A Road Trip Kind of Anniversary: Bataan, Subic and Clark

Last December 7th, Hans and I celebrated our fourth anniversary. Just like that, we’re on our fourth year! 

Four years. Wow. I know what some of you may say we’ve got a long way to go. And we do have more to learn. So much more to experience. So much to understand. 

But to still be married and in love with each other at this day and age for 4 years (we’ve been in a relationship for 7 years now- 3 years as bf/gf, 4 years as a married couple) is only through God’s grace. 

I meant to do this post earlier but December was a very busy month for me (for all of us, I assume?), hence the late post. Nevertheless, here’s how the three of us – yep, Seth included- celebrated our special day. ❤

It was a beautiful day. What made it more beautiful was it was my rest day (suprisingly, and I believe it was God because I didn’t request for that day to be my off). Hans and I didn’t plan anything because we didn’t know my schedule yet plus no one would be left to take care of Seth. So when we woke up and greeted each other (which Hans did better btw, he woke me up at 12 midnight to kiss and greet me) we both decided to do a road trip and just go somewhere near.

So we both did our research: we live in the countryside (Central Luzon) so South would be too far. Hans said,”let’s go to Bataan!”. I of course seconded right away because anywhere with him is already a treat, going somewhere else is cherry on top (can I get an ‘awwww’, please? :p). 

Yep. Unplanned road trips are the best. 

At SCTEX, my favorite expressway in the PH to date.

One thing about Hans and I is that we both love history. We love going to museums, doing long walks (maybe that’s just me lol) and long talks (oops that’s me again). 

So first stop: Mount Samat National Shrine.

My boys being..well, boys.

Mount Samat National Shrine (Dambana ng Kagitingan) is located near the Summit of Mount Samat in Pilar, Bataan, Philippines. It was built to honor and commemmorate the Filipino soldiers who fought during World War II.

Reminders while inside the museum

Museums have this particular effect on people: they take you to where they want to take you. At Mt. Samat Museum, I was taken back to war time. I felt chills (literally), and Filipino pride. It was an awesome moment and I was glad I got to share it with my boys.

Outside the museum is a cross where you can go to through a lift. Unfortunately, when we visited, the lift was under maintenance so we weren’t able to use it. We attempted to climb going to the cross but because Hans and I are both afraid of heights, we climbed only until we can, and took a picture there. 

Oops.. Can’t go higher than that. Haha.
Feeling carefree with my mini me!
❤❤❤

But of course. A twofie with the hubby is a must!

There are also shops around the shrine, as well as a field. Entrance fee to the shrine is 20php/person. It is open from 8am-5pm daily. 

We arrived at the shrine around 11am so after our tour we were already hungry. Time for lunch!

Next stop: Loleng’s Hu Tieu-an

We used Waze throughout our trip. We had a little difficulty finding Loleng’s (although it can be found in Waze) because the streets were a little narrow plus there was a construction nearby. 

But we found it! Yey!

We learned about this place from Byahe ni Drew. Loleng’s Hu Tieu-an is located in Barangay Binaritan in Morong, Bataan. According to the television show, Loleng’s Hu Tieu-an is a humble roadside eatery run by a Filipina who used to work in a refugee camp. It has been delighting people with Vietnamese noodles for over 15 years.  

Loleng used to work at the Philippine Refugee Processing Center (PRPC), where she learned to cook Vietnamese dishes. Her specialties are Hu Tieu, a savory noodle soup and Banh Mi, a traditional Vietnamese sandwich with meat and fresh basil. You may read more about Loleng’s Hu Tieu-An here.

I ordered Hu Tieu, which they sell for only 50php!

Aside from the Hu Tieu, I also ordered Banh Mi, which they sell for 35php. They used traditional Filipino buns instead of the French buns. It is good for sharing.
I can’t really remember this, my apologies! It’s a salad with vegetables and meat, and it was good too!

Aside from Vietnamese dishes, Loleng’s also serve Filipino dishes like Lomi, Pinoy-style spaghetti, shanghai, and pancit palabok. I tried ordering pancit but I was told they only come in big sizes (bilao) and that it would take a long time, so I just ordered spaghetti for the little one.

Loleng’s Hu Tieu-an is open from 7am am to 9am, everyday.

After Loleng’s, we also stopped by Subic Bay (near the Subic Bay Airport), and we just gazed at the beach. It was beautiful. We also did a stopover at Puregold Subic, where we bought Seth’s favorite “teddy bear cookies”.

