AGARA RAMEN, BAGUIO CITY

Photo from Agara Ramen’s Official Page.

I loooove RAMEN! 😍

I remember the first time I tasted it from a (now closed) local resto here in Baguio. Years ago, I got out of the office for lunch and I just walked to a not-so-nearby diner. It was full of people so I decided to try the tiny Japanese place next to it. I ordered ramen and it changed my life forever. Why have I never tasted it before?😭

Anyhoos, let’s skip to the future. Every time a new ramen place is announced in Baguio, I try to visit it immediately (if it’s not too crowded at opening week).

There was this relatively new Japanese ramen resto, Agara Ramen, that opened last year. One late evening, my husband, my sister, and I tried it out. It was a cozy-looking place where you could see the crew preparing your ramen for you. Although there was a short queue (even at that hour), we decided to wait in line as we didn’t really want to eat anywhere else.

Immediately as you walk in, you will be greeted by the friendly staff. At the right side of the entrance, there’s a small booth where you order and get your queue number. I’m not sure if this is how they do it in Japan but I was surprised that they collected the payment immediately. It didn’t bother me, though. The time that took us to be seated until we were served our food was about thirty minutes because the place was packed so we asked our stomachs to wait a while.

#Nofilter. #ChukaSoba. I’m craving one as it type this. 🤤

HOW WAS IT?

I ordered the first thing on their menu, Chuka Soba (a broth of pork, fish, and chicken), while my husband ordered, Tantanmen (the spicy ramen with pork broth). I honestly forgot what my sister ordered but I remembered that she wanted soft noodles and requested it to the staff to which they politely obliged to.

Did I like it? I loved it. Except for the flat mushroom that I always leave behind, everything was perfect. Now, I’m not a ramen connoisseur but I just wanted to share my opinions. The price was also on-point👌. Its the most affordable authentic ramen in Baguio. There are other Japanese restaurants that offer their own version of the dish but what you’ll get are big bowls of instant noodles and all kinds of broths that I can’t even explain.

My husband liked the tantanmen, too. My sister liked her order as well but the noodles that she requested weren’t as soft as she wanted. Nonetheless, we enjoyed our first try at Agara Ramen. 😊👍

Fast forward to a couple of weeks later, I came back on my own (for two consecutive days… sorry, hubby) and tried the same thing once and dipping ramen the second time. They still exceeded my expectations. I also didn’t have to wait that much because I arrived in the afternoon when most people were either at work or school so I was seated immediately. Also, at the second and third time around, they gave me hot towels to wipe my hands with.😁

Sorry, I forgot what your ordered, Jess. 😅

OVERALL RESTO REVIEW:

Positives:

  1. Location. Agara Ramen is located at Engineer’s Hill, G/F Rancho Guillermo Building, North Drive, Baguio City which is a 5-minute walk from SM City Baguio (Click me to see it in google maps. Igotchu.) and a 7-minute walk from the Our Lady of Atonement Cathedral (Click me for google maps, too.)
  2. Food. The food are prepared right in front of your eyes so you wouldn’t have to worry about freshness, temperature, and cleanliness. It was also a sight to see, almost entertaining to a point.
  3. Atmoshpere. Cozy, just how I like it. Although the space is tiny compared to other ramen places, it’s size ensures customers that the staff are attentive to you.
  4. Staff. Everyone was nice and approachable.
  5. Cost. Again, it’s the most affordable authentic ramen in Baguio. Cheaper than Ramen Nagi in SM.
  6. Others. Clean, hot towels for the hands were distributed to customers. I like this because I am a germophobe.

Things that can be improved on:

  1. Space. The place is a 14-seater resto without tables, only bars and stools. This is great for people on-the-go but not so for big groups.
  2. Parking. Sorry to say the place doesn’t have it’s own parking area as it shares it with other nearby establishments such as a bank and a few government offices.
  3. Toilets. Sadly, Agara Ramen doesn’t have its own. My husband had to go to the vape shop to pee. I, on the other hand, had to go inside the main building and look for the hidden comfort room.

SCORE:

Isn’t it a beaute?

So, what’s my overall rating? I give it a 4 out of 5. I really enjoyed how simple and laid-back the place is. Even though it’s still a small shop, it gives me a hunch that it’s because they want to ensure an excellent quality of food and service. Will I be coming back? Opcors, YES.

