My Singles Getaway 2013 Highlights

Victory Alabang had its 4th singles retreat out of Luzon (the 7th over all) last October 10 to 13. The first 2 retreats I was able to join, one as a single in 2003 and the other as an engaged single in 2004, were held within Luzon, in Tagaytay City. The 3rd was held in Quezon, also in Luzon, but I was married and pregnant in 2005.

The first 2 retreats outside of Luzon were held in Boracay in 2007 and 2009, the third in Bohol in 2011. Both islands/cities are located in the Visayas. This year, the retreat was held in Mindanao. It was a first for the retreat to be held so far from Manila, and it was a first to have it away from the ocean. We stayed in Forest Park in Dahilayan, Bukidnon.

I’m sharing my personal highlights of the retreat, including the events before and after, through some of my photos.

We had two travel buddies from church (Joyce and Gel) who made our trip all the more fun for us the parents and the girls! The 6 of us went to Cagayan de Oro 3 days before the singles getaway and went straight to Camiguin Island.

Highlight 1: Travel buddies! We had Gel and Joyce with us who made our trip all the more fun for us, the parents, and for our girls! The six of us went to Cagayan de Oro three days before the singles getaway and went straight to Camiguin Island.

It was a long land trip from Laguindingan airport to the pier, and a rough ferry ride from Balingoan port to Benoni port in Camiguin. We got to the island by night fall, but this is what we enjoyed the next morning. :)

It was a long land trip from Laguindingan airport to the pier, and a rough ferry ride from Balingoan port to Benoni port in Camiguin. We got to the island by night fall, but this is what we enjoyed the next morning. :)

Beautiful Camiguin :)

Highlight 2: Camiguin Island! View of Camiguin and possibly Mt Hibok-hibok (I could never tell which peak belonged to the famous volcano) from White Island. Camiguin is dear to our hearts because it is where King and I had our honeymoon, and it is where Danae had her first beach experience at 2 months old. :)

Beautiful blue water on White Island, a sandbar ten minutes away from Paras Beach Resort via small boat.

Highlight 3: Beautiful White Island! A sandbar ten minutes away from Paras Beach Resort via small boat, that never fails to take my breath away.

I would travel to beaches like this, no matter how tiring, just to see these precious smiles and listen to giggles and laughter from these two. :)

Highlight 4: Happy water babies! I would travel to beaches like this, no matter how tiring, just to see these precious smiles and listen to giggles and laughter from these two. :)

Highlight 3: Dahilayan, Bukidnon.

Highlight 5: Dahilayan, Bukidnon! We travelled back to Cagayan de Oro that day, stayed overnight, and proceeded up the mountain to Dahilayan. Beautiful!

We stayed in Forest Park, where the accommodations are great and the surroundings are beautiful.

We stayed in Forest Park, where the accommodations are great, the surroundings are beautiful, and the amenities (activities — the luge, the playground, tree top adventure, etc) are super fun. It was also right next to Dahilayan Adventure Park where the zip lines are.

Tall, lovely pine trees everywhere.

Tall, lovely pine trees everywhere. Nice, cool weather. No need for air-conditioning.

Highlight: Dexter! He took care of our needs in the resort, going the extra mile each day and having a consistent smile on his face. The food was yummy too.

Highlight 6: Dexter! He took care of our needs in the resort, going the extra mile each day and having a consistent smile on his face. The food was yummy too.

Some of the committee and the early comers :)

Highlight 7: Bonding! It was great spending time with these singles a day before the actual getaway.

Being with King is never a drag. :)

Fun!

On our "free day," a bunch of us went on the Luge. It wasn't my girls' first time, but they still enjoyed it. The fast and the furious in me did too. :)

On our “free day,” a bunch of us went on the Luge. It wasn’t my girls’ first time, but they still enjoyed it. The “fast and the furious” in me did too. :)
Photo credit: Ptr Chico or King

Bonding with my friends!

Bonding with my friends! With the Pena family and del Rosario family!
Photo credit: Noelle Lucero

Highlight 7: Our kids' bonding! Danae, Noelle and Julio really bonded over the 5 days they were together. They had no choice haha, but they had loads of fun together.

