This category contains 5 posts

The “Happy” in “Happy Father’s Day”

“Small circle, small circle, big circle. This is mama. This is papa, waving goodbye.”

I can’t remember the last time we celebrated Father’s Day with Daddy. I also am not sure if he could recall any memory of him being with us during that special day. You see, my dad has been working in the US for 22 effin’ years.

For that reason, I really am not a big fan of Father’s Day. It kinda makes me sad that my dad is not around for the nth time in observing what’s supposed to be his day.

I am thankful though, that he gets to be home once every two years. If he’s lucky enough to be under a “heaven sent” employer, a yearly visit to the Philippines is quite possible.What is clear to me however, are the moments when he bids goodbye to us in the airport. I used to cry a lot when I was younger, and it takes days before I snap out of the sadness and be back to live the normal life again.

When Dad visits, he usually stays here for three weeks. Since I work in Batangas, I see it to that I’d be the one to fetch him in the airport. The three-week stay seemed to be very fast for us. I sometimes get mad at Dad whenever he stays here on school days, when I’ve been requesting that he plans his vacation during summer, so I could spend more time with him. I am not complaining about my work – just saying that I wish I could get to be a full-time daughter to him when he’s here.

“As fathers commonly go, it is seldom a misfortune to be fatherless; and considering the general run of sons, as seldom a misfortune to be childless.”
                                                        –Lord Chesterfield

I can’t say I’m fatherless, because I get to speak with my Dad almost everyday; we spend time together at least. Didn’t I say that I used to cry buckets of tears when he is about to leave? Now that I’ve grown in age, I feel like that little girl again – I find it hard to compose myself not to cry. Maybe because I wonder, how long does he have to seek for greener pastures in a place so far from his family?

Well before I shed a tear or two, let me just say that this post is my way of greeting all the Pops out there a “Happy Father’s Day!” 😀 You are indeed God’s gifts to mankind.

I salute all the fathers in the world, especially the OFW daddies. I know that it’s hard for them to leave their families, as I have seen the agony in Dad’s face whenever he does… but because of love, still they choose to live up to the role that fathers are the best providers.

My shout-outs also to the single mommies, for playing dual roles at the same time. Mom has been like that for 23 years also, and from what I have seen, she gives a double effort to fill in the shortcomings of Dad.

"Because I couldn't find a picture of you, I just posted a picture of us instead."

Happy Father’s Day to you Dad! 🙂 Eventhough you don’t get to read what I have written (because that’s how you hate being in front of the computer), I know this would get to you somehow. Thank you for being the best, even if at times you feel that you aren’t even close to being one. You will always be an epitome for me, of what “sacrifice” and “love” mean. I am praying for you always. I love you so much! 🙂



This post is lovingly dedicated to all the moms of yesterday, today and tomorrow.

I could still remember the  first time I watched a film inside a moviehouse (well, probably my first memory of being in such a place).  Disney’s The Little Mermaid was re-released in theaters, and my mommy said that we could go and see it. Who would not want to see a singing mermaid have legs and marry a prince? My sister and I were just suckers for happy endings. And well, yes, it’s not everyday that we get to go to the cinemas.

I was in high spirits from the time Mommy told us of our movie plans. We kept a countdown to the big day (…isang tulog na lang!…); I thought of my mom to be super cool.

Finally, the long wait was over for me and my sister. We dressed up and had our hair fixed by the househelp. I was in a super good mood. Not only because we were going out, but because I had a super cool mommy.

To my horror, I saw her making hotdog sandwiches.

Cutting the bun. Lathering the mayo. Sliding the hotdog in. Squirting ketchup all over. Wrapping it in a sandwich bag.

We were bringing home-made food inside the moviehouse. We weren’t going to buy from the snackbars. She even had the water jugs prepared.

We looked like school kids, and not movie-goers. I thought it was embarassing.

Okay. I thought it was so uncool of her to do that.

I got pissed and threw a fit.

Yes, I did. 😐

Don’t tell me you never had “that” moment when you just felt embarrassed because of your mom? I have a handful of stories to share, but to write about each would eat a lot of time.

I also believe that parents, if they love you, will hold you up safely, above their swirling waters, and sometimes that means you’ll never know what they endured, and you may treat them unkindly, in a way you otherwise wouldn’t.”
Mitch Albom (For One More Day)

Have you ever heard of the “Momisms”? These are the lifelong lines our mothers used to tell us (more like, still telling us). The topnotcher in my list is this epic  reminder:

Just you wait until you have kids of your own – then you’ll understand.”

True enough, we will never know how it feels to be a mother unless we become one. We will never understand the worries, pains and concerns mothers have unless we take part of the lives they live.

