2017: On Nesting and Domestication

After having Savannah last July 2016, everything became a blur. Sleepless nights, sweet coos, diaper changes, breastfeeding journey to going back to work, adjustments to new bosses, new work assignments, and more.

Although we already have a big boy, having a new baby is tough for the whole family. Everything is challenging and there are plenty of sacrifices. We are all learning the ropes of having a little human to care for in our midst. All things, time, finances, trips are planned and done with her in mind. Our lives seemed to revolve around her.

More time was spent at home. More time was spent talking, laughing, cooking, organizing stuff, cleaning, serving the whole family and eventually watching the children grow. Baba decided to postpone working overseas for this and he is reaping the rewards of hearing his daughter call him “daddy” at 15months.

As we welcome the new year, we are expecting more changes and challenges. Baba is planning to return to work and so I’ve asked my first born what he thinks about traveling and exploring with a toddler. So let’s wait and see what 2018 has in store for us.

Sizing up Mom’s Man: He’s Okay for A Daddy but NOT for Kissing Mommy!

Even before Baba met my son Teloyskie, he’s already been real worried and asks me over and over if I think my son will like him. He would send my son toys and gifts and support his school activities even before they were introduced. And when I did introduce him, Teloy shot him with the same Nerf gun that was Baba’s gift to him!

It was a scene that we’d always laugh at, but Teloy have easily warmed up to Baba’s presence. They were fast friends and Teloy was very affectionate to his Tito. I can’t help but smile when I look at them together. If they’re coloring isn’t too far, no one would ever question their relationship (hehe). He asks Teloy if he can be his daddy and of course my son said yes! But when Baba asks if he can kiss mommy, my son readily growls and says no!
Anyway, we’re seeing a lot of improvements, my son is okay with holding hands but really no to kissing mommy. Funny but I guess it’s normal for any son to size up any man that comes close to mommy. I’m really thankful for Baba’s unending patience and marvelous effort with my son and my family. When he asked if I can share me and my son’s life with him, I know how serious and sincere he is. And I would always be thankful for the chances given to us. 

On Babies and Blessings: The Miracle of Life-Giving

Just a few days ago, my pregnant sister suddenly experienced labor pains. For others, this may be normal and easily turn surprise into excitement. However, on her case, it cause us a lot of worries!

Ten months ago, she gave birth by Cesarean section. She had a big baby back then and couldn’t go through natural delivery. We had a heavy bouncy baby boy, but just a few months after, she was once again pregnant! She soon grew big along with her first born. And because she had C-section just 10 months ago, it only follows that she go through another C-section this time, considering the short gap in the pregnancy. So she was scheduled to be operated on the last week of September.

When I got an sms from her that she’s experiencing labor pains I was really worried. I know that some cases like this turn into an emergency and hoped that everything will be alright. I call her up 6 hours or so after, and wow I heard a wonderful surprise – she delivered via vaginal birth after Cesarean (VBAC) procedure. I consider this a huge miracle because not every woman who had undergone C-section can do this just after 10 months.

She signed some papers with the encouragement of the doctors to try delivering via natural method and they assured her that everything will be alright. We are so happy and thankful for the safe and successful delivery of our newest family member. I named her Ysabelle Kate.

Of Sunsets and Sunrise: A Story of Us

Two of the most beautiful sights that every human being seem to overlook are sunrise and sunsets. Living the busy life, working 8-5 and keeping pace with the rat-race leaves us with very little time to spare much less a place to view and appreciate these beautiful phenomenon. So in every vacation, travel or trip that me and Baba had, we always took time to stop and appreciate sunsets and sunrise anywhere we are.

But for me these two are much more than sights to behold. These two are very iconic or maybe symbolic on how I view my relationship with Baba.

A Story of Us –

My single life has been set, I had plans, I was independently happy. His coming was a surprise, as slowly as a siesta-ful afternoon. Then it was all too fierce, a gloriously hot and beautiful sunset that was but too brief.

Dusk of uncertainty claimed us. What went wrong? Why the sudden cold? Both of us suffered the darkness. It rendered as weak, desolate, and almost insane. No one knows where to go or what to do, words were kept hushed. Still we waited and held on despite uncertainties, despite the pain, and despite the risks it entailed.

And then light came forth. It was cool, calming and peaceful. It called upon us to watch once again how great things can be. Slowly, it woke up a sleepy world. It’s warmth chased the cold and slowly enveloped us. The cool light started to heat up and burst into one magnificent sight – sunrise. A new hope, a new beginning. It tells us to watch what lay before us, our future bright, full of light, warmth and beauty.

I love sunsets, I love how we are given chances to slow down. I love how it prepares us for the challenges of the dark. I will go through these once again for I know that I will never be alone in the darkness. And each dark night will produce beautiful mornings soon enough. I will wait for each morning to come with much hope and longing and when it comes, I will gaze upon you like my most awaited sunrise every time.

