Never demanding anything in return
Dear Owa Bi,
You have always been my inspiration, my guide, my light. Your quiet strength and unbelievable capacity to love have always been my beacon of hope. You have been instrumental in stoking my desire to love and care for my kids the way you continue to love and care for me.
You have given so much of yourself to our family, without ever demanding anything in return. Sometimes, because you are such a constant presence in all aspects of our lives, we forget to show you just how much we love you, and how much we appreciate everything that you have done for us. Your glorious light fades into the background, overshadowed by everything else that is happening in our day-to-day existence.
Today, I want to change that. Let your light shine bright, dearest Mommy, as we honor you for everything that you are, everything that you’ve done, and everything that you’ve worked for in order to give us the lives that we are blessed with, today and every day.
Happy Mother’s Day to the best grandmother, mother, wife, sister and friend that anyone could ever hope for. Our lives are so much better and brighter because of you. We love you so much, dearest Owa Bi.
Happy Mother’s Day, Mommy!
Every day, around the clock, always remember that you are my rock!
I love you!
You love to feed and I love to eat
I know you had the most difficult time with me, starting from how you had to be induced to give birth to me and how I had a congenial personality—oops, I meant congenital thyroid problem—requiring you to send me off to your own mother in the province so I can be best taken care of not just by any nanny.
At school, you were frustrated with me because I wasn’t a star student. I didn’t study at the school where my sister studied even if we tried so hard to apply. Our personalities are like two mismatched jigsaw puzzle pieces. One thing clicked between us, though—you love to feed and I love to eat.
You took me on trips to Thailand, and there we ate and shopped to our hearts’ content. I had no qualms walking all day and shopping. You were your best self when you traveled and shopped, and I thank you for sharing those experiences with me. My wish for you is for this pandemic to end so we can go back to traveling, eating and shopping together. Happy Mother’s Day!
We are strong because you are strong
Our dearest Mother Dear,
I know how much you love cheesy messages, Mommy, so here we go.
I am grateful to have you. Thank you for loving us, even with the distance. I know it isn’t easy being away from us. How I wish I kept all your love letters to us growing up. I always thought you had the best and sweetest handwriting in the world, Mommy, and that I wish I could write just like you. But I guess I got your looks instead, and I’m not complaining at all! We are beautiful, mother dear.
You deserve more than a day of celebration. And how I wish the love you give us goes back to you a hundredfold, especially on this special day. You’re the best mom we could ever ask for. We are strong because you are strong. One special request? Today, I want the whole world to know that you will come visit us here in Switzerland one day, so we need you to fix your passport ASAP.
Happy Mother’s Day to you. I love you.
Legacy of a happy tummy
Like most holidays, we know this day isn’t something you look forward to. Working in the food business is a tough job, apart from being the 24/7 mother that you are.
Like every other major celebration of the year, Mother’s Day in our family means we put a smile on the faces of other families through the yummy treats you churn out instead of your own. The past year and even the start of 2021 might not have been as kind as you wanted them to be, but hey, we are carrying on and we’ll continue to do so because you do run a tight ship amid all the trials and tribulations.
You probably don’t hear this often, but this family and I are thankful for your guidance and love, even if you show it in ways I never really understood since childhood. We are appreciative even if we’re not as showy with our love or even when we drive you up the wall with … what do you call it again? “The 1 million little inane things” we do.
But know that you are in our heart of hearts. It’s going to be a busy day for you, but we’ll make sure you get some pampering time right after because we are grateful for all that you do. Hopefully, soon enough, we will all be together again as a complete family.
If there’s anything that you’ve taught me (and the rest of the family), it is to always keep the faith—even in the worst of times. And I’ll always remember that at the start of the pandemic, you assured me that we will be OK even when I felt helpless and hopeless. That was your shining moment, the true mom that you are.
On behalf of Miguel, Crisela, Selina, Noel, Ivy, Pops and Baguette, we wish you more happy days to come and more good food to churn out (since this is going to be public—follow us at @simplybels). We’ll make sure to carry on the legacy of a happy tummy for years to come to honor your dedication to the craft.
Happy Mother’s Day and al mal tiempo, buena cara.
Still your spirit of contradiction,
Strongest woman (‘kahit sobrang pasaway’)
I know you won’t be able to read this right away given the circumstances we’re in right now. But as the strongest woman I know, you’ll overcome this challenge and come out a much stronger person and a much more beautiful person (kahit at times sobrang pasaway).
Here’s something I’ve never told you. As we were able to spend more time together during the pandemic and I heard your stories about growing up and when you were still working, I can’t help but admire what you have accomplished.
