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Our 2017 year in review

1 Jan

The highlights of our family’s past year. We praise and honor God for the grace that saw us through.

Read our 2016 year in review here.

January

01.14. BABY SHOWER FOR THE TUANQUIS. We (GCF pastors’ wives) threw a baby shower for Pastor Gelo and Nikki Tuanqui who were expecting a baby boy then (their second child). The baby was born on February 3 and was named Andrei Nigel (Nigel being a combination of the parents name). The shower was held in Pastor Manny Enriquez’s house in Quezon City. Photo by Nikki Tuanqui.

01.16-18. PASTORS’ RETREAT. David in the wilderness. This was the topic during our Church’s annual satellite-wide pastors’ and wives’ retreat which is something I always look forward to attending at the start of each year. It was held in CCT in Tagaytay and we had Pastor Carlos Peña as our speaker for the second time around. Photo by Jojun Loanzon, taken from Greenhills Christian Fellowship’s Facebook page.

01.21. AVENDULA’S HOUSE DEDICATION. Eugene officiated the dedication and blessing of the house of the Avendula family in Cavite. It was also a celebration for Alvin’s birthday. Alvin and Joneth Avendula are part of GCF’s Connect Ministry. I wasn’t able to join because our baby had colds then and Eugene told us to just stay at home. Photo by Lea Galela.

01.29. MAU’S 1ST BIRTHDAY. We celebrated with Clark and Diane De Guzman as their first-born daughter baby Mau turned one. It was a fun bohemian-themed party held in the clubhouse of SM Jazz in Makati. Photo by Robert Claudio.

February

02.04. TIRA-ANDAL NUPTIALS. Sorry for the dark picture but this is the only picture we were able to take with #TeamPaRoll when they got married in Lirabelle Nature Living in Sto. Tomas, Batangas. Their wedding was God-centered and I love how Rollyvic and Pamela shared their testimonies during the reception. I’m very sure their marriage is one that would honor God.

02.06-11. HOSPITAL CONFINEMENT. Our little one (LO) and Eugene got admitted in The Medical City for pneumonia. Yes, both of them at the same time got confined for the same sickness. Not only that, Eugene was also diagnosed with cardiomyopathy (weak heart). He took a lot of medicines when he got discharged from the hospital and is currently under a 16-session cardiac rehabilitation program to “treat” his heart condition.

02.12. GCF’S 39TH ANNIVERSARY. The following Sunday after our LO was discharged from the hospital was our Church’s 39th anniversary. I didn’t want to go then because Eugene was still in the hospital and I was feeling depressed then. But Eugene urged me to go. I’m glad my sister and mother-in-law were there to accompany me or else I wouldn’t have gone. I felt more sad when I saw all the pastors in their suits and Eugene was not there with them. Photo from GCF’s Facebook page.

02.20-22. GCF STAFF RETREAT. A time of refreshing. These are Eugene’s co-workers when they went to GCF’s staff retreat at Mt. Makiling Recreation Center in Batangas. They sure look like they had a fun time. Photo by Eugene Geanga.

March

03.03-05. 2ND HOSPITAL CONFINEMENT. Just a month after getting out of the hospital, our LO got admitted again for pneumonia. It was a sad moment again for me. What was more sad was I was alone most of the time (Eugene only came in the evenings) in The Medical City taking care of her as Eugene had to drive and tour his family who were in Manila that time for a vacation.

03.04. YANNA’S 1ST BIRTHDAY. Since baby and I were in the hospital we missed this party, Baby Yanna’s first birthday celebration and dedication which Eugene officiated in San Pedro, Laguna. Yanna is the second daughter of Mary Ann Kho who is Eugene’s high school classmate and friend from Dumaguete. Photo by Maya Geanga.