Highlight 8: Our kids bonding! Danae, Noelle and Julio (Ptr Chico and Maryanne’s youngest) really bonded over the 5 days they were together. They had no choice haha, but they had loads of fun together. :)

Highlight 9: My girls' firsts! This is Danae's first time to ride a carabao. :)

Highlight 9: My girls’ firsts! This is Danae’s first time to ride a carabao. :)

Danae's first time to ride solo on a horse!

Danae’s first time to ride solo on a horse!

Noelle's first time to ride solo on a horse too!

Noelle’s first time to ride solo on a horse too!

Noelle's first time to do the zipline EVER! This is a huge deal because she almost cried the previous day when she was about to do it with me. This time, for some reasons she agreed to ride with her "sister" Nina. She conquered her fear! We were so proud of and happy for her!

Noelle’s first time to do the zipline EVER! This is a huge deal because she almost cried the previous day when she was about to do it with me. This time, for some reason she agreed to ride with her “sister” Nina. She conquered her fear! We were so proud of and happy for her!

King and I talking about putting Phil 4:8 in our friendships :)

Highlight 10: The privilege! It’s a privilege for me to be teaching with my husband, a privilege for me to be working with Ptr Chico and Maryanne, a privilege for me to speak to the singles.
Photo credit: Ptr Chico Pena

Highlight 11: The singles! I met many new singles, bonded with some of them, and got amazed by all of them. I saw new friendships established. I saw people stepping out of their comfort zones. I saw humility. I saw camaraderie. I saw unity. I am so blessed to be even part of the ministry, and to be available for these men and women when they need me.  Photo credit: Ptr Chico Pena

Highlight 11: The singles! I met many new singles, bonded with some of them, and got amazed by all of them. I saw men and women who were eager to learn about God, about themselves, and about one another. I saw new friendships established. I saw people stepping out of their comfort zones. I saw humility. I saw camaraderie. I saw unity. I am so blessed to be even part of the ministry, and to be available for these men and women when they need me.
Photo credit: Ptr Chico Pena

Highlight 12: Fears conquered! Noelle was not the only one to conquer her fear of the zipline. Our very own Ptr Chico did too! Despite his apprehensions, he went for it anyway. We were all so proud of him!

Highlight 12: Fears conquered! Noelle was not the only one to conquer her fear of the zipline. Our very own Ptr Chico conquered his! Despite his apprehensions, and maybe partly because of our encouragement/bullying (haha), he went for it anyway. We were all so proud of him!

Highlight 13: Courage of a 7-yr-old! Danae was scared,  screaming from time to time, but she never gave up. She never said she wanted to stop. She finished the tree top adventure within a considerable amount of time, by herself. There were more than 20 stations. I was there taking pictures, videos and encouraging her. I am one proud mom. :)

Highlight 13: Courage of a 7-yr-old! Danae was scared, screaming from time to time, but she never gave up. She never said she wanted to stop. She finished the tree top adventure within a considerable amount of time, by herself. There were more than 20 stations. I was there taking pictures & videos, and encouraging her.

the height was considerable as well

The height and the uncertainty were considerable for a child. I am one proud mom. :)

Highlight 14: Family! A trip to Cagayan de Oro is never complete without visiting our family. Danae and Noelle got to spend quality time with their cousin Beanie. :)

Highlight 14: Family! A trip to Cagayan de Oro is never complete without visiting our family. Danae and Noelle got to spend quality time with their cousin Beanie. :)

Laugh-a-mondays – Dec 2, 2013

Some time last week, Noelle and I were talking about something I really can’t remember anymore (thanks epidural — excuses, excuses haha). She kept asking and I kept telling her, tomorrow.

Noelle: (being a smart aleck) Tomorrow?!? Tomorrow na lang?!

Me: Sige, no na lang. (Fine, no then.)

Noelle: (conceding) Sige mom, tomorrow na lang.

Haha. :)

 

Two weeks ago, we had a bridal shower for a friend of ours.

Noelle: Mom, what’s a shower? Are we going to watch tita KG take a bath?

Haha, eeew. :)

 

We stayed overnight at a hotel last week, but we went out for dinner with my cousin. The girls kept saying they missed the hotel. It was our first time there.

Noelle: (in the car) Are we going back to CRIS…… Are we going back to the hotel?

Me: What, Noelle? What’s the name of the hotel?

