Holiday Gift Ideas: Shop Early!

Hello, lovely readers! 

Bells are ringing, children are singing.

Oh wait, did I hear that Christmas is coming?

BER months are indeed fast approaching. 

Now, what are we buying?

Buying for gifts, you’re asking.

Never worry about anything because here is a little something. 

So there went my futile attempt to be a poet.  😀

Seriously though, holidays meant a lot of things but it is synonymous to this word as well – rush. Everything is in a rush. How do we avoid this so-called “rush” ? The answer is this – prepare and shop early.

Buying Christmas presents in advance and scratching them off your long list is such a life saver. I usually do this often during the holidays.

But first, who are our recipients of these awesome gifts? On top of the list is our families of course, followed by relatives, friends and coworkers or bless someone randomly.

Then again, another dilemma is this question – “What will I buy for each of them?”  

Honestly, thinking about choosing the right holiday gift ideas can be cumbersome and overwhelming. But allow me to make choosing a lot easier for the lady recipient: How about a tote bag?

Very simple, eh? BUT this isn’t your ordinary tote bag. These are custom-made from photographs of anything and everything by yours truly. I love to share so I am sharing these for you to have for keeps. No art is ever called art without the artist’s individuality showcased in it, as they say. These printed tote bags carry each in itself a particular story – a memory so to speak. So, I am sharing to you a bit of my life’s journey in each item. Do bring me along in your journeys too – wherever they may be and whatever it may be. 😉

This one tote bag for example illustrates a photo during our first summer vacation as a couple in Zambales, Philippines. If you were enamored by the pristine waters and pure, white sand, you can actually plan a trip and head on over there to see the beauty for real. You don’t just have a photo as memorabilia, but also a bag which will remind you always of the beauty of the place for as long as you often use it.

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Another in the memory lane is this precious red rose (which I preserved for sentimental reasons) symbolizing an everlasting love – the first I received when hubby and I were still dating. Thought about editing it to make it look more rustic and not look like your typical red rose because it’s a special one for a special you.

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These are also some of the bags featured in this recently created collection which is a variety of different kinds of themes and concepts from black and whites to macros and landscapes:

If you want to browse for more tote bag designs, you can check out more of the collection in this website:

http://shopvida.com/collections/christine-lailani-ginete-rome

Oh, and if bags aren’t that alluring, the other collection I am starting might capture your interest like these awesome sleeveless tops:

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Happy shopping and wishing you all a VERY advance happy holidays! 😉

P.S.

I’d like to thank VIDA for this one great and wonderful opportunity and most of all to God for bringing in people to share what they can share and help the community. This is also in support of the Literacy Programs that VIDA offers to their makers to learn to read, write and do basic Math skills.

Stay tuned for more upcoming designs, my dear readers. Let’s continue sharing our God-given blessings and bless others too! ❤

Much love,

Tin

If Fred Flintstone Is Here…

 

I have long been an advocate of protecting Mother Earth. I grew up surrounded by nature in its luscious state. Nope, please don’t get me wrong. I am no Tarzan nor Jane. *wink*

I just happen to grow up in a humble home (our ancestral home in the province) with a garden containing all sorts of flora and fauna courtesy of Mom and her best helper, Dad. Yup, he is the one in charge of the upkeep of the lawn with the lawn mower – it’s a guy thing. 😀

That is their quality time together as husband and wife on a weekend – tending the garden. The children are the ones in charge of picking the flowers for their own agenda and end up being scolded by Mom. lol

Okay so I am pro nature. Does that make me an anti urbanization? I have my own praises when it comes to industrialization. It is, I believe, in God’s plan that man will benefit from his own toil and hard labor resulting in a convenient life. Imagine Fred Flintstone and the difficulties of Stone Age and the primitive days. I am grateful I am not living in a cave and have to deal with bats and snakes or any squishy, wiggling, crawling, flying, spurting creature every night when I sleep.

But are we maintaining the balance? I was wondering what would Fred Flintstone say if he is with us and sees all the modernity around. I think the time has come for our industrial engineers, landscape architects and land developers to consider creating a change in this rapid momentum of skyscrapers being built everywhere especially in the city.

I see it as an idol, a temple. Not of God’s but of something else. It destroys what God has originally built. I no longer see God in those buildings, nothing God-made was retained.

