img_3090_20150917I woke up in the middle of the night to a bad dream. I’ve been having a lot of them lately, it seems. I woke up groaning, almost falling down my side of the bed. I reached out to you and snuggled closer, burrowing underneath the sheets, my leg beneath yours. Instinctively, you reached out for my hand and pulled me closer, my hand over your heart. I felt the slow, regular rhythm of your heart through my fingers. In the darkness, I listened to your soft snoring. I counted your breaths till mine matched yours. I closed my eyes to the blackness around me, no longer afraid, because you were there.

Once upon a time, I wondered if love would ever find me. I had been hurt before- yes, duped and dumped- and my heart had been broken many times over. I found love where and when I least expected it. I found it freely given, without expectation of return or reciprocation. I found it stripped of deception and subterfuge, offered honestly and wholeheartedly. And I found it with forgiveness and unconditional acceptance, in a friendship bound by time, loyalty, and a shared history.

img_3111_20150906And what a history it has been. Our friendship has spanned these many years since high school at Pisay, past bitter rivalry and devastating heartbreaks, beyond lonely separations and joyful reunions. From that very first time we met (I was 14, you were 13) to the day we started a new adventure as husband and wife, ours has been a journey of all good things born of our friendship. We made a family. We helped our sons grow. We built a home and set down roots into the deep, hard ground. We stood against challenges that would have bowed and bent many. We not only know each other’s life stories; we have written ours together.


The heart has no wrinkles. 🙂

All this, and always with your hand in mine.

Today, 25 years to the start of our lifetime together, I am in awe at all we have done together. Thank you for always believing in us. Your unwavering confidence in the inevitability of us, your certainty of who and what we could be together, and your faithful, constant love have healed my wounds and changed me for good.

In you, I have found redemption every single day.

With you, I have found us.

Happy 25th to us, hon. I love you so.


To Anthony

I woke up this morning giggling myself silly. For some strange reason, I awakened at five in the morning, still laughing about the last thing we said to each other last night. The barely-there light, filtered softly through dark curtains, was urging me to stand up and start our day early but the bed was still warm and inviting. I reached out in the darkness to touch your face. You stirred gently in your sleep, eyes still closed, but your hand found mine and drew it to your chest.

In one seemingly innocent movement, one we’ve done over and over again for many years, you reminded me that wherever we may be, for as long as you are with me, I am home.

For you are my home.

A few minutes later, you woke up too. Our bodies are now so in sync that a movement from one instinctively sets off a corresponding reaction in the other. You pulled me closer for an embrace; I closed my eyes and wrapped my arms around you. And then, awake and already hungry, you spent the next twenty minutes talking me into getting breakfast. At six in the morning. *groans*

We were among the first in the restaurant, thanks to our early start. Most days, breakfast would be part of our ordinary routine but today, well, today is different. It’s our 24th wedding anniversary, and each meal, no matter how simple it is, feels like a celebration.

Over breakfast, I found myself sneaking glances at you repeatedly. I looked at every line, every mark of your face, and marveled how each is a measure of our life together. Alas, we have grown old, honey. But we have grown together, forever changed from the young innocents we were at fourteen to the middle-aged adults we are now.

I am grateful, honey, for each day of the last 24 years. For while many things have changed, so many more have stayed the same. I wake up each morning with you by my side, still holding my hand throughout the night, keeping the bad dreams at bay. Yours is the face that wakes me up each day and sees me to dreamland each night. And your love- for me and our children- is the constant that drives me to see the beauty and mercy of each passing moment. I am forever changed by your love.

Thank you, Anthony, for being my love, my comfort, my home. I love you.

 Papa and Mama 02


22 Days

Three weeks before our anniversary last Friday, I had already been receiving presents daily from A♥.

My husband has always been a giver, and a very generous one at that. Days before a special occasion, like my birthday or our anniversary- and we celebrate three- big ones, that is: our official girlfriend/boyfriend anniversary, our civil wedding (23 years this year) and our church wedding (22 this year) – he hands me a present or two in preparation for the main event.

