Related Posts with Thumbnails

Shooting cascades in Papa-a

As soon as I saw small cascades running down the stream, I immediately thought it would be good to do long exposures. It was just disappointing that I did not bring my tripod [again!]. But then I felt I had to shoot.

Awesome sunset in Butuan City

It is not very often you get to witness a stunning sunset that gives you goosebumps. For a photography junkie like me, you should never, never, never let it pass just like that.

Winning a photo contest

Winning a photo contest for the first time (well, officially and with a prize for that matter) gives a different high!

Missing Cordi

From afar, I could already see the clouds rolling over the mountaintops. It was a sight to behold. So I asked the driver of our vehicle going to Buguias, Benguet to stop so I can capture this once-in-lifetime scene.

Cory Aquino: An inexhaustible gift to democracy

She further stressed the belief that the Filipino people, as a nation, can be great again. During her last State of the Nation Address (SONA), she said: I believe in the inexhaustible giftedness of the Filipino people.

Conversation with a cab driver on climate change

Ironically, this cab driver who would like to contribute something help curb climate change and global warming, by planting his narra tree becomes discouraged and disappointed...

At home [and at peace] with HDR Photography

HDR is not bad per se. HDR is nice to learn. In fact it is a must for non-pro like me to learn HDR to learn more about shadow and light and exposure, which is the crux of photography.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

11 | Finding solitude

At this time of the year, everything moves so fast.  Everything is rush and everyone seems so pre-occupied with beating deadlines!

I have started a countdown, yet, I missed 4 days of it.  Friday was devoted to finishing some reports then the Indios party at night. Weekends were spent for work backlogs, continued on Monday.

Practically, there was no time to take a break from all of these.

Scavenging through my photos today, I found this one.  It was taken a year ago back home in Nueva Ecija.  It was some kind of special for me.  But one thing that encouraged me to upload this, despite working on another set of tasks, is the solitude it gives me.

After all, Christmas should mean love, hope, and peace.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

16 | So-so upload for the day

This is it!  Now I am finding it so hard to really be religious with a countdown thingy.  What more with a "Project 365"!  That--I will not go into--definitely!

No matter how much effort you put into a certain "project" there are things or events that happen unexpectedly.  Even if you strictly follow a schedule, sometimes, this could not just be followed, especially when your physical body gives in.

The day was busy.  There were tons of emails to reply to.  Write-ups to prepare.  Backlogs to complete.  A tired body to deal and overcome with.  All of these happen in one morning when your body would like giving up.  But sometimes you cannot cheat your body and have no other logical choice but to give in.  A 5-hour sleep, I guess was enough to rejuvenate.  Indeed it was a deep sleep. Now back infront of my laptop--to work to catch up on Facebook, my flickr, and my blog, among otehr things--then back to work again.  I just hope to finish everything before dawn tomorrow.

Still, I am happy, because it is the season to be such!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

17 | Light of the world

One of the joys of being a photographer is having your work chosen for some kind of "publication."  Without bragging, some of my photos were actually featured in Pinoycentric, and of course in, which I am working on.

My photo "Light of the World" was chosen for the 2009 Calendar of the Flickristasindios.  This is a photo of my 5 year old capiz lantern (parol).  Shooting it with ever changing light patterns was a challenging job.  Getting the right exposure is equally difficult.  After shooting this, only did I realize that I can freeze the light or put them on a "steady" mode.  Nonetheless, it came out well, despite it having tested my patience and my skills!

For 2010 Calendar, one of my photos was selected again for the month of August, and has the theme: Friendship.  My apologies that I could not give the calendar to all my friends since printing now is more expensive. (I only ordered 10).  Flickristasindios, is a non-profit informal organization, and does not have a seed fund to print a calendar in bulk, and we rely mainly on orders.

Again, as I mentioned earlier in my blog, I have donated my photo to be in the calendar of ABS CBN foundation.  No compensation, but it is the spirit of sharing that counts.

Then I realize, am I beginning to think I am a "calendar king"?  LOLs!

But then I further realize, some of my photos become the light of the world as it continues to inspire other people.

18 | It is Immaculate Conception day!

(Note: this was posted late due to some internet connection problems). 

Today, December 8 is the feast day of the Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception...I have no fitting photo of the Immaculate Conception image, but I guess this will suffice.

