Because the best is yet to come

Today being the eve of my birthday, I decided that I’ll do something different and actually do nothing. Right now you’d see me sitting alone in our dining room, staring blankly at our backyard, which I would usually just ignore but today I’m staring at in awe. It’s totally not normal for me to decide on something like this, but every once in a while I have to – for the sake of breaking life’s monotony and starting again with genuine excitement and appreciation.

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From Valleys to Hills

My 26th year has not been easy. Looking back I imagine so many events that I wish hadn’t taken place. But the good news is that they have, and I’ve lived through them. It would be a daunting task to write all of those events down, and frankly I wouldn’t want to. Suffice it to say that I live to tell the tale, but only the first part; the tale goes on and now the resolution is slowly kicking in – but not in your fairy tale standards.

My 26th year has been rewarding. In terms that perhaps not everyone would agree with. Yes, blessings were abundant and favors were rampant all year round. But reality is, what the world considers to be blessings usually come and fade away. True blessings for me happen from within; they are positive changes brought forth by what has caused me grief and distress initially. Yes – they come in all forms and shapes, but the best ones are given by God in the most unusual ways, sometimes wrapped in undesirable trimmings.

Brought to Light

It is said quite often that we don’t necessarily remember the things said and done, but we always remember how they made us feel. And those feelings are what would live on to become the story teller of our lives.

In my 26th year I felt that:

…The more impossible it is to get out of a difficult situation, the more possible it is for God to bring me out of it.
…Courage and boldness would take me far, but humility is what would make me enjoy the ride and keep my pace.
…People will always disappoint and hurt me, but if I choose to love them anyway, the reward is doubled.
…Rumors never produce anything healthy, regardless of the truth behind them.
…No matter how hard I try, I sometimes give in to negative thoughts; but just in case I do, I should never allow them to manifest into negative actions.
…Forgiveness could sometimes be a long process, but we should never stop until it is completed.
…Everything is desirable from afar, but only a few remain that way up close.
…I can never get rid of a bad habit unless I replace it with a healthy one.
…I should be wise in choosing people whom I allow to mold my life.
…I need to make a stand and choose one place to get planted and truly flourish.

The Best is yet to come

What could be the end of an arduous year could perhaps signify the beginning of a year filled with overflowing wisdom and definition. And I intend to welcome it with anticipation of God’s many more promises coming to life.

Almighty God, please surprise me! I trust in Your goodness. In Jesus’ Name.

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A Very Important Post

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Last week I heard an astonishing (slash amazing slash wonderful) message about ensuring that your life is filled with healthy relationships. By the way, I heard this message at Hillsong Church and can I tell you, I heard a lot of astonishing (slash amazing slash wonderful) messages in the past but this one had definitely made a mark. I’ll do my best not to bore you, and by the end of this entry my hope is that something inside of you will get stirred up, and you too will be blessed.

[fast forward a bit]

So in summary (I told you I wasn’t gonna bore you)…

All the people who you are in relationship with (whether they be your friend, family, enemy, ex-BF/GF, terror prof, or your I-know-your-face-but-not-your-name neighbor) can be classified into the following types:

1. VIP (Very Important People) – They are the ones who you love unconditionally, and who love you back in the same, if not better, way. I won’t need to define this further, just think of your mom, dad, wife, or husband and you’ll know what I’m talking about. They inspire us, encourage us, challenge us, annoy us, and sometimes hurt us; but in the end our love for them never seems to diminish.

2. VRP (Very Resourceful People) – They are your mentors in life. It seems everything that they do/did is admirable and you constantly find ways to emulate their acts. They set your passions ablaze and encourage the best out of you. I had a teacher in Kindergarten (yes I still remember, her name was Ms. Malinao) who, at my then young age, set my standard of kindness. I still remember her defending me from bullies (or so I imagined, I never was the highly confident kid). She taught me the value of kindness and standing up for the oppressed (or against kids who snatch your kero-kero-keropi eraser because they think you’re too cool). I lost contact with her, but here’s hoping that our paths will cross again.

