the season in photos

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♪♫ There's a light that shines on everyone, Burning brighter everyday
For the souls who search for peace on earth.It's the Christmas Star that lights the way ♪♫ 

The Sunday before Christmas we had dinner at Maribago Bluewater Resort in Mactan. They had this fountain area filled with lighted white parols. It was so lovely, the boys just had to take a picture underneath the stars.

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♪♫ For every year the Christmas tree,Brings to us all both joy and glee.
Oh Christmas tree, Oh Christmas tree, Such pleasure do you bring me. ♪♫ 

Every after the Christmas Eve Mass or Misa de Aguinaldo, when the family arrives at home, we make it a point to have the yearly family portrait with the Christmas tree behind us. This has been the second Christmas with Tristan around; unlike last year, the second born now knows how to behave and pose during family picture taking.

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♪♫ It's the greatest time of year, and it's here, help me celebrate it.
With everybody here, friends so dear, let me simply state it.
Joy to the world and everyone, lift up your hearts and feel the love.
It's our favorite way, to spend the holiday. ♪♫

Christmas is always best spent with family. On the strike of twelve, when you are with loved ones - the noche buena is not just a sumptuous meal together, it's a joyous celebration of love and of life. Christmas day lunch has that same feeling too. It is really the season to be jolly.

final dose:
The Corteses wish you too had a wonderful Christmas.


newsletter 2013 ver.08

♪♫ Have yourself a merry little Christmas, let your heart be light 
From now on, our troubles will be out of sight 
Have yourself a merry little Christmas, make the Yule-tide gay, 
From now on, our troubles will be miles away. 
Here we are as in olden days, happy golden days of yore. 
Faithful friends who are dear to us, gather near to us once more. 
Through the years we all will be together, if the Fates allow 
Hang a shining star upon the highest bough. 
And have yourself A merry little Christmas now.♪♫ 

It's that time of year once again, and what a wonderful song this is!  It gives you that warm, fuzzy feeling - full of hope and promise, and above all, of love.  In case you were wondering how The Corteses fared this year, here are a few updates. 

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The Corteses' annual newsletter 2013, Ver.08

This is our annual newsletter, now on its 8th edition. We always have it posted on this site for the sake of those not included in our mailing list. And each year it has been a joy to put together what we want to share - the stories and the pictures. So for those who will be getting one, hope you'll love it.

final dose:
So have yourself a merry little Christmas now 
- love lots from The Corteses.


school affairs

My parents were not really that active with school affairs back when I was still in elementary and high school, much more in college. Basically, they would get to be in school only during getting of report cards, enrollment, recognition day and commencements. Rarely will they go to family days and other school affairs.

The moment our first born started schooling, Wifey and I have been pretty much involved – from the usual parents meeting to all school activities be big and small. At one point, one of us has been elected as one of the PTA officers. It’s not that we act like stage parents, but for the three schools that the first born has attended, he has always been actively involved with school activities.
From Marie Ernestine School, to USC North Campus and now at Sacred Heart School – Ateneo de Cebu; Zai Angelo has in one way or the other joined most school activities – be it as representative for his year level in the United Nation’s month to joining school quiz bees or as the Narrator for his school’s year end play.

As a parent, seeing all these gives you firsthand experience of how your child grows both in academics and the extra-curricular things. Believe me, any kid gets to be more proud of himself when he sees his parents watch him strut his stuff in school. So take my advice, get involved with your child’s learning process – take time to join school affairs even it would mean dragging yourself on a hot Sunday with a hang over after a Saturday night out.

 photo CHRISTMASAFFAIR_zps388d769e.jpg Ateneo de Cebu's 2013 Christmas Fair
the Corteses at SHS-AdC + Zai & Mom doing figurine painting + Zai & classmate playing with chicks.

final dose:
At the end of the day, the most overwhelming key to a child's success is the positive involvement of parents. – Jane D. Hull


a long december

A long December and there's reason to believe. Maybe this year will be better than the last

In a month's time, 2013 will end. I am usually not superstitious, but there's just something negative with the year having the 13 in it, that's why I so look forward to 2014.