Of 6th’s and 31st’s

Warning: EMO Post Ahead

Pardon me for being a little bit mushy, but today my travel buddy, my partner and my best friend (the love of my life) celebrates his 31st birthday.  I admit to being a hesitant gf. A lot things have happened, last year on your birthday things we’re not so good and we were on the brink of losing each other. I don’t know how it happened, it could have been me or was it you, maybe it was both of us that never truly let go?

And like I said, I am so thankful that God eventually gave you to me and gave us another chance. Everyday I will love you and everyday I will thank him for his plans for the 3 of us.

One Great Man: Sec Robredo’s Bio From My Inbox

One of the most shocking news I’ve heard last week was the crash of the Piper Seneca plane that is supposed to take Secretary Jesse Robredo from Cebu direct to Naga City. I thought it was a joke, but once I got home and heard the news I still find it unbelievable. These things only happen in the movies or to other people.

I wasn’t personally acquainted with the good Secretary, but he had close connections with my former boss. Both of them served Naga City and seem to share the same outlook when it comes to politics and governance. I was once tasked to contact the office of the Secretary to ask for a Bio and photos of him. I browsed back and searched for the data – it’s still here in my email.


Jesse M. Robredo, incumbent mayor of Naga City, Philippines, is an internationally recognized expert in local governance.

  • He is an Edward Mason Fellow and a graduate of Masters in Public Administration at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Previously, he completed his Masters in Business Administration at the University of the Philippines, finishing at the top of his class as university and college scholar. He is an alumnus of the De La Salle University, having obtained undergraduate degrees in Industrial Management Engineering and Mechanical Engineering.
  • Mayor Robredo joined San Miguel Corporation’s Magnolia division after his graduation from De La Salle in 1980. Returning home to Naga City in 1986, he was named Program Director of the Bicol River BasinDevelopment Program, an agency tasked to undertake integrated area development planning in the region’s three provinces.
  • In 1988, he won his mayoralty bid, making him the youngest Philippine city mayor at the age 29. He would later serve the city for an unprecedented six 3-year terms as local chief executive.
  • Cited in 1999 by Asiaweek Magazine for transforming Naga City from a lethargic Philippine city into one of Asia’s Most Improved, Robredo energized the bureaucracy, dramatically improved stakeholdership and people participation in governance, in the process restoring Naga to its preeminent position as premier city of the Bicol Region. Today, Naga is considered a model local government in the country and a laboratory of local government innovation.
  • In recognition of his skills and competence as a leader and development manager, his peers elected Robredo president of the League of Cities of the Philippines in 1995, the national association of city mayors. He was also elected chairman of the Regional Development Council, the regional planning and coordinative body of Bicol’s six provinces and seven cities, from 1992- 98. Since 1995, he also chairs the Metro Naga Development Council.
  • In recognition of his work, Robredo received 14 major individual awards, including the 2000 Ramon Magsaysay Award for Government Service, the 1996 Outstanding Young Persons of the World (TOYP) Award, the Outstanding Young Men of the Philippines (TOYM), 1998 Konrad Adenauer Medal of Excellence as Most Outstanding City Mayor of the Philippines and the first ever β€œDangal ng Bayan ” Award of the Civil Service Commission. In March 2008, he was conferred an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree by the Far Eastern University in Manila.
  • A trustee of Synergeia Foundation, a national advocacy group for education governance reforms, Robredo is a member of the Liberal Party of the Philippines and a prime mover behind the Kaya Natin!, a national movement that seeks to bring genuine change and ethical leadership in the country.
The good Secretary leaves a flame burning for young reformers to continue what he as started. Quoting Ms. Pia’s favorite “Jessisms” – 
“We do not need another EDSA…for our country to move ahead. EDSA must be everyday. That means everyone understands he has an obligation t

o serve. That means reform is an every day activity. That means the daily grind is more important than the one-time heroic moment.”

“I say that what brings us together is far more powerful than what pulls us apart. What brings us together is the welfare of our people, the greatness of this nation.”

“The best legacy that we can leave to our children is the knowledge that we walked the ‘matuwid na daan’ and turned this nation into a great one. This can trump politics and patronage–any day, anytime.”

Guys Who Treat Their Girls Like a Princess are Brought Up by a Queen

I remember reading this quote or meme somewhere in Facebook sometime ago. It sure did made me smile back then. And just recently, a conversation with my partner brought this thought up once more – and it did made me feel really lucky.

For almost 3 months now, my partner and I are physically together. He’s been working overseas and our relationship was built from online conversations, phone calls and faith and trust that what we have is strong enough to pass the distance barrier. We almost never argue and both of us put in effort to make the best of our time together.

