Posted in Family, Friendship, Gifts, Good gifts, Gratitude, Knowing oneself, Lessons Learned, Minimalism, note to self, Travel, Travel Highlights

Summer Special (Part 3)

P4280355Big. Enormous. Gigantic. Elaborate. Intricate. Beyond lavish.

These are just some descriptions I have for Grand Palace. It is very true to its name, grand is actually an understatement. I’ve traveled quite a bit and have seen quite a lot but it still blows my mind each time I see such elaborate, intricate, gigantic edifice of different forms, kinds, architecture and history. How in the world were they able to create those structures some hundred years ago (sans machines, technologies, electricity) with such accuracy, beauty, artistry and intricacy…

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On Day 3, we finally had the time to visit the Grand Palace. It’s a must see, never to be missed even on a hot day. But if ever I will go back with family or friends, I would prefer to go on a cooler weather. We were literally dripping with so much sweat because it was soooo hot, another underestimate. 😛 We were there between 9:00am – 10:30am. The whole place, though it was grandiose, it was still unimaginably and amazingly filled with tourists!!

I tried to take photos though I could hardly see through my camera lens because the sun was up and so bright even with my sunnies on.
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Of course, the 🌞 didn’t stop us from taking group photos and videos and having some good laughs and blogger poses in between. 😛😂

As soon as we got out of the Palace, we beat the heat by rewarding ourselves with some ice cream. 😍

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été is a French equivalent of ‘summer,’ it’s pronounced ‘ay-tay’

Since Day 3 was our last full day in Bangkok, it was also our last chance to do some shopping.

We requested our driver to bring us to Platinum Fashion Mall, where we first had lunch at the foodcourt, I had the yummiest Thai soup (forgot how it was called), but I was too hungry to even take a photo of it 😛 (sorry!) and then shopped. Since we had limited time, I bought first my friends’ requests and some souvenirs for family and friends.

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I got these keychains (and some cute elephant printed pouches) for pasalubong because I love that they are hand-made in Thailand (not in PRC). 😛

When my friends go to Thailand, I only have one request – Durian Chips. I would have hoarded these chips but they are expensive! The one in round container is almost P500 ($10)!!

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Aside from the Jim Thompson scarf, this lovely elphie wallet and a keychain were my remembrance from this wonderful trip. Really love these cuties. 🙂

When my friends learned that I would be going to Bangkok, they all had the same word for me – shopping in Bangkok is cheap. So I kept it in my mind and heart 😛 and managed to keep myself from buying anything from the time the flight was booked  until our trip to Bangkok – big milestone for someone who never failed to buy something new to wear for a trip (you know OOTD is life in IG). 😛 Each time I got tempted to buy a top, or a pair of pants, or bag, or even accessories, I would instinctively tell myself “that’s probably cheaper in Bangkok” and then I would walk away as fast as I could. 🤪

So the day of shopping finally came, but by this time, I’ve ran out of my pocket money, my ATM didn’t work, so I borrowed a few bucks from my brother & sister!! Lifesavers! 😛 So I depended on little cash and my creditcard but unfortunately, most shops don’t accept creditcard payment and some have 3% bank charge! But I still tried to go through each floor and looked for something to buy for momsy, my preggy sister and/or me. I managed to buy a dress and skorts (skirt/shorts) for momsy and nothing for me!! Amazing, such a breakthrough! 🤣😂😜

So I had some affirmations about myself through this experience:

✅ I’ve experienced this a few times – I would go home empty handed from mall wide sales.  It came to a point when mall wide sales don’t entice me anymore. I don’t and can’t force myself into buying something just because it’s on sale.

✅ No fitting policy won’t work for me. I want to try something on and see if it looks good on me before I consider buying it.

✅ Too many options, limited time and crowded malls have negative effect on my appetite to shop – which is actually friendly on my pocket. 😜

✅ I would rather spend my money on food than things – I love to bring home some local goodies for my family and friends for them to try and taste. So I bought some locally produced coffee, milk tea, noodles, and snacks from Big C, a big grocery store near Platinum Fashion Mall.

