Saturday, November 20, 2010

not feeling too big

This BIG Dadddy isn't feeling too big right now.

Despite my decision to move to the CRM tower for a more promising career, I'm entirely proud of that decision at all. With my transfer comes a great sacrifice - a sacrifice that now affects my family's daily basic needs.

My exit from my previous division meant placing my November pay on-hold, including my 13th month pay. I am facing more than a month without pay coming into my hands. With a herd of bills unpaid and dozens more lining-up, I'm faced with a Herculian task of keeping things afloat for my family.

What's worse is that Sophia's 1st birthday is coming-up as well as my wife's birthday. I couldn't even afford to throw them a decent party at home.

I feel guilty ... stressed ... depressed ...

Right now, with the remaining money and credit that I have left, I will need to prioritize my family's basic needs.

I know that we're better off than most ... but right now, I'm just not feeling that. I know that we are more blessed than most ... but right now, I'm having a difficult time accepting it.

This BIG Daddy is feeling quite small right now.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Wow, man! Heavy!

Sophia was feeling exceptionally uneasy this afternoon so I took her outside for some fresh air. The cool air and change in scenery did well to calm her down. As we were enjoying the cool afternoon breeze right in front of our home, our neighbor came out of one of his three houses with his daughter, got into one of his six cars and drove off with the rest of his family... envious? Sadly, admittedly ... a bit ...

My wife and I own our own home but we are without a car nor do we have any savings. We have a tremendous amount of debt and we are behind our bills. Unfortunate? Not at all. I consider us more blessed compared to most. However, I do dream of living the days when I had a decent car to take my family around any time I want, zero debts and a healthy savings in the bank.

Here I go again ranting about finances ... but I can't help it. I yearn to provide well for my family; give them a decent living. But now I'm afraid that we all need to make sacrifices and await patiently for the right opportunity to present itself.

Think positive, Rafael. Even when the odds are against you - pray, love and eat!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Thank You - two magic words

Open sesame and Abra Kadabra won't be able to match these two simple words ... I'm talking about the two most under rated words that can put a glowing smile and shower a warm feeling on anyone. I'm talking about the words THANK YOU. And with the US Thanksgiving just around the corner, I thought I'd take this time to utter a few words of thanks myself.

Thank you for the wonderful lunches, dinners, breakfasts and snacks that you ever so lovingly prepare for me each and every day. You know exactly how to tickle my taste buds.

Thank you for always keeping our home clean, not just for me but for the kids as well. A clean home is a happy home. And apparently, what we recently appreciated is that a clean house is always nice to come home to after a long day's work.

Thank you for giving me the two most adorable, most loving and most charming baby girls any father would ever want. They are more than what I've prayed and hope for, and I shall honor and love them my whole life.

Thank you for supporting me, for keeping me straight and true in my work. I never imagined being able to climb up the corporate ladder successfully so soon and so fast. My above average to excellent markings in work are a simple testament to the value you bring into my life; for the inspiration and confidence that you provide me.

Thank you for continuously teaching me how to become a better father. No one comes into fatherhood as prepared as they would want, but with your guidance, your counseling and your patience, I know that I am becoming the father that Samantha and Sophia deserve.

Thank you for teaching me the value of blessings. He truly provides us only with what we need, and sometimes even what we want - in His own time. We are not on better times in terms of our finances ... but we are better off than most. Thank you for helping me realize that fact every day.

Thank you for being patient with me. It was never easy having a boyfriend like me, and even more difficult is having me as your husband. You are a solid rock amidst the raging tides and I'm sad to say that I do you no justice. I do not give you enough credit nor do I give you enough of my time and love. I'm sorry for my short comings, Honey. And I thank you still for being there for me and with me despite of these things. You deserve more and I will continue to strive to give you more.

Thank you for loving me. No other person has loved me the way you do. I love you with all my heart and even though some times it doesn't show, believe me that it radiants from all around me. I fall short at times, I know. For this I am deeply sorry. But for all the chances and the patience you have been giving me, for those I am eternally grateful. I know that I am deeply loved, and I feel and appreciate it. Thank you for giving me your heart and for taking care of mine.

Thank you Honey. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
I love you! I love you! I love you!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Baby steps, Daddy steps

Just this morning, my youngest Sophia (11-months old by Monday, 11/1) crawled from the living room to the dining room. Amy and I were having lunch when Sophia suddenly grabbed one of the legs of my chair, stood up, held my small finger and led me around the dining room and the living room. heart folded and melted and and the rest of me followed!

Sophia could already stand-up and has started to take 1 or 2 steps. She's starting to get her balance but still needs a month more or two to be able to walk steadily. This, however, is something that I don't wish to come along quickly.

While she took me for that quick short stroll around the house, I was touched with the thought that Sophia yearns so much for my attention. Even at a tender young age, much like her Ate Samantha, Sophia absolutely loves it when I play with her - even some rough-housing every once in a while. My thoughts also flashed-forward 40 or 50 years from now when Sophia and Samantha will be the ones holding my hands, leading my old and feeble arse around malls, parks and the village.

