Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Achievement Unlocked: Simbang Gabi 2016

Next to the Christmas parties and the holiday festivities in the office, one of the things I look forward to every December is the Simbang Gabi. It is a an activity I have tried (and succeeded) completing a number of times. I first started this when I was 19 years old, not to test if a wish comes true when you complete the 9 novena masses but more of challenging myself in completing an activity.

There are two mass celebrations of the Simbang Gabi offered in our parish in Angono Rizal. The anticipated Simbang Gabi from December 15 to 23 at 8:00 pm and the traditional Misa de Gallo which is held from December 16 to 24 at 4:00 am. Since I leave early in the morning to report to work, I have always opted to attend the anticipated Simbang Gabi.

I really planned to complete the 9 evening masses this time because I failed to pursue the activity last year after Papa got hospitalized unexpectedly on the first evening of the Simbang Gabi combined with the strong, nonstop rains. 

Completing the nine evenings is a challenge given that I have a day job and traffic in the metro tends to get heavy especially during the Christmas holidays. Thankfully though, the traffic situation improved the during my last week at the office so I was able to leave the office on time in the afternoon.

There may not be rainy evenings but the workload became busy on the final week in the office; and the stress of work and holiday parties I attended on the last couple of weeks caused me to feel under the weather. But it did not stop me from continuously going to the evening masses until the I reached the finish line. Completing the endeavor despite all the fears of experiencing things that could hinder me from making it possible never felt this good. With all that has happened and given to me the whole year, I realized making this short-term sacrifice is the least that I can do to be grateful.

I know you'd ask me what was it I wished for upon completing the Simbang Gabi. I used to have one big wish for myself. But for this time, I had to set that aside and allow my own wish to just be secondary in exchange to a "priority wish". Instead of asking God to finally send The One my way, I asked if God could finally grant the wish of my friend for his mom's healing and recovery. While it may sound wonderful to have a special someone to hold hands, hug and talk with, I realize how important it is for him to see his mom healthy and well to be with him again. I realized I have been waiting for the fulfilment of my wish for almost eight years and it won't mean any difference if it will mean having to wait again. I can have my personal petition later anyway. And while doctors may have been giving findings based on what they know and learn scientifically, I believe there are things that cannot be explained by science -- the reason why God created the presence of miracles. And it's one thing I am hoping for -- another miracle. 

God has granted one of my prayers for her earlier this year and I hope in God's time, the other will be given. 

Monday, December 12, 2016

Second Time is the Charm (and Tips on How I Did It)

One of the things that kept me occupied this year next to my job is embarking on a number of challenges and accomplishing items on my bucket list. One of them was challenging myself to retake the Civil Service Professional Exam. Just a short background, there are four difficult examinations in the Philippines (at least in my opinion): The UPCAT (the college entrance exam of the University of the Philippines), The Bar Exams, PLE (Physician Licensure Exam) and the Civil Service Exam. 

Of the four, I've experienced taking two: the UPCAT when I was 16 and the Civil Service Exam when I graduated from college at 20. Sadly, while I took the challenge, I failed. 

Going for a retake of the Civil Service Exam was far from my plans -- at least 11 years after I failed on my first attempt. However, I suddenly had a change of heart early this year. I realized, I have been working in the judiciary (only in the international setting) which is also a branch of the government. I was not really eyeing to work for the government before but given the nature of my job, I thought the credentials of passing the exam would be a good plus. So after some moments of contemplation, I filed my application last June.

11 years can really make a huge difference. When I first took the exam in 2005, I thought of it as the usual multiple choice test in school so I did not prepare much for it -- which was a wrong move. So this time, I made a few changes to my usual habits. And by changes, most of them had to be major ones.

Preparing for the test for the second time was a painstaking process. But I was determined to make it this time so I really took it seriously. I was that serious even my colleagues at work and my family would tell me so. 

Now you might ask me, what did I do in order to pass the test. I would like to say you have to brace yourself to make a number of those. In my case, I observed five steps:

Prepare as early as you can. While my exam was scheduled in October, I started preparing (read: studying) in May -- even before I submitted my application to the Civil Service Commission Regional Office. Take note of the scope of the exams; those are mentioned on posted announcements on the Civil Service Commission website.