Thanks to Eia for introducing me to this coffee brand (Khao Shong), I love it! 🙂

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So that’s all folks for Day 3! We definitely had a grand and lovely time! On this day, my brother, sister and I wore our matching shirts! I got one for momsy, daddy and Matty too! 🙂
Posted in Family, Friendship, Good gifts, Gratitude, Lessons Learned, Travel, Travel Highlights

Summer Special… (Part 2)

Travelling is one of life’s best teachers. You learn about history, culture, language, you learn how to adapt, socialize, you realize that the world is big (and beautiful) and you are just a small (but blessed and special) part of it, you learn how to be grateful for what and how you are, you learn more about yourself and the family, friends, and even the strangers you are travelling with.

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On our 2nd day in Bangkok, our first stop was the Floating Market, another first and unique experience for us. Nikky was able to experience floating market in Bangkok, but on that day, our driver brought us to the first/original Floating Market which was far from the city center, between 1.5 – 2 hour drive. The Floating Market experience which lasts for about an hour costs 5,000 Baht. We were actually not expecting to pay anything for the Floating Market ride, unless we buy something, so we were quite shocked when we were told that the cost for the experience was 5,000 Baht! Anyway, we charged it to experience, appreciated that we had a wonderful and safe ride, the boat was made of sturdy and shiny wood and it was shaded/covered – we were protected from direct sunlight and heat! Lesson no. 1 – when offered with something, be it an experience, food, or anything, ask first how much it costs – when travelling, barely anything is for free! 😛

During the boat ride, we didn’t buy anything except food. 🙂 One common denominator in our group is we all LOVE to eat!! We are very passionate about satisfying our gastronomic cravings. 😛

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We bought sticky rice, mooping (really tender, tasty pork barbeque), and some fruits 🙂

After the Floating Market experience, our tummies were ready for lunch, yet another Thai lunch! 🙂 Our driver brought us to Maeklong Train Station Market.

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Here’s what we had for Day 2 lunch 🙂 – all soooo goood, yummeeehh and cheap too!! 😉

And of course, a Thai meal wouldn’t be complete without….

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Thai Milk tea! 😛

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Another common denominator with this group is we all love taking photos and groupies ♥ 

After lunch, we tried to do some shopping around the Train Station Market, but it was too hot!!

Our next stop was Golden Buddha (Sukhothai Traimit). The Sukhothai Traimit Golden Buddha is the largest Golden Buddha Image in the world, it was made of pure gold, with a price value of 28.5 million pounds and ages over 700 years by now. It is a valuable treasure of Thailand and Buddhism.

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Outside the temple, it looks like this, photos below. We only went to the top floor. There’s a museum on the ground or 2nd floor but we didn’t go anymore.

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Our last stop for the day before dinner is another top favorite – Jim Thompson House Museum. Thank you Eia and Gill for recommending this. 🙂 This is where you will learn something new, there’s a 30-40 minute guided-tour around the house museum – you will know who Jim Thompson is – you’ll learn a bit of history, your eyes will feast on all the rich, beautiful art collections inside, you will be refreshed with the greens and waters around. 🙂 We all loved it! ♥ 

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James H. W. Thompson

After the guided tour, we went to the boutique where the Jim Thompson products are displayed and sold. My heart melt with all the beautiful silk products at the Jim Thompson boutique. I love the quality, the luxurious feel and the prints of the bags and scarves. It was love at first sight with this rice-large-silk-twill-hobo-bag but had to control myself from bringing it home, too expensive for me! 😛

But I knew from my melting  😛 that I had to buy something as a remembrance from this trip, and it has to be from Jim Thompson.

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This beautiful scarf called for me and I happily gave in.  On this scarf are all my favourite colours and more!

After my happy purchase, Nikky wanted to check out the restaurant inside Jim Thompson, so we did and we were happy to learn that all pastries were 50% off from 5-7pm! By that time, around 6pm, we were all exhausted, and loading up some sugar was a welcome treat with a beautiful, calming view of a big koi pond. 🙂

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We loved all the cakes, sooo pretty and yummy!! 🙂

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Pastries are always best with coffee so it’s high time for cappuccino – a break from Thai milk tea ;P

Before we called it a day, we took some photos with the Tuktuk inside Jim Thompson.

