All the good stuff in Pinas...

...a photo diary of my last visit to Pinas (Aug 5 to Aug 23).

NATURE. Rice fields, flowers, plants (even wild grass!), clear skies, purple sunset.

FOOD. While I am not entirely deprived of lutong-bahay here in UAE (thanks to Dimple who treats her kitchen as her "happy place" and to the abundance of pinoy restos all over Dubai and Abu Dhabi), there are still some foods that I miss having from time to time. Like my mother's halabos na hipon and ginataang crabs. You know what I miss the most? JOLLIBEE! Ay bakit walang Jollibee sa UAE? Kainaman!

BEACH. There's a restaurant located along the beach 15 minutes away from our house. My parents and I brought my friend Eileen for lunch after visiting our farm for an ocular inspection. Thanks to Eileen Lu for the photos.

COMMUNITY SERVICE. I visited one of the Special Education (SPED) centers of our city.  It breaks my heart to know that we have a handful of cases of cerebral palsy and other pediatric conditions in our city but we don't have enough PTs and OTs to manage the cases. So I arranged an activity with the head of the center. One week after, I conducted a small talk with the parents and SPED teachers on how to handle children with cerebral palsy. My friend Eilu was there too. We gave demonstrations of common exercises beneficial to the kids and answered all questions by both parents and teachers. I know a half-a-day talk won't do much to help these kids but raising awareness and educating the people who take care of them can somehow make a difference. (Special thanks to my dermatologist Dra. Mejico who introduced me to the teachers of Adriatico SPED center.)

KIDS. Pinoy kids are, without a doubt, the smartest and funnest to play with. They don't have much of the stranger anxiety I noticed with some other kids I encountered here in UAE.

L-R: Dimple's niece Marga, my niece/goddaughter Paula during her 2nd bday celeb, and my kiddos in Musa, Chloe & Andre

POOL PARTY. I decided to throw a pool party for my Atienza and Gabor relatives a week before I went back to UAE. It's nice to have a family reunion every once in a while.

SHOPPING. You all know the famous phrase "shop til you drop", right? While malls in UAE are great when it comes to this whole consumerism craze happening in all sides of the world, I'd like to think na hindi pahuhuli ang Pinas. I did a whole-day shopping (I was in Trinoma at 10 in the morning) but the things I bought weren't for me. More on bilin by friends and relatives. It was actually fun because after spending a lot, there was no guilt at all! Haha. Here are the only 2 things I bought for myself: Boggle Flash and Twister. The Rainbow Loom kit is for my niece.

SOLO DATES. Enjoying what I always order from Café Breton's menu since I discovered them years ago. If I am to recreate Harold Maslow's hierarchy of needs, I'd put "me" time together with basic physiological needs. That's how important it is to me.

Galette Breton - shrimp and spinach inside

CATCHING UP OVER GOOD FOOD aaaaaaaannnnnddddd KTV!!!

Top left: Met up with Bert and Sheryl during my stay in Calapan. They're made for each other!
Top right: Brought Mr. and Mrs. Salvanera out for a post-wedding celebration.
Bottom left: Dra. Kas was the only Spencer's Angel I met during my stay in Manila. Crissy's in Australia, Len went to the US, Spencer in US as well and Shen in Singapore. The other 2 doctors (Raiza and Steph) were missing in action.
Bottom right: In our KTV room ready to munch our dinner. (L-R: Kas, Jen, Toshi) To be honest, 3 hours non-stop videoke was kind of bitin. But people had to get up the next day for work and hospital duties.

Had lunch with my UST family. It was so nice seeing them all, and some of my former students as well. I forgot to take a photo of our department so I'll just use this photo I took in March of 2013 during the last Baccalaureate Mass I attended in UST before I took a leave.

And of course, ZE FAMILY. By the way, it wasn't my intention but a lot of people got fooled by this photoshopped image of our family. My sister didn't come home to Pinas last August. It was just me. Hihi.

Til my next visit, Philippines!

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