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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.

Pastors and wives retreat: David in the wilderness

21 Jan

We left the house at 6 AM because the car we used was under the coding scheme on Monday, the first day of the retreat, so we need to be out of the streets of Metro Manila by 7 AM. The retreat doesn’t start until noon so we had breakfast and hanged out first before going to CCT. It was so cold! It’s Baby Carissa’s 4th time to be in Tagaytay but our first time to take a picture with Taal Lake in the background.

It’s our nth time to attend the GCF satellite-wide pastors and wives retreat but it was our first time with a baby. We had Pastor Carlos Peña as our speaker for the second time around (the first time was in 2014) and at the same venue in CCT Tagaytay.

Our speaker for the GCF pastors and wives retreat, Pastor Carlos Peña. His sessions were short but very meaningful. I heard he’ll be going to the US very soon for his next assignment. Photo by Ruth Dizon.

This annual retreat is something I look forward to attending every January because it gives us a break from all the ‘work’ we did the previous year and it is very timely to be fed by The Word as well as a start for a new year. This year, Pastor Caloy spoke in four sessions on the life of David in the wilderness, a place where you don’t want to but sometimes find yourself in. I’ll try to capture (major ideas in summary) as much as I learned and can remember below (because it is quite difficult to listen and focus your attention when you have a hyperactive baby with you attending the sessions).

Sharing and praying time after every session. Photo by Pastor Jojun Loanzon.

Session 1. Wows/Wonders in the wild

1. When David had two rare opportunities to kill Saul, Israel’s king, who was trying to kill David (1 Samuel 24:4, 6).

  • At first look, it seems that it was a divine opportunity, that it was God’s plan and God’s will for David to kill Saul since David has been anointed king, but he discerned much better (1 Samuel 26:8, 9-11).
  • Not all rare opportunities are divine. Love your enemy, trust God in His timing.
  • There is a sense of holy in the ordinary.

2. When David flees from Saul and reached a dead end, he allied with the Philistines, an enemy (1 Samuel 27).

  • There is no comment in the Bible why David did such.
  • Sometimes we find ourselves in unwanted territory/unappealing circumstances brought by ourselves or providentially. In such cases, we should rely on God. Do not compromise, rather, choose righteousness and stay faithful. There are no right answers all the time. Take each moment at a time.
  • There is a sense of mystery in the messy.

3. When Saul finally died (a very gruesome death), with his son Jonathan, David’s friend (1 Samuel 31).

  • Istead of rejoicing that he can finally take his place as king, David mourned and grieved genuinely (2 Samuel 17 – 27, The Mother of all Laments, as our speaker describes it).
  • As king, there is a new life for David. All things do come to an end.
  • There is a sense of destiny in the story.

The pastoral life resembles the wilderness, but it can be a graceful, hopeful, and joyful experience. It is a matter of perspective. We must not escape but rather embrace it.

Hanging out at Starbucks. The schedule of the retreat was very relaxed it affords us time to go out of the venue. We are the young pastors and wives of GCF, that includes our Senior Pastor Larry Pabiona with his wife as well as Pastor Erik Dizon and his wife. Photo by Ruth Dizon.

Session 2. Women in the wild

1. Abigail: The peacemaker (1 Samuel 25).

  • David had been watching and protecting Nabal’s property and sheep (v. 16), but when he asked a favor from him, Nabal refused to grant it. David then prepared to attack and kill Nabal and his servants (vv. 21-22).
  • However, Abigail, Nabal’s wife, tried to pacify David and sent him gifts (vv. 28, 30-31). David did not attack Nabal then.
  • There is beauty in the midst of the ugly.
  • An appeal to a higher calling: to diffuse anger.

2. Bathsheba: The power broker (2 Samuel 11).

  • David’s use of power was evident when he sent for Bathsheba. However, when she became pregnant, Bathsheba ‘used’ her power to break David’s. She sent for David as if to say, “You’re dead, I’m pregnant.”
  • An internal war/battle waged inside David whether to hold on tighter to his power or to let go. He decided to hold on tighter (vv. 14-18).
  • Warning to unbridled power: like money, we need to manage it. It is great but it is also a temptation.

3. Abishag: The presence (1 Kings 1).

  • When King David was dying, he was reduced to a problem to be solved (vv. 1-2) and an opportunity to be seized/an instrument for someone else to assume power (vv. 15-17).
  • Abishag, however, was the only bright spot in David’s deathbed. She served and attended to him. She saw King David as a man to be served with no other agenda (vv. 4, 15).
  • The ministry of being there (serving).

Group picture of GCF Center and satellites pastors and wives during the retreat held from January 16-18, 2017 in CCT Tagaytay. Photo by Pastor Jojun Loanzon.

      (I was not able to listen well in Sessions 3 and 4 so below are Eugene’s notes).

      Session 3. Wimps in the wilderness

      Wimps are people with different agendas, motives, purposes. The story is about Joab, Abner, Baanah, and Recab and their cycle of silly games and vengeance in 2 Samuel.

      • Revenge + Insecurity + Personal ambition = Death.
      • Though wimps are accounted for in God’s economy, they can never destroy your faith-journey in Jesus.
      • Be wary of people who look after your interests but not God’s.
      • God’s way isn’t just about destiny, the journey is just as important. Wimps are instruments to mould you. The journey is not from Point A to B but from Point A to being B.
      • Don’t wait for the opportune time before you take God seriously. There’s a good chance circumstances will not get better, it might only get worse. Start life right now, don’t wait.

      Pine trees!

        Session 4. Wind and whirlwind in the wilderness (2 Samuel 13-19)

        The story is about rape, revenge, rebellion, revolt, retribution, ruin, and regrets in the life of David and his sons in 2 Samuel.

        David as a father failed because he was:

        • Out of sight
        • Out of sync
        • Out of shape

        The lesson: when pushed into a choice, always be a great parent. You can settle to be a mediocre pastor or anything else but always choose to be a great parent.

        The retreat ended on Wednesday noon. Because we switched vehicles which was under the coding scheme again for that day, we needed to stay out late before heading home and be off the streets of Metro Manila not earlier than 8 PM. Our friends accompanied us to kill time and hang-out. After we left CCT, we ate merienda in Paseo de Sta. Rosa, went (window) shopping in HMR, then ate dinner and had coffee in Nuvali. We went home very late still not wanting to go home. Haha! Photo by Phoebe Rueda.

        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!

        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

        Singapore photo gallery

        13 Sep

        September 6 – 10, 2014

        New folder (2)

        SG: Chinatown

        13 Sep

        Continue reading

        SG: Touring downtown

        12 Sep

        Orchard Road

        Continue reading

        Gallery

        SG: S.E.A. Aquarium

        12 Sep

        SG: Universal Studios

        12 Sep

        Continue reading

        SG: Trick Eye Museum

        11 Sep