Too bad I missed the grand opening of Kidzania Manila at Park Triangle in Bonifacio Global City. I waited for this day. Oh well, let me share  the good news so you know what to  expect when you visit Kidzania Manila.

Where kids do big things

KidZania Manila is the ultimate role-playing environment where kids get to live out their big dreams. With 8,000 square meters of play space, kids aged 4-14 will now get to role-play grown-up roles and live out their dream careers. Isn’t that so much fun?

kidzania manila launch

KidZania is found all over the globe from Mexico to Tokyo to London and KidZania Manila is the 20th KidZania city in the world, and the first of its kind in the Philippines.

immigration office of kidzania

“We can’t wait for Filipino children to finally enjoy the unique role-play experience that KidZania Manila offers. Kids will play and learn together, figure out what makes a good city, and collaborate to help run their own community. Play at KidZania will spark dreams and imagination – empowering them to believe that they can make a better world,” says Maricel Pangilinan-Arenas, State Governor for KidZania Philippines.

kidzania fire department

KidZania’s tagline is “Get Ready for a Better World” and KidZania believes that realistic and imaginative role-play can promote change, inspire global citizenship, and build strong community awareness.

kidzania processing

KidZania Manila is a play city built to scale for children – complete with paved streets, transport system, and a functioning economy. Every detail is intended to project authenticity: from the activity itself, to uniforms and costumes, to the work gear and tools – and even the city interiors.

kidzania airplane

From police officer to recording artist to urban farmer, kids can choose from over 100 immersive role-play activities. They can become firefighters to the rescue, pilots off to adventures, or even paramedics who save lives. And when kids work, they earn wages in KidZania’s currency called “KidZos.” The more they work, the more they earn. Kids can choose to save or spend what they earn – just like in real life. What a great way to teach them about grown up life?

vpower gasoline

More than just a family entertainment center, KidZania Manila creates a kid-centric experience where kids are in charge. KidZania partnered with over 40 real-world brands who help bring realism to the kid-sized city, providing children with reality-based activities and skills that they can use in real life.

kidzania market

They can open their own bank accounts, attend classes in the university, file their taxes, shop for necessities at the supermarket, and even drive electric cars.

abscbn theater at kidzania

KidZania Manila is open 7 days a week, with one shift Mondays through Thursdays, from 9AM to 4PM, and two shifts on weekends (Friday to Sunday) and national holidays, from 9AM to to 2PM for the first shift and 3 PM to 8PM for the second shift. KidZania Manila is on soft opening starting August 7, 2015, with limited slots available.

For more details on ticket prices and booking, visit the KidZania Manila website at Online ticketing goes live on August 3, 2015.




Marriage is … the promise of love between two people and the explicit commitment to work to maintain that love no matter what obstacles life may bring.

wedding ring

Why prepare for a wedding when one should prepare for the marriage?

How cynical or is it being practical? One learns about marriage by actually being in one. Sure, there are signs to watch out for in An Ideal Husband. My husband was my boyfriend for 7 years but I never really knew him or what marriage entailed until I lived it.

Father Pat Connor spent decades of marriage counseling which led him to distill some “common sense” advice about how to avoid partners who would maul your happiness.

“Hollywood says you can be deeply in love with someone and then your marriage will work,” the twinkly eyed, white-haired priest says. “But you can be deeply in love with someone to whom you cannot be successfully married.”

The priest gave lectures for the past 40 years on ““Whom Not to Marry” to high school seniors, mostly girls because they seem more eager to understand.

You might wonder about the reliability of the priest’ observations but as I went through his list, I have to agree with the signs to watch out for. Let me go through the list and cite a few examples.

1. “Never marry a man who has no friends,” he starts. This usually means that he will be incapable of the intimacy that marriage demands.

I know of someone who ran away from her husband bringing nothing with her but her wallet. The husband (soon to be divorced) begged me to convince her to go back to him. He said “She was my life. She was my only friend”. I didn’t want to meddle with their affairs because the husband apparently called every friend. I was thinking “he just wants her back because he is lonely…no friends”. What a loser. Good thing, my friend pursued the divorce from her obsessive husband.

2. “Does he use money responsibly? Is he stingy? Most marriages that flounder do so because of money

“she’s thrifty, he’s on his 10th credit card.”

money in marriage

I can so relate to this. One of the marital fights with my husband in our early years of marriage was his non-frugal ways. I might have been the stingy one but since he was just a law student, I expected him to be more thrifty. It took more than 15 years for him to spend money wisely and 18 years before he completely allowed me to handle our financial affairs.

