OUR much-anticipated family holiday to Boracay started as a disaster. From our flight to Caticlan being cancelled, to our rebooked flight being delayed and from wasting an entire day in Boracay only to arrive to an overpriced hotel with very poor service, mediocre breakfast, and tired, dated rooms. Not to mention, clogged up drainage in the bathroom sink and shower!
Most of us were disappointed as we were planning this rare family reunion and holiday for almost an entire year. But we were not just going to let all that ruin our family vacation!
We started our day early the next day and spent lots of time in the beautiful white sand beach, under the summery sun in the middle of rainy July. We did helmet diving, parasailing, jet skiing, the works! The kids (my nieces and nephews) had so much fun. Even my mom and dad had such a great time.
This family reunion took months in planning. My sister Kovy already knew she could not come and join because of school and Jammer, my sister Marissa’s husband had to work. So, every moment we spent with the entire gang was bittersweet.
My older sister May’s boys are 9, 8, and 2 years old. My sister Marissa’s girls are 11 and 4. Everyone stayed in the house while they were here. So for almost an entire month, the house was filled with laughter, children crying, doors slamming, pizza deliveries, boxes here and there, opened suitcases, and toys scattered all over our living room and hallways that are normally so spic and span. We even did a family pictorial day at the house with photographer Lyndon Naya who was so great and very patient with the smaller kids.
There were dinners and lunches here and there, weekly trips back and forth to the airport, sometimes even twice in one day to pick up my sisters’ families going to Manila and back. Getting stuck in traffic both ways is no joke especially when you’re driving. I like the red eye flights. At least it’s a better drive to and from the airport.
I wrote this story on the eve of batch three’s departure back to the States. The next day was the last trip to the airport for this reunion. My sister May had to go back two weeks earlier than the rest. Her husband, kids, and mother-in-law left the same day. My sister Marissa and her two girls went back to the states a week ahead. A lot of tears were shed in those two trips.
I was exhausted but I couldn’t sleep. I wrote this story after an unofficial two-month hiatus from my column. I was very emotional, a foreshadowing of the separation anxiety that’s almost sure to kick in full blast the moment we come back home from the airport, to a house that will only be filled with deafening silence, clean and neatly arranged furniture, dust-free corners, and quiet corridors.
I am grateful for the time we got to spend together as a family — concept we siblings truly miss. When we were growing up, we ate meals together almost all of the time. We’d go to mass on Saturday nights and headed onto dinner after. We’d travel all together as a family. This reunion reminded us of that very feeling of belonging to a family, consisting of people who love you unconditionally with all your idiosyncrasies.
I will miss the chaos in the house, the hearty breakfasts with everyone gathered elbow to elbow at the kitchen service table. I will miss the kids waking me up early in the morning, only three hours after I had actually fallen asleep.
And I am truly grateful for the rare opportunity we have been afforded and look forward to creating many, many more memories as a family in the years to come. For now, at least we have the hundreds of pictures we’ve taken to remind us of the great ones we’ve made this time around.