The last quarter of this year have been depressing to say the least, just as it was the past two years; I dunno why tragic events occur when the year is about to end. But the month of December normally brings that glimmer of hope in everyone...  

And it's been a long December and there's reason to believe. Maybe this year will be better than the last. I can't remember all the times I tried to tell myself. To hold on to these moments as they pass

December reminds us that it is not about everything turning out great for the year, but how we have made it through the year and the hope and the possibilities that lies ahead for the next. 

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images of the season. balls, tree, star.

So for those who felt this year was not any good, let's give this month one reason to believe. Keep the faith - in the premise that God gave everything in your life and never gives more than what you can bear.

final dose:
now that Advent is upon us, may the yuletide spirit be truly felt. 


i am thankful

Today is Thanksgiving day.
And because it is an american holiday, most Filipinos do not celebrate what today is. But I believe everyone in the world should celebrate a day like this - a day to just be thankful.

And more than an ordinary thank god it's friday, here's a list of what i am thankful for.
  • i am thankful, though 2013 might have been a rough year, we still see the light of day, literally.
  • i am thankful, though the year brought rough patches, we were able to sort out & make amends.
  • i am thankful, though projects were bleak, there were other blessings & we were able to manage.
  • i am thankful for the lessons learned yesterday and that today i have been woken up and given another chance to make even the smallest difference in our world.
  • i am thankful for all the things i mistook as mundane but were actually of great value.
And more than anything else, I am thankful for my wife, my two sons, my family.

 photo magina_zps2fc153c9.png ang akong bugtong gipasalamatan, akong asawa og akong duha ka bugoy.

final dose:
be thankful for today, for today is thanksgiving.


giving back

It was my first time to drive up north of Cebu, wifey hesitated since I may not be familiar with the route and more so because I haven't had enough rest. 

To make the long story short, we pushed through as planned. It was the first weekend after super typhoon Yolanda hit the country, so the drive to Bogo saw a long line of trucks, vans and private cars. We had a jeepney full of relief goods we had repacked days before and a sedan with boxes of bottled water in the trunk.

By the time we got to the town of Sogod, the effects of the typhoon was already evident. People line up along the side of the road holding cardboard signs with one common message written on it.

We had turned over our packed relief goods ready for distribution to the Bogo command center. We entrust that they know the situation of their constituents better than we do, so we did not take it on ourselves to personally distribute the goods.

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thanks to the big R for making this relief operations possible

This was my first long drive up north and my first time to do a charitable act of this kind. 
Though tired, the feeling of being able to help and give back is just priceless.

final dose:
we can only do as much but more help is still needed. 
it was our first time but definitely not the last.


how i spent my semestral break

Our semestral break started on a sad note, the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that affected Cebu and Bohol.

So I started my sembreak by watching the news and praying for the victims of the quake. I also helped my parents buy relief goods for the severely affected Boholanos.

But my sembreak was also memorable because of All Saints' and All Souls' Days, when my family visited the cemetery to pray for the dead.

All in all, my semestral break was spent praying, both for the living and the dead. I prayed for God to heal our lands and to heal our people.

photoplay for my sembreak: (from top to bottom, left to right)
        • my bro had his first haircut and so did i for my mohawk
        • my usual day at home, playing with my dad's laptop
        • my bro and i, early in the morning, playing with the tab.
        • my bro and i at dad's office for trick or treat
        • my dragon face paint on my cheek
        • my bro and i posing as models for ensure, my parents sell them.

final dose:
the first born's speak up for school.


keep the faith

His name is Ryan Gil Peru. An architect. My counterpart from Tacloban.

His is a story so disheartening. 
Busy with work, he was assigned in another project far away from home, leaving his wife and family.
The day Yolanda wreaked havoc, he sent me a text message, asking how I was and my family. I replied that we were okay and thankfully so, yes we were really okay. He replied that he was also fine from where he is - in Roxas. He told me that he heard the mall in Tacloban was badly damaged but he can not assess yet of how badly it was.