Noelle: CRISCON.

Haha, Crimson Hotel actually. :)

 

On the highway last week, they were fixing a section of the road. We felt and heard particles hitting the car.

Danae: What’s that???

Me: Asphalt.

Danae: What’s that?

Me: Asphalt.

Danae: What’s asphalt?

Me: (kinda too lazy to explain) Asphalt.

Danae: What’s asphalt?! A butt that’s a fault?

Hahaha. Of course I had to eventually explain. :)

 

 

Our 9th Wedding Anniversary 1

We celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary this month. King and I had a short date on the day of, while the girls were in their SPARKS class. We revisited Almon Marina, a restaurant where King laid his intentions for me, asking me if I would agree for us to get to know each other better. I thank God for preparing me the day before (yup, you read it right, hahaha — click here for the story), and for orchestrating it so cleverly — God really got me, that I just knew it was right to say yes.

A friend of ours asked me what it felt like to be married for 9 years. I just shrugged, laughed and said I didn’t know because we are so comfortable with each other. Then I said WE’RE COMFORTABLE BUT NOT COMPLACENT. I was surprised by my own words, that I even came up with that answer. But it is the truth.

I am so comfortable with King. We share everything, and I am never afraid to tell him or show him anything. I can be myself. I can always be truthful. I can trust him. He is the same with me. Maybe even too comfortable, haha.

AND YET, I am not complacent because as wonderful a man as he is, he is not immune to temptation. I am not complacent because I know I am not immune to temptation. We cannot be complacent because as happy as we are in our marriage, it is not perfect. We are both flawed, and we need to take extra care so that the TRUST between us is intact. We SELF-GOVERN, maintaining our boundaries with other people and respecting each other’s comfort level when relating to others. We look out for each other and pray for each other. We strive to be on the same page, especially on being parents, constantly realigning ourselves to the word of God and with our goals and desires. We go out on dates. We talk. We remain intimate with each other. We laugh. We play together. We work together. We give each other space. We encourage and support each other. We surprise each other. We go on vacations.  We appreciate one another and constantly express our love for each other in words and in deeds.  We do our best to honor each other, but when we don’t, we admit our mistakes and we forgive each other. We choose to REMAIN IN JESUS because all good fruit comes from Him. Without Him, we can do nothing.

We have been together for nine years, but we are not foolish to think it takes less work to keep our marriage strong and solid. We are growing more and more comfortable with each other, but we remain vigilant with this great gift God gave us to be stewards of. And by His grace, we will still be singing the same tune by our 50th (or 60th?) wedding anniversary. :)

 

and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” Matthew 19:5-6

Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.

Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them. Colossians 3:18-19

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5

Volunteering at Villamor Airbase – Haiyan Survivors

A group of Victory Alabang singles and I got together last week to respond to this ad to “adopt a day” in Villamor Airbase, and serve the Haiyan/Yolanda survivors who were coming to Manila. Honestly, when I posted it on our singles Facebook group, I didn’t know exactly what to do. I hadn’t figured it all out. I just wanted to gather people and be involved with helping the evacuees/survivors.

I am just grateful that the people who responded were the “right” people for the job. I believe they were looking for an opportunity to do more for our fellow countrymen. It was a long thread, but we were able to decide which day to go and choose who would be in charge of what. We decided to bring relief goods, packed meals, and to cook and serve hot noodle soup there for 200, at least 1 flight-full of people. We initially wanted to bring survivors home to their relatives in Manila, but we hesitated because we had transportation issues (i.e., number coding). I also, being a woman and not very good with directions, though willing, could not really commit to bringing them where they needed to go. I was concerned with my time because I would be leaving the girls at home — our helper would leave in the afternoon and King would be going on a debriefing in the evening due to his Tacloban trip. We decided that some of us would be food servers, food runners, marshals, and one would be a counsellor (he was the only one trained to do debriefing with traumatized victims), and immediately registered online.