Last stop: Clark Picnic Grounds

Nothing beats watching sunset to end the day! We stopped by Clark Picnic Grounds for a while to watch the very beautiful (albeit fast) sunset that day. We were able to catch the sunset but only for a short time because it started to drizzle. 

That’s it! That was the most inexpensive, spontaneous anniversary celebration we’ve experienced. It wasn’t that extravagant, it wasn’t fancy.. But it was how we both wanted it to be: memorable, historical, and beautiful, like how anniversary celebrations should be.

How do you usually spend your anniversary? Would love to hear your thoughts and experiences. Feel free to share! 

Happy Birthday, Momsie! 

My beautiful mujay is turning 65 in a few hours. Yep, sixty-freaking-five! God has been nothing but faithful to my mommy and I am so blessed because I get to spend another year with her. When my dad died, I made sure that I spend more time with her and that I “won’t be too busy growing up for I might forget that she’s growing old” (or so the famous quote says). Since it is her month, let me share with the world how incredibly awesome my mom is, and let me share these lessons the beautiful Aida Dayrit Latonero has taught me:
 
1. You don’t have to shout to prove your point
. My mom is a Bulaceña (she’s from Plaridel, Bulacan, and it turns out we are related to Marcelo H. Del Pilar :p) and Bulaceñas are known to be very soft spoken, gentle in words. For the longest time that I lived with her I never heard her shout. She never- up to now- raised her voice, even when she’s upset, or in an argument. I, on the other hand, speak so strongly and sometimes (well, most of the the time – if you ask my husband :p) raise my voice to prove my point. Mom taught me that even if I am right, I should never speak so highly and belittle people through my tone of voice. 

One time, we were at a bank and her ATM card was screwed up for some weird reason. She was talking to the bank person in her most polite tone and said, “ma’am, pano po kaya yung..”. Even if the bank was at fault and younger than my mom she was still very respectful and polite. She earned the respect of the lady because she respected her as well. I worked as a customer service representative and boy, do demanding people – those who shout, those who curse- get to me! Mom’s issue was resolved right away because she was very nice- tone of voice and all.


2. Take everything one step at a time.
I am a go-getter. If there’s something that I want, I really work hard to get it. This attitude is not at all bad, but you know, sometimes, because we want to get things done right away we tend to overreact when we don’t get it- or when things didn’t happen the way we want them to happen. 

I am very obsessive compulsive so most of the time when I don’t get things done, I get frustrated. Like uber frustrated. Mom has taught me to take everything easy, and take things one step at a time. 
Now that I’m a wife and a mom too I get to talk more about my problems with her, and she constantly reminds me that we just have to take things slowly, not to be too relaxed but to just worry less and trust that the Lord has everything in control.

As I type this, I sing Psalty’s infamous song: 

“I’m climbing my mountain step by step.. I’m climbing my mountain day by day. I’m climbing my mountain all the way. I’m climbing my mountain- I’m gonna make it! One step at a time, one step at a time (aa-aym!). One step at a time- with Jesus by my side. One step at time.. One step at a time. I’m climbing my mountain- ONE STEP AT A TIME!”


3. Mothers know best. Also, there are things that Science can never explain.
I once wrote about feeling that I would be good at mommyhood because well, I am a nurse. Because I thought I can handle things my way, I sometimes shove mom’s ideas away (like always putting a beanie on the baby’s head especially during night time to avoid getting colds) just because I thought I know better. Mom never pushed me to trust her, trusting her came naturally to me when I realized that she is after all the same person who raised all 4 of us. 

One time, when Seth was only a month old, he had colic. This was because I was exclusively breastfeeding him and apparently he was allergic to something I was eating- dairy products. Boy- do colicky babies cry a lot- and out loud! I was sort of panicking already because I couldn’t make his crying stop. Mom was telling me to use ‘mansanilya‘ because it would make the ‘kabag‘ go away (I know pinay mothers can relate!!!!). I didn’t want to do so, I kept telling her we nurses do not believe in that – just because. She still gave me the thing and told me to just put it on Seth’s tummy to make the crying go away. Days passed, the pm crying would not stop. Hans and I decided to put the ‘mansanilya’ on his tummy and alas! It worked!!!! Hahaha. Hans and I never admitted to using it and we never told mom we did but yeah, we did, and yes mom, you were right all along. 😀 

4. You are your husband’s wife. You represent him. Support him. Love him. Respect him. My mother, being the pastor’s wife that she is, exemplified the idea of submitting to the husband. She is also opinionated like me but she never lets that opinion get be the result of fighting with my dad. I never heard her shout nor speak to my dad in a degrading way. She was very respectful to him and his funny ways :D. She was also very supportive of him and his ministry- it wasn’t very easy being part of the pastor’s family but she handled her calling with so much grace. She was my dad’s partner in everything he does but she still made it a point to give my dad his personal space and touch in handling each members one by one. Because of her I wanted to become a pastor’s wife too- because she made it look so wonderful and so so easy. 🙂
Mom would also always remind me to never let my in laws see or hear my husband and I fight. She would also remind me to always speak gently with my husband because he is well, my husband- the leader of the family. She also reminds me that anything I say or do represent my husband so I should always represent him in a good way. 


