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.
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. 🙂
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. 🙂
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.
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 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, 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. Nice, cool weather. No need for air-conditioning.
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.
Highlight 7: Bonding! It was great spending time with these singles a day before the actual getaway.
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! With the Pena family and del Rosario family! Photo credit: Noelle Lucero
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. 🙂
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 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!
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 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 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.
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. 🙂