Posts Tagged ‘love’

My blog was quiet for the most part of 2013 – I used Facebook and Instagram more often, indulging myself to the easy way of taking photos, editing it and just writing a few sentences.

I miss writing though… the long kind of writing that doesn’t care if it garners likes or shares… the kind of writing that I just pour my thoughts on anything under the sun that I feel deserves a bit of internet space. So for this year, I hope I get to write more!

For the meantime, let me share snapshots of how my 2013 looked like:

JANUARY

I welcomed 2013 with my family in Philippines. We went to celebrate the countdown at Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo’s ancestral house in Kawit, Cavite. Gen. Aguinaldo, the 1st President of the First Republic of the Philippines, first proclaimed our Philippine Independence from Spain from the window of its grand hall. Yes, too many firsts on this one!

Infront of the Aguinaldo Shrine with my nephew Ezboy, my mom and my sister-in-law.

Infront of the Aguinaldo Shrine with my nephew Ezboy, my mom and my sister-in-law.

As my birthday month, I spent my 27th birthday with Peter at Universal Studios Singapore! My favorite ride was the Transformers! I chickened out from the Battlestar Gallactica though… booooo…

Optimus Prime showed up to greet me a HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Optimus Prime showed up to greet me a HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

FEBRUARY

Ah the love month! We skipped the expensive dinner in restuarants and instead had a poolside date at our place. What made this special was that we both surprised each other, not the common one way street – as guys do deserve this, too, thanks to my gender equality background hahaha.

Everything that is lovely and cheesy Valentine's day. <3

Everything that is lovely and cheesy for Valentine’s day.

This was also the Chinese New Year period and I thought it was nice to spend it here in Singapore… but it was raining most of the time and we got so freaking bored that I vowed never to spend it here again. 😛

Year of the Snake - 2013 Chinese New Year at Chinatown, Singapore.

Year of the Snake – 2013 Chinese New Year at Chinatown, Singapore.

March

We spent the month enjoying what Singapore has to offer starting with a cycling trip around Pulau Ubin. Pulau Ubin is the 2nd largest offshore island, after Sentosa. This island is the last “kampong” of Singapore that is preserved from urban development – but there are news saying this may not be the case soon because the government is eyeing on developing Pulau Ubin like Sentosa. I hope they will really reconsider as this place is perfect the way it is.

Cycling is the best way to go around the island. There are a lot of bike rental shops at the port with varied designs to choose from.

Cycling is the best way to go around the island. There are a lot of bike rental shops at the port with various designs to choose from.

It was our first time to take part in the Holi celebrations and we were glad we did! Holi is a spring festival and more popularly known as the Festival of Colors.

Colorfully fucked up during the Holi Festival at East Coast Park, Singapore.

Colorfully fucked up during the Holi Festival at East Coast Park, Singapore.

April

Peter and I officially welcomed summer in Bali, Indonesia. After a few days stay in Seminyak and Kuta – lazing in its sun, motorbiking to famous spots, indulging in a luxurious couple spa with milk bath; doing some adventure sports which the only one that I can recommend is the white water rafting at Agung River (we were pissed off with the snorkeling/turtle island packaged tour, thus, not recommending it) we headed to Ubud, the island’s center for culture and arts. We also did a motorcycling trip from Ubud to Mt Batur, a volcano with a deep crater lake.

A spot at Nusa Dua that we found. It's a place for surfers.

A spot at Nusa Dua that we found after trekking down following surfers.

Monkey Temple in Ubud. Look, the two monkeys!!! :))

Monkey Temple in Ubud. Look, the two monkeys!!! :))

May

A trip to Singapore was my pre-birthday gift to my Mom and also a pre-graduation gift to my eldest niece, EJ. It was a fun time for us touring the city, going to the safaris, USS and showing them the day-to-day life in Singapore.

My niece EJ, Mamocka, me and Peter having the obligatory tourist photo infront of Marina Bay.

My niece EJ, Mamocka, me and Peter having the obligatory tourist photo infront of Marina Bay.

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Enjoying an afternoon dip in the pool at home. Another way of burning those Singaporean food calories.

June

This was a ‘dark time’ in Singapore… dark due to the haze that enveloped the country for the most part of the month. The PSI hit a new high record of 371 which breached the hazardous zone. It was tough during these times because we lived in the 17th floor with huge windows and we would wake up with an ‘end-of-the-world’ view as darkness was all that we saw. I am glad that nothing serious happened though thanks to the Singapore government’s actions towards safety precautions, restricting outdoor activities and initiating talks with Indonesia.