03.06. FAMILY-IN-LAW VISITS MANILA. I was able to join Eugene’s family on their last day in Manila before they headed back home to Dumaguete the following day. Eugene actually didn’t want us (baby and me) to go out of the house yet because baby just got out of the hospital the previous day. But I insisted. I’ve already been alone for 3 days in a hospital and I was really depressed already I didn’t want to be left alone at home. Actually, I even begged the doctor to discharge us home. So if I would be staying alone at home, I might as well have stayed in the hospital. Good thing Eugene allowed me to go with them (after a lot of pleading. Haha). We met with friends, hung out, had a late lunch in The Podium, and dinner in SM Megamall where this picture was taken. Photo by Elgin Vailoces.

03.11-12. CONNECT MINISTRY GROWTH GROUP LEADERS RETREAT. We tagged along as Eugene went to Wilson’s Place in Mendez, Cavite (but people refer to the place as Tagaytay) to lead and facilitate a prayer retreat for the Growth Group leaders of Connect. Having gone a lot of times to the usual camp/retreat sites, Wilson’s Place was a welcome change in venue and is definitely a place to go back to if you want a homey feeling (and good food) when you go to a retreat. (It is owned and managed by the same owners of Balay Indang also in Cavite). Photo by Rajsh Velasquez.

03.18. OUR LITTLE ONE’S 1ST BIRTHDAY. We celebrated our daughter’s first birthday and dedication with a simple fund-raising event in Shiphrah (in Taytay, Rizal), the birthing home where she was born. We were able to raise PhP21,000 for the birthing home which was used for the renovation and continuing education of the midwives of Shiphrah. Photo by Niño Hidalgo.

03.26. BABY SHOWER FOR THE NEGIS. We joined when their friends organized a baby shower for Shyam and Christy Negi who were expecting their first baby then, a baby boy. The party was held in GCF. During the party, the couple shared that they would be blessing their baby with the name Noah after the Old Testament Bible character who was described as a righteous and blameless man and was used by God to save the human race. Baby Noah was born on May 22 but he lived for only 10 days due to a congenital heart condition.

03.29. AQUINOS’ PHILIPPINE VACATION. My sister, Ate Meg, and her husband, Kuya Eric, who now live in Canada, went home to the Philippines for a vacation. Kuya Eric migrated there in 1994 and my sister followed in 1998 after which they got married there shortly after. The last Kuya Eric’s been home was about 14 years ago in 2003. Ate Meg was able to go home in 2010 for our wedding but without Kuya Eric. It was nice to see them after a long, long time. This was the first time Eugene met Kuya Eric. Photo by Eugene taken in Marco Polo Ortigas.

April

04.01. VISIT TO A WAKE. It was good to meet and be with my former Growth Group friends but the reason for our get-together was quite a sad one. We went to Cabanatuan to visit the wake of Joan Tuazon’s dad who died of a sudden heart attack. We traveled in spite of the distance and traffic (we left Manila at about 2 PM, arrived in Cabanatuan at about 8.30 PM, and arrived back home at about 1.30 AM) not only to show our sympathies to our friend and her family but also because Joan would be migrating to Canada by the end of the month and we wanted to fellowship with her before she leaves the country for good.

04.02. FAMILY DINNER. This was a time of fellowship with our balikbayan sister and brother-in-law with my other siblings. Too bad we still weren’t complete as a family but it was good to get-together with my other family members. The photo was taken in Cafe Juanita but we ordered food from Haru. Photo by Blas Tiangco.

04.04. DINNER WITH THE AQUINOS. This was our last time to meet with Kuya Eric and Ate Meg during their Philippine vacation before they finally went back to Canada. Kuya Eric’s parents invited us to join them for dinner at NIU by Vikings in SM Aura Premier (a couple of Kuya Eric’s friends also joined us). I was at a grill station when an earthquake hit and the cook panicked, telling his colleague, “Pare, lumilindol!”. You can sense his nervousness by the tone of his voice. It was the strong earthquake that shook Batangas that had a lot of aftershocks that lasted for days. In Manila, it was only slightly felt.