Invest in reviewers. Since I have a day job, attending review classes is not possible. But I utilized reviewers for the usual subjects and for those topics covering the law (Civil Service Act, Universal  Declaration of Human Rights and the 1987 Constitution), I bought a separate reading material and used the Internet. It doesn't have to be expensive. It's more on how you will utilize them to practice answering and conditioning your mind for the big day.

Have a support system. It really made a difference that my family colleagues were supportive of me even from the start when they found out about my plan of retaking the Civil Service exam. My officemates and relatives were helping me out particularly when I was reviewing for the numerical area of the test which is admittedly my Achilles Heel.

Be able to give up (of not minimize) social activities -- for a time being. In my case, it was four months' worth of declining dates, gimmicks and nightlife during Friday nights and weekends. I thought, this will just be a little sacrifice for a very meaningful result anyway so why not give it up for some time. But of course, I get to have "cheat hours" or "me time" by watching a good movie.

Pray and have faith. This is a powerful tool -- the most powerful at that. But of course, this has to be combined with all the hard work too.

They say good things come to those who wait. After the three-hour exam was over, we were told that the results will be released in 41 days. I wasn't really putting too much expectations on passing the test even if part of me that is telling me that I will make it. I was thinking the results to be annouced before Christmas or by next year. But the 41 days came to an end when I received the screenshot above on the evening of December 3 from my friend Januver. At first I was in disbelief but after checking three different websites (including that of the Civil Service Commission), it was then I realized the whole thing is real. However, the two of us decided to keep the thing unannounced for a week.

Now that the results have been released and I made it to the list, I just have to sign and file a few papers in order to obtain my Certificate of Eligibility from the Civil Service Commission which I plan do do next year.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Belated Birthday Post

I turned 32 last Saturday.

There. I said it. Plain. Simple. Straightforward.

How I spent my birthday weekend was rather unconventional. Far from the typical "party hard" type, mine was in a simpler, quieter tone. I guess that's the effect of getting older. When you're young, a birthday won't be complete unless you are able to party to your heart's content, indulging in booze all night (until all day) long. The exact opposite when your birthday arrives and you are more aware of the fact that you're not young anymore -- that's when you appreciate simplicity, solemnity and silence all the more.

The folks at work gave me an advanced birthday party a day before I went on a vacation leave. This has become somewhat a tradition to our team given that with all the things we would go through day-to-day in performing our duties, andito at buo pa rin kami-- and still strong at that. Years ago, it was my heart's wish to experience celebrating my birthday at work -- literally in the office. And that has been the scenario for five times now. But as soon as the big day arrived, I decided to welcome it in a quiet, practical way I know -- unplanned, simple, ordinary. 

While I was not on my office desk on a workday, I still traveled to Quezon City but to visit St. Pio Chapel. I have been devoting a part of my time every Friday going to this place since this year had started. Upon waking up on the morning of my birthday, I spent an extra hour in bed just lying there savoring a new morning (anyway, it's a weekend and such extra time in bed doing nothing already is a luxury). I just had a quick brunch and headed straight to Quezon City again, but this time in order to go to St. John Paul II Parish for the 12:15 pm Thanksgiving Mass.

It might be ironic but I guess, I was just being content despite not having everything -- even that one thing I hoped to receive for my birthday. I turned off the "writings on the wall" on my Facebook account and I believe it was beneficial to my yearning for silence. It showed that whoever would want to remember will really find a way to do so. I may not have gotten a lot of those birthday wishes, but the ones I got proved to be the genuine ones.  When I had to make a wish before blowing the birthday candle, I found it hard to put it into words despite knowing that I do have one. It may seem odd but more than just wishing something for myself, I find it easier to pray for something for other people.

On the other hand, I may be old by the numbers, but I still am the girl that I was years ago -- only a bit improved in a way that I have learned to let go of some things, to be patient with people (and still working on it), to look with value and appreciate what I have at present, to make time for what and who is important, but most of all, to realize that the real purpose of my life and my existence in this world is to be there for someone else -- things I have learned from the circumstances I have to face as well as from the people I meet and from that one person who has been slowly occupying a space in my heart.