This year, the first presents came on October 24. Coming home from work that day, he handed me two large Rustan’s paper bags filled with 13 boxes in pink wrapper and pink, lavender, and gold ribbons. It took me days to finish unwrapping each and every one. Each box contained one of this year’s Kimmidolls line-up.

Nov14 06

The new ones are in boxes still, waiting to join their sisters on the staircase stands. 🙂

I thanked him effusively but a I was a little flustered too. A♥ tends to go overboard with gifts for me- and I am not complaining, promise– but if I have a lone reservation about my husband, it is that he is an absolute miser when it comes to his own needs. He doesn’t like gifts and doesn’t enjoy opening his presents. He doesn’t even like shopping for his own things and many times, he would forgo his needs to give way to the kids’ or mine.

Now, I hadn’t caught on the present/s-a-day theme yet so when I asked him if I could purchase a pair of new rubber shoes, he smiled mysteriously at me and said “Sure, honey. Those will be my present for you today.”Nov14 15

“Today?” I scratched my head, thinking for a moment that he was pulling my leg. “What do I need a present for today?”

“For our anniversary, silly!” He looked at me funny.

“But our anniversary’s weeks away. What. Is. The. Present. For?” I insisted, my voice getting shriller than usual.

“Call it an advanced anniversary present,” he stated matter-of-factly. “Do you want those shoes or not?”

Ack, A♥ could be a little infuriating sometimes, the way he always pulls a fast one on me when it comes to gift-giving! I look back at all those years he had me secondguessing his moves and I could never match his zeal and dedication in giftgiving. I figured, this year, shoes would be a safe choice and once he declared those were my presents, he would not need to go through such trouble to give me more.

Of course, I had to test my theory.

“Uhm, honey…” I said (shyly). This was on the night after Day 2. I bought the shoes that morning, on sale, a pair of sleek black and pink Skechers Skech Air Inspire, with insides of pillowy memory foam. Ahhh, I was in podiatric heaven!

“Hmmm… Yes?…” I timed it so he was watching golf on video that night.

“I know I said the rubber shoes I got today would be my anniversary present, but uhm, ehm, ehrm, ehem, well…Crocshastheretrosneakersonsale!” I mumbled the last part in a hurry, wishing he would just nod absent-mindedly.

“On sale, you say… Uhm, okay, we’ll look at them together tomorrow. We have lunch with friends and we can check them out afterwards.” And then he went back to his watching.

Yes! He didn’t say “present” again! I heaved a smile of relief and went to bed.

Nov14 03

Nimes with Violetta and Bonnie ♥

The next day, after lunch with dear friends M and J, they handed me a large brown paper bag. I was expecting just one doll, a Blythe Ribbonneta Wish that J had purchased on A♥’s behalf, but the bag seemed heavy for just one doll. I looked at A♥ suspiciously. He acted nonchalantly and flashed his pearlies at me again but I held my tongue. Once home, he kissed me squarely on the mouth and said, “Happy anniversary, honey! These are all yours, my presents for you today!” And what a surprise it was!

Nov14 14Inside was Bonnie, my Ribbonneta Blythe, but there was also Violetta, the Hello Kitty Tokidoki x Pullip LE doll. There was a boxed Kindle Fire HD. A boxed Yoshi 3DS XL. Nintendo posters. A Hello Kitty 3DS game. I gave up all restraint, threw myself at him, and kissed him back.

The next day, when he bought me the Crocs retro-sneakers and said “my gift for you today, happy anniversary, love,” I didn’t even flinch. I just kissed him again.

So every day for the last three weeks, he gave me a present- or two or more- a day. Some of them were huge, jaw-dropping presents, like the professional series silver Kitchen Aid I had been eyeing for months, and a secret envelope with tickets to someplace special. Some  were thoughtful but simple gifts, like hot Ferrino bibingka (rice cakes) or turon (banana fritters or rolls) or even several packs of Megafiber (because he found out I was running low). He always seemed to know my cravings. 🙂

Nov14 01

Time to make those ensaimadas!

