Alcohol-Free, Almost

Me according to Marcus.

As parents, we play different roles. At some point we are either any or a combination of being a superhero, a soldier, a doctor, a nurse, a driver, a bank teller, a teacher, a preacher, a clown, and a friend. Our children expect us to be as flexible as Mr. Fantastic and our children keep a keen eye on us day in day out. What we do is what they would become.

It is imperative that we pay attention to our actions. The sooner we realize that we have greater responsibilities the moment a child becomes part of our lives, the better. Parenting is complicated, I know, and it is normally easy on theory but a whole lot different when everything happens right in front of your face. Kid cries, kid wants food, kid poops, kid pees, kid makes a mess. And kid gets sick. And some kid, later on, would have special needs.

There is no turning back. Hard truth. It takes someone strong, wherever that strength may come from, to say “I can do this.” A good parent commits, a good parent loves…without condition. Child first, everything else takes a backseat.

It took some time to get my acts straight when it comes to alcohol. Several times I was behind the wheel under influence with Marcus inside the car, I had days I missed getting him to bed because I can barely hold my own, and there was one day I missed him blowing his birthday cake because I’ve passed out. Been that bad father.

This was a sign.

Honestly, I somehow miss drinking with friends. Those days when cheeks would get warm and tight. Those days when eyes drop halfway, then the world starts turning. Those days when inhibitions are lost and words come out freely and without care. All for the heck of doing it. In vino veritas. But perspectives and priorities changed.

I haven’t stopped drinking entirely but since the red wheelchair came the drinking became less and lesser. Occasional isn’t even a close definition. I could count with my fingers the number of times I went drinking especially last year. Running and working out helped me avoid the urges. (FYI, six bottles of low-calorie beer is equivalent to one meal or a third of a day’s calorie allowance. That’s excluding finger foods!)

I am alcohol-free, almost. I’ve made myself 24/7 for Marcus as much as possible. I’m his fireman who would jump the pole and would be there for him in no time. I would only drink if Marcus is not around or if I know Marcus’ needs are all taken care of. I think I could now qualify as best parent yet not. Others have far challenging stories. So to all of you out there who continue to make sacrifices and continue to love their kids with special needs, hats off to you. Happy Sunday.


Mood: 1/10 Honks! (Just in time for the adobo.)


Marcus’ First Real Theme Park Experience

Build a theme park and they would come. This is what Marcus has been doing on Roblox this past few days. With a bigger and better TV for his XBox, the games have been more vivid, been larger than life like Theme Park Tycoon 2. He was never this focused on this game.

Marcus oversees his park.

For days this week I would wake up from a night shift slumber hearing him and his mother exchanging ideas on how to improve his theme park as he tries to compete with others online. Man, his park is impressive. In fact, he tops others by several number of AI guests lining up his rides and trust me, the Ultra HD screen makes first person perspective dizzying enough for an old guy like me. But it’s just another video game for Marcus, still seated the whole day and he could only imagine what a real theme park looks and feels like.

He’s finally here!

Thanks goodness, Enchanted Kingdom is just an hour away from home. It’s a longstanding plan to bring Marcus there but his recent interest in roller coasters, drop towers, and other thrill rides made us agree that this time is the right time for us to be there. It took only a short question from me and a nod from wifey, budget constraints dismissed, and we saw ourselves on a Saturday afternoon driving to Sta. Rosa, Laguna.

It’s been years since wifey and I last visited Enchanted Kingdom. The park’s entrance fees have doubled to P900 per person, P600 for persons with disabilities. It almost emptied my wallet. The park was packed as anticipated so one immediate challenge was Marcus’ access to the rides. I can still carry him but the question is if the attendants would approve it.

Real life, real thrill.

Up, Up and Away ride would’ve been Marcus’ first and only ride. The staff allowed us to bypass the queue by entering through the exit gate. All the next rides, however, weren’t as PWD-friendly. We checked Roller Skater, Jungle Log Jam, Fun Kart, and even the seemingly easy Swan Ride but these have regulations that prohibit people like Marcus to ride any of it. Bummer.

Rialto was a blast.

All is not lost though. Enchanted Kingdom has something for PWDs. Rialto for one had an Ice Age feature film that got Marcus screaming and laughing. Then the park’s Agila, The Experience theater made up for all our disappointment.

That moment when the steep entrance fee becomes worth it.

Exclusively housed in the theme park’s inverted cone-shaped building, Agila offers an interactive experience (Eldar the Wizard in Hologram would fascinate even adults) that features the promotion of EK’s environmental awareness campaign. Agila’s main attraction is its huge theater with moving seats that add realism to flying with the eagle as it soars and sweeps over popular natural wonders of the Philippines. Marcus and wifey was able to get a short glimpse of how Palawan’s Underground River looks like. I’d pay 900 pesos again to experience Agila. It was worth it.

If only there’s PWD rover in space.

