Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The first days...

When arriving in a foreign city, most would probably go straight to a hotel and rest. Who wouldn't? Spending more than 6 hours at the airport and 12 hours inside a plane could be tiring.

But I didn't. First stop? The J. P. Getty Museum at Los Angeles. Very impressive as soon as you see it but more so once you learn about what the creator had in mind when he designed the building, the lines, the colors. The works being displayed were beautiful but the greatest were those done by the Impressionists such as Renoir and Van Gogh.

The new house of a wonderful couple became our resting place for the second night. This is their adopted daughter ... Mei-li (or beautiful in chinese)

A typical American street... lined with uniform houses.

In San Diego, I found Jose Rizal... not to mention Jollibee, Chowking, Red Ribbon and Goldilocks... now where is SM?

Streets were lined with trees and sensor sensitive stopsigns...

And one night, the festival of the boats...

Friday, December 08, 2006

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

For a common cause

Dozens of shanties extending along the length of the high and thick wall separating the street from the river. The place reeking of the foul smell of the stagnant river. The street was littered with bits of trash. Scattered all around were puddles of muddy and stinky water. All over were wooden carts. Young girls were washing baluts in big plastic basins. At the other side of the street were stacks of uncooked corns. No mistake about it, these were their means of livelihood.

Who would believe that this was the place we would see as we enter a street that was seemingly just part of a modern city? But as we drove through the street, we saw the kids, most were dirty, huddled together. They smiled and waived.

They knew our passenger. She is one of them. Only because she spent most of her Saturdays teaching them. Together with other souls giving themselves to reach out to this unprivileged sector of the society. Not many would dare do what they are doing.

For one whole afternoon, we had the honor of sharing with them this opportunity to be of service to God and men. We danced, we sang, we laughed, we acted, we fed, we gave. We took part in something bigger than ourselves. It was not easy.

The kids could be unruly. They sometimes took over the space of the imaginary stage. They shouted too loud. The pushed each other. They fought with their seatmates. They pretended to be the persons being called to receive their Christmas presents.

On the other hand, it was a joy to see them praying with their hands put together, eyes closed and heads bowed down. It was music to hear them utter the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. It was wonderful to listen to their laughter. Noted were words of understanding as they indicated who were the good and the bad persons in the skit.

All throughout the activity, I felt a surge of pity to see them live in squalor and poverty. You get the overwhelming urge to take the the kids and just give them a bath to make them clean.

Pretty innocent faces, happy to receive a paper bag full of treats and eat a warm bowl of soup.

For a short time, we brought them joy thru food and material gifts. But for a long time, and we hope, forever, we shared to them something more valuable : the love of a merciful and forgiving God.

I know that a lot of time, effort and hearts were planted in this place. I leaarned they have been here since 2003. Otherwise it wouldn’t have been this easy. Things could have been more unruly.

What impressed me most was the passion of these girls and boys in their teens and early twenties. At a young age, they are already doing great things for God. They are already reaching out to those in need. Most of them were also products of the same kind of outreach to their respective streets. Led by a family blessed with a passion for the lost, they do their share in different ways : ministering to the metros, sharing the Good News, building relationships, investing in the lives of the people, feeding the children, and redeeming the stage.

I do not ask them what they are getting out of this. I know. I believe we are in the same boat. It is to share to others the joy that we have in partaking of the assurance of a loving God and a forever life.

I never imagined that a leaders’ meeting a few months ago would turn into something big. A simple desire to expose a group of young adults to evangelism became concrete plans, turned into Sunday morning presentations and on that day, an all-out performance to declare the Good News.

Truly, it was the hand of God. With His design, events and people fell into place so that as we blessed others, more so we were blessed.

Thank you to the Metro Ministries, the Redeemed Stage and CAFEYA.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Casting Crowns : Voice of Truth

Oh what I would do to have
The kind of faith it takes
To climb out of this boat I'm in
Onto the crashing waves

To step out of my comfort zone
Into the realm of the unknown where Jesus is
And He's holding out His hand

But the waves are calling out my name
And they laugh at me
Reminding me of all the times
I've tried before and failed
The waves they keep on telling me
Time and time again. "Boy, you'll never win!"
"You'll never win!"

