Zoom Out



And so the camera was stolen

And the aquarium fishes died

And the mugs were broken

And my right arm is in pain

But I won’t zoom out those things.


Today is holiday in here – our 115th Independence Day

I’m free from office work and be with the kiddos

I’m free to prepare their meals

I’m free to savor the moments at home

And I will zoom out these things.


Pork in wild ginger. Yum!

Pork in wild ginger. Yum!


Sweet potato fries. Yum!

Sweet potato fries. Yum!


Banana. Yum!

Banana. Yum!


Sunburst mirror. Not edible! :)

Sunburst mirror. Not edible! 🙂


Now I am looking at the big picture

I am just glad for all that I have

That I can live in this moment

Here right now



Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy. – Psalm 47:1



I Am The Best Mom!


Oh yes! If in doubt, ask my kiddos!

My kiddos regularly say I am the best mom.
I know I am not but still I accept with deep thanks their love for me – it’s God’s gift.
I know it is the adult me and other adults who say I am not the best mom, or them not the best mom, or them not the best person.

But my kiddos know better. They appreciate who I am and not look for who I am not compared to others; they appreciate what I can do and not look for what I do imperfectly compared to others; they appreciate my love and not look for another mom.

The more they appreciate me regardless of the condition we are in, the more I feel their overflowing love. The more thankful and happier I am!


My kiddos always find me something that they know I will like -- for sure!

My kiddos always find me something that they know I will like — for sure!


We adults have a lot to learn from the kids.

– No comparing. Appreciate the person who loves you.
– The best doesn’t mean perfect.
– No need to focus on imperfection, love instead.
– There can be a billion bests. It only needs people who are grateful enough.


The best brick vase! The best dried flower! The best stick!

The best brick vase! The best dried flower! The best stick!


Happy mother’s day to the best mom — YOU ARE THE BEST MOM!

If in doubt, be kiddolike.


“Do you hear what these children are saying?” they asked him. “Yes,” replied Jesus, “have you never read, “‘From the lips of children and infants you, Lord, have called forth your praise’?” – Matthew 21:16


Oh yes! The whole family had fun on the road trip to Baler, the provincial capital of Aurora Province!

After four hour drive, we reached our first destination, the 500-year-old-or-so Banyan tree which is locally known as Balete tree or Millennium tree. Around 50 adult people, arms outreached, are needed to cover the diameter of the tree. I cannot distinguish the trunk from the roots but because of the hollow it created, it’s amazing for the whole family to be ‘inside’ the tree and for the boys to attempt to climb even for a few feet only. The vine served as a good swing too!

Balete/Millenneum Tree


Balete Swing

And now I will mention this. We could not have enjoyed Baler because on the expressway we had a near miss accident involving a trailer truck. Good thing my hubby was alert, he avoided collision by steering instead to the center island where we hit bamboo fences for a growing tree. Surprisingly, Pearl (our car) is okay – no scratches. We were all shocked and shaken – shocked and shaken.

And so when we reached Bahia de Baler Garden Resort and served with buko (young coconut) shake, I remember how shaken we were earlier. I am simply thankful to God for leading us safe and happy to see my family together.

Bahia de Baler

Oh yes, the buko shake was good – and so the glass bottles!

Buko Shake


Cool! The other good things in Baler!


Dicasalarin Cove. Breathtaking! Breathtaking! We held our breath on the way to the cove. The road is narrow, winding, and steep. If not for the breathtaking view we would have forgotten to exhale!

steepy road to dicasalarin cove

Dicasalarin Cove

The place is breathtaking! I haven’t mentioned that yet, right? As the place is secluded, the paradise is ours!

Dicasalarin Cove

I love Dicasalarin Cove! I love Baler! Because I found the biggest heart rock so far! A good family souvenir for Baler Road Trip!

Baler Heart Stone


Sabang Beach. It’s the beach front of Bahia de Baler Restaurant (built between Bahia de Baler Garden Resort and the beach). Fronting Pacific Ocean, Sabang Beach is one of the surfers favorite where the waves could be really huge especially when the northeast monsoon wind blows. The place is now very special to me just because I watched my kiddos surf, surf, surf!

Bahia de Baler Dining Area

Benedict Surfing in Baler


Digisit Beach. We love the place! Why? Because there are stones and boulders – my daughter and I love stones and boulders! Because there are tiny fishes – my boys (of course that includes my hubby) love fishes! Because the sunset is breathtaking – we (including the group of photographers) all love it!


Digisit Beach

Digisit Beach

Digisit Beach


Falls, falls, falls. True. Along the road there are a number of mini falls amidst the lush greens!

