The timing of our recent Philippine trip could not have been more perfect. We celebrated three birthdays - Javi's, my mother's and mine. My birthday wishes did come true.
Javi turned two. My mother is 65. I am 35.
I am brave enough to admit how old I am. I was teasing a friend that with the age comes courage. I have reached this point where I am just grateful that the Lord has blessed us so much. Oh, it has never been smooth sailing but I feel at peace.
My family is big on celebrating birthdays - or any special occasion. When my father was alive, we would even go out for Philippine Independence day. It usually was the time to check out all the good restaurants. As you may have known by now, we love to eat. And because of social media, I am more informed now of the newest and great restaurants.
For this year, there were no grand parties. Even my mother opted for an intimate celebration. I personally prefer intimate family time over parties.
The first birthday celebration was for Javi. Jed and I missed Filipino food that we picked Cafe Juanita for the occasion. Every Sunday at lunch, they serve buffet.
I was pleased to learn that Cafe Juanita is in a new location. I did love the new place. It is not as cramped as the old one.
|The new Cafe Juanita in Kapitolyo|
I did not have any photo of the buffet spread. I was too shy to take photos. Every single dish was so good. There was the best kare-kare, adobo, mechado. And my mother went for a second serving which is unusual for her as she would always opt for dessert.
|Happy 2nd birthday, Javi (who fell asleep)|
My mother turned 65. It is a monumental age. We wanted something special for her. She only deservs, Antonio's Restaurant in Tagaytay. It's the only Philippine restaurant who made it to The Miele Guide's Top 20 Restaurants in Asia. Dining in Antonio's is in my bucket list. And I gladly crossed it off for my mother's birthday.
|Happy birthday, Nanay|
|A fine dining experince|
|We all felt right at home|
|Lola did get her wish of spending it with Javi|
I seriously did not think I would get to spend my birthday in the Philippines. But as fate would have it, Jed was allowed to extend his leave because of the flood crisis in Thailand.
For my birthday, we traveled to Clark in Pampanga to dine at C'Italian Dining. I read a review which then convinced me to drag my family there for lunch. My siblings could not join us as they were on a trip to Japan then. Can't say they missed me on my birthday as they were on their dream trip.
|Their panizza is the best!|
|Another excellent dining experience|
|Happy birthday to me!|
I got another treat on the evening of my birthday. I met my high school friends for an intimate dinner at the House of Rubio prepared by my dearest Jo and organized by Aileen.
|Dinner at The House of Rubio|
Photo from Tammy Mendoza.
Apart from restaurants, we also love cakes.
|Our birthday cakes|
Happy. Blessed. Grateful.
I know it's because of these gatherings which makes me look forward to celebrating birthdays rather than dread that I am getting older.