Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 to 2014

As we end this year today, I am very hopeful for the coming new year. And feeling this way is a great sign that life is just getting exciting, better and worth living. I claim that 2014 will be the best year ever. Crossroads will be overcome with God by our side, our hearts' desires will be God-given, our heartaches will all be God-healed.

We hit so many bumps along the way this year (God knows how many they were!), but we managed to overcome them in God's grace. We have learned so many lessons from them and we are more equipped than ever to face this new year's obstacles with God's love as our guide.

Yes, there were many challenges but the blessings were just overwhelmingly, surprisingly huge!

The greatest news? Freedom is at his healthiest this year! No more asthma attacks! Good Lord, thank you for healing my child. I would never trade this gift for anything else! The bestest of God's blessings!

2013 was a year of roller coaster trips to parks and playgrounds! It was a year of quality family time! I can't count how many those trips were as doing so gives me exhaustion from memories of either running and playing with Freedom, playing ball, sword fighting, trains and animal rides, fish and turtle feeding, duck watching, walking meters to miles, pushing strollers.

2013 was the year our home sweet home was turned over! Yeah! This was the greatest accomplishment for me and the Mister. Walking down this road was no joke I tell you, but God is just so good!

And to the love of my life, 2013 was the year I realized that without your gift of love, I cannot do all these wonderful things. You helped me strengthen my faith. You urged me to go back to God. You led by example by taking Freedom to church even without me. I'd be really lost without you. Thank you for everything that you've done for our family.

And to the my Mama and Papa whom I owe everything to, I am forever grateful of how you raised and brought me into this world. I hope that we could spend more time as a whole family in 2014 and the years to come. I am every day praying for your good health and peace of mind. I will forever love you to bits.

I can say that the best thing that happened to me in 2013 was that some time within this year, I renewed my relationship with God. It's the greatest feeling I wish could have happened earlier. But as God always welcomes His children with open arms, He took me back and comforted me in ways I could never fathom. I was blown away.

Thank you, Lord, for taking me back again as your child. My days for the new year will always start and end with you.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Why We Named Our Son Freedom

I take a lot of positive and surprise comments from people every time I share my son's name. There is a complex answer as to why we named our son Freedom.

I am as Free as I can be.

One of the more complex answers to this question is the real meaning of freedom itself. We wanted our son to be free from unnecessary burden of social norms when it comes to social status and beliefs.

We wanted him to love himself for who he really is and to go live feeling as free as possible without having to prove anything to others. We wanted to raise him feeling free mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

Aside from the long explanation, I usually opt choosing the simplest one but even the simplest one comes out to be also complex! The simplest answer to this question -- it was from a song by Devendra Banhart titled "Freely". And then it is usually seconded by another question -- who is Devendra Banhart?

Devendra Banhart is a Venezuelan folk singer. I knew him way back when he was still dating Natalie Portman just because I so love everything about Natalie Portman! When I chanced upon his website where you can listen to his songs free, I was hooked! Hi song "Freely" is just so calming that I play it to de-stress day in and out. Listen and see it for yourself.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

House Turnover. Finally!

When the developer informed us of the date of our house turnover, we felt a mix of emotions. We are happy, of course, that finally, all paper works are done and we can start moving in. On the other hand, we also feel a teeny weeny bit of loneliness leaving our old neighborhood with people all friendly and helpful. We hope we will have friendly neighbors here. We are also hoping there will be lots of kids in the neighborhood for Freedom to play with.

Freedom was more than happy to help mommy with signing!

The Mister with the house keys.

A giveaway from Amaia for good luck!

There are still a lot to do with the new house though. There is the home improvement, the works in the garden, the adjustment. But the Mister and I are so happy with what we've accomplished so far. We will plan them one day at a time. We will build our lives here one day at a time with our Freedom.

After the turnover, we had our lunch at The District Ayala Mall. This mall is the nearest to the subdivision and I can already gather this is where we will spend most of our free time as a family. There are a lot of nice places near our place to see and one of them is Tagaytay! 

Here comes makulit!

One happy kid ever! 

                                 It is more than apparent that he already feels at home!

Can't buy that smile!

Loving Tita Olive

I'd like to say a million thanks to my bestfriend of 14 years. Our beautiful, sexy official photographer from wedding day down to house turnover and on years to come. Thanks, Gang! We love you!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Say A Prayer and Do Your Share

After typhoon Haiyan's impact especially in the Visayas region of our country, hearts are heavy and tears are flowing. Please take a moment to say a prayer for the victims and do your share to help rebuild the affected communities. Be smart on where to send your donations.

