Tag Archive: Family

The Gift of Time

Please do not grieve

For I have truly lived

Every single day & second

Not one moment wasted. 

I was born with some gifts

But later learned more tricks

To detach from wordly stuff

Love and harmony enough. 

I’ve seen snow-capped mountains

And far too many ancient fountains

Sunrises, glowing sunsets & moonlights

As pretty as the skies at twilights. 

Solitary walks my pleasures

Nothing fancy by any measure

In touch with myself, alone with my thoughts

While adding up all the naughts.

Yet there’s that time with you I relish

A memory I cherish 

Just as my hair turned gray

Unmindful even when things go astray.

I have gifted you with experiences

Plus memories & all the time I could give

Continue on, my loves, and understand

How precious is the gift of time.

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For those who haven’t signed up, this lifeisacelebration site will continue to post blog summaries and provide links. On our latest Bangkok adventure, it is still a work in progress but here’s an initial summary. Watch this page for additional blog postings. Better still, follow lifeisacelebration on Facebook and/or subscribe to retirementsuitsme blogsite.

Our Bangkok Cribs

Floating Market

Elephant Ride

Bang Pa-In Palace

Ayutthaya UNESCO Heritage Site

A Thai Engagement Procession

A Thai-Buddhist Wedding Ceremony

Art In Paradise Trick-Eye Museum

Chocolate Ville

Terminal 21
Keep reading!

Late Autumn Indoor Swimming

Late Autumn Indoor Swimming

This photo blog (phlog) comes with more photos than text. The photos speak for themselves. More so with young grandchildren who are totally uninhibited in expressing their feelings. A kiss here. An ouchy look there. A playful mood. A “begging” stance. A proud moment. Boredom. Excitement.


Buddies. The 2 youngest.


Kuya and Bunso. Gigil?


Let’s go to Hungry Jacks please. And let’s not forget, Time Zone……


Mom, I don’t want to milk a cow ever again. So kadiri! Yuck….


We have a plan. Oh oh.


My Ate Patricia smells like strawberries!


Is this formal enough, Mom?


Hu Hu Hu. I want my own shake. No one elses’s spit on my shake please!


Ever since Ate arrived, Mamu became “laos”.


Hurry up with that shot, you camwhoring Mamu!


I love ate ❤




Unica Hija in OZ


Errrr, shall we try it? Sign says “shallow water”.


Ok guys, stay together. No jumping over the fence.


But Ate can jump…..


Jump down? Or climb up?


Go Kuya. You can do it!


Thank you, Nongkie, for the shakes.


A Moment.


THAT’s ALL, FOLKS. —– Elvis, the beloved family dog.


Seventy Odd Years


We recall the early years
And thank God for these blessings
Such a delight this life
With triumphs and a few fights.






Ten years of separation and a whole ocean apart
Love spans many miles and travels over ebbs and tides,

Sisters at birth; joined at the hearts
Survivors, as our sisterly love endures.



What’s there to celebrate at 70?
God’s precious gifts of love & life

Family & Friends

Come, help us celebrate!




Call it a conspiracy. Everyone knew but her. Believe it or not, even the family dog seemed to be in on it, except her. Turning 70 is a milestone and we’re not leaving any stone unturned just to pull this big surprise.






I flew into Sydney with the 2 “elves” (grandkids). Took PAL thinking our flight’s ETD was 10:45pm. Surprise, Surprise! It was actually 9:10pm. Flight skeds changed without notice? Did we miss it? Naaahhh. We were at the airport thinking we were way too early. Took a pee break at 8pm, grabbed a drink, and trooped back to our gate only to find we were the last 3 to board! Ran for it and finally put on our seatbelts almost out of breath.




So we made it…. and landed 3 hours early in Sydney. My niece jumped out of bed at 7am when I messaged her that the “package has arrived”. By the time we reached the doorstep, all surprise plans went haywire. Lack of sleep and stressful departures do that to you. Just the same, we pulled off the surprise sans a video 😦






Two days after, a niece arrived. That’s surprise #4 (the first 3 being moí+the 2 elves). The following week my dear couple friends arrived. I’ve rested well enough by then and didn’t fail to document the whole surprise scene.