Digisit Falls

mini falls


Tromba Marina Sculpture. A reminder of the people who run to Point Baja Hill (now known as Ermita Hill) hoping to be saved from the tsunami of December 27, 1735. The catastrophic tsunami is said to wipe the old Baler town in an hour. Heart breaking.

Tromba Marina Sculpture


Ermita Hill. There are around 300 steps to the top of the hill where the Miraculous Cross stand. Leg breaking – for me but not for my kiddos! And not for the seven families who were saved from the wrath of the Tsunami on December 27, 1735.

Ermita Hill

Ermita Hill


Museo de Baler. It’s hard to miss it with the sculptured mural. The museum housed significant traces of Baler’s history. There are Chinese porcelain from the Galleon Trade, old reports…


Paintings in Museo de Baler

Chinese Porcelain

Old Letter

The museum also relive the Siege of Baler thus the paintings of the siege participants – both Spaniards and Filipinos.

Filipino Spanish Baler Siege

Filipinos in Baler Siege

And yes, there was President Manuel L. Quezon. And the kiddos have the chance to mano (Filipino gesture of respect).


They have to give respect especially that they clung to his Presidential car! The car was built by General Motors of America and arrived in the Philippines on November 4, 1937. It was turned over in 1938 to General Douglas MacArthur and was used all throughout his duty in the Philippines.

President Manuel L. Quezon car


Dinadiawan Beach. It has a beautiful shoreline that I have to wake up at 4:30 AM to catch the beautiful changing color of the view before full daylight. To catch it we need to stay in another resort — the Dinadiawan Beach Resort.


Dinadiawan Beach

Dinadiawan Beach

Dinadiawan Beach




There’s more to love in Baler. The mountains, lush greenery…

Trees in San Luis Baler


And yes the suman (sticky rice roll wrapped in palm leaf)! Suman is real good that I forgot to take picture. Believe me we’re not hungry but we got to taste it — sorry if we can’t help but eat them all!

Thank you so much Baler — till we meet again!

Bahia de Baler


Thank you soooooooooooooooooooo much Lord for your awesomeness!

Bright clouds on the way hom


You alone are the Lord. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship you. – Nehemiah 9:6




I love this day. And yesterday. And the day before yesterday.

I had breakfast with my hubby – home made daing na bangus (dried milkfish).

Fresh from yesterday’s catch from Aling Nene’s Pond in Valenzuela.


My angler boys made another trip to the pond sans the girls. Could they be challenged from our earlier visit where our one and only take home fish is caught by the mom (that’s me!)?

Here are the photos of the fishing trip 2 days ago and yes, let’s define ‘caught’ later on.


Here’s the first catch of the day! The fish is not big enough to take home so back to the water. And the triumphant smile goes to my heart!


Here’s the 2nd catch of the day! The fish is not big enough to take home so again back to the water. And the happy smile goes to my heart!


Here’s the 3rd catch of the day! The fish is too small to take home so again back to the water. And yes, the grateful smile goes to my heart! Finally, he caught one after several fishes got away from the hook.


Here’s the big catch of the day! Just big enough to take home for sinigang 🙂

And yes, I caught it and here’s how:

  1. The boys have been convincing me to fish instead of roaming around and so I agreed.
  2. My son put the mashed flour bait in the hook and cast it to the direction I pointed.
  3. I held the rod, occasionally looking at the floater, while I read a home magazine.
  4. Then I felt something is pulling my rod and so I screamed. I screamed!
  5. The boys saved me from the struggling fish!

It’s obvious I caught the fish, right?


Hurray for the girls!

And so the next day – that was yesterday, the boys were determined to beat the record. And they succeeded with 18 take home fishes! They were so excited that they forgot to take photos but it’s alright, I’m enjoying the daing na bangus. Not even the vinegar can stop me from smiling sweetly 🙂

There is so much to thank for…







And hey, don’t be disappointed with the small fish catch because there are large ones meant for the seasoned angler — 10 kilos and above.


As for the family, the priority is to catch smiles and we did!

Now going? Aling Nene has cottages on the side.


And in the middle — go rafting!


And yes, you can fish without renting a cottage.


Enjoy the day!


Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead?

– Luke 11:11


Once upon a time, there was a line between hubby and me.

Line of destructive priorities.

Line of selfishness.

Line of pride.

Line of shame.

Line of hatred. Yes. Yes. Yes.

There was a cross.

I saw the cross differently back then.

And so I wanted to run away from it.

After all it was heavy and left me bleeding inside.

But I wasn’t able to go far. It was painful to walk away wounded and bleeding.

I needed a healer.

