Thinking about Nanay Ising

My chest is tight, and my head is spinning. My heart feels like Manny Pacquiao’s punching bag after an intense workout. Beaten. Deflated. Achey. Heavy. It has been hard to let the breath into my chest since my grandmother passed away almost two weeks ago, but my will to live apparently is stronger than this sadness. Ever since I got back from Manila, I have felt like my heart has a story to tell. I wrote most of the post below in the middle of the 9-day mourning ritual, and now is an appropriate time to expand upon and share it. Hopefully my heart can feel slightly lighter.

Nanay Ising at her 80th Birthday
Nanay Ising at her 80th Birthday

I’m sad I didn’t spend more time with my grandmother, or as we affectionately called her: “Nanay,â€� which is slang for “mother.â€� She never liked being called “lolaâ€� which is Tagalog for “grandmother.â€� The most memorable moments I have with Nanay occurred in spurts and bursts of concentrated Nanay time. From ages one to three we lived almost next door to Nanay in the little village of Punturin, and I remember such fun times as getting stomach worms and Nanay applying some crazy herbal remedies to help me get rid of them. There were also the joyous disciplinary measures that she took with me and my brother — my aunts and uncles like to remind me that we were quite mischievous little ones, and as you can see, Nanay’s (and my parents’) methods worked.

There was also the month when our parents traveled to Australia, and Nanay took care of us — we were living in Hong Kong at the time, and we were still very young, so I don’t remember much. One of my aunts, however, reminded me that when Nanay would look after my brother Francis, my sister Rachel and me, it’s almost like she stowed us away in little pockets on her body. My brother was cradled on her right arm, while she fed me a bottle snuggled up to her left arm, and she used her foot to rock my sister’s cradle on the ground. I’m sure it took a tough woman to deal with us when we were awake.

After we moved to the states in 1990, our interaction with Nanay (and the rest of our extended family) significantly decreased. We couldn’t leave the country since we didn’t have green cards for almost 13 years, but Nanay visited us once in 2003 for 6 months. She stayed in Las Vegas with my parents while I was finishing up school at USC. Even then, I didn’t get a chance to see or spend too much time with her because I was a few hundred miles away, and we always had a language barrier. Although my Tagalog comprehension was fairly strong, my speaking abilities were almost naught. Nanay was almost the same way except with English. Despite the language barrier and the scarcity of our time together, I cared deeply for her and I know she cared for me and my siblings as well, particularly because my brother, sister and I were her first grandchildren.

When the opportunity arose to celebrate her 80th birthday with her in the Philippines in June 2009, I just knew that I had to do it. Partially, I wanted to make up for all of the lost time since our immigration to the US. Since I didn’t grow up with Nanay, I didn’t get a chance to ask her all of the questions about our family history. I never got the opportunity to hear stories that a grandmother would share during the holidays or while cooking dinner or while cleaning the house. I yearned to grasp where I came from and on whose shoulders I truly stood. I finally got that opportunity during the summer of 2009, armed with pen, paper, and a video camera to capture all of the impromptu and non-impromptu storytelling sessions. I wanted so badly to capture as much of it as possible so I could get an idea of my own ancestry.

What I found out was at once shocking, telling, and also obvious. Listening to Nanay was like watching a really good Tetris player expertly placing the blocks so that they fit together to tell a full and complete story. I don’t have the time here to talk extensively about her story and her childrens’ stories, but I am sure that I’ll compile that all sometime in the future either in the form of a book or a video (since I captured a lot of her storytelling on video).

I do want to share that the way she is now makes so much sense because of how she grew up and where she came from. From an early age Nanay was forced to grow up. Because her mother died of pneumonia when she was four years old and her father remarried when she was 14, she realized she had to fend for herself and grow up in the process. I believe her highest education was elementary school, and in her teens, she started a fabric business in Divisoria — a once popular shopping destination in Manila (nowadays it’s most notably and perhaps notoriously known for being a bargain-hunter’s dream for knock-off Louis Vuittons). She continued the fabric business, selling diligently and tirelessly for days to make ends meet, and when she met her husband, our Lolo Jose, they joined forces. He became the business’ spokesperson, while she remained the brains and the energy behind it. Through the years she continued her entrepreneurial ventures by running a pig farm and transforming their land to rentable apartments and commercial retail stores.

