December Ohs!

Oh it’s December! And yes, it only tickled me today oh well actually last night when the coolest wind hit me to the bones. I suddenly heard the bell ringing in my head and realized that yes, Christmas is in the air.

Oh, I was longing for a “native” Christmas where the whole family is together for the celebration. I would usually cook my noche buena all-time favorite spaghetti while dad prepares for his barbeque station. Prior to that, me and mom would share the moment preparing for the most-loved buko salad.

Oh! the lively carols I love to sing are being played on air again. By December 16, kids would roam around the street stopping by every house and carol for some coins. It’s Xam’s turn this year and he’s so excited that he’s got to practice every now and then the famous “We Wish You a Merry Christmas”.  Last year he’s contented giving out coins to our neighbor kids who come almost every night.

Oh! I need to expand my budget (arrgh!) for gifts back home especially for the kids. Xam’s are ready to be sent and he’s so excited for it ‘coz he’s waiting for the PSP courtesy of he’s tito ninong.

Oh! missing, longing, crying for Christmas in the Philippines. It’s not going to be the same as usual as I won’t be able to celebrate it with my Xam, mom and dad and ate. But oh! it’s still a big celebration!


My (Draft) Personal Performance Assessment

Below is one of my posts from my other blog over 3 years ago about a short assessment on where I’m standing at in my life as an individual person, a mom, a family member and a worker.


Almost a year of motherhood. I have experienced the highs and lows, the fears and excitements, the joy and pains. I have discovered more of my weaknesses, my frustrations, my expectations, from myself, from Xam.

Am I good enough? Can I provide enough? Could it be possible for me to take both the mother and father roles at the same time? If I am the protective mantle, how can I challenge my son to run his life? Would I break rules?

Should I look for a father-figure (if lolo (grandpa) won’t be around) for Xam or should I ask assistance from his dad? Am I ready to answer his questions later on? If not, how can I prepare for it?

I should admit that as much as I want to be positive for any challenges I would encounter, right at this moment, I am shaking. I fear for things I may not be able to handle, when I am the first one Xam would depend on.

When it’s the time, I will have courage. When I am there, I will be ready. When no one is around to extend some help, I know, God is up there, Someone enough to prepare me, to hold me, to lift me, to give me wisdom and courage to stand by, for, and with Xam.


While I was trying to go back to the time when I wrote this post to pick up where I was coming from, I realized how lost I am along the way. I couldn’t see the path that I took to where I am now and it all seems like short cuts and dead ends. I realized how important it is to have a regular, concrete, black-and-white personal performance assessment to be able to manage, budget and optimize the time I have to achieve my target.

Today in the afternoon, I attended the Front Office quarterly Communication Meeting held in one of the hotel’s restaurant. It’s about 15 days now since I left the hotel for vacation and I was just so happy seeing the colleagues again after some time. Basically, the agenda was more like an assessment of how the Front Office is performing considering different variables. There was a presentation of figures for each measure in terms of how the colleague is performing on check-in and check-out, rooming-in, loyalty membership enrollments, and other customer services performance indicators. There was also an assessment of our daily and monthly targets that affect the overall performance of the hotel based on general hospitality standards. We also tackled our monthly budget and actual expenses, operational and team issues, among others.

Our daily target on some of the performance indicators

After looking at the assessment report presented, I realized how easy it is to figure out what went on, what are the influencing factors, rooms for improvement and the feasible and realistic outcome of the improvements and planning if you have it visually laid out in front of you. More so in personal life where it is in fact more desirable to have a visually comprehensible report on the results of the assessment on life’s basic performance indicators (PIs). For some it may be unreliable, and yes it’s true because social factors keep changing over time depending on the present scenario or circumstances. But somehow I think our basic functions and targets are measurable using some Key Identifiable Questions (KIQs).

