Writing on Air

Writing on Air by Jim Paredes

Three kids and a dad

Posted on July 07, 2013 by jimparedes

HUMMING IN MY UNIVERSE By Jim Paredes (The Philippine Star) | Updated June 30, 2013 – 12:00am

The author Jim Paredes with children Erica, Ala and Mio in London.

I just love being with family especially while abroad. We’ve had family travels before. We’ve been to Australia, Cambodia, US, Davao, Baguio, Boracay and a few other places. Last week we had one that was unexpected and unplanned. Except for Lydia who was in Sydney, I met up with the rest of my family in London last week.

My three kids Erica, Ala and Mio had finally decided to take a much-delayed European travel given to them by a generous uncle and aunt as graduation gifts years ago. They all took off from work and decided to leave for London from where they would start their European adventure. As luck would have it, I was going to be in London at the same time they were to attend the Samsung Premier 2013 launch of new products.


The moment I landed at Heathrow Airport in London, I contacted my daughter Erica. We immediately planned lunch since I had limited time to be with them. I was in London for work after all and I was just taking advantage of whatever free time I could get.

So with hardly any sleep from that long ride from NAIA 2 to Heathrow, I took Bus 27 from Kensington High where my hotel was to Camden Market, which was close to an hour’s ride. I got off the bus after about 25 stops. After a block’s walk, I met up with Erica, Ala, their friends Trina Epilepsia and Issa Perez Tagle who were also traveling around Europe and shared a flat with them. My son Mio who was taking some photos around the block appeared a few minutes later.

In previous family travels, we usually went to places where none of us really knew how to get around. We liked to rely on maps, guides and friends. I remember how young they were then. As a parent, I was always watchful of where they went and what they did.
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But my kids are grownup now. And this was London, Erica’s favorite city. She had spent a few months here some years back to study a course on makeup. She knew the nooks and crannies so well, the places to visit and avoid like the back of her hand, that I had to ask her half-seriously if she actually did study during the time she was here, or did she spend all the time gallivanting and just having a great time? Hmm.

Camden is quite an interesting place. It is edgy and daring. You see a lot of very young, very bold fashion clothes and accessories for sale, and a cornucopia of post–hippie cool stuff. T-shirts, beads, rings, bracelets — things you would see in tiangges, flea markets, etc. You see lots of hand and homemade stuff everywhere but the difference is they are very hip. The natives are either very casually attired or dressed to make a statement. Fashionistas in elaborate punk get-ups are a common sight. It is a photographer’s paradise.

After some shopping, we went into one of the side streets for lunch at a Latin-Carribean inspired restaurant called Guanabana. It is owned by a friend Erica had known way back named Omar Khan. He served a fusion menu ranging from adobo sandwich to lamb, to ribs. He served us a yummy refreshing mojito concoction but without alcohol. Everything was actually very delicious.

After the meal, we went back to shopping again. But I soon had to beg off since jetlag was taking its toll on me. I went back to the hotel around mid-afternoon to get some rest.

I found more free time the next day and so we all met again this time at Borrough’s Market. I took the train, or the tube as Londoners call it to get there. I had my fear of getting lost since I knew I had to change trains midway but it all went well without a hitch.

Borrough’s Market is a covered area with lots of stalls and open stores selling all sorts of cheeses, wines, meats, chocolates, pasta, fruits, pastries, candies and a host of other things. I had a pork belly sandwich which I highly recommend if you are ever there. It was tasty, scrumptious and filling — a full meal. We went around a bit more but after about two hours, we bid our goodbyes since each one wanted to go to a different site to visit. It would be the last time I would see them in the next two months.

Travel can be quite stressful. Thank God it was too early for that since they were just at the start of their six-week journey. All throughout my time with them, I felt a sense of fatherly pride as I watched how decent, independent and fun-loving my children had grown up to be. I noticed how intelligent, perceptive and appreciative they were of everything they saw. And the way they soak it all in and even go native and local is admirable! No doubt, they are cosmopolitan travelers. And best of all, they are people who know how to comport and conduct themselves properly in almost any locale or setting.

I wished Lydia had been there to enjoy their company and to just watch how our kids had turned out.

I especially enjoyed the few one-on-one moments with them. While walking, Ala put her arm around my waist as we walked and expressed how she had missed me. I loved that. I missed her, too. Mio and I had our male-bonding moment when we casually talked about the pretty girls we saw on the streets. We also talked about where he was at the moment in his life and some turning points he was going through. With Erica, I felt she was taking the ate role quite seriously and made extra sure her sibs were on schedule and coordinated. She also took care that her papa would not get lost in London or be uncomfortable while with them.

Family travel is wonderful. And I am lucky that my family has the same penchant for it as I have. We all like saying yes to unknown places, appreciating strange accents and being open to new experiences.

There is an openness one must have for travel to work its magic. One must be ready to take both an outward and inward journey. There is as much to learn about oneself as well as other people. The whole idea is to immerse oneself into a bigger reality and greater sense of what humanity is all about. Otherwise, travel anywhere becomes just another reason to feel superior or inferior vis-à-vis another culture.

Travel is expensive, no doubt about that. But if it gets you bonded closely as a family while being educated about the world, people, cultures, traditions and a host of other things one can only learn through actual travel, it is worth the price.

1 to “Three kids and a dad”

  1. Proud_cebuana says:

    Thank Sir Jim! My family too loves adventures, years before we would just buy a map and drive around,this was in Bohol oh ot was taxing but fun! Then baguio, benuet, tagaytay, negros… Your article made me want to travel with them very soon. I shared this with them and I know they feel the same! Kudos and daghang salamat Sir Jim!

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