Friday, February 01, 2013


A couple of months back I was fined for a traffic infringement. Hindi daw kasi ako huminto sa police checkpoint. I saw 2 officers on the street but didn't realize it was a checkpoint. The checkpoint I know should have a sign and flashing lights which they didn't have. I thought there was an incident in the area so cautiously avoided them. Tinignan ako ni poging pulis, pinatabi ako sa gilid. I was in the mood to argue pero baka nga mali ako.

3 days later I got my notice. $150 fine! my oh my.... I so sure I didn't violate any rule so I asked the police to explain what I breached. Instead of an explanation, what I received is a letter telling me that they are reversing the infringement. Baka tinatamad o nakalimutan na nung officer yung incident. Nevertheless, I am victorious with no dime spared.

Kaya kung may katuwiran, ipaglaban.

Friday, January 18, 2013

When Manila brrrrrrrs

Read in the Philippines news today that Manila recorded it's coldest temperature this (cold) season @ 18.8degrees C (explains why cousin Desiree was wearing socks in FB).

goodness me... wonder how I will melt to Manila's summer heat. It's summer now in NZ and the weather forecast today in Akl says highest temp = 20degC (lowest is 13). It going to be very hot on Tues at 26deg but the overnight temp is 18 (uy parang Manila din).

Monday, January 14, 2013

New Year - 2013

Happy New Year! Medyo late na but the excitement is still alive in me.

Today Henry starts his new job. Well the job is pretty much the same, it's the company and location that are vastly new. To begin with, it's 80kms to get there from home and back. That's such a mission considering that his previous employment is 10kms only. The new job has very good potentials so the distance doesn't worry him. But Shannen minds it. Maiiba kasi ang after-school arrangement nila. Instead of Henry picking them up from school, they will be going home by bus. Wala na yung dairy treats nila couple of times a week. For Vince, he's fine. He understands that the move is going to make his dad happier. And although he is not excited about it, he is preparing to be the 'in-charge'.

New year, new challenges, new promises. I'm sure it's going to be a good one.

Surprise lunch date with Shannen

Every other Wednesday, I work in our Smales Farm office. It's a day I look forward to because I can drop off the kids to their schools without being late for work (they normally go to school by bus). Malapit lang ang Rosmini/St. Joseph's sa office, less than 500meters.

Today (5th Dec 2012), I decided to do something special for Shannen. Instead of having lunch at work, I took my food with me and drove to her school. Shannen was pleasantly surprised to see me. We sat down with on one of the lovely macrocarpa benches in the school ground as we eat. Kids who walked past looked at her with envy as she munches the KFC fries I gave her. Special di ba :) 

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Puppy Love (not!)

A couple of weeks ago, Vince and Shannen were chased by a neighbor's dog. This was so traumatizing for my li'l girl. Until now she jumps out of her skin when she hears even the faintest bark. She wouldn't play in the backyard. She always locks the door when she's in the house. On Holloween, Henry and I exerted a lot of effort to make her go out for trick-or-treat (we ended up coming along ).

When I heard the news from Vince about what happened to them that morning on their way to te bus stop, I immediately rang the Council to make a report. The animal mgmt officer rang me the following day to inform me that he paid the neighbor a visit however no one was home. Apparently, they moved out on the day of the incident. Maybe they were so busy that the dog managed to sneak out (I dont normally see dogs on our street).

I explained to Shannen that she wont see the dog again but it wasn't enough to calm her agitated nerves. I've been trying to talk her out of her fear but a scaredy-cat myself, I know it's not easy.

Friday, August 10, 2012


Some years ago, I learned that a friend built a beautiful modern house. What caught my attention was the 'special' accessory of the new abode - a boat! Binabaha kasi lagi yung area nila :)

I grew up in Bulacan where our experience of flood is minimal and sometimes enjoyable (masarap magtampisaw). When I moved to Malabon, it was a totally different experience. Well it’s not really bad where we stayed but when torrential rain and high tide join forces, it becomes messy. I endured that for almost 10yrs and had become a fact of life. You have to live it or leave it.

This week Manila is regularly shown on news programmes for the massive flooding that devastated the city. I’m glad our families back home esp. Mommy Chit and Daddy Eddie in Malabon are alright. Water has entered the house (about 4inches deep) but they are safe.
Today rain has ceased. Hopefully the mighty sun will not let rain reign again (at least for now). 

Habagat means southwest monsoon

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Shannen's First Communion and Confirmation

On 8th June 2012, Shannen celebrated her First Communion and Confirmation at St. Joseph's Parish Takapuna. Ate Chris served as her sponsor.