The silent worker that you are, you have managed to raise three wonderful, good-looking and successful children, lead your team in the government agency you have worked in for 40 years, and were able to build a home and provide for the family all by yourself for most of my growing-up years, when Papa was still working abroad. And then hearing that the people who have worked with you have nothing but kinds words to say about you, I can’t help but feel proud that I have you as my mom.
Now that you’ve grown a bit gray, I’m always here by your side to take care of you and protect you. (Although sorry if minsan I’m masungit and ikaw yung napagbubuntungan ko ng init ng ulo.)
Anyway, see you soon and can’t wait to hug you again.
P.S. Advance happy birthday, too.
As your eldest child, we’ve had as many Mother’s Days as my age. I’ve seen how you take care of us every day—from when it was just me, to now that my sisters and I have all grown up.
I know we don’t show it a lot, but we all love and cherish you. I hope we could give you a lot more memories of happiness as we continue to grow in age—and in size.
Thank you, Mom, for everything. My sisters and I wouldn’t be what we are now if it wasn’t for your hard work. I hope you enjoy Mother’s Day, Mom! Again, we love you!
No one else I’d rather be spending lull days with
A silver lining of this pandemic is the amount of time that we get to spend together. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of families separated by quarantines and restrictions, or worse, that terminus that turns time into just a memory.
Without vaccines, you and I are not out of the woods yet, but later, hopefully, we can look back with a sanguine belief that despite everything, this phase has been kind to us. The goal is to stretch this period of dullness, the tedium of each day under lockdown, for as long as possible against a backdrop of government failure that has snuffed out the lives of thousands of others, including mothers.
In some ways, we are built for this. I used to envy the rowdiness in other families’ dining rooms compared to the lull in ours. But I learned that our stoical nature was born of a lack of family crises and melodrama.
“Boredom is underrated,” I would later conclude, until I became old enough to construct what the silences mean. I understood that silence equals patience, and toward the end, service. There is immense strength behind restraint, but more so in giving without restraint.
But silence is also comforting. It’s the knowledge that everything is fine, understood or accepted. That the day was uneventful, nothing out of the ordinary, routine. That you’re playing word games on your cell phone. Or cutting Prince’s hair. Or in the kitchen preparing our meal. Or as you’ve learned to do on your own, online shopping. Which is scary.
As rowdy as the outside world may be, there’s no one else I’d rather be spending lull days with.
Hello! I’m writing you a love letter for Mother’s Day, which I’m sure you’d find very odd (like when I had cut my bangs). Don’t worry, I’m fine. Yesterday, I had my first COVID-19 vaccine and so far, I haven’t had any of the dreaded side effects. Thank you for praying for me.
You and Daddy are the best parents in the world! You’ve raised all six of us to be kind, honest, respectful, fair and responsible persons. You worked hard to provide for us, and more than providing material things, you gave us good role models to emulate.
Growing up, relatives from the province used to stay with us at home, for weeks, sometimes months, and I asked why you allowed it. You explained that when you first transferred to Manila, you were like Joseph and Mary, moving from one place to another. You knew how it felt to worry about a place to stay. You showed us how to be kind and helpful to others, to be considerate and try to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes.
You prioritized our education over luxuries in life and sent us to good schools. There were times I had asked you to buy expensive things my classmates had and I appreciate that you never flat-out rejected my requests because it was out of budget. Instead, you offered alternatives.
I remember wanting a Trapper Keeper and you made me one out of illustration boards, a Snoopy gift wrapper and plastic cover. I proudly went to school with it and it looked so legit that some of my classmates asked where I bought it. You taught me my priorities, to be resourceful and not to sulk.
You’ve blessed us with your calmness and good sense of humor. While you always encouraged us to study well and explained the importance of getting good grades, you never let us feel your disappointment when we didn’t get high marks.
When I got a 75 passing mark in my report card, you said, “Well, aanhin naman natin ang extra, hindi naman convertible to cash.”
When people around you expressed their concern that you have too many children, you’d come back at them with, “Just wait, may bullet day (balang araw).” Nothing and no one fazed you.
Your bullet days finally came when one by one we graduated and started working. We shared in the household expenses because you required it, hahaha! You required it not because you needed help financially, but because you wanted us to understand that in real life, we will incur living expenses, that we should allocate our salary properly.
This was very valuable training because when I started living on my own, the adjustment was easy.
I could tell you more stories you may not be aware of that were life lessons for me, but what I really just want to say is that you did a terrific job being our mother. We may not be vocal about it, but we appreciate you and all that you do for our family. When this pandemic is over, let us plan another family trip. For now, stay inside the house (which you love) and keep safe. See you soonest. Happy Mother’s Day, Mima!
