My Story on Giving Birth at Home, in the Water, with NO Anesthesia

I gave birth to an 8.1 lbs (3.7 kg) baby boy, at home, in the water, with no anesthesia.

Yes, and I’m still alive! Yay! 😀

Exactly a week ago, at this very moment, September 4, Tuesday, around 11:30 PM, I was in Marikina, writhing in pain, praying that I may survive the night and give birth finally.

I can say I am quite proud to be one of the few lucky moms who remember everything about what happened when she gave birth, from the beginning up to the end.

I would like to share with you my story.

September 3, 2018 – Monday

4:00 PM

It was my schedule to visit Ms Aileen Vinoya, my head midwife of Marikina Maternity Clinic and Lying-In that night, but prior to that, I had to do my little errand of shipping a product to a client. I was fearful to not be able to send the parcel knowing that I am due anytime.

I said goodbye to my husband as he was still busy doing something at work that time. We have agreed that he will be following me to Marikina as soon as he is done.

6:00 PM

I arrived at the clinic and was courteously greeted. I had an internal examination, and the results are looking good. I was 1 cm dilated, the baby was lying low already, but my cervix was still thick. I had some Borage Oil capsules inserted to organically persuade my cervix to dilate more.

I was also given dates, which are believed to help speed up dilatation. I was so happy to go home that night. My midwife said to go back to the clinic same time the following day.

10:00 PM

I was already having Braxton-Hicks Contractions (false labor/irregular practice contractions) since my 37th week, but this time I observed that they were becoming more regular.

I downloaded the “Contraction Timer” app to help me time and monitor the pattern. I was a little shocked and excited when they were becoming more intense. I had to ask my sister to lightly massage my lower back because they were starting to become more uncomfortable. The intervals were at 6 to 8 minutes already.

September 4, 2019 – Tuesday

12:00 AM

John arrived in Marikina, and we started to prepare the room to which I will give birth anytime. I tried to sleep but was only successful to manage an hour’s slumber. I wasn’t able to sleep the entire night already because the pain was getting stronger and stronger. I had to wake John or prod him to squeeze my back because it was painful already. I said the pain was 4/10.

4:30 AM

We were dancing to the tunes of K-Pop songs. The hip swaying was helpful, and dancing kept my mind off things. I was enjoying, and consciously forgetting that I was about to face a large feat of excruciating pain, which I chose in the first place by the way.

We texted our birth team to give them an update. Our group chat was a little silent at first because I know that they were all sleeping. I was relieved to get a reply after 30 minutes! Ms Aileen requested that I go to the clinic in the morning, instead of in the evening.

8:00 AM

We told Ms Aileen, that we can’t go anymore, because I wasn’t able to sleep and our intervals were at 4-5minutes already, with 1 minute duration.

I particularly remembered that in the “Birthing is a Blessing” class.

Plus, my mucus plug has already made its debut.

9:30: AM

Ms Alaina Balida, our other midwife arrived to check on me. She said I was already 2 cm dilated. Actually, there’s not much progress in there, because I have been labouring for 12 hours already! Golly, I have a stubborn cervix. I had another Borage Oil insertion to promote dilatation.

1:30 PM

I had to eat lunch to conserve my energy, but I was too preoccupied with the pain. I didn’t have any appetite to ingest anything. My husband even bought Vigan Longganisa (my favourite) for me!

My doula, Ms Jen Faiwas of Pinay Doulas Collective arrived and gave me the comfort I cannot imagine my gentle homebirth without. It was such a relief because John can rest and sleep, while Ms Jen takes over.

This is me getting so pampered and relieved with the birth ball, while Ms Jen puts out the fire in my abdomen.

3:00 PM

Ms Aileen arrived and our internal examination revealed that our baby is lying even lower, that it will only take me a few pushes to get him out. But there was a problem, my cervix won’t dilate. She then realized that our baby’s head is not aligned to my cervix’ opening.

Ms Jen asked me to do some lunges to correct the misaligned baby head and cervix. I also did some squatting on the bed for an hour.

I was so shocked when they told me that I was able to sleep during that exercise. My knees and thighs were burning after though. But Ms Jen was such an expert with these exercise positions that I never hesitated in following them.

4:00 PM

It turns out that baby changed positions, he was lying so low in my back, his back facing my spine, hence the loooooooong and tumultuous anguish.

6:00 PM

I was already crying. These were the first tears I shed during this 27-hour labor.

I was practicing excellent breathing exercises because allowing more oxygen to penetrate the tissues actually helps. But during this time, they were not as effective.

I still couldn’t eat dinner. I was whimpering already, and letting a few silent shrieks in between. It was sooooooo painful, it felt like my lower abdomen was being rolled on by bulldozer trucks continuously, or I was being broken and destroyed from the inside.

I felt like my body is rebelling against me like it never belonged to me, I couldn’t control the pain. It was just there. Taunting me like a little fly that won’t go away. I then remembered what was said during the birth class, that we should welcome the pain. Feeling pain brings me closer to my baby.

And so I welcomed it. Embraced it like its strength. I let it fill me up because I know these labor pains won’t be forever. I just have to endure it while it lasts. And it will be over soon.

8:00 PM

I was in agony. I was on fire. I can hardly describe the amount of soreness my body can still inflict. My intervals were 2-3minutes.

10:00 PM

I was shouting in between contractions. My birth team then recommended that I take a hot shower. I was hesitant at first because I think I cannot walk that far anymore to reach my aunt’s bathroom who lives next door. Our residence is a compound.

When I found what’s left of the strength I so bravely collected for the past 10 months, I agreed to take the hot shower. We didn’t have a continuous heater shower at home.

John and I were alone in the bathroom. He was very patient and careful in pouring the hot shower on my lower back. It was like a glass of water putting out a big fire or conflagration. Futile, but it’s better than nothing.

I told him I can’t do it anymore. I said I was prepared for the pain, but not for more than 24 hours of pain. I wasn’t expecting to go into labor this long. He said what I told him to say to me when I am about to give up, “Is this what you really want?” “Are you sure? We have gone by so far, and the next few hours are just shorter than what we have already survived.”

