Archive of ‘Destinations’ category

21/52: Home is wherever I’m with you

| Posted in Destinations, Moments Like This, Photographs

Photographs of my daughters, once a week, every week, this 2014. Week 21.

21/52: Dawn & Rain

21/52: Dawn & Rain

Once upon a time, my husband and I lived in a roof top apartment. It was our first home, with just enough living space for two and a huge outdoor area that held some of our most memorable experiences as a newly married couple. We had a lot of memories in that rooftop, until we got pregnant and had to move to a bigger space on a lower floor.

Visiting the roof top apartment now, this time with our two little girls, makes me feel a little nostalgic. It wasn’t long ago when it was just the two of us, and now, we’re four, and wow there’s really no stopping time from moving forward.

21/52: Dawn & Rain

21/52: Dawn & Rain

21/52: Dawn & Rain

21/52: Dawn & Rain

As someone who’s moved from one place to another far too many times in the past decade, I’ve come to terms with the fact that houses are temporary, and “home” is that which you bring with you wherever in the world you go. Home can be a place, and it can also be a person, or a group of people, or a collection of memories. But home is not confined to a place, I guess that’s why a new house or a new city or a new country doesn’t instantly make you feel “at home”.

That’s kind of what’s going through my mind every time we go back to the roof top. It doesn’t feel like home anymore. The vines have grown unkempt, some of the plants have dried up, the walls are dirty, the windows are dusty. And yet, in the midst of the strangeness of what used to be a familiar place, I hear Dawn & Rain scream and laugh and run around while their Daddy chase them, and suddenly, there it is. My home, right there with me.

21/52: Dawn & Rain

21/52: Dawn & Rain

Today as I post this, my childhood best friend is on her one-way flight to New York to join her husband there for good. And maybe I’ll rant a handful about that in a separate post, but in a nutshell, her departure is making me think about how temporary most things are in this life. Babies grow, children get older, people leave and move and start a new life elsewhere.

I’ve struggled about moving my whole life, mostly because I’ve become a little too attached to places, to people, or to the memories associated with them. I hate saying goodbye. I don’t like packing. Moving scares me and I wondered many times why I kept doing it.

But something about my best friend leaving, and now having David, Dawn and Rain in my life, gives me this new-found courage, this quiet assurance. The assurance that wherever in the world the Lord takes us, whether we stay or move, whether friends leave or we leave.. we’ll be okay. As long as we’re together, the four of us, home is wherever we go.

More about Project 52 here. View all posts in this blog series here.

Where my trust is without borders

| Posted in Design Projects, Destinations, Faith Walk

We’re on Day 15 of our 21 Day Prayer and Fasting, and at this point I’m feeling very weak and tempted to devour the chocolates in the ref already! Chocolates and sweets are my greatest weakness, so are my worries and fears, so I decided to give those up along with food, taking only juices and soup, in order to hear God’s voice clearer during these 21 days.

And you know what? It feels good to be vulnerable. To be stripped off these things that give me comfort (yes, worrying comforts me the same way chocolates do) and allow God to speak to me and mold me during this time of inconvenience.

The lyrics of this song captures the prayer of my heart this 2014. Every now and then this song would play in my mind, and I’m immediately brought to a place of rest and profound assurance.

Oceans by Hillsong


Oceans by Hillsong. Listen. You’ll love it, promise.

To be truly honest, I’m not sure if I ever stopped being a coward. I may have taken bigger leaps and bolder steps these past couple of years, but sometimes it feels like the coward in me is still lurking somewhere inside my chest ready to jump out every time I’m on a crossroad.

And yet, here I am, committing myself to a life of passion this year, something I couldn’t possibly live up to unless I let go of my fears and stop being a coward.

God is teaching me to let Him be God

You see, we thought we got pregnant at the start of this year. My period was 3 days delayed, and 3 days may sound a little too paranoid for you, but not to us. I never miss my period. Never. It always comes on the dot, and the last time I missed it, we found out the very next day that I was pregnant.