Agara Ramen’s Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/AgaraRamen

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SEBAY SURF CENTRAL, SAN JUAN, LA UNION

San Juan, La Union – the Surfing Capital of the Philippines; one of the places where Baguio people retreat to for some fun under the sun. It’s a cultural hub to get good food, chill with your mates , and if your’e looking for a new skill: the best place to learn surfing.

Three seconds before I come crashing down the waves.
Yes, I edited the surf instructor out.

Whenever we want to hit the beach, whether its in Pangasinan or La Union, we only go to a few spots that we’re comfortable with. In the case of the latter, one of the places that we go to almost all the time is Sebay Surf Central in Urbiztondo, San Juan. My husband, and I have been enjoying the place that we’ve visited thrice last year. My cousins have also been there several times and it has been a go-to hostel for us who want to escape the cold in Baguio.

GETTING THERE

Hubby getting some sun before he drives our butts back to Baguio.

We travel from Baguio to San Juan via private vehicle so that’s what I’ll be elaborating here. Here’s more googled maps for Baguio peeps (and Manila peeps).

Getting to the resort from Baguio takes around 2 hours without heavy traffic. We usually pass by Naguilian Road then onto the Bauang-Baguio Road and that’s where the traffic usually starts.

Once you get to Urbiztondo, where most of the resorts and restos are placed, the landmark to know that you’ve arrived is the 7/11 store along MacArthur Highway. Just behind the building that houses the convenience store is Sebay Surf Central and it’s front-end parking space. If it’s full, don’t worry, they still have parking areas inside the vicinty of the hostel.

Once you get there, friendly staff will assist you with your room/s and while waiting, your family or friends can hang out in the pool table near the reception or they can go directly to the restaurant at the beach front and get their complimentary drinks before soaking up some Vitamin D.

Sebay Quick Trip

Here’s a short clip of one of our stays in Sebay:

FEES

Rooms good for two start at around Php 3,536.00 as of writing (via agoda).

Surfing lessons with surf board rentals are Php 500.00 for one hour. (I didn’t even last that long. Surfing uses your entire body and I am not built for it. 😂

REVIEWS

Actual food. Not a food-critic because I’m very easy to please.

Sebay Surf Central is a resort that anyone will be able to enjoy especially if you’re more laid-back and about outdoor activities and not quite looking for a 5-star experience. It’s a relaxing space to be with quiet nights (based on our trip) as there are no loud bars and the like next to it.

Here are some of the positives that I noticed:

  1. It’s one of the cheapest places in San Juan (compared to the other hotels).
  2. Rooms are clean. No bed-bugs here! The air-conditioning in our unit worked and the TV was also well-maintained.
  3. Free welcome drinks for check-in clients (woot! woot!). It’s refreshing to get free refreshments especially for a hot day.
  4. Hotel staff are nice and accommodating. No complaints here! They also help you out if you have trouble looking for a place to park.
  5. Surf instructors of Sebay Surf School are so nice and professional. They’re used to different types of clients so they aren’t awkward to be with. They’re also very approachable.
  6. It’s in front of the beach! Unlike other hotels, this one is right in front of the West Philippine Sea. I also like that we can walk around the beach at night or watch the sunrise a few meters from where our room is.
  7. 7/11 is next to it. It’s always best to be prepared but just in case you forgot to bring sunscreen, snacks, or shampoo, you can get it a few steps away from the resort.
  8. Available parking spaces in front of and inside the resort.
  9. Walking distance from other restaurants such as The Coffee Library, Tagpuan sa San Juan, Mami King, and more!

You might ask me of some critiques (not necessarily negative) during our stays:

  1. Food in the restaurant was okay. Since the place is a resort next to fishing communities, we expected a wide array of seafood in the menu but to our dismay, they only had the basics that are also available elsewhere. That’s why we also try other restos nearby as people from the mountains crave for the fresh catch-of-the-day. The prices might be a bit steep for backpackers, too.
  2. As seen in the video, there was a (resident?) cat relaxing itself at the top floor of the main building where we stayed at. My sister thinks of it as a plus because she loves cats. I didn’t mind but some customers will not like it especially if they’re allergic to feline friends (/fiends).
  3. Showers aren’t readily available for checked-in clients except for the tiny foot washing area near the resto. So if you want to have a quick shower, you need walk all the way back to your room. There are some bathing stalls behind the restaurant but there was a sign that charged Php50.00 per use. I can only assume that this is for day time beach goers or surf lesson students.
  4. Parking isn’t that spacious. Yes, I mentioned that the resort has two parking spaces but it isn’t that accommodating for big groups that have two or more vehicles.
  5. No pool. Personally, though, I’m fine with that.