I agreed, and I thought that if I were to run to the hospital that night, I was pretty sure the doctors will slice me up and declare that I have to agree on an emergency C-section.

I thought about getting a scar in exchange for more hours of pain. I then settled with the more hours of pain.

10:30 PM

I was crying, and my face was already that of an unpaintable subject. I asked for any form of pain relief because it was already unbearable. I could have sworn I was totally being sliced from the inside to two tiny writhing pieces.

Ms Aileen told me that “Sayang naman. Try pa natin intayin. Intayin natin mag 6cm, kasi 1cm na magdadilate every hour.”

I agreed. She encouraged me that I can do this, and it was possible to see the baby in a few hours. Welcome the pain, we will see your baby very very soon.

11:00 PM

It was during this time that Ms Aileen said my shrieks and pain tolerance were already that of an 8 cm dilatation, but mine was just on 4 cm. I asked if she can give me any pain reliever.

She then inserted an IV and locked it with a heplock. I was given Buscopan diluted in water. But honestly, I didn’t feel any form of relief. It was like a placebo, but nevertheless, I was glad she honoured my request.

11:30 PM

I lied on the bed, and my birth team started massaging me. I was asked to lie down on the edge of the bed. They lifted my leg, placed it down, knead my muscles and my blazing lower back. Ms Jen, my doula offered me honey sticks and buko juice.

All those massages actually helped because I found relief, and I was so grateful.

Until I had the urge to push.

It was one of the weirdest and unknown phenomena to me. I mean, I studied Maternal and Child Health in my Nursing course in college, but it was never fully elaborated on what a woman actually feels when she was about to release the baby.

I felt a strong push-like contraction created by the muscles of the upper portion of my uterus. It felt like it had a mind of its own. And the baby inside sort of straightened up to align in the small opening of his grand entrance to the world.

I said, I think I can push.

Everyone fell silent.

They were waiting. I pushed. Ms Aileen was encouraging, and she said it was just like pooping. Ms Jen reminded me to take a deep breath before I push. She said I had to exhale long and put my head down.

It was not enough. My birth team said I should relax and to not pressure myself. It will come. So while there was no urge, I just have to gather my strength and rest.

September 5, 2018 – Wednesday

12:15 AM

I was already pushing for 45 minutes, and to no avail, there wasn’t much progress. I told them I was too tired already, my hips were powerless. I don’t have the strength to push anymore.

Then they offered that I use the pool already.

I was thinking I cannot probably stand and walk anymore, so I said I will just stay on the bed. I know this was not the plan. I specifically wanted a gentle waterbirth, to give birth underwater while maximizing gravity. I know that lying on the bed was not the best position to introduce our baby, into the world.

My sacral bone at the end of my vertebrae will be constricted and will not be able to move, and provide ample space as the baby goes out. I will probably tear down there, big time.

These thoughts filled my mind as I attempted another push.

12:30 AM

After the push, I had a series of pushes after. They were all unsuccessful. That is why when Ms Aileen said that I should try and go to the pool, I agreed. Maybe the pool will make things turn.

I anchored myself and stood like a helpless little child. I stepped into the water, and I suddenly felt the gush of reprieve as the warm water caressed my burning lower back.

OMG. Why did I ever think of not giving birth here 15 minutes ago?

I felt more alert when I was submerged in the water, waist down. John followed me into the pool to support me.

I felt the urge to push 3minutes into the pool. I clung on the rims of the swimming pool, and mimicked a slightly bent-over position, thinking I might imitate those powerful women who gave birth this way in the videos I watched on Youtube.

I pushed and pushed, but this child is not going out yet.

I felt weak, and a total pathetic. Maybe I wasn’t cut out for this. Maybe I was not like those women. Maybe I didn’t prepare enough, was not strong enough. Maybe I was not meant for this.

I had a lot of doubts. But my birth team, including my sister, husband’s mom, my dad’s girlfriend, were all cheering for me!

They asked me if I wanted to eat so I can have more energy. I said, yes. I ate honey sticks, buko juice, banana and ice cream.

I then changed to another position, facing John.

He was quite excited because if I give birth this way, he will be able to catch our baby.

I pushed and pushed, and pushed some more. But the baby just won’t go out.

I was seriously believing that I will give birth this way. When nothing happened, I then changed into my third position.

I sat on John’s lap. I pushed when the urge came, as expected, still nothing happened. See, I was now pathetic-er. And I was getting more and more frustrated.

1:00 AM

My birth team was so supportive, they said it’s okay. I should just take my time. And all I had to do was just push, I was already 10 cm dilated, and they can actually see baby’s head already.

Ms Aileen said I can actually touch and feel baby’s head if I try to poke. I was scared, so I refused.

After more pushes, I decided to really take my time and rest. So I attempted to sit on the pool floor, and remove myself from John’s lap, in the middle of this little movement I felt the strongest urge to release.

I said, “WAAAAIT. May urge!”

I pushed, and shouted like there are no neighbors! I shouted like I have never shouted in my life. Ms Jen reminded me to inhale deep, and release via a long blow, and keep my head down.

I did everything they told me, and for the first time, their voices started to go louder, and cheered for me even more!

I had my eyes closed while pushing so I cannot see their faces. They were all chanting “Push pa Viaaaaaa! Kaya mo yaaaaan!”

I opened my eyes a bit, and looked down. I saw the head. His head. My baby’s head. Underwater.

I told myself I had to make this looooong push, even if it is the last thing I do. I have to get him out!

I made a loooooooong push, then a series of even longer pushes!

1:05 AM

And finally, the baby came out! He had a little cord coil around the head which was released asap by my midwife. I saw the long umbilical cord that connected my baby to me.

He was given to me, and I felt the softest skin ever.

They suctioned his nose to get excess water, and I held him and I felt the most joyful moment in my life.

I said, “Hi! Welcome to earth baby Davion Calum Alistair!”

He had his eyes wide open. He looked at me like he knew me. Like he recognized my voice. He looked at John, and then moved his face to see my sister above me.