Monday, October 24, 2016

The OC Project: St. Jerome Parish Morong, Rizal

Three months. That's how long it's been since I visited  and wrote about the second church for The OC Project series. But over the weekend and thanks to the Civil Service Examinations, I had the chance to finally update this sort of "lakwatsaserye" on my blog. Next to making an ocular visit to the school where I was assigned for the exams, I got to include visiting the town's church, St Jerome Parish in my itinerary.

Completed in 1620, and given its barouque-style architecture, St Jerome Parish, is among the favorite subjects of photographers and photography enthusiasts and there's no need to ask why. The moment I reached the place on a Saturday afternoon, I can't help but be fascinated too. The church's facade is already enough for me to consider this place of worship postcard-worthy. I never thought history could be this beautiful -- and just like what a friend's hashtag in his posts would say, old but gold.

This is how the interior of the church looks like.The altar may have gone through rennovations but history is still visible from the other religious materials found in the church such as the paintings of the 14 Stations of the Cross found on the walls.  My mom was able to attend the 6 am mass in this church yesterday while I was taking the exam. And just like me, she also couldn't help but marvel at the church -- particularly the fact that history was preserved in this place -- and how solemn the morning mass was held free from the usual distractions of crying kids and distracting gadgets. She even mentioned that the place is an ideal backdrop for one's travel and event journals.

St. Jerome Parish Church
Gov. Martinez St.
Morong, Rizal

Monday, October 17, 2016

A Day at Lopez Museum and Library

Over the past week, as I was browsing through my Facebook News feed, I came across a post from the Lopez Museum and Library about the Free Museum Day  last October 15. I am familiar about the museum because we featured the place for an art and culture themed issue of the magazine where I wrote for some years ago.

I did not give the event and second thought and given that the event happened on a weekend, I decided to give it a shot. I am not really good with art appreciation, however, I simply wanted to explore the place and what I could see there.

The museum houses pieces from maps, books to original paintings of Filipino artists such as Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo and Juan Luna.

While I have never been to the National Museum to see the Spoliarium, it was in that weekend trip to the Lopez Museum that I had a first-time encounter with an original Juan Luna painting. Of those that I saw, this one, the Spanish Girl, caught my attention.

There was also a separate room that housed paintings by Spanish artist Juvenal Sansó. Incidentally, an ongoing exhibit entitled Two Halves of a Whole which featured some of his works was happening on the day I visited.

I was only in the museum for about an hour and a half but the visit proved to be worth it and it was a refreshing diversion to recharge my mind from a stress-filled week at work. It also an opportunity for me to be acquainted with the works of some known names in the field of arts given that I have a sibling who was once an art enthusiast himself (who even became a semi-finalist in a collegiate art competition) and simply because I reside in a place dubbed as the Art Capital of the Philippines. 

Lopez Museum and Library
Ground Floor Benpres Bldg.
Exchange Rd. cor Meralco Ave.
Ortigas Center Pasig

Museum Hours:
Monday - Saturday
8:00 am - 5:00 pm 

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Book Fair Find: 13th Prayer

Most of us fear if not abhor the number 13. To a lot of people, this number is often associated with one thing: bad luck. But in this book by Kim Derla (who goes by the name Lee Miyaki on Wattpad), she used this often feared number to count and give optimistic light to a word: PRAYER.

When sutil girl meets the seminarista. 13th Prayer tells the story of a girl named Eiffel, who despite being born to religious parents, is cynical about God and the power of Divine Intervention through prayers and how an accidental meeting with a seminarian named Jem and a seemingly simple writing activity in the catechism class would transform her once skeptical life into a meaningful journey of faith. 

While this may seem to be a big shift, given a change in genre (from the love stories in Wattpad going to inspirational light reading), but Ms. Derla's book was able to give a lighthearted approach for readers to understand a meaningful aspect of Catholic faith: Prayer. While the story ended with a different twist, she was able to discuss the topic of religion in a way that it was worth-reading and could still be easily understood by using common scenarios in the story as well as the inclusions of Bible verses and a prayer at the end of every chapter -- prayers which were also written by the author herself .