I think we started talking online on Saturday, and had a meeting on Monday. Upon seeing all the goods we had asked from the church, which as mentioned in my previous blogs held relief operations when Haiyan/Yolanda hit, we realized that what we wanted to do was no easy task. Carrying one sack full of relief bags alone was already hard work, haha. We had around 30 sacks and 1 big box, plus boxes of noodles and bottled water! It was way more than what we thought we would be bringing. Loading, transporting, unloading quickly became an issue, especially since our target departure from my house was 6am on Wednesday because the shift we chose was 8am to 3pm. We were able to work it out though, thanks to our team, our guys in church, and a few friends. They were a huge help.

I love doing group “projects” especially when they’re for blessing people. I love the heart, the team work, the bonding. I enjoyed having some of our team at home on Tuesday night, doing prep work. I enjoyed seeing each one working towards the common goal of serving our country even in the small ways that we knew how. I loved getting to know them better, some of whom I have never talked to for more than five minutes. What an opportunity to make my small world bigger. Anyway, it was a big mess afterwards haha, but we had fun! The men had a good workout loading the sacks onto our rented jeepney. Most of us probably had at least 2 hours of sleep, except for one who came from work (imagine that?!), and after packing all our food, we left at 7am.

Tuesday night! Even Danae wanted to help. :)

Tuesday night! Even Danae wanted to help. :)

Two of our men, fixing our boxes of packed meals. This was after they loaded the sacks of goods onto the jeepney.

Two of our men, fixing our boxes of packed meals. This was after they loaded the sacks of goods onto the jeepney, Wednesday morning.

Our fully loaded jeepney! photo credit: Danae (she woke up early to help too.)

Our fully loaded jeepney! photo credit: Danae (she woke up early to help too.)

We were hurrying to get to Villamor Airbase by 730, but we couldn’t go too fast because our jeepney was fully loaded. We encountered all sorts of problems that day. From our jeep not being allowed to enter the airbase, to not being allowed to set up to cook food (though we did get confused, we cooperated and gave the “Ladies” our packed meals, noodles and water), to all our relief goods not being accepted anywhere in the airbase, to our jeep breaking down. Three of us spent a good chunk of our morning figuring things out, and I thank God for people like Maeriz and Ninoy who are always cool and calm, because when I was at my wit’s end, they pressed on. Ninoy, who was with the jeep and the goods outside the base, told me he didn’t know what to do anymore, but then minutes later texted me this:

“Kaya natin toh! Walang aayaw! (We can do this! Nobody give up!) There may be situations we cannot control, but let’s help hand in hand to *get it done! All for God’s glory!”

He made me smile. I was really encouraged. Maeriz was at that time trying to find someone who could help us carry and bring our goods from our broken down jeep to anywhere they would receive our goods, which she did! She was even willing, before that, to speak to the Colonel in charge of the whole relief operation herself! Thank God for the Pasay LGU who had a booth there, waiting for survivors to come so they could bring them to their area. Since there were none yet, they agreed to get our goods and bring them to Tent City, which served as temporary home for evacuees. It was inside the Villamor Airbase Elementary School. Our donations were in good hands, plus there was no hassle in giving all of it to them. They seemed to have greater need for them as well.

Transferring goods from our broken down jeep to Libreng Hatid-Pasay's vehicle. We were so grateful!

Transferring goods from our broken down jeep to Libreng Hatid-Pasay’s vehicle. We were so grateful! Ninoy, our jeepney driver Kuya Orly, and their driver Michael did the hard work.

Villamor Airbase Elementary School

Villamor Airbase Elementary School

Tent City. Temporary center for survivors who don't have relatives in Manila.

Tent City. Temporary center for survivors who don’t have relatives in Manila.

They were so grateful receiving all our goods. :)

They were so grateful receiving all our goods. The lady in pink is Michelle, the one who accommodated us at Villamor airbase and helped us get our goods to this place. :)

Upon returning to the airbase, we joined the others in the Grandstand. We were told that we should eat while there were no flights coming in yet. Apparently there was 1 C130 plane full of people that they were able to serve while we were out. The other C130 planes were empty, and were used for loading goods. There were booths in the parking lot that served hot meals for anyone, and I mean anyone, who was hungry. Oplan Hatid was there. There were ambulances that were ready. There was a tent for medical aid, and a tent for kids! And in the Grandstand, on the highest level, there were hair cutting and massage services available for I believe anyone who needed them (though of course the survivors are priority).

