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Til next summer

It’s the first day of June. Time sure flies so fast. Summer vacation for most students ends today as classes open tomorrow. Summer, my most favorite time of the year, will soon be over. 😦

This year’s summer had been a very memorable one. I got to meet my adorable niece Emma for the first time! I made it a point to take some time off from work to spend quality time with my family, especially because my cousins from Canada came home for a vacation.

I love going home to the province, even on short vacations, because I get the chance to watch the sun go down everyday at the beach near our house. I could just sit there on the shore or take a dip in the inviting water to cool down the sweltering heat of the summer sun until it had finally set. But mostly, I love going home because I miss home cooked meals and the comfort of being with my family.

Even at work, the past two months had been quite busy. I was mostly out on fieldwork gathering stories, capturing photos, facilitating workshops, meeting people, organizing events. I rode motorbikes, walked in the sugarcane farms under the scorching heat of the sun, and traveled from one island to the next. I’m not complaining. I love my work, actually. Because at the end of the day, in the few hours before I head home to Manila, I get to see the beautiful sights in the area.

As I was browsing through my summer photos, trying to relish the fun memories, I realized I had on this one top in a lot of photos! Yikes, I need some serious wardrobe change! I badly need to buy some pretty beach dresses online. And new swim wear, too (maybe something that could hide my growing curves).  Besides, summer may be over but it’s always good to be ready with the outfit. There’s so much picture perfect places waiting to be explored all year round.

Anyway, check out these pictures to see what kept me busy this summer:

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Thank you, summer, for the great memories and the darkened skin! Til next year.

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Why Dad Cried

My dad is a tough guy but he’s also gooey on the inside, especially when it comes to family. I remember the first time I saw him cry because of me. I was in second year high school then and was still not allowed to have a boyfriend. But stubborn as I was, I got myself into a relationship and dad found out eventually. I still recall that morning when he told me he wanted to talk to me. I sat down on the sofa with guilt written on my face. Dad sat beside me quietly. When I looked up, tears were welling up from his eyes.

He told me in between croaks, “Dorothy Mae, anakko, leppasem kadi pay lang ti panagadal mo! Uray agpakasar kanto nga sigud no makagraduate ka ti college. Ti nasken ket makalpas ka. Uray siak to pay ti aggastos ti kasar mo.” (Dorothy Mae, my child, please finish your studies first. You can get married right after college, if that’s what you want. I can even shoulder all the cost of your wedding, as long as you finish college first.)

It was a lengthy sermon from my dad and all I could say was, “Wen (Yes), Dad.” I wanted to tell him that I wasn’t planning on getting married at that moment or in the near future but I just kept silent. After that, I did break up with my boyfriend then. I think we got back together after a few months but it eventually ended when I had to go away for college.

Of course, I finished high school – with honors – and graduated from college on time. I’m pretty sure my dad was so happy to see me finally receiving my college diploma. He must also have felt relieved that I didn’t have a boyfriend that time.

I’m a Daddy’s Girl

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I suddenly miss my dad. Probably because it’s Father’s Day on Sunday? Or the fact that he’s coming over to visit this weekend? Maybe. I miss being a daddy’s girl, which I still am. I miss our fights, our crying moments, our hugs with mom.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad!

P.S. I love you (and mom) a lot!

Learning to Ride the Bike

I can’t remember exactly when I learned how to ride a single bike. I must have been 6 or 7 years old then because I recall having a hard time reaching for the pedals.

I can still clearly remember how it happened. It was summertime and I really wanted to learn so badly. I already knew how to ride the bike with a sidecar, and I wanted to level up. All day, I nagged my father to teach me until he said yes. That afternoon, my dad detached my grandfather’s bike from its sidecar and he started to teach me. The road in front of our family house was dusty but I didn’t mind. All I wanted was to learn to ride the single bike so I can join my friends and neighbors in their biking adventures. For the next few hours, he patiently held the bike while I pedaled and tried to balance. After a few meters, he would let go of the bike but he would still be running after me just in case I fell. We did it again and again, but I always lost balance after a few meters.

Come dusk, Dad told me it was time to end the day’s bike training. I didn’t want to stop. I just couldn’t give up. So I told him to go home ahead. When he was gone, I told myself that I could do it even if I have to learn on my own. I mounted the bike, put my right foot on the right pedal, pushed forward and tried to balance as I pedaled my way down the dusty road. But because it was getting really dark, I didn’t notice the big stone along the road. I lost my balance, crashed and got a scraped knee. It was painful, but it didn’t stop me from getting up and mounting the bike again. This time, I told myself to try one last time.

I summoned all the strength and courage in me, took a deep breath, and started pedaling. You know what happened next. I did it. I finally learned to ride a single bicycle. Hurray!

See, it takes courage and perseverance to realize a dream, coupled with guidance from other people and from God. But it must all start with your decision to pursue what it is you want to do. Sometimes it’s hard to start, sometimes it’s even painful, but you won’t go any far unless you take that first step.

Valentine’s Day Is For Singles, Too!

This is a post that took me two weeks to compose. Since it’s already the last day of the month, I pressured myself to finally finish it. So, here goes…

Today is February 14 – Valentine’s Day. Today is a special day – for the married, in a relationship, even those who are in the “it’s complicated” types.

Flowers, balloons, and hearts abound today as well as chocolates, teddy bears, and all things connected to sweetness. Anywhere you go, you see the colors red or pink. Couples are supposed to say their “I love you”‘s to one another in whatever way possible.

For singles, today is but a normal day. Life goes on like an ordinary day. For broken hearted people, this is a day that may well be scrapped from the calendar.

BUT, I say Valentine’s Day is for singles and broken hearted, too! Valentine’s day is about LOVE, right? And everyone deserves to love and be loved in return. Love isn’t just romantic love. There is love for parents, and for siblings. There is love for friends,and even self-love. And there is the ultimate love of God for every single person. Fellow singles (by choice or by chance), let us not be bitter or envious of those who are in a romantic relationship this day. Let us declare Valentine’s Day (even the whole month of February) a day we all share and experience the love of our friends, family and God.

I hope you all had a wonderful February!

Appreciating the Blessing of Family

I was used to living a simple and comfortable life. As an only child, I didn’t have big problems to worry about. Everything I needed was taken cared of by my parents. I only had to do what they expected me to do- excel in school, be a good Christian, obey their rules. For sixteen years, I lived an easy life. But during those years, I rarely appreciated the easiness of my life. I felt constricted. I felt contained. The rebel in me wanted to break free. It finally succeeded when I had to go away for college. I was happy to get out of my comfort zone. I was excited to try new things. And I forgot about home too quickly. At first, I did enjoy the thrills of independence. But when I got sick or felt sad, I realized how blessed I was before when my parents were there to take care of me. After a while, I realized life was empty when you’re alone.

From that moment on, I started to cherish each moment I had with my loved ones. Life is short and can be taken away in an instant. Enjoy every moment you have with your loved ones. And never ever miss a chance to let them know how much they mean to you.

Mom, dad and me at SM North

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