About Me

United States
Belle is a mother of 2 beautiful teenagers aged 19 and 18 years old. She is originally from Bato, Catanduanes. She loves fiddling around with computer on her free time.

Sunday, December 31, 2006

My Mother

I miss my mom. She passed away a little over three months ago, exactly three months after I visited her in Catanduanes. I thought she had few more years to live because she didn't show any signs or tinges that she was going to die. She was fiesty, active even though she was confined to her wheelchair, nossy, and at 88 years old, she was very alert. Surprisingly, her memory had remained sharp until her last days.

Ever since I went to college, I don't think I ever returned to the province for longer vacation to rebond with my mom. The most I stayed with her was few months during summer break which I often spent holding a summer job in Bato. Though in my younger years, my mom and I had spent many times together, from going to the swamp, planting corn, camote, planting rice, and others stuff. At such a young age, she taught me how to survive in this tough and cruel world in her own way. Honestly, whenever I go back home, I don't mind doing those odd jobs even if it would mean I have to get messy. One time, my friend O took me to the forest to dig some "garyang", a delicious native root which I believe only grows in the province. It was a lot of work digging the roots out of a muddy soil. After we were through, we were all covered with mud and my dinem pants had stains all over from the juice of the "garyang" leaves.

When I was in Puraran, my husband and I, suddenly, were left alone for a day with lots of chores to do, including laundry. Normally, we had company to help us around the house. I didn't want to wait another day so I rolled my sleeves up, squatted down and washed the clothes the old fashion way...with my bare hands. My caretaker saw me and unhesitantly offered his wife to do the washing for me and I nicely declined the offer. I said, "I can handle this myself, thank you," I washed tons of clothes including 2 sets of beddings. After I was through hanging the clothes, I was overly exhausted.

Going back to my mom, I wrote an eulogy for her which was read by my niece, Tintin, on my behalf because, sadly, I was not able to attend to her funeral...same scenario with my father 17 years ago. It was a hard decision but I had no other choice. I know my mom would understand my situation.

Here is the Eulogy:
We consider ourselves to be one of the luckiest families to be given the chance to spend quite a lenghty time with our mother. Those times were full of memories. There is nothing else we could have asked for. She lived a long life and that is quite an achievement.

Though, it is extremely hard to lose a mother who was so dear to our hearts, yet our good memories with her are more than enough to compensate for the sadness. I am sure that mother does not want us to weep for her, but for us to be strong and to get on with our lives.

She was an incredible woman. Surprisingly enough, I saw myself in her. When my husband and I recently visited her last May, she spent a couple of days with us in our Puraran hut together with our relatives. I wanted her to experience life in a modern house even if it was just for a short time. On one of our conversations, Glo, (her caretaker then) made random comments to mama, "may, kapandok mo daw si B, lalo na pag gaguro ka." I wasn't sure if those were the exact words but that was the essence of what she said. Mama, as always, gave a sly smile, huyom huyom kung baga. She certainly looked good while staying with us in Puraran.

On one of our lunch sessions in Puraran, I noticed my mom's appetite was unsually huge! So, being straightforward and funny as I can be, I could not contain myself and I said jokingly, "mama, daog mo daw ako sa kaonan, hamak pang rice iyan na nakaon mo!" She didn't say a word and continued to finish her meal.

Two days later, she went back to her own abode. My Puraran hut must not have been to her liking, as she couldn't manuever on her own. You see, even though she was physically disabled, she tried her best to be independent. Where she lived, she found a way to hop on her wheelchair from her bed so she could snoop around and see what was going on around the house. Now, I know where I got my nosiness.

She definitely loved all her children and grandchildren. She made sure that all her children were situated and with a home to settle in. When one of her grandsons required special glasses for his rare eye problem, she did the best she could to relay the message to me at O's place by having V push her on her wheelchair all the way over. I noticed that she was at her best when faced with adversities and hardships. At those times, nothing could stop her.

She was a hardworking mother and a survivor. At a young age, she had taught me every task imaginable, from mangamunti, mag talok, mag tanom ning kamunti, to fishing in the swamp. Mother liked to pull tricks on me, as well. During one of our trips to the swamp, I tried to have a feel of the bottom of the water in an attempt to find holes where fish or crabs may be hiding. Little did I know, she went from behind me and felt my bottom, which scared the heck out of me. Ang hona ko some ugly creatures invaded my private zone. She laughed hard, of course, and had preserved those memories for kicks and giggles.

