Two Words for 2017: THANK YOU!

Tell you what. I actually consider 2017 as my BEST YEAR. And for that, I am THANKFUL! 🙂

When I say “best year,” I didn’t mean an easy-going year. In fact, 2017 had been the most difficult year in my entire adult life so far. The first half of the year (which is evident in my #hugot-filled blog posts in those months! haha) was a very dark time… But it’s true that there’s always a rainbow after the rain. By God’s grace, that dark time was gradually replaced by His light, and slowly but surely, everything in my life just started to fall into place, including my healing — not just of my broken heart, but my entire brokenness as a person that I haven’t addressed in years! I’m not going to detail those anymore because at this point, I’d feel like a broken record if I still did so. I guess I’ll just repeat what I always say: that the trials I faced this year were always accompanied by blessings and lessons that helped me be the best version of myself today.

And what are those blessings and lessons? 😉

In no particular order, they are:

My travels.

In my year-ender blog post last 2016, I mentioned about my “travel year” — the time when I travel as much as I can using my own hard-earned money and making the most out of my work leaves and holidays. I said that my “travel year” happens every four years, which means if 2016 was a travel year for me, then the next should’ve been in 2020. Anyare? Hahaha! Well, obviously, God had better plans for me this 2017 (He always has!), and His provisions for my life this year was beyond what I could imagine — including my opportunity to travel again to six countries I haven’t been to before! So yes, my travels are part of God’s blessings to me this 2017. And for that, I am thankful!

my 2017 travels

My faith ministries.

My faith life has deepened and improved A LOT this 2017, and that’s thanks to the Light of Jesus Family (LOJF)’s The Feast, The Light of Christ (TLC)’s deliverance ministry and healing seminars headed by the Society of the Divine Word (SVD), and of course, the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church as a whole (I was looking for “answers,” and I stumbled upon some of them by self-studying the faith and religion I was born into, which is the Catholic Church — but that’s for another blog entry altogether!). So yes, my faith ministries are part of God’s blessings and lessons to me this 2017. And for that, I am thankful!

My family and friends.

For some unexplainable reason, God really knows when to send people my way at a time when I need them the most. Of course, my family’s already a given — I’ll forever be grateful for them. But for all the friends I met and reconnected with this 2017 (this includes the ones in my faith ministries mentioned above), THANK YOU! You are all part of God’s blessings to me this year — each and every one of yoouuu! ❤

God’s LOVE.

Ah! This one. This is probably the highlight of my 2017. Sure, I know (we all do) that God loves all of us unconditionally any time of the year, all day, every day, 24/7. But there’s something about this particular year that had made me feel God’s love for me all the more. There were times His love was manifested through the people He sent my way, but there were also times that I just literally knew it was Jesus Himself — for real! Whatever way He manifested His love to me this 2017, in the past, and in the coming years (Hello, 2018!!!), no words are enough to express how much I feel unworthy, yet still so, so, sooo GRATEFUL for God’s mercy and love! And for that, the least I can do for Him is offer my life to Him, that it may always bring honor and glory to His name, and that I may always follow His will — no matter how difficult it is to me sometimes.

You were, are, and will always be the best thing in my life, Jesus! And I wouldn’t trade anything, as in anything, for You!! For that, I surrender my entire 2018 to You and You alone, Jesus!!! Let Your will be done. In Your mighty name, AMEN.

Yes, 2017 was my best year… SO FAR. Not to worry, though. I have a feeling na hindi naman papatalo si 2018 eh! Apir!

A BLESSED AND HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL OF YOU! 😀

Remember, be thankful always.

_

“give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
-1 Thessalonians 5:18

What Traveling Taught Me about Life and Love

Last week, I celebrated my 28th birthday. To be honest, I actually didn’t expect to be “surprised” on that day. But it happened, and I ended that day with a REALLY BIG SMILE ON MY FACE! Haha! 😀 And then just yesterday, I came across a meme on social media depicting two aisles: a church aisle (for a wedding) and an airplane aisle (for traveling). The former described people who transitioned from being single to getting married, while the latter talked about singles who, although haven’t walked on a church aisle yet, at least have walked on countless airplane aisles and embodied their wanderlust — and that’s where I belong to as of this writing! Hahaha! And you know what? Nothing wrong with that. After all, I’m so much better off this way, enjoying my single and waiting season, than rushing and being miserable because of marrying the wrong person out of societal pressure! Whew! And one of the best parts of being 28 and single? I realized that if there was one thing I love about this single season of my life, it would be my ability to reach my travel goals easier and faster.