5. You’re never too old to dream and live your dream
. I have had my fair share of indecisiveness with my life- not knowing what to do or where to go. But no matter what decision I made she was always there to support me. She was very patient with my pursuit of happiness and success and whenever there are opportunities she would encourage me. She would always tell me to dream big, and make that dream happen.


6. Family is always love.
It is everything. My mom would always remind my siblings and I that family is forever. She would tell us, in her deep, soft voice, “walang ibang magtutulungan kundi kayong magkakapatid.” She never encouraged competition amongst us. Now that I’m older and more vocal I would tell my mom if one sibling has upset me and she would always defend that sibling- not to show that she favored one over the other but to explain why that sibling could have done or said it. 
Now that we’re all older my siblings and I make it a point to meet every Sunday to bond with each other and update one another of what is happening in our lives. The way that she raised us (especially when dad left us) was very inspiring and so humbling. I treasure my family, especially now that I have my own more than anything, and my love for my siblings is definitely something I would want my children to have to. 


7. God is a Father to the fatherless. He loves orphans, widows, the barren and those who are unloved.
My mom would always remind us that even when my dad died God is still there for us. She never questioned God about what happened to her- being barren all so sudden. She relied on God’s comfort and love. 

Whenever people would hurt us, mom would always remind us that God’s heart is with the orphans. God’s heart is with the barren. God sees us through. That reminder keeps me going. I never felt indifferent and yes I miss my dad so so much but relying on God’s love completes me.


8. Vengeance is never ours. It is the Lord’s.
There will always be people who will bring us down. And it’s sad because most of this people are people we trust and love. There were instances wherein people would create issues about mom but she never fought back. She never argued in front of a lot of people – she would fight for what is right but she would never fight-fight (if you know what I mean). There was one time that there was this group of people who tried to bring my mom down. I was deeply hurt, I don’t want to go to church anymore and I just want to fight! But mom reminded me that there is no need to fight- and that I should choose to forgive because the Lord will avenge us in His time. That has always been my motto whenever people would try to bring me down- God will fight for me. He is God of justice and He will never let me get degraded. 


9. God should be first in our lives.
Mom would always remind us to put God in the center of our lives. She would remind us to get involved in the church, use our talents for God’s glory. Sometimes she gets soooo makulit (like super!) but I get her point. I would also want my children to be involved in church just like me and my siblings. 🙂 


10. Take time to have fun. Life is short, enjoy it.
Mom is one of the happiest and funniest people I know. She would make sure to enjoy enjoy whatever it is that she’s doing, just have fun. I enjoy life too but sometimes I’m too uptight! 😀 
Sometimes I tell mom to take things slowly. I mean, she would have meetings here and there, dates with her friends, visitations, et cetera, et cetera. Whenever I tell her to not be so busy she would tell me that she has nothing else to do, this keeps her busy and she’s enjoying life! And that’s something we don’t really do. Life is short. Have fun. Enjoy. ❤

I feel sooooooo sad that I’m not gonna be with her on her special day. This is the first time that I won’t be with her but I know that she is happy and grateful because she knows how loved and blessed she truly is.

I love you, mom! I am so honored to be your daughter. See you in a few months. 🙂 

Mommy Diaries: The Diary of a Tired Mom.

Today I am just extremely tired. 

My little man has been sick since last Sunday. It started with something viral- his cousins were sick with flu (we went to the province last week, stayed there until Monday) then the hubby was sick, too, then him, and then my mother in law. My sister in law has been feeling a little under the weather, too. I am the only one who’s not sick (for now) but my throat’s itching as if there’s an elephant wanting to come out. 

My clingy baby has been even more clingier, wanting me to hug and carry him all the time. Like multiply the clinginess by 10 times. He does not want anyone else to carry him and put him to bed but me. I mean he has always been like this but his ‘mom calls’ are more frequent. His fever subsided but yesterday the fever’s at it again. From no coughing to now coughing like crazy, vomiting (due to the phlegm) and from already dancing to nae nae to just wanting to lie down in bed. We brought him to his pedia again, this time the focus were cough and colds but his blood sample was taken again to rule out dengue. 