3. “Steer clear of someone whose life you can run, who never makes demands counter to yours. It’s good to have a doormat in the home, but not if it’s your husband.

I don’t really know any doormat among my peers. I had a friend who had a doormat of a husband in their younger years. For some strange reason, their roles reversed when the husband retired.

4. “Is he overly attached to his mother and her mythical apron strings? When he wants to make a decision, say, about where you should go on your honeymoon, he doesn’t consult you, he consults his mother.

If there is anything more annoying, is a mother-in-law joining your husband in a honeymoon. This happened to a close friend. Can I say that the in-law relationship was always rocky throughout their marriage? I am glad that my husband is not too attached to his mother. Of course, I give space when he wants to bond with his mother. It’s not that often so I don’t mind.

5. “Does he have a sense of humor?”

'My wife laughs at my jokes.' - 'You either have good jokes or a good wife.'

‘My wife laughs at my jokes.’ – ‘You either have good jokes or a good wife.’


My husband grew up in a family that didn’t laugh as much as my family did or so he tells me. I loved cracking jokes and laughing in stitches. My husband seemed such a killjoy at times. One day when his mother came for a visit, he told me to lower my voice or tone down my laughter because it might disturb her since she is not used to “noise”. I was mortified. In fairness to my mother-in-law, her hearing is just sensitive.

Now that we are over 30 years married, my husband has an awesome sense of humor that I cannot match.

6. A therapist friend insists that more marriages are killed by silence than by violence. The strong, silent type can be charming but ultimately destructive.

This is similar to my doormat example. I never imagined that this soft-spoken husband carried an affair. As a young girl, I thought this distant relative was a good and faithful husband because he was quiet. When I got married, this relative encouraged my husband to seek out girls for pleasure. How terrible. Of course, I found out about it because my husband was so appalled. (or appeared to be shocked to me)


7. “Don’t marry a problem character thinking you will change him.
He’s a heavy drinker, or some other kind of addict, but if he marries a good woman, he’ll settle down. People are the same after marriage as before, only more so.

A girl friend called off her wedding a few days before the wedding date. To her horror, she discovered her soon-to-be husband in the arms of another girl of a restaurant. Apparently the guy was just forced to marry my friend because his mother found her a suitable wife instead of his other girlfriend. A year later, the guy decided to tie the knot with my friend due to guilt. My friend nearly died in an accident and he blamed himself for it. I warned my friend that the guy won’t change his ways. She was so in love with him and thought marriage will change everything. Guess what? Five years after their wedding, the guy started an extra-marital affair with his girlfriend who apparently is his true love. They now have a child.

8. “Take a good, unsentimental look at his family . You’ll learn a lot about him and his attitude towards women.

mama boy


I think most men are “mama’s boy”. They never really get over being a son especially if the man is unable to nuture his inner child in his adult years. My husband was raised by two grandmothers in his formative years. You can just imagine how he sought maternal love, how his inner child was probably not nurtured well. Though not a “mama’s boy” in the strictest sense, I found out that he looked up to me as a “mother” and wife. I used to get annoyed, having to deal with another “child” but I got used to it.

9. Does he possess those character traits that add up to a good human being ,the willingness to forgive, praise, be courteous? Or is he inclined to be a fibber, to fits of rage, to be a control freak, to be envious of you, to be secretive?


The man whom NOT to marry should not be a control freak or wife beater. He is a basically a good human being.

As I looked through the list, it appears that most married couples experience these “Whom Not to Marry” advice at one point in their lives. I know I did. I probably knew what I was getting into but I knew I could handle the trials and challenges. The “Whom NOT to marry” list practically eliminates every male specie which now makes it impossible to seek the Ideal Man. However, it opens the eyes of young girls who plan to get married one day or to prepare themselves for the idiosyncrasies of their lifetime partners. I don’t know with the men but perhaps they can get a tip or two here.