SAMPLE ITINERARY (with other tourist spots)

Thanks for reaching the end of the review. Here’s a sample itinerary combining the 2 visits that we did:

Day 1: (Baguio – San Juan)

  • 5:00 PM : Left Baguio via Naguilian Road
  • 7:00 PM-ish : Arrived at Sebay and checked in
  • 7:30 PM : Settled in the room and looked for a nearby place to have dinner
  • 8:00 – 9:30 PM : Dinner
  • 9:30 – 10:00 PM : Walked by the beach and back to the room
  • 10:30 PM : Lights out

Day 2: (San Juan – San Fernando – Baguio)

  • 5:30 AM : Sunrise watching
  • 6:30 AM : Breakfast (not complimentary)
  • 7:00 AM : Surf lessons (best time for us, sun isn’t too hot, no other people were surfing yet)
  • 9:00 AM : DIY Photo shoot near the rocks hehe
  • 10:30 AM : Prepare to leave and check-out
  • 11:30 NN : Check out and have lunch in resto or else-where
  • 1:00 PM : Ma-Cho Temple (Est 20 minutes with traffic from Sebay, 10 mins without)
  • 1:30 PM : Halo-halo De Iloko (Est 20 minutes with traffic from the temple, 10 mins without)
  • 3:00 PM : Grape-Picking in Bauang (Est 30 minutes with traffic, 20 mins without)
  • 5:00 PM : Leave for Baguio
  • 7:00 PM-ish : Arrive in Baguio

If you found this blog helpful, please like, follow, and share. Thank you! 😉

Thanks ya’ll!
Before make-up, after food.

Mt. Kalugong Cultural Village

PART ONE of our TRIP! PART TWO is available BELOW! 🙂
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RtQ3Tg2RDSI

Growing up in Baguio and La Trinidad, I’ve always wanted to go to Mt. Kalugong. Not only did I hear about the beautiful view that one sees at the top but I also heard of how mystical it is. Older cousins have stories of people getting lost for days in the mountain only to find the missing thinking that he has only been lost for a couple of hours. There are also stories of how people were seemingly followed by orbs as seen in photographs taken in the mountain. If you ask locals who grew up near the mountain, you would probably hear more stories of enchantment from decades ago. The mountain isn’t as flourishing with flora as it once was but it is still a nice place to visit if you have more time to explore the town.

As someone who lives in the nearby city, I feel almost ashamed to admit that I’ve only ever been to the place once and it was already at my 29th year of life. If it wasn’t for my cousin, Ederna, who was asked us if we could accompany her to hike, then I don’t think I’d be able to go at all. We eventually drove to the place because we woke up late and we didn’t feel like walking (hehe) but let me tell you how to get there in different ways.

Be warned, though, a regular fifteen to thirty minute drive (depending on your location) from Baguio can turn into an hour or two if you attempt to explore the place at peak season: Christmas, New Year, Panagbenga, Holy Week, etc. We were lucky as we visited in October and we were able to enjoy the peace, quiet, and virtually no traffic at all.

HOW TO GET THERE

There are numerous ways to get to Mt. Kalugong Cultural Village, which is in La Trinidad, Benguet. The usual way is through Halsema Highway or the Baguio-Bontoc Road as seen above if you’re coming from the CBD such as Session Road, Harrison Road, or SM. However, if you’re coming from Country Club, Mines View, or anywhere near the Pacdal area, then you might want to consider the Shilan-Bekkel-Halsema Route which is accessible through private cars (Click me if you want to use this route). It is farther but it takes you to your destination with clean air, scenic views, and without the heavy traffic.

Take note that I put “Mt. Kalugong Kape-an Cafe” in the search bar of google maps because if you just type “Mt. Kalugong”, it uses a different and less traveled route.

What I’ll be sharing is the Halsema route which you can access via public transport and private vehicles.