Given the personality of the characters in the story, I would recommend this book to those in search of a light reading material on the subject of faith and to the youth as the book also teaches a thing about patience, obedience, gratitude and compassion. Who knows, you might just be inspired to write your own 13 Prayers just like I did.

Solo Trip to MIBF 2016

Photo: skedsearch.ph

Exactly a week ago today, I went on another solo trip, this time to SMX Convention Center for this year's Manila International Book Fair.

I was eyeing to go even the day before. Call me shallow but I was looking forward to going to the event for two reasons: The first and only attendance that I had for the MIBF was back in 2003 (oo, pangalawang beses ko palang ito); and this is the first time I am going to Mall of Asia, commuting on my own. 

Originally, I scheduled to leave the house early to arrive at the area around 8 or 9 am but instead, left a bit late and after braving the traffic and the experience of riding public transportation, I arrived at SMX 30 minutes before lunchtime. I immediately went to the booth of Summit Media after paying the entrance fee and scouted for not magazines but surprise, surprise: cookbooks.

If you are to ask me about the experience, it was kind of worth it. If you're a bookworm just like I am, going to events such as the Manila International Book Fair has its advantages. You get to personally meet authors of your favorite titles (and if you get too lucky, get them to sign your copy), choose the books you want and buy lots and lots of books at cheaper prices (either on sale or sold at a discounted price). Book fairs are really a bibliophile's wasteland! In my case, I only allotted 1,000 pesos but it covered the expenses -- yes including the books that I purchased. Just a friendly warning though, if you plan to attend the MIBF next year, be prepared at magbaon ng napakahabang pasensya because going through a beeline choosing the books and paying them is a bit time-consuming. In my case, while I really wanted to buy those cookbooks, it took time for me to pay because I was in line with teenagers who seemed to take eternity in choosing the book they want to buy.

Before leaving Pasay City, I also made a side trip to this church. I have always been intrigued about the place when I first spotted it from the parking lot of MOA two years ago but never had the chance to go near. Last week, I took the chance and paid this church, The Shrine of Jesus The Way, The Truth and The Life a visit even for a few minutes.

I will surely return for next year's MIBF though I'll try to make it early in the venue so that I can really check out and scout for books from the exhibitors :-)

Sunday, August 7, 2016

A Ray of Courageous Light

Prior to welcoming the weekend, I remember quipping (and doing a status post on Facebook) that Fridays and weekends are meant for "babe time" (blame it on that Gerald-Bea movie, I learned a new term). But I really did not have special plans this weekend. However, spontaneity just hit me yesterday so I decided to leave the house and travel to Eastwood despite it was not a workday.

I went to St. Padre Pio Chapel in compliance with my usual Friday visit. After staying in the chapel for an hour, I decided to travel to Cubao. I have been working in Eastwood for almost six years but I never tried travelling to Cubao so this was really my first attempt. Hindi naman pala talaga siya malayo. Given that there was no heavy traffic, I reached Cubao in 25 minutes, I think.

Reaching Gateway Mall, I was planning to grab some snacks at Starbucks as a little belated treat for myself having reached my 53rd month at work last Friday. But something else caught my attention and instead, I found myself going to a photo exhibit at the mall's Activity Area -- Courageous Light.

Photo from Courageous Caitie Facebook page
Courageous Light is an exhibit celebrating the life of Caitlin Soleil Lucas, more known as Courageous Caitie. It was launched yesterday, August 6 which was also Caitie's birthday. The event featured a photo exhibit and activities for the kids. The event also had a schedule of upcoming fundraising talks, activities and workshops for parents and kids for four succeeding Saturdays. 

Aside from life size portraits of Caitie and her moments with her family, her parents also included her artworks and an array of her personal things as part of the exhibit.

I also had the chance to meet Caitie's parents, Tin and Jay jay Lucas yesterday as well as Caitie's brother Ethan. 