The thought of my kids growing up so fast is both exciting and scary to me. Right now I'm enjoying their youth, their dependency on me. But before I know it, they'd be out in the world on their own. Their daddy will miss THESE good old days.

The "Terrible-Two" stage may be tiring and even scary, but I just know that it will be one of the stages in my life that I will miss so much. As Amy would frequently remind me, I should enjoy our daughters as much as I can and as young as they are because they will not be babies for long. She's right, of course, but deep in my heart, even though they will be babies only for this short period of time, they will always and forever be MY babies in MY eyes and in MY heart...

...and I thank HIM for these precious gifts.

"As son is a son till he makes him a wife; a daughter is a daughter all her life." --> Irish saying

"Certain is it that there is no kind of affection so purely angelic as of a father to a daughter. In love to our wives there is desire; to our sons, ambition; but to our daughters there is something which there are no words to express." -->Joseph Addison

"Watching your daughter being collected by her date feels like handing over a million dollar Stradivarius to a gorilla. " --> Jim Bishop, American journalist and author

Monday, October 25, 2010

You can still have it all ...

I came across this nice article at late in the evening:

It basically talked about Daphne Osena-Paez - how she came about having her career on TV and how she managed to balance her personal with her professional life.

I smiled at myself for choosing this article out of the blue because of three things:

#1 - The Uncanny Resemblance

Daphne Osena-Paez is the splitting image of my wife, Amy Antonio-Tabunar. Check out the picture from the link above and compare it to the picture of my lovely wife!

#2 - The Inspiring Story

I wasn't aware that Daphne was such a hands-on in both aspects of her life - at home and at work. With hard-work and perseverance, she was able to climb the ladder of success rung-by-rung but was willing to give it all up for motherhood. But despite her focus on her family, she was still able to pursue her dreams of having an active role in show business. With the love and support of her family, she is now able to live the life that she wants, but at the same time strive for continuous improvement in her craft.

#3 - Can you spell C-O-I-N-C-I-D-E-N-C-E?

My wife and I were having a similar discussion the other night. Amy was poised to climb the corporate ladder, but gave it all up for the sake of her two little angels. She misses the corporate world, but would not want to go back to it if it means spending much less time with the kids. This is both understandable and admirable of her, but I constantly remind her that we as a family are not blockades to her dreams. As a matter of fact, as a husband, I encourage her to pursue her dreams and the kids and myself will be with her every step of the way.

Samantha will be turning 3 years old in less than three months' time, while Sophia will be a year-old in a little more than a month. With a new year just around the corner, it is almost time to look back and take stock of what has transpired the previous year, and what to do for the new year.

Honey, follow your heart. Whether you choose to go back to the corporate world, go back to learning a new skill or open your own food business - the kids and I will always be here to support you. Every one in our families will have their own opinion about how we choose to live our lives, but the important thing is that we are all together in the decisions that we make and that we support each other. This is what I promise to you. For as long we do this for our success and His; for as long as we pray to God for thanks and support in our future endeavors, what ever other people will say will not matter. We SHALL succeed.

A couple of quotable quotes to remember:

"Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world." --> Harriet Tubman

"Reach high, for stars lie hidden in your soul. Dream deep, for every dream precedes the goal." --> Pamela Vaul Starr

"All men dream but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity; but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes to make it possible." --> T.E. Lawrence

I love you Honey. Reach for the skies, reach for the stars ... for I will be here to help lift you high!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Busy, Rainy, Family day

Amy and I have formed this habit of checking our emails, profiles and some news bits before hitting-the-hay. Tonight though, I decided to browse through to scope out cars that are for sale - both brand new and second hand. As I was browsing, I asked my wife if she thinks that if we had a good chance of buying a car next year, even if it were just a second hand car. She said that it would depend on the status of our finances - in other words, if we have eliminated most of our debts.

...wake-up call!!!

Between paying the monthly debts to our loan in Pag-ibig, monthly payments for our insurance policies, educational plans, loans/debts with banks and family members - there's hardly anything left for our basic needs ... but I'm proud to say that despite the financial set backs that we've been having, the four of us still manage to have fun and enjoy the simplest things in life.

A Halloween party at Samantha's school provided us another view of our daughter's imaginative and playful side among her teachers, classmates and other parents. And as expected, she was just as cheerful, funny and active as she can be. She may be hyper active, but at least she's a happy, healthy and uber sweet angel .... and she's MINE!!! ... well, until her mother says so

Attending a seminar at a hotel in Makati which culminated in an awarding ceremony where Amy was among the top 10 mothers as seen and judged by some local parenting and children's brands. She may not have won the top prize as we all had hoped, but at least she got the chance to meet other moms and make some new friends in the process. Plus, the Php 10k prize in GCs was boost in the ego (and the finances) as well

Treating the kids, as well as their yayas, out to lunch at a local pizza parlor proved to be a great bonding activity for the 6 of us. Pizza, pasta, chicken and taters ... how can you go wrong with that?!

