Category Archives: Family

Remembering first of May

Listening to Bee Gees’ song, I remember how it was in the Bendijo-Zamora residence in the southern parts of the country I was born in.

My mom’s sibling were scattered to different state and universities in the country. They each followed their own calling. It didn’t matter much what field they studied, they all excelled in their areas of speciality anyways. All ten of them had their scholastic paths already mapped out for them. If it was an uncle or an aunt coming home from their university  or current city of residence just because they were summoned by my Grandmother to come home, it always brought a good atmosphere, a great and exciting feeling.

They come home one after the other, usually they start showing up at the ancestral house after lunch time. Food gets prepared. Before dinner, all the grandchildren also had the chance enjoy the company of the adults either with one or two of them playing the guitar and everybody sings. Or they tell us stories. They also discussed among themselves political views and opinions. In a large family with each member having a very strong affiliation to their own political parties, the discussions always took too long. It would go on and on until Mamang would summon everybody to the table for Supper.

After dinner, the kids had to either do their homework or prepare for bed. On weekends though, everybody is allowed to stay up later than usual. At that time there were no televisions, internet or even telecommunications devices. No landline and definitely mobile gadgets were non existent. NULL!!! NADA!!! We did have the guitar, a ukulele or the handmade tambourine and maracas.  So, the night almost always ended into a musical event.

After the kids have gone to bed, the Zamora siblings would then report to Mamang about their studies, work or simply update each other about what has been going on in each individual’s life and of course, their plans. Reports about how the farm is thriving and of its financial status where also made known during these meetings.

I don’t know how this song brings back memories. It was most probably because one of the uncles sang this song often enough that it got stuck in me as well as the other classic and country songs that I heard in my growing years.

Video credits:Emile Crama on youtube

Most often than not, the song puts me in a melancholic state, specially right now. It is indeed middle of summer. The month of May has long gone by. The month of September is just around the corner. Soon, the Christmas season will be here… and yet, nobody knows what the last quarter of the year will bring.

This pandemic is far from over.

Stay safe everyone!

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Remembering …

…my birthplace, my childhood and my Mamang…

My parents were always out of town or out of the country – busy making a living. Hence, we – my siblings and I were left behind with our grandmother in the old house in Dipolog; the city where I was born.

The house was made out of wood and was elevated enough to avoid it being flooded. The front door entrance stairs and landing were made of cement though. Connected to the landing a small cemented room where we did the laundry and took our baths. No, it was not the toilet, because our toilet was located at the back of the house on a separate lean-to-cube.

Yes, I guess, that was how it used to be in the Philippines. Most houses didn’t have the toilet inside the house. One needs to take a candle or some kind of torchlight to go to the toilet at night. That was why the kids grew up with the routine. On a school week, some days after school, we were allowed to play around with the neighbors’ kids along the streets, until before nightfall.

In the Philippines, it gets dark quite early. So, we were always told to clean up: wash the hands and feet or take a bath and do toilets rituals before dinnertime. Sometimes, we wanted to play a bit longer out on the streets, this was okay as long as we were all clean and smelling fresh before our grandma would come home from work. Yes, she went to work – how else could she have raised all 10 children on her own without her husband? Our grandfather left her early. He succumbed to Tuberculosis-but that’s for another story.

If one was caught smelling like dried sweat and sunburnt, then our grandma would know that that person missed the ritual because he/she must have come home really late. He or she would definitely get punished.

The punishment was never violent though. The punishment was either to recite the multiplication table or recite some kind of terribly long poem. Or perhaps sing a song in front of everybody. The singing was fun.

The poem was one written by the Philippine National Hero, Dr. Jose Rizal’s, i.e. “Mi Ultimo Adios” in Spanish or “My Last Farewell” in English. Yes, at that age, we were already taught to speak English and Spanish. I never had problems with the first one. Just Spanish … and the multiplication (Math) were both my Waterloo. Both were really, really hard for me. I do regret it now though. I could have made good use of the Spanish language at work. Unfortunately, the few words that got stuck with me are not enough to make a proper conversation with a local Spanish speaker. Oh, I digress!

So, I was always careful not to get caught smelling like I’ve been out in the sun the whole day. Or getting caught coming home late. I made sure instead, to be able to go out on weekends. The excuse I most of the time used was to sell any excess harvested fruits from my grandma’s farm. I loved that chore because of several reasons.

