Archive for December, 2010

The 12 Lessons of 2010. The Year that Was.. (Part 3 of 3)

New country, new life, new job, new industry. It has been a dithyrambic journey. I have discovered skills I never thought I had and new opportunities I never thought were available. I have met a few Pinoy clients who were very supportive of me, a technical newbie. I have a boss and teammate who are experts in the field yet always willing to share their knowledge and expertise.

While I terribly miss seeing colors, creative copies, and photoshoots, I am trying to enjoy this newfound career while the scent of flowers still linger.

I thank the Lord for the gift of new friends. I have only known them for a while yet I already consider them my family. Both SE and LOJ played a major role in my decision to take that big leap of faith. Together with my family, they were the key people who prayed for me (and my survival). They also taught me the value of community, of sharing yourself, of being each other’s reinforcement. I believe we have already formed a bond that will last us a few hundred years more.

 

I was once a contrabida and I seriously regret being one. It has been 2 glorious years since sanity took over. The wounds have been healed already and fondest acceptance has been extended to that part of me I used to hate. In an unexplainable way, that experience has molded into someone I will always be proud of. I am that someone whose spirit remained unscathed, no matter how torn I became emotionally.

I am now living my life the way I should have had (sans the unexpected turn). I am happy. Mistakes can be corrected and one can be restored, indeed.

I believe I have transitioned to a different person and this is because, over the course of this year, I have experienced love in so many ways. Divine love, parental love, sibling love, platonic love, and romantic love—I have experienced them all this year (and still experiencing them right this very moment). I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: My love tank is full.

And I intend to continue spreading the grace of love.. because I can give.. because I have.

Year 2010 had been a series of love-hate relationships with people, career, and my own self. I have discovered new strengths, and weaknesses. I thank God for the wisdom to have been able to discern the right path and for the flexibility of being able to journey through it. To end this note, let me post the top seven blessings I am thankful for this year:

1. Family

2. Nikki, Joni, Mia, Cli

3. SE family – sheps and best friends (you guys are too many)

4. LOJ family – Alde family and best friends

5. Arvin and Candy

6. GFS Family – bosses and teammates

7. My current boss and teammate

Looking forward to more blessings this coming year. Love you guys!

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December 31, 2010 at 2:32 PM Leave a comment

The 12 Lessons of 2010. The Year that Was.. (Part 2 of 3)

My sister had her church wedding. And it was also the month when I have officially moved to Singapore. I came here with a one-way ticket, with no guaranteed work, and with just enough money to pay for 3 months worth of rent, transportation, and other basic needs. Despite knowing that my parents are just a call away should I need extra cover, I have placed my hopes on God who never fails to respond on time. Just in time.

And because I have been surrounded by uncertainties, my hope remained firm. I knew I had nothing else but hope.. that I have a BIG God guiding my every move. In a special way, I would like to honor my parents… You guys are the best!

 

This month I received a divine message: “Welcome to the next level.”

The last 3 years seemed to be a struggle to get back on the spiritual track. Level 1 was all about healing and forgiveness and Level 2 is about embracing service wholeheartedly.

Service allowed me to experience the joy of selfless giving in a different way. At that time, I didn’t have extra money to contribute but I had all the time in the world to share what I know and do what I can. Eventually, being penniless in this shopping-inducing country made me appreciate the simple things in life even more.

I am still a fledgling in this area but I am looking forward to greater opportunities to share my time, talent, and treasure not only in my spiritual communities but in all aspects of my life.

On the verge of living in poverty in a new country, I had nothing to hold on to but faith. I badly needed to start working, or else.. I never planned on leaving Singapore, which would have been an easy way out, because deep down, I knew I was where I was supposed to be.

Indeed, everything happens in God’s perfect time. At the right moment, I have received two job offers. So I prayed again for guidance:

“Decide and have faith.”

It was God’s way of reminding me that he gave me the freedom to decide for myself and my future.  And that He trusts my abilities to make a sound decision, and placing this decision in His guiding hands.

 

“What are your priorities?”

It was God who has asked me the same question over and over: in my prayer time, homily of every mass I have heard that week, through facebook application, and dialogues with people.

It was my big 3-0.

 One good thing about celebrating birthdays is that you get to talk to your old friends at least once a year. “At least once” because there are still some who get in touch during Christmas, New Year, and V-day. But the bulk of them remain in oblivion until your well-celebrated natal day. And this year, my good friends practically spent their hard-earned money for an overseas call, while my family flew to Malaysia to be with me. I felt loved. I felt extremely happy.

 So I guess the answer to the above question is Relationship. My priority is establishing and maintaining good relationships with God and with people despite living in a faraway place. No doubt, my happiness highly depends on it.

[To be continued..]