I believe it is man’s obligation to maintain and preserve what God has built. We have been given free will which gave us opportunity to gain knowledge. Knowledge gave way to innovations. Innovations made life easier. BUT too much of it will destroy the very core of life in this world – Earth. Unless of course those innovations are nature-friendly.

If not, there really is indeed a possibility Earth will be nothing more but a rubble in the future and we’ll be living in spaceships. Ever watched the movie Transcendence? It’s basically the same.

I love Science. I enjoyed watching Sci-fi movies. My Mom was my grade school Science teacher and I was usually the one representing our school in Science quiz bees and competitions. I had that thirst for worldly knowledge back then and I grew up being inquisitive of everything around me.

I started asking the “why”  questions which later on I found out that Science has no answers for all of them. Too many unanswered questions brought me to questioning the reason even for my very own existence.

Good thing there was faith – I was saved from the disillusioned self. Now everything has meaning, everything has an answer, everything has a purpose. That made me understand not just my part but how each living and non-living thing created by God are interrelated.

This now brings us to innovations. Are they really supposed to be part of the picture?

I have been sharing on Instagram those that are all natural or which pertain to nature. I saw the beauty of them that transcends beyond the skyscrapers and high-rise buildings that speak nothing else but of man’s creations.

This made me ask again. Is man trying to outwit, outplay and outlast God?

If we are to compete with God in the Survivor game show, there’s no doubt we’d be eliminated first. Can God create buildings? Of course, He can. So why didn’t He create skyscrapers and a whole lot of them for His creations to live in alongside Earth when He created everything?

Too much is detrimental. It speaks of greed – hunger for power and to acquire more than what is necessary.

I have no control over the industrialization age. But I can help the younger generation appreciate what could be the last remnants of God’s creation at its best and original state – nature. I am hoping the younger and future industrialists, architects and engineers will take it to themselves to preserve what is left of God’s creation.

If they wouldn’t make the change then there’s nothing left for our great grandchildren and the children after them to marvel at when it comes to showing them how God created the world. Garden of Eden for them will just be a far-fetched concept or worse, a myth.

And yes, they will be missing out so much. *sigh*

And yes too, this is the first time I am ending my article with a sigh. BUT with a smile – still hopeful. ☺

P.S.

My Dad, by the way, is a retired civil engineer. He builds bridges and dams and facilitates in the irrigation of rice fields with the National Irrigation Administration. He did these not to destroy nature but to help in nourishing it so nature in return can help the farmers make good use of the resources.

If only man would learn to settle with contentment.

*sighs again*

*smiles again*

“A psalm of David. The Earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it. The world and all its people belong to Him.” – Psalm 24:1

Aloe Vera Overload

I’ve just repotted 13 aloe vera pups and in just a month, found this:

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Repotted aloe vera pup and the newest pup.

Whew! They are propagating really fast on their own. Indeed:

“It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow.” – 1 Corinthians 3:7

Just like in faith. I intend to keep the number of aloes in my garden to only 13. So for any new pup that would sprout from any of them, I’d most probably give away to families and friends or anyone who loves aloes. It’s going to be raining aloes in the house! 😀

Aloes are so easy to tend so no need to fret if you want to plant one and are a busy bee like me. It also offers numerous benefits for skin and hair care to digestive health, etc. They are from the family of succulents and need to be watered only once a week in a cactus or well-draining soil. They need full sun too so our tropical country makes it a good host for them. No need for fertilizers too as they do well without them.

Gardening, for me, is a perfect way to relieve stress, spend idle time and recreation on a low budget plus you’d get to experience the joy of seeing them grow taller, bigger and thicker thru time. When it’s time to harvest too, you’ll reap the fruits of your labor (along with God’s help).

It makes me appreciate nature even more especially when you’re living in the city where everything else is man-made. I believe it is time we strike the balance of keeping things natural starting from our very own homes. It is one way of living life not of this world but reliving nature at its best before man and technology overtook it and ruled this world. Think Garden of Eden.

God would prefer it that way – appreciating His creations and taking extra good care of them. ❤

P.S.

I got influenced by my Mom who is such a great gardener and her garden overflows with awesome flora and fauna (check my Instagram account for my photos of them and also this article: MAY The Flowers Be With You).

Her name, by the way, is Eden. Coincidence? Nah, God’s amazing ways definitely.

