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A beach trip

14 Jul

We commemorated our wedding anniversary with a very simple celebration… a sort of impromptu trip to the beach. Impromptu because everything was done at the last minute. If budget wasn’t an issue, I would have planned an activity or a vacation way ahead of time. But since it was, we didn’t have definite plans how to celebrate our 7th anniversary. Also, we weren’t sure if Eugene’s schedule would allow him to be away from work. He asked permission just a couple of days earlier and thankfully, he was allowed to take a leave.

Selfie galore. Our little one (LO) seems afraid of the boat ride with the way she held unto her Tatay. Or she was just sleepy.

And then a day before we were supposed to travel to the beach our little one (LO) had a runny nose which made me ‘paranoid’ because the last time she had a runny nose (just a month ago) she got confined the following day (for the 3rd time in just a span of five months) for pneumonia. Apparently, my LO’s lungs (and immune system) are weak so a simple cough or cold could escalate quickly into pneumonia. So I had second thoughts if we should push through with the trip we’ve been wanting to go to since summer but got canceled.

Our LO enjoyed her first beach experience…the sand and the waves were all new to her.

Because going to a resort is out of the question, I contacted an old classmate of mine who lives beside the beach and unashamedly asked him if he could accommodate us and tour us around (yes, gan’on ka-kapal ang mukha ko). I and my classmates had been to his house when we were in college and I remember that we went on a boat trip before. What prompted me to contact him was his Facebook post of their new boat early last summer.

7 years of togetherness…and a baby.

It was just a day trip and we didn’t really swim but just hung out by the beach. We were supposed to go to the Malabrigo Lighthouse but halfway through the waves got strong so Russel, my classmate, decided to go back lest we won’t be able to later if we decided to proceed with the boat trip.

We went with my family (my mom and sister). This shot is with my classmate, Russel. Thank you so much for hosting us.

We thank God for the gift of marriage and for His faithfulness to us for 7 years.

Batangas is known for its beaches. There are no five-star resorts here but I love this place because it is still undiscovered and undeveloped so not a lot of people go here and is, therefore, clean. Hope it remains this way but this place is already being detected by the radar as I’ve been reading about it in blogs recently.

Credits to my sister for the photos.

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Family trip: Dumaguete 2017

4 Jun

While we were unloading our luggages upon arriving in the airport, Eugene said that he left his backpack in GCF (where we came from). It contained his laptop which contained his sermon notes so without second thoughts, he went back.

The funny thing is, while Eugene was locking up our luggages and was about to book an Uber, we saw two friends on their way to Batangas and he jokingly asked them if they would like to drive us to the airport. They obliged. And so Eugene was happy to have gotten a free ride to the airport… only to actually pay double the taxi fare later on because of the bag he accidentally left.

The first agenda of our trip… Eugene preaching at Dumaguete Christian Church (DCC).

Not only did Eugene left his backpack. When our luggages were weighed when we checked-in for our flight, we exceeded our baggage allowance for the plane ride. Ha! I somehow got a feeling we would actually be doing so, inspite of packing as lightly as I could, bringing clothes less than the number of days we would be staying in Dumaguete.

Reunited with Gran’ma Maya.

Eugene readily obliged to pay PhP 800 as penalty for exceeding 4 kg beyond our luggage weight limit. I, however, was not willing to ‘dispose’ that amount so I tried to negotiate with the airline crew and asked if we could forego it. ‘Di tumalab yung charm ko. Tsk! (Minsan daw kasi nadadaan sa pakiusap, ‘pag maayos yung pag-request mo). To avoid paying the penalty, we just hand carried Eugene’s luggage.

And that’s how our trip started… we haven’t even left Manila yet and I was feeling stressed already. I was just so thankful that we went to the airport early so Eugene had enough time to get his bag and travel back to the airport. And also that it was a Saturday so traffic was relatively light. Imagine if we didn’t leave home early and if it was a weekday. And imagine if Eugene didn’t make it back to the airport on time. I was also thankful that Eugene’s luggage was small enough to be hand carried.

Eugene preached on ‘Encountering Jesus’ on the Sunday morning before the start of the youth camp.

Ministry

We traveled to Dumaguete because Eugene served as speaker in the youth camp of Dumaguete Christian Church (DCC), a church attended mostly by Chinese in Eugene’s hometown. Pastor Thomas Sioson, their Youth Pastor who was Eugene’s classmate (in high school as well as in college in Silliman), invited him to talk to their youth on ‘rising above the label of being a mellenial’, the theme for DCC’s 4th summer camp held from May 21 to 26 in Camp Seasite in Banilad, Dumaguete.

Lunch with Elder Emmanuel Ho after Eugene preached. We are very grateful for Elder Emmanuel because he has extended a lot of effort in accommodating us during the camp.

Before the camp started, Eugene also preached in DCC the following morning after our arrival. The camp officially started after DCC’s Worship Service that Sunday, in the afternoon, and Eugene had his first speaking session that evening.

We had a blessed time serving and ministering in Dumaguete. It is always good to go to a church and meet new people you share the same faith with. Though Eugene already knows a few people in DCC or at least some faces are familiar with him since Dumaguete is just a small town that it’d not be unusual to meet people you know in small get togethers.

Eugene giving the message on the second night of the camp.

“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.” –Colossians 3:1-3

This was the theme verse of the camp. In addition to Eugene’s exposition on this Bible verse on the first night, he talked about the life of Jonah for the rest of the sessions. There were about 60 campers who went to the camp. I am sorry to say, though, that we had very limited interaction with them. I, however, would say that they were receptive of the messages and were very honest in sharing their struggles and in asking questions.

The theme of the camp.

Camp culture

Unlike our youth camps in our church where we have plenary sessions in the morning, in the afternoon, and in the evening, the sessions in DCC’s youth camp were held only in the evening. I couldn’t actually believe when, before the camp, Eugene said he was speaking and, therefore, would go to the camp site only in the evening. I kept asking him if he’s sure with such arrangement and if he wouldn’t be needed in the camp during the day because I’m used to having our speakers present with us for the whole duration when we have our youth camp in our church.

Lunch with a DCC member’s family at Dong Juan.

It turned out such schedule worked for us. It afforded us time to relax during the day and we were not pressured to wake up early and be in a hurry to eat breakfast and get dressed in the morning… a very difficult ordeal when you have a baby. Haha. And even though the sessions were scheduled from 8 to 9 PM, it was not tiring at all as we were rested during the day. After each session, we were immediately brought back to the hotel (which is just a five-minute drive away) so we were not out nor didn’t stay up late either. If there is one thing we were thankful to do in Dumaguete, it was to catch up with sleep and relax and slow down a bit.

We did, however, go to the camp site in the morning twice. One was just to visit and see what the kids are up to during the day. Even though their plenary sessions were held in the evenings, they were still loaded during the day as they had activities, workshops, and trainings, e.g., the kids were taught how to do inductive bible studies as one of their training-workshops.

They also have what we in our church call love notes just like we do in our youth camps. Here they write messages to fellow campers as well as to the staff.