Life may have been throwing us a lot of curve balls, but at least we do get to catch a break from time-to-time. Despite the absence and inability to own luxuries and convenience, at the end of the day, we look at what really matters the most and appreciate what we have. We may not see or realize it always, but from time-to-time we NEED TO REMEMBER that we are better off than most people... and for this, Amy and I thank HIM for the blessings that has been coming along our way, even if some times we tend to over look them. We thank HIM, always.

LIFE, LOVE, LORD ... the 3 Ls to fruitful living.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Return, Recharge, Re-educate

Yesterday had to be one of my stressful days for this month. Just when I thought I had everything planned out well, *Murphy comes creeping along the hallways of IBM. I had no choice but to re-schedule and re-think my strategy thus requiring me to adjust my work schedule a little bit more uncomfortably. Oh well, that's life, right? Not everything will go your way all the time.

While my mind was swimming in the Sea of Stress, my heart was was seeking ways to de-stress and one yearning came to mind: FOOD!!! (go figure!)

I Googled away on my laptop searching for culinary arts schools around the metro, hoping to find schools that offer short courses on culinary arts. I thought that it would be great for Amy and I to take these short courses both as a bonding activity and as an opportunity to further enhance our skills in the kitchen. We both love to cook and we certainly both love to eat, so this activity/mission/endeavor is perfect for us.

A good number of websites caught my attention. Check these out:

Center for Culinary Arts:
Chef Logro's Institute of Culinary and Kitchen Arts:
Click's Culinary Learning Institute:

I've sent emails to a few inquiring about their short courses and tuition fees. We'll see how it goes. I'm keen on taking some classes with my wife. Perhaps later this year or will be part of our new year's resolution for 2011 ;-)

* Murphy's Law - when you think something will go wrong, it will most certainly will happen.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Follow your strengths

This much I now know - if you're in the corporate world such as myself, and you decide to branch out to a totally new role, one that is completely different from what you've been doing for the past years, make sure that the new role that you'll be taking is something that you know you'll enjoy doing. In my case, I should have become a cook, radio DJ or a TV host! Yup, I love to eat, cook and talk.

After eight years of being an IT professional, I've decided to take on a role that is not really unrelated to what I've been doing in IT. It is still project management but the scope of work is bigger - one that encompasses IT since it also tackles HR, recruitment, business controls, etc. Project management is project management, as what my boss says but being a Transition Project Manager is still different, although the role itself is not new to me.

In any case, I gave it a shot. I found my bearing but the biggest challenge for me was navigating internally to find the right team and the right person(s) to work with on my project. The policies and procedures are things that I had to learn on-the-go, but thanks to the generous timelines of the project, I had enough time to learn the ropes. I had a lot of stumbles here and there, but I got up and learned from them. As of this writing, I'm confident to say that if I choose to work on another Transition project, I will definitely make less mistakes and be more efficient at my work. Unfortunately, this is not where my heart is as far as the role is concerned.

I've been so used to working in IT that I suddenly missed it. I remember that whenever I embarked in a new role in IT, I was always expected to hit the ground running and expectations on my performance was high. Fortunately, I would always meet their expectations, if not exceed them. I would always shine in my role in IT. But for the first time in my life, with this new role in IBM, I found myself constantly in the spot light, but not in a good way. Again, expectations of me were high, but I couldn't help but miss some details from time-to-time. I admit that some mistakes could have been avoided but I was still getting used to the role and learning the methodologies as I went along with the project. I never had any orientation or the sort. But alas, enough has already been said and done. I'm proud to say that the project that I've been working for the past 10-months is ready to go-live at any time the client wishes. I was able to place the project 98% ready by the time the soft-go live came last October 1. We became 100% ready the next day.

Now the days are counting down for me once again. My last days with IBM Business Services are numbered and by November 16 I bid my new found friends adieu. By November 17, I once again join the IT world with IBM Daksh and I will once again report to my previous boss and good friend (from AIG Business Processing Services), Ray Austria. This is going to be another interesting chapter in my journey in my professional life, where I will be occupying the role as IT Delivery Project Executive (don't let the name fool you, my transfer is just lateral - no promotions here ... at least not yet). The role will be a mix of IT Account Management, Project Management and Operations - familiar territory for me as these were the same roles I fulfilled when I was working at Accenture.

Looking forward to shining once again.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Butterfly kisses

As I was making my way to work today, I was listening to the radio through my phone when I came across this familiar song. I've heard this dozens of times before, but this is the first time that I've actually listened to what the singer, Bob Carlisle, is trying to say.

Samantha and Sophia are my two most treasured blessings in the world. I never thought that the Lord would grant me two such intelligent, strong and beautiful little angels - two of his best! Nothing gives me more joy than seeing my daughters look up at me and flash me those beautiful smiles.

