Dear Papa - a Love Letter to Heaven

Friday, January 30, 2015

that look of Love

This morning, I read a heart-felt open letter of a dad in reply to a letter he found attached to a sky lantern that landed on his driveway. Apparently, it was written by a girl addressed to her dad who maybe in Heaven now.

I could not help but feel every word that he wrote as if the letter was addressed to me.

So this prompted me to write my letter to my Papa who is now up there.


Dear Papang Ric,

How are you now?

It's been 28 years since you've been gone.

I can still remember how you would cuddle and hug me like you can't get enough of me. And yes, to this day, some people would still come up to me to say how you would carry me around boasting that I'd be your future lawyer. I did study law. And I am still contemplating on pursuing it. Don't worry I haven't forgotten that dream you planted in me.

Pa, I wrote to tell you 5 things:

You are my First Love. From my earliest recollection, I've known you as the first man to show me what love is from the way you held my hand while we walked along boulevard to the way you lovingly looked at me as I finished a glass of milk that you prepared for me. I learned how to love because of you. 

You are never forgotten. Although I had only spent 4 years with you, 3 of which I can vividly recall, I do remember every bit and piece of memory we shared together. It was the best part of my childhood years. I still pray for you everyday, wishing to assure you that you will always be remembered. No one else can ever replace your space in my heart. I miss you everyday. 

I promise to make you proud. As you have instilled in my young mind to dream big, I have always been determined to be the best woman I can be. You first believed in me and in my potentials even if I was not in any capacity yet to prove you anything at that time. You have taught me to excel in everything I do and to always give my best shot. Please know that every time I walked up the stage to receive a recognition, I always felt that twinge in my heart that I wish you were there to join me in my victory. I owe you and Mama all that I am now and all that I will be. And I dedicate my success to both of you.

Don't worry, I will take care of myself. I remember clearly the fury in your eyes when you caught sight of me fall from my Yaya's grip and you hurriedly picked me up from the floor. You were so mad at her for not taking good care of me. Then I knew how precious I was to you. I am sure that if you were alive today, you would be just as careful and protective to me as you were before or even more. I even wonder sometimes if any suitor can trespass your barricade knowing that you have all the power to guard me with all your subs at your command. I doubt if any man would be good enough for me per your scrutiny. I could imagine how hard it would be for you to give me away to another man. Even when my heart was broken, vision of you hugging me somehow eased the pain. If only you were here to shield me. But I have to be brave and strong. Don't worry your little girl is all grown up now. At 32, I know how to stand up from a fall on my own.

Thank you for being our father. I know you can see how much I mean these words as I write them here. Though things have not gone well for us all those times, I want you to know that if I were to live a second life and be given the chance to choose, I would still choose you and Mama to be my parents. I would like to honor you for being a good provider to us. You made sure that all our needs, even our wants were well-taken cared of. And I will always cherish all the wonderful memories I had with you. 

I Love You Papa, so much! Hugs and Kisses to Heaven!

Till the day we meet again.

Your baby always and forever,

the way he held me...

Here's the link to the letter I referred to above.

GUESS what?! Life is Full of Little Surprises!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Flowers are Blessings (my Favorite Subject of Photography)

Monday, January 26, 2015

I remember when I was a kid, I would always look forward to the time when my Mama would give us the GO signal and take us to the bookstore to shop for our school supplies. And my most favorite things to look for were actually my notebooks because they come with vibrant colorful flower images on them. 

Since then I've always been captivated by the beauty of every flower I see. It's like they are Resilient Souls that bloom through different seasons, looking lovely and unyielding as they always are... When I see a flower growing beautifully in the midst of the bushes, I can't help but think of God's provision. If He takes care of these little creatures, I am assured that He takes care of me all the more. To me, they are like God's reminder and I could almost always hear a  reassuring voice saying, "Love, I have loved you with an everlasting love therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you." Jeremiah 31:3 And thereafter, I can't help but smile to Heaven. :)

And I have always fancied on flowers as my subjects of photography. It gives me a special sense of Joy.

So here are "few" shots I got  (you cannot imagine how many flower shots i got! haha).  Most of the time, I took them at point-and-shoot angle from my iPhone.

Enjoy! xoxo

Out from all the lovely flowers in the garden, there is one uniquely beautiful that captivates you and from then on you knew what Beauty is.. - KLC
To all of the people I have now in my life, even those who passed by and left a lesson, THANK YOU!