I was amazed at how well she was able to maintain her sanity and speech in a clear fashion until her last breath. Being the only person with authority, she was able to convey to her nieces and great nieces to settle their differences and to reconcile with one another. Truly, she epitomized the woman whose love extended far beyond her children.

Much as I want to be with her today, God knows how much I tried as I almost booked round trip ticket but I am sure she understands the financial dilemma that I am facing right now. And I had her permission.

Mother, together with your amerikanang granddaughters, S and A, and my husband S, we love you. I know Jehovah will welcome you in heaven with open arms. May your soul rest in peace.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

S Concert at the Cafe

Last night, S held a concert in our local coffee shop intended for the typhoon victims in my village. About 50 people showed up. It turned out to be a little too many for a small coffee shop to accommodate. Some people chose to watch her in standing position. Many of her high school friends came and watched her, too, and hung out for a while even after the show was over. People thought she did excellently!
In this picture, S and A sang a song that S composed called, "Day After Day" that was sung at the high school graduation 2005 by the Payson High School Modern Choir of which Alexis was a member. It was a beautiful song full of memories of her high school years. The two of them beautifully executed the song.

Here, she sang a song titled, "Trust" which she composed a year ago and has remained untitled for some time until her friends found an appropriate title for it. It is a beautiful song and is one of my favorites from her repertoire.

From all the snapshots taken at last night's concert, this one is my favorite as it captured her emotion as she beautifully sang the song.

Well, of course, the show was not complete without the mother's participation. Though, I haven't been strumming the guitar in years, I thought I would give it try just on one song. I did practice a couple of night prior but it takes a while to develop that calluses on the finger tips. Luckily, I made it through without being obvious that I was hurting. Whew! Glad, I only had to perform once that night.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Para sainyong lahat: Maligayang Pasko at Manigong Bagong Taon!
Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

A 's Solo

My daughter, Alexis, beautifully rendered a song today at a church entitled, "Let Us Be United", with the choir supporting her. She has this beautiful high voice that complemented the choir just perfectly. Of course, I gave credit to the choir director for orchestrating the proceedings. I wish I could have recorded the song and let you hear it.

Alexis is graduating this year in high school and will go to Northern Arizona University. Time really flies by quickly. Not too long ago, she was just a little girl. I can't believe that she is going to college this fall. Soon, I will be the only teenager left in the house..hehe.

Hmmm, I have been thinking. How did I end up with two daughters who do fairly well in singing? I am pretty sure they got it from my side of the family because my husband can't even carry a tune. He sings a song with same note all throughout..hehehe. I can sing, too, but I never had a chance to cultivate it in my younger years, thus, it went downhill. I do sing and strum my guitar once in a while, but I don't have as much inclination as I had when I was younger. Nowadays, I usually quit after singing one song. My daughter suggested that I keep working on it but who has the time to do that? I am extremely busy at work with Association's matters and household tasks.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Benefit Concert featuring S..

Benefit Concert featuring local artist, S. Concert will take place at Fireside Espresso located at 614 N. Beeline Highway on December 23, 2006 at 7:30 PM sharp.

All proceeds will go to the typhoon victims in her hometown village in the Philippines. She will be singing mostly original songs.

Padre D said he will try to fly to Phoenix to sing along with S. It will be nice if he can come. A couple friend of mine from Roosevelt, AZ said they will be there. I expect to have a good turnout.

Wish us luck.

My Family is Safe, Thank God!

I posted this picture here as a sign of promise and hope for our kababayans who went through the emotional trauma from the severe beating and pounding of the brutal typhoon Reming (Durian).

I finally heard from my brothers on December 6, 2006, six days after the typhoon Reming ravaged our poor island of Catanduanes. He probably felt how anxious and worried I was to hear from them so he took his tricycle and bravely traversed the road to Viga despite of the uncertainty and perils that lay ahead of him for three hours one way, thus, incurring 6 hours total travel time. That is a lot of traveling just to get in touch with his sister and relatives in Manila.

The first thing he said was my house in P is okay sustaining only minor damage and could be easily fixed. Thank God! Next thing he told me was that they were okay except that one of my brothers lost his house completely. I expected it to happen though, initially, I was in denial hoping that a miracle would happen and spare the house. I wonder how he felt about losing his house. Still in shock, he must be devastated and feeling helpless thinking of how and where he will get the resources to rebuild his house. All sources of livelihood perished, and the whole situation is in chaos waiting for it to go through its course. I felt so sorry for him. Even though I don't particularly like this brother of mine because of things that he does which I will not elaborate here, but I will try my best to help him financially to reconstruct his house with help from my dear friends and relatives. I am not made up of money myself but with God's help, I am positive that I can make it happen. A studio type concrete house will suffice, something that will withstand typhoon repeatedly.

