La La Land

Spoiler Alert!!!

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image source: IMDB

I knew it was a musical, but the first scene/number was just ridiculous. Typical. Somebody started singing in traffic, and eventually everyone came out of their cars and started singing and dancing. Haha it was just funny. But it gets better from there, I promise. The lighting, the music, the sets, the characters, the story. Unfortunately, the last ten minutes of the movie was…sigh. I don’t want to spoil anything for you (though I know I will), but it was something we did not expect at all.

The movie left me torn. We watched with some of our friends and we were all frustrated, sad, angry about how it all ended! I’d say it’s one of the characteristics of a good movie though. It makes you ponder about life, your dreams and the choices you make. It definitely isn’t a feel-good movie. It’s a movie that makes you feel and struggle within yourself, depending on your values and perspective. La la land? Who knew, right? I sure didn’t.

What would you choose? Your dreams or love? Your future or “the one”? I understand that they could not keep each other from pursuing their dreams. It’s not fair and it might cause resentment between the two of them, you know, the usual. But did they have to give up so easily and let go of what they had? I understand that they were both passionate about their own craft, but was it really more important than building a life together? Why does pursuing your dream have to mean sacrificing your future with “the one”? Why did they choose their dreams over each other and why didn’t they fight for their relationship? I mean, Mia had success in her career AND had her own happy family within five years. Why couldn’t she have had both with Sebastian? And why couldn’t Sebastian have success in owning his own jazz club, keeping jazz alive, and have a family with Mia? It would have been so beautiful! And satisfying haha.

Seriously, we were all affected. But then again, sad as it was, what if that was God’s will, therefore best, for them? Mia seemed happy. Her husband seemed like a great husband and father (and King and I joked that he was going to take the drums and play That Thing You Do hahaha). Sebastian seemed happy too, living his dream. And though their memories of their life together and their what-ifs made them sad, they were genuinely happy for each other.

Sigh. It was a great story. We just don’t agree with the ending haha. We wanted Mia and Sebastian happy, but TOGETHER. Then again, we’re mere spectators. Who are we to dictate to the creator of the story? They bagged a lot of awards for it. The story telling was excellent for sure.

Thinking about my own life, I am so grateful that King and I are happy together. We went through some drama before tying the knot, like all coupes do, but it was never a choice between us and my career, or us and our passions. We decided to pursue “us” because we were (still are) on the same page and had (have) similar passions. We believe in the same God and we want the same thing — to honor, serve, love and obey God together as a couple and raise kids who will do the same. That was (is) our unifying factor. Even if I had a career to think about or a desire to build one, I am fairly certain we would work things out, being guided by God, our spiritual family, our faith and our priorities. Ours was (is) a great story as well. And because it is authored by God Himself, the journey and the ending will always be beautiful and blessed. ❤

 

If you’ve managed to finish reading this despite the spoilers, I recommend you see La La Land yourself. It’s worth it. 🙂

The Holy Spirit At Work

Danae has been asking for a phone for quite a while now. We always tell her that we don’t think she’s ready for it yet. And besides, if we do get her a phone, it would probably be a non-smart one. Basic, old school phone first. She has an ipad because it’s required for school, and we see that she needs to be more responsible with regards to its use and with regards to our rules.

The other night, however, she said that she didn’t care about getting a phone anymore. We were having a heated discussion about her attitude, and somehow being responsible and having a phone was brought up. I took her word, even though I knew she didn’t mean it.

Later on, she apologized for her attitude. She seemed sincere, but sometimes apologies are just words until you see change. But of course as parents, we need to forgive our children despite that, because we are called to love them and model grace and forgiveness to them. So all was well.

The following night, she brought up “her phone” again. I smiled and half-jokingly said,

“I thought you didn’t care about phones anymore.”

She said, with a sheepish smile, “Mommm, I was full of pride then.”

As a parent, that gave me so much encouragement. You know, I talk and talk and talk, trying to give them wisdom while hopefully setting a good example, and hope that something sticks even though many times their actions, words, and reasoning baffle me. We pray, pray, pray constantly for and with them. We discipline them and do our best to deal with their heart more than their behavior. We have Bible time with them. They go to Kids Church, we have victory group. At times, I cry to God because I’m so tired of the craziness — three kids coming at me with their own issues, sometimes their issues are with one another, and often they’re the same annoying issues. Few other times, I check out. I let King handle it when he gets home (poor King hehe 😬).