He didn’t cry a loud one, he just whimpered with confusion and fascination to what little he can see.

It was a beautiful birth. It was like a spa, only in a different version. 😀

We took some photos, and then after 15 minutes, I stood up, and lied on the bed while holding Calum. He was quiet in my arms. Ganun pala yung unang yakap. Parang ayaw mo na syang bitawan.

Calum was big and long.

Weight: 8.1 lbs or 3.7 kg

Height: 50 cm

A lot of people sooner told me that his size was like that of a 1 or 2 month old, and it was already a marker for a caesarean baby.

Since I had him on a normal spontaneous delivery, I had natural tears. I stated that there will be no episiotomies in my birth plan, which my team was very supportive of.

I never noticed that my water broke, because it was still intact even before I went to the pool.

I’m guessing it burst while I was already submerged under water.

Ms Aileen then elegantly stitched me up. After that, I changed into my clothes and walked to the dining hall to eat dinner. Haha

Finally, I have the appetite to eat again! Nakakagutom kaya manganak! 😀

2:30 AM

We had delayed cord clamping. It was also part of my requests because I want Calum to be able to get all the stem cells, oxygen, and blood components he can get while his placenta is still viable. Semi-lotus birth was a non-negotiable.

John was the one who cut the cord, I thought it would be meaningful if he will be the one to do that. We then lighted a little cake to celebrate the birthday of our son.

Through all this, I learned that to give up is not an option.

I am Via Galang-Tancuan, and I gave birth to an 8.1 lb (3.7 kg) baby boy via natural unmedicated water birth, with NO anesthesia.

And I am proud and grateful to be able to find and utilize the strength and bravery God gave me. We are stronger than what we think we are. We are women.

Birth Team:

Midwives of Marikina Maternity Clinic and Lying In:

Ms Aileen Gay Gaa Vinoya and Ms Alaina Balida

Doula:

Ms Jen Faiwas of Pinay Doulas Collective

**,

Via

Look Whooo is Almost Due Mom-to-Be Giveaway

Golly, time flies so fast and I’m turning 37 weeks on Tuesday, August 7! Which means, the merbaby can come out anytime soon!

To celebrate this huge milestone, I am conducting a “Mom-to-Be Giveaway”!

A Baby Shower honoring mom-to-be

If you are following my Encyclopevia Facebook Page, you would know that this started last week. But fret not, you still have two weeks left to join! 😀

You can win awesome prizes for yourself, or you could give the winnings as gifts too!

This giveaway is made possible by my generous sponsors. 🙂

Madison Hotel 101 + Tower

Madison 101

  • I have written and mentioned this hotel many times on my blog and social media posts. I had their premiere accommodation as my bridal suite when I got married last year. Great location, great place, and affordable rates. You can actually use my code: “VERSAHEEL101” to get 30% discount on your staycations!

Mermaid Island

Mermaid Island Logo 2

  • This is the new baby just got out. If the baby in my tummy is my biological child, Mermaid Island is my brainchild. I have conceived the idea last September 2017, and I have finally given birth to it this June 2018! Shocks, parang 9 months in the making din! 😀
  • My love and immense need for 100% natural and vegan cosmetics paved the way for me to open my own makeup and skincare line. Currently, we are offering edible lipscrubs, moisturizing tinted lipbalms, dipbrow pomades, and lip and cheek clay stains. I will definitely blog about this new venture soon! 😀

Gogozing Migration

Gogozing Logo

  • This is an independent Australian immigration agency based in Melbourne, Australia, and Seoul, South Korea. They provide top-notch immigration services to businesses, families, and individuals worldwide.

If you are planning on traveling, studying or even migrating to Australia, I highly recommend you check them out. They give the most effective yet practical strategy in achieving your tourist and/or migration goals.

Check out my interview with the CEO of Gogozing Migration!

Now that you know the sponsors, you may now check the mechanics below 😀

LOOK WHOOO IS ALMOST DUE (Giveaway)

Me!

To honor my ‘mom-to-be-hood’, I’m celebrating it with a giveaway! 😀

You can win the following awesome prizes:

1st prize : 1K Worth of GC from Madison Hotel 101 + Tower

2nd Prize: Beauty seacrets from Mermaid Island

3rd Prize: Dining GC from Ramen Bar in Greenfield

Are you ready? 😀

So here’s the mechanics:

  1. Like Encyclopevia in Facebook and follow me on Instagram

instagram.com/encyclopevia

  1. Like Mermaid Island in Facebook
  2. Like Gogozing Migration in Facebook
  1. Tag 3 friends in the comments below (3 Names = 1 entry) You can add more entries, by putting ANOTHER COMMENT with another 3 names. (So I can count easily! Hehe :p )

The more entries you send, the more chances of winning! 😀

  1. Finally, share this on your Timeline with the status

“I want to win awesome prizes from #EncyclopeviaGiveaway!”

That’s it! 😀 You have to do all of the above to make your entries valid. I will check ha? 😊😊

You may join by visiting this LINK.

I may have to say that this giveaway is open for Philippine residents only.

I will draw winners via random.org on Aug 19, at 8PM via Facebook Live on my Encyclopevia Facebook Page. 😀

Good luck merfriends! 😀

**, Via

Just Got Lucky: A Review on Master Hanz Cua’s Tarot Reading

I have always been fascinated with astrology and arts of the same nature. They just have some mystifying effect on me that I can’t help but wonder. I know that this is not an exact science nor can it be a strong reference when it comes to physical matters, but I believe there is nothing wrong if you consult and choose to be guided regarding the things you have set for yourself.

When I learned that there is an opportunity for a tarot reading for bloggers, I immediately signed up. I know these kinds of opportunities shouldn’t be let to pass you by, especially when it is with Master Hanz Cua.

Master Hanz Cua 1

Master Hanz Cua is a Feng Shui Expert, Tarot Card Reader, Astrology Master, Chakra Meditation Practitioner, Trained Psychic, and a Public Speaker.

