Going Places: Baguio City (Part 1)

Hi guys! I’m adding in another entry for my Going Places 2015 Series and this time I’m sharing to you my trip to Baguio City last June.

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Okay, I know this is so last year, literally, but my calendar is still vacant for now and my pending trips are not happening until mid-year (because this woman’s got to hustle, ya know). So while waiting, I’m doing a little throwback.

Also, I’m not really going to go into details here so this post won’t really be helpful in terms of expenses and how to reach places but I will try my best to at least give out some tips, narrative way. Dividing this post into two as well because…well, I narrate a lot! Seriously.

Anyway, the moment we stepped out of the bus and into the streets of Baguio, we were greeted with a cold blow of the wind! It was around 8 a.m. I think and we were dead tired from the long travel from Manila. Thankfully, our hotel, Microtel, was just a walking distance away from the bus stop.

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If ever you pick Microtel as your home away from home, expect the place to be superb. Well, in my experience. Their room is great, comfortable and perfect. I don’t know how much our room was because I didn’t pay a single cent for it—that’s what you call grace.

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As a first-timer in the city, we knew that there were lots of places to visit but since we had limited time (3 days), we picked the famous tourist spots as our places to go.

Strawberry Farm

What’s a Baguio trip without going to the strawberry farm? It’s located in La Trinidad which is about 3 km away from the city proper. Tip: If you have extra cash, go ahead and spend money and experience strawberry picking. Sorry, I forgot how much it was but I think it was around 500 pesos per kilo.

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But if you’re frugal like me, just take a photo pretending you’re picking and then buy the strawberries in the city market for pasalubong! Hehe. It’s a lot cheaper—like around 300 pesos. And if you find an ice cream man around, do taste their strawberry ice cream.

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Mines View Park

This famous tourist spot is an overlook park where you can see the northeastern outskirts of Baguio. It was crowded when we went there so it was impossible to take a decent solo photo of the view. This is also the place where you will find the St. Bernard “Beethoven” dog and pink-dyed horses (which will by the way cost you around 50 to 100 pesos for photo op).

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Oh My Gulay

This restaurant was featured in “Byahe ni Drew” so we walked around downtown to look for it. It’s in the 4th floor of La Azotea Bldg. so finding this place will be a little tricky. But of course, Google Map or Waze will help you with that.

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This place is perfect for vegetarians or at least for people who eats vegetables. Sorry for the carnivores though because you won’t find any meat in this place. But their food is delish! The ambiance is okay, too. I say, must try place!

 

The Mansion

This place is restricted so expect to see little. All you can really do here is take a photo with the official summer residence of the President of the Philippines. Yeah.

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Wright Park

This is where you can go horseback riding for half an hour or so.

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That’s it for now. Part two to follow!

How Well Do You Know Your Lover?

Many don’t know this one but Coco and I had known known each other since were 13. We met at a common friend’s birthday party. But apart from his name, I knew nothing about him. We were barely friends.

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Fast forward to the day he first asked me out, I looked at him with so much curiosity. Who is this guy? What’s his personality? What are his likes (aside from me…hehe)? What are his passions and interests? What does he hate? What makes him mad?

There were so much to learn and know about him. Until now, I’m discovering new things about him every day, whether we are apart or together. Some things about him surprise me while some make me mad. Some make me happy, others make me think twice. No, just kidding. Each day that goes by allows me to know him better than yesterday.

It somehow reminds me with my relationship with God for the last five years. You see, I also met Him when I was still young. I can’t remember what age specifically but growing up in a Christian home, it’s impossible not to know Him. However, it was pretty superficial on my side. I knew Him alright but I did not have a relationship with Him and there’s a notable difference between the two.

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It was only until 2012 that I decided to jump off my own boat and plunge into the waters to pursue on a new life that is led by Him. I started involving myself with people who can help me grow in my faith. It wasn’t an easy one though because there were times that I failed. But as I kept going and continued reading His word, the more I got know who God really is.

I learned a more intimate perspective of His personality like how loving and kind He is. Yeah, everyone knows that. But if you soak yourself with His word, you will see it differently. His love will not merely be just a knowledge but an intimate understanding—a marker of your personal relationship with Him.

One time I was feeling down and unloved, I came upon this verse in Isaiah 54: 10.

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I was blown away! Who could love like such? I tell you, that’s not the only verse declaring God’s love for you! (Go ahead, be excited and open that bible!)

Every single day, every situation, every moment, every circumstance—bad or good—I learn something new about who God is. His hates, dislikes, passion (just so you know, YOU are His passion). And His promises! Oh men! You seriously got to check out His promises! I learned the kind of father that He is, how He is as a best friend, and most of all, who He is as a lover.

So, how well do you know your Lover? It’s not too late to come to know God in a more personal way.

Women With Vision

It’s finally 2016! Hooray for the new year! I know many are excited by this time with what’s ahead or what’s in store. Some are probably planning already or listing down goals to achieve. Perhaps others have visions of what to do in the next 12 months.

If you are one of those people, that’s good! But if you haven’t even thought of doing such, it’s not too late yet!

