Sunday, December 10, 2017

Most Rewarding

Puerto Prinsesa, Palawan. So this was me at the end of the 17-day short-term mission trip. After having been to mountains, to bathing in rivers, to being with different tribal kids and somehow getting immersed into the tribal culture, everything was all worth it. Everything meant including waking up too early, cooking under the scorching heat for forty kids, almost getting into a bus accident, sleeping without a mattress on rocky grounds, living with no electricity and barely there water supply and not getting a sumptuous meal or a decent comfort room. Yep! All worth it! Whoever said missions was easy breezy? Even the Master said to carry your cross and follow Me. But despite of what it had cost, I would still do it all over again. 

Hello breakfast!

Not your ordinary bedroom

Hike on our way to camp

Tribal Camp 2017

Missions has brought me into a place I thought I could never be. It was an experience that has made a huge impact on my life and made my relationship with Christ deeper than it was before. I never understood it all. Hearing other people talk about missions, being far from home and outside comfort zones, preaching the Gospel and living in different communities, I never get how it was so inspiring, how it’s worth sharing and how I was being constantly encouraged to do it too. I never found it exciting to become a missionary except maybe the constant travel. Becoming a missionary would entail not having a decent job or getting a very good paycheck, not being around food chains and restaurants and most of all not being around with friends and family. When the opportunity came, I was more of anxious than actually be thrilled about it. 

Being called out of your own comfort zone is scary, I tell you. When you’re just so used to your life the way it was ever since you were little, it will be so hard for you to leave it all behind (even for a short while). 17 days was the longest and the first time I was out of the house  and on a different island. I can understand why mom was on Messenger with me when I was yet less than 24 hours away. I did a lot of thinking and a whole lot more of prayer. Breaking your walls is hard but disobeying the great commission of Jesus is even harder. 

The whole journey, before, during and after the missions, was not all flowers and sunshine. Many times I would break down and cry out to God for all the troubles and road blocks that kept my heart in despair. There were countless of times that I wanted to give up and all I could utter was, Lord give me strength. I had to carry on, press on toward that goal—after all this wasn’t for me but this was all for Christ. Now, as I get to look back on it all, I would still remember how God had sustained us all and provided for our every need. All thirty seven of us can testify to how amazing God had dealt in each of us. Whether it would be spiritually, physically or financially, He was faithful to all that He had promised.

View from the top

April 11, 2017. This was my view from above. Getting on this plane with bags packed and heart prepared for anything. It was all by God’s grace that have brought me this far and by His grace alone that I overcame. When I look back at every little need He provided, the registration fees, the plane tickets, the prayer partners and senders, and friends and family that helped and supported us all the way. Not a single detail and prayer He has left unanswered. When I was down to my last cash of Php 200.00, I didn’t know how I could still buy a few essentials needs. I remember after I prayed, I was rummaging through my study desk for no apparent reason and I found a thousand bill hiding beneath my table cloth and my Php 500.00 Sodexo GC placed together with my stack of sticky notes. You can imagine me leaping for joy! 

My Sodexo Premium Pass just before I handed it over to the Robinsons supermarket cashier
2016, my Sunlife advisor gave me this Sodexo GC as a gift. I never heard of Sodexo before and I didn’t know how or where to use it. At first I thought I could only use it for big grand companies but it is actually accepted in more than 10,000 outlets nationwide. No wonder it’s the most versatile because it’s  really a lot of places and stuff I can do with it! I was going to save it until its expiry next year but then, I knew it was about time I would use it. Somehow I was able to buy the necessities, such as mosquito repellant (because we didn’t get anti malaria shots), wet wipes (a must and truly a life saver haha), toiletries (soap and shampoo) and packets of gum (the airplane thing). 

Next year will be a whole lot of adventure for me. I have already thought out a few travels within the country, some of course would still involve missions. Thanking the Lord ahead for the plans that He has laid out and the provisions that would also come with it. And even if I wouldn't have used my GC this  year or until it's validation date, I wouldn't have to worry because Sodexo GCs will always be valid. Why? because revalidation and replacement of Sodexo GC’s are free of charge once the validity date is reached. That's the only GC I've known and experienced that has revalidation, and with no extra charge!

