Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Moving again...

From wordpress to blogger to multiply. Well, we've moved to a better platform. The primary reason we moved from wordpress to blogger was to take our chance on making money online :) oh swell, it didn't earn 5cents but we're quite happy to keep informing families and friends about the latest in the family.

So, we've moved to multiply where we could integrate our photos, blog, calendar, links, reviews among others in just one site! :) So, please update your links head on to

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Closure

Finally after six weeks of searching, we've finally secured a house to rent albeit not from a real estate agent but direct from the owner. God is good! We moved our stuff to our new house at Hamilton Hill last October 6.

God is indeed good. You see, real estate agents here have been dictating to us how we should live, i.e., for a family with three children you should have a three bedroom house. We did apply for a house as big as that even though we've been living in a studio or one bedroom house for the last six years but still our application had been rejected again and again.

Not that I'm being personal but there seems to be a trend that these agents have a preference for tenancy applicants without children. While I realize that Perth receives an average of 125 emigrating people each day, the glaring trend was simply irrestably obvious.

Anyway, enough with the ranting and back to praising . Ironically, just when I became a student, God has provided us everything that we need--a car and a comfortable home. The house is four bedroom! and reasonably priced.

We've been also blessed by brethren-in-Christ and friends here in Perth. Two friend gave us three single bed and matresses--one for each of my daughter. Some gave electric fans, pots, plates and all the necessary things to start a comfortable living.

Our Muslim friends, the families of Siti and Maswati, helped us in moving our stuff. Maswati's husband, Niza, was also kind enough to drive their family car and attach a trailer to move all the stuff.

We still have to fill the house with other furnitures but at least we have the rest of the year to do that. Thanks to everybody who contributed one way or another to securing our house. By the way, on a not so bright note on the day we moved--there was a police car chase that ended up right in front of our house! (a case of drunk driving) The suspect and the police were both calm and the apprehension went peacefully without further incident.

God is good and I know the "welcome salvo" is still a sign of good things ahead! God is great, to God be the glory!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Exciting Day

Nique turned 6 last month. At her age here in Australia, she is required to go to school. I'm blessed that as a full time student at Murdoch University, my children are entitled to free schooling in any WA public school.

Nique is quite excited to go to school again especially here in Australia where she'll attend a regular and bigger school. I, too, am very excited for her as she slowly ventures to independence in learning.

In the processing of my children's admission to a WA public school, I have to submit the necessary papers to Murdoch International. This office handles all issues relating to international students. From visa, health cover, school issues among others. I was told by a staff that upon submission of our papers to the Department of Education and Training, it will take about a month for DET to reply. The DET has to ascertain where there is still a vacancy near our declared residential address. So, we waited.

However, a friend suggested that we go straight to the nearest school in our suburb to inquire. Inquire we did and voila, today Nique and Nira are enrolled. Nique is in pre-primary while Nira is in kindergarten.

Hopefully, Nique won't be bored with the activities that she'll do as she's a bit advanced in terms of reading and numbers. As to Nira, I'm sure she'll have a very good time using her creative skills in drawing and coloring into action. :)

Monday, August 6, 2007

Week's wrap

Our first week was very busy as I had to formalize my enrollment, try to find a house, open accounts, meet people among others. It was indeed very good that we have Elaine on hand to accommodate us even on a temporary basis. She was also kind enough to be my mentor for almost a week, showing me around the campus and directing me where to go.

We also attended our first Sunday service at Subiaco Church of Christ and it was great!

Nel misses Thailand, Nique and Nira loves going out with their winter clothes and Dei is going berserk as she tries to secure a place for us (well, both of us are looking for a house online). It was quite hard to find a house at this time as some students have earlier arrived and most of the best houses are already taken, the rental prices has also increased.

We've finalized also our banking requirements, God willing we will have enough savings to get us through on another chapter of adjustment when we leave Australia after three years. We've set aside an account dedicated to savings and emergency funds while I have another student account to receive my allowance and where we will get our fortnightly living allowance.

If we're able to find a house within the month, I'll convert my Thai licence and buy us a car. It's quite hard to find a taxi for a family of five and while public transport is reliable, it is time bound so if you miss the last trip--it's the Maxi-taxi (a taxi that can accommodate more than 5 people) for us.

Well, that's all for now. Please continue to pray for us as we venture to our new life here in Perth, Australia.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Pursuit of a suitable home

I finished my enrollment at the Uni, now our task is to find a house and subsequently a school for Nique and Nira.

We are living with my friend and kumare, Elaine. It was good she and her good friend Stephii allowed us to stay in their house while Stephii's away on data gathering. But she's returning by November. We learned that we must declare to have a permanent place so that Murdoch International could forward my children's placement application with the Department of Education and Training.

Finding a home at this time of the year in Perth was hard as finding a needle in a haystack as rental prices could go high as Aus$550 per week. So, with the prospect that it might take a while for us to find a permanent place, we decided to forward our children's application with the school and see how it would go.

