Thursday, November 12, 2009

Hoping To Get the Job

Last October 21, I had a phone interview for a job with a US company that Alyssa, my sister-in-law, works for. I applied online and emailed in their test and got the date for the interview. If I were to be accepted, I would be able to work online, 4 hours per day and earn about $12/hour. Which is very good compared to my options here in the local job market.

I'm not sure how well I did, but I was anxious and since the interview was at 6am (Yes, you read it right - 6AM!), 2pm - Denver time, where the interviewer resides, I woke up at 5am to get ready. It was also a school day and so I tried to prepare whatever the kids needed. It was only going to be for 30 minutes, so I figure I could still help with the preparation for school after the interview.

Well, it's now November 12, and I'm still waiting to find out if I got the job or not. I got an email a couple of weeks ago asking me to be patient since they were having some trouble with their client. I sure hope the client hasn't backed out.

I've had my set of emotional roller-coasters, from being hopeful to disappointed - even just letting go and giving up thinking the job was too good to be real. Well, there still remains some hope in me, as I keep opening my email (I was told we would be notified by email) every day and hoping, just hoping that I would get an email. Of course, the email could spell bad news, but at least I would know and the waiting would be over and I could move on...

Monday, November 2, 2009

Batangas Trip, Remembering Dad

We visited dad where he was laid to rest in Batangas last Friday October 30. We had originally planned to go to Batangas on Saturday October 31, but a typhoon and bad weather was forecasted for that day. The weather bureau announced signal number 3 here in Metro Manila, automatically cancelling all classes. So we got ourselves ready no matter if it was later than we had wanted to leave. We would usually leave around 5am for long trips, but we left around 7:30am. We got to the cemetery around 10:15am after making a stop at the Cuenca market to buy some suman, kalamay and flowers.

As in years past, there were hardly any people at the cemetery, only those cleaning up their mauseleums. Since dad was laid to rest in a simple tomb, we didn't have a lot to clean. Jojo brought the walis along, but we forgot to bring our own permanent pentel pen to re-write the faded writing on dad's tombstone. A couple of kids came by though offering their service to paint the tombstone and we took them up on their offer.

I still sometimes wish that the kids could have met their Lolo Benny, but I still try to relive some of the memories that I shared with him to them, in the hope that through those stories they can get to know a little bit of their Lolo. Okay I'm getting teary-eyed.

After lighting the candles, bringing some candles to our neighboring uncle and cousin and niece, and saying our prayers for our departed loved ones continued journey, it was time to go. We don't usually stay long since the morning sun can start to burn.

We made our way to Barrio Saimsim to visit our relatives and catch up a little. It is such a quiet barrio and it seems even quieter during this time of year. Most of our cousins and their families have gone abroad, some to Italy, some to Spain, some to Canada - greener pastures, far from the flood, where they make a good living. That leaves many of their elderly parents here in the barrio, where some cousins or a hired maid, helps to take care of them.

Tagaytay was next on our agenda. We past some portions where the roads were partly closed due to previous landslides caused by Typhoon Ondoy. It was around lunch time and though I had wanted to try something new, it's hard to break old habits, and Benjo was in the mood for Chowking's wanton noodles soup. After Chowking, we went to visit the Our Lady of Manaoag chapel and then bought some ube at the Good Shepherd Sister's before making the gruelling trip back through the traffic of Cavite cities.

Ondoy Aftermath

It's been awhile - 3 typhoons, 2 that caused major floods in our part of the world, have come and gone. Typhoon Ondoy brought floods that have affected us still. We stayed the night here at Ate Emma's house after the Undas (All Saint's/All Soul's feasts) last night. In the past we would drive back home, but with no school scheduled for tomorrow we decided to stay the night taking Ate Emma up on her offer to stay in one of their rooms. Our own house here in Binangonan is still thigh-deep in water after over a month of the ravaging rains that Ondoy brought. And there's no knowing when the water will go down...

Above are some pictures of our home still submerged in murky, smelly flood water...

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Puregold's Vs Makro

Okay, I'm in a complaining sort of mood... so bear with me as I let my frustrations out on this blog. We were on our way to Puregold Qi Central branch for our regular grocery shopping. It was a Saturday morning and was confronted with traffic as early as D Tuazon Ave. On trying to take alternative routes, we found ourselves in even more traffic. Nearing Araneta where a guard on the sidewalk informed us that the early morning heavy rains caused flooding, motioning to his waist to tell us how far the water had reached.

