My dad’s 50 years of flying



It’s going to be a huge day. My dad is celebrating his 50th anniversary at the Philippine Air Force Flying School in Fernando Air Base, Lipa, Batangas.

A milestone. The members of the Class of 1962 will be there with their families – all of us proud and honouring our dads who’ve had very interesting flying careers. But of course in my eyes, I will only be seeing my dad’s face marching among the many graduates of the Air Force. He is our hero, our star, our Superman. He flew. And he had superpowers.

Through the fifty years of his being a military pilot, he survived it not only with flying colours but with dignity and honour. I am proud to say that my dad is an honest man. I feel like I have to say it because this is a paragraph with the word “military” in it.

I will be emotional tomorrow. That’s a given. I’m a daddy’s girl.

But that’s not the only reason there will be tears. I am reminded of the dark period when my dad was a victim of a harsh system and an unfair judgement. His is a story you would never have heard about because his name wasn’t big enough to be of public interest. (Except now, his name is in Carlos Celdran’s Livin’ La Vida Imelda). My dad’s case wasn’t a scandal. It was an effect of 1986 but it wasn’t about politics. It was simply an administrative fiasco that had a huge effect in our lives. Like, we lost our country overnight. My dad lost his rank at the peak of his career. And from what I saw, he lost the sparkle in his eyes.

But my dad’s strength of character was unwavering. During the many years of feeling exiled in a foreign land, all he wanted was to go home and finish serving his country. He fought for his rights. It was complicated. A few people helped. In 1997, he accomplished his task. And I was beside him though the journey. He got what he wanted and deserved – his clean name with a clean conscience and even cleaner, empty pockets.

My dad officially retired from the Air Force with the rank of full Colonel with a humble plot of land he paid off during his career. No luxury vehicles. No mansion. Like I said… honest. And happy.


Dad, Air Force
In the early days of his active service in the military, my dad was a rescue pilot.


Dad, Air Force
He then flew as a helicopter pilot assigned to President Diosdado Macapagal. And he eventually stayed on in the presidential wing as helicopter pilot of President Ferdinand Marcos from the 60’s to 1983.


Dad, Air Force
Here’s one of his “superhero” photos taken in a rural area. I love old photographs.


Dad, Air Force
Another photo from the 1960’s. His military career was focused on flying helicopters. At one point he was the comptroller of 700th Special Mission Wing (Presidential). It was the 1970’s then, and they were acquiring many new aircrafts. Very exciting times for the young pilots.


My dad in a helicopter used in Korean War
This is the Sikorsky H-19 Chickasaw. It is now in the PAF Museum near Resorts World.


Presidential Pilots with IRM & FM in Baguio
The presidential pilots with First Lady Imelda Marcos and President Marcos.


First Lady inaugurating the Puma (helicopter)
This was in the early 80’s. First Lady Imelda Marcos inaugurating the new PUMA helicopter.


My dad and Sammy Davis Jr
Dad got to fly heads of states and royalty (seriously). And other famous visitors like Sammy Davis Jr. In the background, Elvira Manahan.


Dad, Air Force
Dad as a civilian pilot in Canada.


Dad, Air Force
This photo brings us back to 1962, on the day when a young man from Quezon Province achieved his childhood dream of becoming a pilot. He did that… and more.


Some of the dads didn’t make it out of the Air Force. Mine did.

And he got the sparkle back in his eyes.

That’s a big gift. Thank you God.



My birthday in Instagram



Thank you for all your wonderful greetings. I had a great day yesterday. Surrounded by my family in the morning. My parents are in the country. I am really grateful that they’re here to get a little glimpse of my crazy busy world and actually lend a helping hand. Most of all I love the comfort knowing that they’re near me. I woke up to lovely greetings from my daughters. At this age, my birthdays are more about my kids than about me. Each of them doing something generous and big. As I type this, Lily is creating a beaded necklace for me.


A baby bird in our yard. #birthday #blessings #sophia
Sophia left this note by my bedside yesterday morning. I don’t know what it is about baby birds being born in our home. It happens every season. So beautiful.


Had a great conversation with Umberto and Fernando Campana. "Campana Brothers"
Then I rushed over to Manila FAME to interview Humberto and Fernando Campana. The Brazilian design superstars known as Campana Brothers. Thank you so much, CITEM & Manila FAME for giving me the exclusive interview (online and video). Talking to them was so easy and inspiring I wish more designers and architects got to meet them. I will post the video next week.


Thank you @martyilagan for shooting Campana Brothers for
I was lucky that my good friend Marty Ilagan was available to shoot my interview with the Campana Brothers. We also went around the exhibits of Manila FAME. I was also there the day before – as a member of the Board of Judges (again). I’ve been doing this (judging) for many rounds including Cebu last year and I honestly think that this season of Manila FAME has got it’s mojo back. Last October, we (the judges) decided that no one won the Katha Award. That’s how low the energy was. This year, the fair is back to being big and well-attended again. It would be interesting to see the actual figures from CITEM. Yay for the Philippines!


