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Morning Preparations

First day of November. All Saint’s Day. The day when thousands of people gather in cemeteries and pray for loved ones who have moved on to the afterlife. In line with this, I decided to accompany Mom with her morning errands today to prep for our annual family tradition of visiting the cemetery at night along with our relatives.

I got up at around half past eight. My alarm clock was still able to wake me up. It’s been months since I had to wake up to it. Mom and I left home after an hour.

We had three destinations for the first half of the day:
Panny’s Bakeshop
Rizal Plaza, and
Leyte Catholic Cemetery

Panny’s Bakeshop

Our first stop was Panny’s. Each family usually brings something for everyone. Mom wanted to buy individually-packed bread for easy handling and eating but they were out of stock. Cakes and rolls were not options. We left without buying anything and postponed it until later on.

Rizal Plaza

The whole plaza was rented out by the mayor. He sponsored an event (Flower Days?) from October 31 to November 2 wherein florists get free spaces for their business. There were only less than ten of them.

Scattered across the plaza were various floats used for the Parade of Lights event last June to celebrate the whole city’s fiesta. I wasn’t able to watch the parade but I heard a lot of negative rumors. Apparently, it was a flop.

We purchased two baskets which were manually arranged in front of us for last-minute changes and additions. Mom also bought a few candles nearby.

Leyte Catholic Cemetery

The cemetery was rather quiet in the morning. As we entered, a slight gust of wind greeted us. It was scorching hot. We started sweating after a few minutes.

We proceeded to the graves. Not a second was wasted. We lighted candles, offered our prayers, and cleaned up a bit. The rest of the morning was spent with our relatives that were present near Mama’s (grandma’s) grave. They covered a lot of topics: Diabetes, Coke, Suman Latik (I don’t know the English equivalent), Sandy (the storm), and much more. It was amazing how the flow of conversation changed from one to another. We laughed a bunch but also got life lessons and health tips. Very educational, in my opinion.

By the time we checked our watches, it was almost 2PM. One by one, our relatives started leaving. Mom and I lit a candle and arranged the flowers before leaving too. Mom did a quick check to see if there were garbage. There were none. And as we left the cemetery, a question was still left unanswered:

“What should we buy for the annual evening visit?”

Delivery

One of my cousins, Gisella, has been meaning to borrow my The Perks of Being a Wallflower book for almost two weeks now. She’s really busy with school, especially because she’ll be graduating next March. That’s only a few months away now, which is why I’ve decided that instead of letting my book collect dust at home, I’d bring it to her. And so I did.

This afternoon, I placed my book in a red plastic bag, and bundled it with a few chocolates from our fridge. Gisella loves chocolates. And when she visits, she would often ask for some. When everything was ready, including me, I set forth. Destination: Gisella’s House, somewhere at Paraiso. I don’t know the exact name of the address, but I know where it is. I’ve been there countless times.

I rode a green Manlurip multicab on the way there. And as we were making a 180 degree turn at a junction, I noticed a large gathering of people on the road leading to our local mall. Cars and motorcycles were parked nearby. An ambulance was also present. An accident is what I deduced. But a nearby passenger thought otherwise. She claimed that it was deliberate. Like one of those scenes in the movies where people would hire assassins or a hitman to do their dirty work for them. And as rare as something like that happens here at our place, it isn’t entirely impossible. When the crime scene started fading away in the distance, I got a little chill down the spine and my hair stood up. I didn’t get to see any blood or victims, but it was still equally creepy.

Here’s a snapshot:

Sorry for the quality as it was taken only from my iPod Touch 4th Gen in a moving vehicle.

I reached Gisella’s house a few minutes after. I did a lot of screaming, but no one seemed to hear. Their TV was on, so I was positive that there was someone there. Eventually, I went inside their gate uninvited and knocked on their door. I was lucky to be answered immediately. Maybe my knocking was too loud. I handed the book to their house helper Erika, if I remember his name correctly. I gave my thanks and off I went. I hope she gets to start reading the book today and like it.

Dinner Treat

Earlier this day, around 4PM, I received a text from Joy, my friend from high school. Her text was a bit long, but the point was to encourage me to go to Robinsons Place Tacloban. I was on my way there, so her timing was impeccable.

I arrived at the mall at half past the hour of four. I went straight to Tom’s World because I felt like playing in the arcade. Joy’s text indicated that she was on her way. “I’ll be there in ten minutes.” My inner rock star urged me to play Guitar Freaks to kill time. I loved the feeling of being totally focused in playing. The notes and my heartbeats synchronized, creating a harmonious melody that only I can appreciate. I really love that feeling.

Joy arrived a few minutes later. We did a lot of catching up at the Food Court. She spotted a few familiar faces, pointing them out. I didn’t know any of them. She told me that Lorie Fiel and Hannah, also my friends from high school, were on their way. I knew from then that it was gonna be another dinner with high school friends. Steven arrived before Lorie Fiel and Hannah. He was still as thin as ever, completing our table of thin people. We really need to pump up our food intake.

When Lorie Fiel and Hannah arrived, we did some more catching up. Steven kept cracking jokes. I swear, we were laughing non-stop. We proceeded to Shakey’s (same as last time) and sat comfortably. We were unsure what to order as we didn’t do a head count and we didn’t know if the others were coming or not. I urged Lorie Fiel to order the Deal 3 (good for 6-8). The others agreed. And so, we ordered and patiently waited for the others.

