly how to explain the feeling. It is a perfect mix of excitement and dread. It was if you were standing in center stage, facing the rest of the world with your hands frozen at chest-level, waiting for fate’s cue whether to lift them up in utter joy or burry your face in fatal disappointment. I was sleeping over a friend’s unit the night before the results came out. We decided to stay together, keep each other strong and basically, share the torture. My dad called and asked how I was doing. I said I was fine, terribly nervous, but fine. He just said, savor the feeling. It only happens once.

Looking back, the distinction and the three sacred letters attached in my name do not really mean so much. Nor the oohhhs and ahhhhs you get from people who found out you passed the board exams, take one. It is the confirmation that you can fulfill whatever you firmly set your heart into that made that day one of the best and happiest.

Along with my parents and the boyfriend, there were three other girls who played major parts on helping me get there: my Magic Girls.

Celebrating 'Magic Girls' (2009)

(Magic Girls because we were consistent members of CPAR’s Magic 100 during review. *clap clap*)

From FX rides to 15-hours Starbucks sessions, daily Jollibee dinners and Dencio’s last supper, anxiety attacks and good times. We’ve been together through it all. I can’t count how many times I asked them if I could make it and how many times I said you can make it when someone else asked. I look back and remember discussions on law interpretations and tax implications. We gladly gave time and solved problems for another, shared tips and encouraging words. Our eyes were firmly attached to a concrete goal, and it was not just to pass the CPA board exams, but to pass TOGETHER.

Fast forward to the present, here we are, relishing the fruits or our hard work… by doing more hard work! (hehe)

CPAnniversary celebration

Cheers to the friendship and the bright future ahead! Cheers to the steadiness!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Beach Bum(mer)

I was never a beach person.
When our family used to plan beach trips on summer vacations, I never forget to ask about indoor swimming pools in the hotel. I hate the scorching heat touching my skin, not for vanity reasons, but more for health concerns. When I was 5, I acquired a skin allergy from staying under the sun too long. And that happened in the beach. Thus, inevitably, the haven turned into more like a memory of hell to me. Because of that, our family rarely went to the beach, so I never had the chance to rekindle my love for the ocean.

Until this summer.

My mom and I booked this mother-daughter bonding trip to Ilocos. It was a 3-day tour: Ilocos Norte-Pagudpud- Ilocos Sur. I was looking forward to church visits, museum tours, trying their famous empanada, walking around Vigan, and, over and above all those, just being with my mom in a faraway place. Quite obviously, I didn’t mention anything about Pagudpud and its famous ocean shore and blue green waves. I wasn’t exactly thrilled about the whole revisiting the beach idea, although I brought 2 pairs of swimsuit with me. Just in case, I told myself.

Day 2 of the trip came. Our tour bus left the hotel around 7:00am. Traveling to Pagudpud took a good 2-hour drive. I wore my shades the entire time because mom wanted to open the curtains and the sun’s rays were too much for my eyes to bear.

When we got to Villa Mar resort, I dragged my feet down the bus, spotted a pool which raised my enthusiasm a little and followed our tour guide to the cottages.

I already felt the warm breeze touching my skin. I faced the shores and removed my sunglasses. And boy, was it an amazing view!

I realized, all the while, I was wearing my dark-coated glasses that basically hindered the breathtaking vision. The never-ending water-front, white sand, blue green seas; it was like a painting. I was savoring the picture when my mom approached me and said, ‘That’s actually the South China Sea’.

crystal clear waters

Fast forward to the end of the day, I was every inch a beach person. I played in the sand, swam in the ocean, took a boat ride to the other side of the island, while head-to-toe covered in sunblock, of course. It was a perfect day, less the fact that I left our camera in the cottage. But, as how I managed to console myself, I took less pictures in exchange of an ocean-worth of picture-perfect memories.

sun-kissed. err. more like, sunog.

my fave of all our beach shots

The beach is a sanctuary, where time flew, not by the hours, but by the moments.

beach sunset: amazing

I now officially proclaim myself a renewed beach lover.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Our Little Bundle of Joy

I have been waiting for you for months now, so seeing you for the first time last night was definitely epic. I bent over your blue and red play pen to have a closer view of your face. I glanced at your tiny little fingers, your tiny pursed lips, your tiny eyelids - you were basically that: tiny. You were the sign of absolute serenity. You looked so fragile, as if the smallest movement on earth can break you. And at that point, before I straightened up and unlocked my eyes off you, I realized why they say it is impossible not to love you.