A week spent with his parents in Albay made us realize how much we’ve grown accustomed to having each other around. And it also made me realized that despite being tough and independent, being treated like a princess every once and while make a whole lot of difference. 


from a phone conversation with my partner after 4 days of being separated,

he asks, why do you miss me?

i replied, because i miss the guy who fixes and shares my coffee each morning, buys pansedal and cooks hotdogs for breakfast, calls in to remind me of lunch, asks me what i want for dinner, cooks dinner for me and washes the dishes afterwards. i miss the guy who asks and listens how my work day was while we watch reruns and old movies or listen and snicker to papa jacks’ antics and music before bed.

i miss the guy who does the laundry for me and fixes the clothes in the closet, the one who unpacks after a weekend of out-of-town trips and exploration. I miss the guy I always hold hand with and watched sunsets and sunrise with. And I miss my coffee-mate, my masseuse, my back pillow and my favorite candid shot/dumb photo subject. πŸ™‚

and he said, ah, namimiss mo lang and labandero, kusinero at CPA mo?

nope, I miss the guy that never failed to make me feel like a princess. πŸ™‚


I feel really lucky to have my partner around. It’s not like this all the time and he as his faults like I have mine. Part of our efforts in keeping this relationship strong is working around our faults and appreciating efforts on both sides more. 

I would always thank his mom for bringing him up the way he is now. And I always pray that I would bring up in the same way and that he’d also learn to treat his girl like a princess. 

What’s (In) Your Excess Baggage?

Living the independent-jet-setting-single mommy life, I never seriously thought about future relationships. I was happy with how my life is going and my son is fully content to just have me and the guidance of my mom and dad as he was growing. 

I admit not having a high regard for men when it comes to relationships. (Bitter lang. lol) I consider people who find their partners and stayed happily together really lucky to have one another. I thought that most relationships don’t really last long, and sooner or later one will only get hurt and suffer. I guess I was just too scared to go through tough relationships again so I simply shed of any interest from the male species soon as it shows.

But God simply had his plans set and gave me one special person who wished to be part of  adventures and misadventures of Mommy Cotz and Teloyskie’s life. I consider myself lucky to finally have someone to share everything with, but more than that, I also realized that I’ve got a lot hanging at the back of mind. I never considered my son to be an excess baggage the way some people think of kids in this kind of relationships. What I had in abundance are packs of doubts, cynicism and fear. 

Little by little, I started opening up again to loving and sharing. As my son would always say, “dapat share-share,” it all started with his interests in my adventures and the way he looks into my life as an inspiration. He was always amazed at how I handle problems and still be able to ride the waves gracefully. He can’t believe that I’m always broke but still manage my finances – it wasn’t always easy but it was fun and flattering to have him around. And so, I finally decided to give romance on the road another try… 

TeenAge Dream and Musing’s on a Lovely February 1st

No Regrets, just Love.
We can dance, until we die..
You and I, we’ll be young forever..
(Teenage Dream, K. Perry)

Love does make a person feel young – mind, body and spirit. Some call it hormones, giving us that giddy and exhilarating feeling.

A few days ago, Katy Perry had her concert here in Manila. I didn’t watch, though I am really quite a fan. She and Zooey Deschanel do look a lot like sisters, really good looking and nice music too. Though her songs from her album “teenage dream”seemed like a series of stories from high school and young adulthood experiences, it does pull strings of emotions from girls who can relate.

No, I don’t have that much experiences on love and all that way back (am a late bloomer!) but how I do wish I have some! (F na F lang!) I had been and will always be a hopeless romantic. I always imagine myself to be the girl in movies I have seen while I was growing old.

But my relationship experiences did wasn’t the love that I’ve expected. It was the “complicated,” unhealthy kind of love that almost turned me into a pessimist, a cynic when it came to love. I learned to effectively keep my feelings and allowed only the over-flowing mother’s love that I had for my son. I was like that for a couple of years, I never really knew what I’ve been missing…

I’ve just realized that it is only now that I’m already turning 30-ish and with a 5 year old son, have I felt a little more free to express my feelings of love and affection. 

A couple of years back, my friends and people around me thought me a “toughie” for always keeping calm and being able to show emotions. Now I realized, it wasn’t strength that made me keep my feelings to myself – it was fear. I always considered showing of emotions especially Love as a weakness. If you aren’t careful, you’ll only get hurt. (bitter lang eh)

My friends and people who really loved me, were patient in showing me otherwise. They might not realize what they did, but I think I am bolder and braver now when it comes to expressing love and affection to people that I care about. This I realize doesn’t make me or anyone else a “softie,” saying it and expressing it makes me breathe easier, it makes me feel free, happy (giddy actually!) and content. 

