These photos were taken on 20 March 2010 in our residence in Davao City. My father’s 73rd birthday was on 21 March 2010, the same day we kicked off our island travel. Because we were traveling separately, we celebrated his birthday a day earlier.

The best part was an unexpected visitor came by that day. We received a call from my father’s old house informing us about Uncle Lope from Houston, Texas waiting at the gates. It was a pleasant phone conversation reintroducing ourselves and to make arrangements to see each other, especially my father that day. It’s been many years since we saw each other and I was embarrassed to admit that I didn’t remember the last time.

My father did not recognize him at first when he casually came up to his chair in a barbershop to start a conversation. My father was indeed very happy to see him and readily agreed to go with him while the rest of us went to buy pasalubong and do our last-minute preparations for the road trip the next day.

Kinilaw (raw fish in vinegar), lechon manok (roast chicken) and fish with vegetable soup were the main entrees for dinner, which was made more interesting by a power interruption about halfway through it. The candlelight birthday party was capped with chocolate cake for dessert and non-alcoholic sparkling wine for the toast.

As we’ve been occupied by our island travel adventure since then, stories like these were relegated to our ‘to-do later’ list. One good thing about being grounded in Laguna these days because of a vehicular accident in Quezon early this month is that we can now revisit this list and attempt to resume writing. It’s also time to email Uncle Lope and remind him about our blogs…better late than never.

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