Monday, July 6, 2009

Blessings and Bohol

A lot of people we know have already been to Bohol. We have always dreamed of going but a trip for 7 people in a family calls for serious financial planning. So for me and my family, it was something we looked forward to since March when we finally had our plane tickets booked. Since it would be the first time for our youngest Pio to take the plane, he would unceasingly ask us when we will be riding the airplane - my mistake for exciting him early.

Blessing no. 1 - enter low air fare promo again from Cebu Pacific. Thanks to sis Roan for alerting us one evening last March about this. Suzette and the kids kept on calling me in the office to confirm on the dates when we can book our flight. They were all excited to book online and got a bargain fare for 7 pax for 10K. That's a really sweet deal!

Blessing no. 2 - thanks to my sister Weng for some reward money that she sent to my kids for performing well in school. Now we have more funds for whatever expenses we will incur for the trip. Salamat ninang Weng, mwah! Wish you and your kids could have joined us.

Blessing no. 3 - as usual, my wife and I try to book an adventure and not a trip so off we go to the internet to see how we can go about it. Thank you Angelbert tours especially owners Bert and Lilette Gacera for being such a big help to us. We just told them of all the places we would like to see within 2 days and soon enough, we got a packed itinerary that we all were so excited to take! They even helped us book a good place to stay at Dumaluan II Resort for a fraction of the price you may incur at Bohol Beach Club which shares the same beach front (Blessing no.4!) here in Panglao. Oh that picturesque scenery, calm waters and powdery fine white sand were simply majestic.

Blessing no. 5 - my camera (which broke down from our Bataan trip) came out of the repair shop three days before we left. Right in time! I've uploaded all the good pictures for our friends to see and for my family to remember this wonderful trip. I feel naked going on a trip without my camera.

Blessing no. 6 - we would have enjoyed this trip alone as a family but having friends to join us - the Bayot and Embuscado families means triple the fun! There were 21 of us renting 3 vans for this short two days escapade just before school starts (literally! - school officially start two days after we arrived back home). Everybody is always on time for our scheduled itineraries even if it meant waking up at 430am for the next 2 days. We had the best exchange of pleasant conversation and just loads of laughter, making this extra memorable.

Blessing no. 7 - the day before our trip, my family went to my in-laws in Paranaque so that we can sleep there and come from there for our very early morning trip. It took us four hours to travel via Roxas boulevard because of the heavy rains and some flooding along the way. Suzette was worried that we will not enjoy Bohol because of the weather but God gave us a warm and super sunny weather at the heart of Visayas to enjoy every bit of time that we were in Bohol. To think people back in Manila were texting us to ask how the weather is because apparently there were heavy rains and floods in Manila that caused schools to be suspended. Whew!

Blessing no. 8 - Even while the weather is good in Bohol, we were worried that we won't get to see the dolphins near Balicasag island because of the roughing waves. Some of those who went dolphin watching the day before were not so lucky as WE ARE!!! Yes, we were lucky to spot them, jumping in and out of the water in this so called dolphin pedestrian lane en route to Balicasag island. We also enjoyed snorkeling at the fish and coral sanctuary of Balicasag. Kids and adults alike, with their first-time encounter with schools of fishes surrounding them, really had a wonderful experience here. Yey!

Blessing no. 9 - We were happy to be able to visit the famous coral stone churches of Baclayon, Loboc and Albur built during the Spanish times. Another church, the Daouis church, is known for the spring that flows from the ground near the center of the altar. The water from here is said to be miraculous. Many people bring empty bottles and have it filled with the water. Because of the unorderly manner the way the tourists that day were asking for the water, my wife asked the crowd if they can all line up properly and to wait for their turn. But no one seemed to want to do so. Suddenly, the caretaker declared that the well has dried up. Almost in a sobbing tone, he said that this has never happened before and he can only shake his head in disbelief saying that we all need to pray because Mama Mary may have been disappointed with the unruly crowd. Did the Our Lady of the Assumption (the patroness of the church) closed down the well because the people no longer showed respect in requesting for her miraculous water? We felt really bad especially Suzette who could not believe that Mama Mary would deny her of getting some for her family. She was hoping to have a share of that miracle. Maybe next time...