Being a Catholic, and schooled in a catholic school, I have never really fully understood this Marian tradition.

Good thing there are available online resources already.  I am glad the my high school Alma Mater is intensifying its catechism on this matter.

Catholic Encyclopedia mentions:

In the Constitution Ineffabilis Deus of 8 December, 1854, Pius IX pronounced and defined that the Blessed Virgin Mary "in the first instance of her conception, by a singular privilege and graceGod, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the human race, was preserved exempt from all stain of original sin." 

Read more from the site.

Monday, December 7, 2009

19 | The Nativity in stained glass

19 | The Nativity in stained glass

Sunday, December 6, 2009

20 | As we end our mourning

Early this year, we faced a big test. Losing a mother was painful. She was our mentor, best friend, a confidante, our chef, and everything for us. Losing Mamang was like losing an anchor, but just like what I mentioned in my earlier blog about her, there was a reason for her leaving us. Until now, the teacher that she is, she is still teaching us a lesson--about being a family. We have not lost an anchor, and we did not drift far apart. We realized we are safely tied up together.

As mourning ends

I could only go back to the sweet memories. Remembering her still pinches the soft spot in me, but everything has to go on, just like the way she wanted us all to be. Every time I pay her a tribute, I feel a certain loss, but her memories will always fill me.

As we end our mourning today, we raise her up to Our Creator.

She's in good hands.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

21 - A star lamp is born!

Earlier, I blogged about a set of busted Christmas lights and wondered where I could use it. Then I noticed a lamp inside the bedroom, which we do not actually use for the longest time. Besides, it's sinamay fabric is already a bit faded, ergo, it does not look good. I got the lamp as a gift from one of project partners in Davao and I do not want to give it away for some sentimental reasons.

So I thought, perhaps sprucing it up a bit could make that lamp shade put to good use again. So, I tried putting the stars on, and it just does not work. I tried again, and the stars could not fill the entire shade. Then I tried again, leaving some spaces, and now I got extra 3 stars and I was tired to remove them again.

I turned off the main light and tried it out and voila! I was happy with the result! In fact I can make use of this the whole yer round since stars have that universal appeal and there are only primary colors, except for the green.

So here it is!

21 - A star lamp is born!

and the full size...


Do I have a chance at designing? I only used 2 meters of fine GI wire (that includes the wasted ones) and s small long nosed pliers to secure them in place.

I knew I could make something out of a trash!

Friday, December 4, 2009

22 - Star

Two years ago, when I blogged about the family tradition of putting up the Christmas tree, I have already noticed that something was different. Yes the boys are growing up and the kind of excitement is almost over. Gio is now 15 going on 16, and will be going to college 2011. How time flies! Gelo is now 11, and will be in his teens soon. Our babies are no longer "our babies".

This year, putting up and sprucing up the tree was a little late. We usually put up the tree after the Halloween. But the typhoon Ondoy has somehow dampened our spirit and "affected" our house, and we decided it was time to had to repaint the interiors. Well this time, it is celery green instead of the usual white boring walls. So decorating for Christmas, was done in between available time. It sounds like a rut, but we thought, "in the spirit of Christmas." And yes, Gelo still wants the tree being spruced up. After all he is still a kid.

22 - Star

Putting up the last piece of the tree, the star, has always been assigned to the youngest. Still, Gelo has that privilege, and so I grabbed this opportunity to record what he likes doing for the past years.

Christmas is near...

Thursday, December 3, 2009

23 - A Christmas gift

Last September, I received an email from ABS-CBN, and it says:

Dear Mr. Ding Fuellos,

We have recently visited your gallery of beautiful photographs over the internet. We are most impressed by your creativity and exemplary skills. We hope that you are open to the idea of donating one of your photographs for the benefit of our Alay sa Batang Basileno campaign, a project that will equip schools in the war-torn towns of Tipo-Tipo, Lamitan, Sumisip and other nearby communities in Basilan with educational television video materials like Sinekwela, Mathinik, Bayani and Hirayamanawari . We believe that by providing children with supplementary learning materials, we will be able to contribute to the long–term peace efforts in the province. Last July, we were able to reach out to 17 schools by giving them educational video libraries, school supplies and a special teacher training orientation on educational television. We are determined to go back to Basilan next year to help some more students and teachers.