I currently going through a crossroad in my life. I feel like the weight of the whole world is on my shoulders - heavy debts with some banks, heavy financial obligations and a job where no matter my sincerest efforts result in nothing but escalations, baseless complaints and a rash judgments.

Yes after all the chaos that seems to happen to me day after day for the past few weeks, there are two constants in my life that keep my sane: my supportive and understanding wife AND my two loving daughters.

I know that I haven't been the best dad to them - God knows that I've been terrible at fatherhood. But after all that I've done wrong, I must have done something right to deserve a smile, a kiss every morning from my two daughters. Despite my short comings, I still get to hear the sweetest "I love yous" from Samantha, and giggles from Sophia.

I love you girls. Daddy is doing his best to provide you with all that you deserve and need; with a life that you deserve. Daddy always prays for you that he be able to give you all opportunities that you deserve.

Butterfly Kisses lyrics
Songwriters: Carlisle, Bob; Thomas, Randy;

There's two things I know for sure
She was sent here from heaven
And she's daddy's little girl
As I drop to my knees by her bed at night
She talks to Jesus and I close my eyes
And I thank God for all of the joy in my life
Oh but most of all

For butterfly kisses after bedtime prayer
Stickin' little white flowers all up in her hair
Walk beside the pony daddy it's my first ride
I know the cake looks funny daddy but I sure tried

Oh with all that I've done wrong
I must have done something right
To deserve a hug every mornin'
And butterfly kisses at night

Sweet 16 today
She's lookin' like her mama a little more every day
One part woman the other part girl
To perfume and make up from ribbons and curls
Trying her wings out in a great big world
But I remember

Butterfly kisses after bedtime prayer
Stickin' little white flowers all up in her hair
You know how much I love you daddy
But if you don't mind
I'm only gonna kiss you on the check this time

Oh with all that I've done wrong
I must have done something right
To deserve her love every mornin'
And butterfly kisses at night

All the precious time
Like the wind the years go by
Precious butterfly
Spread your wings and fly

She'll change her name today
She'll make a promise and I'll give her aways
Standing in the bride room just staring at her
She asked me what I'm thinkin'
And I said I'm not sure
I just feel like I'm loosin' my baby girl
And she leaned over

Gave me butterfly kisses with her mama there
Stickin' little white flowers all up in her hair
Walk me down the isle daddy
It's just about time
Does my wedding gown look pretty daddy?
Daddy's don't cry

Oh with all that I've done wrong
I must have done something right
To deserve her love every mornin'
And butterfly kisses

I couldn't ask God for more than this is what love is
I know I've got to let her go but I'll always remember
Every hug in the mornin' and butterfly kisses

Thursday, August 5, 2010

An enjoyable 3rd year celebration

I've been wrestling around different ideas for the past few weeks on how to celebrate our 3rd year wedding anniversary.

I thought of checking out various hotels around Metro Manila - those with swimming pools and near malls. I thought perhaps that it would be a great idea for my wife and I and the kids to spend a night at a hotel, take the kids around the malls and then swimming the following morning. I was surprised to find the prices of these hotels to be extremely expensive, even for a local resident.

So I thought of other options - such as lending the kids to some family members for the night, then I could cook a special dinner for Amy and then have a 2-hour massage right at home. This was a better idea, I thought, but it still wanted to take my wife out for dinner and maybe a movie.

But after checking out various date spots and restaurants, my wife came-up with a better idea. Since we have a couple of gift certificates that are about to expire in 3 weeks time, we might as well enjoy it. Last June, we won a small promo from Smart Parenting where we received a bunch of gift certificates at The Fun Ranch. It gives us a Php500 discount on food, free family bowling for two, free mini-golf for two persons (9 round) and free ride-all-you can for two! It was a great chance for us to go out and have fun with the kids.

So we made our way to the The Fun Ranch at Ortigas, right next to Tiendesittas. We made it there exactly at noon, the moment they opened up for the day. We proceeded to their dining area called the Big Red Barn and ordered some food while Samantha started playing at the slides right inside the restaurant. We ordered a bowl of bacon and corn chowder, ham & cheese sticks, two-piece fried chicken with gravy and rice, two-sticks of pork barbeque with java rice, beef pot pie and a couple of glasses of iced tea.

At first we thought that these were just ordinary dishes but we were surprised with the size of their servings as well as the taste of each dish. Let me give you a low-down on what we enjoyed for lunch last Wednesday:
The corn and corn chowder was very tasty. It was a bit on the salty side most likely due to the generous portions of bacon, but the soup itself was very creamy and the corn sort of balanced out the saltiness in the end. My daugther Sophia had a good portion of it and she approves of it as well.

The fried chicken came out next and we were surprised that the pieces of chicken were quite big compared to those of other local fast food joints. The chicken itself was savory but not too salty; even the gravy was prepared nicely - it wasn't too thick and the saltiness complemented the chicken quite well.