But the voice of truth tells me a different story
The voice of truth says, "Do not be afraid!"
The voice of truth says, "This is for My glory"
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth

Oh what I would do to have
The kind of strength it takes to stand before a giant
With just a sling and a stone
Surrounded by the sound of a thousand warriors
Shaking in their armor
Wishing they'd have had the strength to stand

But the giant's calling out my name
And he laughs at me
Reminding me of all the times
I've tried before and failed
The giant keeps on telling me
Time and time again. "Boy you'll never win!"
"You'll never win!"

But the stone was just the right size
To put the giant on the ground
And the waves they don't seem so high
From on top of them lookin' down
I will soar with the wings of eagles
When I stop and listen to the sound of Jesus
Singing over me

I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Run the race together

You see the possibilities. You catch a glimpse of the promise. You perceive a vision.

You pray. You hope. You invest. You expect.

You get tired. You get disappointed. You get hurt.

Do you give up?

You try no t to care. You want not be concerned. You attempt not to feel bothered.

For it seemed easier. For things not to matter. To just be thinking about yourself.

But you cannot.

For when you give up on them, you give up on yourself.

As you become callous and unconcerned, you get lost too.

When you attempt to distance yourself, you direction becomes off-course.

You should not. You have no choice.

You are linked. Connected.

If you let go, it is to your peril. For you are also letting go of yourself.

Hang on. Continue. Persist.

Hope. Hold on to that hand.

You will reach the promise.


Wednesday, November 01, 2006


I am an addict.

For the last two week I have been gobbling it up so much that I haven’t had enough sleep. Sometimes I think that I have no choice but of course I do. I try to convince myself that I just needed one fix and it would be enough. But after the first one, I just can’t stop myself from getting another shot. And then another. And then another. If I didn’t have other things to do, I believe I would be overdosed by it.

But the good ones are hard to come by. It used to be that you have to wait daily in order to get a one-dose supply. You have to consider a lot of things in order to avail of it. But technology, though it made life easier, also brought the evil side of accessibility. You get them all with just the right amount of money. With one seating, you have all the convenience in the world.

Turn on the TV. Plug the DVD. Push the CD. There you have it. The whole season of a story.

How I wish one season is only composed of three shows. Life would be simpler.

Now let me go back to Jang-Geum. I am in the third season already.

Learning away with TRS

A normal Saturday could be spent gallivanting inside a shopping mall. Be a zombie in front of a television. Stuff your stomach to its bursting situation. Snooze away the week’s tiredness.

But not all Saturdays are normal. There are special Saturdays. Days spent learning...

And so two weeks ago, I threw away the whole day.

Hours were spent laughing. Instructions abounded. Move the arm a little higher. Turn to the left. Look out the window. Shift the head a little higher. Heard the buttons pressed and released a hundred times over. Drapes moved to the left and then to the right. Repositioned the pillows. Toys and little dogs added to the scene.

For 10 hours, 20 faces enhanced by the talents of 3 make-up artists posed in front of 2 cameras and 1 video recorder and created more than 1500 images to make visible God’s 6 years faithfulness to the Redeemed Stage.

Thank you TRS for the enjoyable learning experience!

for more pictures... please visit www.jegabelle.multiply.com

Saturday, October 07, 2006

The dreamer that cheered me

Who wouldn’t enjoy watching a musical with such a handsome lead? That would have been enough to brighten even for a little while a regular Saturday afternoon.

Spending almost two hours inside a cinema in Megamall to hear Franco Laurel sing is enough to cheer me up, I have to own. But then, no offense to him, pretty faces are not really enough. It is like meeting a handsome guy whom you might think could be the love of your life but then the interest wanes once you find out that his personality is boring or his character not strong. What made the difference? The words that sent out the messages of hope.