After that terrible day and when news came out of how devastating the damages brought about by the super typhoon were, I texted him how sorry I was for his hometown and wishing him well. He never replied. Until three days later when I heard the news that he was told to go to Ilo-Ilo, from there he was briefed of what had happened to his hometown, the first time he ever saw on television the gruesome images...from there he was told of his loss. His wife was part of the many casualties.

I may not have been close to him but I feel his loss. I can only imagine how grieving it is, I can never fathom the feeling he has now. I only wish he will be strong.

His and the many other sad stories are always lessons we will learn in life - that it is too short and unpredictable.

I am thankful that we have been spared. Cherish life while we can, appreciate every blessings and forever be grateful to HIM.

To Ryan and to all the others who have suffered, you'll always be included in our prayers. Keep the faith and be strong.

 photo tabangTacloban_zps370a3413.jpg 
hashtag image of encouragement. created by a.cortes

final dose:
this too shall pass and we will all rise again.
Pre, God bless you always and may she rest in peace.



15 October 2013, Eight twelve in the morning.
The Visayas region of the Philippines was hit by a 7.2 magnitude earthquake with its epicenter originating in Sagbayan, a town in the island of Bohol.

It was early in the morning, when wifey and I were awakened by our two boys. The four of us in the bed greeting each other morning kisses and hugs, not even able to wash our faces yet. Minutes later, we noticed the bed shaking, stuff on the shelves were also shaking, the roof and the walls were creating shaky noises as well... we knew right there and then it was an earthquake. 

Wifey and I looked at each other, she holding Angelo, I carrying Tristan. We went downstairs right away.

It was the kind of shaking that gives you shivers deep inside. We hadn't known of the intensity yet that time, but as soon as we wanted to find out, power was gone, phone lines were down and any means of communication was difficult. When power was back up after 30 minutes, the earthquake incident was all over the news. Information were right away coming in and the more we learned how powerful the earthquake was.

It's been a week, but since that time until now, there have been more than two thousand aftershocks recorded. The entire country would have known by now how the earthquake brought devastating damage most especially in Bohol

Help are pouring in but I know it's not yet enough. It's good to see how people are coming together, making efforts for relief funds and all. At least what the earthquake showed us is that we Filipinos, resilient as always - know how to stand together after every fall. Let's do our share in helping rebuild what has fallen.

image by a.cortes, created as message of encouragement.

May we learn from the incident - on the manner of evacuating, on building safe structures and on keeping our faith strong.

final dose:
we are very thankful that it happened on a holiday 
and that the four of us were together and were never harmed. 


the second born's first

There's something about firsts that you would want it to be special. I remember seven years back during the first born's first birthday that we made it something worth remembering, unfortunate though because the memories through the photos of that event weren't preserved because it was uploaded on a social networking site that has already shut down.

For our second born's first birthday though, we made it a point to make sure the event is captured the way we pictured it will be. Photos will speak for itself. So here's a photo play of the first birthday celebration of Tristan Azi

22 September 2013, Sto. Nino Village clubhouse

Allow us to mention the following for making this event succesful:
Cocina Calza for the sumptous food. Smilerrific for the photobooth, Edzel Nieves for the wonderful photos. Noise garage for the sound sytem. Pastries ByJessica for the awesome yummy cake.

And for the following people for the big help.
Dodi, Lexis, Maica, Mhon, Macita, Monina, Mommy, Mama and Mommy Day.

And all those who attended, hope you all enjoyed!

Final dose:
View all photos of the event on our facebook page.


yes it's october

On its onset, I could have seen a case or two of empty amber bottles, dying embers of cigarettes and its butts littered on the floor. But the month I so look forward to ever before has lost its luster.

I don't know the reason but I want to find out why. And don't give that "i'm getting old" excuse because I ain't buying it. See, I went out on the 1st and had a bucket and three bottles, I could have lasted more if I had wanted to, but it wasn't that fun alone and work had me worried.

