Me and the rookie mom spent our ninth year anniversary last 12-12 in isolation.  It’s our first time to go on a getaway without the kids and disconnect to the world so we could reconnect. We realized this was the first time we were really able to be alone together (weird – alone together – but couples would get it). 

Just a summary of what happened to that nine years.  2009 was when we got married. 2011 when Amanda was born and ever since we weren’t able to set aside our time together.  2013 Cali went out of the corporate world and had miscarriage. 2014 we had Cassandra.  2015 we lost Mommy. 2016 we had Camilia. 2017 we lost Daddy. 

So many things happened in a span of nine years.  And what happened in the past anniversaries we had was to either spend it with the kids or with them more 🙂  Not that we don’t want it, but there’s truth to the wisdom that couples should really take time off to reconnect with each other.  Specially in our case where our bed is taken over by the three kids and the demands of work made it more difficult to get that divine time to talk deeper with each other.

When we arrived at the place where they specialize on Doing Nothings, we went to our room. It has that old Hispanic Filipino feel that takes you back to that old country living.  Where life is simple and that technology takes a back seat.  So we did nothing here 🙂

Night time… we had our healthy dinner.  Started out with fresh organic salad. Then onto freshly baked breads with spreads.  You should try out their pesto spread.  It was so tasty I can’t believe they didn’t use magic sarap.  So it’s really magic.

The main course was their pasta with both red and white sauce.  

At first, since they’re going to serve healthy food, I thought we won’t be full.  But by the middle of the meal, I already have a big belly (well it’s already big even when we started, but it got bigger:) ).  I thought we’re done after the pasta but they still served desserts.

And to end the dinner, they served this tarragon tea.  They said it aids in digestion, so I was hoping to get my six pack abs back after taking three cups of these.

This was the dessert made of organic chocolate 🙂After dinner, we went to the Proposal Garden as advised by the very accommodating waiter.  I took time to take this beautiful site.  I didn’t have to direct this shot, as my model is a natural 😉

The next morning, we took the time to smell the flowers.  Again, no need for posing her as my model’s really a natural.

Well, here’s another natural.  The adorable Wilbore.  He’s a really fat pig.  Was wondering though if pigs can get  a heart attack if they’re too fat.We went back to the cafe to eat our healthy breakfast.

And of course, took another couple pic.After breakfast, we went to the secret lake to relax even more.

Although it was barely a 24-hour vacation, it was nice to finally set aside a time for our marriage, to bond and deepen our relationship more.  After all, the best legacy we can leave to our kids is a wonderful marriage where they can see and feel LOVE.

Would You Rather?

So this morning (wrote this Friday morning) I went back to the usual routine bringing the kids to school.

Ate Champee invited me to play a game called would you rather… It’s a game where one will ask a question about two things and you have to choose what you want and explain.

So for the first question I asked Ate Champee, “Would you rather have a stinky breath or a smelly kili kili?” (Silly huh?!) – she just laughed.

So it was her turn and asked me – “Would you rather…

have a job that you like but without pay


have a job you don’t like but with a super high pay?”

I was shocked as to where she got this question.  I was expecting a sillier question but found myself answering based on the values I hold.

My answer: a job I liked even without pay. And she was even more shocked.  A few weeks ago, she was asking a scenario that if a was a fireman and I’m responding to a burning building where there’s an old lady, a dog and one million dollar bag, she asked me who will I be saving…. and then I jokingly always replied, of course the One Million Dollar bag 🙂

With my answer, I guess she understood what my real values are… that doing the things you love can make you happy and contented.  It makes work not a work but rather a vocation and a fulfilment of the purpose of what God called you.


Fun Times at Museo Pambata

About two weekends ago, while Rookie Mom sharpens her photography skills with Jaja Samaniego and Patrick Diokno, I had a date with the two Ates at the Museo Pambata.

It was Ate Amanda’s second time as she already went here during her pre-school’s field trip.  But for Ate Cassandra, this is her first time.

In the first part of the museum, it was all about history.  The theme was dark which made Ate Cassandra a little bit scared.  Top that with some voices she’s hearing from Rizal, Bonifacio and the rest of our national heroes.  Well, thinking about it, if you’re three years old and you’re used to bright colors and happy atmosphere, this scenery will be spooky.  Specially when she saw the old photos of Melchora Aquino and Apolinario Mabini.  I think she only saw those sephia-colored photos from the cemetery.

The kids spent most of their time at the “Kidzoona-like” Filipino city.  I began to think how much Filipinos lives changed as most of the stores here are already available in the big shopping malls.  And how about the “bahay kubo” – as much as this song is still taught in schools, I wonder how many kids in the city are still able to actually see one near their place.

