media noche compromises that make me feel somewhat better

Fireworks and firecrackers are a noisy staple during New Year's celebrations.  They also add to underground economic activity this time of the year.

Fireworks and firecrackers are a noisy staple during New Year’s celebrations. They also add to underground economic activity this time of the year. Thanks to for the pic!

[ Note : Media noche is Tagalog for the New Year’s Eve dinner.  Thank you all for reading this blog, all the best for 2014! ]

CONSIDERING MY relatively advanced age (in relation to gifts I shouldn’t be expecting anymore), I got quite a haul from loved ones this year: wife Mahal gave me a junior Samsung mobile I didn’t anticipate but appreciate a lot (now I just have to figure out how to use it, heh heh) daughter Ganda and son Bunso were particularly thoughtful, and my grubby hands got some unexpected treats from cousins and friends, you know who you are.

I also received quite a few heartwarming and heartfelt greetings during the Christmas and New Year’s season, some from friends I hadn’t met in a while, and if you know how long I’ve been around, a while is quite a while.  Thank you, and you made my day.

My tummy was also more than a bit contented the whole silly season, as I ate more than my share more than a few times, what can I say but it is the season of celebration and congratulations all around, decadence and self-indulgence will be forgiven if only for a few gastronomic days.

Unfortunately, I have not even begun to think about New Year’s resolutions much less actually make them.  I like that stat I just googled now that 78% of NYRs (new year’s resolutions) end up on the boulevard of broken dreams; it not only makes me go beh buti nga (or nyah nyah nyah) at every do-gooder who thinks he/she can actually use  a date on the calendar (albeit a popular one) to reinvent himself/herself, not gonna happen bro/sis, but misery actually loves more miserable company.  🙂

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Seriously, besides quitting smoking, which I didn’t even do as an NYR (a month before Christmas six years ago actually), I have never, that’s not-ever, committed to one that didn’t fall apart maybe a day or two after, and I actually think you are setting yourself up for failure and disappointment if, in a drunken haze, after making a total embarrassment of yourself and wallowing in lard and booze, you foist vague and unrealistic expectations on yourself just because you want to start the year right.  The blowback and considerable disfigurement to the ego is almost surely going to insulate one against making reasonable improvements in one’s life, whether or not it’s New Year’s Eve.

Filipinos believe serving at least 12 fruits with round or roundish shapes on the New Year's dinner table brings good luck the rest of the year.

Filipinos believe serving at least 12 fruits with round or roundish shapes on the New Year’s dinner table brings good luck the rest of the year. Thanks to for the pic!

Instead, and before I stray too far again from my intended topic,  I want to, and with you Precious Reader as my witness, make New Year’s Compromises with myself, in view of the fact that I know I can still create a better Me the remainder of my lifetime, all the while acknowledging that my circumstances in life like age, health and physical limitations  inherent laziness will only allow me a certain level of success before harsh reality sets in.

Food.  My worse-kept secret, to anyone who’s known me and seen me eat, is that I’m a compulsive eater. I can try to exercise all I want, pretend to be a good boy when Mahal and I share a meal, but I probably eat three-plus full meals a day, and between four and six snacks all of my waking hours, and probably gorge on anything that I find remotely edible on the dinner and kitchen table (and elsewhere) on a particularly bad (good, if you’re me) day.  If you’re dieting or a fastidious eater, I’m not a pretty sight.  I’m not good to have around, period.

I picked up this distressing habit from way early in life, when eating as much as you can in preparation for the busy day ahead, and keeping your plate clean in preparation for a blemish-free spouse later in life were urban legends that were ingrained on us by the previous generation (and not just in our household, OK Mom? 🙂 ) to the detriment of our social niceties and general health.  As a result, anything that’s wasted by anyone I see dining I almost always view as an obligation to be saved for later, or worse, eaten on the spot.  No matter how much I miscalculate putting food on my plate, I am compelled by a self-imposed-compunction to place such contents of plate in my mouth, and I often do this without regard for my fullness or the risk of gagging.  I won’t go so far as to assume any others in my generation are like me, but I know it’s no longer acceptable this day and age.

