Thursday, December 31, 2009

thank you, Frailty, thank you, Consequence, thank you, Silence.

As we put out the last Roman Candle in the revelry of ushering 2010, the family noticed that the neighborhood fireworks ended earlier than usual. Maybe people were tired or too stressed; perhaps they figured it would be better to watch TV (although we're known for having the best fireworks display outside any public show because of the prominent personalities who live on our street), or maybe the events of 2009 made it fitting to end its final moments in silence.

Alanis Morissette's "Thank U" was released in 1998. 12 years after, it still resounds as timely as ever for me. No, I still have not gone to the salon for that much needed hair makeover, and this video reminds me of that, too ;P It has become my anthem for the week, and it perfectly caps my year filled with so many personal milestones, catastrophes and blessings that it almost seems surreal.

This was the year I joined races, stumbled and picked myself up to meet my work targets, flew like Superman on a zipline, hiked 4 hours of mountain(s!!!) to get to an awesome volcanic sand beach, and pioneered a superclub bridal shower idea that will soon be the latest craze among brides-to-be (right, Tim?).

2009 was also the year we shuffled from hospital to hospital: Dad's gastric surgery and removal of a miraculously benign tumor, the comeback of Mom's slipped disc that required regular therapy sessions, and the car mishap that involved both of them and a hapless woman who happened to be walking on the opposite side of the school gate our car rammed into while rapidly moving in reverse. And, who could forget Ondoy, whose destructive force has left our home in a shambles as we struggle up to this day restoring it back to a livable state for the next decade or so?

How apt it was for 2009 to have been the year I turned 30, for this was the time when I finally (albeit with much resistance) had to fit into the shoes of an adult. I was suddenly not just a child who was let in on family issues; I was to be part of the steering committee. Many times over, and in different occasions, I became a mother, a godmother, a Mrs.Cortez for a day, an eldest daughter, a youngest sister, the man of the house, and the maid.

All these things were seasoned with love that came from every corner of my world. The family grew closer and stronger than ever as we slowly rebuilt our home and braved every ailment, my branch office bounced back with a vengeance with its staggering rallied sales stats, and Joe's full marathon finish, with his medal on my neck, spoke of the indefatigability of the human spirit. Hangad's December visit to Isabela further taught me how moving it is to be impassioned, not just with a beloved, but also towards a ministry that one is called to be a part of.

2010 appears to be a promising year, as we face it with a renewed sense of inner strength. This will be the year I finally give my baby sister away to start a family of her own, and this is also the time for me to let go of my fears and reinvent myself yet again, as we begin my first bike build -- that I will eventually ride :) On a nationwide scale, they say Hope is the main theme of the beginning of the 10s, and much is to be expected as we transition into a new leader in May. My heart is brimming with much love to give, and I am not alone in praying that the coming year be a little kinder to most of us. Nevertheless, I am confident that should there be new and bigger challenges to face, in the end, I will still be thankful for all of it.

Kudos to 2009, and welcome, 2010. :)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

how about me enjoying a moment for once?

one look in the mirror and i was reminded of alanis morissette's "thank u" video.

hmm. must visit the salon soon.


Just when I thought I had gone through the worst in 2008, 2009 was still not an easy year for me. Nevertheless, there are so many things (and people!) to be thankful for; all in all, the blessings always outweigh the difficulties. I am here, and I am grateful to still be here. :)

I am hopeful that 2010 will be a little kinder, and I'm looking forward to more triumphs and milestones to reach (I will finally learn how to ride a bike!!) -- and I wish the same for all of you.

Happy Christmas, all! :)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

i spent too much time raiding windmills.

As the skies weep quiet tears this early noon, a treasure trove of memories fill my head; images that only I recall.

I distinctly remember that random phone call, when my dad was shutting the front door and double-checking if the house lights were on and off in the right places. It was November, 1998. For some reason, I knew your phone number. I dialled it, you answered, and I told you, out of the blue, that I was depressed.

Then you made me laugh. And that was how it started.