All set for the party now. April 27. Six surprise packages. Great Gatsby theme. Black, White, Silver and Gold. Only the 70 year old dons RED. Surprised? Yes. Happy? Yes. We did it! Friends and family all here to celebrate a milestone in my sister’s life. Life is a celebration!













An Autumn Glow

An Autumn Glow



Just a day short. Waiting to pick up my elves today and then, just one more day. Tired from a week of exams, but giddy with excitement over the summer break. The chapel in school is where I wait for them. A good spot under the trees which by now seem to have an “autumn glow” after a couple of hours of rain. Kids even had fun standing under one tree as it sheds off its tiny orange-y flowers as the wind blows. 


Summer beckons. What’s the plan, the elves ask? Well……






No travel plans, really. I came for personal reasons and for my OZ family. Specifically for my older sister who fell ill. Last time I visited was back in 2004. Yes, a long time. I grew complacent as it was always THEM visiting me, rather than me visiting them.




Gratitude is the memory of the heart.
(An afternoon in Mt. Annan Botanical Garden)



One overseas call and I dropped everything to secure that OZ visa and get on a flight to Sydney. Took a while and it felt like decades just waiting. Just when the visa was issued, the weekend flights were all fully booked…. except for one. I got the last seat on Qantas for a direct flight. Just in time to be around for the pre-operation medical procedures, the surgery and hospital stay, and another “decade” waiting for the pathology results. All of 4 weeks in Sydney and we finally heaved a collective sigh of relief.




Lissa and Levy are 2 years apart. I was the “baby” in the family.



Three Sisters. Two Survivors. We terribly miss our middle sister — the talented one in the kitchen who baked breads, muffins, blueberry cheese cakes, strawberry tortes and the finest-tasting sans rival cakes and other pastries. She was only 37. Levy and I took turns at the hospital watching over her. It’s been 30 years since. All 3 of us must have inherited the dreaded C disease from Mama who passed on at age 55. Papa joined Mama in 1991, some 22 years back. Levy and I — 9 years apart — survived. But we were continents apart, and Ate (older sister) Levy has yet to fully embrace this internet technology. [Once she called me and forgot to turn off her mobile. Her bill could have covered nearly half of my airfare!) 🙂




Mama with Ate Levy and Me in Baguio City back in the 60’s.




Family and friends prayed and prayed real hard. We lived from day to day until Week 4 when we received the good news that Ate Levy beat the odds. To amuse ourselves and keep us off the worries, we made family trips here and there. Ate Levy’s children took turns taking leaves from work to drive us around. I only managed ONE DAY with college friends who came by and took me off on a day out to Berrima — a wonderful break from family duties. (Thank you Lin and MA) My other friends based here and around do understand I simply wanted to be around my sister and family. Others I decidedly didn’t get in contact with as I realized it’s not a good time for “first meet-ups” (my apologies, my TravelBlogger friends). It’s just ME —- eager to make up for lost time with my OZ family. Besides, I was just too busy keeping the worries at bay. 😦




The “kids” posing in front of the ancestral house, with their grandfather’s namesign behind. Once I heard my grandnephew Xion say … “We’re cousins. We should love each other.” Makes me proud these babies are being raised as good kids as these nephews and nieces are.



But winter’s over. And that’s true literally and figuratively. At the beginning of spring and on my fifth week in Sydney, we made so many unplanned day trips. Our hearts overflowed with joy and gratitude. The first trip — from the surgeon’s clinic to the first church we passed — was most significant. Like we remembered every single step towards the church smiling ear to ear, not even missing each melodious note from street buskers nor the aroma of food delicacies from a neighborhood Filipino store. God in His mercy blessed us with a good sense of humour to survive adversities, a grateful heart for Him and the many prayer warriors, a keen sense of family and unity, and above all, a strong faith that our “winter” will soon be over.