Few months ago, when Caitie's story made a buzz on news and social media, I silently wished that should I be given the chance to meet her mother, I would like to give her a hug. That came to happen yesterday when I met Tin and Jay jay during the launch. During our short conversation, I came to know where Caitie inherited her courageous spirit. Her parents exemplified the same virtue. At one point, I couldn't help but ask Tin how they were able to handle it given that what they have gone through was really a difficult situation. To which she replied with three words:

Faith in Jesus.

They were indeed a father and mother after God's own heart. While what they have gone through isn't easy, they still chose to surrender to God's plan believing that it will work out for the best. Their family is a proof of that Bible verse: You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. For sure, even in heaven, Caitie is proud having them as her parents during her short but meaningful stay on earth.  

Courageous Light photo exhibit will run from August 6-12 at the Activity Center of Gateway Mall and at Gateway Gallery (5th Floor) from August 13- September 3

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

A Lesson from the Past Week

Last week I had to go through a difficult moment. I won't go into details anymore but all I can say is that it was a week where I was put to an ultimate test -- physically, mentally and emotionally. I would come home tired and silent. I just wanted to either cry out all the stress and just sleep my heart and head out for the rest of the week thinking it'll help. I realized that stress is a sure fire way to aggravate asthma because that was literally what I got (but at least just for a day).

In the midst of these things happening came a text message on Tuesday night. However, I was too knocked out from the medicines I was taking so I read the text the following day and I had to defer a reply. But come Wednesday afternoon, just when my stress levels hit its peak, I got another text message. This:

If you don't want to be tagged like this,
please, please reply to text messages. :-)
Nung mabasa ko yan, hindi ko alam kung matutuwa pa ba ako or gugustuhin kong ihagis ang cellphone ko dahil dumating ang text na ito sa hindi tamang timing. But  I had to let out the negative emotions first so I opted not to answer. And as soon as I felt that those undesirable emotions have subsided, at alam kong medyo okay na ako, that was the only time I decided to text a reply. Yes, my replies might sound nang-aasar or filled with hugot but I wanted to do it that way-- a bit laidback and a bit funny. Apparently, the person seemed to have been waiting for my reply since the first message was sent on Tuesday night.

Pero ang totoo, bukod sa gusto ko ng katahimikan at panatag na isip that time, the reason I delayed giving a response was I just wanted to spare the person from my "sungit" tendencies. being sick and going through stress, alam ko na may possibility that I might just obliterate and show my worst side. Ayoko siyang masungitan o matarayan because the person doesn't deserve that kind of treatment. They say if you cannot be kind, be quiet. I know during those moments, I could not be kind so I chose to be quiet instead and let the negative emotion pass before I said a word.

Kasi, kung nagkataon na sumagot ako sa kanya nang mga panahong mataas ang negative emotions ko, I might have said a lot of wrong, hurtful and unnecessary words. Words that I could not take back. Kung nagkataon, yung words na yun could cause me irreversible regret. Those words could cause the person to be hurt. And hurting that person is something I did not want to do. Ayoko nga siyang nasasaktan ng iba, mas lalong ayoko na ako ang maging dahilan para masaktan siya. 

And as I write this, I can't help but get a bit teary eyed. I never thought such ugly moment would teach me a beautiful lesson. This is one of those rare moments I realized that I unconsciously did something right. Oo, nakagawa ako ng isang tama at magandang desisyon nang dahil sa taong ito -- at dahil ayokong masaktan siya. Parang nakakapanibago pero ang hindi ko agad napansin ay binabago rin ako (sa magandang paraan, ugali at pananaw) ng taong ito.


Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Weekend DIY Project

Because I was feeling under the weather last Sunday, I opted to do just three things: First is to stay home (which meant I have to miss attending the Mass. I wanted to but I couldn't risk getting sick and unable to go to work the next day), Second was to write about my second solo trip for my personal project and lastly, I did a DIY project.

It's not really a complicated project. I decided to do some weekend clean up of my office desk before I went home last Friday for the weekend. And while a mug is usually seen in the kitchen for your morning dose of caffeine (I have a separate one for coffee), I use this for a different purpose: something to hold pens, markers and other desk supplies. Yeah, I am a paralegal-slash-human bookstore!

