Posted in Bucketlist, Europe, Good gifts, Travel

77++

When I travel, I am happy with the reality that I am with family and/or friends, and we will share lots of wonderful memories together in a different place. That’s why I only have very few musts – must see, must eat, must buy – the rest of the trip, I happily go with the flow, go where my family or friends wish to go or what they wish to do.

For my recent trip to Europe, my dream destination, I’ve been listing my musts even before I bought the ticket for it, that’s why when it’s already actually happening, my list came in (so) handy. 🙂

I posted this list in my previous post, I was able to do 12 out of 19. I am very happy because the 7 things which I wasn’t able to do were replaced by 77++ more beautiful experiences (trip to Bellagio, Lake Como / Lugano, Switzerland / Brussels & Gent in Belgium) which I wouldn’t trade for anything else. 😀

France

  • Eiffel Tower – ✔
  • Eat macarons at Laduree Pierre Herme – ✔
  • Coffee at pavement cafes (done in Italy) – ✔
  • Buy Little Prince hardbound book – ✔ not in Paris, but in Notting Hill, London

Italy

  • Pasta, pizza & gelato! – ✔✔✔
  • Leaning tower of Piza – ✔✔✔ Kim and I even climbed up the Pisa and we were stunned by the gorgeous view from the top!
  • Colosseum – ✔✔ We saw it both day time and night time, in both times, absolutely picturesque, right Caye? 🙂
  • Buy leather bag in Florence San Gimignano – ✔ So happy to find a very lovely but not pricey brown leather bag

UK

  • Bond with Jel, Jelan & Mariel (and auntie too!)- ✔✔✔ I was happiest in London because I was able to spend time with them, so love them!! ♥♥♥
  • Visit Iris, Bong & Kids – ✔✔✔ Happy to catch up with Bong and Iris, such precious time to be with friends 🙂
  • Watch a theater play – Miss Saigon – hopefully next time I’ll get to watch this
  • Eat at monocle cafe – no more time, maybe next time
  • Go to UK landmarks, Notting Hill – ✔✔ Yes! We went to Notting Hill bookstore and the apartment where the character of Hugh Grant lives 🙂 I loved the bookstore so much, if only I have the space on my luggage for those lovely hardbound books…
  • Buy twinning teas, ‘after 8’ mint chocolate, Jane Austen’s cloth-bound classic set – nope! hopefully next time!
  • Meet Peony Lim 😉 – she was in Miami when I was in London, not meant to be ;P
  • Photo op with real peonies – ✔ no photos with peonies but I got to see them in real life (I think in Milan and Rome) So beautiful!!!
  • Umbrella park at Bath – nope! next time 🙂
  • Get Jane Austen pound coins as souvenir – not available, guess only few were released
  • National Gallery via Trafalgar Square- Van Gogh’s Sunflowers in Room – nope, next time, too!

Image-1 (2)

I thank and praise God for the 77++ unfathomable beauty that He showed us and made us experience in this trip. I trust He has much more wonderful things in-store for me. 🙂

Posted in Bucketlist, Europe, Good gifts, Lessons Learned, Travel

A prayer is answered, a dream is fulfilled.

Image-1Back from my dream travel for almost a week, I wouldn’t want to miss this chance to glorify God for causing it to happen.

A prayer is answered, a dream is fulfilled. 🙏🙌 My 💖 is full. 😊
Europe is my dream destination. I had it in my heart in my late teens. Can’t remember how and why, I guess it’s one of those dreams that God has planted in my 💖.
I’ve been open about it, family and friends know about this dream. I believe in the power of proclaiming your dreams, believing God to will it in His time and prepare for it as you wait for Him to make it happen.
Everything is kept in my 💖, lessons learned included.🙋 The photos and my nonexistent photography skill couldn’t make justice as to how I beautifully see it, feel it, and reminisce of every single precious moment I experienced, every single person I spent time with and those who I briefly encountered all throughout the trip. I am grateful (beyond words) to GOD who give great gifts to His children (James 1:17). 🙌He has blessed us, spoiled us, showed us marvelous, unfathomable beauty and kindness (yes, still exists) in the world (despite all the scary things happening around), and protected us.
I’m back to my normal life, but I am equally grateful and happy because this is where God wants me to be at this time. Bloom🌻 where you’re planted, right? 😍
God knows I will always want to go back to Europe, He knows what’s in my 💖 but I trust His will & want His best for my life, far more than my version of what’s best for me. ☺
“The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭16:9‬ ‭ESV‬‬
#oldsoul®
#GODspoils🙌🙌🙌

#LivingTHEdream💞💖

#gratefulbeyondwords💞💖

Posted in Bucketlist, Europe, Good gifts, Travel

Europe…we’ll see you soon!