Nique is required by law to go to school while Nira could skip school we submitted her name just in case the Uni will be able to find a vacancy for her. As a full time Uni student, my dependents are entitled to free education in public schools in Australia. The cost of their education comes from a part of the visa application charge. So, whether you're single or not, part of your visa application charge goes to the Department of Education and Training (reason that Elaine was "bragging" that she's contributing to our children's education--eheheh!).

We're glad that it was alright with the Uni to submit my children's application. The second school term has already started late July and will finish by end of November, so barely just in time when Stephii returns. Now, we'll wait for the DETs response to our application. The process is for them to find a vacancy at the nearest public school from our place, otherwise they will forward the application to the next nearest and so on.

I'm quite excited for Nique going to school,a more formal one compared to the one she attended in Bangkok, which has a home-school-based curriculum. God willing we'll be able to find a house nearby with a reasonable price. For now, I'm trying to cope up with the winter weather and find my way around the Uni. :)

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Of Perth and Delays

After months became weeks, weeks became days and days became hours, the time came for our travel to Perth. We flew via Brunei Air, which was the cheapest flight to Perth from Bangkok.

We maximized every opportunity that was given to us for this travel. We tried to say goodbye to most of our friends in Bangkok, chasing time and cherising every moment with them. We even maximized our baggage allotment--125 kilos in checked in baggage (we actually had 127.7 kilos after finally weighing it in at the airport) and more than 35 kilos in hand-carried luggages.

We left Thailand and arrived Brunei on time. However, the plane that would take us to Perth had to be delayed for further maintenance check in Kulala Lumpur. We were told that it will be delayed for five hours.

Nique, Nira and Nel (as seasoned travelers as they are) tried their best to maximize and enjoy Brunei International Airport--for a child, the airport was a bore, not too much to see although Nel had an interesting chase to observe how the cleaners brush the corrals in an aquarium. :)

I failed to get a wi-fi signal at the airport that I had to go to the Internet cafe to inform Elaine of our delay. Time passed by, we were then instructed to go for our final security check only to be told that the flight will be delayed for another hour--most of the passengers who originally flew from Europe gave the loudest howl of protest.

As if giving in to their request, less than 5 minutes we were instructed to board the plane but it was only able to taxi to the runway after almost 30 minutes.

We are excited and a bit anxious of what will be our life in Perth but we look forward to enjoying it. We've heard so many good things about the city and the people and we look forward that this will be better than Newcastle or Sydney.

We arrived in Perth at around 12 midnight and finished disembarkation procedures at around 1am. It was raining hard and I hardly left the airport when my hands became numb--it was freezing cold!

Anyway, the following day, we're up off to the Uni to formalize my enrollment, meet my supervisors and familiarize ourselves with my new University.

It was nice, with almost similar landscapes as with the University of Newcastle.

Next assignment after finishing Uni matters will be finding a house, a school for Nique, Nira and Nel, and buying a car. :)
Cheers 'mate!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Last post from home

Today is the last day we blog from our home here in Thailand. On Monday, we'll be off first to Brunei then to Australia.

We're a certified nomadic family, moving from one city to another, one province to another then one country to another. Not that we've moved to so many countries, well, the chronology is we started in the Philippines (of course), then lived for a year in Australia, then back to the Philippines, then off to Thailand and now we're coming back to Australia.

It's been a long journey but we've enjoyed it. Although from moving from one place to another, we do still have to master packing things or should I say Dei should master it (she's the one leading or usually doing the packing of our stuff).

As of this writing, we've packed and repacked our stuff for about four times now. Hopefully, by the time we need to go on Monday morning, we don't need to re-pack again-:(

Well, that's all for now, we'll try to do liveblogging if there'll be free wi-fi connections at Suvarnabhumi (well, I know there is). To those who just passed by to read our story here, thank you.

We look forward to your visit again as we blog about our new chapter in Perth, Australia. Cheers!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Nique turn 6

Our little girl turns 6A few weeks ago, Nique requested that she celebrates her birthday at the same venue as her friend's birthday celebration venue. The venue was at the Train Park (Suan Rotfai) near Chatuchak Park. We were a bit apprehensive as it was always raining every afternoon in Bangkok.

Anyway, the Filipino attitude of "whatever" (Bahala na, Que cera, cera) ruled that we just gambled to hold the celebration there. July 22 came, to God be the glory, the Sunday morning was one of the best Sundays we ever had since the rainy season started.

We started a little bit that day as we had a late night shopping for other stuff needed for the party. This resulted to us coming also a bit late to the park. There were a few guests already waiting at the venue.

We waited for a while for the other guests to come and when it was time to celebrate, the guests numbered at around 50-60!

