April 30, 2020

It’s Hard to Say Goodbye

I don’t know what’s with the year 2020 but this year was so heartbreaking. Three months ago, I posted this “Slowly, we’re losing someone we love and my heart is crying “Lord, I can’t take this anymore, this is too much”. I don’t know how much my heart can take because the pain of losing someone is not easy to bear.” And now, my heart was shattered in a thousand pieces and I don’t know how to get back up.

In a span of 14 months, I lost my grandmother, sister-in-law, father, and sister. My father passed away just three months ago and then just last week, I heard the very sad news. I feel so devastated because I lost my sister and my friend. It was so sudden and we were all in shock and how I wish we can pretend that nothing happened.

So soon, so soon, so soon... Why? I don’t understand why does she have to leave so soon? I can't find the words to say. I wish it was just a bad dream but too bad, it is a reality that I'm having a hard time to accept. I miss her so much and it pains me because I can't even see her. And because of this Covid19 pandemic issue and community quarantine, we cannot travel and my mom can’t even fly back to the Philippines. It aches our hearts because we cannot give her a decent funeral service.

Sino makakapagsabi na yung libing ni papa yung last na kita namin. Kausap pa namin siya, wala man lang signs na mawawala na siya; tapos gigising kami na wala na siya. She was not feeling sick but she mentioned that she has an asthma attack. She was not complaining so we just thought it was the usual asthma attack kapag nastress siya or pagod.

She has asthma since she was a kid and she said na nagnenebulizer siya for her asthma. Mas worried pa nga siya sa mama ko na may sakit and was on sick leave. But last Monday, nebulizer failed her and she was having a hard time to breathe so she was rushed to the hospital. It happened before (last year) so when my niece told me that she was in the hospital, I thought she was already okay but when I’ve read the word “nirerevive”, my hands were trembling and I can’t even type and I don’t know what to do. I called my brother so he can go to the hospital but he did not see our sister anymore.

God broke my heart because He always takes the best. Her golden heart stopped beating and her hardworking hands are now on rest. I love my sister so much and life would never be the same without her. She is a selfless sister. She is always there for me. I really appreciate her presence, lagi siya present if I need a family. She was there nung pregnant ako, nanganak, binyag ng anak, birthday, and any other special events of my life.

Growing up kami lagi magkasama and magkausap. Now that we have our own family, we seldom see each other because of distance pero lagi kami magkausap, almost every day. We're supposed to go to Taiwan pa nga last March kaso nacanceled and marami pa kami travel plans together na hindi na mangyayari pa. Now that she is gone, I don’t know how to move on and move forward.

The words "moving on" is easier said than done. They keep saying that time will heal but the pain just gets more real. It’s been 10 days since God called her home and our heart still aches and we don’t know until when. I kept on playing this song by Danny Gokey “Tell Your Heart to Beat Again”

“Let every heartbreak and every scar, be a picture that reminds you who has carried you this far. Cause love sees farther than you ever could. In this moment heaven’s working everything for good”

I’m praying that God will give us strength, comfort, and support that we need so we can survive our trials in our life.

April 19, 2020

Day Trip to Caleruega Church

We’re on Day 35 of Community Quarantine and for the past few weeks, I tried to keep myself busy. Even though I’m preoccupied with other things, I can’t deny the fact that I’m missing the old times. I love sharing about our travel trips and food trips but I’m not sure if it is okay to post it during the quarantine. But after contemplating, I guess it is the right time to reminisce and relive my past travel and food trips to reduce my travel depression.

And because it is Sunday, let us start with our Caleruega trip last December. Caleruega has been part of our annual trips because it is my husband’s tradition or should I say “panata”, so we always visit this every Holy Week. Though there are a few times that we were not able to visit this during Holy Week because we were in Norway. We’re visiting Caleruega since 2008 and during that time, my son was still inside my uterus and now he is already tween.

How time flies, I can still remember that we did not celebrate our second wedding anniversary because I’ve been on bed rest since the first week of February. I was really bored at home so my husband decided to visit Caleruega. Though I am not Catholic I’ve been meaning to visit this place since I was in high school because I know that the place is really beautiful and relaxing. This was my first travel after bed rest so I was really excited.

It’s quite traffic because it was Holy Thursday so it took us more than two hours just to get there. Good thing that we brought some food so we’re eating on our way to Caleruega church. There were a lot of people so parking was really difficult and mahabang lakaran papunta sa church. After our first visit, I understand why people always visit this church.

You can never get tired of this place; it is very relaxing and refreshing so it is not surprising anymore if couples want this as their wedding venue, schools choose this for their retreat and people love to visit this during holy week. We’ve attended a wedding here, my husband’s had their retreat when he was in High School and we are one of those people who visit Caleruega every Holy Week.

