Bautista: Mates

I HAVE been fortunate for the past weeks to be in the company of mom and dad. Not that we don't get to see each other, we always do. But this was mainly for official business.

Apparently, the three of us are required to go to class. Refresher courses to update us and keep us informed. The last we took these was quite some time ago. I was still in government then. Dad would also assume the same time.

The first was a course in Strategic Planning. Mission and vision. Where will we see ourselves after five years. I can see myself surely but what is more amazing is that my mom and dad who are in their mid-seventies already and still looking forward to their eighties. Exciting!

The one recently was that of Corporate Governance. Air tight policy making to sustain and survive in the industry. Not boring stuff but it was really fun to be with mom and dad. They would voice out their sentiments and ideas being seniors in the class. I, well took notes and took selfies.

We had homework too. Even after class we would discuss in traffic. It felt like we were college students all over again as after class, we would plan where to go. This time it was unanimous to head to Binondo as it was the eve to the Chinese New Year.

Dad and mom couldn't remember the last time in Chinatown. We set out on foot in Ongpin Street as it was so busy that day. We found Presidents Tea House where we had compulsory noodles of wanton, canton too plus some chicken hot pot and our favorite of beef ampalaya.

After our meals, we found ourselves in Binondo Church for some prayers and some well wishes. We hurried off to the alleys that led us to Lucky Chinatown Mall. The only modern structure there. It can't be missed as it was huge and dominating over the little stores and stalls in the area.

Mom bought some good luck charms of gabi and luya with red ribbons. I wanted some hopia as requested by Joy.

The week before this was almost the same. We walked around Greenbelt this time for some noodles but ended up with Vietnamese phoa then some Filipino favorites in Via Mare. We had bagnet salad in bagoong dressing plus adobo with duck egg rice.

Before going back up to Baguio, we were fortunate to go to Salcedo Market. A firsts for us together. Just entering the outdoor market, dad spots something immediately. I carry it. Then the next stall to the next. Everything was enticing. We find a dining spot and soon we were tasting everything.

I had wagyu shawarma rice from a stall of a friend Miguel Ongpin of Ongpin Street. We were seated beside a European couple who were drinking something that looked like beer, dad had to just go and ask before I was asked to get some. It was ginger ale, healthy and tasty. We had to take some home.

These are times I really cherish. Still glad to find the time to go out with mom and dad. It was also very nice for my son to follow even after his class at eight in the evening to join for dinner. Three generations in one table.

Traffic was never a problem for us. We shared stories, the Miss Universe was always a topic, criminality in passing but mostly light stories. Not any of us taking a nap along the way, always colorful banter.

Every time we get home, a massage awaits us three after a sumptuous meal. Not only are we seatmates in class, we are also sleepmates and roommates every time. Not to mention even in the car. Every time, we talk about where to stop and eat. It is just so fun all together.

We are soon talking about our next trip together. Next week, in fact to the mountains of Kota Kinabalu. This is not just me every day, it is also mom and Joy together. Working alongside each other. Planning for our trips is the same for them. They do it together. I will just drive every time. Eat too, then have a massage. This is the Life.

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