Home for the Weekend

I flew to Manila last Thursday to be with the family. My cousins based in the US and Kuwait were vacationing so it was a good time to have a mini reunion. Before I boarded the plane though, I received an alert from my BBC app saying a Malaysian Airline plane was allegedly shot down by pro-Russian separatists and crashed in Ukraine. Not another MH flight, I said to myself. Close to 300 innocent lives gone in just a matter of seconds. While walking towards the boarding gate, I thought of my family, our upcoming family reunion, and the families of the passengers on board that flight- they will never be reunited with their loved ones. I hope their families find comfort and solace in God's tight embrace.

My mom fetched me at the airport and we went straight to Aristocrat for breakfast. It was only four in the morning, I had my usual beef tapa meal and native hot chocolate, while mom had daing na bangus and coffee. I missed moments like this with my mom- when we just eat and talk and not care about anything. In the afternoon, I had my regular routine- Browhaus eyebrow threading, basic mani-pedi. I haven't had the courage to enter a salon in Taipei for threading and haircut, so I wait six months or so to do both.

The next day, we flew to Cebu. My dad's twin brother is from Cebu so we didn't have a hard time coordinating this trip, all thanks to our family members there. My cousin Mic met us at the airport and brought us to our hotel. We stayed at Movenpick Hotel, formerly Hilton. We rested and enjoyed the scenery for a bit then headed out for lunch. The second batch of cousins will be arriving the day after, so we had time to dilly dally. We decided to try the nearby Zubuchon, a restaurant featured on Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations. Bourdain said their lechon was "the best pig ever." Indeed it was (but… I reckon all lechons in Cebu are the best pigs ever). After lunch, my cousins decided to take a nap, while I went for a short swim. My aunt picked us up for dinner to celebrate my cousin's birthday.

We were finally complete by Sunday. We rented a van that will take us to the city and visited some famous attractions. We went back to the hotel after dinner for a night swim and catch up talks. I'm so glad I took a leave and decided to be with them. We only get to see each other once every two or three years, but our bond remains the same. My cousins saw me grow up, and now it's my turn to see their kiddies well into their teenage years. My achies (ate-s) taught me many things and have continuously inspired me to be the best I can be. Our moms are sisters,  and we live almost next to each other, with only four or five houses in between. We have always been there for each other especially during those trying times. My achies are my source of refuge- I remember those days I cried from pain and frustration, and they send me messages to lift me up. I wish someday I can also be like them. They have their own lives now with their own families, but they never forget us.

Before leaving Manila, I requested my mom and my brother to take me to Toby's Estate. We visited its branch at the new Century Mall in Makati. We passed by a Pandora shop and I ended up buying a Pandora set for myself and a pendant for my mom. I've been wanting to get one for years already but I know it would cost a lot. Then I asked the sales lady if they have a St. Basil's Cathedral charm- I was sold. I bought 4 charms to go with the bracelet- charms that symbolize my life's little milestones. I'll post a photo when it gets filled up with more milestone charms. Kailan pa kaya yun?

Right before boarding the plane to Taipei, I refreshed my Twitter feed and read a news update regarding another plane crash. This time, my heart sank and I started to panic. A TransAsia flight flying from Kaohsiung, Taiwan to Penghu Islands crashed around 7:00pm. I was in the middle of sending bilin messages to my mom when suddenly I thought of asking her to pray for my flight. I landed safely at 12.25am but we left the plane only at 1.30 am. Everyone in the plane was getting furious and impatient. I breezed through the immigration using e-Gate, but got my luggage at 2.30am. I was running out of patience and was so tired the moment I went out of the airport, only to see the long line at the taxi bay. Then I thought of the two planes that crashed, the pain and grief that the families had to endure. I said I'm lucky to be alive, to have spent time with the family. I thanked God because even though the flight was tiring and unpleasant, I was okay and I'm now home. Praying for the eternal rest of everyone onboard MH, TransAsia, and just yesterday- Air Algerie. Also praying for the families and loved ones of the passengers.


Nathalie said...

That must have been terrifying, flying amidst all these news of aircraft tragedies. Good thing you got safely home and back, and had a grand time with your family on your mini vacation too. ^_^

Angel said...

glad you're back safely sis :)saya ng mini reunion! the food from zubuchon looks yummers! ^_^

Aiza said...

Uu nga sis. Sabi nga nila flying coffins na yung mga planes lately. Enjoy your time with your family sis!

Jhanz said...

Glad to know you had a wonderful time with your family. Take care! :D

Project Gora said...

I'm glad you're safe Jacq. And that picture of lechon! God I miss Cebu! ^_^

Unknown said...

It's been a long while since I've been online, and this was a nice thing to see on your blog. I love family reunions because nothing beats family plus good food. That's a ray of sunshine in times of tragedy :-)

Jacqueline Uy said...

Thank you, ladies, for your comments :) It is important to spend time with our loved ones because we never know what will happen next :)

@Ms Maita
Happy to hear from you again! I hope you're doing great. And true, nothing beats family time + lechon hehe :)

Rea Ninja said...

I know what you mean about all the plane crashes and how terrible they were. Been following the news and I get paranoid too! Glad to know you're now home safe and giddy to find out you went to Cebu. Obviously, I'm from Cebu. Haha! And I love Zubuchon too!:)

Anonymous said...

i have yet to eat a lechon na talagang magugustuhan ko, hindi talaga ako lechon person kasi.... Nice blog! :)

Unknown said...

I freakin' miss Zubuchon. So far, the best tasting lechon I had tasted.

Oh, I didn't know that hotel is so beautiful. I thought it's Shangri-La and I looked again, it's not! Perhaps book that next time,

Jacqueline said...

Any lechon, basta from Cebu, will always make my tummy very happy :)

Thanks for dropping by! :)

Zubuchon's a bit too salty but a pile of rice solves the problem :)

Francesca said...

Good to know you got back safely :)

The picture of lechon made me crave! Last time I was in Cebu was back in 2000!

I'm considering getting a pandora bracelet myself but given the price points, I'm still going to have to think about it hahaha!

xFrancesca of http://www.primpandpaper.com