Saturday, March 24, 2012

IT IS more fun in the Philippines.

NOTE: This post is ONLY somewhat related to tourism.

With my nephew back in his home in Quezon City to have his measurements taken for a suit, my sister in Clark for a company event, and my father out on his customary Saturday Golf day, I'm the one spending quality time with my mom tonight. Saturdays are the only time when I get to really bond with her. I'm out everyday and almost every night of the week, sometimes even Saturdays and Sundays.  So by my dad's design, I have mom time every Saturday morning. I pick her up from her dialysis treatment then we have lunch together. Depends on her energy level, we can sometimes spend a few more minutes looking at clothes in the department store... or not.

It's interesting to note how the times have changed.  Before, it was our parents making the effort to spend time with us amidst all the work and everything else that they have to do and us children eagerly anticipating family time.  Now, it's us making time for our parents, trying to go home for dinner midweek so that we can all be complete at the dinner table.

It's during these Saturdays that my mom gets to tell me how she spent the week, her worries and issues, and at the same time I get to tell her anything I feel like telling her. As she was watching TV a while ago while I tinker with my iPod right beside her, she begins to show me this news program on TV5 that she loves watching everyday at around 7 p.m.. It has a special segment on the different sights and tourist destinations in the Philippines. I immediately recognize this as part of the tourism campaign, in the same way that TV and radio stations have created their own "It's more fun" station IDs or somehow included the campaign in their regular programming.

My mom mentioned how much she loves that segment on the show about tourist destinations.  She remembered the feature on Siargao, a virgin beach with white sands, and tonight, the feature was on Boracay and how the government is gearing up for the influx of tourists during Holy Week.  She's never really been to Boracay and she's curious about why I love going there over and over and over again, multiple times of the year.  I tell her about the recent beaches I've been to -- the ones she hasn't visited (You see, my mom also loved going to the beach when she was younger).  I told her about Siargao, Boracay, Anawangin, La Union... in a really animated way as I get in the zone when I talk about the beach. Then she drops a one-liner that almost made me want to slam my stuff and run out of the room as fast as I can: "Sayang, sa TV nalang ako nanonood, hindi ko na mapupuntahan lahat yan."

Instead I sat there, frozen. Staring at the TV screen but not watching.  You see, I know what the situation is. I know fully what she meant by what she said.  But somehow, confronted by an instance like that, I was at a loss for words. And it's just like me to gather my bearings in a matter of seconds and utter a comeback which would get me out of the situation: "Alam ko na, gusto mo ng Ice Cream? Wait, I'll get us ice cream!"  *Excitedly exited the room*

The moment I was out of the door, I heaved a sigh. I hate being in a situation like that. I cannot take it. It's just too damn difficult to face. And although the situation is what it is, it's still such a pain to hear references to it being uttered aloud, as if actually hearing concrete sentences verbalized by other people makes something that's been running around your head all the more true.

I go back to the room with ice cream, and as I handed my mom her share, I said: "Don't worry, mom. You will live vicariously through me."

She nodded, smiled and took a spoonful of ice cream.