First, I could walk around the whole neighborhood, seeing my classmates and friends along the way. Second, the earnings I got from selling the fruit was my own weekly pocket money. Although I still had to give it to my grandma, I always felt like it was mine, since I worked hard selling it. Third and probably the most precious to me, was the freedom to be alone for those few hours. Growing up in an extended family household, one would have no peace and quiet. Don’t get me wrong, I loved it. I grew up with my brother and two sisters and several cousins. We were always together, after school, during weekends, either just studying, watching movies, playing at the city plaza or spending time at the beach. We were allowed to do all these as long as we have all done our assigned household chores. That’s our childhood generation.

OH, by the way, at that time, worries and fears about children being abducted, kidnapped, to be sold somewhere for slavery or worst to be robbed of their organs to sell or scattered pedophile snatching/molesting kids— was nonexisting! If I am not mistaken, that only came up later in the 80’s era and only in big cities.

Anyway, today, I woke up to a dream.

I dreamt about being in the big wood house in the Province. I dreamt about the song my brother used to practice at home for a school musical. I dreamt about being with my grandma again. In my dream, I was sitting close to her…smelling her beautiful fragrant, soft skin. I was rubbing my face to her arm while–thumb sucking! Yes, I also had that very nasty habit until I was 7 years old. It was a sign of my insecurity, I think.

In my dream, the next scene: I was watching my brother practicing his own version of Harry Belafonte’s “Banana Boat Song”. I could hear myself humming along to his song. I saw myself looking up to my grandma. I felt the longing… then I woke up.

My grandma passed away two years ago. Since then, my sister Diday and some relatives have often been vocal that they got a “visit” from our grandma. Whether they were lucid dreaming or they just felt something of her. Smelled her fragrance. Or felt her presence.

I never experienced this before, so whenever they mentioned or talked about the experience, I was always curious and envious. Now, not anymore. I just miss her more.


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My Lola, Angustia Bendijo-Zamora (1922-2017)

If I were to write an essay about the person I admire most, I would have to write about my Lola…since, next to my mom, of course, I admire my Lola the most. 

I just want to write down my thoughts during and feelings during Mamang’ s last days with us here on earth. It was a long and fulfilled life for her, I hope… no- I believe! Shame that she left us before our plans for a Grand reunion this year in celebration of her 95 years on earth came to.

My Lola was born in November 12, 1922 – before WWII broke out. She was with us for 94 years and some months. She lived a very fulfilling life with her children, grand-children and great-grand children.

Her dad, Mr. Gaudencio Bendijo was the second Mayor of Dipolog City. Her mom, Mrs. Antonina Zorilla was a simple housewife.

She was the eldest among three girls: Angustia, Rebecca and Delia.

She bore 10 children of which were:

5 Boys:  Czarito “Boy”, Raul “Nonon”(deceased), Reinaldo “Bebe”(deceased), Augustus “Dodoy” and Virgilio “Lodz”.

5 Girls: O’Lola “Inday”, Marilyn “Tata”, Fe “Pet-pet”, Marietta “Etta” and Naomi “Berns”.

Two sons passed away before her, Nonon and Bebe.

Out of the 10 children, she enjoyed and loved her grandchildren- me included in the pack of 30.

She also got to enjoy and be with her great-grandchildren – roundabout 28 of them.

Since her husband Papang Cesar Zamora,  passed away sometime in the 1980’s, Mamang raised all of her children alone.

She went to work when working mothers were still a scarcity. She sent her children to school and she helped raised her grandchildren without batting an eyelid. Hence, most of us grandchildren are “laki sa Lola”.

Sa lahat ng pinag daanan ng buong familia, nanatiling matatag si Mamang para sa mga anak niya. Ulan, bagyo, brownout, lindol at pati na din mga sakuna sa buhay ng mga anak niya, lahat yun…magka- kasama nilang nalampasan.

Isa ako sa mga apo na lumaki sa piling ni Mamang. Kay Mamang ko nakuha ang hilig sa mga libro at pagba basa. Naalala ko noon, nag sa-swap kami ng mga librong binabasa. Pati na din hilig sa mga Women’s journals na noon linggo-linggo namin binibili. Pag natapos na namin lahat basahin, inuutusan niya kami ng mga kapatid ko pumunta sa bookstore para bumili pa ng mga libro. Tini-ra namin mula sa War and Peace ni Leo Tolstoi, Anna Karenina, Jane Austen at pati na rin ang mga short romances nila Emilyo Bukog (Mills and Boon) hindi namin pinatawad. Ang mag solve ng crossword puzzle and word searches ay masugid din naming gawing libangan. Pero, bawal kaming mag basa ng komiks o makinig sa mga drama sa radyo.