December 30, 2010 at 3:30 PM Leave a comment

The 12 Lessons of 2010. The Year that Was.. (Part 1 of 3)

Now every field is clothed with grass, and every tree with leaves; now the woods put forth their blossoms, and the year assumes its gay attire. ~Virgil

2010. A year of good intentions and its realizations.. The year when I have fully exercised maturity and independence. As I come to the closing hours of this year, I’d like to summarize the lessons of 2010 in 12 words:

I clicked that “register” button one lazy Saturday morning and that was how a mere fraction of a second changed my life forever. I will never forget what my good friend told me about discerning our destiny. He said “there is a grand plan for everyone, but it is up to us to determine the course we will take to get there.”

Moving to another country was just an idea I’d usually toy with when I was stressed. However, I didn’t put much thought into them and I had all the excuses not to. I was living “the life” back home. I have a healthy relationship with family and friends. I was financially stable. And regardless of how stressful work was, it was within my comfort zone. Likewise, I didn’t really know what I wanted. I just wanted to do something different, something grand.

Not knowing what you want usually spells danger. But in this case, it was the driving force that led me to do something I have never done before: Pick one, do it, and think about it later.

Life presents us many options. There are too many good opportunities that greet us each waking day. Once we recognize them, we are either too lazy or too scared to act on them. I am one of those people who often suffer from, what my former GM calls, “analysis paralysis.” I tend to over think things and I seem to have a knack for confusing myself.

For a time I got distracted by too many good alternatives–too good that I was tempted not to pursue the “crazy” idea anymore. But then again, the curiosity for the unknown squeezed its way in. In the end, I was more at peace with “crazy” and “unknown” than “comfort” and “certainty.”

 

There is truth in the saying that “If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it!” I have learned that the innermost desires of our hearts were placed by a powerful force of love (aka God) together with the tools to turn them into reality.

When I offered my decision to move, everything fell into place. Blessings, both big and bigger, came my way even before I asked for them. Indeed, all things are possible with God!

The perfect formula for the success of every decision always includes a cupful of risk. In my GFS despedida, I remember being asked this question: “What do you think are the most important characteristics one must possess to survive GFS?” I answered, “tigas ng mukha and tapang ng loob.”

I guess this response does not apply only to my former company but to life itself. Too often we avoid a grand decision in favour of security. Being the planner (and control freak) that I am, packing my bags without any concrete plan is something I have always avoided. I have always been ten steps ahead and I have been planning my life ever since I can. But for the first time, I have fully let go because I wanted to be more open to God’s surprises. I have stopped planning my life and just followed my intuition. It frightened the crap out of me but this, I believe, was the best decision I  made this year.

(To be continued..)

December 28, 2010 at 3:10 PM Leave a comment

Christmas 2010

Family was here to celebrate Christmas with us..

Christmas Eve at the Marina Bay Sands Skypark + Home (to open gifts)

 

Christmas Dinner at Dempsey Hill

 

Of course, dessert came first

 

 ..followed by a yummy Mexican dinner + Margaritas

 

<More photos soon>

December 27, 2010 at 11:31 AM Leave a comment

Indeed, the most wonderful time of this year!

I agree with my sister’s statement: “Sulit ang 2010.”

Last night, I have completed Simbang Gabi. This is the first time I have ever done it and it wasn’t just because of the lack of Christmas parties to attend, but more on the desire to dedicate this all-time favorite season to the One who stood by me throughout my life, especially in this very challenging yet awesome year.

2010 has been my spiritual year and I have never been happier. I have never felt more loved and blessed. And this overwhelming feeling drove me to make this Christmas a spiritual celebration, rather than a commercial one.

I love everything about my life now!

Cheers to a Merry and Wonderful Christmas!!

December 24, 2010 at 11:04 AM Leave a comment

Three Simbang Gabi’s in a Row + Crispy Pata

This is indeed a milestone.. I have already completed 3 consecutive Simbang Gabi’s (going 4th today) and simultaneously, I am able to tour the different Catholic Churches here in Singapore.

We were a big group last night for a dear friend’s despedida..

That's just half of the group

 

Afterwards, we trekked the East Coast Road for unhealthy servings of our favorite Pinoy food. Truth be told, I haven’t tasted sisig and crispy pata in the last 8 months!!! I felt so much deprived!!! Imagine my delight when these were served:

Off to my 4th Simbang Gabi!!!

Photocredit: Lean Tibia

December 18, 2010 at 5:43 PM 1 comment

My First Simbang Gabi in Singapore

Seems like the entire Filipino community in Singapore gathered yesterday night at the Church of the Divine Mercy to celebrate the first Simbang Gabi for this year. This is the first Filipino mass I have attended since I arrived here and honestly speaking, I have missed singing “Papuri sa Diyos” and other Tagalog songs during mass.

Afterwards, a special salu-salo of steaming hot arroz caldo and sandwiches were prepared for the mass attendees. It was a simple fellowship yet really an overwhelming one. I guess this really shows how we Pinoys value Christmas, wherevever we are.

December 16, 2010 at 11:34 AM Leave a comment

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