5 years to 5 weeks

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Geeez.. didn’t realize how time flies so fast and look now what seemed to be my long 5 years here in Singapura now cut short to 5 more weeks left..  So little time left and still got a lot of schtuff to do..

So I wanted to write up my wish-list for my remaining days here:

ü  Complete the Simbang Gabi until my last day here

ü  Garage sale over my pre-loved items for my chosen charity

ü  I wish to have a photoshoot at my favorite landmarks here in Singapura e.g. Big Merly; Sentosa; Universal

ü  Go cycling at Pulau Ubin

ü  Do wall-climbing

ü  Dine at Dempsey Hill or La Forketta

ü  Spend my last Ancop day with the Lolas and Lolos in November

ü  Go out on a date/QT with a special friend (s)

ü  Eat at known hawker stations

ü  Be able to sing in a service

ü  Dance for the Lord!

ü  Build more memories every single day with my friends and loved ones here

And yes, pack my things up starting tomorrow!

@LoVet PhUkEt@

like us, inseparable. Yak! haha

I can still clearly remember how we came up with this whole #LovetPhuket adventure idea. I was in Toronto in November and I was in the shower when suddenly, a bulb lighted in my head – it just came across my mind that I haven’t had the chance to go out of Singapore with my BFF (in Singapore) – Melizzah Mildred Alcayaga. So there I immediately picked up the phone and called her and voila! Just happened that she just thought about that same thing at that very moment!!! Well, no wonder we’re bestfriends – we think and feel alike. Char!

Exactly a year later, here we go with our plan. Come to think of it – what a coincidence it was even for the travel date that we didn’t intend. Oh well, we got a couple other coincidences along the way.

Few weeks before our travel, we decided to start with our prayer time at 11 pm daily for a safe travel. 

5 days before, Mel panicked at the thought that her passport wasn’t in good condition and feared that she may be denied entry in Singapore – Phuket vice versa. Earlier on, I had my passport renewed on the rush for this trip too. On the day of the trip, I realized that I wasn’t able to have my new passport linked with my workpass and yeah – name all other stress points you can think of – we got them! Not to mention the little budget that we got to stretch across the 3 days and 2 nights.


At long last – Day 1 – we arrived in Phuket International Airport around 4 pm ish their time.  We had to travel for an hour to get to our hotel in Patong (Baan Yuree Resort & Spa). We reached the hotel delighted to see that we got a nice big room with balcony and a bathtub! (I was especially delighted on the latter one! #favoriteplaceintheworld! wohoo!)

That night, we dolled up and put on our red lippy as planned and went looking for the nicest place to dine. Every place seemed packed but we’re lucky to have made the right choice of tasting authentic Thai food at Number 6 restaurant. Tom Yam, Pad Thai, Fried Prawn and the best Mango Juice evah! After dinner we walked along the Bangla stretch. Boy o Boy! (I duno if it’s a boy or a girl there! Haha!) Seemed to be a busy street especially at night. But yeah, we would have been braver to look around if we were with boy friends.

Dinner on Sunday night @ the Place

Day 2 – Island Hopping – Fun. Fun! This perhaps was the highlight of our trip. We had our breaky at the hotel then off we went to our adventure. At the boat, we particularly chose the middle seat. Haha! Just nice for two girls. We went to Mosquito Island, Bamboo Island, but  I enjoyed the most in last 2 stops we had: the Phi Phi Don where I had the chance to jump onto the crystal clear blue-green water without a life vest – such a wonderful first for me! Turned out that I just needed a push there. Haha! So loved it. Then our last destination was the Maya Bay featured in “the Beach” movie – oh so lovely! One of the beautiful beaches I have gone to so far. I also like the bare-it-all Q&A that happened there. Haha! Waahh! #lamna ang topics. #ssshhh. 

All throughout our tour, we felt that we enjoyed every single moment. The guides called us “Ms. Philippines” because we are 2, hence in plural. Joke! No, perhaps due to the then concluded Ms. Universe Pageant wherein Philippines landed as 4th runner up. Haha! #damingsegway. 

But yeah, what was striking for me during the 3-day get-away was when I realized that this trip was intended more for me, just because I was going away. It was pretty obvious later on when it seemed that I was the only one enjoying snorkeling in the water and even swimming in the pool of 3-feet depth. You see, Melizzah doesn’t know how to swim. She almost wouldn’t talk to me when I had forced her to jump onto the water with her life vest on but in all fairness to her – she tried floating for like 5 minutes and that’s about it. She ended up almost crying, fearful. I never saw her that scared before. And I like to honor Mel for sending me off with these wonderful memories that I will forever cherish. I will miss our random Q&A in the pool; the gulatan at the bed with mini horror experience. Haha; the selfie shots; the foodie; the S&tC marathon; the opening and closing prayers; the little surprises that delighted us; the tight budgeting; the Lovers and the BFF Chatroom; the tomorrow night/Monday night LSS; the walang katapusang hanapan ng rayban aviator that ended with wala naman. Haha! Puro sukatan lang; the relaxing foot massage to match the free upper body massage; the cool playlist while on the boat; the no-budget-for-last-dinner at the airport; the stress sa travel documents; and these are just about Phuket, more importantly, I will miss the person I was with in this trip! Waah. Don’t cry BFF!

Thank you Pops for joining me in my last Hurrah sa tag-init! Love yah! I will surely miss the heat of Mr. Sun!

Thank You Lord for the wonderful and unforgettable experience. You are our best planner!

