Has it been Fifteen already?

“What’s it all about, Alfie?
Is it just for the moment we live?
What’s it all about when you sort it out, Alfie?
Are we meant to take more than we give?
Or are we meant to be kind?”

A Song by Burt Bacharach

I know that to most people, the memories of the past fifteen years since you left us now seem so distant. A lot of things have happened since. Life has moved on for most. There is even a whole new world out there that appears so alien to me now. However, I will always remember that fateful morning on a Thursday when you had left for our Lord’s garden. There were no time for goodbyes. Only a gaping hole that’s been so hard to fill. You had however gifted me with our daughter Sam who now takes care of me. She is quite a taskmaster, for she is made of much sterner stuff than I could ever be. Today, I can only wish for her a much better future than we had both ever imagined. Could you have ever envisaged Atty. Sam? And I know that she’ll be okay because you will be always somewhere there inside her. In many ways, she really takes after you. So results- oriented and driven to excel.

All I can think of today however, is one of gratitude. To thank you for all the love you had shared. For you have shown us what selfless love can truly be. They call it “agape” or love that is not sentimental and that which simply comes from being who you are. Thank you for your love, Mariel. We will always remember your great life especially on this day. You shall always be missed. We also ask for your prayers while we still journey through life. Please guide our Sammie always because she still needs you when facing up to life’s many travails.

We love you Mommy. You will always be in our hearts. Happy birthday in heaven. XOXO

We Miss You, Ninicoco!

Dearest Mommy,

Your “Tatacoco” is now in law school. (that’s how we had endearingly called our daughter Sam when she was very young) 

I thank the Lord God for the opportunity to see her get to this point in her life as I had promised you I would. Of course, I will no longer be able to help her with school work like you did when she was growing up because what she is learning today is already so beyond my pay grade :). But I can’t help wondering sometimes if she would have made a good pediatrician like we had wishfully dreamed about when she was still a toddler. But that doesn’t really matter now. What is truly more important is that she has already decided her life’s path. I know you would have approved whatever she decides to do or follow with her heart. She is after all your precious little “tata”, remember?

Our self- imposed isolation to be safe from Covid-19 is really tough. Sam and I have both been unable to go out since March last year, except for recent events when I had to be rushed to the hospital. I can only remember fleeting images of the world outside on the way to the Philippine Heart Center. But again, we miss your being here with us because you had always provided us with the courage and grace to get through similar tough moments in the past. Remember too how I had often left Sam with you and the doctor whenever some procedure was required with needles and all? I must admit to the world that I am both a wimp and a flake when it comes to dealing with those things. (Although I seem to have become a little better at it because I have no choice than to take your place)

But I digress a bit because today is really about you. It’s about again wishfully reimagining a world with you and at the same time facing up to the reality that you have now only become our guardian angel.

Has it really already been fourteen (14) years now since you went ahead to our Lord’s garden? It still feels like a mere blip in time, because we still miss you so terribly. I guess we will never tire of singing praises about what a loving and faithful person you were, because you truly are. Time will not erase how you have cared for us so selflessly. We will forever be grateful for the privilege of having shared your life. As we will forever miss you for your steadfast and loving presence. 

What more is there to say without sounding like a broken record (of course younger people today cannot picture what that means) But still it will not deter us from singing praises about what a truly wonderful person you were. You came into our lives like a bolt of lightning and just as quickly had been taken away. I’ve often wondered why? For what reason? And have only recently come to terms with the fact that maybe we will only truly know the answer to that when we finally again meet someday. Until that time, I will just have to say that we miss you so much. I look at our old photographs today and can’t help but realize how you will never really age, unlike me. You will always remain radiantly beautiful as the day I first met you at the Gourmet cafe. Have I not kidded you so often about looking Imeldific on that day, being so perfectly coiffed against the scruffy person that I was? Well time has not been too kind on me as I have practically lost most of my hair these days haha.

We remember how you had left us today to be in our Lord’s garden. If I have been too selfish before to share you with the world, it doesn’t really matter much now because I am sure you have already built an even more beautiful and abundant garden where you are today. 