That, and these other lessons I got along the way:

  • I am but a small speck of dust in this big, wide world.

I was literally small, as in five years old, when I first stepped foot on a plane and traveled outside the Philippines with my family. But even if that was more than 23 years ago, each boarding time makes me feel “small” — but in a good way. Traveling taught me that there are many places to go to aside from my beloved Manila, and even more cultures and people to discover and get to know outside the Philippines! Sometimes, it even makes me think that my “problems” aren’t even “problems” compared to what other people are going through in other parts of the planet. It’s a very big world out there, indeed. But what I like about it is that each “wander” is always accompanied by “wonder.” Even the earth itself is just a small speck of dust in the vast universe! *mind blown*

  • My past does not define my future.

I’ll be honest with you. Before, I didn’t dream of going to Japan and Germany at all. Why? For a very obvious, but also judgmental reason: their involvement in World War II! And being the history buff that I am (I even went to graduate school to study it! Haha!), I had prejudice against the two aforementioned countries for as long as I could remember! But God really has different ways of teaching us lessons — humility included — in this life. Guess what? This year alone, I went to both countries in two consecutive months: Japan in June and Germany in July. And guess what again? I LOVED THEM BOTH!!! In all my travels, I find the Japanese people as the kindest I’ve ever encountered, and the Germans as the most good-looking and sophisticated (but more on that later! Wahahahaha!). Seriously though, I felt ashamed for judging them before. Sure, their past may not have been peppered with sugar, spice, and everything nice, but that’s exactly it — it’s ALL IN THE PAST! Present Japan and Germany are two of the cleanest and most advanced places I’ve been blessed to go to, and I wouldn’t think twice about visiting them again!

And just like them, I know that my past does not define my future. This truth also applies to you!

  • There are “many fish” in the sea! Heehee!

As mentioned, I almost didn’t want to leave Munich, Germany because of all the good-looking, not to mention Roman Catholic, men at every corner! Haha! I don’t know about you, but after my last failed long-term relationship, I’ve seriously thought of my non-negotiables, and I won’t budge this time around. And my number one non-negotiable? MY FAITH. It’s not enough that he’s part of the Roman Catholic Church, he should be a practicing Catholic and someone who has a personal relationship with Jesus. In short, someone who can journey with me in my same walk of faith and help me reach sainthood in heaven at the end of it all (and vice versa). As a person living in a predominantly Catholic country, it’s sad that finding someone like that may not be impossible, but is definitely hard. I still prefer a fellow Filipino (and I think I already “met” him! Mwahahahahaha!). But traveling taught me to keep my “options” open — especially when in Europe! 😛

Seriously, though, traveling taught me that there are many people from different races and all walks of life I can be friends with and learn from. I’ll be marrying only one person, so my non-negotiable/s will apply to only him. But friendships? I can form as many as I want, with people from all over the globe!

  • God is present everywhere.

I once read this quote and instantly loved its message:

“Some people think it takes mindless faith to believe in God, but it actually takes blind and reckless faith to look at this beautiful world and amazing universe and believe there is no ‘God.'”

I loved it because it’s so self-explanatory with regards to what traveling taught me about God. Again, wandering opened my eyes to the many “wonders” of this world — which in return has made me more in awe of our Creator. ‘Nuff said. 🙂

  • Home, really, is still where my heart is.

I once shared on my social media accounts that whenever I’m asked about what my most favorite city is, my answer’s always Manila. Maybe I’m biased. Maybe I’m playing it safe. I’ve been a Manila girl all my life. But I’ve been to London, I’ve been to Sydney, I’ve been to other cities, but that song always rings true to me, “I keep coming back to Manila.” Why? Because it’s my city, it’s my home. I know its history and victories. It’s the first place where God entrusted me with to be a steward of His creation. As our national hero, Jose Rizalonce put it, “Ang hindi marunong lumingon sa pinanggalingan ay hindi makakarating sa paroroonan.” And isn’t that what we’re called for? To learn to appreciate all the things God blessed and entrusted us with, and to always love and look back where we all came from. And hopefully, inspire others, especially my fellow Filipinos, to do the same.

Yes. Traveling made me appreciate my hometown more. That whenever I leave it, there’s always a sense of joy and peace in me when I think that there’s still this place called Manila, Philippines that I can always go back home to… back to my friends, back to my family. ❤

  • Life is finite, so make the most out of it!