You were my summer vacations, my semestral breaks, my Christmas masses and my Easter Sundays. We defied all logic when we brought out the best in each other. I was at my happiest, at my prettiest, in my most carpe diem moments when I was with you. And I think that's how you felt, too. We shone brightest like supernovas with every magical triumph. And the euphoria stayed so long it seemed we could fly for all eternity.

But vacations end. The pixie dust settles to the ground. And the flight touches down after soaring so high. We are left with our normal selves to face the bitterness of life, and the world does not stop too long for us. What happens when the silver lining is covered in dark clouds, words of hope echo in despair, and the one person you turn to for inspiration becomes the one who reminds you of your brokenness?

We are forced to wake up, and grow up. And the heroes that we have been to each other are reduced to mere mortals who live troubled lives.

A part of me died today. It was the child in me that stared wide-eyed with idealism that maybe if I wished hard enough, I didn't have to grow up. It was also the part of me that kept an image of you that was no longer there.

I still believe in your greatness. You have taught me to go beyond myself, and I hope I will still do the same for you. Live on, and cherish what we have shared. Your love is the closest I have ever been to a miracle. For now, I will keep the memory of it as the last footnote of the book of my youth.

But I hope that someday soon, I will see you again as I did many times over, smiling, gleaming, as the sun on the first morning of my summer vacation.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

just give me till then to give up this fight.

Naku, Manny. I worry for you when you push your luck.


An officemate confided in me that she was praying to God for a sign for her wish to be granted. She added to her prayer, "Lord, kung magbibigay ka naman ng sign, pwede linawin mo naman ng konti."

I told her, "Malinaw naman palagi. Tayo lang ang nagpupumilit na palabuin lahat."

The truth is, we always get what we pray for. Not at the time we think is right, not in the circumstance we find most convenient, not with the person/s whom we feel would give us an "easier" time. But we are granted our wishes, in the context of the "big picture".

We are allowed to savor triumphs -- the fulfillment of a dream, the gleaming finish line at the end of a long race -- in order for us to celebrate the glory of the human spirit. Yet it is an equally significant (albeit rather poignant) reminder of the resplendent soul when one braves tragedies and failures. Unfortunately, since these events are painful, they are taken for granted as blessings and we often don't look beyond the bleak reality of such events.

My father, the same 81-year-old survivor of a quintuple bypass and a gastric tumor operation a few months back, met a vehicular accident this week, with him behind the wheel and Mom as his passenger. The car, which ran on high speed in reverse, crashed into a closed school gate which completely folded its trunk accordion-style. His injuries are not unlike a boxer's after a gruelling fight: a bloody nose that now slightly tilts to one side, burst lips and a swollen eye. While eating hospital rations on his last night of confinement, he mumbles:

"Siguro pwede na natin ipakuha yung CRV sa casa. Matagal na natapos yung baha, ayos na yun. Wala akong ma-drive eh."


I breathed deeply and told him that what just happened to him and Mom is a gentle reminder that he should take things easy from now on. "Maraming nangyayari na sa inyo na yun ang sinasabi, Dad. Dapat siguro makinig na tayo." He fell quiet, finished his meal and prepared for bed. Two days after his discharge from the Lung Center, he still has trouble sleeping. He is anxious, denying the fact that things have changed. He now tries to calm himself by watching the Pacquiao-Cotto fight in their bedroom.

Apart from the denial of a sign is the underlying self-pity that cripples us when we are beset with bad news. We find ourselves frustrated that things are not moving as planned, stumped and in despair that we have reached rock-bottom, that we are beyond salvation.

We forget that it is a blessing. It is a divine nudge that tells us we are not alone, that our lives could never be totally planned by us. It is a roadblock that protects us from a ravine, to lead us to a longer detour that will, still, eventually take us to our destination.

So now, as I await the longest days of my life to end and present me with my fate, I pray. I admit that I am helpless. And I succumb to this helplessness with faith that like all storms we have braved in the past, I will be saved.