This might be too much of a comparison but all I wanted to say is that I had a magnificent time being a spectator and listener to the musical Joseph, the Dreamer. I have seen it so many years ago, at a young age when I would not have appreciated it as much as I did last Saturday.

Kudos to the Trumpets! True, in their performance, they displayed their talents. Not to brag about God’s gifts but more so to give God glory through their music, acting and dance steps. I just hope they get encouraged for in the process they cheer hearts that needed a little boost. Mine was thirsting for it after a seemingly quiet yet so chaotic week. Thanks to them, I remembered God’s faithfulness. I felt His assurance that all is well. I claimed as my own His promises. God reminded me to dream once again.

Thanks for jogging my memory.

(Pictures borrowed from http://r-czi.blogspot.com/ )

- He is in control.
- When God closes a door, He opens a window.
- In everything, never look down. Always look up.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

My days

Courage. Such a powerful word.

Different levels we use in different situations. I just wish that I could always wield the one I use with kids. It is so easy to tell them, without misgivings, things that should and should not be done.

How do we confront a friend who has chosen a path you know is not correct? How do you tell someone that you have had enough? How do you tell an elder person that he must change or else? How do you deal with your own hesitations and fears?

It is not a pill I could easily take. It must grow. Like a seed sprouting from the ground, it needs the hand of the Creator. But to lay claim to the nurturing rays of the sun, the sprouting plant must first rise above the ground.

- - - - -

It was the drop of water that caused the spill. The straw that broke that camel’s back. The end of the road.

And so I took the plunge. But not without a vest. Otherwise I would have drowned in my own tears.

The lap is not yet finished though. I need to reach the edge of the pool or the shores of the sea. To safety. Or what I think is my haven. I wonder where this swim would bring me.

- - - - - -

There are red days and yellow days. Always. In each and every month I encounter. The yellow days are sunny, bringing me sunshine smiles and tinkling laughter. The red days are hard. You travel down below. Can be for scientific explanations. Or for current situations. Sometimes, you don’t even know for what reasons.

I just thank God there aren’t too many red days. The yellows ones usually topple them.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Humbling images

I knew that it is not as clear as crystal. Otherwise I wouldn’t have taken part of a class and learned from the expert.

I knew that it requires a new way of looking at things. Otherwise I would have just settled by fixing my eyes on books and become trigger happy until I produced something majestic. Simpler, it might be. If I had the time, that is.

But it was not as simple as pointing your camera and just shooting whatever image you want to capture.

It is not just point, shoot and voila!

It needs the eye, the hand and most of all the mind.

Terms such as aperture, shutter speed, ISO became comprehensible. But new photo words came into the picture. Focal length, white balance, depth of field, exposure settings as well as compensation, metering patterns, bracketing technique, etc.

There are rules that must be broken and new rules to go after : rule of thirds, 30/60, bird and worm’s eyeview, dynamic balance, center of interest, etc.

Then regard always the elements of design : texture, shape, color and line. These are just the major ones. There are others to consider.

Bear all this in mind : , make sure that you are correctly framing the image, with the correct shutter speed, aperture opening, exposure, do not forget the rule of thirds, nor the point of interest which must be the sharpest amongst all the images, and try to imagine how it will look like, then shoot. But wait.! Keep your hand on the shutter button! You might need to keep the shutter open, so that there will be a trail effect of light.

Then again, after all the learning, there is still the application

Sent to capture pictures of the world but with certain objectives to subscribe to.

I went out. Took images. Applied what my mind was able to retain in such a short time of training. Came back and presented what I had seen. I succeeded in getting some but miserably failed in others.

15 hours are not enough.

Skills learned are meant to be practiced and perfected.

Now everywhere I go, wherever I look, I try to envision what could an object look like from a certain angle. I reflect on how should I be standing atop a building or even lying along the street just to illustrate something unique about the image.

It is not easy.

It is humbling.

The challenge has not ended. I still need to leave my old mindset. Open my eyes and see the possibilities.

