Sweet Home Santa Maria


As I write this, my almost five week vacation is about to wind down. Days have been spent visiting the most famous cities in the world, visiting memorable spots and seeing so many beautiful people my eyes can barely decide where to look. The last stop of our trip is in a quaint little town in the Central Coast, Sta. Maria. It has been my Ninang’s home for the past 25 years and my Mamang’s for quite some time now. After the busyness of the first three cities, it’s safe to say that Sta. Maria is a different change. For one thing, there is hardly any activity; it was so quiet that my baby brother Carl asked our dad if he was planning to place us in our very own witness protection program. My phone, which I haven’t been on that much in the first three stops, was now turned on actively. I have finished a total of three books in a span of three days and have completed so many writing assignments and yet still find so many hours stretched in between. I have also committed to double a day work outs and the days still couldn’t be filled.
I was looking for a activity. I was looking to see different people and see scenic places without realizing that I was in Santa Maria for a reason: to spend time with my still strong 80 year old Mamang and spend time with my Ninang. For the longest time, family often meant just our small family of four since everyone has long migrated to the United States so adjusting to family other than my parents and my brother took awhile. And for someone who fills her days to the brim, sitting down beside my Mamang while she indulged in her favorite teleseryes was a radical change. It brought me back to the simpler days where she took care of us after school. She constantly asked me what I was doing on my phone and was content in just being still. After a few days of adjusting to the slower paced lifestyle, I found myself enjoying the presence of my grandmother, who is possibly the funniest person I know. She is so like my mother that I couldn’t help but appreciate my mom even more. Our random conversations were peppered with wisdom. My Mamang is the real feminist because even in the 50s she walked away fearlessly from anyone who didn’t treat her the way she should be treated. She raised her three children on her own and to this day, continues to be independent. I see a lot of myself in her and it was good to be reminded.
Spending time with my Ninang has taught me the essence of how important perspective is in life. Also ferociously independent, my Ninang has been taking care of herself for years and her no nonsense attitude about life has taught me that life is a choice. One of the strongest women I know, she has inspired me to be strong and to love life, no matter what.

I was itching to get away the moment I landed in the quaint town but I must admit that it is already growing on me. I realized that I could see all the glitter that the world can offer but spending time with family is priceless. I could see the entire world anytime but to spend time with my Mamang doing nothing is something I cannot replicate. Everyday, I’m thankful to God for slowing my life down at the right time and for making me see the importance of the little things because these little things, it’s what makes life beautiful.