“Master Cua continued to study and sharpen his skills through many different Feng Shui grandmasters in Hong Kong, China, Singapore, Malaysia, Burma, and Thailand. His knowledge of this powerful and ancient art has already lifted his status to a Sage. His years of study have gained him high respect, limitless admiration and a lot of appreciation from his many clients. These clients are themselves now very prosperous and happy with their business, careers and personal lives.” – Source

I was surprised that it was easy to go to his office. I don’t drive so I just relied on Uber to navigate my way. I typed CityLand Shaw Tower and I arrived in there in 40 minutes time from Quezon City with moderate traffic.

If you’re planning to visit him for the first time, it might be wise to tell the guard/receptionist where you’re headed, as they can direct you to Lower Ground 3 or LG3.

I was welcomed with a beautiful set-up of fortune-generous artifacts.  Glistening stones and crystals were neatly placed in their glass cases. I felt like a foreign misconception of luck when I got in, but I believe they somehow calmed my trembling spirits of what was about to come, as I eventually felt more relaxed.

I was actually a bit scared of how my cards will read. I mean, you probably feel it in certain situations when you’re talking to someone you think may know what you don’t, yet. It was not a nice feeling. But Master Hanz Cua was so warm and friendly, that these matters seemed to ebb when he welcomed me and asked me to sit down.

He introduced himself first, what he did to study the art, and what he does to keep people guided in their different paths in life.

He asked me to relax and close my eyes as I placed my hands on the cards and envision myself to connect with them. He asked me to pick some cards, and he started reading it as though he was actually reading a manual from my face.

I mean he was so spontaneous and elaborative. He cites the aspects that the cards were referring to, and how it implicates certain changes in my life. Most of my findings were positive, and this made me more confident and assured because I think I’m doing just fine.

I have a lot of worries too because I have always been accustomed to stability, but he said it was time for growth, and he sees me doing well in the new ventures I’m currently associating with. Whenever there are negative revelations, he turns to giving me pieces of advice on how I can counteract and respond to the finding. It was really wonderful to listen to him because he speaks as though he understands what’s on my mind and catches up with the things I consider even before I verbalize them.

I felt extremely pleased with our session, because I know they are worth more than any peso, and I found a lot of things that I should consider prior to my plan executions. Because you know, a girl’s got to eat and live, so I have a lot of things in my timeline. I practically would pass for a juggler, if my plans are “balls”.

So I really recommend his services to everyone, especially those who have big plans and those who are shifting from one form or faction to another. You would really thank fate that you got to read this post, and was introduced to Master Hanz Cua.

I will be coming back again together with my fiancé because he also advised that he can help us choose the perfect date for our wedding, based on our astrological signs. Well, it wouldn’t hurt either to see what date it would be. I am so excited already!

Via Galang

We also had a Facebook, Instagram, and Youtube live. I have also shared the links on my Facebook Fan Page. But for you to find it easily, here is the link.

It was so nice to host it, and assist Master Hanz Cua as he gave free tarot reading to the viewers; it was like being on live TV! I was not even prepared! Waaah! But he was so helpful in assisting me to talk in front of the camera!

He also gave me a charm bracelet with rubies, citrines, and an evil eye. Ruby stones have been an amulet of passion, protection, and prosperity. They symbolize the sun and its hue hints of inextinguishable flame.

Citrines signify abundance, wealth attraction, success and all things good. They imbibe generosity and sharing of good luck.

The evil eye stone symbolizes protection against bad fortune. It is common to be worn or hung in homes and business establishments.

Master Hanz said that he chose to give me this bracelet since my plans are veering mostly to businesses. And I am ever so grateful! Thank you very much, Sir!

He was so generous to even hand me a Neko / Good Luck Cat charm that I can hang in my home! The cat reminds me of Hello Kitty, and it looks more adorable than all of the other cat charms I’ve seen in the past.

White Cats calls for good luck and happiness, while Pink Cats attract love and romance! And oh my I got both! Yay! 😀

You may visit Master Hanz Cua at LG3 CityLand Shaw Tower, Shaw Blvd. corner St. Francis Street, Mandaluyong City (in front of St. Francis Church). You may also reach him through his contact numbers at 0922.829.0382 and 717.00.54

Follow him on Facebook and Instagram. Subscribe to his Youtube Channel too!

You can also watch him during weekdays at Umagang Kay Ganda at 7:30 AM. He recently published a book called Feng Shui 2017, and is now available in leading bookstores nationwide!

I highly recommend Master Hanz Cua and his tarot reading; and as to how he always put it “The best investment that you can give to yourself is to know who you are.”

With all that, I can say that I just got lucky! 😀

**, Via

 

DIY Dumaguete-Siquijor Trip and Itinerary (5D/4N)

Going to Dumaguete and Siquijor didn’t appeal to me before because first, I don’t know anybody there, and second, I haven’t heard anything touristy about it – until I realized how wrong I was.

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John (who was then the boyfriend, not until he proposed in the plane right before we landed to Dumaguete) has grandparents who live there, and part of our itinerary was to meet them. This is actually the first trip we’re having as a couple, and meeting his grandparents really placed some shivers down my spine.

Note: A long post awaits you. I wanted to give you details of our trip, as a form of reference when you go there. So go ahead and read my wanderer merfriend! 😀

DAY 1

We arrived on a rainy Sibulan airport, and goodie I haven’t forgotten my Cebuano, we managed to build rapport with the guards and locals, and one of which is our trusty and friendly chauffeur Kuya Judy.

He was supposed to take us to Harold’s Mansion, because that’s what I was eyeing based on the blogs I’ve read about going to Apo Island. I was thinking of placing our reservations; since we’re planning to go there on our 4th day. They were particularly difficult to contact too, since my Facebook messaging and SMS attempts remained futile, so I thought going there instead was the best idea.

Kuya Judy was so helpful because he advised that we can do Apo Island Tour on DIY. I was hesitant at first, but he said we will save a lot if we just do it ourselves. So we opt to have breakfast first at Sta. Teresa Resto. This was one of the few restaurants that are already open at 6AM.