The pork barbeque was served along with the fried chicken. I must say that the pork barbeque was perfectly grilled. The sauce was a good mix of sweet and salty, and the sourness of the atsara blended well with the pork. The java rice was also prepared perfectly - the rice wasn't too dry or wet with the sauce, and it had the same balance as with the meat.

Finally, we were served with their house specialty - Beef Pot Pie. It was beef pot roast topped with mashed potato and melted cheese. This was such a great treat for us. The beef was tender with generous servings of its sauce. The mashed potato blended well with the sauce and added richness to the dish. Finally, the cheese added that extra kick and creaminess that blended well with the mashed potato.

All-in-all, our dining experience was superb! I will definitely take my family back here for a good meal next time.

After our 2-hour lunch, we decided to use our other gift certificates and take the kids out for a round bowling and mini-golf. My wife, Samantha and I took turns hitting strikes left and right ... oh! alright! so we guttered the ball most of the time but the point is that we had loads of fun just throwing the ball and hitting as much pins as we can. Sophia was remarkably behaved and watched us from her high chair, unbeknownst to us that she was preparing a "surprise gift" for me and her mommy. After our 20-minute round of bowling, we were set to finish up with a round of golf when all of a sudden, I lifted Sophia and noticed something warm dripping out of her diaper ... ... ... Oh! What a day indeed!

Samantha and I bonded over mini-golf. I tried teaching her the right way to stand, to hold the golf club and in hitting the ball. She couldn't quite get it but had fun nonetheless just hitting the ball and putting it in the hole - whether by dragging the ball with her club or by simply shooting it in with her bare hands. Either way, she had loads of fun!

We walked around the compound checking out the other rides until we reached the far end of the facility, right next to the Avalon Zoo. We wanted to get in and show the kids around, but we were discouraged by the high entrance fee. For another day, perhaps.

We then headed to nearby Tiendesita's since Samantha was hungry yet again. She fancied some soup but later decided to have a hotdog instead. The kids were tired at this point. Sophia was already fast asleep on her mommy's arms, and Samantha almost wasn't able to finish her hotdog when she decided to have her bottle of milk and lie down on my lap.

My mom hooked-up with us that time, to see how we were doing. It suddenly rained hard, just when we were planning to go over to SM Makati. My wife suggested to just end the day at our parents' house and celebrate part of our anniversary with them. We bought some chicken inasal to share with their pork sinigang. My dad was especially happy that we were there, mostly because he got to spend some time with his grand daughters. They're always a riot to be with at home.

We were just hands-down dog-tired right after dinner. We had lots of fun and we got to spend quality time with our kids. We then made our way back home, thanks to my dad for driving us.

The day turned out not quite the way I planned it, but it actually went well- better, as a matter of fact. We finished out chores at home early in the day, spent the whole afternoon playing with the kids at a new place and capped it off with a nice simple dinner with family. Let's not forget, of course, the gift certificates c/o Smart Parenting=)

Happy Anniversary Honey! Time with you - whether along with you or with the kids - is always time well spent. I love you so much!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A dedication to my beloved

To mark our 3rd year wedding anniversary, I dedicate this song to my lovely wife, Amy Tabunar, whose love and faith in me is so strong you wouldn't believe how much she has been sacrificing to put up with a shmuck like me. I know that I don't deserve wife as supportive, understanding and loving as her, but I do my best day after day to earn the right to be called her husband.

I love you honey! I love you so much with all my heart!

"The Last Time"

The first time I fell in love was long ago.
I didn't know how to give my love at all.
The next time I settled for what felt so close.
But without romance, you're never gonna fall.
After everything I've learned;
Now it's finally my turn.
This is the last time I'll fall... in love.
The first time we walked under that starry sky,
there was a moment when everything was clear.
I didn't need to ask or even wonder why, because each question is answered when your near.
and I'm wise enough to know when a miracle unfolds, this is the last time i'll fall in love.
Now don't hold back, just let me know.
Could i be moving much too fast or way too slow.
'Cause all of my life, I've waited for this day.
To find that once in a lifetime, this is it, I'll never be the same.
You'll never know what it's taken me to say these words.
And now that I've said them, they could never be enough.
As far as I can see, there's only you and only me.

This is the last time I'll fall in love.
Last time i'll fall in love.
The last time i'll fall... in love.

Monday, August 2, 2010

A blossoming relationship

From chat mates to friends to lovers to husband-and-wife ... this is our love story (c/o Amy Tabunar) shared through Tolberone Pilipinas

It all started with a social networking website pre-dating Friendster and Facebook. I met Raffy Tabunar online on a site called back in 2003. Nothing fancy - he said hello, I said hello right back at him. A simple hello turned into a daily routine of well wishes and small chit-chat every now and then. We never met face-to-face right away, but we did find ourselves exchanging a lot of emails, pouring our hearts out on instant messengers about work, love lives and family lives. We found ourselves to be new age pen-pals! This went on for three years. There were times when we would talk everyday and times when we didn't talk for weeks and even months, but we'd catch up every now and then - all through emails and instant messaging. I instantly had a friend whom I can actually confide on. Someone from the outside looking into my life.

