All The Way To Tagaytay

Another long overdue article here. πŸ˜€

I did mention in my previous articles I have quite a pile of article drafts for editing and publishing and I am in a rush to publish them all (hopefully) while I am in a period of waiting and time is still on my side.

The summer escapade for me and hubby along with his family for this year was in the cool breeze of Tagaytay. We just had to take advantage of the summer season before the rainy days start to fill the last quarters of our calendar. It was a short holiday break thus the rest of the family members were all free to have this short family time and get-together.

It always is a privilege to spend some quality time with the family despite the busy schedules and varying demands of priorities in life – something that is far too precious to waste. My parents are in Bicol which is a 17-hour land travel to get directly to our hometown. Now that is something that I don’t have the privilege to do. Going to my hometown meant allotting 1 day for travel time then another day to rest which, after doing the Math, requires at least a week if you want to make the most and the best out of your family get-together. Simply put, visiting my family in Bicol is synonymous to careful planning ahead of the scheduled visit.

But well, this is the part where I need to thank God for technology. Skype made the term β€œhomesickness” just a term. Again, family time meant quality time and this requires we set aside time for this despite the busy schedules. If most of us have the same free time, my family and I are able to Skype with one another once a week. And Skype-ing in the family means this – the minimum talking time is 4 hours starting at around 9 or 10pm.

Wuhaaat?!?! πŸ˜€

Yep, you can already hear the rooster crowing and we’re still on our β€œhigh” conversing with one another. Well, that’s for us, women in the family. For the men, 2 hours is the maximum and they bid their β€œgoodbyes” in the middle of our conversation. The ever popular difference of men and women, eh? πŸ˜€

Anyway, going back to the Tagaytay escapade, we tried the Pamana restaurant with its awesome overlooking view of the Taal Lake and the food was superb too. I only captured shots of some dishes though, the long trip sure made us all pretty hungry.

I also loved the interiors which exude the ambiance of an old Hispanic house. Indeed, the concept of the restaurant matched with its name β€œPamana,” a Tagalog term for heirloom/inheritance.

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Captivating, isn’t it?

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We also scouted for anything new in the area which includes this food park called β€œStrEat.” We didn’t get to try the food stalls though as it’s flocked with a huge crowd when we got there. The next day, there was no plan where we will have our summer escapade. We’ve been traveling without a destination actually and we came to that point of giving up and just head back home because all the resorts we’ve inquired were fully booked. Well, it’s summer so we kind of expected that.

When we were on the verge of turning back, voila, God gave us one resort that’s not so jam packed with visitors but the place was nice (and budget friendly) enough to bond with the family. Hotel Monticello was indeed “heaven sent”  hubby and I actually thought it’d be perfect for a wedding reception too. We couldn’t spend overnight though as we’re only geared up for a day tour. When we arrived, we had all the pool to ourselves which means this – LOTS OF SELFIES! Hahaha πŸ˜€

Nope, don’t get me wrong, I seldom take selfies. You can actually check my Instagram account for that. I just choose moments best for selfies and those moments that are not. And I only take selfies when nobody’s around, not even my hubby. πŸ˜€

Hotel Monticello

Selfie moment. My ever seldom selfie moment. 

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But really, when it comes to moments, there are just those that a camera snap isn’t enough to capture them all. I guess that’s the reason why God created our memories, an infinite storage at the back of our heads where every single memory is captured and safely stored.

So this one article is up in the memory of my head, but in case I have amnesia days or years from now, I have WordPress to retell and rewind them for me. Ah yes, the joys and perks of blogging – your online journal indeed. πŸ™‚

P.S.

WordPress, please don’t ever shut down. Like, EVER. πŸ˜€

Oh and check out this amusing video of my hubby and sister-in-law. Reminds me of my brother and I – siblings moment, they are. πŸ˜‰

 

 

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The Plight of the Poor

I consider it a privilege that where we are staying now is situated near a slum area. For 15 years since I started going to college until now, this has been my second home. I grew up waking up each day opening the gate seeing those who rummage the garbage of what they can salvage and sell. Or that moment when I pass by their community and the pair of torn and tattered shoes I have decided to throw out and dispose the other day is now being displayed at the side walk for sale – 10 pesos. πŸ™‚

Now when this happened I just smiled – what I considered a garbage is a blessing to others. I can’t help though but feel for these people. I know God has a special place for them in His heart and I know that they will soon be given an opportunity to know God and have better lives here in this world – better spiritual lives. This is all that matters. I know that when Christ is living in their hearts, they will see God as the sole provider of all of their needs and the only source of hope – not the government nor foundations/organizations.

This thought pacifies me every time I feel at a loss how to provide them the financial and material support that they need. I had to control myself that what they needed are not money nor possessions but Christ. If I give in to the temptation of providing them their basic needs, I will be drawing their attention to me as the provider and not to God who is the ONLY provider unless they already have a firm foundation of who Jesus and God are in their lives.

The latter posits as a challenge because what we’ll be infiltrating is a set of cultural values and beliefs that have been embedded even longer than most of us have lived. We are banking on not just one person but a family and eventually a community.