If you really want to do the full on hike, just take a jeepney going to La Trinidad with the following routes: Camp Dangwa, Lower Tomay, Upper Tomay; and tell the driver to drop you off at Mt. Kalugong. They will drop you off along Halsema Highway where you will see a sign that will point towards the destination. Fares depend on where you ride from but if you’re coming from Baguio, then it would most likely be Php12.00 per person.

You can also use a taxi, which is the most convenient way, to get to Mt. Kalugong. Just hail one and politely ask the driver to take you there. Fares can go from Php100.00 to Php 250.00 depending again on your jump-off point and traffic situations.

Here’s a tip: One landmark to know if you are at the right track is when you pass by the Benguet Provincial Capitol at KM 6. The jeepney or taxi will continue to traverse Halsema Highway (or the Baguio-Bontoc Road) and turn right towards the bridge. After the bridge, it should go up the hill and after about 1 kilometer the driver should drop you off the base of Mt. Kalugong at the right side of the highway.

Lastly, is if you will be using a private vehicle, let me google the path for you. Again, make sure that you type in “Mt. Kalugong Kape-an” to be accurate.

Unlike the jeepney and taxi that will, most probably, drop you off at the base, private vehicles can go up the veeery steeep hill towards the mountain. Make sure that your driver is well experienced as it is tricky once you encounter other cars that traverse the narrow road going up. After a few minutes, you will see a gate that leads to open area. You can open it and park along the stretch of the street.

After leaving the comfort of your vehicle, you can now walk towards the top of the mountain by following the well-scattered signs (or asking locals).

FEES

Once you reach the main entrance, the fees are as follows: Php 100 per person while senior citizens are at Php 80 each. You can also do pre-nuptial or debut video and photo shoots there for Php 500 (as of Jan 2020).

GETTING LOST

Reaching the summit is pretty easy even for beginners. Although the pathways are narrow and some are nearly perpendicular, getting to the top is worth it.

The main attraction is undoubtedly the view. You will be greeted by the beauty of La Trinidad Valley if not an amazing display of clouds. We were blessed to have about an hour of sunshine before the skies turned grey.

Hop carefully on to the rocks and get your own instagramable shots. After exhausting your camera or phone, you can explore the other parts of the park where you can have a picnic in the grounds or sleep in the designated camping sites.

Comfort rooms are also scattered around the place so you don’t have to hide under a bush to relieve yourself. Garbage bins, however, are not readily available (as they should be) because it is best for you to keep your trash until you get back home. 🙂

Here are some shots that we took around:

Jerome at Mt. Kalugong, La Trinidad, Benguet
October 2019
Going to the rock formations isn’t easy though. Scroll to the bottom to struggling folks.
Ederna and I pausing for breaths to get to the top. XD
One of the many swings adults can ride over and over and over again.
Jerome resting before we pig out bossam for lunch.

GETTING FOOD & REST

Photo from Mt. Kalugong KAPE-AN Cafe’s Official Page

Getting at the top will reward you with not just a view but with a cafe: KAPE-AN Cafe. Although we weren’t able to try the place, as we were scheduled to have lunch elsewhere, I heard people raving about the atmosphere, pastries, and local coffee. I plan to go back in the near future to have a drink or two and a slice or more.

I have also seen couples who have shot their engagement videos and photos here. They turned out quite lovely with the rustic theme of the cafe.

Aside from a day trip, you and your loved ones can also book a stay in the village. Here are the details:

  • Tent Camping P250
  • Poorman’s Cabin P800
  • Cabin with Toilet P900
  • Bonfire P100
One of the cabins in the background.

So were the fees worth it? Watch this short clip to find out what how we ended our day trip:

TRAVEL TIPS & REMINDERS

Okay, so before you decide to leave for Mt. Kalugong here are some tips:

  • Use sturdy shoes if you want to climb the rocks. The edges are sharp so better wear clothing that you can maneuver around in and can protect you and at the same time. (Unlike me hehe)
  • Always be prepared with extra clothing and umbrellas. You can leave the house in Baguio looking like its summer but arrive soaking wet in the afternoon because of the never-ending “thunderstorms and rainshowers” brewing in the distance.
  • Especially if you have kids who are “makulit” who might get extra excited to stand on the rocks, it’s always useful to bring your own first aid kits, sunblock, insect repellent, and water.
  • Be a responsible traveler and bring your own garbage bag.
  • There are no tour-guides as the place is pretty easy to navigate.
Outtake 1: People don’t usually show it but getting that instagram shot sometimes requires life-threatening moves.
Outtake 2: Those rocks aren’t nice on the butts, either.