Three years after a simple hello, emails and instant messaging turned into phone calls and text messages. We were in our mid-20s yet we were giggling over the phone over the simplest things. We'd laught at corny jokes sent over SMS. A spark flew! Timing is everything as they say, and the time was right for us to finally meet.

It was the day before new year's day, and we decided to meet for lunch at a nearby mall. I was with my cousins and their parents at that time, and thought it would be a good chance to meet up with him. But alas! He was a no show. Saying that he was having car problems, I thought that he was just some other guy jerking me around. But he made up for it, asking me out for a cup of coffee the following night - New Years Day! He picked me up at my aunt's house, but not before he got lost on his way to finding the place. When he stepped into the house, one thought hit me - for a Filipino, he sure looked a lot like an Indian with his dark hair, bulky built, thick eye brows and his long nose. I laughed in my head. He had a surprise of his life when he saw some family pictures on the wall, with one of them containing a photo of someone familiar in his life - his high school English teacher, my grandmother! After 3 years of chatting, you'd think we'd know by then. Just comes to show you get to discover new things about each other almost every day.

He took me to his aunt's restaurant, a small burger joint inside BF Paranaque. I had fries and he had a burger. We spent the night talking a lot, exchanging stories and advice since we both were just out of relationships. We provided a good listening ear to one another. It was a relief talking to someone who wasn't judgmental and had a fair mind.

We kept in touch after that night, almost every day as a matter of fact. He spent a good amount of time with my family as well, allowing them to get to know him building up their trust on him. Each waking morning was a pleasant treat knowing that we'd talk and see each other that day. We couldn't get enough of each other - there's just something so exciting, so mysterious about him, which he also finds in me. Our friendship was going to a whole new level. My friend, my confidant was stealing my heart as I stole his in return. It was a romance like no other.

But like any other romance, it is not without its thorns. We even had challenges amongst ourselves almost on a weekly basis. But despite those challenges, we must have been doing something right. We still found ourselves arguing about everything, but no longer as friends. A year and a a half after our burger and fries, we got married. We took our romance and our friendship up to another higher level. Now, not only do we get to argue with each other every now and then, we get to love each other more. WE're still getting to discover lot of things about each other and ourselves, but we continuously find ourselves yearning for each other, craving for one another.

I am grateful for this person whom I get to wake up right next to every morning. I am grateful not just because he's my husband, but because of what we went through for the past 7 years. As a friend, he has displayed so much patience and understanding for me as well as given me a lot of joy and comfort. He helped me accept the things for the way they are; that things happen for a reason. I'd like to think that we've been through a whole lot of challenges even for a young married couple such as ourselves. But despite those challenges, our foundation as FRIENDS along for our love for one another helped kept our bond stronger. For the past 7 years, he was my constant companion both in real life and in cyber world. And this coming August 4, we will be celebrating three years of our wonderful marriage and 7 years of great friendship..

Thoughts for the day (August 2, 2010)

As I enjoy my week-long leave, I can't help but notice that nothing much has changed compared to my normal routine. Yes, I still take my daughter to school every MWF morning, but I still found myself deep-diving into my Lotus Notes emails, negotiating time-frames and chasing people for approvals ~ all just to move a handful of computers from one floor to the next!

Needless to say, despite the 3-hour delay, I still got the job done. I just hope other groups involved did their part as expected. You know who you are!

I welcomed my daughter outside her school, both of us eager to get home to Mommy and Sophia and to a heaven-sent home cooked meal. To my delight, my wife Amy cooked her special Crispy Binagoongan! Imagine slices of pork stewing in garlic, onions, tomatoes, fish paste AND coconut milk ... then imagine the pork taken out of the stew, thrown into hot oil to fry til crispy, then thrown back into the stew! A modern twist to a classic dish - one that only my wife can do creatively and deliciously! Thank you Honey for the fine, fine meal!

And as part of my routine, I gave my kids a bath right after lunch and was able to get both Samantha and Sophia to take a nap - a 2 hour nap! So what did I do while they were napping? I worked, of course - go figure! I love my wife for being so understanding and supportive. Not many wives would tolerate a husband who would bring work home - especially during those times when he is supposed to be focused on his family.

With a mission to run some errands at SM City Sucat and drop by my parents' house for a favor, I quickly took a shower and threw some clothes on myself and Samantha the moment she woke up. We eventually got invited by my mom to their house for early dinner - all four of us with them.

We never made it to SM City Sucat once we were able to leave my parents' house, but we did make progress on an important favor that I had to ask my parents.