She was resourceful, not wasteful, and lived in relative austerity. After her burial, the entire family went to her house, and I got the chance to see her bedroom. It was almost exactly the same as it had been when I was a child — the bed, her clothes, the decorations, the rosaries, the smell were all the same. The walls were starkly decorated, and everything was orderly and in its place, from her dresses to her shoes, to the extra plastic bags that she liked to keep tucked between her mattress and the boxspring. She, apparently, liked it that way — plain, simple, and uncluttered. She refused to accept new clothes and new furniture and always said that it was a waste.

Family at Nanays Birthday
Family at Nanay's Birthday

Her priorities were not on material goods, money, or other superficial things. She was relentless in her pursuit of a better life for her family, and when her children had children, that spirit easily translated to making sure their families were taken care of as well. But her love and care of people extended well beyond our own family. Her tenants, neighbors and fellow villagers easily regarded her as an important, influential and caring matriarch of the community. While she was living with us in Las Vegas for six months, my parents told me that they could tell she was homesick, not for her worldly possessions (she barely had any), but because of the community that she created in Punturin. She missed her friends, her neighbors, her people.

It was no surprise then to see and meet many of the people that she considered her extended family at her 80th birthday celebration. The Pavilion was packed with people who loved and wanted to celebrate her. She spoke equally kindly and compassionately to her children and grandchildren than she did to the neighbors’ children that she has seen grow up. Thinking about it now, it made me proud to know that I come from this woman. Her relentless work ethic, thoughtfulness, community-building, entrepreneurial spirit, and caring nature are inspiring. I strive to embody those traits as gracefully and beautifully as she did, while also building a life and family that clearly exemplifies love and selflessness.

I loved hearing her old stories because it made me realize the importance of my roots, while realizing that this is but one step in our entire lineage. Because my grandmother worked so hard to build up her family, my father and each one of his siblings had the opportunity to go to college in the Philippines — a feat that Nanay was never able to complete. Because my father and mother went to college, they were able to take a leap and immigrate to the US. And because of that courageous and fateful move, I was afforded the opportunity for a high quality American college education. Imagine what my children will be able to do, if only three generations ago I came from humble farmers and cloth merchants. The certainty and excitement about how the course of our family’s future has been positively affected is astounding to me. I don’t know if my grandmother ever dreamed that her children and grandchildren would be where they are now, but I do know that I am continually striving for educational excellence and seeking to ensure that educational opportunities are available for all children simply because I want to do what my parents and my grandparents did for me. Just like she made a critical choice to work hard and escape poverty, I am choosing to alter the course of the lives of generations of children.

I am at this critical inflection point because of my grandmother’s choices. I hope to never take that for granted.

As I held her hand one last time on January 28, 2010, I felt her warmth, courage, fighting spirit, faith in God, and love. Although she couldn’t speak, the love permeated through the dimly lit hospital room in Manila. Her hands were calloused, and her legs, although immobile, will never be a cause of pain for her again. As I looked around the room at the teary eyes of her children and grandchildren, I knew that although it was a devastatingly sad time, the beautiful works of her life — her children, her community, and her family — outweighed the sadness.

I miss you incredibly, Nanay. There’s no doubt about that. I thank you so much for how you have built our family and how you have catapulted each and every one of us to be the best people we can be.

For that we are eternally grateful.

Rest in Peace, Nanay Cresencia “Ising� Faustino.

Faustino Family at Michaels Wedding in Sydney
Faustino Family at Michael's Wedding in Sydney

First attempt at writing a song

Since one of my goals for 2010 was to write a song, I thought I’d give it a shot on this lovely / gloomy San Francisco day.