We then manouvered our way to a U-turn slot and decided instead to go to Makro Cubao. We reached Makro an hour later. I really do prefer to shop at Puregold's, for its cheaper prices, more variety of products and my familiarity with the locations of the products. Though at times we do have to deal with lines at the counter. Lines are a part of life, especially here in the Philippines, so we've learned to deal with the waiting.

Makro, has been in part or whole, been sold to SM, so we've heard. Some of its branches are now named Hypermart, SM's grocery store chain. Makro Cubao still bears the name. Okay, what were my frustrations? Firstly, I got a trolley that was too hard to manouver. And with my back/hip pains, I had to have Jojo push the trolley, which Benjo and Joselyn hopped on. On second thought, it would have been nice to sit in the trolley myself :) Secondly, noodles that are packed in plastic to sell as bulk items get crumbled in the process. Thirdly, it was hard finding items. Fourth, and my biggest complaint, is that while at the counter, the cashier saw that the taco shells that I bought were supposed to be packaged in 3s, but I had only picked out 2 (someone might've opened the packaging) and left the individualized boxes. I ended up getting the other box of taco shells, which was at a location at the corner of the store. It was only afterwards that I realized that we should have requested them to ask another employee to get the item. That is supposed to be their service anyway and part of what we are paying for! If that's not enough, I realize on our way home that the price of the kid's milk, was P100+ more than what we would have paid for at Puregold's or even Mercury. Oh, and as part of their (non)service, we have to load the items in the car individually, since they're not placed in plastics or boxes. Jojo had to request for a box to place the meat items so it wouldn't stain the car.

Okay, I've let it all out. Now I've learned my lesson. It may be awhile 'til we shop at Makro again.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Oh, My Aching Back!

Okay, the years are catching up with me. I'm not as young as I once was. I'm getting back/hip pains. I know it's mainly from the manual handwashing that I've been doing, which requires me to bend over and sometimes lift the container full of water. I started feeling pangs before but today, I tried too hard when lifting the container and felt a strong pain on my left hip. It's also due to some of the other chores and the lifting that I've done in the past. The pain started this morning and it's still with me now this evening. The electric massager somewhat helped and the salonpas, which up to now I only saw mom use, is also giving me some relief.

Now, I have to be extra careful. I'm nearing 40 but that is still young by standards. I still want to live to see my children grow. But I lift that up to God and his plans for me. For my part, I will take better care of the body He has given me - eating more healthy and nutritious foods, exercising more and knowing when to stop and asking help from others.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Driving Again

They say that if you can drive in Manila, you can drive anywhere in the world. Well, I got to drive here! And it wasn't just those less than a kilometer trips that I've tried a couple of times in the past, nor just the manouvering of the car when we couldn't find a parking space and had to park behind another parked car, and I got the honor of going forward or backward in case the owners of the other parked car needed to leave.

I actually got to drive all the way from Quezon City to Binangonan and back again. With traffic and all, about a two-hour drive one-way. And we survived.

It was the occassion of Mark and Rona's wedding (which I'll try to blog on another day) and since many of our relatives in Binangonan would be attending the wedding that was to be held in Cavite, we brought the two SUVs. Jojo and Benjo were in the Honda, while I drove the Toyota with my co-pilot Joselyn, who was so supportive with her "ang galing mong mag-drive, mommy!" ("you drive well, mommy").

Jojo and I had our arguments beforehand when I practiced driving with him at my side after driving the kids to school. Some wives have probably had similar experiences. The more agressive Jojo wanted me to beep at the cars and overtake, etc. After our argument, saying our "sorry's", and trying to accept each others way of driving, we settled on having Jojo lead the way while I tried to follow. He wanted me to lead, but even if we've travelled to Binangonan for the umpteenth time, I still had no confidence in my sense of direction.

The hardest part of driving ended up to be ... trying to follow Jojo, who did his best to slow down and wait for me. The traffic was difficult, but it wasn't as hard as I thought, and I did find that the horn was needed mainly to warn other motorists.