So where would I use it next? Now that I know there's so much my Sodexo GC can do, I could choose from so many, but I would love to shop for bags and travel accessories anywhere in these stores. I'm a traveler/missionary after all. Until the next plane ride! Thank You Jesus! :) 

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Life Lately

So how has life been lately? Wow. Where do I start?

Okay, I got on the plane for the first time in my entire life, went to a Christian music concert, went out for missions, met amazing people along the way, got unemployed, traveled once in a while, currently baby-sitting the very old grandmother, stuck at home most of the time, which, makes me unable to visit my dad who recently had a stroke and heart attack last Monday with a blood sugar level of 400. Oh and my golden retriever also decided she doesn’t like to eat anymore. And that, basically, sums up my first seven months of 2017. 

Well I could just end this post with all of that already being said. The thing is, all these things that have happened, happy or sad, has a God-placed purpose attached to it. And you don’t just go through it but you grow through it. Sometimes we fall down on our knees and experience a temporary breakdown, unable to grasp and understand why things happen the way they do. Faith tells you that everything’s going to be okay because God is still in control, but your emotions and your mind tell you otherwise. Thus, I am not ending this post with this sentence just yet. Because life doesn’t just end here, it hasn’t been made into a conclusion just yet. God is still doing something and He wants to show us how He’ll do it. Though if you ask me, I actually have no idea how He will do, why He will do and when He will do whatever He will do. All I know is that all things work for good for those who love Him (Romans 8:28). So let go and let God. Let go of what you are facing and let God lead you to Himself. 

There had already been a number of giants I have faced in my life, raging storms, and mountains that are very impossible to move. This is not unusual or something odd to anyone. Life will have its difficulties, but our Savior, who loves us more than life, is greater than them all. Even if it is pretty hard to keep the faith, these difficulties are exactly the perfect moments were Jesus will show us His unconditional love. There are no giants He cannot put down, no storms He cannot calm and no mountains He cannot move. 

So there, after days of wrestling over these things I have come to a point where I have raised my white flag and said, “Okay Lord, I surrender to You, take control of whatever my life has been lately.” 

"but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.." -Isaiah 40:31

Friday, May 26, 2017

It's NOT About You

It’s not about you.”  These words sting but they sure did budge me in the right place.  I’ve recently told my husband how tired I am already of the many things on my plate.  I don’t know if it’s all the pregnancy or if it’s one of the enemy’s evil schemes.  I asked him about the possibility of dissolving the organization that we founded because I just did not think it’s all worth it and it’s sucking up so much of my thoughts and energy.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Hike to Tanawan

I was expecting to do my first hike on the mountains of Palawan this coming summer but turns out I had to do warm up here in Negros. I have never been to high places before so I was more nervous than excited when I said yes to hiking Tanawan in Sibulan. I was even close to not going because it rained so hard the night before the hike, and because I wasn’t and still am not a morning person. Bed was still calling me back at 5:30 in the morning.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Parenting Terrible Twos

When K was born, some friends have already warned us about the dreaded stage they call the "Terrible Two".  We didn't quite grasp all the intense warnings then as we were only focusing on enjoying time with K one stage at a time.  It was only when K reached THAT stage when we remembered how profusely we were warned.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

OPPO F1s: Day In The Life

The clock strikes five and I’m finally out of the office. I’m now making it a habit to hit the tracks and jog a few rounds at the oval. Being at the office doesn’t get me moving a lot so I try to get my body some exercise. It also helps me sweat out the daily stress and lessens the pain during those times of the month. If I can’t run in the afternoons, I try to do squats and sit ups in the morning before I start the day. That way I wouldn’t skip the daily dose of exercise that I need.

After which, we usually meet after for Bible study and fellowship. After our physical needs, our souls also require nourishment. It’s fun to be around with the younger people, they always make you laugh and definitely teaches you how to stay young at heart. We also have fellowship with the grown-ups and the married couples, and they are pretty awesome at training us for our future. It’s such a blessing to have these people around.

