Mother’s Day for Mommies and Friends

This year was the first Mother’s Day I have ever celebrated without my family since I officially joined the ranks of moms in 1993. The funny thing was my friends and I didn’t really plan it that way. When we started talking about a weekend trip to visit another friend in the Queen City of the South, the thought of Mother’s Day didn’t even cross our minds. Weird but true.

A few weeks before leaving, however, I noticed the small print in one of the pages I was following on Facebook. I had to do a double take when I realized that Mother’s Day this year was falling on the very same weekend my friends and I would be out of town. What to do… what to do…

So I did what I do best. I worried.

This was what started the vacillation. I wasn’t sure I wanted to go through with it after thinking of what I will be missing. I’ve never traveled before without my husband. I’ve never taken a plane ride without him by my side. Now that I think of it, I’ve never been anywhere without him! In almost 23 years of marriage, the longest we have been apart were the days he had to go overseas for work meetings, and those have been few and far-in-between because he hated being apart from us. So as much as I wanted to go on a new adventure- this time, by myself- I was still very much afraid.

It was my husband who broke my indecision. After I exhausted him late into the night with all sorts of “what if” scenarios (the truth was, I wanted him to say “don’t go” and just be done with it), he told me this: that were it all up to him, he’d prefer that I stay, even if my tickets have been paid for, but the decision must be mine to make. He also told me that were I to tell my friends I wasn’t going with them anymore, I could not use my family as an excuse. He could very well handle the house and kids by himself over the weekend so I could not and should not use them to justify my decision. “Say you changed your mind and own it,” he reminded me.

Cebu 07I guess I don’t have to tell you all that I married a very wise man. In the end, he made me realize that I needed to do this for myself. And so I did.

On May 10 this year, long before the sun was up, my friends, C* and K*, and I were at the domestic terminal waiting for the plane to bring us to Cebu. It would be short flight and my lovely girl friends would fall asleep on me on the way over, heehee, but we would have two days all to ourselves.

We were met at the airport by our gracious hosts, Ch*, her mom, and her little daughter. That short weekend would be a hodgepodge of touristy things and gastronomic pleasures, but it would also be a weekend of some real girl bonding- a meet-up with a young and lovely doll collector/crafter named Vicki, late night chitchats while gorging on Cebu’s famous chicharon and ice-cold Coke, playing with dolls till we could hardly keep our eyes open, snoring competitions, and shopping for souvenirs, toys, and fabulous plus-sized clothes!

Here are pictures from our weekend trip to Cebu. Unmarked pictures are not mine and belong to my friends because most of the time, I was actually busy talking, eating, or snoring, haha.

The Lapu-Lapu Shrine

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The girls, Nimes and Antonia, didn’t mind the heat at all.

Cebu 08

Kittymama with her dear friends- K*, Ch*, and C*

(Photo taken by Ch*’s six-year-old!)

Cebu 10

Our dollies in a group pose- yay for girl dates!

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I love this picture of Ch* and her wonderful daughter. I fell in love with this little girl and I still miss her.

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The Pilgrim Center of the Santo Niño de Cebú Basilica, picture taken on Sunday amid a throng of moving people

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Magellan’s Cross, encased in this tindalo wooden cross for protection, was set on this exact spot on March 31, 1521.  History always gives me goose pimples. *geek mode on*

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The small octagon-shaped building was built in 1834. The murals on the ceiling, done by Serry M. Josol (1932-2006) and Jess Roa, depict two events: the baptism of Rajah Humabon and his household and the erection of the original cross on Cebu shores. 

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Cebu’s lechon is a melt-in-your-mouth experience. Crispy skin tops evenly cooked layers of fat and meat. It is salted well and is not bland, thus, one hardly needs sauce or sarsa to make it work.  You can just eat it as is. 🙂

Cebu 14

A take on bitter gourd (ampalaya) as a salad topped with dilis or crispy anchovies. this is served with onions and tomatoes and slightly sweetened vinegar. The combination of the salty dilis and the sweet-sour vinegar cuts down the bitterness of the ampalaya. It is surprisingly refreshing!