With this experience, hopefully my kids were able to experience the rich culture we have and had a break from the hight-tech world they’re used to.

Amanda’s First day

Amanda had her first day of school last Monday.

She was excited on using her arm chair.  For Grade Two students, this is a sign of leveling up as the small kids use a common table and smaller chairs.


Their first school week was fun, although there were two days that classes was suspended due to the monsoon rains.  I was extra happy that kids nowadays look forward to going school.  I remember that during my time, we were in a festive mood when classes are declared suspended.  This only means that today’s generation values education and that schools now know how to package learning in an enjoyable way.

Koko weekend

First stop for the cousins was a trip at the toy store.  They had a tea party with the cuddly bears.

Before going back to Cebu, the kids had a fun photo shoot with Rookie Mom.


And here’s our Japanese dinner before they went back to Cebu.  Both Koko and Cassandra were sleeping.

Cassandra’s First Day

Today is ate Cassandra’s first day of school. Before she was able to finish her breakfast someone’s more excited to go.

Before leaving Little Ate Cassandra took a quick pose with her ootd.

and of course Big Ate Amanda was there to support her.

Another round of photo session before going inside her school.

After looking for her name tag she went in to tinker with their activity stuff.

While waiting, me and big ate enjoyed our doughnut date.

After three hours, our little ate was done and was  hungry.

Cheers to Ate Cassandra’s first day of preschool. Good job!

And before we left the place, she requested for this photo with the incredibles since we watched it last weekend.

Cebu Stories – Sites

We started our tour by going to the historical place in the city.

Magellan’s Cross

The last time we went to Cebu was right after the big earthquake. It’s good to see this restored now.

This was the best photo shoot we can make. We had one of the girls being cranky as we’re all hungry already. Can you guess who?

Maybe here you would know 🙂

Sirao Gardens

Our next stop was the Little Amsterdam of Cebu. I was a bit worried if they have little “coffeeshops” there as well. Good thing the place was just about windmills and flowers.

Here’s my photo with the two Ates. They look so happy here with Daddy 😉

Here’s a classic pose in a hammock by the two Ates

Rookie Mom showing the kids how the professionals do their pose

Yey we’re complete here!

Mama Meia and a photo bomber.

And more photos here:

Temple of Leah

Our last stop was Temple of Leah. Too bad it was under construction so it was not as instagrammable as we expected it to be.

Here are some lessons I learned from this trip :

  1. Don’t take photos when hungry – there are two major things that get kids and even adults cranky. Hunger and lack of sleep. As you can see with our Magellan’s Cross photos, our little ate didn’t enjoy that much.
  2. Seize the moment – our intent to go to these places was for the kids to enjoy. There were lots of scenarios where we wish we could get a better shot but then it would entail more waiting time for our little ones. We always have to remind ourselves that we were on vacation and not on a pictorial.
  3. Get updates – we’re on the information age already but we forgot to check what’s new in the places we went. So for the Temple of Leah, we were surprised that it was under renovation. And that the instagrammable locations were off limits.

Cebu Stories – The Adorable Koko

The reason why we went to Cebu was to meet Koko in person, the kids’ new cousin from Tita Tei and Tito Kevin.

When we went into their condo, the kids immediately gathered around Koko.  And this was her initial reaction:

I think that this is her first time to encounter a lot of excited visitors so she was shocked.  But minutes later, she’s able to settle and was ready to entertain her visitors.

Here’s the little baby Ate Camilia playing with Koko.

Koko simply being adorable.

Koko thinking about the meaning of life

Seems the little baby Ate Camilia keeps on checking here little cousin from time to time.

It’s cute to see, babies finding another baby cute.

And here’s Ate Cassandra and Ate Camilia.

The big Ate Amanda getting a peek of her new cousin.  This time she plays to be the Ate as they’ve always been the youngest among the Estacio cousins.

Can’t resist pinching those ultra chubby cheeks!

Ate Cassandra reading stories for Koko.

Oops she forgot she doesn’t know how to read yet.

It was also refreshing to take a taste of Cebu’s McDonald’s orange juice 🙂

Rookie Mom Cali helping out carry the big baby.  She’s too big for a two month old baby.

Girl power… no baby boys yet on the Calingasans.  I got an intel though that Koko wants a baby brother soon.

And here’s me with the big boss baby Koko.

The second day we were in Cebu, we were able to see Koko taking a bath.

The Ates cheering for Koko’s dressing up.

After bath time, the next best thing is sleeping time.  Here, Daddy Kevin takes a kiss of her little bundle of joy.

Oh there, she woke up.

It was fun seeing Koko in person, and hopefully we could see her again soon when they go here in MNL.

Happy three months Koko!