Part of our fundraising campaign is the production of “Nais Ko: Mga Pangarap ng Batang Pinoy” calendar . The images will depict aspirations of a Filipino child for himself, his community, his school, his family and his country. You are free to interpret the theme in your photograph. We will be happy with images that convey hope, inspire national pride and the pursuit for excellence . You may send an image from your existing file or capture a new one specifically for the project.

In appreciation of your donation of time and resources, we will be happy to issue you a certificate of donation which you may use to avail of tax incentives next year, complimentary copies of the calendar and an acknowledgment of your photograph in the promotional activities that we will undertake. We also guarantee that you will be properly acknowledged by including your name and contact information in the photo credits.

If you are willing to accept this invitation to take part in the project, please feel free to call us at ***** or email us at *******
. We will be happy to hear from you soon.

I also thought that this gesture is a good birthday gift for me, and my gift to humanity. However, the typhoon Ondoy put a halt to this, and I thought that ABS-CBN foundation is no longer interested. Today, as I was contemplating on what to post for my 3rd countdown day, I got an email from them again that is requesting for a particular photo, which is this....

23 - A Christmas gift

So all in the name of Batang Basileño, I am just glad to share my photo with them.

I can't describe my feelings, but I am just honored with this request for me to donate my photo. I can't wait to see the calendar. Hope you can also buy one of those when they are already available.

Thanks a lot, ABS-CBN Foundation for believing in me.

24 - To go or not to go?

Day 2 - Countdown to Christmas 2009

It has been one year and I never really paid attention to this busted set of Christmas lights we bought a few years back. It did serve us for at least three (3) Christmases. Not bad! Anyway, I saw this on a pile of things that needed to be disposed (We usually dispose "garbage" at the end of the year.), and I thought that, perhaps, I could make something out of it.

24 - To go or not to go?

The Ondoy tragedy brought many people to be concerned about the environment including me. (Although many critics say that the the issue on global warming is one big money-making scam, because global warming is a natural phenomenon, so they say, and we are but heading towards that direction--as a matter of course. But that is not my discourse for now.). Still, i think and feel that it is my moral responsibility to protect my "home."

So back to recycling these stars.

One of my flickr contacts commented: "reduce reuse recycle. your xmas gift to mother nature:)."

Oh yes! why not? That is what I exactly have in mind. I mentioned in my Flickr page, that I just need some time patience and time to make something out of it. Creativity is not a problem! It runs in my DNA! [pun intended--if you know that PGMA blurb!].

Cheers for an environmentally friendly Christmas!

25 | Christmas 2009 countdown

I have not been really into the countdown thing. I thought it was just a waste of time and an additional burden, so they say. However, i just need to relish the thought that 2009 has been very good for me, and it is my way of paying tribute to My Creator. Why not? I am past 40 and life begins at 40, so they say. So what is keeping me from feeling like a kid again? Nothing!

Likewise, I have not been very active with blogging lately and my blog is already being attacked by spammers! I had to delete plenty of spam messages. Good thing I set the moderation settings!

Anyway, I am officially starting my countdown to Christmas 2009, which I started, actually in my Flickr site. (Oh no! the 100 days before Christmas is just too much for me!)

Everyday, until Christmas day, I will post some bits and pieces of what I have in my mind and heart about waiting for Christmas.

For a start, here is a photo I want to share. I tool this photo last year. December 31, to be exact. My big brother was just kind enough to lend me his filters and I tried this "star" filter.

25 - Countdown starts

Saturday, August 1, 2009

My Tribute to the Philippines' democracy icon

August 1, 2009. Much has been written about the life of former president Corazon C. Aquino. Much has also been said about her death. Her passing away has definitely brought the nation again to unite, pray, and still hold that torch for democracy in the Philippines that she has helped to restore.

I remember her when I was a junior high school back home in Nueva Ecija during her campaign sortie in her bid for presidency. She was very unassuming but she was an embodiment of national strength and hope and sincerity, which, I think, were the reasons that catapulted her to power. I regret that I had no time to meet her personally when I worked for her successor, President Fidel V. Ramos, for she chose to be a private citizen after her term.

There would be no enough words to pay tribute to the great president. But this is my pitch--she made Presidency a symbol of trust, confidence and decency, that no other successor has ever done.

In this light, I just want to share two videos that will remind us of her presidency.