For the past 12 years, we’ve visited this place as a family or together with my in-laws and friends. Unfortunately, because of community quarantine, we failed to visit this last Holy Week. Good thing, we went here last December after our buffet breakfast at Balay Dako. We did not stay long sa church kasi may ikakasal so busy sila sa pag-aayos. There were few changes na rin, nalipat na nila yung station of the cross. Ang hindi lang nabago is, may entrance fee pa rin sila, hehehe! This is the only church na pinupuntahan namin na may bayad. Nakailang flyers na rin ako and sharing with you some information about Caleruega. (from flyer)

About Caleruega 

Caleruega was named after the birthplace of St. Dominic de Guzman, father of Order of Preachers. Wishing to honor and remember the legacy of their founder, he Filipino Dominicans established Caleruega with the hopes that it will, like the town of Caleruega in Spain, be a birthplace - a genesis for people speaking to and for the Divine Creator.

Silence, solitude, harmony, the majesty of creation, the freedom of Light and the passion to share God's word - this is Caleruega: the seedbed of preachers, the cornerstone of spiritual inspiration. Come, walk in His presence.

Caleruega celebrates the priceless gift of life and its Giver. Here, the lost soul finds direction; the weary traveler is shown the Way. every tree, flower, and brick is a testament to God's splendor and power.

Caleruega speaks through signs and symbols. It is a haven, a home, a sanctuary amidst the beauty of nature where pilgrims are open to prayer, to creative transformation, and to Gospel values.

Caleruega is really huge, you can stay here all day if you want to explore the place.

Relaxing and Refreshing Spots  

Plaza de Aza’s open space and roof deck
Tuktok and its charming gazebos
Garden Cafe’s refreshing delights
The plant nursery’s seedlings for sale
Lettuce greenhouse’s freshest greens
Shop of Delight for Caleruega mementos
Japanese Garden Cenaculum (refectory)
Kampo Restrooms

Must-see sights  

Transfiguration Chapel
Tent chapel of transfiguration
Fountain compass
The Dominicum’s grand stairway
St. Dominic’s Point
Manaoag Drive via Crusis
Our Lady of the Holy Rosary
Thy will be Done Sculpture
Koi Pond and its walkways
Hanging Bridge and Kampo Arriba
Kampo Terraces and Ampitheater
Worm Farm/Compost production

There are halls and accommodations for those people who wanted to stay and have retreats and recollection, team buildings, renewal workshops, wedding, and reception.

How to get to Caleruega:  

It is not difficult to reach Caleruega if you have your own vehicle.  You can follow this direction or just use a mobile app for your guide.

- from Tagaytay Rotonda turn right and take the National road going to Nasugbu, Batangas
- you will pass Taal Vista hotel, Royal Tagaytay and Petron Station.
- turn left in Evercrest Golf Club.
- then follow the signs going to Caleruega.

For commuters, you need to ride a bus going to Nasugbu and ride a tricycle to reach the Caleruega. Get the number of the trike so he can pick you up sa uwian. (narinig ko lang ito sa group of teenagers nung pauwi na kami, itext na daw nila yung trike driver para sunduin na sila).

If you are strong, you can walk from Evercrest Golf Club up to Caleruega, but it is really a long walk.

Caleruega Fees

Parking fee: P40
Entrance fee: P30
7 Years old below: Free of Charge
Senior and PWD: 20% discount

Though may free parking but slots are very limited, never pa kami nakapagpark sa free.

House of St. Mary Magdalene
Batulao, Nasugbu, Batangas

April 18, 2020

Mermaid Tails for Swimming

The Little Mermaid is a popular animated movie in 1989, the story is based in the fairy tale written by Hans Christian Andersen. Ariel is a 16-year old mermaid princess who wanted to experience life in the land. Remember the song “Up there they walk, up where they run, Up where they stay all day in the sun, Wanderin free - wish I could be, Part of that world”. Until now the lyrics of “Part of Your World” still lingers in my mind every time I see a mermaid movie or even mermaid tail.

It is not surprising that people love to be Ariel and until now, girl dreams to have mermaid fins for birthday party themes, photoshoots, cosplaying, or even swim with their own fun tails. And because of this, there are a lot of retail suppliers who offer swimmable mermaid tails like the fun mermaid tails from Suntails. Your dream to become a mermaid is not far from reality. You can just buy your own tail and use it on your beach or pool trip.

Suntail mermaid fins are designed for both sea and shore so you can swim, walk and play with your mermaid tails. It is a fun tail because it offers different colors, rainbow-colored and sparkly tails to suit your preference. You can just buy the mermaid tails or you can buy their combo package. It is available in different sizing, yes, from toddlers, kids, teens, and adults.