The second time we went to the camp in the morning was for a Q&A session. This was a session where the campers asked anything they wanted to the speaker (Eugene) and boy were their questions deep! Of course there were the usual questions on love and courtship and Christianity but I (nor Eugene, I suppose) did not expect the campers to ask about predestination, election, free will, Calvinism, and the like. Seriously! I was already an adult when I started to ask about those things. I didn’t even know anything about Calvinism until I was over 25 years old. The campers who asked about these things? They were just high school and college students!

Two campers playing with our little one.

Not only that, after the session, (some of) the boys couldn’t seem to have enough of their questions answered that they had an extended session with Eugene in an informal small group setting. I asked Eugene what did these boys ask. He just said the usual stuff about love and courtship. The session kasi was bitin. Eugene’s answers to the questions raised during the Q&A were long kaya only a few were asked. I think there are a lot of questions still lined up but the one-hour time allotted for it was already up. Anyway, I think an exclusive Q&A session is a very good idea to include in a camp as it would be a fun and learning session for everyone.

The elders and leaders of DCC were very much involved, too. They visited the camp and were present during the plenary sessions. Actually, during the Worship Service in their church before the camp started, it was announced that their prayer meeting for that week was cancelled as the members were encouraged to attend the camp instead. Parents also visited their kids. Back in 2014, Eugene has also been invited as a speaker in a youth camp (of a Chinese christian church, too) in Cebu and I remember that their pastor and leaders and parents of the campers visited and attended the plenary sessions of the camp, too.

This is the camp site which is interestingly called “Camp Seasite” in Banilad, Dumaguete. It’s not far from the town proper, just a few minutes drive.

The camp site is a single-storey structure mainly made of bamboo and nipa and is located beside a beach and a mangrove. The session hall, dining hall, and sleeping quarters are all located within the same building and are non-airconditioned. I even saw a tuko (monitor lizard) one time when we were there. A total of six kids occupy a room. The campers themselves served their meals and washed their dishes. It reminded me when I went to IVCF’s month-long Kawayan Camp way back in 2001 where we slept in kubos and also did the dishes.

Some of the campers washing the dishes after a meal.

Now, if there’s one thing that DCC’s and our church’s youth have in common, it’s the music and how they have their praise and worship time. The songs, the band, the dim lights, they were exactly the same Eugene actually said he felt like he was home.

The camp started on Sunday afternoon and ended on Friday morning. Eugene spoke in a total of five plenary sessions plus the Q&A during the six-day long youth camp.

Our little one (LO) playing with Pastor Thomas’ little one. Our LO loves to hug other babies.

Vacation

The rest of our stay in Dumaguete is the vacation part. We mostly spent the rest of our time hanging out and dining out with Eugene’s family. (And motorbiking around town… because it is something we wouldn’t dare do in Metro Manila). We wanted to go to Negros Occidental to visit Eugene’s only surviving aunt (on his father’s side) to let her see our little one (LO). And also to make a side trip to Bacolod but we were not able to do so. Sad. We also didn’t, even for a day or half, go to a beach! Too bad, I thought our LO would be able to go to the beach for the first time. Sayang. I could only console myself and say, “next time.”

During the Q&A session on the 5th day of the camp.

I also celebrated my 37th birthday in Dumaguete. There wasn’t anything special we did, we (with Eugene’s family) just had dinner at Lantaw, the most famous restaurant in Dumaguete right now, I think, as it is always full regardless of the day or time. The place is already big so imagine when I say it is full. There must be more than 150 persons dining all at the same time. My birthday was on a Monday and when we went there we had to wait for quite some time as we were 15th in line.

All in all, we had a blessed and meaningful time of ministry in Dumaguete and also with family. It is always a joy to serve and minister to fellow brothers and sisters in Christ and we praise and thank God for the opportunity. We didn’t plan nor expect this trip so it was a blessing to go home to Eugene’s hometown and be with his family.

Hubby with his friend Pastor Thomas who invited Eugene to serve as the speaker for their youth camp.

We are very grateful to DCC and to their leaders and members for the very warm welcome and generous treatment we have received from them. We are very sorry we cannot remember your names but we would like to thank everyone who has hosted us for lunch or dinner and for the accommodation and transportation provided for us. Thank you especially to Elder Emmanuel Ho who has extended the most effort to accommodate us.

After the Q&A, the boys still had a lot of questions that they had an informal extended session with Eugene afterwards.

Of course, all these wouldn’t have been possible if not for the invitation of their Youth Pastor so to Pastor Thomas, thank you! Thank you for inviting us and for giving us the opportunity to serve and minister to your church.

We give God the glory.

Here are some more photos during our trip:

Dinner with another member’s family at Mooon Cafe. There was another member who hosted us for dinner but we were not able to take a picture with them.

On the last night of the camp, the campers washed each other’s feet as part of their Dedication Night.

Group picture with all the campers.

These boys took a selfie when I gave them my camera and asked one of them to take a picture of us with Pastor Thomas, his family, and Elder Emmanuel.

With Pastor Thomas and his wife and Elder Emmanuel. This was taken on our last night in camp after Eugene gave the final message and the challenge to the campers.

I bugged Eugene to take a photo with the banner bearing his name but he refused.

With Elder Emmanuel and his wife. This was taken on the last day of camp when they fetched us from the hotel to drive us to the house where we lived for the rest of our stay in Dumaguete.

Dinner with Eugene’s family in Gabby’s.

Lunch with Eugene’s family at Mooon Cafe after the Worship Service in First Baptist Church on the second Sunday we were in Dumaguete.

Dinner with Eugene’s family in Lantaw on my birthday.

Eating streetfood at the Boulevard, the road overlooking the sea.

Our little one turns 1

21 Mar

We praise God we were able to pull off a party as our Little One (LO) turned one. I don’t have skills to host a party so organizing one was by the grace of God. We also praise God because we were able to celebrate our daughter’s first birthday and dedication in a special way.

Eugene giving his testimony on how we have been ministered to by Shiphrah.

When our LO was just a few months old, Eugene and I would casually talk about how we would like to celebrate her first birthday and dedication. I’m not really into parties (I always opt for a private celebration of personal or family events). But because she is our first born (which took us five-six years before we had her) and turning one is a major milestone (which I think deserves a celebration and because we didn’t celebrate her month-saries), something in me as a mother wanted to throw a party for her. But Eugene and I wanted it to be a simple celebration, something unique, something that would be meaningful to us as a family, and something that we hope she would appreciate when we tell her the story when she grows up.

Jeri Gunderson sharing what HELP Ministries is.

It was actually Eugene who came up with the idea of having it done in Shiphrah, the birthing home where our LO was born. We have been ministered by their care when I gave birth there last year and since then we have wanted to be able to minister to them, too. We’ve actually long wanted to let our friends know about it. We’ve also long wanted to visit the place again to say hi to the staff there especially to Ate Lorni and Ate Belle, my midwives. So when Eugene thought of the idea, I readily agreed and thought it would be the opportunity we’ve been hoping for. There would be no other better place to celebrate our LO’s first birthday and dedication than in the place where she was born with the people who helped me birth her. And to “return the favor” to Shiphrah, we thought of raising funds for them by requesting our guests to make an offering to Shiphrah in lieu of giving gifts for our LO.

