Friday, March 31, 2006

Birthday Gifts!

Our boy got a package in the mail yesterday! Yup, we got the birthday gifts and cards. Thank you Lola Etts and Lolo Dadad! Thanks also to the Uncle and Aunt. As you can see, he's really happy about it.

Thursday, March 30, 2006


Originally uploaded by chazzvid.
He's so serious when he gets haircuts. He doesn't smile or anything. It's like he's observing every cut and every move the barber makes. Only afterwards does he smile...

Monday, March 27, 2006

Sports Day 2006

Last Friday was our daughter's first school sports day. Sports day is like our old intramurals at elementary school with lots of games and competitions for the school kids.

The school day was shifted to start in the afternoon so instead of bringing the kids to school in the morning, parents started bringing them to school after lunch at 12:30. A nearby community park called an oval was transformed to host different little games for all the school kids to participate in. The sun was burning down at 3:30 when we brought the little boy to the oval and waited with all the other parents there for the kids to start marching in. The forecast called for sunny and 34ºC but the school had this policy that if ever the temperature called for more than 34ºC the sports day would be cancelled. It never happened and the kids started to march into the oval a little before 4PM.

Our little girls reception class was divided into the different groups and we were told before hand that she was in the blue group that day. The different teams then settled themselves in the middle of the oval all excited and raring to go. The event started with a big war-cry or cheering contest as the different colour teams ( red, blue, green and gold ) did their best to out-cheer the others. It was a loud start to the games!

After the big cheering thing, all the classes then went off to different events like ball throwing, kicking, cricket batting and running. Scorers would take down points for every team colour and added it to the running tally. It was a bit hot but each child came prepared with their own drinking bottles and snacks and they all got to drink and rest between each game.

Our girl seemed to have fun doing all the throwing and kicking and it was great to see her in action. Of course, like all other parents, all we could do is shout encouragement and take pictures from the sidelines.

As the events wore on, the wife and I took turns with watching her and watching the boy in the shade. We sat down with friends and waited for the games to finish and scores to be tallied. In the end, the winning group was Gold and Blue, I think, came in second.

It was a fun and tiring day for everyone, least of all for our little athlete...

Enjoy the photos folks, click on them for a bigger version!

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Happy Anniversary

6 years ago today, I married my best friend and every day since then has been filled with the best days of my life.

Every day, I wake up the luckiest man on this world. Every night, I go to bed knowing that I've had the best day being a father to my kids and a husband and friend to my wife.

It's been a great journey so far, moving to a foreign land, finding our own way, making our own little dreams come true. Of course there's been challenges and everything's not always smooth sailing but every challenge we face, we face together. Every blessing we have we all enjoy as one family. I feel so lucky and blessed to have this life with my wife and kids and I won't trade it for the world.

Happy Anniversary, mahal. Looking forward to the rest of our lives together.

Sunday, March 19, 2006


Now that was exciting! Early this evening while I was putting the kids to bed, my wife hurriedly came to me and said that 2 firetrucks just arrived in front of our house. We took a look outside and wondered what it was all about.

I was fearing the worst and that maybe a neighbors house was already on fire but it didn't seem that it was anything of the sort. There definitely wasn't any smoke or flames. It didn't take long before one of the firetrucks drove away. One fireman was taking out an industrial fan and started setting it up in front of the door of our neighbor who lives across the street.

Looks like it may have been a cooking fire or something like that and I'm happy it wasn't anything more serious. I'd hate to think what would have happened if it was a full blown fire.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

State Elections 2006

Today, for the first time, I exercised my right to vote as an Australian citizen. It's the state elections for South Australia and voters now have their say on who will be governing the state for the next few years.

It's a weird feeling, voting in my adopted country. I have to admit I did feel some butterflies in my stomach when I walked in to the polling place today. For the first time I do feel like an Australian and no longer just a "resident". I have given my say on how this State is to be governed and how it would affect my family's future here. It's empowering and at the same time humbling.

I also can't help but compare how elections are different here than in the Philippines. For one thing, voting is compulsory. Once you are registered to vote, you are obliged to vote in every election. Otherwise, you get fined for it. I still have to understand why this is so but it does give emphasis to the fact that each and every citizen here has a voice.

