2016: Of Travels, Friendships, Family, and Spreading Happiness

“Life is meant for Good Friends and Great Adventures”

As we bid goodbye to 2016, I look back at how the past year has brought me to awesome places and taught me life lessons along the way as I travel with friends and family. Lessons that honed me as a person, a friend, a sister, a cousin, a daughter, a mother, and so much more. Lessons that not only helped me but helped those dear to me as well.

January: Cebu

My first roadtrip of the year is to the South of Cebu as I joined in the birthday celebration of a dear friend. It was with a group of friends from my previous team in Cebu and this journey reminded me that it doesn’t mean that friendships end when we stop spending (working) time with each other. It was also the time when some of my new team mates joined the older group and a good opportunity to build new friendships as well.

February: Mindanao Adventure (CDO, Bukidnon, Camiguin, Iligan)

Despite hailing from Mindanao, it was still a fresh experience for me as I went on this Minda trip with friends. We experienced the thrilling rides at Bukidnon, chased Iligan waterfalls, went on white water rafting at CDO, and drooled in amazement at the White Island in Camiguin. As I built new friendships and bonded with old ones more, I learned that you need to step out of your comfort zone to experience the beautiful things, may it be an amazing sunset or a smile of a new friend.

April: Yui turns Seven

My March and April were spent preparing for Yui’s 7th birthday. The entire celebration was blogged here. Most of the decorations were DIY’ed thanks to the help of my family and friends. It was a memorable experience not only because we pulled off the DIY party but mostly because it was a time for family and friends to meet and celebrate with Yui and with each other.

May: Tagaytay and Cebu

It was a pleasant surprise when my dear brother went home for a quick vacay last May. Although he left before our birthday, he was able to celebrate Mother’s Day with us where we spent it together at The Lake Hotel, Tagaytay. Towards the end of May, I went on another Cebu trip with some Manila team mates. It is always fun touring new people in Cebu, which feels like my second home. This month has taught me that a simple surprise is more than enough to warm one’s heart.

From top-left, clockwise: At the Lapu-Lapu shrine in Mactan; #WanderBraders in Cebu; Dayot family in Tagaytay;

August: Hong Kong, Cebu, Batangas

August was probably my busiest travel month this year. Earlier in August I went on a one-week HK trip with family, mid-month was spent at Moalboal, Cebu and National Heroes Day holiday was spent at Pico De Loro with dear friends. I’ve learned a lot from these trips also, most memorable is that I learned who my true friends are – who will stay honest with me no matter what.

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From top-left, clockwise: spending a gloomy afternoon at Pico de Loro beach; roadtrip photo op with close office friends; At The Peak, Hong Kong with sis & aunt-in-law; At the Ngong Ping village

September: Cebu

After two weeks, I went back to Cebu but this time with some of my Manila dev team. We spent some days at the office and the weekend at South Cebu. They swam with the whale shark in Oslob (I just waited at the beach since I already tried this 2 years ago). After the whale shark, we then spent the afternoon at Sumilon Island and basked in the beauty of the sea and blue sky. We trekked at the Aguinid falls and also went up Levels 6 to 8, which are not included in the basic tour. Although there were several 90 degree rock/falls climb, our tour guides and our group helped us along the way. It was a pretty scary trip but it has taught me that I just need to trust my friends and the people who are willing to help so I can reach my goals. This trip was one of the highlights of my year.

October: Singapore

Last October, My family journeyed to Singapore to witness my brother’s wedding. It was a short and sweet ceremony and was witnessed by the couple’s immediate family and closest friends. Although not really a travel escapade (we only spent the weekend at home with the family), it was memorable for me as I got to spend precious time with my family. This trip reminded me that no matter how far we all go or how long we don’t see each other, family is always where the heart is.

November: Singapore, Zamboanga

An unplanned trip, this Singapore visit was a quick one and I just spent it with my brother and his wife. It was here where I felt really close to my brother. I realized that I can move heaven and earth for him, even if we quarreled like crazy when we were little.

Quality time with the bro and SIL

A week after Singapore, we journeyed to Zamboanga to attend my cousin’s wedding (this year is really full of love and weddings :)) I had a great time spending some time with my cousins who I rarely see. I can say that this month was really all about family lovin’.

My cousin’s wedding

December: Batanes

What great way to end the year than go on The Great Batanes Dream. Our 6-day Batanes trip was full of emotional rollercoaster (delayed flights, unfavorable weather, and amazement of the view). We spent the 6 days just being at an awe of the great scenery at Batanes. It was from this experience that I was reminded that all great things are worth the wait.

Always gonna be at awe with Batanes

The holiday season was filled with office Christmas party, meet-ups with friends, and quality time with family.

