Category: Family Unit

Max’s Restaurant, Bon Voyage To Marilou

Max’s Restaurant, Bon Voyage To Marilou

After 3 weeks, Marilou is going back to Los Angeles, California tomorrow!

And as such, we had a family celebration at Max’s Restaurant in Malate, nearby Aristocrat.

Though we remembered our Mother dearly, the reason why we are here in the Philippines,  Marilou and I as well as Peter that is, the dinner at Max was also fun, filled with laughter and food galore.

The family were in full force.  There were Jon (my youngest brother), Alma (his wife), Ella May (their eldest), Michael (their middle child) and Jomari, their youngest.  Our lovely Dayday was also there, Marilou, Myself and Peter, are of course in attendance too.  We were missing our other brother, William, but his situation can’t be helped at the moment.

Anyway, we had a really sumptuous meal.  We had a starter of Lumpiang Sariwa (fresh lumpia) made from finely chopped ubod, garlic, lettuce with sweetened sauce.

For mains, we had deep fried bangus with vinegar dip ( I must say their vinegar is really potent, it was so sour if almost blew my sinuses away), there was roasted crackling of loin pork with lechon-like sauce, there was sinigang na hipon (large shrimps in sour tamarind base soup), there was also kare-kare with a complementary shrimp bagoong. And of course, we had Max’s signature dish, their own recipe of roasted chicken.

There where so much to eat that we were all struggling in the end only to be given a dainty glass full of emerald-like jelly and tapioca/sago called buco pandan pudding.

These were all washed off with glasses of delectable pineapple juice and gallons of iced-water.

I can’t fault Max in anyway, the food was truly good and the service was exemplary.

I supposed, it comes from experience.  It all started in 1945, when Maximo Gimenez, a teacher, started serving chicken and drinks to American troops he befriended stationed near Quezon City.  Maximo’s niece, Ruby, more fondly known as Nanay Ruby was part of the making of the brand according to a caption on a picture proudly displayed in their restaurant.  She created the now famous Max’ chicken, which is tender and juicy in the inside but crispy outside.

The dinner celebration is a fitting homage to a wonderful, beautiful sister.  This is not goodbye but an au revoir, Marilou.  We will see each other again soon.

Be safe in your trip back home!

Our love from us all.

Marriage & Friendship

Marrying your best friend eliminates the risk of divorce by over 70%, and this marriage is more likely to last a lifetime.

Marriage & Friendship

The above statistic/psychobabble was from Facebook. 🙂

Apparently if you are too scared to get married because you are too afraid to end up in a divorce, messy or otherwise, marrying a best-friend or friend has a guaranteed probability of successful marriage by 70 per cent.

I supposed a friend, is someone who understands and accepts you for who and what you are.  He/she knew your quirks and idiosyncrasies from way back as friends.  Shared secrets, shared hopes and dreams are pretty powerful force that binds you together.  Someone, who would cover your back no matter what is something that you would yearn in times of great need.  Being married to one is being so lucky!

In an interview of Blake Lively, this is what she had to say about her husband, Ryan Reynolds:

He is my friend first.  I think that’s the secret to happiness.

Mano Po, Filipino Tradition

Mano po,

Mano Po, Filipino Tradition

Mano po is a traditional show of respect and greetings to elders.

For the more materialistic, lol, the ‘mano po’ towards godparents, aunties and uncles you have not seen for a long time means it is time for them to bless their godchildren/nephews/nieces with some money.  LOL

What is mano po?

Mano is a Spanish word, which was from a Latin word, manu meaning hand.  As in the word manufacture with root words of manu – hand, and facture – made, handmade.

Po is a Pilipino word which is a term to show respect to your elders or those in a high position (they can be older or even younger but hold high office or they can be quite prominent in the society)

Mano might be from a Spanish word but apparently, this tradition has been practised by Filipinos long before the coming of the Spaniards.

Neighbouring Asian countries such as Indonesia and Brunei have their own version.

Anyway mano might have some Catholic basis in the sense that Catholic bishops wear consecrated episcopal rings that are kissed by priests and parishioners as a show of respect and reverence.

Mano po on the other hand,  is slightly different as the hand is not kissed but gently touched into the forehead of the one offering his/her respect.

A particularly respectful person practices mano po every time they get home as a sign of greeting to their elders.  This could be done many times a day.

My Dad, an early OFW

Clarita & Eligio Wamil, 1950's

Clarita & Eligio Wamil, 1950’s

Eligio Wamil, Guam in the 50s

Eligio Wamil, Guam in the 50s

My Dad, an early OFW

15 November 2015

My first thought upon waking up this morning was my Dad.  It was his birthday today. He would have been 81 years old today had he not die at the age of 49 whilst working as an OFW (Overseas Filipino Worker) in Saudi Arabia.

