Friday, December 31, 2010

Words from my brother in law

2011 Blues
From Vincent Tutay to the Pamandanans.

Every year when we get back from our trip to "Neverland" we get into a flurry of unpacking, and with a hoarder of a daughter and a pack-rat of a wife, believe me, unpacking can make the best of the grand mother packers run for cover ;)

But after all that is done, there's this feeling of restlessness. I can't help but feel like we've forgotten something. And after realizing that the faintest scent of (Rocket, Nana, Kiwi, Angus &) cigarette smoke is just you longing for something you seem to have forgotten, that you feel what Essa says is a blunt and rusty knife thrust straight into your heart...

something like the strange feeling you get staring out of the windows of an A320. Trying to make sense of the urban jungle below, trying to find something familiar before the clouds cover them completely, and when finally all you see are clouds, you remember all the things you promised yourself you'd do before waking up from this fantastic dream.

Saying an extra thank you for that awesome new xmas gift you got, or an extra reassuring squeeze on the shoulder, a joke you forgot to share, a laugh you forgot to give or even simply giving an extra hug. Each little thing feels like a knife thrust and you delude yourself into thinking, if i could see even just the house one more time, everything will be much easier to bear, and you'd be able to reassure a certain little one that it's okay to cry. But it doesn't get easier. The clouds inevitably close in.

So im trying something new this time 'round, let's welcome the new year remembering the words you remembered to say, the laughter and the jokes you did share, those random small moments in the car ride like singing (off key) together, sharing a sandwich together, sharing a life together even if it was just a little more than 3 weeks. Let's also welcome the new year looking forward to making new moments like the ones we just shared. Like Blu said a few days back, it seems like the rest of the year, we spend most of it working towards just these handful of moments we never fail to have. And hopefully this year, we'll all be blessed enough to spend and share more of these trips to "Neverland".

"Our lives are made, in these small hours, these little wonders, these twists and turns of fate."

Happy 2011! We miss all of you to bits (more like a gazillion tiny bits), and will be thinking about each and everyone of you everyday 'til we get to see each other again.


So wonderfully said. I love you guys. I miss you already.

Happy 2011!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Another last...

I've had to say goodbye to my sister, niece, and brother-in-law tons of times, more times than I care to count. Like scratching a scab before the wound beneath has fully healed though, the pain intensifies instead of eases. I've always known that each time I see them, an expiration date looms closer. A little ticking bomb eating at the time. When you're with them, however, time seems to stand still and you forget that the moments are limited and the bonding temporary. That's the way it usually goes when it comes to family - you revert back to childhood behavior and you feel ensconced in your tiny corner of the world where nothing can go wrong, nothing can harm you.

No matter how often I've had to say goodbye to them, it still hurts. It's still one more time I see them leave, and one more time they have to leave us behind. It's still more tears shed and pangs of heartache felt. I still consider myself lucky, when I come to think of it. We fly in and out to see each other as much as we can, and we see each other much more than other families do. This has taught us to spend our years in countdowns. Countdowns to the next big event, or the next time we see each other, or the next time we're complete. I live for moments like those... and the rest of my days are spent in a daze. An in-between place where nothing extraordinary happens.

Still, we must all trudge forward with our lives, no matter how difficult or painful it may be or seem. I write tonight in scattered contemplation of how harsh life may sometimes look. But I write for the present, and I write for the future.

What this post all boils down to is... I love you guys. And I'll miss you. And I can't wait to be reunited.



A glimpse of my future family life...

Ran into one of my biggest crushes and idols while having coffee with the fam bam over at Resorts World. Sigh. So dreamy... That height. That voice.

Photo taken by Ida Pamandanan-Salangsang.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Holiday Playlist

Martinez Girls, Christmas 2010.

Songs that my sisters and I dance to, especially during the holidays:

1.) This Will Be (An Everlasting Love) - Natalie Cole
2.) Ain't No Mountain High Enough - Sister Act 2 OST
3.) I Will Follow Him - Sister Act OST
4.) Oh, Happy Day - Sister Act OST
5.) I Say A Little Prayer For You - Diana King
6.) Respect - Aretha Franklin
7.) Love Is A Beautiful Thing - Al Green
8.) Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I'm Yours - Stevie Wonder
9.) Wishin' and Hopin' - Ani DiFranco

10.) Cool Yule - Louis Armstrong
11.) Merry Merry Christmas - KoKo Taylor
12.) Winter Wonderland - The Glenn Miller Orchestra or Darlene Love
13.) Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow - The Glenn Miller Orchestra
14.) Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas - Ella Fitzgerald or James Taylor
15.) Last Christmas - Wham!
16.) Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree - Brenda Lee
17.) Santa Baby - Marilyn Monroe or Kylie Minogue
18.) Hark The Herald Angels Sing - Lewis Ross as the New American Guitar Ensemble
19.) Joy To The World - Tuba Christmas
20.) Baby, It's Cold Outside - Zooey Deschanel and Leon Redbone

Photo taken by Poch Mauricio, but stolen from lovesandrine, along with the caption. (:

Saturday, December 25, 2010

From the Martinez's, with love.

As far back as I can remember, we've celebrated Christmas at my now deceased grandparents' house. Now that they're gone, we're plenty thankful that the house went to one of our own and we still get to gather 'round over at 38 Sta. Maria for our annual Christmas get together. The house now looks different, it has since faced 2 make-overs, but the spirit lives on and we still remember it as the slightly weathered, dark, imposing 3 story house where my mum and her siblings grew up.