3. VTP (Very Trainable People) – They are the people who find you as their mentor. You don’t necessarily teach them Algebra, sometimes they just look up to you for your courage, patience, sense of humor, cooking skills, or good looks (I’m not insinuating anything). Day by day we  invest something into their lives (sometimes unknowingly) – they could be good or bad, thus this requires conscious awareness of their needs. In due time, they will possibly become our successor or trusted partner.

4. VNP (Very Nice People) – they watch from afar, possibly admiring you, enjoying your passion and adventurous undertakings, but does not contribute to them. Unlike VTP’s, they incessantly consume with no view of contributing anything in the long haul. You don’t want them to stay in this category – move them higher in the list by encouraging them with a constant outburst of enthusiasm.

5. VDP (Very Draining People) – In the interest of keeping the theme of this post positive, I don’t intend to elaborate on this last category. To cut it short, they drain you, sometimes discourage you, and even at times actively refuse your attempt at inspiring or encouraging them. The key here is not to move away from them, but to move them away from this category into any of the first three.

I’m sure you can easily think of one or two people who fit into each category. And my hope is that by now, you already know that in order for you to keep your relationships healthy, you need to minimize the last two categories from your life. I’m not talking about ditching them, I’m saying encourage them to become any one of the “Healthree” (this is a clever term that I’ve invented, thank you very much) – VRP, VIP, and VTP.

Now with as much importance, in order to call your relationships healthy, you need to ensure that the Healthree are well represented in your life. Here’s what happens if any one is lacking:

What if we have no VIP?
The world suddenly becomes a dull, lifeless classroom; an endless cycle of learning and teaching that eventually turns us into robots. Because we have no one to live for.

What if we have no VRP?
We laugh, love, but fail to fulfill our potential. Because to do so we need to grow continually – a process that is impossible without someone to inspire, teach, and encourage us along.

What if we have no VTP?
Life seems pleasant for a moment, but you soon realize that all those pleasantries are short-lived. Because we fail to teach, inspire and encourage people who look up to us, they won’t ever get the chance to keep our values, virtues, and skills alive. Ever heard of the saying “you learn twice as much when you teach?” Go figure what else you could be missing.

So now I hope the message is clear – your Healthree define how healthy your relationships are.

As a final note, I dare say that this message had personally challenged my norms and got me thinking (and listing) who to put under each category. I wish the same happens to you too. Think about who these people are, then invest time on them, enjoy life with them, laugh with them, and, most importantly, love them to the fullest. Because only when we have all of them fully represented in our lives do we truly live life to its maximum and see our relationships flourish like never before!

He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.
Proverbs 13:20

That Obligatory Vacation-Narrative Post (a.k.a., Wake me up when December 2014 comes)

Today, vacation is officially over.

17 days that felt more like 17 weeks. Sa sobrang OA sa dami kasing nangyari, feeling ko talaga nag-vacation of a lifetime ako sa Pilipinas. It was indeed a wise decision to come home for the Christmas season.

But more than the amount of events that took place, it was a vacation of “firsts”, a collection of hilarious moments, a rekindling of relationships, and an excessive filling of tummy. Hindi enough ang post na ito to give justice to this blissful vacation, but I’ll try my best to come close anyway. So here we go, the top 25

highlights of my 2013 Christmas Vacation!

(1) First time I’ve experienced the insane Christmas Rush in Duty Free mall, highlighted by a surprise performance of Anne Curtis (Just for me. Wow). “Magaling ba siya kumanta? Sobrang entertaining. So magaling nga siya? Ang ganda niya sa personal. Kthnxbye.”

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(2) Naging techie bigla sila mama and papa. Dinaig ako ni papa nang mag-selfie in front of the giant Christmas Tree sa SM Sucat. Naiinis daw siya dati sa mga gumagawa nun, ngayon galak na galak na siya.

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(3) Reminisced good ol’ times with HP friends. For some reason never kami naubusan ng pagkukwentuhan kahit antagal hindi nagkita

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(4) First time kong nag-out of Luzon local adventure when we visited Negros! Sad, I know. But now I can proudly say na nakalabas na ako ng Luzon (and stop my delusion that I’ve visited Visayas when we went to Bicol).