Ate Lorni Bagro, one of my midwives, giving her testimony.

The party went well (I think so). It was short and simple but with the aim to introduce HELP International Ministries, Inc. (the missions organization that operates Shiphrah Birthing Home and ‘the little children’s home’, an orphanage) to our friends. Eugene and I started the program by sharing our testimonies after which Jeri Gunderson, Founder and Director of HELP, and Deborah Gustafson, Jeri’s daughter who also works for HELP, shared what the ministry is. Workers from ‘the little children’s home’ and my midwives from Shiphrah also shared their testimonies. After the highlights on HELP, Pastor Erik Dizon officiated the dedication ceremony. We then did the “traditional” (cup)cake candle blowing then Eugene closed the program in prayer. That was it. Short and simple. Of course, fellowship over simple refreshments followed after.

Pastor Erik Dizon praying a prayer of dedication.

Grateful

We are very grateful to God and to a lot of people who have helped us for our LO’s first birthday celebration and dedication. I still plan to personally thank each of them but I will still mention them here. In no particular order, we are thankful to…

Parang napaka-OA o scripted ng kuha namin. Hahaha.

  • The Handog family who have given a lot of their time, effort, and resources in helping me plan this celebration. They also made the decors, set-up the place, and sponsored the sweets for dessert.
  • Kuya Api and Ate Chette, Jon and Mayette, John and Rajsh, and to Caleb and to Luan, for accepting our request to stand as ninongs and ninangs (godparents) to our LO.
  • Ate Bettylyn who also helped out in setting-up the place.
  • Jeri Gunderson who I coordinated with in HELP. Thank you for letting us hold the party in Shiphrah.
  • Ate Lorni and Ate Belle and to the other staff of HELP for sharing their testimonies.
  • Caleb for the drinks and for all the other help that day.
  • Rajsh for serving as emcee and for the icebreaker game.
  • Nino for taking the pictures.
  • Pastor Erik Dizon for officiating the dedication ceremony.
  • Karen and Teacher Angel for lending the songs we played.
  • Carol (Sweet Caroline’s Cakes) for making the cupcakes.

Our family.

    • Alyssa for lending your photo frame.
    • To all our friends who came and to those who gave offerings whether you came or were not able to. Total offerings received during the event amounted to PhP 21,000, exclusive of those who gave/will give directly to HELP. Thank you so much for this. Thank you also to those who have pledged to give directly to HELP.
    • Thank you also to those who gave gifts to our LO in addition to the offerings they gave to HELP. We couldn’t be more thankful.
    • The Barrera family for donating their old children’s books to ‘the little children’s home’.
    • For the new relationships that were formed. I don’t know yet the details but I know that connections were formed between members of my local Church GCF (Greenhills Christian Fellowship) and HELP and there were initial talks for our friends to minister to them. We pray these plans would materialize.
    • Most of all, we are grateful to God for allowing us to have this celebration. To be honest, I wanted to cancel it two weeks before the event because our LO got sick and was confined in a hospital twice (you can read about her confinement the first time here and the second time here). Thankfully, the party pushed through. We are thankful for our LO who gives us so much joy. We are also thankful for the strength and wisdom God has given us in our first year as parents. We know there are more hardships to come but we are confident God will be there for us.

    The staff of HELP International Ministries, Inc.

          HELP International Ministries, Inc.

          Taken from their website and Facebook page.

          HELP International Ministries, Inc. is a family organization that ministers to their community by showing God’s love through practical ways of providing hospitality and care. It operates ‘the little children’s home’, an orphanage that provides a loving and nurturing home for children who are in need of tender loving care until they are born into their forever families, and Shiphrah, a birthing home which provides dignified personal maternal health care to women.

          Our LO’s ninongs and ninangs. We don’t expect gifts on special occasions but please make sure to pray for her and for us parents.

          Shiphrah is close to my heart because I have personally experienced their care. Their midwives have been instrumental for my birth experience. (If you are patient and willing enough you can read my very long birth story here). It is also close to my heart because more than just a birthing home, it is a ministry so there is more than just helping women give birth. Their primary ministry is to their immediate community in Taytay, Rizal but it has “gained popularity” within the gentle birth community that pregnant mothers travel as far as from Bulacan, Laguna, and Cavite just to go to prenatal check-ups and give birth there. Mothers actually have been raving about Shiphrah. Though a lot of first time mothers go there, too, I’ve noticed that most who go there are 2nd (or 3rd or 4th) time mothers who wanted to have a better birth experience after their hospital births. A lot of them are VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) moms, too.

          I need to have a picture taken by the dessert bar courtesy of the Handog family.

          I hope to share to pregnant mothers that you can have a say and a choice when it comes to childbirth. Midwives at Shiphrah are professionals and they are trained for birth emergencies. They would also require you to have a back-up doctor and a plan just in case hospital transfers are required. They are trained to recognize complications early on. They would also refer you to an OB-Gyne if you have risk factors that necessitates medical care. So you could be sure you are in good hands. I have been ministered by their care that sometimes I want to be a birth educator or a midwife or a doula so I can also minister to other mothers in this way. But by simply letting people know about HELP and about Shiphrah, I hope I have already ministered to both of them.

          With Eugene’s co-workers, the GCF staff.

            If you want to give

            For those who gave an offering, thank you so much again and please know that your gifts would be used for the renovation of Shiphrah Birthing Home and for the continuing education and certification of their midwives as required by the Department of Health.

            Do check out HELP International Ministries‘ website to know more about ‘the little children’s home’ and Shiphrah Birthing Home.

            Follow also their Facebook page.

            If you want to make an offering, you may check this link.

            Thank you once again to all.

            We give God the glory.

            With Growth Group-mates.

            With friends from Dumaguete.

            With the rest of our friends.

            With the Handog family (Pastor Art, Ate Rose, and Yayeeh) and Ate Bettylyn and her daughter Hannah who all helped out with decorating the place.

            Sick again (and hopefully this would be the last)

            8 Mar

            Baby’s becoming a suki of The Medical City.

            That may sound funny but, seriously, a recurrent pneumonia and another round of hospital confinement just after a month is really not funny at all. (Read about the first time here).

            Passing time in the hospital. When you’re stuck in such a place, it’s very difficult to keep a toddler entertained.

            It all started on Wednesday… or Tuesday, if my theories are correct (kasi pinagmunimunihan ko talaga pano at bakit nagkasakit ulit si Baby while I was alone in the hospital). Eugene’s sister, her husband, and another family friend will be coming over for a vacation. As my OC-ness would have it, I wanted the house to be clean. Well, I’ve been meaning to have our house spring-cleaned for the longest time (since we moved in) but I just couldn’t find the time. So I took this opportunity to do so. I hired a couple of cleaners to do the job last Tuesday and that involved a lot of dust and the smell of (floor) wax which I think caused Baby’s hingal (short breathing) and triggered her pneumonia. Well, at least this is my theory because I’ve reviewed where we’ve been the past month and wala talaga kaming pinuntahan where Carissa could have been exposed. We mostly stayed at home. We go to Church on weekends but I don’t think she could’ve gotten it there. We’ve been to the mall twice but it was a very quick trip, mga less than two hours lang siguro.