There are so many things to consider when driving in Manila: different modes of autos, from the big busses that zig-zag across lanes, jeepneys who don't bother to stop on the side, tricycles that are too slow for the regular traffic that it's necessary to overtake, the pedestrians who are everywhere and want to cross wherever they choose, and the not-so-friendly streets, some with holes and others with bumps, where you have to slow down so you don't end up bumping your head on the roof of the car! Whew! If that sounds like a lot of hard work, it is!

So I'm proud to say that I drove in Manila, or to be more specific in Metro Manila and Rizal. Though I've had many years of driving experience in the US, it is only now, 7 years later, that I got to get back on the wheel. And it felt good.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Farewell Tita Cory! Thank you po!

Farewell Tita Cory at maraming salamat po! The late president of the Philippines, Cory Aquino, was laid to rest yesterday. Watching all the rites, interviews and tributes for Cory, really made me shed tears and I felt inside a sense of pride for being a Filipino. I am not alone in this feeling. This is one of the things that I admire about Tita Cory, her unique pride and courage in defending the nation and its people. When many of us are wishing and investing our futures for better and greener pastures in other nations, there are those who still keep the hope that that nation is right here in the Philippines.

I am one of those who have somewhat lost hope in our country and have become cynical of those in power and the systems that have been established. A big change from the woman of 7 years ago who had dreams of making a new start when I first came back here from the US. Hearing Cory's story brings back the hope and I have even been entertaining thoughts of re-considering our immigration to Canada, which we have been waiting for for over 4 years now.

We did not line up to view Cory nor were able to attend the funeral procession, which attracted many of our countrymen. We did however make our way to Cory's home at Time St. where a small shrine has been formed with people placing flowers, small gifts and lighting candles. We try to tell our children of the life of Cory and how important a person she was and continue to be to our country and the Filipinos.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Our Saviors During the Brownout

How time flies! goes the common saying and how true it is many times. Since the last time I blogged, mom has left again for the US (her regular trips to ensure that she still keeps her US immigrant visa), and Ate Connie has come and gone back to UK. Ate Connie was here for a month, most of the events captured in our photo album on our friendster account.
We have enrolled both Benjo and Joselyn at Angelicum College and we all eagerly await the beginning of the school year on June 8. I hope to write more on this in our pinoyhomeschool blog (which I should be renaming soon).

Though we are nearing the end of May, we are experiencing what the weather experts are saying summer in the midst of what should be the beginning of the rainy season. It has been so uncomfortably hot! Our sweat sticks to us and being away from the air-conditioning or an electric fan for the briefest of times can be quite unbearable.

And what should happen last night when I was headed to dreamland? A spark and explosion from outside and the shouts of some neighbors coinciding with the lights and all electronic appliances (including our beloved air-conditioner and electric fan) going down. We couldn't see where the neighbors were looking at but it was apparently a wire that had exploded and cause the brownout of several houses, us included, on our street. Just on our street. We looked with envy at the 5-storey apartment at the corner and the other houses in view from our front window which had their lights (and their beloved air-conditioning and electric fans) on.

It was 10:30pm and thankfully the kids were already asleep, so they were not conscious of the heat of the night. We were hoping that it wouldn't be for long, but we waited and waited, continually fanning ourselves and the kids with the pamaypays that helped to diminish the heat. It was at around 2:30am when Jojo called Meralco again and asked for a status and was told that the job will have to wait for the morning crew because of parts or something. Aaargh! With our arms tired from fanning and with the kids waking up by this time to the commotion and the heat, we resigned to the fact that we were going to have to deal with the heat for the rest of the morning. Jojo and I took turns fanning each other and the kids. I fell asleep around 4am and was able to thankfully forget the heat until I woke up at around 6:30am to the sun shining through our blinds. So I grab the pamaypays and go down and go on with our morning rituals despite the lack of electricity. We spent part of the late morning at the mall to cool ourselves off and thankfully come back with the electricity back on at around noon.
I put the picture here of our "saviors" during the ordeal - our pamaypays. There was a time when I would not go out of the house without one. When our technologies fail us, we can still rely on these old fashioned tools to save us from the elements -

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Happy 6th Birthday Benjo!

Benjo turned 6 last March 1! I know this post is late but I was kind of exhausted during that time and other thoughts seem to have priority over writing this. Benjo had at first wanted to go to the beach, which I'm sure meant the one in San Juan, Batangas which we've been to several times in the past. But he and Joselyn said that they wanted to go to the "swimming pool in the beach" ?? The last time we were at Laiya Beach we stayed at Kabayan resort and there was a swimming pool which they enjoyed along with their cousins Gregory and Jordan. So I thought a swimming pool party is really what they want.