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While we eat, Kuya Judy offered to run to the Dumaguete Port to buy us ferry tickets to Siquijor, since that was also our plan after Harold’s Mansion. Kuya Judy was even offering his ID to us, just so we have something to hold from him and to ensure that he’s coming back with our tickets. He was soooo nice! But we told him we didn’t need it. 🙂

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He was able to score us 10AM ferry rides to Siquijor, and since it was just around 7:00AM, he said that he can tour us in Dumaguete. I actually thought John and I are never going to tour the city because we may be pressed for time, but oh well, we can put the 3 hours to good use, so we gladly agreed.

We visited Cathedral of St. Alexandria the Diocese of Dumaguete first. The bell tower was enormous.

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We also went to the Chinese Temple’s Bell Church, and offered some incenses after we used some bean-like stones and long sticks for some fortune guide. The place was well-maintained, to think that they only ask for donations. It was also undergoing renovation, and I can’t wait to go back to see how it will all turn out.

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We weren’t able to snap photos inside. It was prohibited. 😦

Anyhoo, we also had the chance to get foot massages, and they were divine, and a little ticklish.

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We boarded the ferry at 10AM at Dumaguete port, and arrived to the bright and happy Siquijor. We booked a tricycle and it cost us P300. I booked us to Islandia Beach Resort, and it’s located in San Juan Siquijor. It was relatively far, around 30 to 40 minute drive from the port, but once we got there, it was worth it.

We also made friends with our neighbours, and one of them was actually in the same plane, and he heard the proposal. He was like, “Kayo pala yun!”.

We checked in to Islandia Beach Resort, and was greeted by this spacious accommodation.

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This reminded me of the room in Isle Esme, where Bella and Edward Cullen had their honeymoon in Breaking Dawn. What do you think?

John and I were so tired with the trip and were so amazed by our accommodation that we slept the afternoon away.  So much for our beach bumming plans. Huhu

DAY 2

Kuya Ronald, our driver, picked us up at 8AM, so we had breakfast early that morning, and of course had some photo-snapping opportunity too! Haha I’m so kilig how John is such a natural Instagram boyfriend, oh I mean fiancé . (He might read this blog too. Haha He’s particular with the names I call him. Hehe)

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Siquijor is just a small island, and you can tour it for a day. Most travellers I know only spend a daytour here, but I thought we needed some freshening up after and a good sleep too, so I booked us 2D and 2N in Islandia.

I was so inlove with this island, and its people. Everybody was soo kind and accommodating. The entrance fees are so cheap too.

Balete Fish Spa

Entrance Fee: P10.00 per person

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The fishes were so hungry that they were all looming over John’s feet. Even a milkfish joined the fun! There were a lot of foreigners there too.

If you need the loo, there is one near the place, and you just have to pay P5.00 .

In buying shirts or sandos, I recommend that store across the fish spa. I like their designs more, and the prices are cheaper. So we bought these!

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San Isidro Labrador Church

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It was a big and old church. You know what they say when you go to a new church, you can make a wish! So I made one, and also lit some candles.

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The sun was extra sunny that day, not to mention the weather was all perfect for the tour. We couldn’t be happier.

Cambugahay Falls

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Now this is my favourite. I was shocked that there was no entrance fee. When we arrived, a guy approached us and introduced himself. He is Sir Justin, and he was to be our guide. I highly advise that you avail the guides’ services; they can guide and help you while you’re trekking this beautiful attraction.

There are 3 falls in Cambugahay. The first was wide, and rather deep. Only a few people jump and stay there.

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The 2nd one was shallow, and was only till the waist. It was a good place to get a water back massage.

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The 3rd one was the most popular of all. The water was clean and cool. You can take turns to do the Tarzan Jump and even take the leap from the side. Our guide even taught me to face the camera while holding the wielding handle.

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I was shocked to know that after my Tarzan Jump, the basin was indeed deep, and my feet didn’t reach the bottom. So I paddled and soon enough, my feet reached the bed. Haha and I was alive! I took another turn because it’s addicting like that!

I also took 2 leaps in a rather 10ft. distance. I thought it was a good way to practice for our Cebu canyoneering in November.

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We ended around 12noon. Actually there were people who were selling packed lunches at the entrance that cost P150.00 each, but we didn’t buy. We were thinking of having lunch somewhere else.

Salagdoong Beach

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This was rather far, but the road to it was a sight to see. The trees lining the side-trails formed a wonderful view; meeting at the top too, that it forms a canopy. That is why I asked Kuya Ronald to stop, and let us have a quick photo. This was rather tricky because a lot of cars and tricycles were passing by, so we need to be quick in snapping those photos. I am so thrilled Kuya Ronald was so game to take our shots.

We were already starving, and good thing Salagdoong Beach had a mini restaurant. The prices are reasonable, although it took them a while before they served our food. Good thing, they were delicious!  It was also a good way to let time pass by as well, as we await the sun to set a little.

The beach is actually a resort, and you can book an overnight stay. I read a lot of people wanting to spend the night here, but given the time, we would too. However, Islandia Beach Resort was a sweet treat and we couldn’t leave it; maybe next time, we’ll book here!

There are two sides of the beach separated by stone landscapes. What I didn’t like though was the beach was extra rocky, and it hurt my feet pretty bad. The sand wasn’t so powdery either. The sand crystals were rather bigger than most beaches. And these made John and I realize that we should invest in aqua shoes! Haha Accio Aqua Shoes!

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The water was extra wavy that day, and the current was strong. We enjoyed it all the same though, jumping in between strong waves. It’s a good work out I guess!

Torta Siquijor

John and I bought Torta as per Kuya Ronald’s recommendation. We bought 2 Tortas for us, and 10 more for Kuya Ronald and his family. 🙂

We ended the day by having a sumptuous dinner back in Islandia with our new found neighbors, I mean friends! Haha 😀

Siquijor

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Via Galang

DAY 3

We woke up really early, because we had to go at 4AM for our 5AM ferry boat ride. Kuya Ronald was as punctual as ever. We got in time to Siquijor Port. We were actually worried because 5AM tickets might be sold out, but they weren’t!