I grew up not saying “i love you’s” to my parents and siblings, but I became the first to show them I through hugs and kisses. And I’m passing the habit to my son plus the a habit of saying and expressing his feelings to people he liked, at his age, I know he’d still do as we ask, but I hope that he won’t grow out this habit and instead influence others to do the same. 
Love, we have a lot of it, I know. We all love in every different way. 
I love myself…
I love my son…
I love my family..
I love my friends..
I love my job..
I love writing…
I love exploring, adventures, travel, people, culture, history, food, music, dance.
I love the sights, smells, sounds, taste and feel of everything around me.
I love every experience and challenges that life puts in my way..
I love God and the plans he’s set up for me..
and I love the fact that somebody loves me the way i wanted and needed to. 

February, it’s the love month, and maybe I’m having the love bug that’s why I’m writing this post. πŸ™‚

Keep on Chasing Sunshine, A Bright Look at 2012!

In 2011, I discovered several blogs on travelling and spent hours reading, browsing at pictures, marveling at their guts and their disposition in handling funds, finding inspiration and encouragement to feed the hunger for more travels. It was with the Sole Sister’s inspiration that I now came up with my very own 2012 Vision Board.

It looks a little jam-packed though because there’s a lot that I want to achieve for 2012. I know that everything will all fall into place eventually, but this board will be my guide to my goals and will serve as a milestone marker for the year.

For some years now, I’ve been juggling roles as regular public servant by day, graduate student in the evening, a weekend dragonboat rower, freelance article writer,  an occasional traveler, but the hardest one was being a long distance mom to my son Teloy. Despite my willingness to eventually settle down and spend more time with my son, I  still feel my itchy feet wanting some good scratching. So I’m working somethings up so I can do stuff I love together.

For this year, my major goals are:

1. Move Out and Move In.
I’ve been sharing an apartment unit with my cousin for almost 6 years now. It has become uncomfortably suffocating living with such a “nega” environment so I made it one of my priorities to move out and move in to a better location. I;ve started scouting since Oct 2011 and finally found the perfect 2-bedroom abode two cartwheels away from the office in Dec and I’ll be sharing it with one of my co-workers. Will move in January 5, 2012!

2. Home Sweet Home
We were never rich and my parents worked blood, sweat and tears for each of us to have a good education and better life. It took 20 years for my mom to complete her payment for the lot we have now in the province, and because life was hard and we lost a lot, our home is now in a bad state of disrepair. I want to get a housing loan and have improvements, repairs and renovation started this year. In 5 years or so, I’m considering a reassignment and settling down there with Teloy anyway. But I really want to give my mom our dream home – simple and small but filled with love, laughter and happiness.

3. Ride a Bike. Seriously.
This I think will forever stay in my bucket list. This year, I will seriously, seriously, seriously learn to ride a bike!

4. Paddle More.
After the race in Bora, everything just seemed to get in my way and stop me from training and paddling. For this year, I want to get back on the boat, feel the cool morning air against my face and smell the stinky waters of Manila Bay once again!

5. Travel with Teloyskie!
I’m pretty excited about doing this. For last year, I was able to bond more with my son though plans of traveling did not materialize. Teloy just turned 5 and I can see how he takes in travelling around like a duck to water. Both my parents and Teloy are now based in Batuan, Ticao Is. Masbate. My mom takes Teloy when she visits Daraga or come here in Manila. For the times I’ve traveled with Teloy, I observed how he loved looking out the windows of moving buses or FX and make funny stories and anecdotes of things he see. Also he’s not byahilo and is not terrified of waves when crossing from Bulan, Sorsogon to Batuan, Masbate even when the trip is a little on the rough side. I wonder where to start planning a fun trip with a 5-yr old travel buddy though. Any suggestions please?!

6. Start a Travel Fund
I want to spend 31 days of my 31st year travelling across SE Asia! I’ve started saving my vacation leaves and have started actively accepting writing assignments from Odesk.com. I hope to make 50 grand for this trip, exclusive of air fare through moonlighting and the recent lifestyle changes that I made.

7. Get Engaged. Lol.
Goal no. 5 might actually be a “despidida de soltera” (hope the spelling’s correct) for myself. Promised my mom I’ll start thinking about settling down seriously when I’m 30 and yes I’m keeping that promise Mader. I will be spending some time with Choy for this year while he’s scouring for a new contract abroad. So, there’ll be more time together, get to know each other better, travel and explore together with Teloy, like a happy family maybe, uhmm maybe.. and maybe..

And wow, that was quite long. I had fun doing this vision board and I am hopeful I’d achieve more for this year. My gratitude for everyone who stayed and made my 2011 a successful year in every way, extends this year as we all take a bright look at 2012!