Pastor Badua (in white shirt in the photo above) led the prayer for the blessing of the food. He then led everyone to sing Nique a happy birthday. Nique was indeed very happy as all of her friends and their parents were present even the whole Bangkok Baptist Church and some missionaries were also present to join the celebration.

The gathering was also a sort of despedida party for us as we near the date of our departure for Perth. Among the food line up included pancit canton, spaghetti, pop corn, cake, roasted chicken, hotdog and marshmallow on stick and some drinks.

As the celebration moved on, there was some drizzle that for a while I thought we'll be crammed inside the shelter in the park. Thank God the good weather persisted.

The good weather, however, enticed some of Nique's friend to take advantage of it as they rented bicycles and biked around the park. So, we had a bit of a hard time calling them for the prepared games.

When they got to prepare for the games, we were indeed happy that the kids enjoyed every game prepared for them from the Echo game to the breaking the pot to the relay games. Everybody had a blast!

Dei and I are very happy with the outcome of Nique's party as we never expected everybody to be present and we do appreciate everyone's contribution to make this event successful.

We will be leaving Bangkok but definitely with that great desire to return not only for the good shopping venues and great places! but for the good friends that we are leaving behind. Truly, we saw the some of the best Filipino families that became truly our family friends. :)

God bless all of you.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Chasing time

Less than two weeks before we head to Perth, we are racing against time to catch up with Bangkok--savor the food, the air, the warmth of people we meet everywhere. We will definitely miss our favorite places here from Banglumpoo (where the famous Khao San Road is) to the clean and savvy Loft Restaurant at Central Chidlom in Sukhumvit.

Thailand has indeed been our second home and given the chance (well, I do hope everybody speaks English!) to live here, it will be a unanimous decision in the family.

We know God has greater plans ahead and we will definitely be coming back to this place sooner or later. :)

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Going away blues

Call it going away anxieties but we are feeling the pinch of it. Just as it is about less than two weeks before our trip, we are feeling the stress of leaving our second home, Thailand, and preparing for another home, i.e., Perth.

These past few days, the kids and I are grumpy, well we are all grumpy. I'm a bit stressed at the reports that I have to finish at the office. Dei's in a lot of stress packing our stuff and preparing for Nique's party. The kids are also in a lot of stress, I suppose, how to move around and just get into the mood of getting excited (I just can't describe how hyperactive they are these days that even the magic word please don't work anymore).

We also messed up our budget for this our last month of stay here that we are slightly touching our savings for our living allowance in Australia. I receive my scheduled allowance only after the filing of the formal reimbursement requirements.

Well, that's a quick update about what's happening but I can say we're still intact and trying to enjoy Bangkok and our friends here (and of course each other). In fact, there's so many lunches and dinners in line that we are literally running out of time to accommodate every invitation.

Enough said, need to rest, which we tried to do albeit at the office. :)

Praise God for His goodness!

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Countdown

As months become weeks, it is really apparent that our trip Down Under is almost around the corner. However, just as with other exciting development in your life there are little hang-ups sometimes.

Nique recently caught some eye infection last week then Nira recently developed a little fever. As always Nel is the strongest among our kids as she fights off any sickness despite her seemingly puny body.

Nique and Nira are recovering. Maybe just some excitement about their trip to Australia--they just finished packing one box of their stuff. :-)

See the countdown to our trip to Perth here.

Monday, June 25, 2007

A little bit.

One Sunday afternoon at the Church (International Christian Assembly in Bangkok, Thailand): Nira was talking to Cheska, her English-speaking Filipino friend. It was Nira's first time to see Cheska's baby sibling.

"Uyy, kapatid mo? (Is he your sibling?)" Nira asks

"This is my baby brother," Cheska replied

"Lalaki ba yan? (Is he a boy?)" Nira asked

"A little bit," Cheska proudly replied. (all of us laughed our hearts out!)

Apparently Cheska didn't understand her question, she doesn't even know how to count in Filipino but she can understand her father's scolding in Kapampangan (another Filipino dialect)--or is she pretending to understand?? :)

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Quick update

Dei went home last Saturday morning so I was left with the two kids for almost a week. Being the Daddy and the nanny was quite fine as Nique and Nira can basically take care of themselves. They can eat on their own, play on their own, walk on their own! Well, they basically don't need that extra attention back when they were less than 3 years old.

The timing of Dei's departure for the Philippines to pick up Nel, though, was quite bad as the office has an upcoming major meeting in three weeks time--and this is a critical time of preparation as I prepare reports, logistics among others. Anyway, I said to myself, let's see how it goes during the weekday.

The weekend together was fun but the challenging thing was where to eat. Nique, Nira and I went malling during the first day Dei was out. We checked stores for some sale on kid's winter clothes. Sunday, we went to church, it was father's day! then off to home to prepare our stuff for the week.