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You can choose to have the regular boat like the one in GL Shipping Lines that’s going to take 1 hour and 30 minutes, or Ocean Jet for only 45 minutes. Well, we already bought our tickets when we found out about these. It’s just a few tens difference, anyway. 🙂

We met Lolo and Lola, and had breakfast first at Foodnet.

Here are our cute instructions on how to get to Manjuyod Sand Bar:

  1. We took the bus going to Manjuyod in Rizal Blvd. with “Manjuyod” as the signboard. We didn’t go all the way to the terminal as it was counterproductive. So if you’re near Rizal Blvd., you could just wait for the buses that pass there. We alighted at Bais Police Station.
  2. We rode the tricycle to the port, and boarded a boat at P2,000.00 with all the 4 of us. We just added P250 each for the food.

It was a 30-minute boat ride to reach the Manjuyod Sandbar. We got there at 10AM though, so it was already high tide. But it was still beautiful. I just felt swimming sa “baha” though. Hehe There were a lot of boats nearby too, and swimming tourists.

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The sand was powdery, the water and air was cool amidst the burning the sun. It was perfect, not until I got stung by a jellyfish in the arm. Thank you very much! It felt weird though, and I felt the venom making its way under my skin. Goodie we were able to ask for some vinegar in the nearby boat. It pacified the pain somehow.

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So note to self, bring vinegar when you’re going to Manjuyod. Well, just a precautionary measure. 😀

We got back to the city, and checked in at Worldview Hotel.

Since we still have time, we strolled around Dumaguete and tasted the much coveted cakes of Sans Rival. They were yummy! I wonder why there is no Manila branch yet.

It was a wonderful feeling – getting lost in the city. You wouldn’t mind being lost anyway, because a tricycle will always be there to bring you to your hotel. It’s a small town, and everyone most likely know where your hotel is. Plus the tricycle fare is just P8.00 each.

We happen to stumble to an event in the Manuel L. Quezon Park.  It seemed like a dancing contest, and we stayed for a while to watch these sprightly kids take on center stage.

We had dinner in this Japanese restaurant called Misune, and the food tasted healthy and fresh! I’m definitely coming back.

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DAY 4

It’s our Apo Island Day, and well, no tourguide! Just pure DIY! OMG! This was a first, and we felt brave channelling our adventurous selves into this new place.

Here are our cute instructions on how to get to Apo Island:

  1. We went out of the hotel at 7AM, and rode a tricyle to Siaton near Robinsons Dumaguete.
  2. Take a jeepney to Malatapay Zamboanguita.
  3. Walk towards the Apo Island port. Roughly around 10 minutes.
  4. This is the tricky part, you will rent a boat, and it would be better if you find some people who will share the boat with you, unless you’re a group with just the right number, as to minimize the cost per person. Since we’re a couple, we really need some people to share the boat with.

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Boat Rentals:

4 seater – P2,000 / 6 seater – P2,500 / 8 seater – P3,000 / 10 seater – P3,500

4 seater boats usually are used first, that is why if your number is 4 below, it is better to go here early, so you can book the small boat. Good thing 4 Taiwanese travellers were in need of company too, since the only available boat is an 8-seater, we had to pay P3,000 and that’s P500.00 each. Not bad actually! Plus we made new friends!

You can buy food at the port already, because the food in Apo Island is a bit pricey, plus you still have to pay for the guide (which is required, and I also highly recommend Kuya Gerard; he was so skillful in diving and we handed him our action camera to which he took great photos of the sea), cottage table, and the gears you will use when you go swimming with the big turtles.

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The turtles were huge and beautiful. It was sad because we went a bit late; the locals said that a lot of turtles go near the shore as early as 6AM!

After snorkeling and swimming, we had our lunch and took a stroll in the island. I was shocked that there is a community here. I actually thought that this is just an island used for tourism, but no. There are schools, a village, a basketball court, a lagoon, and an overlooking view from a hill. It was a beauty to behold!

At 3PM, we decided to go back. Our new friends are very accommodating too, we had a lot of time to talk about their country, their culture, and how they love going back to the Philippines. John and I wanted to visit Taiwan soon too because of them.

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Going back was just the same. You could either hire a tricycle that will bring you back to the city, that will also cost higher, or you can wait for a jeep, but this was rather a long wait than I expected. If you’re a couple or probably 3 people travelling together, waiting for a jeep may be the best thing to do. But if you’re 4 and above, I suggest that you book a tricycle, and split the fare.

Jeepneys that pass by are rather full, and may not accommodate everybody at once.

We got to Dumaguete, and picked our stuff from Worldview Hotel. And moved to Coastal Inn. I booked it way before this trip, and since saving was the priority thing I have in mind, I got attracted to its price because duuuh, it’s just P430 a night!

I was thinking that we’ll arrive late from the tour that day so we we’ll just sleep, and we don’t need anything fancy. Well, lets just say we got the value we paid for.

After getting refreshed, we went back to Sans Rival, just because. And bought pasalubongs too! We bought the Butter Silvanas for P150 a box. If you want to buy pasalubongs, it’s best to buy them here in the main branch. Airport prices are relatively higher of course.

If you’re just concerned on about them being spoiled because you haven’t brought a freezer with you, don’t fret. The silvanas are strong, haha they will just feel softer, and you can put them back in the freezer or chiller once you get home.

We had dinner in Kri. And can I just tell you, that the food was prepared like gourmet, and who would have thought that this place could serve such great food at a fraction of a price! I will blog about my review in another post.

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DAY 5

Flight back to Manila!! We didn’t book a tricycle going to the airport, we just hailed for the bus in Rizal Blvd. 😀

Here is the breakdown of our expenses and some people you would want to contact when you go there. Enjoooy!

Kuya Judy (Dumaguete Tour) – 0905.879.86.52

Kuya Ronald (Siquijor Tour) – 0906.886.97.80

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All prices are in Philippine Peso though. 🙂 I think you can still try to maximize a budget even for as low as P8,000. We were a bit lucrative with the food, so you know where to save if ever!