The only shot  I have of a C130, from outside the Grandstand. I was told not to take pictures once inside, though nobody told me not to bring my camera in (it was hanging on my neck the whole time). I complied out of respect for the survivors. Believe me, I so wanted to take pictures, haha. :)

The only shot I have of a C130, from outside the Grandstand. I was told not to take pictures of the air strip and especially of the survivors once inside, though nobody told me not to bring my camera in (it was hanging on my neck the whole time). I complied out of respect for the survivors. Believe me, I so wanted to take more pictures, haha. :)

The goods on the air strip, as background. Wanted to take more, but I felt I was already pushing it.

The goods on the air strip, as background. Wanted to take more, but I felt I was already pushing it.

most of the team inside the grandstand!

half of the team inside the grandstand!

food servers, food runners and marshals waiting for the next C130. :)

most of our team — food servers, food runners and marshals waiting for the next C130. :)

All those people, well maybe most, were there for one thing — to make sure that our brothers and sisters who suffered so much from Haiyan/Yolanda were served. It was so emotional when I saw the people coming out of the C130, right before our shift ended. There were kids. There were elderly people on wheel chairs. One soldier was running with a wheelchair to another elderly woman near the plane. There were people on gurneys, who went straight to the ambulances waiting behind the Grandstand. We, the volunteers, cheered for them as they came. Our food service head, Mark, who was so patient and consistently active, instructed us to do so.

I was not anymore able to serve food to them because the shift rotated (yes, there were more volunteers that came), but we were happy to see our packed food being served, and I was told, even to the American soldiers. A couple of our teammates said that they saw some survivors eat their food without waiting for the utensils. They just dug in. They were that hungry. We were holding back our tears.

I believe everything that is being done in Villamor Airbase is great. Yes, they definitely need a better system, but I believe that all the services that are made available for the survivors — a nice welcome, food, water, relief goods, counselling, medical aid, haircut, massage, entertainment for the kids, a ride — is much appreciated. It’s after all about them, not about our convenience or glory, or whatever other wrong reason we may have in helping out.

Our experience volunteering last Wednesday made a great impact on us. Our hearts are filled with compassion for our people. In fact, some, if not all of us want to go back and volunteer again. Our hearts are full, grateful to God for what we have, grateful for the opportunity and ability to actually help, grateful to see so many other people, Filipinos and foreigners, giving so much of themselves.

Haiyan/ Yolanda may have devastated our country, but it has not destroyed us as a people. The Lord is still good and He loves the Philippines. He will restore and heal us.

The Lord is good to all;
    he has compassion on all he has made. Psalm 145:9

Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord,
    the people he chose for his inheritance. Psalm 33:12

Big thanks to our team — Ninoy, Maeriz, Emma, Jan, Dwight, Clark, Elaine, Grace, Honey, Reg, Blanche, Mikko, and Minda! Thank you for your contributions in kind, in funds, in planning, timewise and effortwise. What generous hearts you all have. Thanks to some of your victory group mates who also contributed monetarily, to help us do what we set out to do. God bless them! Thanks Rej for giving us a connection. He was a big help. Thanks Kuya Orly for your jeep, and your effort to help us. Thanks Eileen for rewarding us with your yummy lava cake a week later.

Big thanks to Briann and Kim for helping us load, transport, and unload many of our sacks last Monday. It was unplanned, but thank God you were there and generously offered help.

Big thanks to Chris and our EGSI guys in church Raul, Bernard, Oliver and others, and our driver Victor for helping us with the goods we wanted to bring to Villamor Airbase. You guys always go above and beyond your duty. God bless you all!

*update: Schedules of shifts have changed apparently, and as far as we know, walk-in registration (but very early) is better than online registration (and we think there is no more online registration). Don’t be surprised if sudden changes occur in their system. Just be prepared to help and serve the survivors. This might go on a few more weeks. I really don’t know who to contact anymore, but these Facebook pages might be able to answer your questions — Oplan Hatid and Oplan Salubong (children’s activity area). :)

Handsome!

A few weeks ago, King ran into an old acquaintance.

In the car….

King: He’s ______.

Me: Oh, the son of __________?

King: Yup. He’s married and has kids.

Me: What?! Really? He looks so young! (he looked preppy, like he was in high school or college)

Danae: And handsome!

Haha. Of course she noticed and wasn’t ashamed to say it.

