A Christmas Story

When the wish fits the pure heart of the child…

Why am I not surprised when, at five years past 40, my mental age is just 16! Well, according to yourmentalage.com, anyway… Not that I fully subscribe to its “findings”,  but I somewhat agree.

Call it the perpetual child in me.

You see, one of the most evident traits that I have continuously nourished is my “childlike” attitude toward life. It goes down from my childhood, I guess. I am sort of the eldest in a brood of five back then. Christmas was not much an occasion for us because we really did not have more than enough, and my mother did not want to make it as a marked event in our young hearts, for she knew we can never have the things most children have. My father was working and studying at the same time and we were just getting by with whatever was left of his earnings. One thing though that my mother never failed to do was to tell us that Christmas was really a celebration of thanksgiving. Thanksgiving for the food on our table, for the shelter over our heads and the clothing on our backs, for a loving family and, most especially, for our Mother and Father.

1469810_675095172513038_635903336_nI have never really questioned why we never had what other kids had. What got stuck on my mind was that we were thankful. But as I was growing older and became more accustomed to being with friends, which at an early age seemed to be very natural for me, a name became an obsession: SANTA CLAUS!!!

My schoolmates talked about him as if he’s real. Whenever our teacher at school showed his picture on a card or sang those Santa songs, I did not dare ask my mother whether it’s true or not, because somehow, someway, she might just convince me that he is not real. I wanted so much to believe that there is a Santa Claus; simply because, the child in me wanted to believe that if you are good and nice, Santa will give you the gift you ask for.

But Santa Claus became real only through my being him to my siblings. I could still remember vividly when Kimmy was three and I, together with Kuya Texx, Bing-Bing, Bulilit and Balot, bought her a walkie-talkie (we pooled our savings from our daily allowances) with just one unit wrapped — the other used by us interchangeably, play-acting Santa and the elves. Boy, that was really fun! I could just go over and over that moment and still laugh-cry at the thought.

I am too old now to be believing in a fat, bearded man in a red suit; yet, deep down in me, the belief that Santa DOES exist was never extinguished. Every now and then, I would play around with the thought that one day, if I do good — if I really, really behaved — I would make it in the Nice List and Santa Claus will come and whisper in my ears that my gift — the one I have always asked for — will be there on Christmas day.

However, my wishes changed every year. I waited for them to come true but to no avail. Maybe, I had Santa confused as to what I really wanted.

But for quite sometime now, one wish persisted in my adult life though.

I have always prayed for someone to grow old with. Someone whom I can pour my deepest emotions with. Someone who can make me laugh aloud and do silly things and not feel embarassed. Someone who will support my love for work, and more importantly, my love for adventure! A woman who has also experienced life, had tried living outside the box — who can cry at her mistakes and triumphs, someone who can stand on her own and be her own. Say her own piece… and make things happen. Someone to whom I can tell my stories, my exploits and bloopers, my escapades — good and bad.

And for me to live life to the fullest without thinking of rules or limits, I can only do so much. I wanted someone who can live life for me… someone who can create an albumful of tales and anecdotes — all painted through words and snapshots.

Hush now… let me tell you a secret that was just recently revealed to me. A Santa Claus DOES exist! In fact, he already gave me what I have always asked for SEVEN years ago… and it took me that long to realize that what I have always wanted I already have!

Truly, when the wish fits the pure heart of the child, his perfect gift will come. Mine was wrapped in shrieks of laughter and giggles, of sweet whispers and tiny arms that wrapped me in warm hugs, and sweet lips caressing my rough cheeks with feather kisses.

She may not understand yet my rants against the world, but she has been patient in steering clear from me when I’m angry at something. She has displayed moments of strength when required, saying her own piece and standing her ground.

I cannot pour out my deepest emotions to her yet but she has shown willingness and excitement in listening to my stories, my exploits and bloopers, my escapades — good and bad. She has already proven herself to make me laugh aloud and do silly things and not feel embarassed!

She is only beginning to discover life but we have already created tons of beautiful memories together… and will be creating more.

She is, indeed, all that I need in my life now and for the years to come.

Now, all I need to do every Christmas is tell her how lucky I am to have received the perfect gift — the gift of fatherhood.

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A Valentine’s Date to Remember

I brought Abby to a beach camping trip for the first time. I really hadn’t elaborately planned for it, so I joined a group I met online who’s going to Masasa Beach in Tingloy, Batangas.