Loving Space

Here are the full lyrics for “Loving Space”:

I just wish I could do something for you
But I know I can’t
The delusions of a warm embrace
The instant fire when my lips touch your face
It’s attachment
Emotion, packed, spirits, love

I flew 10,000 miles, all the while
Trying to give you loving space
Through distance and time
I thought our love would climb
Instead, I saw clearly

You were in pieces, shattered and scattered
But I didn’t care
The hope that we could be forever
Without being together, no matter
We deserve better than

I flew 10,000 miles, all the while
Trying to give you loving space
Through distance and time
I thought our love would climb
Instead, I saw clearly
Take it easy
Baby can you see me
Take it easy
Can you see me

Even in your darkest place
You could count on my loving space
I would climb down those trenches
Brace the defenses
But I realized I love me more

I flew 10,000 miles, all the while
Trying to give you loving space
Through distance and time
I thought our love would climb
Instead, I saw clearly
Take it easy
Baby can you see me
Take it easy
Can you even see me?

I flew 10,000 miles, all the while
I’ll give you loving space

New Years Goals 2010

Leap & Land

2010 is the year of leaping into the unknown and landing into the next great challenge. It’s about taking risks, following your heart, listening to the universe, and opening your eyes to the signs that are guiding you to the next level. I don’t think 2010 is going to be easy.

I think 2010 is going to be a very practical year–a year of rolling up our sleeves and getting things done. If you think of 2009 as the year of preparation, then 2010 is the year of action. And we all know that sometimes it’s not easy to take action. Fear, self-doubt, and distractions will get in the way. But whatever is in store for us in 2010, know that we were born to be there and to take them on.

So I propose that we all take a leap this year. Leave procrastination and fear back in 2009. Do something that you may have been too afraid to do or that you’ve been putting off. Open up your options, make some positive choices, and do something for yourself. Take a leap, and I promise you that you’ll land somewhere amazing.

Alex gave me the "Passion" Angel Card for 2010, and I think it's appropriate

As I do every year during my reflection time, I started by re-examining my goals and values from last year and then brainstorming new goals that fit with my revised personal values. I did not change my personal values at all and have created 10 new goals for 2010.

Personal Values

  • Challenging Adventures – I live for new and challenging experiences, whether that’s professionally or personally, with others or in another country. The thrill of adventure stimulates my soul.
  • Contribution to the World – I live to make lasting, positive impacts on society’s most pressing problems.
  • Expressing Creativity – Being able to express myself artistically, musically or professionally keeps me inspired.
  • Lifelong Learning – I love to learn. I am energized by the steady and deliberate journey from ignorance to competence to mastery.
  • Quality – I choose to live a full and quality life, which is neither excessive nor is it below my standards of excellence.
  • Family & Friends – Above all, my life is about the people I choose to journey with. They are my heart.

New Years Goals 2010

  1. Go on a spiritual journey
  2. Take a GIGANTIC risk
  3. Get more involved and make a positive impact in the gay community by doing some gay rights advocacy work
  4. Learn how to write music and then write a song
  5. Build something with my hands
  6. Continue improving my Tagalog comprehension and speaking skills
  7. Deepen my spiritual practice (yoga, Catholicism)
  8. Read at least 8 new books
  9. Connect with my international relatives at least once a month
  10. Continue spending time with family members

It’s going to be a phenomenal year, and I can’t wait to face it head on. So here’s to leaping and landing into all of the goodness in store for 2010!

End of the Year Check-in 2009

The goal is just a blip. I was reminded about that at yoga. When you master your mind you’ll realize the pose (e.g. your goal) doesn’t matter. Getting fixated on a goal closes our minds to all other possibilities of surpassing that small blip (the goal). Dropping the fixation lets us move through the world with greater ease, and gives us a better capacity to help others. Goals are useful, but they’re not the end-all and be-all.