FullSizeRenderIf you are a loved one or a very dear friend of mine, you sure know that Europe is a big dream of mine. I actually have 3 big dreams, only God and me know what these 3 dreams are. One of these big dreams is to live, work and retire in Europe with my family. In 35 days, I will get to see, smell, taste, feel and experience Europe in the flesh. 🙂

I think I was in my early 20s when I started dreaming of travelling to Europe, it was so far-fetched back then because promo fares were still unheard of. Thanks to the changing times, travel has become affordable to many.

In 2010, mi amiga Lianne and I promised to each other that we would go on our Europe trip, we were taking Spanish language classes during that time, the agreed year was 2015. Fast-forward to 2015, mi amiga got married and had her first baby. As for me, tax issue hit the Filipino staff in our company, we had to pay our taxes and had to push back all our travel plans with friends.

In early 2015, I got promoted and transferred back to my first department in ADB, OGC. I met new set of friends. My default travel buddies had different travel plans so I had no one to go with me to Europe. In my new set of friends in OGC, Caye and Kim were keen on going to Europe, my prayers were answered, thank you, Lord! Each of us has different reasons for wanting this Europe trip but God has caused us to be each other’s travel buddy. Thank you so much, Lord. 😊

Last year, a few days before my birthday, Caye, Kim, and I booked our ticket via Qatar Airways! We started out counting from 200 plus days and now we’re down to 35 days!

As of this writing, we already have our Schengen visa. We are hoping to get our UK visa in early May. I have practiced packing my clothes, I will edit it some more but I think I’m 90% good. We’ll be meeting a couple of friends and we’ll visit my cousin Jel and her adorable family in London.

So far, here’s my personal list of the things I want to do/experience subject to Caye & Kim’s approval 😊:

France

  • Eiffel Tower
  • Eat macarons at Laduree
  • Coffee at pavement cafes
  • Buy Little Prince hardbound book

Italy

  • Pasta, pizza & gelato!
  • Leaning tower of Piza
  • Colosseum
  • Buy leather bag in Florence

UK

  • Bond with Jel, Jelan & Mariel
  • Visit Iris, Bong & Kids
  • Watch a theater play – Miss Saigon
  • Eat at monocle cafe
  • Go to UK landmarks, Notting Hill – Friday morning
  • Buy twinning teas, ‘after 8’ mint chocolate, Jane Austen’s cloth-bound classic set
  • Meet Peony Lim 😉
  • Photo op with real peonies
  • Umbrella park at Bath
  • Get Jane Austen pound coins as souvenir
  • National Gallery via Trafalgar Square- Van Gogh’s Sunflowers in Room 43

My hashtags for this trip are ready too:

#GODspoils®️

#LivingTHEd®eam

#®️yahINeu®️ope2017

Before we reached to this point, we had gone through a lot of challenges and loss along the way, but in all of these, God remained faithful. He caused us to endure everything and believe that this Europe dream is not only our dream but most importantly, HIS dream for Caye, Kim and me. 😊

And we are too grateful and blessed to experience the fulfillment of God’s dream for us.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: – Ecclesiastes 3:1

IMG_5630 (Edited)
with the answer to my prayers, my lovelies, Kim & Caye

♥♥♥

Posted in Uncategorized

My kind of volunteer work

In January 2016, ADB has added a leave day to our benefits, we call it “volunteer day” where a staff can do outreach work on a weekday and file it as an official leave. We can do it individually or as a group with friends or as a department.

In October 2016, the Staff Community Fund (SCF) has tapped the heads of departments to partner with them to do outreach activities as part of the SCF Funds 50 Program. This program will provide P50,000 to the department’s chosen organization to be used in their outreach activities. My boss, Chris, the General Counsel, is one of the recipients of the email from SCF regarding the program. Chris, from my point of view is someone who has such a good and big heart, has grabbed the opportunity to help. He shared the email to me and 2 more staff and asked how can we partake in the program. I learned that OGC has 3 SCF volunteers, Ms. Kori, Ms. Mavic and Val. I rejoined as an SCF volunteer and started meeting with them to plan out our activities. In one of our meetings, we were thinking of what to call our outreach, after some deep but quick thought, we came up with OGC goes O.G.C. (Outreach and Games with Children).