 

Me: Yeah, he is.

Danae: Mom, maybe he uses DOVE. That’s why he looks so young.

Hahahaha. Okay. :)

I Am Torn

Honestly, I am torn. I have been frustrated with the slow deployment of necessary help for our countrymen that our government is supposed to provide. I know that there were huge amounts of relief goods sent to Tacloban and they were not getting to the Haiyan/Yolanda victims as quickly as everyone hoped. There was (not sure if there still is) a hold up somewhere. I understand that logistics is a nightmare. It is not that easy to get goods and people in, and to get victims out. The devastation is massive. Manpower is low. But friends from other nations have come, with their own aircrafts, equipment, and people. So I really could not understand what was taking so long. I hate that politics is the apparent reason for some of it! I all the more do not understand how they can refuse to help certain victims because of political affiliation. I do not understand how they can push their political agenda at the expense of so many lives. It’s infuriating.

On the other hand, I also wonder why other cities were able to evacuate their people, knowing that a super typhoon was coming, while Tacloban did not. I believe they prepared, but they probably underestimated the power of the typhoon. The local government did their part, but obviously it was not enough. The local government became the victims themselves. I am inclined to have more compassion for them, rather than frustration, because they have lost so many lives already. They can learn from this tragedy, but they don’t need to be blamed. They need to be helped.

I appreciate the honesty of news reports, but I didn’t appreciate the negative angle that it was coming from. At times, especially with initial reports, it felt like there was no hope. It was chaos, and there was no hope. I understand why people lauded the honesty, but I wondered why news crews focused only on a few cities in their reports. There were many others who needed the attention and aide. Because of the negativity, however, so much help came in internationally.

I understand why people are angry, why people criticize. I am sometimes one of them. I also understand why people stay quiet and choose to just appreciate what is already being done.

Like I said, I am torn and many times confused. And I could rant all I want, since I have the freedom to speak. But will it do any good? So many others have already written and expressed their distaste of what has happened or what is happening. Will my chiming in help others? And I really have no authority on the matter anyway. I cannot judge anything from where I am sitting, and I cannot judge anyone based only on what I see on TV or read on the net. If my intelligent ranting/writing could give facts, important and helpful information, I would do it. But since I am not an authority on disaster prevention, disaster management, or government policies and such, I should not. I will leave that to those who know better than me.

I will, however, continue to read, watch, and be informed. I will direct my efforts to sharing valuable information to people on how they can help. I choose to focus on actually HELPING. We can raise funds for the victims. We can give to efficient, reputable organizations. We can collect goods within our neighbourhood or community. There are so many relief operations that we can lend a few hours of our time to and shed a few drops of sweat for. Whether we have money to share or not, we can help with carrying, packing and distributing. We can also cook and give food to the evacuees in Villamor Airbase, or drive them to their families in Manila. Let’s be part of the solution! I don’t know how long this will go on, but enough talk. Let’s just do what we can. PRAY. DONATE. VOLUNTEER.

Register to be a volunteer in Villamor Airbase here.

Donate unlimited water to typhoon victims via Green Focus, Inc here.

 

Let’s Keep Going! For Yolanda/Haiyan Victims!

Super typhoon Yolanda (or Haiyan, internationally) hit us hard last Friday. The pictures and the reports about Tacloban and other parts of Leyte were just unbelievable. I have never seen or experienced winds like that my entire life. I had never heard of storm surges till that day. I expected the floods to be bad and for weak houses to be damaged, but I never expected concrete houses AND buildings to be knocked down. I cannot imagine being there with my family, especially with my two girls. I wonder if our house could withstand such weather. I wonder if I am equipped physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually to survive such an ordeal.

Relief operations began on Monday at our church in Alabang. King and the girls were there, while I was attending a training. On Tuesday, we were all there in the morning because King and I had to get our blood drawn for the annual physical exam. It was incredibly busy in the office that day, as the staff had deadlines to meet and relief operations to take care of. Seeing videos and reading articles, waves of helplessness and sadness would come to me. I wanted to go to Tacloban to help, but aside from my husband’s own disapproval, I questioned whether I would be an asset there or a liability. God sees our hearts, but we always have to move with wisdom. Prayer is our greatest weapon at a time like this.