2009 was my year of the Epic Journey. There were so many blessings this year that that acted like a domino effect. When one door opened, yet another window opened. It was a journey into receiving a ton of love from the universe and from God. It was sometimes heart-wrenching, other times incredibly joyful, but through it all, I definitely felt loved and gave love. I deepened friendships to levels that I didn’t know existed, and I formed family bonds that I only dreamed of. In a word, 2009 was a blessing. Here’s a quick run down of the events:

  • Getting my citizenship!!!
  • Lots of traveling! Two trips to Chicago, two trips to DC, two trips to Vegas, and two trips to LA
  • Epic trip to the Philippines with my brother
  • Grandmother’s 80th birthday in the Philippines
  • Cousins bonding trip to Bohol Island
  • Amazing trip to Australia
  • Cousin Michael’s Wedding in Sydney
  • Karla’s wedding to herself in DC
  • Rap directing at USC again with Salina and UC Merced with Danny
  • GLAAD Media Awards with Jim Freeman and Professor Ben (Robert Gant) from Queer as Folk
  • Intimate 10 Year High School Reunion with JARK
  • Natasha’s Trojan Wedding
  • Singing in a trio at SFGMC’s Home for the Holidays concert on my birthday!
  • Attending Memorial services for Michael Jackson and old high school teacher, Ms. Van Hunnick

Here’s my annual update on New Years Goals from 2009:

  1. Spend more time with family membersAbsolutely, yes!
  2. Improve my Tagalog comprehension and speaking abilities so that I can hold a conversation with my grandmotherYes!
  3. Get more involved and make a positive impact in the gay community by doing gay rights advocacy workNo, this was one of the goals that I wish I wanted to do, but sadly just didn’t commit to.
  4. Improve my singing abilities and sing a solo at a concertYes, sort of. At SFGMC’s Holiday Concert, I sang in a trio.
  5. Do relief work in a developing countryNo, another one of those timing things.
  6. Fall in love and be in a committed, loving relationshipSort of. Definitely was heartbroken.
  7. Strengthen myself spiritually, mentally, and physically by practicing yoga more deeply and seriouslyYes! I practiced almost 3 times a week

Out of my eight goals, I accomplished about six of them. Again, I realized this year that I did not focus so much on the actual goals, but the journey that I took. And what a journey it has been. Any year where I spend more than 25% of it on a sabbatical, live 2 out of 12 months out of the country, and get my American citizenship after 19 years is automatically an awesome year… probably one of the best ever.

How exactly will 2010 be able to top 2009? I’ve got some ideas already in mind, and if all goes according to plan, then 2010 could be even more epic.

Farewell 2009, you have been amazing and full of surprises, and 2010, I welcome you and all of your challenges and promises with open arms!

What I learned from remodeling kitchens with my dad

“Pass me the screws,” my dad said with a power drill in his right hand and a beautifully crafted overhead kitchen cabinet propped up against his left shoulder. I picked up a few screws from the tool bucket on the ground, handed them to my dad, and helped him shoulder the burden of the heavy wooden cabinet. Generally the heavier the cabinet, the better quality it is, and this cabinet was top-of-the-line. The tough edge of the front of the cabinet dug roughly into my thirteen-year-old shoulder, and I pushed it up as hard as I could with my little hands.

The first screw forcefully squealed into the wood backing as it made contact with the stud behind the drywall. Dad placed another screw through the back of the cabinet and another loud squeal attacked our ears. Four squeals later, and the cabinet was securely installed in the corner of this old kitchen. The home itself was probably built in the 1970’s judging by the ochre-tinted appliances and plainly “modern” facades of the light avocado-shaded cabinets.

Every few minutes the owner of the home, a gaunt African-American lady in her 50’s or 60’s, would peak into kitchen to observe our progress. Because she was tall, I could easily feel her presence as she supervised the remodeling project, and her gaze on the back of my head felt like hot nails. As a self-conscious thirteen year old, I tried as much as possible to avoid eye contact with her for fear that she might ask me a question, so whenever she was around, I would turn my back to unbox another big cabinet or to put away scattered tools.

