That was the 3-year-old me in the picture. Si Inday Meikah! LOL According to my aunts' st...

The Strength I Never Knew I Had


That was the 3-year-old me in the picture. Si Inday Meikah! LOL

According to my aunts' stories, as a young child, I was very shy and easy to cry. They said that when they would bring me to Kindergarten class, I would be crying when it was time for them to leave. The class couldn't start until I stopped crying. Ha ha!

Growing up with my paternal grandparents, I remember I was very protected. I couldn't just touch water because I might get cough and colds. I was allowed to eat "la tondan" bananas only because I might have a tummyache if I eat the other variety or even fruits. An aunt who acted as my nanny for sometime told us stories of my Lola Petra scolding them when my clothes were soiled and I would be all sweaty. I was not allowed to play on the streets with other children. I would only be sitting by the porch looking at the children happily playing, even under the rain, on the streets.

Because of this, I grew up keeping to myself most of the time. I was talawan (always scared, not confident). UP made me a more extrovert person, then the Jaycees made me a social animal, lol.

Yes, for the most part of my life, I have had things easy. I am used to having things done for me by other people. So far as I can remember, I always have someone to rely on, and do the difficult or challenging parts for me.

So, the first time I was made to go home because my father was in the hospital, I was really really scared. I think that was the first time I ever felt raw fear. I said to myself, "Lord, I know this will be on me... alone! So, help me, God!" Then my mother got hospitalized five months later for over fatigue; perhaps as a result of her caring for father earlier. Thank God for kind strangers and loving relatives! Plus, of course my superhero of a husband, who always shares some of his strength, if not all (everything he got), with me.

Being the elder of two children, I know my aging parents will be relying on me.

I had my strength tested again last month when my bachelor uncle, the brother of my father, was brought to the hospital by kind neighbors, and who later on passed on. Again, I had to go through the checking in the hospital, then in the morgue and arrange for funeral services... mostly by myself as only family members are allowed in the most sensitive parts of the hospital. When asked to view my uncle's body before it was cremated, I had to do it. I also had to carry his urn myself, for fear that other people might be scared or feel iffy about holding an urn of other people's ashes. I was even hesitant to ask my relatives to meet me at the airport or pier because they might not welcome the idea of an urn in their car. Again through it all, the kindness of strangers who became my friends for life, helped me and my husband handle it all.

My son asked me if I was ever scared, and I said, never for one moment did I feel fear or feel something paranormal as some people probably would.

Yes, I never knew I had this strength in me. Thanks to my positivity for it always comes in handy when things get more difficult.

And you know what? The Lord is truly amazing... all the time.

This recent experience of mine with my uncle, He again sent people my way to make things much easier for me.

My uncle's neighbors helped me with all the paperwork in Mandaluyong City Hall and in the Garden of Life funeral services. Never was I made to line up or wait for hours to accomplish the papers. The same thing happened in the airport as the urn was considered a carry-on luggage. Philippine Airlines sent someone to help me carry the urn to the human quarantine and help me back to the check-in counter then to the pre-departure area. When I reached Dumaguete, again my aunts and uncles met me and one uncle even carried the urn for me as I boarded the ferry to Siquijor. Upon reaching Siquijor, a porter helped me disembark and I arrived in Larena safe and sound, never for a moment encumbered, except for the gentle swaying of the ferry that I felt as I easily get seasick. But considering the time of the year to travel to Siquijor, those gentle waves were a welcome surprise. It was raining days before but I reached the island with the sun shining brightly as if it was summer time. Overall, the trip was a breeze.    

God indeed is my refuge, my strength, and my deliverer!


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Going through a divorce is an emotionally exhausting experience. And getting a divorce TX is a...

Getting Legal Assistance with Filing a Divorce



Going through a divorce is an emotionally exhausting experience. And getting a divorce TX is also expensive. When you think about all of the emotions involved and you think about how expensive it can be, you can become completely overwhelmed. When you feel like this, it can be very easy for you to make decisions that are not in your best long-term interest. If you have children, you can make decisions that are not best for them either. This underscores the importance of hiring a qualified lawyer when going through a divorce.

