Memoirs of Mama

Traveling Asia with Mum

Exploring with Mama and Cherishing Our Shared Memories

My mum adored traveling, and undoubtedly, I inherited my itchy toes for wanderlust from her. As I stroll down memory lane, reminiscing about my mum, our shared adventures, cherished moments from my childhood, and the unforgettable journeys we embarked on together. Let’s get to know Mama, my source of inspiration and guiding light. Her smile never fails to illuminate any room. 
Let’s go! 

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Memoirs of Mama
Mama's Birthday Celebration in Shangrila Cebu, Philippines

Mama’s Early Years

She was a reserved girl in her youth, fair-skinned, with long straight hair, who enjoyed helping out at their sari-sari store in Culasi, Antique in the Philippines. She is the fourth child among her eight siblings. Her name was Marilou. Growing up, she was called "Diding," but when she moved to Manila for college, everyone knew her as "Malou." She first pursued Commerce before switching to Criminology for her studies. After moving to Cebu to further her education, Malou started her own family. Her first child, my half-sister, was born in Antique, followed by my brother, myself, and lastly, another little brother.

First Impression

When you first meet Mama, she greets you with a warm smile and laughs, even at your less-than-funny jokes. Initially, she displays a modest "mahinhin" demeanor, but as you become more acquainted with her, you discover her tomboyish side – a versatile companion you can take anywhere for a good time. Energetic and adventurous, she enjoys exploring new culinary delights.

Mama and I

I disliked school, and Mama was aware of that. I often attempted to find ways to avoid going to school by making silly excuses. During high school, despite being dressed for class, my mother would drop me off, and I would pretend to feel ill out of nowhere. She would just smile and take me back home. We would either eat out or go back home and watch a movie together. Even during college, my mom would happily accompany me to the mall, knowing I had skipped classes. She always emphasized that as long as I passed my exams and graduated, that was all that mattered to her.

Our Bond

Growing up, I wasn't very close to my mum until I moved abroad to Singapore after completing college and passing the board examination. Our bond grew stronger as we communicated more and embarked on frequent trips outside the Philippines.

Bangkok Floating Market Tour Thailand

Mama The Explorer

The first time I took my mother on an overseas trip was to Bangkok, Thailand, accompanied by my cousin. It was an unforgettable journey filled with shopping for our online store, tasting various Thai dishes, visiting temples, and discovering Bangkok's floating market. This experience revealed my mother's fascination with different cultures, her love for palace landscapes, and authentic cuisine. To add a touch of fun, I suggested color-coordinating our outfits each day, and she enthusiastically agreed – the chosen theme for the day was yellow.

My Travel Buddy

I just found my travel buddy, my one and only mama, and I couldn’t be happier. This has opened up a new channel between us that drew us closer to each other, more than those times when I was in school back in the Philippines.

I promise myself to provide my mum with exceptional travel experiences as she made many sacrifices for us. Despite her desire to travel, she never had the opportunity to do so.

Mama The Botanist

Our second trip might have been to Singapore, as I flew her in a few times. My mum has a great passion for plants and flowers. Every week, we have over 20 different types of houseplants moving in and out of the house, while my eldest brother patiently helps with lifting and rearranging them. Not to mention the countless plants she cares for in her garden. I recall a child once likened our home to a jungle. I absolutely adored that comparison! She inspired me to have a minimalist flower tattooed on my shin, with her name delicately etched into the stem.

Mama’s Loves Singapore

We explored various attractions in Singapore, such as the Botanical Garden, Cloud Forest, and Gardens by the Bay, and enjoyed the vibrant Watershow at Marina Bay Sands. Our visit to Universal Studios was delightful as we searched for characters in costumes. We also delved into Singapore's diverse selection of noodles and dim sum, as my mum and I are big fans.

Mama Loves Noodles

I remember fondly she loved this noodle restaurant in SM Cebu called “Mandarin” and we always go there. When the boys can’t decide where to go we always end up there, and she’d have this triumphant smile as she ordered her favorite noodle dish and then go to the restroom to freshen up. The boys got tired of it and would argue with each other at a very fast-paced decision-making just to avoid eating at her favorite restaurant. I loved that place sadly it closed down.

Mama Faced Her Fear

Our third adventure took place in Phuket, Thailand. We engaged in thrilling activities such as water rafting, ATV riding in the rain, and elephant riding, and faced her fear of heights with her first zipline experience. Despite her shaky legs and pale lips, she managed the zipline bravely while laughing. I felt incredibly proud of her. 
During our time there, we discovered our shared love for street food, especially the flavorful pad Thai. It was a delightful burst of natural flavors, rich but not overly oily. Another unforgettable memory was during the first Thai neck-twisting massage that caused both of us to jump and shout simultaneously, followed by uncontrollable laughter.

This trip made me get to know my mum more. I didn’t realize my mum’s hidden and dormant sense of adventure lurking within just waiting to be unleashed.

Mama Loves Dumplings

I thought about Mama’s love for Chinese cuisine, and without hesitation, I took her on another culinary adventure to Hong Kong and Macau. In Hong Kong, we visited various noodle restaurants and sampled dimsums of all sizes, colors, and shapes.

Mama Said No Tea Cups Ride

We visited Hong Kong Disneyland, as I feel everyone has an inner child yearning to experience "the happiest place on earth." The fireworks show was truly spectacular – the best I've seen in themed parks. My mom enjoyed the kids' rides so much; I've never seen her smile that wide, though she's always full of laughter. One memory that stands out is riding the tea cups; we laughed and vowed never to do it again. We also enjoyed the Lion King show, which I believe also brought tears to her eyes, just as it did to mine.

