This decade included the challenge of getting to know an American...

...and meeting the American's family, quickly followed by the challenge of hosting him in the Philippines and introducing him to Filipino hospitality.  

Invariably, it was accentuated with calls of "Kain na!  Kain pa!" (Eat! Eat! or in his own lingo, Mangia! Mangia!) that the poor guy's memory of his first trip to the Philippines is accompanied by groans for the amount of food that he "had" to eat.

Eventually, they succumbed to his lively humor, a match to Mama's trademark Estrella guffaw, and a complement to Papa's Bob Hope jokes.  That was a good thing, as he turned out to be the much awaited son-in-law, married to their only daughter.   


As if that wasn't life-changing enough for everyone in the family, 1998 was Retirement Year!  Papa's long career in the pharmaceutical industry was favored, and this last twenty years even more so, with his position at Ciba-Geigy's manufacturing plant in Laguna.  The long commute meant waking up early--but not for Mama, the avowed owl in the family.  And trust Papa to be kind enough not to require her to share breakfast with him at 4:00 a.m.!

Retirement meant many changes in the homebody's routine (read: Mama had to adjust having Papa constantly asking her where to find common household items).  And it meant vacations and trips.

After a long wait, they felt the indescribable joy of meeting their two beautiful granddaughters, and learned the many (and new) details of caring for infants and toddlers.

Hosting them in Marikina was the ultimate test of patience and resourcefulness--where to put Mama's babies (the dogs)? What TV shows are allowed while the kids are in the room (Eat Bulaga)?  Boiled water for drinking?

But before long, Mama was drafting Filipino lessons for the grandkids.  And Papa, the non-handy husband, picked up hammer and various tools to help his ragged daughter with repairs around the house.

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Thank you for sharing your thoughts and kind words to our parents. Maraming Salamat Po!