But enough of that.  My compromise is that I accept that it’s quite difficult to change my eating habits (and I want to change), but I can only do it gradually.  So my practical solution, simplistic as it may be, is to eat smaller portions, and in view of the reality that I’m gonna eat again later.  Without going into more detail, I will have to try cutting into smaller bitefuls whatever it is I’m engrossed with (literally), fool myself using smaller plates, and moving to more healthful alternatives when I can’t control myself.  Ultimately I know it’s not the nutritive or satisfaction element that motivates my eating; it’s the action or motion of feeding myself that is so compellingly compulsive.  If I can deal with my most important compromise with myself, then the rest should be easy to follow…

Bow to middle age, but be considerate of Mahal’s youth.  Realistically ( I keep using that word and its variants) I can no longer stay out all night, carouse with friends or use mood-inducing chemicals to lubricate my sociable-ness, if there’s such a word.  The health and social consequences (esp the day after) are too disturbing for me to maintain such a lifestyle, and of course you know I’m exaggerating.  The excesses of pleasure and vice are cheques I wrote years before and my body is now struggling to encash, and the results aren’t good.  It takes longer and longer for me to recover from a late night, it takes more grief for my bumps and bruises to heal; and while I do my best to exercise regularly, it seems that a moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips seems particularly applicable to me.

The irony is that Mahal at this point being a bit younger than me is still full of energy and enthusiasm for life, not that I blame her, for her muscles are still largely tauter, her skin is still tighter, and her body still processes more fluidly and efficiently, which is quite normal for a person her age.  If I don’t at least keep the pretense of keeping up with her and do the things she does with the approximate intensity, then ultimately she will look for others to do her activities with, and that does not bode well for me.

The compromise therefore is that I will need to be more disciplined in my hours of rest, my recreational activities and how I pace myself, and at the same time keep a reserve of energy available should Mahal decide to go on a brisk walk, do an afternoon of shopping, or host a barbecue for her Pinay friends.  All of these involve vim and vigor of a man half my years, and for a few hours at least, I should be pumped and primed.

opening doors windows and drawers is also done during New Year's Eve, to "allow" good luck to come in.  Thanks to for the pic!

opening doors windows and drawers is also done during New Year’s Eve, to “allow” good luck to come in. Thanks to for the pic!

Online time.  This is one compromise that I shouldn’t compromise on, because it takes the most out of me, time and energy-wise.  Literally, I spend too much time on online games, specifically Candy Crush Saga and Word Battle.  I could use the same time alternatively improving myself in all aspects of life, spend more time with family, and rest and recreation.  Instead I line up candies for scores and level-ups no one cares about, and vie for the longest and most esoteric-sounding words with strangers doing the same thing, vegetating on their beanbags.  Surely,  I have better things to do.

There, those are my New Year’s compromises that aren’t resolutions I will almost certainly break less than a week after, but which are things that hopefully will make my life more bearable, and ultimately worth living more.  Do you have any New Year’s compromises of your own?

Thanks for reading and happy 2014 to you and family!

the ultimate unmatchable Christmas person

happy times with Tita Lily :)

happy times with Tita Lily 🙂

[ Note : I’ve been dreaming about a certain person quite frequently the last few weeks, and I just realized why.  That person, my aunt Tita Lily, would’ve been celebrating her 90th birthday this month, and moreover was the ultimate Christmas person, practically the modern equivalent of Santa Claus in our cynical day and age.  I was not among her favorite nieces and nephews (for she had many — favorites and otherwise), but in my wishful thinking she knew my quirks and failings enough to be comfortable with me.  Please indulge me in this little reverie about a truly influential person in my life, Ms Lily B Yang ! ]

I WAS tens of thousands of kilometers away when probably the most influential person in my life (after my folks), as well as that of my family, Tita Lily, passed away this May.  For many of us in her family living or working overseas, a dark cloud of extreme sadness and guilt filled our hearts, as our Tita had sent three generations of her relatives to school, supported so many families who couldn’t make ends meet; and found jobs for dozens and dozens of us between jobs, out of jobs, or who just couldn’t get a break in the hustle-and-bustle world outside.  She helped us fill our dinner table, fulfill our dreams and keep our dignity intact; she never failed us in our moment of need.  When death knocked at her door, God was merciful in keeping her suffering short before taking her home.

But come December, it was like a flood of memories all so real came rushing back, so much so that it was like Tita Lily was among us again.  You see, Christmastime was one of her favorite times of the year, if not her most favorite.  It was the best time for her to make people happy, which, hands down, was her favorite activity of all.