04.13. MAUNDY THURSDAY/KAREN’S BIRTHDAY. We are grateful to the Handogs and the Kabuhats for inviting us to their homes in Pasig for a grill and (baby) pool party to celebrate Karen’s birthday. It was a holiday and we were happy not to have spent it alone at home. We had so much fun eating and ate a lot we forgot to take a decent picture to at least document the event. Photo by Yayeeh Handog.

04.15. BLACK SATURDAY. We usually go home to and spend the Holy Week in Batangas but Eugene was not available for Good Friday so we just went on a day trip to visit my family there on Black Saturday. We ate lunch at Wanam sa Bukid (which was quite a disappointment) then did a side trip to Montemaria in Brgy. Pagkilatan since it was very near our place. Montemaria is a pilgrimage site but we went there mainly for the view of the ocean. The place is a plateau that overlooks the Verde Island Passage and Batangas Bay.

04.19. FAREWELL TO JOAN. I was supposed to go to our monthly pastors’ wives’ fellowship when our Growth Group-mate and friend Joan messaged me that her family was in Manila for the very last time and invited us to join them for dinner before they leave for Canada to finally migrate the following week. It has been a long wait for Joan as she and her husband, Ed, applied for her petition and I was happy for them that they would finally be together at last. We (YACIES Growth Group) had dinner at Wooden Spoon in Power Plant Mall in Rockwell, Makati. After dinner we went to Bonifacio Global City in Taguig for coffee. Ed wanted to go to Tim Hortons and try it out (to compare the taste with the original) but we went to the branch that was still closed (the one opened was in Uptown Mall which we didn’t know then) and ended up going to Starbucks instead. Photo by Luan Yara.

04.19. BUMPING INTO AN OLD COUSIN. While having dinner in Wooden Spoon, I saw Ivy, an old cousin whom I haven’t seen for a very long time. I called her and actually introduced myself because I was afraid she might not remember me anymore. Haha. Well, I was wrong. It was nice seeing her and the relatives she was with. Her eldest son, Trevor, is all grown up. The last (and I think the first and only time I saw him) was he was still a toddler. So it’s been that long. Photo by Ivy Gutierrez.

04.22. ARYAN’S 1ST BIRTHDAY. We celebrated with Alwin and Johanna De Leon as they celebrated the first birthday and dedication of their 3rd son, Aryan Jacob. The MC for the event really made sure that the guests had fun with his games, puppet shows, and funny acts. The party was held in Quezon City Sports Club.

04.24. CATCHING UP WITH THE UTZURRUMS. Every year, Eugene’s best friend, JP, and his family who are currently based in Thailand, visits the Philippines and we never fail to meet with them when they’re in Manila. We always meet in SM Megamall and this year the meeting place was no different. We ate a very sumptuous buffet in Sambokojin which I enjoyed. It’s my first time to eat in that restaurant and I thought it was just like any other DIY grill buffet we’ve been to. But they had food choices that were not available in Tong Yang (the one we more frequently are able to go to) and that made my dining experience an enjoyable one.

May

05.06. CONNECT MINISTRY OUTREACH. Every month in 2017, the different Growth Groups of the Connect Ministry take turns in conducting an outreach to the children in the community of the International Graduate School of Leadership (IGSL) in Quezon City. We joined one Growth Group once and met with the kids they were ministering to. They also reach out to the parents of the kids as they simultaneously conduct a Bible Study to the parents while waiting for their kids. (Sorry for the very abstract photo. I couldn’t find a group shot).

05.08. MANIPON-SANTOS NUPTIALS. For the second time, we served as secondary sponsors in a wedding of a couple from the Connect Ministry. Alex and Ray’s wedding was a simple one but very heartfelt. It was held in GCF Center.

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05.13. TRIP TO MAJAYJAY. We (friends from the Connect Ministry) went to Taytay Falls in Majayjay, Laguna. We left Manila early in the morning but reached the place at 4 PM so we just had a very short time to enjoy the place. I actually didn’t swim at all. I just dipped into the water to take this picture then got out right after the shot. The water was too cold!