That’s not to say that we don’t want another baby (babies!), we actually do. It’s just that, we don’t feel like we’re ready at the moment. We worry about the financial, physical, and emotional preparations we have to go through, to think we haven’t fully recovered yet from birthing twins. We decided to wait maybe another year before having baby #3.

I know that may be too much info to divulge, but I find the need to share an important lesson that took me about 72 hours of delayed menstruation to learn. I needed to learn to let Him be God. To allow Him to hold my timetable, and to leave it to Him to decide whether I’m ready for another pregnancy or not. My readiness is not my call but His; my job is to simply trust that He knows what He’s doing and His timing is perfect.

Long story short, I got my period the following day. My husband and I sighed in relief not because I wasn’t pregnant, nope, but because I knew that I got the lesson I needed to learn.

15 Days down, 6 More to Go

We’re sprinting towards the finish line of our 21 Day Prayer and Fasting. A part of me does not want this to end yet, but the other half of me is excited to celebrate milestones and answered prayers, and to receive clarity on important decisions we have to make as a family this year. God is going to make things happen in my life this 2014, and I’m confident that He will make me stronger and wiser in the process.


Free Mobile Wallpaper: Oceans by Hillsong

I made myself a mobile wallpaper with the lyrics of the song to put on my iPhone because I wanted to be reminded at all times. And while I was at it, I thought you might want to use it too. :)

Free Mobile Wallpaper: Oceans by Hillsong

To download, right click on the link and click Save: Ipad | Iphone 4 | Iphone 5. (Sorry, I’m an Apple person!)

Rainy days and Saturdays

| Posted in Destinations, Married Life

I thought the sound of rain I was hearing a while ago was from RainyMood. Turned out it was really raining outside.

There was this particular rainy Saturday a few weeks ago when Lolo Tatay (from my husband’s side of the family) took us up for the twins’ first Tagaytay trip. I didn’t take a lot of photos, but here are some moments captured with our phone camera.

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We didn’t know we were going to Tagaytay that day, which explains why the twins were not dressed right for it. Thank God for their jackets, which we always bring with us wherever we go. For the first time, the effort of carrying those hoodies around finally paid off. The rain poured while we were on our way, and it continued to pour while we were having our lunch buffet and afternoon coffee at Taal Vista Hotel.

I don’t like the traffic, the inconvenience, and the floods that often come with rainy days. Not to mention the horrible news about people evacuating because of the floods. But I can’t deny it—I love days like this. I love the sound of rain (it inspires me to write, or do something creative), the cool breeze, the smell of rain, the sight of rain water on wet pavement.

And I love rainy days especially when they’re spent with family, a cup of coffee, and maybe a good book.

“Rain” is an illustration of blessing and abundance in the Bible. Back when we didn’t know we were going to have twin girls, in fact on that particular day we found out we were pregnant, we already knew that we were going to name our firstborn “Rain”.

I can continue listing down reasons why I love rainy days so much, but to make this post actionable, here are some unusual suggestions on how to spend a rainy Saturday afternoon:

Go on a roadtrip.

For real? For real! I suggest you don’t go too far, but go somewhere. If you’re in the south area, go ahead, go for Tagaytay. The point is, get out of the house. Note that this is applicable on rainy Saturdays only, and more specifically, not when there’s typhoon ha. Go on a roadtrip when most people would rather tuck themselves in and curl up in bed. Rainy Saturdays often mean empty establishments and less traffic.

Eat some ice cream.

I know the usual thing to do is to grab a cup of choco or a bowl of soup on a rainy day. But magnifying the cold by eating something cold works too. Back in New York, my husband loves eating ice cream on a winter day. Just for the thrill (and the chill) of it.

Get married!