"There is only one pretty child in the world, and every mother has it." - Chinese Proverb (Photo by Santino del Castillo)

I was thinking of buying a Hallmark card earlier this afternoon, but I thought of writing instead. Honestly, no amount of words could ever be used to express the gratitude a child feels for her mother. Even the most expensive greeting card could not sum up what the thankful heart has to say.

A Jewish proverb says that since God cannot be everywhere, He made mothers; just like Him, a mother carries with her the bottomless well of patience, forgiveness, understanding, compassion, faith and most of all, LOVE.

Mom. Mommy. Inay. Nanay. Mother. Mader. Madir. Mamoo. Meme. Me. Mudak. Mudra.

Call her by any name of endearment, she is one person who would always find the good in you everyday, even when no one else can.

Happy mothers’ day to all the mommies out there! 🙂


To Mommy:

You may not get to hold my hand forever, but my heart is yours to keep. Happy mothers’ day! I love you! 😀


There’s nothing like a mama-hug.  ~Terri Guillemets

Photo of “Mommy Moment” by Santino del Castillo.


Dumadahilan? Ako yan.

Hindi ako natulog nung Friday night. Hindi ko alam kung dahil ba masyado akong excited kasi dadating ang daddy ko ng Saturday 4am, at kami ng mommy ko ang susundo sa kanya, or, dahil sanay na lang ba talaga ako ng hindi natutulog ng maaga.

Matapos ang isang taon, umuwi ulit ang daddy ko galing San Francisco. Buti na lang, mabait yung employer niya at pinapayagan siyang umuwi once a year. Sabi nga ng karamihan ng kilala ko, maswerte pa daw kami kasi nakikita pa namin si dad, hindi tulad ng iba na 48 years na bago pa nila masilayan ang mga magulang nila na nagtra-trabaho sa abroad.

Magkukwento ako. One-year old pa lang ako, umalis na si dad papuntang Amerika. Doon nangarap na makatungtong sa “greener pastures” na sinasabi nila. Imagine, 23 na ako ngayon… 22 years na palang nakikipagsapalaran si dad sa States. Nung umalis siya para magtrabaho dun, kasabay nito ang pagtanggap ni mommy sa pinaka-challenging na trabaho evah – ang palakihin ang mga junakis nila ni dad na single-handedly.

Hindi biro ang magpalaki ng mga anak ng mag-isa ka lang. Alam ko yung worries ni mommy na malamang sa malamang eh nasa kanya lahat ng sisi kung sakaling may hindi magandang mangyari sa akin, kay Katrina o kaya kay JC. Maraming Pontio Pilato ang pagpapaliwanagan ng nanay ko, at hindi rin naman pwedeng lahat yun ay isa-isa siyang magli-litanya ng kanyang reasons.

Kaya ganoon na lamang ang worry ni mom everytime na aalis ako or may pupuntahang malayong lugar. Just last week, nung nagpunta ako sa Mt. Pinatubo with people I barely knew, eh halos ma-praning siya. Ang masaklap pa nito, wala palang signal sa bundok na yun, so alam ko na deads ako pag-uwi. (Pero buti na lang hindi kasi naunahan ko na siya with a big smile, sabay sigaw na “ANG DAMI KONG KWENTO, PRAMIS!! 😀 ) Naiintindihan ko naman kung bakit over-protective si mommy, pero minsan aaminin ko na naiinis ako sa pagiging makulit at matanong niya. >_<


Banat ng mga nanay: “Wala akong hinangad na masama para sa’yo.” (Photo by Santino del Castillo)

May moments na pakiramdam ko eh masyado akong bine-beybi ni mommy. Lagi ko siyang hinihiritan ng favorite line ko na “Mom, I’m 23! Don’t tell me when I turn 3o, you’d still be like this??” Sabi ng lola ko and ni dad, huwag ko na daw pansinin si mommy kapag dinra-dramahan niya ako ng ganun. Tawanan ko na lang daw. So ako naman, feeling ko nakahanap ako ng kakampi kay dad.

At ngayon, at this very moment, may tampo sa akin ang mommy ko. Hehe. Napa-sobra yata yung sumbong naming magkakapatid (or ako lang?) na masyadong “old school” si mom. Kinausap ako ni mommy earlier this morning para sabihin sa akin na wala siyang hinangad na masama para sa akin, at pasensya na daw kung masyado siyang over-protective. Kaya lang daw kasi, pagdating ng April 16 na babalik na si dad sa US, si mommy nanaman daw ang in-charge sa lahat ng worries niya when it comes to protecting us.

Wag ko daw masamain.