Heaven help me.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


a line from "The King and I" comes to mind.

it's both thrilling and head-cracking when someone comes over to see you in a heartbeat, and leaves you in the next. all because i craved for a cup of hot chocolate.

there is no escape.

i'm hooked.

Monday, August 17, 2009

loving you is like food to my soul.

i've been receiving messages lately from people around me, telling me i've lost touch for the past few days. emotions have run around the spectrum from near-rage to tearful compassion because of my failure to answer calls or urgent email. honestly, i don't really know what to say.

i want to say sorry, but it's more of feeling sorry for myself. the self-pity is agonizing and is close to becoming psychosomatic. i want to get away from it all and tell myself i don't deserve to be shoved into a world of responsibilities i'm too young for. i want to turn off my 3 phones and drive out of town incognito. i wanted a grand party for my birthday but nobody really thought 30 was a big deal. i'm almost about to eat some worms.

yet seeing my mom tonight, bringing my dad to the bathroom to help him go about his business, threw all the pathetic feelings away. here was a woman who is probably the least acknowledged for everything she has done for us. last year she lost the chance to continue a private consultancy when she took the role of nurse for daddy who was recovering from his heart bypass. mother's day and her birthday were spent at the hospital, with daddy not even noticing each occasion because he was too weak to remember anything. this was heartbreaking, since my dad had always doted on my mom prior to the operation. nowadays, she is only comforted by the hope that somewhere beneath the tantrums and the helplessness is the man who is madly in love with her, the daddy she fell in love with.

she is sick herself, not having had a decent night's sleep on an uncomfortable watcher's cot for the past week. yet she always sets it all aside for him, feeding him bland soup that the hospital requires him to eat, talking to the doctors and nurses, going to daddy's office to get his salary and work assignments, while giving us detailed orders daily on how to run the house in her absence. i remember a night many years ago when she was watching TV in their bedroom with us and i asked her,

"ma, sino nagluluto ng ulam ngayon?"

"ako," she replied.

"eh pano nangyari yon, andito ka nanonood ng TV tapos nagluluto ka pa rin?", i wondered aloud as a bewildered 6 year old.

"eh di parang si superman," she said, winking at my dad.

i believed her then, because our dinners always tasted better when she was around, even if i didn't see her cut vegetables or put raw meat in the pot to cook.

i still believe in her now. she's the quiet strength that has kept this family together. she inspires daddy to get well and is truly there to ease any pain he feels in a way no son or daughter could ever give. and she demonstrates with every unappreciated act of service to her family, what "unconditional love" really is.

while we pray for dad's recovery, i also whisper a special prayer for mom, that she may always remember that she is loved by all of us. if i could only be half the woman she is, i would be fulfilled.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

i can feel your halo.

As I write this, I'm having mixed feelings about a lot of things.

I'm juggling between sleeping and making this entry, staying home and going back to the hospital to be with Mom and Dad, laughing and crying, and feeling old and responsible while feeling as helpless as a baby.

We call on everyone again to join us in prayer for Dad's health. He hadn't been eating much since early this week, and we thought it was just hyperacidity and the generally somber mood of the week (with Tita Cory and the gloomy weather). He had a blood test last Thursday, and results were out yesterday showing that his hemoglobin levels were low.

He has already undergone blood transfusion and was scheduled for a routinary endoscopy just to check for ulcers which may have caused his lack of appetite and upset stomach. What the doctors saw was a mass that only allowed 1/8 of his stomach's space for food to go in. A CT scan was also requested today, results of which will be ready tomorrow.

As of now, we really are at a loss as to how to approach this new crisis in Dad's life. We are praying for guidance and enlightenment, and perhaps another miracle.

We know how powerful your prayers have been in the past, so now I ask each and every one of you to join us again in lifting this to our Lord. We've conquered this monster before, and we will win once more!!!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I could go crazy on a night like tonight...

Maybe it was the large coffee I had from Dunkin' Donuts, or the exhilaration of finally getting a new pc monitor and installing it tonight. (And the dread of the coming due date of my ballooning credit card balance.)