I love you very, very much, Mommy. Please continue to pray for us, especially for Sam who still misses you every single day. While it pains me to accept the reality of our distance, I can now only trust our Lord and choose to share your “beauty” with the rest of the world. We miss you so much my Ninicoco! (my other name for you)

With all my love,


December Comes…

“There’s a time that I remember, when I did not know no pain
When I believed in forever, and everything would stay the same
Now my heart feel like December when somebody say your name…”

Dear Mommy,

Those were words from a Maroon 5 tune meant for a much younger audience. But they do resonate with me, even at my age when I face the truth of mortality, and with Covid ravaging the world. I actually talked about this with our daughter, but her young mind it seems is not still capable of feeling the loneliness of what December or Winter can bring.

Then too in some weird way, I find myself grateful that you will never really know what it is to be old, and gray (and debilitated with arthritis, like me). For you will always be young, vibrant, elegant, and beautiful in our memories. You will always be that angelic Mariel that literally gleamed magically that afternoon when I first met you at Gourmet Cafe. You will know no pain and that you will always be remembered for your kindness, deep devotion to our Samantha, and recognized as someone who loved without asking for anything in return. I would have also dreaded the thought that you were with us today while this Corona lurked in the shadows, because people with autoimmune issues are very highly vulnerable to this wretched virus. (I would have built a moat around our house or tried to protect you by keeping people away from our fortress. I always had this quixotic idea of being your knight on a white horse. Did we not always talk a lot about visiting castles?)

It’s 13 years today since you had to leave for the Lord’s garden. I regretted that I was never able to properly say goodbye. I had kissed your feet the night before and later left to be with Sam, because I was afraid of giving you germs that might endanger your condition. I really wanted to say I love you one more time, and thank you for accepting me as your knight, no matter how rusty my armor might had looked like. In fact, I will probably ask you again the next time we meet, why you did?

Today that same armor is not only rusty, it may even be broken already in many places. All that remains untouched however are the wonderful memories we had shared, believing in forever, and keeping faith that everything will stay exactly the same.

I visit this blog often just to recall what it was like to sit beside you as you read your favorite book in our bedroom. Or, remembering the many days we dreamed of traveling the world, and imagining too what it would be like to see Sammie off to college. Some of those milestones have passed, while many more are still to be made. I am sure though that you will be there too with us, for both our loss and and our triumphs. December will come, but with you I hope it will be neither cold nor lonely.

We will love you always Mommy. You will never be forgotten. We will always hear “love” every time somebody says your name. Good night Mariel, my sweet princess.

With all my love,


We Choose To Be Happy

Dearest Mommy,

The night before did not help. It was rainy, gloomy and stressful. After all, what better forebodes the events of when time had stood still, than this, the day you left us for our heavenly home.

September 20, 2007.

Twelve years have passed but still the pain is felt deeply. It was so unexpected and truly tragic. At the center of it all was your precious, little daughter Sam. She was your everything. She was all your hopes and dreams. She was your greatest source of joy and happiness.

So tonight, while Sam and I pray and remember, we choose to talk about the happiest times with you we recall. Sitting on our bed reading a book together, Sundays at Shangri-La mall, playing dress up games with Sam’s dolls. The simple times spent with you were the most memorable. The picture above however for me, was your moment of incandescence. No words can completely describe the feeling you had holding baby Sam in your arms.

Today we remember the happy times. We remember your life with boundless love and gratitude.  You are too beautiful to be ever forgotten.

Love from us,

Bong and Sam


– Sent from my cheap, Android phone 🙂

Pilgrimage to Love


“We always have a tendency to see those things that do not exist and to be blind to the great lessons that are right there before our eyes.” Paul Coelho, The Pilgrimage

Dearest Mommy,

It’s been eleven years today when you had to leave us for the Lord’s garden. It has been a long, lonely eventful journey. Oftentimes I wasn’t very sure I’d make it. But your love and abiding legacy, our daughter Sam, had pulled me through. She gives me your strength as I hold her hand every time I say good night.

I actually think of these past years as a pilgrimage, my pilgrimage to your love.

The way of a pilgrim has afforded me a lot of time for reflection. To experience every bit of those sharp, tiny rocks along the road. And hounded by the sun, the moon, the stars, and howling winds of desolation and despair, there is not much choice but quiet acceptance and stoicism. We learn to take the bad with the good.