Bukod sa pagbabasa, sa kanya ko natutunan ang mahalin at alagaan ang aking mga kapatid. Ang loyalty sa familya at ang tumulong sa kapwa, hangga’t sa maka-kaya. Hindi po ibig sabihin nito ay hindi ito itinuro ng sariling kong mga magulang sa akin. Noon po kasi, ang mommy at daddy ko ay nagta-trabaho sa Maynila at sa kalaunan ay sa ibang bansa. Kaya naiwan ako at ang aking mga kapatid kay Mamang.

Dalawang bagay ang pinag sisihan ko na hindi ko sinunod sa mga tinuro niya noong ako ay nag aaral pa. Ang pagluluto ng mga putahen Filipino at ang pag aaralan ang salitang Espanyol.

Pero sa lahat ng ibang bagay tulad ng respeto at pagmamahal sa pamilya, ang hindi pag gawa ng ika-sasama ng ibang tao, ang hindi pag susugal, ang hindi pag labas ng bahay kung hindi presentable-ilan lang sa mga pinangaral niya…lahat yan at iba pa, ay mananatili sa akin hanggang sa aking pag tanda.

`Mang, ma mi miss ko ang bonding natin sa beauty parlor-facial, manicure etc. Ma miss ko ang ma upo sa sofa, habang naka siksik kaming lahat sa gilid mo. Ma miss ko ang pag kanta mo ng „mocking bird hill and que sera-sera“ while tapping your fingers along the tempo. Ma miss ko ang iyong mga matatamis na ngiti. Mami-miss ko yung pag pina-pagalitan mo ako in English. Yap, si mamang kasi hindi nagmumura in tagalog or in bisaya… Pag galit siya, English po o kaya Espanyol ang gamit niyang salita.

Kaya, `Mang, iniwan mo man kami sa mundong ito, mananatili ka naman sa isip at puso namin. Ang lahat ng pangaral mo ay ipapasa din namin sa mga anak, pamangkin at apo.

Mang, nagpapasalamat po ako sa lahat ng sakripisyong ginawa mo. Sa pag aaruga at pag kalinga mo sa amin. Sa lahat ng pangaral at pag di disiplina mo. Matagal kang nagging haligi sa buhay namin.

Ang wish ko lang po, sana hindi ka namin binigo. Sana masaya kang pumanaw sa mundong ito, na alam mong maka-kayanan na namin mabuhay ng wala ka. Na sana, alam mong mahal na mahal ka naming lahat.


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Ang mga huling araw sa buwan ng Hulyo ay medyo naging malumanay na. Balik trabaho at bahay ang peg ng lola.

Pag pasok ng Agosto, on the go si —hubby. At talagang level up pa ang energy. Nag bisekleta mula sa Alemanya, tumawid sa Hollandia, Belgika at balik sa Alemanya.

Mahigit isang libong kilometro din ang tinahak niya sa ulan, hangin at masiglang init ng sikat ng araw. Kering keri niya ang challenge… at si Lola… neyyy…. nevaaah!!!

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Hulyo-Pitongpo na po!

Sa bandang katapusan ng Hunyo ay napa lipad naman ako pauwi ng Pilipinas…

Sinamahan ko ang aking tatay na umuwi ng Probinsiya at doon mag diwang sa kanyang ika pitongpong kaarawan.


Maiksi, pero masaya. Medyo maka bagbag damdamin din ang muling pagkikita ng buong familya. Ang highlight, bukod pa sa handaan ng kaarawang ng aking ama ay nag paka-sawa ako sa isda, tuyo at mangga…damay na din ang marang, langka, durian at sandiya.

At naturalmente ang pag inom ng sikwate at koter… kilala niyo po ba sila? Ang ending, katam-is nga pagka hilo sa kahubog og kalipay! Ali, balik na sad ta 😉


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Missing mi-familya sagrada

Spending quality time with family or “bonding”…that is actually the best way to spend vacation. Days or weeks free from the busy and stressful corporate life. Just a few days in a month, perhaps even a week or two every 3 months? However possible, take the chance whenever it presents itself – I would take it-correct that, I would grab it faster than i could blink an eye ;).

Yes, I would.

Nakakapagod kasi. Ang buhay ko sa ngayon ay may dalawang kinagagalawan laang, ala eh! . Trabaho at Bahay. Sa trabaho, nauubos ang oras sa pagiging stressed out. Mahirap kasing makipag sabayan sa isang mundo ng magka-ibang lahi at kultura. Palaging taliwas ang mga opinyon. Palaging may diskusyon. Palaging may nagpa palapad ng papel at meron ding malalapad ang fes na nagpupumilit iginiit ang baluktot na idea na kanilang naiisip.