“Tuk-tuks or ‘sam lor’ (three-wheeled) used to be everyone’s favourite way of getting around Bangkok before the BTS, MRT and colourful taxis took over.”

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Bye for now, friends! Will share our Day 3 experience soon! 🙂

Hope you learned something from our Day 2 adventures and enjoyed it as much as we did! 😉

Posted in Family, Friendship, Good gifts, Gratitude, Lessons Learned, Minimalism, note to self, Travel, Travel Highlights

Summer Special… (Part 1)

I’ve been blessed with another short yet definitely sweet and super fun trip this April. It’s a blessing because my favorite sister Kris, I only have one :), and favorite brother-in-law Carlo gifted me with a flight ticket to Bangkok. 🙂 Thank you so much, you’re the best sister and brother to me! 😀 Thanks much too to Nikky for booking it for our group and taking good care of us all throughout, you’re the best! 🙂

This trip, my 12th country, Thailand, is very special in more ways than one. Aside from being our first time to travel together out of the country, it’s also my sister’s first out of the country trip and she’s 4 months pregnant with the very first grandchild of our growing little family. 🙂 It’s also the first time that we would get to travel with Kris’ and Carlo’s friends/churchmates, Nikky and Tet. 🙂

So many firsts! So many things to be thankful for! 🙂

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very grateful for these 4, we had so much fun together 🙂

This photo was taken in Bang Pa-In Palace (Summer Palace), our first stop on Day 1 – 18 April – Ayutthaya Day trip. The backdrop is called Phra Thinang (Royal Residence) Aisawan Thiphya-Art (The divine seat of personal freedom). Of all the places that we explored, the Summer Palace is actually my top favorite, we took lots of beautiful photos on this very beautiful place. I loved that this place has pavilions and gazebos laid out in a garden setting, Western style-buildings, there’s Victorian feel to it, everything is just so lovely. 

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Keng Boo-Pah Pra-Paht

After taking lots of photos and shortcutting our tour around the Summer Palace because it was getting too hot already, we were ready for my much awaited Thai milk-tea, and Thai lunch!! 😛

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All smiles – Thai milk tea is ♥

Here’s our Day 1 Thai lunch, all soooo yummmm!!

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first Thai lunch with our hospitable, generous kuya driver/tour guide 🙂

After lunch, we were ready for another treat – Ayutthaya Historical Park-hopping all afternoon. 🙂

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Thanks to my brother and sister for their GoPro, we’ve got lots of wide-angled photos and super funny videos. 🙂

Next stop, one of the highlights, was our up-close encounter with a biggie but uber cutie elephant 🙂

After our photo-op with cutie elphie, it’s time for my 2nd milk tea! 😛

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Too hot at 3pm!!!

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This was our last stop in Ayutthaya, we’re too exhausted to go inside, we took this photo from the fence 😛

That’s all for now for my first Thailand trip.

Posts on Day 2-4 will follow in the coming days, hopefully. 🙂

Good night, folks!

Hugs from warm Manila 🙂

Posted in Just Random, Knowing oneself, Lessons Learned, note to self

More on knowing oneself

Recently, I’ve been watching youtube videos, especially while I’m doing treadmill. I’ve watched this video a couple of weeks ago and thought of answering some of the questions just for fun and to know myself a bit more.