Now for me, I intend to grow a forest. Without the snakes. If that is just possible. 😉

Hidden Paradise: Bicol’s Virgin Beaches

If I will be allowed to be proud of something, that I will reserve for the beautiful beaches that my hometown offers. I grew up in the province and as a kid, summertime with family means scouting local beaches and nature hopping from rivers, falls to springs and mountains.

It is through this that I got to appreciate nature at its best in its original beauty. Yes, that kind of beauty that is not tampered by man or any modernization. I have somehow developed this kind of appreciation when it comes to what is beautiful and having gone to commercialized beaches such as Boracay, I must say that I wasn’t fascinated that much at all compared to the ecstatic feeling I get every time my eyes lay upon the sight of paradise in its original state – how God created them and not how man created them.

It was this appreciation that taught me to love nature and care for it as if its part of me. I actually wanted to promote in our province, in light of this, an advocacy to tourists and locals alike how to enjoy nature’s bounty and yet at the same time, preserve its natural beauty. Commercialization of beaches as tourist spots means a flock of tourists which is also equivalent to more use of resources as well as more litter. The latter is what becomes far too common in all commercialized beaches.

I do not mean to be selfish and enjoy the luscious and diverse beauty that nature can offer just by myself, and yet it saddens me to know the fact that not all tourists have the same kind of appreciation and concern as I do. Seeing a single trash along the seashore is enough to make me furious and the first thing that goes into my head is this – how irresponsible the person who threw this trash is. Now this is something I should not do, for it is not right – judging and thinking negatively about any person. It is similar to committing a crime in God’s standards.

Instead of that accusing thought though, I might as well divert my thoughts how I could partner with the local government units in preserving local beaches which include but is not limited to informing the public (tourists and locals) about a policy that will implement stricter discipline when it comes to taking good care of nature. And I mean STRICTER DISCIPLINE.

I told my husband that this summer, instead of going to commercialized and expensive hotels and resorts (being the practical me), I suggested we visit my family in the province, celebrate Mother’s Day there and scout for local beaches which is what my family would usually do during summertime. So we went to this beach which is a 30-minute drive from home and we usually spend our family outing there during the summer and once during Christmas. What we saw next was the ultimate paradise deal.

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Mt. Bulusan in the background, the province’s active volcano.

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Combination of patches of seaweeds and sand.

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This beach is an inlet rich of diverse marine ecosystem and at the end of the reef is the Pacific Ocean. Pretty deep this ocean. So if you are not a swimmer like me, better stay a little closer to the shore. My husband is adventurous and yet when we both saw the different sea creatures we found in the reefs, we were fascinated and yet a little scared at the same time. He started joking that there might be a great white which somehow got inside the shallow reefs as there were plenty of other sea creatures to feed on.

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Something pink underneath.

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There’s the edible seaweed.

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My foot was here.

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Funny hubby with his signature wacky pose.

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There’s me introducing the rock.

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Well, it is a possibility, I told him and yet it should not hinder us from exploring what else does that inlet could offer. Besides, my family and I have been there a couple of times already and we never encountered or heard any incident about shark attacks or a jellyfish sting even. Although we saw this jellyfish-like sea creature which we could not identify whether an eel, a variety of a jellyfish or a sea snake. It looked harmless as local kids were poking it and covering it with sand. We tried to uncover it after they left but we couldn’t find a solid object to remove the heavy sand away. Besides, it is heaving so we know it is still alive.

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Local children covering the slimy sea creature with sand.

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Low tides are a great opportunity for me to explore what is on the ocean floor. Being a lover of Science (probably because my Mom used to be a Science teacher), I love exploring everything most especially when it comes to nature. I even thought that maybe I would’ve ended better if I pursued a degree in Biology. But that is not God’s plans for me. Or maybe it is, I just don’t know. Yet.  *smiles*

For me, the sea is a huge exploration ground. Very ironic because I do not know how to swim. Now you must be wondering how did that ever happen. Well, I am wondering about that too. *wink*  But I never let anything hinder when it comes to pursuing things that I am interested about.

So back to our seafloor exploration, we found a live snail, a small one and hubby and I enjoyed observing how it attempted to raise  “himself” up back to its crawling position. I didn’t know that a snail has a tiny claw/hook of some sort and it is fascinating to know that that hook is strong enough to lift itself up considering the hardness of the shell. We wanted to take a video of it but unfortunately we left our cameras already as we decided to swim and explore and we didn’t bring any waterproof camera case with us.