Rookie took many of these shots in Mt. Annan Botanical Garden. Flowers abloom to welcome spring. In our hearts, it was all time-spring.



In our trying times, my sister and I nearly forgot the children have grown. THEY took over. And I’m mighty proud of them all. I have no doubt our grandchildren will all grow up as responsible adults. Like their moms and dads. Knowing that, I don’t mind growing old to welcome more “springs”…….





Here’s an amateur’s video of “Levy Beating The Odds”



MARAMING SALAMAT SA INYONG LAHAT. Thank you so much for all the prayers.

The Day After Christmas

It’s the day after Christmas! But the festive mood is still very much in the air. After all, IT’S STILL CHRISTMAS elsewhere in the world. Greetings here and there, memories of Christmases spent here and there, family gatherings here and there. Thanks for the gift of technology, we were able to celebrate CHRIST-mas with loved ones ONLINE. 👍👍👍







A niece’s photo (first pic) of the neighborhood church I visited daily while living in Madrid brought in nostalgic memories. Such a powerful memory perfectly matching our sentiments this Season. Gratitude. Thank You, Jesus, for the many blessings. We may not be physically together, yet technology didn’t make us feel “separated”. We chatted as we prepared our Christmas dinners. We laughed as we donned our festive hats!






We all had a good laugh seeing how 2 sisters — oceans and thousands of miles apart — managed to don the same, IDENTICAL black dresses for Christmas Eve dinner. Not twins, but twin fashion sense. As I’ve mentioned to my nieces, fashion sense and sartorial preferences are not hereditary, but acquired preferences. Exposure counts. Much. Like my mom’s habit of shopping for 2 pairs of shoes or sandals bearing the same design — in 2 earth colors. Well, looks like we all picked up the same habit! On the other hand, there are families who simply dig vibrant hues and flashy clothes and accessories. Don’t blame the genes. It’s a passed-on lifestyle and fashion sense. Of course, there are some who “break through” — some for the better, others worse off.



Day after Christmas and some of us went back to work. The retired and “on leave” and “on holiday from school” continue to eat Christmas left-overs, review photos and videos, and simply bum round the house. So….. This is Christmas! Love it.



It’s that time of the year again. Looking all around, and stuck in traffic jams all around the city, it certainly is beginning to look a lot like Christmas!




That’s the Airport decked in Christmas lights and decor!



Has it been a year? A granddaughter is well into her teens. Fifteen is a nice young age to discover new interests and develop friendships to last and count many years. It’s that age when shopping trips and watching movies are more fun with friends than with ahem….. family. Patricia’s artistic talent got her enrolled for summer class in SoFA and self-expressions found their way into her photography, sketches and t-shirt designs. Of the latter, she poured many late hours designing the shirt for her school batch — the Sophomores, as she did year-earlier for the Freshmen — and was rewarded with recognition and an award for best design. Reminds me of the time she designed her own dress to wear to her Grade School Batch Party. Sweet girl minus the moods……. And that occasional streak when she enjoys scaring her Mamu with a frog!




Anna Patricia and Her Frog. Now she knows what makes me jump!


I blinked. And the little girl grew up!



Martin turned 12 TODAY – – his last pre-teen year but remains our sweet, loving boy. Tall for his age, but never too old to charm his Mamu to bring him to Heaven & Eggs in Glorietta 4. Last week, he asked me to gift him with Polaroid film and promptly took shots in quirky, artsy “The Collective”. He is graduating from Grade School in March. Of course he didn’t fail to ask me to enroll him again for badminton lessons next summer. I remember how I used to dread meeting his teachers in school. Lovingly, sweetly, they’d invariably recount how “talkative” our dear Martin is. Mr. Congeniality, that’s him. This young gentleman also opens doors for his Mamu. At least whenever he remembers 😉 From food trips, Martin is now beginning to discover the joys of shopping. Scary thought!




