Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Day He Said Goodbye

It was a very rainy day. The whole city was covered with dark clouds and streets filled with flood water. If I left 10 minutes later than I actually did, I would not have made it.

He was already in the ICU for a few hours when I arrived in the hospital. It was shocking to see the man who was always the image of good health and who I had never seen hospitalized since the day I was born to be lying unconscious in a hospital bed with all sorts of tubes and needles sticking into him.

That morning, the doctor pulled me, my sister and Nanay into a corner of the ICU and explained what was happening. He said my father was in critical condition. Critical? Are you kidding me?
He was working all week, even on the day he was rushed to the hospital. And now some guy is telling us that he's fighting for his life? It was a concept pretty hard to reconcile.

Despite the ICU visiting restriction, I was allowed to see him that morning. As I brush the hair on his head, I told him to get well and that we were all waiting for him to come back home. That his grandkids were all excited to play with him again. Then I held his hand and kissed his forehead before I left.

It will be the last time I saw him alive.

A few relatives braved the rains and the flood to visit him that day - his sister and her husband and two of my mother's siblings. My family appreciated their efforts.

My youngest sister, who literally came through hell and high water, arrived by mid-afternoon. Unfortunately, Tatay's condition had worsen by that time. So much so that while she was having her moment with him in the ICU, Tatay’s vital signs started to fail and the doctors had to request my sister to leave the room as they tried to revive him.

She came out of the ICU looking so distraught. She broke down when she saw us by the door. She collapsed on floor and wailed. It was one heart wrenching scene.

A little later, the doctor would call us all again to tell us more bad news. Tatay's heart had stopped beating. He said they are trying to revive him but he's not responding very well. However, he assured us that they were trying their best to keep him alive.

But God had other plans. At 6pm, less than 24 hours since he was admitted, Tatay was gone.

We were led to his bed side while the curtains were drawn around us. There in that little corner of the ICU, we said our last goodbyes to the man who was instrumental in what and where we all are now. We hugged him, we touched him and told him how much we love him. It was like a scene in a movie and I cannot believe it was now actually happening to us.

The next hours and days were spent getting the news out, planning his funeral and burial services. It was a whirlwind of emotional and physical trauma. But it was heart-warming to know that the people around him appreciated the things that he did. To us, his family, he was a man of few words. But to his friends and colleagues, he seems to have a lot of things to say. Apparently, he was a chatter and can even throw a joke or two.

On the 4th day after he breathe his last breath, we led him to his final resting place. It was a beautiful and solemn ceremony. And though Basil Valdez's "Hindi Kita Malilimutan" pierced thru my heart like a lance while they played it during the short walk to the crematorium, I am comforted with the thought that Tatay is now in a better place. He is now taking his much needed vacation. He can rest and worry no more.

I am missing you so much Tay. It’s goodbye for now but I know we’ll see each other again someday. And until that day, you will always be in my heart. I love you.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Sun, Sand and the Sea

What is summer without a trip to the beach or the pool, at least? 

Well, we didn't have a trip, we had trips. 

Never did we have a summer vacation filled with swimming outings one after the other except this year. It was sun, sand and the sea (and the pool!) for two months.

Looking back, it seems that the swimming lessons my son took in April set off the series of swimming events in the weeks that followed. It was like fate was giving him the opportunity to put his newly acquired aquatic skills to use. 

10-day swim lessons at Chito Rivera's Swim School

A day after his last day of swim lessons, one of my son's classmate had a pool birthday party. Some of his classmates also had swim lessons so they were all showing off what they learned. It was nice to see kids comfortable in the water. They actually had the pool all to themselves! The adults were just watching them from the sidelines while chatting with the other parents. 

This was followed by two more pool birthday parties, one for another classmate and the other for an uncle. 

Birthday Party #2

Miguel with cousins

Then in May, a former co-worker who came home from abroad invited us to his hometown in Pampanga to celebrate his daughter's 7th birthday. It was also a reunion with our friends from our former office. 

Father and son enjoying the lazy river in Fontana Water Park in Clarkfield, Pampanga

Before the merry month of May ended, my side of the family took our first beach trip in 6 years! We went to Caylabne in Ternate, Cavite to celebrate several family milestones: Mother's Day, mom's birthday and my parents' wedding anniversary. 

