2018 Week 28: Outreach Program

July 9-15, 2018

Dear Mama and Daddy,

Early this year, a friend asked if I know of some school where our office club could go to for outreach this year. I checked the aunties in Colong if they need one. Yes daw and so Tamang Elemey School was chosen for this year.

The outreach happened last July 14-15, 2018. We left Manila at 1 AM of July 14 and reached Bonglo at around 7 AM. We had breakfast at auntie Gina’s first. I asked them to buy some cooked fried chicken the day before and then just cook some vegetables to go with it. Ayun, blockbuster ang sayote tops at ginisang sayote with giniling hehehe.

Uncle Mike met us at Bonglo with the service jeep that will bring the donations in Colong. He also assigned 2 barangay kagawads to assist us during our stay.

We started hiking at around 9 AM and reached Colong at around 11 AM. Basag tuhod talaga. We went to the barangay hall as that will be our accommodation for our overnight stay.

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↑On the way down. It was all downwards kaya basag-tuhod hike talaga. Tapos madulas pa because of the rain.

We right away started cooking the lugaw for kids and our lunch. Some of us facilitated some games when it was not raining. If it begins to drizzle, the children go to the nipa huts for more getting to know you activities and also jamming to some music they are all familiar with.

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↑Tamang Elementary School

As soon as the rain stopped, we started distributing the goodies. We are thankful for the presence of the teachers because they were able to help us organise the kids.

At the end, the kids sang a few lines of walang hanggang pasasalamat. Tapos sa puso. Kanya-kanya kaming pigil ng luha hahahaha.

They may think they are lucky to be recipients but we are luckier to be given the opportunity to do that because as adults surrounded and preoccupied by a lot of things, activities such as this bring our feet rooted firmly back on the ground.

On a personal note, I want the kids to also have an encounter with other people aside from those in the community. This is in the hope that it will inspire and let them know that the world is big as their playground and that they can dream bigger and keep on working for those dreams so that someday, they may also give back to their community.

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↑With my cousin who was one of the recipients.

Anyway, after the wrap-up, we had our late lunch and each one took a bath and took a nap.

Uncle Gaspar and Junifer (kagawads) cooked chicken tinola for our dinner. So grateful for them as we did not need to prepare dinner anymore.

We had our socials after dinner and we called it a night at 10 PM. The gang spent the night at the barangay hall while I slept at my lola’s (my mom’s mother) house.

On Sunday morning, we received news that there was a landslide on the road going to Colong. Luckily, the jeep can still bring us up until the landslide and then we can walk for about 2-3 kilometers until Halsema Highway where we can get a ride to reach Bonglo where our rented vans were parked.

However, when we reached the landslide area, the community already started the clearing operations and they said it will be done in 30 minutes to 1 hour. Our group decided to just wait for it to be reopened rather than walk. True enough, after almost an hour, the people were able to clear a portion so that vehicles could pass by.

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↑Bumble bee busy clearing some portion of the road.

While waiting and watching what’s going on, I was yet again reminded of how it is so different for other people. Some of the people in the community were there at the site as early as 4 AM because they were supposed to bring their vegetables to the market. But they were patiently waiting until the work was completed at almost 11 AM. No complaints, just patiently waiting and exchanging stories. I felt ashamed because I sometimes complain and get impatient on little things. And I again strongly felt the desire to belong to a close-knit community.

Anyway, we reached Bonglo and after a quick restroom break and final repacking of things, we were on the road again to go back to Manila. The group dropped by Strawberry Farm in La Trinidad but I parted ways with them because I was going back later that evening.

I dropped by my uncle’s house in La Trinidad to visit my lola who has also been in the hospital some weeks back. She was supposed to go home that same day but postponed due to the landslide. At least I was able to catch her first before going back to Manila.

The BF and I also met in the evening before travelling back to Manila.

RM1 (07152018)

RM2 (07152018)

↑Post anniversary dinner sa eatery sa terminal. Nothing fancy because you know, tagtipid at umuulan. Tamad nang maglakad-lakad pa. And yes, 3 years na kami. Akalain mo yun haha!

So there, Mama. It was good to see some familiar faces in your hometown and I was happy to see all of them. Lahat sila pinag-aasawa na ako hahaha. Well, kung alam lang nila hahahahaha. Pupunta naman daw sila pag nagyaya ako nyahahaha.

Anyway, the end.