She literally had a gift list of thousands upon thousands of giftees, a number that had grown through the years and years of friendships, relationships and even one-off encounters in my aunt’s life.  It didn’t matter if these were close bosom friends from way back, clients of the law firm where she worked and shopkeepers of her favorite stores, or the multitudinous members of her large family, including brothers and sisters, nephews and nieces, grand-nephews and grand nieces, and untold numbers of godchildren gained in baptisms, confirmations, first communions, weddings, holy orders, silver anniversaries and even golden anniversaries.

She would start filling out her lists early December and would continue sending gifts well after Christmas Day.  She could never countenance missing a name, or worse, a family, for she often gave to each member of a family as she enjoyed a personal relationship with two or even three generations in a family.

One year I would help her write out gift cards (an absolute essential in her gift protocol), her helper would help her wrap the gifts, and the driver would stand by to deliver the goodies post-haste.  Very soon we realized that she needed more than a staff of two or three and from then on, Tita Lily always prepared for the gift-giving season by having at least two nephews or nieces, two separate wrappers, and of course substitutes who would spell all of them while the gift preparations would extend well into the night.

She was particularly solicitous of people who would be alone and in want during the holidays, cognizant perhaps of her contemporaries who would sometimes be forgotten by the people they had taken care of in earlier decades.  Once she rang up an old officemate who she discovered had suffered a severely bruised hip and was immobilized and hungry for nearly 36 hours.  Not only did my aunt ask her driver to bring said officemate to the hospital, she also insisted that the latter spend Christmas with her, bandages and all.  That impromptu act of kindness was just one of many that Tita Lily did year-round, but which acquired a special sweetness at Christmas.

I could go on and on and on here, but truth to tell I’m already starting to cry.  My aunt was a one-in-a-million kind of person, and amazing as she was, Christmas brought even more out of her.  Everything I do, every kind thought I think and every good deed I do (if ever), I do in her name.  Tita Lily, you will live on in our hearts this Christmastime and forevermore!

Thanks for reading!

my paradigm-shifting dad on father’s day

with grateful thanks to Jude Bautista for the pic, from left: esposa, me Tita Lily (Yang) and Dad.

[ Note : Despite NZ Father’s Day and Philippine Father’s Day celebrated on different dates, I will use any excuse to remember my dad, who is very much alive and quite healthy by the way, and besides his birthday is less than three weeks away.  Happy dad’s day to everyone! ]

MY DAD, whether or not he realizes it, is a product of at least two aspects of his generation.  First, that of the reality that Asian fathers are more or less emotionally inaccessible to their offspring, and possibly even to their spouses.  Second, he grew up in a traumatic war period where to utter or make any gesture considered disrespectful to our Japanese invaders often resulted in dire, sometimes fatal results.  The result is many fathers coming from his generation consider it not only normal but also practical to be distant from most members of their family, to both survive and to carry on “normally” as many Asian families do.  Leave the feel-good and mushy stuff to Moms and female members of the family, I could almost hear this generation say.

That’s why it took a sea change for my own father when his turn came to be a dad.  He wasn’t touchy-feely and the type who announced a “group hug” all the time, but he never spared any efforts to show how much he cared for all of his sons.  He never hesitated to give (or for that matter, ask) for a hug and kiss from me whenever he got home from work.  Asians are famous for being “inscrutable” and circumspect, and in that respect Dad was/is traditional, because he had a countenance that was perfectly neutral in front of new acquaintances and strangers.  But before friends and loved ones, he always chose to engage rather than resist exposing his feelings and emotions.

He never ignored the template though.  He expected and received unconditional respect from all of his sons, and in return he gave them his unconditional love.  He made all the final decisions that concerned the family, but most of us knew that Mom was just letting him say out loud what made her happy.  Appearances and saving face, after all, still counted in the traditional Pinoy family.

At the end of the day, when I think of all the good things my dad did to me, did for me and did despite me, nothing trumps just being there and being both a towering and nurturing presence in our lives.  In his child’s eyes, a father cannot help but come to his life great and awesome, it is his life’s challenge to humanize himself, bring himself down to his/her level, and hold his child’s hand forever.

This you did with flying colors Dad, and I will never stop being grateful for that.  I love you so much, advance happy birthday, and for the second time this year, happy Father’s day!

belated happy birthday Noemi Bolaños !

Noemi with hubby 🙂

ADD TO our great frustration of never being classmates with Noemi our frustration of not seeing her at our 35th anniversary high school reunion. It would have been great to see you batchmate, and be regaled by all your stories about carving out the career of a lifetime in Arizona.

