Thursday, November 30, 2017

Walking Time On A Holiday

Since it's a holiday today, we had time to bond by having a morning walk in a "forested area" of Alabang in Muntinlupa City. It's not entirely a forest, but because it still has a fair amount of vegetation and several large trees, one might think that it does look like a forest. I'm referring to Filinvest Corporate City.

You will notice many cities today, particularly those in Metro Manila, do not have large parks with forested areas. In the US, a good example of a forested park is of course Central Park which is found in New York City. This huge park in the Big Apple is well known in the world and many tourists wouldn't miss it. New York may seem very urbanized, but it still has such a park whose beauty they are still able to maintain. If we could only have such a park here in Filipinas where many families would be able to stroll. Because as I have noticed this morning, while my family and I were strolling through Filinvest's shaded areas, there were only two other families who were taking a morning walk there though an hour has already passed. So for those who are in charge of public parks and nature preservation, this should be a wake-up call, because it is beautiful to see families bonding together, enjoying nature, rather than see families go to malls often, or are too busy enjoying gadgets at home. Sad but true: families today spend more time in social media that they have almost forgotten what the natural world has to offer. Nature is always the best location for some family bonding.

Filinvest actually is not a park. Its huge lots which still have several large trees, many of which are acacia (A. plicatum), are still unsold or unleased. And this has been so for decades. Alabang was once a huge forest. Daddy Pepe used to live in the Las Pinas-Parañaque area with his Alas relatives when he was still a little boy. They used to pass by Alabang whenever they go to Unisan, that is why he has clear memories of how Alabang used to look like back then. The forest seems to reclaim the vacant lots often, and Filinvest's gardeners try their best to minimize it.

Now, going back to our family walk. Our meeting place is in front of Acacia Hotel Manila. We were to wait for my husand who was coming from his night shift. We arrived early, so while waiting for him, we decided to go inside the lobby. I noticed that there was no chair in the lobby. Other hotels have chairs in their lobbies even for inquiring guests. The only available seats there were meant for paying customers who were to take their breakfast. I was compelled to order food because it would seem awkward for us to stay there without having to eat, hehehe! I ordered some French fries for my kids and brewed coffee for me. That's the only things we could afford from a five-star hotel, hehehe! Anyway, we follow the adage "live within your means".

Daddy Pepe arrived a few minutes later, then waited for us outside as we finished our unplanned "hotel breakfast" (Acacia's French fries tasted very good, and they were big and fresh; we really loved it!). Afterwards, we saw Daddy Pepe waiting for us in a huge, grassy lawn in front of The Mondrian Residences and Parque España. He was hunting for some grasshoppers and butterflies and also looking for rare birds nestled in some trees there (yes, there are unfamiliar birds all over Alabang). We then marched through the shaded length of East Asia Drive. This beautiful street is surrounded by large trees left and right. And there were hardly vehicles there. There were still no buildings, and it has been that way for years. While walking, we saw some wild flowers, but not as many and not as varied as those we saw in Susana Heights last month where we also had a morning stroll. The kids got to enjoy these as well as various forest insects thriving in grass covered with dew. They were running all around chasing butterflies here and there! There were some acacia trees that were not very tall yet, that is why we got to hold their branches and yellowish flowers. There was also an occasional breeze that swayed the trees and shook up their dried leaves. That is why we were showered with leaves as we marched through East Asia Drive!

Morning dews, again!

The tallest christmas tree we have ever seen so far!!! WOW!!! 

There were already Christmas decors hanging by the treets when we reached Parkway Street. We occasionally stopped to take pictures, We then turned left to Spectrum Midway where we saw a group of students practising for some upcoming school activity. There were more trees here, and this is also we stopped by to have eat our packed snacks and where our three boys and Junífera Clarita ran around for a few minutes. We were headed to where we began because Krystal had to meet up with her friends in nearby Alabang Town Center. At The Filinvest Tent north of Spectrum Midway, we found a bazaar with food stalls. What a coincidence, because it was opening day. GMA 7 was there, too. It turned out to be the opening day of Noel Bazaar, a popular traveling bazaar. We had early lunch first before I accompanied Krystal to her friends. The location of food stalls was uncomfortable especially when the sun was already hight. It's because the branches of two acacia trees beside The Filinvest Tent were cut down. Had they not been cut down, they would have provided a lovely shade to the people. Please, let us not cut down trees. We can develop a place without putting harm to nature. Remember: they are our source of oxygen and even peace of mind.

