My mom once shared with me a rare convo between her and papa.
Papa imagined what it could be like if either one of them passed away. He said if he was gone first, mama can actually make it on her own. She was strong and smart, and she can keep it together. But if mama would be gone too soon, he says he wouldn’t know exactly what to do.
It was an odd conversation, but one that needs thinking. It must be thought of, eventually. It was inevitable that in most cases, one would pass on to leave the other. It only took a couple of years for that to materialize. Papa went ahead.
But just as they said it, while times were rough, our family was kept well together. True, mama knew exactly what to do. She kept calling the shots. And here we are, few years down the line, missing one member, but still family.
The scenario won’t be true for everyone. To each his own. But one thing I learned in a family ran by women is the fact that women, by nature, are full of strength and determination to go on. And they are able to transform to answer whatever it is that a situation needs. But more importantly, at the same time, in a household, their power can only be dealt with properly if acknowledged, and not fought against, by their male counterparts.
Papa acknowledged mama’s capability. Not as someone better than him, but as someone who can fill in the gaps that he can’t. That’s how they loved harmoniously and effectively — in the understanding and utilization of their differences and each’ strength. It wasn’t after all a competition, but on how they can make things better for the other and for everyone.
Pretty late for a women’s month writing but what the heck, I love women. Women are amazing.
Mamang was one who was easy to please. When we were little, we’d give her a new Sunday blouse as present and she would happily fit the clothing and say her thanks. In college, mamang would ask me to buy her a Pointsettia in a pot. And we’d wait until December to watch the beauty of the red flower. On some random days, I’d ask her what she wants to eat and then our family would troop to Chowking. Blouse, flowers, fastfood…the little that makes mamang happy.
Despite not being able to finish school, mamang would always boast how she was able to help send her kids (my titos and titas) to good schools. She used to have a small store in Basilan, and when they came to Negros, she continued selling whatever she could. “Paningkamot ug diskarte,” that’s what she would always say.
Her simplicty takes pride in the fact that her grandchildren are also doing well. She was fond of all of us, and she never failed to ask about how we were, what we were doing. She smiles hearing our stories, as if to say that we’ve done her proud.
She was very loving. She was a tough woman, but a loving woman nonetheless. In her last year, mamang would talk to us to tell us that she loves us. Last December, during Christmas, she took the little that she has from her pension to give to my two younger cousins. Even when bedridden and struggling dor life, she thinks of her children and grandchildren.
During my last visit, mamang randomly called me to her room. I asked if she needed anything. She said she didn’t. And in between her struggle for breathes, she said an “I love you.” I held back tears to tell her that I love her too, that we all do. She smiled a peaceful smile. She is happy.
Kuya has always been fond of machines. When we were little, he would try to fix our old appliances like fans, radios, and electrical wirings, and tinker on other stuff he can find in our house. What he can not make up for words, he does for service. He was our self made man.
It has always been a dream of his to have a job that allows him to work on machines. It was a bonus that this job, too, puts him near to his other fascination: airplanes.
His road towards finally graduating from one of the most prestigious training programs for aircraft mechanics in the Philippines was a difficult one. But it was something he willingly took.
We have never seen him that determined his entire life — studying until the wee hours to finish reading his handouts, and even actively doing some group reviews to make sure they all pass the exams. Truly, the things we are most passionate about push us to take the sacrifices we never thought we would.
And I know kuya is happy. His childhood dream is now a reality, not everyone can say that.
Kuya’s second home: Hangar at Singapore Airlines Engineering Philippines (SIAEP)
At two years old, DC was sent to her first duty as a guard dog in a local mall. My boyfriend’s dad visited her on her first day of work. This is her reaction:
To be with your adventure partner means these:
That you are with someone who completely gets you when you feel that irresistible urge to go out…to anywhere, just because;
That you are not restricted but instead encouraged and trusted to make new friends…because in the end, you find nothing but excitement to share these experiences with each other;
That you are assured that someone has your back when the trail is too long and difficult, or the pack is too heavy to carry, or the weather is too bad to be out. He can pass you that jelly ace on the hike to get by. He can be your instant porter. And he can dance under the rain with you too;
That despite the missed bus stops, the lost travel gears, the bad weather, someone is there to shake and laugh it all off. Because he, too, understands that these little details make up for the big adventure that you both share;
That you can disagree on itineraries and budget and transportation, and end up agreeing anyways to let go of plans and be as spontaneous as you could be;
That after every good surfing wave, or beautiful sunrise, or picturesque blanket of stars, the best memory is the one with you in it. And he will look at you with eyes that speak like you are more beautiful than that perfect swell, or that orange sunrise or that star-filled sky. You are the most beautiful of all, and he will make you feel it.
And most importantly, to be with your adventure partner means to be in love with someone who loves life and sees the beauty of its entirety the same way you do.
You have to always remind yourself to be grateful. Because so many bad things can happen in a day, but there will be a multitude of good ones that would go unnoticed.
I get it, you are human and you are bound to feel a wee bit negative from time to time, but don’t let it eat you up. Don’t dwell on these feelings too much. Don’t see the rain when you have no umbrella with you, think of the smell of the earth that reminds you of home. Think of the plants it has watered to grow. Think of the cold breeze that comes with it. Think of when you were a kid and you danced and played under it. The rain can’t be all that bad right?
They say that you have to affirm the good in the world so you can het to appreciate what you have.
This is what I always remind myself these days. That sometimes, it’s onlymy perspective that’s bad. But the bigger image of the reality isn’t.
It’s a wonderful, wonderful world. ❤️
The culture from the Southermost part of the Philippines is not one that many people talk about. And I’ve often wondered why. See here, theirs is a culture so varied yet authentic, free from Westernization but with a hint of Asian influences.
One of the best things of being in South Mindanao is the fact that it is the Philippines’ gateway to the distinct and unique variety of cultures coming from our Asian neighbours. From the Satti of the Malays, to the cross culture of the Muslim-Chinese — surely this region has a lot to offer.
Now hailing from Sulu, at the tip of Mindanao, is a cuisine well celebrated in the region yet hardly acknowledged in the rest of the country. So let us do the jobof breaking down two of the best things that ever graced the dining tables here:
First would have to be Tiula Itum. Tiula sounds like another Filipino dish called Tinola, where the meat is steamed with vegetables for a hearty viand. Itum, on the other hand, is the Cebuano term for black. This hybrid dish is usually made of steamed beef with spices, and is colored by the roasted coconut until it’s black.
My other favorite would be the Kahawa Sug, the famed Sulu coffee. Kahawa Sug is locally made and brewed freshly to perfection. The texture is usually thick and long, and is often served with Mascovado sugar, no creamer. This coffee has been a huge part of the way of life in Sulu that in fact, it is present in all post lunch snacks and celebrations.
There are many other great food to talk about, but let us reserve that for another day. For now, we do hope you can try out the best of Sulu Cuisine.
Photos taken at: Dennis Coffee Garden, KCC Mall de Zamboanga