The normal surgical mask was no match to the haze so my office gave away N95 masks.  This was a 'trendy' fashion accessory for a time.

The normal surgical mask was no match to the haze so my office gave away N95 masks. This was a ‘trendy’ fashion accessory for a time.

July

One of the things that I do is managing events for the School. It was fulfilling for me to handle the NUS Initiative to Improve Health in Asia (NIHA) – a forum that involved most of the Ministers / Director Generals of Health in the region as well as the academe and public health practitioners who came together to discuss policies and programmes related to Health Technology Assessment.

NIHA Forum at Traders Hotel, Singapore. This photo was the 'calm before the storm'.

NIHA Forum at Traders Hotel, Singapore. This photo was the ‘calm before the storm’.

After NIHA ended, I went to another overseas trip as my way of rewarding myself. I spent a week of relaxation, shopping, having my fill of Thai food and reuniting with my friends in my 2nd home, Thailand. Bangkok, the capital city, never failed to keep me entertained and bringing out the crazy me!

A trip to Thailand will not be complete without a beach bum moment. This was taken in Koh Larn, Pattaya.

A trip to Thailand will not be complete without a beach bum moment. This was taken in Koh Larn, Pattaya. I went for an overnight trip together with my Thai friend, P’Nong, and fellow AWCF-FK, Erika.

August

We moved in April to a spacious condo unit in Normanton Park with a great view of the city. The space and view would be a waste if not shared so I decided to start hosting house parties which unto this day is a joy to organise. It amazes me though that we often end up with more food than what we prepared because my fantastic friends would also bring something to share. So, til our next house party! 🙂

Potluck dinner with CouchSurfing friends.

Potluck dinner with CouchSurfing (CS) friends.

August saw me getting back to playing frisbee again, a sport – yes, it is considered as a sport and not just a thing that you do with your dogs 😛 – that I used to play a lot when I was in college. Our School joined the NUS Staff Games and we landed 4th place, not bad considering most of us only learned it in 2weeks time.

Frisbee with our colorful shoes! Can you guess which one is mine?

Frisbee with our colorful shoes! Can you guess which one is mine?

September

Peter and I visited China’s 2 Special Administrative Regions: Macau and Hong Kong, as part of our Anniversary celebration.

Macau is a former Portuguese colony that still has remnants of the past but also went full steam ahead in building huge casinos with amazing architectural designs that even non gamblers, like us, would visit.

A night walk at San Man Lo, Macau's Historic Centre that showcases Macanese culture - the mixture of Chinese and Portuguese traditions. This photo was taken infront of the Ruins of St Paul, part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

A night walk at San Man Lo, Macau’s Historic Centre that showcases Macanese culture – the mixture of Chinese and Portuguese traditions. This photo was taken infront of the Ruins of St Paul, part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Together with my friends, we toured Hong Kong with its modern architecture, expansive skyline and harbors.

Before watching the Symphony of Lights at Victoria Harbour, we walked around the Avenue of Stars - giving Jackie Chan a "low-five". (hope you get the joke here hehe)

Before watching the Symphony of Lights at Victoria Harbour, we walked around the Avenue of Stars – giving Jackie Chan a “low-five”. (hope you get the joke here hehe)

Of course, a trip to Hong Kong wouldn’t be complete without being a kid again in Hong Kong Disneyland!

“Disneyland will never be completed. It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world.” ~ Walt Disney

“Disneyland will never be completed. It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world.” ~ Walt Disney

October

This was my most stressful month at work. The trying times gave me sleepless nights, buckets of tears and my most unhealthy self. Looking back, it was a test of character and the struggles did help me to be better in what I do and also a better perspective of what I want in life and who I want to be.

Despite all these,I was just glad that I still had time to spend my first business trip in Manila with remarkable people.

My first business trip and it was in Manila! Awesome time Sentro, Bonifacio Global City. With my 2 wonderful colleagues, Jananie and Joanne, together with my long-time friends, John and Karl.

My first business trip and it was in Manila! Awesome time at Sentro, Bonifacio Global City. With my 2 wonderful colleagues, Jananie and Joanne, together with my long-time friends, John and Karl.

My first Fashion Week experience!  Being fab at the Philippine Fashion Week with Jananie, Ellen and Rae. Ah lovely ladies!

My first Fashion Week experience!
Being fab at the Philippine Fashion Week with Jananie, Ellen and Rae. Hey lovely ladies!

November

It was a crazy month with an uber packed schedule.

