September 2, 2010

Chided in Manila

One couldn't imagine the joy I felt when I received the reissued roster that upgraded my 24-hour layover in Manila to the long one. It's been around four months since I had that lovely roster so I guess my flatmates really couldn't blame me if I jumped ceaselessly (and crazily?) like a ten-year old on New Year's eve when I received the news.

People usually say how they get the best experience out of unplanned trips. It had been true in my case, all because I was blessed enough to have as guests of honor some of my favorite people - my nephews and granddaughter (Yes, I'm one proud Lola! Haha.) whom I sorely and dearly missed. It was a long weekend in Manila so their parents agreed to treat them to a mini vacation.

My granddaughter, Aieshia, finally had the kickboard to herself

For quite some time, I just treated my hotel accommodation as merely a place to sleep, especially when I'm in a foreign country. But with the kids around, the pool suddenly became an attractive facility to me again. They swam and played like they never wanted to stop, even when their cheeks were already swelling red from the heat of the sun. Watching them enjoy the little slide and race against one another over the lone kickboard or simply seeing and hearing them laugh gave me that familiar feeling again. Suddenly, I realized that more than Adrian, Audrick, Patrick and Aieshia themselves, what I have been greatly missing by being away is the inexplicable peace and joy I only get when I'm with children. 

That's me with my VIP guests

In the afternoon, we went out to the mall to play some games in the Power Station. When we reached the hotel after having dinner and they got high on going night swimming, I immediately got in their way for fear that they might catch a cold. In reply, seven year old Adrian snapped at me, "Ate Jen, may bisita ka nga, hindi mo naman pinapa-happy!" like I'm the major kontrabida hindering his way to happiness! 

Adrian likes wearing the bathrobe

That was like ice cold water poured over my head. Hay, tumatanda na talaga ako. Killjoy, as they say in Filipino slang. And being in the faraway desert that is Jeddah, away from the kids I love to spend time with, make me feel all the more older. Swallowing my lecture on catching a cold when swimming at night, I apologized to Adrian, put on my swimsuit, proceeded to the pool with them and, guess what, ended up having one of the best night swim of my life. 

Sometimes, adults do not really have much choice but to give in to the wishes of the young and when they do, more often than not, they simply can't complain. As to me, I'm grateful to God not only for the time well spent in my favorite destination, but more so for little Adrian's chiding, which, seems to be what I really need these days. I'm reminded, once again, that I should never allow myself become a hostage of the stringency of life. Work hard but play harder, so they say.

Although feeling heartsick as I do every time I leave Manila, I flew back to base feeling like a new pair of wings is flapping gracefully, beautifully behind me.   


  1. Thanks issa! Ikaw pala sa Lakbay Diwa. Ang cute naman. ;-)

  2. moments with children are fleeting moments. parang laging race against time to be with them. glad you had that time to be with them.

  3. Hi Kar! Oo nga eh. Bihira rin sila mapagsama-sama ng ganyan. I'm really grateful for having the chance. At ambibilis nila magsilakihan! Hope I get more chance like this bago pa man sila magsilakihan ng husto.

  4. Such bliss being with children. They remind us that it's okay to be honest.

  5. Hi Djoanna! Yep, that's another thing I love about them. They never tell lies. ;-)