            So I had our house cleaned. I asked my mother-in-law, Nanay, to look after Baby while I also cleaned and supervised the cleaners. She brought Baby outside the house in the morning. But after lunch, since it was hot outside, she brought her instead to our room which was freshly waxed. They stayed there until we all finished cleaning late in the afternoon. Since I was also busy, I forgot that the room still smelled wax. (I should’ve not allowed them to stay there). Also, the sun, which shines directly in our room in the afternoon, was pretty much out so the heat was really intense that day. Wax fumes + heat = not a good combination for a baby. I did turn on the aircon later on but I think an hour has already passed with Baby and Nanay inside the room when I did so.

            That was Tuesday, February 28. Wednesday afternoon Carissa started to have occassional coughs and I could tell by the sound of it that it would eventually be a full-blown one. True enough, the following day, Thursday, her coughs were a little bit worse than the previous day. I nebulized her that morning hoping it would prevent the cough from getting worse. In the afternoon, she started to be hingal.

            Again, I was hesitant to bring her to the ER because, first, she was not matamlay at all. She was playful. Also, she did not have a fever. She was normally malikot except for her hingal. Third is because her Tita et. al would be arriving the following day and we have plans of touring them around the city (okay, so I was FOMO). So I prayed hard for Baby to be well. And because I prayed, I believed it was nothing serious and in the morning she will be well as if nothing happened at all. Lastly, I didn’t want to bother Eugene with bringing Baby to the ER because he will be fetching our guests early the following morning and would be driving them around. He was just recently diagnosed with cardiomyopathy so I didn’t want him to get very tired.

            Hospitalized the second time for pneumonia after just a month.

            But Carissa’s breathing did not improve even after I nebulized her again in the early evening. In fact, it got worse towards the night. Still, because I was praying, I was hopeful that Baby would get well. I wanted to wait the following morning to see if she will improve after sleeping through the night.

            Now even if I was hesitant to go to the ER I was struggling and wondering (again) if I’m making the right decision. Carissa was really breathing fast. With her previous pneumonia a month ago she was breathing fast but it was just that. Hingal lang. This time, not only was she breathing fast, she was breathing hard and her chest and tummy was palpitating with every breath. The space in the middle of her collar bone just under the neck (what do you call that?), it was being drawn inward with each breath. I thought it was asthma. Finally, around 11 PM (it took me that long to decide), I finally asked Eugene to drive us to The Medical City (we had a borrowed car that night to tour her family the following day).

            Upon checking Baby in the ER, the doctor-on-duty said it sounded like it’s pneumonia again (and not asthma as I thought it was). And after a while, she apologetically asked if it’s okay for Baby to be admitted again.

            Again? She was admitted just a month ago for pneumonia!

            The doctor wanted her admitted because of her hingal. I know it was of particular concern because that was one of the major indications why she got admitted the first time. Pero dahil nga kaaadmit nya lang isang bwan pa lang ang nakakalipas, ayoko sana ipaadmit sya ulit.

            Baby was very masigla and malikot. She doesn’t seem to be sick at all. Whenever she’s awake I had to constantly tell her not to play with the gadgets.

            I tried to negotiate with the ER doctor (who was, thank God, very kind) and asked if home treatment would be possible. She said she will have Baby nebulized again and if her breathing will improve, we can go home. She also ordered an x-ray to be done on her (again).

            Well, hindi nawala hingal ni Baby after the nebulization in the ER so she got admitted again. I got really, really sad when the doctor said it was pneumonia again (confirmed through the x-ray). I knew then that I had no choice.

            What followed were the necessary routine procedures. Dating gawi. Another stressful night. Of course, she was again inserted with an IV line through which her medications will be given. The last time there was only one failed attempt to insert it on her hand. This time the nurses had three failed attempts. They tried inserting it on her left hand, then on her right hand, then on her left foot, before finally successfully inserting it in her right foot. Buti naman naipasok din kasi wala na syang extrang kamay at paa kung san pa pwede next. (That’s why the veins in her hands and feet are clearly visible now due to these failed IV insertions). She cried the whole time. Nakakaawa.

            When we got in our room (which was about 5 AM), I told Eugene to sleep at least for an hour before driving to fetch her sister from the airport. I am really concerned he doesn’t tire himself much because of his heart condition.

            If before I had Nanay with me during our stay in the hospital, this time I was alone because her daughter and son-in-law were in town so of course she had to be with them. Eugene also had to be with them to drive them around. So I was left alone. Ang lungkot lang. They did visit us twice but they stayed only for a short time. Eugene actually came and slept in the evening but he arrives late and leaves early in the morning. So I’m pretty much alone the whole time (except for the few friends who visited).

            If her IV did not get dislodged, we wouldn’t have been discharged a day earlier. She was so likot her IV always gets stretched like this.

            I’m also saddened that Carissa was given stronger antibiotics as well as steroids. The doctor explained that because it was only a month since her last pneumonia, a stronger antibiotic was needed. If it was more than six months ago na daw, they could give the same one given to her before. (Sa lahat naman ng iniiwasan ko ehyung magantibiotic si Baby… tapos twice pa sya nabigyan nang wala pang one year old. Nalulungkot talaga ako).

            And because Baby wasn’t responding to the nebulizations (hindi mawalawala hingal nya even after the second day and after increasing the frequency of her nebulizations to every four hours), the doctor prescribed to give her steroids. Kaya I really have a feeling her pneumonia was caused by the smell of the floor wax and not by the bug kasi if it was a bug, i think her symptoms would have been the same as before (fever, matamlay) and she would respond well with her initial medications as she did before. Pero hindi. She had fever and she was matamlay before (the first time she had pneumonia a month ago) so it was pretty sure she had an infection. This time, she didn’t have any fever and was very masigla and malikot (as in super likot para ngang wala syang sakit). Hingal lang talaga. So I think she didn’t have any infections, inflamed langyung airways kaya hindi mawalawalayung hingal nya… which is malamang dahil sa amoy ng floor wax. Again, this is just my theory. I did tell the doctor about this and she seemed to agree so I guess my theory’s correct. Hehe.

            Thankfully, Baby responded immediately to the steroids. Actually, I negotiated again with the doctor if we could avoid the steroids and just wait for the hingal to subside. But the doctor said she has extended enough time to see if Baby would improve with the nebulizations (true enough the doctor has been very gracious to all my requests) but still she hasn’t by the second day. It was only in the evening of the second day that the doctor gave steroids.

            At dahil mahilig talaga ako makipag-negotiate, every time the doctor would visit us, I would always ask how long will we stay in the hospital and jokingly tell her uwi na kami. We were supposed to be discharged Monday noon but Baby’s IV got dislodged (sa kalikutan) Sunday early afternoon so they removed it. Instead of reinserting it again, the doctor just decided to start giving her medicines orally. So again, I negotiated with the doctor if we can go home already (since there were no medications to be given through the IV anymore). Pumayag naman (I thought hindi sya papayag because that morning medyo hindi pa clear lungs ni Baby). Actually, if I have company, I wouldn’t mind staying as long as the doctor would recommend. But I was alone. So I wanted to get out of the hospital ASAP kasi nadedepress nako don. Thank God the doctor was really kind and allowed us to go home.