Election campaigning, at least at the state level, took all of a month. It's not the circus that it is back in the Philippines. Candidates still put out ads and send out flyers and probably hold a meeting or two. But there's no wall to wall billboards, no overt celebrity campaigning, not even a ticker tape parade. After the election, candidates are also required to bring down all campaign posters within a few days.

The actual voting wasn't even a hassle. The polling place assigned to me already have the lists of voters for the area. All we needed to do was just show up and say our name and we got the voting sheets. The lines were pretty orderly and we didn't even have to show any ID. And no indelible ink!

The voting sheet was a first for me too. It's sometimes confusing for first time voters to fill out the voting sheet and the government has even come up with an information campaign to ensure that people get it right. I sure hope I did.

Anyway, so I got involved in the democratic process. It feels good to see it actually working. The results should be out in a day or two. That's faster than the time it takes the indelible ink to wash off.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

The Birthday Boy

Three years ago, a few weeks before I was due to give birth to my second child, I was in a constant worry and panic mode. I just had this gut feeling this baby was going to come out early. I was so concerned about who would look after then 2-yr old Bianca when this baby decides to come out!

Finally, my sister arrived and that very night I was taken to the hospital for much stronger and regular contractions. By the next morning, our little boy was born. At first, we could not decide what name to give him. But with the help of big sister Bianca, he was named NICO.

A year later, we have a very loud and active boy was crawling, standing and beginning to walk. He was also a picky eater, even refusing ever-reliable mashed banana! By the time he turned 2 yrs old, his cheeky personality was in full swing as he loved to smile and wink at all the pretty ladies! Also a very active boy who loved to climb and jump, especially the dining table.

Now, he's beginning to show another strong trait, that of being assertive. He knows what he wants, does everything in his power to get it and screams when he doesn't get it. If big sister had a chance to get the toy first, he will shout 'naughty!' and even attempt to give her a smack on the hand! Sharing is not one of his strong points. But on the flipside, he's also very eager to please us by his funny antics and most especially helping around the house (eg. cleaning windows, setting the table, fetching a few things, dressing and undressing himself). He also has this sense of order (eg. he won't begin another task without completing the previous one).

Now that Bianca is in school most of the day, I finally get the chance to spend time alone with him. I must admit, I'm really enjoying it! He's not a baby anymore, that leaves me with mixed feelings. It makes me so happy to see him develop physically, emotionally and mentally. But he's also growing more independent each day, pretty soon I know he won't be needing me as much and will be relying on others, and that makes me a little jealous. Funny, its like having a boyfriend you know you have to 'share' with others at some point in time. Oh well, I guess I will just have to make the most of the time that he is 'all mine'.


Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Our Day At the Festivals

Our People's Portrait

I've blogged about The People's Portait before and as promised, the whole family got our portrait taken! Our faces would have been seen in 10 feet high screens in New York, Seoul, Beijing and Austria!

Monday, March 13, 2006


It's the month of festivals here in Adelaide. I've already talked about the Festival of the Arts but there are several festivals and events going on in March that keeps the city buzzing. There's WOMADelaide, or World Music Adelaide, a festival of world music that brings in different musical performers from all over the world and they perform over 3 days at the Adelaide Botanical Gardens. There's the Adelaide Cup Carnival, which is Adelaide's version of the Melbourne Cup. There's the Clipsal 500, the premier V8 car race and car festival. There's even the Adelaide International Buskers Festival!

And there's also the Fringe Festival. The fringe is a little bit hard to describe but in a nutshell, it started as an alternative to the Adelaide Festival of the Arts, wherein smaller scale performers, and to a greater extent, comics and alternative entertainment acts get a chance to show their stuff.

Today we took the kids out to enjoy some of goings on in the city. There was a free family day at the Fringe festival and we were determined to take advantage of it. The family day had lots of stuff and it was different from the usual sort of carnival stuff on offer. There was aboriginal story telling, kite making, world music and drum beating. There was supposed to be a lot more stuff advertised but I guess were just to early for them. The girl was a bit disappointed because she was expecting carnival games and stuff but we hopped over to nearest playground and they had a bit more fun there.