November 1 was my first time to participate in the Singapore Halloween Dancewalk. It was a lot of fun from thinking of our costumes, doing face painting and dancing crazily with my friends! A fellow CSer did a good job of videoing the whole thing so you can check it HERE.

Nov 15-17: I was able to organise an elementary reunion, well only a few came but what the heck, we still had fun! Attended a wedding and college reunion rolled into one and a day to do a bit of shopping, meeting friends and trying to squeeze in a Salon pampering – finally got a PERM!

SLS Batch'99, Elementary Reunion with my long-time friends: Rae, Wi, Karl, Jhoana, Kat and Cla-Cla.

SLS Batch’99, Elementary Reunion with my long-time friends: Rae, Wi, Karl, Jhoana, Kat and Cla-Cla. Photo collage by Rae.

Chuckie and Vida's Wedding.  Group shot with my Nav friends during my college years.

Chuckie and Vida’s Wedding.
Group shot with my Nav friends during my college years.

The fab team of Toni and Jackey's Salon who did a wonderful perm job. I highly recommend this salon as they also have excellent service and amenities.

The fab team of Toni and Jackey’s Salon who did a wonderful perm job. I highly recommend this salon as they also have excellent service and amenities.

November 29 – December 10: A few weeks after my last trip to Manila, I went back again this time with Peter. It was our pre-Christmas holiday as we opted to spend Christmas in Singapore. The decision to stay longer in Solano, my hometown, proved to be a good one because Peter had more time meeting most of my relatives and friends. We also had time to decorate mom’s new apartment, which we both are paying. My decision was to pay it myself but Peter said he wanted to be the best son-in-law and wanted to pay half of it… so now the rent is divided to 50-50. 🙂

Solano Public Market. Fresh produce, clean surroundings and nice sellers - things that I love in this 'palengke' (Tagalog for market).  My friends, Angela and Marco, were a huge helped in my reunion preparations! much love.

Solano Public Market.
Fresh produce, clean surroundings and nice sellers – things that I love in this ‘palengke’ (Tagalog for market). My friends, Angela and Marco, were a huge helped in my reunion preparations! much love.

Christmas feeling in our new apartment in Solano.  With mom and my sister's daughters: MikMik and Yza. Photo taken by my sister, Chatty - you might be able to see a glimpse of her in the mirror.

Christmas feeling in our new apartment in Solano.
With mom and my sister’s daughters: MikMik and Yza. Photo taken by my sister, Chatty – you might be able to see a glimpse of her in the mirror. And oh yeah, I won the sala set in a raffle draw! I do have the ‘lucky hands”.

December

Hands down, December will always be a month of celebrations, reunions, feasts and everything that is good and happy!

I was one of the bridesmaids at Kythe and Dan's wedding. This was also the first time Peter attended a Catholic wedding and met my college friends.

I was one of the bridesmaids at Kythe and Dan’s wedding. This was also the first time Peter attended a Catholic wedding and met my college friends.

Our office, External Relations, hosted a Christmas lunch with our ex-MD11 colleagues and friends.

Our office, External Relations, hosted a Christmas lunch with our ex-MD11 colleagues and friends. It was also the luncheon meeting of Santa’s reindeers.

The debut of my tiny monopoly during the Christmas Eve party that I hosted at home. It was so freaking cute that I had to buy it! It's also a good travel must have especially if i get stuck in the middle of nowhere - will just invite fellow travelers to play!

The debut of my tiny monopoly during the Christmas Eve party that I hosted at home. It was so freaking cute that I had to buy it! It’s also a good travel must have especially if I get stuck in the middle of nowhere – so I’ll just invite fellow travelers to play!

Shot nights!  Crazy FK Reunion with Deenu.

Shot nights!
Crazy FK Reunion with Deenu.

New Year's Eve Countdown at Marina Bay with Peter, Vichelle, Deenu, Ash and Shyam, Followed by Olga's rooftop party. Photo by Ash, post-processed by me.

New Year’s Eve Countdown at Marina Bay with Peter, Vichelle, Deenu, Ash and Shyam, Followed by Olga’s rooftop party til the wee hours of the morning.
Photo by Ash, post-processed by me.

With that, I greet you all – who had the patience to check this blog post all the way to the end, a BIG FAT HAPPY NEW YEAR! May 2014 be as awesome or if not more awesome than 2013!

My mom emailed me a message that says: “SHINE IN THE DARKEST PLACES AND LET LOVE FLOW.”

I have failed to do this in the past months. I guess being at a low point, feeling helpless and to not have the presence and support of people that you expected to be there made it difficult for me. The good thing that came out of it though was forging a stronger bond with my family and real friends who were there through it all. This I am truly grateful for their presence.