I met all your kabatch and close friends though, as you will see in a thousand and one Facebook uploads shortly. There wasn’t enough time for every batchmate to update everyone else on his/her life, but you probably guessed that already.

I can assure you though that at one point or another during the reunion, a lot of us thought of you and wished you were there.

Belated happy birthday Noemi (6th July), so sorry for the missed greeting, and many happy returns!

YLB Noel

Valentine’s Day lessons not found in Wikipedia, Google or YouTube

Dear Ganda & Bunso :

I start this letter the same way I’ll end it : someday you’ll thank me for this.

I don’t know why I waited till Valentine’s Day to tell you all these.  Every parent should tell the sum total of their experiences in love to their children, not just so they’ll be spared the embarrassment of repeating the same mistakes, but also that the folks will be spared the awkwardness of not knowing what to say or do when an oh-so-wrong BF / GF is introduced by their kids to them.  In short, this is for me as much as it is for you, tongue-in-cheek.

Ninety percent of the things I will tell you here, I learned as the direct result of my experiences with love, infatuation or any other intense attraction for anyone other than myself.  Did I say ninety percent?  I meant three-quarters.  (Last chance, Papa.)  OK, at least half of these golden nuggets of advice I learned from my own quests for love :

If you have a crush and change it monthly, weekly or even daily, don’t fret.  That’s why they’re called crushes.  You’re meant to be crushed because of an infatuation that runs its natural course.  You will always, always survive.

Nine times out of ten when a guy says to you I love you he’s just fishing.  He’ll probably be more surprised than you if you respond anywhere approaching positively.  (Obviously that was for Ganda).  For Bunso, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try.  The person you say I love you to might be the one in ten who’ll respond positively.  Woo-hoo!

Not all the pretty girls get the best guys, and even the nerdiest geeks can and will get the pretty girl.  Oftentimes being lucky in love means being in the right place, being persistent enough, excellent timing, and choosing your battles.  Ganda, you will know in your heart if the guy means what he says, and Bunso, you will know in your heart if the girl you’re eyeing is really for you.  But you have to try, and you have to keep trying.

There is no shame in giving love a shot, finding out he/she isn’t the right fit, and trying all over again.  Better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.  Extending that:  better to take it one day at a time than believing that you’ll fall head over heels in love.  That kind of love is a bit risky, and you can end up biting off more than you can chew.

They’re a bit rarer these days, but take time to pick out the gentlemen over everybody else, they’re the ones raised well by their folks, and more often than not will do the right thing over the popular thing.  If old-fashioned means being modest and soft-spoken, polite and respectful to elders, then an old-fashioned girl beats cool and outspoken any day in my book, Bunso.

Don’t be guilty to be physically attracted to potential boyfriends / girlfriends who’re good-looking and gorgeous, because that’s the preliminary consideration you need before determining qualities that lie within.  Let’s face it, you have at the outset no other features to assess before selecting from candidates that you’ll share the time of day with.  So literally, you have to take him/her at “face value.”

There may or may not be love at first sight, often it is really an intense attraction that needs to be tested by time.  However, one of the greater delusions is believing in the existence of one true love.  Not only does genuine love between committed partners take a lifetime to develop, it needs constant work and renewal to outlast all obstacles.

Love is the one thing on this earth that cannot be bought, yet at the same time gives you both the greatest joy and profoundest sorrow.  So it makes sense that it will take a lot out of you, more than anything that you have prepared for.  The irony is that Love is also something you cannot prepare yourself for, because by being yourself, you are ready as you’ll ever be.  By removing all your preconceived notions, by not taking yourself too seriously, and above all, by being interested in persons as persons (and not as polished shells of themselves) you’ll be, as Hillary Clinton says, ready from day one.

Like I started this earlier : Even before that someday comes, you’re very welcome.

I miss you both terribly, kaawaan kayo lagi ng Diyos.

And oh, happy Valentine’s Day!

Love you very much, Papa

PS.  Kuya already has more girlfriends than I ever had, if you’re asking why I’m not writing this to him as well.  Don’t worry about him. 🙂

Post – Birthday Apologies / Pls Humor Me

 The most beautiful thing in life

is the ability to love.