It could also be the fact that I'm commemorating so many special days for the past and in the coming days.

Or, it's because the end of the month is near and reaching my quota is almost a reality but could still slip from my hands.

Whatever it is, I am again at a period of reckoning. It is not so much as deciding -- where to go, what to do or whom to cherish -- as it is admitting to myself and to everyone that choices have already been made.

Soon, it seems only appropriate for me to lose the right to stay in my youth. Twentysomethings are understandably fickle, dependent, zealous and pretty much the same as they were in their teens. Awkwardly, people of this age are also groomed to take on new responsibilities, and to act like adults. I'd like to think of it as "act" being the operative word, as in portraying a role distinct from the person one truly is.

It's overwhelming to realise that as I reach 30, it is expected of me not to just act, but, more importantly, to be an adult. I've attempted to mature as quickly as necessarily possible, albeit clumsily. Mistakes which could have been forgivable a few years back are now downright embarrassing to commit, and I feel that at some point I should have something of substance to show for myself.

Someone thought about that too right here. Has "thirtysomething" turned into "thirtynothing"? Tell me if you agree with it or not :)

The thing is, I could go on and on with a litany of things I have not yet accomplished, but it will not speak of who I have become. Some days I rouse from slumber, complaining in my head about how I got here or why I'm still here, but most days I wake up just feeling grateful to be here (and to be here with you), because for the longest time I had been wandering aimlessly along a path I did not carve myself, one that was thought to come naturally for a person growing up. Somewhere along this path, I discovered self-reinvention, found a ticket to inspiration, and took a roadtrip to a twisted, blindsided highway. I can't say I haven't looked back since, but I sure could declare I'm better off here than where I used to be. How it is for me to be more sure of myself while I am at my most unfamiliar, is, indeed, a mystery.

Ok, the caffeine is wearing off. Time to reacquaint myself with my bed lest it refuse me as an intruder... ;P

Saturday, April 11, 2009

funny how time changes how we see.

I remember during one of Hangad's rehearsals a few years ago, when we were asked to contemplate about how Good Friday was for the disciples at the time of Jesus' death. For us modern-day Christians, the observance of Holy Week is a commemoration of the unconditional love of the Father that smoothly culminates with its triumph over sin and death at Easter. The sorrow of the Passion is always met with the glory of the Resurrection.

Yet for the disciples, this anticipation of triumph was alien to them. All they knew was that Jesus was dead, and that his promise of a kingdom of salvation died with Him on the cross. They were confused, consumed by grief, frightened at the prospect of being persecuted in the same manner as their Teacher. They felt abandoned, left in darkness, and had nowhere to turn. Still, they remained together in this moment of darkness, albeit in fear, but together.

This evening of Good Friday and for the remainder of Black Saturday, we are invited to recognise this Holy Darkness, and to be grateful to the faithful apostles who stayed with each other in deep mourning, and in hope for an answer to the seemingly inevitable end of their calling. It is a reminder to us that things happen for a reason, and that reason is not always immediately tangible. It is an exercise in patience, fortitude, and pure faith.

Darkness could not have been any more real to me than it was during Holy Week last year. My family and I were in the hospital, praying for enlightenment that we make the best decision on how to go about my father's heart problem. I was experiencing personal difficulties of my own, asking for a sign if my decision to break free from a relationship was the right one. Never in my life had I felt so lost, so pained, so alone, so blinded by darkness.

Yet my family stayed together. I kept myself together. We held on for about a month more before Dad was finally discharged from the hospital, surviving a quintuple bypass operation. I kept firm with my decision, and braved through it with inspiration from my father, my family and all of you who prayed with me. And like the days after the Resurrection, I had my share of miracles, "apparitions", unexpected obstacles and minor persecutions. Still, I remained with unwavering faith that the answer will come.

Looking back now a year later, I realise that everything happened all at the same time for me to finally put to rest an old self that had been in pain for so long. There were a lot of things I held on to then that I thought I couldn't live without, but it came to a point that I had to muster enough courage to leave it all to God, to be patient, and to believe. It's downright amazing how time really changes how we see.