In a way it’s been one half penance and equal part seeking closure, because some things are just truly hard to explain or understand. But while travelling had taken me to very, very far corners, it’s literally been just eventually coming home to myself. Back to where I started, although bruised, and a little wiser.

I’ve learned many things with my journey. Mostly about my lack of mindfulness. I’ve often wondered why you chose to live your life with me when you had everything going for you when we first met. You had the world as your oyster. You could have selected a worthier person. But instead you chose me.

There are no poetic answers. I had realized that you had simply loved me.

Now I truly understand what it means to love because you have shown me how. I’ve been a selfish pr**k all these times. You showed that love was never meant to please the giver. It’s always sent through a one- way street without any expectation of getting anything back. It’s loving someone despite their imperfection. And, you had loved because you simply are. It may not make sense to all, but I believe I had finally got it.

My life these days are filled with making memories for our daughter. In between the aches of ageing, I do my best to keep up with her new passions. If it’s not K- Pop or writing papers for UP NCPAG class, Sam and I just blaze across the food trails of Maginhawa Street. I was even surprised to learn that she does not have very many recollections of spending time with me growing up. I was maybe there but not really there. I was too engrossed with my many hobbies. I had left all the parenting to you. Now I try to make up for all the lost time. But I know she will do well with wherever her heart takes her, because she has your strong will and persistence. I still do however stare at her forehead at night and can see you beside, haha. We still miss you both very, very much. Every single day at least. One day we’ll have our reunion at our heavenly home. And I can then be the less imperfect husband that you had so much deserved.

I love you with all my heart and soul. Pray for us even as we pray for you too. Time moves on, but one thing remains the same, you have always been the perfect one. 

Au revoir,


You Can Count on It

Mommy and Sam in BK

Dearest Mommy,

I’m not a bit surprised when many people seem to tune out whenever I start talking to them about you. I guess most of them have already heard my many stories before. I do admit I tend to ramble on and on sometimes. I know that I may be sounding by now like a broken record, but I can’t help it because I want more people to know about your love and kindness. It has been ten years today since you had left ahead for our heavenly home. Does not really feel it’s been that long. (But then what can one really expect from a broken man.)

To me, those moments when we had laid you to rest at Heritage are still as vivid as yesterday’s sunrise. I can even remember looking at the overcast sky that fateful day, and wondering if God had been a little sadder that day. I also remember fidgeting in my ill- fitting pants, staring into the wide unknown.  I recall promising you then, as I do now, that I will make sure to give all my best to your beloved “chung-chung”– Samantha. She is after all, the ultimate personification of our love and our hopes.

Sam is now in her second year in college. She has started to test the boundaries of her independence. But she has every so often, counted on me to still cover for her when she “suddenly” forgets some very important school work. Don’t you remember how often we had to drive back to AC when she was in grade school, because she had invariably left behind some notebook at home. I could not however, get myself to get mad at her during those inconvenient times because I knew you would have done anything for her in a heartbeat. She was your pride and joy, and also she had reminded you a lot about me.

Looking at myself now, I know I was never a perfect husband. There were so many things I regretted not having done for you. Didn’t I say that you’d see those beautiful castles in Germany one day? That would have to wait a while. Of course, I could have also said more about how much I had loved you when I had the chance. So now I just try to do it every night with Sam before we sleep. You deserve that at least, for being the perfect wife that you were.

People may tire about my circular reminiscences. But I will never tire about telling them and the world what a lucky bastard I was to have been a part of your life. You are a truly special and beautiful person who has shown us what it is to love unconditionally. For this, I will forever try to prove myself worthy of your love.

I know you hear me Mommy. I love you and would someday like to continue on those conversations we could have had. (Always pray for your daughter too, she loves you dearly in many other ways.) And until that time, Sam and I will both try to live the life you would have wanted for us. You can count on it.

With love and fondest remembrances,


Wish You Were Here


Dearest Mommy,

I will never forget waiting for Sam on the top of the stairs at U.P. “Bahay ng Alumni” on her first day at the university last August. It was a very rainy afternoon and I had for the very first time dared to let go and give her the chance to find her place in the wider world.

