Sesame Street Fizzy Tub Colors

Bath time fun for tots.

Funky Feet

Not quite shoes.

Cinema Leonardo

Baguio house by the hill.

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

My Almost Last Christmas

I wouldn't be celebrating Yuletide with my hubby and daughter today had I not survived a near fatal car accident four Christmases ago. An accident caused by a cab driver sleeping on the job.

A hair-raising Christmas day memory.

Yup, you heard me right. He had a few seconds of shuteye while on the wheel.

25th of December in 2006, I along with my mom and sister, traveled from Tarlac to Manila via public bus. We spent Christmas eve the night before with my mom and dad's families in their hometown Victoria, Tarlac.

We arrived in Manila past midnight. From the bus terminal, we took a cab to get to our pad in Malate. The first fifteen minutes of the ride went fine. After that, we all noticed that the driver suddenly dropped his speed and slowly careened left and right. It didn't worry me though, I actually thought he was just testing his wheel alignment or his tires' air pressure. Besides, I was busy texting Christmas greetings to even care.

Only a few more kilometers to our destination, coming from Quiapo, the cab ascended Quezon Bridge. And upon our descent, that's when it happened. The driver in a deep slumber wasn't controlling his wheel anymore. My eyes were still on my mobile phone's screen, I didn't see it coming. Past the Manila Metropolitan Theater on Quezon Boulevard, our cab climbed up an island and smashed on an LRT post.

I was on the front seat and wasn't wearing a seatbelt.

I can clearly remember the sound and sight of the windshield shattering. I was caught so off-guard, my phone flew from my hand and got buried beneath the sea of broken glass on my feet. I didn't pass out but was indeed shocked.

Bystanders suddenly surrounded the vehicle. A man knocked on my window and pointed at my door lock. I assumed he was asking for me to unlock it, perhaps to help me out in case I was badly injured. I managed to give him a thumbs up sign but did not open my door. I had P10,000 stashed in my bag and in such crazy situation I was still paranoid sane enough to protect it.

My mom and sister were okay, but also badly shaken by the accident. I remember my sister reaching for and touching my face when I didn't respond to her when she was calling , "Ate?". I assured her I was okay. She told me she'll never forgive herself if terrible something happened to me. It was one of those rare times she let me sit in front, instead of her.

I also remember mom, who's one of the loudest people I know, being silent for the first time. Poor mom must have been very worried.

Another man peered in my window and introduced himself as a policeman. He wasn't wearing his uniform though. I'm guessing he was supposedly off duty, but checked the commotion anyway. I stepped out of the cab, tightly clutching my bag.

Policeman: "Mam okay lang ho kayo?".
Me: "Manong di ko po mahanap battery ng phone ko."

Unbelievably, he commanded his boys to look for it then turned to me again.

Policeman: "Mam gusto nyo po ba magpadala sa ospital?"
Me: "Hindi na ho. Gusto ko mahanap battery ng camera ko para mag-picture."

It may seem funny, but I really wanted to have a photo of the cab that almost took my life to remind me of how I have been spared - and that I should make the most of the second life that's been given to me.

We never found my battery but sis was able to take a snapshot with her own celly. When we got home (we didn't file charges and shame on the driver who still wanted us to pay for the ride!), the first person I texted was Dexter. He's a segment writer of the defunct TV show I co-hosted. His reply? "Gay, sana hindi ka muna umalis. Sayang ang exposure. Si Aladin Bacolodan ang rumoronda sa Manila ngayon, sana hinintay mo." - not exactly the answer I expected, but it made me laugh a very very very long laugh.

I broadcasted the incident on Friendster. Posted the photo too. My friends were thankful I survived the accident unscathed (okay, I got a painful bump and a small cut on the head) and weren't surprised to find out that I was already holidaying at some beach just days after.

The memory never caused me tears, yet without a doubt, it's one of the highlights in my life. Today's the first time hubby and I are celebrating Christmas with our baby daughter, in our own home. I am loving every second of it and I am grateful I have cheated death to be here right now. In their arms.