Inside the bazaar, the atmosphere was festive. A huge Belén, the traditional Filipino Christmas decoration, was on display. An acoustic band was playing as shoppers were buying tickets to get inside the bazaar proper. The event was also giving away freebies. We got some from the Philippine Daily Inquirer, one of the bazaar's sponsor.

So if you want to stroll through nature without having to travel too far, there's always Filinvest Corporate City. It's not meant to be a park, but it has been like one for many years already. It's a haven for bikers, joggers, nature lovers, and families!


Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Trekking the hilly heights of Doña Susana

Whenever I pass by Susana Heights Access Road (or simply Susana Heights) in Muntinlupà, I always get curious at that long stretch of road filled with trees between the old national highway or Maharlika Road and the toll gate leading to the South Luzón Expressway (SLEX). The road goes up a hilly path and crosses the SLEX via an elevated path or bridge. When one goes to Alabang from Maharlika Road, one will have to turn left to the toll gate that curved towards SLEX. But there's a road that goes straight farther upward that has since caught my curiosity because it's filled with trees and other flowering plants. Daddy Pepe told me that it leads to a gated community and a cemetery, making me curious all the more.

For many years, we remember a gigantic balete tree at the corner of Maharlika Road and Susana Heights. We've been wanting to take a photo of ourselves there. But one day, we were surprised when it was cut down to give way to the Muntinlupa Hall of Justice. We were so disappointed and devastated because we've been admiring that tree for years. According to Daddy Pepe, Susana Heights was named after Doña Susana Paterno de Madrigal, the grandmother of former Senator Jamby Madrigal. The Madrigal family used to own that hilly spot where now stands the tree-filled road connecting Maharlika and the toll gate leading to SLEX. When one is going to Alabang using that road, one should notice a stream towards the right. Daddy Pepe told me that it used to be the border between San Pedro Tunasán and Muntinlupa until 1914, when the government of San Pedro sold that part of what is now known as Susana Heights to Muntinlupa. That is why San Pedro Tunasán today is now known only as San Pedro while that land which Muntinlupa had acquired from San Pedro became Barrio Tunasán.

Yesterday, I led my family to a morning trek to the hills of Susana Heights. Since there had been less sunshine these past few days, I thought that I needed to have a doze of it to at least heal my shortness of breath. I do not have asthma, but since I was sick last month, I feel like I am still weak. That's why I really felt the need to refresh myself with some clean air near our place by having a doze of sunshine while walking amidst trees. Maybe I could bring back my energy by doing that, I thought. So off we went to Susana Heights.

We reached the place past nine. The sun was shining brightly. We walked by the sidewalk that led upwards, together with the road, because Susana Heights is actually a sloped hill overlooking Laguna de Bay. Both sides of the road are filled with trees. We didn't mind the vehicles running past us on the road as we were mindful only with the trees and the grass by the sidewalk. One thing I noticed is that some trees beside the highway are painted white from the root to the middle part. My hubby really hates it and thinks that it is just mindless and a waste of public money. I hope that this will be put to a stop because paints will just ruin the health of trees.

It was really an enjoyable walk! On our way up, we saw a smaller but wide hill covered with low grass. It was part of Águila Homes, a non-gated private subdivision. We stopped for a while and had the kids run around the grass that was still covered with morning dew despite the immense heat that was starting to begin. They chased butterflies and gazed at the small spiders and grasshoppers, things 
that many children living in urbanized areas rarely see today.

Morning dews!

