We celebrated our Matriarch’s 80th birthday last August 8 in our hometown of Bacolod City. My ten (10) other siblings came home from the US, Australia and the Middle East so we can all gather again for this special occasion. The last time we were together was in 2006 during Dad’s passing.
My husband and I got on the early morning Cebu Pacific flight to Bacolod. I had already checked us in the night before so we were just cruising along Commonwealth to EDSA. It was an awesome drive and it felt like we weren’t in Pinas at all. We tried out the Park N’ Fly service for the first time. Husband presented his car’s OR/CR and his ID to the check-in counter and he was given a ticket for claiming when we get back. Within 5 minutes, we were aboard their free shuttle along with other passengers on our way to Terminal 3. It was an easy process. Their service is very convenient for those who live far away from the airport and would rather drive their own cars without having to rely on taxis. You simply park your car in their garage and pay a minimum of about 360 per day, and be brought to and from the airport via their shuttle. The fee is not bad considering we were going to be gone for less than 3 days. We would have ended up paying more had we used a cab.
Park ‘N Fly
Domestic Rd, Pasay, Philippines
Tel: +63 2 854 9304
Since I already had our boarding passes printed out, we decided to have breakfast at the Kenny Roger’s at the airport. When we got to the gate, we were the last few passengers they were waiting to board. The plane left on schedule and within an hour, we touched down at the Bacolod-Silay airport. The view from the sky was fantastic. I had only 3 hours of sleep the night before, but I knew it was going to be a glorious day. I was excited to see my Mom and family.
We didn’t have any checked in baggage (yeah, I always travel light!) so we breezed through the arrival area and out to the waiting area. I saw the sign for the airport shuttle right away. For Php 150 each, we boarded the small van which can comfortably seat 12 but they managed to squeeze 15 in – that’s Pinoy for you! Compared to the Park N Fly shuttle, this one was old and dirty. I didn’t really mind that there were 4 of us in a row that was meant for 3; I was too excited to complain. What amazed me was how fast the trip was. I was used to travelling about 45 minutes to or from the airport but this time only took us 15 minutes. And we got off right outside my Mom’s house! It turns out they opened up a new, shorter route which is awesome, although the Php 150 fare is plain robbery.
We rang the doorbell at about 8:30am and one of my brothers opened the gate. Most of my siblings and their families were already there. It was precious to see my nephews and nieces too – all grown up! My Mom was her usual demure self. I think she was a little confused and annoyed that there were so many people.
For lunch, we ordered Sun Yat Sen from the local Chinese restaurant down the road, Apollo. The Sun Yat Sen (wasn’t he a prominent Chinese politician?) was yummy! The husband loved it and he isn’t particularly fond of Chinese food. That brought back memories. My Dad would occasionally order those noodles, along with Hototay soup or Bird’s Nest soup, and my favorite Drunken Shrimp each time we ate there. The kids had Shakey’s pizza. Weird combo but it worked. There was just no time for going out or cooking for a family as big as ours.
Hilado-Malaspina St., Bacolod 6100, Philippines
Tel: +63 34 433 4850
We retreated to our respective hotels to re-energize for the party that night. We stayed at the nearby Circle Inn (walking distance from my Mom’s house). They initially got our room reservations confused but we just consented to whatever they had for us as we were just too tired to argue. The rooms were adequately-sized and it was an executive suite so the mattress and pillows were very nice – conducive to sleeping. Bathroom had the bare necessities like shampoo and soap, though there was a bathtub. The towels were a little gray. A little bleaching is in order.
Circle Inn Bacolod
Lopez Jaena Street, Capitol Shopping Center,
Bacolod 6100, Philippines
Tel: +63 34 709 911
After about 2 hours’ sleep, we proceeded to Virtu salon for my hair and makeup. I met up with my Mom and sisters there. It turns out the venue for the event was at the 4th floor of the same building – can you imagine that! Bacolod is too small, and very convenient. Even with the so-called traffic, you can get practically anywhere within 15 minutes.
I was initially tasked to organize everything about the party which was held at Chalet 1 of L’Fisher. Thankfully, my siblings decided to help out and hire an events coordinator, Maru. She coordinated the gold and white motif as well as the flowers. Although it started late, it turned out to be a lovely affair.
Because we were a singing family, the band’s singer (who looked like Juris but sang like Sitti Navarro) hardly touched the microphone except for instances when we pretended we knew how to dance (even Mom danced!) :D. My very talented nephews and nieces performed song numbers for Lola Mom. We viewed videos sent in by everyone, including Mom’s coworkers from the University in which she formerly served as Dean. The look on my Mom’s face was of pure joy and pride as she watched them express their love and admiration for her on the big screen.
We still had about a full day til we had to go back to reality (Manila). I’ll write about that in my next post. 🙂