On another day, I received a Sylvanian Families hospital set and the supermarket owners.

Nov14 02

Then came another 3DS XL (Mario white edition), a Nintendo load card so I could buy themes for my Animal Crossing unit, two more 3DS games, Pokemon Art Academy and Fantasy Life, and the DS game Ontamarama.

Nov14 13

Nearer the date, he gave me more Blythe sets- dress sets for 10 days running and three dolls in succession, as well as one I adopted from a friend with his permission. I was in dolly heaven!

Nov14 05

And then last Friday night, in what was supposed to be A♥’s turn to finally get something good (he was renewing his phone subscription and had availed of the iPhone 6 plus option), he managed to turn the tables on me again when I found out he was getting me one too!

I had come as his unwitting “plus one” because he didn’t want us to be apart on the first few hours of our anniversary. I agreed to accompany him, even if it meant staying up the night, because he always asks so little of me to be happy. And so, we spent the last three hours of Thursday night and the first three hours of Friday in a queue for the iPhone 6.

Nov14 04

Despite the exhausting experience, it was also one to remember. Wherever we went, from the long standing lines outside to the longer line of seats inside, we were met with gracious and heartfelt anniversary greetings and well wishes. We were even surprised in line with the most beautiful flowers and a luscious chocolate cake from Ms. Yoly Crisanto, head of Globe’s Corporate Communications, and her team. All these acts of unexpected kindness from A♥’s friends, acquaintances, and even strangers (thank you to the stranger behind me in line for worrying about me when I struggled making those flights of stairs) made those hours of waiting worthwhile.

Nov14 09

Ambushed with gifts! Photo credit: Earl Scott Advento

Thank you for these gracious gifts!

Nov14 11

Nov14 10

If you were to ask me what was my favorite gift in those 22 days of whirlwind giftgiving, I’d have to answer with “none.” Because far more than the value or joy of owning the newest, latest, most hyped gadgets or dolls or toys, I have already been gifted with something ultimately more precious: his love. It is my husband’s constant, generous, selfless sacrifice that I treasure beyond any gift he can ever give me. The lengths he goes to show me his love and devotion are truly astounding and 22 years into this lifetime, it seems he is still thinking of more ways to do just that.

Truly, twenty-two years with this man can never be enough. I’d give anything for 22 years more, and 22 more, and then, through the infinite mercy of our Lord, I can only ask for 22 again.

Thank you, A♥, for all the ways you show me you love me. I can only hope I am always worthy your love.

Nov14 12



I found this tucked beneath one of A♥’s gifts today. As many of you know, I cry a lot and I often cry for no reason at all. Still, you all would have to agree with me when I say that this was a perfect time for tears- happy, happy tears.

Beyond the gifts that he showered me today and the past days so generously, I feel so much love in these words. For one who has always been verbose and loquacious, I find myself lacking in words to say exactly how much these 22 years mean to me. I am speechless. 

anniversary gift 092013 letter copy2

Thank you, A♥, for all these years of love, friendship, and faith. Thank you for all the ways you show me you love me. And thank you for always holding my hand as we make our way through life. I hope you never, ever let me go.

I love you always. 

22 hoot

Weekend Update

I can’t believe I forgot to update again! Groan. *bangs head on desk*

It’s been a busy week, one of the busiest I’ve had in recent memory. There were just so many things to do every day that sometimes, in the middle of the long afternoon. I’d find myself dozing on my feet, drooling like a rabid dog. It’s not a pretty sight, I tell you, but it’s happened more times than I care to count this last week.