There were many anxious moments, especially when for quite a while, I couldn’t reach her phone. I already had wild ideas of bandits lurking in dark corners. Imaginings brought perhaps by my loneliness and the stark reality I had no one else but her to remind me of the love we had once shared. We had hoped too that someday she becomes all the best things we can only dream of for ourselves.

So I could not help but shed a tear, as I saw her walking a long way to get to the steps at the Alumni Center. I knew she was very tired and confused with a brave new world facing her. And I had wanted so much to come to her rescue as I often do when she stumbled when she was very young. But I also knew that I had to “let her step to the music that she hears” and dance to the beat of her own drum. I knew you had looked forward to this day with Sam in U.P. But I also somehow knew that you were never really far away, for your love was with us at that moment.

It’s been 9 years since that unimaginable day in September. I had grown much older and hopefully a little wiser. But as I had promised you then, as I promise you now, that I will make sure that your dreams will live on through our daughter. She is in many respects, all the best that you were. I still watch her sleeping and see you there. You have never really gone.

Thank you again for the love you had shared with us. You will never be forgotten because you are too beautiful a person to ever forget. We love you so very much and we will love you forever. Please watch over us, as we find ways to always be worthy of your love.

We love you so much Mommy.

With all my love,





Light from the Darkness

Mariel and Sam in Baguio

Bong’s Note: It’s 8 years since. Feels like only 8 weeks, or even 8 seconds sometimes. It will never be the same again but I’d like to believe that some light can be drawn from all the darkness. Thus, I share this short piece from Sam which she had written for the required ‘personal statement’ in her College application. Yes, she’ll be going to college next year, but she will always be our baby. We love you Mommy forever, more than any blog can imagine.

How Darkness Can Bring Light
(An Essay by Samantha Bianca F. Bello, August 2015)

“In the early morning of September 20, 2007, I received the most devastating news of my life – one that probably changed me permanently, and defined what I am today.

My dad woke me up to tell me that my mom had just died. I couldn’t believe what I’d heard. Ten days earlier, she was just fine – the healthy, loving, and doting person she always was. She had been stricken by a rare and cruel sickness called Interstitial Lung Disease. This was a kind of autoimmune disorder that was impossible to predict and didn’t seem to have any cure. I didn’t know this at the time. All I knew is that she had some kind of flu, and that we’d be going home soon. However, I was horribly wrong.

Just like that, the light of our home had been extinguished. It wasn’t easy dealing with this. In fact, the days that followed all seemed to be a blur. There was a kind of void created in our lives that can never be replaced ever again.

The first thing I learned from it all was the value of the acceptance of God’s perfect plan. We may not know why things happen the way they happen, but we have to trust in Him anyway. No matter how bad things get, He cares for us through people and circumstances that come into our lives.

I also learned humility. In the days that followed, I was cared for by my grandmother and my aunt while my dad was grieving. I learned to receive help from other people with gratitude. Through this, I learned we cannot do everything ourselves, and we must realize our human limitations. No matter how self-sufficient you think you are, there will always come a time that you will have to rely on your neighbor to get you through.

I’ve always thought that my mom would be around forever. I thought that she would be there to provide for my every need. However, things had to change. I had to understand that I had to do certain things on my own. I was proud of myself for receiving academic honors, but I was so sure this would come to an end because my mom was no longer there with me by my side. Somehow, I was able to keep my class standing through hard work, persistence and the belief that my mom would be proud of what I’ve done on my own. I actually did it for her.

Then, there is courage – the strength to carry on even when we are unsure that success is guaranteed. I have learned that nothing comes to you easily. There will be challenges, but these challenges can be overcome through a strong faith in God and hope that there is something better for us if only we push ahead. There was a time when I was frightened to go back to school, and I constantly wanted to go home and avoid activities that normally reminded me of my former life. However, I was able to conquer this by focusing on each day as it came, and it’s been 8 years since that fateful day.

I learned to value family, friends, and the time we spend with them. Some things are temporary, so I find time to hug my dad every day and thank him for the love and care he’s shown me every step of the way. I also learned to say thank you to my cousin, Trisha, who has learned to be more understanding of my teenage ups-and-downs. I cherish my friends, and the time we spend together watching movies, laughing at almost nothing, and telling stories about each other. I love them all.