Do you have any other “mostly common sense” advice?

marry the guy


I miss my babies! I remember getting excited as I bought them those cute baby clothes and trying it on them right away. My husband used to tease me “they are your dolls”. Dressing up our kids is a guilty pleasure of most parents. Choosing baby clothing is not simply considering the style. Safety should always be priority in selecting these pieces. Parents are blessed these days because there are is a wide variety of brands to choose from.

uniqlo baby

Though my cute little girls are now adults, I still want to catch up with the latest trend in baby and children clothing. UNIQLO babies collection offered a wide variety of stylish and safe clothing essential for babies. Following the global Oeko-Tex Standard 100, UNIQLO ensured that every piece of clothing is free of harmful substances and meets the highest standards. I got to view the collection at the second floor of the UNIQLO branch at SM Aura. I kept thinking , “if only, I could bring back the time and have my little girls wear these…”.

uniqlo baby 1


I am told that UNIQGLO Baby Wear are categorized as Class 1— the safest classification under the Oeko-Tex Standard from the raw material used to the finished product. Also, the clothes have to be formalin-free to ensure the health and safety of the babies.  Nine different baby clothing categories are available in 16 UNIQLO stores.

Now, Titos, Titas, Lolos, and Lolas will find it easier to shop for the little kiddo. They will feel assured that they are buying the clothing products that follow safety standards. The best quality control is applied to the smallest details of the baby range. While care labels are usually sewn inside clothes, UNIQLO places the label outside to prevent irritation. A special technique is als0 used to remove any unevenness on the cloth or thread to keep the skin of babies safe.  Babies ‘s little fingers can get entangled with these threads . Lastly the clothes undergo tests for more than 200 chemical substances during the planning and production stages.

Now that is commitment  of providing safe clothing for your babies. Who wouldn’t want to give the best to our babies?

Check it out mommies. Uniqlo’s BABIES collection are available at these Uniqlo branches: SM Megamall ; SM Aura ; SM North Edsa ; Powerplant Mall; SM Mall of Asia ; SM Makati ; Robinsons Magnolia and also in provincial outlets. SM Pampanga, SM Clark, Robinsons Manila, SM BF Paranaque, SM Southmall, Gateway, SM City San Lazaro.

written by Toni Tiu, as originally published at , “Tita of Manila” Mode: ON!, Philippine Online Chronicles

Being a Tita has never been this “in.”

“Tita” is what you call your Mom’s sister, your Dad’s female co-workers, basically any lady who’s a generation above you. But now, Tita is more than just a title or a term of endearment. It’s a mindset, a lifestyle, one that’s not reserved only for those in their late 30s or early 40s. I recall when being a Tita made you cringe as that meant you were truly much older than most folks in the room. That’s why I was surprised seeing my 30-year-old friend brand herself “Tita” on Instagram, sharing a picture of her wine glass as she stayed home Friday night at her condo. “Tita mode. Staying in for the night,” she captioned. Being called “Tita” may still make some cringe, but because so many women are embracing being a Tita and loving Titas, the cringe can be accompanied by a little joy. 

The Twitter account “Titas of Manila” hilariously captures Tita-isms and Tita behavior.

titas of manila

@TitasofManila Jun 1

(sees pamangkin wearing makeup) Wow artista!!


@TitasofManila May 14

* lines up at French Baker in Megamall for 50% discount on bread *


@TitasofManila May 13

*sees chubby pamangkin * Ay, napabayaan ka sa kusina, no? *kurot sa tiyan*


@TitasofManila Apr 16

You know the daughter of your Tita Susan graduated cum laude and she’s working in London now tapos ang gwapo pa ng asawa na mabait pa!

This is very much the typical Filipino Tita. From blatantly asking you about your weight gain to repeatedly asking you during family reunions when you will get married, this Twitter account captures the many Tita lines that irritate nieces and nephews everywhere. But it also captures the behavior and quirks that make Titas endearing such as not being able to resist eating butong pakwan or trying to figure out how to spring clean her collection of Fit-Flops. The personification of being a Tita is so endearing and amusing at the same time.

Buzzfeed has even published an article called 20 Signs You’re the Tita of Your Group. Funny signs include “You’re way too exhausted after a day out with friends.” (accompanied by an image of a body part with Salon Pas) and “You have a bag full of things your friends might need in case of emergency.” That is SO Tita.

Embracing Tita-ness

I’m in my late 30s, but even then I don’t feel like a Tita. However, three moments in the past month made me realize I was very much a Tita.

Incident Number 1. My officemate was complaining about a really bad headache. “You want to drink medicine?,” I asked her. “Sige, you have?,” she asked. I reached into my kikay kit and pulled out a banig of headache medicine. “O there, you get as much as you want,” I advised her. In the past, this behavior would be called being a Girl Scout. Now it’s being a Tita.

Incident Number 2. Air-conditioning in the meeting room dies. It is really hot. I reach for my bag and take out my pamaypay and begin fanning myself furiously. I realized I was the only one in the room doing that and slowly put down my fan. Abaniko in my bag? So Tita. But hey, at least I didn’t have to suffer the heat in silence.