When I get home is where the fun starts. Home is where I get to spend time with myself, write on my journal and get creative. I’m happy to share to you that I have been working on this 40-day challenge. I was inspired to learn calligraphy and when I finally learn how to do it with the brushes, I just wanted to create more and more. So I asked my facebook friends and followers on my page to participate. It’s something for me to give back to those who’ve supported me and of course to ultimately to spread creativity and inspire others that they too can do calligraphy. Some of my friends even asked if I would hold workshops in the future. It’s a big thing though but of course I’d love to. Maybe one of these days when the 40-day calligraphy challenge ends. I just can’t help but be excited about it as well.

A photo posted by JPDesign (@jhetplanedesign) on

A photo posted by JPDesign (@jhetplanedesign) on

A photo posted by JPDesign (@jhetplanedesign) on

These are just some of the finished calligraphy work I did for the past few days. I still have more to go and I'm so much encourage by my friends and family.I would keep it a habit to write and take a photo and post it everyday on my facebook and instagram account. I would finish late at night with all these calligraphy and doodling around and when I take photos, it wouldn't get that right amount of light, thus I would do more editing. That's why I love to have Oppo F1s because of its 13MP rear camera that would give more detail to my artworks. Specially now that my friends would like to have tutorials, I plan to post Instagram videos so they too can create their own calligraphy. Having an Oppo F1s would definitely capture my creative adventures! :)

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Arise 2017 with Kitchie Nadal

Last Saturday, we were invited to TCF Media's Arise 2017 with Kitchie Nadal and we couldn't have been more grateful.  We definitely had a great time singing along with some OPM hits and got treated to some Bisaya pop songs as well.  It feels good to get some time to just relax with the hubby and some good friends and be serenaded by wonderful bands.

I loved how cool and chill the event was.  I loved how TCF Media organized it to be laidback and fuss-free - speaking so much about life in Dumaguete.  The front acts were also amazing.  They were such remarkable artists - not just musicians - and I'm sure that the crowd, just like I did, really felt these artists' hearts and the passion they put in every single song.  It made me conclude that they were especially hand-picked for the night and that the concert was subtly structured to give more than just entertainment to the crowd.  

Istorya Isla


Mike Fegi and Joy Kristine

Ahhhh…. Kitchie Nadal! I love her! I’ve loved her ever since she launched “Same Ground”. Ugh, I LOVE THAT SONG!  When it was sung that night, so many memories came flooding back.  I especially remembered how I would always tune in to Myx Top 10 and sing along with it at the top of my lungs, then I would just relish the pain it caused my chest. Ah, the melancholic that I was!  

It was definitely a great show!  Kudos, TCF Media!  I pray for the success of all your events this year and in the coming years. 

On a different note, as you have probably noticed, Jhet and I finally decided to give this blog another chance. We're really amazed at how this blog continues to grow in patronage in spite of the fact that we've practically abandoned it for so long.  Certain restructurings and redesigns would need to be in place and we will strive to give you more meaningful and noteworthy posts.  We will also get back our old domain name soon, so stay tuned.  

We are so excited for you, 2017!  Praying that this year will be a great and fruitful one for everyone. 

OPPO F1s: Capturing Philippines

Most of my 2016 was stuck at the office. Luckily, I was able to steal a few getaways here and there. Last March, me and a few friends went across our neighboring island Cebu. It was so amazing to travel again and experience the Color Me Ladies Conference for the first time. We got to hear Ms. Christine Kairus, Ms. Kuh Ledesma and Ms. Jodi Sta. Maria speak and share their very own life testimonies. We couldn't stay long at Cebu though, so before hitting the road home, we just took a quick walk around SM Seaside. Which was huge by the way!
Then May was Bohol time. Although we didn’t get to see the Chocolate Hills and tarsiers, we were able to ride our way to Panglao Island and hit the white sand beach. Soon after, we rode up to Loboc Eco-Tourism Adventure Park to ride my very first ever zipline. Ever! Yep! I was so scared that I might not make it, that I’d probably faint half way through or my heart would possibly beat so fast! But when I took a peek I just couldn’t keep my eyes shut. The view was breathtakingly beautiful! I made it not once but twice on the zipline ride. Oh yeah! Bohol was super duper amazing I tell you and I would happily go back any time!