Oh and this edible seaweed. We eat them raw and just dip it in lime juice. It is a perfect side dish for barbecues or grilled fish. We call it as  “lato.” We saw local fishermen harvesting them during low tide somewhere before the reef ends and big waves from the Pacific Ocean hit the side of the reef or the wall of the continental shelf.

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The Pacific Ocean and the continental shelf.

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Our harvest.

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Harvesting a big one.

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We got to the beach about lunch time and after 2 hours, the tides begun to rise. Hubby and I waited as each small patch of dried seaweed start to be submerged in water again. We did swim nearby when the water level became high enough but because it was late in the afternoon approaching night time, we decided to take our leave and let nature have her rest too – it was feeding time for the sea creatures. Yep, we don’t want to be part of their food chain so out we went and just took photos around.

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High tide is finally here.

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White sand it is.

Indeed, right they are when they say that in order to keep things balanced with nature, you have to know your limits. Hubby usually is the adventurous type and is always on the go. But this time, it made me smile when I saw him learn to have this respect and love for nature out of awe and fascination. This was the same kind of awe and fascination that I first had when I was a kid which made me love and care for nature because I have learned to understand our relationship with it. We felt guilty though when we showed some locals the seaweeds that we were able to harvest and they said it was the right one but they usually pluck the stems out but leave the roots so it could reproduce.  *insert sad face here*

But it made me smile still. It means that they already know their limits as to the proper use of nature’s resources and how to take good care of her and this will be very essential in informing tourists like me about the limitations/boundaries between man and nature. 🙂

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God’s awesome creation, including him. 😉

The Christian From Bicol

(This is an excerpt from this post I have written back in November 2013 during the Typhoon Yolanda. I thought this particular content deserves to have it’s own separate article with a different title this time.)

Wherever God would take me, whatever God would give me, I will bring with me two identities: first, I am a Christian and second, I am a Bicolana.

I can never be more proud of anything I have and whoever I have become other than those two I have mentioned above.

Why a Christian? I am nothing and nobody without my God, first and foremost. My identity is in Him and I believe I need not say more as it is what it already is. 🙂

Why a Bicolana then? Ahh, this is most likely where I’ll be explaining more.

I grew up in the province. I spent more than half of my life there. As of writing, that is. There’s no other place that I could ever call ‘home’ except Bulan. Yes, that is my hometown, a small town in the city of Sorsogon somewhere in the southernmost part of Luzon.

Sorsogon City is a coastal area surrounded by beaches of all sand color from white, pink, to black –  you name it, we have it. Rich of natural resources, fishing and farming have been the sources of livelihood with almost all the Bulanons (that’s how we generally call ourselves).

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Fishing

If there is one value that being a Bicolana has taught me, it would be this – knowing your roots. In other words, learn to look back from your humble beginnings. Bulan is the one thing that has taught me how it is to be humble and to be grateful. Humility bespeaks when the heart is in awe of the mediocre. I know you are going to agree with me right there.

I came from a family of farmers. My parents, my grandparents and the parents before them all came from humble beginnings. We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for them. Gratitude is what I could offer to my ancestors for the sacrifices and hard work that they have invested in providing the best for their families.

I came from a generation wherein I don’t have to go to the fields and do the farming myself and go home with sweaty clothes covered in mud just to pay for all of my expenses and supply my needs. An experience I never had to go through and yet something that I would want to go through.

CIRCA 1980s: My mom, aunts, uncles along with my grandparents.

CIRCA 1980s: My mom, aunts, uncles along with my grandparents.

They say that for someone to appreciate the value of something less than its market value and more of its sentimental value, you have to work hard for it and have it like how it is usually done and achieved. You have to sweat it out, so to speak.

I was listening to the podcast of Pastor Christian Flores regarding Victory’s new series entitled “It’s Not About The Money” two Sundays ago and he mentioned about the story of a farmer and how this farmer has invested his earnings in acquiring an even bigger barn where he could store more which actually resulted to his own destruction.

That made me thought about our farm, our farmers and what do we really get from it. For starters, our farm house did not change though how many years and decades have passed. We are earning just enough and we are still living frugal lives though we have acquired some possessions through time – still, I think it is not about the money. Money, for us, is something that has to do with survival but never to accumulate great wealth and live grandiose, rich lives.