Yeah, I might be working as a paralegal, but I was and
still am a writer first prior to that. This is the proof.
The project was just easy-peasy. I just wanted to transform my ceramic mug from being plain, boring white to a lively one. And the trick was accomplished by using the stash of washi tapes that I have in my craft box. I bought those from an online store, Paper Blush. I've used those materials for other do it yourself projects (particularly with scrapbooking) but last week was my first attempt at using it for something fragile (READ: breakable). 

It was kind of a struggle the first few tries especially that I am a bit OC when it comes to the alignment (shallow, I know!) But after an hour of trial and error (I just realized afterwards that I should have bought a mug with an even cylinder shape), it was worth the struggle because the end result looked good. I just ended up getting the look that I wanted. Not to forget, the project was a good stress and boredom reliever too.

I tried locating more DIY projects using washi tapes on the internet and found a lot. I just have to select a few though and see for myself what I can produce out of those colorful things -- and it will also be posted here :-)

Follow Paper Blush on Instagram: @paperblushph

You can also check out available designs and other products on their website: www.paperblushph.com

Sunday, July 10, 2016

The OC Project: Our Lady of Light Parish Church

It has been a while since I first wrote about the first church for The OC Project series. as much as I wanted to finish the series in just four weeks, some things would just show up unannounced heath and work wise.

But since I got a free day yesterday (thanks to the rainy weekend weather) after running a few errands, I got to devote time to travel for the second location for my personal project-- Iglesia de Madre Santísima de la Luz or more known as Our Lady of Light Parish in Cainta, Rizal.


The church is located along Andres Bonifacio Avenue in Barangay San Andres Cainta, Rizal just a few steps from the municipal hall and right next to Cainta Catholic College. While I have been to this place some years ago (in 2011 I think) when my family did the traditional Visita Iglesia, yesterday was really the first time I was able to explore the place and took the opportunity of doing so when the weather slightly improved. And if during my visit to St John the Baptist Church, a wedding was being held, during yesterday's visit to this church, there was a requiem mass being held so I had to wait for an hour before entering the church (and just to be safe from being in an awkward situation  :-)

The parish is an example of baroque architecture.While parts of the church has been renovated, the bell tower was kept in its original form. From the time it was constructed in 1760 the church belonged to the Archdiocese of Manila until it was placed under the the Diocese of Antipolo when it was established in 1983. Our Lady of Light Parish was declared a historical site  by NHCP in 2007.

Cainta Church is also the second place of worship that I have visited with a renovated altar. What reminded me of theirs was that of the chapel in Manila that I used to visit. Only that this church has a more rich detail with regards to how it was designed.

I stayed for like an hour inside the church to say my prayers and marvel at the place, not to mention take time to appreciate the beauty, silence and solemnity that one can get in a deserted place of worship. Unfortunately, I failed to see the commissioned work of  National Artist Fernando Amorsolo that can be found in the church. But given that Cainta is just an hour or so away from where I live, I might as well give the church another visit.

Two old churches down and I've got about four more in Rizal to go. And maybe, instead of doing this as a weekly thing, I'll make it a monthly activity. Where will the next place be? Stick around this blog because I'll post the upcoming trips here :-)

Our Lady of Light Parish Church
A. Bonifacio Avenue Bgy San Andres
Cainta, Rizal

Saturday, July 2, 2016

The Paralegal Just Got Promoted

To a more challenging yet beautiful role of becoming a wife that is.

My colleague Joelee married her longtime beau Joseph in a Christian ceremony last weekend. In more than four years that I have been in the law firm, two other colleagues have been promoted from being a "Ms." to "Mrs.". I have been invited to a number of weddings but this is technically the first time I was there present. When Joelee told me a month ago that she wanted me to be there on her wedding day, I decided it was time to go and that it was something I simply couldn't miss for the world.

Her wedding also became a mini reunion. Here I am with our former accountant, Christal (we call her CJ) who is also a new wife herself having tied the knot just last January. 

And because it's our paralegal's wedding, the squad from our group, Baranggay Tibay are all present as witnesses (yeah, as if we were in court). Here we are in our #SquadGoals photo.