Love Talk at Distillery District

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Woohoo! For the first time in 9 months, I had the chance to chill (well, it can be taken literally coz it really is cold outside!) and enjoy the sights, tastes and sounds of downtown Toronto on a Saturday night.

Our first stop was at Distillery district. The place is quite memorable to me coz the first time I went there was the day I had bonded with a friend who visited me from Halifax and we're like the loudest that night. Haha. Anyway, I remember that night felt so romantic and nice. Families and couples went there for the Christmas night market. I felt the love in the air.

And tonight was no exception. It is still the same topic of our conversations. Only with another friend this time. Love. Haha. Or I guess it's just me. I bring it with me wherever I go whomever I am with. I just love to talk about "IT".

I love the SOMA Chocolatemaker place! It was just nice and cozy to stay for a hot chocolate or coffee. I had the the Classic Dark-side of me mug which was really like the kind you'd love to wake up drinking in the morning. Catchy label huh? :D 

The place offered a variety of delicious chocolate gourmet and truffles too. To Chocolate lovers, this place will be like heaven for you! :)

Then we went to listen to Jazz music at The Rex Hotel, Jazz and Blue bar at Queen street West. The place was jam-packed with yuppies to middle-aged crowd. They play cool music and serve good food too. Overall, i'd say the experience was just O.K. I realized that I still prefer the quiet places like coffee shops or just me preparing a home-cooked meal for dinner or enjoying a popcorn while watching a movie at home with someone special. Or maybe I just love quality time alone. Depends really who I am with, I think.

Anyway, tonight being the self-proclaimed hopeful romantic that I am (I can't believe I am saying it here out loud! insert face-palm here), I have allowed my train of thoughts to wander and challenged my brain to articulate something I would like to say about Love:

So cheers to all those hopefuls and faithfuls out there! Here's to finding that One True Love! :)

Hope from the Pope on Real Love

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Philippines is the only (predominantly) Christian nation in Asia. Perhaps, most parts of the world have heard and seen how Filipinos have withstood relentlessly the many trials from natural calamities to man-made catastrophes (wars and the daily battles against poverty) almost every time. Yet amidst all those, our people have not gone totally weary and hopeless, perhaps it is because of our faith. We've always managed to stand up and rebuild our lives, over and over again, storm after storm.

The Holy Father, Pope Francis has definitely not only breathed hope in us and refreshed our tired yet resilient spirits but more importantly, he has left us with unequivocal messages of God's enormous Love. 

I am deeply touched by how God had spoken through the Holy Father. Lolo Kiko as how Pope Francis is called by many Filipinos has clearly exemplified how Christians should be, that is, to be Compassionate, Loving and Joyful. I personally love the many faces I have seen in him. He smiles from the heart!

Here is my struck from his message to the youth:

"Real love is about loving and letting yourself be loved. It’s harder to let yourself be loved than to love. That is why it is so difficult to come to the perfect love of God. We can love Him but we must let ourselves be loved by Him. Real love is being open to the love that comes to you. The love that surprises us. If you only have information you are not surprised. Love surprises because it opens a dialogue of loving and being loved. God is a God of surprise because He loved us first. God awaits us to surprise us. Let us allow ourselves to be surprised by God. Let us not have a computer psychology that makes us think we know it all. All answers on computers - but no surprises. The challenge of love. God reveals himself through surprises." - Pope Francis

This message really came timely as I have declared to Fear Less and Love More this year. And yes, that means that I not only have to share more love but I also need to learn how to receive love gracefully. It is a joy to be reminded that God loves me and that He can never be outdone in any way. And because He knows my life story and how I have always settled for unrequited love in the past, I feel that He is telling me now to start opening myself again and enjoy being loved. Even if I am stubborn and impatient trying to make things happen my way, I know He works mysteriously as he takes care of my desires. I just need to learn how to bask in His Love, to embrace His Love gracefully. And so I wait to be surprised! 

Thank you Lord for sending Pope Francis to be your messenger. And thank you Lolo Kiko for showing us God's Love.

Here's the full text of the excerpt mentioned above:

The Praying Women (waiting on God)

Friday, January 16, 2015

Been looking forward to meeting this sister who has become my first friend here in SFC (Singles For Christ) Toronto. I can tell from the first time we met, she will be one of the rainbows in my (Northern American) sky. 

Tonight has been such an honor and blessing to celebrate with Vanessa our individual versions of God's story of Love. And perhaps, our sharing was what I needed to inspire me to actually start putting my journal here.