And then I saw the cross anew

It stitched my wounds.

It helped me cross the line of surrender.

It brought me to the Healer.


Drawn To The Crossby L. Mirabueno

Drawn To The Cross
by L. Mirabueno


I had the painting commissioned. I want to be reminded when I was drawn to the cross and not away from it. That there is no point in running away because love is all it is. It is not just cupid’s love but the love of the Father and the Son for mankind — for us sinners.

Jesus saved us on the cross. It is not a lovely sight knowing that the Father is grieving but — He loves us.

Jesus saved us on the cross. He took our shame and He is not ashamed — He loves us.

And where is my hubby in all of these?

In the title! 🙂


You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. – Romans 5:6


Dear Hubby


Dear Hubby,

Last year you asked me if I wanted an ipad and I said no because I have a laptop already. But still you bought me one because you knew I will like it.

And true enough I liked it! It’s handy and I can use it while lying in bed. That is if I’m not yet off to dreamland the moment my back touched the bed.

This year you asked me if I wanted an iPhone or Note 2 and I said no because the phone you gave me still works. But still you gave me one because you knew I will like it.

And true enough I liked it! It’s handy and helped me in my current project. I was able to sketch-erase-sketch an organizational chart, among others.

And so I realized that as much as it is important that you should know what your wifey like — like a vintage aqua Volkswagen van (wink wink) it is also important for me to appreciate the gift you feel is important.

Of course I do appreciate them all my techie hubby! I love how you knew I needed something which I didn’t ask for because I am a DIY-junky-vintagey wifey!

And so for your birthday we are giving you something which you might not want but trust me you will love this because…we do!


Boys Fishing by L. Mirabueno

Boys Fishing
by L. Mirabueno

Believe me this is priceless because you will remember the times the boys gone fishing with you. Yes, I know they’re quiet in the painting unlike in real life where they scared the fish off so you won’t catch anything! But then, it can still come true one of these days, lol!





Believe me this is priceless because one day you will remember how your artsy daughters stayed late to finish painting this just for you!

So love it, love it because we love you, love you!




P.S. Your birthday wish for wisdom and prayer of thankfulness to God is a gift itself.

And yes, the greatest gift is already given to us. Not every one may want Him but God the Father knew that we all need Him.


There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. – 1Corinthians 12:4-6


Another artsy bonding time!

Last Saturday the kiddos and I were in Jaime Velasquez Park, Salcedo Village for the Art In The Park 2013.

My eldest daughter and I were excited on the event. She’s excited enough to invite her two best friends with us. And I am excited too that I reminded myself of the policy, “No buying until I sleep over it for at least a fortnight.”

And so that meant NO BUYING because the event is only for one day! And so that meant bringing in extra towel lest I drool over the inspiring lovely fantastic artsy creations of the artists!

True enough I started to drool on the first booth. Woot! Woot! There was a mosaic owl mirror which could be a whimsical addition to my wall mirrors. But sorry it wasn’t the fortnight yet. Owleave you then, bye.

We haven’t gone far when I drooled again on the potters’ area. I wantttt Joey de Castro’s jumbo cup and saucer! I wanttt Mia Casal’s clay necklace and ring! I wantttt Jon and Tessy Pettyjohn’s tea set! But sorry it wasn’t the fortnight yet. Huhuhu — stop claying you’re a big girl now, okay?

Do I have to mention that the towel was quite wet already when my heart gone giddy yap giddy yap? No, I don’t think there’s a need to mention the wet towel but I have to mention that I shrieked for the horse taka – the same time my youngest shrieked for the rag doll! But sorry it wasn’t the fortnight yet. Poor baby but she knew she’ll have it one of these days – we will make one.

And so you asked, “Where are the photos of these drool worthy things?”

And I replied, “Sorry I was busy wiping.”

But here are some of the photos of other lovely creations.

Art in the Park.2

Art in the Park.3

Mom is watching

with friends















No, he is not my kiddos’ granddad. He is Pete Jimenez, the artist whose sculptures was wow worthy. Wow worthy enough that we had seen SOLD SOLD SOLD on empty platforms!

Here’s one of his creations for the women. The cheapest ‘Her Mess’ bag but as of our stay it wasn’t sold yet. Could it be snatched by a bag lover should its title was ‘Her Miss’?


My misses – the ones I haven’t bought? But there will be Art In The Park next year — and it’s more than a fortnight by then!

Thank you so much to the Art In The Park organizers and artists — it was another memorable bonding time for the family!


He has filled them with skill to do all kinds of work as engravers, designers, embroiderers in blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen, and weavers—all of them skilled workers and designers. – Exodus 35:35