For example:

Function : Being a single parent

KPI : Healthy, happy and pro-active Xam

Target : Provide basic assistance on child’s physical growth and nourishment, personality development, social roles and spiritual awareness


  1. For four years, did Xam get full pediatric check-ups including height and weight growth and other physical development, regular vaccinations, verbal and motor skill test (optional as it can just be reported where there are observable difference on traits and behavior)?
  2. Have you provided an environment where Xam could fully develop his personality by having a balanced and child-friendly interaction and an environment where he can discover his talent and potentials and support his field of interests like sports, music, arts, among others. For a personality assessment, you can make use of online tools like The Personality Questionnaire for Kids site which I used to assess Xam’s personal traits. The result is overwhelming but true. My son is a portrait of an Extraverted Thinking Judging child.
  3. Have you allowed Xam in his own simple ways to participate on basic social roles like helping with simple chores at home or at school?
  4. Do you provide a foundation where he can grow spiritually by taking him to Sunday church mass, introduce the existence of God, Jesus and Mother Mary (in our case as Catholics)? Do you allow him to participate in mass celebration and other spiritual activities like praying the Holy Rosary and understanding the bible?

Function : Primary financial provider for the family

KPI : Financial sustainability and stability

Target : To be able to provide a fix source of income to sustain daily financial needs of the family

KIQs :

  1. % of salary alloted to family’s monthly allowance for immediate necessities like food, clothing, utilities
  2. Existing debts and credits
  3. Alternative source(s) of income

These are just 2 examples of a visible personal performance assessment report and it can still be expanded and specified according to your preference and status quo. You can think and list as many KPIs and KQIs as you want to be able to cover and track down specific concerns and to be able to systematically plan for the future. It doesn’t sound technically strategic as I can see it for now but it’s still a good idea to have all things laid in a blueprint. You can somehow modify the process  it’s up to your choice. You can even print it out and file for your reference.

Look closely how your life is going. Keep it tracked. There’s nothing wrong with it unless you overdo. Always focus on the simplicity, clarity and balance of things and everything will be just right in the proper place.

Raising Xam… Alone

Who would have thought that a plain Jane have blown her chances away to raise her child alone? But it wasn’t that alarming at all. Besides, being a parent, especially mother, is the best gift we could ever receive and believe me, your happiness will get doubled and even grows even more. No one can ever explain the downpour of feelings the time you first hold your baby.

Plain Janes like me are everywhere and increasingly dominating the single-parent statistics. From the time I see the heartbeat of Xam inside me until I gave birth to him, I shouldered all the emotional, physical and psychological struggles all alone. Yes, it was so difficult, or I should say painful – physical pain, emotional pain, psychological pain, it tortured me. Until now, I still can’t help but cry everytime I recall those life-threatening moments – and I survived. Oh I’m crying. But why should I? With just one look at Xam, I know that I am blessed with the true greatest gift.

Xam has never been a hard-to-please baby. He was so quiet and calm. He had less fussy periods during his first month unless he is hungry, uncomfortable or sleepy. Some infants cry so loud and uncontrollably for no reason at all and I’m glad that I rarely experienced this with Xam, though from doctor’s point of view, fussy crying is just normal. It even helps the baby release excess energy so they could return to a more contented state. This is easy for a single mom like me, for a having a very cooperative son.

Kidding aside, what I need to understand about single-parenting is that this is not a half-way journey. What the father mostly can’t provide, the mother will compensate and she always has a way to make things work out. And as long as I’m getting support from family, I don’t have anything to worry about. Huh, just like that. Yes, just like that. And because I care a lot for my family the more that I want to take care of myself.

Guilty-feeling Not

At times, I couldn’t help but to feel guilty for not even thinking about Xam before I dared think about conceiving him, that he would only be having one parent. But it doesn’t mean that I’m guilty I have to make amends by spoiling him. Spoiling is but natural. It’s just means that you’re giving attention to your baby because that’s what he needs in a single-parent family. I’m just so grateful that my parents support me and share the day-in, day-out job of taking care of Xam.

Don’t look for problems that don’t exist.

I don’t anticipate problems but I do recognize them when they arise. Sometimes I may fall short of my responsibility as a parent but that doesn’t mean that it’s a hole in the heart that I should be guilty of and that Xam won’t grow up a better child. I know I’ll be facing challenges of being a single parent and one of them is handling things alone. But this is more of a challenge not a difficulty. Only when times get rough and specific things get complicated and unhandy will I need a source of support. And again, I’m fortunate enough to have my family and friends around.

