A Mid-week Break

When my sister and her fiancé (now husband) got engaged, they knew they wanted a small wedding. But in Manila, having a wedding with only 50 guests is close to impossible. A lot of toes will be stepped on, there will be loads of hard feelings. So Isabel and Nicky decided to have their wedding on a weekday and invite just their families and closest friends.

Which is what we drove to Tagaytay on a Tuesday for. My mom said we would schedule to leave at 10 a.m. and of course, we didn’t leave until nearly an hour later. Here’s Bea, all ready to go. I packed several snacks for her to eat in case she got hungry in the car, and she didn’t touch a single one.


We stopped for lunch in Sta. Rosa and it was another 45 minutes to an hour before we reached our destination, Balai Taal.

This gorgeous house was to be our home for a couple of nights. This place was huge! There were 5 bedrooms, plus maids’ quarters, a living room for each floor, a dining room and kitchen on the bottom floor, and a garden. We all fit quite comfortably.


The view was amazing. I would sit on the lounge chair by our bedroom, which was right next to a window with a view of Taal Lake, and try to read a book. My dad, who loves the sun, was soaking in the view too.


We all took advantage of the lazy day and disappeared into our rooms for a siesta, only to emerge a couple of hours later to have merienda at Bag of Beans. By the time we got there, it was getting a bit close to dinner time so we decided to stop by Santis and buy Wasa crackers, salami and cheese for a light dinner. Isabel was getting a little stressed too, so it was good that we had a relaxed dinner at the house instead of shuttling everyone out to a restaurant.

Marmalade with cheese sounds gross but it was actually really good with the Roquefort cheese – not so much with the brie.


The garden lights were turned on once evening hit, and it made the place look even better. Nicky’s family rented that identical house next door.


My younger brother, Jiro, and his girlfriend, Cristina, drove to Tagaytay after work that day and only arrived at the house after dinner. Apparently Jiro had badgered Cristina so much about leaving Manila already that she forgot her dress at home. Yes. The dress she was to wear for the wedding. Luckily, my older brother and his family were arriving from Singapore early the next day so the driver could swing by Cristina’s house to pick up the dress before heading to the airport. Crisis averted.

The next morning, the big day, I woke up early to catch up on my reading and admire the view from my divan. Later on, I hear the shuffling of feet in our bedroom, and out comes this little sweetheart.


After a leisurely breakfast at Starbucks, we all headed back to the house to relax before it was time to get ready. We had one mission: to tire Bea out so she would nap before the wedding and walk down the aisle as flower girl. So out came the bubble wand.


In the end, everyone else but her seemed to be tired. True enough, she only fell asleep on the way to the church. She only woke up when we removed her from her car seat. She consented to practice walking beside me, and that went well. Did she walk down the aisle? I’d love to say yes. Bea took one look at the strangers around her and decided she’d rather be carried, thank you very much.

The church was small, but beautiful. It had brick walls and large stained-glass windows. Most brides are weepy when they walk down the aisle, but my sister laughed as she neared the altar. She found it funny that Nicky (and everyone) was crying. That was the first of many amusing things that happened that night.

The reception was held at Antonio’s. I love that restaurant and would dine there more often if I could. The food was delicious and the speeches heartwarming. My dad had a few drinks, which was a shocker because he doesn’t really drink! But we all enjoyed ourselves. I love my family. My sister was a beautiful bride. And her groom wasn’t so bad either.


The next morning, we all gathered at the dining area for a breakfast of McDonald’s sausage mcmuffins and hash browns. While Isabel and Nicky had to stay behind to have lunch with his family, the rest of us checked out and had lunch at Taalena. It’s a restaurant that serves Filipino food along the ridge.

And because of all that eating, I decided – no, needed – to go on a diet.


My Life This Week #5

Bea opening one of many presents for her second birthday. Check out my dad’s colorful shorts!


Tagaytay for my sister’s wedding. Check out that view from the house we stayed at!


Breakfast at Starbucks on the big day. This branch had huge windows and balconies that opened up to the view of Taal Lake.


Bea and cousin Kai reunited! My daughter was the more enthusiastic of the two.


The beautiful stained glass windows of the tiny church where Isabel and Nicky got married. Too bad that photographer was in the way.


Watching these two play together – sort of.


Celebrating my dad’s 66th birthday at a lovely little restaurant in the Makati Garden Club.


Monthly Sunday lunch at my grand-aunt’s house. That’s my mom smiling for the camera.


Taking Bea to U.P. to practice riding her Strider bike. She was more interested in riding the skateboards my brother and sister brought though.


While Julio watched Bea, I walked one round around the academic oval. I stopped to watch these little ones play football. On second thought, maybe they weren’t so little after all.


Looks like everyone thought it was a nice afternoon to get out for a bit of fresh air and exercise.


I really should rename this series to My Life Last Week, or something to that effect. Any suggestions on a new series title? Let me know!


October 1, 2013

My sister is getting married this afternoon.

The whole family, except my older brother, his wife, and their son (who fly in from Singapore today) arrived at Tagaytay yesterday and will be staying until tomorrow. We’re staying in a gorgeous 3-level house in Balai Taal that has a great view of Taal lake. Isabel’s fiancé and soon-to-be in-laws are staying in an identical house next to ours.

For dinner last night, we bought wine, cold cuts, cheese and bread from Säntis and had a very relaxed meal in the dining area. I think my sister appreciated that. She was getting slightly stressed about the gifts for the principal sponsors, and I guess just a little anxious about the big day.

I’m a bit anxious myself.

She’ll always be my little sister (but bigger than me) and, although I’m older by eight years, I like to think we have a good relationship. It could be better, but I think we’re quite close. When she was a toddler, I used to carry her around the house and we would wear matching dresses (our mom’s idea, not ours).

For someone who, as a little girl, once thought holding hands was scandalous, she has come a long way. Isabel has found in Nicky her best friend, business partner, and soulmate. They’re so much alike and can be mistaken for siblings, if not for all the cheesiness and PDA.

She, of course, will be moving in with her new husband. I will miss arriving at Abada and seeing Isabel coming down for breakfast, with bed head and still in her pajamas. I will miss seeing her beg Bea for a kiss and a hug on her way out. She and Nicky will live in Makati and although she promises to visit often, I don’t think I will see her aside from the regular Sunday family dinners. When we were younger, our parents always insisted on having meals as a family, and I suppose that’s the main reason my siblings and I have the relationship we have today. After I got married, Jiro, Isabel and I got together a few times for sibling lunches but that stopped when I had Bea. We finally had one again about a month ago, and I think we should try to make it a regular date.

I’m sure the wedding will be beautiful and the food will be superb. I like Nicky and know that he will love and take care of Isabel, but I can’t help but feel a little sentimental that my little sister will no longer be my little sister by the end of the day – if that makes any sense.