My Dad, I think, was born too soon and died sooner.  He would have loved the current technology we enjoy today.

He wanted us to be technology savvy.  He would patiently show us how machine worked.  He would not mind us taking gadgets apart to see the mechanics of it.

In his short life, he lived a fruitful one.  He was mega intelligent.  He finished high-school at a very young age because he was academically accelerated.

He was a handsome man, a bit of a lad. After romancing most of the young ladies, he had to leave his little barrio to see the world.

The problem was that he was only 14 years old.  He needed to be at least 16 to be able to work abroad.  Somehow he was able to get a birth certificate making him to be16 years old.  His new birthdate was 15 February.

He went to Guam, where he thrived.  He was popular and got taken into the care of an American family which send him to college and study engineering.

While in Guam, he started a friendship with my mother through penpal.  After four years of writing, they became engaged.  My father sent my mother a Sears catalogue where she can choose any ring she wanted.  She chosed an eternity ring with 5 diamonds.  I thought the ring is beautiful but my mother said she was disappointed when it arrived.  The diamonds were not so big, not like in the catalogue picture. 🙂

My father became a BalikBayan (country returnee) and went to see my mother.

She’s beautiful, he was handsome and their chemistry was blazingly on fire.  But like every great love stories, it was not always smooth sailing.  My beloved grandfather (mom’s dad) was not enamoured of my father, who had become rather americanised.

My Lolo (grandfather) had a touch of xenophobia.  When he was only 16, he too tried his luck working abroad.  He became a deckhand.  When he arrived in America, he said some Americans started shouting at the Filipinos, calling them little monkeys. My Lolo did not even bother to disembark from the ship.  He was returning back home.  He said he used to tutor American boys of his own age in Maths in school.  He refused to be belittled by them!  Too right too, LOLO (RIP).

Anyway, as my Lolo refused to consent to a wedding, my mother and father got married in secret (wedding photo above) a day before my father had to go back to Guam.

It was several years before he finally decided to make Philippines as his permanent base.  With him he brought home a massive collection of books, records, cameras and other gizmos.

After living together as man and wife for more than a year, babies were not forthcoming.  So they decided to go to Obando in Bulacan to dance the fertility rite of Santa Clara.

It worked too well because nine months later, I arrived, and then a year after my arrival, my sister Marilou arrived, closely followed by my brother William.  My mother said perhaps they danced too well.  (They should do, because I remember that my mother and father used to go dancing all the time.  They had date nights; very progressive.)  She’s a good Catholic girl but three children in three years was too much.  She took the pill for a while.  As soon as she stopped, she got pregnant again and we had our baby of the family, Jonathan.  My mother decided to have a tubal ligation, very forward thinking in a Catholic country in the 60s, 70s.

We lived in Marag, we had the prettiest house.  We had a library with my father’s books.  We had Long-Playing (LP/ 33rpm) records played on battery operated record player, connected to a huge gramophone, booming delightful Merry Widow Waltz,  Blue Danube and the likes.

My father was the Barrio Captain, in our barrio (duh).  He was well respected because of his experience, his sophistication, his intelligence and brawn as well.  He had a black belt in Judo.  He once tackled the bully boy of the town using his judo!  My mother would proudly tell us this as we were too young to remember.

My mother and father lived a very happy and contented life.  He was devoted to her and she to him.

Though we had a very happy house full of laughter and joy, we never said “I love you” to each other.  We know, we just knew we were loved!  I still find it strange saying “I love you” now. I am more action rather than mere words.  I grew up that way.

My father was into learning in a big way.  He wanted us to be always reading and talking about what we read.

He wanted us reading real books not the extremely popular Pilipino Komiks, weekly magazine with illustrated drawings.

We did take to reading like ducks to water but it was still a bit disappointing to our very well read Dad.  We were reading Mills & Boons and Barbara Cartland.  In fact we were addicted. My sister and I as well as my mother were reading 3 books a day each, much to my Dad weary consternation and silent disapproval. LOL

My father used to get a daily newspaper.  Again he was different from most Filipinos.  He read the broadsheets rather than the more salacious tabloids.  He would expect us to read the newspaper and discuss the news over dinner.  I was a teen-ager by then and so was my sister.  We did not do news unless it was about American singers/band/celebrities.  But the glare of my father was enough to turn anyone to a  pillar of salt.  No one argues with my father, unless one was prepared for a long tortuous and laborious debate.  (Did I say my father could have given Nietzsche and Voltaire a run for their money?!!!) He would ask us for our opinion and we had to give one.  Thinking about that now, I think it was actually rather brilliant way to promote family growth.  We talked over dinner.

