Joys Of Summer, Motherhood, Friendship

" Friends are like stars, they come, and they go. Only the true one remains and glows." - ChitoBertol

We walk our separate ways in life; But we have a golden bridge Called PRAYER which links us together." - Dr. Lorina Cabaluna

MANILA, Philippines - Today, the Philippines' own CNN HERO (2009) Caviteno Efren Penaflorida launches his "Kariton Revolution" in the city where the heroes of our yesteryears mounted their own revolutions against the Spanish government - Imus.

As Efren explained it in his visit to Bulong Pulungan sa Sofitel, he is urging everyone to join him and his team in a "Kariton" procession to symbolize their commitment to volunteerism for the environment, education, livelihood, health, wellness and patriotism. He got a lot of support from the Rotarians there at Bulong Pulungan led by Liza Ilarde and Beth Tagle. Even David Guerreno, CEO and Creative Director of BBDO which crafted the winning slogan for Sec. Mon Jimenez' tourism campaign for our lovely isles offered his agency's assistance to Efren.

Yes, as we in Bulong affirmed, "it's more fun in the Philippines!" even in volunteerism, coming home, discovering our people, sights, food, spots, but especially our people! As Guerrero and Jimenez stressed, so far, this slogan has caught everyone's attention and has moved them to participate in promoting the country on social networks. So much so that the DOT has not spent a single peso on paid ads but the "come on" is so well known already!

Fil-Canadian Rey Fortaleza offered his three big community publications in Vancouver and West Coast area for free tourism plugs, and Dex Lim who has an outdoor agency offered his electronic billboards and airport taxis for the slogan. Proof enough that the slogan is a big hit!

Anyway, I recently welcomed the start of summer by buying fresh star apples (or "kaimitos" to us natives) along Katipunan Road, directly behind the UP campus.

Every year, when summer comes rolling in, itinerant vendors from nearby Bulacan descend there and put up their "bilaos" to sell the fleshy sweet and sticky fruit to nostalgic passersby like me. I remember my childhood summers in Cabalantian, Bacolor, Pampanga before it was submerged in an avalanche of lahar from Mt. Pinatubo, star apples were a top favorite for me. And when I lived as a new wife in my in-law's home in New Manila where there were fruit trees in the sprawling compound, I doted on the green and dark violet fruits to my husband's mock dismay.

They sell for P50 a kilo in Katipunan, by the way. And I have recently re-discovered, thanks to my daughter Sandee, the joys of marketing fresh seafood, fruits and flowers at Farmer's Market in Cubao, happily still well-maintained. On my special day last Thursday, I treated myself to a marketing visit there after dropping off my "apo" in her school, I found the small mango varieties called "pajo" which sells for P300 a kilo and the sweet-when-ripe "supsupin!" This one sells for P100 a kilo.

I ended up giving them away because, as usual, I bought a lot. But anyway, part of the joys of being alive and a senior citizen, is to be "tolerated" for her droll ways!

And speaking of the serendipity of growing a year older, here is what my Sandee wrote last Thursday in her Facebook. Allow us to share:

"March 1, was the birthday of the woman I've known all my life as MOM...mommy when I feel especially small and vulnerable...mother when we're both trying to be funny and droll...and "Madame" on special occasions.For all intents and purposes, I've never attempted to call her by any other name...nor have I dreamed of it. I'm almost sure that as soon as the thought entered my brain, I would've gotten THE LOOK, sending the thought scurrying away to hide.

She is stern when she ought to be, but breaks the world speed record for forgiving. She is generous, kind, funny, witty with a somewhat naughty streak (oh wait until she gets in the mood!), thoughtful, loving, intelligent and with tons of EQ. Did I mention psychic? She's always there when I need her...always says the right words...and knows what I need or want even before I do. She is my moral compass and the best role model as wife, mother and Christian.

Her creative streak goes far beyond writing. She paints, sketches, keeps my garden in order and is the best writer by far in the family.

I would be old, stooped over and gray before I run out of things to say about her and what she's taught me. So here are a few gems from my life with MOM (To my brothers...feel free to add =) ).

1) Whatever happens, your family will always be there for you...specially MOMMY.

2) There's always room for one more at the table.

3) Never let the sun sink down on your anger.

4) People who treat my kids right...I like. Those who don' don't matter in my world.

5) Don't be quick to burn bridges.

6) Never nag your husband.

7) You don't need a big, fancy house...just a clean, well-kept home with lots of love and family.

8) Your husband is the boss of the household...even when he is wrong. =)

9) Always kiss your parents and your kids when they arrive.

10) Don't be ashamed to kiss, hug and hold hands. There are never enough hugs to go around.

11) The first three phrase you teach a child are " I love you ...Please...Thank you".

12) When you're happy...Pray. When you're sad...Pray. When you're in trouble...Pray. When you wake up...Pray. Before meals and bedtime...Pray. In all things...don't forget to Pray.

I love you Mom! Happy birthday!!! Your daughter Sandee"

Truly, having a daughter is a rare and exquisite gift which I always go down on my knees to thank the Giver who also gave me and Sonny the bonuses of having three strapping, loving sons.