Also, if you have queries about Mt. Kalugong, here are their contact details:

If you find this blog useful, please share it to your friends who need some info before travelling to Mt. Kalugong. Hope all of these help! 🙂

Starting 2020 with a Promise

Photo by Jared Erondu on Unsplash

I wrote this because I want to, hopefully one day, read this blog again and recognize all that I am grateful for at the start of 2020. The past year has shaped me unlike the years that have gone before where a good deal of major events have also happened in my life. Today, I value the people and things that I have and I don’t have even more. I cried buckets in 2019 but that has honed me to be the woman that I am today. After the many mornings of waking up with puffy eyelids, I can still smile being assured of a better future by my God who I have put all my hope in.

STARTING FRESH

Twenty nineteen started out pretty great. I just got married a few days prior and my husband and I were just really enjoying the time we could now spend on our own. However, as the days passed by, we quickly had to adjust to our new home and new lifestyle as we wanted to live separate from our parents as soon as possible.

Before tying the knot, we already decided to stay in my paternal grandparents’ and cousin’s home because I would still be able to walk to the hospital where I worked. We are so grateful to our relatives because the rent is free of charge. We only have to take care of the home and pay the bills. This is very beneficial for us since we were just starting out. Plus, private hospitals in the Philippines, especially the ones here in our area, don’t really pay well. It’s a good thing that my husband and I have small businesses that we can get extra income from.

DREAMS & ASPIRATIONS

Photo by Keith Zhu from Unsplash

My husband and I have been trying to leave for a different country and have been praying about it for around 2.5 years as of writing this.

It all started in 2017 when I was invited by my older cousin, Ate Eden, in Australia to visit her and her family there. I had a full-time job back then but since I was already contemplating to quit because of self-diagnosed mental and emotional exhaustion, I figured that it was the best for me to go on holiday and that was the last nail of the coffin.

My experience in Australia was amazing and life-changing (but that’s for a different story time) even if I only spent three months in New South Wales. I was able to go out and explore the place with my best friend, Vanessa, who also lived in the same state and I was also able to spend time alone with God since I was away from my family and my then-fiancé and now-husband, Jerome. While in NSW, I didn’t have a job but I was able to read the bible and meditate on it almost every day. It was during this brief and quiet moment in my life that I grew closer to God as I cling to Him seeing how faithful He is in my life despite not deserving it.

Being nurses, Ate Eden and Vanessa, encouraged me to go back to the profession. Although I was (and is still) a registered nurse, I didn’t practice it for a while. While in Australia, they showed me the potential growth that I could achieve as a nurse professionally and financially. Seeing where they were in life, I longed to be one, too.

HOW TO BE AN OZ RN

The plan was, once I got back to the Philippines, I:

  1. Immediately apply as a nurse in a hospital and work there for three months only (as required by Australian policies);
  2. Get 7’s in the IELTS ( International English Language Testing System) exam in one go;
  3. Apply to be a registered nurse in Australia then be rejected and referred to the Bridging Program;
  4. Apply for all schools that offer the Bridging Program and hope to be offered a slot by the most affordable school;
  5. Pay the fees and receive a Certificate of Admission from the school;
  6. Apply for a visa;
  7. Get a visa;
  8. Fly to Australia;
  9. Successfully finish the program; and
  10. Register as an Oz RN. 🙂

So that was that. I prayed about it and decided to pursue the same steps as Ate Eden, Vanessa, and another older cousin from Victoria, Ate Irish. After coming home to the Philippines, I told Jerome about it and he was on board. Even though it would require a lot of money, guts, and faith, he was all for it. I just had to take the first step, so I applied for and successfully landed a nurse job in a private hospital in our city.

It wasn’t all happy experiences though, in 2018 I struggled to get back to the profession (but that’s for another story time again). In summary, I only wanted to get 3 months of experience but I ended up working for the hospital for more than a year because I really wanted to advance my hospital experience. Although I was thankfully transferred to work in a specialized area, I quit because, like almost all nurses in the Philippines, I was overworked and underpaid.