I will be forever grateful for the darkness of that period in my life. For without it, my Easter would not be as resplendent as it is today.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

me, the outdoors-y type? naaaah.

But no. i've had 2 weekends' worth of adventures in a safari/forest, jetskiing and trekking up (and down) a 5-hour mountain hike that led to a beautiful beach.

AND i signed up for a 10-km trail run in May, and a promise to finally (learn how to) bike in the same month.

WHAT AM I THINKING?!? For someone who trips on dry, even surfaces even with warning, it feels like another person has taken over my part of the brain that gauges my probable capabilities, with the conviction of Nick Vujicic (see his moving story here).

It's wonderful how the human spirit shines through to make things happen just by inspiration -- which starts from within oneself, and fueled further by the faith of people who believe in one's limitless capacity to learn and discover new things, and who witness each achievement as one goes along, keeping company every step of the way.

Haay. It's exhilirating, terrifying and head-splitting all at the same time. My 40 days of preparation starts tomorrow. I hope I live up to the challenge! :)

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

weekends, long weekends and week-breaks part 2

I felt like Maria with a hat and a suitcase on the way to the Trapps for the first time.

Pakanta na ako eh: "What will this day be like? I wonder...."

Was supposed to go to Subic last Saturday for the entire
weekend with my officemate and her husband and some pals, but cancelled at the last minute because they woke up late and her hubby had a lawyers' meeting to catch by lunchtime.

Since we were already on the road, I decided to take another adventure and go to MOA for a morning brisk walk and see if it was really a good place for running. I was, in fact, in jogging gear already. The gentle morning sun, however, suddenly felt like the sweltering sizzle of high noon by the time I reached Blue Wave. I went the other way around and headed for CCP. Maybe today, I'll finally teach myself how to bike.

Lo and behold, as I drove into the pay parking area beside Harbor Square, there were no more bikes for rent in the area. The ticket lady said it had been a while since the business was eased out of CCP. Oh well, back to Plan A: jog. But by then it had already been 10:00am, while my outfit was best suited to foggy weather just before sunrise. So I did what every girl would do in such dire situations: I shopped for a costume change.

Within minutes I was wearing a striped racerback tank and comfy shorts. I ignored the occasional catcalls (I forgot that shorts rode up one's legs with every stride) and bewildered remarks ("tanghali na, miss!") and walked around the kingdom of Imelda: CCP, PICC, and Coconut Palace. I also jogged a bit around the amusement parks (Star City and Boom na Boom), and strolled along the bay.

As I neared the end of the baywalk beside the old Gloriamaris, I found myself walking into a small group of streetfolks. Some had fishing poles cast into the murky water, others seemed to enjoy swimming in the polluted sea. A lone boat lay motionless in the black water. A stocky boy in his board shorts precariously stepped on one wobbly rock at a time until he got to a portion of the wall low and angled enough to climb up on. He didn't look like he was one of them (for starters, he looked well-fed). A toddler ran around the path, oblivious to the danger of falling into the rocks. Amidst all this life bubbling around me, I was engulfed by the peaceful lullaby of the movement of the vast sea.

It was quiet. And beautiful. I paused to look out and see how far I've walked (and how far I was from Rosy's Pancit Malabon where I planned to have lunch). MOA is the distant island almost straight ahead; the building on the left was the Philippine Plaza (now Sofitel). On a whim, I walked back to land and proceeded to the hotel. I breezed through security (I only had my cellphone with me; they mistook me for a booked guest who took a leisure walk). In moments I was listening to house music, imagining I was in a resort a few steps away from the powdery sands of Boracay.

I confidently strode into the poolside. I walked to a vacant sun chair near the edge and found myself inside the caged luxury which I saw from afar only a few minutes ago with the poorest of the poor. Now I was surrounded by the elite, all but one appeared foreign to me. Look at the boy on the rightmost edge of the picture. It was the same lad who was tiptoeing on the dirty waters! Perhaps he tried to save a toy that inadverdently got tossed into the muck.

