Christmas : A Different Sort of Normal

Christmas is very different in different parts of the world. The Hollywood version is all snow, Christmas trees and baubles. But if you happen to live somewhere where it doesn’t snow, and where it isn’t dark all the time, that tinselly, Tinsel Town version of the Christmas holidays can start to feel a bit odd.

It got me wondering. I mean, we do the Christmas holidays like we always do and that’s what “normal” means to us. But everybody’s normal is different, right? So what is normal on Christmas morning in New York or in England is probably a million miles away from what it is in Makati.

The essence of it for me, though, for all the material presents that we give each other – is a celebration of all the blessings that God has given us, and a chance to spend time with family members. I don’t want to get all serious on your Christmas, but that is what everybody has in common at this time of year – right?


by Ron Cogswell

It made me think. What do other people actually do over the holidays? We all lead such busy lives it’s kind of hard to know what to do with big chunks of time. I know I’m going to spend mine – mostly just soaking up the atmosphere of home – like they say, there really is no place like home. Great food, a lifetime’s worth of happy memories and a whole explosion of feel good. Bliss!

In Australia they all head for the beach. It’s about as far as you can get from that Hollywood version of deep white snow, big coats and scarves. Sun cream and Christmas go together for some people like Tonkatsu and cheese.

In the UK they all head out and go to sports events. Even though the temperature is freezing cold and the weather is wet and windy, they head out in their millions to go and stand around watching football matches, or lapping up the thrills of the horse racing, or they take in some other weird and whacky spectacle.

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Love Letters

Call me sentimental, but I have kept love letters/emails I received from ex-boyfriends, suitors and friends. There’s something about a person pouring his or heart out in a letter, that’s why I value it so much. This is also why I love writing love letters.

What happened to romance and long love letters

One of the things I deeply miss is receiving love letters. With the advent of social networking sites like Facebook and chat apps like Viber, people have become lazy. They now post publicly on their Facebook profile walls to confess or express their love for someone. They take photos together and share them on their Instagram or Facebook accounts. To be honest, I don’t find it romantic at all. I prefer the kind of affection that is for my eyes, heart and mind only.

I was going through these 23 simple love notes on Buzzfeed and I couldn’t help but tear up a little. I have not received a love letter since my last serious relationship that ended back in 2010. All I have are a few flirty texts because most of the ones I received, I have already deleted after I stopped dating the senders.

I miss writing love letters. I’m good at it. I’m better at expressing my true feelings in writing. And I miss penning words of love to someone who I truly, madly, deeply love. And it’s one of my signs or indications that I am in love with someone – if I get this desire to write him a love letter.

true that!

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I’m No Plain Ol’ Housewife!

I have little respect for men who think women should be plain ol’ housewives. Wait, let me rephrase that. I am disgusted by men who think women, after getting married, should stay at home, take care of the kids, cook dinner for her husband, and be a full-on stay-at-home mom. Now, I don’t mean any disrespect towards women who CHOSE to stay at home for their kids because I am impressed by all their hard work. However, having a nanay who took care of my bro and I while keeping an 8-5 job, I am amazed by women like her who were able to attain work-family life balance.

The thing is, I’ve met many men who are intimidated by women who have a career and a strong desire to succeed in their lives, so they push this ideology that women are supposed to stay at home and be a housewife. Are you fucking kidding me? Are we in the 60s?!

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I moved to Makati last July when I decided I want to work in an office again. The moving part was not an easy decision since I’ve gotten used to the convenience of working at home. The only time I lived away from my Nanay was back when I was still in a relationship that led me to live in Cebu for a year. Back then, it was difficult, and though Makati is just a few hours of commute away from Malabon, I still get homesick from time to time.

The holiday season is coming up, and I’ve got a long vacation ahead of me. I got all excited last night realizing all the things I get to do again… things I enjoyed when I was still living in Malabon. And it inspired me to write this post – a list of things I miss, living with my nanay back in our home in Malabon… and I plan to make up for the 5 months I was away.