I have been a full time mom for a month now (on terminal leave, many thanks to the boss!) and you would think that I get to sleep and rest and eat but no, I only got to eat a lot. I have been doing nonstop folding of clothes- mine, the hubby’s and the baby’s, cooking breakfasts (sometimes lunch and dinner too), preparing the milk and bottles, washing the dishes, cleaning the house. You get the idea. But I do these things with a twist: with my little man beside me or in front of me so the folding takes half day (he throws the ones that have been folded already), cooking means carrrying him as I cook, washing the dishes means I have an audience and sweeping the floor means him getting the broom and sweeping by himself which only makes the dirt go all over the place. 

Not that I am not really complaining. I love that I am the center of his attention. But right now I am just officially tired. 

Being a mom is never an easy job. Like what they always say, “motherhood is a 24/7 job”. IT SURE IS. We get to raise our babies (to some of us, with the help of our partners, of course). I haven’t had a decent sleep since my little man came. I used to do graveyard shift and that was not easy because Seth’s nanny has to go to school in the afternoon and I have to take care of him when I get home.  For mommies who have husbands we also have to take care of them- their health, the things they have to do. 

So today as I woke up, I prayed for all the mothers. I prayed for strength, and thanked God for you. You, the mother of a newborn baby (God knows how sleepless you’ve been!). You, the mother who is breastfeeding full time (I breastfed for 8 months and it was never really easy). You, the single mom. You, the mother who has to work full time. You, the full time mom. You, the mother of 2 kids below 5 (I can only imagine the riot!!). You, the mother dealing with teenage children. You, the mother of grown-ups. You, the mother whose kids are also parents themselves (my mom won’t sleep too when my baby is sick). You, the mother who has more than 2 kids (I only have one and I can just imagine the noise and exhaustion). 

Today, I pray for all the mothers. And I honor you for all that you do. 

I recall how life was without my little man. Was it happy? Yes. Was it peaceful? Yes. Was it fulfilling? No. Was it the same? Heck, no. Was it meaningful? Yes, but not as meaningful as it is now. 

Today, I am extremely tired. And what do I do? I think of my life without my little man, and then I think of how everything changed when he came. Life had so much meaning when I became a mom. My eyebags may have 3 layers now but I have never felt this beautiful and loved until this cutiepatootie came to my life. I am still tired but I am very much fulfilled. 

And yes, I sip on my coffee to cure this nagging headache. I close my eyes, and wait for the ‘mom call’.  

Yee-Haw! Our Cowboy Seth Turns One!

This is a super late post, am so sorry!

Last December, my cutiepatootie turned one. Yep, I now have a one year old! I am still in disbelief sometimes that I was able to carry a cutie in my belly, more so deliver one. And sometimes I can’t believe I’m now a mom!!! Life is so much sweeter and lovelier now that we are a family of three.

So when the husband and I were ‘conceptualizing’ what his party would be like, we thought it would be fun to have a cowboy themed one since well, the baby boy would look even more cuter in a cowboy hat, bandana and all. 🙂 okay, that’s not really the reason. Truth is, we don’t have one, we just thought a cowboy party would be fun! 🙂

Pinterest was my go-to page. I just pinned everything I liked. I am a frustrated events coordinator and what better venue to put my skills into than my own family’s affair, yes? 🙂 The husband is an artist (I consider myself one, too.. Haha) so the implementation would be his part. I also just took advantage of my friends, coz you know, what are friends for, right? 😀

1. The invite. I wanted the invite to not be soooo pretty, because well, the celebrant is a boy. Haha. The invite was perfectly done by a dear friend, Seth’s godfather, Steve. I just gave him the details and what I wanted to be on it.

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2. The Venue. We originally reserved La Mesa EcoPark because I wanted the ‘park feel’. It was also cozy and homey, but our main consideration was the safety of the guests, plus the ventilation. Also the accessibility- it’s kinda hard to reach.

We reserved the Multi-Purpose Pavilion which I think is the safest (it is enclosed) but we had to consider the ventilation as well. It is not air conditioned, there are no fans as well. They have industrial fans for rent for 500 each, and they only have 2 available.

And then there’s Juanito’s Bistro. The homey, cozy, Juanito’s. I was kind of considering it being a Bistro but if you see the place it really isn’t the typical bar. Parties, meetings, etc. are being held there so it’s really a good place. I was considering a place that has a caterer as well. The interior was perfect for the ranch theme as well. The food was good, too, and was more than enough.