But when Danae said that, it just confirmed to me that the Holy Spirit indeed is at work in her life. She recognizes the specific issue in her heart, and she listens to the Lord! She may have a difficult time fighting it or controlling it sometimes, but she is aware of what God is teaching her. After her emotions, she eventually listens and obeys. God made me smile as He gave me that assurance. The word of the Lord is living and active. It changes me. It changes my children. The Lord is transforming me. The Lord is transforming our children. King and I are in faith, despite or maybe moreso because of our occasional despair (yes, our children are awesome many times too), that we will eat the fruit of our labor, that our children will love and honor God all the days of their lives. 

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Hebrews 4:12

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. Ezrkiel 36:26-27

Blessed are all who fear the Lord,

    who walk in obedience to him.

You will eat the fruit of your labor;

    blessings and prosperity will be yours. Psalm 128:1-2

 

Persistence pays off!

We just came home from our family vacation in the Visayas. We went to celebrate Noelle’s 8th birthday! I chose Dumaguete because I wanted to see the Manjuyod sandbar again with my family. I’d been there with my parents before, like more than a decade ago. The sandbar wasn’t visible anymore at the time we went, but we were able to swim. We also went dolphin watching and the dolphins gave us a show! I only had a regular, non-digital camera then, so I wasn’t able to capture much.

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A day before she turned 8, in Sans Rival. 🙂

 

My mom was the one planning the whole thing (haha, yes I chose the city and dates, but she planned almost everything), and she got our contacts through my cousin. She was told by one tour operator that it was not safe to go to Manjuyod in January because of the Amihan, or the cool northeast wind. My mom says it’s my hardheadedness (I call it my persistence and faith), but I just did not want to believe that we were going to Dumaguete and not be able to enjoy the Maldives of the Philippines. I needed to hear it from the tour guide/driver/boatman myself that it was not safe, before I was going to concede. We kept it in our itinerary.

Thankfully, our other contact assured us that the coastguard would advise the boat operators whether it’s safe to go to sea or not, and that they in turn would advise us. And it was a go! It was definitely safer than our boatride to and from Apo Island (our 3rd day), which we were told would be more calm haha. It was a little windy, but the twenty minute boat ride to the sandbar was uneventful. And the sandbar — massive and beautiful!

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On the boat, with the sandbar in sight. The sandbar is 7km long.

 

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With my mom, Gianna’s first boat ride ever. 🙂 

 

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King and I took a walk on the sand, but didn’t even get to any other end. It was huge! And we had to go back to our kids haha. Gianna didn’t want to leave the shore.

 

We got there at the right time. Good thing I researched and read a blog that said low tide was between 6am and 9am, and that by 10am the sandbar would be submerged already. You could still swim of course, but you would miss the sandbar. So we made sure that our van picked us up around 6am, and we got to Bais by 7am or so.

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the birthday girl happily playing with her little sister 🙂

 

When we got to the Bais port/pier, the boat owner’s wife asked us what we wanted for lunch because the boatmen were going to cook our food for us on the boat! She bought the ingredients for us in the nearby wet market, and in about twenty minutes, we were off to the sandbar. The water was so blue and just beautiful! The kids immediately got off the boat. The boatmen told us that we should just get our picture taken first with the sandbar and go dolphin and whale watching, then come back for lunch and swimming. But then Gianna was so happy on the beach, not even changing into her swimsuit, that we decided to just enjoy the sandbar. We’d gone dolphin watching in Bohol and swimming with the whale sharks in Oslob a few years ago already anyway.

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Gianna dumping sand on the patient starfish haha. Don’t worry, it was not harmed. 🙂 *No starfish was harmed by us on our vacation. We were gentle in handling them and putting them back in the ocean.

 

And our lunch! Grilled pork, sinigang na hipon, grilled okra, huge wild scallops, seaweed, coconut juice in their shell. Soooo good! We ate with our hands so I couldn’t take photos haha. The bonus was those wild oysters in vinegar that we bought from a couple of boatmen. They were selling the whole container for only 300 pesos. We opted to just buy 10 pieces for 100 pesos, because we had too much food already. And it was the highlight of our lunch! Unforgettably yummy!

