All The Way To Tagaytay

Another long overdue article here. ๐Ÿ˜€

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 โ€“ 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 donโ€™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 โ€œhomesicknessโ€ 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 โ€“ the minimum talking time is 4 hours starting at around 9 or 10pm.

Wuhaaat?!?! ๐Ÿ˜€

Yep, you can already hear the rooster crowing and we’re still on our โ€œhighโ€ 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 โ€œgoodbyesโ€ in the middle of our conversation. The ever popular difference of men and women, eh? ๐Ÿ˜€

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 โ€œPamana,โ€ 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 โ€œStrEat.โ€ We didnโ€™t get to try the food stalls though as itโ€™s flocked with a huge crowd when we got there. The next day, there was no plan where we will have our summer escapade. Weโ€™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 weโ€™ve inquired were fully booked. Well, itโ€™s summer so we kind of expected that.

When we were on the verge of turning back, voila, God gave us one resort thatโ€™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 couldnโ€™t spend overnight though as weโ€™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 ๐Ÿ˜€

Nope, donโ€™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. ๐Ÿ˜€

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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 isnโ€™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 โ€“ your online journal indeed. ๐Ÿ™‚

P.S.

WordPress, please donโ€™t ever shut down. Like, EVER. ๐Ÿ˜€

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. ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

 

1st Year Wedding Anniversary Special: The Celebration

Hola, my dear beloved readers! ๐Ÿ™‚

I’d like to start this very LONG article with a note of gratitude to God for making things possible from provisions, clear weather, safe travel everywhere and everything else in between. I’d like to thank my dear husband as well for every small and great thing he did for us. I do not intend though to share every wedding anniversary celebration that hubby and I have as there are some moments that make it to social media and there are those which do not. But I thought I’d give credit to our first year wedding anniversary considering that the first year for newlywed couples is the hardest when it comes to adjustment and settling of differences.

Thus, this article will be a testimony on how the grace of God manifested in our first year as a married couple but most especially how God made our 1st year wedding anniversary celebration extra special.

As it is written,

Therefore, as the Scriptures say, “If you want to boast, boast only about the LORD.” – 1 Corinthians 1:31

Amazing it is when a couple makes a really big and extra effort in putting God at the center of their marriage even though circumstances and schedules permit otherwise. If you are to ask me what are they, I’d give a few instances. One would be temptations. Numerous situations will tempt you and your hubby to behave in a manner that is not right with God. This does not just pertain to temptations of the flesh like lust but other temptations like fits of rage, harsh words, doubts, impatience and a whole lot more.

Another would be priorities. I believe most of us are guilty of this: prioritizing those that shouldn’t be. One example was when hubby and I were so engrossed watching movies or checking out social media stuff and then when it was time to hit the hay, we’re both too sleepy to pray. Or that moment when we’re supposed to go to church but we kind of miscalculated our schedules, we ended up doing household chores first.

For us, these were mistakes and/or realizations on how to put God at the center. Going to church is not enough. In fact, we learned that putting God at the center of our lives meant every single thing that we do whether at home, or in work or in school whether we are with each other or with other people, God should always be included. It has to be Him whom we should think about first and consider whether it would be pleasing and honorable to God or whether it is in accordance to God’s will.

I have shared in my first article regarding our 1st year wedding anniversary (1st Year Wedding Anniversary Special: Mister and Missus) the nitty gritty details of our lives as a husband and a wife. But in this article, it’ll be more of the “greater learning”  that Brian and I have gathered in the 1st year of our experiences together. I haven’t mentioned yet the really not-so-good-stuff that he and I went through although I thought I’ll just give an overview on how most of them went – never good, always bad and sometimes worst.

The worst so far is something that you could think of as unbearable. Not just for us but for those who loved us too which made them intervene so it wouldn’t turn out to be THE worst. I am referring to our parents and our families. They are our mentors in this season. They’ve been there with us since the first day that Brian and I got married.

I couldn’t imagine my life as a wife and we wouldn’t be where we are now after multiple attempts of separating if it wasn’t for God sending these mentors and for all the advice, the encouragement and words of wisdom that our families have shared especially on my side. I felt I had to share some of the tough times that Brian and I went through with them to seek for counsel right away lest I become too emotional over matters and I would overlook important and necessary things.