The best medicine of all: laughter and humor

I realize how important it is to maintain good humor in ourselves. Everything seems so light and manageable if matters are taken positively. Challenges are more fun before you know you surpass it. So laugh it all the way and you’ll feel 16 again.

Relax, see a movie, go to the spa…

Why not? For you and for your family’s sake, stay healthy – eat right, get enough rest and sleep, and get a break by hanging out with friends once in a while. Pursue your interest and hobbies.



Being a single parent doesn’t mean being alone. We all have extended families and friends to support us and it’s completely fine to ask for help from professionals like your pediatrician when you need it. They’ll be most concerned not only about your child’s development but also about you and your relationship with your family. So don’t feel alone and isolated. You too as a mom has your own emotional needs and don’t be afraid to acknowledge it. Face it optimistically and with confidence.

Unloading Emotional Baggage

Luggage tags of PBair.

Image via Wikipedia

It’s quite getting heavy again and I think it’s time to sort out and check on the not-so-necessary loads in my baggage and set them aside or better yet, keep them out of sight (at the attic maybe). There are a lot of emotional sores we usually tend to linger on too much in our lives which we need to get rid of or at least put them in their own dwelling place. These issues almost always bury deep into our luggage that when another issue comes up we just tend to dump into them without even noticing until our whole baggage burst out.

Life is like but a flight. We don’t want to be late or get delayed to our destination just because of packing and unpacking loads to take with. It takes a while yes and so it’s better to prepare for it in advance, allot ample time to get ourselves ready. However, our human nature says, “I know what to carry, I don’t have to do it now.” “It’s so easy to pack I can make it one or two days in advance.” “I have enough luggage to stuff all my things in or I can even borrow one from a friend if it’s not enough.” Whoah! Up until then, you are still working on to get that enough space, pumping all the sides of your bags to make sure there are no air spaces for you to be able to squeeze in what’s left to pack.

Dutch family on their way for their summer hol...

Image via Wikipedia

Look at your life now. Is it still worth wasting and risking time, energy and resources trying to be in control of everything? Your mind and heart are shaped to rationalize and endure only what is essential. It may offer some allowances but it is not for us to dump more but to sort out and consider carefully that only what is left unpacked are those mistaken objects or anxieties in our lives that often confuse us as relevant but are actually clogs that keeps us from moving on.

Here are some thoughts that I apply whenever I feel like I have to unload:

  1. List down your main issues as well as the small matters that bother you; may it be at work, family issues, career development, emotional and physical needs, financial needs, relationship with friends, etc. Cross out what you think should not come in priority. At the time my older sister finally decided to go home to Philippines for good, I already assumed the title of a “breadwinner“. Coming from an average family, in a country where there are limited opportunities for skilled and non-skilled citizens, I feel a deep sense of responsibility to first get even with impoverishment and work out on getting financial stability for them and later prepare for my own family’s financial needs. This has almost fully occupied my baggage as it grows more like a vine. I couldn’t do anything at all to reach this goal without even thinking getting a high-paid or multiple jobs and so I have to consider a career that simply goes with it. See, it’s already swallowing me up. But as you trim down to what should be prioritized first, you will see a clear direction and start to feel a deep sigh of relief.
  2. When you feel that it’s getting into your nerves, check your pace and slow down. The idea is not to go far to your goal and run down on what’s available and make use of it or if you don’t have what you need, think of a probable solution and ways how to do it. Try to exhaust possible options but do not rush on your decisions. Time is precious so you don’t need to hurry. Make use of it wisely. You can’t go back to your past; the reality is now so just go with the flow.
  3. Go out from your comfort zone. Leave your room, go out and take time to smell the flowers and get bitten by a bee. You’ve been staring long enough at all the four corners and wall displays in your room but still unable to find not even a single clue on how to resolve your problem. Perhaps, who knows, you’ll meet a good samaritan along the way and offer you or give a reference to where you can actually find a good-paying job or other options outside your base that will offer profitable and productive opportunity. It happened to me during my first few months of job hunting here in Dubai although I didn’t fit in at the end; maybe it’s not just meant for me. But the fact that even a stranger can help makes it worth giving a try.
  4. Free your thoughts from useless anxiety and think about less fortunate (not necessarily financially-deprived) people around you. They may be enjoying financial stability, long and fruitful marriage or even a high seat in authority but are going through big scandalous issues like the one our ex-President Gloria Arroyo is undergoing right now. Looking at her in her distressed condition and being bombarded with side by side political accusations, you wouldn’t know how she would be able to take this load in her baggage. You don’t have to go far. You go by the street and you can see beggars. They only need basic necessities that you are already wealthy of. A friend or a stranger may come to you to help him or her look for a job which you already got one. Don’t be annoyed with this reality. Just be thankful you are more blessed than them.
  5. Do not be subdued to emotional distress alone. Go to a friend, a counselor, priest or a religious group. You might just need someone to reiterate to you how you can go through this tough time. Most of the time they are the most reliable people to talk to or get some help even on your specific need.
  6. Pray harder. There’s no substitute to a real talk with God. When I feel so overloaded, I don’t have to go the church and kneel in front of the altar. I just talk to him whenever I can, even when I’m in the bathroom. He, above of all, believe it or not can take over everything. The next day you will just feel rested and renewed.