05.20-31. MINISTRY IN DUMAGUETE. Eugene got invited to serve as speaker for the Youth Camp of Dumaguete Christian Church (DCC). The camp was held in Camp Seasite in Brgy. Banilad. Read details of our trip here. After the camp, we stayed a few days longer for a much-needed vacation.

05.29. MY BIRTHDAY. We celebrated my 37th birthday with a simple dinner with my family-in-law in Lantaw Native Restaurant in Dumaguete. I think Lantaw is one of the best restaurants in Dumaguete as they are always full regardless of the day or time of the week. I think it was my first time to spend my birthday far out of town.

June

06.01. EUGENE’S BIRTHDAY. As always, we celebrate either of our birthdays (which is only three days apart) by dining in a restaurant that serves a buffet. We went again to NIU by Vikings for hubby’s birthday this year. Their free meal for the birthday celebrant makes the cost so worth it.

06.03. MEMORIAL SERVICE FOR BABY NOAH. It was a very sad moment for Eugene and I as we sympathized with Shyam and Cristy Negi when they lost their newborn son, Noah. Baby Noah was born with a heart condition called transposition of the great arteries. He lived just over a week. During the memorial service, Shyam gave a testimony and have proven his big faith in God through which a lot of people, I’m sure, was blessed. The memorial service was held in GCF.

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06.10. MIGUEL-AÑONUEVO NUPTIALS. We just took a quick picture with Dags and Joan right after their wedding ceremony in Sonya’s Garden, Tagaytay, as we needed to leave right away to rush our LO to the hospital as she was sick. Too bad we weren’t able to stay for the rest of their celebration.

No photo: 06.10-14. 3RD HOSPITAL CONFINEMENT. I didn’t take pictures when our LO got confined again because by that time I was (emotionally) tired of it. It was the third time she was admitted for pneumonia in a span of just four months that I already knew the routine we had to go through when we got in The Medical City’s pediatric ER. This was the last time she needed to be admitted in a hospital but it was not her last sickness. We had one more visit to the ER where she was again diagnosed with pneumonia (in July) but thankfully did not need to be admitted. And she had three more other instances of getting sick with respiratory infections (in October, November, and December). Thankfully, she didn’t need to be confined during those times but she needed to be nebulized with Salbutamol at home. I am hoping 2018 will be a healthy year for all of us.

July

07.01. SISTER ACT. My brother Blas treated us to the play ‘Sister Act’ which was shown in The Theater at Solaire. It was also my sister Ruth’s birthday that day so it was a double celebration for us. The show was really a good and fun one. They sang all original songs and the story had a good twist from the movie version.

07.09. OUR WEDDING ANNIVERSARY. We went to our first beach trip as a family in Lobo, Batangas to celebrate our 7th wedding anniversary. We didn’t go to a resort (we were on a budget) but crashed an old high school classmate’s house which was located beside the sea.

07.21-23. CONNECT MINISTRY CAMP. I thought I won’t be able to go with Eugene to this camp because our LO got sick a few days before this. Thankfully, the doctor allowed us to travel as long as I give our LO her medicines. This was the camp of the Connect Ministry of GCF held in Word of Life in Calauan, Laguna. I am very grateful to God and give him all the glory for how He is using Eugene to reach out and minister to professionals in the BPO industry. Photo by Phoebe Guerra.

August

08.07-09. GCF STAFF RETREAT. A retreat and team building activity for the GCF Staff held in Ten Cents to Heaven Leisure Camp in Tanay, Rizal. Photo by one of Eugene’s colleague.

08.21-22. KHO’S HOUSE DEDICATION. Eugene officiated the dedication of the house of his high school friend Mary Ann Kho in San Pedro, Laguna. We stayed for a couple of nights in their new house.