It has always been my belief to seek wisdom in a matter of different perspectives and never one sided only. Relying on one’s own interpretation of situations could lead to a clouded judgment and in decision making, it is crucial that we get to see the bigger picture of what really goes on. Being a woman, my emotions tend to get in the way thus accountability partners are very much well appreciated on my part.

If there’s one prayer that I have for now, it is that God would continue to protect our marriage and continue to prepare me and Brian and provide all that we needed holistically so that we would be ready in any given circumstance when the enemy strikes. We always remind each other during a heated discussion that it is not one another that we are against but the forces of evil in this world.

I can only love and thank God that through our very trying times being married, God answered our call for help. All those desperate and hopeless times felt like there’s no better way to go through them but to quit and yet God never fails, His love never fails – He always remained faithful and true to His promises and His reminders are always there.

Thinking back of those times when we thought we were the cruelest, most selfish of people going through the most challenging situations ever did God teach us all about humility and submission. Forgiveness makes a whole lot of difference most especially if it is accompanied with sincere apologies and sincere actions of change.

Ahhh yes, those days were over. If they do come back, we know how to deal with it. We may not deal with it completely as perfect as how we should deal with it, but I know and I am positive there will be changes. This is God’s way of perfecting our faith in us. There will be more to come, but looking back, all I ever saw was one set of footprints and that is enough assurance that I have such a powerful God who can lift me up in whatever circumstance I am going through.

Now on to the testimony of our 1st year wedding anniversary celebration, I just don’t know how to express my gratitude and my happiness on how the Lord our God moved in behalf of us. AMAZING. Though this is not enough to describe it, that is the only word from my human vocabulary that I could think of to describe what transpired over that weekend.

August 17 was our anniversary date. It fell on a Wednesday. Brian and I planned our celebration the 1st weekend after that date. I was the one who made all the arrangements as Brian was busy at work and I, on the other hand, had an ample time to spare to inquire about this and that. I was also in charge with the budgeting and it is only Brian’s income that we’re relying on so I need to make sure we won’t go over the budget. So there was me searching all kinds of great but budget-friendly options.

The plan: have a dinner cruise in the evening, then an overnight-stay at the hotel. So there were only 2 items in our itinerary. Then came the cancellation of the dinner cruise as yacht was under maintenance so we were given options to choose among the dates they have offered and August 28 was the nearest from our wedding anniversary though it’s already 2 weeks away from the actual date.But I thought it wouldn’t matter anyway as it still falls on our anniversary month. I am not really particular about dates I even forget them, the special ones included. *wink*

So came August 17, and I thought we’re gonna treat it as a regular day since we’re going to celebrate it anyway. But lo and behold, to my surprise, Hubby arrived home from work braving the heavy rains and all the traffic with something in his hand – a bouquet of assorted flowers. Okay, now he and I had an agreement that I will only receive one flower from him in our entire lifetime together and that will be the first and the last as I will be preserving it – a memorabilia on preserving our love together as a couple. This was the rose that he gave me on our first Valentine’s day date back when we were still dating.

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When I saw the bouquet of course I smiled my widest, gave him a tight hug and a sweet kiss and then told him that he doesn’t have to. His answer was that he knew I will like them. So I teased him that now I have so many flowers to preserve and I am running out of glass canisters to put them. lol

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Well, I guess both of us knew what each of us wanted because I also made him a video which was a compilation of our wacky shots since we first met up to now. I showed it to him that night as well when he gave me the bouquet.

So now came the week before our final schedule for the celebration. That week had a pretty rough weather we were really running out of hopes that we’ll be celebrating the anniversary with a clear weather which means our plans will be ruined or we’ll make do of what we can. I never thought about canceling our plans but Brian wanted to move it to a later date.

Unfortunately we have limited options in doing so so I assured him to have faith, be patient, trust in the Lord and that we’ll continue praying. Come Thursday Brian was having pressing moments at work. I was sure he will really appreciate being able to do some adventurous stuff knowing the sporty person that he is. So I thought about coming up with another item in our itinerary – go to Rizal and have some nature and adventure fun in Daranak Falls. It was so out of the original plan but I checked the budget, we’ll still make it. I suggested the idea and he approved, excitedly approved actually.

I checked out reviews and blogs about the place and we came up with an itinerary. A few hours before we left, heavy rains still poured every now and then that my husband had dampened spirits too. I cheered him up when we woke up in the morning and saw the sun peering out. But hubby still told me it might rain hard for the rest of the day. We’re going to be doing a lot of road traveling and sight seeing and doing it on a rainy weather is a no-no as roads are slippery and we won’t enjoy the view anyway.