Some of these things may seem temporary. You will say, “Then tomorrow what’s next?” Back to worrying and moping around. It’s your choice anyway. You may repeat your usual agony or you may choose to go back to the temporary but “just and right” and make it routinary.

I don’t have a single cent right now and I’m on a local leave. I lost my last bucks somewhere when I went out. It’s my fault I didn’t bring my wallet with me. It’s a lesson learned and a useless load to dwell on. Wasted yes, but somehow maybe, the person who found my money is more in need this time. My job as a Receptionist at the hotel is not giving me enough budget to support my family back home but to think of it on the lighter side, it’s also offering me enough opportunity to grow in my career as I take a step to a higher position – not so soon though but in the right time when I am fully equipped.

You may find your own way to get out of your own misery and how will you see your life is definitely your own choice. I have hurt myself so much, I was longing for a partner to share my life with but I failed. I am fulfilling my title as a single mom and a breadwinner and still unable to cope up with my responsibilities. At thirtiesh, I should somehow know what to do but often lost in space doing nothing but run around in circles. But I wasn’t chosen to carry these loads if I am not strong enough, if I’m not at all capable. I just need to recover and rediscover myself and allow free air to my baggage so that along the way, as I go board on my flight and travel, I would be able to take some more better loads than what I have left behind.

I just happened to watch Princess Diaries 1… and I ended up watching Princess Diaries 2

Seriously, how would you feel watching fairy tale movies when you’re on your 30’s, single and waiting in vain for Mr. Prince Charming?… Well, what’s the matter? It doesn’t sound bad at all, does it? Well, to be honest there are good and worst part of it. You’re supposed to feel (and would even want to memorize) every romantic climactic line you would hear, be carried away by the refined gestures of pulling of bodies close to each other to the subtle bending of necks for a kiss. Ugh! You wouldn’t seem to like it nor deny yourself, would you?

Feel-good movies like fairy tale love stories do happen in real life… maybe, some times, because we all believe (hidden in our hearts) that there is always something and someone that’s meant to be. Don’t boo me on my 30’s if I would say I’m into the princes’ and princesses’ kind of stories in the 21st century. Why not? I would simply say that these movies are recognizably prototypes of homely, uncomplicated living of a human life. Matters of heart are unfathomable. You couldn’t find a reason from and beyond the reason of its actions. There is the risk of loving Mr. Prince Charming as the world lay down the consequences upon them. People speak and the lovers goes to the odd side. But through it all, the raging hearts will never give in.

But along the way, we are all given choices. Oh, I love this word. CHOICE. If you fail in the end, you would always go back in realization: I made the wrong choice. You forgot that picking up a choice entails making decisions out of conflicting interests so it also goes with THINKING not just IMPULSE. Of course! You weigh things up, you think twice, thrice and you decide. Then you’ve got your choice. Fairy tales made it simple for us: go to where your heart is and the rest will follow. It also means a train of mistakes and lessons in between. And the easiest words: Stand firm by your choice and work it out.