As I lay on the sun chair and closed my eyes, I tried to bask in the comfort of the rich. Somehow, the solitude was not as profound as what I experienced from outside. It seemed superficial and fleeting. I did not feel free. Or maybe I was also worried I might blow my cover anytime and be shamefully escorted out of the hotel premises. At any rate, I was done.

I walked back to my car, drove back to Macapagal, met S in MOA who just wowed a client, and was gleefully treated to Rosy's. I almost ate rice again, but just allowed my taste buds to appreciate the pancit malabon solo. Just the way Dad and I ate during our Saturday trips to the palengke in Concepcion in the 80s, I consumed my pancit with a piece of camachile-shaped cookie and a bottle of regular coke, with a hearty serving of tokwa't baboy on the side. YUM!

Can't wait for the next weekend vacation! What will my future be? I wonder.... ;)

Monday, March 02, 2009

weekends, long weekends and week-breaks part 1

This is becoming a habit.

I've always loved going places on foot, especially since I don't know how to bike (*hint, hint!* paturo naman!), and now driving has taken me to greater distances beyond my walking threshold.

Lately, I've found myself making excuses to take long trips on the road, or long walks on familiar pavements. I make it a point to walk around the UP Oval at least once a week for a couple of hours or so, not just for the exercise (after all, it's beach season), but also to have some quiet time for myself.

Last Monday, I took a roadtrip to Antipolo, my second attempt to explore the famed "Pilgrimage City". The first one a few years back was too disappointing that I almost didn't want to go there again. I took a gamble. On a Monday. On People Power Monday.

There still was heavy traffic, I had to drop off something at work, I barely slept the night before and breakfast was skipped, the trip started a few hours late, and the summer heat was upon us as we walked. I realised that there was a choice to be stressed out or to overwhelm oneself with the excitement of a fresh adventure. It makes a world of a difference to choose the latter. I think I got to discover more things. Went to MMLDC to see birds of all sizes, sampled some nuts and ate a man's adobo. I've consumed gazillions of suman in my young life, but somehow the enticing invitation of "tikim bago bili" just made the sticky rice sweeter than usual. (Yes, I ate rice. Sweet, sugar-coated sticky suman rice. BAD.) And arnibal-covered pinipig bars! It's been ages since I sunk my teeth into a crunchy bar. I felt like I was 8 again :)

Antipolo Church was quieter than the last time I was there -- then again, it was a regular weekday so I guess more people were too busy filing paperwork to go on a pilgrimage. I was educated on the huge structure that adorned the focal/altar area. The design was adapted from traditional but didn't quite meet Vatican standards as it probably was drawn from memory by the local artists. The paintings had muted colors which might have resulted from a strictly imposed (read: impossibly cheap) budget for the impoverished yet skillful Angono painters.

Nevertheless, I could see how the church could easily harness its exotic beauty in wedding photographs and glisten like a lone crystal clear waterdrop of what was once a glorious waterfall. Not unlike Hinulugang Taktak, which we steered clear of after seeing its pathetic state just by the entrance to the "national park".

The day was capped by a sandwich and chips and (watered down) iced tea merienda at the UP Ampitheater. The sun was still shining brightly while it slowly made its descent into the horizon; the acacia leaves shimmering like a bejeweled canopy above the Oval. It was such a perfect scene, I had to say it to be heard.

I almost forgot how lovely the campus looked like in the afternoon! I wish I had this moment when I was still in college. Maybe things could have been pleasantly different.

Sunday, January 04, 2009


The search is over for our dear blockmate Kevin!! We finally found him after years of planning an ambush visit to the home address he registered for the college yearbook. Buti doon pa sya nakatira!

Our gang had always thought about Kevin. On grad ball night when he wasn't around, we had a balloon with his name scrawled on it on our table. Everytime we got together we'd wonder about him. We tried googling, searching on Friendster and YM, but in the world of online identities, he was off the map. Some casually inquired about him from MaSci friends to no avail. Marvin attempted to call his landline but was met with a suspiciously unsure reply ("ah, wala sya, nag-abroad na yata yun."). He never called again.