I have been slowly filling up my journal with entries from my own personal journey. This journal will be called "the Journey of a Single Person". I proclaim that I will complete this journal this year. Amen! :)

I wish to share a few of the wonderful messages affirmed tonight:

  • God uses even the deepest hurts and pains to bring out a beautiful story of Resiliency, Grace and Love;
  • Every person we meet and every circumstance we go through in life is necessary so that we may become the best person God intended us to be;
  • That God's Plan is far GREATER than our grandest dreams and His Saving Grace is ALWAYS more than enough to carry us through our suffering and pain, however seemingly difficult or painful it may be;
  • Trust in God's Perfect Plan and Timing. He always has your Best interest in mind. If things don't happen in the way you prayed for, He is just protecting you from less than His Best.
  • Never be afraid to go out there and face your fears. You need it in order to grow. 
  • Enjoy your freedom. Pursue what you love doing. Travel. Challenge yourself to do something for the first time or something that scares you. Celebrate single-blessedness. 
  • Meet as many people as you can. Either you have something that they need or they got something that you need. Always aim to learn or impart something.
  • As equally important as praying for the right one is preparing yourself to be that suitable partner for God's chosen one for you. Someone out there is also praying for someone like you. And perhaps the sweetest thing would be to know that you are an answer to someone else's prayer.
  • Spend time discovering, rediscovering and loving yourself. Embrace the person that you are. You are God's princess and He intends for someone to love, respect and behold the kind of woman that He's made in you.
  • 3 best things to do during the season of waiting: 1. Be generous to your family; 2. Give your best years in serving God; 3. Love - Love Yourself, Love Others, Love God;
  • God's Answer will come crystal clear, no ambiguity, no doubt. You will know in your heart.
  • Believe and Declare that God's Best will come! Be Faithful. Be Patient.
  • Waiting on God's Perfect Time is the Best decision one could ever make. 

I know someday, I will revisit this particular blog and I will reaffirm each item here.

Until that day, I keep holding on to God's Promise...

a Day full of Smiles

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

It was about dawn when suddenly I was half awaken by someone touching my face as if he was lovingly staring at me for the longest time while I peacefully lie next to him.... then... slowly.. I opened my eyes.. and it was my mom watching her big baby sleep.. oh mom! I could sleep all day in cloud 9. Haha. Sigh. 

So that was the start of my beautiful day. :) 

I don't know but today's word is "Smile".

I believe a smile can always take you a long way. And because a few people said that my most effective spell (weapon? haha!) is my smile so I make use of it and flash my sweetest smile as often as I could coz who knows, I can charm someone out there. Haha. O.k. enough on self promotion here. 

Anyway, there is something with today that made me say it is indeed a "smile" day for me.

I noticed a few beautiful smiles that warmed up my cold day. Woot! If everyday is going to be like today, I don't mind being summoned to work and in fact I'd be wearing my curved lips all the time like I am walking on sunshine in a garden full of pink, red, peach and white Juliet roses, Ranunculus and Tulips. 

So yeah, make sure to flash your most charming smile and win a friend at least. That's going to be my goal these days. But please don't overdo it else the other person might think you're a psycho or what. Haha.

And that's my story for today.

Lol. Ok. My hair needed some final touches here.

Good night. Laters baby. Xoxo.

Handwritten Love Notes

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

So.. I received a bunch of cards with special greetings of Love from special people from Singapore and Australia. Just so sweet of them. Thanks to Anne and Mark, Hannah, Ate Dred, Glenna and Glaiza. Xoxo! Also, my old team, the kids who I used to manage back in Singapore sent a card to me with their simple messages. And the surprise came especially from my SVP and VP who I know wouldn't really usually write down a greeting or so. Well, ok 1 sentence, still I do appreciate it. I felt happy coz I thought I must have done something good to them for them to make such an effort. I will never forget their Birthday gift to me in 2013, that was, to watch the movie "Frozen" after work with complete attendance. Imagine their manager acting like a kid! haha! But that was really sweet! 

I Love handwritten letters. I guess the sweetest surprise by far that I received in my life would still be the card with letter of each word carefully cut out from a magazine. I just loved the thought that someone would really spend his time doing that for me. Not to forget the love that went (past tense) well with every word in there. Yeah, you can say I am a fan of love notes coz I love to write myself. Writing like Photography freezes the emotions in a moment. So, I guess, somehow I like to preserve good memories.

10 Things I Learned from Going out after 4 years!

Yes, finally after 4 years, I went out of my shell. It was liberating.