When this community quarantine is over, I’m sure your daughters will be begging you to buy a swimming tail. The mermaid tail is fun to use but make sure to keep an eye to your kids when swimming with their tails, whether in the swimming pool or open beach water.

April 16, 2020

Day 32 of Community Quarantine

Wow, we’re already on Day 32 of community quarantine. How are you really doing in these crazy times? I hope you are coping and holding up well. I remember my mom asked me, how I am coping? I paused for a while and try reflecting if quarantine has a big effect on my life. Now I can say that I’m pretty okay even there is community quarantine.

It is not easy to be okay in these trying times but it is better to embrace the situation and don’t fight it anymore. Stop blaming, start helping and change your mindset and attention. It took me a long time to process everything because at first, I was really disappointed. How I wish there is a fast forward button because I feel that year 2020 is not a good year.

Why not a good year? I lost my father, we experienced Taal Volcano Ashfall, my first JUNK (Just Us No Kids) trip with my sister and friend in Taiwan was canceled and my family was supposed to go to Osaka, Japan this summer. I guess no travel trip this year. Huhuhu We’re still waiting for our Taiwan ticket refund and good thing that we got a Japan Multiple Visa so at least hindi nasayang. Hopefully, magamit pa rin after the suspension of Japan Visa.

“Even when we can’t control the situation around us, we always can choose where we’re directing our attention” - Liz Stanley, PHD 

What helped me to cope? I stayed away from news and Facebook newsfeed so it won’t scare me. I even subscribed to Netflix because I thought I would be bored to death and I did not expect that I would be busy. I already canceled my subscription because I have no time to watch naman. Sayang yung bayad ko if I cannot maximize it. Back to VIU na lang ulit ako for my Korean Drama fix.

I keep myself busy and enrolled in different online classes. Brit+Co offered free classes last March and I was able to finish 48 classes. Actually, ang dami pa free online classes kaso nagstick na lang ko sa Brit + Co. Information overload but I’m thankful for the new knowledge and skills that I’ve learned. I enrolled in TESDA course but I haven’t started yet, pinapahinga ko muna utak ko. I also accepted some part-time jobs last week, imagine I was working during Holy Week. If walang quarantine, for sure nasa layasan ako at hindi nagwowork. Hehehe!

“Look for reasons to be grateful - even when you’re struggling. Taking time to give thanks for even the smallest blessings can help you appreciate the good things in life” - Amit Sood, M.D. 

There are so many things that I should be thankful for, small or big things.

1. I’m glad that I’m used to being at home. I’m an introvert and I’m a full-time mom so I can stay at home for a very long time. This helps me a lot because there is no big adjustment in my routine.
2. I’m happy that I have no problem even my husband is in charge of wet market and supermarket duties. Siya naman talaga namamalengke, ever since ng kinasal kami kasi mabigat para sa akin ang magbuhat ng one-week menu. Medyo sablay lang sa grocery kasi ang dami binibili and hindi nagcocompare ng prices. Buy lang ng buy kahit mahal. Well, hayaan na lang, siya naman ang provider. Hehehe!
3. I’m thankful that my husband can work from home and for 14 years of marriage, ito na ang pinakamatagal namin na magkasama. We’ve been together 24/7 and no business trips.
4. I’m grateful that we can buy enough food supply so my husband doesn’t need to go out every week. We tried our best to stay at home and stretch our food supply for up to two weeks.
5. I’m thankful that I did not allow covid19 to take over my life.

I’m praying that COVID19 will end soon and life would be normal again. Even I feel okay, I miss our food trip, I miss going to the grocery, I miss summer vacation trip and lastly, I need to go back to my doctors, ang dami ko nacancel na labtest and check-up.

April 01, 2020

Hello April

Hello April!  Life is full of uncertainties and who would ever think that year 2020 would be like this. March flew by so fast and April is here but we're still staying at home.

I am not sure when the community quarantine will end. I hope soon! To keep me sane, I cut down on my social media time to limit myself from reading or watching covid19 updates.

So what happened?

18 - today is Day 18 of Community Quarantine in our country.
22 - I've been staying at home for 22 days already and would you believe that I haven't stepped out even outside our gate.
3 - when community quarantine started, I subscribed to Netflix and so far I've finished watching 3 Korean Dramas. I watched Hyde, Jekyll Me, Itaewon Class and Marriage Contract. You can check my Korean Drama Series List here.
2 - I've created 2 mood boards. I've been meaning to do this for a very long time but finally, I've updated my own mood board
29 - the number of classes that I took at Brit + Co site and you can still take their free classes until April 9, 2020. Yey!
110 - number of Pinterest Graphics that I’ve designed. 
40 - number of cupcakes that I have baked
5 - my 5 days trip to Taiwan was canceled
4 - notebooks that I upcycled

And the list goes on… just keeping myself busy so I don’t have time to think about the pandemic. How are you coping?