Cory Aquino sworn into office as the 11th president of the Republic of the Philippines. (The video, unfortunately, cannot be embedded, thus the link).

And the EDSA People Power theme song that reverberated in the airwaves back in 1986.

May President Cory rest in eternal peace.

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Friday, July 31, 2009

The tale of two photos

Two of my photos are currently on exhibit at Neutral Grounds' "First Anniversary Photo Exhibit" at Philamlife East Side Lobby, Philamlife Building, UN Avenue, Ermita Manila. Exhibit originally runs from July 24-July 31, 2009, but it has been extended until August 7.

These photos happen to have been selected in Neutral Ground as photo of the day. I was never expecting the site administrators to choose it. The site rule allows us only to post one (1) photo a day, so we might as well choose what we think are our best photos.

Choosing from a thousand photo in my stream is a difficult task. Aside from the technicality of the photo, I have always adhered to at least two more criteria which I must follow: (1) that the photo should be able to evoke thoughts and emotions from the viewers, and (2) it must tell a story

Idlip [nap]

I took this photo in one of my photo walks with my Flickr group, Flickristasindios sometime in September 2008. This was taken in Plaza Lorenzo infront of Binondo Church in Manila. As always, the plaza is teeming with people willing to be subjects--who would even strike a pose or let go of that smile. Whenever possible, I want my photos to be candid--one that is taken by patiently waiting and capturing them at the right moment. Seeing this sleeping child beside their wares for sale caught my attention. Suddenly, thoughts came rushing to my mind--How many street children do we have now? How many children have to work with their parents to survive? How many are homeless? How many of them do not enjoy the liberty of enjoying their childhood?

Being a father, this image is special and has a personal message to me--What if I am the father of this boy?


My wife and I thought of bringing the kids out after the new year celebrations. Year 2008 has been quite a sail, and with my late Mom who was at the time still in her sick bed, but we have to give them some enjoyment so we brought them to the Manila Ocean Park. My boys enjoyed the day out, especially Gelo, who is my accidental model in this photo. We have already finished the rounds of seeing the marine life in the giant aquariums, and we decided to slow down a bit and rest our aching feet. My son, Gelo, found a seat in the ongoing exhibit abut Jose Rizal. While looking at him 5-6 meters away, I noticed that the backdrop was the image of Jose Rizal. I immediately grabbed my camera and aimed at him. He smiled back, ready to strike a cutesy pose, but I told him to sit still, and just look at my camera--and I loved the result--fitting for the famous Jose Rizal line: Ang kabataan ang pag-asa ng bayan. (The youth is the hope of the motherland.)

Although these photos did not manage to win the Photo of the Week that would eventually qualify them for the Photo of the Month and the Photo of the Year, I am still glad that there is a little recognition of my work as a photographer.

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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Profiting from blogging--finally!

Profiting from blogging--by putting up spaces for ads in my blog-- never crossed my mind. I just thought it would defeat the purpose of blogging and expressing, and aesthetics-wise, those flashing ads would just be a clutter. Honestly, too, my blog will not be sale-able since it does not enjoy the hits that would make any client interested in my blog. So I am enjoying my blog layout as spic-and-span as it can be. Forget the fraction of cents I would get from the clicks.

Anyway, I also wanted to make blogging more profitable. The reason why I started my travel blog, is to get clients who would get me into projects where I could enjoy both photography and blogging. I think I have an edge since I can write anything under the sun. The waiting seems too long. Besides, blogging took a back seat for almost two years, and regaining "popularity" and regaining old contacts from the blogosphere, would be almost impossible! Thanks to some flickr and facebook friends who occasionally drop by my blog.

When a project to manage a website came, I immediately grabbed the opportunity. It is once-in-a-blue-moon offer and thinking it would add spice to a rather monotonous work would make me a better person--and perhaps might lead me to a possible career change--maybe at this point is for some diversion of my excess creative juices. It is not blogging per se. Rather, it is a website management work. I love the idea of creating stories out of tons of materials made available to me, as well as coordinating with writers and beating deadlines. Not to mention learning the wordpress back end of the website.

Well, I might not enjoy the clicks that bring me dollars, or rather, cents, but I am enjoying the fact that I am doing something that I love--writing, blogging [read: website management], and photography--and finally earning from it.