Some individuals may think that hiring a lawyer is just going to make the process even more expensive. The very first thing that you should know is that getting a divorce is a legal process. It is a legal process just like getting married was. This means that there are papers that need to be filed and other steps that need to be taken in order to file for a divorce. When you work with a qualified divorce lawyer, you are going to be getting the assistance that you need to file all of these papers correctly and in a way that will help you to get the divorce done as quickly as possible. This is going to help you feel a lot less stress as you go through the process.

A divorce lawyer is going to be able to look at your entire situation from a neutral position. They're going to be able to give you advice that will benefit you now and in the future. For example, many women who get divorced are anxious to get through the process because they simply want to be free of the man they are divorcing. However, it may be in their long-term best interest and in the long-term best interest of their children for them to fight for property and other assets. The lawyer is also going to be in a good position to give the woman advice on things like alimony and getting custody of the children.

As with all other legal processes, it is good to take time to learn more about the divorce process. It will help you to avoid common pitfalls that are not only emotionally overwhelming, but that are also costly. Your divorce lawyer is going to help you to learn more about the process and then take steps that will protect you now and in the future.

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My uncle Jack, older brother of my father, passed on last week. He was a bachelor, and had liv...

Life is Funny... Most Times!


My uncle Jack, older brother of my father, passed on last week.

He was a bachelor, and had lived most of his life alone. He didn't want company and he didn't want someone living with him. He was happy that way. He is more sociable than my father but he preferred living alone. Talk of life's ironies!

We would visit him at most six times of the year, and when my father is here in Manila, he would spend time with him. He would also spend Christmas and birthdays with us.

We last visited him in early July, and already we saw signs of forgetfulness. That day, too, we were surprised that he asked my husband for money to buy his food. He never did that. In fact, when we would visit him, he would give the kids (only the kids always, lol) some cash right away. The husband did not only give him money that day but even went with him to buy food. It was lunch time so he bought food for dinner as well, and then we left him some money.

At the back of my head, I knew something was not right. We probed some more and asked him about his pension from GSIS, and if he was still getting it and how. He answered that he would go to the GSIS in Manila (mentioning the old address of GSIS) to claim it. Warning sign #1. But when we said that he should be getting it through the Landbank ATM, he instantly said, "Yes, that will do, too."

The husband and I exchanged looks. But when I called my father and they were talking on the phone, he sounded like his old self again--witty and sharp.

Before we left him that day, we told him that he could go to our house anytime. He could just take a cab and we would handle the fare. He then asked, when? "You want to go with us today?" I quickly asked. To which he said, "Ah wag muna ngayon (not now)." That is his standard answer.    

But I wish I insisted. I wish I dragged him to go with us. But then father would tell me later, no amount of convincing could force him to do something he wouldn't want to do. Even his own mother couldn't tell him to go home.

For when his memory started failing no one knew except him, and some select friends who checked on him.

When it happened that his neighbors found him half-conscious at the foot of the stairs, he was brought to the hospital. It took the neighbors three days later to reach me, as his only closest kin. That is because they had to revive his mobile phone before they could send messages to everyone in his phonebook. I happened to be in there, and the neighbor just sent a message to anyone, without them knowing I was his niece. When I called instead of replying with a text, Anthony knew I was a close kin, the niece who lived in Merville, and whom Uncle Jack kept mentioning to them.

In the past week that I attended to his cremation, his prayer vigil, thoughts of "I wished I went to the hospital sooner." "I wished I visited him more often." "I wished I insisted on having someone there to look after him." But all the what ifs and the I wish can do nothing now. I am sad more than I can be ever sad.

But why do I say life is funny... most times?