            Sigh.

            This is a day after getting out of the hospital. Last dinner with Eugene’s family before they’ve gone back home to the province the following day.

            I, at least, still got to spend a day with Eugene’s family before they left early Tuesday morning. Happy for that one.

            Lord, sana po last nato. Please restore Carissa’s health and make her immune system strong again. Madami pa po kaming naka-schedule na adventures this year. Amen!

            Back-to-back hospital confinement

            22 Feb

            Baby

            It’s been more than a week since Baby Carissa and Eugene got discharged from the hospital. Yes, both of them almost at the same time got confined for pneumonia.

            As if caring for a sick baby in a hospital is not stressful already, how much more when your husband also needs to be admitted? To be honest, I am very much dependent on Eugene. So to be without him to care for Carissa was really overwhelming. Thank God my mother-in-law was with us (and that she didn’t get sick) so I got help.

            This place was home for four days.

            Eugene was already sick with cough and asthma the past week before he got admitted. I even told him we can skip the wedding we attended last February 4 (Saturday) so he could rest because his cough sounded really bad. But we still pushed through because he said he feels well enough to drive. It was cold at the venue of the wedding, like Baguio-like or Tagaytay-like cold. And I think it may have been the cause of Baby Carissa getting pneumonia. She had a runny nose then which I thought was a simple allergy since she ‘regularly’ gets a runny nose without getting seriously sick. The following day, Sunday, she was absolutely normal (except for the runny nose) and active. So it was quite surprising when she ran a fever in the evening when we got home from Church. Eugene was also not getting any better. The following day, Monday, February 6, Baby woke up still with a fever, matamlay, cranky, extra clingy, and breathing fast.

            I don’t usually bring Carissa to the doctor nor give her any medication when she has a cough/cold (unless it goes beyond 10 – 14 days), as long as she is her normal happy self, playful and active. But that Monday morning, she was different. I couldn’t put her down for a second. She didn’t want to play at all. She just cried and cried. Even if she fell asleep in my arms she didn’t want to be put down. She wanted to sleep on my chest the whole time. She was not her normal self.

            Eugene (who was supposed to go to the doctor) asked if I wanted to bring Carissa to the ER in The Medical City (TMC). I was a bit hesitant because I was thinking it was just an ordinary cough and would eventually clear up in a few days. If I need to have her checked, I would like to go to her pediatrician but his clinic was scheduled on the next afternoon at 5 PM (Tuesday). His clinic was also far (St. Luke’s QC). But since Baby was not playful and active, I had second thoughts if I’m making the right decision of not having her checked.

            So I then thought of bringing her to Dr. Senseng (in TMC), another pedia who we have been considering of switching to. But her secretary said she was canceling her clinic the following morning. My last choice was Dr. Sua (also in TMC), a pediatric pulmonologist who I was able to come upon based from a previous web research and after reading good reviews about her. She had a clinic that afternoon but I couldn’t reach it to ask if we could still be accommodated since she only accepts patients with appointments.

            Honestly, I was really hesitant to go to the hospital because I couldn’t contact a doctor. I wanted to bring her to a doctor of my choice, not in the ER. All the while I was calm thinking it’s just an ordinary cough. I just needed to breastfeed her a lot. But she had a fever (which she never had the past times she had a cough) and was breathing fast (which her doctor said was a warning sign). I put my ear on Carissa’s chest and…that’s when I started to worry! It sounded like horses racing in a racetrack! About lunchtime, she also started to have loose and frequent bowel movements. Eugene wanted to bring her already to the ER. And I knew I needed to agree with that. I tried to call Dr. Sua’s clinic for the last time and, gratefully, I was able to reach her secretary who said we should be in by 5 PM so we could be accommodated.

            When we got to TMC at around 4 PM, I told Eugene to go have himself checked by his doctor so we could be efficient and finish quickly (and because he is also very sick, too). But he accompanied us first because he thought Baby might need to be admitted so he would have to go home to get some stuff and he said he wouldn’t be able to do that if he himself needs to be admitted. (So he sort of had a feeling they would be admitted). I thought he was over reacting. Admitted? Com’on, it was just a simple cough. I was very optimistic it was nothing serious and Baby would get well in no time.

            I didn’t want to but Baby Carissa needed to be confined for pneumonia.

            Well, it turned out it was serious (pneumonia) and both of them needed to be admitted. Upon checking Carissa, the doctor said she had every indication for admission. And so began a long night for us.

            Now I’m not really fond of hospitals. I chose not to give birth in a hospital because I don’t like going through the long process of admission, interviews by residents and/or clerks, and routine medical procedures. And there I was, going through all of them for my little one. She was nebulized, given medicine, had an x-ray, pricked for a blood sample, and was inserted an IV, and, the saddest part which I have been trying to avoid, given antibiotic. She cried in all the procedures done to her. It was not a loud cry, though, not like a tantrum, but a weak one like she’s too exhausted to cry. She must be since she also lost her appetite and had decreased her feedings that day.

            We were at the ER at about 5 PM (Dr. Sua adviced us to go through the ER instead of getting admitted directly). We were able to check in our room at about midnight Monday evening. Already exhausted and very sleepy, there were interns who still interviewed me about Baby’s case when I arrived in our room.

            Hubby

            Now for Eugene’s story. As I have mentioned he was also sick (actually, he was the first to get sick). He got back at the hospital after getting our stuff from home an hour or two after midnight Monday (so it was already Tuesday). He set an appointment with her doctor Tuesday afternoon. He was 15th in line so he hung out in our room first to wait for the secretary who promised to call him when it’s about his turn to be seen by the doctor. The secretary didn’t call and when he got back at the doctor’s clinic, it was already closed. So he went to the ER instead but not before having dinner. So Eugene got checked really late already (and he has been sick for several days by then and his cough was really, really bad). The next I heard from him was Wednesday morning when he told me he also needed to be admitted.

            Now it’s a little more complicated with Eugene. He was also admitted for pneumonia (and asthma). To check for pneumonia he had an x-ray and the results not only confirmed the pneumonia but also showed he had an enlarged heart. Her doctor then ordered for him to undergo a 2D-echo and an angiogram during his confinement. These tests revealed he has a weak heart. He was diagnosed to have cardiomyopathy (now I can’t explain why or how).

            Video call with Tatay who was also confined four floors higher. Photo by my sister Ruth.

            Eugene stayed a day longer than Carissa did not only because he had to undergo tests for his heart but because his pneumonia also took time to heal. We had to leave Eugene at the hospital without a companion when Baby got discharged. I felt really, really sad I couldn’t take care of him. Imagine being sick in a hospital alone? I would die of sadness more than my sickness. I was also not there during his angiogram because Eugene didn’t want to bring Baby back to the hospital and I couldn’t look for a baby sitter that time. Add to that the worry of what the results of the angiogram would be. I was depressed that Saturday, crying and praying the whole day.