The best part? Noelle kept saying “best birthday ever!”

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It’s alive!

 

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A tiny starfish family under a shell! I found them when I picked up the shell, but put it back right away. 

 

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Gianna wasn’t afraid to touch, but she was gentle as well. 🙂

 

 

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Beautiful spongy starfish 🙂

 

 

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Our boatman caught a couple of sea dragons and showed us. We tried to take a video in the water but they swam away way too fast! They literally zipped away as soon as manong released them to supposedly let Danae hold them. So he caught another and placed him in a container so we could take a good look. One of the coolest sea creatures ever, with a tail and dragon wings (fins). We put him back of course. 🙂

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Our boatman/diver/cook/boat owner. He found a crab to show the kids. Super cool!

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The tide was coming in at 930am.

 

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I think this was around 1030 to 11am. The sandbar was submerged in water already.

 

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Beautiful Philippines 🙂 

 

If I readily accepted what we were told from the beginning, we would not have been able to experience the beauty of Manjuyod! Persistence with prayer pays off! Faith with wisdom pays off! Thank you Lord for allowing us to enjoy and be captivated by the beauty of your creation. For surrounding us with your angels so we can safely travel on foot and by land, air, and sea. For giving us the opportunity to celebrate and build wonderful memories with our family. We are so grateful.

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Me and my forever travel buddy  ❤

 

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Me and my little sisters hehehe ❤ 

 

My DIY stars and Jesus

I am super happy with my DIY stars! I used the thin wires I have at home and doubled it up so that I could get the sturdiness of a thicker wire. I realized later that I’m supposed to use a board and nails to perfectly shape the star, but I’d already winged it. I like the imperfection anyway.

I decided to make 2 more and hang them with red ribbon, on our curtain rod against the white curtain, along with medium silver balls as well. I love silver/gray and red. It’s a super simple but pretty way to decorate a portion of your home.


I like the significance of stars. It reminds me of the star on the first Christmas, guiding the wise men to Jesus. It reminds me that Jesus is the light of the world, and we are children of the light. It reminds me to seek the light, to follow the light, to remain in the light. It reminds me that Jesus is the reason not only for the season, but for everything. Me minus Jesus equals nothing. Me plus Jesus equals everything.

Thank You Jesus for allowing yourself to be born into the world, to be God, powerful and infinite, and yet be confined in the body of a helpless baby. To be God, glorious and great, and yet be a servant to your people. To be God, whole and lacking nothing, and yet be broken, sacrificing yourself to pay for our sins and be our bridge back to the Father. Your humility and love always blows me away. Thank you Lord, and happy birthday! ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Funny Gianna

I haven’t been able to update Funny Fridays, but here’s a bunch of them. Gianna cracks us up constantly. 🙂 

1. Last night, she slapped King’s bottom and laughed. She said, “HIGH FIVE BUTT!”

2. Last Dec 1, we were at a baking goods store in Uptown Mall BGC. Gianna usually comments “so kyut” or “ilovett” when she likes something. She saw a single cupcake holder/stand and said it was cute. She raised her hand.

Me: What are you doing?

Gianna: Call miss.

Me: Why? Why are you calling the miss?

Gianna: Ask miss how much dis.

Imagine my surprise and laughter. Hahahah.

3. Ants intrigue Gianna but theyalso  scare her. Lately she’s been able to kill the little ones herself. But when she saw a few big red ones the other day, she asked for my help.

Gianna: Mom! Ants! Mom! Kill it!

4. Same day, Gianna was insisting that I play a video for her on my phone.

Gianna: I want video. 

Me: It’s not working (over and over).

Gianna: Mom! Try it!

Kill it and try it surprised me, haha.

5. You may notice that I am Gianna’s favorite person in the whole wide world. She is selfish with her sisters, even with her dad when it comes to me. She sees them hugging me and she gets upset. She says “hey!!!!” and pushes whoever is on me away. She surprised us one time by saying “Hey, that’s mine! That’s my mommy!” 🙂
6. We teach our girls to pray, so sometimes when Gianna has an owi, she asks us to pray for her, “pway, pway.” One time I asked her to pray for someone’s owi, I think it was her dad’s, she immediately prayed saying, “Lord, I’m sorry…” Hahahah. That’s the start of our prayer after she gets the rod. Yup, she’s been getting the rod since she was 1.