We sent out a few emails to OGC staff and finalized the date and activities of the volunteer day. We informed them that we needed some contribution from them to supplement the funds provided by SCF. We went door to door, knocked on the generous hearts of our friends/colleagues, within a couple of weeks we were able to gather nearly P100,000 worth of cash donations. With this budget, we were able to give loot bags full of school supplies, grocery items to 50 children, we shared snacks and lunch meals with them and we even set up a photobooth to leave them with printed memories of the event.

On 17 March, our group went to Bistekville 4, a socialized housing project of 150 units of affordable housing undertaken in joint venture with Habitat for Humanity in Quezon City. Habitat for Humanity gathered the children for the event. The program commenced with a welcome remarks by Mr. Jess Maglente, the Home Owners Association President, followed by a message from Chris.

Each volunteer randomly picked the name of his/her kid buddy with whom he/she would bond and also mingle with the rest of the group all throughout the event. The whole group was divided into 5 teams: blue, green, orange, white and yellow. We played games under the sun with the children and also did some arts and crafts. Without a doubt, the children had so much fun. But to my surprise, the volunteers, 45 of us, of which more than half were lawyers, have equally enjoyed the activities, if not, I think we had probably enjoyed more than the children. 😉

You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give. ― Kahlil Gibran

An opportunity like this seldom comes especially in a workplace, thanks to ADB, now we can do it regularly with our friends/colleagues. We went there with the intention of generously giving our time, attention and resources, but we all went home with a deep sense of gratitude, feeling that we received more from those children, our hearts were full seeing their bright eyes with happy smiles, and hearing their contagious laughter was music to our ears, every bit of preparation and time spent with them was all well worth it.

Along the way, let’s never forget that once we were children and that we were all playing together without distinction of skin color, society level, or where people come from. Adults need to remember to play and to be more childlike in our behavior. We’ve forgotten what that childlike experience was like. – Guy Laliberte

_MG_4115

_MG_4105
Blue Team
_MG_4099
Green Team
_MG_4095
Orange Team
_MG_4093
White Team
_MG_4097
Yellow Team
_MG_4107
The Committee, the emcees with some of the kids

273026252422212017

Posted in Baking, Bucketlist

My ♥ is full..

..and so is  my tummy 🙂

Today, one of my greatest dreams got fulfilled, one of the things in my bucket list got ticked – that is to learn how to bake. 🙂

I grew up in a very simple family. My mom cooks but she never bakes, so I had nil idea how to bake pastries. I think, if my memory serves me right, I was in my high school or probably in my college years when I first wanted to learn how to bake. Mi amiga Rocel, one of my bestfriends in highschool, wanted to bake strawberry shortcake, she gave me a recipe of it with a promise that we should both learn to bake. Fast forward to many years, Rocel learned how to bake, she’s now in the US with her husband and son, but I remained clueless when it comes to baking. The dream lives on in my heart, though I didn’t get to do it because I don’t have an oven and the basic equipment, there are more important things to purchase so buying an oven and other utensils is always pushed back.

I have this friend/carpoolmate/colleague who recently retired. We all know that she bakes and cooks real well. When she retired I told her that I’ll visit her one of these days and will request her to teach me how to bake. Little did I know that my other carpoolmates want to learn how to bake, too! So we decided to visit Ms. Millen and do the baking session one Saturday morning. 🙂 We called our baking session, Millen101. 😉

Ms. Millen shared a list of pastries that she knows how to bake. From the list of six, we decided to bake: 1. Moist Chocolate Cake and 2. Lemon/Calamansi Squares. Here are the recipes shared by Ms. Millen:

img_5129img_5135

We’re all really happy to learn how to bake. Much more than having a full tummy because of the uber yummy chocolate cake and calamansi squares, my heart is full, I am exceedingly happy because I finally get to bake, and the experience is made more special because I did it with friends, with one of my treasures in life. I am wonderfully blessed with wonderful people around me. 😀 Thank you so much, Lord, I know this is another answered prayer. 🙂 Indeed, your timing is perfect, always! 🙂

The Moist Chocolate Cake 🙂

The Calamansi Squares

Ms. Millen did all the teaching and sharing, prepared breakfast, provided all the ingredients, the utensils, equipment, her time, lovely kitchen, lots of love, ALL for FREE, so as a simple thank you gift, we gave her what she loves. 🙂

img_5155
She loves to drink Coke, she collects Coke cans and other “Coke items”

After our baking session, I had lunch with momsy and daddy, it’s daddy’s 62nd birthday today. We had lunch in our of our fave restos, Simply Thai, because we simply love Thai cuisine. 😀

img_5176
I’m happy that my parents are healthy. Lord, please bless them with many more healthy, happy and lovely years with us.