I hope this blog enticed you more to visit Dumaguete and Siquijor. Promise, it’s all worth it! Please let me know your thoughts about this and comment down below! 😀

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If you love traveling, you might also want to read my Dahilayan Adventure Park in Bukidnon! 🙂

**, Via

How I Got My Wedding-Singer-Kind of Engagement

While flying with clouds, low visibility, and at an altitude of 31,000 feet, some girl’s life is about to change forever.

Surreal. That’s what it is. Now, I know what it’s like to feel breathless, up in the sky, knowing your life is never going to be the same again. You don’t know if you will cling on to the idea whether this is a dream, a reality, or somewhere in between- but one thing’s for sure, this is WAAAAAAY better than all of these combined!

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(Alright, brace yourself merfriends, cheeseballs coming through!)

It was 3:30 AM, and John and I are frantic to get to the airport. Our Dumaguete flight was scheduled at 5:05 AM, and we definitely cannot miss this! We’ve been planning for this trip since May 2016, and you could imagine my excitement everytime a month finishes its course in the calendar.

I was way ahead of myself, I scheduled the tours and itineraries, booked us hotels, researched every bit I could, listed down instructions on how to get to where, and where to buy what, etc. Basically, I was all travel-planny on this! (Haha I think this is me trying to console my Nov 2016-self when our Cebu trip got cancelled last year.) Until, I got to the plane.

John was extra selfie-ish when we were at the line prior to having our boarding passes printed, but I shrugged it off, maybe he was just too excited.

We got to the boarding gate, on the plane, up in the air, and because it was still dawn, I sneaked on some extra zzzzs.

Right before we land to Sibulan (Dumaguete) Airport, John woke me up. I was all sleepy, while listening to the pilot’s announcement about the landing. Then he said something really shocking that jolted out of my snoozy wits to be all alive and awake!

Pilot: One of our passengers, Mr. John Tancuan would also like to say something to the love of his life.

Whoa! Did I just hear that? I was so confused I asked John what was happening. Then, there were 2 flight attendants prodding at our rowseats’ aisle. They were both smiling at me.

Then John said, “Because I’m going to propose, that’s what’s happening.”

He then went on about me thinking and scolding him, that he wasn’t doing anything productive that week – he said, truth be told, he was just busy trying to reach some people who can help him execute his plan. Since I mentioned before that my dream proposal is suppose to take place in a high altitude (Golly, I was just thinking about a Ferris wheel, on top of a building, or maybe a hot air balloon if it’s possible!), he went extra haunt-y and tried his luck if he can get in contact with the actual crew of our flight.

And oh boy, he’s lucky!

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They are just soooo sweet, and we just had to take a photo with these lovely and helpful people! It’s not everyday strangers get their heads together all for the glory of love! Turns out, all of those extra selfies were signals to the crew that we were already in the airport, and about the plan. Geez! Sneaky, and sweet. 😀

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We even had the chance to take a photo in the cockpit. We were so careful not to press or hit anything!

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And just like that, from light sparkles in the bar, to light sparkles around my finger. The future has never been as crystal clear as this.

More about our Dumaguete and Siquijor trip soon!

**, Via (soon to be a Mrs.)

The Winning Image : Personality Development Workshop

Hi dear merfriends! I just got back from a trip, and I can’t wait to get back to share some amazing stories to you all! But before anything else, I would just like to write about this workshop that has me all giggly since I got to know they’re really making it happen!

Personality development – I believe is one of the best workshops you’re going to attend in life. It’s basically SOP, because it deals on how we can become more cordial and likeable, especially in our day-to-day transactions with things and people! So I am all hands up, to encourage you to join The Winning Image : Personality Development Workshop! I will be there, so it’s the most opportune time to meet, connect and be all princess-y together!

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With this workshop, we will learn how to enhance our image and personality from one of the country’s best speakers on personality development. “The Winning Image” is a great workshop for every woman who wants to carry herself with poise and attract the right opportunities to boost her career, or meet more clients for her business.

Course Outline

  • You Are the Message – Creating an Impressive First Impression
  • The Power of Personal Marketing
  • Power Dressing
  • Poise and Posture
  • Non-Verbal Communication
  • Business Etiquette (Dining and Social Graces)
  • Confidence Builder
  • The Winner’s Image

 

Speaker’s Profile

LEIZEL GUTIERREZ RABINO – OBUGA

  • Affiliate member, Association of Image Consultants International
  • Director of MSI Model Management and Development Center – the first and only personality development and professional modeling school in Laguna since 2001
  • Certificate Holder – “The Polished Professional” course at Gloria Starr Global Success Strategies, North Carolina USA
  • Former Model Agent and Trainer at Calcarries Model International
  • Former instructor at John Robert Powers on Visual Poise
  • Former ramp model mentored by Joey Espino Jr. – owner of Calcarries Model International and Runway Productions, the organizers and exclusive franchisee of Ford Supermodel of the World, Philippines
  • Member, San Pedro Tourism and Cultural Affairs Council
  • Graduate of short course on Negotiation Skills at Ateneo Graduate School, Makati
  • Appeared in the 700 Club Asia as speaker for Power Dressing
  • Corporate Trainer, Event Organizer and Fashion Show Director

 

 

Event Details

Activity Title:                          “The Winning Image” Personality Development Workshop

Activity date:                          March 11, 2017

Venue:                                       Ortigas Foundation Library, 2nd Floor Ortigas Building Pasig

Seminar Hours:                        9am- 5pm

Seminar Fee:                          Regular Rate: P3,000

Group Rate:                                        P2,700 2 or more participants

Inclusions:                                          7 – hour learning session

Certificate of participation

Handouts

Lunch and Snacks

Reservation

  1. Register your contact information at http://bit.ly/TheWinningImageRegistration.
  2. Pay the corresponding fee via PayPal, or bank deposit.

As soon as deposit is made, email your deposit slip to: goupeventsmanila@gmail.com indicating your company name and name of attendees.