We had our party at Cableway resort, with relatives from Binangonan along with Ate Ludy, Mavic, Ferdie, Caroline, Zoe, Katherine and her son who convoyed with us from Quezon City. Almost as soon as they got their clothes off, the kids headed for the kid's pool. The water was cold but the kids didn't mind.

We got there at around 10am. Our other guests started coming after 11am. Other people thought it was a great day for a swim and soon the pool was full of kids and adults alike trying to cool down from the heat. The kids hardly got out of the pool, only to pee or eat or drink. The only reason why Benjo did decide to call it quits was when the sunblock lotion got in his eyes and it began to turn red and sting. When I took off his swimming trunks, it looked as if he was still wearing something since his bottom was whiter than the rest of his dark body. All who this had a good laugh. When Jojo's cousin CheChe came with her kids at around 3pm, Benjo and Joselyn (who were already dressed) wanted to go back into the pool after seeing their other cousins go back in. I was reluctant but we let them go back in and they stayed for another hour or so.

Unfortunately I didn't have new batteries for my camera, but am thankful for Ate Luds taking shots using Caroline's camera. It was great having them all along - their first time to be in Binangonan.

Happy Birthday Benjo! My first-born, my little man. You aren't so little any more. Whenever I look at you, I still see you as the infant whom I cradled, the toddler who started to walk. Time sure does fly and now you're already 6! Happy Birthday, anak ko! We love you!

Going Back To Basics

My goal when I set up this blog was to relate our experiences while living here in the Philippines. There are some posts or thoughts that I've written that have been on a more personal level - my random thoughts in a way - and not really related to this goal. I was contemplating on just adjusting this one blog so that I would not have to maintain several blogs. But since I plan on writing more of my thoughts - the ones that have sometimes kept me awake, I have decided to just write these on my other blog - My Thoughts Runneth Over. So now I will keep this blog for our specific experiences - events, places, foods, etc. -related to our lives here in the Philippines.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Expressions in Writing

I am currently reading a book that I purchased at BookSale some months back. I was looking for books for the kids and happened to look in the bargain bin, and the title of this book got my attention and with the tag of P10.00, I added it to our purchases. It's only now that I'm finding the time to read it. The book is "I Gotta Crow: Women Voice and Writing" by Jill Hackett. It seems timely and many of the things I read I can relate to. I do not call myself a writer, though it has crossed my mind many times to get more serious in my writing. Not just blogging, but to really write... many times before I fall asleep I think of things that I want to write. It's as if I have already written many words, paragraphs, pages... stories - in my mind.

I have never been eloquent, not orally anyway. I will stumble with words and think twice, three or four times before I give my opinion. I was always known to be a quiet person, especially in my young years - I kept my opinions to myself. It was only when I put my thoughts in writing that my opinions, my thoughts, all those that I had kept within me started to take form - to find expression, to become alive. When I took the international english test a few years back as a requirement for our Canadian immigration application, I scored my highest in the writing test, the lowest in my listening and oral tests. Looking back at that test, we were asked to write on the topic of the affects of rumor on persons or society,or something to that effect. I felt nervous throughout that test and with the time limits, I had expected to come out blank. But a story developed and I just began to write and write. It was a story of someone who was adopted, but wasn't told about it until the news spread and reached this person. It was totally fictional, but for some reason it just came naturally and when I ended the story, I looked at it and felt satisfied.

Maybe this is why I like blogging. For the months when I was too busy or tired to blog, I only imagined my words to be put in writing. But with the book I'm reading, it encourages writers or would-be writers or wanna-be writers like myself to "train" as if an athlete, and to train, practice and look for the time to hone one's art. I still have much to learn but with books like this I hope to find my voice and write what is in my mind and heart...

Thursday, March 19, 2009

On Networking and Gadgets

We recently joined Facebook and are having fun "seeing" and "hearing" from friends and relatives, especially those whom we haven't seen or talked to in a long time. Networking and communicating has become a lot more fun with these online network sites. First there was just plain email, then yahoo groups, then blogging, then we joined Friendster after being invited by some friends and now it's Facebook. We know Facebook has been around for years and I was hesitant to join another networking site, but I don't have regrets. We've been getting invitations to others like Tagged, Multiply and another which I can't remember at this time. But for now we'll stick with what we've got. They serve their purpose - to get updated on the latest news, events, to tell others what we think and to read what others are doing and thinking . . .