-Brunello Cucinelli ad (I don’t know what the brand sells yet),

Esquire magazine

[ NOte from NOel : Still no regular access road to the information highway 😦 ]

IF ONLY it were possible / socially acceptable to impose a regime of balloons, thematic costumes, ubiquitous clowns and ice cream cake on one’s birthday, I would be a perennial and diligent exponent of such a hypothetical tradition. I am such a senti birthday person both for myself and others, and that’s why it was so odd / strange / weird (Kiwis reserve “weird” for only the highest level of hiwaga, while we Pinoys use it at the drop of the proverbial hat) last Saturday : we were in the midst of a deadline – conscious house moving, I was trying to prepare for guild exams, while recovering from a semi-serious episode of gout.

If you can believe it, in between stealing glances at Mr Facebook and Miss Yahoo! on Panganay’s laptop ( the rusty desktop had been bundled up 24 hours earlier ), I nearly forgot it was my birthday, and I don’t think that had EVER happened the last 45 years. But no matter. The point I’m trying to make is that I consider it the height of bad ( online ) manners to not express humble gratitude or even simple thanks to the rest of the world for remembering me on my special day.

By now you might have been wondering why I could not perform the simple courtesy of acknowledging such a kindness especially considering the fact that birthdays are usually auspicious to me. 🙂 Well, I won’t allow the lack of internet access (already considered a basic necessity in our interconnected existence) to further delay thanking you. Since they make up the biggest number of the virtual family, friends from high school (and primary school) are denoted by an asterisk. Unless otherwise specified, most of the greeters are based in Manila, and I arranged the names alphabetically, and often by the nickname rather than the given name. Please forgive me if I devote only one line-plus to thanking you, and I will surely make up for it when my beloved internet access returns. Cheers !

Atty Adrian Lecaros, classmate from way back : good health and happiness classmate, thanks loads !

*Alfredo Dee, classmate forever : Thanks for dropping a few lines every now and then Alfredo 🙂

Allan Refuerzo, UP classmate and Facebook friend : thanks for the greeting Allan, we should collaborate soon!

Alvin John B Cenido, pamangkin and awesome skywalker : thanks for remembering Alvin !

Anne Chang, HS teacher : nanwang nin de hao jiaoxun, duo xie Zhang Lao Shi (hope that was correct Mam) !

*Arlene Ayuste, another ultranice member of the Gorgeous Ones : If people teach best by example, then you are certainly a good teacher of life’s lessons 🙂 To sya classmate !

Atty Babes Noriega, a body-beautiful lawyer from UP : Thanks for the greeting Babes, more power to the uplifting workouts !

Benedict B Montenegro, cousin and future co-migrant : thanks for remembering Dick !

Boyette San Diego, stalwart of campus journalism and FB friend : All those years of presswork in the 1980s and I only get to know you now, thanks for the memories !

Atty Butch Saulog, an unbelievable jazz pianist and creator : Thanks for remembering Butch !

*Carmi Sio, a sorely-missed classmate : Your praise and kind words are precious to me. Thanks for wishing kind wishes on my day, Carmi !

*Carol Ng Sy : Thanks for being a great classmate from way way back all the way to high school Carol !

*Catherine Gruba, one of the sexiest businesswomen we know : Thanks for remembering Cathy !

Cherry Thelmo Fernandez, champion of the Visayan community in NZ and UP schoolmate : thanks for remembering Cherry, maayong buntag!

Chichi Abadingo, Auckland-based Filipiniana organizer and Marian devotee : you are a constant source of encouragement and inspiration Chichi ! Daghan Salamat po !

Cora V Rosales, SycipLaw contemporary and SF Giant fan : Thanks for remembering and your thoughtful FB posts, regards always !

Atty Cristina Godinez -Pangilinan, Collegian immortal and FB picture post-er : daghan salamat for the greet and the wonderful pics from yesteryear!

Dely Imperial, a wonderful aunt who’s never forgotten us : Maray na aldao and thanks always for your wonderful words of encouragement Tita D ! Love you always !

Dennis Arroyo, Collegian Kulemate and all-around nice guy : Love your jokes and puns in FB, they make my day! Thanks for remembering !

*Dennis Sy, an IT professional in New York : Our high school memories will last a lifetime. Please continue enriching lives with your talent, brother. Thanks for everything!

Desu Enriquez, Auckland-based kabayan : Thanks for always reading our crazy blogs Desu, stay pretty always !

Usec Diane Reyes, a wonderful classmate from UP : Your kind words of praise are truly humbling Diane ! Thanks for the greet !