1. Nanay knocking on my door multiple times at night just to talk to me, find out how I’m doing, or just hang out.

Yeah, I have to admit that there are days that I hated it when she’ll come knocking and disturb me from what I’m doing (which is, most of the time, important). She still calls us here at the condo almost every night to see how we’re doing, just a quick call to hear our voices. And there are times when it still irritates me, especially when I need to do work at home.

But to be honest, I miss it. Not super miss, but it’s one of the things I love about her. No matter how much we call her off for disturbing us so much, she’ll continue to do it ’cause she just can’t resist. She loves us that much. So I can only imagine how sad she gets now when we tell her we’re busy when she calls, and we need to hang up now. *sigh*


2. Marcel running around like a crazy ass dog. 😀

After hours of not seeing us ’cause we’re stuck in our room ’cause of work, almost every morning, Marcel will excitedly run all around our home like a crazy dog. Hahaha! I dunno what his purpose is for doing that, but I guess he loves that we laugh so fricking hard when he does it. 😀 Damn, I miss Marcel. 😀

  Gwapo mo naman… can I take you home?! 😉 Waaahh iiwan na naman namin sya!! :((   A photo posted by Mhel Ignacio (@blankpixels) on


3. All the delicious food in Malabon!

I don’t fricking care if I gain back all the weight I lost the past few months when we spend the holidays in Malabon. I fricking miss all the food in Malabon! The takoyaki from Ozen, the flavorful tapa from Cocina Luna, the comfort food from Sunrise Stretch, and, of course, our nanay’s cooking! GOSH.


4. Mid/night snacking with our nanay.

This is what I super enjoy doing with my nanay and bro. Whenever we feel hungry or we have this craving at night, my bro and I will wake up our nanay late at night just to ask if she wants to join us and eat at Ozen or Sunrise Stretch. And since she’s usually hungry too, she’ll hurriedly prepare to join us. 😀

Love how my hair turned out after my 2nd hair dyeing session with nanay ^_^ I was scared to bleach it kasi :)) A photo posted by Mhel Ignacio (@blankpixels) on


5. Just knowing my nanay’s closeby.

Yeah, I super miss this. I don’t think I’ll ever stop needing her. I love the comfort it gives me knowing she’s near me – safe and sound. And I love the comfort only a nanay like her can give. You don’t have to worry about your meals – she enjoys fattening us up then telling us we need to lose weight afterwards. 😀

She also seems to always know what to do with whatever trouble you’re in. She’s always helped us financially, and I wish and hope to repay that in the very near future.


6. The feeling of being HOME.

Although my bro and I have been comfortably living here in our condo in Makati (which we’re only renting, btw), it doesn’t feel like home yet. I don’t think it will ever feel like home until I know my nanay officially lives with us.

I love the security our home in Malabon gives me. Sure, there are many things I would change. Then I realize we’re one of the lucky families who don’t have to worry about having a roof above our heads. We own that home. No matter what happens, we can always go back there. And there’s a great amount of security knowing that. 🙂


I’ll be spending almost 2 weeks there, and I can’t wait! I’m sure it’ll help rejuvenate my spirits after a hectic last few months at work. 🙂

The Need To Be Selfish

People who know me will tell you I’m pretty generous and selfless majority of the time. And it’s starting to take a toll on me because I’m realizing people around me don’t care that I do so much for them.

Selfish may be a good thing

I hate feeling helpless. I fucking hate when I feel like I’m begging for something that I have gladly given to the other person many times over in the past. Yeah, I am sick of ungrateful people. I’m tired of being the giver majority of the time. It’s time for me to be selfish.

No, I mean the good selfish. Still giving but not to a point where there’s nothing left for me. If I know the other person won’t do something above and beyond for me, I’ll have to seriously think about stepping up for them.

no is a complete sentence

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