Which ones do we prefer? For now we like Facebook and we can see how they're trying to update their style, much to some users dismay. Friendster too is trying to catch up with a more user-friendly look. I used to upload my photos on Yahoo Photos, until they got rid of that and we were forced to find another album in Kodak and Flickr, which has limited capacity. Now, we upload to Friendster and sometimes to Facebook.

We still have the same digital camera that mom bought back in 2002, a Canon PowerShot A200 with 2 megapixels. This, at the time, (and still is) a very handy camera. We took countless pictures of our first-born and eagerly shared it online with our friends and relatives. And through the years it's captured the children's growing-up years - maybe some even too embarrassing for them to share. It has video - about 10 seconds or so per recording, but no audio, which we see in so many new cameras. So words and descriptions still has to accompany each video.

Of course, today's camera and gadgets will soon be outdated. What new feature or new gadget will they think of next? I'm not one to go with the latest when what we have still works. Oh, while we're on the subject, my laptop which we bought before leaving the States back in 2002, seems to be outdated. We used it for maybe like 5 years, having to change the hard disk once, and now it needs a new screen driver, which we can't get a hold of. Neither here in the Philippines, nor in Korea (where this one computer shop gets its supplies) or in the US. It cost me $2000 back then and I paid probably another P7,000+ for parts/repairs through the years. So I think this one gadget was not worth the total of what I paid for it.

I used to be a techie, or maybe I thought I was. Maybe it was because I had a Computer Science degree that I thought I had to be knowledgable to the technologies of the times. But as the years go by, I find myself falling behind ... but to be honest, I don't really want to catch up.

It's still wonderful receiving that old-fashioned letter in the mail every once in awhile - no matter how seldom it comes nowadays.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Hinulugang Taktak

Mom says that we've been there before when I was still around 5, but that was too long ago for me to remember. It was a first for Benjo & Joselyn, and also a 2nd time too for Jojo. The waterfall is quite picturesque and a great place to take pictures and spend some quiet time. But once you get close to the falls, you start to smell a distinctive odor, one that would remind you of a canal! On closer look, you can actually see some trash in the stream and a different color forming in a kind of whirlpool. Once you get use to the smell, you can start to enjoy the natural surroundings. The climb up though was another story. Joselyn wanted me to carry her midway up, but I refused and we all made it up after some breaks and a lot of huffing and puffing :)

Valentine's Day at Trinoma

Happy Valentine's Day to one and all! We had a happy heart's day celebration at Trinoma yesterday. We did the usual playground where the kids climbed the ropes, swung down the pole (which they both can now do) and went down the slides as many times as they could until we told them it was time to go. It was around 11am and though we had not yet quenched up enough appetite for lunch, we made our way to Max's Restaurant. We had not been to this part of the mall before and found the surrounding refreshing, literally - especially with the water landscape. Good thing we were at Max's early because the place quickly filled up with mostly families also celebrating Valentine's together. There were actually a couple of groups waiting outside when we left the place.

Sorry no pictures this time. It was time to change the batteries on our camera and we didn't get a chance to go to the stores beforehand, so we opted to just remember the times and create the images in our minds.

Lunch at Max's was great - I especially liked the chicken sisig, which was not too spicy. Benjo found that he liked the lumpia ubod wrapper (just the wrapper with the sauce) and we ordered sunny-side eggs on the side. Joselyn loved the spring chicken, especially the crunchy skin, and drank too much 7-up.

When the kids started to become restless and Jojo and Mom were still working on their meals, I finished what was left on my plate and took the kids outside to look at the water pond some more. It's such a wonder how they made this structure - how it runs down the stairs, how the pipes shoot water to the upper level. We actually followed the water's course from the 1st level to the third. We marvelled at the art that was created using water. I found this image on the following site:

This is part of the structure on the 3rd level where the water seems to be dancing, or as the kids noted, frogs seems to be leaping. We were there during the day so the lights were not on and did not create as dramatic effect as this picture.

Monday, February 9, 2009

On Friends...

