barely a month ago, my ima (as the whole family and lots of friends call her) or my mother, chided me with a simple request of having her 61st birthday celebrated somewhere other than our place in pampanga. she suggested a weekend getaway somewhere since her birthday will fall on a long weekend. i gave in instantly since she didnt get to celebrate her 60th bday last year due to her mother’s demise. our initial choice was somewhere in laguna, but it was pricey and far from pampanga. then came canyon cove, still pricey and far. we needed a house, not just a room like in canyon cove.

the living room and a view of the kitchen/dining area of the villa we stayed in. you can also see the veranda where we grilled bbq and where our dog stayed. the space was enough for the whole family!

so came the fontana idea. the villa will be perfect for the size of our family. we just needed someone who can get the cheaper rates. atty. vic gladly helped me out to get the reservations and her sister obligingly helped me through the checking-in process. (lots of thanks!)

early this year, PGMA announced that november 27-28 are special non-working holidays for the muslim festival. without much surprise though, she changed her mind and recalled her earlier proclamation. so as not to ruin our plans, ryan and i just filed for leave from work.

sadly, my kuya jme couldn’t join us coz of work and coz of a long overdue issue of bringing her girl along.

days before the 27th, which is my ima’s actual birthday, i had series of hearings out-of-town. unfortunately, this prevented me from suitably preparing for our weekend getaway. as a ratpack, i hated this so much! argh!

so on the 26th, i packed and packed as much as i could, in ways that will not show that we are off for a month’s vacation. is it my fault then that i have a 6-month old baby who needed sterilizer? who needed feeding  bottles and all the stuff that comes with it? hah!

we left home at about 10:30 AM, with me cussing under my breath, coz ate freli is not home to help me with the chores and all the preparations.

we arrived in lubao, pampanga (technically, my hometown) at around 12PM just in time for lunch. we immediately greeted the birthday girl and kissed her. i knew instantly that by mere presence, we made her happy. she then started babbling with eat this, eat that. shouted at everyone in the household for rice, for water, for viands, etc. she was always like that. she has a spunk that everyone would love –and/or hate at the same time.

after eating, and after my brothers and ryan decided to play counter-strike at the family-owned computer shop, we left for fontana. we arrived there around 3pm and after settling our things in the villa, we immediately ate pansit canton and empanada for snacks. when ira felt sleepy, ima thought she can lull her to sleep by doing her old trick of putting the baby on top of a pillow and racking her feet. no-oh! not with ira. when i tried it on her, she just laughed and laughed. that’s what she did with ima too.

it was a fun-filled weekend for the entire family. the kids immensely enjoyed swimming and running in and outside the villa. ira, for one, cried at the wave pool and slept through her bathing suit. ima had almost everything prepared, from siling labuyo to marinated pork belly. she played with my little ira, with my baby immediately learning the 1-2-3 solid trick her lola ima taught her. we enjoyed eating ima’s good ole’ cooking. we all loved, oh except for ate freli and ate sarah, the free centralized aircon we had for three days. i sulked in the warm bath day in and day out.


ira's first plunge into the water...she doesnt quite like it though. 🙂

there was no regret that we went ahead with the plan, despite budget constraints. i know that ima felt, and still feels happy with her birthday celebration. i can imagine her talking to friends, bragging that her kids planned this for her birthday.

the whole family except for ima...ira is busy with something else

i stayed in the jacuzzi for hours, just letting the pressure of the water massage my over-fatigued human body. i closed my eyes and froze the moment in my mind…i prayed to God that good things like those will keep coming to my family. i thanked and praised Him for every bit of blessings i have, and thanked Him more for those to come.

kuya kenji was splashing some water on ira's face. she seemed to be okay with it as long as i was holdng her..:)

that weekend may have meant a lot to my ima, but it meant more to me, as it not only rested my tired body, it fed my famished soul.

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