08.27. WEST SIDE STORY. My brother treated us again to a play in The Theater at Solaire. We watched The West Side Story this time. I am familiar with the story as I have seen its movie version a long, long time ago. The performances during the song and dance numbers were good but I personally felt that the conversations in between were a bit bland. But it was still a good show, nevertheless, even if it didn’t get a standing ovation.

08.27. RAJSH’S BIRTHDAY. While I watched The West Side Story, Eugene took care of our LO and joined the birthday celebration of one of our good friends, Rajsh, in Vikings in SM Megamall.

September

09.06. BABY SHOWER FOR THE DEL ROSARIOS. There’s a baby boom among the pastoral staff of GCF. The pastors’ wives’ showered Mark and Kris Del Rosario with blessings and prayers for the birth of their first-born daughter, Baby Maddie. She was born on September 25. This is the 5th baby born to a pastor in GCF in just a span of one year. There are two more babies on the way in 2018. Photo by Mark Del Rosario.

October

10.15. THE SOUND OF MUSIC. The 3rd musical play which our brother treated us to. I’ve seen the local production of The Sound of Music a few years ago but I will never get tired of seeing this classic play. We saw the international production shown in The Theater at Solaire. Photo by Blas Tiangco.

10.28. MATTHIAS EHMYRR’S DEDICATION. Eugene officiated the dedication of Baby Matt, first-born son of Jerry Mhe and Pearl Francisco, members of the Connect Ministry. The event was held in Kowloon House in West Avenue in Quezon City.

November

11.04. ELORA CELESTE’S DEDICATION. It’s another baby girl for Ernest and Gayle Acar. We celebrated with them the dedication of the newest addition to their family, Baby Elora. It was also a time of catching up with the rest of Ernest’s family who are Eugene’s extended family. The celebration was held in La Creperie in Forbes Town Center in Burgos Circle, BGC.

11.08. BUSINESS DEDICATION. Eugene officiated the dedication of a newly-owned parlor establishment of Yan (left most), a YACIES Growth Group member. Try to catch and get your hair done in Emmanuel Salon along Aurora Blvd. (near J. Ruiz LRT station) in Quezon City. Photo by PJ De Leon.

11.18. PASTORS’ WIVES’ CHRISTMAS PARTY. Ate Li Pantoja was very kind enough to join us and share to us a message on Christmas for our pastors’ wives’ Christmas fellowship in GCF. Photo by Chette King.

11.25-26. CONNECT MINISTRY CORE TEAM RETREAT. I’m happy I always get to tag along in Eugene’s travels and ministry. This was a time of refreshing as the core team of the ministry Eugene leads took a break from the daily grind in Balay Indang in Cavite. Photo by Rajsh Velasquez.

11.29-12.02. CBAP BIENNIAL CONFERENCE. It’s my first time to join the Biennial Conference of the Conservative Baptist Association of the Philippines. I was happy and grateful to God that I was able to tag along Eugene and a couple of his co-pastors (even if I was not able to listen to the sessions because I was chasing a toddler around). The event was held in Crown Legacy Hotel in Baguio City. Accommodation was okay but the service was really bad.

December

12.08-09. BHGG CHRISTMAS PARTY. This Growth Group that Eugene leads every Monday evening (Burning Hearts) had a videoke night as a celebration for the past couple of Christmases. This year, they decided to go out of town. We visited a farm/resort of one of their Growth Group-mates in Bataan and spent a couple of nights there. We drove up Mt. Samat (where this picture was taken) which was very near from where we stayed. It was a relaxing time. It was just too bad we were not complete.

12.09. NATHAN ELIJAH’S DEDICATION. Eugene officiated the dedication of Elche and Fhang Dela Peña’s first-born, baby Nathan. The celebration was held in Max’s Restaurant in Forbes Town Center in Burgos Circle, BCG.