I am an only child. I had never been good at sharing – until one day, I realized how much I had received in my relatively young, but eventful life. I consider myself lucky for having so many blessings that when the time came to organize something for the victims of Typhoon Yolanda, I felt free to give away some of the precious little things I’ve collected over the years. I know this is a small step, but I promise myself to give more and more whenever I can.

I have so much more to realize in life, but if there is one thing I really believe from all I’ve gone through, it’s living life for a purpose. I used to think I was so unlucky, but then I now see that all the unfortunate circumstances I’ve been through were meant to prepare me for something bigger than myself.

I am not completely sure about why God had decided to take my mom away at my young age, but I’m pretty sure that all the challenges that came after that gave me the strength to pursue my dreams and to discover my real purpose in life – which is to make God and my mom proud.”

Seven is a Good Number to Remember


Dearest Mommy,

In Math, the number seven is called a happy prime. It is one of those numbers that is both ‘happy and prime.’

To others, seven it seems has come to represent completion. There are many examples of this even from our Bible. Some even refer to it as the number of perfection.

And these thoughts are why the promise of today’s anniversary sounds a bit dissonant to me now. For I still find myself nowhere happy, nor near completing many of the things I know you would want me to do.

I however want you to know that I really am trying hard and somewhat already on my way. It is the least I can do to honor your love and everything you stood for. Most of which is about making sure that Sam grows up to be the best she can be. I’d be happy for her to be just even half of the beautiful person you were, you are. And I never tire about reminding the world about this.

By the time you may be reading this, which I guess in heavenly terms would probably be a blink away, I would have finally found the courage to pack away your things I have left untouched at our Mandaluyong home since the fateful day. I’ve avoided doing it or visiting our once lovely home often because they will make me sad. But grief I guess truly is the price of love. I take some pride however today in being able to start ‘donating’ your things to those who may need them more, as you always like to do before. (I may even ask Mang Tom, our neighbour, if he could help ‘rescue’ some of them. Our street in Sto. Nino has never been the same since you left.)

I would however keep a few mementoes for myself.  To simply remember, like your favourite pajamas, perfume and Jeffrey Archer pocketbook.

The years have not been too kind to me. But it seems that remembering is one of those I am still good at, especially when it’s about you.

Like, I have not forgotten your love for Gershwin, or those magnificent castles in France. On reading up on Shakespeare or watching the Lifestyle Channel on TV. With catching up on Efren Bata Reyes even when I know that you never once held a pool cue in your life. On snuggling happily in bed on those cold rainy nights. And collecting things that come in purple, or hunting new DVDs. In eyeing new bags and shoes, and designing that next Christmas tree. And talking about your dreams for Sam, and our growing old together. Watching waves, sharing jokes, eating out, reading a book, talcum on your feet, Estee Lauder, and Dendrobiums, I can go on and on and on, because they keep me wishing and hoping. For that day, we could just continue from where we last left off. I know that day will come.

I miss you terribly Mommy, especially now. I am not sure I will ever be good at this moving on thing. But I try, I will keep trying. Because I know this will make you happy.

Thank you for loving me. Thank you for giving me Sam. Thank you for the life and love you shared. You are forever special. You will forever be in our hearts.

Seven is a good number to remember. We love you always Mommy.

Forever yours,


How Fast Does Love Travel?


It’s been another year Mommy. Three hundred sixty five days, or rather three hundred sixty five nights of missing you still.

 Sam and I pray each night and  wish you good night like always. We simply wish you all the love our human brains can manage to imagine and send them across the heavens and the universe. We pray too that these would reach you somehow, because we hold on to God’s promise of one day sharing our heavenly home with you. So now I wonder how fast can our love really travel to you.

On the other hand, time travels fast, as it loves to do. Sammie is grown now, and is no longer the little girl we once had so many dreams planned for. She has started now to make dreams of her own, as I only wish that I’d still be there somewhere too. She is independently-minded and sometimes a little headstong, but who really was not at her age. In many ways, she is a lot like you, iron-willed yet willing to follow, pragmatic yet overflowing with compassion. So that’s why I miss you even more today.

I also look at our old photographs together and see how much older I’ve become. The seasons  it seems have not been very kind to me. I only wish I can photoshop a few wrinkles in you too, if only for a few moments of make-believe, imagine that you are still there with me. But I shall always remember you in your perfection, forever young and beautiful as the day I first met you at the Gourmet Cafe.