"Merry Christmas mates", hubby. "Maligayang Pasko mga tsong", me. "Goo goo", baby.

This Christmas, I raise my shot of Caramel Mudslide to second lives! And yeah, mummyhood too.

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Wednesday, 8 December 2010

A Graduate From Newbornhood

Today, our baby daughter Luna is officially an infant! For non-parents, a "newborn" pertains to little earthlings aged 0 to 3 months. After that stage he or she becomes an infant, then a toddler.

Luna's graduation gift, her first pair of shoes! Which she'll outgrow in uhm, the next 24 hours.

I actually learned about this recently. Before giving birth, I just referred to them all as babies. A baby/child's development isn't really something single people read for entertainment, right? And even when I was pregnant, I never bothered researching on this kind of stuff. I was more engrossed with perusing articles discussing the horror of delivery and postpartum depression.

Three months into motherhood, I could say I've already gotten the hang of handling Luna. Thanks to the wonders of Googling, I can somehow read what her behavior's telling me and how I could respond to it without calling my mum who lives four hours away.

Also, I can pinpoint the signs of her development to infanthood: She squeals when excited, can raise her head higher (more steadily) during tummy time, can roll to her side, can bear weight on her legs when held upright, and she turns her head towards us when she hears our voices and makes eye contact!

She's definitely growing at the right pace! And although she's recovering from a cold, the rest of her is normal and healthy. To celebrate her 3rd month, we went to Star Cafe for lunch just because we were craving for Chinese food, then we headed to Oh My Gulay for photo taking dessert. Both located along Session Road.

Luna with daddy in front of Oh My Gulay's center art piece, which actually houses the toilets.

Luna: "Mum, look at the camera."

Went home early afternoon to avoid Saturday Night Market traffic jam.

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Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Why I took a taxi to my own wedding!

Hubby and I just celebrated our first wedding anniversary a couple of days ago at some mountain resort in Benguet. Yes, with our daughter Luna. Can't believe it has been a year already! Time indeed zooms by when you get married and get pregnant and give birth within one year. Believe me, the conception part wasn't planned. And although having a baby made in China seems an interesting story, that's not what I'm going to share with you folks today.

You shoulda seen the driver's face traced with shock and bewilderment.

On the biggest day of my life, I took a cab to the church where I was to be wed. How in the world did this happen?

Here's the series of unfortunate events which led to this (cross-posted from my abandoned personal blog):

09:00 AM I was awoken by my friend's (Belle) call, who asked about where we'll meet up before the wedding. She was surprised I was still asleep!

10:00 AM Bridal car-slash-service for the day arrived (provided by a relative who owns a rent-a-car-company).

10:30 AM Went to the reception venue to meet my coordinator. Gave her the CDs for the church, AVP DVD I edited for the banquet program, and money for other payments. Went through the script one last time.

11:00 AM Checked in Orchid Garden Suites. Dropped off gowns, shoes and accessories.

11:15 AM Rushed to Harrison Plaza to change currency (short on pesos and we still needed to pay for the lechon, fireworks and band after the wedding). Bought last minute stuff: stamp pad (for the after party), pins (money dance) and deodorant (of all things!).

11:45 AM Back at the hotel. Flowers for the entourage were delivered. Cameramen arrived, chased me around like I was a reality show celebrity. I took a shower while Gabe went back to the condo to take hers there, so we can save time.

12:30 PM Driver took Gabe first to the parlor. It just dawned on me, I didn't even know the parlor's name! It's one of them forgettable cheap places you'd consider as your last resort. Their lone hairdresser and make-up artist, Jessica, is such a gem though. P500 for the whole deed - but don't undermine him (uhm, her... uhm). He won 1st place in a competition sponsored by Fanny Serrano, and even showed me photos to prove it (he might have sensed my skepticism).

12:50 PM Driver picked me up from the hotel and took me to the salon. Salon's located just beside a carinderia, so I decided to take lunch while waiting for my turn.