One by one, our friends started to arrive. Kryz, Erika, Eloise, then lastly, Karlo. We had already started eating before Karlo arrived. There was little food left, but he didn’t mind. We took pictures, cracked even more jokes, and made fun of Karlo. Nothing personal, though. All faces were lighted up with very warm smiles, and if I wasn’t laughing non-stop, it would’ve made a picture perfect moment. I wanted to capture it so bad, but I was still thankful. I get to have more memories that will always be embedded in my memory.

P.S. The dinner was Lorie Fiel’s treat. A huge thanks to him. THANK YOU, Lorie Fiel!

Delightful Dinner with a Designer

This evening, I had a dinner date with my High School classmate, friend, and designer Eloise Bercero a.k.a. Elie. She has been urging me to blog about her but I always delayed it, to the point of forgetting. I blame procrastination. 

Our venue was Cafe Lucia, a little cafe near Astrodome. It’s a walking distance from both my house and her apartment. Very convenient. I wore my Slide To Unlock black t-shirt coupled with a jacket and black shorts. The temperature was a bit high, even on an evening. And the only reason I wore a jacket was because I needed the hoodie in case it rained hard. Good thing it didn’t. The weather cooperated with me for a change. It did drizzle here and there, but nothing my trusty hoodie couldn’t handle.

Elie arrived just a few minutes after I sat down. Right on time. We left our stuff on the table and decided to order. This was my third time visiting Cafe Lucia. My first and second times consisted of Carbonaras and Iced Tea. I just love their Carbonara. This time, though, I decided to order something different, for a change. Elie and I took a long time picking what we wanted. Luckily, the employees didn’t mind as they were in a deep conversation with matching gestures. One word: weird. Eventually, we stated our order:

Elie:

  • A Black Forest Frappe (I think), and
  • Puttanesca

 Me:

  • Bacon Sandwiches, and
  • An Oreo Smoothie

We shared our food with each other so we could get a little taste of everything. I didn’t fancy the the Puttanesca Pasta. Elie, on the other hand, loved it. Just the right mix of tuna, etc. Both of us loved the bacon sandwiches. We had to request to remove the tomatoes on my half, and place it all on Elie’s half. Why people love tomatoes, I will never understand (yet). My Oreo Smoothie hit the spot. It was sweet and yummy. It sufficed for my daily dose of sugar. Elie’s Frappe was also just as good. The caffeine was my only issue. Other than that, I wouldn’t mind ordering a Black Forest Frappe. 

We took pictures in between our laughs, conversations, and eating time. I kept admiring my photos. After all, they were taken by  someone good with cameras. Vanity at its worst. My photos of Elie were bad, though. I couldn’t get the right amount of light and most of the shots were blurry. My photography skills are sloppy. I still love photography, though. We had a blast at Cafe Lucia. There was this one photo (I can’t post it as Elie wanted it removed) where Elie had this cherry on her lips, and her eyes were just wrong. We bursted into very loud laughter. I could still remember it until now. 

We decided to call it a day at around seven. Elie wanted a copy of the photos, so we went to her apartment. It was my first time there. When I got in, the dogs started barking non-stop until I was nowhere to be seen. What a loud bunch. 

After Elie copied the photos, I started browsing each one. The photos reflected our time together. Except for the blurry ones which was mostly mine. It was fun and very short-lived. I left after bidding goodbye. She wished me a safe trip and I thanked her. Not just for the wish, but for the time. Until next time.

Once in a Blue Moon

Just minutes ago, an intensity 6 earthquake has spread a city-wide panic here at Tacloban City. It was strong enough to shake entire houses and buildings. Our house was certainly moved. Like a baby shaking a rattle. Electricity was also affected. Tacloban experienced a temporary black out. But the lights are back on now.

I was upstairs in my room, reading about tonight’s moon. A blue moon has graced the night sky tonight, giving skywatchers their last chance to observe this celestial phenomenon for nearly three years.

What is a blue moon? When a month happens to have two full moons, the second full moon is dubbed a blue moon. I’ll have to do more research about that. Apparently, it isn’t as rare of an event as most people think - a common misconception. Contrary to how it’s perceived (you know, the “once in a blue moon” thing), blue moons actually occur every 2.7 years. From what I’ve read, some years even boast two blue moons. Nevertheless, this is something that piqued my interest. I never even knew how often this occurred until today. I couldn’t just miss out. Sadly, the clouds are being selfish and have decided to cover the moon tonight, having the blue moon all to themselves. Speaking of the moon, R.I.P. Neil Armstrong. The blue moon is probably your way of spreading awareness to everyone.

After reading about the moon, that’s when the earthquake occurred. Initially, I thought it was just my little sister Trixia moving around while sleeping (it’s amazing how far my little sister can reach when asleep). When the earthquake decided to pump it up a notch, that’s when I realized that the entire house was shaking. I had my Poker Face on. I didn’t start panicking like everyone else. I kept calm. Mom instructed me to go downstairs with Trixia ASAP. I held Trixia in my arms and carried her downstairs. We regrouped and started praying. Eventually, the earthquake ceased. A big THANKS to God. Talk about once in a blue moon.

A pressing issue (for me) is the connection of the blue moon and the quick earthquake. The sudden shake was definitely unexpected. Sorry for being redundant. My little cousin even came crying to me, worried sick and still saying “Mommy.” I wonder if there’s a connection between the two events. I’m quite curious. I’m not that good in science, but maybe there’s a scientific explanation to it. I dunno. Maybe I can find something about that in my research as well.

Also, regarding the earthquake, the epicenter was at Samar, with a whopping 7.7 magnitude. With that magnitude, it could prove fatal. I know a few people there. I will be praying for their safety. For everyone’s safety. So please be safe, everyone. And, please, no more earthquakes. GOD bless everyone.

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