Two of my friends had their garden weddings rained out. But the rain didn’t ruin their weddings, in fact, the unexpected rain made the experience even more romantic! So instead of planning your wedding to fall on a summer day, why not totally plan to have it during the rainy days. Take it from this girl who’s wedding got rained out. Rain could be the best thing that can happen on your special day. ;)

However you’re spending these rainy days, I hope you’re doing it with people you love. Have a great weekend! :)

There’s no easy way to say goodbye

| Posted in Destinations, Faith Walk, Family & Friends, Love Life

Normally, when you keep doing something over and over again, you get better at it. It’s the reason why musicians practice all the time, and athletes go through regular trainings. Repetition does wonders in honing a skill.

Sadly, saying goodbye doesn’t work that way.

No easy way to say goodbye.

No matter how many times you watch someone leave, the process just doesn’t get easier. And no matter how many times you said “good bye” in the past, the next time breaks your heart worse than the last.

Few weeks ago, our friend Robert (the guy I was talking about in this post) left the Philippines to be with his wife in London. I’ve gotten so used to having him around all the time—knocking on our door in his pambahay and unbrushed hair (sometimes unbrushed teeth! lol) as if our house is an extension of his living room. He’s the “older brother I never had” as I would always tell him, and when my husband was adjusting to life back here in Manila, he was one of his first few friends.

And suddenly he’s gone.

Last week, another friend Joana (one of the girls I was talking about in this post) left the Philippines to migrate to California with her family. I’ve always wanted to have a sister, I guess that’s why I channeled all of that energy to girlfriends like J. She’s my prayer partner for years, she’s one of my bridesmaids, a part of my cell group, my nephew’s godmother, and now she’s my daughters’ godmother too—that’s just about the list of titles she’s claimed in my life.

And now she’s gone.

Tl;dr. In a span of a month, two people who are huge parts of my life left for good, taking pieces of me with them, and I’ve been struggling with their (physical) absence and the finality of their departures since.

But how can I not be happy for them? 

Robert reunited with his wife Tin, and they finally started their married life together after months of LDR. And Joana and her family’s immigrant visas were approved after decades of waiting and praying for them. These are good news!

The funny thing about saying good bye

To be sad about people leaving is borderline selfish. And to be happy about their absence feels wrong too. On one hand you’re sad to see people go, and you know that life (as you know it) is never going to be the same again. On the other hand, you’re happy to see their prayers answered and their dreams come true before their eyes. 

So you find yourself in between two strong emotions that pull and tear your heart apart in two extremely opposite directions.

What I learned about saying good bye

As one who experienced a lot of moving around in her younger years, and went through a torturous long distance relationship, saying good bye to places and to people I love is the hardest. At one point I thought I’ve gotten used to saying good bye, but as I grow older, I often wish I would never go through that kind of pain ever again.

But things change. Time flies. People leave. That’s just the way it is. Change involves pain, and pain forces us to grow. It causes us to see situations with eternal eyes, and teaches us the art of letting God do His thing. It helps us loosen our grip off tangible things—people, places, routines; and causes us to embrace the more important things, the ones that last forever—friendships, memories, lessons learned, love that transcends space and time.

When we look at saying good bye that way, it’s not such a bad thing after all.

Week 26: More photographs from Canyon Woods

| Posted in Destinations, Married Life

From our anniversary weekend. Here’s more, just because we have tons of them. :)

The resort was huge, and we had it all to ourselves! Because the place was so huge (Have I said that yet? Oh yeah.), we had to take a shuttle to go around from our cabin to the clubhouse to wherever in the vicinity we want to go.

The clubhouse. We had meals at their empty lounge, with a beautiful view of pine trees and the sky. The food can be pricey in the lounge though, so we had one of our lunches in Tagaytay proper, more or less a 30 minute drive away.

The casitas. Although the rooms and the facilities are old and a little worn out, I think it adds to the rustic and country-feel ambiance that Canyon Woods is all about.

And I just looove the floor-to-ceiling glass doors/windows!

The indoor pool. The highlight of our stay has got to be the indoor pool, which we had all to ourselves! They turn on the heater only in the weekends though, so if you’re planning to come here for the indoor pool, definitely schedule your trip on a weekend.