Atty Dicky Salazar, an awesome lawyer from UP : Thanks for remembering and for the kudos Dicky !

Didith Tayawa Figuracion of the Ministry of Maori Affairs and a tireless worker for the advancement of the Pinoy community in NZ : Thanks for thinking so highly of us Didith, regards to Clark and Match !

Direk FilNZTV, co-migrant and Facebook friend : Thanks for remembering and the kind words Direk, regards always !

Dr Donald Bautista, a world-class brother : Thanks for always being there for us Doc, love you always!

Easter Bocobo, superpretty classmate from UP days : Your thoughtfulness is appreciated classmate 🙂

Atty Edwin Maquinto, Alphan fanatic and FB friend : Thanks for remembering brod !

Atty Eileen Adaza, UP classmate and Facebook friend : Thanks for remembering Eileen, regards to your bros and of course your esteemed dad 🙂

*Elena Sy – Goddard, youthful beauty from the American West Coast : your memories are truly flattering, and came at the best possible time. Thanks for taking the trouble to put them to (electronic) paper classmate !

Elijah Brent Emmanuel Bautista, brand new Atenean and now taller than his dad : thanks for the greeting anak, love you always !

Erlinda Bautista, supermom and World’s No. 1 Nana : Your text and prayers were extra special Mom, as were you, I love you always !

*Eunice Cobankiat Pascual, surely one of the sweetest and babe-est batchmates around : the prayers always help, and your kind kudos is treasured. Thanks Gorgeous !

Dr Evelyn Venes Catuira, CAL-based dental surgeon and a batch babe : Thanks for remembering classmate, our Paco memories are irreplaceable !

*Feli Tan – Co, one of the truly special members of Batch 82 : That you took the time to wish me a happy birthday was quite humbling Feli. Thanks and stay pretty always!

Franz Diosana, cousin forever : Thanks for encouraging us with your emotional words of praise !

Dr Gan Montenegro, cousin forever : Thanks for remembering Dr Gan, more power to your cable / radio show!

George Bautista, awesome playing-coach : thanks for helping us get into NZ, love you always bro!

*Dr Gerald So, a Dallas neurologist : I am truly humbled by your pro-activeness and your uncanny memory, brother ! Our friendship truly spans the miles and years! Duoxie lao pengyou!

Girlie Acosta Sanchez, UP Manila memorable : your comments and hellos never fail to pick up my day, thanks for remembering Girlie !

Grace Lim, former SycipLaw officemate and outstanding legal secretary : thanks for remembering Grace !

*Harvey Tan, a co-migrant also in Toronto : Your one-liners make my day classmate, 6-E forever!

*Hedy Ong – Soliman, based in CAL & unofficial queen of Batch 82 : You’ve always been there the last few years Achie, I can never thank you enough for that! Maraming salamat to you and Jack!

*Irene Chua, your smile and warmth never fail to make my day, thanks for remembering Irene !

*Jaime Chan, a Vancouver travel industry expert : many thanks for remembering Jaime, our DBMC days live on forever !

*Jenn Chan, a wonderful kabatch from Toronto : Your constant encouragements and responses to life’s challenges inspire me Jenn, thanks for the memories!

*Jocelyn Chan another Facebook source of cheer and inspiration : Thanks for the effusive praise, your students, years from now, will still remember your first-class tutoring !

Joey Flora, a former Marxist – Leninist theoretician and now budding entrepreneur in SF : I’m touched that you remembered bro, yes that icy cold brewski will be waiting !

Atty Joel Butuyan, classmate, townmate of The Answer and FB friend : thanks for remembering Joel, regards always !

Joy Cabrera, SycipLaw officemate and photogenic FB friend : thanks for remembering Joy, regards to our former officemates there!

*Joy Rosenbaum, a showbiz producer shuttling between West and East Coasts, USA : Your e-mails are a constant joy, Joy! Muchas gracias! 

Jude Bautista, photojournalist bro : Thanks for all the years of being a great bro and uncle to the kids, and thanks for celebrating my birthday in Manila. Love you always!

*Kathryn Que, townmate of Black-Ops mastermind POTUS Obama and friend of D-Rose : just as the batch remembers my birthday, so does it cherish yours !

Atty Kiko Rivera, A-1 litigation lawyer : Many thanks for the kind birthday wishes Brod !

