24 hours in Manila

MANILA... VOILA!

I had one of these rare chances to go back to Manila to attend a very important affair. Given the chance to fly to Manila and back to Cebu for free, I grabbed it without thinking twice (or did I?) and flew out on Sunday morning, September 17. I wasn't sent off by Marl to the airport so I just took an airport shuttle from the hotel, but I was picked up by my mom and Selena at the airport in Manila.

It was scorchingly hot on that day - a literal "Sun"day. The taxi queue was long, but luckily there were lots of taxis on the queue, too, so we didn't have to be burnt for long by the noontime sun. I dropped off my mom to Aristocrat to buy me my favorite chicken barbeque for lunch, while Selena and I headed back home because I was carrying a heavy luggage. Got home and just took a rest for a while. When my mom got back home, I had a quick lunch because I was getting late for the event.

I got to the venue and just did what I had to do (don't ask me what it was! LOL). Although I was dog-tired from lack of sleep and short travel, I was suprisingly quirky and charged-up all through out. The affair lasted for merely 3 hours and so, I just headed back home to spend quality time with my family and most especially, Selena.

THE MOST FREQUENT DESTINATION... HOME

My family is going through a big trial right now and my mom is the one mostly affected. My stepfather has been diagnosed with lung cancer a few months ago and has been undergoing chemotherapy since then. Obtaining the incredible strength and great optimism from my her, I know that my mother will be able to cope with it. I have offered her my moral support through this difficult time and I'm sure it meant a lot to her when I came back to Manila to just spend time with them. She phoned her close friends and my aunts to come over to just have a small gathering. Once the whole gang was already in, it was karaoke time for us. I know you wouldn't believe me, but my aunts haven't heard me sing for such a long time. Sure, they saw the videos I sent through the course of my gigs overseas but they actually missed the way it used to be - letting me sing and perform in front of them in our small living room. So eventhough I was already knackered, I tried my best to jam with them, making them laugh so hard with my old funny antics. One moment that they will surely cherish among their fondest memories and I'm happy I was part of it - mainly.

The karaoke session and showdown among my aunts and my mom lasted until midnight - no dinner was served! I just remembered that I haven't eaten when my stomach rumbled. I used "showdown" because they'd let me sing a song then all of them will render their own versions. Of course, evethough my mom has a tendency to let her notes go offshore, she was the best ecause of her funny showmanship. The song that's been played and sung all through the night till it got stuck in our player was "I Who Have Nothing". When I was being trained as a young performer, they used to let me sing Shirley Bassey songs and so on that night, they let me sing all her songs, which brought good ol' memories when I used to compete in singing contests singing Bassey songs with my mom teaching me the fundamentals of stage performance. So one after another, they'd take turns giving their best version of the song and getting distracted by the other "contenders".

It was indeed a comical evening and I really enjoyed and surely missed being in a house full of wacky people. Not to mention the great time I had during the affair earlier. And eventhough I just spent less than a day in Manila, I retired to bed having a big smile on my face realizing that making people happy is one of the greatest fulfilments in my blessed simple life.

MOTHERLY DUTY

One of the things I enjoyed most during my unforeseen trip to Manila was being a mother to my lovely daughter, Selena. She's already in the first grade in school and she's really enjoying it. She was proud to tell me that she's one of the Top 10 students in her class. We've been inseparable the whole day, except when I had to attend an important affair. After the function, I wanted to take her and my brothers to the mall but it was a bit late and drizzling too. Besides, I don't think I'd enjoy walking around the mall when all I wanted to do was to just sit or lie down - except for proving my singing prowess during the little karaoke showdown we had. Selena also joined us by giving an intermission number - her famous Peng You. My Aunty Susan brought along her daughter LJ so Selena wouldn't feel bored.

I tucked Selena to sleep at 11PM before surrendering myself from the karaoke showdown at 2AM. I even didn't want to let her sleep because my time was too short and I know that I'd be asleep when she goes to school the next day. But I had a great yet simple idea that I know would make my trip more memorable.

A WALK TO REMEMBER

For some people, they think I already have almost everything. Not really true, because they didn't know I still have some simple desires and wishes. And one of them is to bring my daughter to school even just once. And I told my mom about it before I retired to bed.

At 6:30AM, I was awaken by Selena bidding me goodbye and telling me that I don't need to send her to school because she knows that I'm tired. Without brushing my teeth or washing my
face, I tied my uncombed hair in a bun, put on my jeans and sunglasses and did what I've been wanting to do all these years - to send Selena to her school. It's one motherly duty that I regret not having the opportunity to do so, aside from not being there when she's sick or hurt when I'm away.

Her school is just 5 minutes walk from our house and she was dragging her Barbie school trolley bag or whatever you call that. I tried helping her out with her bag and she calmly told me that she can do it by herself and that she's used to it, besides it wouldn't look good on me, she said. And there was my little consultant telling me off.

As we reached the gate of her school, she warned me that parents are not allowed inside the premises. So I squeezed her hand tightly and told her that mommy has to go back to Cebu after sending her to school. She asked what time my flight would be because she would constantly check her watch, she said, and she was hoping that she would hear my plane fly over her school, which I didn't promise her at all because I'm not aeronautically & geographically schooled.

I can say that I was proud of sending her to school. But what made me more proud was that she's my daughter and she's mine and there I was, in the gates of her school, realizing all those things. The moment became even more intense to me, something I wasn't prepared to feel at all, when I let go off her hand & asked her to give me the biggest and tightest hug. I gave off a big sigh and bid her goodbye. As she went in the gate, she saw one of her classmates and smiled back at me. I gave a big smile and a wave and as her classmate looked on, I saw my daughter say to her classmate, "Mommy ko yun!" ("That's my mom!"). The feeling was priceless. Luckily I was wearing my shades to hide the tears I've been trying to hold back.

That 5 minute walk was indeed a walk to remember that I will remember forever. I can still remember every single detail of it and I can play it on my mind in slow motion. I might have done lots of wrong things in the past, but I'm glad that I have done something right this time. Now I'm more inspired in so many ways that I realized that life, though it's short, is filled with lots of suprises. Therefore, it must be lived to its fullest - like what I'm doing now.

BEHIND THE BIGGER PICTURE

I'm grateful to my friend Mac for making it possible for me to come to Manila, which made the 24 hours that I spent in Manila one of the best times in my life. Each and evey minute of those 24 hours was all worth the trip and weariness. Sa uulitin ha! LOL
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