7. We watched Moana a week or 2 ago, and Gianna would call it “Disney Gwamma.” I guess the grandma in the story made an impact on her. That and “maui, maui, you’re so amaziiiing.” Now she calls the movie “Muna-na.”

8. I gave Gianna the rod this afternoon because I caught her quietly dropping mashed potato (on purpose, yes I’m sure) onto the box she was standing in and mashing it with her feet. 

Me: Gianna, what’s throwing food?

Gianna: No-no.

Me: Don’t throw food okay? That’s wasting.

Gianna: Kay.

Me: You’re supposed to eat food not waste it.

Gianna: Oh!

For someone who eats so much, she “forgot” that food is for eating. Amazing! 

Hey, pretty girl!

Hey pretty girl,


Nice outfit, nice hair too.

Yeah, you!

You always look put together. 

From your eyebrow down to your shoe.

 

Hey pretty girl,

Stop fussing, you look great.

Look in and around you.

Your heart, your character…people hold more weight.


Hey pretty girl,

That’s enough. Don’t try so hard.

True beauty comes from within.

Hair and makeup can’t hide it. 

Toner or wash can’t erase it.


Hey pretty girl, 

I know how you look is important.

It makes you feel secure.

It makes you feel confident.


Hey pretty girl,

Your looks will one day fade.

No reason your security should fade with it.

No reason your confidence should wane.

 

Hey pretty girl,

You’re not just pretty.

You are beautiful.

Did you know?

But not beautiful as the world perceives or dictates.

Not beautiful that is all for show.


Beautiful girl, 

You’re beautiful because you were made with such a grand love.

You’re beautiful because you are patterned after your Maker.

You’re beautiful because you are made for a purpose.

You’re beautiful because you are loved and cared for by your Father.

 

Hey beautiful girl,

Take care of your heart.

Don’t let the world lie to you and destroy you.

Instead, let the Word grow and transform you.


Hey beautiful girl,

You are whole, you’re complete.

Jesus died to save you and give you a full life.

Though you are imperfect, He says you are worth it.


Hey beautiful girl,

Don’t be afraid. Take your true identity. 

Be you. Be true beauty. Be who God designed you to be.

Live fathered. Live forgiven. Live loved.

Live favored. Live grateful. Live free. 

 

*written sometime August, but finished today 🙂

DIY Advent Wreath

We start our Advent Wreath tradition this Sunday, November 27th! We usually sing carols, read Scripture and have a discussion, or read significant Christmas stories every Sunday for four Sundays before Christmas and on Christmas day. We light up one candle before we begin and the kids blow it when we finish. We light up one candle on the first Sunday, two candles the next Sunday, three candles on the next, four candles on the fourth Sunday and finally all five including the center or Christ candle on Christmas day.

I enjoyed making my own advent wreath for Cherished Traditions. I thought I’d share with you a few ideas, using old and new stuff. I like to recycle even broken ornaments. There is always some use for them. Enjoy! 🙂

 

Materials: 4 small used jars (some are Gianna’s baby food jars), 1 taller used jar, 4 old pine cones from broken Christmas decor, one old thin garland, 6 old berry embellishment thingies, 4 new tea light candles, 1 new long metallic white candle, 1 old round dish

 

 

Assemble like so. I put little pebbles in the tall jar to hold up the tall candle. I keep a pack at home for when I need them. I wish I had white pebbles though.

 

 

Oh you can tie ribbons around the jars to make them pretty. I used jute rope for this.

 

 

I used 5 tall candles for this, and an old poinsettia from broken decor.

 

 

🙂 

 

 

Materials: Basically the same things except a white dish which I placed upside down, and 4 small wreaths I bought for 60Php each from a bookstore.

 

 

Again, I wish I had white pebbles. It would’ve looked so much nicer.

 

 

🙂 

 

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You can also use a bigger center candle if you want.

 

 

Materials: Basically the same things again, except for the new big center candle (less than 300 Php), 4 new fat but short red candles (200 Php total), and a new twig of berries I bought in Divisoria for 20Php.

