Monday, November 10, 2008

Finally Meeting Al's East Coast Relatives

My mother was always good in keeping in touch with relatives - even if it was just once a year with Christmas cards. (I remember thinking to myself every Christmas time how much it cost for her to do that. Here in the US, people might take it for granted that they can send (snail mail) a card for the price of a combo meal, a fraction of an hour's pay. In the Philippines, that could easily cost half of the day's pay. Multiply that with the number of cards that needed to get sent and that could easily be a week's worth of pay. But as usual, I digress...)

I guess I am the one whom she passed on to the tradition of keeping in touch with family…

So, when I came to know about Al's relatives here in the US, I was concerned that we have never gotten in touch with them. In the almost 4.5 years that we have been living here in the US and sending out our Christmas letter, I would always ask Al for their addresses so we can somehow connect with them.

So on this east coast trip, I've finally (!) met (some) of Al's relatives here in the US. Got their contact information - addresses, phone numbers, emails, websites - so we can keep in touch :)

Uncle Rodolfo
The landing in Newark airport was extremely bumpy - I was becoming a lot dizzier just when we landed. Phew! The cold, windy weather outside was refreshing though. Uncle Dolfo fetched us and we proceeded to their house while we waited for Auntie Stella who was attending mass.

We ate dinner at the Chinese buffet. Although I am not a big meat-eater, the roast and steak were soft and delicious! Then we detoured around the nearby towns to get a feel of the place. Plenty of trees! And we learned why NJ is called the Garden State.

We had a very restful sleep and then it was time to wake up and prepare for the churches we planned to visit! Daddy, however, has got all of us beat because he was able to use the massage machine!

See all photos with Uncle Dolfo here.

Uncle Rizalio
After attending the Brooklyn Tabernacle service, we went to the Pilgrim UCC where Uncle Saling and Auntie Jane were attending. It's "just" a subway ride away… (we were becoming good in figuring out what train to take and how to make sense of the station signs (uptown, downtown, etc.)

After participating in church and potluck, Daddy, Mamang and Ann rode with Auntie Jane in a gracious churchgoer couple's car to Bergenfield. Meanwhile, Al and I rode with Dan, Gladys and cute-cute Bibok! And we got a preview of the Manhattan streets and skyline and Miss Liberty's back.
We finally made it to Bergenfield on a Sunday night (?) traffic jam - I dozed through most of it … And after dinner, the singing started! Such beautiful songs, voices and piano playing. And even Bibok slapped the djembe facing it and then with his back to it too - too cute!

My favorites were Usahay by Fay and Supergirl by Alfa. Yes, she is a recording artist! And even Uncle Saling could probably pass NYC auditions for his singing voice :). Or if not, he could try out his funny Boholano jokes :)
See all photos with Uncle Saling here.

Uncle Sosthenes
Uncle Tenie came to visit at the Holiday Inn hotel on Monday night and then we met up with him and Auntie Rose Again the next morning. Plan A was to visit Ground Zero and take the cruise around Miss Liberty. But we got rained out, bought umbrellas and cozied up in a nearby McDonalds.

Plan B was Toys R Us for Josh's Lego and then Museum of Natural History. Uncle Tenie and Auntie Rose led the way as they were Subway experts! Such energy walking the subway stairs up and down and then walking the busy streets of NYC - while drizzling! It was fun walking and riding the train with them!!! Naturally, we were taking pictures, too! :)
PS. About the Museum of Natural History. The suggested admission fee was $20 and there were 8 of us (5 Seniors and 3 Adults) so technically, our total ought to have been about $160. But since we were going to be there for an hour and the fee was only suggested, we gave $50 and they still let us in!

Tita Rory Francis
Tita Rory, Tristan's mom, is not a blood relative but we felt like blood relatives anyway with her welcoming spirit. She met up with us in McDo and was with us throughout Plan B (subways, walking, Toys R Us, Museum).

Then it was time for lunch. Tita Rory researched Zagat ahead of time and found Pongsri Thai Restaurant on 23rd St.

I had Tom Yum soup and Al had Pad Thai. We ordered the basic Thai recipes so that we could compare it to other Thai places we've been to. The Tom Yum soup was delicious and comparable while the Pad Thai… it has been so far the best Pad Thai I have tasted! Thumbs up!
No time to go to Chinatown to check out Hop Kee (Ate Lyndia's recommendation) and the siopao at Mei La Wah (Tristan's recommendation) though… Maybe next time!

Baby Flor
From DC, we dropped by Sewell, NJ (1 hour south of Newark) and met Ate Baby Flor and Kuya Dodong.

After chatting up and watching photo albums, lunch was ready. And we got an all-fish meal - woo hoo!!! Tinola, sugba and kilawen! The kilawen is to die for!!! Yummy, yummy!!!

Their basement is set up for full band practice - microphones, speakers, keyboards, drum set, conga and percussion set. We jammed a bit and then it was time to go again! No time to visit Philadelphia this time but maybe next time…

See all photos with Baby Flor here.

Who we missed seeing - not really relatives...
Milette from Intel/Micron who worked with Al. She and her family ar visiting her in laws who are about 30 minutes away from Baby Flor. We were able to talk on the phone though. Maybe next … arrgggh. (I wonder how many times I will still have to say that in the next posts…)

Mel aka Lollipop Goldstein, Stirrup Queen - a fellow blogger in DC.


pracso November 14, 2008 at 6:42 PM  

ang dami din pala relatives ni al sa america!

Rela Pantaleon-Manigsaca November 15, 2008 at 12:45 AM  

oo nga... am glad to finally meet them. At least, the east coasters...

A Few of My Favorite Songs

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