It may end up a happy ending but that’s just the PART 1. PART 2 is always a complication out of PART 1. Twist and turns of stories. Major setbacks that will test the main characters. And the best part of it? More characters will get into the circle. Life’s like that along the way. We meet TEST every time and every where and when it seems unmanageable, there is always one person that will stand by you and help you get through it, just like Princess Mia and Queen Clarisse of Princess Diaries (now you know what I just watched and I don’t mind :D). And what lesson I love the most? It will not always be Prince Charming who can save your day. And who knows you could be one saving grace as well.

Oh, Anne Hathaway and Julie Andrews simply rocked it!

Blogger repost: Did you wish you were a child again?

1-yr old Xam on his walker. I love taking pictures of him when he was a baby.

Since I opened up my new wordpress blog, I tend to forget about posting on my launching blog “Single Mom at Best” where most of my experiences and journey as a mother was recorded. I feel so guilty of not even bothered visiting it once in a while or when I open my laptop – like it was an obligation to keep it readable and popular to at least the co-blogger community and least to ones who can relate to it – as it was my sort of “shock absorber” and a dependable “friend” whenever I want to trust my feelings to the world. I succumbed to the idea of leaving it just like that but I think it is unfair so I am digging a hole to somehow connect it to this blog by reposting some of my favorites, just like the one below published on August 7, 2008 at 20:43pm.

Did you wish you were a child again?

Last weekend, when I went home for a 3-day vacation, I had the chance to look at our old photo albums again after quite a long time. Some photos are actually vanishing that I can no longer recognize who’s in it and even if I could, I still felt bad to find out that it is one of my favorites and feel sorry that I haven’t kept and preserve them the way they deserve. Anyway, as I kept turning on the pages, I was smiling and even bursting in laughter on my childhood pictures where I look so darned perky, with my sister, brother, cousins, grade school classmates and friends and childhood neighbors. While looking at them, I also remember what happened then or why it happened. Like one photo taken during our dance number during a commencement exercise where my younger brother at about 6 yrs old came up on stage to join the dance. If I could have known he will find the guts to do so, then I could have warned him. But it happened. He kid and went up on stage beside me where it would have only be me in the picture as the star dancer and the dance wasn’t ruined at all. But I have to admit, he was actually great. I didn’t know he was watching on us during our practices and learned the steps by himself. I was surprised he can follow with us during the performance. It’s just that, he was going in wrong directions most of the time.

Everytime we had a school occasion, I was the star. The graders looked up to me whenever I perform upstage that even when I graduated, they would ask me to help them arrange a dance number for a school activity. Whew! What a pressure! I actually didn’t have to feel it ‘cause I really enjoyed dancing. Well, I can still dance but I don’t have the time now. Only when I go home for the weekend in the province will I have the chance to dance, but no longer just me as the star dancer but with my son, Xam. He loves music so much. He loves to be swayed. Maybe because when I was still pregnant, I get to listen to classic instrumentals and we have this CD that I kept on playing every morning when I wake up. It’s the classic version of Abba songs. So everytime Xam’s about to fall asleep, I turn on the stereo and play his favorite ‘I Have a Dream’ and then we swing together. Without a doubt, he’d close his eyes quick for a sound sleep.

Now Xam's enjoying a scooter ride in the mall's play area

I didn’t realize what a child simply wants until I became a mother. And I wouldn’t want to deprive my son of his simple wishes. When he wants to reach for something he’s fond of, as long as it’s not going to hurt him, I help him reach for it. Whenever I notice he’s not comfortable with his shoes, I remove it. If he screams while the priest is praying during the mass, I don’t warn him to shush; I just take him at the back and turn his attention to things that would make him quiet. As much as possible, I don’t want to make growing up hard for him, but as early as possible, I want him to learn how to go about it on his own. I want him to enjoy it like I did. The experiences were hard-earned for me but it wasn’t at all rough. I do get being reprimanded most of the time and had been deprived of my wants sometimes, I could still do what I love doing a lot; just like dancing, I could go with the flow.

“For the lessons of life there is no better teacher, than the look in the eyes of a child…”

We can give justice to what we believe is right in our present time, by trusting to our childlike instinct, with love, hope and trust in our hearts.