We then went over to "The Garden of Unearthly Delights" which is another Fringe Festival venue and we wandered around a bit. The Garden is another collection of artists and performance venues with a carnival like atmosphere. There are carnival shows, performances all throughout the Fringe Festival held here. There wasn't too much there for little kids to do so we were content to just look around and take photos.

We then walked up Rundle Street which had some of the street performers or "buskers" doing their shows for the International Buskers Festival. This time the kids got into some of the clowns and jugglers. We even had a chance to be part of art! Yup, we got our picture taken for the People's Portrait! Then we took the free Adelaide City bus and ended up in Chinatown for lunch. We then took the bus back to where we parked our car and ended our Festival sojourn!

Adelaide does know how to put on a festival and there quite a lot of interesting shows that would have been great to attend. But I guess at this stage, the kids are just too young to enjoy a lot of them. However, the organizers should recognize the market they have in families. When we went out to the Family Day at the Fringe, it was virtually pram city! There should be more of these family friendly events in the future because I'm pretty sure they would be guaranteed hits.

P.S. Photos to follow... :)

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Don't Like It!

The boy has developed this annoying habit of expressing his dislike of things. He's learned to say, rather, shout: "Don't Like It!".

He sometimes gets like this when we try to give him a bath or feed him dinner or change his clothes. When he's not in the mood he would just go "Don't Like It!". Of course he pretends that's the end of it but as parents, our goal has ever been to be persistent.

So despite the screams of protestations, the repeated shouts of "Don't Like It!" , he still finds himself fed, clean and fully clothed in the end. Of course, this effort then leaves his poor parents frazzled, drained and driven almost insane!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Cricket Worries

Every other day is a sports day in our girl's school. She seemed hesitant to go today and when we asked her why she said that she wasn't too good at cricket. She said that her sports teacher was trying to teach the kids to bat and she couldn't get comfortable with it to hit the ball properly. We explained to her that it was quite normal not to be good at things at the start but with constant practice, she would be able to hit the ball with ease. I even had to explain that I myself don't know how to play cricket and I promised her that we'd go out this weekend to buy a cricket set so she could practice at home.

Anyway, when I got home today she was all smiles and told me that she was able to bat the ball all by herself. I'm so glad she got over her apprehensions. I think it's always good to encourage kids in what they do no matter how small the task they face. They look for guidance and recognition a lot and I think it just builds their self-confidence if we keep at it.

Our kid is such a worry wart sometimes. It takes a while to re-assure her of things that seem trivial to us which to her, it's probably the most important thing in the world.

At any rate, can you imagine how aussiefied our kids are becoming! It's all about the cricket now. I should really try and get to understand that game some more because at the rate it's going, my kids might be the ones to teach me a thing or two about it. :)

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Kid Funnies Part 9

The girl told us today that she didn't want to grow up. When we ask her why, she said, "Because when I grow up, I have to get married!"

If she remains single for as long as she can it works for me. :D

Monday, March 06, 2006

Playing Dress Up

Some time ago, the kids' aunt in the Philippines sent over some Philippine costumes for them. Last Sunday was the first time we actually got the kids to wear them. We had a lot of fun having them putting the costumes on and playing dress up!

Larger version on our Flickr page here

Friday, March 03, 2006

Adelaide Festival of the Arts

Over the next two weeks Adelaide will once again host the Festival of the Arts. This state wide festival happens every two years as the city is once again host to a variety of various events like musicals, art shows, opera, theatre, among other things.

To note this year is the world premier of David Byrne's musical about our infamous first lady, Imelda Marcos. Here Lies Love has music by Fat Boy Slim and songs and lyrics by David Byrne and it will probably be as eclectic as it sounds. I'd be interested to go but the ticket prices are a bit expensive.
Here Lies Love - A Song Cycle deals with the life of Imelda Marcos, co-ruler of the Philippines in the 70s and 80s, as well as the life of Estrella Cumpas, the woman who raised her.

