Thursday, March 30, 2006

homeward bound...again

As I read my daughter's Thanksgiving Speech, I can't help but feel sad and happy at the same time. Sad, because in doing what I felt was right years ago, I have robbed her and her brother the right to a normal family life. Happy, that in spite of everything that transpired, she grew up well-adjusted, able to express her feelings, and immensely bright.

It was because of these feelings that I finally decided I should go back to attend her graduation. I had already told her last Christmas that I won't be able to make it because traveling from the US to the Philippines cost a lot of money. Not to mention I just started on a new job. But being a Mom, I can't deny her of her special day just because I'm worried of finances. So I went back.

Got home after midnight. My Dad picked me up from the airport. Nobody told my kids that I'll be making the trip home simply because I don't want to disappoint them in case I really cannot make it. Both of them were fast asleep when I got there. When I went inside the room where my son slept, I really think he "smelled" me(mind you I refused to admit I smell anything but I've been in a plane so who knows), because he just opened his eyes as if expecting that I'd be there. It's a great feeling that he just smiled and opened up his arms to embrace and kiss me. Then Axel and I conspired to jump in Kyla's bed so she'll be surprised when she wakes up. But, plan failed, she woke up right after I got into bed, put her arms around me and simply said "Mama".

I was only there for 5 1/2 days, and it was so tiring especially with the heat. Right after I got back I had to work my 6pm-12mn shift at the library. Now I'm so sleepy, got a cold and slight fever. But it was well worth it, and I am so fortunate to have two wonderful kids.

My daughter's speech

Angelica Rossana B. Tolentino
Class 2006, Sta.Catalina College
Graduation Day, March 25, 2006

Our beloved School Head, Sr. Elizabeth O. Castino, O.P.; the Dominican Sisters; dear teachers and non-teaching personnel; our dear parents, guests, fellow graduates, ladies and gentlemen, a pleasant evening.

It is my singular honor and privilege / to speak in behalf of my fellow graduates / as we, the members of Class 2006, / take our last bow / as students of this great learning institution, / our dear Sta. Catalina College. As graduates,/ we are undoubtedly experiencing mixed emotions today / as we begin to think of parting ways / and of bidding goodbye to each other. Allow me to recite a short stanza / that I wrote for this moment…
"Goodbye is hard to say
But we know we can't stay,
Memories shared together
We will cherish... forever..."

What I just recited to you / mirrors the truth that we should all accept, / though painful it may seem. Fellow graduates, / goodbye may signify now an end / to the four years we shared together in high school, / and for some of us, ten or so years since kinder, / but, / the good news is, / it likewise means that we will soon see each other again.../ hopefully, after we have sailed through our respective personal voyages / and come back together again sometime in the future.../ by which time, / we would already be more learned, / mature / and a lot wiser.

When our parents first brought us to this great learning institution for our education, / we were like seeds / that have just been planted. Year after year,/ through proper nurturing and guidance from our mentors, / we slowly evolved into young trees / until we've grown roots strong enough to sustain ourselves. We began to grow branches / and started to bloom. We were molded to understand the truth / and to discover the unknown. As our second home for several years,/ our school acted as our protective shield from negative elements, / very much like that of a bigger and older tree / giving shade to little trees like us.

Also, / here, / we developed friendships and camaraderie / that will surely last for long, / and imbibed in us / a sense of unity even in the midst of strong competition, / both in academics and co-and extra-curricular activities. And being a Catholic school, / our Alma Mater never failed / to instill in us moral values and virtues / that enriched us spiritually / and molded our good character.

Fellow graduates, / the long time we shared together / has allowed each one of us to do a task or two, / play this role or that, / work on certain projects, / join contests, / and many other activities and endeavors / that bonded us together and tested our character. Who can ever forget the unity of our batch when it comes to activities and competitions / like Speech Choir, / Dance Interpretation, / and Cheering? Remember the exhausting practices that lasted until late in the evening? ... the joys and the cries whenever we win or lose? ... the all-out support we gave to our competing classmates? ... and the tough examinations we all had to hurdle? Yes, / these are all wonderful moments / that will soon become part of our good memories after this day.

High school, they say, / is the happiest part of one's school life. It may be saddening that this happiest part of our school life / is now coming to an end. But,/ at the same time, / we are excited because / we know that our high school graduation / will open for us new doors and windows of enormous and numerous opportunities / as we go on through our own respective journeys in life / and claim our own personal victories. Our Graduation Day, therefore, / marks not the end / but the start of a more challenging experience.

As we graduate today, / it is but proper and fitting to extend our deepest gratitude / to those behind our great success.

To our dear Alma Mater, for sheltering us not only with good school facilities that are conducive for learning / but more so / for imbuing with us a great pride of being a Catherinean.

To the School Administration, for steering the course for us towards achieving our purpose in this institution, / and for all its support in every activity and endeavor.

To our dear teachers, for selflessly sharing with us your invaluable time, / precious knowledge / and priceless efforts / if only to nurture our minds / and prepare us for greater heights / at the same time ensuring our development as children of God.

To my classmates and fellow graduates, for the time and moments we all shared together, / for our treasured friendship, / and for our collective efforts in making our batch / one of the best that Sta. Catalina College has ever produced. Fellow graduates, you are the best / and I'm very proud / and feel honored to be part of this batch!