*Kirby Hartigan – Go, a world-class IT professional and awesome batch officer : Thanks for always being there for the batch Kirby !

*Klemson See, a Taiwan – based memorable : Our basketball days will always be treasured Klemson ! thanks and long live 6-E !

Lanie Ancheta, former SycipLaw officemate and phenomenal stenographer : thanks for remembering Lanie !

Lei Arago, former SycipLaw officemate and accounting whiz : thanks for remembering Lei 🙂

Loida P Mayo, UP classmate and friend forever : Our memories will always be treasured Loids, thanks again !

Lilia Nicole Bautista, may or may not be the loveliest in her circle of friends, but hopefully the smartest : I love you always Ganda, thanks for remembering, will update you soonest when internet returns!

Atty Lilibeth Cueva, NY attorney and dog enthusiast : your wonderful words of praise fuel me always, thanks loads and pls stay pretty as you are !

Lorraine and Del Valdes, Cainta neighbors and best-looking couple I know : My days in Cainta were the best, thanks in part to you! Thanks for the greeting !

*Dr Marcia Bautista, the loveliest pediatrician I know : salamat sa pagbati cousin, you are fondly remembered !

Maricon Windsor – Viaje, a veteran of the pharma industry and cousin forever : thanks for remembering insan, thanks for the memories as well 🙂

*Marilyn Chingbingyong, a lovely from Vancouver Canada. We will always be linked by our May birthdays classmate. That, and our love for laughter. thanks for remembering and happy birthday tambien!

Marjorie Piano – Gonzalgo, former SycipLaw officemate : thanks for remembering Marj!

Mary Ann Reyes Mandap, Collegian Kulemate and FB friend : stay pretty as ever Me-Ann, thanks heaps !

*Mel Asiddao, entrepreneur from SF : Your thoughtful praise and words of encouragement will never be forgotten, 6-E forever!

Menggy Caguicla, Auckland-based co-Maroon : Thanks always for the rave reviews Menggy, stay pretty always !

*Mevelyn Tang, a limitless source of quotes and perspective from the East Coast : you seem to know exactly what to say and when to say it, and you are precious Mev ! To tse nei 😉

*Michael Tan, a thoughtful batchmate who never forgets : I appreciate it always MacTan when you show your appreciation, regards!

Millie Ocampo, UST prof and NZ transplant : Thanks for remembering Mille, your words of encouragement are always appreciated !

*Engr Nelson Tan, an newlywed engr based somewhere in CAL USA : your warmth and pithy humor is always appreciated bro Sonny. Thanks again !

Nigel Paulo Emmanuel Bautista, based in Wellington but always thinking of the Philippines : salamat sa pagbati anak, love you always!

NJ Lising, former co-worker and champion hiphop dancer in Auckland, thanks for remembering NJ !

Noel Pepa, aspiring baker from Lower Hutt City and Cavite : Maraming salamat sa pagbati and pagtulong sa pagkumpuni ng bike, tokayo ! Regards to Cecil !

*Noemi Bolanos, an Arizona – based nurse : you’re one of the best classmates we never had, and you know that’s quite a compliment nhoymssb! Muchas gracias !

Norman Latosa, Pinoy Basketball sa Auckland commissioner and awesome community leader : Thanks for our happy happy days in Auckland Norman !

Atty Pablo John Garcia, another Collegian immortal and brod always : Thanks for remembering and happy birthday to you too!

Peps Inovejas, a UP Manila memorable : Thanks for the memories, and for remembering Peps !

*Pilar Ang – Si, #1 cheer-upper and quipper on Facebook : when people are low and need a jolt of inspiration, you are there for them Pilar. Thanks for that, and the birthday cheer!

Raul Zamuco, news editor & Sydney IT professional : I will never forgot our presswork days together bro, thanks for the memories !

Atty Rosalie Factor, former Syciplaw officemate : thanks for remembering Atty RFF, regards to you always !

Ricky and Maya Montenegro, cousins from Wellington : thanks for all the wonderful memories pinsan !

Rollie Fabi, brod forever and future national leader : Thanks for remembering Brod and I wish you good health always !

Rorie de Guzman, a friend from our UP Manila days : your encouragement and FB posts always make my day Rorie ! Maraming salamat po !

Samboy Concepcion, GOCC lawyer and Alphan fanatic : thanks for the memories Brod, you always look great!

Sherona Sulit, SycipLaw officemate : Thanks for remembering my pretty friend !

