Dear Nay Ating,

Exactly nine years now when you traveled up with the Heaven’s Majesty – the Lord.  For sure, you are now enjoying the greatness of your mansion and the pleasure of walking on the streets of gold.  I presume, you don’t do anything there but praise and worship our Creator with your beautiful golden voice.  I cannot imagine the meeting we will have on that blessed glorious day when the trumpets will sound and we’ll meet up in the air!  I cannot wait for that sweet blissful day to come.

Anyways, nine years seem a very long time but it was only like yesterday.  Such memories!  I still cannot forget how you departed from your earthly body.  I was there.  I saw it all.  I wanted to cry but there were no tears.  Seeing you as you part your body and hearing that last tick when your soul departed from your body was like a message telling me to be the strength of my family.  I tried but when I went thru your things; I was looking for your life plan which was needed few hours before you left us, tears never stopped.  I was alone.  I cried like a baby because no one was looking at me.  And while I am writing this letter, it still won’t stop.  I have to quit recalling things or I might not be able to tell you the many things (sad and happy) that happened around here four years later after I wrote my first letter in March 2010.

Which one first?  Good news or bad news?  Okay, I guess I have to start with the good things first.  I don’t want you to have another heart attack hearing all the bad ones.

Years passed so quickly and your great grandchildren have all grown so fast.   They are all lovely kids and full of talents.  Thank God for the breeding!  Rap-rap was added last year.  He is Patrick’s son.  He can’t wait for his turn so he by-passed Karen, Ivan and I without our permission.  Don’t worry we are stronger as a family now.  It may seem hard to accept at first but we could get through it.  God is with us, remember?

Ivan and I were blessed in 2011 when we were able to get out of the country.  It was Ivan’s first time to go and it was my second time already.  God has been really good to each of us.

What about our old folks?  They’re all kicking, getting more gray hairs and getting a little bit more like you.  They just go on with their daily routines. Well, I have to add the bad news now.  Tito Pat lost his voice early last year.  He was diagnosed with a thyroid cancer.   He went to several check-ups and was advised to remove the lump in his throat that’s causing the pain and covering his voice box.  The possibility that he cannot regain his voice again made him stay away from the doctors.  We all prayed for him and after two months he recovered.  He took several herbal medicines that may have helped him recover his voice.  But now, he lost his voice again.  We just have to entrust everything to God.

Feeling dizzy now?  Don’t be Nay Ating, just read more.  You are yet to know the worst scenario ever happened in the family and in Philippine history.  It happened last November 8, when the strongest monster typhoon (Haiyan/Yolanda) made landfall in our city.  It wreaked havoc to our beloved Tacloban, including your hometown.  If there’s internet connection there, you can read my Yolanda story.  It was pretty awful.  The experience was a sad one but somehow we were taught with many things.  Yolanda left sad memories to our family, to our kin, to our old church friends, to our neighbors and to our friends.  The good things, we have been made closer to each member of our family and our kin.  We helped our old church members even if some were still in denial of accepting the fact that we were once rooted and grounded in love.  We will always recount together with our neighbors and friends the day when the monster typhoon ruined our simple lives leaving us those precious moments of survival.  None was left but that alone.

I know how much you have loved Tacloban and Tabon-tabon and I can sense your tears while you read along.  Yes, you can see the stressed placed from up there but I know tears will never do anything now.  We have wiped our tears away and we have moved on already.  Then again, we give everything in God’s care.

Nay Ating, I may not write letters to you every now and then but we have not forgotten you.  I just realized that maybe God took you earlier so you won’t be able to experience those things.  I know you were a strong person but all of those would be too much for you to bear.  God always has His reason for things and it took me many years to understand why He allowed you to be with Him sooner than I thought. But, now I did.  Thank you so much for all the love, prayers and care you have given us.  Thank you for being an inspiration to all of us.  We have not forgotten every single moment of your presence (whether you have been naughty or nice).   As you celebrate your birthday in your mansion in heaven with beautiful fresh flowers, everything perfect and in pure gold, filled with majesty and all inspired with everlasting peace, we celebrate with you from down here on earth.  We love you and miss you.