Of course, to our ever-supportive parents and guardians, who incessantly gave us love, support and guidance every step of the way. A million thanks also for your sacrifices and hardships / if only to provide us quality education.

On a personal level, I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to my Papa,/ who never stopped believing in what I can do / especially at times when / even I doubted myself. To my Mama, / who, / even if she is miles away, / never failed to look after my welfare / as if she is just here beside me. Papa and Mama, whatever happened to the both of you,/ I am still thankful because / in your individual ways,/ you have strengthened me with your unconditional love,/ support / and guidance. To my only brother,/ thank you for being my pillar and my friend. To my Lolo and Lola,/ I know that thank you is not enough / to express my heartfelt gratitude for all your unparalleled sacrifices, love, patience, understanding and mentoring. To Papang and Mamang, / for taking care of me everytime I spend my memorable summer vacations in Ilocos. To my stepmom, for being kind and a true friend. And to my special inspiration, for your unending support, thank you.

At this juncture, / my fellow graduates and friends,/ with your kind indulgence,/ please allow me to share / an important piece of my life. My life is not a typical one. I am a product of a broken family. My brother and I live with my maternal grandparents,/ per arrangement between my parents. In their separate ways,/ my parents did all their best / to make me feel the least impact of their failed marriage,/ as they never ceased to provide love,/ care / and support to me and my brother. Although nothing compares / to having both your parents beside you everyday, I / nevertheless / never dwelled on what is lacking in my life. Instead, / I took it as a challenge / that triggered me to focus on the positive / and to aim higher and strive further in school. I never ceased to make my parents proud of me / by being good in class. Now, I'd like to believe / that I haven't failed them.

My fellow honor graduates,/ my sincerest thanks to you all. It has been a pleasant experience being in your company / as we engaged in fierce yet friendly competitions. These friendly competitions,/ though sometimes test the limit of our friendships,/ made me understood better / the value of achievement. Reaching what I have reached today / is even made more wonderful by the fact that / it was fought out with equally talented fellow students like you. Notwithstanding, / it is my hope / that our friendship that we’ve cultivated over the years / would prevail in our midst.

Lastly but certainly not the least,/ a big THANK YOU to the Omnipotent God,/ who continuously serves as our Light / on our path towards success / and who’ll never forsake us / as we continue in our struggles in life.

My fellow graduates,/ today may be the last day we can be together as "one". But as we part ways / and go on with our lives,/ "Batch Astig",/ as we fondly call ourselves,/ will stay in our hearts / and in this institution / forever.Congratulations and good luck to us all. I will definitely miss you all. May God bless us in all our endeavors. Again, thank you and good evening.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Tagged! Hay...

Did you know...

Four Jobs I've Had In My Life
1. Library Consultant
2. Head Librarian
3. Activities Director
4. Circulation Assistant

Four Movies I Could Watch Over And Over
1. Pretty Woman
2. Bridges of Madison County
3. First Knight
4. Any James Bond Movie

Four Places I've Lived
1. Binan, Laguna
2. Los Banos, Laguna
3. Quezon City
4. Los Angeles, CA

Four TV Shows I Love To Watch
1. Law & Order
2. ER
3. CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (Las Vegas, Miami, New York)
4. Numbers

Four Websites I Visit Daily
1. Yahoo!
2. Friendster
3. My Friends' Blogs
4. Southwestern University School of Law

Four of My Favorite Foods
1. Kare-Kare (w/o eggplant, got a bad allergic reaction to it)
2. B-B-Q
3. Shrimps (Yum Yum!....amen!)
4. Sinigang

Four Places I've Been On Vacation (fave vacation places na lang)
1. Boracay
2. Big Bear
3. San Francisco
4. Mindoro

Four Places I'd Rather Be Right Now
1. Home with my kids
2. San Francisco
3. Italy
4. Florida

Four People I Wanna Tag
1. Kyla
2. Igor
3. Abie
4. Maria

Monday, March 13, 2006

Proud Mama !!!

You did it!
Congratulations to my "beautiful" (sige na nga, payag muna ako) daughter for graduating top of her class (Valedictorian). I knew you can do it. I love you baby!

And not to forget my handsome son who's in first year high school. He made it to the top ten! Love you baby!!!

Sunday, March 05, 2006

off to college...

Hurray!!!!! My daughter passed UPCAT. She will be going to UP Diliman, and guess what, it'll be the same course that I graduated in... Library Science.

What can I say, I can feel old age creeping in on me :p

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

a day of experiments...

(sorry for blurry picture)

I just baked my first "Brazo de Mercedez" in more than 25 years... Did it first when I was too young to remember what I'm doing. Does that give away my age? Ah well... turned out pretty good, not too sweet just like the way I want it. This came about when I was trying to make yema... I got the recipe from the web and when I tasted it, it's more like the brazo filling than yema so I figured might as well. As it is, the brazo turned out better than the yema. Also made siopao (recipe also taken from the web). It turned out great also but I have to practice how to pinch the edges so it'll look nicer. As quick fix, I just turned it upside down so the smooth surface is facing up... no more uneven surface he he. Throughout the entire baking/cooking exercise, my sister kept calling me to ask how it's coming. I do think she's more excited about the whole thing than I am. I guess I would be too if I'll only be doing the eating and none of the hard work. So, after rush hour, am to go to my sister's to give her her share of the goodies.