And so, a few years back, along with the perennial wish to go vacationing Baguio as a barkada, we pondered on the idea of a roadtrip with a mission: to find Kevin Anthony Solayao. Nobody knew the ins and outs of Valenzuela so we figured it would probably take an entire weekend to strategise and actually get on the road. Then, out of the blue, in the middle of eating dinner at Teriyaki Boy last Friday, Marvin asked when we would probably have time to find Kevin once and for all.

"I'm free the entire day tomorrow," I replied as I ate from my rice bowl (yes, I ate rice that night). And just a few hours after we left Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf in Gateway, Wilmer and Marvin were at my house a bit before 6am to finally commence our "manhunt".

We had no leads except the address on the yearbook and vague memories of directions to his house. Along Tandang Sora Avenue extension we went, with Wilmer driving my car and Marvin looking at the map and dictating the address. Wilmer wondered aloud,

"San kaya yung Gen. T?"

Suddenly, in big, bold letters was the name of the school in front of us :

Wow. Now all we had to look for was Demetillo Street. Lo and behold, a few meters from the school was a signboard that read:

We laughed at how the names on Kevin's address seemed to sprout from nowhere. At this point we asked for directions.

They said that Kevin's house was on the farther portion of Demetillo (apparently, there was more than one entry to this street).

We were laughing at the fact that Valenzuela wasn't as far away as we thought. Nagbaon pa kami ng sitsirya (nakakatawa ang spelling) na hindi rin naman namin nakain. At biglang naalalang wala kami man lang dala para kay Kevin! We figured maybe he'd like the mini mandarin oranges...or maybe he'll be happy just by seeing us again.

And then, there it was. Demetillo Street, with house numbers leading to 5222.

While walking, our excitement grew more and more.

Ito na talaga!
Pa'no namin siya babatiin?
Gising na kaya siya?
Baka wala siya dyan for the holidays?

Or worst of all, baka iniwasan nya talaga kami kaya siya nawala at hindi siya matuwang makita kami ulit?

Fishing na yung huli. Pero kabado kami.

At ayan na nga, we reached 5222...A and B! Hala! Alin dito? Sabi ni Marvin, "Yung may tindahan, naalala ko may tindahan ang bahay niya!"

Eh parehong may tindahan.

We decided to try 5222-A. The man who answered at the gate was unmistakably Kevin's dad even if he hadn't told us yet -- kamukha niya sobra! We introduced ourselves and asked if he was around. Kevin was at work on night shift, which meant that he was on his way home.
"Kung ipapasok ninyo ang kotse nyo, baka masalubong nyo pa sya sa daan, " he added. Kevin's mom met us outside of the house, too, and was giddy about the surprise visit. She texted him and told us that he was still on MacArthur Highway. Malapit na :)

When Kevin finally opened the screen door leading to the sala, we were ecstatic! He may have been a bit haggard from working since 10pm to 6am, but he said,

"I'm impressed. Pleasant surprise talaga. Akala ko nagkamali ang mommy ko sa text!"

Over a hearty breakfast composed of lasagna, banana bread, peach graham float and fruit salad, we exchanged stories. He works at the Treasury department in Pagcor (hebigat talaga si Kevin). He has a girlfriend. His day off is Monday. And he still knew where we all live!!!
Kami naman, update to death on the latest about N5. So ngayon mas marami na siyang alam kaysa kay Joa nyahahaha. Phone patch pa to Kathy and Iris courtesy of Marvin's mobile!

And then it was time to go. Galing pa nga naman pala si Kevin sa trabaho, wala pang tulog.

So, with the high-fives, a beso and a promise to see each other on a Monday (or to take a leave on a Sunday afternoon para kasama si Wilmer), we bade Kevin a see-you-later.

And in about 30 minutes, we were back at my house. Anubaz! Ang lapit lang pala. Mas malayo pa ang bahay naming lahat to each other compared to that.

Mission accomplished. :)