From the column Pieces of Donna
Republished with permission from TheFreeMan (Cebu)
It has been exactly seven years, ten months and fourteen days when I came "home" to Cebu as a young bride to my husband, Yong.
I had a hard time adjusting at first - Yes! Who wouldn't? I was the baby of my family. I am very close to them and they're all in Manila. I didn't know anybody here except Yong and his family. I didn't know much about Cebu except for their super delicious dried mangoes that up to now I am still very much addicted to. I would just come here to promote a movie or an album or sometimes for a show, then I got married to a true blue Cebuano and started my new life here in Cebu!
I am so thankful that Cebu is just an hour plane ride away making it very easy for me to visit my family or have them visit me on special occasions and of course, with NDD calls becoming so much cheaper now that it is only P10 per call (unlimited pa!) thanks to the telecom's stiff competition, I can call them anytime I want and talk endlessly without having to worry about my phone bills.
What made it easier for me was the acceptance and welcome that I got from the Cebuanos and Yong's family, especially from my mother-in-law.
The day Yong and I arrived in Cebu from our honeymoon in Hawaii, we went to her house and she immediately corrected me when I called her "tita" and said "o bakit tita pa, mommy na dapat!" She really made me feel welcomed and that meant a lot to me. But it was not until I got pregnant with my first baby, Belle (now 6 years old!) that I was able to adjust completely. I had something very precious to look forward to.
When I gave birth to Belle, I felt so contented and fulfilled with my life.
It even became doubly meaningful when I gave birth to my next baby, our son, Cian (now 3 years old!). Yong and I became closer because our relationship became more special, we've become parents!
Who would not like living in Cebu? The traffic is not that bad, the people are very warm and friendly, the food is great and cheap, everything is so near, the beaches are beautiful and the weather is great! It is indeed a great place to raise a family.
I was also touched by the reactions that I got from my fellow Cebuanos (Yes! I now consider my self a Cebuana... a Cebuana at heart! Although I still cannot speak bisaya fluently, I can definitely understand it now--Ay sus, dili na gyud ko mabaligya! Kasabot na ko pero magpractice pa ko para makasulti na ko! hehe).
I remember the people from the airport and the look on their faces the day Yong and I arrived in Cebu as newlyweds. The warm smiles on their faces were just what I needed to see at that time. They were so nice and friendly and they really made me feel at home. I even overheard one guy excitedly saying "Ni abot na si Donna
!". Another girl also said to me "Welcome to Cebu!
" I knew she said it not because it was my first time in Cebu, she said it to make me feel accepted as one of their own and I will never forget that.
Having met my two best friends Arlyne and Carla would not have been possible if I had not married a Cebuano and lived here.
I really thank God for blessing me with both of them around. They have made my life in Cebu more fun and complete. We share a lot of happy "girl moments" together blahblahblah... but that's another story to tell!
It has always been my dream to finish my studies and in September 2003, I graduated Bachelor of Science in Computer Science. Now I am able to use what I have learned by building my husband's official website,www.sightfirstclinics.com
. I would like to take this opportunity to thank my husband and my father-in-law for their support in making one of my dreams come true! 🙂
Ahh, but I still miss Manila, of course! My family is there. I grew up there. My hometown will always have a special place in my heart. "Manila, Manila simply no place like Manila!" That song is so true!
Manila gave me the opportunity to do what I love most... singing! And it opened a lot of doors for me! I miss singing. It is my first love! But my life is here in Cebu now and I would not change a thing! I feel blessed whenever I get invited to sing here and there but I feel more blessed that I am able to spend a lot of time with my family, watch my kids grow up and always be there for them when they need me. 🙂
As I am writing this article and trying to reminisce about my life when I just came here to be with my husband, I have realized that indeed, Cebu has turned out to be this magical place that made all my wishes come true! It is my HOME!
I would also like to thank The Freeman
for giving me this opportunity to write and share my thoughts, my feelings, and my stories through this column. Until next week... God bless!