When in fact, ako pa nga ang nag-masama sa intentions niya. Sa reasons niya kung bakit siya ganun. Kung bakit madalas kami mag-clash.


Sabi ng kaibigan ko na si Jey-Anne, “when can we ever get used to these lines ng mga mudra natin?” Sumang-ayon ako sa sinabi niya. Pero what is ironic is the fact that we always get irritated when our parents nag at us, but later on we realize how their words echo so loud… na sa sobrang lakas mapapa-isip ka na nga lang na akala mo alam mo na lahat, pero hindi pala. Ending? Magi-guilty ka kasi alam mo na bilang anak, mali ka. At darating lang ang panahon na masasabi ko na tama si mom sa lahat ng sinasabi niya kapag naging nanay na din ako.

At 23, madami pa akong hindi alam… na kahit 30 years old na yata siguro ako eh hindi ko pa matututunan lahat.


Peace, ma. (Photo by Santino del Castillo)

Eto yung mga panahon na kinakailangan talaga magpakakumbaba. Hello, nanay ko yan eh. 😉



Jey Anne Seneres – hey soul sister. 😀



So, good luck na lang sakin mamaya pag-uwi ko sa bahay. 🙂 Babalitaan ko kayo, haha. 😀

Final P.S. and TYVM:

When you find yourself beginning to feel a bond between yourself and the people you photograph, when you laugh and cry with their laughter and tears, you will know you are on the right track.

Special request: tagalog entry daw, testing lang. O eto na.

Buti na lang nagpunta ka ng Binondo at UP. Bandera much again. Kumusta mo ko ke anaknijuanD. 😉

Isang mahabang thaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaankkk yoooooooouuuu kay Santino del Castillo.



All photos by Santino del Castillo.



What the etch?


BRANDED. (Photo by Jiggy Ilagan)

Call me racist or any term synonymous to the word, but I have always set the standard that tattoos looked good only on good-looking people.

Men (well, seldom on women) who have tattoos but do not suit them well used to scare me – they always gave me the notion that they were always up to no good. “Street freaks” was the term I used to refer to them.

Notorious. Barbaric.


Maniacs. Hoodlums.


My idea of tattooed-people (regardless of the looks) however changed, when I accompanied my cousins last March 10 to have their biceps *ahem* branded.

55 Tinta Tattoo Pilipinas

You have probably heard of 55 Tinta Tattoo Pilipinas, the tattoo shop in 55 Maginhawa St., UP Village. Just beside my newest favorite hangout place (Tomato Kick), 55 Tinta is your venue if you want to get reasonable prices for your ink stains. Oh, and sometimes, this is where some of the biggest rockstars in the country gather and shift to their “steady lang” mode. If you are that lucky enough, one of them could even be the one to put his art on you.

So when my cousin found out that I was going home to take a short break from work, he then asked me to come with him and his brother that night to 55 Tinta. More than the feeling of excitement that I shared with my boys, I was actually curious on how tattoos are etched on people’s skins. And yeah, flesh at times, too.

My brother and I followed my cousins to UP Village (the bus took me four hours to get to Quezon City) around 9 pm. Since 55 Tinta opens at 3 pm until 12 mn, we still had enough time to grab a quick bite at Tomato Kick. Jiggy, the younger of the two brothers, went in first to have his arm etched.

We met Sir Alain Mamon, a regular tattoo artist at 55 Tinta. He was on for the night, thus he was the one to give Jiggy his first ever body markings.

MOST WANTED: Sir Alain Mamon (Photo by JC Quinto)

Jiggy was asked to sign a waiver before starting the session. It was quite a shocker for us upon learning why the management gives waiver to the younger customers. Stories of parents rummaging and scolding the 55 Tinta staff for putting tattoo in the arms or bellies of their children were retold by the company we had – Idol and Emboy. From then on, the shop implemented strict rules for the customers to follow.  But this gave my cousin the slight fright – waivers are usually signed when undergoing medical procedures. I even joked him that good thing, there was no DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) written on the form.

55 Tinta Tattoo Pilipinas provided a homey ambiance, as we were all greeted by the staff’s friendly smiles and warm greetings. Just like any other curious customer, we kept asking questions to Sir Alain while he was drawing ink on Jiggy’s arm. Maybe he ist used to inquisitive people already, because he did not bother how absurd some of our questions were. If I were the tattoo artist and the audience would keep on throwing questions at me, I’d probably get annoyed.


A Name That Shall Live Forever

Miami Ink and LA Ink are two shows I usually watch in Discovery Travel and Living channel. I find it amusing how each tattoo tells a story. It’s not just some random decision why you have the name of your boyfriend/girlfriend written permanently on your chest. (And then you don’t end up together – saklap!) Every color, stroke and figure etched on the skin is significant.


