As you know, Husband’s work is mostly overtime, so I really go the extra mile when it comes to making sure he gets to have bonding moments with myself and our daughter. Instead of complaining about the fewer opportunities for quality time together as a family, I’ve resolved to just get creative and simply make even seemingly ordinary moments special. Now, add Husband’s photography and music gigs to his schedule, and family time can get virtually non-existent. IF we don’t watch it. Husband’s a good man and an awesome dad. We’re not about to let his crazy schedule get in the way of family togetherness. One of the ways we’ve dealt with this is to go with him to his shoots and practices.
Of late, he has had to do shoots in out-of-town settings, so instead of being bummed about him working weekends, we just looked at these gigs as opportunities for travel for the entire family. We actually love road trips. When Husband and I were working in Subic, we regularly traveled to Manila and back. We’ve learned to make these long drives fun with games and singing. Of course, the dining experience was also interesting, considering that we used to pass by so many eating establishments in the hours we spent on the road. Three years later, the circumstances of these road trips have been modified. We now have a daughter and a tighter budget. Despite the budget, road trips remain special. There are still singing and games, but while restaurant stops have diminished considerably, we’ve rediscovered the fun in impromptu picnics and the coziness of eating in the car. The problem with this arrangement is that we have a very picky eater with us, hence I have to be very strategic in planning our road trip menu. I must admit, while I do not count calories, I do obsess about nutritional intake. Also, Marguerite remains an ovo-lacto-pesco vegetarian with the occasional chicken or turkey thrown in, so the meat protein aspect is something that I used to fret over (fruits, grains, veggies, etc. were easy enough to bring) until I crossed paths with Century Bangus Fillet. Suffice it to say that Marguerite likes it and enjoys both tausi and Spanish style.
Century Gourmet Bangus Fillet is a real godsend because while I do like the flavor of bangus, it has got to be one of the boniest fish out there - so yay for Century’s very thoughtful decision to go boneless, lol. It’s also inspired how the available styles are tausi and Spanish, both very savory and distinct. Of course, canned delicacies are no good unless you have a can opener, but Century has addressed that by putting its bangus fillet in easy-to-open cans with pull tabs (if I sense that Marguerite is hungry and we're still not ready to stop and park, I just open a can and feed her, no problem). It certainly covers all the important aspects – nourishment, handiness, convenience, etc. It is also very filling. That's why when we were stranded in Famy, Laguna on our way to a shoot in Sinaloan on that fateful Ondoy Saturday, we remained very much well nourished despite not being able to leave the car for many hours.
We took the Rizal route instead of South Luzon Expressway. The car being buoyed by a mini wave on a flooded bridge in Antipolo should have been a portent of worse floods ahead, considering the incessant downpour. We bravely ploughed our way on even though I was really thinking we should have turned back and just waited out the bad weather in my parents' house in Marikina(!). As it turned out, continuing on our way was the wise choice. We got stranded a couple of times, true, and water seeped through the floor of the car, but we remained pretty comfortable. We had plenty of food in the car since I had already planned for a meal to be consumed in it (or on any nice grassy patch that we could potentially encounter). Even in short drives, having a picky eater along has trained me to bring food that I know she'll enjoy anyway in case she won't go for any of the choices in a restaurant. Thank God really that Husband and I are always in a thrifty frame of mind. Otherwise, we would have probably just planned to drive through one of the fastfood places or stopped to eat in a restaurant. Even with no access to a store, we were able to have a nutritious lunch of Century Bangus Fillet, bananas, and sandwiches on time and feel blessed that we were well fed and relatively safe. We did prudently ration our supply at that time since we didn't know how long we would be stranded. We eventually were able to cross the flood, only to be denied access through a bridge about a kilometer from our destination by the military. The soldiers occasionally allowed small vehicles to cross and towards the late afternoon, we finally got to the shoot location (yes, the shoot did push through). We ended up staying the night in the resort (the original plan was photo shoot in Laguna in the morning, birthday party in Tandang Sora at 2pm, and despedida/reunion in Gateway at 6pm - that horrible Ondoy wrecked lives, properties, and at the very least, plans). Naturally, Marguerite was difficult during dinner, but she did eat some more Century Bangus Fillet (ah, the wisdom in rationing) when we went back to our room. On our way home the following day, we anxiously stopped at a minimart to stock up on supplies in case we got stranded again. However, we were thankfully able to drive all the way home to Mandaluyong (via SLEX - Rizal was still flooded) without further incident.
Because of this experience, our practice to always have a supply of handy and healthy goods, such as Century Bangus Fillet, with us in the car has certainly been reinforced.
Here’s Marguerite holding her lovey (KittyCat) and her baon (Spanish style) during one of our early morning travels. She definitely knows what her priorities are, lol.