Love from your best child,
A rockstar of a mom
Every day I am reminded of how lucky l am to call you Mom.
I’m sure it was never easy raising four kids and having me as your youngest—arguably the most problematic and naughty one of all. But thank you for you always supporting every decision, allowing us to learn from our mistakes, rallying behind us every step of the way, and being by our side through the highs and lows of life.
At an early age, you showed us what it meant to be resilient and to be persistent, to tackle any problem head-on, reminding us that we’ll always reap what we sow and to never back down from a challenge. You did all that while trying to tame and deal with my stubbornness, as I, without fail, tried to rebel and retaliate 100 percent of the time.
I honestly don’t know how you did all that while working full time and flourishing in your career, but in my eyes there’s nothing you can’t do.
Thank you so much for leading by example, showing me what unconditional love is, and for all that you continue to do for us! You’re a rockstar of a mom and I couldn’t imagine being raised by anyone else. I am who I am today because of you!
I love you to infinity and beyond—Happy Mother’s Day!
So much of who I am comes from you
We’re different in many ways—you are soft-spoken, while I’m loud. You thrive in groups, while I tend to work alone. But so much of who I am comes from you: our workaholic tendencies, our obsession with history documentaries and the belief that women can achieve great things when given the chance.
Proud of you always, and congrats on beating COVID!
Thank you for being in our lives for the past 82 years. You are our treasure.
Eric and I will always be grateful for all the things you have done for us. Washing our clothes till the wee hours of the morning. Cooking for us—breakfast, lunch, merienda and dinner. Yes we gained so much weight, but look at us now, always happy.
You and Papa are our rock, the wind beneath our wings. We thank the good Lord that you are still with us. We pray for your good health. Everything we are is because of you. Thank you for making us stronger, for always supporting us.
We are so proud of you. Your former students still adore you and still remember what you taught them to this day. Thank you, Mama. Our love for you goes beyond what words can say. We love you.
Gemma and Eric
For showing me grit
Thank you for everything you’ve done for us. Most of what we enjoy now is because of you and Papa. Most important, thank you for showing me what grit, determination and resilience look like on a daily basis. When the odds are stacked against me, I just think of how you won’t give up that easily, and it gets me through the day.
I am who I am because of you. Stubborn. LOL. Happy Momma’s Day!
The strength of a single parent
I would like to let you know how grateful I am for all that you have done and sacrificed for Madison and me, especially as a single parent, and for the patience you have as I continue to grow.
Now that I am older, I understand how much you love, no matter how difficult things may get sometimes.
Thank you for teaching me how to be strong; to pick myself up when things get tough; that it’s okay to take a step back to work on yourself and ask for help when needed.
I am proud of how hard you work to keep your business afloat, especially during these uncertain times. It’s inspiring that you continue to find ways to make sure that there are still ways to provide jobs and help others when needed.
Today, we celebrate you as a super mum! Looking forward to more travels, food trips, and everything in between.
Best nurse, first teacher
Happy birthday and Happy Mother’s Day!
Thank you for everything! For helping me with my schoolwork back in elementary, for staying in the room with me whenever I was afraid, for taking care of me when I got sick, for all the warm hugs and kisses, for all the love and support that allowed us to grow. Thank you for not giving up.
Salamat sa pag-aalaga. Kami naman gagawa nitong lahat sa ’yo. Nandito lang kami parati.
For us you are the best nurse, our first teacher, supporter, best mother. Salamat, Ma!
To be the son you deserve
I never understood the point of Mother’s Day. To some people, it is a day where they can be grateful for having a mother, where they go shopping, watch movies, or even cook for their mother, but what’s the point?
To me, every day is Mother’s Day because there hasn’t been a day when I wasn’t grateful for my mother. You don’t just take care of me on my birthday, you take care of me every day, every hour, every second of the year, and it would be my honor to do the same for you.
As of the moment, I cannot yet support our family financially, but I will do my best to be the son you deserve. Love is a strong word. To me, it means unwavering trust, never-ending affection, and wholehearted dedication. Some people can throw the word “love” out there as if it means nothing, but to me, it’s one of the most powerful and life-changing words. Knowing this, I cannot say “I love you” to just anyone, yet it won’t even take me a second to tell you I love you with all my heart, with all my soul, with all my strength, and with all my power.
To the woman who loved and cared for me throughout my life, I love you, and remember that nothing will ever change that.
Thank you for your kindness and my cooking skills
Sometimes it scares me that I’m turning out to be so much like you. I’m still working on being calm even when mad, and being strong than emotional, but I see you each time I nag my toddler to take a nap and eat his veggies. I also see you when I’m multitasking in the kitchen. I thank you for my cooking skills. Had you not forced me to get off the couch and stop watching MTV as a teen, I wouldn’t have learned how to make a decent meal for my family.