When I say I come from a large family, I leave no room for exaggeration. My siblings and I count 6, not counting the partners just yet and my mum comes from a family of 8 children. Now just imagine how loud and rowdy we all get when we manage to squeeze in together at one place. The cousins are now a few years older and facing the real world, so we've spread all-over, making it near impossible to catch everyone all at once, but we've always made it a point to clear up our schedules for Christmas. It is the only time of the year we get to see each other, after all. And for this rambunctious and gregarious group, we need to spend every minute laughing and catching up.

As children, we hadn't yet appreciated the cornyness of themed parties. We thought it was so passe, but our parents made sure we stuck by them and participated in countless of games and variety type shows. As years passed, we grew to love and embrace the sillyness and ridiculousness. Needless to say, this tradition lives on and we still get as competitive as we did back when we were youngins. This year, we had our gathering on Dec. 23. Here are some photos.

Happy Christmas Martinez Family. Happy Christmas everyone.

POST SCRIPT: Photos will be added later on...

Football and Christmas

2 of my favorite things combined! Happy Christmas everyone!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas 2010

As countlessly stated, Christmas starts early for us Pamandanans; it begins the minute we finish celebrating my mum's birthday (Nov. 8). A flurry of activity surrounds our household as we start with the decorations, and go into full-frenzy Christmas shopping. It has been this way as far back as I can remember. Maybe it's brought on by having so many children in one family -- Christmas is a big deal so you start early to avoid the rush and extend the cheer and spirit. Prolonged gratification. This year, the harbinger for the Yule came in the form of my niece and sister arriving from the land of the Merlion.

Best. candy. ever.

The spread at the fam bam's mini dinner celebration for Ally.

The first day found me, ate Mai, ate Blu, Ally, Drei, and ate Iyay (Phew! That's a lot of tagging!) heading over to Greenhills. After happy hearts and crying wallets, we all took care of the things that needed to be done for the mini-dinner celebration we were hosting for the little one. Please note that unlike most of my photodumps, I won't be able to give descriptions about each and every single going-on... just a note, here or there.

ate Jill with Ally.

Brogues. Oxfords. Ichigo.

Took the little miss to her first musical theater experience ever -- RENT, Manila

Favorite food in the entire world: Pizza and Pasta. The Italian in me comes out-a!

I dare you to challenge this little girl in shopping. I dare you.

Babs was so torn between these 2. She ended up getting both.

The obscenely hilarious Shutterhound.

Shopping HEAVEN.

Baba's letter to St. Nick. I'm sorry to say mine was never this sweet!

Pop invited my sister's in-laws over one Sunday night so we decided to show them how to feast Pamandanan style! This, of course, meant plying them with about as much Pork, our poison of choice, as we can. A game of accents were thrown in to amuse ourselves after.

Tita Jael, my sister's mother-in-law, treated us out to Banapple because we accompanied her shopping the entire day. The food was soooo good. I have no words. Pasta = my life. Thank you, tita!

As children, we became very dependent on our country club. We were there every sunday, we went there straight from school, we took countless sport lessons and gym sessions there during the summer, and some of us even honed our creative talents there (I'm lookin' at you, ate Blu!) So it comes as no surprise that Baba, whenever she's in MLA, likes to come visit the country club as well.

My sister's friends got together at the house one night and it resulted in tons of food, laughter and drinks (for them, hehe!) Photos here are taken from Nox Donesa.

My sister, the hoodlum.

My family enjoys putting on impromptu variety shows meant to amuse and entertain ourselves. One friday afternoon, Ally practiced her vocal skills and got every single one of her aunts and uncles to perform as her back up singers/ dancers. Ate Blu and I danced and hummed to a medley of Soul Sister by Train, Glee's Lea Michele's rendition of Take A Bow, and Over The Moon from RENT's Maureen Johnson. Dad danced and showed us his now infamous Mashed Potato moves to the tune of RENT's Seasons of Love, and kuya Jap helped out with her choreography for RENT's La Vie Boheme. (:

Starbucks, Fullybooked with le famille.

Engaged in anti-social behavior.

Shopping always builds up our appetite, so after a tiring but fulfilling spending day at Greenhills, we decided to feed our inner Italian and feast at the House of Lasagna, one of our favorite pasta places in the Metro.

These photos are from the Christmas Party with the Martinez family, which you can further read about here.

After the get-together at 38 Sta. Maria, we siblings decided to take ourselves out for a daily grind over at Temple Drive's Starbucks. 2 Planners were claimed that night. Yes. We're plenty.

Nana's noche buena spread.

Ally preparing Nana's noche buena.

Christmas is such a big affair for my family. It's a time to dress up in all new clothes, spend money, eat tons of food and just bond. Over the years, I'm happy to say, our Noche Buena, which started out as just us Pamandanans, has expanded and made room for a few more heads, as well as hearts. I only pray that this small party grows larger as we head to the future.

Dec. 26th found the Pamandanan siblings eager to spend the money they got from relatives so we treated ourselves to lunch at Mr. Jones, Greenbelt. We continued on to shop at more, ahem, affordable retail stores. (: The food was fantastic, though we did resemble chipmunks after, the laughter, infectious. 'Tis the season!

On the Tutays' last night in Manila, the entire family headed over to Newport Mall, Resorts World.

I might have gone a little, okay a lot, overboard with the photos in the post (there were just so many to choose from!!) so I decided to not include photos from our Media Noche.

Hope all of your holidays were as wonderful as mine,