Incident Number 3. My husband and son got me a present for Mother’s Day. Upon opening the box, I saw it was a pashmina. I LOVED it. As I wrapped the beautiful red pashmina around my shoulders, I also realized that I felt very much like a Tita at that moment. (That moment also made me realize that one can’t have enough pashminas. I want one in basic black and another in navy blue, please.)

shawls-14458_640Shawls in all colors? Call your Tita! This can be her happy place!

Being a Tita has never been this “in” because of how social media has helped make Tita-isms endearing. It’s a good thing. In Filipino culture, a Tita can be our second Mom or a mentor. Titas may have their irritating moments, but for the most part they’re really just looking out for us. When they tease you about your weight gain, they sincerely want you to be more conscious about your health. When they ask about your marriage plans, they sincerely want you to fall in love and find that “forever” of yours. In or not, at the very least, you can always count on the Tita of your group to have food in her bag.

Early this year, my daughter asked me “Have you heard of pandora bracelets ?” The brand sounded familiar to me but I didn’t bother to check it out. She explained that Pandora made charm bracelet a trend.

The idea of Pandora bracelet is to get charms that represent your life story. I love the idea of a bracelet that is customizable. I own a gold charm bracelet which I bought in Thailand but the charms were set.  Though Pandora is mostly in silver, it is  expensive in the Philippines but I figured if I acquire the charms slowly, it won’t be painful on the pocket.

pandora, story of my life

The opportunity came during our 30th wedding anniversary last May.  My dear husband bought me the silver collier, the Bride & Groom Charm, two fancy pink sparkling hearts spacers and two heart silver clips.  Naturally, the bride and groom tells the story of our 30 years of marriage and the seven years as sweethearts for a total of 37 years together as a couple. Now that is such a big feat considering I nearly wanted to call it quits .  Hearts symbolize our love and the love of family.  It also depicts my favorite quote,  love never dies.  May is also the month when our beloved Luijoe went to heaven.  I added the “Love and Guidance” Angel wing  silver dangle with 14K heart charm to symbolize my son who is now an angel.  I will continue to keep Luijoe’s memory alive in my heart and in my mind since it is a very important part of who I am today. I want his memory to live on forever and for Luijoe to never be forgotten. This is the story of those hearts and the wing charm. I loved it but it felt my bracelet needed more charms.

my birthday gift

I told my daughters and dear husband that my bracelet lacked two girl charms to signify my two daughters. “Hint, hint”. I showed them my wishlist.

pandora wishlist

…and the brochure that the Pandora branch in EDSA Shangrila gave me.

love and guidance

Surprise! On my birthday last month, my husband surprised with a girl silver charm and a a pink glass ribbon charm. My second daughter got me a the dangle girl dangle charm.  My girls… I wish they will always be with me to love and to hold but I know at the same time, I know I needed to step back and watch then fly high and free. Now they have flown their wings and I am left with an empty nest. But the two girl charms will always remind me that they are close to my heart.

girl charms from pandora

My eldest girl  got me the “Mothers of the World Charm”.  One of the biggest life-changing event in 2013 was when my kids left home to live independently from us. This charm  reminds me that my children will always be in my heart because home is where the heart is .

mum pandora

Each charm means something close to my heart.  I will add more but for now…This is my Pandora bracelet  , the story of my life.

my pandora bracelet 1


Here is the gallery of my Pandora charms and bracelet



As a child of very old-fashioned parents, “The Right to Participate” was unheard of at home. An important decision like my college course was chosen by my mother. My choice of school was decided by her too which turned out to be one of her best decisions. Really, as kids of the seventies, we barely had a voice. Raising an opinion automatically branded me as a disrespectful child.

The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) embodied a set of provisions to protect the child’s right to participate. As you can see, CRC stipulates the child’s right to express a voice in decisions affecting his or her life but it guards such rights by certain conditions that guarantee that the outcome represents the best interest of both the child and society. Although it states that the child has the right to freedom of expression, it should not infringe on other rights or contradict the national order.

Parenting teens in the late nineties exposed me to a whole new world of parenting. Children’s rights are more protected now.  My children are all adults now and  as I look back during their growing years, I felt I did give them a few instances on their right to participate.

1. Respecting children’s views means that such views should not be ignored; it does not mean that children’s opinions should be automatically endorsed.

