Timeless Thoughts: Family jamming

Timeless Thoughts is a monthly blog linkup hosted by Georgie and Tara, where bloggers would write about something from their past. Any topic from the past will do – it can be a place, an event, an item, or an old hobby. The linkup starts on the first Saturday of each month and runs for two weeks.


In 2006, the summer before my first year of high school, I finally joined my family1 in our present home outside Manila. Our house was one of the first houses in that part of the subdivision, so at that time we had no cable TV and internet because these services couldn’t reach our area yet. Two months of summer vacation without internet, cable TV, and phone signal just seemed unthinkable and I was sure I would get bored.

Good thing my cousins came to spend their summer holidays with us, and at first it was fun playing video games with them the whole day, but we soon got bored with it. With nothing better to do, we asked my mom to buy us the cheapest musical instrument she could find so that we could learn how to play some songs and become more productive.

My mom brought home a guitar.

One of my cousins taught us how to play it, starting with basic chords. Eventually, we were able to play some songs from song books that our mom bought from the local sari-sari store2 (we didn’t have internet, remember?). From there, we had nightly jamming sessions in our living room, where one of us would play the guitar and some would sing. This even turned to full-fledged concert nights, with the sessions starting after dinner (8 PM) and ending at midnight. We all enjoyed these nights and we were always excited to practice new songs in the morning, so that we could sing something later in the night. These jamming sessions also made me discover new things about my parents – I didn’t know they could play the guitar too!

One of the many songs we covered! Recorded 3 years ago during a family vacation in Cebu.

I think I can say that that summer started our tradition of holding jamming sessions during our holidays with our cousins. A vacation does not end without recording a cover or learning a new song. As we grew older, we eventually added more activities to our holiday agenda such as karaoke and drinking nights, but jamming with our guitars and other instruments never goes out of style.

Another cover, with one of my cousins on guitar!

My cousins and I don’t see each other a lot now because we’re spread out all over the world, and we’ve gotten busy with our respective lives. I also don’t play the guitar that much anymore since I’ve taken a liking to the ukulele, but I would love to meet up with my cousins and do this again!

  1. Construction of the house started in 2003 and was completed in 2005, in the middle of my elementary education. Since my school was in Manila, it made no sense for me at the time to move outside Manila and endure the long ride to get to school every day. 5th grade was also a weird time for me to transfer schools, so I just stayed in our old apartment in Manila until I finished elementary school.
  2. These are small family-owned stores common in the Philippines similar to convenience stores, selling anything and everything such as groceries, school supplies, local magazines, and toys. The Filipino word sari-sari means “variety” or “assorted”, hence the name.

28 Comments

  1. I kind of did the same with my cousins and made videos with them; home made videos of random events and things and just had fun <3 Still, I love looking back at those things and enjoy it even now. This was sweet <3 Yeah, the memories never fade no matter how much time passes. I am glad you shared this with us! I love this! Family is so important and makes the best memories!

  2. What a lovely memory 🙂 Thank you for sharing with us! I think it’s great that you guys utilised your time by learning how to play instruments and then jamming together! I would have gone nuts not having the Internet for so long, but I’d probably have done other things, too, if I were in the same situation 🙂

    I love how this has become a tradition for you and your cousins. It’s great to record yourselves over the year to see how much you guys have progressed ^^ What a great way to commemorate your gathering! Thank you for sharing this memory for Timeless Thoughts!

    1. Thanks for reading Tara! 🙂

      Having no internet was unbearable, so we had to be really creative when thinking of ways to spend our time. We were all into singing, but it’s not very fun without accompaniment, so that’s how we thought of learning how to play a musical instrument 😀

  3. That is such an awesome and creative tradition. It would have been so much fun learning and playing the songs. I hope you are able to catch up and do it again soon! 😀

    The covers sound brilliant!! 😀

    1. Thanks for reading and listening Kya! 😀 I hope so too. I’m coming home to the Philippines in summer – I hope we get to do it again when it happens! 😀

  4. What a cute little memory! I remember goingback home to the Philippines a few years ago and we had no WiFi or anything for a whole month so my sister and I did find it hard (especially growing up in the UK with all these entertainment) to entertain ourseleves. We ended up connecting with our cousins more and learning about philippines much more than if we were constantly on our phones.

    Im really glad you managed to make use of your time and learnt something new! I watched your video and had it playing in the background as I typed this – you sound SO good. Sorta like Kina Grannis if youve heard of her? KEEP SINGING AND PLAYING GIRL. YOU SOUND AWESOME. <3

  5. It’s really cool that the guitar brought some enjoyable jamming sessions! Who needs the internet? XD. Considering how the sessions would last hours, all of you did a great job with learning and putting your hearts to music. Your cover is good! Hope you’ll have a chance to have some sort of jamming session with your cousins some day ;).

  6. I used to spend summers at my grandparents’ house (I still do sometimes) which has no internet connection and I feel you!
    OMG TAKE ME BACK TO EARLY 2000s and SONG BOOK DAYS!! It was also around that time I learned to play the guitar and Avril Lavigne was my jam lmao.
    I LOVE YOUR VOICE. Terrified was my high school section’s jam in our junior year and we sang it all throughout the school year. And Forevermore was the prom song. Your recordings take me back to high school :’)
    I’ve always wanted to play the ukulele and am planning to buy one soon and learn. Wish me luck! <3 (Also if you have any pointers as to what kind I should buy as a beginner that would be super helpful 😊)

    1. Thanks Gillan! 🙂 Hahaha these songs were significant parts of my life too, I really miss the old songs. Lol!

      DO IT!!! 🙂 I posted some of my tips on your blog! 🙂

  7. I envy people who can sing a lot; when I try, I sound like a sheep or a goat tortured and agonizing….no. Just no. 😀

    The actor’s name is Luke Evans; he played Bard in The Hobbit trilogy, Vlad in Dracula Untold, Scott in The Girl on the Train, Owen Shaw in Fast and Furious 6 and many more. I really love him, he’s a great actor. 🙂

    1. Haha! It’s okay, as long as you think it’s fun that’s fine! And it’s always better to sing with friends if that would make you more comfortable! 😀

  8. Wow Claudine, this is brilliant! Please please keep them coming! I love your singing, and I agree with Nancy, who needs internet when you have a guitar??? (ok, ok, I know the internet is convenient to have too)
    I’m actually right now in the process of reviving my musicality, by going back to the roots of what started off my passion for music. I’m exploring the Emmylou Harris collection on Apple Music, and eventually my guitar will be picked up for real.

    How beautiful to have jam sessions in the family. I guess we sort of have that sometimes, although it’s mostly my husband and myself who play, but my mother-in-law plays along on spoons sometimes.

  9. I can’t imagine going two months without any internet, but I’m sure it would be worth it in the long run. Sometimes we need that disconnect from all things media just to get a grip on our own reality!

    I loved that a little thing such as buying a guitar turned into fully fledged jam nights! The littlest thing can connect everyone – I love it 😀

    I hope you get to do this again with your cousins soon!

    1. Haha, I actually thought it was going to be the worst summer of my life – there was only so much we could do in our little subdivision. But the guitar kept us all busy (and my mom had lots of song requests – that pressure certainly helped! LOL) 😀

  10. That’s awesome how your family got together for nightly jamming sessions! I love how it came about from lack of internet, haha. I also think that’s great how it became a tradition with your cousins. What a wonderful memory and a fun thing to do together 😀

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