Add the fact that the owner, Ms. Lisa, is super okay to talk to! She made everything very easy, she was assistive and professional.

The only thing that they could improve on would be the sound system, as they don’t have any. They said they did before but they had a problem (was broken or something) so they don’t offer that service anymore.

3. The Design. The hubby with the help of a dear friend (Seth’s ninong Rr) made the wooden ladder, along with the backdrop. I of course conceptualized. 😀 We bought the wooden letters at Celebrations Party Central in Fairview Terraces.

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4. Entertainment. We hired Boogie and Friends. Honestly speaking I had high expectation based on the reviews. They were just ‘okay’. I specifically asked for an English Speaking Host and during the party he did speak english but only at times. I felt like the host was not worth what I paid for. But they were good too, and funny.

There was also face painting c/o Boogie and Friends as well.

5. The Dessert.

Candy Buffet. Everything was my sister in law’s idea. Well I did give her pictures but I was super surprised because the candy buffet was more that what I imagined it to be! Career to the highest level 😀 It was cute, inviting and yummy!

The cake was a gift from my sister and her husband. It was by a dear friend as well, ate Awa.

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We also had an ice cream cart, referred by Boogie and Friends.

6. Photo Booth. Ah, the perks of having church friends! Our photo booth was Photo Oops!, the owner of which are kuya Paul and ate Rose, cousins of a church mate. 🙂

Other Stuff:
– Photos during the party were courtesy of Ninong Macky and Ninang Pau (MAC|PAU Videography) and other photog friends
– Loot Bags – I bought stuff at divi with the help of my friend

All in all, it was a blessed, fun-filled day. 🙂 It was also Seth’s baptism before the party so we all got to hear the word first before we partied. 🙂

Happy Birthday (belated!!), my dear Seth. Mommy and dada love you oh so much!

Here are some more pics:

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Happy 2015!

What a memorable year that was! Okay – I’m still not used to using ‘was’ – I feel like 2014 is still the year today. Like everything that happened just happened, if you know what I mean.

2014 was the bomb.

2014 started with nothing but faith in my heart. I was an amateur mom (I can now call myself ‘experienced’, thank you very much) with this faith that God will get me through this year.

I mean, I just gave birth to the handsomest little man and the thought of taking care of someone I loved even before we met can be a little scary. Talk about starting from scratch! I blogged before about thinking I knew so much about having a kid just because I am a nurse but well, no amount of science can dictate how you can be a good mother. Every day is a new experience. There is a brand new lesson to learn every second of the day!

So yep, there’s that faith that I can make it as a mom. And I did make it! I am not quite there but hey, I made it through a year! Woohoo!

Then there’s that faith that I can do better, and will excel because that’s what I’m called to do.

I have never- in my years of working- applied for a promotion. I never did because I have this fear of a bigger responsibility. Not that I am not up for the challenge but well, the responsibility can be scary, you know? Also, I’m now a mom and when you’re a mom, your child’s welfare will always be first. Last year, I was supposed to apply for a different post but things happened (because they happen and God wants it to happen- that’s life!) and I applied for this post instead. And by God’s grace, I was handed the promotion! I am thankful and blessed because I know the promotion was never about me. It’s about the ONE who made it happen. 🙂

And then there’s that faith that I can be both a wife and a mom. And when I said wife, I meant the Proverbs 31 kind of wife. It is such a challenge!! There are times wherein I would disregard my husband because I am so engrossed with becoming a good mom- you know how it is- my child’s clothes are prepared neatly but not my husband’s- stuff like that. I guess it took me a while to realize I have been regretting my husband. And then I was just reminded that while it is super important to take care of my child, I was called to be a wife first, then mother, second.

So how did I survive the year that was? It’s through faith. Faith in knowing that you can claim what you think was impossible. Faith in claiming that God’s timing is always perfect. Faith in knowing you can do more, and become more.

And faith that the new year would be better than the previous one.

Yey for 2014!! And a bigger, louder roar for 2015. ❤

Here are some higlights of my 2014:

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My little munchkin. 2014 revolved around him.

 

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I’m a mom!! What a blessing. 🙂

 

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With the Boss and my nff, Armi. 🙂

 

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HA QA Team. 🙂

 

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Was transferred to a new account. The GR Fambam.

 

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Our family is bigger- and I say that literally and well, physically. ❤ Family is always love.

 

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With the in laws. 🙂 Love this family to death as well! 🙂

 

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Celebrated our 2nd year of being married. ❤ I’m in love with this man more and more everyday!

 

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Now we’re three. 🙂

 

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Me and my minion! ❤

 

Happy New Year, everyone!