Through a series of songs written by David Byrne, with musical tracks supplied by Fatboy Slim (Norman Cook), Here Lies Love - A Song Cycle, presents Imelda Marcos meditating on events in her life - from her childhood spent in poverty and her rise to power to her ultimate departure from the palace. In particular, the production will look at the relationship between Imelda and a servant from her childhood, Estrella Cumpas, who appeared at key moments in Imelda's life. Here Lies Love - A Song Cycle also incorporates video sequences and archival footage.

A live band will perform the songs, sung by Byrne, Diaz-Tutaan and Suthivarakom, with Byrne adding spoken commentary. A bar in the theatre will be open throughout the performance.

And speaking of Imelda, Ramona Diaz's film about the first lady will be on show at the Festival as well.

Few contemporary political figures have been as controversial and outspoken- even misunderstood-as Imelda Marcos, the former Philippines First Lady. Filmmaker Ramona Diaz's compelling and provocative film, Imelda, marks the first time that Imelda Marcos has agreed to tell her story.

This feature documentary details Imelda's controversial rise from humble origins, through astuteness, ambition and beauty, to become one of the richest and most powerful women in contemporary world history.
Mrs Marcos sought to stop the showing of the film in
The Philippines, but failed.

Another thing that was on was a visual arts installation called The People's Portrait. I saw this in Rundle Mall while I was walking on my lunch break It consists of a large video screen and a camera in the middle of the mall which is linked with several other video screens and cameras throughout the world.

On opening night the Festival lights up with The Peoples' Portrait, the cornerstone of a Festival-wide lighting and projection experience.

Transmitted in real time between video walls in Adelaide, New York and other international locations, The Peoples' Portrait captures faces from across the world in an instantaneous, collective and truly global portraiture project.

Passers-by from downtown Adelaide or Times Square, New York take a snapshot in a kiosk and within seconds the image is displayed on the big screen among portraits captured from global locations.

Investigating the aesthetics of portraiture in the age of globalisation and the internet, Chinese-American media artist Zhang Ga creates a transfixing visual representation of our world.

Conceptualised and produced by Zhang Ga

Needless to say I tried to have my portrait taken but a line had already formed. Maybe next time.


Since we've come and lived in Adelaide, this is the 3rd Festival that we've had and to be perfectly honest, we've never really gone out and tried to watch any of the shows. It's pretty difficult to find something the whole family enjoys. And even if we want to watch some more grown-up fare, it's hard to work it around our around childcare and school schedules.

That's why the wife and I enjoy those hours we get to spend together kid free as they come few and far between. That's the way it is down here, without yayas or grandparents or uncle and aunts to help with the kids and it's really up to us. Not that we're complaing ( ok, ok sometimes! ) but I think there's just so many advantages to being so hands on with our kids. I hope it shows though now that both of them seem to be doing well.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Ash Wedensday

Just like our good friend Doms, my wife and I were able to attend Ash Wednesday mass today. It was another day off for us as the kids were either in school or in daycare. It was pretty strange not having to go to church with them because we were able to concentrate solely on the mass. Our normal church routines consist of making sure the kids behave, keeping them distracted or pacifying them at the same time trying to hear what priest is saying! All in all a harried experience.

Some churches here actually recognise the hassle parents of little kids have to go through and that they actually have a 'quiet room' near the back of the church with toys to keep kids occupied while the mass is going on. Of course, this isn't exactly full proof as it's mostly there to keep the kids noises away from the other parishoners. We parents still have to deal with the tantrums and what not without the din disturbing the other church goers.

Anyway, the wife and I found ourselves child free in church for the first time in a long while. We went to hear mass at the cathedral in the city. We've been there several times before but always with the kids. This time, we were able to actually get to sit through all of it! The morning mass wasn't even full so we were able to actually hear the sermon but a lady came in late and asked if she could have some of my wife's ashes from her forehead!

Adelaide is known as the city of churches. It seems like every corner block has a church of some faith ( Anglican, Uniting, Protestant etc ) but Adelaide ( and probably all of Australia ) doesn't have a large Catholic population. There's only one Catholic church in the city and masses are few and far between. Unlike the Philippines where it's every hour on the hour ( usually ).

There were only 4 masses today and at first I was a bit sad to see a poor turnout for an Ash Wednesday mass but then I heard that the noon time mass was widely attended so I hope Catholicism is still alive and well in Adelaide.