The beach of Caylabne

And finally, a company outing in Ciudad Christia in San Mateo, Rizal. It was 3-day/2-night affair and we were allowed to bring our families. It was filled with various activities that aimed to strengthen the relationship of the employees outside the office.

The wave pool in Ciudad Christia in San Mateo, Rizal

Summer is now officially over as the rains had started pouring in. We say goodbye to the sun, the sand and the sea for now. And we hope to see them again next year.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

{Project 52} Start Where You Are

Project 52: Stay Awake is a weekly challenge to stay awake and become more present with our lives. This year-long project is led by Shawn Ledington Fink of Awesomely Awake and Beryl Ayn Young, a momtographer. 

Week 1: Sleep
Week 2: Start Where You Are

Where exactly am I? I am not really sure.

I am at the start of some things, in the middle of another, and at the end in others.

Like the photo above, some areas of my life are pretty stable. While others are still a work in progress and still others are a complete mess. 

And like Lego you can add, remove and change pieces around to be able to get the perfect fit. 

Friday, January 18, 2013

SMS Scam by Sam O. Mendoza

I have been receiving text messages from a certain Sam O. Mendoza since December 2012. She says she's a 22-year old girl from Bacolod and she's asking for help to be able to go to Manila. According to her, she applied for a job in San Miguel Corp - Ortigas thru SMC-Mansilingan Plant in Bacolod.  And that she wais scheduled for a Final Briefing in the Ortigas office that week, hence she needs to go to Manila asap. She even gave a website link where her photo and credentials can be found.

She sounded really desperate and if you are not careful you could easily be moved by her pleading words. (See full transcript of the messages I received from her below)

I have always been very wary of this kind of messages. A friend once asked me for help thru a private message in FB and I didn't believe it immediately because I know how FB accounts can be hacked. More so in text messages because unscrupulous people can easily get your number. 

So I decided to investigate. A little google here and there and voila! I found at least 3 blogsites that discusses her scamming activities. And the posts were dated way back 2010 to 2011. So this operation has been going on for quite a while. I wonder how many people she (or it may even be a he) has fooled thru all these years.

Not only that, it seems "Sam Mendoza" is already a second alias. My little research also stumbled upon a few articles on another similar kind of scam perpetrated by an "Anna Marie Velasco". The same photo and details so it could probably be the same person. 

Here is the copy of the text messages I received from Sam since the beggining. I didn't delete them because I had a feeling it was a scam right from the start and I wanted to do my research first. Unfortunately, I was right, it was indeed a scam.

Mobile Number Used: +63 926 713 1648

Dec. 23, 2012; 5:19pm
Puede po humingi ng help sa inyo? I'm Sam, 22yo GIRL from BACOLOD CITY. May deadline lng sana ako for Final Briefing po sa SanMiguelCorp - Ortigas this week (nag-apply po ako thru SMC-Mansilingan Plant here in Bacolod din po). Kahit ano po, willing po i-offer na kpalit. Desperate lang po talaga akong makapunta ng Manila & mahabol po yung deadline ko. May pic & supporting docs po ako sa baka sakali makatulong po ung info - Sam

Dec. 23, 2012; 6:18pm
I'm Sam Mendoza, 22yo girl from Mandalagan, Bacolod City. Graduate po ng BS Information Management (DOST Scholarship). Living alone sa isang boarding haus po d2 sa Purok Sambag. 5'6", and hardworking province girl po. May po ako sa Ngtetext lng po ako ng random numbers na GLOBE Postpaid numbers po and really hoping na may makita man lng ako kht maliit na tulong para makaluwas ng mynila. Wala po akong idea kung babae o lalako tinitext ko. . But im really willing to give any favorable exchange in ur part para sa tulong na makapunta sa mynila.. Un lang po sana.. - Sam

Dec. 23, 2012; 7:17pm
Pasensya na po kayo sa text message ko... Hindi ko naman po talaga kilala mga natetext ko. Ngtetext lng po ako ng random numbers ng GLOBE Postpaid numbers po and really hoping na may makita man lng kht maliit na 2long para makaluwas ng mynila. Wala po akong idea kung babae po o lalaki tinitext ko.. But im really willing to give any favorable exchange in ur part para sa tulong na makapunta sa mynila.. Un lng po sana.. - Sam