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At the Happy World Museum in Cordova, Cebu where we all went giddy posing for pictures! This is one of my favorites as you can see how the illusion works. Poor C! She had to rescue a blue whale, hehehe.

Cebu 01 copy

Posing for more pictures!

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As you can see, I have not given up on the dream of becoming a ballerina. ❤

Dainty as a ballerina…

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But strong enough to receive a punch from the PacMan!

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BFFs share BFF fries!

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If I  were to list down all the little things we did and talked about to fill those 48 hours, I’m sure one post would not suffice. We missed our families and longed for them, and yet we were also grateful to be in the company of these wonderful women who showed us how to appreciate the little things we often take for granted in our busy lives.

It’s not often we get to chuck the roles we play as wife and mother. There’s often little freedom to be the silly, fun-loving, doll-playing girls we once were, but for those few short days, we were young, fanciful, and carefree. We breathed in the air of youth and savored the friendships we made and choose to keep. And if we were to think about what Mother’s Day really is- a day to thank the mothers in our lives- then we honored that by nurturing the mothers and women in us.

All in all, it was a unique Mother’s Day experience.  Thank you, dear friends. I had a great time with all of you.


P.S. C*, K*, and Ch* are codes to protect my friends’ privacy. K is not K but she insists on that letter, hehehe.


When God Created Mothers

by Erma Bombeck (May 12, 1974)

When the Good Lord was creating mothers, He was into his sixth day of “overtime” when an angel appeared and said, “You’re doing a lot of fiddling around on this one.”

And the Lord said, “Have you read the specs on this order?

  • She has to be completely washable, but not plastic;
  • Have 180 movable parts… all replaceable;
  • Run on black coffee and leftovers;
  • Have a lap that disappears when she stands up;
  • A kiss that can cure anything from a broken leg to a disappointed love affair;
  • And six pairs of hands.”

The angel shook her head slowly and said, “Six pairs of hands… no way.”

“It’s not the hands that are causing me problems,” said the Lord. “It’s the three pairs of eyes that mothers have to have.”

“That’s on the standard model?” asked the angel.

The Lord nodded. “One pair that sees through closed doors when she asks, ’What are you kids doing in there?’ when she already knows. Another here in the back of her head that sees what she shouldn’t but what she has to know, and of course the ones here in front that can look at a child when he goofs up and say, ’I understand and I love you’ without so much as uttering a word.”

“Lord,” said the angel, touching His sleeve gently, “Go to bed. Tomorrow…”

“I can’t,” said the Lord, “I’m so close to creating something so close to myself. Already I have one who heals herself when she is sick… can feed a family of six on one pound of hamburger… and can get a nine-year-old to stand under a shower.”

The angel circled the model of a mother very slowly. “It’s too soft,” she sighed.

“But she’s tough!” said the Lord excitedly. “You cannot imagine what this mother can do or endure.”

“Can it think?”

“Not only can it think, but it can reason and compromise,” said the Creator.

Finally, the angel bent over and ran her finger across the cheek. “There’s a leak,” she pronounced. “I told You You were trying to push too much into this model.”

“It’s not a leak,” said the Lord. “It’s a tear.”

“What’s it for?”

“It’s for joy, sadness, disappointment, pain, loneliness, and pride.”

“You are a genius,” said the angel.

The Lord looked somber. “I didn’t put it there,” He said.


In life,  I have been blessed with two mothers- one who loved me into being, and one who welcomed me as a daughter in her family when I married her son. 

My mom was everything I wanted to be, growing up.  Loving, expressive, and caring, she was (and still is) my idea of a great mother.  I was nurtured by her love and her dreams. She gave me wings and trusted me with the freedom to be whoever I wanted to be. Today, I find that despite appearances (I still look more like my dad than my mom), I have actually grown up to be a lot like her.  And for that, I am thankful.   