“Go get the second cabinet. The smaller one that goes above the cooking range,” my dad ordered.

Casually I sauntered to the garage to sort through a maze of cardboard boxes and new kitchen cabinets. The summer heat permeated the old garage and heightened the aromatic mixture of finely crafted oak and ripped-apart cardboard. Cabinets that came up to my waist and others that were taller than the reach of my outstretched arms were strewn about in a methodical madness. The mess created a miniature metropolitan skyline. I weaved in and out of the imaginary city streets. Boxes and cabinets were skyscrapers that created thoroughfares and alleyways, and for a moment I pretended I was a messenger delivering an important package to a downtown firm. Zip. Zoom. Dive.

“Huuuyyyy. Nasaan ka? Hey. Where are you?” my dad shrieked.

The daydream faded away and I was back in the overcrowded garage somewhere in Orange County. “What size is it again, dad?” I yelled back.

“The small one about four feet by two feet.”

After sifting through more boxes, I found it on top of what I had imagined was the city’s public library. I snapped the plastic ties off the box, swiftly released the little cabinet from its cardboard and styrofoam confines, and bear-hugged it through Main Street, all the way back to the kitchen.

“Is this it, Dad?”

“Oo, ilagay ito dito. Yes, place it here,” Dad ushered while gesturing at the empty spot next to the first cabinet.

Thud. Cabinet banged against the wall. Squeal. Screws forced in place. Snap-snap. Another one unboxed. Shimmy-shimmy. Cabinet dragged to the kitchen.

After examining the floorplan, I became slightly better at predicting which cabinet my dad would need next. In an attempt at being efficient, I lined them up from the garage to the kitchen, like wooden soldiers getting ready for battle. We repeated the cycle until the bare walls started to look like a kitchen again. Three hours and fifteen installed cabinets later, my dad said, “Pahinga na tayo. Let’s rest.”

I used my t-shirt sleeve to wipe the sweat from my brow, exhaled a sigh of relief, and wished that the lady would turn on the AC in her house. Dad sat down on a step stool, opened a large plastic Coleman container full of water and ice, and took four generous gulps of the cold refreshment. I collapsed myself on top of a bright orange toolbox, and dad passed me the Coleman and a pandesal (lightly sweet Filipino bread roll) with American cheese neatly encased in a plastic sandwich bag. I quenched my thirst desperately and inhaled the little pandesal in two bites. As we ate and rested, the old lady curiously poked her head through the open doorway to inspect our progress. She looked at the half-finished walls and then glanced at my dad. “It looks like it’s coming along really nicely,” she commented with a mischievous smirk, and then she placed her gaze on me, “it looks good. You did a good job.”

Sheepishly and with my eyes fixed on the unfinished cement floor, I replied, “Thank you.”

“So are you going to remodel kitchens too when you grow up? Are you going to follow in your dad’s footsteps?” she asked benignly.

I don’t remember quite how I responded to her, and it really doesn’t matter. I might have given her a half-smile and then looked away, but I distinctly remember what I thought the moment that she asked:



I love my dad and honor him for the rigorous and relentless work ethic that he instilled in me. My brother, sister and I joined him all throughout our childhood years at different jobsites as he worked hard to establish himself and his small business as credible and high quality. I credit my dad for truly living and breathing the entrepreneurial spirit and the American dream, and inspiring me to work hard, challenge myself, and do my best. If it were not for the weekends, school holidays, and the summers that we spent tearing out old houses and creating beautiful masterpieces, I can easily say that I would not have been able to go to college or be an American citizen.

