Sunday, December 28, 2008

Ate Lita and Christmas 2008

Her name is Lita.

She is 66 years old, Filipino, better known as Ate Lita by all of a handful of us Filipino doctors in the hospital. She works as a clerk in the records section.

I met her niece 2 years ago while in my nursery rotation. "so you're Filipino? then you must know my aunt. She can smell any new Filipino on the island. And she acts like she's their mother. "

And she does. She cooks and gets all of us together every possible chance, from the feast of an unknown saint, to thanksgiving dinners, to birthday parties of her relatives.

All the other doctors have since gone. I am the only one left. Since my sister left for Sanfo, i've been left with take out fast food or more often than not, microwaveables. She'd always call me and ask me to eat dinner with them. Dinengdeng, sinigang, pansit, kanin, tinola. I have become a common figure in the house.


After the hurricane hit, i was one of the many who went back to the island the first day they opened it to the public. After taking pictures of my house, i decided to drive by her house to see how it fared. She got 4-5ft of water.

Her sons and friends were carrying all the wet debris while she was seated outside on a chair. Her tears were about to fall. I hugged her and she started to sob..."twenty years, t his is twenty years of my life... all gone."

Family pictures, clothes, papers, furniture, appliances, all muddied by the flood. The cat survived.

After many tears shed, she asks me, "kumain ka na ba? hoy, maglabas nga kayo ng pagkain para kay Duke!"

At syempre ang kapal ng mukha ko, inaaraw araw ko sila para sa pagkain kahit alam ko na wala na silang bahay.

She would always collect extra MREs or food from the Red Cross or Salvation Army for me and my friend.

Oo, nag may i bring a friend pa ako. kapal no?

Ate Lita during the Post Hurricane Cleanup.


It has been 3 months since the hurricane. Our houses are not yet fixed. She now lives in her son's house in La Marque while i still live on the island. Almost every night, i eat dinner with them still. sukdulan.

When i don't show up for 2-3 consecutive nights, they start to worry. They call my cellphone and leave messages asking if i'm alright, and invite me back to dinner. oh, i do my laundry at their place too. and use their wireless internet. and watch tv.

and witness their family conflicts on the side.


They brought me along to spend thanksgiving with all their relatives in Houston. There I was witness to some more private family matters. I excused myself but she told me to stay put. While strong words were thrown about, and tears flowing abundantly, i remained seated, eating my turkey dinner and diet coke.


"Saan ka magpasko?"

"Itutulog ko lang po." (

"Ay hindi, dumito ka, magluluto ako ng dinuguan." (yahooo!)


She wanted to buy a cheap plastic kitchen mixer during the last Thanksgiving sale. She couldn't afford the expensive one. We woke up at 5.30am but we still didn't make it in time to get it. Apparently, a gazillion people woke up at 3am.

This Christmas, i bought her a mixer, a good one. When she opened the box, she was ecstatic and teary eyed, and gave me a big hug. She was so happy to receive a gift she really wanted. She kept on thanking me as if i did her a huge favor. Little does she know how thankful i am to have her.


It is 2am and i hear her son and daughter-in-law snoring on the living room floor in front of me. I am the only soul awake in her house. The others have long since retired to bed. They know i am here for internet and they let me be. I have just had my second serving of fruit salad from their fridge and am currently having reflux because i'm so full.

After i write this post, i will sneak out the front door to my car and head back to my own place for the night, only to be here again for dinner tomorrow. or maybe lunch.

Please don't worry about me. I am not hungry or cold. I am safe and warm and very much loved.

In all this chaos, I have found family.

Christmas Eve with Ate Lita.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

I've Got a Friend

~When you're down,
and troubled....
and you need a helping hand,
and nothing, nothing is going right.....~~~

bumili ka ng
New Macbook Pro Unibody.


I have crossed to the other side. Goodbye PC. Hello Apple.

tae, hirap nang laging nalolongkot. kung anu ano nabibile.

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