@itokish @vitoselma vickyrodriguez, nominees for Katha Award. #manilafame
After the shoot attended the awarding of winners of Katha at Manila FAME. I will do a separate post on that. Congratulations to Ito Kish for winning the Katha Award for Best Booth Design and Best Product Design – Furniture. In this photo are his fellow nominees Vito Selma and Vicky Rodriguez who also won a Katha.


Sneak peek at DAPHNE. Opening tomorrow at WorldBex, World Trade Center,
Then I ran back to my booth at the World Trade Center where I met up with my good friends Katherine & Stanley of K&Company and Ingrid & her mom who dropped by to give me birthday greetings. By the way we are offering 20% off Daphne Linens at WorldBex but it’s on order-basis, pick up on Sunday only. And I was invited to an intimate cocktails reception for Humberto and Fernando (yes, first name basis with the Campana Brothers) but last minute I decided it was time to be quiet and relish some quiet hours with my husband. So we met up for dinner and a movie.


Happy birthday to me! Coco Martin in the house! He watches #urbanzone & knows!!!!
Well, our dinner wasn’t as quiet as I thought. It was full of excitement… on my part. Coco Martin was in the restaurant with his team of ABSCBN management and writers. I had met Coco before when he was just starting as an actor back in 2006. He was a guest in my ANC talk show with film maker Brillante Mendoza. He has since become quite the huge star! I love him as Daniel in Walang Hanggan (I try to catch it when I can). And I was star-struck! Turns out Biboy Arboleda, an old friend from ABSCBN, was his manager. So I got my re-introduction. Then Deo Endrinal, top boss of ABSCBN production, was also there. We had a nice chat about building new homes. Both Deo and Coco watched Urban Zone. Sigh…


Fangirl stalker.
My husband was dying of embarrassment. But I couldn’t resist. So I stole these shots. Haha. Biboy, don’t kill me. Fangirl moment. It was probably a working dinner for them. Tita Cory Vidanes was also there. Touched that they all greeted me for my birthday. It was around the time of Walang Hanggan’s airing and they asked the restaurant to put the channel on ABSCBN. SURREAL MOMENT. Coco Martin was watching his own telenovela!!! A bigger surreal moment, he told me he’s a huge fan of Urban Zone and he’s been trying to find links and photos of the show through my website “Yung… daphne daphne.” I die!! I wanted to say, give me your email I’ll send you a link everytime. Haha. Anyway, good to see that Coco Martin is very proper and quite humble. He did mention he was building his house and wanted more ideas from UZ. Someone please send him a link to my website and tell him to bookmark it because soon, I’ll be showing UZ webisodes here.


My UNICEF family sent me the loveliest present. A photo from our trip to Sarangani, Mindanao. #UNICEF
After our movie, “Mirror Mirror” – it was cute and entertaining, I got home and received some lovely presents. This is from my UNICEF family. Very thoughtful. This is a photo of my trip to Sarangani, Mindanao in 2010 when I met the many mothers and infants.


Thank you Louis Vuitton Manila. Always so thoughtful. #birthday
And a nice treat from my friends Rhea and Vanessa of Louis Vuitton Manila. Yum! You read my mind. Now I need to find time to pop open this Veuve.




Been away



Quaint town. Freezing!
We were in Shanghai for a few days. Great city. Cold was an understatement. So glad shops in Manila mow carry winter clothes. This was taken in a quaint little town outside Shanghai.


More on my trip later. Blog backlog…



Once upon a time



Once upon a time…


My childhood
I played in this beautiful tree house in my school yard.


Mi familia
It was another life. Almost literally, for our family. Pre-Canada days are all a blur to me. With what my family went through in 1986, I think my mind chose to edit my memory. Try losing your home and your country overnight. The wounds are deep. One day I will tell that story. (Side note: I was probably the only girl with faded uniform back then. Where my mother bought my set, I don’t know. My sister got to experience going to the same school, but only for Prep. I went all the way to Grade 7.)


Old school.
Yesterday, for the first time since 1983, I went back to my old school – St. Scholastica’s College, Manila. It was just as I remembered it. Perhaps even more beautiful now, but smaller. I didn’t get emotional. I was happy.


Front door #febphotoaday
The campus had a perfect balance of progress and restoration. I loved that the St. Scho nuns and alums value architectural heritage. It’s an architectural gem in the middle of the City of Manila.


I learned how to play the piano here. Good to see it's a protected heritage site.
I was stunned by the beauty of St. Cecilia’s Hall. The stage, backstage, seats were all upgraded. But it still maintained the original Art Deco beauty and details. My mom made me take piano lessons here. I still remember those narrow little hallways with piano rooms. It was spooky and creaky. But I survived it. I even went as far as having my first recital in St. Cecilia’s Hall. Then one day, I decided piano wasn’t for me. Now, I have zero musical skills.