50 Questions with Anne Curtis

Sunday, 18 March 2018

  1. what did you do today – I’ve walked/jogged a bit with my momsy
  2. what’s the best thing about what you did – it’s precious bonding time with my momsy, we get to exercise and get some vitamin D 🙂
  3. fave food – I eat almost anything, but I have preference over Japanese & Korean food
  4. best thing about Philippines – being with my family, friends, working in ADB, white beaches 🙂
  5. fave Filipino food – my momsy’s sinigang and pancit 
  6. least fave food – hmmm I try to do away with anything with lots of preservatives
  7. fave ice cream flavor – pistachio, coffee, avocado!
  8. fave fruit – banana, avocado, lanzones, berries
  9. fave drink – milk tea, cappuccino for coffee (so far)
  10. fave movie – Audrey Hepburn’s movies, Pretty Woman, Serendipity, Leap Year, etc.
  11. children’s book – Little Prince
  12. fave novel – Pride and Prejudice, Little Prince, A Little Princess
  13. fave toy – lego
  14. TV show that’s currently on – just finished My Golden Life
  15. fave book – the Bible, travel books
  16. fave record – I don’t have any, I live on Spotify 😛
  17. twitter or instagram? – Instagram
  18. fave song – Author of my life, Radiant, Beautiful Love, A Thousand Years, It’s You
  19. country you wish to visit – Nordic Countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden)
  20. pack light or heavy? – I try to pack light, getting there…
  21. top 3 fave cities – Seoul/Busan, Japan cities and European cities 😛
  22. last country visited – South Korea
  23. do you believe in mermaid – no
  24. fave disney princess – Aurora and Belle
  25. kittens or puppies – not into pets
  26. someone you look up to the most – my momsy 🙂
  27. fashion icon – Audrey Hepburn, Peony Lim, Mari Jasmine, Rissa Mananquil Trillo
  28. coolest thing on my closet – hmmm maybe my collection of books 🙂
  29. best halloween costume – not into halloween and costumes
  30. fave holiday – Christmas!
  31. coolest thing in this room – I’m at our living room while blogging so it’s this laptop and the wifi connection 🙂
  32. best first date idea – a walk in the park on a cool weather, a good conversation over lunch and coffee afterwards 
  33. weirdest thing someone said to impress you – I can’t remember 😛
  34. pancakes or waffles – pancakes
  35. dream job – travel blogger/vlogger, café owner (with collection of classic books inside which customers can read), small boutique owner of classic, vintage, cool stuff
  36. define love? – God is  
  37. super power – just like Anne, teleporting so I can travel the world! 🙂
  38. super hero – wonder woman
  39. best breakfast food – French toast with crispy bacon and caramel latte or cappuccino, for something healthy – overnight oats / avocado toast
  40. Filipino film – John Lloyd-Bea Alonzo movies 😛
  41. do you like vegemite – I haven’t tried it so I don’t know yet
  42. fave website –Desiring GodConde Nast, CNtraveler, Peony Lim to name a few
  43. most prized material possessions – I try not to be so attached to things, but to answer this – I think the few jewelry pieces which my dad gave me when I was a teenager which I still have and use 😉

I must admit, answers to some of these didn’t come quickly and easily, I have to pause and think about it hard at times, but I’m glad I was able to remember some favorites and share them here. For some items, I didn’t get to think of only one top favorite, so I ended up writing more than one. 🙂 Some favorites might change over the course of time but it’s okay. Because change is beautiful. 

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Posted in God's victory, Inspiration, Knowing oneself, Lessons Learned, Love, Minimalism, Non-negotiable, note to self, Womanhood, Word of God

knowing oneself

Lately there are lots of templates on Instagram where you will answer questions about yourself, it’s like an online version of the good old slambook! 🙂

I first saw it from my dear friend Gillian’s IG stories so I downloaded some of the templates from TheSundayChapter IG and answered them. Sharing some here:

Having been able to answer these templates quickly and enjoyably made me happy and realized that I know myself much better now compared when I was much younger. I guess that’s just how life works, as you go through life, as you experience lots of things, both good and not-so-good, you get a better understanding of who you are, what you prefer and why you prefer this one thing over the other, why you do what you do and you are happy about it (no need to explain yourself to anyone), you know your negotiables and non-negotiables which is really liberating. You don’t depend your choices and decisions on someone else because you know what works well for you and what’s not, and you are very cool with it (talking about acceptance :)).  