Shannen, This is a big step in your faith journey. I always pray that God would always bless and guide you as you grow in faith.

Saturday, June 02, 2012

hello winter

1st day of June, start of winter! Is it?

I had an Argentinian workmate who defies this. He insists that winter does't start until 21st June. NZ and Argentina are both located in the southern hemisphere so winter time should be the same. For Kiwis it begins on the first day of June but for them it coincides with the winter solstice (21st June, 21st December for the northern hemisphere regions). Apparently, both are correct. The former is based on meteorology while the latter is from astronomical point of view (paki google na lang for the meanings).

Anyway, at this point I'm not too keen about the ''start". I am more interested on when it's going to end. I miss my jandals!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Birthday ko!

I had a quiet celebration. Bought a small cake and used the 40th bday candle from last year. I think I'm going to use it for as long as it lasts :)

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day Mrs. Hankins

I was 10 yrs old. I had a banduria recital later that day. Everything is ready, except for my gala uniform. Oh no, mom was working on it for days but did't get to finish it on time. It was supposed to be a one-piece garment instead of 2. No panic. I went to mom's ever reliable Singer sewing machine and finished the job (sort of). This is one of the things I learnt from my mom.

Mommy, thanks for the gift of life and for making us equiped for whatever lies ahead. You didn't decide things for us but you thought us how to make good decision.

Happy Mother's Day. mwaaahhhh..

Monday, May 07, 2012

Shannen's first experience of a real Phil. mango

For Vince, Phil. mango is the best fruit in the world. That's coming from someone who's got a memory of an elephant and eats like a horse :)  So even if it's been a long time since he's had a real one (sa Pilipinas pa), he reckons nothing beats it.

On Saturday in our local fruit shop, Shannen and I saw a box of fresh Phil. mangoes. Shannen asked me to get one (at $4 a piece, it's not cheap). When we got home, she quickly washed and peeled it. Nope, she didn't use a peeler nor a knife. She just used her hand, just like what Vince told her to do. Result, she loved it! She said it's so sweet and smells so good. Couldn't agree more with kuya.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Vince: Breakers Basketball Camp MVP

Vince attended the Breakers Basketball Camp last week. On the last day, they had award giving. I was surprised when his name was call to get the MVP award. I know he's "the best" but that's a mom's opinion :)

Another thing that surprised me was when they called him VINNIE. Parang gusto kong matawa pero nagpigil ako. But Shannen and Rein could not contain themselves. They said Vinnie is short for vinegar :) 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

First Memories

Last week, I was helping Vince out with his English homework - Earliest Memory. I was surprised that he has a good recollection of Shannen's birth. He remembers some details that I already forgot.

When I was already by myself, I tried to think of my first memories. I can actually recall two things when I was about 3 or 4yo, both in Agno where I spent a couple of years. The first one, a relative 'borrowed' me from my lolo/lolo to spend a couple of days with them. We went on a boat ('bangka') to cross the river to get to their place. I sat on the boat and touched the water as it ran through my fingers. At night time, I asked for milk which they didn't have so I cried a lot :)

The second one, I was in kindy near the plaza. Every time my Lolo Ponso walk past, I would stand on the table and call his name at the top of my voice. We would then wave at me. I'm not sure if the teacher told me off. Maybe she did and I chose to forget about it :)

Friday, April 06, 2012

Shore to Shore 2012

This year's Shore to Shore is a special one beacuse we did it as a family. In the previous years it was just Vince and I doing it. But this time Shannen is big enough to do the 5kms walk.The turn out is amazing. Little kids to grandparents went out to get active while enjoying the beautiful Takapuna and Milford beaches of the Shore.

Vince clocked it at 45minutes (nauna sya sa amin) while Henry, Shannen and I arrived at the finished line at 1:17:39. We'll beat that time next year :)

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Neighbours Day Aetearoa 2012

Last weekend was Neighbours Day Aotearoa. We’re lucky to celebrate this event with the wonderful and supportive people of Meadowood/Unsworth. Aside from the opportunity to get-together with the people in the neighbourhood, the organizers also made sure that the day is full of great activities. There was a community treasure hunt a la Amazing Race. There were 16 stations that you go to where you need to do something. Our favourite was planting trees at Unsworth Reserve. Now everytime we drive pass the area, we'll be reminded that we are part of the community.


Sunday, March 18, 2012

Round the Bays 2012

An exhausting but fun day. Round the Bays 2012.