Say hello to my huge belly, at 26 weeks. :)
I think swimming really did me well, especially for my muscle cramps and back pains. 

The outdoor pool. It was pretty much ours during our stay, too. Although it wasn’t heated, the sunshine on our backs evened out the cold water, which made our outdoor swim a really nice experience as well.

Canyon Woods is always mistaken to be in Tagaytay, but it’s basically in Batangas already. We love it and we definitely recommend it! Like I said, we seemed to be like the only guests at the time, but they’re not under-staffed and we were taken care of really well.

A tip: Best if you go there with coupon deals, we got ours from Cashcashpinoy. ;)

I’d love to come back soon, but my tummy is getting bigger and bigger, and we’re getting closer and closer to our due date. I guess this is my last trip, at least for now.

This weekend on Instagram: our first wedding anniversary

| Posted in Destinations, Instagram, Married Life

Obligatory instagram post of our weekend at Canyon Woods Resorts:

(1) For the first time the whole week, the sun was shining brightly and we spent our weekend without a hint of dark skies and rain! (2) We woke up on our first morning with sun rays through our room’s glass windows, what a sight! (3) We had our breakfast of eggs and bacon with a beautiful view on the side; (4) ..and we can’t help but stare at the two empty seats in front of us, thinking that soon enough, two little girls will occupy those seats; (5) I’m so thankful my husband is a good swimmer. I’ve always loved swimming, and I’m glad to have someone who’s game to swim anytime! (6) The indoor pool was practically the highlight of our stay, we had it all to ourselves the whole time we were there! Seriously, no other guests but us! (7) My big bulge didn’t stop me from swimming, yeah! (8) Posing by the highway, just because; (9) Pretty casitas by the lake, one of which was our love nest for the weekend; (10) Gotta love having a husband who’s ready with a camera all the time; (11) Waiting for our ride back home, after 3 days of rest; (12) Pasalubongs from Tagaytay.

We couldn’t help but compare how different this August was from last year. How we were surrounded by lots of people, family and friends, on our wedding day and on the days before and after it. This time, celebrating our first wedding anniversary, it was just two of us. And it was really just the two of us, literally, as it seemed like we were the only guests in Canyon Woods that time. The only times we’re reminded that we’re not alone were those moments when I feel tiny kicks in my belly, and we realize that we have two little girls tagging along wherever we go.

The place was beautiful, the moments were precious, and it was just the kind of weekend where we keep marveling at how huge and how wide God’s love is. And yet, in His Greatness, He’s still mindful of the personal details and the little things in these small and short lives we live.

You make my dreams come true

| Posted in Destinations, Family & Friends, Love Life

That 500 Days of Summer song felt like last Saturday’s soundtrack!

Saturday, May 5. A few friends and I went on a road trip to Tagaytay to scout for a wedding venue. It started out as a top secret mission, LOL, but since word has been out in the grapevine already anyway, I thought there’s no point hiding from our friends (and from this blog) what we were up to that day.

We had a specific purpose going there alright, but mostly, I’m happy for the excuse to be out with good company. It was a day of sun, and laughter, and food, and jokes we wouldn’t dare talk about in front of our pastor, haha.

The people you’re seeing in the photos are just some of the friends I grew up withback from when we were diaper-clad toddlers, through our semi-reckless, semi-rebellious teenage days, to now, traversing through adulthood and growing in age and in faith. Two of them are getting married (to each other!) in August, and like I said, one of them is on the lookout for a wedding venue.

It’s easy to lose track of the years when life is so full, eh? :)

The photos above were taken from Jardin de Rosella, Leisure Farms, and Ville Sommetall of them beautiful venues in Tagaytay that are worth considering when you’re planning for a destination wedding. I thought of posting rates and reviews, but this blog has never been about reviews so I guess if you’re interested to know more about these venues, holler in the comments section and let me share the info I’ve gathered to you. :)

More photos here.

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