I might be speaking out of righteousness here but if you will personally ask me, that is how I think it should be. I do not wish to dwell on this matter then and will just leave all the explaining to our Pastors as they lead us on with the series – a reason for you to stay tuned for our upcoming podcasts or better yet visit a nearby Victory church: http://victory.org.ph/. (Sorry for the shameless plugging, but I felt you would understand it better if the explaining would come from our church leaders).

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This is the season of harvesting and when I went home during the holidays last November 1 and 2, I chanced upon the last harvest in our farm. I have skin asthma and as much as I should be staying away from hay, I know it would not stop me from going along with my Dad. I suffered the consequences later on – cough got worse and itchy rashes came out that last for usually a week leaving black spots on my skin which then stay on for about how many months.

The last time I have been with my Dad during harvesting was when I was around 6 or 7 years old. I could still remember how our parents would ask us (not really me as I was way too young, but my sisters and brother) to help in drying the “palay”  we have harvested so they could be sold to the millers for a good price before they then sell it to the market.

Yes, how could I really forget all the scurrying here and there, to and fro when dark clouds come and heavy rains start to pour. It only means sweeping the grains, piling and covering them up as FAST as you can to prevent them from getting wet, thus lowering the chances of getting a low price as “palay”  buyers measure the moisture content of the rice grains. The drier the grain is, the higher its market value.

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Threshing of palay.

My Dad is not a farmer per se. He is a civil engineer who juggled two occupations at the same time – that of a farmer and a superintendent at the National Irrigation Administration in the Bicol region (officially at San Ramon, OIC in Masbate and Sorsogon City). He is now 74 years old, retired from his engineering career and yet a continuing farmer. I have always admired my Dad how at his age still manages to do what he would always do at the farm despite his arthritis, gout attacks, hypertension, cataract and other illnesses of the aged. Although we don’t dry the harvested rice grains anymore to lessen the stress level of all the scurrying and hurrying, tending the farm is still a busy and a lot of work to do.

I went to the farm with my Dad not to harvest the grains myself and have them threshed out but witness how it is usually done. I have to get into the particulars as to how to do this and that. Well, I might consider farming as my job someday. Yes, “Tin”  the farm girl. *wink*  I think I heard my Kuya’s sarcastic chuckle back there again. Haha Yeah, right. And yes, I wanted to observe how our farmers do it – our trusted and loyal workers. I admired them more than I have admired an office employee (no offense to office-based workers). But hard labor is no easy job. Exposed in the heat of the sun, bending over for hours either planting rice seedlings or harvesting them, soaked in mud or inhaling the itchy hay dust when threshing are, for me, among the most challenging tasks.

I closely looked at all of them. I saw Tio Digoy and Tio Kadog – they are the oldest among all of them. They have been working for my Dad since I was a kid. Now, their sons are working for us as well. I have learned to love them for all that they have put up for me and my family. I am praying that through us, their sons, daughters and grandchildren will one day have a better future because of their parents and grandparents’ hard work. Though that means we might lose workers in our farms, it would also be equivalent to giving everyone the chance to have better lives than what they have now.

I am praying too that someday there will no longer be a need for manual labor and everything will be run by machines operated in a clean office from planting to harvesting rice. That goes as well for harvesting coconuts and converting them into copra. The team of Tio Digoy also does them for us. Skilled, they really are. My family and I will always be grateful to them. We will always be grateful to Him for any blessing that He has bestowed as well as for His guidance and protection not just to me and my family but to our skilled workers and their families as well.

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Coconuts being made into copra.

So if most think this is what I do in Bicol:

Nope, that’s not it because this is what I usually do:

"Tin, The Farm Girl"

“Tin, The Farm Girl”

Quite the opposite, right? Well, aside from washing the dishes, cleaning the house, feeding the pets, etc. and having a little vacation time actually. We have no helpers or house maids back home and here in Manila, by the way. As it is written in the bible:

“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” – Matthew 10:45

Let’s all live a life of servitude, shall we my dear brothers and sisters? 🙂

The ANOINTING OIL and More Memories

It was after our family vacation with my husband’s family last weekend that I got hold of something interesting. We went to Baguio City in the upper north of the Philippines where the weather is particularly colder than in any part of the country.

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A portrait at the Baguio Botanical Garden c/o Brian Rome Photography.

