Every new year, I was told, is God’s way of giving us an opportunity to start anew – with a clean slate, a fresh page, a blank chapter. It is our chance to make amends for our past misgivings and to live out the lessons we have learned from our past mistakes. That is probably the reason behind the tradition of coming up with New Year’s resolutions.

But, since I’m not really good at keeping resolutions, I decided to usher in 2016 with my personal reflection on the year that was. To take stock of my life. To find hidden lessons in every test, reasons in every occurrence, silver linings in every cloud, and blessings in disguise. To, somehow, prepare myself for everything and anything that the coming year has in store for me.

Thinking back now to my 2015, I realize that it has been exceptionally good and kind to Filipinos in general, and to me and my family in particular. It was filled with divine favors and graces that, in hindsight, I am not sure we completely deserved.

After eleven days of hospital confinement following Roel’s successful kidney transplant in December 22 of 2014, we were discharged on the eve of New Year. My personal battle cry then was “New year, New kidney, New life!”

Our first family picture for 2015

In mid-January, I was one with the entire nation in celebrating the arrival of Pope Francis in the country for a four-day state and pastoral visit. With his messages of mercy and compassion, the Supreme Pontiff created ripples of positive energy that lingered on even after his departure. For days, we were gripped by what we dubbed as the “Pope Francis fever”.
photo credit:

On March 15, my Baldonado family celebrated our father’s 70th birthday. After suffering two major strokes two years prior that left him partially paralyzed, we were blessed to have that day to show Tatay how important he really was to all of us by gathering relatives and friends from near and far – even those he hasn’t seen for decades – for a surprise party.

photo credit: Jhon Arellano

On April 06, right after the Holy Week, my husband got his back-to-work clearance from his nephrologist. Under strict orders, though – no unnecessary stress and no strenuous activities; no exposure to possible sources of germs, bacteria and viruses; and no missing of medicines, diagnostic tests and medical appointments. His bosses, fully understanding his condition and temporary limitations, pulled him out of his field assignment and gave him an office-based position as a member of the division’s Training department team.

photo credit: Ashley Kaye Lim

Our children – Emar, MD and Lala – continue to display diligence in their studies. In fact, a few years from now, we are expecting to have a chemical engineer, a pharmacist and a doctor in the family! (*insert photo here)

On August 05, my husband and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary. 20 years! We spent the whole day together and capped it off with a romantic treehouse dinner date that is every woman’s secret dream – flower centerpiece, a litter of rose petals, candles, white draperies, a five-course meal, the works! The attentive hunk by my side only made the night perfect for me.


In mid-September, I decided to act on my long-time dream of becoming a blogger by launching my blog, Mom On A Mission. Just two days after that, I received an offer from Filipino Migrant News, a community newspaper in New Zealand, to have my first article published. Countless private messages between the owners and myself and seven articles later, I am now the paper’s Manila correspondent! Still couldn’t wipe this silly grin off my face.


On November 08, our family celebrated the 20th birthday of our firstborn, Emar. That day also marked our 20th year as parents – 20 years of putting someone else’s happiness and well-being ahead of our own, 20 years of doubting whether we’re doing the right things or not, 20 years of fears and worries, excitement and pride, and heartaches and joy. 20 years that we will never trade for anything else.


On December 21, I rejoiced with the entire nation when Miss Philippines, Pia Wurtzbach, bagged the most coveted Miss Universe title. She was able to end the country’s 42-year Miss Universe drought. The closest the Philippines got to winning the crown was in 1999 and 2012, when Miriam Quiambao and Janine Tugonon respectively secured a 1st runner-up place. In a very controversial turn of events that night, Pia was able to show the whole world her grace under pressure, in defeat and in victory. One proud moment there for all of us, Filipinos, especially for a beauty pageant fan like me!
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A day after that, on December 22, I posted this on Facebook in remembrance of the successful kidney transplant that my husband underwent exactly a year ago.


Our family spent the remaining days of 2015 in the warm and comforting company of our loved ones. We had our Christmas in Bataan with the Baldonado and Del Rosario clans, our annual get-together with our long-time Chinoy friends and their families, and our New Year in Caloocan with the Aquinos and Manalaysays.

with the Baldonados on Christmas eve

Undeniably, 2015 was also filled with adversities. The world, our country and our family were bombarded with various challenges that tested our individual and collective strengths and our faith both in humanity and in the Almighty. I just choose to dwell on the positive things that happened because they far outweigh the negative ones.

Let me leave you with these beautiful words from a certain Allen Klein.

“Your attitude is like a box of crayons that color your world. Constantly color your picture gray, and your picture will always be bleak. Try adding some bright colors to the picture, and your picture begins to lighten up.”

Let us all welcome the year with renewed faith, steadfast optimism and rejuvenated strength.


Have a blessed 2016, everyone! 🙂