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." - John 1:1-51

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Blogging Is My Therapy

The story behind why I started a blog was because I needed a therapy -- mind therapy. As a new mom, I've had my fair share of challenges like all others I suppose. I was literally going insane. One of them was my difficulty to maintain meaningful friendship. Put it simply -- I had no one to talk to. I am a very talkative person. I love to talk and to share. It came to a point where I had no one to share my musings about motherhood, how my son loved what I cooked for him, how cute he was while taking a bath and so on and so forth. And I'm not getting any satisfaction from mere posting on Facebook and Instagram about my every mommyhood milestone. And so I decided to blog.

A friend recently asked me. "Good thing you still find the time to write? I gave up writing even before I started."

So here are some ideas on finding time to write the IlonggaMommy way.

Let your heart do the talking. Very simple but most effective. You write only by heart. Your heart only knows you. What you feel at the moment is what you are. It doesn't matter what you talk or write about. As long as you write by heart, you'll never get wrong. Ten meaningful posts are way better than a thousand insincere posts.

I don't believe in getting out of your way to find something to write. Choose topics based on your own experience. Choose one that really matters to you that week or that day. You need not look elsewhere. What to write is always in front of you. This will save you time.

If I don't find the time to start something to write, I daydream about what to write. It's like a meditation for me. It can be while I'm lying in bed beside my kid putting him to sleep. It can be while I'm cooking. It can be while I'm taking a shower. List them in your mind and put them in writing on your downtime. Believe me. Daydreaming is very powerful. Meditate.

A picture paints a thousand words. This is very true. I make it a habit to take as many photos as I can. I take photos of my baby in whatever activity he's in. I take photos of whatever I prepare every day. I take photos of anything that interests me. From these photos, you can create a topic that's very sincere and very personal. Share them away with a sprinkling of your magical words.

Blogging is a journey. It is a journey of your life. Live life like how the river flows. In short, just go with it! Live away from pressure and norms. Go with what you think is fun and is best. You don't have to set yourself a deadline. To live freely is to live meaningfully.

There are a lot of bloggers who are copycats. I must apologize for the word but this is true. Owning your brand will make you stand out. So go out there and show 'em what you really got. Show 'em the real you. Be real. Be your own.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

My 16th Letter to Freedom

Dearest Son,

You'll be 21 months in a matter of days and you just continue to amaze us. First, your Tatay and I are very happy that God healed you as you haven't had any asthma attacks in the last 10 months. We thank God every day for that. Mommy and Tatay are faced with some big problems lately but we are starting to get through of those because you continue to inspire and strengthen us.

There is no bigger problem than God, Anak. That's what Mamita taught me. I hope I could be as good as a mom as your Mamita. Mommy always tells herself that whatever problem may come our way, as long as you are healthy and happy, I'm all good. Do you know that you just learned saying "I love you" to us? It is just awesome to hear you reply "I love you". I was so happy about it I tell you "I love you" a hundred times a day and you reply a hundred times back, it really melts my heart, Anak. Your Mamita just loves to hear you say "I Love You" over the phone.

I am also happy to report that you are already toilet trained! You are so cool! Even with nappies on, you keep on telling Mommy that you got to go. So cute! Another thing that really amazes us now is that whenever we ask you "Free, are you happy?" You always answer, "Happy!" I am so glad you are one happy kid. I'll make sure you'll have a happy and memorable childhood, my son. I promise you that.

Always remember, Mommy and Tatay are always here to make you happy. Can't wait till morning when I can hear you say "I Love You" to us again. Sleep tight my dearest. Mommy will be just by your side all throughout the night, saying a thankful prayer to God for He has given you to us.


Monday, September 9, 2013

A Dozen Years

This goes to my one and only love:

Thank you for a dozen years of love.

Thank you for always being by my side.
Thank you for always lifting my spirits up.

Thank you for the positive vibes.

Thank you for being there for me.

Thank you for being Freedom's greatest dad.

Thank you for being his ultimate funny playmate.

Looking forward for more years with you. I love you.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Challenges Of Entertaining Your Toddler On Rainy Days

Moms like me know it really is hard entertaining a toddler on a rainy day. So what about on a rainy week? This is one challenge my husband and I are facing this rainy season.

While stuck inside the house, watching TV is inevitable. My son loves Disney Junior especially Hi 5 but would die for TV commercials. He cries when commercials are over. He's so funny when he does this. So we resort to watching TV commercials and Hi 5 songs on YouTubeRepeater. But you won't expect my kid glued on TV or videos all day. So we also try playing with him with all the toys on the floor. This saved us an hour or two.

And when all resources are exhausted, I turn to learning and was surprised at his speech and comprehension level! My son is only 18 months. Another hour or two well spent!

Don't get me wrong. I don't wish for a genius child.I just want a street smart kid.

Here's hoping for a ray of sunshine tomorrow and the days ahead.