2018 Week 22: Hello, Bonglo

May 28 – June 3, 2018

My cousin graduated from Senior High School last June 2, 2018 so I decided to attend. They live in Bonglo, Atok Benguet. So from the office, I traveled straight to Baguio on Friday night. I took the 10 PM trip, which was a wrong choice because I arrived in Baguio around 2 AM and the first trip going to Atok via van was at 4 AM! I decided to just drop by KFC to kill some time before I proceed to the van terminal in KM 5, La Trinidad.

My arrival at the van terminal was perfect timing this time because the first trip was just waiting for 2 more passengers and we can be on the road earlier than 4 AM.

I reached my auntie’s place around 5:30 AM. It was not raining that weekend thank God, so I waited for the sunrise to take some snaps hehehe.

The graduation ceremonies started at 9 AM (but call time was 8 AM) and ended at 2 PM! We had a late lunch at Loyung’s Restaurant in KM 51. My brother and family met us there too.

My cousins had some guests over in the evening. Some of them were starting to get wasted hahaha! They went house to house so they already had some drinks in other houses before reaching my cousin’s.

 My original plan was to go back to Manila in the evening but they requested me to spend the night so sleep over it is.

We traveled back to Baguio on Sunday.

I accompanied my auntie to have her uniform sewn. We went to the orchidarium after to buy pots for cactus. We didn’t find any. But while looking for a place to eat at the Dangwa station, we spotted a farm supply that sells the size we were looking for. Buy na! But we still lack 105 pieces. The search is not yet over.

I was thinking of taking a chance at the terminal since I have nothing else to do but there were a lot of people. I just went to Starbucks to read 1 chapter of our required office reading while waiting for my evening trip.

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↑ Sunrise at Atok. Waited for this instead of taking a power nap after a long trip.

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↑ View of Benguet’s mountain ranges in my auntie’s place.

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↑ Kurenai flower.

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↑Cactus. Planning to propagate this.

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↑What a dainty flower.

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↑Graduation venue. No pictures of my cousins as I have not gotten permission from them to post it here.

The end.

2018 Week 19: Weekend at Home | Mother’s Day

May 7-13, 2018

I was in Baguio last weekend for the Barangay elections last May 14. On Saturday, my sister, nieces and I hiked Mt. Yangbew.

After the hike, we dropped by the hospital in La Trinidad to visit my uncle who was undergoing dialysis that day. It was just supposed to be a quick visit but all the aunties who were there cannot stay with him until his dialysis was completed so they requested us to stay with him instead. Fortunately, his wife arrived at 5 PM so we can leave earlier than planned. We had dinner at McDonald’s before going home.

On Sunday, my sister-in-law invited us for lunch to celebrate Mother’s Day. We are missing the parents but I am glad that somehow, we get to go out for lunch once in a while.

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MothersDay20182

↑Happy fiesta!

We went our separate ways after lunch. I attended the late afternoon mass at Divine Mercy.

The BF and I also went out for dinner. I was hoping we could go to John Hay but it was raining so we opted to just dine at Fortune Hong Kong Seafood Restaurant which was at the city proper. We also discussed some wedding related stuff hehe. Totoo na talaga ito besh hahahaha.

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↑Happy fiesta round 2! Hahaha!

The end.

2018 Week 14: Book Club | Ninang Duties (Again)

April 2-8, 2018

My boss enlisted me in a “book club” in the office. Basically, we are a group who will discuss the contents of the book “Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done”. There are assignments every week and we are expected to participate in every discussion. It’s an activity that needs a lot of brain cells. For instance, for our first session this Thursday, we have a reading assignment of around 60 pages. Then there are 3-4 questions we need to answer. Ganern. I know it will help me grow. Matinding focus at intact na brain cells lang talaga ang kailangan hahahaha! But ultimately, the expectation is for us to be able to apply the learnings from the book. That’s why the facilitators are insisting that it is not just a “book club” hehehe.

I went home again for the weekend to be a godmother to my niece who just had her confirmation on April 8, 2018. It was on the Feast of the Divine Mercy. Their confirmation was officiated by Bishop Victor Bendico of the Diocese of Baguio.

The parish officers prepared a simple lunch after.

In the past, I know that the fiesta was a big event in the parish. However, this year, it was just low-key. I’m guessing that it’s because of the upcoming blessing of the church because the target completion is in the next 3-4 months hopefully. So I guess, that’s where the big celebration will happen.

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↑The confirmandee.

Velmarie2 (04082018)

↑The confirmandee and the ninang.