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“Do I really need to have goals or visions in my life?”

I say yes! Don’t worry if you answered “no.” I used to think that way too. I’ve never been so particular about achieving goals or envisioning my future because I’m a very steady person. But now that I’m a bit older and I know bigger responsibilities will pile up soon, I realized that I need to change–from being a “just go with the flow” to “woman with vision.”

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To inspire us to start our year right, we gathered over coffee to talk about the power of vision. It says in Proverbs 29:11 (KJV), “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.” 

Vision plays an important role in determining our future. Sometimes we base our decisions on it and take steps because of it. But while we have our hearts and minds set on things already, it’s essential not to forget that our vision is defined by God.

He is the one who gives us a clear picture of what He wants us to be and how He wants us to get there.  And with the right vision, we will:

  • Know our purpose in life
  • Set our focus on the goals
  • Ignite our passion
  •  Know our priorities
  • Remain on the right track
  • Overcome any obstacles or trials

It’s not easy to think about the future especially since we have no idea how things will turn out for us. It’s exciting but at the same time scary. But may we never forget that the future is bright already because of what Jesus did on the cross for us.

So ladies, get your pen and paper and start being a woman with vision!

When we have a clear vision from God, we will also see that God has given us every resource we need to accomplish the task.

If we have a vision, we will remain clear on our priorities and keep ourselves on the right track.

Vision fuels our passion, creates momentum, and keeps us focused on the goal.

We can only know our purpose when we know our God and receive His vision for us.

 

 

Going Places: Caliraya Resort Club, Laguna

2015 has been a year of going places for me. God has been so faithful in keeping his promises to let me set foot in destinations I’ve never been before and I know there’s going to be more.

That is why before the year ends, I’m going to do a series of travel posts that has happened in the past months. Let me kick off the “Going Places” series with our trip to Caliraya Resort Club in Laguna that happened back in February.

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Now, before I get started, I’m not going to go into specific details since I didn’t really take note of that. I will just be sharing some of the things that you can expect when you go up to this haven of lush greenery and adventure.

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10996138_10205814099369664_8340705630618207590_n_zpsxke07tdyWe didn’t really go here for a vacation though. We mainly went for Victory’s 2015 Kids’ Church Teachers’ Summit. The location of the event was just a big bonus. During our extra time, we toured around the place and even tried some of their activities.

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I swear that place is filled with so much things that guests can do. I wish we had more time to try all the activities but I guess the chance to ride a bicycle up in the sky was enough.

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When in Caliraya Resort Club, make sure to try the Sky Bicycle. Adventure and thrill level of this ride is so high you’d probably discover your fear of heights there. I know I did. And don’t worry, you won’t fall off…they say.

Aside from the Sky Bicycle, they also have Zipline, wall climbing, swimming pool, basketball court, Pinoy slide, Bungee Fun and so much more. If you check out their official Facebook page here, you can find out their other available fun activities.

They even had this hilarious mud slide wherein people would go up the hill and slide their way down to a pool of mud!

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If you’re not a germaphobe, then this one is for you. Unfortunately, I think they’ve already replaced it with a 550 feet long slide they call as the Super Slide. I think the new one is cooler though.

Victory organized a Power Up Night for all the Kids’ Church Teachers wherein everyone dressed up according to the theme “Power.” I went as Elasti-Girl from “The Incredibles.”

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Our 3-day stay in that place was really amazing and worth it. If given the chance, I’d definitely go back there.

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Travel Tip:

  • Don’t forget to bring your warmers—jacket, scarf, cardigan, socks. It gets cold up there especially during the night.
  • Bring enough extra clothes for all the activities.
  • Get ready to do lots of walking in going back and forth to your room.
  • Allot a time to tour the whole area. The place is big!

What Are You Believing For?

The most wonderful time of the year is here and I’m pretty sure everyone is going through the holiday rush. Some of you might even be gastronomically prepared already for the festivities. If you are, then I hope you enjoy eating up. It is the no-shape December month after all! No need to be guilty.

Kidding aside, I think we’re all aware that a few days from now, year 2015 will close and people will have to gear up for the coming year 2016. It sounds exciting but at the same time, there’s also that uncertainty of the things that are yet to come.

Many of us hope that this coming new year will be better than ever or will be more amazing and wonderful. Fortunately, we can have that kind of year. We can believe that bigger, better and greater things can happen in the coming months.

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Yes, challenges and setbacks will probably be still there but if we understand the will of God in our lives, we know that we can have a great future ahead of us. Just as He has said in Jeremiah 29:11:

“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.”

So, this coming 2016, what are you believing for?

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Are you believing for an increase in finances? A new home? A new job? A new car? Or maybe, you’re believing for salvation in your family? Excellent grades? Healing? Restoration? Times of refreshment? More business opportunities? More travels? Graduation day? Are you believing for joy? For more love and peace? Maybe the heart to forgive or ask for forgiveness?

 

Some of you might even be believing for Mr. or Ms. Right. Well, whatever it is that you are believing for, know that God says, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7)

He even says, “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:11)

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All we need to have is the faith. Sometimes it’s hard to believe for these things especially if the situation you are in right now is so opposite to what you are hoping for. But that’s the thing about faith—it’s being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see (Hebrews 11:1).