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(5)  First time ko nakita and nakarga si Baby Bien. Di obvious sa picture how excited I was.

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(6) First time ko naligo sa ilog. At kumain, at maghugas na rin ng kamay at plato – all at the same time. Define convenient!

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(7) First time ko ma-encounter ang Multi-cab. Minsan ko siyang tinawag na Supercab at Combicab. Sa tingin ko mas bagay pa rin ang SuperCab…

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(8) First time I’ve tasted an authentic Inasal na Manok. Pati na rin makakita ng “Tina-e” sa menu. Nakakatuwa rin na sinisigaw siya sa restaurant so casually. “Kuya, isang tina-e pa”. O kaya “Sir, isang tina-e ka po?” Wow.
Btw – Tina-e is also known as Isaw.

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(9) I’ve met new and amazing friends na hindi napagod kahit 2 days kaming kuracha mode kakapasyal. I also think half ng Negros friends na namin. 🙂 Thanks, friends!

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(10) First time kong nag-ninong sa binyag na may conscious and vivid awareness ako. Nung first time kasi ako mag-ninong, 5 years old lang ako. (seryoso)

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(11) First time ko makatikim ng Batchoy (sa SM Sucat nga lang).

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(12) Spending Christmas and New Year with my family (kahit naka-Skype lang si ate) after 3 years – PRICELESS!

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(13) Yung sweet-sweetan sila mama and papa… Medyo pinilit lang ni papa to para raw cute sa picture.

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(14) First time I’ve met Arlan’s (my housemate and good friend) family and very cute niece, Umi.

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(15) Joy Ride! Akalain mo namang napakalapit lang ng Molino, uber bitin. Buti di na ako nagbaon ng snacks and pocket books.

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(16) First time I’ve attended a friend’s wedding. The only other wedding I’ve been to was my tito’s. And I was his Best Man at 14 y/o. I think mas madami na siyang friends ngayon. 🙂
Note: wedding photo courtesy of Kel

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(17) Sobrang sayang Videoke and Ribs day with Sydney and Negros/Manila friends… Nabitin ako masyado. =(

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(18) Feeling ko mas close na kami ni lola ngayon, lagi ko kasi siya binibigyan ng butterscotch habang nanunuod siya ng Bakekang sa Fox Filipino. Alam na rin niya ang definition ng selfie.

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(19) Close na rin kami lalo ni Ate Lai… I don’t think I’ve spent enough time with her, but I hope she realizes how much I appreciate her loyalty and tireless help to my family (for more than a decade now). At alam niya na rin kung ano ang selfie ngayon.

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(20) I bought papa a new pair of Sunnies (yung mura lang naman) kasi yung bigay ko sa kaniya nung Christmas, masyado raw pam-bagets. Wow, judgmental. Bumili na rin ako ng bagong shades, uso na kasi ang colored sunnies ngayon (says me).

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(21) Got reunited with my DSP friends and DSPod! One of those truly rare occasions.

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(22) First time I’ve visited Victory Church in Ortigas. Buti na lang pinush to ni Virns.

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(23) Tasted the spiciest Spaghetti in the world! Hindi naman ako nawarningan, sana nagbaon ako ng Yakult.

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(24) Caught up with my high school bestfriends over dinner (where food was served ~1 hour after we ordered, just saying)…

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(25) Got introduced to a whole bunch of relatives from my mom and dad’s sides. Akalain mong napakarami ko palang pinsan, titos and titas who were once unknown to me. I give thanks to God that I was given the chance to finally meet them. /cue MMK music/

Hindi na ako magde-deny na malungkot akong babalik na ng Sydney, but at the same time I’m delighted to know that my backpack of memories is once again full. Hopefully, sakto na ito until I come back for my next vacation of a lifetime… Until then I’ve got plenty of reminiscing to do.

Until we meet again, Philippines! Once again, I will miss you.

Above all, I sing praises to God for this wonderful vacation.

“You crown the year with Your goodness, and Your paths drip with abundance”. -Psalm 65:11