It has never been easy for me to ask for financial support, even through a loan; most especially support coming from my family. Ever since I started working, I made it clear to myself that I will strive to become self sufficient - even more so now that I am the head of my own family. But because of the circumstances that we are in, I am left with no other option but to seek financial support from my parents to help pay debts that I have accumulated for the past 4 months - mostly as a result of purchasing a home (to think that we were debt free at the beginning of this year).

My wife and I were caught by surprise of just how much of an investment a house and lot can be. But despite the herculean conditions facing us, we still pushed through with it knowing that it will still be of great help to my parents.

But until now, I just can't 100% comprehend why such a good deed would entail so much sacrifices and challenges. So much to handle for a single good deed. I have no regrets in helping out my folks, but at the expense of my family's comfort - that, I cannot fully understand ... at least not yet.

Am I still being a good husband? A good father? A good provider?

I know that years from now, Amy and I will just look back at these events in our lives, smile at each other and maybe even laugh at it. But until that time comes, I need to figure out how to get my family and myself out of this rat race.

Please Lord, give me and my wife the strength, the resilience, the patience and the perseverance that we need to overcome these challenges.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Sa ilaw ng aking tahanan ...

To the one who stole my heart, you can have it since its yours to begin with.

To the one who brightens up my day with her smile alone, keep smiling coz you have no idea how weak I get whenever I see it.

To the one who has never totally given up on me, thank you for the patience, the understanding and the love.

To the one who has always put up with my short comings, you are so forgiving that sometimes I feel that I don't deserve you.

To the one who packs my lunch every day, please never stop coz you know exactly the way to my heart.

To the one who has to face all these challenges from those close to her, be strong for I am here for you always, praying and steadfast.

To the one gave me the two most precious gifts a husband and father could ever ask, can we have one more blessing, please? LOL
To the one who loves me with her whole heart, her whole mind and her whole life, you need not wonder or ask for I love you until the last dawn rises.

To my best friend, my partner in crime and love, to my love, my life, my wife ... stay with me always for I am lost without you.

I love you so much honey. I love you with all my heart.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Hyper-good weekend

Like I said in my previous blog, its always great to spend some weekends at home with your family. However, its also nice when some members of the family get to visit you, like what happened today. We were primed to close out our weekend with a simple dinner of fish and veggies, when my wife's cousins told her that they were visiting their grandparents, who live about 5 blocks from our house. So naturally, we invited them over for dinner since we haven't seen them since we transferred back to our apartment a month ago.

My wife prepared crispy crablets as appetizers, then made some carbonara and I re-heated the left over bolognese sauce from last night. We then finished-up a hefty serving of Toblerone Dark Chocolates. Mmm... chocolates ... Thanks to my wife for a hearty meal!

I felt so hyped-up even after they left. Its always nice to welcome family in your own home. Even if that home is small with little furniture, its still nice to have family love all around, with nice home cooked meals and sweet, sweet chocolates!

...and then I managed to melt my daughters' milk bottles in the sterilizer... Yebah!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Weekend rest-ling

Weekends are best spent with family, I always say. Its how you spend it that makes the difference. You can spend all day at your house but if you don't take the time off to bond with them, then what's the point?

It's a Saturday evening as I'm writing this. We started our day trying to get up at 4AM to do the laundry and defrost the fridge. We finally made it out of bed between 7:30AM and 8AM, had breakfast and my finally got started with the laundry at 10AM. I got started defrosting the fridge at the same time. Our kids were busy watching TV and making a mess all over the place. After the fridge, I helped my wife hang the laundry outside only to bring it back in a couple of hours later since it started drizzling. My wife prepared lunch while I cleaned the rooms and transferred the bed to the other room so that I can fumigate our room - its being over run by ants!!! After lunch, Samantha and I went to a nearby grocery to buy some supplies and made our way home to hang the clothes back out again while my wife prepared dinner. We put our kids to bed and here we are!

Wow! We had a full day - all while taking care of Sophia who's been battling coughs and colds since last night, Samantha who's being her 2-year old self and with water running out in the middle of the afternoon.

So what's my point? We may have spent our Saturday at home doing chores, but we spent it as a family. Everyone had a part in it and we all had fun doing it. We all cleaned together, ate together and ran around together.

Sure, its nice to go and hang out at the malls, go to parks and zoos and party with other family members, but sometimes its better to just stay at home and focus on each other. No need for anything fancy. A broom, and a mop (even without ample water supply), some good food and a lot of love WILL definitely go a long, long way.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

A Thursday night rant turned into one full of hope

I wanted to post my usual rants today ... something a bit more serious; a bit more deep. I came to work today already feeling down, somewhat losing confidence in myself in fulfilling my obligations. I was about to post details on those thoughts when I was able to chat with my wife first.

My wife, Amy, has been a good source of inspiration and strength for me for the past 3 years of our marriage. We've been through a lot, she and I. We've had our ups and down through the short 3 years but I'm happy that we haven't given up on each other. She has always loved and supported me every step of the way. Come to think of it, I've just remembered of how blessed I am in my own family. I have so much blessings within the 4 walls of my home compared to the #$%@!#! people out there who have been trying to get me down.