With much love,

Tine/March 2014


Dear Nay Ating,

A lot of things had happened since God took you for an eternal trip to heaven.  As far as I can remember, God took you 5 years ago and that I can only imagine if you were still here with us, you probably would be thrilled with what we have become. And since God did not permit that, I couldn’t do anything more than write you a letter telling you how wonderful things have become because I know how you have deposited much prayer for us when you were still here.  According to Joel Osteen, it’s just like depositing graces to our Heavenly Father.   And that is why we are fully blessed now.  I couldn’t thank you enough for all the kneeling time you had for each one of us. I could hear you while you were praying from our room after you have just nagged us for tidying our things and keeping them in order. Well, now I can understand that because most of us are becoming like you already.  Getting old and wiser, I guess! Huh, sometimes I missed those nagging times but now we make fun of those because we know that you were very right in the things that you have said to us before but we just don’t want to listen. And oh, I always remember the sound of your laughter even when you were just being asked to sing. Nobody laughs the funniest like you do.  I also missed the times when you offer your last money for a lunch at Jolibee.  Yum, we always grabbed that chance because we know you could always find some of them inserted in your things. There are so many things that I fondly remember about you.  But right now, I want to tell you some of the many blessing we have received here.

By the way, life here has never been easy Nay Ating but because you have taught us to be strong that’s why we are still here fighting the good fight of faith. Okay, let me tell you first about your favorite son, Tito Rey and his family.  Sorry, I always thought, that Tito Pat was your favorite.  Anyway, Tito Rey is doing well with his work now.  He drives a new car from the company. I guess, he deserved that for many years of hard work. So far, he is already a dynamic-crying preacher.  Lately, he was given an opportunity to be a Sunday School teacher in the church.  At first, he was hesitant about the ministry but he accepted it anyway.  And just last Sunday, you were one of his examples.  Not bad, right?  Just recently Nay Ating, I have to tell you this.  Mariel got pregnant, oh don’t nag now!  Mama Net already did the nagging.  Spare yourself, the effort.  We had a hard time when we learned about this but right now, things are quite going well.  I know that Mayeh will be mature enough to handle things because of her present situation.  We cannot judge, we just have to accept and support her.  Besides, we have learned many lessons from her situation and the most important thing is that as a family, we have been strengthened and have been made closer because of this.  We are, should I say, they are still coping from it, though.  Still, amidst the storm a blessing is coming their way.  Instead of one baby, two will be added to their family this year.  Kuya Angel and Ate Renette went to see their dogs’ vet but accidentally got Ate Renette pregnant on the way.  She’s already two months pregnant now.  See, what a joy it is for their family to be multiplying this year?  We are still waiting for Karen’s time to have her share but as of the moment she’s busy with her work and Mama Net’s busy with her farming in FarmTown and Farmville aside from taking care of Raven who is very much excited of the two babies coming their way.

There are so many blessings to thank God for.  And just last year Nay Ating (had to back track a little bit), Tito Pat made it to the United States of America.  Guess what?  He’s already big time for the fact that he can now speak the English slang, ‘you know.’  While in America, he learned the English word for ‘to-ron,’ it’s ‘chu-rown and ‘pyu-tow’ for ‘pu-to.’  God had worked inside each family member while Tito was away.  Many things had changed for Paul, who can now preach for like 10 minutes.  Not bad at all for a first timer.  We are anticipating more changes and we have been praying for good results.  Les, on the other hand, has just graduated and is working now.  She was Tito Pat’s secretary and treasurer when he left for the States.  Well, we have been so hard for telling her that she is the only HOPE of the family.  But for now, that’s how it is.  And Patrick, what can I say? All I can see is a new girlfriend every now and then.  We still hope and pray for a change of heart someday.  Tita Shine still kept her standard all these time, working and always on the go for their laundry.  But you know, the couple became sweeter when Tito came back from the States.  So now, I know why God allowed Tito to go because he doesn’t need many houses anymore.  They are staying in the church now.  You see, God worked in each of them.  They are more like a family now than they were before.  By the way, I might forget to tell you that Tito doesn’t have any chicken pets this time.  They drowned in the typhoon and flood last September.  He also missed that but Tita is as happy because Tito is not into caring pets anymore (except for the stray cats, for now).  Church, by the way, is very much fine.  God placed new and very active people in the ministry.  At this time, Tito is planning to finish the building because he’s already big time green money holder.  Haha, not really but God is.  More than anything else, God never failed to bless what Tito Pat and Tita Shine have planted—hard work and labor of love.