You will never know when an opportunity like mine knocks at your door. So I am giving away some tips:

  1. Build your network - you will never know who will approach you and and ask you to write for them
  2. Improve on your writing--tackle the unpopular and noteworthy subject matter and refrain from writing on anything that can be read elsewhere (e.g. Michael Jackson's death, Manny Pacquiao bout, etc.) Why? Because it will make you a better and well-rounded writer, and will prepare you to tackle different stories and subject matter later on. The website I am working on is all about culture and development--something close to my work, but learning about culture and its ramifications becomes the challenging job.
  3. Learn about website management/ learn about editorial/ management skills
  4. Learn about web design (aesthetics for a start will do, but it is much better if you learn about SQL programming, CSS, HTML, etc.)
  5. Enjoy blogging [read: writing] and have patience.
  6. Advertise yourself. facebook is one effective tool.
  7. Patience is a virtue. The web designing process itself is a tedious job. The designing and redesigning stage will drain you or your programmer, but it pays to be open to criticisms and make constructive ones, too. Do not forget to praise your programmer if he did a great job.

So I am just proud to announce about pet project.

Hope you visit the site. Comments in the articles are most welcome!

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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

NEW HOME: Embracing Wordpress

Finally, I gave in to a new blogger format which I have always wanted to have. I am very much comfortable with the Blogger format which I am using here in this blog, but my new project (which I will share soon!) is on a WordPress format. I had no choice but to learn the tricks f the trade. And only when I was familiarizing myself with the buttons and all, did I only realize that WP has become more user-friendly like my first love, Blogger. Back in 2007, I found the WP really, really hard to use especially when you are still starting. I could not understand how the widgets work back then.

However, the Blogger format is still much easier because you can learn the CSS easily, as well as change the layout, which I do often, hoping that it will make a better-looking blog layout.

Anyway, since I have already thousands of views in this blog, I decided not to transfer them. Otherwise, all of the years I have worked on it will be lost.

So here are my new blogs:

MY HOME: which aggregates all my blogs and other websites:

New home!


EXPLORED! which is my travel blog:

Hope to see you there!

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Enjoying event photography

I know it would be too late if I blog about the much-talked about AKO MISMO advocacy and concert. So I am giving it a different slant, so that it would not appear like it was a long-overdue blog post, which was overtaken by events.

Anyway, now I cherish the fact that I was one of the official photographers of the event! Thanks to a friend who is directly connected to the conceptualization of AKO MISMO, which by the way is not politically motivated but a call for Filipinos to start CHANGE from themselves. I share this advocacy because since my college days in my psychology courses, we have always been inculcating during the homeroom facilitation classes and in counseling. Something like a Rogerian approach to counseling.

I have done events like the fiestas and festivals here and there, but it was my first time to shoot a concert. Anyway, I simply ran out of words to describe. it, but there is nothing more explicit than the photos I took during this event:

The commitment wall:
Proud Tsinoy

The people who believe in the cause:

The artists who graced the occassion:

and of course, my fellow Indios who documented the event:

...and I look forward to shooting more events in the future! {for free or for a fee - smile!}

You can see the rest of the photos HERE.

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Friday, May 1, 2009

Lang-ay Festival 2009

I took another marathon trip last April 6 and 7 to be just in time for Mountain Province's Annual Lang-ay Festival.

Witnessing and covering the event was exhausting, but it thrilled me just the same because I got the chance to mingle with the different tribes of the Cordillera people. Watching the SLU Dance Troupe perform was likewise a source of pride for my alma mater. The street dancing was superb as the participants gave their best to entertain the locals and tourists. And communing with them along the historic Chico river where the governor treated all participants for lunch was a humbling experience--where all people become co-equals.

This years' theme was "Nurturing History and Culture".

It was an honor to be part of this. If my schedule permits, I will definitely go back next year.

You can read the full story at: Lang-ay Festival of Mt. Province

The Earth Hour experience

I know it would be a very late post. But just the same, I am glad to share this to you.

Earth Hour 2009

My two nephews and my niece came for a sleep over. I had the chance to observe earth hour with them, and they gladly obliged to be my models.

They had so many questions why we had to turn off the lights for one hour. They are glad to be part of history and help arrest global warming - for their children's children.

N.B. The Earth Hour Global just emailed me and they took interest in this photo, which they will use in their Earth Hour campaign.