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Brian Rome Photography

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My aunt-in-law, Tita Bebe, in an Ibaloi/Kankanaey native, traditional costume. 🙂

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I never could get this husband of mine to do a serious pose. Like never. 😉

It was a well-spent vacation full of laughter, travels and food ventures. One adventure that we didn’t miss was a visit to the famous haunted house in Baguio City and the bamboo art exhibit.

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My bro-in-law, Buds, and the facade of the haunted house. 🙂

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Spacious living room.

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Bamboo art work and handicraft.

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The living room.

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It was Bud’s idea to visit the haunted house.

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Up we went to uncover the house’s mystery.

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The Master’s Bed

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The Fireplace

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The staircase of the haunted house.

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It was his idea to reenact our wedding day.

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Unfortunately, I can only do the “real kiss” of the newlywed couple once. 😉

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No serious pose indeed. Oh wells. 😀

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His signature pose.

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Baguio Escapade 2015

We also stayed at Hotel Veniz which is located near the heart of the city popularly known for its night flea markets. My husband and I pretty much enjoyed buying stuff at such an affordable price – it was a hassle though packing them up as it added to our already bulky baggage. But it still was fun haggling for lower prices and yes, eating street food. Now this last part I must definitely say THE highlight of our last night there.

We were all tired after the vacation and it was during the last day at my in laws’ house where I got hold of one of the most interesting pieces of memorabilia that I didn’t quite expect after receiving my first memorabilia from the Holy Land which is the Spikenard Magdalena perfume thru my husband’s Dad.

My mother-in-law gave me Bible Land Treasures’  The Anointing Oil as one of their presents which I am very grateful for. A good God we indeed have. 🙂

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The Anointing Oil

If you haven’t read my article on the Spikenard Magdalena perfume, you can read it up here and it also explains a little bit about the Anointing Oil:

The Holy Perfume: Spikenard Magdalena

As of right now, I haven’t had the slightest idea as to what God’s purposes are why I have to get hold of these two important elements in the bible which is significant in our history on how Christianity started – particularly that of Jesus and the Cross. It is very humbling though that God gave me this privilege to be able to know these elements for real, have an idea how they smelled, what they look like and where and how they were used.

The Anointing Oil smelled more delicate and milder than the Spikenard Magdalena perfume which is a combination of frankincense, myrrh and spikenard. It also has a lighter color as compared to the perfume and less concentrated. I have used the perfume twice already but I haven’t used the anointing oil yet.

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Having shared this, I am now in need of your heartfelt prayers for the Spirit’s leading where these elements can be put into good use, not just for me, but for others as well – that in serving God’s will and purpose. 🙂

Loving Mother Nature via MNL Grow Kits

I grew up loving nature so much that when I came here in the city to study in college, communing with nature was one of the things I missed back home in my province in Bicol. To combat homesickness, I started growing my own little garden in our apartment and for the article that I am about to share to you, I believe this was a God-given opportunity. 🙂

To know more about how you can grow your own “forest”  in the city, do check out this article:

MNL Grow Kits: Let Your Garden Grow With Ease

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I chose Arugula, Cilantro and Marigold as my new “plant-sies” and was worried sick when my husband and I went on a family vacation for 3 days. But somehow I was pacified when my husband told me this:

“The forest grows and lives without anyone tending them. So why worry if you will be leaving your plants for 3 days. Let God take care of them.”

When we came back, all were alive and kicking. 😉

Indeed, as it is written:

“Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything.” – Genesis 9:3

DIY Project: Memories In A Bottle

Now here it is. 🙂

I have decided to come up with this project of filling in empty bottles with memorabilia from certain special events. I posted just recently regarding flowers from my brother’s wedding last April and been contemplating what to do with them. I have been staring at them for quite some time now whether to throw them away or not as they are still beautiful and lovely to look at though they’ve been dried for almost a month already. I finally decided to do the latter.

So to make this project materialize, I gathered an empty bottle which was an old Hennessy bottle from Dad’s collection and my hair spray. Sprayed each flower one by one even the tiniest and I let them dry for a couple of minutes before putting them inside the bottle. Then for a finishing touch, put a ribbon, a straw or any piece of string that you have around the neck of the bottle near the rim.

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Preserving dried flowers essentials.