I once again comforted him that God has already answered our prayer request for a clear weather which we’ve been praying for how many nights in a row already. I told him that we should never give up along the way as my mentors would always remind me to look at the bigger picture, never on the road block or the problem that’s blocking the road or the view and to continue focusing on the goal and not on the journey. Our goal was to enjoy our wedding anniversary celebration in whatever circumstance.

So we ate an early breakfast and started heading out. Indeed, the Lord was faithful. For the rest of our first day/part 1 celeb, we’ve been given a clear weather. We’ve enjoyed nature at its best on a sunny weather. Just right because the falls were cool. If it was raining that day, we wouldn’t be able to withstand the cold water for long. But since it was a sunny day, hubby and I just had the best time having a hydro massage at the mini falls across the huge one.

Usually the place is flocked every weekend since it is just an hour ride away from the metro. But I guess since nobody expected for the weather to clear up right away on that day, there was only a small crowd (about 10-15 people) who was enjoying the resort with us. You could choose to roam around downstream, the huge falls, the river bed, the two smaller falls and you’ll still get a space for a nice shot without a photobomber. *wink*

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The splendor of Mother Nature.

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A very beautiful specie of butterfly fluttering around me while trying to take a good shot of her – the first of its kind.

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Here goes hubby’s epic jump!

 

Here’s a short video of our escapade there (do watch it at 480p):

God is good all the time, eh? But wait, that’s just the beginning of our itinerary. Because the 2 events we originally listed became 8. Well, I couldn’t count exactly because it all just happened out of the blue. We’re like going along the flow whichever God would want us to do and want us to have.

So we got to visit the windmills farm, the parola beside the lake (which I thought was a sea growing up in a coastal area), checked out the old historical church nearby and tried some local cuisine for snacks.

Everything went perfectly well even with how we managed the time (and expenses) and no traffic! Ha! Hubby was sure glad to drive with ease the whole time being surrounded with all the greenery. The car we used was Brian and his brother’s as they have another one for the family car. They share in using it but I told Bri to let his brother use it as they already have a baby and commuting with a toddler is tad difficult. Told him we will just borrow when there is a pressing need like this anniv celeb which happens only once a year. So praise God that the car was good to go as well for this event. ๐Ÿ˜€

When hubby and I got home, we started preparing for the part 2 of our celeb the next day which fell on a Sunday. Of course, Sundays are meant for God so if there is an itinerary, ggoing to church should be the first priority or if not, it should be included. We planned to stay at a hotel around Ortigas area after our dinner cruise so I suggested we attend church nearby or along the way to Manila bay.

Searched the Victory church website and found one at Robinsons Galleria mall. It has always been a habit for me and Brian to find a church nearby if we have activities lined up on Sunday. It was our first time at Victory Ortigas and every Victory church has their own communion schedule if I am not mistaken. We missed having one in our home church at Victory Katipunan for the month of August. But to our surprise, on that Sunday, it was communion day for Victory Ortigas. Yaaaay! Oh, the goodness of the Lord just goes on and on. A blessed Sunday it was as the events lined up on that day was also the “meat”  of the celebration.

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Early birds at Victory Ortigas.

After church, hubby and I decided to go directly to Manila bay for our dinner cruise. Guess what too, the new yacht assigned to us caters only a small group of people meaning it will give the guests a more exclusive experience. The yacht looked great too. We were supposed to be served a full-course plated meal with iced tea but since the yacht was small, they changed the caterer and the sea was expected to be rough these months too so they served them in bento boxes. But I preferred it this way because I don’t like my food spilling over my plate when the yacht changed courses or worse, spilling them over my dress. That is my worst nightmare during a date. lol BUT the best part which was not included in the package was a complimentary refillable glass of wine being offered to guests. Yaaay again!

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Welcome aboard!

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Aboard M/Y Selina.

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God is so full of surprises, ain’t He? So hubby and I were enjoying our dinner cruise moment and 1 hour was just not enough especially if you’re gonna take photos around the yacht, eat and drink. Or maybe we were having so much fun we totally lost track of the time. *wink*

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The view of the bay from the yacht.