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12.13. BABY NO. 2. Though I was already suspecting that I was pregnant, I also had doubts since I had PCOS which makes it hard for me to get pregnant. In fact, it took us five years after we got married before I got pregnant. Confirming this second pregnancy has actually been quite a suspense because it took me three home pregnancy tests (and three days) to get a positive result. The first one didn’t give any results. So I waited another day to do another test but the second one gave invalid results. We waited another day and only confirmed it after the third test I took.

12.16. CONNECT MINISTRY CHRISTMAS PARTY. I’m in the picture but I came in late. Actually, I arrived a few minutes before they ended (lunch time). Tried to catch the lechon only to know that they’ve eaten it first thing in the morning as part of their program. I should have known about their schedule, of course, as this was a Christmas celebration of the ministry that Eugene is leading, the ministry to professionals in the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry. Their party actually started at 7 AM in the morning in GCF. Photo by Robert Claudio.

12.20. GCF STAFF CHRISTMAS PARTY. It’s my second time to join GCF’s Staff Christmas party. It was a simple celebration where they had lunch in Aracama in BGC. Ptr. Lloyd Estrada was our guest who gave a message on Christmas. Food was good! Especially the adobo! Photo by Chette King.

12.20. MOMMY’S BIRTHDAY. It was a blessing that our family got to get-together to celebrate my mother’s 76th birthday. My brother-in-law and niece and nephews were able to join us so it was quite a big celebration for us. My sister followed later on. We dined in Yabu in Robinsons Galleria. Eugene, not seen in the photo as he was feeding our LO, is behind my brother Blas. My mom is already old. She fell hard last July (missed the last two steps in a stairs) and broke a pelvic bone and has been in bed rest since. She has been in pain but we praise God she is now able to walk albeit very slowly and with a cane. We also praise God for her good health. At her age she doesn’t take any maintenance medication and her sugar and blood pressure are normal. She also looks very young for her age. If she didn’t had a fracture, she would still be very strong and active. Photo by Blas Tiangco.

12.25. CHRISTMAS. My mother, sister, and brother spent Christmas with us. We had a very simple celebration at home on Christmas Eve then for Christmas Day, we went out for dinner at Ba Noi’s in Estancia Mall. I wanted to go to Estancia to see their Christmas lights display in their Vast Imaginariums but the line to go in was long and we were already hungry by the time we got there so we were not able to see it. Photo by Ruth Tiangco.

12.29. LUNCH WITH GGS. Pastor Erik and his wife, Ate Ruth, invited the Growth Group Shepherding team for a year-end lunch. Of course, we spouses were invited, too. We had lunch in Burgoo in Robinsons Galleria and just had fellowship and exchanged stories with each other. Photo by Ptr. Erik Dizon.

12.29. DINNER WITH CONNECT MINISTRY COUPLES. It was a triple date for us as we celebrated Alex Manipon’s birthday and dined in Oasis Garden Cafe in Solaire Resort and Casino. Oasis is a fancy open-space resto in Solaire but I was actually quite bothered because the entire place smelled smoke (which came from the casino) but the food was really, really good (and expensive! ‘Eto ‘yung tipo ng restaurant na nagiging Chinese ka sa pagbasa ng menu… you read from right to left. Haha!) We were supposed to have dessert and coffee at a nearby Starbucks afterwards but ended up in Starbucks Nuvali instead. Photo by Rajsh Velasquez.

12.31. NEW YEAR’S EVE. And this was how we ended 2017. Can anything be more simpler than this? We had siomai, nilagang baboy, and liempo for dinner. All meat. That’s what happens when you ask hubby to take care of dinner. At least the sabaw had vegetables so I’m happy with that :). I think this is the only (or 2nd) time we have ever celebrated a year end alone as we usually spend it with my family in the province (or we had Nanay with us when we were not in Batangas).

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Connect wedding: Alex and Ray Marie

19 May

Here comes the bride. Ray’s smile reflected her joy when she walked down the aisle to meet her groom, Alex.

It was an honor for Eugene and me to serve again as secondary (cord) sponsors in a wedding. It was our second time and it was also in a wedding of a couple who both serve in the Connect Ministry of GCF.