Our sweet, charming boy. Martin never fails to get me OUT of my grumpy mood. A hug and a kiss never fails!


a Treasured Photo………



How time flies! Our “nest” is emptying out. NO, more like branching out……. to Sydney and Madrid. Birthdays and Christmases shared via Skype or FaceTime. Truly, Christmas is in the heart. Before long, I should be leaving to join one in Madrid. I rummaged through my files and found these photos of my girls. Back when the youngest was only 6 months old. I got them to pose nearly the same way on the same sofa in the ancestral house years later. It’s a treasured photo now!




Sarah and Yane on Facetime. Mayette at work. The Bautistas with Sarah on a trip to Corregidor.



And me? I’ve had my fill of adventures this 2012 just as my 2 blogsites each hit 100,000 views. Early in the year, I left and lived in Spain for nearly 3 months where I helped set up house for a niece. Back in Manila in May, in time to enjoy the last few weeks of Manila summer with the rest of family. Before long, I was off to a dream trip in August. Another one off my bucket list. South Africa and Zambia. All adventures fully documented, to include some domestic destinations which were shelved for the longest time.



Google “liliram” for my TravelBlog site. Google “lifeisacelebration” for my wordpress site.



Trips filed according to destination. There’s one for Spain. Another for Africa.



All told, it was another wonderful year. AND YES, IT’S A MERRY CHRIST-MAS!

Christmas cheer to everyone!








This is the moment where I take a break from travel blogging. Back home now after 2 and 1/2 months based in Madrid, after 42 blogs on WordPress and 5 more on TravelBlog. I was busy apartment-hunting with my niece, IKEA-shopping for furniture, waiting and wasting lotsa time for the delivery men, and getting serious with household chores. Well, sort of.







So, how was it? I never made it out of Madrid in the first 4 weeks. In fact, the first week spent in a hotel was most boring, while the 2nd week apartment-hunting provided the excitement. I did most of my Madrid walks during the first week as there wasn’t much to do in the hotel. Besides, wifi sucks in that hotel.



The 3rd and 4th weeks were devoted to furnishing the apartment, having the appliances and furniture delivered and assembled. I enjoyed this part. In between, my daily trips were largely to Carrefour, the palenque and the Chinese stores for food and little things like sandwich bags, detergents and other cleaning stuff.






By the 2nd month, we were nicely settled and welcomed our first batch of guests. All girls. No room for men guests as there is only 1 toilet and 1 bedroom. The sofa bed in the living room warmed many backs. My “survival cooking” survived. No one grew hungry, for sure. While we had no TV and wifi yet, we spent a lot of time chatting, laughing and eating.







By this time, I have already mastered the metro system, the “free days and viewing hours” of most museums, the bus system and gained “Suki” from the palenque. My favorite vendor is this man who would always offer me a sliver of Jamon or Quezo to try. “Para prober” he always says. And I always gladly accepted. ☺☺





I’ve spent Semana Santa in Andalusia, a long drive to Valencia and a last weekend in Barcelona. In between, there were day trips to Segovia, Avila, El Escorial, Valle de Los Caidos, Toledo, Aranjuez, and Alcala de Henares using the bus, the regional train, or the fast train. I experienced ALL seasons in the last 10 weeks. In Valencia, temp went from 7 Celsius to 27 Celsius in 8 hours. In Segovia, it snowed. Crazy, I know. I have been to Costa del Sol, Malaga and Granada before and felt no craving to revisit. Not yet. I would have wanted to see Salamanca again but there was no chance. Shopping for gifts to bring home took precedence. Perhaps next time.






Now I’m home…. in sweltering heat. I miss my daily walks in cool weather. I miss dragging my “old lady’s” shopping trolley whenever I set out to do the groceries or marketing. I miss my pair of boots which I left in the apartment. Back to normal. Back to “Lola mode”. No more solo trips except to the beauty parlor. My elves waited too long and it’s time to catch up with one another.



Since I arrived, I have completed all my blogs on my Spanish “holiday” (or have I?) and stayed home most of the time. It breaks all newly- formed habits and patterns. I even miss our washing machine in Madrid! Oh well……..