Because I learned a lot of ironic things from this experience.
  • People who are not in your most inner circle of friends are the ones who called and messaged if they could extend some help, and how. One friend who never fails to greet me on special occasions every year--that's the only time we communicate--surprised me when she sent me cash. Another friend offered her services if I needed them. 
  • There are people who jump at the situation and offer affront to help me sell or offer to buy my Uncle's house. Well, I can't blame them because the property is really a prime lot in Mandaluyong! And they remembered my Uncle saying, he was leaving the property with  me. So, now they're hounding me, lol.
  • In the most difficult of times, you have to learn to rely on yourself. I am blessed, I have my husband with me. So that gives me extra two pair of sturdy and reliable hands. You cannot expect, nor oblige, other people to keep vigil, unless they really want to.  

In this recent time, the man on the island can survive... because he has a God who never lets go.

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Let me pause for a while to give appreciation to the kind of love my husband and I share to thi...

The Best Kind of Love



Let me pause for a while to give appreciation to the kind of love my husband and I share to this day.



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There's no stopping time. I now have a Grade 11, who if Kto12 curriculum were not implemen...

Go USTE


There's no stopping time.

I now have a Grade 11, who if Kto12 curriculum were not implemented would be in freshman college.

But Gabo is enjoying himself. Every day when he comes home from UST, he is always in high spirits. Tired from the commute perhaps, but always has nice things to share about what transpired during the day.

I like what UST did during the first week. The school gave them an orientation about being a Thomasian (already asked to know by heart the school hymn and the vision-mission, lol!), touring them around the campus called campus walk, then taught them the UAAP cheer. I don't know if this is customary, but that week-long orientation somehow implanted in the new students an appreciation, if not love, for the new school. That's what happened to him.

Even if he has to wake up as early as 4:30am because he has class at 7am and has to travel from Paranaque to Manila, he doesn't mind. He is always excited to go to school.

Well I know him. Gabo since he started schooling never wanted to miss school, never even wanted to be late in any school or other activities. I remember him crying when the school bus was late in getting him. He would be agitated and fidgety and would be waiting at the guard house. He would be mad at us if we are running late. He HATES being late!

And he is one who always wants to  be part of the action,  ha ha! Kanino kaya nagmana ito?

One time last week, he sent me and his father a message if he can already run for the student council. We texted back right away, "not yet!" We tell him studies come first now. Second is basketball or sports organizations, then perhaps leadership orgs. When he came home that day, he said, he would have won a place in the council! Oh my!

This week, they have started with their classes. He has good stories being that he is already making a good impression on his teachers. We are happy.  

Now, I'll treat you, Gab, like someone going off to college as you are now in university, and so go with these words:

1. Go with our trust. I remember these are the only words my parents send me off with when I left for college. I was a wide-eyed, protected and uncertain, even scared teener from the province  and going to the big city that is Manila. I lived in a dorm inside the campus and they ticked all the yes's in the contract. That is how much they trusted me. And that is how much your father and I will trust you. Whatever you decide to do, always think of our trust in you, and I pray you won't ever break it.

2. Take chances... prudently. In the past years, we've always told you to be careful, to not do this, to do only this. I hope you know the reasons for those yes's and no's. Now, we will let you slowly but carefully open your wings, flap them, and start to open them widely, and if you feel like it, fly!    

3. Carve your own path. You are in no way obligated to follow either of our footsteps. You have your dreams, pursue them. I know you will learn a lot about culture or religion, and may question some of your known beliefs and the status quo. We all go through that phase. But know that life with God is better than life without. May all our Sundays and every day when we hear mass or pray together make you hold on to that, especially when life's road goes rugged.

4. Bring the sun with you, but welcome the moon too. Don't expect life to be always kind and fair, but learn in every turn. Use the night to rest, to think, to pray so that you will always look forward to the morning. I remember my father saying that men are basically polygamous so that I won't see love and relationships with rose-colored glasses. For you are a man, don't ever hurt or use force on women. Live with love and respect. Make this your guidepost: Ecclesiastes 3:1-8.

5. Remember home... always. No matter what you are doing, know that a simple text message or a call, means a lot to us. If you stumble or fail, know that you will always have a home to come home to anytime, and we will be there to help you stand and make you whole again.