With regard to the moving on thing. You know I try to keep pushing forward, although sometimes it feels like Sisyphus up the mountain. I will try to be brave and hopeful if only because of Sam. Please do hold my hand  through these and replace my fears with  your comforting embrace.

I have many times asked to hear your voice even for just one more time; I haven’t had much success with that. But I have lately also realized that maybe you actually continue to speak to me. Through the stories about us that I hear from your friends, through your old birthday cards, through your poems and letters, through your funny but insightful jokes, through your purple- colored knick-knacks, and of course, through your life of grace, beauty and love.

Sam and I love you Mommy, now and through eternity. Please always remember that.

So then how fast does love travel? Surely faster than a hearbeat, faster than the waves of your beautiful memories, even faster than and as often as I can whisper your name each night.

(I always come back to this video just to remember and get a good cry)

I Carry You in My Heart

Dear Mommy,

It’s now been 5 years today, since you had to leave us for our heavenly home. It’s been a long hard journey, Mariel. And I often had to remind myself, not to give in to temptations of despair. For it was so much easier to feel sorry for myself and blame God for the apparent injustice, than face a future still to be written. Remember our dreams of traveling and visiting castles, they will have to wait, for a little more time.

You had so much to live for, and so much more to give that I would not hesitate trading places in a heartbeat. I thought things may have turned out a little better if…, but who am I to question God’s always perfect plan? …for us, for Sam.

I look at your beautiful Sammie today, and can see the same strength of character and resolve you had. She is growing up to be in many ways very much like you, always accepting that things in life do not always happen as planned. She is extremely ‘pragmatic’, not of the bad kind. She has learned to put aside her own comfort, believing other things are far more important than the material world. Just like you, she knows her priorities. She is therefore my strength now; while I keep trying to feign courage so that someday I can eventually learn it.

Sam is the greatest part of you and me. She is all I live for. She is the one thing that had kept me from giving in to the easy path of hopelessness.

I still remember that day in September, when I had to tell Sammie the most painful news. It still is the second most difficult task of my whole life, next to, of course saying goodbye to you that morning. No words can ever describe the emptiness and complete disbelief that a person so beautiful such as you, can suddenly be removed from our lives

Five is a nice round number. Five years they say should be enough. Some even claim that the number does represent “opportunities for decisions for the future.” Like perhaps, moving on. Yes, I have grudgingly learned to tolerate those words, even as I remember hating hearing it from people, who I know also cared a lot. But I ask, is moving on some place?  Or some kind of enlightened state?

Yes, I will move on now Mommy, but I choose to “carry you in my heart.” That way I can move on, without ever having to leave you. “I carry your heart… in my heart”

Sam and I love you Mommy always. And will forever be thankful for the life and loving heart you shared.

With all my love,


P.S. I will visit our special place in Promthep Cape later today, perhaps to sing or read you this poem from E.E. Cummings, with the squeaky voice you always said you loved.

[i carry your heart with me(i carry it in]

“i carry your heart with me(i carry it in

my heart)i am never without it(anywhere

i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done

by only me is your doing,my darling)

i fear

no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want

no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)

and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant

and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows

(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud

and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows

higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)

and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)”

My Heart’s in the Highlands…

“My Heart’s in the Highlands, my heart is not here… My heart’s in the Highlands, wherever I go”  –Robert Burns
Dearest Mommy,
It’s been four years today since you left us for God’s garden.
I know you never like me keeping count but how can I not when part of my broken heart had left with with you on that day. It’s also not been easy these past years, but I know that you’ve watched over us through our long journey. I have often whined about it not being fair that you had to leave me so helpless, completely torn and all alone. Until I had begun to realize that in fact you have left me with the best and biggest part of you– our beautiful daughter, Sam.
She is grown now Mommy. And I could not believe how much she has become to be the strong and loving person that you were until I finally left for Thailand last week.  Of course we had  said our goodbyes and good wishes together with you at Heritage, but it was only after I had sobbed shamelessly at the airport on this trip that I had truly caught on that Sam has indeed in many ways taken over where you had left off. For just like you, she had calmed me even through her own pain. That I have nothing to fear, that everything will eventually be all right. She always starts our conversations with asking if I am okay. Like you were, she is  strong- willed and ever caring.
Through all these, I had also tried to think of a fitting way to mark this important day in our lives. But being so far away in Phuket has left  me incapable of even “kissing the ground where you lay”. I remember too that in the not too distant past, I had held your hand, kissed your lips, and promised to love you and to hold you at Promthep Cape under a tree.
So today I return to sit under the same Pagoda tree, near Rawai to remember and thank you for having shared your life.  And to once again say,  that I  truly love you and will hold you forever always. I love you Mommy. You will forever be in our hearts, as a part of us will forever be with yours too.  Please continue to watch over our daughter until the day that our family can again be together forever in our heavenly home, in the most beautiful of highlands.
Forever yours,