Mommy Flora, my husband’s mom, is no longer with us. Five years ago, on a sweltering Mother’s Day much like this, we laid her to rest. Even now, years after she has gone, I find myself often dreaming of her. When I am sad or worried, I always find comfort in the last words she ever said to me: “Do you know I love you?” God, I miss her still.

Thank you, Lord, for these amazing women. Bless them always. Theirs, indeed, is the sweetest kind of love.

More Mother’s Day Stories

Mother’s Day started out with a whimper and a groan but ended with a bang. I woke up bright and early to find my beloved santol tree massacred by the man we hired to prune it. A gave specific instructions to cut only the branch that was putting a little too much weight on the concrete fence, but the man, who really did mean well, got a little too carried away with the cutting frenzy and mangled almost half the tree. I was very upset.

Santol Tree- Before and After

Mother\'s Day Rose

To mollify me, A handed me the flowers he had ordered for Mother’s Day, a dozen of the most beautiful pink Ecuadorian roses I’ve ever seen. I was really very happy to receive those beautiful flowers but that morning’s pruning carnage had gotten my underpants in a knot.  I am deeply regretful now that at that moment,  I failed to show my appreciation for this most loving gesture. Dwelling on the bitter events of that morning had soured my disposition, in the process, hurting the one I love most. I saw A’s eyes darkened a bit with sadness when he gave me the flowers. I knew he felt as if I had taken his gift for granted. Later, I apologized to him and asked for forgiveness for my insensitivity.

My Roses

Because I was still so caught up in the morning’s events, I forgot to take pictures of the beautiful bouquet. Then too, a little while later, Alphonse came over and plucked a flower to munch on so I hurriedly transferred the flowers from their pink and cream raffia wrappings to a vase. Only after I had dismantled the wrappings did I realize that I had forgotten to take pictures. 😦

The flowers were last in A’s list of gifts. (His generosity is such that he never gives just one.) Midweek, he gave me a limited edition Switcheasy pink iPhone Capsule, a black Capsule and a black Switcheasy VisionClip. He hadn’t intentionally planned to give them that early; I caught him sneaking in the gifts and he had no choice but to ‘fess up.  A also bought me Hello Kitty gifts- an authentic Sanrio pink and green water bottle (he says it’s from Alphonse) and a SIGG red and white reusable water bottle. Oh, what joy! (I was actually expecting a Hello Kitty Fender Dreadnought acoustic guitar -*hint! hint!*- but I love anything A has to give me.)

Sunday afternoon, we watched Dulaang Sibol’s presentation entitled “INA” (Mother). The boys were totally in their element. Onstage, they shined so brightly that parents and guests alike had perpetual smiles pasted on their faces. Most memorable during the performance was their offering of red roses to their mothers while they sang a medley of The Carpenters’ love songs.

The Dulaang SibolMr. P with the DS sophomores

But “INA” wasn’t simply about us, their mothers. The boys also performed about love for mother nature, for mother country, and Mother Mary. They sang, danced, and recited complicated oratorical pieces. At the end of the show, they were visibly tired but very proud of what their efforts had achieved in just two weeks. Mr. P called on to each boy, from sophomores to juniors and seniors, and gave a short anecdote about each one. Every one of them was beaming in pride and happiness, as we, the audience were.

Mr. P

The show ended quite early, with enough time to squeeze in dinner or a nightcap of hot chocolate. Still, we were all anxious to go home. After all, what was Mother’s Day if one of the reasons for my being a mother – Alphonse- wasn’t with us? True enough, we arrived home just in time as we were greeted with the whoops of joy of a boy who seemed to miss us terribly in our three-hour absence.

Mother’s Day ended with a prayer that night. Cuddled in each other’s arms, we had celebrated another milestone in our lives as a family. As I turned in that night, I prayed the santol tree will live another day, surrounded by the family who loves each other so.  

“Do I Make You Proud?”