Exchange of vows. The wedding was officiated by Pastor Sam Rendal and was held in the chapel of GCF in Ortigas.

Though I am not very familiar with Alex and Ray’s story, I was really touched with their vows when they wedded last May 8 in Greenhills Christian Fellowship. They were really heartfelt. I’ve been to a lot of weddings and I’ve already heard different kinds of vows. It is the highlight in a wedding and the vows usually reflect the personalities of the couple getting married.

Can’t contain their excitement. This is just right before Alex and Ray were pronounced as husband and wife.

There are vows that narrates the couples love story… there are those that are full of humor… there are also vows that mention certain traits of the bride or groom which the husband- or wife-to-be promises to accept and submit to… and there are those that are impromptu, no kodigo at all… some are long… and some are cheesy and mushy.

Caption of the video above: The first kiss.

Alex and Ray’s vows were short, sweet, and simple… I would say straight to the point, nevertheless very sincere and heartfelt. I’ve been to a lot of weddings (as I’ve just said) and I can’t remember being seriously touched as much as like this time.

Photo session after the ceremony.

Alex and Ray did mention how God has worked to bring them together and how they are God’s answers to each other’s prayers. And in their words you could sense that they are devoted to serve and honor God through their marriage.

Selfie/Groufie with the newly weds right after the ceremony.

Sharing just a few more pictures of the event. 

Caption of the video above: The recessional.

We clanged our glasses non-stop so the newly weds would kiss again and again. Haha.

The traditional cake cutting ceremony.

And now a family picture with our little one.

We are praying for God’s blessings for both of you and in your marriage.

Mabuhay ang bagong kasal!

A shower of blessings for the Negis

27 Mar

We attended their wedding in June last year and now we attended a baby shower for them.

Emcees for the party.

Our friends Shyam and Christy are now expecting a baby boy. Their friends from the Connect Ministry (GCF’s ministry to workers in the BPO industry) organized a shower for them yesterday to bless the new family with love, prayers, and gifts.

There was a game for you to guess what gender will Shyam and Christy’s baby be.

It was just a simple party. Aside from the usual stuff (i.e., a couple of games and some snacks), Shyam and Christy revealed the gender of their baby through a gender reveal announcement. I’m aware of and familiar with the current trend on gender reveals and how it’s becoming a normal part of baby showers but it was my first time to attend one where there was an actual gender reveal announcement so I was excited about it. They’re having a baby boy, by the way.

Showers of gifts.

Of course, the party would not be a shower without the “ceremonial” gift-opening which was more or less the highlight of the event. We also showered the new family, of course, with prayers which Eugene led. We especially prayed for a safe and healthy pregnancy for Christy and the baby as Christy is experiencing some difficulty with her pregnancy.

Caption to the video above: I clicked on the record button too late to capture the start of the gender reveal announcement.

But what I find to really be the highlight and most meaningful during the celebration was when Christy shared the story behind the name they will give to their baby boy due in May. Christy shared that they will name their child Noah because Noah (in the Bible) was described as a “righteous man, blameless among the people in his time, and he walked faithfully with God” (Genesis 6:9). This is inspite of “how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth” (Genesis 6:5) and how “the earth was corrupt in God’s sight and was full of violence” (Genesis 6:11). “But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord” (Genesis 6:8). He was chosen by God to preserve the human race and eventually to save men through Jesus Christ. (Read the story of Noah here).

Showers of prayers and blessings.

And so they are blessing their child to be named Noah because when the time comes (when earth will be more wicked and corrupt than now), Shyam and Christy want their child to be like Noah, a “righteous” and blameless man who will be used by God to save people. Wow! That is a very powerful blessing to your unborn child.

Shyam and Christy with their Connect family.

(And that is also why the theme of the shower is Noah’s Ark).

Shyam and Christy, we pray for God’s mercy and grace to be upon you and Baby Noah. May God’s favor be indeed upon him and may he indeed grow up to be a righteous and blameless man in the sight of the Lord.