We met with ol' friends who were visiting from the US these past couple of weeks. The first friend was part of our Philippine Consulate family where my mom and her dad both worked. We remained friends when the Consulate closed. Those were the days when I had a new "freedom", since my parents had gone back to the Philippines and I got a chance to do things that I would not usually be allowed to do ("strict ang parents ko, eh!" :). No, naughty stuff - but I got to go to discos or dance clubs, where we would just mostly dance and sometimes meet some people. We both liked to dance and by chance we got to be part of the Filipinyana Dance Troupe - small bit parts mind you, like being the background wave and carrying flag-like drapes back and forth. We laughed, reminded of those days. Well, we had a lot of time in our hands back then.

Another friend we met just last Saturday. We are part of a bigger group of friends, our barkada, as we fondly called ourselves. We were tight knit back then, but we talked in part of how our group has somewhat fallen apart. Distance I know has separated some of us. I've tried to be part of their lives even after leaving the US back in 2002. Ironically, I'm sometimes more up to date with the goings-on of some friends than the others, who are just a free phone call or several miles away. Not only distance, but differences have also caused the falling away.

"Friends forever"... or so we hope. I used to have a friend back in my early high school days in Australia, whom for some reason, became my worst enemy. Many will not believe but I used to fight with this ex-friend in the corridors of our school. We pulled hairs, called each other names, scratched, kicked! We were wild!!! Our other friends would just watch and even egg us on. Good thing there were no adults during that time or we would have been in serious trouble. Anyway, I still remember this ex-friend, and wish that our paths may cross some day. Not because I want more hair-pulling, but to say sorry for those childish times when we hurt each other.

I was contemplating on my friends, mostly those who are far from me. I'm still saddened that some of us have drifted apart or that we cannot just get along. But I'm still hopeful that we will one day look back, forget why we fought in the first place, and renew our friendships.

It sounds so simple and easy, but maybe this is what the we need - simplicity and humility.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Happy 4th Birthday Joselyn!

New Year, new thoughts, new hope ... A little late for new year greetings, but maybe not for Chinese New Year - "kung hei fat choi!"

I wish I could recount all that's happened in my absence, but it would be a near impossibility. I could sit here for the whole week and do nothing but blog, but life joyfully goes on...

And so it does ... Joselyn celebrated her 4th birthday last January 15. We had a small celebration first at McDo and then here in the house during the day itself, which just our family. I just love this picture of her, looking so contented even if we bought the smallest cake at Goldilock's.

I had wanted to jazz up her cake by buying a small miniature figurine of cinderella or the like. I went around the nearest shops, not having the time to go to divisoria or other places, I did find one that at a party store but, he he, the figurine was priced more than the cake itself. But this picture of Joselyn reminds me that simple joys does not have to come with an expensive price tag :)

Oh, there was a smaller cake (more like a muffin), which Benjo had already half-eaten, but to be a part of the cake-blowing ceremony, we put a candle which Benjo got to blow.

We had a bigger celebration in Binangonan the following Sunday. We had great food, relatives over, games and even a pabitin. Some pictures and tales are shown and told below ...

Who needs a rope to put up the pabitin, when you have a tall cousin to help you out :) Thanks Kuya Will for helping us with this game.

Most of Joselyn's cousins in Binangonan are boys, but she's gotten used to it and doesn't feel out of place. Yes, those are butterfly wings that Joselyn is wearing with her beautiful new dress. Thanks to Tita Connie for the new dress and Tita Esper for the wings she got for Christmas :)

When we were planning Joselyn's party, we asked her what she wanted and balloons was on the list. So instead of ordering blown-up balloons we bought 2 packs at National Bookstore. We had hoped to borrow a pump, but didn't get to and tried to blow them ourselves. Not a good idea. Benjo had fun blowing them and found that he could blow them himself, though people told him that he would get "beke" from blowing too hard. How true is this or another old woman's tale ???

Another tale, this one true, is of our "bring me" game. Since we played it outdoors, I tried to ask for things they could see outside. I said "bring me a 'dahon' (leaf)" and Elsie goes to the nearest tree and when trying to pull the leaf, pulls the whole branch, which had like 20 leaves! ... It was a fun time all around. To top it off, it was the feast of Sto. Nino and when hearing the loud drums from a nearby street, we rushed to watch the procession...

Happy Birthday Joselyn! We love you!