Lastly, we traveled up north the Negros island to Sagay City and the City of Smiles. Although it was more of a business trip, we couldn't help but take a few stopovers to satisfy the tummy. Right after we had dinner at 18th St. Pala-pala Resto, we walked down to Calea's and had to try their famous Mudpie cake. And my eyes just drool  at the sight of it all! 

So yeah that’s about last year’s travel adventures. This year, however, I’ve promised myself to take the bus, ride the boat and get on a plane. A. Whole. Lot. More! First on the list would surely be Negros’ very own Lakawon Island in Cadiz City. It may be a bit far north from Dumaguete but it’ll definitely be worth the hours ride. Just look at these pictures and tell me this won’t make you want to take a leave and hit the road!
Lakawon Island is a banana-shaped island off the coast of Cadiz in the northern portion of Negros Occidental. They said that you can actually just walk to or from the main island during low tide. That maybe is the reason why it's called Lakawon Island, derived from "lakaw" meaning "to walk". It’s my top of the list favorite destination in the Philippines followed by Camiguin and Palawan.

I can’t help but get really excited next month to see this view with my very own eyes. And of course share the experience with you guys too! I know you too would get really really excited as well when you see more pictures. That’s why I really love how Oppo has designed their F1s Selfie Expert smartphone. It’s perfect for this year’s travel adventures! Of all its cool features, one thing that really made me WOW was their selfie panorama. It’s like taking a panoramic shot of everyone using the front camera. How cool is that? I mean, who needs a selfie stick? Just by simply rotating the phone from side to side and it takes a wide-angle selfie.

check out more cool features here :
With it's 16-megapixel front camera, everyone in the gang would perfectly fit in one selfie pic! Thank you Oppo F1s for this super awesome feat! I would definitely bring you along to all my 2017 Philippine travel destinations!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Worry-Free Outdoors

Being a first-time mom, I am always overprotective of my daughter.  Like all moms, I just want to shield her from all the harms and hurts in the world.  That is why letting her play outdoors just freak me out all the time.  Imagine all the pests and all the dangers there are outside of the confines of our homes!  However, we cannot always safeguard them inside of our overly protective embraces, can we?  Exposing them to the elements of the outdoors as early as now is for their own good, isn't it?

Today, I braved my own fears and let K play outdoors.  I let her chase Wabby, our dog, around the dusty ground, play ball on the grass, and just enjoy being outside of the house.  It took a lot of courage, I tell you, not to help her get up after seeing her stumble to the ground sometimes.  I read somewhere that moms should also let their kids get up on their own after falling so that they'll learn to be independent.  It somehow teaches them to properly deal with their future failures - they'll learn how to get up from every fall instead of just wailing aloud and waiting for us to rescue them all the time.

Seeing K having the time of her life playing outdoors relieved all my trepidation.  I saw her happy little face giggling and laughing as she ran around and turning all curious as she stopped to examine the things that caught her interest.  And that made me realize how I have been restricting her all this time.  Yes, it is my responsibility to look after her, but it should not be to the point of confining her in my safe little space where her learning is constricted.

By providing K with the right protection that she needs every day, I can stop worrying about all the outdoor elements and start really enjoying our precious times together.  Good thing OFF!Insect Repellent Lotion always got us covered.  What I like about OFF! is that it just has the right, mild citronella smell that my overly sensitive nose can easily handle.  Another insect repellent lotion that I used previously gave my husband constant headaches.

OFF! Insect Repellent Lotion has always been our family's staple.  I never let our shelf run out of it ever since K got admitted for Dengue Fever.  Dengue is a serious disease and I try so hard to prevent it from affecting our family again.  With OFF!, I know K is protected.  I know that even if she is outdoors, she is safe from all the disease-carrying mosquitoes around her.  With OFF!, I know that even if K is out of my protective embrace, she still has the right protection that she needs.
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