We arrived late in the afternoon so we ran out of time to test other rides, individually. Right out of Agila, Marcus let me ride Disk-O-Magic alone and next was Space Shuttle which opened again after the fireworks display. The Ferris Wheel would’ve been our last but it still has a long queue until the park closed at 9 PM.

Our Enchanted Kingdom day was a welcome change to our weekend routine despite the limitations. Getting Marcus out of the house to places that give adequate access to PWDs like him is always something that we look forward to. I know EK could do better by being more PWD-friendly. I now also wish that our country has a theme park for people in wheelchairs.


Mood 1/10 Honks! (Yesterday’s DQ ice cream made my day.)

History Made Interactive and Fun

We’ve all been there. For once in our lives we sat in a classroom checking our watches, looking out the window, doodling like each stroke matters, daydreaming in between, and wondering when our history teacher finally ends ‘his story.’ It’s the history subject as we know it.

History was inescapable and it’s a fact that those who don’t know history is condemned to repeat it or, at the very least, flunk it. So no matter how we dislike listening for hours about what happened in the distant past, we persevered to pass this subject among other demanding classes. I don’t exactly know but I suspect that it’s either the claustrophobic classrooms or our monotonous history teachers–or a combination of both–who’s to be blamed for our utter lack of interest in this subject matter. Whatever or whoever it was, we survived this class anyhow and highly likely promised ourselves to never attend anything that has got to do with it ever again if possible.

Then came the History Channel. This cable TV channel presents engaging documentaries and shows for all audiences, not to mention no boring teachers. But some say there are flaws to the facts presented on TV, some say it’s commercialized history—not only on History Channel but those on TV in general. Fine, argument acknowledged. Not one learning setting may be perfect but no thanks, count me out of future history classes unless it is interactive and fun.

This is how History Channel changed the game. It puts a brand to the once bland subject, history. Because of this channel there is now better recall and mere mention of  the H word attracts more attention than it used to. 

Our bands.

So last weekend we became part of history. Thanks to a Facebook friend who is affiliated with our cable TV provider, we got two passes for the event for free and only paid for Marcus’ entrance. That Sunday we found ourselves inside a packed History Con 2017 at the World Trade Center in Pasay City. It was the second year History Channel sponsored the event and this time they say was bigger, better, bolder.

The red wheelchair joins History.


More than its interesting exhibits, H Con 2017 made the experience a whole lot better with the warm treatment Marcus got from different people: ticket agents, bouncers, exhibitors, shuttle driver and even the janitor (the restroom was clean!!!) all did a superb job making Marcus enjoy the day.

These guys dismounted their bikes and willingly posed with Marcus.
Elmer Reyes (in red shirt) welcomed us inside their bike displays and I learned that his group, Laguna Choppers. supports effort to educate PWDs.
History Con showcases local talents. With wifey in front of local illustrators booth.
Marcus tries foosball.


Mood: 1/10 Honks! (Holiday but woke up early. Running is addicting, isn’t it?)

Short and Sweet and Sad

Sometimes the shortest discussions are both sweet and sad. Like this one with Marcus yesterday.

“How old would I be in 2025?”


“Are you still alive by then? How about mommy?” 



He has funny moments as well. Last night he drew something he plans to sell for 200 pesos on OLX.

He calls this the best drawing ever. I did the body and right arm, FYI.

Any takers.


Mood: 1/10 Honks! (Just ran. Thank God for the recovery.)

Genetic Testing At Last

What started as a table discussion in the US has finally materialized. Yesterday, Marcus’ genetic testing was done at UP-NIH. It took us several  exchange of emails with support groups (thanks to you guys!) and hospitals  and leg work that require trips to Metro Manila to exhaust our options in finding an alternative to this expensive procress. Now Marcus blood has been extracted and would soon be tested to determine if his strain is the one that the new DMD drug in the market can cure.

But testing is one thing, the medication is another. We keep our hopes high yet our expectations realistic. It’s waiting game for now until 3-4 weeks after. Que sera sera. We’ll make our next steps whatever the outcome is.


Mood: 3/10 Honks! (Survived Tuesday.)

Mondays and Uphills

The just concluded long weekend due to the holy week was worth it. Didn’t get us far from home but it gave me a chance to just bond with wifey and Marcus. This video of the goats playing around and showing off to Marcus was captured on a Good Friday at the first stopover on our attempt to get closer to Mount Makiling. We live nearby so no big deal but take note that Marcus is in a wheelchair.


Mount Makiling is one of the regular Holy Week destinations for those who want to make their own sacrifices or for mountaineers who want to climb something challenging but not far from the city. The last time I was up there was about 20 years ago before I got married and when a good stretch of the road to the mountain wasn’t paved yet. Now it’s a bit wheelchair-friendly.

That’s Mt. Makiling in the background taken after we made a bad turn finding a relative’s farm.

Who needs 4×4?
We reached the farm. Technically, these kids are Marcus’ cuz.
On our way back down. This is the steepest we’ve reached so letting Marcus’ wheelchair roll freely was impossible.

Next time we will try farther. And yes, next time we’ll wear something warmer.


Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Just a day at work then another off for me.)