The first day at the office was pleasant. Nique and Nira obligingly woke up early without any fuzz. :) However, they were not used to coming to office together on a weekday that they thought it was alright to make noises at the office just as they were used to on our weekend trips to the office. So, I had to ask them to hush down and behave properly--especially when the boss was around.

At the end of the first day, my migraine struck and downed me that I almost wasn't able to serve dinner. But I was able to do my duty and clean the house a bit.

On the second day and the subsequent days. It became apparent that cleaning the house would be a task that might will be overlooked during Dei's absence. So, I wasn't able to clean the house regularly--we have to do it regularly to avoid dust mites, which are allergens to Nira.

During the weekdays we were together, we were fortunate that we were invited randomly to lunch and dinners that I wasn't obliged to cook (well, I wouldn't be able to cook complex food anyway).

Well, my kids and I survived almost a week together, regularly coming to office sometime by bus or taxi and coming home by bus. I pity my kids whenever we go home as we are all tired after a day at the office. Traffic is bad (Bangkok traffic, what do you expect?) and so is the weather sometimes.

But we survived. Dei and Nel are coming a little after midnight and we've prepared welcome home banners! :)

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Shopping Galore

This early, we are already preparing our stuff for Australia. It pays that we've been there before, so we quite have an idea what to bring.

Clothes are especially expensive there that we've invested some money for clothes especially winter clothes. We are arriving in August when winter is just winding down. For Asian people or maybe just us, winter could be very punishing (but I think not for our kids who, I remember, perspires a lot even in 10 degree celcius temperature). I usually suffer from dry skin during winter that I have to put on lotion right after taking a bath otherwise my skin cracks up and become very itchy, then my lips will follow and my legs...

Anyway, today we almost completed shopping the winter clothes of our children. I've written--almost--as you know Nel's in the Philippines but in two weeks time, she's joining us again!

Nique and Nira enjoyed shopping today at Pratunam, where we hunted for winter clothes. Clothes here are a bargain and they usually give it to you at wholesale price, well, according to them. Wholesale to them is when you buy three or more--even if it is 200 pieces they would still give you the price as they will give to a customer who's just buying three pieces of clothes.

After almost a day of searching, we're glad that we were able to secure the clothing needs of Nique and Nira--and they sure enjoyed shopping. Dei plans to buy Nel's winter clothes in the Philippines as it is quite hard to find a size for her here.

Here's a winter dress rehearsal from the sisters.

Perth, here we come!

Monday, June 4, 2007

We've got a new camera

Yes after years of borrowing a number of camera for our family activity documentation, it was time to buy our very own camera--not a handy down but a brand new one. It was not that easy to find THE camera for us but we found it anyway. Find out more details here how THE camera was found.

Monday, May 28, 2007

The comedienne is out

Nel is the certified comedienne in the family. Ever since she turned 3, she has improved her language skills, though we still have to comprehend, if it is strictly Thai, English or Filipino. Whenever she drops a phrase in any situation in the family, it sure is a punchline and all of us will be laughing our hearts out.

As you all know, our visa has been approved and relatives in the Philippines has long been requesting that Nel be allowed to spend a few weeks there, if we can't afford to go home. As soon as the proposal is becoming imminent, Nel started to feel uneasy and started expressing that she doesn't want to go home.

We can't help but feel for our youngest daughter as she embrace me whenever we take a walk and tell me, Tatay, 'yoko uwi Pinas (Father, I don't want to go home in the Philippines). Ahhh, my heart is torn between giving in to the request of the relatives who took care of her for almost a year and my daughter wanting to be with her sisters, mother and father.

We tried hard to convince Nel that it will be a short visit and she'll enjoy her stay there. For a moment, she'll be eager to go home but as soon as time passes and she realizes reality, she's at her complaining and pitiful mood.

When my sister-in-law arrived, she's the one who would accompany Nel for her travel to the Philippines, Nel was very excited to welcome her and playfully embraced and entertained her. However, as soon as she realized that she'll be the one to accompany her back to the Philippines, she started to be aloof with Ate Beth.

We were able to convince Nel that the trip to the Philippines is a thing she should welcome.

So, at the day of her departure (last Monday, 21 May 2007), she gamely posed for the camera and was quite excited to go home. She was indeed excited to see her cousins, the children of Ate Beth. She now has three playmates.

She, however, stayed with my parents first then spent the weekend in Batangas, where my father-in-law and my sister-in-law's family stay.

During Nel's first few days in San Pablo City, we called her. The first sentence that she blurted to her mother, the first time she spoke very clearly, Nanay, ako iyak, miss ko na kayo. Uwi na ako diyan, ha?! (Mother, I cried, I miss you all, can I go home now?). It was devastating to hear that she misses us just as we miss her so much. But I know that our family in the Philippines also misses her that much.