 

 

Bend the twig into a circle, and arrange everything else like so. I added detached leaves from old decor.

 

 

🙂

 

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Tall candles for this one, and the old poinsettia. The Christ candle is the one in the taller jar.

 

 

Materials: 4 old wine/champagne glasses (not really sure what they’re for, but I’ve seen these glasses in our home ever since I could remember), basically the same materials, a new small wreath (a little pricey at 399 Php), and a wooden tray that King got on sale months ago for less than 500 Php.

 

 

Assemble like so, using the red candles. Just slip the glasses under the wreath.

 

 

White tea light candles for this one.

 

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Materials: wreath, twig of berries, big white candle, old pine cones, red candles, and an old “patungan” for hot plates. Haha message me if you know what this is called. Seriously.

 

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Arrange like so.

 

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This is our advent wreath this year. I placed it on the piano, on the other side of which is our Belen or Nativity Scene. We don’t have a coffee table at the moment, but even if we did, it’s still better off up there because the little one would have no problem picking it apart haha. But that’s not to say she doesn’t get up on the piano. She does, but she plays with Mary, Joseph, Jesus and the gang. 🙂

 

Hope this inspires you to start your Christmas traditions with your family this year! Keep it simple, doable, and meaningful. Remember that Christmas is about Jesus. This is a wonderful way to teach our kids, family members, even friends about Him. Merry Christmas everyone!!!

 

Twelve Years!

So we celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary yesterday, woot woot! We were so busy celebrating, I didn’t have time to write hehehe. King is such a thoughtful husband that he always takes a leave and plans something for our anniversary. I don’t get in his way or upstage him by coming up with my own plans because I believe he enjoys doing that for us. I asked him the other day what the plan was, and he told me that he was thinking of checking us into a hotel. As he was saying that it’s too expensive, I agreed and said yeah, let’s not. But then he went on to say that instead of spending the money on a hotel overnight stay, it’s better to spend it in Divisoria (it is an area in Manila with a series of stores/malls that sell more affordable stuff especially when you buy in bulk). Haha. King knew right away that he got me good! I haven’t been to Divisoria in ages, and I’ve been wanting to go!

So there. We spent half the day in Divi. We went straight after dropping off the older girls at school. Gianna was with us haha. We have no pictures! But our sore backs are proof. She’s so heavy already. And you don’t bring strollers to Divi. Traffic of people can be tight and heavy. She did cooperate, staying in the baby carrier, which King and I alternated wearing, almost the entire time. We stayed in Divi for 4 hours, and travelled about 2 hours coming back for the girls in school. We were late! We were all hungry so we drove through for food, and King and the older girls proceeded to play with and assemble King’s Divi find as soon as we got home. Actually, that’s all King bought. Though we were there to supposedly buy some things for ourselves, we ended up buying mostly for the kids and our home. No matter. We were happy, and we are excited to go back. Then for dinner, King cooked a family favorite — his shrimp pesto penne.

Simplicity. I love that about us. We don’t really run after big, bright, expensive things. Don’t get me wrong. We are happy to receive those too haha. And thankful to be able to splurge (our own definition of splurge, of course) on occasion. But we are ones who are happy to simply spend time together and to bless our children even in little ways. I remember our first anniversary, for which I prepared a surprise candle lit dinner at home on the floor, with Danae on a blanket beside us. I think that was the only anniversary I planned. And now our 12th year! We have definitely had many and different celebrations as a family. I’m thankful for each one. For each birthday, each Christmas, each anniversary, each memory.

The Lord is good. The Lord is faithful. I thank God for my husband and for my marriage. The night of the super moon, we ate at Salad Stop (yummy!), and I asked King why he loves me. One of the things he said was because I love God more than him. I asked him how he knows that, and he told me it’s because I’m scared to hurt him. Hahahaha, we had an argument-slash-banter that day and I threatened to punch him for real. But of course I didn’t. We both laughed. I hope that that is true as only God can see and judge my heart. That is the very reason I was confident in marrying King as well. That he loves God more than me. I pray that holds true for us both till death do us part.