Hhhmmm… That’s the funny thing about relationships in general. Only a few people stays with you when things are not going as planned or when your circumstances are not at its best.

So it’s really a challenge to “SHINE IN THE DARKEST PLACES AND LET LOVE FLOW” and an equally hard feat to forgive and let yourself be healed in the process.

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May we always remember to:
“SHINE IN THE DARKEST PLACES AND LET LOVE FLOW.”

But as I am reminded by a friend that it is only through God’s grace that we can have the strength do so, I hope that the next days to come will be…

days of shining in the darkest places…

days of letting love flow…

days of forgiveness and healing…

days of not being afraid to trust…

days of building relationships…

days of seeing the goodness in people again.

Life challenges us...

To see beauty amidst imperfections.
To answer hate with love.
To feel joy despite the tears.
To be at peace in the midst of chaos.

To glorify in our sorrows.
To be grateful in the presence of pain.
To realize the necessity of suffering.
To exalt Him in moments of tribulations.

The Judas in Me

Posted: April 22, 2011 in FAITH
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Judas believed and followed Jesus, he saw Jesus performing miracles from feeding thousands, to driving out demons, to healing the sick and disabled and even raising the dead. He was there when Jesus preached parables that speaks of God’s Kingdom, of how man should live their lives. Judas shared treasured moments with the Son of God, physically! But after everything that he had seen and experienced, he still betrayed him in exchange for 30 silver coins.

Tonight, I wailed upon my realization that just like Judas, I, too, betrayed Jesus despite experiencing His presence in my life.

It has been 8 years since I accepted and begun my personal journey with Jesus. But those 8 years were also marred with my Judas episodes, episodes of my betrayal. I betrayed him in exchange of my own versions of the 30 silver coins. My 30 silver coins of disobedience – of clinging on my pride. My 30 silver coins of disobeying His words. My 30 silver coins of giving in to my sinful desires. My 30 silver coins of relying on my lofty plans for my life. My 30 silver coins of basking in my achievements. My 30 silver coins of rejecting and hurting people whom His Father also created thus He called as brothers and sisters. My 30 silver coins of not fully trusting him with my life’s decisions. Ah! My 30 silver coins that in those moments I treasured.

Yes, I am flawed and imperfect. My acceptance of Him 8 years ago meant the death of the old me. I did gain ounces of knowledge and hopefully wisdom along the way and I am closer to Him now than I was before BUT the fact remains that I also gained 30 silver coins.
Despite my betrayals, Jesus never failed to let me know how much he loved me. He never failed to make me realize that His love is not dependent on me, whether I love and follow him or not… He first loved me (period). He loves me even as I hold on and enjoy my 30 silver coins.

The only humane analogy that I (we) can grasp is that of a lover being betrayed by the one he loves in exchange for someone else – being rejected in exchange for another. The pain is unexplainable even by the most excruciating physical pain that we can experience. Human’s reaction would be an instant flow of HATRED – we can almost hear our hearts literally break into pieces as our thoughts begin to think of vile words towards the person who betrayed and caused us that much pain. Some even go to the extent of revenge. A that moment, we feel life leaving us, at the onset of the pain our sights are darkened and so are our hearts.

The difference with Jesus is, he never felt hatred towards us. After he was crucified, the first thing he said (just imagine the pain after being pierced with nails and also the amount of strength needed to even speak) was: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34) Surely, those words can only come out from a man who truly know what it means TO LOVE. His unmeasurable love for us trampled any amount of betrayal that can make him say: curse them! kill them! I hate them! May they suffer as I did! No, no, no… instead he asked God for forgiveness in our behalf. He interceded for us (for me). He embodied our sins by his death and by that death paved the way for us to be with the Father again. Only by the perfect blood sacrificed by Jesus that we are able to come before the Father. That cross is not only a symbol of Jesus’ death but also of His love that unto this day is being offered to us.

But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. (Isaiah 53:5 NLT)

Oh Lord, forgive me. I am so sorry for my 30 silver coins. Oh Lord, forgive me.

Throwing away these 30 silver coins, I pray that you will guide my step and strengthen me to not exchange you for them. Your love saved me from my sins. Your grace covered me.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8 NIV)

***

After posting the blog link in Facebook, Kuya Jaime Hernandez commented:

“Judas betrayed Jesus and Peter denied Him three times. Judas killed himself but Peter led the first century church. Both of them knew Jesus and heard the same message. What’s the difference?”

The DIFFERENCE lies entirely on how these 2 apostles viewed Jesus in terms of their sins.