Disclaimer : All photos are the attempts of an amateur photographer. Please keep to yourself all negative comments. :- )

Saturday, September 02, 2006


Everything that could go wrong seemed to have gone wrong. The bride felt sick the whole day. The wedding ceremony started an hour late. And then before the garden reception began, the heavens just opened and it rained . Soaking wet tables and chairs were transfered inside a small cramped room. A perfect sunset reception became a cozy, dripping wet dinner. But the bride and groom remained unfazed.

Throughout the celebration, all that could be felt was the love between the happy couple. They were all smiles during what the bride declares as the happiest moment of her life. I was a witness to hurdle-filled union that is made more remarkable for the overflowing of love. I bid you both, Dave and Malou, God's guidance as you embark on this journed called marriage.

It seemed impossible. But I did it anyway. Due to unforeseen circumstances, I did the unimaginable.

I wore jeans during a wedding.

And thus, I think I will never criticize anyone who is seemingly dressed improperly. For who is to know the real reason behind such "unsuitable" clothes?

Weddings deserve a lot of respect. Wear the appropriate clothes. But things happen. Been there, done that. Now, don't judge!

= = = =

Are you happy? I could have said yes and it would have been a lie. Or saaid no but this would have entailed endless questions that I was not ready to respond to.

Another question, this time, my own. How do you reply to this question from someone who, in reality, is the cause of your unhappiness?

You don't answer.

You pray.

Pray that somehow you will find a way to have the courage to say the truth. If not to that person's face then to someone else who might have some power to control the situation.

= = = =

Another boss left. In the few months that I worked under him, I have realized and learned a lot of things. Not the intellectual kind but something more important. The experience taught me that it doesn't matter how high they may be on the ladder of the career life. Foreign or local. Man or woman. All of us are human.

I have learned to be brave. I have learned to dare. I hope I remember this.

I wonder what the new boss will bring.

= = = =

Who am i to judge? I may do the same thing one day. But I have to say I felt sad. So sad that I cried. I cry for the choices we make that we know may not be right but still we insist.

There are things that you hoped for, you expected, you prayed for. But to each his own. We make our own choices. Still I feel that in some way, I have failed.

I got reminded though. In this world, we think our decisions only affect us. Not true. Somewhere, somehow, someone is crying.

All I can do now is pray.

We may hope for the best, but what if we didn't do the best?

O God!

= = = =

The last few weeks have been filled with "little" parties for despedidas and birthdays. It was an expensive month. But then, who would exchange any amount for such a great bunch of friends? Only the insane would do!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Wonderful Palawan

The weather wasn't about to let us get away with a planned outing. It just had to rain for straight 8 days before our arrival in Palawan. We were there at exactly the same time that the land could no longer soak in the rain water. It just had to flood.

Good thing there were other places to see in Palawan. Staying at the city, at Puerto Princesa, has its own advantages and beauty. Everything was walking distance or a 6-peso tricycle ride. There are various tourist spots. At the butterfly farm, there were, of course, butterflies! In different colors. Roaming around.

The Iwahig penal colony, with the prisoners roaming within, free to work the land, a semblance of freedom that is surely most sweet to those who experienced the nigthmare of Manila prisons.

I don't like looking down from an elevated area, especially if what you see are tens and tens of meat-eating crocodiles. Good thing they just had their meal or else they might not be that placid.

Decide to take the Honda Bay tour or in simple words... island hopping. I had fun swimming at Snake Island, named as such because of its shape. (I did see a coiled snake under the sea! And boy, did I readily leave that part of the sea!). I took a walk along one of the "hands" of the Starfish Island, with the water lapping around my feet. We had to forego a trip to Lilu Island (guess why? it is short for lulubog-lilitaw. Now, I hope you know why.) so as to visit the crocodile farm. But for sure, it would have shown me its own charms.

There abounded seafood and grilled or barbecued meat. Eat with a magnificent view of the sea. Enjoy your food in a restaurant surrounded with the artworks of a genius of an artist-owner. Just along the main road, there are small nipa huts for the tourists (and even the locals), who would want to experience eating with the provincial ambiance.

