Family, Spiritual Family

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. 🙂
FEATURED, Spiritual Family

Singles Getaway 2013

The last time I was at a Victory Alabang singles retreat was nine years ago in Tagaytay. It was my second ever. I was single, but already engaged to King. We were given the privilege to share our love story then. This year, King and I were given another privilege to impart and teach the singles of our church at our Singles Getaway in Dahilayan, Bukidnon. We had always wanted to join or help in the getaways, but of course my husband would be needed in church. So we thank God for letting us be part of this one!

GIVE HONOR TO WHOM HONOR IS DUE

King and I talking about putting Phil 4:8 in our friendships :)
King and I talking about putting Phil 4:8 in action, in our friendships. 🙂

I want to honor first my husband. Seeing you in action makes me admire you more, babe! You serve with a glad heart, and I see it on your face and in your body language. There may have been a few stressful moments, but you never let any of that get you down. Tiring as it was, I know you loved serving the singles. You were always willing to do what was asked of you. You went the extra mile even, all while making sure I and your kids were doing okay, and making sure we had something great to teach in our session. And you never forgot to have fun! You enjoyed the place, the amenities (rides, if you will), being with the participants, being with the committee, and being with your family. You had many hats on in those 3-4 days, but you never forgot to enjoy all of it. You’re the man, babe! Servant leadership at its finest! It gives me so much joy to see you do what you love to do. 🙂

Being with King is never a drag. :)
Being with King is never a drag. 🙂
King's joy and humor is infectious. :)
King’s joy and humor is infectious. 🙂
Ptr Chico and Maryanne Pena :)
Ptr Chico and Maryanne Pena 🙂

I also want to honor our family ministry pastor Ptr Chico and his wife Maryanne, for being such good friends to us. You always encourage us and support us in the things we do. Thank you for trusting King to help out with the singles. Thank you for trusting us to impart to the singles in one of the sessions. I see your humility and security, that the “singles ministry” is not about you. The singles are not yours, but they are the Lord’s. You are stewards, and great ones at that! Your desire to get personal is so admirable — you guys sitting with different victory groups every so often is just amazing to me. You don’t mind the work of meeting people in small, intimate settings. You make time for the singles, even with such busy schedules of parenting, counselling, doing marriage preparation programs, doing marriage journey programs, and officiating countless weddings! King and I look up to you guys, and we always appreciate what you teach us. And to make everything sweeter, we love all three of your kids! It was a joy for each one of us to be there with your family. 🙂

I want to honor our discipleship pastor Ptr John and his wife Joyce, who took care of the singles for four years! You have taken the

Ptr John and Joyce del Rosario :)
Ptr John and Joyce del Rosario 🙂

singles to Boracay and Bohol, two beautiful cities in our country. And just like our recent trip, I am sure they were also life-changing for the participants. I see your love for the singles, and your desire for them to be great men and women. I know you are excited to witness them enter the season of marriage too. You have made a great impact in so many lives with your knowledge, your passion and your faith, no matter how differently they are “packaged” in each of you. I am so proud of you Joyce, for the woman that you have become. I am so excited to see you as a mom as well! We’ve been travel buddies twice now, and I appreciate both your love for our girls. Thank you. 🙂

I want to honor the committee — Nathan, Maeriz, Ninoy, Mark, Joanne, Marvin, Ivin, and Janice!!! You were only a handful, but you guys did a great great job. There are no words to describe how amazed we are by your hard work and service. I may not have seen firsthand what each of you did, but I know each of your roles was essential to the success of the event. There were no big or small jobs, and I saw that all the more from each of you, because you were so humble and joyful. You had no air of entitlement or arrogance due to position or amount of responsibility. It was not perfect, as nothing ever is, but there was not a critical spirit in any of you that it was a joy to talk to and work with you. And I am so happy that even though you were working as volunteers, you were able to truly enjoy the retreat! The work was balanced by so much free time to play! Well-deserved too! Thank you all, for making the Singles Getaway what it was — enriching, relaxing, invigorating, fun, and life-changing! 🙂

The committee and the marshals :)
The committee and the marshals 🙂
Nathan and Mark :)
Nathan and Mark 🙂
Maeriz :)
Maeriz 🙂
Some of the committee and the early comers :)
Some of the committee and the early comers 🙂