I’m one lucky person to have friends like them. Will always be grateful for these people


Holiday with the clan: Always crazy, Always fun, Always busog!

 

2016 ended already, but the memories and lessons I’ve learned will stay with me as I greet 2017 with open arms. Here’s a huge shout out to everyone as I welcome 2017 and spread love and good vibes. Lablab!

Happy 3 Years!

This month marks my blog’s third year anniversary. I wouldn’t have remembered if WordPress did not greet me. ๐Ÿ™‚

Lucky Three! :)

Lucky Three! ๐Ÿ™‚

Wow, I can’t believe I lasted this long (I think this is the longest blog I’ve kept). I’ve posted a lot of personal thoughts, adventures and Yui stories in this blog, but to commemorate my third anniversary, here’s my top 3 most favorite posts.

#3 The PaRK at Real, Quezon

Probably the most visited page in this site, I still can’t believe how many people are interested about this little surfing slash hangout slash chillin’ place in Quezon. I felt ecstatic too when I learned that this post is in the first page of the Google search results when you search for the resort.

#2 Until We Meet Again, Dear Sister

One of the most emotional blog post I made is this short eulogy for my sister-in-law, Aileen. She was one strong, fun and free-spirited girl and losing her this early was heartbreaking for the whole family. Until now, Yui would randomly blurt out that she misses “ninay” Aileen. Then she would go quiet for a while. Despite the very short time that we got to spend with her, I’m still thankful that Yui was able to meet her “ninay” and they were able to build memories together.

#1 Look-alike Meter Part 1

And for my top favorite post… The Look-alike meter. Oftentimes, people would wonder aloud who Yui looks like. This look-alike meter settled all the questions and wondering. It’s fun to see how Yui looks exactly like Daddy Bunny and me. A second post was done when Yui was almost 2 years old to see if the percentage changed. Well, it did. by 3% , which is negligible. I wanted to check the look-alike meter now but unfortunately the site does not work anymore ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

 

So there, those are my most memorable posts the past 3 years. I’m looking forward to posting more stories and adventures for the next 3 years, and the next and the next.

Things I’m Grateful For: Feel Good Friday Edition

I just read an article from Mashable about Patrick Stewart’s Heartfelt Response to Domestic Violence. Linking to it is the tumblr post of Heather Skye, the girl who asked Sir Patrick Stewart the question.

For some reason, I was all tears when I was reading both posts. Not just the teary eyed type but tears actually flowed. I don’t know why I was deeply affected, I didn’t know any of them personally nor was I a victim of domestic violence.

I guess part of me was just grateful that I don’t have to endure the same trauma in my life. Not me, my mother or anyone close to me. These posts reminded me that there are a lot of things I should be grateful for:

I may have witnessed marital problems between my parents, but I’m thankful that they don’t get violent to each other. And that at the end of the day, the still have that respect to each other.

I may have experienced some petty disagreements with my husband, but I’m thankful for having a very understanding partner. Someone who loves and values our family.

I may have seen my friends get brokenhearted, but I’m thankful that they discover these guys are jerks before they even endure physical pain.

I may have felt injustice within the office, but I’m thankful that these are mostly on performance matters and nothing violent at all.

We often feel that our lives are so problematic: we don’t earn enough, we don’t travel enough, we don’t have a fancy house, we don’t have enough cool friends… But come to think of it, these are NOTHING as compared to the problems and the hurt that some people, some women, endure every day of their effin’ lives.

So the next time we feel alone, remember that there are people willing to help. And that we should be grateful to be alive, healthy and safe. At the same time, be nice to others and smile more often. You’ll never know if the person you’re smiling at is experiencing pain from violence. A simple gesture goes a long way in making someone feel better.

6 Blogging Years

This month marks my sixth year of blogging experience. I can’t believe I’ve been writing online for this long. Happy 6th to me! Yay! Anyway, I never really considered myself to be a hardcore blogger as I’ve been doing this on and off for the last six years. I’ve tried several blogging platforms already and looking back it seems that I’ve been making a new one for every stage in my life. My blogs seem to each have a theme and whenever I move on to a next stage, I create a new one. Now let’s look back at my blogging history and reminisce the good old days. ๐Ÿ™‚

 

BLOGSPOT:ย http://meleshia.blogspot.com/

The Bunnynose

I’ve started blogging in 2005 pala but since this site only has 2 entries (and a 3rd one to redirect to the new blog), I wouldn’t really consider this to be an official site. Through the links in the right navigation, you would see what kind of things I was into back in ’05. TipidPC, The Sims, and hey, Friendster! This was the gaming era.