Household chores already take up too much time, but with my parents’ recent move out of the suburbs, I had to clean up to make room for some of their larger pieces (like an eight-seater dining room set and coming soon, a huge glass chandelier). I also had a couple of writing assignments that needed to be done and while I met my deadline (whew!), it wasn’t without the worry that I will be late in submitting articles. In between the craziness of everyday life, we saw an impressive concert at Resorts World Manila last Friday night. In The CompanY of Side A featured two of the best vocal groups/bands in the country- The CompanY and Side A. It was a sold-out concert and appreciative fans roared and hooted to excellent music all night long.

The CompanY + Side A = Huge Success

The CompanY in perfect harmony

Got to love Joey G!

There was also a hastily planned meet-up with a Sylvanian friend, Madame C, last Saturday. We had been talking about meeting for a month now but our schedules never seemed to jibe. Besides, she and I live on opposite ends of the city making coordination virtually impossible. Saturday, after Alphonse’s aquatherapy lesson, we headed out to see her. I was so thrilled to meet Madame C and her lovely family that A♥ and I didn’t even mind the drive through two hours of traffic just to make the meeting possible. I purchased some lovely creations from her collection of Sylvanian fashions and for her gracious charm and the instant camaraderie we forged, she gets a post all by herself sometime in the very near future.

The highlight of the week, however, was A♥’s and yours truly’s 20th anniversary which we celebrated Tuesday. I was sorely tempted to run off with A♥ to somewhere remote where chores and deadlines would not hound me but A♥’s better judgment prevailed. I was feeling stressed that day, conscious of every second I had before the deadline, so I woke up at five in the morning to write. Before I knew it, it was time to drop off Alex at school. Then it was off to the market to buy seafood, have them cooked, and serve them for lunch. I had a few hours to bathe, dry my hair, and catch a quick 30-minute snooze before we left to watch the American Idol 2011 Tour. While we waited for the concert to start, I rewrote my article in longhand and downed a cup of coffee to keep awake. The AI concert would not have been my idea of a perfect date. I would have wanted a more quiet, more relaxing, less noisy way to end the night but I’m glad A♥ forced me to go. I really had a lot of fun.


Yes, we were that close! 🙂

So now, it’s Friday and I wonder where the week has gone. I have pictures to resize and upload, Sylvanians to unbox, Transformers to box and catalogue. I have plants to water and replant in larger pots. The chores never stop. Life does not stop.

And for all these, I am deeply grateful to the Lord. Every second, every breath, is a gift.

Friends, Fun, & Love in One Weekend

Sorry I forgot to put up yesterday’s post. I am back home from a wonderful night spent at a fabulous hotel. It’s another anniversary weekend and I feel pampered and refreshed, ready to face the coming week with verve and zest.

I started my weekend chores really early to prepare for our short Parents’ Days Out. I kept a list so I didn’t forget anything. We needed to make a quick grocery trip to pick up some household staples (eggs, bread, honey, and straw for packing- done!). We also needed to pass by TriNoMa to get free tickets for a special screening of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part1 (done!). And most importantly, A and I promised to spend a few hours at the Komikon 2010 to support a good friend (done!).

I’ve never been to a Komicon (a comics convention, it is named after the way Filipinos spell comics in Tagalog, with a k, as in komiks) even though A is an avid graphics novel collector. We went on the invitation of a good friend who was launching his first comic book at the 6th Annual Philippine Komiks Convention. For a man educated strictly in the sciences (he is both a Pisay graduate and a UP College of Medicine alumnus), Doc Ernest has amazing creativity and artistry. His comic book, MEGA-WOMAN, is homage to one of Philippine entertainment’s best stars, Ms. Sharon Cuneta-Pangilinan, and inspired by our common love for the Megastar.

The artist and writer of MEGA-WOMAN

Front cover of Doc Ernest's comic book

 A and I spent a few hours there, marvelling at the talent and dedication of our local artists. Above is a picture of us with Doc Ernest and another old friend from Pisay, Theresa Ongchangc0-Diaz. The picture is blurry because we had it taken by someone else but I just had to put it in. (Just squint your eyes for a better view.)We were happy to get autographed copies and even happier knowing that we had shown support for our friend. And wouldn’t you know it—Doc Ernest drew me and some his friends in cameo roles in his comic book! Whee! Kittymama is now a comic book character (never mind that my line had me gushing and fawning over Mega-Woman, heehee). Thanks, Ernest! I loved the drawings and the story so I hope that Part 2 is coming very soon.  