6. Go with God and roar!

We love you!


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Why Marry Me at Marriott continues to be the Country’s Top Bridal Show I know a wedding is ...

Life Together Can Start with Marry Me at Marriott


Why Marry Me at Marriott continues to be the Country’s Top Bridal Show


I know a wedding is just one day, and a marriage is a lifetime. Still, a memorable wedding can begin your lifetime together.

At Marriott Hotel Manila, a wedding is not just a business. It’s a commitment. And like a gentleman who knows how to make a lady’s heart swoon, the recently held Marry Me at Marriott showed its guests why it continues to be the country’s top bridal show. Guests were dressed to the nines and left the event gushing over the fashion, the food, and all the important details fit for a magnificent wedding!

Why marrying your loved one at Marriott is all worth it

A grand venue for a grand happily ever after Its sheer size is not the only reason why it is grand. From its facade to its impressive interiors, the Marriott Grand Ballroom is arguably the modern castle for couples who prefer a grand happily ever after.



When guests ascended to the third floor, the hallway was lined with multi-tiered cakes, each one designed and carefully crafted by the hotel’s award-winning pastry chefs. Impressed by the well thought out design and craftsmanship, the visitors took photos then discussed why their chosen cake will not only be a centerpiece but also a conversation piece at the wedding reception.

Tasteful menu and table set up Cocktails were served and everyone enjoyed the refreshing beverages from Emperador Distillers and Happy Living Wines. When they followed Executive Chef Miek Brammer’s invitation to enter the country’s biggest ballroom, everyone walked into a room that seemed like a grand setting from a story book!



The floral arrangement of Michael Ruiz inspired guests of how the couple’s love bloomed. The white trees dazzled and on the long, immaculate white table are treats and savories that made guests happily eating and sharing to their heart’s content. 

The menu includes salmon tartar in squid ink crispy crepe, chicken liver in port wine jelly and apple compote, chicken dinakdakan in pandan wrap, and mini baked potato with crispy pancetta in sweet and sour cream. Orange vodka spears, quail eggs benedict, and prawn cocktail in wanton chips were also served. From the Live Station, plates were filled with: gambas with parsley rice (along with lemon butter sauce, bourbon sauce, pesto, and herb butter), mashed potato with organic vegetable, emmental cheese with german bread, and gelato. Delightful desserts were also offered such as matchamisu in white passion cone, white calamansi brownie, chocolate moeulleux tart, mango caramelito,  homemade marshmallows, chocolate pretzels, chocolate clusters, wedding cupcakes, macaron tower, fresh strawberries, pralines, and truffles.

Convenience of technology When the lights dimmed, the pillow lights on the ceiling played an astounding display of colors. It was complemented by a romantic background music. With Marriott Grand Ballroom’s Skyfold technology, the 300-feet runway was unveiled and guests happily sat on the modern bleachers which were set up for their comfortable vantage point.

Michelle Garcia in a Cary Santiago creation

Michelle Garcia, Marriott Manila’s Director of Marketing Communications, had this to say: To the gentlemen, don’t just say “Marry Me”. Complete it by saying “Marry Me at Marriott”. And to the ladies, you will not regret the day you said yes, because it’s the start of your grand happily ever after."

After the applause, General Manager Bruce Winton followed suit and revealed the exciting amenities of the soon-to-open West Wing. The short AVP made guests nod, assuring them of numerous ways of dining, staying, and celebrating at Marriott Manila.

Fourth bridal fashion, four world-class Filipino designers, and four gift certificates 

On its fourth year of Marry Me at Marriott, the wedding collection of world-class Filipino designers Mark Bumarger, Francis Libiran, Ryan Madamba, and Cary Santiago were presented to the guests. More than 50 bridal gowns and suits of the models made guests busy with their digital cameras and smartphones. Each wedding collection did not disappoint and the guests couldn’t help but discuss their favorites.