Love is a balancing act and it is a difficult balancing act. We are hoping that the visit was a quality one for Nel and our relatives as it might take three years or more before we are able to visit them again.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Cha-am Weekend Outing

Two of my colleagues are retiring in a few weeks. So, some of us organized a fitting despidida for the two. We went to Cha-am last weekend and it was a good weekend outing for all of us especially my family.

On the way to the Resort and Golf Club, we made a short stop for lunch at a nearby beach. The kids definitely enjoyed it. It was raining during last few days but this weekend was definitely fair. The breeze was also a welcome treat. :)

Enjoying the horizon.

At the hotel, we warmed-up with a short family workshop. The organizers had a mosaic workshop for the families. So, we joined and here's the product of our race against time.

At the program proper, our kids did a song and a dance number. Here's a short clip of the dance number.

After singing the night away, we finished almost midnight. The following morning, we hit the pool as soon as we woke up. It was also the last day of the outing and we'll be riding out to Bangkok later that day.

Nel was so cold that she's shaking so we resigned after about an hour and a half--just in time for the arrival of the van. On our way to Bangkok, we shopped at Factory Outlet. They have a good line of signature product stores and amazingly cheap! So, we did not waste time and shopped a few winter clothes. :)

The kids definitely enjoyed the weekend outing and we finished it by eating our favorite stewed beef at a nearby restaurant at the office.

Waiting Game is over!

After twelve weeks and four days of waiting (with one week due to unavoidable circumstances--my wife had her period that we failed to take the medical exam immediately), the waiting game is finally over. We've received our freshly stamped passports with a four-year visa!

It was Monday morning when I first learned about the news. I just thought of checking the AVFS website to see the status of our passport--I was scheduled to check on it on May 16 as I've written in a previous post. It was an easy morning anyway, holiday in Bangkok--but we have a regular office day, so no harm, I checked the site. To my surprise it was already in the Visa Application Centre since Friday (4 May), to think that we've just completed our medical examination last May 1.

OK, it was already with the AVAC but, call me pessimistic, I'm not sure whether it was with a stamp or not. So, I decided to keep the news to myself and did not break it to my wife. It was a holiday in lieu of the coronation day last Saturday so, I had to wait Tuesday afternoon to collect the passports.

I had a meeting nearby so, it was also a good opportunity to visit the place. After collecting the passport, I never opened it--might as well share it (the joy or grief) with the family. I went on with the meeting--it was exhausting. Finally, on my way home, I called Dei and asked her to check the website of AVFS, the website of the centre where we lodged our visa application. She still has to open the laptop. The other night I was telling her that I was worried about the status of our visa--cruel me!!--when I already knew that I'll be collecting it the following day.

Then when I stepped in at our unit--I flashed a print out of the passport tracking status. Dei literally jumped and shout for joy! Then I showed her the sealed envelopes with our passports. The kids were sleeping and I was shouting to wake them up but they didn't move a finger. So, we proceeded to open the big envelope, I hurriedly read it and it says

I am pleased to advise you that your application has been approved

So, my joy was complete upon seeing the letter and more so, when I saw the fresh, crisp stamp on our passports. At least, this cup has passed--now the serious work begins--research, research, research.

God is definitely good!

We are greatly indebted to my Aunt, Ms. Loida Caro, for expressing her support for our stay in Australia by lending her bank accounts, to my advisory committee who expressed willingness to assist and to all friends and colleagues who lend their hands and knees in prayer.

Many thanks, maraming salamat po, khob jai, khob khun maak khrup, merci!

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Completion

We finally completed the last of the requirements for the consideration of our Australian Visa, i.e., after the favorable assessment of our pre-visa requirements. Our medical examination went well. We are all healthy according to the medical examination results. :)

Another waiting game, we are hoping that the Embassy would be able to receive the results within this week and we expect an action from them or the return of our passports the week after my birthday--hopefully a fitting gift.

Please continue to pray for this next stage of our visa application.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Waiting Game Part II

Ten weeks after filing our visa application with the Australian Embassy, the waiting game for the result of our pre-visa assesment is finally over. And it's a favorable one!

We thank God for getting us through this critical stage of our visa application. The long wait has been an emotionally roller coaster for us and at times there were annoying episodes as the case officer requested for documents that were already submitted. Actually, they wanted a summary. I guess they were too lazy to look at the legal documents and would want a one page executive summary of the numerous evidence of support for my study, which I did. Enough with the ranting.

Dei and I have seen in the past weeks, although not regularly, that our kids are taking the time to remind us to include in our prayers the guiding of our visa application. They were the ones who are very excited for this trip. I'm quite excited for them, too. But for now, we're past the critical stage of the application, waiting game again as we undergo medical examination and a number of payments, payments, payments for this and that. :)

The Australian Embassy actually cautioned us not to race to make hasty actions as no decision has been taken yet on our visa application. So, it's still wait, wait, wait for now but I know my kids (and we) will never ever grow weary praying, praying and praying.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Nel turns 3

This is the day that the Lord has made when we were blessed with another beautiful angel. Danielle Dizon Caro was born. She's been cooperative since she was born and her mother did not even have to bear labor pains for more than 30 minutes! She's three years old today.