            Grateful

            But now we are all well and back home together (again). I have learned a lesson I know all too well in my mind but something that takes God’s grace to apply… that no matter how much I take care (and take control) of my family, things will not always turn out the way I had planned and prayed for them to be. But we have God who is in perfect control. We are thankful we are all well now and that God saw us through. Here are some other things we praise God and are grateful for:

            • That I was able to find a doctor for Carissa who I am comfortable with and who I trusted. I’m choosy of doctors and I like how Dr. Sua responded patiently to all my questions and her method of treatment for her patients.
            • That we were able to bring Baby to the hospital before anything worse could have happened to her.
            • For Nanay, who was with us and was able to help us and that she did not get sick (she also had a cough during our stay in the hospital).
            • That I did not get sick (I actually felt like I was the next).
            • For Dra. Bebet Sebastian who extended a lot of help to us. She checked on Nanay daily while in the hospital and gave her medicines. She even had our laundry washed. She also checked on Eugene regularly and she was the one who accompanied Eugene during the angiogram giving me a real-time update of what was happening as well as the results. She also helped us when we were processing Eugene’s discharge.
            • That Eugene’s heart condition was diagnosed. While I am not thankful that he got pneumonia, we are thankful that through it his cardiomyopathy was diagnosed. He was also x-rayed a week (or two) before his confinement but during that time his heart was clear. If not for the pneumonia, who knows how or when would it be diagnosed? Things could be worse but we believe it was God’s perfect timing.
            • That Eugene doesn’t have any clogged arteries.
            • For my sister Ruth who came when I asked for extra help.
            • For all our friends who visited and prayed for us.
            • For Eugene’s fellow pastors who assisted us when he was being discharged, especially to Pastor Sam who drove us home.
            • That we are all well now.
            • I hope I didn’t forget anything.

              Let’s celebrate this month of love with (literal) big hearts! 🙂

              Going home na! Photo by my sister Ruth.  

              Edited as a postscript:

              TMC review

              Now if I could just give a few comments on The Medical City:

              • While we were at the ER, the nurse explained that upon the time of admission in the ER we need to be admitted to a room within four hours. If we don’t check in a room within that time frame (and stay in the ER beyond four hours), we would be charged P250(?)/hour as ‘waiting fee’. Med City, paki-explain.
              • Nurses assigned in the pediatric ward should undergo more training in handling baby patients.
              • The food. How will their patients get well with the food they are serving? (Maybe it’s a conspiracy? Haha!). 
              • Overall, the doctors and nurses and other hospital staff (e.g., housekeeping) are nice and polite. The rooms are small and very cold but the hospital is clean.

              2016: My year in review

              2 Jan

              In between changing/washing/folding diapers, breastfeeding (on-demand), household chores, errands, pediatric appointments, impromptu dinner-hangouts, miscellaneous appointments, and Sunday Services, 2016 has been a whirlwind of weddings, fellowships, birthday celebrations, retreats, and parties.

              I thank God for the strength that sustained me throughout the year. As I look back, I also thank God for the things He has allowed me to do and experience and the places we’ve been to. 2016 has been such a busy, busy year that I pray for a slower pace this year.

              With no month that went without an event, “boredom” was definitely not in my vocabulary.

              Because I’m tamad in taking pictures, the ones below are grabbed from my friends’ Facebook. I hope I have credited the right person from whom I took the pictures. If I made a mistake, I’m sorry :(.

              January

              2016 came as I entered the third trimester of my first pregnancy so I was actually focused on preparing for our baby’s birth when I welcomed the New Year. I was still working then so trying to get everything we need for the birth ready was a challenge.

              01.04-06. Eugene and I always start the year with the GCF satellite-wide pastors and wives retreat held every January. In 2016 it was held in Mount Makiling Recreation Center in Sto. Tomas, Batangas. Our speaker was Ptr. Arnel Tan who we had for the second consecutive time. He is the Senior Pastor of Davao Chinese Baptist Church. Photo by Eugene.

              01.07. Pre-wedding get-together for Ria Pineda-Ramos. It was not exactly a bridal shower per se because we didn’t have gifts but it was a shower nevertheless as we showered her with wishes, prayers, and advices for her wedding day. Ria is a friend from the Crossover Young Adults Ministry of GCF back during its early days. The event was organized by her cousin Mabel. Photo from Mabel Pineda’s Facebook.

              01.30. Pastor Mike and Beth King Li’s wedding was the first out of five weddings we attended in 2016. The ceremony was held in Greenhills Christian Fellowship, Ortigas Center, and the reception in Crowne Plaza. Photo from Mike King Li’s Facebook.

              01.28. My office friend Ezza Medina treated us for lunch in Ba Noi’s, UP Town Center, to celebrate her birthday. Photo by Aldren Bigay.

              February

              February was a more busy month because, being in the last stretch of my pregnancy and still working, I had to squeeze in going to two separate pre-natal appointments every week.

              02.03. The pastors’ wives organized a baby shower for Yang and me. It was a fun-filled night. We played games, ate good food, had fellowship, and they showered us with gifts, prayers, and advices. Yang and I were due only five days apart, she on March 18 while I was due on the 23rd. But she learned she was pregnant much earlier than I learned I was. I was the one who gave birth on her due date. Yang gave birth the day after I did. Photo from Nikki Tuanqui’s Facebook.

              02.14. Our local Church, Greenhills Christian Fellowship, where Eugene is a pastor, celebrated its 38th anniversary in 2016. The photos were taken after the Worship Service. Photo from Eugene Geanga’s Facebook.

              02.25. Strong and Rachel offered to do a maternity shoot for us so s’yempre we grabbed the opportunity. With our really busy schedule, we really had a difficult time scheduling it (making sure we do it before I give birth). It was a holiday then and I can still remember I wanted to back out that morning because I badly wanted to take a rest. I didn’t do any preparation at all and just grabbed what dresses I have in the closet and did my own makeup. I am grateful for this shoot because, believe it or not, I didn’t take any selfies and I have very few pics of my tummy when I was preggy (I only have pictures taken by friends. I’m really tamad in taking pictures). So thank you, Strong and Rachel Photography. Location of the shoot was at the Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife in Quezon City. Photo from Rachel Tabac’s Facebook.

              02.28. Another baby shower thrown to us was organized by the Connect Ministry. This one was a surprise and I was really surprised because I didn’t expect an entire ministry to organize such an event for us. People I didn’t even know where there to shower us with blessings and well-wishes. I think I haven’t thanked them enough for showing their love and care for us. Photo from Robert Claudio’s Facebook.

              March

              03.11. The Burning Hearts (Original) Growth Group also threw a baby shower for us. But it was not the usual shower party. Eugene and I were put on a ‘hot seat’ and we were sort of interviewed like we were in a talk show. Photo from BHGG’s Facebook Group.

              No photo: 03.__ (I can’t remember the date). My office friends had a special lunch for me before I went on maternity leave (which I took when I reached my 38th week). My friend Ezza arranged the lunch.

              03.18. Carissa Rose’s birth. The day I became a mother. Up until this day I still couldn’t believe I’m a mother. I think it’s the greatest blessing and responsibility God has bestowed upon me. Photo from Isabell Steinert’s Facebook.