MARK BUMGARNER'S COLLECTION

Mark Bumgarger with muses Maxine Medina and Joey Mead


FRANCIS LIBIRAN'S COLLECTION

Francis Libiran with muses Kylie Versoza, Arci Munoz and Venus Raj


RYAN MADAMBA'S COLLECTION

LOVE the back detail!

Ryan Madamba with his muses


CARY SANTIAGO’S COLLECTION




To add to the already fun-filled evening, four people won an overnight stay. The way Marriott Manila thought of putting the pralines in cute parachutes with a note that they won is creative yet still classy.

Love is an experience that is meant to be celebrated. So if you want your dream come true of a grand happily ever after, call (02) 988-9999 or visit manilamarriott.com.

To join ongoing conversations, like Facebook.com/Marriotthotelmanila, follow @marriottmanila on Twitter, and @manilamarriott on Instagram.



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Now that summer is almost here, you may be thinking of a hosting a party on that most patriotic of h...

How was your July 4th party?

Now that summer is almost here, you may be thinking of a hosting a party on that most patriotic of holidays, the 4th of July. Whether barbecue, buffet, potluck, or picnic, keep the focus on the patriotic theme with your style and festivities. By combining great 4th of July music and games, red, white, and blue colored decor, and a safe fireworks display to end the night, you can throw a party your friends and family won’t forget.

Start off your 4th of July party right, with great, big patriotic music. Classic parade music, like the marches of John Phillip Sousa, set the tone. Play historical hits and well known songs like Yankee Doodle Dandy and Grand Old Flag. Don't forget to play the national anthem and encourage guests to sign along.



Keep your guests happy and having fun by providing some famous, American backyard games to play. A game like horseshoes is easy to set up and will remind your party guests of the old days, when the Declaration of Independence was signed. Better yet, play cornhole, which was invented here in the United States. Add cornhole lights, like those from Custom Cornhole, to keep the games going after sunset.

Obviously, you need to decorate your backyard party space with American flag themed decor. Start by hanging balloons and crepe paper in red, white, and blue and provide plates and napkins to match. Nothing says the 4th of July like an actual American flag, of course. In fact, over two-thirds of Americans report that they’ll fly a flag as part of their celebration this year.

Although fireworks are a long standing tradition for 4th of July parties, it’s important that you carefully prepare for your fireworks display. Before you begin, find out if your community will be holding its own public fireworks display. These are generally the best option, since they are much bigger and safer than what you can have at home. If not, research the local laws before you buy your fireworks. Don’t let children touch fireworks or get too close while you light them. Let your neighbors know about your plans, so that they can block the noise and keep in scared pets if necessary.

Invite friends and family to your 4th of July party and have a blast. A little planning surely will make your party an unforgettably patriotic one.

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Click on the image to watch the video. "... every child who needs a champion: kids who ta...

Every Child Needs a Champion, #FLOTUS

Click on the image to watch the video.

"... every child who needs a champion: kids who take the long way to school to avoid the gangs. Kids who wonder how they will ever afford college. Kids whose parents don't speak a word of English, but dream of a better life; who look to us to dream of what they can be."

Read the full transcript of Michelle Obama's speech at DNC 2016.

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Travel the culinary world through the Philippines’ biggest food show. World Food Expo (WOFEX)...

WOFEX Celebrates Sweet 16



Travel the culinary world through the Philippines’ biggest food show.

World Food Expo (WOFEX)  is all set to open simultaneously in the country’s two largest venues – the SMX Convention Center and the World Trade Center.  From August 3-6, 2016, WOFEX will once again be the gathering place for the food and beverage industry’s stakeholders, now on its 16th year.

Aside from its very strong local base of exhibitors, grab the opportunity to source and network with companies from all over the world.  This year, participating are large country pavilions from Korea, USA, Turkey, China, Malaysia, Taiwan, Vietnam as well as exhibitors from Japan, Germany, Pakistan, Italy, Oman, Ukraine, Brazil, Indonesia and much more.