So final verdict? We’re definitely going to relive the experience but on a summer night AND when there is a pyromusical event at SM Mall of Asia. Now that gives you an idea how you could spend a romantic date with your special someone too. Let’s share the love, shall we? We say, cheers to that! ๐Ÿ™‚

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After dinner we went to SM Mall of Asia to catch pokemons. lol But nope, I am no pokemon go player. My husband tried it out of curiosity thus tried to catch some while we’re still in the area and ordered our favorite fraps at Starbucks located along the boulevard. Now it was late already when we got to Richmonde hotel where we will spend the night away.

Entering this classy hotel will make you lost in translation. I was totally loving the hotel’s elegant interiors probably because I like earth tones when it comes to color choices and gold never fails to magnify the sophistication of every item like black. It was actually the color motif of hubby and I for our dinner date – yellow/gold and black.

We went inside our room which was very cozy by the way and it matched the elegance of the hotel’s lobby. Since we were dead tired because of the previous events especially hubby who was diving and swimming his heart out in Daranak falls, we’ve thought about having a massage. We tried the 90-minute Swedish aromatherapy massage at Nuat Thai near the hotel and I found myself giggling, not because of the massage, but the snoring client beside my room. lol

Well, I couldn’t blame him. The massage was so good, so therapeutic and relaxing it’ll really make you doze off. I am not really a massage lover but I appreciated it so much in a way that it made me so calm and relaxed after the session. Hubby said that he, too, fell asleep. Hmmmm, was he the one who snored?! lol ๐Ÿ˜€

I didn’t know massages can make you go hungry. *wink*  So afterwards, we went ahead and had a tapsilog meal at Rufo’s. When we got back to the hotel we were just so drowsy and we understood why, it’s already 1am! Okay, it’s really time for taps.

The next day/part 3 of the celeb we had our sumptuous and delicious buffet breakfast at the hotel’s cafe. We had no photos as we don’t want to break the sophisticated atmosphere with us taking selfies everywhere. We felt like it’s inappropriate especially when expats were eating beside your table. *wink*  We then decided to take a swim at the hotel’s heated pool and we couldn’t capture a pretty decent shot lest some of the guests might be irritated if they’d find out their faces were included in the photo without their permission. I happen to have one taken but a lady just made it in time as a photobomber. lol No offense though, it oftentimes happens. *wink*

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His signature squint, my signature pout. ๐Ÿ˜‰

By the time we finished our morning dip at the pool we headed back to our room and prepared for the check out. We decided to have the car washed, loaded up and went on our way home sweet home. Then, it began to rain. ๐Ÿ˜€

Alas, we’re now finally at the comfort of our quaint little home. This home of ours was a little apartment that my siblings and I shared starting when we were all studying in college. When my eldest sister and brother got married, my second sister worked in Norway and my third sister went to our home province to be with our parents, I was left alone. So now my hubby and I are occupying this place.

I always tell my husband that it is such a privilege for us to live in this minimalist and simple home. We had nothing to worry about the stuff that we needed and my siblings and I used to take turns in doing a house makeover every now and then. So many memories are in here thus it is always a reminder for us to take good care of this humble abode. I used to hate cleaning but I love it now especially when I see the aftermath. We do have plans of getting our own house but we’ll have to wait and trust God and His right time with that. ๐Ÿ™‚

The events during the weekend went on smoothly and we’re still right on track with our budget. The provisions of God do overflow when you share what you need to give and you have faith that only God is the sole provider of everything. Besides, it’s better to give than to receive anyway. *big smiles there*  Everything was planned out perfectly because God planned it that way. I am just extremely thankful for everything. We just have a great God, haven’t we?

I couldn’t imagine how Brian and I managed to celebrate it with so much ease, no worries and no hassle knowing we were relying on his income alone for our expenses; secondly, his schedule at work was difficult to arrange and lastly, the weather didn’t go well a couple of weeks prior to the celeb. It was a combined celebration of simplicity and elegance, adventure and sophistication, nature and man-made – the perfect balance.

It actually doesn’t matter what are the particulars when it comes to celebrating special moments with a loved one. The good and bad memories that you and your spouse build every single day are enough to remind you of the love that you have for each other which is more important than any celebration in every marriage. Love rules, love wins, and love is all that matters. (I think I heard myself singing that. lol)

But the truth of the matter is that a marriage requires this – FAITH. When it comes to faith, I only have these two to think about:

Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. – Hebrews 11:1

We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting Him, He endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now He is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. – Hebrews 12:22

Keep the faith ALWAYS too, my dear brothers and sisters! โค

Much love,

Tin and Bri