Saturday, March 28, 2009

60 minutes into the future

For the future generation

Just 3600 seconds.
Just 60 minutes.
Just 1 hour.
Just 4.2 percent of your day.

You can make history.
You can make global warming a thing of the past.
You can define your future...
...your children's children's future...

Be one with us...

Be a part of the change.

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Sunday, February 22, 2009

Experiencing Hot Air Balloon Fiesta

Preparing for the flight

Seeing them on TV, especially in features in National Geographic (not exactly sure about it) and Discovery Channel makes me feel so young at heart! I know that they are huge and they run on winds and hydrogen, but seeing them right before my eyes is definitely an altogether different experience.

Together with my Flickr friends, we started our travel from Quezon Avenue to Clark at 4:00 Am and arrived before 6 AM. It was my first time to attend the Hot Air Balloon Fiesta last February 15, and was just surprised to so many cars and people lining up!

But we were lucky to have a friend's friend to buy tickets for us so the queuing up was a little shorter. Thank God! or else we would not see the preparation and the start. It was worth the heat, the confusion, and physical was indeed an awesome experience! I might go there again next year and bring my sons with me!

You can see my 2009 Hot Air Balloon Fiesta HERE.

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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Forty days

It has been awhile again since I updated my blog. Many events have taken place, and many things have changed. It is now 40 days since my mom left us, and joined Papang and Our Creator last January 3. She was laid to rest last January 9, and I just want to share my eulogy which I delivered during the last minutes we were with her:

My Survivor Mom!

Last November 16, I made a blog entry in my online photography album, entitled Survivor Mom. There was no special occasion. I just felt it was high time to pay her a tribute.

I never thought that the tribute I made would turn out to be a eulogy instead. Nonetheless, I am here infront of you to share my personal tribute, which is now our tribute—to share the important lessons from Mommy.

1. Mommy will always be a Mommy to us! She gave birth and raised 7 of us to become the persons we are now—as professionals and successful in our respective careers—but more importantly, to be God-fearing and just be good persons. One can never imagine how she shuffled between her teaching career and a housekeeper, and between being a loving mother to us and wife to Papang, a sister to her kins and an adorable auntie.

From her, springs a lifelong learning of doing something that comes from the heart—of showing love and care for each other, of looking after each other’s welfare, and of making sure that we make each other, and other people comfortable in or outside our home.

2. Next to being a mother, she was a dedicated educator.

For more than 40 years, she was committed to her vocation—despite the hardships and challenges of teaching in a public school. As such, she was a witness to hundreds or even thousands of young minds being moulded into becoming more productive persons. In all these years, she never complained about the hardships. Rather, she steadfastly and patiently fulfilled her vocation, lived it, and dutifully performed the role of a second mother to her pupils.

3. She was a doting grandmother to her 12 grandchildren, and all her other grandchildren who were put under her care. Together with the late Papang, she loved playing the role of doting Mamang, as surrogate mother at all times, and their attorney-in-fact who was always ready to stand up defending against their tyrant parents when her grandchildren needed some protection and comforting.

They simply love her for that! Of course! Who would not like being defended by Atty. Mamang Paring?

4. As a grandmother, she would always find time to be updated on what is happening to them, and if they were well taken cared of. Last Christmas, while lying in bed and was so weak to cook, she was still concerned if her apos, nephews and nieces had food to eat. She did not stop bugging us until we assured that everything is settled and that she had nothing to worry about.

5. For that, I would say that she is the best cook/ chef I have known all my life. Mommy is synonymous to food. If one needs some feeding, just go to our home and you will surely burp to your satisfaction. We can say that we inherited her cooking skills. She had no secret recipe to keep, but one important cooking lesson that we learned from her is that everything is just gut feel—something that comes from the heart—one that nurtures and not the one that only satisfies your physical body.

6. She is the Auntie for all seasons—our cousins branded her as "Auntie Singsingpet". I have witnessed how she showered our cousins with a motherly love and affection that sometimes makes us jealous.

7. Long before the word caregiver was a buzz word, she already was a caregiver: She took care of Inang Baket for 5 years, Auntie Aurea, Aunite Pajing, Uncle Tinoy, Papang for 7 long years, and us when we get sick. She did all these without expecting anything in return. All these she did because of her boundless and limitless love. Again, she gave us a very important lesson—the virtue of paying it forward.