This is the third year that I've participated in the iconic kiwi fun run. Thanks Peachy and Fuji-Xerox for all the freebies. See you again next year :)

Saturday, March 17, 2012

How do you forget

Shannen did something silly @ church week. Nothing serious, let's just say it was being a curious kid. Anyway, I was standing behind her so the situation was quickly rectified. I talked to her about it. Hindi ako nagalit but I did a lot of explaining. She realized straight away that there is no way that should happen again.

That night, when I put her to bed. She asked me "Mom, how do you forget something?". I knew she was referring to the incident that morning. Poor child, burdened with guilt that whole time. I had to be careful with my reply as I dont want her to keep worrying. So I told her that what has been done is done. Focus on the lesson learned and do better next time. I hope I said did the right things. I'm sure the questions will be trickier as she grows. I hope I ready them.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Fruit picking 2012

One of the kids' favorite summer activities is fruit picking. We missed the strawberry season (it lasted til late Jan) so this year we only got apples. Last week, we went to Windmill Orchards in Coatesville with Ate Chris' and MaFe's families. There were also peaches and pears but we preferred apples. The pick-your-own apples cost $3.50/kg but if you buy it from their shop you pay $2.50. The extra $1 is for the experience :)

BTW, Auckland is indeed a small place. Imagine, we bumped into Lolet (Bulacan neighbor) in the wilderness of Coatesville.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

back to blogging

I'm back to blogging! I started posting in 2005 but in late 2010 I went on 'sabbatical'. No, not really, I just like the sound of it :) . The truth is Facebook came and conquered me just like everyone else. But later on I realized that I don't really like to use FB for my journal. I want to quietly keep it in one area. I'll still be using FB to connect with friends/family but my li'l thoughts is going to here.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Shannen on braces

Shannen just graduated from her mini-braces. She had it on about 9 weeks to correct her crossbite teeth. At first I was concerned that it would be too uncomfortable for her. That turned out false. So that left me with just one worry – the cost. Kids under 18y/o get  free dental care in New Zealand (kahit papastahan pa lahat ng ngipin). But braces are not included. For Shannen’s sectional braces (two teeth only)  - $600 (tinawaran ko pa yon).  I hope she doesn’t need to wear one again in the future. The dentist said full set of braces could be from $5K to $7K. 

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

From Carabao To Sheep

AKLnzPINOYS'  handbook "From Carabao to Sheep" was chosen as the winner for the Print Journalism award in the first Migration Advocacy and Media awards of the Commission of Filipinos Overseas. galing! Congratulations to the moderators and members who contributed to this project.

Click here to read an online version of the handbook or click the book's front cover image on the left.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

God Defend New Zealand

After 4 good years in Aotearoa, we were granted the privilege to become NZ citizens. yipee!!!

Henry and I sang the national anthem God Defend New Zealand for the first time during the citizenship ceremony. It was a beautiful song (but I still have to research the translation of the maori part). It makes you feel proud and elated to be a New Zealander.

Soon, well have silver fern passports. This also means loosing our Philippine citizenship (which we can regain later when we apply for dual citizenship). So am I now a kiwi? Naku, di ata bagay sa akin yon. I vow to be a good citizen of New Zealand but inside me I am still Filipino. .. 100% Pinoy.... and 1% kiwi. that's sweet as…

Saturday, July 31, 2010

I love Daddy

4th April 1999, I got my Dad a coffee mug with a cute print "I love Daddy". It instantly became his favourite. He wouldn't use any other cup for his beverages (not just for his caffeine dose). Four months later, that mug was on top of him with a glass separating them.

31 July 1999, the day our dear dad left us. Up to this day, I remember how devastating it was. Time healed the pain but the memory is still vivid.

One of the mass cards we got inscribed a beautiful poem. I read the first four lines then stopped. It was so touching but my heart wasn't ready for it . 11 years later, it's only now that I have the courage to finish the rest of it.

I’m Free

Don’t grieve for me, for I’m now free.
I’m following the path God laid for me.
I took God’s hand when I heard the call;
I turned my back and left it all.

I could not stay another day
To laugh, to love, to work or play.
Tasks left undone must stay that way,
I found that place at the close of day.

If my parting has left a void,
Then fill it with remembered joy.
A friendship shared, a laugh, a kiss.
Ah yes, these things, I too, will miss.

Be not burdened with times of sorrow,
I wish you the same sunshine of tomorrow.
My life’s been full, I savoured much,
Good friends, good times, a loved one’s touch.

