When you’re young, you plan your birthday months before. You hand out invitations to the people that you want to be present on your special day. One day before the party, you’re busy sorting out candies for the loot bags and spying on your parents to know what your present is. On the day of the party, you patiently wait as the cake and balloons are delivered. Once everything’s set, your guests start to appear, the party begins, and it ends with everyone singing the age old happy birthday song.

But things change as you get older.

Guests are narrowed down to people you believe are close to you, months become weeks of planning, and parties become dates. At least for me, that’s the case. It comes to a point when you become practical, and you want things to be more intimate. Of course you still want to feel special on your birthday, and the yearning to blow birthday candles still exist.

Here’s how I spent my birthday:

I waited til 12. I call this the birthday “salubong”. Special shoutout to Migz who waited with me. I woke up at 5 in the morning to prepare for my birthday breakfast with Karia and Jason. Around 5:30, my mom called to greet me. We both time travelled to 25 years ago, because it was around that time that I was born. “You didn’t even let me eat breakfast” she said. I cried because I wanted her to be around, but due to certain circumstances it wasn’t possible. I missed her so much. The conversation ended with her telling me that I should eat 25 pieces of Magnum to be happy (and bloated). Haha.

I arrived Makadoo (McDonald’s) Β Eastwood at around 6 and I was greeted by Karia and Jason. It was a nice way to start the day. After buying food, we sat down and talked about almost anything. Karia and Jason are like my second family so and it’s a blessing that I got to spend time with them. πŸ™‚

The “gift wrapper”

Karia, Jason, and a bottle of alcohol. πŸ™‚

After breakfast, I decided to pay my godchildren a visit. If I’m not mistaken, it’s been more than two months since the last time I saw the boys. I also made mental landmarks on the way so I can visit them anytime. When we arrived Team Banez immediately ran outside so I can take this picture:

“This is a dream come true!”-Karia

While waiting for the boys, Jason went upstairs to play games on the ipad while Karia and I stayed downstairs to bond. We both couldn’t believe how far we’ve come as friends. We’ve been witnesses to each other’s milestones and cheerleaders to each other’s battle with the curve balls life threw our way. Karia’s one of the few people I can’t imagine not having in my life. I’m really thankful I have her. πŸ™‚

Iyalicious and Kariaton.

A few minutes later, the boys arrived and showered us with hugs and kisses. πŸ™‚

Tato and Baydee! ❀

Come night time, I had a skype session with my cousin who’s currently in New York.

J9 and Joe

And they sent me this as their birthday gift:

The obligatory Puss-in-boots pose

I was greeted via different forms of communication. Some called, some sent text messages, emails, private messages, and some posted on my wall. It felt good to be remembered. A lot will say there’s the Facebook notification to say thank you to but for me, it means so much that people took the time from their busy schedules to compose a message. These messages stood out yesterday. It was hard to read without crying:

“bawal jud mamamahaw bag-o manganak? hehehe.. this day,this hour, 25 years ago, Lolo and Lola’s house was in a frenzy. Suddenly, driving the car, boiling water, opening cabinet shelves finding pillows became rocket science πŸ™‚ wagas ang panic.. πŸ™‚ then lo and behold, we saw you. Nothing beats the feeling of hugging and kissing you at that moment. Since then, it became a wonderful journey for our family. We rock ei? Happy, happy birthday, anak.. love you so much…”-Mama

“Happy birthday, tapwan. I ‘m not good in giving messages but I’ll try. Medyo cliche, pero I mean it. πŸ˜› I wish you all the best in life and all your dreams come true. Sana iwan mo na lahat ng lungkot at sakit. Be happy. Smile. :)”- Migz

“Warm greetings from New York on your birthday! Enjoy the day and the rest of the year. And you can always count on me for help or guidance. Happy 25th year of living!”- Uncle Papang

“Iya! We hope you enjoyed your birthday time with us. I’m so proud of the graceful person you’ve become after all the crap you’ve been through. I’m thankful that I’m still able to witness your stint in this world by being your person, as you are mine. We love you! I love you! Thank you for being the blessing that you are. Happy 25th! You are special to us”

“You may not be the strongest, but you are stronger, than the person you were yesterday, that’s all that matters”

– Kariaton

“Lagi mong tandaan na ikaw ay isang blessing sa mga kabataan, sa iyong pamilya at sa aming mga kaibigan. Maganda ka inside and out kaya maswerte ang taong nagmamahal sayo.Β 

Wish ko sa iyo ay isang bonggang love life. I know you have so much love to share kaya sana ay mahanap mo ang lalakeng tunay na magmamahal sayo.” -Daniel Abunales

It was nice to receive birthday greetings from different parts of the world. The celebration officially ends on Sunday. Again, to those who sent me greetings thank you so much! πŸ™‚

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