Don't forget to at least donate to victims of typhoon Maring. Little things will matter. We got to share love and compassion. Prayers are powerful too.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Apple of My Eyes: How To Get Your Toddler Eat Fruits

My son loves apples.

We sure buy him at least two apples when we're going to the mall and spend the day.

An apple saves Mommy and Tatay from tantrums.

He is well entertained as long as he got apples in his hands.

He doesn't even want to share! Bad.

Apple has many benefits. One of them is that my son stays in his stroller as long as he's got an apple! This saves Mommy and Tatay from running after him when he goes astray and enters every store in the mall!

A friend asked me one time, how do I get my son to eat fruits? My technique was to always store fruits in the house. Offer your toddler fruits EVERY time. Offer fruits even though they refuse many times. In time, they'll get accustomed to eating them.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Ilonggo's Beef Nilaga/Kansi

Ilonggos are famous for their many savory dishes. Chicken inasal, batchoy, kansi, molo and a lot more. This time, let's focus on their famous beef nila-ga or popularly known as kansi.

In our 12-year relationship, I was surprised to have found out that my husband hasn't tried this dish yet! I went on panic mode and decided to cook this dish for him today! How could he -- a husband of an ilongga -- not try this famous ilonggo dish? Oh my!

Here's the recipe!

You'll need half kilo of beef. It's better if you include beef bones like femur with all its marrow goodness. But plain beef meat will also do.

You'll also need a teaspoon of achuete extract, a handful of red string beans (lamigas in ilonggo), lemon grass, siling mahaba (siling pang sigang) and batwan! Now, you can't find batwan here in Manila. I've scoured all huge markets here and I couldn't find a trace of batwan in the city. You can use sampalok instead.

This is batwan! Ilonggo's famous pampaasim (souring agent)

Lastly, you'll need sliced langka (unripe jackfruit).

Here's how:

Bring beef, lamigas, lemongrass to boil till the beef is tender. Add achuete extract, your choice of souring agent, langka and season to taste. Add long chili a minute before you serve. Best served hot! This recipe is very easy to do!

 Presenting! The hot hot hot beef kansi! Try it, mommies!

Monday, August 12, 2013


Dearest Kate,

I miss you now like how I've missed you when we were gone home for the college summer vacation.
I miss you now like how I've missed talking to you before we fall asleep.
I miss you now like how I've missed walking with you in the fields of UP Miag-ao.
I miss you now like how I've missed hearing your words of advice with your most angelic voice.
I miss you now like how I've missed laughing at your corny jokes.
I miss you now like how I've missed clapping my hands at your awkward dance steps.
I even miss you now like how I've missed fighting with you over non-sense stuff.
I miss you now like I've never missed you before.
And I wonder how wonderful my life would be if I can still see and hug you. Not like it was any less wonderful at all since you were in it! My life has been one wonderful one 'cause I met a wonderful you in my one lifetime.
I miss you, Kate.
In times like these that I miss you more. I miss hearing these words from you:
EXPECT the worst.
HOPE for the best.
TAKE what comes.

Our friendship knows no boundaries. It knows no death. It knows no rules. It knows no judgement. It knows no requirement. It knows no time. It only is pure and kind. Thank you so much for this gift. See you again, Kate. I love you.

That's my beautiful sister, Kate! She was a UP Economics cum laude. I lost my bestfriend to leukemia at the age of 20. She fought a very good battle and she continues to live in the hearts of those whose lives were touched by her. What she has done for those around her will forever be eternal. And what she has done for me is immortal.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Things Will Be Better

My life is one rollercoaster. Been MIA for the past weeks 'cause I've been going through a LOT. But I know things will be better. Almost every aspect of  my life now is problematic: Family, friendship, career. Even our soon-to-be home is problematic. I don't know why this happened but things just blew out of proportion. Maybe I'm super short of grace. Oh dear God, help my poor soul. I'm lifting everything up to you. Bahala na kayo.

I'm still thankful because I have my husband by my side who is super positive that I can stand up and fight again. Thanks, mahal. You don't know how much I appreciate you. I'm also thankful for my mom. She's been the wind beneath my wings. Finally, I'm super thankful for this face.

If not for this face, I would have given everything up. Thanks my son. You are my power! Mommy and Tatay love you to bits.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Banana Kiwi Oats Smoothie

My toddler has been a picky eater these past weeks so the mommy has been in action trying her might to give the healthiest ever.

As mommies, we know smoothie is a hit to toddlers. And so I joined the bandwagon of mommies turning to the ever healthy and winner fruit and cereal smoothie craze.

Here's for today:

The stars of the day!

Kiwi, banana, oats, yogurt, vanilla ice cream and a cup of crushed ice. Blitz all of the above in a blender.


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

I Want A Norland Nanny

Warning: This is a nanny rant.