Afterwards, we continued with our road trek and reached the farthest end of the road that I was talking about earlier. We even saw a giant acacia tree there and had our pictures taken. Then continuing further, we reached a gate with two security guards. The gate actually led to Susana Heights Subdivision to the left of the road and Lindenwood Residences to the right. Farther down the road was the cemetery. I asked the security guards if they could allow us to enter, and they did. Anyway, all we're really after were the trees, the flowers, and the grass.

Junífera Clarita is fascinated with the macahiyâ grass.

After enjoying the trees and the flowers, we walked back to where we came from. The sun was already high by the time we had ended our trek, but it did not hurt our skin because of the shade of trees protected us along the way. We then proceeded to Muntinlupa's town proper for some pizza.

The morning walk that we did was really fun and enjoyable even if the place is not a tourist spot. But the part that we really enjoyed was Junifera Clarita touching the small leaves of the macahiyâ plant (Mimosa pudica). She was really fascinated with them because the leaves close upon being touched by human fingers. It was so cute that I took a video clip of her! We even saw several varieties of plants and wild flowers that people have been ignoring and taking for granted every day. They didn't know that they're missing quite a lot. Daddy Pepe said that Susana Heights used to be part of a huge forest, and we could still find traces of that forest because we saw some really old trees along the way. If only people could find time to enjoy nature. Our walking tour of Susana Heights proves to me that walking is traveling too, that walking can be exciting. I remember what my husband told me, that whenever people are inside a mall, they do not notice that they have been walking for miles on end. They just don't know it because they are entertained by the shops and food stalls all around, not to mention that malls are air-conditioned. But walking through nature is much more enjoyable compared to malling because you get to see and enjoy God's creation for free. You get to witness living things moving about in their natural habitat. You get to feel nature itself and feel the wonder it gives to us, not to mention that the memory of enjoying nature lasts for a lifetime. It's for keeps. 

Walking is bonding; walking with nature together with your family is a complete moment to treasure.



Thank you so much to Yellow Cab area manager Karen de Guzmán for the pictures!

Monday, October 23, 2017

Happy fourth anniversary to our blog!

Belated happy fourth anniversary to our blog! (our first travel was on 23 October 2013 while our first blogpost was on 21 October 2013)! To GOD be the glory!


Saturday, September 30, 2017

No travel for this month

Resulta ng larawan para sa sick
Image: Rheumablog.

To our readers:
I apologize because our family has not made any travel for this month, and it's a first since we started this blog four years ago. You see, we make it a point to travel at least once a month. For this month, our only free time was supposed to be today. We were planning to go out for some pizza tonight somewhere in Muntinlupa, but that might not happen anymore. It's because of my fever, cough, and colds. I've had it for two days already. As of this time, my temperature is normal, but just this noon, my fever got back again. I am checking my temperature from time to time. If I still insist for my family to travel to Muntinlupa, there might be complications to my health, and that is something that I do not want to happen.
It's really hard if you're sick. When a father is sick, he will only take a rest and do nothing. Same with the kids. But if the mother is sick, she still needs to do the household chores and other matters at home. That is the big sacrifice of being a mother.
But don't worry. Just pray for my quick recovery, that my temperature as well as my body's system will go back to normal.
To all my loved ones in heaven, to all the saints, to all the angels, to Mama Mary: please pray for me to get well as soon as possible.
To almighty GOD, please heal me. I need to have energy and I need to feel OK so I could take care of my family with much radiance because I love them.
Thank you very much in advance for your prayers, and may GOD bless us all!!! 👼 👼 👼
Sincerely yours,

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Happy 18th and 4th anniversary to us!

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It is almost midnight and I need to post this before the day ends because me and Daddy Pepe have to drink in a short while to continue our anniversary celebration. So, I will just share to all of you our hilarious anniversary message in Facebook this morning. Some may have read it, but I'll post it again for the benefit of those who haven't yet...