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↑The confirmandee and her mom and her little sister at the back. May topak si bunso. Gusto atang mag-McDo pero lahat kami tamad nang pumunta sa town. Ayun, ayaw magpapicture.

Velmarie4 (04082018)

↑Falling in line for lunch. Ayaw pa rin sumama ni bunso.

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↑Ayan, medyo nawawala na topak. Konting inarte na lang hahaha!

After lunch, I went to look for the BF para magpaalam na uuwi na kami. Naabutan ko sila sa likod ng church na nagpipictorial. Aatras na dapat ako (shy ako) pero nakita na ako ni Father at ng mga elders at tinawag ako so no choice but to go near them. Ang awkward hahaha. Shy talaga ako. Pinagpiyestahan kami. Picture daw. Gusto ko magpapicture pero syempre sa phones lang namin. Pero hindi. Naglipana ang mga cellphones left and right. Bakit? Di ho kami celebrities hahahaha.Picture din daw with the ninongs and ninangs. Ha? May ganon na agad agad? May nalalaman pa silang hawakan ang bulaklak daw na nakalagay sa bilao hahahaha. Nakakaloka ho kayo hahahaha. But anyway, we still had fun. Lalo na sila hahahaha.

RM1 (04082018)

↑Ayan ang pabulaklak sa bilao nila. Pinapabuhat sa akin yung nasa tabi ko kaso ayaw ko hahahaha!

The end. Have a great week ahead.

P.S. All shots are from the iPhone X which I won in a raffle promo last year. Yes, finally after more than 2 months in my possession, naiset up ko na rin sya hehehehe. Haven’t explored yet most of the features but I’m loving the battery life so far!

2018 Week 12: Weekend at Home

March 19-25, 2018

I went home on March 22 because I was on birthday leave for March 23.

Birthday muna. Some of us contributed an amount to treat our teammates with Ambers and Andoks goodies last March 22. I also received a card and a small gift from the team. I love the books! One of my teammates knows I am also passionate about personal finance since we’ve had conversations about it in the past because she’s also training to be a financial adviser on the side.

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↑Books from the team!

Then of course, the customary birthday dinner with the BF on March 23. Single celebration for the both of us since his birthday is March 24.

March 24 was lunch with the siblings and their kiddos and grandkids at Good Taste.

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↑Team PiLitz hehehe. PiLitz is from the combined name of our father, Pido, and one of the nicknames my mom frequently used which is Litz (short for Lolita, and besides her other common nickname, Lolit). That will be our team name moving forward unless other siblings have a better suggestion.

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↑Halo-halo to beat the summer heat. But actually, it was colder than usual that weekend.

After lunch, we went to the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) to check out if they have calamansi for sale. Unfortunately, they were closed on Saturday. However, my sister in law’s cousin works there so I was able to get the information I needed later that week. They have grafted plants for sale at Php 50.00 each. Perfect. I’m not just sure if this is the dwarf type. What I’m aiming is for the calamansi trees that can just grow on big pots so that it’s easier to rearrange the backyard if needed.

Our father used to frequent BPI when he was still alive and stronger. This is where he used to get all the citrus fruits he planted. It was good to visit again one of his happy places.

From BPI, we went to Ace Hardware in SM. I am looking for cabinet handles. Unfortunately, they don’t have stock on the handles I wanted. The search is not yet over.

I also learned that my niece has an ongoing training in Sitel. I am happy is an understatement. I am excited for her. And I am praying that this is the start of a better future for her and her daughter.

We spent the morning going over her contract and giving her some pep talk about how it is in the corporate world. And of course the discussion about how she should be handling her finances. I know I  go overboard sometimes because that is already her personal business but I just want her to start practicing good money habits as early as her first salary. The first few challenges I gave her were a) to start saving for her emergency fund, b) set aside a specific amount for her retirement, c) set aside a specific amount for her daughter’s college fund, and d) save up around Php 30k-50k so that she can build a small house.

The Php 30k-50k is more than enough to build a simple house made of galvanized iron for the roofing and walls and at the very least, rough cemented flooring. We’ll build it via bayanihan to save on labor. This is good for a start. She can always improve it when future budget permits.

Hopefully, these will all materialize and she’ll not be tempted with all her wants and focus first on her needs.

On Sunday evening after mass, the BF and I went to 108 Session Road to listen to some live bands over a couple of beers (for him). This is to pass the time while waiting for my 9 PM trip back to Manila.

RM1 (03252018)

RM2 (03252018)

↑Clingy-clingy rin pag may time :p.

The end.

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