I was in Australia when she was born, reason that she's the only daughter that I failed to see come out personally. It was my sister, NiƱa, who helped in delivering Nel. She's a student of midwifery and she did a good job for a first time, saving her niece and sister-in-law.

We chose Danielle, which means God is my judge, for my daughter's name. We envisaged Nel to grow up like the Prophet Daniel, uncompromising, abiding in God's Word and continually trusting Him throughout her life. We believe that choosing a name that might well describe your vision of your child's future life helps in building that vision. Her nickname also means light.

She's definitely making surprise changes every year. Year one, she's so quiet and reserved. Year two, she's starting to do her talk, fight with her sisters and is the comedianne of the family! She's also as sweet as her sister, never fails to say I love you to Tatay and Nanay. I'm not sure what changes she'll show tomorrow, but every change she takes is definitely welcomed. :)

This is Nel our beloved daughter.

Happy Birthday Nel!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Nique's Recital

We bought a keyboard for Nique last March 13 in preparation for her piano recital. It was also our graduation gift to her for her promotion from prep to Grade 1 last December.

Nique's keyboard
Yesterday, her school held its graduation ceremony and we are definitely proud of her early accomplishments. Her sisters, Nira and Nel are surely proud of her (well, Nel might have no idea but she sure enjoys the company of her Ate Nique's and Ate Nira's friends, who some are also her friends.

Nique was the youngest of the ABC graduates.

Today, after weeks of practicing Row, Row Your Boat, Nique performed her piano recital in front of a crowd. She was the first to perform and while there were some slip-ups compared to her almost perfect rehearsals, she made us proud as she carried herself well. We are very thankful that God is continually guiding her in her studies and instilling in her the confidence that she needs.

Here's the video of her performance.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Waiting Game

Dei is greatly affected in this waiting game

It's been five weeks since we lodged our visa application at the Australian Visa Application Centre here in Thailand. The suspense is definitely killing us. As you know there are so many possibilities (well, only two actually--favorable or unfavorable) and one can never be complacent. We have submitted supporting documents that can, to our knowledge, prove that we can live as a family down under.

Dei and I has been particularly emotionally stressed just waiting for the results. As much as I wanted to relax, I can't help but be jittery at times while I try to hang on to my faith and trust that the Lord will make a way.

I called the Embassy this afternoon and they said that since I'm a foreigner applying in Thailand for an Australian Visa, they referred my case to Australian Embassy in the Philippines. Now, I wondered if it would have had made any difference if I have lodged our visa application there (Our Kumareng Elaine was insisting that we should have had lodged it in the Philippines--but given our location, follow-up would be impractical, if not cumbersome).

So, I guess that settles it, another waiting game for maybe another month (or two??? huwag naman po sana). One can never be complacent, yes, we're still putting our trust in the Lord. I believe that this is God's will for us, especially for our kids. My kids are looking forward to spending spring down under and I just pray that their prayers are granted.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Nel's Fall


Little by litte Nel is learning to go to the toilet to pee or to poo. I'm glad that she's getting the trick. She usually can manage herself when she's in the toilet--come to think of it that we don't have any adapter for the seat!


However, yesterday was a different thing.


"Tatay, I'm going to pee," Nel told me. I said OK just be careful. She usually hold on to the door for support and do her thing.


She went out and I thought of inspecting the toilet whether she peed or pooed--she refers to them as "eh eh" instead of "meme" for pee or "eh eh" for poo.


She then blurted, "Tatay, ako hulog." I asked her where she fell and inspected her shirt, she was wet from waist to her breast--she fell on the toilet. The amazing thing is she was able to go out and did not cry for help. Buti na lang bago linis ang toilet!


Wednesday, February 7, 2007

School routine

A few days ago, I realized that the school term is about to end. Just a month to go and Nique will finish Grade One here in Thailand (Congrats Ate Nique in advance).

I can’t imagine how I can manage weekdays. I mean, I did not have any hard time of waking my schoolgirl up.

My time with Nique starts from 8 in the morning. So, 8am the siren of the house starts! Nique loves to go to school but sometimes she moves slow so I kept on telling her di ka na papasok (You're not going to school) That would definitely put her up and move as fast as Flash, from preparing for school to eating.

Then after one moment of rush, here she goes again, as slow as a turtle. Then I would repeat again and again the magic lines until she finishes dressing up and ready for school.

It's a good thing that we have the school principal for a neighbor. Nique usually tags along with him, along with his daughter who's a classmate of Nique, to go to school. It was convenient for me as I'm having a hard time bringing Nique to school--imagine preparing three lovely girls to school (while my the other two have yet to go to school--there's only me to look after my jewels).