King – Jesus – Phoebe ❤ November 15, 2004


Happy anniversary King! I love you! 🙂

‘This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.’ Since they are no longer two but one, let no one split apart what God has joined together.” Mark 10:7-9 NLT

Cherished Traditions 2016

A week after Pasko at Pamilya, our Alabang church had its own Christmas traditions event which we call Cherished Traditions. It was a busy day for me as I had to prepare for my DIY corner, do last minute shopping for some candles and Danae’s hoodie, and get some lab test results. Of course when you have 3 kids, things don’t always go the way you would hope. To make the long story short, I was late for call time and I came with a gloomy disposition. I had to ask my DIY partner, Belle, to pray for me. Thank God things started looking up from then on.

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photo credit: Capella Manalang

I was happy with my table for the DIY advent wreath. People got to see and try out different ways to make an advent wreath. I got to share what we do as a family when we light the advent wreath candles every Sunday for 4 Sundays before Christmas day and on Christmas day itself. The other DIY corner for the advent calendar was also super nice! Eden was in charge of that, with her partner Liza. We also do the advent calendar with our kids every Christmas season. Our senior pastor’s wife Shirley Marquez created a beautiful dessert table. She’s always spot on with her creations. We wives learn so much from and are inspired by her. She decorates our center every year too! I did one tablescape in Sta Rosa, but for Alabang Ms Gigi Escosar generously set up 3 tablescapes! They were all beautifully Christmassy!

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Shirley’s dessert table

After our guests were free to go to our DIY corners, check out the tablescapes, have their pictures taken in many picture-worthy areas, and enjoy their Krispy Kreme donut and hot choco, our cool father-daughter hosts Ptr Chico and Nina opened the program with the raffle! The raffle table was full of prizes! We had about 40 winners if I remember correctly. We also had a fun icebreaker, after which our kids gave us the most awesome dance number. Haha. Yes, I love my own. It was a joy and a privilege to teach our kids, the pastors’ kids, to dance. Thanks to the ever talented Luchie, for the song. She was the one who found Mandisa’s Joy Unspeakable. I’m so proud of our kids. They did really well despite the lack of practice, and they gave it their best. Each one of them wanted to make God smile as they danced, and I believe they did. 🙂

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Ptr Chico and Nina Peña (photo credit: Nina). Nina also wrote about the event here. 🙂

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Julio Peña, Noelle Lucero, Bianca Gidor, Ana Marquez, Andrea Marquez, Lovely Ramirez, Danae Lucero, Benj Gidor, Coleen Huang photo credit: Capella Manalang

Ptr Ariel and Ptr Janssen & his family were our speakers. Ptr Ariel delivered such a moving testimony. Truly, he and Shirley lived their message that Christmas is not about us, but about Jesus Christ. When Christmas is supposed to be a time of celebration, they went through the toughest time of their lives when their son Jerome fell ill and passed away 13 Christmases ago. Despite the painful memories, they still choose to celebrate every Christmas because it is Jesus they celebrate. Jesus is the point of every Christmas tradition. Ptr Ariel shared the why of Christmas traditions. The Morados family shared the how, the message they also shared in Pasko at Pamilya. 

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Ptr Ariel Marquez (photo credit: Nina Peña)

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Ptr Janssen, Ging and Andee Morados

The whole Huang family rendered us a lovely song. It was their first time to perform together, and we all went AWWWWW when we heard their youngest Coleen’s beautiful voice. I made sure our dance crew was there to support their fellow dancer. Christmas is love. Jesus is love. It was like magic. Sigh. From the parents to each of their children, they are just gifted. ❤

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The Huangs

Somewhere in between, they also showed our kids’ video, where they share about their favorite traditions and what impact it makes on them. To end the event, we gave each guest a really nice giveaway and they called back the dancers. It was supposed to be a celebration with everybody dancing, but I guess they enjoyed just watching the kids haha.