For us women, there is another wonderful thing. Everywhere you go, they offer those magnificent pearls. It seemed that we just couldn't help it but stop and see if there is something interesting to buy. And there always was.

But the most impressive? The people! Palawenos seem to ooze with kindness. It was disquieting at first. The never-ending questions. Where are you staying? Where are you from? How long are you going to be here? When did you arrive? What are you doing tomorrow? Have you been to the Underground River? How about a Honda Bay tour? In Manila, it would mean they are planning something fishy. Not in Palawan.

The van drivers who were very concerned. One waited just to make sure that we won't be stranded and brought us to a place where we could stay. Another offered to take our pictures beside touristic spots. It was so easy to ask a tricycle driver where are the good places to eat or buy the pasalubongs. Hotel staff who were most helpful. There was never that feeling that somehow they are trying to con you into something. They are honest. They are kind. They know how to take care of their tourists. They do this because they are proud of their land and knew that their future depends on visitors who must tell others to come also.

I will never forget the young boy who guided this water-fearing tourist --- > me! If not for his kindness, I wouldn't have seen those colorful fishes and missed the fun of feeding them bread from my hand! He was patient enough to point out the fishes and to suffer me holding onto his arm (despite the life vest, for the life of me, I cannot bear not to have something to hold on to!). Dove for starfishes to show us and even willing to take our pictures with them! Wonderful experience indeed!

Someday there will be a Palawan Trip 2!

Friday, August 11, 2006

Let me be

Why the nitty gritty details?

Why me? I ask with patience...

I pause, I try to smile again.

It happens everyday.

Can be fun yet at times tiring.

Just let me be, I pray again and again.

Make the rope longer.

I can do it except maybe today.

Sickness prevents me though it is no excuse.

It is over for now.

Still, it will the same thing tomorrow.

Thursday, August 03, 2006


My cakes so far...

The first one was from Goldilocks... called something like Mango Light. It was with other Embassy girls. We had a delicious lunch at this famous Japanese restaurant (why do I always forget the name?)...

The second was from Petit Four (my fave bakeshop ever! hahaha!)... with my dearest girlfriends...

Where will my next cake come from? : - )

My birthday has just began! :- )

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Getting older

In a week, I will be a year older. And I am wondering. How would I feel when I am a year older? I am inching my way into another decade. Would I feel what the others felt when they had to pass through a certain age? Panic. Worry. Fear. Friends have told me about it. Or instead... joy, wonder, peace. That I made this far. That I am still alive. That I experience new things for each new year that comes.


I am planning to review the year that is soon to pass. I have to remember things I have learned, people that made a difference in my life, relish the wonderful gifts God has given me, and even take a step back into the pains and tears that made me stronger.

In reality I am already a year older. Celebrating my birth date just formalizes it. I should not worry. I hope I will not.

Carpe Diem. Seize the Day. Angkinin ang Araw. The best years are yet to come! Praise God!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Sometimes special

I remember my first time to take a trip. It seemed so long ago when I first saw the daylight.

From the glass panes, I saw her pass me by several times. I was surprised to see her furrowed forehead, reflecting and trying to decide. I thought I knew what was in her mind. Was I respectable enough? Do I have what it takes to stand up to the demands of the occasion? After many minutes of suspense, I almost shouted with glee for she has chosen me.

Three years ago, on my first happening, I sauntered down a red carpet. It was during a wedding. The other events I have graced I have already forgotten. Except the one late last December. Another wedding but this time I had to take a plane.

Then just last week, I dignified another affair. To be exact, the evening of last Friday, July 14. I almost didn’t make it. I heard that she was looking to bring another along. Happily, there wasn’t enough time nor pleasing choices. She had to make do with me. And so once more, I had the time of my life. I am doing what I was meant to do.

I know though that my days are numbered. I am beginning to feel the wear and tear of time. My appearance shows it. The wrinkles, the dullness, the shedding of the outer layer.