The Miracles in the midst of the Storms

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Last Monday morning, i woke up crying with a heavy heart. I couldn't describe the grief that enveloped me at that time. It felt like that in the Zamboanga siege. Then before I could even utter a word, I heard Him say, "because I am God." I may not fully grasp what the phrase means but I can somehow feel what He wanted me to understand. Then it dawned on me that He is a Father too, mourning for the lost of His children. If we ask where could He be when the disaster happened, during the time when families were separated by the raging water, at the moment when people desperately cried for help I was reminded of the Passion and Death of Christ. What more grief could He have felt during the time when His only begotten Son even pleaded for His own life. He could have spared His life but as He said it had to happen. I could never question Him for the reasons why we had to bear the losses and grief from trial after trial but I firmly believe that He got His purpose, He is God.

During these times of what seem to be like hanging on the last strand of faith for most people especially those who lost their homes, their loved ones, almost everything but their own lives, God is carrying them through. I had read news that brought me to tears but at the end of it all, I would always find myself praying. Crying in prayers. I may and could help in action but same thing, if the help that we send couldn't get through the hands of those who need it the most, all efforts may be futile. It is only during these times, that for the first time, I witness the world unite as one to pray and act on helping the Philippines. Donations flooded from across the globe from generous people even amounting to billions already which they say is more than enough to rebuild the badly hit areas. Some nations even send their own volunteers to personally assist in the areas. There is just massive and extensive charity going on around the world - altogether to help rebuild the lives of our brethrens - to help bring hope to the hopeless. Now the world can witness the miracles happening in the hearts of everyone - we see compassion and generosity, we hear and see faith being strenghtened, we see Christ working in us. There may be unrest but I can witness goodwill prevailing.

Perhaps this is one of the purposes - that we may all experience and see miracles unfolding before our very eyes. The survivors would have felt more grateful for their second life and their families would have prayed more fervently for them. The entire nation and the rest of the world would have prayed all the more because of what happened. Surely and definitely, I believe that in faith, we will all see the light in all these storms.

Coming from someone who has undergone the heart-breaking experience of war, I can feel the pain and agony of waiting to hear from a loved one. I know how it feels when prayer is the only thing I can hold onto. I may be lucky that the lives of my loved ones were spared but I am ever more grateful now because of what happened. I behold all the more now each waking moment that I get to hear my mom's voice, my sister's demanding calls - I am now more appreciative of the things I may have just taken forgranted before.

Now I fervently pray, knocking at the Heaven's door, lifting up the prayers and needs of our brethrens, for God to embrace them with His healing grace. And I know and believe that He is hugging them tight at this very moment.

God's Love at the MMC

Friday, November 8, 2013

Ok, this is a very late post and thanks to my BFF in Singapore for the reminder.

I decided to join the group to Metro Manila Conference (MMC) in July at the very last minute. Little did I know that God intended for me to really be a part of it for His Greater Reason besides my own which is to just be with my closest friends. On the day of the workshop, I had a vision in the morning about a familiar place. Later on that day, I, Mel, Carrie and Daryl - my groupmates found ourselves clueless looking for the venue of the workshop. On the car, Carrie and Mel advised me to learn to be more assertive and confident. We even talked about Daryl (haha) while he was gone looking for the venue of the workshop. Well, it turned out that there wasn't any venue at all! We had to find our own venue for Love. So we decided to look around at the nearest multi-purpose center and saw a number of participants there already. While they, Carrie, Mel and Daryl were discussing on where to go, I just found myself talking to the police officer in charge at a precinct nearby. It was the vision I had earlier that morning. The officer didn't want to entertain me at first because he said we needed to secure the permission of the chief of police to be able to visit the prisoners. Then my groupmates found me after some time of looking for me. We decided to interview a police woman in charge of the women/children's desk instead. I was a bit hesitant to go in. Daryl, Carrie and Mel did most of the interview. I was listening carefully. I just asked one question then, "Ma'am, what keeps you going all along?" Without a pause, she readily answered, "my children - they are my source of strength and inspiration". You see Ma'am Lolita has been a devoted police woman for more than a decade now. Besides that, she is also a loving wife, a dedicated mother, a caring friend - wearing all different hats at the same time. I salute you Ma'am for your bravery and unrelenting dedication to your profession. Listening at her life story made me realize the many avenues for sharing Love and that Love is where your heart is - it could be found in the family who really matters to you, it could be in the job that you so love doing, it could be all over the place, actually. And more importantly, she opened me up again to embracing the good sides of policemen. After the interview, I hugged Ma'am Lolit tight to thank her. And that moment was just so liberating. I did not know why I would cry that hard still after all 27 long years had gone by. Later on that day, we were allowed to visit the prisoners and say "hello" to them. Then I exclaimed, "namiss ko to!" Haha. I could see myself in the prisoners - all eager and excited to see visitors. That experience was personally special to me as it led me to my own healing. Come to think of it, we were just all so amazed how things fit together and fell at the right place and time - my vision of the prison in the morning; the hassle going to the venue; the discussion on the way; the car stopping in front of the precinct; the police woman in charge at the women's and children's desk (this one really is timely!); the pen that we brought from Singapore which happened to be Ma'am Lolit's collection; and the visit to the prison cell - all these were God's invitation to me to letting go fully of my past. Again, I was reminded of His Steadfast Love for me. And I was really in awe of how His Personal Loving ways unfolded to us that day. 

Until now looking back I still feel amazed at the whole MMC experience. I could say that the take-homes from the MMC are lasting and life-changing for me. Everyone and everything in that weekend event was purposely placed there to leave a mark in my heart. Not to forget the special moments I had with 3 of my most treasured friends - Mel, Bell and Car - i love em so much!

Indeed, as my favorite song goes "ALMIGHTY KING I PRAISE YOUR NAME, GREATEST GOD YOU ARE MY HEALER AND I WILL NEVER BE THE SAME AGAIN!" and with these Lord, I praise You and I thank You!