However, I knew it then, and I know it now: my path would lead me down a different direction. And although my thirteen-year-old self was vehemently opposed to following in his dad’s footsteps (because really, what thirteen-year-old would want to do that?), I can see now that I did not veer completely off. Yes, I work and have been working with youth in the educational nonprofit sphere for years, and my passion clearly is to positively change the lives of youth, but everyday I use the lessons I learned from working with my dad to remodel kitchens.

My dad, an architect by trade, taught me how to read blueprints and floor plans, which planted the seeds of my ability to be visionary in my approach to leadership and creativity. I observed how my dad efficiently organized the chaos of a jobsite from the shipping of all of the cabinets to the installation timeline, and I rudimentarily practiced efficiency and systems-building in customers’ homes. He treated his clients jovially, fairly, and assertively, and he was my first model of how to be a leader and an effective negotiator. He built houses that stood on a solid foundation, while I built curricula and programs that stemmed from a solid foundation.

See, although I’m not quite remodeling kitchens, I suppose I can answer that old lady’s question differently now. When I enter into a nonprofit organization, when I engage in a new project, or when I get my hands dirty on a new program, I take the same approach my dad taught me years ago. We took out the old things that were obsolete and unnecessary; we carefully, meticulously, and systematically replaced them with new and better things; we tested the things to make sure they worked; and then we made sure the clients were happy with the new things. You can replace “things” with anything: cabinets, curriculum, culture, core programs, operations, etc. And of course, you can add steps and other systems to fit the needs of the project or team better, but I digress.

If the old lady were here now, I’d tell her, “Yes, I am following in my dad’s footsteps,” and I’d also thank her. Her simple question stuck with me for over fifteen years. Back then I used it as fuel to study smarter, work harder, and achieve more in school so that I could go to college and become successful… So that I wouldn’t have to do manual labor again (let’s be honest, if you give a teenager the choice between manual labor or studying in a comfortable, air-conditioned room, he’d pick the latter). Even though I was not that enthusiastic about giving up weekends and summers to work with my dad and even though the manual labor was exhausting and physically draining, I now realize that my dad’s footsteps did not lead me astray. In fact, they led me to where I am today, and for that I’m extremely grateful.

I love you, Dad. Thank you!

Pictures from Week 2 of Australia Trip 2009

I can’t believe my Aussie trip down under is more than halfway done. I had all of these grandiose plans to visit other parts of the country (like Melbourne or the Great Barrier Reef), but alas, those plans did not come to fruition as I realized that the real reason why I am here is to spend time with my extended family. And I have done plenty of that so far while exploring ridiculously beautiful Sydney.

Week two was slightly more relaxed and chill than week one. I didn’t go on any 5-hour bike rides, but I did wander the city one day by train, bus and ferry (Good Lord, the view from the ferry was just amazing). And below, you’ll see pictures from Michael’s fun-filled Bucks Party (aka Bachelor Party), which took up the entire Saturday from 7:30 am (that’s when we started playing paintball… who plays paintball at 7:30 am??? Apparently Aussies do) to midnight, when we continued the party at his house with not one but TWO evening entertainers. To protect the innocent, I haven’t posted any scandalous pictures up, but I’m sure you can use your imagination.

And to top off the week, I took the twins, Jeff & Chris, to our first live footy (that’s what they call rubgy down here) game. The Sydney Roosters lost to the North Queensland Cowboys, and even though our home team lost, it was a great experience for all of us.

This week we’ll see a HUGE influx of family flying in from all over the world, including my parents, who I’m picking up tomorrow (I haven’t seen them since April, so we’ll be reunited, too. 🙂 So this week is all about spending quality time with all of the family, and of course, the whole reason why we’re all here is Michael’s wedding to Charmie on Saturday. And then just like that, I’ll be whisked away to the US on Sunday and back to work at BUILD after a three-month sabbatical on Monday! Excited about getting back to my home and work, but not looking forward to leaving this beautiful place. Check out the pics below. 😉

Painting for Sydney Harbour at Art Gallery of New South Wales
Painting of Sydney Harbour at Art Gallery of New South Wales
Enjoy Manly
Went to Manly Beach, which is a 30-min ferry ride away from Sydney
Manly Beach
Gorgeous day, but it was way too cold to swim
Manly Fruit Market
"Manly" was everywhere, and I couldn't resist...