Perhaps my time seemed all too brief;
Don’t lengthen it now with undue grief.
Lift up your heart and share with me –
God wanted me now, God set me free.

miss you dad...

Monday, May 10, 2010


For weeks, Shannen was waiting for her first tooth to fall off. She wouldn't stop talking about it. Most kids in her class have already lost a tooth ot two so she was excited to be one of them.

Friday night, Ate Chris asked Shannen if she wants to cease the waiting. The little girl agreed after hearing Ate Chris credentials (maraming ngipin na daw ang nagdaan sa mga kamay nya while she was still a nurse at Hankins'). So the wobbly tooth was pulled out. But when Shannen saw (and tasted) the blood, she got upset and started crying. She wouldn't want to talk to Auntie Chris. Humupa din yon nung wala ng bleeding. Then back to best friends sila. he he he

Shannen now happily calls herself Bunge :)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Myla Nano - April 26, 2010

HO broke a sad news yesterday. My cousin Khem’s wife, Myla and their new born son passed away yesterday due to pregnancy complications. Khem is the son of Tito Tirso (my mom’s eldest brother). They are very close to us.

Myla’s death is very sudden. Khem is still in shock. May the Lord to give him courage and strength to get through this extremely painful time.

Monday, April 26, 2010

They're coming!

After almost one year of waiting, Ate Chris will finally be reunited with her family. On early morning of Thursday (29 April), Renie, Sam, Bea and Rein will set foot on New Zealand (grass and) soil. Can't wait to see the girls again.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Kia Ora Tei

On board Qantas QF 115, Tei arrived in Auckland on 2nd March. Tei is Henry’s brother’s daughter. Although her work takes her to different parts of the world, this trip is special. It means so much to us esp. her parents as this is the fulfilment of her residency application. So officially, New Zealand is her second home.

Because of personal and work commitments, Tei could not settle here as yet. She’s actually now on her way back to Manila. Yeah, not enough to see the sights and feel the lifestyle but I hope the short stay could make her decide to settle here sooner J

We’ll see you again. Hei konei ra!

Auckland Museum

Mt. Victoria, Devonport

Lake Pupuke, Takapuna


Arataki, Waitakere Ranges



Wednesday, February 24, 2010

I so love our PM

NZ Prime Minister John Key may have some policies/plans that raise some eyebrows, but personality-wise the guy's a rockstar!

Here's his interview re: new Supreme Court Building.

"Breathtaking inside," he says.

The outside?

"No, the inside."

What about the outside?

"Well, art is in the eye of the beholder," says Mr Key. "Look, it's okay, but I prefer the inside.”

New Supreme Court Building

Monday, February 22, 2010

Chicken pops

Last week, our 4yr old neighbor announced that her baby brother has 'chicken pops'. Natawa ako then when it sunk in, I got a little worried. Not for Shannen and Vince (meron silang chicken pox vaccine) but for Henry coz he never had it. I heard it could be really bad for adults.

What do we do? Henry and I had a serious thought. We can't keep Shannen away from playing with her friends. Kahit i-explain namin sa kanya (I even showed her photos of severe blisters), hindi nya ma-grasp yung danger non.

Eventually, we resorted to diversion tactic. So the whole week, Henry took the kids 'somewhere' after school. They went to the grocery, KFC, McDonalds, beach, library, picked me up from work, etc. This week ganun ulit ang gagawin nila. Magastos lang but it gives Henry peace of mind.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

winter olympics

I've been attempting to blog again for weeks, but don't know how to start. i'll stop stressing myself. I'll just write something light and easy.

Winter Olympics. This is the first time that I got interested in this gaming event. Wala naman kasing pinapadala ang Pilipinas doon. We've been following the 2010 competition for days now. Most (if not all) of the sports are dangerous. Even the very skilled ones could easily end up with an accident. Mas safe ang mga games sa summer olympics (walang nalulunod sa swimming!). NZ althelete Mahe Drysdale vomitted and fainted in last year's olympics. Pero tingin ko naimpatso lang yon sa daming delis sa china.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas

This year has been a good and memorable one. Ate Chris is finally in New Zealand, Kuya Johnny got his Permanent Residency, Shannen started school, Vince is doing well in school and basketball, met great friends, moved to our new house, etc. Couldn't believe it all happened in a year. We're looking forward to all the new oppurtunities, challenges and blessings waiting for us in the next 365 days.

I wish you and your families a wonderful Christmas and a joyous New Year.

PS: I promise myself to post more, shorter blogs next year.