              April

              04.06. We pastors’ wives had fellowship with Ms. Leah Darwin, a pastor’s wife herself who authored the book “Yes, I’m a Pastor’ Wife.” Photo from Ruth Dizon’s Facebook.

              May

              05.08. My first time to celebrate Mothers’ Day. I forced Eugene to treat me to dinner in UCC Cafe, The Podium, but I was quite disappointed with the food I ordered. I am with my mother-in-law in this picture. Photo from Eugene Geanga’s Facebook.

              05.11. We pastors’ wives had an afternoon tea party with Ate Li Pantoja who was celebrating her birthday. I don’t have a picture of the whole group so I’ll just post this picture of Ate Li with Baby Carissa in Karen’s Kitchen, Kapitolyo. Photo by Linda Villoria.

              05.14. We don’t have a picture with the couple but we attended Pastor Mark and Kris Ann Del Rosario’s wedding held in GCF Center. Photo from Mark Del Rosario’s Facebook.

              05.14. Baby Carissa’s first out-of-town trip was up north in Subic. We went there to accompany the Core Team of the Connect Ministry as they checked out ministry opportunities to teach Sunday School in Subic Bay Community of Faith Church. The different Growth Groups of Connect now take turns in doing that once a month. Photo from Eugene Geanga’s Facebook.

              No picture: 05.22. The GCF Couples Who Care Ministry organized a fellowship for new parents to orient them in their new roles.

              05.27-29. Two weeks after going up North, Carissa’s second out-of-town was down South. Her first time to visit my hometown, we went to Batangas as Eugene taught a class in our Church’s Youth Camp which was held in Batangas Country Club. Photo from Eugene Geanga’s Facebook.

              05.29. The last day of the Youth Camp was my birthday. From Batangas Country Club we fetched my mom from Church and had lunch at The Other Place in Batangas City together with my two nephews who were on vacation in my hometown that time.

              June

              06.01. Eugene’s birthday. Our birthdays are only three days apart. We celebrated it dining in NIU in SM Aura Premier. The lunch was also my reward as I promised myself way back I would treat myself to a buffet after the labor (birth) I went through in March.

              06.02. GCF satellite-wide pastors and wives fellowship with Ate Li Pantoja where she spoke and shared the joys and struggles of being a pastor’s wife. Photo from Cecile Aristoteles’ Facebook.

              06.11. Third wedding for the year. Shyam and Cristy Negi’s inter-racial wedding held in GCF Center.

              No photo: 06.20. First day back at work after my maternity leave (ML). I was supposed to be back at work in May after just 60 days but I couldn’t take to be away from my baby. So I extended my leave for another month before finally going back to work. I just went back for two months as I eventually resigned in August.

              06.22. Pastors’ wives dinner-fellowship in Wooden Spoon, Kapitolyo. Photo by Chette King.

              06.25. Doc Bebet organized a surpise brunch with the youth leaders to celebrate Pastor BJ Sebastian’s birthday in Cafe 1771 in Ortigas Center. We are not in the picture because we were late because we went to the doctor for Carissa’s post-op check-up for her tongue-tie release. Photo from Dr. Bebet Sebastian’s Instagram.

              06.28. Celebrating Alyssa Ang’s birthday with a dinner in Alqueria, SM Megamall. Photo from Alyssa Ang’s Facebook.

              July

              07.01. Our friend Ces Perez got married in July. We were not able to attend the wedding but I was able to join her bridal shower her Maid of Honor, Luan, organized for her. The shower was held in Gloria Maris, Gateway Mall. Photo from Luan Yara’s Facebook.

              07.02. Eugene officiated the dedication-blessing of the Galelas new house in Cavite. The Galelas are part of the Connect Ministry of GCF. Photo from Lea Galela’s Facebook.

              07.09. We took a ‘selfie’ after we dined in Vikings, SM Megamall, to celebrate our 6th anniversary but the pictures in Eugene’s old cellphone were deleted so I’ll just use this wedding picture of ours instead. Yes, I know, sayang. Photo by Andy Samaniego.

              07.15-18. Eugene got invited to preach in GCF Metro Baguio so up we drove there. We stayed there four days and three nights but we didn’t even tour the area when we were there. We were so tired (and slightly sick) we just slept in the hotel. The picture was taken after Eugene preached in the Church’s Worship Service in Newtown Plaza Hotel. Photo from Raquel Tira’s Facebook.

              07.20. Occassionally, we ask our husbands to join us in our pastors’ wives fellowship. This night was a matching-outfit kind of night. Photo by Chette King.

              07.28. Lipat-bahay. We decided to transfer to a different house because I was resigning from work the following month and we needed to look for a more affordable house to rent. Aside from that, inspite of the convenience of living just across Eugene’s workplace, I didn’t want to raise a child in a condominium. As much as I miss living in a CBD (a three-minute walk to the mall), I wanted to live at this point in my life in a ‘real’ neighborhood. There are sacrifices we have to make (hello, traffic) but I love the subdivision where we live now. I now have access to sunlight (and dali magpatuyo ng sinampay), I can see a tree from our window, I open the door to the outside world, not a corridor, I can hear the sound of a rooster, there are kids that play in the streets, and there are sellers of taho and balut. There are some downsides, though (it’s an old apartment). Believe it or not, I just packed everything in three short days. Well, I was not the one who did the packing, actually. I sought help and I am very thankful to my fellow pastors’ wives who packed for us. They started packing Tuesday and we moved on Thursday. No stress at all (if not for them). Photo by Ruth Tiangco.

              07.30. GCF regularly holds a lunch fellowship but this is the only one I was able to go to. Photo from Mela Daniel’s Facebook.

              August

              No photo: 08.12. My last day in Manila Water. Quitting work was not in the plan. So I struggled so hard deciding if I should quit work or not. After much prayer and devotion, I took a step of faith and resigned two months after going back from my maternity leave. Before my last day my office friends and I had lunch in Peri-Peri Charcoal Chicken in UP Town Center (no photo). I will miss my team’s lunch outs which we always do almost after every quarterback meetings (and other special occassions).

              08.25. Celebrating our good friend Rajsh’s birthday in Vikings, SM Megamall. Photo from Rajsh Velasquez’s Facebook.

              September

              09.09-11. We went to Baguio for the second time around together with the Core Team of the Connect Ministry for their annual retreat. Photo by Eugene.

              09.20. Celebrating Mich Curran’s birthday, a member of Burning Hearts (Monday) Growth Group which Eugene leads. Photo from Janet Chung’s Facebook.

              09.22-24. I’m with my small group-mates during the 3R Women’s Retreat I attended in CCT Tagaytay. Photo from Susan Dizon’s Facebook.

              October

              10.03-12. We went twice, unplanned, to Dumaguete, Eugene’s hometown, in October to visit his uncle who was sick then. It was Baby Carissa’s first time to ride a plane. It was also her first time to meet Tatay’s family, relatives, church-mates, and high school friends. Photo by Eugene Geanga.