Kittymama in cameo

I wish we could have stayed longer to look at all of the wonderful comics on sale, but the weekend was waiting for A and me. After saying goodbye to the kids and some last -minute packing, we were off to the hotel and got there in record time. The hotel was absolutely gorgeous; the employees at the Marriott Manila were very hospitable, courteous, and professional at all times. Check-in was a breeze. I loved our room and fell in love with the plush bed immediately that as soon as my head touched the luxurious sheets, I fell fast asleep. I woke up to find the sun had set hours ago and my stomach had started its angry grumbling. A was beside me, snoring lightly, and I waited for him to wake up. Then we went out and had a really big dinner, took in a movie (Unstoppable), and if the long afternoon nap was not enough proof that we are, indeed, old folks, fell back to sleep within minutes after reaching the room.

Kittymama in Hello Kitty fashion

Personalized service

Service is so personalized that as soon as you lift the phone to call room service, they know who you are and call you by name!  

Loved♥ this room!

I wish I could take this home with me!

And now it’s Sunday evening and the weekend is almost done. We’re back home, back to the kids, and ready to face the week’s coming challenges. It has been a great weekend, filled with friends and fun and love and rest. I wish I could have more days like these with A. Happy Anniversary again, my love.  (‿♥)

The Mini- Reveal: More Kittymania

I just got a call a few minutes ago. Nanny D is free to go home! Yay yay yay! Her platelet count is back to normal and with no signs of bleeding, she can continue to recuperate at home. I heaved a huge sigh of relief.

I haven’t been sleeping well since she got sick last week. Aside from the worry over the burden of additional expenses (serial CBCs + the Antigen test + hospital bill- whew!), I worried about her being sick away from home and away from her parents who trusted us to care for her while she lives with us. And with her sick for almost a week now, waiting for the results of her serial platelet counts have driven me batty. My nails are chewed down to the nubs. 😦

But, today, a glimmer of good news came via the phone call from our physician. (Incidentally, this compassionate doctor also happens to be my sister-in-law. Remember Arielle, my niece, the facebook addict? I owe Arielle’s mom big time for the care and expertise she gave us gratis. Thank you, AteE! ) Finally, after five days in the hospital, Nanny D can come home. I bet Alphonse is going to dance himself silly today. He was looking for her all day yesterday; he even went down to the dark basement to see if she was “hiding” there. 

And so, with good news comes more good news in the form of – ta-dah!- KITTIES! *shrieks*

Here are the Loungefly bags I got from my husband. I hadn’t known these were coming. I think I just mentioned these bags in passing one day. I happened to have read about one Kitty lover who owned these same bags and how she received compliments about them everywhere she went, mentioned this tidbit to my husband, and quickly forgot about these. I saw the black one first, right below the Build-A-Bear dolls and screamed out loud “I love this!”  To which, he replied, “So you don’t want the white one?” as he pulled the other one from the box. Of course, there was more screaming after that, heehee. 🙂

There were totes and wallets, also from Loungefly… 

and iPhone cases in black and pink…

followed by Hello Kitty games like Monopoly (anyone want to play with me?), Yahtzee (I do not have a clue how to play this) and even Bingo. Bingo!

To cap it all off, there were also Hello Kitty shirts from Torrid to wear! I absolutely love these! 🙂

There are still some things inside the boxes I haven’t photographed yet. Some are private stuff, just between him and me (nothing naughty, I promise, heehee!) and will have to stay that way. The ones I want to share will have to wait a few more days until our household becomes normal again. I do hope it happens soon. I can’t wait to go out again to wear and use all my Kitty stuff.

Happy Kitty weekend, everyone!