The next day when we took our Ocean adventure tour another sad incident occurred Oh wow! Suzette just lost an earring! It just feels terrible not knowing where to look for it since we have done so much that morning already. We rode a boat, gone from one island to the next, took a banca to the fish sanctuary where we snorkeled, had a long walk to the back of Balicasag island where we ate our lunch, and done a little shopping from islanders who were selling trinkets of bracelets, necklaces and shell decors. Plus the earring is a treasured possession as it was given to her by her mom. The last time she knew she had it on was before our snorkeling trip. This is not how vacations are suppose to end. Our dearest friend Rose would comfort her kumare saying that maybe it can still be found, and insisted that we leave our contact numbers with the boatmen in the event that they find it. Suzette felt hopeless and helpless but left our numbers without really believeing that it can be found again. Oh well...

Blessing no. 10 - as we were getting our bags from the Terminal 3 carousel upon landing in Manila, we were surprised by a text message from one of the boatmen that the earring has been found! It was found somewhere on the beach in the island of Balicasag under a tree. One of the boat guides saw something glittering on the sand and lo and behold, it was the missing earring! Suzette said it was most probably Mama Mary's answer to her wanting a share in her miracle. Thank you Mama Mary!

Surely there are more than ten miracles and blessings that happened to us in this trip. From the magical place that is Bohol and from the people that were more than a blessing to us, I've only recorded a few.

We all experience many blessings and miracles everyday. Do you see your blessings around you?

(See our Bohol photo album)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Something to Blog About

I love reading other people’s blogs but I never like writing one. Not that I do not like to, it is just that I could not find anything that might be interesting for others to read. I always tell myself that I will write one as soon as something worth blogging about comes along.

Well, I think I finally have something. It is about something that happened just this Saturday in a reunion of all the batches of the graduates of Educhild.

Educhild, a term for Education of the Upbringing of Children, is an organization which helps parents become better parents, as I like to define it. Jing and I have attended a parenting course in Educhild some 4 years ago, and last Saturday was a reunion of all the batches (batch 1 to 8) that have graduated since the course was given in Antipolo some years back. Thus, I felt honored to have one of the organizers call me and ask if our eldest child can be part of the program that night as she can say something about what Educhild has done for our family since we graduated.

I excitedly then asked Isay if it would be alright for her to write something for the Educhild reunion and she just looked at me. I then wondered if that look was a way of telling me that nothing much happened after all the months of case studies and discussions that took as away for at least 3 hours every Saturday. Worry and tons of questions then filled my mind as I wait for her to finish the write-up. Did Jing and I even apply anything that we learned? Did the children even appreciate the changes we tried to make to improve our family life? Is she even doing the write-up at all??

Four years after graduating from Educhild, let me share with you what our daughter Isay shared with us in that reunion. Jing and I were the proudest parents that night.

From the beginning my parents had children, they already knew what they wanted their children to turn out. They have been great parents ever since I can remember, and, having them join Educhild turned them out to be even better. Let me just enumerate some of the most things that have left an impact in our family life…

Our favorite one is when each one of us celebrates our birthday. Dad and mom thought of a tradition that we do during our birthdays. They would take us on a “date” to the restaurant of our choice. All the attention of both our parents is focused on us, which makes us forget that there are four other siblings back home. This tradition begins when we become 8 years old since birthday parties are only celebrated until the age of seven. Since I was 8 and have been having my date with them for six years now, I have never had a dull moment with a hilarious and crazy mom (whom I am proud of) and a playful and outgoing dad. I never get bored.

Another one would be doing household chores. The first time our parents assigned each one of us our household chores was such a drag. We were all so used to having people do things for us, like, set the table, fix the bed, clean the plates, take care of our baby brother, and feed our pets. Eventually all four of us got the hang of it. Mommy would always make sure that all chores given to us are done and properly completed. Doing chores has already been a part of us for a long time, which we have already been used to, although, it would be great to escape from it once in a while.

Family meetings are usually done at home at the dinner table. And occasionally we would go out and discuss things over large servings of crepes. We would usually talk about things that we all think should be improved and done at home. And sometimes read articles and write down what we thought the piece of writing was about. One time, all of us had tears running down our eyes because we didn’t know how to deliver the idea we were trying to convey, which made it harder because mom and dad couldn’t understand the thought we wanted them to comprehend, and people at the restaurant are now looking at us in a strange way thinking probably why all four of us are crying over crepe. We ended laughing at ourselves for weeping, after our parents figured out what we have been trying to explain to them.

Keeping family traditions, family meetings and having house chores are some of the things my siblings and I will always remember. They have helped my parents, us and our family as a whole. With thanks to Educhild all of us have learned to work together as a team and most importantly, as a family.