Oh October, you know you were the most special of them twelve, you hold a place in our hearts for so many a celebration. Tell me now when we can enjoy you fully. Two more weeks, two weekends and some, Octoberfest show us your fun.

someday i'll make one like this. image from: 

final dose:
just missing the booze.


our little monster

the official photos for Tristan Azi's first birthday celebration are here.
here's one with him in his cute mike wazowski costume.

final dose:
we will be posting more of the celebration soon.
check our FB page for more photos.


the family portrait

 serious in white.

wacky shot.

final dose:
this is our first studio family picture ever. dated 08 September 2013


on to the first for the second!

Next month will be the first birthday of our second son Tristan Azi. Could you believe that?
It was just like yesterday when we were busy preparing for his christening, and now we're up for the preparation of his first birthday.

Well, time really flies fast.

We're not planning a big party, but just enough to call it a great celebration for a very wonderful blessing who is our second born. And these past days, wifey and I are working as a team on the many things to do by September 22.

Here's a sneak peek of what to expect.

The big brother is the one that's the most excited; he can't wait to suit up in his costume.

final dose;
we'll be sending invites within the week.


azi smiles

they say you have the rarest smile.
even how people tried to amuse you, they can't even make you smirk just a bit.

but i know you too well my second son. and i am proud to say that even with your smile so precious, you have one of the cutest of them all.

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look at how you goof around with the camera

final dose:
keep on smiling my 11 month old Tristan Azi, next month you'll turn one and that's a lot of reason for you to wear that big smile.



a simple dot makes the difference.

usually, i try to find ways where i can find an excuse for a fault i candidly made. but today i had the courage to accept that i am wrong. big mistake that is. a simple dot makes the difference from hundreds to thousands and even millions.

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to vent out... i drew this, how i felt when i learned i got it all wrong... arrrrghhh!

and yes i humbly acknowledged my mistake. let us all proceed and have the project materialize, i think that's all that matters now.

final dose:
good thing, nothing has been awarded just yet.


happy 7th first born!

how time flies...

Look how little you were the first time I held you seven years ago.
 photo zai_zps0559b1f1.jpgZai Angelo, 2 days old. circa 2006

And look how big you are now! Seven years old, now a kuya, now a grader.
 photo alli-zai7_zpse5323100.jpg Zai Angelo, celebrating his 7th birthday in school.

Happy birthday to you our first born Zai Angelo!

Please know that you have always been and will always will, together with your little 'bro, our bundles of joy.

final dose:
will have more of your celebration come this weekend in Bantayan.


happy birthday lolo!

Happy Happy Birthday Lolo Tony!

We won't divulge your age because we're pretty sure that you would not want to tell the whole world how old you are now. Thanks for being a good grand dad to both Angelo and Tristan.

lolo Tony during his birthday dinner with The Corteses

Enjoy the day and have a good one.

final dose:
keep the drinking at minimum but celebrate and be merry!


my vow not to buy anything at cdr king

This post will be my vow not to buy anything at CDR king from now on.

Yesterday (24June2013) was my first time ever to buy at CDR king. I can't even believe it was my first. I had no other choice after having been to other stores looking for a "clip type" reading lamp for wifey. CDR king had a handful of choices in fancy yet inexpensive, say cheap clip type reading lamps. So I bought one for three hundred bucks. I had it all tested and checked.

When I got home, I planned to install it before wifey gets home so she can use it by the time she'll read a book to sleep. Lo and behold, the clip, even before having to clip it to the window sill broke right after.

The staff at CDR king reminded me that they have a 7 day replacement policy. So this morning I went back and ask for a replacement, but much to my surprise, they wouldn't. Saying it's "physical" damage.

What the efffff!

The product itself is sub-standard in the first place. Physical damage or not, the clip is part of the product and should be part of the replacement. But I would not want to rant any further.