I could no longer spend regular time with loved ones. I could no longer attend Sunday services as often. I would rather sleep than attend family events because of working the night before. Worst of all, I no longer had the same relationship with the Lord. Albeit my career was advancing, I found it difficult to grow spiritually. The bad thing is, I didn’t even notice.

After tying the knot in December 2018 and quitting my nurse job in May 2019, I continued with the plan. I applied to be a nurse in the Land Down Under and I was referred to the Bridging Program. So far so good. I also talked with a relative in order to loan tuition fees and potential living expenses for me to study abroad, I was ecstatic when they agreed and I was scheduled to receive the loan at the end of the year. Everything was perfect at the middle of 2019 but little did I know, the next months will be a bumpy ride.

HALTED DREAMS & ASPIRATIONS

After quitting, I applied for registration and got the referral letter from AHPRA (Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency) after 3 months. I immediately applied for slots in available schools and after about two weeks, I got an offer letter from one. However, the fees were… how do I say this… ludicrous! It was $4,000 more than what I was prepared to shell out! But the clock was ticking as everything — my IELTS results, my offer letter from AHPRA, and my police check had expiration dates. 

I received another offer letter from a different school which also had, by far, the cheapest fees. I was so happy! I was already in step 5! But my excitement didn’t last as I was told that my relatives would no longer be able to lend me the money I needed. 

I was devastated. I already had the cheapest school waiting for me to respond but now, I didn’t even have the money to pay for the fees. There were other relatives, who I am so thankful for, who lent me funds but unfortunately, it still isn’t enough for me to enroll.

Where do I go now? My heart is broken not because of my married life but because I had put all my hopes in people, in institutions, and too much on my self that I had forgotten whom to truly put my faith in.

IN TO THE UNKNOWN

The last quarter of 2019 had my emotions in a bunch. I no longer had a job, our plans for going abroad halted, my business wasn’t performing as expected, and my bank accounts are almost depleted because of the money I spent on the application. (Required vaccines are a pain in the butt literally and financially. Plus I had to redo my IELTS because the ones I took in 2018 were about to expire — and the schools didn’t want that.)

My husband was also affected because he expected everything we planned to go smoothly. It was foolish of us not to have major back up plans and although we have learned today, our dreams were still crushed.

SILVER LINING

There were days where we would wake up late because we no longer felt motivated. I already have two offer letter from schools but I didn’t have the funds to pay for the enrollment fees. We tried to ask our parents for help but to no avail. I know that they would even give us the money if they could but as they say, money doesn’t grow on trees.

There was also a time when I prodded my husband to accompany me to go to the next town and look for loan companies. Alas, they only sought out clients who already had working visas in other countries or those who have pension.

After feeling like a failure, I cried even more. I told my mom what I felt and she was relaxed about it (as usual). She didn’t feel the pressure like I did and she always said that it will happen if it was in God’s plan. I told her about the day I looked for a loan company. She was surprised and asked me if I was that desperate. I told her that I was and I felt as if the Lord wouldn’t make things happen if I just stayed at home or at the store. She then asked me a question that felt like icy waters being poured on me. She asked me if I am relying on my own actions for blessings instead of the Lord’s.

It felt as if I was slapped back to reality. I felt so ashamed. My actions will never be enough! Only God is enough! No matter how much I try, no matter what I do, if it isn’t in God’s plan then it will never happen.

The shame came and the depression followed.

“What if it isn’t in God’s plan for you to go to Australia?”, my sister, Rebekah, asked. I would reluctantly say, “It’s okay but I really hope the Lord allows us to go where we plan to go”. I was extremely saddened because of all the effort I put in the plan not thinking about how I was too confident about myself.

One December Sunday, my husband and I woke up late (again). We felt bad that we didn’t go to church so we decided to watch the Christ Commission Fellowship’s (CCF) live stream of their Sunday service.

It was Dr. Peter Tan-Chi who was about to speak and immediately, we were struck with the sermon’s title: “Turn Disappointments into Blessings: Trust God!”. Tears streamed down my face as I know that this is what we needed and at the middle of the sermon, I think my husband also shed a tear or two (hehe).

We watched intently as Dr. Tan-Chi shared how Moses’ failure turned into blessings, how Moses was a prince-turned-fugitive-turned-shepherd who was broken but responded to God’s call of leading His people out of Egypt and into the Promised Land. Even if Moses felt inadequate, he trusted in the Lord and obeyed Him completely at eighty years old.