Death and loss are two things that can either make or break us in this life. I already lost both of my parents to cancer when I was still in my teenage years, so I can say that I know how it feels to experience heartbreak from a very tragic loss such as death. But more than that, and because of that, I’ve become so much stronger. So strong, that other heartbreaks (especially romantic ones!), are like drops in a bucket when compared to my heartbreak of losing my parents at an early age. And what has traveling taught me about this, you think? Well, simple. I know my parents would’ve loved to see all the places I’ve been seeing now, but since they weren’t able to do so anymore, I guess I can do it on behalf of them. I know that traveling enables me to make the most out of my life, one country at a time! As of this writing, I’ve been to 19 countries already… there are so many more to visit and see! 🙂

  • At the end of it all, it’ll be all about how we all LOVED.

With all the wars going around the world, even in my own country, it makes me question, “WHAT HAPPENED TO LOVE?” 😦 And no, I’m not just talking about romantic love here. Something more like Mother Teresa‘s kind of love. They say, “all’s fair in love and war.” Perhaps that’s true. But traveling has made me more aware about world issues and because of it, has inspired me to focus and show more love to my fellow world citizens, regardless of nationality, race, and even religion. Why wage war if we can promote love instead?

Those are just some of the things I learned, thanks to wandering!

A few years ago, traveling — especially traveling to my dream continent (Europe) — was just a dream. Now, it’s as real as it can be! I’ll even go back next year — third year in a row! That alone has taught me that if I surrender my dreams to God, combined with obedience and prayer, truly, nothing is impossible with Him! So here I am, surrendering my other dreams to Him and enjoying the current season He has put me in. Who knows? A few years, maybe even months (months talaga?! HA HA HA), from now, I’ll be writing about a new season in my life! But until then, at least I’ll always have my life lessons with me — some of which I definitely learned while I was traveling.

And when I finally walk on that church aisle toward my future husband, I can also proudly say that I walked on countless airplane aisles before that… and of course, after! So why choose one if I can walk both on an airplane aisle AND a church aisle? #BestOfBothWorlds 🙂


How about you? What has traveling taught you?

“Babalik Ka Rin!”

Ang pag-ibig, yung tunay na pag-ibig, sa totoo lang, ay hindi talaga madali. Habang mas lumalalim, ito’y mas susubukin.

Noong una ko Siyang makilala, wala akong reaksyon. Malamang hindi ko pa kasi lubusang maintindihan kung ano ba talaga ang pag-ibig.

Tumagal ng ilang taon ang aming ligawan. May panahong malamig ako sa Kanya, mayroon din namang nagliliyab ang nararamdaman ko sa aming relasyon.

Pero sa tuwing ako’y nanlalamig, lagi kong pinangungunahan ang sa palagay kong Kanyang iniisip: “babalik ka rin!”

Pero kahit sa mga panahong iyon, ni minsan, hindi Niya ako pinilit. Ako’y hinayaan Niyang mamili ng klase ng pag-ibig na sa palagay kong nararapat para sa’kin.

At sa tuwing ako’y mabibigo, ako’y magbabalik. Pero aalis muli.

Ganu’n pa man, hindi Niya ako iniwan. Alam kong masakit sa Kanya na parang binalewala ko Siya, pero nagpapasalamat ako na ganu’n Niya ako kamahal at kahit kailan, hindi Siya bumitaw.

Bago pa man tumuloy ang kwento ng huling pagkabigo ko, narinig ko na ang Kanyang bulong,

“Babalik ka rin!”

Naisip ko, bakit ba Niya lagi sinasabi yun?

Hanggang sa isang araw, nauntog ako at tuluyan kong natuklasan kung bakit.

Totoo ngang ang unang pag-ibig ay hindi namamatay. Bagkus, ito’y mas nagbibigay buhay!

Kaya kahit ilang beses akong umalis, ako’y patuloy na bumalik, bumabalik, at babalik.

“Babalik ka rin!”

‘Yan ang sinabi Niya nung una palang.

At oo nga, bumalik ako sa Kanya — sa una kong Pag-ibig; sa unang Nagmahal sa’kin.

Palagay ko ikaw rin.

“Babalik ka rin!”

“Tayo’y nagsisiibig, sapagka’t Siya’y unang umibig sa atin.”
-1 Juan 4:19