Again, this is just my vow, I promise never ever to buy at CDR king. And I effin' curse that cheap no class store.

final dose:
CDR king you suck big time!


father & sons

Ever since the first born knew how to write, spell and compose - he has been writing letters to both his mom and dad during special occasions. It's pretty pleasant to read these letters knowing that we rarely get one nowadays. Pleasant in a touching and emotional way - with how naive and innocent the letters are composed. 
Personally when I read them, I get teary eyed. Well, that's just really me being too emotional. Even touching is how these letters are accompanied with cute little drawings. ahhhh.....

Looky here what daddy got for father's day.

the first born's happy father's day letter

It's quite obvious that it's the first born who wrote the letter, but don't you just find it really nice of him as the big brother to include his younger bro in the letter. Again, it's just that "aaaahhhhhhh" feeling.

 photo boys_zps66657196.jpg 
the Daddy with his two sons - Zai Angelo and Tristan Azi

final dose:
please don't grow up so fast you two...


first grade

To our first born, good luck on this day. Good luck on being in a new school. Good luck on being in the first grade. We know you will do well.

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Zai Angelo, now an Ateneo Hearter.
final dose: 
have all the fun and learning you can get.


lucky 7

No matter how much two people love each other, there are going to be times when they end up hurting one another.
I know we've made mistakes, but I believe we've learn from them and have help us become more sensitive to each other.

And through the seven years, I want us to concentrate more on what we have together.
even better, even stronger.

What I really want to tell you more than anything else.
and the special LOVE we share.

Happy Seventh Anniversary to us!

final dose:
on to the 50 years and beyond!


alli @ 30

to the mother of my two sons.
to my partner, my confidant.
to the love of my life.

High five to you for reaching this mile high.
Happy 30th Birthday my love!

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I Love You!, I might not be that expressive, but believe me.... I really do.

final dose:
though 30 I still see you looking so sexy... let's rock the bed!


hee yah! done!

hee yah! done! with Hiyan Shodan!!!

final dose:
Our first born graduates from white belter, two bronze medals and one silver.


hee-yah for Zai

Do you remember the summer classes you  attended when you were young?

I've wish to have enrolled with tennis class, then guitar lessons, then I wanted to learn violin also.. but none of these materialized. I only went with three summers of swimming lessons - that's basic, advance and intermediate. All the three swimming lessons I took, I did it when I was seven years old until I was nine.

All the three swimming lessons I took, my first born had already completed it before turning seven.

He tried Arnis before his basic swim school, and then went to art lessons last year. This year, he wanted to do drums, but what drums would he use at home? --I mean, I can't really afford to buy him a drum set this time; and that it would really create a lot of noise at home. The little brother won't like it.

So for his sixth summer, our six year old Zai Angelo took some Hee-Yah!!!!
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Zai Angelo shows his karate moves... Hiyan Shodan!!!

From April to May, this little white-belter enjoyed his summer karate lessons at JKA.

final dose:
he wishes to continue until he reaches black belt, that's a lot of karate classes lined up in the coming summers.


first summer of Azi

Our second boy turned seven months old last April. And this summer is his first.

Tristan Azi at his age may not be able to do things children usually do during summer --- he may not be able to fly a kite, go enroll in a summer class, go make sand castles, play summer games, go swimming or just be out and have fun under the sun --- but we made sure he'll have his own fill of what summer fun is.

So here's a couple of photographs that showed how our seven month old Tristan Azi spent his first summer.

 photo AZI1STSUMMER_zpsdaaa51d8.jpg 
I believe in the sand beneath my toes 
The beach gives a feeling, an earthy feeling ...
 photo aziswims_zps4efe6c0d.png

final dose:
summer memories are always fun to remember... this post is for you Tristan, when you get older at least the photos will be here for keeps.


we voted!

Filipinos exercise their right to suffrage during the month of May every three years.
And like most Filipinos of legal age, we went out and voted...

 photo mvote_zps9adbe84e.jpg
getting our fingers dirty!