LIVING THE LEGACY: Faye Denise Regaldia Lacanilao

Faye is a cousin of Jiggy and Kuya Gino. When she visited the country last August 2010, she had her mom’s maiden name, Regaldia, tattooed on her wrist. Since she won’t be able to pass the name on to her children and grandchildren, Faye wanted something that would always remind her of her roots. The tattoo itself is a literal “outward” sign of her family’s hardships and milestones.

55 Tinta Tattoo Pilipinas did a very smooth job on this girl’s branding.

With no one to continue the bloodline of the Regaldia clan, my cousins decided to have the same design as well.

(My bad. I can't remember who took this photo.)

There is no question on why Filipinos just love to get tattoos. When the Spanish first landed in the Philippines, the Filipinos who welcomed them reportedly had tribal patterns in their entire bodies. No wonder the country was once named “La Isla De Los Pintados” or “The Islands of the Painted Ones”. In the 16th century, only the chieftains of the Filipino tribes were allowed to sport a tattoo, with the branding as an indicator of what rank the male is in.

For women, on the other hand, tattoo was a form of art and beauty. They even dared then to have full arm and chest tattooing. It’s only now where the society created the stereotype that tattoos are symbols of unspoken profanity for prisoners and tambays. Guilty, that’s me.

Jiggy and Kuya Gino wanted to pay homage to the name responsible for their existence. While watching Sir Alain, I could not help but think of other people’s reasons for getting tattoos. Not underestimating the pain brought about by the needle (Yes, my cousins say that it did hurt a bit.), one must overcome the physical discomfort to bring the tattoo to life.

POINTILLISM. Franco Reyes (of the super band, FRANCO) turned Andreau Lacanilao into an instant sketchpad. (Photo by Jiggy Ilagan)

Going back to “pain”, Jiggy and Kuya Gino said that the process was quite painful. Theirs were small tattoos, what more of Andreau Lacanilao’s? Kuya Andrew also had his right part of the back tattooed by Franco Reyes last April 2010. It was a huge tattoo showing the art of pointillism. Pointillism is a technique in painting where small, distinct dots of one solid color gather in pattern to form an image.

Sir Alain also gave points to remember when getting a tattoo. For us who live in today’s different times , we should learn when is the right time to get a tattoo. Never have one if you are still too young. Don’t even dare if you are not ready. Hold that thought of having yourself branded when you have no idea (not one bit) of what you want. Postpone your plans of visiting a tattoo shop if you are intoxicated.


STOP and STARE: Gino Ilagan (Photo by JC Quinto)
ALMOST, BUT NOT QUITE: Jiggy Ilagan looks over as Sir Alain gives his final touches. (Photo by JC Quinto)

While watching the whole process, my sister and I felt the urge to get our own tattoos as well. I felt very much excited for the boys, who, despite the pain, still managed to wear a grin in between deep breaths. Having a low tolerance for pain, I think that I still need to collect the right confidence, and to practice wearing a game face before letting my skin be branded. My sister, though, feels that she is very much ready to have one. I would not be surprised at all if one day she shows up with a star or a cross in her body courtesy of 55 Tinta. 🙂


Make your momma proud, boys.

Quoting a line from Franco’s song (Song for the Suspect), we really need to “understand, as much as we can.” A tattoo is a representation of a person’s story – a story which sets him apart from everyone else. When we learn to listen to what a person has got to say, chances are we would understand where he is coming from.

A tattoo in the long run could fade, but definitely hard to erase. So as a  chapter in one’s life, no matter how hard you try to forget it, it would always be there to remind you of the lessons you have picked up along the way.

The trip to 55 Tinta Tattoo Pilipinas also enlightened me with my stand on people with tattoos. Everything outside is just physical. What matters is the life a person lives, and not how the person presents himself to his environment.


FIRST TIME: Sir Alain Mamon and Jiggy Ilagan. (Photo by JC Quinto)

Emboy and Jiggy Ilagan (Photo by JC Quinto)

My cousins still can’t get over with their brand new features. More than the tattoo itself, it is their reason of getting one which I’m sure is what makes them proud. The ink that formed a precious family moment is forever inked on their skins.

They paid a price, but money could never pay the bliss the boys felt.


What 55 Tinta Tattoo Pilipinas marked on them were not just plain tattoos.


What these boys had for take home after leaving the shop were soul tattoos.


After all has been said, would you care for an etch? 🙂





Worth-mentioning: We did not go home immediately after Jiggy and Kuya Gino had their tattoos done. Who could resist a few rounds of Kick, and a tall order of Green Tea No Classic Hazelnut Syrup Blended Whipped Cream? 🙂


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