Forever Young In My Dreams

Dear Mommy,

I had originally called this new post as “The saddest day of my sad, sad life” but your daughter Sam found it too depressing and wont have it. But indeed it was, because I could not imagine being told that morning of Sept 20 that you had passed away. When I had just kissed your feet the night before and I was asked to leave the ICU so you can get some rest. Add to that too, the most painful task of telling your daughter about your passing when she did not even have an idea that you were at all sick. (Just the thought makes me again shiver. I can still hear her anguish)

I kissed you only at your feet that night because I was afraid to give you germs. I’ve always thought germs and you, even just in the same sentence, were completely incompatible. You were after all, always angelic, pristine white and porcelain-like. Remember how I thought you were somewhat “Imeldific” the first time I saw you at Gourmet Cafe? You were glowing in the mid- afternoon blush while I was fidgeting on my chair staring at the Cappuccino. You were so beautiful then and I felt like I had just won the lottery, but I was trying to act cool and nonchalant about it. Remember also that I had told you, before I actually met you, that I sort of looked like Keanu Reeves? (To everyone, that’s a joke that I’ll reserve for another day).

It’s been three year now. But it feels like three weeks or three days or even three minutes to me. Time has not behaved the same way since. I used to find the work week too long because I’d always looked forward to our weekend trips to the mall. You know, discovering that new exotic restaurant or simply browsing at the “tiangge’ with you made me very happy. I liked shopping with you because you always gave in to my “retail therapy”. I was a spoiled little boy, or did you just love me too much? That’s why I miss you so much now. My days look like endless clones and weekends are not much fun anymore. Except maybe when Sam agrees to go out with me on Saturdays. I dread too, the day when she wouldn’t want to hang out with me anymore or have more time for friends. Where will I go then?

But as I’ve told you a lot, I’ll just do my best to keep busy looking after our daughter. I know she needs more space these days, but also I have to assure her that I’d be there for her anytime she needed me. Well mostly today, it’s still about reviewing for her math quiz. I don’t know someday if it’ ll come to talking about “boys”. Then, I wish you were there to hold her hand when that time comes. I’ll just try to wing it at best for now. Perhaps you can help me with some tips?

I miss you Mommy. There are days I imagine how it’ll be when we meet again. I do look forward to that time, but you keep reminding me of  being here for Sam. I’m quite torn, but I know doing it will make you happy, so I submit. I’ve always imagined too that we will eventually grow old together. And hold hands while taking long trips to the beach, when Sam gets to have a family of her own. But alas it will just be another movie script, waiting for a re-run. I will grow old my love all right. But you, my love, will remain forever young, in my dreams. I hope you will not mind though some silver streaks on my hair, when again we meet. I promise to continue where we left off, when we last talked. I love you so much Mommy, there will always be a void in my heart that can be filled only when we are together again.

Watch over your daughter. Pray for me and never forget how much we love you.

Forever yours,


Live life and carry on …

I got a note from dear blogger/friend Linda of Mysteryoriley some days ago, which I’d like to share with with you. I hope Linda does not mind, because many of you may have noticed that my last post was almost a year ago and may be wonderin’ where I’ve been all this time.