I had a nice time going out there and just having a good conversation like how I'd be with my friends. I remember someone asked me not too long ago, "what's so difficult about it?" And maybe he's right. I just needed to loosen up and trust a little more. 

And just like what I prayed for, I learned a few things tonight:

  1. You get to know more about yourself as much as you do about the other person. I realized that as I meet more people, I get to reaffirm my values and firmly hold onto them as opposed to just giving in to impress. 
  2. Never be sorry for who you really are. That's you. You put yourself out there, presenting yourself to the other person as you are. Granting he does the same and you accept each other then that's a good start. But you never have to fit into the other person's mold. Don't sell yourself short. Respect for each other's differences is much needed in this regard.
  3. Not every person will think the same about you. Some may think you're different or you're only as good as your last words but remember, all they have are impressions of you until they meet you in person. You go out there and show people your heart and if he is keen enough he will see the kind of person that you are. I'd say, you must be lucky if you get a glimpse of my soul.  
  4. Remember: the person who endeavors to ask you out (of course, you trust your guts that his purpose was decent) decides to actually forego doing some other things and allot some of his precious time to get to know you. So at least he deserves a good amount of your time too. And don't forget to thank him for spending time with you.
  5. Choosing a suitable partner for oneself is everyone's birthright. The other person can be as picky as you are. So it's important that you know what you are looking for and you stick to it. 
  6. Try to wind up the meet-up in a sensitive way. Sincerity and kindness can go a long way that even if it wouldn't work with both of you, you will leave a good memory for the other person to remember. 
  7. Learn from the other person as much as you can. Always aim to have some lessons or new learnings to take away. After all, you meet people either to bless you or give you lessons to learn from.
  8. Not everyone has the same story. It may not work the same way as it did for your friend. Love may not happen on the first meeting or with the first person you meet.  At the very least you end up gaining a friend.
  9. Don't forget to have fun! While you focus on your ultimate goal on finding the right one through every meeting, you don't have to feel pressured by the thought of it. 
  10. You pray for it. I read that God's confirmation will surely come crystal clear that you will find things falling into the right places at the right time and you need not compromise the things that you are praying for. To this I believe.
And so for now, I'd keep dancing in the rain! :)

My "Fearless" Heart

Thursday, January 8, 2015

I think I have all the right to own this adjective. 

After all these years and all that I've been through, I believe my heart is the strongest of all my body parts! People close to me can attest to that. :)

I had a convo with a friend the other day and I suddenly found myself sharing about that "colorful" part of my life. And as I mentioned a prelude to that particular experience which she found sad by the way, I noticed I recollected it with a light and happy heart now. Of the many episodes in my life, that one got the biggest impact in my person, the second one would have to be my epic heartbreak some years ago. Haha! I call it epic because really it was my defining moment. I would not have gone through it all in any other way but His way. I had to be broken only to learn to love myself more, to grow more beautifully as a person. And that's always been the case for me every after life's blow. I emerge to be the better version of myself everytime. My heart only gets more fearless and fiercer. I guess that's what I learned from all of those years: I have learned to see the beauty in every storm. :)

And after all, surprisingly, I have become more loving. Today, a friend said I am the most romantic woman she's ever met. Haha! I didn't expect that one. But that was the sweetest compliment I got in days. So I said thanks to her and added that it would have sounded better if the compliment came from a guy. She differed. She said she prefers to receive one from her girlfriends as it would sound sincere and honest, with no bias. I heard her there! Couldn't agree more. Ok, this is taking a feminist view now. Haha!

Going back, that's just the way to go, always standing up after a fall. And this year I think won't be different from all the years that went by, except that I will be bolder, more passionate and fearless. And so I pray...

Sidenote: Speaking of being Brave, my heart grieves with the world over those who were killed in the Paris attack yesterday. I could only pray that justice be served and that freedom of speech may never be silenced by terror. God bless you brave souls! 

It's a Beautiful Day!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Yesterday wasn't a favorite day. Month-end blues. Mishaps. What have we. 'Ok, it's just a bad day. Not a bad life.' I gave myself a pat.

I had difficulty sleeping. My mom asked if I wanted to sleep next to her to see if that will help me get a good sleep. How shweet! You see I've been sleeping beside her for the first 21 years of my life. (Yes! I am such a baby!) But I opted to sleep in my own bed anyway.

And before I went to sleep I said a prayer, "Lord, please grant me a beautiful day tomorrow."