Random Family Time

Mike at Sefton Playhouse
Sefton Playhouse... not my idea, promise
Kristie, King and Jeff at Musashi, their favorite Japanese restaurant
Delicious Japanese food with Kristie and Jeff
Beef the Dog and Beef the Meat Pie
Eating Meat Pies (Really popular in Oz) with Beef, the dog
House party
Kristie's lola's birthday party

Michael’s Bucks Party: Part 1 – Paintball Wars

Cousins at 8am, getting ready for paintball
Chris, Mike and Jeff are up really early to play paintball
Ready for paintball
So butch
Rick gets Mike
That's Mike's Best Man shooting at him!
Walking to the next Paintball field
We played about 10 games at different fields. Quite the testosterone filled actvity!

Michael’s Bucks Party: Part 2 – Houseparty

He looks calm, doesn't he
He looks calm, doesn't he
Mike getting ready for the evening entertainment
Mike getting ready for the evening entertainment
Me, Jeff, Mike and Chris at Mike's Bachelor Party
Me, Jeff, Mike and Chris at Mike's Bachelor Party
Mike and Rick at Mike's Bucks Party
Mike and Rick at Mike's Bucks Party

Live Rugby Game!

Me, Chris, and Jeff at the Roosters Rugby Game
Me, Chris, and Jeff at the Roosters Rugby Game
Cowboy gets tackled
Cowboy gets tackled
Rooster gets tackled
Rooster gets tackled
Waiting in line
A "Scrum"
A "Scrum"

Pictures from Week 1 of Australia Trip 2009

Bondi Beach view
Bondi Beach view
Overlooking Bondi Beach
Overlooking Bondi Beach

Hannah’s 2nd Birthday Party

Hannah in the "Jumping Castle"
Hannah in the Jumping Castle
Hannah having fun
Hannah having fun
Hannah again
Hannah again
Cute Hannah
Cute Hannah
I couldn't resist putting this picture up
I couldn't resist putting this one up
Hannah blowing our her candles
Hannah blowing out her candles

Night out with the Twins

Opera House at Night
Opera House at Night
In front of the Opera House with Jeff and Chris
In front of the Opera House with Jeff and Chris
Opera House at Night
Opera House by Night

Biking with Tito Ompong

In front of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge
View from the Botanical Gardens
View of Harbour Bridge & Opera House from the Botanical Gardens
Opera House and Harbour Bridge
TIto Ompong on the Harbour Bridge
Tito Ompong biking on the Harbour Bridge
In front of Luna Park
In front of Luna Park (those are giant teeth)
View of Harbour Bridge & Opera House from North Sydney
VIew of Harbour Bridge & Opera House from North Sydney
Bike Riding withTito Ompong
The fourth hour of riding around Sydney with Tito Ompong
Coogee Beach
Coogee Beach

Pictures from Week 1 of Philippines Trip 2009

So far my brother and I are having a great time in the Philippines with our family. I can’t believe a week has flown by, but we’ve done a lot! Check out some pictures below or on my Flickr account. You can also follow my tweets on Twitter.

Nanay Ising’s 80th Birthday Party

Nanay Ising's 80th Birthday Party
Family Potrait
Nanay Ising's 80th Birthday Party
Nanay Ising's 80th Birthday Party
Roasted Cow (Lechon ng baka)
Nanay Ising's 80th Birthday Party
All Nanay's children and grandchildren in attendance
Nanay Ising's 80th Birthday Party
All of Nanay's children (except my dad!)
Nanay Ising's 80th Birthday Party
All of Nanay's grandchildren in attendance

Check out more pictures after the jump or on my Flickr

Continue reading Pictures from Week 1 of Philippines Trip 2009