Begin to ask today and see how God will work in your life. And by the way, brace yourself because it’s going to be a one big adventure ride, but it’s all going to be worth it.

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The Joy of Being a Servant

It’s already December! Time flew by so fast. Just a month ago, I was trying to think of what costume to wear for Victory Iligan’s yearly Leaders and Volunteers’ Appreciation Night, which is actually an event purposefully prepared for the leaders and ministry volunteers in appreciation for their hard work, persistence and dedication.

With the theme Disneyland, it was quite mind-grinding which character to go for. I badly wanted to go as Ariel from “The Little Mermaid” but since my stomach bulge isn’t going to turn into six-pack abs anytime soon, I scratched the idea off. Fortunately, Coco and I found costumes of Belle and the Beast from the classic movie “Beauty and the Beast.”

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The night of the event came and everyone was so dashing and creative with their costumes. I was amazed at how everyone put a lot of effort just to pull off their Disney character look. Everyone was a winner to me!

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It was a fun and memorable night indeed and I’m thankful for the privilege to be part of that event. Being a leader and ministry volunteer is hard work. I for one find it daunting and challenging.

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Sometimes you have to go out of your own way just to meet up with One2One or organize a Vgroup.

Sometimes you have to sacrifice a day so that you could practice for Sunday’s service or prepare for Kids’ Church lesson.

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Sometimes you have to do things alone just to set-up the chairs and clean up the worship hall.

Sometimes you have to juggle up your responsibilities and tasks just to bring the people together.

But despite of it all, there is this joy unspeakable that won’t go away when serving the Lord. Some may not understand it but those who do knows how fulfilling it is to hustle for God. It doesn’t come as a burden because the things they do is a reflection of their love, gratitude and honor for Him.

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The thing is, even Jesus himself served others. Though he is the King of all kings and the Lord of all lords, he demonstrated what it’s like to humble down and give service to the people.

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For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.

There’s also a reward when we offer our talents and skills to serve the Lord for the advancement of His kingdom. It says in 1 Corinthians 15:58 “Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”

But more than that, Jesus is the best thing that we could ever have. If you are working for the Lord right now, rejoice! Enjoy the moment and receive the joy in serving Him.

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Confessions of a Miss No Perfect

It’s been a while since I last wrote something for this blog. The last one posted wasn’t even authored by me so you can tell how much I’ve been slacking off in this whole writing thing. Anyway, I’m back for now and I have nothing but a confession to make. I’ve been wanting to share this one for some time already but I just never got around to doing it. But I’m here now and well, here it goes:

I’m not perfect.

Okay, fine. That’s nothing new because everyone knows that no human being is perfect. The Word even says, “Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way.” (James 3:2)

But the past few months had me thinking so much of what it means to be “not perfect.”

First of all, being imperfect is not an excuse to keep on failing or sinning.

“Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it?” (Romans 6:1,2)

Sometimes we have this thinking that being imperfect means we’ll never be able to get things right in our life so why make an effort? If I fail, God’s grace will be there. But grace isn’t a license to sin. It’s supposed to move us to remember what Jesus did on the cross for us.

Being imperfect means having a humble heart.

We usually say sorry when we do something wrong against someone. But sometimes it’s not easy, right? It’s because it takes a humble heart to ask for forgiveness. It takes letting go of pride and admitting our mistakes.

I’ve had some failures in my life and sometimes I tend to just keep it to myself rather than laying it down before God. But I realized that it was pride that was holding me back to repent. To ask for forgiveness is to humble down and recognize my need of Jesus my Savior every single day.

Being imperfect strips us the right to judge or look down on others.

I think many can relate with me on this. Oftentimes, we are so quick to pick on the imperfections of others that we forget we are no better. It’s true that we need to check the speck in our own eye first before checking others (Matthew 7:5). Small or big sin, we are all a bunch of sinners looking at the same Cross. Let’s extend to others the same kind of love and grace that God has given us no matter who they are and what they have done.

Being imperfect means I will make mistakes.

I go to church on Sunday. I serve two ministries, Kids Church and Tech. I do discipleship and small groups. I read my bible. I pray. I am a Christian, a follower of Christ, but I’m not perfect at all. At some point, I fail. In certain circumstances, I fall short. It’s not easy, that’s why I rely on the grace that God has given—the amazing grace that saved a wretched like me.

2 Corinthians 12:9 says, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that
Christ’s power may rest on me.”

Yes, I am not perfect. But here’s the truth though: Jesus sacrificed himself on the cross so that we may be made perfect before God. “By one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified.” (Hebrews 10:14)

 Christ’s people are perfected now in the sense that God puts away all our sin (9:26), forgives them, and never brings them to mind again as a ground of condemnation. In this sense we stand before him perfect. When he looks on us he does not impute any of our sins against us, past, present or future. He does not count our sins against us. (Desiring God)

And so, this is where I will end.

I am perfect, not because of what I do, but because of what Jesus did for me.