Dec. 23, 2012; 7:55pm
Sorry if nakaoagtext po ako. I just need help. Merry Christmas po... sam

Jan. 5, 2013; 8:19am
Good day po, si Sam po to, ung girl na humihingi ng 2long makapunta ng maynila.M22lungan nio po b ako? Gagawin ko po ung kapalit na hhngin nio, para lang po makapunta npo ako ng mynila. Parang awa nio napo. 

Jan. 5, 2013; 2:59pm
Name: Sam O. Mendoza
Age: 22
Sex: Female
Location: Bacolod City, Negros Occ.
Height: 5'6"
Other: Joined some provincial pageants for allowance
Course: BS Information Management (Computer & Accountancy)
School: DOST Scholar in University of St. La Salle - Bacolod
Parents: Anna & Luisito Mendoza (both deceased)
Documents & Pic:

Jan. 5, 2012; 5:05pm
Tulungan niyo na po ako parang awa nio na po. Nagpapakababa na po ako sa ginagawa kong pagpapalit sa sarili ko, makapunta lng po sa trbhong naapplyan ko po. Ang hirap po makahanap ng trbho kya gnagawa ko lahat makuha ko lng po un.. Sana po maramdaman niyo sincerity ko.. -Sam

 Jan. 5, 2013 ; 6:51pm
 Kahit katawan ko na lang po ang ipapagpalit ko. Im stil a virgin at 22 but im willing to lose it for a good purpose para sa sarili ko. Wala na po talaga akong maisip na ibang paraan, pasensya na po. Im really desperate...

 Jan. 16, 2013 ; 7:17pm
 helo sam po...i hope you can still remember me. Ung girl from bacolod na humihingi ng tulong...Matutulungan niyo po ba ako? parang awa niyo na po...kailangang kailangan ko po talaga ng tulong niyo...ako lang mag isa ngayon sa bacolod kaya medyo mahirap po yung sitwasyon ko9 ngayon gayong wala pa pa akong trabaho dito... bigyan niyo lang po sana ako ng chance na makapunta ng maynila... yun lang naman po sana yung hinihingi kong tulong... willing naman po akong magsakripisyo eh na magbigay ng kapalit para lng po sa trabaho ko sana sa maynila... hirap na po talaga ako dito... sam

Jan. 16, 2013 ; 9:31pm
Hindi ko rin naman po gagawin to kung meron rin lng naman po akong mahihiraman at malalapitan d2. Wala naman po ako relatives dito dahil kung nabasa niyo po yung website na naibigay ko, nasa surigao po kasi dun po talaga lugar ng nanay at tatay ko. Puro estudyante lng po na mga scolars din kgaya ko ang mga kasama ko po d2 sa boarding haus. Puro umaasa lang din sa parents nila at sa scholarship po.

Jan. 17, 2013 ; 2:13am
Wala naman po kc akong maibibigay na assurance ko kundi ung mga credentials ko and ung willingness ko tlaga na makapunta ng Maynila. Trbho, at offer ko lang po sa inyo ngaun ung iniisip ko. Kung itatakbo ko ang perang ibibigay nio, mgiging ganyan nlang po ang value nia.. Kysa kunin ung trbho na pinaghrapan kong pa applyan, mas may maaabot ako. I don't think na ang graduate na kagaya ko, ganyan ang dapat gawin na manloko ng tao. Nakapag aral ako na di nanloko para sa tuition dhl scolar po ako. And i think, hindi ko rin kailangang manloko para maka punta ng mynila dhl alam kong kaya kong pag hrapan ung hnhngi kong 2long. Kaya po nagoofer ako ng kapalit. Ayoko ring magmukhang pulubi na humihingi ng 2long na wala rin naman ginagawa. sam
Jan. 17, 2013 ; 6:29am
Trabaho, relative at offer ko po sa inyo ang gagawin ko diyan sa Maynila. Wala naman akong dapat ikatakot kaya malakas pa rin ang loob kong pupunta ako. 