Judas was filled with remorse when he saw that Jesus was condemned. He returned the 30 silver coins to the Pharisees, who did not want to take it back, so he just threw it in the temple then went on and hanged himself. Certainly, Judas was blinded and only saw his sin, that after all the time he spent with Jesus, he was not able to believe Jesus’ capacity for forgiveness.

Peter on the other hand wept bitterly. He repented. Peter believed in the power of Jesus’ love. Like Peter, we must also understand that Jesus love covers a multitude of sins, God extended His grace to us through His Son and with that grace, we live to glorify His name and share the good news to everyone else.

A Mother’s Love

Posted: February 9, 2011 in love, random thoughts
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A mother who has sacrificed so much of herself for her family deserves to be treated like a Queen. I miserably failed to make my mother feel that way.

Mom and I

My Mom, Charito Cueto Fernandez, is a short woman (just a little above my shoulders) sporting a boy-cut hair for as long as I can remember. We would tease her when we were younger because she would always save the best things (from new blankets to Corelle dining sets) and use it for special occasions or when we have guests. She can be  a real chatter-box, too, who will always tell you stories of this or that.

But beyond Mom’s quirks, she was and always is an ever supportive and loving mother of 5 children (my 3 older brothers, my older sister and to me, the youngest). Our family had been through a lot – from financial crisis, to sleepless nights of fighting, to separation etc. But our Mom tried her best to still keep the family together. She sacrificed a lot for us, too. She gave as much as she could… and even if she had nothing to give, she would find ways and alternatives to still provide.

Mom with her kids, in-laws and grandchildren

She was always there for us. I can vividly remember some circumstances that she was there for me:

– I was prone to accidents when I was a kid, from cuts to my left eyebrow to chipped off toe nails, thus she would wake up late at night just to clean my wounds so that I won’t feel any pain

– when I was sick, she never failed to buy me Royal, Skyflakes and noodles, towel-wash my body and made sure that I drink my meds on time

– when I was in High School, I was hospitalized for a week. She dished work to take care of me when I seemed like a baby again because I can’t even change my own clothes, go to the bathroom and take a bath by myself

– when I was in college, I suffered from a severe migraine and felt like my skull would crack and I was gonna die. She traveled to my dorm armed with one of my fave dish of hers (ampalaya with egg and tomatoes) and made me sleep in her lap as she gently massaged my head

– when I decided to drastically shift from Engineering to Tourism and was afraid that my Dad won’t support it, she was there to assure me that whatever my decision is, she will be happy about it

– when I jumped from one work to another finding the right company and job that I would really love to do, she always believed that I would find what I was looking for

– when I would get awards and achievements in school, she was always there beside me to proudly receive it

My list can go on and on about the things that my Mom did and still is willing to do for me but I want to stop here and shift on my Sorry’s.

Proud Mama

They say that the people we love the most, hurts us the most. Well in that case, I sure did hurt my Mom big-time! I failed to live up and be the best daughter that she deserves to have…

Sad but true...

… I am sorry Mom for not being too patient with you and showed you irritation. I am sorry for not always being there for you when you need some company. I am sorry if I was not able to protect you. I am sorry if I fight with you about petty things. I am sorry if sometimes I make you feel that I don’t need you. I am sorry for hurting you. I am sorry for all the things I have done that hurt you and I was not even aware of it. I am sorry for taking you for granted.

Through all the things that we've been through, I know that you will always love me... and I hope you also know that I will always love you, too.

Your love for me can not be measured and the sacrifices that you made can never be repaid. That’s why I hope I can still make you happy in so many ways. Some of my prayers had been answered already because you are living your life again. I am glad to know that you are now enjoying the things that you never enjoyed before.

 

Mom says: Ok, let's go!!! Excited to experience Palawan's Underground river with her High School friends.

I am looking forward for June because you will be here in Thailand with me. I am excited to treat you to the yummiest thai food, to shop the best dress for you, to accompany you to the Grand Palace and Temples, to let you try thai massage and among other great things that we can enjoy here.

For now, keep safe and enjoy the rest of your travels and gimiks 🙂

***We also fondly call our Mom, MAMOCKA. My sister and I read a short story when we were kids about a boy who got lost and when the villagers asked him who his mother was, he answered: My Mamocka is the most beautiful woman in the world. So they all gathered the ladies with exceptional beauty but none of them was the boy’s mother. Then suddenly, a short lady with features that you can’t really say beautiful, came running… and the boy run towards her and embraced his Mamocka. The story shows how our Mom can really become the most beautiful woman for us. 🙂