Thus, they are constantly in my prayers. May they be given opportunities to have a saved life, free from the corruption of this world. May they find hope in the beauty of salvation and what it brings to someone’s life – like mine.

This is possibly the reason why I became active in supporting a wide range of advocacy that focuses on family and community outreach. Though for now I feel like I haven’t been contributing much with my limited capacity to help but I know prayers are powerful and God hears all of them.

It doesn’t feel right with me that I am experiencing a life better than them in some aspects and yet on a certain level, I feel one with them – we are all sinners. This, alone, will bind me closer to them despite the differences.

To end this short article (this was unplanned because today is a busy day for me but I just felt I had to share it)Β  I’ll just quote the first beatitude:

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Photo courtesy: thekingscorneratctk.blogspot.com/

A Silent Salutation To My Moms

A silent salutation.

Because I know that the endless “Thank yous” and “I love yous”Β  won’t be enough to completely express how much my appreciation goes for such an amazing job they did on motherhood.

I will become a mother someday. But if it isn’t God’s will, I’d still be grateful I was blessed with the opportunity to marry and be with the man God has appointed me to be with. But for now, it is such a great opportunity that God has given me my birth mother and my mother-in-law – two completely opposite and flawed individuals yet amazing in their own ways. Oftentimes I find myself thinking how far will my faith be tested. That is, being a woman of God. My Mom and my mother-in-law are women tested through time becoming who they are now.

They say elders are to be examples to the younger generations. For they were made wiser by time and experiences – something that the youth do not possess yet. It is by wisdom that men grow as an individual as far as individuality is concerned. And yet the irony is that not all elders possess the right kind of wisdom – Godly knowledge. Through which I found myself praying for utmost discernment. For how can someone younger correct someone older out of the youth’s reverence to the elderly?

It was written in the bible:

“Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed,..” – Titus 3:1

“You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud but gives grace to the humble.” – 1 Peter 5:5

“Children, be obedient to your parents in all things, for this is well-pleasing to the Lord.” – Colossians 3:20

It takes such great effort to summon the Spirit for leading when it comes to what matters most – obedience to the one who holds the authority even if it means the outcome will be a wrong decision because it wasn’t God-centered or doing the right thing, that which is pleasing to God and yet disobeying the elders.

My adoration for my mothers did not come as instant as they can be. I disliked a couple of things about my Mom and the same goes for my mother-in-law. I do not agree in some of what they do and say and yet I found myself looking past their weaknesses and appreciating the good in each of them. Appreciation is never that easy, for accepting one person for who he/she is means accepting even the worst in him/her.

My relationship with my Mom is never the warm, friendly type. She is a Mom and I am her daughter and nothing should cross that boundary. She brought us up in a very independent manner, allowing us to make our own decisions, letting us fall if we made the wrong decisions, letting us look for solutions to our problems and yet she never fails to be there at the moment when you needed her the most. Communication does not happen everyday for us even when I was in college. I admire the way she disciplines us, the values most especially. For it is in those values that I have learned about how to deal with the circumstances and people around me the right way – that which is acceptable not just to society but to God most especially.

My mother-in-law is the opposite. She likes to foster warm and affectionate mother-daughter/mother-son relationships. She likes it that she is updated with what is happening in our daily lives. Oftentimes she makes most of the decisions and provides solutions to problems right away. She provides everything that is needed, making way for everything to be smooth sailing. She is very lenient with a lot of things and you truly will feel her care and concern. Although some of these complicate some things too.

Both my mothers are so different in upbringing, values system they uphold to, life experiences and lifestyle. Yet they have one thing in common – they are both mothers, one which greatly symbolizes womanhood. A responsibility that is never easy to handle as everyone knows. Being married gave me the opportunity to know them really well when circumstances and conflicts posit I seek for their counsel and when the Spirit urges me as well to do so.

It was only in this season of my marriage that I got to talk to my Mom regarding relational issues as freely as I can be. We never talked about it in a casual manner even in my previous relationships but now I am amazed by all the wisdom she has to offer when it comes to being a woman, a wife and a mother.

As for my mother-in-law, I have to be grateful for her generosity although we always assure her we can completely handle things on our own. I used to view both my moms with contempt and hesitation and yet amazing it is that God has indeed proven He is greater than any barrier known – that of changing hearts and minds, one of the most difficult to do among men.

I cannot say if it was my heart and mindset that have been changed, my Mom’s or that of my mother-in-law’s but I can’t help but be extremely grateful and blessed for these two important women that God has appointed in my life. I believe most of us just make this one common mistake, one way or the other, of asking this question:

“Why do I have to have him/her in my life?”

For it was never a question of “why”Β Β but a question of “what” – that of knowing in God’s perfect time what are the good purposes and roles that God has for placing them in our lives.

Some say it is the hypothalamus that is responsible in allowing us to feel love. Although common to all is that it is the heart that makes us love and feel loved. I say though, it is neither the heart nor the hypothalamus that is capable of eliciting love but none other than the author of love Himself, God.

For when a change of hearts and a change of mindsets happen, we know that God has already begun His work in you, in us – as evidenced by the love you give and the love you receive. And what better way to start reciprocating love than to people who matter to you most. πŸ™‚