Sunday, September 23, 2018
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Not Quite There

When pictures aren’t as important as before—except of grandkids

By: - Columnist
/ 05:26 AM April 15, 2018

Vergel and I decided 2018 would be the year to do what traveling we could, and we’ve made plans.

A trip to Japan last year, after a very long time, opened our eyes to a few realities. I’m not getting younger, and neither is Vergel, though younger at 72 and still physically and mentally alert.


Traveling has proved to be a good way to test our condition, with all the walking in unfamiliar environment.

We chose Japan again—another cluster of neighboring cities this time—because it is considered one of the safest, most civilized and hospitable countries to foreigners, and, based on our modest mileage, we agree.

If we had been in any other country, including our own, our last trip would have been a disaster of epic proportions. I will not go into the details to protect the guilty.

Barest minimum

Anyway, for lessons learned, my husband now insists that he carry everything himself and that we, therefore, travel light, with, in my case particularly, the barest minimum of clothing; we can buy, or pay for laundry. No more big handbags, just an un-misplaceable money belt and a small drinking-water container. All that lightness should also make for easier walking and better balance.

Early this year we flew to Malaysia and Singapore, safe places, too, for senior travelers, and I was made more comfortable being pushed in a wheelchair offered graciously and sensitively, without me asking for it, at the Singapore Airline counter.

For some time I have had some pain below my left ankle whenever I stand or walk for too long. A blood test has revealed high uric acid, sugar and cholesterol counts. I have since put myself on a strict diet—no more sweets except fruits and no white rice or bread until I’ve shed 10 pounds; I’ve lost 5. I’m following my Fitbit watch’s orders to take 250 steps every hour and sleep early. I’m putting myself in better physical condition not only for our trips but for older age.

Maid-less for Holy Week and the next, we spent Good Friday and Black Saturday in a hotel taking advantage of its Easter promo. We asked our children and grandchildren to come and hang out with us. Some did come, to swim and dine. Others waited for a Peking duck Easter Sunday lunch in Greenhills.

Celebrating life at every chance is our new motto. I posted our pictures on Facebook.


Being on our second marriages, we have few pictures to show for all our years together. We haven’t really bothered making any pictorial record of those years, and that has its own potential convenience: We wouldn’t have the problem of what to do with all the pictures if we should ever split.

A record of the sort has been known to be a problem. A friend, after her marriage fell apart, tried to snip her husband’s face out of countless pictures of happier times, but got so exhausted she just burned everything. A freak flood in my mom’s bodega took most of my own first-marriage memorabilia. I got no sympathy whatsoever from mom, who wasn’t exactly happy about the breakup.

Pictures aren’t as important to us as before, except of grandchildren, without us. At our age, after all, we very seldom manage to look good.

Vergel and I don’t even give each other commemorative gifts, not even cards. Instead, we each help ourselves on the other’s encouragement to what we want to have for a gift to ourselves. Come to think of it, we rarely, if at all, commemorate anything sentimental. What’s important for us now is to have fun together—dining out, watching movies, vacationing.

Time being of the essence has never felt truer, and we mean to spend the rest of our healthy days traveling, reading, writing and, more selflessly, being involved in communal and national advocacies.

With limited means and years, we can only go so far. But wherever that may be, it would be far and certainly good enough for us.

Happy Earth Day!

One of my environmental advocacies, as a member of Winner Foundation, is the protection, preservation and maintenance of the Arroceros Forest Park in Manila. And today, Earth Day, the public is invited to the celebration.

It starts 7 a.m. with a Manila Bike Tour of the Firefly Brigade. An interfaith prayer follows at 8, then a program, featuring bird watching, an art and photography workshop, an educational walk around the trees, bike lessons, and lunch.

At 2 p.m., Mass will be celebrated by Fr. John Leydon.

The program ends with a musical treat from the Buskeros.

Throughout the day there will be lectures: “Creating Green Spaces in Cities,” “Ridge to Reef,” “Responsible Eco-tourism,” Zen mediation instructions and Pranic healing.

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