By now, the results are out --- a lot have already been proclaimed and a lot might not have wanted the outcome; but let this year's elections be, like every election before this -- another glimmer of hope for our country.

And in local news:

In Mandaue City, Mayor Jonas Cortes won 87,633 votes over Victor Biaño’s 24,131 votes.                                                              source:

Mandauehanons, thank you for giving our city mayor another fresh mandate. Our support on his last term will be for the good of our city.

final dose:

hope you guys went out and got your fingers dirty too.


Cortes Architecture

I have had apprehensions with marketing via social media before. But I regressed.

I now believe in the power of social media... add to the fact that lately I have been building up my portfolio and posting it right where the most popular of social media is. Facebook.

This has been my past time to say the least for the last month. Adding up friends and posting works on FB just to market me up.

So please take time to visit Cortes Architecture facebook page right here.

final dose:
my website still is worth visiting too. 
take the time to check


happy easter!

As we celebrate Easter and chant "Alleluia! Christ is risen! Alleluia!," we recall the fears of the apostles, doubting life after death, unbelieving in victory after Calvary. We too tussle in hoping for a better tomorrow amid our challenges today. But in the incandescence of Easter, we revere God's promise to all of us who seek His truth and justice and hold fast to His lasting love.

 photo easter2013_zpsa9080b0f.jpg
Zai and Azi celebrating Easter Sunday at the beach in Bantayan Island.

HAPPY EASTER! Everyone, from The Corteses.

final dose:
text taken from "follow the Fosters" by JG Summit


thank you first born!

These medals are more than enough to make your parents really happy!

 photo zaimedals_zps25fa69ca.jpg Congratulations Zai Angelo A. Cortes for graduating kindergarten With Honors, Most Friendly and Most Articulate.

final dose:
keep up the good work son!


Zai the narrator

One day Zai Angelo, our first born came home from school crying. He was teased by his classmates saying that he was to be all alone in a chair up on stage during their end of year school play. Most of his classmates and school mates have been put in groups to play different roles. 

As we asked what his role is, he answered "the Narrator."

 photo zainarrator_zps273efaab.jpg
Zai Angelo plays his part as the Narrator in The Firewood Gatherer and the Witch.

Looking through the list of characters in the school play script, there were to be three lead stars in their school play - "The firewood gatherer and the Witch," - there is the firewood gatherer, the mother and the witch. All the other characters were grouped into animals, trees and fruits. And of course, to tell the story, there is the narrator. Finding out that our son was to narrate the play, we were just so proud.

So as we explained what his role is going to be, he got to be even more proud of himself. 

Sometimes we tend to look at how we are not part of a group and forget to think that we were chosen to play a vital role as only we can deliver.

On the day of the play, as our son got out of the car, he proudly said "watch out for the narrator today!"
And from our seats, we proudly watched how our son delivered his narration so well as only he can among the entire kindergarten class. 

 photo wihtmomampdad_zps530dbc9c.jpg
woohoo!!! way to go for our first born!

final dose: 
check our facebook for more pictures on Zai's end of year school play.


and so it's march

yes it is the third month 2013 and sad to say this will be our very first post of the year.

oh god, each year I keep on telling myself to update this blog as often as I can, but then again I terribly fail to do so; and I get a lot of the same excuses as the previous years. So I won't bother much explaining.

So here is a quick update, which to put it: is a must to share this development.

Finally, it is graduation month, and finally as a parent, I'm proud to say I have a son who is graduating... graduating from pre-school that is. Yes hooray! for my first born.

Congratulations! Zai Angelo A. Cortes. Mom and Dad are so proud of you for making it to the top ten in the whole pre-school level; I knew you were gonna make it.

Congratulations also for passing the entrance exam in your soon to be new school, from a carolinian you'll be proud to say that soon you're going to be an atenista!

Zai Angelo, beams his cute smile in his graduation picture. 
way to go young man!

final dose:
good luck also on your school play, of all the pupils you are chosen as the narrator!