As we are all growing and needed more money to fund university and college, my father once again had to go abroad to earn a decent living.  He said what he earned in the Philippines for a year can be earned abroad in a month.

We missed him so much.  There was no happier time than when he comes home and no saddest time than when we had to see him off to the airport except when we had to meet his repatriated body back to the Philippines.  He died from complications of diabetes while in Saudi Arabia.

In his luggage we found a dozen of Mills & Boons! From the grave my father telling us we can read what we like!

And the most mysterious thing is that he actually died on 15 February, the date he chosed for his new “Birth Certificate”

Anyway, this blog is getting too long.

There are too much more to say but probably later.

Anyway, Daddy, YOU have been gone a long time from us but you are always in MY Heart, OUR Hearts.

I always think that you would have loved both James (my son) and Nathan (my grandson) because I can see you in them especially in James.  I look at him and think, my Dad would be so proud of him!  He does not say much, the quiet type but he can put his mind into most things.  He is a ‘sorter’ like you.  Methodical!  And like you, most of his knowlege are self-taught!


Peter and I chose your birthday to get wed 29 years ago to honour your memory.

I have never said this before but I DO LOVE YOU, DADDY!  WHEREVER YOU ARE!


1001: Family

Peter and I love this little drawing of our beloved Nat-nat of his ‘Family Morton’. He’s five and learning to write and read. I am so impressed with his skill and talent. I think we are going to have a boy genius here.

I saw the film, Imitation Game, which is about Alan Turing, a mathematics genius, whose war accomplishment is said to have shorten the second world war,WWII, by two years and saved 14 million people from becoming casualties of war. The young brilliant Alan Turing used to painstakingly separate his peas from his carrots which reminds me of our little Nat-nat, who is rather pernickety with his food.

He likes his food, don’t get me wrong, but he wants his dinner served according to his predilection or in a certain way. He doesn’t want things touching each other. 😉 He wants his peas in one corner, his chicken nuggets in another corner and his chips at another side and not to mention his tomato sauce pooled in the middle, not drizzled in the chips or chicken, otherwise he would refuse to eat. Poor Stacey, his mother, had to take all these into consideration when preparing our little angel’s din-dins

This is family.  Looking after each other, for better or for worst.  Blood is thicker than water.  Proverbs and sayings have been coined for thousands of years with regards to families.

Nathan, age 5, family Photo by PH Morton

Nathan, age 5, family
Photo by PH Morton

Mind you, family can also be a source of so much grief, a la Romeo and Juliet or the late Diana, Princess of Wales with her relations with the Windsor Family so much so that the Queen, herself, grimly admitted in November of 1994 that it was annus horribilis for her. 🙁

1001: Family

You see much more of our children once they leave home.
– Lucille Ball

Dancing with a naked man to Lady in Red


We got married in November 1986 and the most popular song during that month on that year was Lady In Red. It was played over and over during our wedding! Everyone was dancing. Thus it became our theme song (how corny!).

By the way thank you for the dance. Nothing could be better than dancing with a naked man while Lady in Red is playing at 1:30 in the morning.

Happy Anniversary to you, Dearest. I wish for many, many, many more years together.

“The Lady In Red”

I’ve never seen you looking so lovely as you did tonight,
I’ve never seen you shine so bright,
I’ve never seen so many men ask you if you wanted to dance,
They’re looking for a little romance, given half a chance,
And I have never seen that dress you’re wearing,
Or the highlights in your hair that catch your eyes,
I have been blind;

The lady in red is dancing with me, cheek to cheek,
There’s nobody here, it’s just you and me,
It’s where I want to be,
But I hardly know this beauty by my side,
I’ll never forget the way you look tonight;

I’ve never seen you looking so gorgeous as you did tonight,
I’ve never seen you shine so bright, you were amazing,
I’ve never seen so many people want to be there by your side,
And when you turned to me and smiled, it took my breath away,
And I have never had such a feeling,
Such a feeling of complete and utter love, as I do tonight;

The lady in red is dancing with me, cheek to cheek,
There’s nobody here, it’s just you and me,
It’s where I want to be,
But I hardly know this beauty by my side,
I’ll never forget the way you look tonight;

I never will forget the way you look tonight…
The lady in red, the lady in red,
The lady in red, my lady in red,

I love you…