For over four years I have been unable to accompany my wife Lydia on her monthly visits to her home province of Quezon in Southern Luzon. This week I finally did so. Our destination was the town of Gumaca which is about 6 1/2 hours by bus from Metro Manila. The scenery along the way in the countryside between towns is lush and verdant,. which combined with the fact that there were no major delays made the ride fairly pleasant.
This was a special trip for me not just due to the length of time since my last visit, but mainly because this is first time that I've seen the work that has been done on a special project that Lydia started several months ago: renovation of our old house that we had built there many years ago, but which had fallen into ruin as it had not been occupied or properly attended to after we returned to the U.S. and subsequent occupants failed to properly maintain the property. Finally, it was abandoned altogether. and thieves stripped away many of the furnishings.
Initially, when we returned to the Philippines 10 years ago, we had planned to sell the property. However, it turns out that all along Lydia had really wanted us to have a house in the barrio, a place that we could call our own no matter how modest and to which we could escape every so often from the urban jungle of Metro-Manila. to the very type of green countryside environment that I saw en route to Gumaca. Importantly, she wanted us to have a place to which we could also permanently relocate if for whatever reason life in the city should become unbearable.
Moreover, she wanted to be able fulfill her passion for gardening and landscaping as well as for interior design. Lydia has done a beautiful job with the latter here in our leased condominium in Eastwood City. Yet in her mind it's just not the same as decorating one's own home. Now she will be able to indulge her passion for both inside and outside artistry to her heart's content. In fact she is well on her way to realizing her vision via the unique style in which she is having our house rebuilt. The design that Lydia created is what she calls "Hobbit House" and as such is rather whimsical. The roof is a burgundy red; the front door which is oval shaped(!) will be painted blue-gray; the living room window is circular; and the back door has flower carvings. The cottage itself is surrounded by a garden with flowers in splashing colors, and right behind the house is a mountain which completes the storybook-like setting.
And now that I've finally seen the results for myself, I'm totally onboard and couldn't be more proud of her dreams and the steps that she taken to fulfill them.