              10.20-24. Just after a week upon returning to Manila, we needed to go back to Dumaguete again but this time, for a sad reason. Uncle Nathan, whom we visited earlier, died a few days after our first visit so we went back to attend his funeral. Photo from Ruth Lacson’s Facebook.

              10.29-30. I’m not in the picture and I couldn’t find the whole group pic. Eugene lead and facilitated the retreat of the Connect Ministry held in CCT Tagaytay. Photo from Robert Claudio’s Facebook.

              November

              11.17-18. I couldn’t find any uploaded picture of the group so I’ll settle with a picture of the kids during the Discipleship Staff retreat in Balay Indang, Cavite. Photo from Phoebe Guerra’s Facebook.

              11.20. We know it would be difficult to find a common schedule in December so as early as November we pastors’ wives had our Christmas fellowship. We met for lunch and ice cream in Papa Diddi’s, The Sapphire Bloc. Photo from Nikki Tuanqui’s Facebook.

              11.26-27. GCF holds an annual couples’ retreat but it was only our first time to join this year. It was held in Mansion Garden Hotel in Subic. Photo from the GCF Couples Who Care Facebook page.

              December

              Kamusta naman ang December ko?

              No photo: 12.01. The GCF satellite-wide pastors and wives had a short and sweet Christmas fellowship.

              12.03. The Connect Core Team had a bonding fellowship in Ace Water Spa. Cameras are not allowed inside so this picture was taken after when we had dinner in Gastro Park Kapitolyo. Photo from Rajsh Velasquez’s Facebook.

              12.05. It was our first time to serve as (veil) Secondary Sponsors in a wedding. This was Ton and Mich Esguerra’s wedding held in GCF Center and was officiated by Pastor Arnold Perona. Photo from Eugene Geanga’s Facebook.

              12.06. Baby Ethan, Pastor JP and Karen Kabuhat’s firstborn son, celebrated his first birthday and was also dedicated that same day. Photo from JR Buenazedacruz’s Facebook.

              12.08. I’m not included in the picture. This is Eugene’s co-workers taking pictures while waiting for the program to start during the Volunteers’ Thanksgiving dinner. Photo from Mela Daniel’s Facebook.

              No photo: 12.11. The pastors and wives had a lunch fellowship with Pastor Ed McLean, Senior Pastor of GCF Toronto, who was joined by his wife and a couple of their other staff. They visited the Philippines to get to know their Mother Church and also to share updates of their ministry in Toronto.

              12.11. Eugene gave a devotion as YACIES Tuesday Growth Group (GG), where I used to attend, together with other Young Adults GG, celebrated their Christmas party in Greeka Kouzina in San Juan. Photo from Luan Yara’s Facebook.

              12.13. Burning Hearts (Monday) Growth Group, which Eugene leads, celebrated its Christmas party singing their hearts out in a videoke night in Ace Party Party Family KTV in Kapitolyo, Pasig. Photo by Janet Chung.

              12.17. We weren’t able to take a picture with the couple and no official pictures have been uploaded yet but we were there when Ian and Athena Estrada got married in The Glens, Tagaytay. Athena is also from Dumaguete, from where Eugene came from, and is also a Sillimanian, so they instantly became friends when they met. Photo from Athena Estrada’s Facebook.

              12.19. We don’t have a picture again and there are no official pictures yet, too. We went to Baby Dia’s dedication. Dia is Pastor Migs and Yang Orlean’s baby daughter born just a day after Baby Carissa was born. The photo was taken one Sunday afternoon in GCF a few months ago. Photo from Yang Orleans’ Facebook.

              12.20. The staff of GCF held its Christmas Party with a buffet in NIU, SM Aura. During the party, Eugene was recognized for his five years of service in GCF. We praise God for the grace and strength He has given to Eugene to serve Him. Photo from Nikki Tuanqui’s Facebook.

              12.20. After the buffet in NIU, we headed home to Batangas to celebrate my mom’s 75th birthday. We had a very simple celebration of her diamond birthday. I praise God she is still strong and healthy and I pray God would still grant her a longer life to see Carissa grow. Photo from Ruth Tiangco’s Facebook.

              12.23. The Burning Hearts (Original) Growth Group celebrated its Christmas party with a ‘wedding banquet’ theme were married couples renewed their vows. It was officiated by Pastor Larry Pabiona. After the renewal of vows of the three couples, we surprised Ptr. Larry and Ate Joy as Eugene took over and ‘officiated’ their renewal of vows but not until after we dressed them up (Ms. Ruby Diokno provided our costumes). Ate Joy was really surprised. They actually celebrated their silver wedding anniversary last December 29. Photo from Ruby Diokno’s Facebook.

              12.24. Family picture after the Christmas Eve Worship Service in GCF. We always attend our Church’s Christmas Eve Service and it was the first time my mom and sister were able to join us. Photo by Ruth Tiangco.

              12.25. Christmas Day! After (again) attending the Worship Service, we had our Christmas lunch in Lido Cocino Tsina in Pasig before going home to Batangas where we spent the rest of the holiday season. Photo by Ruth Tiangco.

              12.31. We had friends from Church celebrate New Year’s Eve with us at home. We came from our holiday vacation in Batangas a few hours earlier and you now know how busy I was the whole December (the whole year, actually) that I didn’t really had time to plan and prepare for Christmas nor New Year. We just passed by a supermarket on the way home from the province for some last-minute groceries and just had pancit and hotdogs for our media noche. But it was okay. We are grateful to God for all the blessings He has given us in 2016 we give Him all the glory. Photo by Eugene Geanga.

              That’s it. Whew!

              I don’t know why but I just noticed we go twice to the places we’ve been to. Twice we went to Subic, Baguio, Dumaguete, CCT Tagaytay, Batangas. Amazing.

              New year’s resolution

              What is new year without making a resolution? Hehe. My new year’s resolution is to take pictures of the events I go to so I will not grab pics from friends. Hahahaha! 🙂 Thank you to those who took the pictures and for posting them on Facebook.

              Blessings to everyone for the new year!

              Link

              The birth story of Carissa Rose

              25 Aug

              http://www.is-photography.net/single-post/2016/08/25/The-Birth-Story-of-Carissa-Rose—told-by-her-mother

              Dumaguete-Cebu ministry/vacation/reunion

              11 Apr

              It was a very tight-scheduled trip. As usual, our reason for travelling is ministry (Eugene had invitations for speaking/preaching engagements) and we just fit in the vacation part in between. Still, I thank God because if it were not for such opportunities, we might not have found a reason to go home to hubby’s hometown eh it’s been four long years since I last have been to Dumaguete I miss it so badly. Continue reading

              Meeting my cousin (one of a twin) for the first time

              22 Dec

              Who would imagine that we would be meeting each other face-to-face? We were pen pals when we were kids, back in the 80s when there was no Internet yet. We sent each other letters and stickers. But it was only for a time. When Facebook came along, we re-connected. But didn’t really get in touch regularly. She and her husband traveled around the world, and I was just too excited when they said that they’re dropping by Manila. Continue reading

              Our home

              18 Dec

              How time flies! It has been exactly a year since we moved to a new home (and yes, I’ve been that busy to post an entry into this blog only for the 3rd time this year…so much for starting a blog). Continue reading