Here’s a short clip from the sermon:

“Failure is a blessing when you are driven closer to God. Failure is a blessing when you become dependent on the Lord.”

– Dr. Peter Tan-Chi

After the sermon, my husband and I realized that we are at the quiet and broken time of our lives. At the center of disappointments, we both have no jobs and have been putting our faith in our own actions, relying on them to progress in life. We were extremely frustrated at the beginning of the sermon but hopeful in the end.

This is when we have reaffirmed our faith in God by completely trusting in Him. We may not understand what is happening in our lives today but we know that God was, is, and will always be in control.

My tears begin to dry as I put all my hope in Him.

BLESSING IN WAITING

As I start 2020, Rebekah asked me the same question she asked last year year, ” What if it isn’t in God’s plan for you to go to Australia?”. With full confidence, I answered, “It’s okay. I just hope the Lord shows me the way”. Suddenly, there was no more reluctance in my heart.

These days, my mind doesn’t dwell on the disappointments: that I have been a bum for so long or that I don’t have money to pay for school fees but it focuses now on the fact that I can do things that I wasn’t able to do before. I now attend church regularly. I also volunteered to join our church’s choir after how many months of avoiding it; and now I enjoy it very much. I was able to help out with my two grandmothers when they needed someone to bring them to the hospital or take care of them, which I wasn’t able to do when I had an eight to five job. I am able to attend church activities. I can spend time with family and friends any time, any where; and there are so much more!

If you ask me if I still want to go abroad, my answer is still YES. I still ask God to allow me to pursue the career that I have been praying for for more than two years as of writing but the difference today is that whether God allows it or not, I have PEACE.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Jeremiah 29:11

As I end this post, I am still at a point in my life where I am vulnerable and broken but my relationship with the Lord has progressed and I only pray that it will be made even stronger as the days go by. I will continue to cling on to Him who has promised me of a future.

My prayer today is for everyone who reads this to trust in the Lord. If you are facing setbacks and failures in your life, call on Him and seek refuge. He does not need us but we need Him in all that we do, in our families, in our relationships, in our businesses, and most especially when we are in “the wilderness” trying to navigate our way through life.

Lastly, if you have been praying about certain things and the Lord does not allow it to happen, it is still okay. It took Moses another forty years (so he was 120 years old at this time) to almost reach the Promised Land but the Lord did not let him enter. He was only be able to see it from a far before the Lord called him home. If that happened to other people (especially me), there would definitely be plenty of grumbling but let us be like Moses who has remained faithful. Let us desire the Lord in our lives; let us ask Him to show us His ways for everything is always beautiful in His time.

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
Ecclesiastes 3:11
Photo by Aron Visuals on Unsplash

As of finishing this post, I am reminded to pray for the country that we wish to go to. The fires in Australia have claimed many lives, displaced thousands of people, damaged millions of properties and is feared to have killed about a billion animals. Let us continue to pray for God’s mercy, protection, and blessings for affected families during this time.

PAL from the Philippines to Singapore! :D

After a six hour bus ride, an hour of sleep,  and two hours of waiting, we were finally able to ride our Philippines Airline flight at around 9:30 in the morning. My first time on PAL BTW… Aaand my first international flight. 😀

All the flight attendants were very courteous and nice. They all seemed professional which is always a reassuring thing that you are in good hands.

As soon as we boarded the plane, we were greeted by sealed earphones on our seats, pillows with disposable cases, and our headrests with disposable pieces of cloth. Very clean 🙂

As the plane ascended, I was asleep. No kidding! That was how smooth our flight was. Even the landing was smooth. BTW, here is a picture of the hot meal I got. 😀

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Cold food was cold and hot meals were hot. 🙂 You even have a choice if you wanted to have soda or water instead. And you get to have coffee afterwards. The coffee was a bit strong for my taste though.

One thing that we didn’t really like was the line we had for the comfort room. :p six people in line for two toilets. :/ But overall (In flight entertainment, service, and comfort), the flight was great. 😀

Singapore, here we come! 🙂

Group selfie while waiting to board the plane 🙂
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Peeping Tom

Before reading, I’d want you, reader, to know about my ordeal in the hopes of having any other girl/child/woman out there safe from this perversion. Share if you must.