Lord, thank you for such a blessed, wonderful day! You are good, all the time! 😀

Posted in Books, Bucketlist, Reading

Reading is ♥

img_5031

I love to travel, in every travel, one of my “must bring” is a book. I don’t always get the chance to read while on travel but in my heart I want to have that kind of vacation where I don’t have to do anything but just read leisurely, maybe under a coconut tree, with a lovely white-sand beach as my view, and a glass of tamarind shake to sip. 🙂

While in Manila, while living the daily life and working on weekdays, one habit I want to develop is reading. I am making progress but I want to allot more time in reading. This year, I downloaded the Goodreads app where there’s a “Reading Challenge” feature. My target is to read 12 books this year. So far, I only finished one book as of this writing.

Currently, there are 58 titles that I saved in the app which I want to read, well some of it, I’m already reading. The thing with me is I don’t focus on one book. I have around 5 books on hand which I read at different times.

This year, here are some of the books that I would like to read:

I hope I’ll be able to meet my target, or better yet, outdone myself. 😉

P.S. The classic books on the bottom right are mine, already on my shelf, waiting for me to give them my time and attention!! haha The rest are books in Fully Booked that I want to buy. 🙂

Posted in Good gifts, Non-negotiable, Settling

When settling is okay…

There are things which are non-negotiable, especially when it comes to someone’s values, character, and identity in Christ.

With my experiences in life, one of the good fruits, is now I know my non-negotiables, most specifically when it comes to relationships, be it with friends or with “someone special.”

I am wonderfully blessed with amazing people around me, my family, friends and even my colleagues. If there are two greatest blessings I have right now which I am grateful beyond words, they are my family/friends and our strength/good health. Having these in my life, I know I am extremely blessed which I am really happy about. 🙂 All other things are just bonuses, and I can boldly announce to the world that God is so good to me, He gives me lots of bonuses. 😀 All praises and thanksgiving to you, our Great God, our Father, our Savior, our Healer, our Friend, our Lover, You Are All GOOD. 😀

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.  – James 1:17

Actually, I learned from one of the preachings in Victory, and I believe it: that the greatest gift/manifestation of God’s generosity is our salvation thru Christ Jesus, and everything else (is) just wonderful bonuses from Above. We are enjoying our life here on earth because Jesus has saved us and forgave our sins thru dying on the cross.

When it comes to our faith, we shouldn’t settle. Our God is great and He deserves the top spot in our lives. He deserves our time, our attention, our love, our best.

Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. – Matthew 6:33

When it comes to mundane things, I guess it’s okay to settle, from time to time, depending on the circumstance. For me, simple is beautiful, always. In this world where materialism/consumerism is just too much, it is always best to go back to basics, relieve ourselves from getting stressed by trying to be “IN” all the time, and just be content with what we have and what we can have without getting into debt.

Don’t get me wrong, I love beautiful things, I do, even the expensive ones. But I know that I can be happy without them. I am actually happy without them, I am content with just appreciating beautiful things. I am also an advocate of local products, when I find myself liking imported, expensive things, I remind myself that it’s always good to support our own, always good to be practical and simple. #lovelocal #proudlyPinoy

A couple of months ago, I had a serious bag crush on these two. The one on the left is Sezane, a French brand, and the one on the right is Cuyana, a US brand.

As of this writing, I still love them. But I know they are something I can’t afford right now. Someday, I hope to have them. But for now, I will happily settle for something local and will serve the same purpose. 🙂

Tada!! The half-moon crossbody bag below is by PoshPocket, a local brand, this bag is handcrafted with vegan leather, a leather substitute that looks and feels like genuine cow leather and contains no animal products. It comes with a matching zip pouch to safeguard your small items, with gold metal zipper closure. 😉

What you think? It’s pretty, right, especially with my monogram on it? 🙂

This is what I mean when I say “settling is okay.” You can be happy without hurting your pocket. 😉