And what’s more?  Good things keep flowing like God’s mercies to your fruits.  I can truly say, God has been working in us and will still continue doing so.  Faver, has never returned to his old lifestyle anymore.  He has been working so hard in assisting the Mission Work in Tacloban.  He’s been a lot more ‘kukuti’ than before.  Must I say, getting grumpy because of his gray hair?  Maybe, but he’s very much enjoying precious moments with his two cutie grandchildren.  Yes, Nay Ating, you missed the chance of knowing Skye.  She looks exactly like me, okay, prettier than me.  Lanky and so thin but is very sweet in anything.  I am pretty sure, though, that you miss Deirdre, not much with Paul anymore (he’s already big).  Have to tell you something, she hugged you for the last time when you were inside your coffin enjoying precious moments with Jesus already.  She made us cry for what she did.  Over the years, I have never forgotten that very instant.  Well, Maver can’t either.  Every November 25 (if you remember, that’s the day God carried you up), until this time, she’s always having fast heartbeats and her BP shoots up to 200 something.  I should say this, she missed you very much.  Oh, don’t be carried away now, she’s just fine.  Been busy with her Doctorate stuff and the good news—she will be graduating next week.  Finally, after all these years of hard work, too!  Okay, better keep that smile because Ivan finished his studies three years or four years now.  Currently, working as a Med Rep but sometimes can be so touchy with many things.  Oh, he’s not yet married, don’t worry might not be aiming at it this year.  Ate Sha has been up to many things, too.  Aside from work, she’s making good money in FarmTown and Farmville just like Mama Net.  She’s been to several countries already, of course, some were courtesy of Kuya Jordan.  The couple had been blessed with many good things in life.  So far, we are still expecting one child from them because it is not good to break the chain number in the family, is it?  Better tell them that, Nay Ating.  As for me, well, not much to tell but I have been to the Holy Land, two years ago, just right after you go.  I am one of the blessed people in the whole wide world for being able to see Israel.  But sad to say, I haven’t stayed for quite long.  It was regretful but life is like that, you will grow from your own experiences and from your own mistakes.  Please be patient with me Nay Ating, God is not finished with me yet.  And more so, we are still hoping and praying for the best to come.

Summing up, this has been the only chance I had in all my life to tell you many things around here.  More than anything else, we missed you so much for the many things you have sacrificed for each of us, for the many prayers you have knelt before God, for the many simple yet worthless gifts you have given us, for the laughter you have shared even in the dark shadows of our lives, for letting us grow in the church, for all the lessons you have taught us, for just being wonderful.  You were not that perfect as a grandmother but you were YOU.  You did all your very best and with that you deserve the best THANK YOU we could ever give.  We were not perfect also but for sure you have missed us all here.  We love you and I hope you knew that before you went for that trip to heaven.  We know, you’re in a much better place now – and everything there is perfect.  You might never have the chance anymore to taste a cup of ice cream and a cake for your birthday today (March20), we still would want to celebrate this day in remembrance of you.  We have never forgotten you Nanay Ating.  We look forward to seeing you in the rapture some sweet day!

With much love,

Tine/March 2010