Masasa Beach

Uhmmm… I’ve seen and been to much better beaches in Batangas, but Masasa’s calm is welcoming. A handful of beachgoers and campers have already been there, yet the rawness of its surroundings shouts out that Masasa Beach is yet to be explored.

There really isn’t much to do in Masasa Beach, ‘cept to swim, relax and just chew in the scenery.

Abby had one corner of the beach all by herself.

Abby had one corner of the beach all by herself.

Abby had a wonderful time swimming that I had to literally pull her out of the water...

Abby had a wonderful time swimming that I had to literally pull her out of the water…

The trek back to Tingloy port was through a narrow winding dirt road in the middle of rice fields and grazing pastures.

On the boat back to Anilao Port: "Dad, is this what you do when you leave home on weekends?" I said, yes. "I can do this with you." It wasn't a question.  It's a promise.

On the boat back to Anilao Port:
“Dad, is this what you do when you leave home on weekends?”
I said, yes.
“I can do this with you.”
It wasn’t a question.
It’s a promise.

————————————–

How to get to Masasa Beach:

Tingloy is the only island municipality in Batangas, nestled on the main island of Maricaban.

From Manila, take a bus to Batangas City Grand Terminal (2-3 hours, P120-P180). Take a jeepney to Anilao Port (P35) and board the passenger boat to Tingloy (P70). To make the most out of your time, make sure you get onboard the first trip at 10:30AM. From the port, take a tricycle to Masasa Beach (P60).

If you’re lucky (like our group), you might be able to catch the boat — M/B Baby Mycel — which sails directly to Masasa Beach. It leaves Anilao Port at 10:30AM.

Alternatively, you may rent a boat for an island-hopping tour at Anilao Port for P5,500 (smaller boats are available from PhP2,500 to PhP3,000). Rate is per boat so it is to be divided by how many you are in the group. Ask your boatman to also make stops at Sombrero Island and Sepoc Point, too!

Be like little children…

While watching the live telecast of the papal mass being held at the Luneta Grandstand, my daughter bunched up together the Rosary beads which I bought as souvenirs from Naga City, Camarines Sur yesterday, and exclaimed, “Dad, let’s have it blessed by Pope Francis!”

Before I could say anything, she gingerly laid down each one on the table in front of the television:

Who can argue with a little child's faith?

Who can argue with a little child’s faith?

 

A picture of calmness

Being without a yaya for a few days has its own rewards: I get to see more of her up close.

Sleeping like a baby... that she is.

Sleeping like a baby… that she is.

Nostalgia…

I watched this stop motion animation growing up. Actually, it became more of a tradition for me and my siblings to watch this on TV during the Christmas season.

Sadly, local TV stations don’t air it anymore. Imagine my delight when i saw this!

Now, I can share another piece of my childhood to my daughter.

May the Force be with you…

It’s that time of year again where kids — and grown-ups — play dress up and knock on people’s doors [or office cubicles, as what is common practice in our office here in Manila] to go trick-or-treatin’ and indulge in sweets, LOTS OF IT!

Going to office Halloween parties have become a ‘tradition’ for my little girl since she was barely a year old.

Abby's Halloween costumes through the years...

Abby’s Halloween costumes through the years…

Around September of this year, I got a “directive” from her that she wanted to be Olaf of Frozen this coming Halloween. Not a fan of off-the-rack costumes, I willed my self to give it a go… sadly, given my set of skills or the lack of it, my Olaf project’s headed for doomsville. No doubt about it.

So, after some minor “deliberation” — highlighted by aggressive cajoling and intimidation [on my part] — Abby “relented” and kissed goodbye her dreams of going to the Halloween party as Olaf.

She wanted to be Elsa instead… then Tinkerbell… then a minion [again]… until she finally agreed on being Princess Leia [she’s her namesake after all]…

So, here she is:

Channeling her namesake, Princess Leia of Star Wars

Channeling her namesake, Princess Leia of Star Wars

Thanks to Scott and Pam, and the rest of the Chu Crew for this very helpful tutorial on Star Wars’ Princess Leia costume. You guys rock!

 

Elation

 

Last night, I came home to this….

DSC_2859

 

All I could say after was: SNIFFLES! SNIFFLES!

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