ALMOST 30 YEARS AGO, A NANNY CAME FROM THE PHILIPPINES TO LOVE AND CARE FOR US. Aunty Lena stayed in our household for 9 years, making sure we were well fed and had good manners. For all those years that she was away from her children, she took us in as her own. We would sing Tagalog songs and eat Pinoy-inspired food. Those were our childhood memories, but they were in exchange for Aunty Lena’s time away from home.

A couple of years prior to this, we managed to contact and reconnect with Aunty. It was a long story, but it had something to do with me watching her write letters to her family, and eventually remembering her address. Since then, we had always wish to pay her a visit. And this time, our wish became reality. With our family butler Nathan on our side, we ventured to Manila, meeting Aunty Lena once again.

THE INSTANT WE SAW AUNTY, she ran over and gave us hugs. Tears in her eyes, she told us many stories of our past, flipping through old photographs that she kept as a treasure. She would elaborate all the events that seem fuzzy to us now. It was a strange feeling seeing her again for the first time in 20 years. She is someone that feels distant, yet knows us well to be close at heart.

“Those were the days”, they would say. I could never fully understand it until now. Those were the days when we shared beautiful memories together. Those days are gone now, but the memories will never fade.

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Why is this butler so happy?

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Manila here we come

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What a long queue in the airport!

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Waiting areas according to your family name, such a great idea!

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Aunty Lena not used to us being so tall

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Tears of joy

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Aunty Lena and her grandson Jeric

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Aunty kept my brother Kennie’s photo in her wallet all these years

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Meeting up with Aunty’s son, Jerome

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The garlic rice looks appetizing

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Halo-halo

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Our college friend Julie brought us laser-tagging

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Card games and dinner

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