Joseph and Joelee's wedding was one wonderful celebration of love. I'm glad I was there to honor these two and witness a milestone in their lives. Yes there were some tears (myself and another colleague got teary eyed hearing the pastor narrate their love story and the groom's speech when he thanked his parents) but for the most part were nothing but cheers for this couple. Theirs was a proof of that love is that powerful for it can find and bind two people regardless of distance, and modifying that usual Filipino cliché, ilang milya man ang haba ng prusisyon, sa forever pa rin talaga ang tuloy. :-)  

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Post-Election Food Trip

I have been meaning to write this post a few weeks after my friend Kim and I decided to visit and do some bonding session but because of a disappointing experience, had to contemplate whether to do so or not. So pardon me if this is another long-overdue post.

I went on a scheduled vacation leave a day after the elections (May 11). My author-friend Kim have always wanted to meet and finally, after what seemed eternity, we found the time to do so. She had always bugged me about visiting Dorothy's Waffle House in SM Center Angono because she had always wanted to try their unlimited waffles promo that she saw on their FB page. However, on that day we visited, this is where the disappointment occurred because we were told that the said promo is no longer offered (when their FB post said otherwise. The said post was removed the following day after we complained). To cut the whole long and disappointing story short, we settled on ordering what's on their menu.

This artwork on the wall reminds me of a huge
adult coloring book.

The centerpiece on each table are vibrant.
This has Christmas colors.

Even our drinks are matched to the color
Refreshing but too sweet for my tastebuds.
The spaghetti is filling if you're into carbo-loading. The serving is
average portioned. Kids will give a thumbs up as to the taste.

I ordered their mango waffle while Kim had blueberry.
Their waffles are good though it would be better with
sweet mangoes than the jelly I think.
In a way, despite going through those few minutes of disappointment over that promo (that almost led me to unleash my inner-lawyer subconsciousness), Kim and I had a good time most over the waffle and the conversation. If you are looking for some cozy pl,ace to hangout with friends, you can give this place a visit. Although for us, it might take some time before we decide to come back. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The OC Project: St. John the Baptist Church

At the start of the year, I remember making revisions on my bucket list. Among those I wrote was to visit old churches in the country, mostly to those that I have yet to be in. I have always kept an eye wandering in the old churches in Manila. But upon research, there were actually five old parishes from where I live. So it got me thinking, why not begin at where I am instead.

It took a while for me to plan where to start this year's personal endeavor which I called The OC (as in One Church) Project. I am just available for non-work-related activities during weekends, and most of those weekends, I preferred staying at home because of the unfriendly summer weather lately. But last week, I finally found the free time to do it so armed with my backpack, sunscreen and my phone, I followed my "sneaker's instincts" and went off church hunting.

Given the proximity, Taytay Rizal became my first order of business. St. John the Baptist Church is situated just a few meters away from Taytay's old municipal hall. The church may have been renovated but it still is considered an old church given that it was founded in 1579 and the structure itself was completed in 1630. Interestingly, hundreds of years prior to being named saint, St. Pedro Calungsod became an altar boy in this church in 1666.

Another thing that made me choose to visit this church for my personal project was because this place holds a fond memory to me and our family. My parents got married in this church 32 years ago. The photo above is how the altar looks at present -- very much different to how it was when they exchanged their I Do's in 1984. Call it a funny coincidence but on the day and time that I arrived in the church, a wedding ceremony was about to start so by a stroke of luck, I was able to witness the whole ceremony. 

And by paying this place a visit, on a personal note, it made me realize how I was able to conquer a particular fear which I've had for the longest time -- that of seeing weddings. Yeah, I know it sounds absurd but I had my own share of such phobia. Not that I hate seeing weddings, I just tend to cringe and couldn't stand seeing one for a reason I didn't know. While I was only after fulfilling a thing on my wishlist and visiting a place relevant to my parents' love story, I got to face a certain fear and win over it unknowingly. 

It felt good that I was able to accomplish such an endeavor. It was so refreshing to have paid this place a visit and given that I was able to accomplish one church last week, I am happy to say I am looking forward to the next one (still in Rizal) which I hope to do in the coming weeks and yes, I will post it on this blog :-)

St. John the Baptist Church
Sumulong St. Bgy Dolores
Taytay, Rizal