* * * * * * *

Happy 18th anniversary (and 4th wedding anniversary) to my one and only Probinsyana wife, Yeyette the Wildflower! Ikaw Lang Ang iibigin nitóng dating Pusong Ligaw, that's The Promise of Forever. I am Destined to be Yours, debajo de La Luna Sangre. You and I, we have A Love To Last
¡Te amo mucho, mi amor Jennifer!
Pepe Alas

And here is my reply:

Naunahan mo ako ah hahaha! Naka-mud pack ako nang binabasa ko ang komento mo, ayon napangiti tuloy ako at nag crack ang mud pack ko, hehehe! Pero huwag kang mag-alala, kasi mag crack na ang mud pack ko, wag lang ang Pag-ibig ko. 😱

Asahan mong andito 
lagi ako sayo: 
Sa saya at tawanan. Sa sigawan at awayan. Sa viaje at pasyalan. Sa diskusyon at bangayan. Sa pagmamahalan at lambingan. Sa kulitan at inisan. Sa La Familia Viajera at Buong Angkan Nang Familia Natin. Sa yaman at karangyaan. Sa bagong kakilala at hindi pa mga kilala. Sa tikisan at di pag-iimikan. 
Sa gimik at sa imbitasyon. Sa patimpalak at pagtitipon. Sa galit at poot. Sa paminsan-minsan at madalas. Sa bungisngis at halakhak. Sa lamig at sa ulan. Sa taglish at jejemon. Sa summer at sa beach. Sa buwan at sa bituin. Sa pelikula at social media. Sa writing at editing. Sa iba pang bagay at etcetera. Sa expressions at LOL. 
Sa dulo at walang hanggan...

Andito, andito ako... 

Ako, ako ito... 

Nagmamahal pa din at laging sayo.... 

Te am tambien, and Happy 18th Anniversary and 4th Wedding Anniversary, mi amor Pepe😍
Yeyette Alas— 😘

* * * * * * *

Many couples today are facing a lot of struggles, obstacles, and problems. Me and dear husband Pepe are no different from the rest, but we have stayed stronger than ever, calmly facing the realities of life. And I am always hoping that we could surpass every trial that we encounter and still stay strong until the end, still in love with each other, and continue to keep the love and in our hearts, together with our children. May GOD continue blessing our family.

Again, Happy 18th Anniversary (and 4th Wedding Anniversary) to us!!!


Friday, August 11, 2017

¡Feliz tercer cumpleaños, Junífera Clarita!

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With the old municipal hall of Biñán (left, now a museum) and the Church of San Isidro Labrador (right) at the background. Both structures date back to the Spanish era.

When they were still babies, all of my kids adored Jollibee. But among them, our baby Junífera Clarita is the most excited whenever she sees the Jollibee sign. She would mention the name "Jollibee" with much delight. Whenever we are out of the house and ask the family where we should eat, Junífera Clarita would immediately scream the name Jollibee. So today, on her third birthday, we had a simple dinner at a Jollibee outlet. It was her request, to eat at Jollibee. But to add some historical flavor, my hubby Pepe chose to eat at a Jollibee outlet in historic Biñán, La Laguna, just a few feet away from the ancestral house of national hero José Rizal's mother. He said that this historic house will be reconstructed soon.

The rainy night did not stop our simple celebration. I prayed to Saint Clare of Assisi not to rain. Thank God it did not rain on us. Thank you so much for praying for us, Saint Clare! And happy feast day to you!

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I never thought I would experience life again after my fifth ceasarian delivery. You are our miracle baby! We are both enjoying the world together with the rest of the family. I will not tire of thanking all my family members, relatives, and friends who prayed for us, as well as all my dearly departed loved ones who are now in Heaven who I know had prayed for me. I will also not get tired of thanking all the saints, angels, and Mama Mary who helped me survive just to bring you here on earth.

Thank you most especially to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, our Almighty GOD, for all the miracles and blessing you have given us!

I love you my "koala baby", my "pokemon",  my "baba labs", my baby Junífera Clarita. The smell of your skin eases my problems away. You always make my day. Your smile removes my stress, and you are the main reason why I'm always happy.  

Happy third birthday to you, our sweetest darling!  We love you so much, and may you have more wonderful birthdays to come!

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When we got home, her Abuelo Daddy, Jaime Perey, was waiting for her.