I never had so many times out in the world but I knew that each one was special. I knew what it cost her to bring me out. I knew that, unrestrained, she would not have chosen me. There were others prettier, more eye-catching, more flattering. I later realized that she has chosen me for she was bound by a certain kind of regulation. I became familiar with her behavior, whenever she was in my company. Her steps become slower. Her eyes were often on the floor, always on guard for an alien object. The next thing that she would look for was a chair. I also knew that on the next day, the underside of her feet would be tender. If she walked or stood for so long, she would have a small abrasion.

I cherish the days I spent with her but I know they must come to an end someday. Maybe I would have another occasion to shine. I hope I will.

For now, lay me within the paper covering. Close the box. Put it inside the plastic bag. I am inside. For the time being.

Sunday, July 16, 2006


One week to the day. That was how long it took for my cat to once again stay at my lap. I could sense that she felt hurt and was very upset with me. She couldn’t understand how I could have left her on her own at the vet clinic.

For six days she was confined for a kidney problem. Her fondness for eating is directly opposite to her habit of drinking. Thus, an old problem with her kidney came back again. And this time, it was harsher. For almost six months, we observed her. But nothing changed except with her peeing habits (she had a harder time urinating, often there was blood in it). We tried giving her antibiotics and vitamins as prescribed by her doctor but it was so hard to make her take her medicine. She was losing weight. We had to make a decision.

And so one Monday morning, my brother and I braced ourselves for a difficult taxi ride to the vet. But it was okay, she was just meowing a lot. Just complaining for bringing her outside. We knew that we must leave her. She must pee . A lot. So that those things blocking her kidney and lining would be washed away. The best way? Dextrose.

I saw her again after 3 days. I myself called in sick at the office that day for a stomach problem but I just had to visit her. From the vet, I learned that she’s a crier. She kept on complaining and complaining all day and all night. Maybe calling out to us to bring her home. She shakes away hands that try to touch her paw that has a needle inserted into it.

I got so teary-eyed seeing her inside the cage, constantly crying yet not moving when I called to her to approach me. Even when the cage was opened and I tried to comfort her, she kept on meowing. It was like she was pleading to please take her back to her home.

I had no choice though. We still needed to wait for the second blood test that would show that her kidney is much better. And so I left.

Saturday evening we took her home. I noticed that she felt a bit lost. I know that she felt happy to be home yet still afraid that someone would take her out again. She was quiet for several days. Then I heard again those familiar sounds she makes whenever she is hungry and asks us to feed her. She began to brush against our feet.

But it was only today, as I did the signal of tapping my lap, that she came forward and jumped on my lap. She stayed curled for a few minutes, letting me hug her for a while. And then she jumped and left.

It might take another week or two before she returns to her usual self. I will just let her be. I know that as the days go by, it would become easier to call her to stay at my lap.


She might not have understood why we left he for a week. Or maybe she has forgotten already that frightful experience. But she has learned a very good lesson, she is now constantly drinking! :- )

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Bits and pieces

Hey JC! ( a friend who works in this company) Remebered you when I saw this... I call her the Coke Lady... :- ) I think this is a Coke-drinking country. Cheers!

What makes Rome dearer : Gelatto and Pizza!


Rome... oh Rome... one day, I will come back.

Lion Chaser Manifesto

Quit living as if the purpose of life is to arrive safely at death. Set God-sized goals. Pursue God-ordained passions. Go after a dream that is destined to fail without divine intervention. Keep asking questions. Keep making mistakes. Keep seeking God. Stop pointing out problems and become part of the solution. Stop repeating the past and start creating the future. Stop playing it safe and start taking risks. Expand your horizons. Accumulate experiences. Enjoy the journey. Find every excuse you can to celebrate everything you can. Live like today is the first day and last day of your life. Don't let what's wrong with you keep you from worshiping what's right with God. Burn sinful bridges. Blaze new trails. Criticize by creating. Worry less about what people think and more about what God thinks. Don't try to be who you're not. Be yourself. Laugh at yourself. Quit holding out. Quit holding back. Quit running away.

Chase the lion.

In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day by Mark Batterson (www.evotional.com)