Expressing an opinion is not the same as taking a decision, but it implies the ability to influence decisions. A process of dialogue and exchange needs to be encouraged in which children assume increasing responsibilities and become active, tolerant and democratic. In such a process, adults must provide direction and guidance to children while considering their views in a manner consistent with the child’s age and maturity.

I say, ““Give them informed decisions”. One example was my daughter’s desire to enter Ateneo a few years ago. I told her to go to UP instead which didn’t augur well for her. See, we had financial challenges back then. I often give two sets of scenarios taking into account my child’s opinion and stating the pros and cons.

Option 1: Attend Ateneo but I am not sure if I have the funds to last you till your Junior year.

Option 2- Attend UP and I guarantee you that I can pay for your tuition. UP education is just as good as Ateneo’s and even better.

My daughter chose Option 2 . A few months after in UP, she told me that she is very happy with UP and can’t imagine herself in Ateneo. Her tuition for four years of college is equivalent to one semester in Ateneo.

Through this process, my daughter gained an understanding of why particular options are followed, or why decisions are taken that might differ from the one she favored.

2. The children’s right to participation as outlined in article 12 is closely linked to freedom of expression.

It is also related to fulfilling the right to information, a key prerequisite for children’s participation to be relevant and meaningful. It is in fact essential that children be provided with the necessary information about options that exist and the consequences of such options so that they can make informed and free decisions.

You know the old saying, “children should be seen not heard” but I  never believed in that. I love hearing my children talk and banter but what I wasn’t prepared for was expression of emotions. You know, I was a controlling mother in their early teens so I didn’t know better. Maybe out of frustration, one daughter says “You just don’t understand” and a gamut of emotions start spilling out. I soon learned to just let them express their frustration, anger, disappointment knowing that it too shall pass.

My Children’s right to participate is best shown when they enjoyed the freedom to choose their college course, to choose between a home and a condo for our new home in 2007 or to choose their own interior decorations for their room and so much more.

Kids are so much luckier these days. They have speedy access to information and given more rights to to speak, participate and decide. The child has the right to be “heard” during all types of activity. This means that adults are listening, observing and respecting the child’s viewpoints when she is speaking, gesturing, playing, creating, and choosing.

But you know what my kids say after weighing in the options and seeing my point?

I hate it when you’re right mom.


“I have always loved the beach. The smell of the salty water, the wind in my face, the gentle roar of the waves all combine to create a sense of peace and calm.” –Anonymous

mobile office in palawan

Working by the beach makes me happy. There is just something magical at the beach. Time doesn’t move hour to hour but mood to moment. It is as if I live by the currents, plan by the tides and follow the sun. The beach is probably the only place children actually entertain themselves without parents having to think of million ways to distract them.

on my way to underground river

I am glad my mobile office can take me anywhere so I was so overjoyed upon receiving an invitation to   cover the annual Baragatan Festival in Palawan.  Though I’ve visited  El Nido and Flower Island in Palawan, I’ve never been to Puerto Princessa.  Three days in Puerto Princessa was just too short yet I had the time of my life. Let me show you the ways I enjoyed my short visit:

1. Hotel Hopping

Puerto Pension, Dalayon Beach Resort and Azizan Paradise Hotel in three days.

Enjoying the view of the bay from Puerto Pension

Enjoying the fantastic view of the bay from Puerto Pension

hammock at puerto pension

I feel very comfortable and relaxed in each of the hotel I stayed in.

Daluyon Resort

Daluyon Resort- The perfect resort for a quiet getaway

Sabang Beach is so peaceful and I found myself relaxing at the lounge chair by the beachfront. This resort is the perfect jump-off point if you plan to tour the underground river.

Aziza Paradise Hotel

Relaxation and recreation at theAziza Paradise Hotel

2. Enjoying the food

Ka Lui struck me most because my son’s nickname is “Lui”. From the outside, Ka Lui looks like a small bahay-kubo. Inside the kubo unfolds —rustic ambiance; beautiful art works and great food. I felt like eating inside an art gallery.

Ka Lui

I love fish cooked in coconut milk.

fish with coconut

There is  Palawan Beer , branded as Ayahay Craft beer.  “Ayahay” means relaxed and it is so aptly named .  Enjoy Palawan, enjoy a bottle and relax… “Ayahay”!

Palawan beer

Palawan beer

3. Baragatan Festival

As part of the World’s Best Island campaign, Palawan celebrated a grander festivity this year for its annual Baragatan Festival.