I thank you for always being strong for the whole family. Most of all, I thank you for your kindness. You only have nice words to say about people. I have never seen anyone as kind as you. I love you, Nanay. We can’t imagine a life without you. Happy Mother’s Day!
You made us believe that nothing was beyond our reach
It’s been quite a year and I am proud that you got through this healthy and happy. I hope by the time this comes out, you have already gotten your second vaccine dose.
I was never really concerned that you might not thrive in this lockdown as you always found many ways to create, learn and entertain as you did while raising us four kids.
“Idle minds and hands are the playground of the devil,” you would always say, which I think you only picked up from your upbringing in the convent. But I know it really stems from your own curiosity and boundless energy for what lay beyond your life in Santa Catalina, Zamboanga.
You’ve always encouraged us to be out and about and explore what the “outside” had to offer. Manang Maricar told me recently that one of her fondest memories during our childhood summers in Zamboanga was that you always wanted to make sure we kids had something to look forward to.
You always found an activity for us. So besides visiting the Carmelite nuns and having fun playing pretend communion with hostia cuttings, you would take us to Tetuan airport just to watch the airplanes take off every afternoon.
As I enter my 40th year, I have been thinking of the life you had at this same age. You’ve already had multiple careers, married with four children and a household to run.
Despite having all that, you did not even blink when you took in multiple cousins from the province to live with you to support their own forays into big city life. With them you have given us the gift of more independent women to learn from and to grow up with. They are our second mothers, and I am forever grateful to be able to run to or cry or laugh with each of them until today.
You opened your home and never thought twice about sharing. I also always had a hard time letting go of my toys and clothes that you always packed up to send to my cousins in Zamboanga or to the orphanage. You taught us to be generous, as there is always enough to go around. These are the moments that I remember that keep me going here when life gets challenging.
I look at myself today, independent, on my own, yet I do not think I am alone. I feel very blessed and know that I’ve lived my life as best as I could on my own terms with what I have. I’ve been able to create my own family and community, and that’s what’s kept me going during my lockdown life.
People always say that I take after you the most. I look like you, sound like you, and I’m always doing something just like “Inday Mon” or “Manang Inday.” I think about how fortunate I am to have a mom who did not limit us, or make us believe that anything was beyond our reach.
I know you had many dreams for yourself had you not gotten married right away, yet you still found ways to create and conquer the world without leaving your family. But what I am most proud of and thankful for, aside from inheriting that creative business streak, the appreciation for culture, details, jewelry and design, is the gift of connecting with people and my community.
I am most thankful for that gift that enables me to always have hope in this ever-changing world of ours. It keeps me resilient. You always made sure we were grounded, that we knew our roots and our family. That it is important to watch out for people around us, beyond our own homes. Wherever I go into the world, you always find someone, something to connect me with. I strive to be a better, kinder person every day, and I hope that makes you proud.
I am also very grateful that you were able to visit me in 2019 before the pandemic hit, and I got a chance to do the reverse this time and show you my world.
Finally, I was able to take you through the life you would have also wanted for yourself, to have explored the world on your own had Tatay let you. I hope that I was able to make you proud of what
I have been able to build all on my own—my friends, extended family and community that would not have been possible without your example, encouragement and inspiration.
As you turn 70 this July, I might not be able to come home and celebrate with you as planned. I know though that I will spend it doing what you love most—going to Church, walking around the city, seeing some great art, enjoying culture, having some good food while surrounded by people I love.
It will be warm already by then, and I look forward to bringing out the different accessories you’ve given me through the years, but most especially one of my favorite pieces from you—the conus shell necklace with the mother-of-pearl clasp that looks as if I had just collected them on the beach and assembled myself. Though I live thousands of miles away now, all my favorite pieces keep you and home close to my heart.
Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. I will see you again soon.
Pure heart and soul
Happy Mother’s Day! Just want to let you know how much you mean to me and to Chloe. I say this all the time but we love you so much and we miss you all the time. You have been so amazing as my mom and as a grandma. You have a pure heart and soul and it makes me so happy knowing you’re always here for us. We love you x3000.
Source of inspiration
You have always been a source of inspiration, a light on our paths and a fountain of love for all of us. Although there is only one day a year that’s dedicated to mothers, always know that we are grateful to God every day for you. We love you. Happy Mother’s Day.
Chinggay and Chin
Thank you, Mama
Happy Mother’s Day, Mama. Thank you for everything. We love you.