I am joining my elementary batchmates in celebrating this St Scho reunion (still hoping I could get a copy of the grade school yearbook). Even though I didn’t go to high school with them, I feel the connection. I’m even going as far as joining the dance show. OMG.

I love seeing the faces to the names I once knew. I love reconnecting with old friends again. This is the closest thing I’ll have to feel the home and country I once lost.



Why do I have to explain



I am who you see on TV. My shows are unscripted. Even when I had a live talk show on ANC, I didn’t have guide questions. I don’t work with a stylist. I wear my own clothes, jewellery and shoes unless otherwise indicated. I don’t have a PR machinery. I don’t have a publicist. I write my own entries. I take my own pictures. My blog is named after me. My brand is named after me. Everything here has my point of view. My opinion.

I’m not new to this. I’ve been sharing my photos since 2005, blogging since 2007. I’ve encountered a few haters before. Nothing new. Since I’ve moved and set up this site, my readership has grown three-fold. There have been instances where sudden peaks in readership have caused my server to freeze or nearly crash. It was a good problem to have. Now my server and spiking issues have been resolved by my tech specialist Joben Ilagan of Seer Technologies. But with growth comes some unwanted attention. Or rather, attention of the wrong kind. And Heaven help me, I find myself struggling with this.

It is ridiculous that I have to explain myself now. But let me just put it all in context –

1. I did not put down any local celebrity. I love celebrities. Most of them are my friends/acquaintances.

2. My kids met KC Concepcion and Frankie Pangilinan at the CCP. They didn’t know who they were. Everyone was nice and gracious – as all kids should be, celebrity or not. I just thought it was amusing enough to mention because who, in this day and age, does not know KC? Apparently, my kids.

3. They also didn’t know who Agot Isidro was. They were introduced. They know her now as just Tita Agot. Again, amusing. My kids do not watch local TV shows like noontime variety programs, kiddie telenovelas and such. Why? Because I say so. They’re my rules. They’re very young and impressionable. I want to keep their minds stimulated – through reading, art, crafts, playtime at the park, sports. There’ll be lots of time for TV when they grow up. Sometimes I try to make them watch Tagalog-dubbed age-appropriate movies to improve their Tagalog.

4. Sophia’s ninang is Angel Aquino. She adores her Ninang Angel. But she’s never seen any of her shows or movies.

5. I didn’t diss Philippine theatre. How can I diss something I love and support? Please take a pill, y’all. My kids watch Repertory Philippines at least twice a year, not counting the other independent productions we go see. Me, I try to watch anything whenever I can. I’m kicking myself for missing the British Council’s night of PETA’s Haring Lear. It’s on til March 4th.

6. All I said was it was their first time in a <s>real</s> Western theatre. I was referring to the architectural structure and the whole theatre scene in general. Like New York’s Broadway , Toronto’s Theatre District or London’s West End. Don’t anyone think that’s a snooty remark. My kids love Araneta Coliseum (or as Lily calls it, “the collisee”) as much as they love watching rock concerts at the SMX grounds. They think Newport Theatre is the bomb. Me, I love the CCP.

7. ABSCBN Production’s Winnie gave me two tickets to the Mamma Mia Gala. I didn’t ask for it. I had no access to them. Prior to that another friend offered me two tickets but I politely declined. I needed to bring two kids. So two tickets would have been pointless. When I told Winnie that I couldn’t come to the Gala because there weren’t enough tickets, that was the time I thought of asking for a third ticket. Winnie is no stranger to me. I felt comfortable enough to ask. She gave them to me. Front row seats. Please don’t hate me if I get free tickets. I’m sure you get perks in your job too.

8. My blog has advertisers and sponsors. I’m transparent about that. It costs me real money to run this site. I’m not on a free blogspot. There’s nothing wrong with having a commercially viable website.

9. I do not get paid for clicks in my ads. Don’t worry about those things. I may get commission in some of the sales generated if you enter a site through my links. So think of that as a minor way of showing support to the maintenance of this site. Or not.

10. Going back to the not knowing local celebrities. Why did I have to answer so many questions about that? My kids weren’t even aware I was on TV until other kids in school told them. They have not seen a single episode of Urban Zone. They’ve only seen me in my National Geographic TV commercial. Like I said, I am amused and pleased that they are unaffected by the world of “celebrity”.


Everything you read here is from me and by me, with the exception of the 2% of the times when I post press releases from sponsors. I’ve been getting a lot of love and encouragement from my regular readers. Some of you have been with me since my early days in Flickr. It was peaceful then. We all just shared the love of photography and the thrill of that perfect capture. Now I encounter all kinds. I can take it, for the most part. But I’m a busy girl. And I can’t tolerate assinine comments. If you offend me or my family, I will delete your comment. I may even blacklist.

I don’t use my site to spew negativity, power trip or rant about stuff. I value my advertisers. I respect my readers. My name means everything to me. So instead of going all Linda Blair on you, I will just simply delete.