Baragatan sa Palawan 2015

Baragatan sa Palawan 2015

From the Cuyuno word “bagat,” (which means convergence of people), it is the most festive time in the province with various municipalities bringing their songs, dances and music and present all these aspects of life through cultural presentation, trade shows, exhibitions, float parade and street dancing.

baragatan festival

There were many things to do at the trade fair, sampling the local delicacies, and admiring the native handicrafts. Baragatan sa Palawan is celebrated every third week of June. “Colorful floats, dynamic dance troupes, and angelic voices usher guests and locals to a festive week ahead. After the grand opening, numerous activities are also lined up to ensure that everyone is going to have a good time. Concerts at the park, photo contests, sports tournaments, quiz bees, beauty pageants, and other fun activities are set to fill the air with a pleasant mood all around.”

Baragatan festival

Baragatan festival

4. Underground river tour

Touring Palawan is never complete without an Underground River adventure. The boatman who acted as our tour guide were very entertaining and provided detailed information on the stalactites and stalagmites.

underground river in palawan

Since it was so dark inside the cave, I could barely take photos but trust me, it felt like being inside a museum of natural art.

Underground river

Underground river is a must see experience!

5. The glorious beach

Each one of us looks at the sea differently. For me, the sea represents my roots. Appreciating its beauty, breadth and power is appreciating my existence, who I am and why I am here. Like the ocean, all of us are connected and interdependent yet each person is significant in its existence.

daluyon beach resort 1

Even John F. Kennedy felt tied to the ocean. “And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch – we are going back from whence we came… ”

daluyon beach resort 1

6. The culture and heritage

Did you know that in this present day and age, a small group of prehistoric people still exist in a remote valley in Palawan? They are referred to as “Taong Bato.” . No, I was not able to meet a “Taong Bato” but the stories by the Palawan Tourism Office were so mesmerizing. The roots of this particular tribe , as shown on the photo below, came from the Dutch who got caught in a shipwreck in the 1800 and lived and intermarried with the taong bato. One needs to be invited by the Chief of the tribe . I was told that their Chief owns a cellphone , provided by the Local Government Unit (LGU) for easy communication.

taong bato

The three day visit to Palawan is just a preview of a longer vacation with my husband and my other family members. I hope you will join me, too.

“Our memories of the ocean will linger on, long after our footprints in the sand are gone.” –Anonymous

When you remember me, it means that you
have carried something of who I am with you,
that I have left some mark on who I am on who you are.
It means that you can summon me back to your mind
even though countless years and miles may stand between us.
It means that if we meet again, you will know me,
and hear my voice and speak to me in your heart.
For as long as you remember me, I am never entirely lost.

~Frederick Buechner

Oh you’re not six years old anymore. I gushed over my boy. Luijoe, you’re so handsome! . I kept on hugging and kissing his sunburnt cheeks. Luijoe smiled and looked embarassed. Haha, maybe he didn’t want to be fussed over that much. After all he is now a young man not a little boy. Now I know how you look like as a 22 year old, I whispered to him, as I untangled the twisted knots from his long hair. Luijoe appeared again in my dreams. In my dream, we were back at our old house in Pasig, the house where he was born. I was aware that he died already so I wasn’t broken-hearted when I snapped out of lala-land. I felt so good to see him once again. It felt so real that I lingered in bed just savoring that poignant dream. This doesn’t happen often and I bet Luijoe appeared in my dream because it is July 13.
A few years ago, I pondered on how Luijoe looked like as a teenager. I always think of my son as forever “six years old” . I can’t help thinking of his looks since he is supposed to be twenty two years old today. Early this month, my husband dreamt of him as a tall, lanky and handsome boy almost his height at 5 feet 9 inches. I wished that I could also see him in my dreams. Even just in a dream. And true enough, last night my husband and I dreamt of him in different circumstances. Dreams and memories are all we have left of our beautiful son but that’s enough to get us by till we meet again.

luijoe is 22

Yes, it is July 13th but there is no birthday cake, no birthday presents, no birthday party and no birthday boy to celebrate his 22nd birthday with. Despite the limitations, we will celebrate Luijoe’s day with a simple home-cooked lunch of pasta and barbecue with my family. As always, I will light a candle in his memory table and visit his resting place to place some flowers. As I light a candle in Luijoe’s memory , I do so with gratitude that he lived and that we shared a life with so much love.

I will continue to keep Luijoe’s memory alive in my heart and in my mind since it is a very important part of who I am today. I want his memory to live on forever and for Luijoe to never be forgotten.

I take comfort knowing the fact that everything I had with Luijoe when he was alive still lives in me. He lives in every word and action I do for the rest of my life.