I scheduled a benefit concert in our community featuring my daughter who will be signing her original songs for the benefit of my brother and poor relatives in my barrio on December 23, 2006; http://diveintoblue.com/. There are about 20 families in my barrio living below the poverty line, deeply in need of food. I am unsure if the rations that are being sent to Virac ever reach the far flung barrios. There are no reports that said so.

In addition, I am planning to send vegetable seeds like pechay, talong, long beans, and bittermelon (if I can find bittermelon seeds here) ASAP. My Japanese friend is starting to procure dry goods such as legumes, etc to bring along when she travels with me to Catanduanes for the first time early next year. She is a good-hearted woman and resembles Mother Theresa. She wants to do humanitarian acts instead of relaxing and enjoying her vacation. That is nice of her. She is aware that our poeple need all the help they can get to recover. The government aid, if ever there is any reaching our place, will quit after sometime and so they need to plow that soil now and start planting though there is no guarantee that the typhoon will not come at least for the time being.

Hope, you, too, are doing your part in helping the people in your hometown, as we can't rely on the government alone. Let's all help beyond our family however small it may be.

Lastly, make God part of your daily life. It is never too late to study Bible.

Monday, December 4, 2006

Typhoon Reming Wreaked Havoc in Catanduanes, One of the Worst.

Awful site to behold! Those are tyhpoon Reming aftermath pictures that I lifted from deepskin's gallery,
I hope he doesn't mind. I guess some of these pictures were taken from a military plane that flew to the province of Catanduanes to deliver relief goods to the typhoon victims..

I lived in Catanduanes for 16 years and I had experienced typhoon of this magnitude when I was in grade 3. Our house just as you see in the aftermath photos was torn asunder and all our personal belongings were either ruined, blown away or slobbered with mud. What a tragedy, indeed.

This recent tyhpoon was no different from the one I experienced some eons ago. I know how my fellow Catandunganons felt. I share your losses and your pain, but life must go on. Somehow, with God's help, you will manage to put your life together just as you used to by starting all over again.

To this date, I am worried sick over the safety of my 4 brothers who live in the typhoon strongest hit area, Bato. It is now Monday December 4, 2006; 5 days after the typhoon brought havoc in our island and still no news from my relatives. It is heartbreaking especially thinking of my poor little nephews who had to go through this terrible ordeal in their younger years. I couldn't even imagine how frightened they were as the typhoon blasted and made a direct hit to our beloved island. How did they manage to stay safe amidst all these destructions? Did they all get drenched? Did they sleep overnight with their clothes wet? Did they sleep with empty stomachs? I hope it will not forever leave a scar on these young ones as it were to me when I was a little girl.

We will not know for sure what they went through until we hear from them. My mind is wandering right now as to what exactly are they doing at this very moment. They are probably still in shock and confused or are thankful just to be alive. Or they are trying to retrieve parts of their houses like the tin roofs that were buffeted by the powerful wind so they don't have to sleep another night without a roof. I am afraid to accept that one of my brothers may have lost his house completely as it was made out of woods and nipa huts only unless there was some Divine intervention from up above. Waiting not knowing what is going on is killing me.

I still remember vividly the aftermath of the monstrous typhoon Sening some 35 plus years ago. My mother tried to recover the rice grains that were washed away into the ditch otherwise we would not have anything to eat. Fortunately, she managed to get some of it but eventually gave up when she became very ill after being exposed to unsanitary condition. She almost died! We were staying on a floor of our house with roof caved in. It surely was a traumatic experience for a little girl like me. However, it was not her time to go just yet so God let her live for another 35 years.

While it offers consolation to know that there were no casualties in the town of Bato, yet, on the other hand, it is saddening to know that 90% of the houses sustained substantial damage. Even strong built houses suffered a beating. All vegetations were strewn all over the ground. Looking at the aerial pictures of the island, Catanduanes, it looks like a war zone. It is an eerie sight to behold! Classes were suspended because school buildings were without roofs. The teachers will likely to give lessons in residential houses like when I was in grade 3.

I hope that all Catandunganons and filipinos alike will try to pitch in to help our poor kababayans recoup from these devastation. Every little help counts.