I'm proud with the set-up anyway as Nique is learning to be independent at an early age.

Come 11pm, I'm starting to rush to school together with Nira and Nel and bring lunch for Nique.

I usually teach my second daughter, Nira, to read and write or teach my youngest, Nel, to sing (well, trying to teach her how to, but I think she knows how to better than me!) while waiting for Nique to be dismissed.

It's not an easy task but I get to enjoy it when I see my daughters develop everyday. Seeing them develop their wings to fly and strengthen their roots make me confident that they are ready for the real world--with God leading them.

Monday, February 5, 2007

Blessing

He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.--Psalm 91:15

In 2003, Dei applied for her and my two kids' passport in preparation for their visa application for Australia. I was already in Newcastle studying. It was quite hard for her as she was pregnant with Nel during that time. So, her father assisted her.

What happened during that application, I believe, was a test of faith. The day was very humid and the queue was long. She had to go somewhere, my father-in-law was keeping the line for her. Then after riding tricycle to the application center, she realized that she lost her passport application forms along with other important documents and a large amount of money.

She was crying as she immediately made a long distance call to me. She was frantic and said that she left everything in the tricycle, I calmed her and said that she should report it to the police. Imagine a pregnant woman, walking under the heat of the sun going to the police station, crying with two children in tow--I could only imagine and wish that it was just a dream. I was in the library, researching online. I stopped everything and just made a simple prayer.

Lord, help my wife

Believe it or not, but just under five minutes after I said the prayer--the tricycle driver came back and returned the documents to my wife--everything was intact, the document and the money! My wife was overfilled with joy and gratefulness. Well, the rest was history as they say.

2007. Today we submitted our visa application. I believe God showed that He's still in control. Everything was smooth from our travel to the Australian Visa Application Centre to the actual submission. After malling a bit (well, some details in between are here) we headed home.

For some reason or another, we were caught in this traffic gridlock for about an hour and we barely 700 meters from our point of origin. Out of the blue, I looked for the envelope where we have the visa application receipt (without it, we'll not be able get our pre-visa assessment), all our passports and other important documents! "how dare me to forget that!" I told my self.

We frantically looked for it in the taxi and when we realized that we left it somewhere in the mall we weaved through cars and buses in the street to cross to the other side and run back to Central Chidlom. In Central Chidlom, I instructed Dei to ask the information and I raced to the toilet and the toy department to see if I left the envelope in either of the two places.

God's grace was really working, I saw the envelope untouched, not in the toilet but in plain view of the public--on the chair in the play place where my kids hang out. We were really grateful that God, again!, protected not only us but our stakes.

My wife was ultimately worried as she's already burdened whether we would be approved to go together--well, it's just the financial issue for a family going Down Under. But this incident made us realize--God is in control! No worries!

Friday, February 2, 2007

6 years

Yes, we just celebrated our 6 years of marriage!

I was able to blog about this special day on my personal blogsite. Our wedding ceremony might count as one of the funniest if not dramatic!

It was Tuesday, January 30, 2001. The weather was perfect. "Good that we chose an early morning wedding!" I said to myself. Earlier, however, I was in front of the house of my bride worrying about the apparent tardiness of the beautician. I asked my aunt to take the place of the make-up artist. Apparently, the beautician came and the cameraman/videographer don't want to compromise their commitment that they proceeded with their usual procedure, which took a while!

The wedding march proceeded even in the absence of the bride. Yes, I marched to the altar alone. However, when the mass finished, Dei came running towards the altar. I pity her for not getting her time even some colleagues were crying out of pity of us due to what happened. Whatever--we were wed finally. And I thanked the priest, eventhough he was close to shouting invectives when he realized that the bride was late (well, he has some points but he's still a priest, albeit pathetic).

The videographer just remade the march, quickly though, as the next wedding was about to start. The remake lasted for five minutes and then we were off to the reception. My soon to be kumpare, Kenneth (who was a DJ at Mellow Touch then) and kumare, Elaine (my memory failed me! and forgot to include her when I first posted this), hosted the reception with Kitchie as our wedding singer.

Everything went smooth after that--and yes six years and three kids after. :D

Photo challenge


Our vacation in Singapore was full of challenges. One of the challenges was to know where to go. While we prepared by consulting the Visit Singapore Website and planned our itinerary via its travel planner, it's simply tasking when you're actually touring the city-state.

Taking a photo was also one of the many tasks that became challenging for us. As you can see in the above photo--the concept was Abbey Road! While it's not Abbey Road literally but the bridge was so nice for a photo opt. But the kids! I think they enjoyed so much being a tourist and was so tired to hold a pose for 10 seconds. Nira is not actually dancing the otso-otso dance and yes Dei gave in to the antics of our children!