My last meal as a single lady.

01:45 PM Finally, my turn. Told Gabe to eat her lunch too, which is uhm, my leftover food.

02:30 PM Jessica added the last touch, fake lashes - which took forever! Mom kept calling every two minutes. My wedding singer, apparently lost, sent a text message asking for directions.

With my artist and manicurist.

02:50 PM We found our frantic mom (that's actually an understatement - she was wildly panicking!) in the hotel room with the cameramen. I changed into my gown as fast as I could (which was difficult with the heavy petticoat). I was hopping around trying to put on my strappy white sandals when one of my gown's buttons popped out.

03:00 PM Bridal car took the groom and his family to the church.

03:10 PM Driver took them to the wrong church. He asked for directions from people, drove like a mad man and counter-flowed one-way Manila streets.

Photo taken by hubby. Driver racing to Paco Park Church. Argh! Please don't hurt the pedestrians!

Around this time in the hotel one cameraman was fixing my veil, and another, helping Gabe tie her corset. Mom looked like she was going to faint any second.

03:30 PM Bridal car not back yet. Cameramen used the spare time to take more photos of me, mom and Gabe.

03:45 PM We couldn't wait any longer. The cameramen really saved the day, they hailed a taxi for us. Coincidentally, my wedding wasn't any different from my backpacking adventures - always on the run!

My 'bridal car', a cab with an 80s glam velvet seat cover.

04:00 PM It really is better to be late than never! Have we been more than thirty minutes late, the wedding would have been cancelled (church policy).

Late and still laughing.

04:05 PM The entourage's song, 'Going To The Chapel Of Love' played and I saw mom dancing to it. Our best man Shane started walking down the aisle with Morvarid.

I went ballistic with the next entourage song, 80s soft rock song 'Take My Breath Away' by Berlin. Friggin' Shervin included it in our list of church songs instead of 'Take My Breath Away' by Tuck and Patti. Ah yes, my life is full of all sorts of bloopers. The song was faded out to make way for my wedding march - a soulfully played 'Baby, I Love Your Way' by Johnoy Danao.

Johnoy waiting for me, his cue.

I took a deep breath and reminded myself not to cry yet, "Your fake lashes' glue is still not dry". Here we go...

Veil not properly fixed, but thanks to the cameraman who helped me put it on.

Lesson learned: I cannot be the bride and be Wonder Woman at the same time. A wedding is a family affair. When getting married, delegate tasks to your relatives.

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Thursday, 18 November 2010

20 Seconds of Fame!

Fifteen minutes into exploring the place, Balitang Amianan's writer approached us and asked for an interview. By the way it's a Central and North Luzon news show, which can be viewed obviously within the same region - even without a cable TV connection.

Writer jotting down our names.

I declined the interview at first and told him my hubby would do it instead. After all, he's the foreign tourist. But since we were the only visitors at the time, I finally said yes when the writer talked me into it. I was supposed give just a two-line answer anyway.

Hubby wondered when it would be televised. I had a hunch it should happen soon because it was for a lifestyle feature of a news show. Production crew of news shows shoot/edit/submit their work swiftly.

So this evening, for the first time, I tuned in Balitang Amianan... Lo and behold, we were able to catch the segment! It was Luna's first (hopefully not the last) television appearance. Hubby's too actually (not mine though because I was a co-host of a defunct variety show - that's another story to tell one day).

Behind us are the comfort rooms, where the featured signages are.

It wasn't as bad as I remembered. My key answers were "unconventional" and "artsy", which I'm happy about. I didn't have make up on but it totally didn't matter because the shot was overexposed. We just did one take each. Thank goodness I was sane despite the nervousness to give a decent comment (pardon me for not having a photo of the signs, they're actually the male and female genitalia carved on wood).

An aunt of mine and her son from Pangasinan were able to watch it. They called me and recounted what happened in their house while the show was on. Cousin frying bangus for dinner, saw us on the telly... panicked and called his mom. They were all shouting and laughing while watching, they never heard what we said and didn't know what the interview was all about. I giggled as my aunt told me this.