Out and About… A Walk to Remember

Been busy these past few days preparing for my plans on my vacation, particularly my cross training to sales department. I had the chance to go out for a walk after an hour chat with my son, Xam. He’s growing up so fast I couldn’t seem to follow on on his what-abouts. He said he was crying because he misses me. After that he asked, “Are you crying too mommy?” I said, “Yes, because I miss you too, so much!” Then he started to ask when will I come home, when will he see me. He even wanted to come over to Dubai. He surely miss a mom. He knows he got a mom.

So I decided to leave my comfort zone and release the longings. Too scared now after suffering from depression months back. I need to re-condition myself.

Along Jumeirah road…

While walking down to the bus stop along Jumeirah road.

On the right is the Wild Wadi waterpark full of flags from the recent Eid Al Adha. You’ll also see a double-decker tour bus heading down the Jumeirah road. Now is the perfect weather to have some tour around with this bus. Cool wind is already blowing.

A closer shot of Tour Dubai bus

A closer look of the Tour of Dubai bus.

While waiting for the green light to pop up, I took a shot of the famour Burj Al Arab like as if I don’t see it everyday (for not being a pro-photog, I even got a scrape shot of the stoplight pole on my right. Shame). I also heard the screaming fun and the whoosh of water rides inside the Wild Wadi but I skip on going further for three obvious reasons: I’m on jeans not on my suit, I’m alone, and it’s cold.

Burj Al Arab

The topmost of Wild Wadi Waterpark

Further down more is a glimpse alongside our sister property Madinat Jumeirah. Before joining Jumeirah Beach Hotel, I first worked in Mina A’ Salam as a Receptionist at the Front Desk. It’s been 4 years now since my visit to the hotel. A lot of memories and I just couldn’t help but to get sentimental as it was not a ‘good’ goodbye for me.

Road signs. Don't get lost. Brown background means you're almost there. Madinat Jumeirah right next to your right 😀

Mina A' Salam

The entrance to Mina A' Salam

Mina A' Salam sign. Quite unnoticable for guests coming to the hotel especially at night.

Road that leads down to the main hotel. Full of palms. Full of flags.

Oh, I forgot to get some shots of the bust stop as I was catching up the bus itself to go right up to Jumeirah area. I think I have one photo during the night before I headed home. Will see later.

Next stop, Mercato Mall. It’s the first mall that I went to when I first arrived here in Dubai in 2005. Quite a small shopping area but I like it more because besides the nearest one to our place, you’ll get smooth light traffic flow down here. You don’t have to waste bucks for a long trip and get stuck in heavy traffic just to get to the big malls at the city center. Anyway, Mall of Emirates and Dubai Mall are still being built then and the Dubai Metro was still on planning stage. Mercato is a themed Venetian architectural style that makes it unique from the rest.

Mercato Mall along Jumeirah Road

A shot from first floor. Natural daylight coming through from the piazza saves the mall of loads of electricity during the day.


The cinema is not bad at all.

Around 5pm, I took another bus trip down further until I reach the almost-end part of Jumeirah area. Suddenly I felt a little light and drowsy so I went down to get a snack at the nearest McDonald’s, just a walking distance from my last stop, Spinneys. After the snack, I grabbed my pack and walk down still a little weak that I didn’t managed to pull out my cam for some shots before I reach the grocery. I was so tired and it was getting late anyway that all I wanted is to buy the stuff that I need and finally head home.

So it was already dark outside at about 6:00pm when I cross the other side to go back to the hotel to the catch the 7:10 trip back to the accommodation. While waiting for the return bus, I managed to get some shots of the main Jumeirah center where most of the shops, restaus and other establishments are located.

The famous Jumeirah Grand Mosque

There I found it! I took the photos of the airconditioned waiting area at the bus stop.

The air-conditioned wating area at the bus stop.

Schedule check. Nos. 8 bus going to Ibn Battuta will pass by Jumeirah Beach Hotel. I need to take the 18:20 bus to get there exactly 18:50 or 19:00 just right in time for the 19:10 bus to accommodation.

Finally, reached Jumeirah Beach Hotel. Last shots thrown to my home hotel and the Burj at night.

Jumeirah Beach Hotel. Shot taken from the bus stop. I could have found a better side without the trees. Next time.

Great shot at night. Whoah! I made it though not clean enough. Really need to be a pro.

Until the next walk!