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Our comms team is super talented. They made our shoots easy and enjoyable, the photos and videos so beautiful! I got so kilig seeing my creation on our invitaion and tickets heehee. I didn’t know about it. We also shot DIY videos that were shown on screens beside our DIY table. 🙂

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Got to share some loved recipes at home in 2014. Got to get creative with plating too. 🙂

Cherished Traditions is always something we wives look forward to and work together to bring to others. Thanks to our leader Shirley who has imparted so much to us about the love of God, His love for people, about generosity, about love for family, being deliberate in making memories with our family, discipling our children and passing on our values and traditions to our children. Thanks to her leadership and Maryanne’s, and to each wife’s valuable contribution on the scene and behind, it was another fruitful event. I am just so grateful that I get to be a part of it. Things I never imagined I would be doing, they’ve given me the opportunity to. Plus it’s always a joy! It never feels like work. The motivation is always the desire to honor God, to serve and be generous. Because each one has that mindset, everyone works well together. I’m so thankful that that is the spirit I am surrounded by. Unity. Love. Servant leadership. Thank you, my sisters. It truly is an honor serving the Lord with you. ❤

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South Hub Pastors’ Wives ❤ Top row, from left to right: Eden Ramirez, She Ramirez, Aileen Gidor, Maryanne Peña,  Shirley Marquez, Malou Oaman, Phoebe Lucero, Ging Morados, Liza Divierte, Thine Canda ❤ Bottom row, from left to right: Belle Villanueva, Gigi Escosar, Luchie Huang, Lea Santos. Photot credit: Nina Peña 

Pasko at Pamilya: Christmas Kiddie Tablescape

Victory Sta Rosa had their Christmas Traditions event last Saturday called Pasko at Pamilya. Ptr Janssen and his wife Ging Morados shared that Christmas traditions should be spiritual, centering on Jesus. They should be relational, bringing the family and also friends together. They should be missional, reaching out to others so that they can know Jesus too. Their 3 eldest kids (they have 4) shared their favorite traditions as well. It was so nice to hear them tell us that they enjoy and appreciate their traditions as a family.  It encouraged me to keep ours up and maybe start some new ones.

I was invited to create a Filipino-themed Christmas kiddie tablescape. It wasn’t the main feature or anything but it was a privilege to be part of it and a joy to support spiritual family. It was a challenge and a good opportunity to get creative, since I don’t think I’ve ever done a Filipino-themed anything haha. Now I can do something similar for our table this year. 🙂

I cut up some tiny banderitas and stuck them on my well-used cup cake stand. It signifies fiesta here in the Philippines, and Christmas is always a feast around here. I made the parol (lantern) using a Christmas ornament I bought from Kultura in SM. I just cut up some crepe paper and tied it around the bottom corners with a fuzzy wire. I wrapped a pair of chopsticks and stuck it on the top to hold the lantern up.

I wanted to put puto manapla (white puto that has banana leaves as liners) but I didn’t have time to buy them. I got small cupcake liners instead and put some special colorful pastillas in them.                                                                                                                                           I used our very old sungka (a Filipino game played with sea shells), which I use to hold Christmas balls in at home, for other Filipino treats like Polvoron and Goya chocolate coins. I even made small balls out of coconut leaves to add another Filipino touch.

I made it a table for 3, for my 3 girls. I was able to buy cool little jeepneys in Robinson’s and I used them to hold up the place cards. I asked Danae to do brush lettering for the place cards. I made the placemats out of cartolina (craft paper was just too thin and flimsy) and designed them with banderitas.

On the sungka, I also placed small colored pencils tied with fuzzy wire, embellished with ribbon made of paper twine and small berries. The kids can use the placemats to doodle on. I just noticed that the placemat is upside down hahaha.

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Another inverted placemat! I researched on ways to fold the table napkin and I saw a picture of this one. I figured this was best so I could insert the parol ornament. The napkin kinda looked like a bahay kubo too, I thought. I also thought to make a yema spiky ball. Filipinos love sticking hotdogs on sticks on pineapples or cabbages. I wanted to do the same but with yema. I placed a small cabbage ball onto our old wooden bowl, and I worked my way around the cabbage using toothpicks. I then put a bow around the bowl using paper twine.

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Thanks to Victory Alabang Kids Church for lending me the cute chairs. I cut up and placed big banderitas around the table cloth (it’s actually a blanket). I bought baby pillows and wrapped them with my old scarves. Noelle was the one who came up with the designs for the pillows using stickers. It’s always good to involve the kids.

Enjoy preparing for Christmas, everyone! Maligayang Pasko! 🙂