Sweetie Montenegro, wonderful aunt based in the East Coast : thanks for remembering Tita Sweetie !

*Teresita Sy Chingkaw, a stewardess kabatch who looks the part : thanks for remembering our special day Tess 🙂

Teddi Jutsen, motivational specialist based in Sydney : thanks for remembering Teddi, and thanks for the memories !

Tom and Ineng Agustin, lovey-dovey cousins in Johnsonville : your kindness in helping us moving into Wellington will not be forgotten. Thanks cuz !

Tim Bautista, first class COO and idea man : Thanks for being a great Kuya, and love you always!

*Stefanie Victorino, do-everything organizer of the Gorgeous Ones : Thanks for always being so thoughtful Stef, you’re always a dear !

Val Asiddao, HS unforgettable and FB friend : Your posts, poems and videos and truly inspiring, thanks for being our schoolmate, DBMC mate and friend 🙂

Veronica Uy , Phil Daily Inquirer online editor and Collegian Kule-mate : I love your Facebook posts and I’m humbled that you remembered Onic, to sya di !

Atty Vicky Suarez, UP classmate and Collegian Kule-mate : Thanks for remembering Vicky, regards always !

Prof Vincent Ty, an unforgettable UP Manila personality : thanks for enriching my life with your friendship Prof Vince !

Well, that’s it. There will surely be people I forgot to thank, but I will not forget again next time. Thanks again, and I hope I can return the favor come your birthday.

Thanks for the memories !


Filial birthday thoughts for an awesome mom

A photograph of a 2 month old human infant, hi...

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        [ Note from NOel : Yesterday First Brother probably treated Honorable Mother to a sumptuous birthday dinner; Second Brother ( a physician ) examined her and pronounced her fit as a 30 year old maiden ; Fourth Brother sent wondrous gifts from across the sea, and Fifth Brother ably served as her chauffeur and aide-de-camp on her day of note. For our part, via humble e-mail, we pay tribute to one of the most formidable mothers we have known, our own…]      


Dear batchmates, schoolmates, officemates, kabayan and friends :




PARTICULARLY on the subject of their offspring, mothers are known to be irrepressibly intuitive, preternaturally psychic, or creepily clairvoyant.


 Of my own mother I never thought as enjoying any of those gifts, but now that you mention it, everything she warned me about myself, had I been more prudent, I could have avoided.


 The ones that stand out : Your gifts are prone to misuse, and unless you are careful they will be your undoing.  

What you earn, you will squander / What you learn you will forget / What you love you will regret, unless you respect the value of all.
It sounds like a fortuneteller’s words, but I’m just dramatizing for effect. But through my elementary, adolescent and young adult years she harped on these themes, and as is the custom of wild, impetuous youth, I hardly cared for such advice.

 ( The one person she could not save me from was myself, an enemy she could not, despite her best efforts, vanquish. )

 Another of her fateful predictions : Others may be equally gifted , but hard work will carry the day for you. Remember that, and you’ll come out ahead every which way.


I dont know what possessed me to deny it then, but she was right. Proving the reverse of her theory, I found out too late that walking the extra mile was the last (and most important) ingredient for the success recipe. 

Don’t know if your mom was like mine, but she suffered split personality dramas whenever it came to her sons’ fortunes : hope for the best, but expect the worst. Do whatever you can to make your child draw aces, but rush to his side if or when he falters.

Don’t know if there’s anything more selfless than a mother’s lot in life : You use every fiber of your body into bringing another human into this world, use all your resources and energies into raising that human being right, and empty your vessel of knowledge and experience into this new human being, and still not be satisfied until you see the results.

But it doesn’t end there. However others might view the ignominy of the situation, should her child fail, and fail miserably, who should rush to pick up the pieces of failure but Mom herself?

She never hesitates to do so, and single-mindedly refuses to accept failure on behalf of her baby, restart the engine of inspiration in Junior or Ate, until the sun shines anew .

Such heroism would remain the stuff of legend and fable, had I not experienced this in my own mother, who celebrated her birthday yesterday.

Among the innumerable acts and gestures of kindness, altruism, and compassion, the apex of her life’s work, we are proud to declare, are her five grateful sons, seven wonderful grandchildren, and dozens of future great-grandchildren on whom the lessons of her world-class motherhood will never be lost.

Belated happy birthday, and thank you for being our mom.

Love always