Eugene and I with the soon-to-be-new-parents.

We are rejoicing with you as you enter this new chapter in your life. We will also be here for you to walk with you in your parenting journey.

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.

            #TeamPaRoll: Rollyvic and Pamela’s wedding

            24 Feb

            Nothing is more beautiful than a wedding that is focused on God.

            We are grateful for being invited to witness Rollyvic and Pam’s ‘I dos’.

            We had the honor and privilege of attending the wedding of Rollyvic and Pam last February 4. It was a garden wedding held at Lirabelle Nature Living (a farm of the bride’s family) in Batangas and officiated by no less than the groom’s father, Pastor Love Tira.

            The lovely bride who said her groom always makes her feel beautiful.

            The weather was cold but the hearts of the couple’s families were very warm as they welcomed the addition of a new family member into their respective families. I didn’t know that the Tira father and son were emotional persons. Rollyvic cried upon seeing her bride and there was a part when Pastor Love tried to control his tears as he gave his exhortation and message to the couple. The couple were obviously giddy and overjoyed they were getting married. Pastor Love capped the ceremony by singing ‘Our Father’ after which he requested all pastors present to pray for the newly weds.

            There was a very slight delay during the vows as they looked for who was holding the rings :).

            I don’t know the couple very well. But Rollyvic is Eugene’s fellow pastor who is currently the resident pastor in Greenhills Christian Fellowship (GCF) Makati. He is the son of Pastor Love Tira who is a well-known pastor within the Baptist community (and is currently assigned in GCF Metro Baguio). Pam, on the other hand, is a preschool teacher. I had previously met her a few times in the past in events/activities of the Crossover Ministry of GCF Ortigas Center when she attended a few times when said ministry was still active then. But I’m not sure if she knows or remembers me. Did I mention she surprised her groom with a song during their first dance? (She sang Yeng Constantino’s ‘Ikaw’).

            I couldn’t get any nearer to take a closer shot of the couple’s first kiss.

            What I like most and which, for me, gave the highlight of the wedding was when they gave (through a series of videos) their personal testimonies of their relationship with Christ, how they met, and how they grew more in Christ as they serve God together. Throughout the wedding, they honored and acknowledged Christ.

            The newly weds before the recessional.

            As I am writing this almost three weeks after the wedding, I couldn’t remember other details anymore. Sorry.

            Groufie with the couple. Sorry for the very poor shot.

            Mabuhay ang bagong kasal!

            Baby Mau’s 1st birthday

            30 Jan

            The backdrop during Maureen Adiele De Guzman’s first birthday celebration held at the Clubhouse of SM Jazz in Makati on January 29, 2017.

            We went to our first kids birthday party for the year. Thank you, Clark and Diane, for inviting us to baby Mau’s first birthday celebration.

            The theme of the party was coachella/bohemian but these pastel decorations made the party so dainty.

            We enjoyed everything in the party: the pastel set-up of the venue, taking pictures in the photo booth, going back for more snacks in the food stalls (we were a little early (and hungry) so we had time to eat before the main course was served), the balloons crafted by talented artists into different cartoon characters, the simple but heartfelt cake blowing ceremony, the main meal (it was honestly yummy), the magic show, and the games.

            What is a kids party without a candy bar?

            Baby Mau was so behaved all throughout the party. It was a short program but we definitely had fun.

            Cake blowing ceremony. Clark and Diane, Mau’s parents, wished for Mau to grow up knowing God.

            I also love the SDE (same day edit video) shown at the end. It was really nice because the clips were all so candid and spontaneous.

            The parents of the birthday celebrant. They are part of the Connect Ministry of GCF which Eugene handles.

            Happy first birthday, Mau. Just like what your parents wished for you, we pray that you would grow to be a God-fearing woman. Blessings to you and your parents.

            Finally a picture with Baby Mau with her parents.