Alex in BusinessWorld May 9-10, 2008 edition

My son Alex’s first Mother’s Day gift turned out to be one of the best- he got himself published! 🙂

Around a week and a half ago, having gotten off theater practice early, he, A and I caught the advance screening of Speed Racer at SM Megamall Cinema 1. I think he must have been really impressed with the movie as he set to write about it as soon as he got home that night. He submitted it to BusinessWorld for the arts and leisure pages, and thankfully, it landed on the Weekender. Proud father showed me a copy last Friday when he got home from work. (Above is a screen shot of the online edition. You can check it out here.) Alex was all smiles as he asked me to keep a copy for him, and asked his dad to get another copy for Mr. P, his theater teacher.

“Advanced Happy Mother’s Day, Ma,” he whispered as he gave me a peck on the cheek.

Alex often sings “Do I make you proud?,” Taylor Hicks’ song when Hicks won American Idol (Fifth Season) two years ago. Now, when he belts into song, I sing back, “You always do.”



Happy Mother\'s day

I received this by email, one minute before Mother’s Day comes to a close in this part of the world. As I look upon the sleeping forms of the men in my life, I am thankful for this day, for their kindness, and for their love. If I leave this world having passed on to my children the virtues of courage, strength, and faith, I would have fulfilled my purpose for being. More Mother’s Day stories soon. Tonight, I sleep. 🙂

The young mother set her foot on the path of life.
‘Is this the long way?’ she asked.
And the guide said: ‘Yes, and the way is hard
And you will be old before you reach the end of it.
But the end will be better than the beginning.

But the young mother was happy, and she would not believe
that anything could be better than these years.
So she played with her children, and gathered flowers for
them along the way, and bathed them in the clear streams;
and the sun shone on them, and the young Mother cried,
‘Nothing will ever be lovelier than this.’

Then the night came, and the storm, and the path was Dark,
and the children shook with fear and cold,
and the mother drew them close and covered them with her mantle,
and the children said,
‘Mother, we are not afraid, for you are near, and no harm can come.’

And the morning came, and there was a hill ahead, and
the children climbed and grew weary, and the mother was weary.
But at all times she said to the children,’ A little patience and we are there.’
So the children climbed, and when they reached the top
They said, ‘Mother, we would not have done it without you.’

And the mother, when she lay down at night looked up
at the stars and said, ‘This is a better day than the last, for my
children have learned fortitude in the face of hardness.
Yesterday I gave them courage.
Today, I’ve given them strength.’

And the next day came strange clouds which darkened the earth,
clouds of war and hate and evil, and the children groped and stumbled,
and the mother said: ‘Look up. Lift your eyes to the light.
‘ And the children looked and saw above the clouds
an everlasting glory, and it guided them beyond the
Darkness. And that night the Mother said,
‘This is the best day of all, for I have shown my children God.’

And the days went on, and the weeks and the months and
the years, and the mother grew old and she was little and bent.
But her children were tall and strong, and walked with Courage. 

And when the way was rough, they lifted her,
for she was as light as a feather; and at last they came to a hill,
and beyond they could see a shining road and golden gates flung wide.
And Mother said, ‘I have reached the end of my journey. And now I know the end
Is better than the beginning, for my children can walk alone, and their children after them.’

And the children said, ‘You will always walk with us, Mother,
even when you have gone through the gates.’
And they stood and watched her as she went on alone,
and the gates closed after her.
And they said: ‘We cannot see her but she is with us still.
A Mother like ours is more than a memory.
She is a living presence…. ..’

Your Mother is always with you….
She’s the whisper of the leaves as you walk down the street;
she’s the smell of bleach in your freshly laundered socks;
she’s the cool hand on your brow when you’re not well.

Your Mother lives inside your laughter.
And she’s crystallized in every tear drop.
She’s the place you came from, your first home; and
she’s the map you follow with every step you take.
She’s your first love and your first heartbreak,
and nothing on earth can separate you.

Not time, not space… Not even death!