Knowing oneself is a lifetime process, so we better enjoy and love as we discover new things about us day by day. As we age, we change our preferences, though there are things that we will hold dear until the end, we improve (hopefully), we learn to let go of things quite easily because we now know what matters most, and we know that it’s never about material things but about our God (our life with Him here and thereafter), our life’s purpose, and every single person we are blessed to have around us. These people help shape who we are, and vice versa, so let’s strive to have positive influences towards each other, let’s walk together towards goodness and righteousness, all for God’s glory. 

Discovering oneself will not be always a walk in the park, sometimes you will have doubts, sometimes you will be judged and you might get off track and feel sad about it but you have to be reminded who you really are, in Christ. Your worth is dependent in Christ alone, He knows who you really are and He loves you just the same, unconditionally for all eternity. 

So God created mankind in his own image,
    in the image of God he created them;
    male and female he created them. – Genesis 1:27

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“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”
Posted in Baking, Books, Coffee Princess, Family, Gifts, Goals, God's victory, Good gifts, Gratitude, Health, Inspiration, Just Random, Lessons Learned, Love, Reading, Starbucks, Things to do, Word of God

So far, so good…

Hello everyone! How are you??

Hope you are all doing great!! 

We’re on the 63rd day of 2018, 2 months passed by so quickly, right?

My first two months were great! Thank and praise God for all that He has done and for all the blessings He has poured upon my family and all my loved ones and friends.

The biggest blessing/answered prayer so far is my little sister’s pregnancy. 🙂 Our family is soooo happy and grateful for this blessing, such a great way to start the year!! She’s on her 3rd month and we are so looking forward to the new addition to our growing family.

We are also counting the days to our first out of the country trip for the year, it will be my first time to travel with my sister and brother-in-law to Bangkok. It’s my sister’s first out of the country trip so we are all very excited. 🙂

With regards to my #Goals for 2018, I think I am doing okay, I have 10 more months to fulfill most of it. 🙂

Read and study the Old Testament. – I’m on Genesis 16. I am slow but it is okay. Reading and studying the Word of God is not a contest, it’s about consistency, commitment, and building a personal relationship with the Author. 🙂

Finish one-to-one discipleship with muy bella, Mel. Then participate at the Victory weekend and be water-baptized as a Christian. – I hope to be water-baptized this year, I am not rushing this, I will happily and peacefully follow God’s timeline.

Join VictoryFort’s feeding program regularly. – I will join VictoryFort’s activities after my baptism. 🙂

Buy an oven and learn how to bake cookies, cupcakes and cakes. – My target for this is next quarter. I hope to buy an oven by April and start baking thereafter. 🙂

Save up Pxxx,xxx by end of the year. – I think this is attainable. 🙂

Read atleast one book per month. – I’ve finished reading these 3 books but I started reading them in late 2017.

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I hope to finish these 2 by this month, March.

I bought 4 new books at the Big Bad Wolf Book Fair, here they are:

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I hope to read all these books this year, in addition to the original pile below…

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Learn French using the Duolingo app. – This one I am not consistent. I should start again very soon!!

For the first two months of the year, I had a couple of disappointments which caused me momentary heartbreak but it’s all okay now. I think I was able to manage my emotion well, and hold my peace thus no relationship was compromised. I have forgiven and learned to let it go. I know it is never right to judge anyone, but because of what happened, I had a better understanding and appreciation of why God has commanded us not to judge our brethren.

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.” – Matthew 7:1-2

I have been judged, and it hurt so much. People, even family or friends, will not always understand why we do what we do, so it is best to not judge. Each has his/her own reasons for doing things, in most cases, only God is our witness and He’s the only one who understands, accepts, forgives and loves us, no matter what.

Anyway, I am so grateful that God is always ready to listen to us, to hear our prayers, our cries, and He is with us to comfort, to give us peace and the assurance that everything will be okay because He is our Father, He is in control and He has the best plans for each of us.