In 2004, she was diagnosed with a stage 2 breast cancer. In gratitude, we did our best to give back the fruits of what she has sown in 80 years of her life. In the end, our love and care, her positive view about life, and the love for her grandchildren fueled her more to continue cherishing life! For her, having a cancer is not the end of world! It was a celebration of life!

8. Mommy is one great cheer leader—an animator, and a source of great inspiration. In our studies and in our professional life, she wrote us long letters, giving us the encouragement to bring home the bacon. When she was in the US, she never failed to send us--the old-fashioned way--birthday and Christmas cards. Although old-fashioned, she marveled at the internet! Before she went home from the US, she would always egg on Ating Edna when she goes home from work to turn on her laptop so we can chat for more than one hour through the internet. Whatever mean of communication, she never failed to remind us to be strong and pray hard amidst the difficulties we face in life. We would certainly miss those endearing words.

9. Mommy is an enigma. We are in the belief that she would survive the strange illness she had. We thought she will be okay after all. She had the best medical treatment and specialists in one of the best hospitals in the Philippines and in the US. I believe she had the best care she got from us, her children. But all the best things that the world can offer have their end after all. As I write this eulogy, I realize there is more than the best in this earthly existence. Now, she is in the BESTEST place—in the hands of God—that we could not offer.

There are still many WHY’s—burning questions that are left unanswered. Only time will tell how and why she had to leave us. Her death may seem to be a puzzle to all of us. However, slowly, each day, and true to her nature as a caring mother and teacher, she helped us unravel, and put the pieces together, and understand and accept her departure.

Just like her very nature, she made sure that, we, her children, would not suffer anymore from the agony of expecting death. She went away fast, and unannounced, but I believe that she is making sure the acceptance is also fast. Up to this day, she offers bits and pieces of information that make us realize she lived a fruitful life. Indeed, she deserved the nickname Mamang Fruits. (Of course there is another story why she is being called Fruits.).

10. One very important lesson from Mommy is her being a very prayerful person. She had a very strong relationship with God. In her journey through life, she always asked God for intercession. When I was a small child, when life was hard, she always took refuge and guidance from Mama Mary. She was a devotee of the Mother of Perpetual Help, and always prayed the Holy Rosary. On her flight back to Manila, she was praying the Rosary. Whenever she was in pain and in sorrow, she never complained. Rather she lifted them up to God and she would always utter, “Kaasian na kami Apo” (Lord have Mercy). And I would like to believe that at the time of her last breath, she was still saying her last prayers.

Mommy likes to travel. When she travels, she makes sure everything was prepared—baon na pagkain, water, candies, and anything that fills our stomach. On the spiritual side, she always brought her small prayer travel companion—a small book of prayers. In her journeys here and abroad, God is always her refuge and travel guide.

Mommy is a very secretive woman. She did not tell us her pains or how painful they are. However, when it comes to showing his love and affection, there is nothing spectacular or unusually different act. You could not tell if there is something special on a particular day because it was just her nature to freely express her affection. In short, it was normal if you get a token or a gift from her or if she feeds you in our home, or as simple as “Kumusta kan anak ko?”

True to her secretive nature, and unlike her previous travels, Mommy kept her last journey a secret. However, while we are unaware that she prepared for her last journey, we later realized she made sure that everyone and everything were okay.

On the third night of the wake, I was so bored, so I was drawn to read her small prayer book. I am still puzzled but I was surprised with my discovery. I thought, ang ingat naman ni Mommy kasi wala man lang lukot ang mga pages. Pero nagulat na lang ako na may isang page na nakatiklop ang corner. It was rather odd. So I became curious and read the page content. I was even more shocked when the content of the page, says:

Psalm 84

How lovely is your dwelling place,
O Lord of hosts!
My soul yearns and pines
For the courts of the Lord.
My heart and my flesh
Cry out for the living God
Even the sparrow finds a home,
And the swallow a nest
In which she puts her young
Your altars o Lord of hosts.
My King and my God!

Mommy has completed her last journey. She is gone. We could not hug and kiss her anymore. But what consoles us is that we believe she is finally home with her Creator.

We will miss her, but she will always live in our memories and beat in our hearts.

Goodbye Mamang!

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