Meet Ron Xander Casama-Peralta

I know writing a letter for a 7-day old baby is somewhat silly and your mom is probably laughing so hard there are tears at the corner of her eyes right now. True, you might never be able to read this. But that is beside the point. I am writing this more for myself than for you, sweetie. This is the first time I will admit to the world how proud I am to be your godmother. But with that pride comes a terrible amount of anxiety and stress. I can work my way around an income tax return with my eyes closed and not a single drop of sweat. But parenting? I seriously have no idea. All I know is that I will be there for you the same way your mom and I have always been there for each other. We have this special bond, together with the rest of our friends, which basically got us through almost our entire lifetime. We’ve been friends since forever and you are officially the first member of the second generation of our friendship. And even though I would love to see the cutest little “us” bond over coloring books and action figures, my contribution would definitely not happen in years.

As you might have overheard while your mom and I were chatting away, we are so scared, even this early, about the kind of son you will be. Considering how some kids turn out nowadays, you can’t really blame us. For now, you are sound asleep most of the time and your worst fit is when you get hungry at night. But we all know time flies fast. When you get older, you’ll be consumed with different, more serious things. You will have other issues to deal with and you might sometimes lose sight of the path you should take. On those days, I will give you one of those talks. I will remind you how much your parents love you and how much they sacrifice just so you can have what’s best for you. Of course, you will accuse me of taking your mother’s side, which is inevitable, I suppose. But at the end of the day, you will understand because you are a good kid. I know because I know your parents will make sure of that. And as your godmother, I will, too.

Don’t grow up too fast, okay? Stay as cute and as small as you are. Ninang loves you.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Summer Fling

I have this blooming love affair with frozen yogurt. Ever since my taste buds encountered the distinct flavor of Fro-yo, I never looked back. Yoh-gurt Froz and Red Mango do the trick in satisfying my constant cravings. Both outlets are just a tolerable walk away from my office. However, lately, I’ve been having this weird longing of trying out every Fro-yo outlet out there. I know it’s crazy. But why not, right?

Last weekend, the boyfriend and I traveled all the way to Tagaytay for a relaxing brunch and some quiet time together. It is certainly healthy to once in a while escape the city heat and work pressure. Tagaytay has always been that accessible get away haven for us.

The original plan was a visit to Pink Sisters Chapel, brunch in Buon Giorno, then a trip to a hole in the wall coffee shop we’ve been eyeing for months. However, after brunch, I kind of got distracted and veered away from the itinerary when this sign caught my eyes:

Perfect Summer Fling

FLING possesses the authentic sweet taste and sour after-taste of yogurt. The flavor wasn’t that overwhelming, making it perfect for those who love their Fro-yo overloaded with toppings. Personally, though, I choose to have mine sans toppings. The closest you can force me to have are peaches and crushed grahams. The last time I experimented with blueberry and butterscotch bits, I ended up scooping out the topmost part of the yogurt and basically got rid of the syrup and crumbs.

Fling comes in two flavors: Original and Lychee. I wanted to try their Lychee-flavored Yogurt but it wasn’t available that time. Oh well, that gives me a pretty good thing to look forward to during my next visit, which will definitely happen.

For me, it was HEAVEN.

Red mango still tops my Fro-yo list but Fling comes pretty close to Yoghurt Froz. That is according to my taste buds. If you consider the boyfriend’s, he would rather not encounter another Fro-yo in his life! haha

For him, it was,ummm, never mind.

Happy couple on a happy Sunday

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