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"My Family's 2010 Vacation in Mindanao, Philippines"

The Homecoming - Part 1

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One thing that I have been missing so much since I started to get regular tv assignments is the luxury of spending my vacation in my hometown. In 2009, we still had tapings for “May Bukas Pa” days before and after christmas. As a certified Homing Bird, I promised myself that after that show, I will spend 2010 christmas in my hometown in Tubay, Agusan del Norte!

God in all His wisdom, guided me as I started to plan for that long overdue family vacation. After “May Bukas Pa”, the rest of my 2010 was blessed with more tv projects. I was tapped to be in the cast of “Lumang Piso Para Sa Puso” of the “My Precious Hearts Romances Series” as Mayor Gasti. That episode with Kristine Hermosa and Oyo Sotto was taped in March and April. Then I got small but memorable bit roles for Agua Bendita and Momay. Since May, I was in the cast of Rosalka as the lawyer of Cecille Dimaano (played by Mickey Ferriols). While tapings for “Rosalka” continued, sometime in June, a staff of ABS-CBN informed that I will be in the cast “Green Rose”. I also did an indie film titled “Will of the Heart” where I played a rich haciendero and grand father of Blue de Deon who is paired with Roxanne Barcelo in the lead. Despite of these, I was still determined to go home on christmas.

As early as June, I was in Mc Donald (the branch fronting the Asian Institute of Management), while I was waiting for my class in the Trust Operations Course that I made up my mind to start on-line booking for our 2010 trip to Mindanao. A few days later, I got a call from my sister Dr. Myrna S. Motoomull that her eldest daughter Kanna was getting married with Winston G. Idulsa on 18 December in Cagayan de Oro City. I told myself, this will mark as the reckoning date of our vacation. I planned to get a ticket for a Manila to Cagayan de Oro flight on 18 December. For our return trip,it will be on 28 December. This decision was arrived at after considering that I have tapings for Green Rose, my family always make it a point to spend the New Year's eve in our home in Bulacan, and most importantly it will be my sister Myrna's birthday on December 27.

I had already received flight confirmation from PAL on those dates when the course timetable for my class in Trust Operations was announced: we will have an exam on 18th December, the date of our flight to Cagayan de Oro! Since the flight to Cagayan de Oro was at 6:00 am and the exam was at 9:00 am, I immediately got a new booking for an afternoon flight. However, Kanna's wedding was at 3:00 pm, so told myself chances are I will be able at least be able to catch the reception! But, as God would intervened, I already had a new ticket for an afternoon flight when it was announced in class that the exam was moved to 11 December and there will be no more class on the 18th!

I informed our Green Rose Associate Producer Joy Mangilit-Tarce and our Production Assistant - Queenie Quiro our of my vacation schedules. In fact, in the same manner, I informed them of my three-day trip Ho-Chi Minh City in Vietnam with my wife last November. Luckily, there was no taping for me while we were in Vietnam.

The SSS Christmas party was held on the 17th of December, so I made it a point to go home early despite of the party since we have to wake up early to catch the 6:00 am flight to Cagayan de Oro. I was able to request my eldest daughter – Kira to take us to the airport. Joining me for the flight was my wife and our youngest daughter Purita Angela.

Since for the past several years the cheap fare promos of Cebu Pacific had magnetized me to travel with them, the PAL flight we took was a relief from the usual very ordinary Cebu Pacific flights. For one, the cabin crew was so classy: their features (face value, height, physique) and enhanced with their classic uniform was a breed several levels higher than their short pants-wearing Cebu Pacific counterparts. Another thing, while the Cebu Pacific girls became notorious with their dance rendition of the flight safety features, the PAL crew remained seated as the overhead tv monitors showed a video presentation of the flight safety features. Finally, while the Cebu Pacific girls are known for the skills in selling junk foods produced by a subsidiary of Cebu Pacific – the Universal Robina Corporation, the PAL crew serves free coffee/water with cookies and peanuts!

My sister Myrna gave us a free hotel accommodation in Country Village Hotel which was also the venue for the wedding reception. The wedding was in a way a reunion with my siblings- our eldest sister Ely, another sister Atty. Dorothy S. Cajayon and my brother Riki also attended the wedding. There was no time to take a beauty rest since the whole morning was bonding moments with my siblings and my nieces and nephews. We had an assigned service van to shuttle us from the hotel to the St. Augustine Metropolitan Cathedral in Cagayan de Oro City which was the venue of Kanna's marriage to Awing which was officiated by Archbishop Antonio J. Ledesma, S.J.; D.D.

The line up of the wedding sponsors was headed by no less than Gingo-og City Mayor Ruth L Guingona and my auntie – Trinidad Ong Oh Go. My auntie Trining was with my uncle Gonzalo Go who was recently elected as Barangay Chairman in their barangay in Cagayan de Oro Cty.

During the reception, my sister Dorothy and myself acted as the emcees. The reception lasted till almost midnight. There were pure fun and merriment typical of a filipino wedding!

Early the following morning, we joined my auntie Trining in their Hi-Ace Van to Cabadbaran, Agusan del Norte. We have to catch the lunch banquet for the birthday celebration of another auntie Concepcion (Nita) Ong Oh Chu Te. We arrived at the beach house of my cousin Ruby and Louie Libarios in Tolosa, Cabadbaran, Agusan del Norte. Again, it was a family reunion and more bonding time spiced with anecdotes, story-telling and children talent presentation. My cousin Grace Chu Te who created my website was home on vacation from Australia.

At 4:00 pm, my uncle Boy Ong Oh offered his Toyota Fortuner to take us to our home in Tubay, Agusan del Norte. Finally, an hour later, we we settled in my own home, sweet home!

(to be continued in four installments)

Posted by E. Sandalo 01:31 Archived in Philippines Tagged del mindanao norte tubay agusan

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