At sa bahay naman: nauubos din ang time para sa gawaing bahay. Parang walang katapusan ang labahin at palantsahin. Di ko rin alam kung bakit kahit Weekly ang paglilinis ko sa bahay ay kasing kapal pa din ng abo ng mount Pinatubo ang alikabok sa loob ng bahay ko.

Minsan naiisip ko, siguro pwede na kumuha ng tulong like isang beses sa isang linggo. Maliit lang naman ang bahay.Kayang kaya ng 4 na oras na trabaho. Ang problema, mataimage017.jpggal ang biyahe kung via public transpo. Hmmmm…

Pero, ngayon ay medyo aligaga na naman ako. May malaking kaganapang mangyayari sa buwan ng Hulyo. Sa totoo lang hindi na mapakali ang loley sa pag hahanda. Puno na ang jeepney para sa sunod na biyahe. Kapit na!

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image954Our trip home 2 years ago was really awesome.Except for my sister Pongs’ family and my mom, the family was half complete. My mom went back home November 2012 in time for our Lola’s 90th birthday celebration. She used most of her vacation leave already and therefore couldn’t go back again some 7 months later. But still, it was a memorable and fun experience.

Meeting my nephew Marty, my brother’s youngest was a most valuable experience. He was barely two when they arrived in Manila. We celebrated his birthday at club Isabel in Batangas and had lunch on the way to Manila at the most visited Leslie’s restaurant in Tagaytay.

First time that my brother and his entire family came to visit with me, my sister and niece, Diday and Duday who are also first time Balikbayan-ers after 14 years. The house was busy and noisy-more lively actually. It seemed more like Christmas in the house. And that was in July. Well, that’s just the thing. In the Philippines, it always feels like everyday is Christmas just because the whole family is together. It is already worth celebrating, without waiting for the actual holiday season.

Come July, i’ll be visiting again. This time with my nephew Matt and nieces Duday & Lucibelle. It’s a shame that Trish and Marty won’t make it. But I’m sure it will be a most memorable experience as well.

Still, i’m hopeful. In God’s Grace. Everyday I pray!

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 Dear Jürgen,
Today would have been your 50th birthday!
Would have been half a lifetime.
You lived, you laughed, and cried.
You loved, forgave and understood.
You got up, moved on and faced the world.
I know despite your illness and pain, you chose to face your own battle…
your spirit was still willing, but your body simply failing.
And your internal organs affected were slowly breaking.
God saw your Will to survive… and through the very end, you fought death with your might.
Still, there was no place for pity and bitterness in your heart.
And finally, God saw you getting tired.
You must leave us,
To return to our Almighty Father,
God is releasing you from your pain…
…suffering and misery.
Giving you the freedom you so deserved rightfully.


You’re probably watching us now from afar,
Celebrating with us in spirit,
It’s our loss…
but you are now forever free,
from the pain and worries of mortality.
We love you dear Jürgen, wherever you may now be!

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Duds and Lulé

Next to clouds my next favorite photo subjects are the kids of my siblings. No need to rub it in that I don’t have kids of my own. Well, others prefer to pour their affection on their pets, I prefer to focus on my Nieces and Nephew.

I became an auntie since 1997… I think. If I am not mistaken, Duday is my eldest Niece. Then came Trish, Matthew and now very recently Lulé… Come July there will be the another addition to the family from Tex and Gina, another nephew for me. On top of that, I also have some Nieces and Nephews from my cousins. I lost count already how many there are now. I love these kids. Their sweet, loving, gifted and very, very smart. Well, what else can I say? I am their aunt.

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Baby Jamie "nikay" Miel Perilla-Encarnacion

Look what the storck delivered: 2 bundles of Joy!

Well, here I am again… back to my blog home. Yes, I was away for a while. Yes I was on vacation. Before that I was really busy with work. And after that, well, I was not only busy with work but also with some other extra curricular activities.

To top it all off, last January, we welcomed two wonderful beautiful angels in our family… in our clan. My sister gave birth to Lucibelle (January 11, 2012) and eleven days later my dear cousin Feena also gave birth to another beautiful angel, Jamie “Nikay” Miel (January 22, 2012). Both blessings came in perfect health condition. Both of course are now slowly getting spoiled, hehehe. Two bundles of joy to start the year, hoooorah!

Baby Lucibelle

Baby Lucibelle

Baby Jamie "nikay" Miel Perilla-Encarnacion

Baby Jamie "nikay" Miel Perilla-Encarnacion

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