  1. Organizer will send a confirmation email to acknowledge your payment.
  2. Registration closes on March 8, 2017.

 

Payment Details

1. Go Up Events Via PayPal:

PayPal.Me/JonahChipeco

  1. BDO Deposit

Account Name: PMCM Events Management

Account number: 1438-011-727

Contact us

For inquiries please email pmcm.events@gmail.com or contact 0915-178-0688 / 501-0029 and ask for ongoing discount promos.  Registration ends on March 8, 2017.

Event Sponsors:

MSI Model Management and Development Center, David’s Salon, Black Beauty Philippines,

Zen Zest, Luxent Hotel, Skin White

Marketing Partners:

PMCM Events Management, Tag 77

 

Organizers:

Go Up Events Management, Sayonato Branded Bags for Less Philippines

For more information about the event, visit https://thewinningimage.eventbrite.com/

Go check their Facebook and Website for more details and updates! So what, are you waiting for? Sign up now! I am really excited to see you!

**, Via

 

5 Things I Learned in 2016: A Bittersweet Year from Being a Traveler, Blogger, and a Nurse to my Sick Mother

The funny thing about time is that you cannot stop it, for it always manages its own agenda no matter how diligent you are in making each second count.

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As much as we want to make things last longer, we can only do so much, and just make the most out of what we have, or for some reason, what has only been given to us. OMG. I sound so skeptic already! Haha But seriously, this year has given me so many lessons, and opportunities I never thought I’ll get, given that this blog is still so new. So allow me my dear merfriends to share with you the following:

As a Traveler

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  1. Travel when you can, and while you can.

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I can say that this is the year I got to travel so much, and everytime it gives me a whole new exhilarating experience.

I also have this funny idea to take as many bikini photos as much as possible, because I know I wouldn’t be as skinny and as young-looking as I am now in the years to come. I just want to immortalize myself, the experience, and be able to share it with my future kids and grandkids. This is also why I am also exposing myself to the most-extreme rides and adventures as much as my body and fright levels can handle. I don’t want to try canyoneering and cliff diving when I’m already 50, and my health couldn’t take the stress anymore.

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In other words, I want to be that cool grandma who’ll have amazing stories to tell, and who’ll say “Been there. Done that!”.

  1. Travel when you deserve it.

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I know this may raise a few eyebrows, because hello, everybody deserves to travel every once in a while. And I totally agree! I’m actually talking about finances. You see, I’m an impulsive buyer and a YOLO-ist, but I just realized I have to take responsibility for my actions.

I usually just take the travel opportunity, and get along with it, even if my budget wouldn’t suffice. So the key is to really save, and slash on unnecessary purchases (which I always do, that I know I should change by now). Because after all the fun and games of that 3D/2N stay, you come back to the city feeling a bit sullen on how you will get by for the next few days before payday.

We’ve been there, we’ve done that, maybe this year we can aim to change that.

***So, OT pa more!

 

As a Blogger

  1. Write what you know like.

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Drew Barrymore’s “Never Been Kissed” movie, where she played as a Chicago Suntimes Copyeditor quoted about in order to write well, you should start writing what you know.

But based on my experience, if you are trying to write for an audience and draw traffic to your blog, this may not be the best idea. You have to understand what your readers would like to read, and hand that article to them. People read what they like to know.

So first thing is, you have to write something that you like; because chances are, there are people who might also like the same thing. And eventually they will seek ways to know about it. And whose blogpost is waiting for them? Yours, of course!

 

  1. Good content shouldn’t be compromised by PRs.

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I always try to make the PRs posted in my blog personal as possible. I don’t just literally copy-paste the PR content to my blog, because I just believe my entry would just appear like everybody else’s. I am maarte and meticulous like that. And I don’t mean PRs that give tokens or anything in return only, I mean everything. I want my readers to know that I believe in the product or service I advertise, and it also helps the credibility I want to build both to my sponsors and audience.

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Although, PRs serve as additional content to your blog, and you may feel it may be tedious to write something about it on an angle, let alone create a totally new entry for it – but, writing a few words about it, your impression, your excitement and enthusiasm, will really do wonders! So go write some more, a paragraph wouldn’t hurt! 😉

 

As a Nurse to my Sick Mother

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  1. Do not wait for a disease to give you a reason to spend more time with your family.

This by far, is the lesson that I was not ready to learn, or even expected.

My mother is a healthy human, she doesn’t have vices; she even exercises every morning! Mama is a groovy and a bright woman with the right balance of intellect and compassion. Something that I can only hope to learn in this lifetime.

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When we learned that she is sick, it was a bit of a shock. My parents were on a vacation when the attack came, and she needed fresh blood transfusion immediately. That meant Red Cross blood is out of the question. We don’t know any donors yet, and they have to be in the same city where she is. I took to social media this plea, and good enough a lot of people replied, most of them were strangers. By the next morning, we have completed all the number of blood bags needed. It was a miracle.

Months after that, her condition became erratic. I had used up all my vacation and sick leaves to take care of her. I wake up countless times in the middle of the night to assist her when she vomits, pees, and when she cries out of pain. I also sought help from my fellow nurse friends to conduct intravenous fluid insertions at home (I didn’t attend training for that kasi, post-graduate.) And I set the alarm too, when I have to incorporate the additional meds to her IVF. I was a nurse all over again.

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It feels different when I do all these nursing duties to her. In nursing school, it felt like a chore, something I have to do to pass my clinical subjects. But now, I do it because of pure love –for her, and nothing else. She has been suffering from her disease for months now, and she keeps on fighting, we do too. And I realize, we became closer because of this. We talk for the whole day and I put her to sleep, everyday – something we don’t normally do.

I know we have busy lives to live, so many things to do, but it is only now that it has come to my senses that, while we are all busy growing, climbing that ladder for success and excellence, we forget that our parents are growing older too.

I am just happy it isn’t too late. But I know it in my heart, that we’ll win this battle.

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So yes, this has been a bittersweet year. But for what it’s worth things will be better! 2017 is going to be a beautiful and enriching year! I hope you learned a thing, or two in this post. What do you think?

Happy new year my dear merfriends!

 

**, Via