 

LIVEJOURNAL:ย http://meleshia.livejournal.com

Livejournal

My LJ was “live” for 2 years and I would say this was my J-Pop, JDorama, anything Japanese addiction days. You would see posts mostly about Arashi, Hana Kimi, Hana Yori Dango and even other topics like travels, UAAP and some personal entries. This is also the site where the Tales of a Commuter series started. There are a lot of great memories from this site and it’s nice to revisit and read the entries once in a while but my all-time favorite post from LJ is the Geek Coffee incident. ๐Ÿ™‚

 

MULTIPLY:ย http://meleshia.multiply.com/journal

Preggy Mommy Bunny

Live from 2007 to 2009, I would say that pre-marriage and early family life is what this blog is all about. I’m happy to have chronicled these things for moments like this. I can reminisce all the exciting experiences in my short life like the time that I didn’t know how to work a coffee maker in Chicago, the big announcement of the upcoming addition to the family, Yui’s birth story (I still get overwhelmed everytime I read this), and the times that I started to exclusively pump and fill our freezer with pumped milk. Oh the joys!

 

WORDPRESS:ย https://thehoppymommybunny.wordpress.com/

And now we’re down to this. The Hoppy Mommy Bunny. The joys, pains, ups and downs of being a mother to Yui are in here. For 2 years now, this site has several adventures already including trips and travels of our family, reviews of food and places and most importantly, my life as a mommy bunny. It’s not easy experiencing these things and then blogging about it. There are always a lot of blog-worthy topics and experiences that I encounter daily and the biggest challenge is getting online and writing about it. It takes time and effort but as they always say, “No Pain, No Gain”. This blog still remains to be a non-profit, purely personal journal and I’m happy about it. As it seems that my role as a mommy bunny is in for a long haul, it looks like this blog will be live for quite some time.

I wonder what the next stage, next platform will be? ๐Ÿ™‚

January Yui-isms

2 years and 9 months old. Wow, three months to go and we’ll say goodbye to the “Terrible Twos” stage! Isn’t life grand? ๐Ÿ™‚

Our household is in eternal loud broadcast having a very talkative toddler that is almost always awake. And to welcome the new year, here are the most recent Yui-isms that we’ve been constantly hearing the past few days:

Out of the blue, Yui had a habit that whenever she faces a mirror (anywhere with a full-body mirror, including the elevators), she would place both arms in her waist, tilt her head sideways and say: “I’m sexy!” ย (this really cracked us up prompting even her grandmothers and aunts to copy her signature pose while saying I’m sexy)

In the playgroup, their current lesson is about community helpers. Teacher asked them “what do you want to do want to be when you grow up?” Yui unabashedly answered: “PRINCESS!” while wearing the princess cape costume that they have in school. Wow, if only Prince William and Princess Kate would have a baby boy and our family moves to London, then we might have a 0.01% chance of making this come true. Right? I asked her the same question at home and she’s consistent with her answer. We all have that “first dream career” or the answer to the “what to do you want to be when you grow up?” question, and the usual answer would be doctor, astronaut, lawyer or police. Mine was a flight attendant and my daughter’s a princess. I guess our brood really is different. ๐Ÿ™‚

We try to make her a healthy eater and refrain from giving her softdrinks as much as we can. Last night during dinner, she asked if she can have a coke and we said no. Then she reasoned, “But grandma gave me coke last night!” Haha! Grandma was caught red-handed! Although she said it was a really really tiny bit. Good thing, Yui didn’t insist when we said that grandma just forgot that she can’t have a coke. She enjoyed her water after that. Whew, tantrum averted! ๐Ÿ™‚

I’ve read that two year olds start to love pretend play and I can attest to this. I guess it started a few months back and has escalated the past weeks. Yui’s favorite game is to play pretend, she would be the mommy and I will be the baby. She would feed me milk, sing me to sleep and read me books. And with her love of the Supa Strikasย show, she even changes our names with that of the Supa Strikas. She’ll call herself Shakes, I’ll be El Matadorย and daddy is Twisting Tiger.ย These are really fun times and very cheap game to play. So win-win to all of us ๐Ÿ™‚

When her grandma came home from Zamboanga and gave her an umbrella, which is a gift from Mamuh Wella, she was really excited and even said “the umbrella is so cute!”

Yui even showed it off to her aunts that came to visit.

yui's umbrella

And yesterday, the nicest thing just happened. As her grandma was texting:

Yui: Who you texting someone, grandma?

Grandma: I’m texting Mamuh Wella

Yui: Please tell her thank you for giving me the umbrella

Aww…. things like these just melts my heart. It makes me think that there is hope for the future of mankind and that children these days can still have the goodness that we, people, once had. ๐Ÿ™‚

Little big girl

Even with the huge mountain of work that I have right now, I still have some things that I’m grateful for. Some things to keep me sane.

One of them is this little fashionista girl. She’s growing up to be really smart and funny.

Love you to bits, Yui! ๐Ÿ™‚