“Hi Bong, Has it really been a year since you posted here? I was hoping to see how you’re doing these days. By the date of this last post, I’m hopeful you’re doing well, and that you and Sam are well into your new lives, though never the same in the absence of your dear Mariel. Please take care of yourselves. Love, Linda”


Hi Linda,

Above all, I’d like to thank you again for your loving kindness, your little notes have kept me going especially during the times when the blue funk hits and things just seem to grind to a halt. Yes, you know only too well that the first to go when our loved ones passed on was that linear concept of time. One could get “unstuck in time” as the memories fly and the future do not seem too hopeful to think about. You see, I have never left the “garden”,  as I’m still here almost every single day re-reading the blog and checking on “comments”. It still is my only place for solace. I also pray for you and Owen and our other friends like Robert, Di and Jan and ask that you all are given the strength and peace of mind that you so truly deserve.

I have not written for some time in the blog because I had, at some point, only not- too- happy thoughts to share, and I feel embarassed dragging so many people into my grief and sometimes, whining. I have of course overcome that a bit by resolving to “carry on” (as you would often remind us) for my daughter Sam. You see (in the picture above) that she has grown somewhat since the last time. She is now starting to be her own person and making lots of new friends. I can see so much of my Mariel in her that sometimes I could just smile and heave a sigh. I try to spend more time with her now, like eating out and watching movies and buying her clothes and hanging out at the bookstore because I know she needs me during this confusing teen years. But most of all, I know doing those things with Sam is what will make Mariel really happy. When I’m feeling blue, I just try to do something that I know will please Mariel and that helps to chase the clouds away. I sometimes I even hear her say to me, “live life and enjoy”. I know that day will come but till then, I know there is Sam, who is all that matters to me now. I carry on for her.

Always wishing all the best for you and those you love Linda. I know Owen is with me in wishing you that and more. Take care and see you in the garden tomorrow if you have the time as we remember Mariel’s 3rd year in heaven. She is truly too beautiful to ever be forgotten.

With much love and prayers,


Mariel, My One and Only Love

Getting together for Mariel

“All days are nights to see till I see thee, And nights bright days when dreams do show thee to me” -William Shakespeare, Sonnet XLIII

Dear Mommy,

It’s your 2nd Birthday in Heaven. And I did my best to make today’s celebration of your life  complement your simplicity, love and spirit of giving.

I still miss you every single day. I also still have this gaping hole in my life that may never be filled. After all, you’ve very much made up for my many shortcomings and that void may have to wait till we meet again. I’ve often wondered too how an extraordinarily beautiful person like you can fall in love with someone so “ordinary” like me. Was it the cologne? (he he he). You once hinted that you loved “smelling” me. I guess I never really asked because I’ve always assumed we will be growing old together. And that there will be much time for those conversations. But alas it was not meant to be.  You however will remain forever young and beautiful in my memories, as I must admit that I look kinda “older” in the picture above. The last two years have not been very kind to me. That is why I have not really been putting out blogs of late. Because my thoughts have been mostly morbid and negative even while I’m in your “garden” every day. In fact, our dear friend Jan had caught that mood one time. So I waited a while for all the usual pangs of regrets to give way to some feeling of hopefulness.

I now see that hope being served with my developing a closer relationship with our beloved only daughter Sam. She needs you most during these days of emotional roller coasters as she slides into adolescence. And you know very well empathy has not been my best suit. But I’ll do all I can to learn newer ways of communicating with her because I know it can please you. Also, she needs me most now because her “ordinary” dad is all she has got in this world. I promise you though that I will make you someday prouder of me by nurturing our daughter to be like the extraordinary loving person that you were.

By the way, as I earlier talked about your spirit of giving. I had made sure today to get together your siblings here in the country for your little day of remembrance. I know it makes you specially happy that they are all in touch and supporting each other. I must carry on for you. So Ate Marge, Ate Gertie. Kuya Billy, Jay and Chinkie were there with their families. From across the miles, Kuya Sonny, Annie, Zave, Jenny,  lovely friends Joy L, Grace V. and Ivy A. send their best wishes and prayers. Did you also like that Sam and I wore your favorite purple color today? And that she sang one of your favorite songs.  It’s your day so I was hope  you enjoyed it especially well.

I’d like to end for now with a short video collage of our blessed days together and maybe address the usual well-meaning-but-nagging question, could there be another person in my life ahead? I guess the tune quite simply says it all, “My One and Only Love”.

Good night Mommy. We love you always.