So beware and be warned! Feel free to share this post to your friends and family so they may be informed.

Related articles on Sam Mendoza:
SMS SCAM ALERT: Sam Mendoza, the new Marie Velasco by Blog Experiences on May 17, 2010 
SMS SCAM ALERT: A girl named Sam Mendoza seeks help thru SMS by Thinkathon Blues
SMS or Text Scam by Sam Mendoza by Noelizm on Sept. 18, 2011

Articles on Anna Marie Velasco:
Scam Alert! Anna Marie Velasco SMS by Secondwind on Jan 30, 2010
Anna Marie Velasco, Another Scam in the Making? by Isyu on June 4, 2008

Sunday, January 13, 2013

(Project 52} Sleep

Project 52: Stay Awake is a weekly challenge to stay awake and become more present with our lives. This year-long project is led by Shawn Ledington Fink of Awesomely Awake and Beryl Ayn Young, a momtographer. 

Week 1: Sleep 

I used to be a 6-8hr sleeper. But these days, getting at least a 5-hour sleep is almost a luxury. It's an unhealthy lifestyle which I am sure will catch up with me soon but it was a sacrifice I took when I decided to work at home.

What has sleep deprivation got to do with staying at home?

Well, I've always wanted to work-from-home. I prayed for it and I did get it. The catch is, it's a night shift job. I work at night until the wee hours of the morning then sleep (suppose to sleep, that is) during the day. But sleeping while the sun is up is not as easy at it seems. And in many instances, I do not get enough zzzzs. Most weekends, especially Friday to Saturday, I am awake 24hrs straight to catch up on family time.

Bedtime rituals
My own bedtime ritual would consist of making the room as dark as possible. This is easier during the rainy season when the skies are almost always gloomy. Then I read a bit or do some internet surfing on my phone until I feel sleepy.

On the other hand, when it's my son's turn to sleep at night, I read him a book or two, shower him with tickles and kisses and then I tuck him in with his favorite caterpillar stuff toy. My husband and I do this alternately.

During my 'lunch break', which is around 1-2am, I take 30min naps beside him.

My son's book collection

My son's favorite caterpillar stuff toy

A Perfect Evening
I love weekends because this is the time when I get to sleep beside my family at normal hours, and that means at night. Just last night I woke up at 10:30pm with my son's arms around me. Love it!

How about you? Any bedtime rituals that you do regularly? What is your idea of a perfect evening? Share it on the comments below or better yet, share with the Project 52 community. It's not too late to join.

That's All Folks!

This post has been delayed a bit because we started the year sick and in bed. But we're all well now so better late than never.  

The year 2012 began with a lot of self-doubt and apprehensions but it turned out to be quite a good year and more! Thank you Lord for all the blessings.

Work-at-Home Mom
After years of contemplating and planning on how to go about it, it finally came true. I had my first work-from-home gig in May of 2012. The catch is, it's a night job. It's messing up my bio clock but I'm coping.

New Knowledge
My current job has absolutely nothing to do with my profession so there was definitely a lot of learning there. I attended online classes, webinars and read materials relating to what I do now. It's a challenge but I like what I'm doing so no complaints here. 

I also came across several bloggers who advocates peaceful parenting. It helps me to stay focus (or at least I try to) on things that really matter. Check them thru the links below. They may be able to help you, too.
I was able to squeeze out some creative juices I never thought I had with projects like puppet shows, impromptu stories, mini booksadvent calendars. I even learned how to knit

A number of blog sites has also inspired me to do these creative projects. Try to visit their sites which I listed below. Who knows, they may also inspire you to venture into creative projects of your own. 

Electric Youth
I got to be my young self again for at least a couple of times this year with the re-release of the movie Titanic (yes, this mama is a big Leo fan) and the comeback concert of New Kids on the Block (my ultimate fave boy band back in the day). It was a total of about 4-5 hours of insanity but it was definitely memorable. 

Sum It Up
I would say 2012 was a year of exploration. There was a lot learning and growing pains that goes along with venturing into a new realm. I have only touched the surface. There is still a minefield of knowledge out there that has yet to be explored. So the journey continues. Welcome 2013!