And this is the final output:

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Brother’s Wedding Memorabilia

It is now my second bottle of another memory as my first preserved rose in a bottle was the first Valentine’s Day rose given to me by my bf last year and who is now my fiance. 😉

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Memories In A Bottle

So, how far will your sentimentality take you? 🙂

I Love BICOL (Part 1): Masacrot Spring

I was born in Bicol region at the far end of the province of Sorsogon. I am a Bicolana and this is how we, the locals, are commonly called. I only transferred in the metro when I attended college at UP Diliman but my love for nature didn’t stop there. I grew up being a nature lover because of this – Bicol offers a very luscious nature with its beautiful and wide biodiversity making it one of the famous places there is here in the Philippines to visit for ecotourism.

You can also find in Bicol the majestic Mt. Mayon volcano which is known for its perfect cone. Though we are located in the ring of fire housing two active volcanoes, they are actually the few things that made our region a tourist spot because of the hot and cold springs which can be found at the foot of the volcanoes.

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Mt. Mayon Volcano

Hot springs are very common but I am not sure if you have heard of cold springs in a tropical country – and I mean, an ice cold spring. 🙂

In this article, I will be featuring one of the famous cold springs in the province of Sorsogon in Bicol which my family visited last May 31, 2015 – the Masacrot Spring.

So why the name? “Masacrot” is a Bicol term which means “astringent.” 

Astringency

Some foods, such as unripe fruits, contain tannins or calcium oxalate that cause an astringent or puckering sensation of the mucous membrane of the mouth. Examples include tea, red wine, rhubarb, and unripe persimmons and bananas.

Less exact terms for the astringent sensation are “dry”, “rough”, “harsh” (especially for wine), “tart” (normally referring to sourness), “rubbery”, “hard” or “styptic”.[73]

When referring to wine, dry is the opposite of sweet, and does not refer to astringency. Wines that contain tannins and so cause an astringent sensation are not necessarily classified as “dry,” and “dry” wines are not necessarily astringent.

In the Indian Ayurvedic tradition, one of the six tastes is astringency (kasaaya).[74]

– WIKIPEDIA

They say that the water in the Masacrot Spring contains one of the best minerals in the world and this is probably why the water is astringent. But nothing to worry because the water at the Masacrot Spring is potable.

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Masacrot Spring

The blue green waters of the pool will captivate you that much it’d make you want to take the plunge right away. I know those who loves to swim will agree with me. The pool was hand-carved and set up in a natural background making you feel more one with nature. This was the second time we visited Masacrot Spring and the first time was when I was just 5 years old. Whew! That was way, way back I could barely remember a thing except that there’s a very cold pool that exists in this world. 😉

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Pristine, crystal blue green waters.

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Hand-carved pool.

Taking a plunge in the cold pool can only be described in one perfect word – invigorating. YES, that is a definite. Chills will run down from your spine to your bones the moment the cold water touches your skin. Though I wouldn’t advise taking a dip in the pool without moving for a long period of time because it is REALLY that freezing cold.

Locals visit the place during the peak of the summer season wherein weather temperature rises to as high as 39 degrees. With this kind of temperature, dipping in a freezing, ice cold water is such a life-saver to combat the extreme heat wave.

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Masacrot Spring pool.

The bottom of the pool is not made of cement or tiles but with the regular clay-ish soil similar to that of the entire resort covered with moss. Nothing to worry because it is not that slippery as you imagine. There are parts in the pool though that go as deep as 6 feet. So if you are not a swimmer, better rent or bring your own floaters for swimming, old and young alike.

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Don’t forget your swimming floaters. 😉

The cold water is free flowing too so the water stays clean even though it is usually flocked by a lot of swimmers and visitors during the peak season. They also have a lot of cottages which you and your family could rent and grill stations for your barbecues and grilled fish. Now, that makes me hungry. 😀

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The perfect summer snack: unripe, pretty sour mangoes with shrimp paste.

Masacrot Spring is located in Bulusan, Sorsogon and if you will be coming from the airport in Legazpi, Albay, it will be a 2-hour drive. There’s no problem commuting except that I suggest you hire a van or a jeepney that will take you there and pick you up for a hassle-free vacay for you and your family or friends. 🙂

Project Memories

Something to spearhead my next project. I guess you already guessed what it is. Stay tuned my beloved readers! 😉

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Dried flowers from my brother’s wedding last April 25, 2015.