I woke up to a text message from a friend. I remembered I left her a message lastnight saying that as I was praying for her, I saw a vision of an answered prayer for her and her husband this year. So she replied, "thank you mama. Don't forget to pray for yourself too." That was thoughtful of her. I only prayed for a beautiful day today. I had no clue what to expect.

And true enough! God knows how to make me smile. He knows me through and through. He sent a smile as bright as the sunlight to shine in my gloomy morning. But I know it's not gonna be for long. (Insert Adele's song here: Someone like you.) Funny how one person can make a difference in my day. Well yeah, maybe in an alternative universe or in another lifetime. Haha. Ok enough! Moving on, I realized it was just a teaser. The icing on my cake was actually the sunset that He made for me to marvel at. I didn't expect such a beautiful glorious sunset in this cold winter weather. Now that's what really made today a beautiful day. He truly listens to my heart's whispers! So Lord, what about my other (persistent, fervent, with cherries on top) prayer request? Ahemm... :)

took this shot a year ago while on our final descent to Singapore. 

You are Beautiful! 16 Catholic Guys Explain Why by Christina Mead

Monday, January 5, 2015

Just reposting this for today for all my beautiful girlfriends. Never be afraid to show your true self. The right guy will love and accept you for just the way you are, with all your quirks and craziness. Be your own kind of beautiful! 
What is beauty? And why don’t I ever feel like I have it? Why am I never good enough? How do I stop the relentless, attacking voice in my head telling me I’ll never be pretty?
This is the sound of the conversation I’ve had way too many times recently.
How many girls feel this way? The trap of comparison, jealousy, and self-hate is a pit that is hard to climb out of. I’m not immune to it either. I will be the first to raise my hand and say I know how real this struggle is.
It got me to wonder… What do guysreally think is beautiful? And not the worldly, shallow guys but the ones that are my brothers in Christ. What do they see as beautiful? I had a hunch that hearing their thoughts might help to counteract the destructive inner dialogue that girls struggle with. Not because our goal as women is to be beautiful to men. No. It’s about hearing from our male counterparts how often they see our beauty as Christ sees us, not as the world sees us.
I was so moved by the responses of these Catholic men. I hope you are too… because you are beautiful.


“You are beautiful when you dance like nobody’s watching, tell corny jokes, and share your heart without fear.” – Ryan O.
“You’re beautiful when you’re victorious in being confident with your second day hair.” – Gabe T.
“You are beautiful when you stand up for the dignity of others and recognize the tremendous dignity and self-worth you have within yourself.” -Joel S.
“You are beautiful when you wear your hoodie and baggy sweats because you prefer comfort over compliments.” – Mark B
“You are beautiful when you laugh so hard you snort a little… when you put your whole heart into something you are passionate about… and when you are confident about the talents that God has given you.” – Jon G.
“You are beautiful when you worshipwith hands high. You are beautiful when you dance and joke around.” – Diego D
“You are beautiful when you’reabsorbed in prayer. God’s face shines on yours.” – Jason E.
“I find women who are confident beautiful. Women who look you in the eye as they talk with you. Women who are self-aware. Aware of their imperfections and aware of what they’re good at. I am attracted by physical beauty. When a woman takes pride in her appearance, when she wears clothes that compliment her size and shape. When she’s not scatter brained or jittery but calm.Calm women are beautiful women.Women who don’t just hear you but listen to you are beautiful. Caring women are beautiful women.Beautiful women are women whose universe is bigger than themselves. They are interested in things around them. In virtue. In me. In good literature. Women whose universes are no bigger than themselves get boring very quickly.” – Matt F.
“You are beautiful when you smile, please do it more. ” – Felix C.
“You are beautiful when you refuse to gossip.” – Stephen L.
“You are beautiful when you’re stillpatient after a hard day at work… when you’re lounging in your pajamas, when your hair is all messed up from serving those in need, when you’re out of breathe from playing with your nieces and nephews, when you literally cannot stop giggling, when you are completely and utterly yourself and when I see you deep in prayer in the midst of a hustling and bustling world.” – Jurell S.
“You were beautiful on the day we met, breath-taking on the day you became my wife, and stunning every day when I come home and you’re there to greet me.” – Perry R.
“You are beautiful when you spend time adoring the beauty of God… when you are joyful, peaceful,grateful. You are beautiful just because God made you!” – Jordi M.
“You are beautiful when you wear your faith on your shoulder.” – Ian G.
“You are beautiful when you servethe poor.” – Nicholas
“You are beautiful when you strive for God’s will… when you smile, when you pray before the Blessed Sacrament.” – Daniel G.