Hong Kong 6 Days itinerary

Mama Shared A Secret

Our visit to Lantau Island in Hong Kong was unforgettable. While we were exploring the island, my mom mentioned how she wished she could take a small branch home to grow in her garden. She always says this whenever she sees a plant she admires, especially during our time in Singapore. During this time, my mum shared something very personal with me. A secret she kept all these years to protect us. A story you only hear in movies, yet it was happening to my own mother. I felt deeply touched as she shared this heartbreaking story with me.

Mama Gave It All

My mother cherished the idea of being in love and the essence of love itself. As they say, love is patient and kind. She poured her heart into it wholeheartedly. She had a deep affection for everything green and flowery; nature always brought her love and joy. Perhaps that's why we have an abundance of plants, fulfilling her yearning for love.

Mama’s Fearless Approach

My mother faced her fear of heights head-on when we visited Ocean Park in Hong Kong. It's incredible how she managed it. After having a baby, my excitement for roller coasters has faded, and I am unsure if I can even step onto these rides. She braved all the intense attractions with me, including the "Hair Raiser," known as the fastest roller coaster in the country with a floorless design. There was also "The Abyss," a 20-storey turbo drop that leaves you breathless, and the most terrifying ride of my life, "The Flash," which suspends you upside down and spins you in the air. I can't fathom doing this again; the daring adventures of youth have faded, while my mother's fear of heights was nowhere to be found. She mentioned it was about time!

My Travel Inspiration

I am truly amazed by her enthusiastic and fearless approach to challenging herself, setting a role model for my future adventures like climbing Mt. Kota Kinabalu, embarking on solo trips, scuba diving, and even skydiving – all inspired by her adventurous spirit.

Mama Loves All The Greens

Our journey to Vietnam marked our final trip together and the beginning of a new travel companion. It was a significant moment, almost like my mother passing the torch to someone who she believes will share my enthusiasm for traveling. This trip was the first time I traveled with Dell, alongside my mother, who instantly felt a strong connection with her. We ventured through the city of Saigon, crawled the war tunnels, rode a boat along the Mekong River, and savored a variety of fresh, raw vegetables in our meal. The abundance of greens delighted Mama, while Dell and I were questioning, "Is this edible? Where's the meat? Why is it all leaves?" Undoubtedly, the Vietnamese love their greens.

In Mui Ne, there was plenty to explore. The province had a relaxed vibe, attracting fewer tourists and offering more opportunities to savor the activities and landscapes. During our visit to the sand dunes, we witnessed a breathtaking sunset while having fun climbing up the sandy slopes. It was the most playful experience I shared with my mum.

Mama Loves Spa Treatments

After exploring Mui Ne, Mama and I went for a relaxing spa treatment. It was one of the most serene trips we've had together. We had fun playing in the mud bath like little girls, indulged in Thai massages, experienced a mineral bath, and hydro bath, and topped it off with a delightful snack.

Mama's Love

Whenever I return to the Philippines, my mom and I always make time for salon treatments, manicures, and pedicures. She calls it our special girl bonding time, something I always look forward to when I visit home.

Memoirs of Mama

“Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.” - Theodor Seuss Geiselt

Mama Said: 5 Core Teachings

1. Always Try Something New

Ignore the cost and explore new foods and activities. Nurture your curiosity and stay open-minded; you'll at least have the experience to say you tried it once. Growing up, we just had enough however my palate has traveled far and wide, thanks to Mama who encouraged us to explore various upscale restaurants and cuisines.

2. The Car Horn is For Emergencies

Whenever we navigate through narrow lanes or crowded public roads, she never honks her horn. She believes in showing respect to fellow commuters, as we were once in their shoes and didn't have a car.

3. Protect the Environment

Even if your neighbors aren't doing it, make an effort to separate your trash and recycle. Mama said she has lived her life on earth and wants me to still enjoy the planet. The saying "Every ripple makes a difference in the shoreline" brings to mind my mother's passion for nature, which inspired me to become an environmentalist from a young age.

Back in my primary school days, whenever I participated in painting contests, my artwork always revolved around nature, the ocean, and the importance of keeping it clean. Mama always says to paint what you love, and I adore "The Little Mermaid" movie. My mermaid-themed paintings consistently won these contests.

4. Always Ready On the Go

Mama mentioned that even when she's at home, she ensures she looks presentable. Putting effort into her appearance is essential to her. My mum enjoys wearing lipstick even when she's at home because it makes her feel prepared for anything. According to her, looking good and feeling good is a form of self-care. She always reminds me not to look unkempt or disheveled, saying "Ayaw pa Losyang."

5. Help Someone In Need

My mother was constantly offering support; although we weren't wealthy, she would send money to relatives who were struggling. She also kept a supply of biscuits in the car, which she would hand out to street children she encountered while driving. Her generosity knows no bounds and her kindness touches the hearts of many who are familiar with her.

Mui Ne Itinerary, Vietnam

“Love your parents. We are so busy growing up, that we often forget they are also growing old. “

Travel and spend time with your parents and loved ones. You never know when it’s time to say goodbye.

The Dream

I dreamt of returning home, but upon entering my mother's room, it was empty and she was gone. My husband advised me to shower quickly to shake off the feeling. Looking back, I regret not taking a longer shower and scrubbing my skin until it hurt, as the dream later became a reality.

No goodbyes, just see you later.

Mama, you will always and forever be in my heart, deeply missed and cherished. Until we meet again.

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