Instead of feeding my own feelings of helplessness, listening to reports and waiting, I invited the girls to help in packing goods. It was such a joy to see them and our senior pastor’s daughters (I’m sorry I have no pictures) jump at the chance. And it was such a pleasure to be one in heart and arms with the volunteers, young and old alike! I must say that I was so tired when we got home late that night (haha, it might be my age), but it was completely worth it. Our labor will never compare to what the victims have had to endure the past few days and have to go through for the next months or even years.

I thought I was going to be able to stay home and focus on homeschooling yesterday, but reading blogs and news articles made me really antsy again. More cities were being reported to have been affected by Yolanda. I couldn’t stay home. I had to do something, even though I had no power to make things happen there in the affected cities. I have my own frustrations and sentiments, but I figured I could just do my part. I brought the girls with me and participated in the relief ops again. There were more volunteers and so much more goods!

I appreciate what Christopher de Bono of UNICEF said on an interview on BBC, when asked what he would say if he had the ear of a government official. He said that it is EASY TO CRITICIZE but he would say GOOD JOB and KEEP GOING. I agree that it is very easy to criticize when we are outside looking in. I agree that the officials who are victims themselves are doing a good job coping AND helping others, considering their plight. The officials who are sincerely helping, not politicking, are doing a good job. And I agree that we ought to just keep going, and do what we can where we are. PRAY. GIVE. VOLUNTEER.

I love the heart of the Filipino — always willing to give out of his own pocket and of himself. And not just in our church or our own country, but world-wide! Filipinos everywhere are raising funds and packing goods to send to the Philippines. Other countries are sending aid to us as well. The love, generosity and compassion are overwhelming. THANK YOU SO MUCH FROM THE BOTTOM OF OUR HEARTS. God bless you! God bless the Filipino people!

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9

Click here if you want to donate to Yolanda victims via Victory Christian Fellowship.

Click here if you want to donate to Yolanda victims in Tacloban via Tindog Tacloban.

Click here if you want to donate to Yolanda victims in Coron, Palawan via Hilbert Enriquez.

Noelle on Danae’s Birthday

When we celebrated Danae’s 8th birthday with their cousins last month, they blessed Danae with a very nice hand-me-down violin and a new flute. The girls were so excited with the gifts!

Noelle: Ate, show mommy your FLOOP.

Hahaha cuuuuute! Floop, flute, whatever! :)

 

We celebrated also with my mom the following day. We had a whole day affair, and ended it with dinner at a Korean restaurant. Noelle fell asleep in the car, and slept through dinner as well. Back in the car…..

King: Thanks for dinner mom!

Me: Thanks for dinner mom!

Danae: Thanks for dinner wowa!

Noelle: (pouty) Thanks for not inviting me.

Awwwww, poor Noelle. She woke up by the time we left the restaurant! :)

Whiny Whiny

Last week, my mom bought the girls something from the mall. Of course, not two minutes later, they were already arguing about it.

Me: Stop whining and stop fighting about it.

Noelle: I waaaaant.

Me: Be thankful. Share. Would it have been better if Wowa did not buy at all?

Noelle: (with her cute pouty face) It would be better if she bought two, one for each of us.

Haha. Smart girl. :)

 

 

Noelle-isms in Dahilayan

A few weeks ago in Forest Park, Dahilayan, Bukidnon, Danae discovered some very cheap toys at the cafe there. She, her sister, and their friend Julio bought quite a few. During one of the lunches….

Noelle: Mom, where’s my…where’s my…CHEETO?

Uhm, cheetah, anak. :)

One other time, they were watching Disney Jr in our hotel room. They had not seen Jake and the Neverland Pirates for months, since we decided we would only let our kids watch videos at home, but Noelle still remembered the story. Mr. Smee had a special pet in that episode.

Noelle: Oh I know that. It’s a CAMILLE.

Uhm, cameleon anak. :)

The girls are getting better and better in speaking Filipino, and Noelle tells me some translations that she knows. I can’t remember exactly what she said, but when she said the word SAYANG, somebody (maybe me? not really sure) asked her what she thought it meant.

PERSON: What does sayang mean, Noelle?

Noelle: It means OH MAN!

Hahaha, actually to me it means “too bad!” but “oh man” works too. :)