I wished I had one of these Norland nannies. You see, Norland nannies are those who are highly trained and are the best in the world. They serve the Royals and are considered some of the most expensive ones.

Well, I'm not a Royal so I can't hire one! But having yaya blues yet again, I wished I was one though.

I really don't know what to do anymore. Does this yaya problem ever end? It really doesn't matter how well you pay them or how well you treat them. It's more of a matter of luck. This is despite I have one for a relative.

My current yaya has been causing me to go absent from work, got me working more household chores than usual, even decided not to give her my son for over an hour anymore. All in a span of two months only. Why? Because one neighbor told me she just goes on texting and making calls while looking after my kid. How does she do that all at one time? And I ignored that one concern from one neighbor weeks ago.

I even have to put up with her incompetence when it comes to household chores 'cause I've got no choice. I got to work. Yesterday, she came back 10am when I firmly pointed out to her that I have somewhere else to go to at 830am. And a lot of neighbors have reported yesterday of how her eyes and fingers are glued on her phone while looking after my son putting one neighbor's observation to a sealed deal.

When she came back, I confronted her calmly. She denied these of course! She went on crying fits by this time. No matter how she denies these, I believe my neighbors have basis on telling me of her doings. They're only concerned about my son's welfare. I had to tell her if these are not true, then let's move on now but I have to stress to her once again the importance of coming in to work on time from a day off and the top most importance of making sure the safety of my son.

Since I feel so miserable right that I can say it sucks not to be a Royal that I have to keep her in the meantime till I can find a replacement for her. I'll let her do the majority of household work since I'm on night shift and I can look after my son majority of the day. That's what I've been doing actually. It just makes me feel sad and annoyed at the same time that I have to pay somebody for being incompetent.

I talked to her again today. I have to let her go. My priority is my son. I don't want to regret one day if ever something happens to my precious kid. In the first place, I am working my ass off for my child. I can make compromises at work. I can't put my son's safety to chances. I'm letting her go.

I got to have one of those Norland nannies!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

I Miss You, Mama

Dear Mama,

How I've missed you! I'm writing you a letter because I just simply miss you. I miss our long talks over almost everything. I miss how you pack three boiled eggs for me before I go to school at 4am during college. I miss how you visit me weekly at my dorm bringing me gala apples. I just miss you, Mama.

There have been rough patches between you and me. I suppose this is normal for mothers and daughters. No relationship is perfect anyway. But thank you for still loving me. Forgive me for all the times that I've hurt you. I've got lots of burden I need to carry that I know I will surpass by myself. I know I will always need you as long as I live. I will forever need you, Ma. I will forever need your love. Just your love -- no more, no less. But please don't worry about me. Be rest assured there's nothing I can't do. I am happy with who I am. I am a survivor. You raised me well. I want you to know that I appreciate you more now than ever. There's no one who means so much to me other than you -- no one.

I miss you so much, Ma. I love you.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

When Everything Isn't Right

Dear Self,

When your mind is blank, go for a walk.
When worries eat you, stay calm and be hopeful.
When you are wronged by someone, bethink what’s great in them.
When mistakes are many, stop and ask forgiveness.
When your heart aches, cry it out.
When you can’t change a thing, accept and let go.
When you can’t understand, offer love instead.
When hurtful words are thrown, offer more love.
When you’re soul tired, slow down and look up.
When no one seems to listen, talk to God.
When everything seems to crumble, rise you must and keep the faith.
When everything’s wrong, start making it right.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Curse-Your-Diet Hazelnut Banana Pancakes

I’m a fan of Famous Belgian Waffles ever since I discovered the heavenly taste of their golden waffles. But I crave for it far too many times more than I expected. And as a mom, I have no time getting the waffle fix I needed when I need it.

I don’t consider waffles and pancakes as breakfasts. I will most of the time have them as an afternoon snack. I even consider them as desserts. Crazy but that’s me. And so, in my quest of giving in to my recent cravings, I concocted a familar-to-most recipe. Pancakes with bananas and hazelnut.

Mix pancake/waffle mix with a cup of buttermilk, an egg and a knob of butter.

I first wanted to make pancakes from scratch but after realizing that 500g ready mixes cost almost the same as 500g flour, heck do I have to beat myself up of making it from scratch?

I bought Fineti hazelnut spread for this one. Fineti tastes good and it's way affordable than other brands!

Pour batter in the pan, embed some bananas and gooey-chewy hazelnut. I’m crazy for butter so I also added some knobs to it. Toss and do the same drill for the remaining batter.

Stack ‘em up with banana slices and hazelnut spread like crazy. Tada! My version of hazelnut banana embedded pancakes in all its mouth-watering glory. Best served hot!

Warning: This is going to destroy your diet schemes so make sure to slow down though I know how hard it is to resist this decadent monster!