To all the girls out there: 

I cannot emphasize much more on this matter but please be cautious when entering public restrooms. I have personally experienced the following evil act and I regret not following my own instincts. I was in a “restaurant (ehem- McDonald’s)” along Session Road when I entered the restroom to relieve myself. There was another girl before me and we were waiting for the two stalls to be emptied. The lady from the cubicle on the right was finished so the lady before me entered after the previous lady. As I was waiting for my turn, I wondered why the lady on the stall to the left took too long to finish. I asked myself if someone was even there so I bent down and saw a pair of rubber shoes. I found it weird since a lady sitting on the throne would not have positioned her legs in such manner (too much pushed to the side as if hiding). At last, the lady before me finished. I entered the cubicle to the right with hesitation. For some reason, I was compelled to wait for the stall on the left to empty, but nature was calling. As I was about to relieve myself, I didn’t know why but I was again compelled to look behind me under that piece of divider that separates me and that woman that wouldn’t leave her stall. To my utter shock, there it was, a cellphone camera directly pointed at me (or rather, at my behind)!! I quickly composed myself and shouted, “EXCUSE ME!”. But the perpetrator left in a hurry. In those brief seconds, I was devising a plan to run after him, get whatever I can grab – a chair, a book, whatever, to stop him in his tracks; or I could just shout at him (or her) and pray that someone comes to the rescue. It amazed me as the perpetrator left in about two seconds and I could not even get my pants up! I was so frustrated – still am as this just happened today. I got the attention of an attendant and I immediately asked for the manager. I am so angry at myself for not acting cautiously. Had I waited for a few more seconds, had I relied on my instincts, had I just walked away after feeling suspicious, I could have not been victimized or better: the perpetrator should be incarcerated by now, but it is too late. My darker thoughts consume me because of the possibilities of where the videos might end up. Never have I been so humiliated in my life. 

Lessons for other girls:
1. If a person takes unusually long in the restroom stall, don’t hesitate to knock and ask if it’s occupied. There is no harm in asking. (You might be able to know if it’s a man on the other side.)

2. Before relieving yourself, take a few seconds to inspect the cubicle/ toilet before you sit.

3. If a person takes too long on in a dimly lit/ darker cubicle (like what happened to me), better take a cubicle farther from it.

4. There is no shame in asking a friend to accompany you to the rest room. (After the incident, my sister expressed her “what if” thoughts if she had accompanied me that time.)

5. Follow your instincts. There is a reason why we have them.

6. If you are wearing tight/skinny jeans, make sure you can pull them up easily when you need to chase Quagmire!

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*Photo from: talknerdytomelover.com

Obsession: Royal Blue!

This holiday season, I could not help but get obsessed with the color blue, specifically royal blue!

It started when my sister bought this blue cardigan and now I can’t help but to borrow it. Oh sisterly love!

I don’t usually buy items or clothes with that color but now that I have explored (and am willing to delve in deeper) the different combinations and color blocking of this color of royalty.

Here are  some pictures of people in the blue, as well as my favorite personality (who is also a ROYAL) in the shade..

I know this dress is so last year, but... I absolutely adore it!

Kim in RB!

Blake in RB!

Way back 2009: Kate Winslet in an oscar worthy dress by Narciso Rodriguez.

Yes, Kate Middleton!

Kate in a wedding.

That Dress!

I will now call this color, KATE MIDDLETON BLUE!

Here are some pictures of me in the blue, enjoy! c:

Royal Blue Scarf

Favorite color combo of the season? Royal Blue and Teal! c:

And finally, the top I wore for Christmas. Sorry, I couldn't upload a "nice enough" picture of the whole outfit.

Glad you reached this far.

Have a Happy New Year everyone!

Ciao! c:

The Beatz!

The BeatZ (Photo from their Facebook Account)

I just wanted to promote my cousins’ band called “The BeatZ”.

Here’s some info from their facebook LIKE page:

A unique Acapella Group, specializing in harmonization and beatboxing.

Handled by The Society of Singers, Center for Arts foundation.

Had their first debut at the Seneca Plaza and the Area 05, Tomas Morato.

Had their first radio debut at Jam 88.3, and promoted the center also at Wave 89.1 and Magic 89.9.

Had performed at the UP Y4IT Congress and at the Band-Age, Freedom Bar events.

Please show some support by liking their page here! c:

XOXO