I remember yesterday when the boss of my boss asked me and a colleague of mine of where I'm more comfortable working in - at UPA or at Eastwood. I told her flat out that I much rather work at home because I have a very strong support group there. Even my colleague agreed.

Its funny that some of the most complex problems that people have tend to be solved by the most simplest of solutions. David brought down a giant with a small stone. Moses parted the sea with but a stick. Jesus Christ saved humanity with his love and understanding alone. Such a big and deep way to compare my problem - but what is my problem compared to what other people are going through nowadays, right? I should be happy to have a job in the first place, and that I get to come home to my wife and kids at the end of each day.

I'm blessed more than I can imagine. I just need to keep reminding myself that fact, and for me to always be humble. Keep my head down for now and my feet planted on the ground at all times. I gotta watch my back and cover my own ass for now!!!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Why do I deserve an Android phone?

So why do I deserve an Android phone? Well, to be honest, I don’t deserve one at all. The one who truly deserves an Android phone is my wife, Amy. My wife has simple taste when it comes to gadgets – as long as her phone can just call and text, she’s as happy as can be. So this brings us back to the opening question: Why do I (or my wife) deserve an Android phone?

She currently owns a MyPhone B22. It’s a pretty much decent device that can call and text and do other things like tune-in to FM radio, take pictures, and what not. Her phone is actually a hand-me-down from my sister, and she got that phone brand new back in 2007. When she passed the phone to my wife, it was already 2 years old. Cell phones are normally good for at least 2 years before you need to replace it. But knowing my wife, as long as it can do its basic function, she will keep it – and she has, for another year!

My wife takes good care of our properties, including her phone until one summer day this year. We were on a road trip with the family up north at Clark Air Base when she accidentally dropped her phone outside as she was carrying our daughter into the car. Her phone eventually got run over by the car. Miraculously, it survived the thrashing and still works well despite having to lose some of its keys and a lot of scratches on the surface.

At this point in our lives, we couldn’t afford to just replace her phone with a new one; not even with a second hand. We’re on a very tight budget with my eldest going to school already and house payments that we had to take over. My wife is such a great mother and a very caring partner. As simple as her taste can be, I think she still deserves something as good as this android phone.

Also, with our wedding anniversary coming up In 3 weeks, this will be the best gift from me to her. She is so easy to please, and with something as cool as an Android phone, she’ll be ecstatic and overjoyed.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Stage parents

The Mossimo Kids, Baby Mossimo Casting Call 2010 held last Sunday, July 4 to 5, at the Festival Mall at Alabang was a jam-packed event full of excited, playful kids as well as hopeful parents such as myself. It was the first time that my wife, Amy, and I went to such an event and we had no idea just how big events like these were. Nonetheless, we were prepared the for the worst.,-baby-mossimo-casting-call-2010

With a huge baby bag full of milk, baby bottles, change of clothes and some snacks, the four of us - Amy (my wife), Samantha, Sophia and myself - braved the humid Sunday morning to be at the event. We got there around 11:30AM but we were shocked to see the long line around the front of the event hall. We were number 473 out of an eventual 622 contestants. So we registered Samantha, picked our number and stood in line. My wife was kind enough to stand in line with Sophia and have me take Samantha to lunch so as to preserve her playful mood. After 2 hours of waiting, both my kids started getting sleepy, hungry and irritated. Amy and I did our best to pacify Sophia through naps and Samantha through toys.

After 4 hours of waiting, we finally got our turn for the pictorial, but had to wait another 2 hours before Samantha would meet the judges. By that time, Samantha was still hyped-up thanks to a power merienda, some milk and bubbles courtesy of her mommy. She responded well to the camera, throwing away her smile and some simple poses. We even got her to wear an outfit we bought from Mossimo just for this event.

But after all the wardrobe changes, snacks and patience waiting in-line, the judges decided to go for some boys - perhaps because the other set of judges already got their share of girls. We left the room with Samantha still cheerful and smiling, but for the first time, I felt so depressed and so sad for my daughter. As a father, I know that I can be very much biased towards my own child, but I know for a fact that my daughter has so much potential. Lucky for me, Samantha is not yet that old to understand the situation, but for myself ... it took a toll on me.

Walking towards the waiting area where Amy and Sophia are patiently awaiting our return, my wife saw from afar the look on my face that says it all. She knew right then and there that Samantha wasn't chosen. Despite the results, we're still both happy that at least we gave it a chance and that there are other opportunities out there for Samantha.Two days later, I still feel depressed. Writing this down certainly doesn't help. I still feel that the judges were unfair and I feel sad for my daughter. I know that these feelings will pass knowing that we did our best; we exerted all the effort that we could. Samantha certainly did not disappoint us. I'm proud of her for being so patient and cheerful the whole time. I'm proud of my daughter, Samantha. I love her so much.