Also, an FB contact posted on my wall saying he saw it too. Can't remember who he was and how he ended up on my list of friends until I checked his profile. He's a fellow travel blogger and I just found out he's from Baguio too (if you are reading this, I'm sorry... can we be real friends?).

So there. Our 20 seconds of fame. Sadly, we were not able to record/take a video of the show because we were oh so ecstatic and were not oh so thinking straight. At least we got a few photos to show Luna in the future while we tell her about it.

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Monday, 15 November 2010

Co-Sleeping Vs Crib Sleeping

I have witnessed much bickering on this one. Within my family in fact. And I personally don't think this battle will end, like any other parenting issue. So which side am I on? Definitely co-sleeping. Here's how it happened.

Just a week before my expected due date, we finally fixed our soon to be baby's crib. We arranged it downstairs my great grandparents' Tarlac heritage home where we were temporarily residing. We made sure its location is somewhere well ventilated and not swarmed by mosquitoes, wasps, spiders and other insects you wouldn't believe are roaming in and out of the house.

This photo is a scripted one, so don't worry about the balloons.

Good thing the crib was just borrowed from a cousin of mine. Baby never slept in there!

Ever since we took our bundle of joy home from the hospital, she has always slumbered on our bed with us. The first few weeks, we let her sleep on a baby mattress with an attached mosquito net. How it looks like:

Dunno what it's called, do you? We named it pangtakip ng ulam.

Then my hubby and I would place her on our bed, in between us. So in the middle of the night, when she cries asking to be nursed, we need not get up from bed and walk like zombies to the crib. Stumbling on random room stuff like the lamp or the fan.

I was majorly paranoid also during her first month that I'd wake up in the wee hours even if she's in a deep sleep to make sure she's unharmed, not spitting up, and breathing properly. It was easy for me to do so when she's just by my side.

Some would say that when co-sleeping (also called bedsharing), the baby is safe to sleep between the mother and the edge of the bed (supposing that edge is beside the wall and with a pillow). Her maternal instincts could tell even in her sleep the position of the baby, how far or close she is.

In our case, I could say that my hubby's level of paternal instinct is at par with my maternal one. And even without that pangtakip ng ulam, both of us are totally aware of the space allocated for the baby even while we're catching some shut-eye.

I'm pro co-sleeping. But baby doll, please give mum more space!

I have also noticed that after she wakes up from her daytime nap and feeds, it seems easy for her to go back to sleep when she's beside any of us. That does not happen when she's in her stroller (we didn't bring her crib to our current Baguio house).

Will this make her more dependent on us? I can't answer that yet but what I do know is that it does not make her feel unloved.

So folks, I guess this is what parenting's about. You do your own extensive research then you experiment on things (nothing too crazy though) which you think will work for your family. For every baby is different, so is every household... so is every mum.

How about you? Which side are you on?

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Saturday, 11 September 2010

Baguio Abode

Yesterday we bid a somber goodbye to my grandma, her brother, and my two cousins. They were our housemates for more than four months. My Aussie husband and I lived in my great grandparents' 60s heritage home during my last pregnancy term and our newborn's first seven weeks.

We got along well with our extended family, but hubby and I decided it was time for us to live on our own. And what a whirlwind move that was! Monday was when we agreed to rent a studio unit in Baguio (where we recently vacationed), Thursday I did the house hunting (only showed photos to hubby), Saturday we deposited 1 month advance and 1 month deposit to the agent's bank account, and the next Monday we've already settled in!

Snapshot taken from the balcony. Who wouldn't want to wake up to this view?

Well actually right now, we haven't neatly fixed the place yet but it already feels like home to me. Our first abode. I am now officially a housewife with a house - and I don't mind it being a temporary dwelling. After all, the hippie in me will always consider displacement and relocation an opportunity to broaden my horizons.

Home is where the heart is and our hearts will stay in Baguio for a few months. Cheers to this blog's first post!
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