It was like that during the tour--self portraits, sometimes I'll take the photos among other ways of creatively documenting our family holiday. It was hilarious everytime, we really enjoyed our holiday!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Children's Day

It was Children's Day in Thailand last 13 January. It is usually held every second Saturday of January and it's the time when it feels like Christmas for most children in Thailand. However due to uncertainty of events here. We opted not to celebrate. What should have been our second one became a camp inside the house. The decision was also based on the advise of the UN security regarding police warning of possible attacks.

This year's celebration is actually bigger--more fairs, more freebies but also more military equipment and armies in the guise of exhibits and as hosts. Fortunately, no untoward incidents were reported. While we (the kids) missed the air shows, the exhibits, the freebies, we decided to go out the following Sunday.

We missed the big event but we definitely hit it big time during that day--we watched Open Season! :D

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Nel's transformation

Nel's first year was spent with her "Mama" Loi (my Aunt) as various reasons prevented her from coming with us to Australia. When we came home and got Nel, she was very quiet would hardly smile.
Nel when we arrived in 2005 It did not come as a surprise to me as I know she "inherited" her "Mama's" traits. My Tita Loi is a very kind, quiet lady--yes she hardly say a word. So, when we got her, though she's almost 1, she has yet to learn a clear audible and sensible word (comparing to her sisters, who started communicating as early as 11months!), but we waited.


Nel, originally uploaded by jimboombastic.

When she turned 2, it was as if she changed overnight! She was babbling words we've never heard before (not baby talk anymore), she was very active playing with her sisters--even initiates fights! She lost the inhibitions that she got used to and we're glad that she's expressing herself more.

This photo was taken during our Singapore vacation, she was leading her sisters to sing. And boy! they all got some talents! Nel, actually is a good dancer, not sure yet with her singing, though. :D

She's turning 3 come April 12 and yes, she's growing and learning fast!

Thursday, January 4, 2007

We escaped mishap in Thailand

In case you didn't know, Thailand recently had a violent crisis. It experienced series of bombings last December 31, 2006 as it prepared to welcome the new year. Jim already blogged about our close call experience but for the benefit of this site, I'm going to mention some details.

On that day we were with a family friend along with my brother-in-law and his friend. We had a great time celebrating the coming new year especially our daughter Nira. Well, that afternoon, close to the time that the bombs were about to go off, Jim suggested that we take a bus going home. As we are carrying some take homes, we took the cab instead.

The bus ride would have entailed passing through Saphan Kwai then we'll get off Victory Monument. We needed to go home that night as we are preparing to go to church for a new year's welcome service of prayer, praise and worship. The church's location is near Sukhumvit Soi 63. We also urged my brother-in-law to go to the countdown celebrations at Central World.

Jim's colleague, who's a Thai national, called him to inform us of what's on the news and asked us to cancel all planned outing. We cancelled our plans for the night and immediately called other Filipino friends who might be going out that night including the family friend that we just visited earlier. We also phoned the Philippines to inform relatives in advance, before they get the news, and assure them that we are safe.

The personnel officer of Jim's organization sent an SMS message informing the incidence and warning against going out in public gatherings. The UN security also sent the same message and regularly sent updates.

As details become clear, 6 bombs went off during the first wave of bomb attacks. The sites included Saphan Kwai, Victory Monument and Sukhumvit Soi 62. A second wave of bombings occured right after midnight--one of three bombs was in Central World.

It was clear that God's hand moved in an amazing way that we didn't get a bus to go home nor went a bit early to church. The places we planned to go were the very place or were near the bombing sites. We do not consider it coincidence or luck but one thing we are certain is that the hand of God moved to protect His children--we still have a mission!

Jim was grateful about God's work that he blogged about it and emailed friends to inform them about what happened and assure that we are safe. We were overwhelmed with the response of support both on email and comments on Jim's blog.

God is great! God is faithful!

Despite all things, this will be a blessed, happy new year. This was taken in front of Central World during Christmas. A week later the other side of the road almost parallel to this location will be bombed.Despite all things, this will be a blessed, happy new year. Photo above was taken in front of Central World during Christmas. A week later the other side of the road almost parallel to where we stood in this photo was bombed.

As to the victims of this senseless violence, our prayers are with them.

Batgirl???

Whenever we go malling, whether it be in MBK, Siam Paragon or anywhere here in Thailand, our second daughter, Nira, always has a special eye on something whenever we pass by a particular store--the superhero costume store.

She would drag her father to the store and ask him to let him try the masked superheroes--from Spiderman, Robin and yes, Batman. During new year's eve, we had a good time of celebrating in advance the welcoming of the new year with a family friend.

One of the happiest in the family was Nira--well as you can see in the photo she got to wear her dream costume!!! We were all happy as she enjoyed her batsuit (I will try to make her own batgirl costume--I will try!). So, Jim took some photos!

Nira as Batgirl!Nira was really feeling her suit that she lifted her sister! Go Batman! errr, Batgirl!

Go Batman! Nira (with the batsuit) and Nel