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Anyway, on a lighter note, I am very happy with my increasing commitment to working out/exercise. When I say “workout/exercise,” it means joining Thursday Bootcamp, planking and abs workout at home (checkout JessicaSmithtv), playing squash and doing treadmill at the company gym. I’ve recently discovered what will entertain me while I run, that is watching YouTube videos, I am specifically hooked with Erwan Heusaff’s videos, because it’s 99% travel and food! 🙂

On weekends, I try to jog/walk with my momsy, and then we would have coffee  (and French toast and baked sweet potato, oooopppssss!!!) afterwards if the time permits it. I think I am officially a coffee princess, in other words – coffee addict, which is not actually bad, for as long as I am not drinking too much. 🙂

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I super love our mom-daughter bonding on weekends thru jogging/walking and drinking/eating. 😛

We are only done with the first two months of the year, but I have been blessed with so much already. So many favors and blessings from God through my loving family, well-meaning friends and colleagues at work, good health and strength, travels to look forward to, a happy, healthy, godly baby for our family in a few months.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. – Romans 12:2

The future is bright, it is so promising and filled with God-ordained circumstances. I am very hopeful and expectant of all things good, lovely and beautiful because my hope rests in the Lord.

We wait in hope for the Lord;
    he is our help and our shield.
21 In him our hearts rejoice,
    for we trust in his holy name.
22 May your unfailing love be with us, Lord
    even as we put our hope in you. – Psalms 33:20-22

Posted in Goals, Things to do, Womanhood, Word of God

#Goals for 2018

Yes! I’m that kind of person, I write goals, things to do, faith declaration every start of the year, because I believe in the power of spoken and written words. Words are powerful, writing them down reminds me of what I have prayed for, planned for the year, and how the Lord has answered them.

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For 2018, I have written down 7 goals, I surrendered them to God. I hope I’ll be able to do them all, but as always, I am open to God’s interventions. If He has other things which He wants me to do, I am very much willing to do them. At the end of it all, I just want God’s best for my life. And I hope to glorify and magnify Him in my life.

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So please let me share my goals for the year. I hope to update you by next year and let you know how the Lord has blessed them. 

  1. Read and study the Old Testament.

IMG_0812I’ve read and finished the New Testament several times, but not yet the Old Testament (OT). I have read some chapters of the OT, this year I want to read it from Genesis to Malachi. I might not be able to finish it this year, but my goal is to read and study it daily, hopefully. Knowing God through HIS word is very important, if not the most important, that’s why I really want to have a regular quiet time. The word of God guides, equips, leads, enlightens, comforts, gives us peace and wisdom, amongst other things.

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2. Finish one-to-one discipleship with muy bella, Mel. Then participate at the Victory weekend and be water-baptized as a Christian.

This is very important and special to me. 🙂

3. Join VictoryFort‘s feeding program regularly. 

I have not done volunteer work for awhile so I really look forward to do it again this year. 🙂

4. Buy an oven and learn how to bake cookies, cupcakes and cakes.

I’ve always wanted to do this but didn’t have the time (and the oven) to do it. This year, I hope to finally get to bake. I have bought this book last year (hello! coffee-lover in me), so I am excited to finally use it this year. 😉

5. Save up Pxxx,xxx by end of the year. 🙂

Follow the 10-20-70 rule. 10% for tithes, 20% for savings/investments, 70% for expenses.

6. Read atleast one book per month. 🙂

Here are the books that I would like to finish reading by end of this year. Some of which I have already started but stopped somewhere… If I have more time, I have more books on queue, which are kept on my other shelf. ;P

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7. Learn French using the Duolingo app.

I really like to learn to speak French. I’ve been planning to enrol at the Alliance Française de Manille but I don’t have the budget for it yet. The tuition is quite high so for now, I will have to self-study using the Duolingo app.

So there, I have shared with you my goals for the year. Hope you get inspired to set your own goals too! 🙂

Let’s cheer on and support each other up. We can do all these, by God’s grace and our discipline and determination. 😀

By the way, the list looks simple and easy, but it will surely require a lot of time, hardwork and discipline (and God’s grace), so on the last day of 2017, I decided to minimize the use of Instagram (a time-waster for me). I will check my account on weekends only, or if I have something to post. But on weekdays, I will focus my time on accomplishing my goals. 🙂