What makes WOFEX an annual success is the diversity of the products on display.  There is also the assurance that every year, there are always many new products and trends to see.  In response to the country’s robust foodservice growth, a visit to WOFEX is the most convenient way to source all possible supply needs.

One highlight of the show is the Kitchen Theater where well-known chefs share their skills to visitors.  In both venues, the latest products and techniques are shown throughout the 4-day event.

For those looking for more advanced learning, WOFEX University offers courses that are taught by practicing professionals, giving its audience an experience-based education and practical tips learned from the workplace and not just from the classroom.



As an advocacy, the Slow Food Summit is once again being hosted by WOFEX which promotes heirloom recipes and ingredients that are being pushed to a broader market to help preserve their very existence.  On August 6, learn and experience Slow Food cuisine thru Asia’s Best Female Chef Margarita Fores during the Benefit Lunch for farmers and food producers.

Halal Tourism is another advocacy of WOFEX.  With billions of tourism dollars at stake, and with the Philippines losing out on this lucrative market because few food establishments offer halal food, this advocacy has far-reaching effects in the country’s culinary and tourism vision.

And finally, concurrently held with WOFEX is the Philippine Culinary Cup (PCC), the country’s most prestigious culinary competition.  Being the only one endorsed by the World Association of Chefs Societies (WACS), the PCC is able to attract many international teams such as Korea, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, France and more.  Battling it out with some of the best hotels, restaurants and culinary schools in the Philippines, the PCC is truly where the best meet to compete.

Exhibition, education, competition – these are all elements that make the World
Food Expo the ultimate food show experience.

For more information please log on to www.wofex.com or Like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/wofex or email us at info@wofex.com.


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Moving out of home for the first time is one of life’s great landmarks, though the big day itse...

5 Great Housewarming Gifts for Your Son's or Daughter’s First Place



Moving out of home for the first time is one of life’s great landmarks, though the big day itself can be either exciting or a nightmare. Showing your support with a thoughtful housewarming gift can make all the difference in helping your son or daughter make a smooth transition into their new home away from home. Here are some tips for housewarming gifts that will show that you care.
  1. Pay for a removalist – Having removalists help on the big day will take the stress out of the move and lessen the chance of any breakages. If it is a longer distance move, interstate removalists are a must in making sure the move goes smoothly. Covering the cost is a great way to show that you are treating the move seriously and also to show that you support the big step your son or daughter is taking.
  2. Prepare a food hamper – Moving into your first place is always exciting, though the sight of an empty fridge and empty cupboards is never a welcome one. The gift of a food hamper will be a tasty bonus for your son or daughter and help them start to settle in straight away rather than having to run off to the shops. It doesn’t need to be a fancy or elaborate hamper, though a nice mix of essentials like bread and milk with a treat or two like wine or chocolate will add a classy touch to the day.
  3. Give the gift of art – Moving into a new place always means lots of blank walls and empty spaces. Buy or make a piece of art to help your son or daughter decorate their new place and make it their own. If you are unsure of what they’d like, tell them of your intention or even ask their friends if there is something that they think would be appreciated. Buying art can be a tricky move though if you get the right thing they will be very impressed.
  4. Buy a gift certificate for a local restaurant – What better way to get to know the new area than by checking out the local food. Read the local reviews of the restaurants in the area and pick something that suits your son or daughter’s taste. A gift certificate can also provide an easy and tasty end to a busy moving day.
  5. Give a plant – Every house or apartment needs plants, both to add colour and provide fresh air. Whether it is for your son or daughter, plants are a great gift, though ones that require minimal care are often the best choice to ensure they survive. If they are the type of person that likes to cook, potted herb plants are a great idea and will provide a free supply of fresh herbs to encourage creative cooking.
The way you handle the big day of your son or daughter moving out can greatly affect the dynamic of your new relationship with them. A thoughtful gift will most definitely be appreciated and will get them off to a great start at independent life.

#ThrowbackThursday, originally posted in my now defunct MamaIsWorking blog.

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