Quiapo Morning

Today, I woke up before sunrise to hear early morning mass at Quiapo Church.

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I went there to pray for a job that I badly want. I went up behind the altar to honor the image of the Black Nazarene, whose devotion has attracted a major following. I can’t wait to get the job I want soon and give thanks to Him.

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I continued praying and giving thanks. I felt at peace amidst the sea of devotees. Indeed, it was inspiring to pray with so many believers.

I am claiming that the job will be mine, and that I will be called to serve soon!

Hail Mary!

Yesterday, I got to attend the launch of Mama Mary and Her Children Book Six. It was a packed event at National Bookstore Glorietta, where the book’s contributors and friends of the late Fr. James B. Reuter, SJ gathered to witness this event. I got to see faith in action during the party as one of the authors, Rowie Matti, personally welcomed me. It was quite awkward for me to be there as Fr. Reuter was a friend and mentor to my ex. We would even visit his grave at Novaliches, to pay respects and to recharge amidst the trees planted on Jesuit property. While it was a blessing to have discovered the Mama Mary book series in 2017, I had to let go of this relationship as it was no longer serving me as a person.

Since then, I focused on myself and rebuilt my faith. I was genuinely surprised when Rowie messaged me a few weeks ago to invite me to the book launch. I explained to her my hesitation, but she reassured me that she will see me there. And she told me, it’s Mama Mary’s birthday after all.

And so, armed with courage, I attended the event. My ex was not there! But Rowie, who is now my friend, was there to welcome me. So was an army of fellow Marian devotees! I received a rainbow rosary and a Divine Mercy stampita, which is bittersweet as it was my late father’s devotion.

I bought the signed copy of the book, which is a compilation of personal stories of people who were blessed through Mama Mary’s intercession. Not all of these stories can be considered miracles. Most of them in fact were about everyday breakthroughs and challenges which were overcome through prayer. In an age where technology is overtaking our lives, it is refreshing to read ordinary stories of faith, hope, and love.

I highly recommend this book, as it is a reminder for everyone that when God closes a window, He sends us his Mother to help us pass through the door He has opened.

‘Til the next book launch! Ave Maria!

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Stepping Forward

I choose to move forward with my life by appreciating pretty floors whenever I see them. 

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I go to mass whenever I can. 

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I enjoy delicious food, such as this vegetarian pho from Bawai’s. 

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While looking around Papemelroti, I found this Ifugao house figure. I took it as a sign that I will go back to Banaue someday!

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I finished my day with some lovely strawberry mango cheesecake frozen yogurt from my usual dessert stand, Elait. They employ deaf employees who are empowered with work and fair wages. 

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I move forward from challenges with the things and experiences that make me smile!

Mentoring Lunch

Yesterday, I had the time to do some brisk walking at the UP campus. 

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I was able to burn some calories before my lunch at Sunnies Cafe. I got to do some crocheting before meeting with my friends.  

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I had a lovely lunch with my uni mentor Mitzie and her niece Maiko. It was nice to catch up with friends after my dad’s recent passing. 

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No visit to Sunnies Cafe is complete without some selfies in their famous washroom. 

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I got to buy Sunnies Face’s new Airblush after lunch. 

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I also got to offer eggs at St. Clare Monastery. 

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I bought carioca, a local street food consisting of fried sticky rice. It was a delicious afternoon snack. 

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Before going to bed, I brushed my teeth using this bamboo toothbrush that I bought from social enterprise Rags 2 Riches. 

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I know that by continuing my passions and meeting my friends from time to time, I can carry on with life after the storm. 

IFEX 2019

Yesterday was the fourth and last day of my stint as a NAIA Buyer Services Representative for CITEM. It was a productive gig, and I am thankful for the chance to serve our country by smiling and assisting VIP passengers. 

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It was a privilege to hear Sunday mass at the Terminal 2 chapel. 

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After mass, I ate Minute Burger’s pizza burger for brekkie. It was so good! It went well with Jollibee’s surprisingly flavorful brewed coffee. 

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After airport duties, I rode a bus, train, and a tuktuk to the World Trade Center for IFEX 2019, the country’s premier food expo!

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I got to eat, drink, and appreciate all the hard work I have contributed for the past four days. I am very proud to be Filipino, and it makes me happy to see all these exhibitors bring the best of Filipino cuisine to the world. 

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I made sure to buy straw bags from Crafter’s Joy, a Pangasinan-based social enterprise that provides livelihood to local women weavers. 

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I am excited to use these straw bags! The planter was for my mom. 

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It was an honor to serve our country for the past four days, and to sample the best Filipino food and drinks at IFEX. I look forward to next year’s expo, and I hope to serve the country again in the future. 

Mabuhay! 

NAIA Work Day 3

Yesterday was day three of my four-day stint as a NAIA Buyer Services Representative. 

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I started my day with brekkie.  

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Then, I worked the empty halls of the airport. 

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I crocheted while waiting for VIP passengers.  

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I also hung out with airport colleague Jang. 

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Then, I transferred to terminal three for lunch and coffee. I had 1st Colonial sili ice cream for dessert and it was delicious! 

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I also served as lector during the noontime mass at the airport chapel.  

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After work, I offered eggs at St. Clare Monastery.  

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I also bonded with the dogs of Barkin’ Blends’ East branch.  

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I got a blind massage to cap off my day.  

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Here’s to more opportunities to balance work and life with faith, furry friends, and food! 

Grip on Grit

Yesterday, I had breakfast at SGD Coffee in the Maginhawa area. I was reminded of the grit that is inherent in me, as I saw the bracelet on my stack. 

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The cafe was a lovely tribute to the mountains in the middle of the summery city. 

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I had my usual SGD black as I crocheted. 

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I also got myself an oatmeal cookie. It was to die for. 

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If you need strong coffee, and chunky oatmeal cookie, and a quiet space for working and reflecting, SGD is your best bet. Not an ad, I am simply a fan of the place. Do check it out soon!

Toast to Life

Yesterday, I was joined by my mom and maternal relatives for a day of unwinding. We visited the church where my parents were married.  

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Then, we had lunch at Livestock for some delicious comfort food.  

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We transferred to Hello Kitty Cafe for dessert and coffee.  

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I also managed to crochet throughout the day.  

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It is possible to go on living with family at my side.  Despite the pain of losing a loved one, I can carry on with life, one day at a time.   

Comfort in Sadness

My helper Racquel and I attended a healing mass yesterday to pray for my terminally-ill father. It was held at the Blessed Ivan Merz Reliquarium in Marikina City.  

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After mass, we proceeded to Barkin’ Blends Dog Cafe to unwind over food, milk tea, and dogs!

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I was in the company of angels tonight. Thank God for dogs, people who can help, and loved ones who care.  

Spicing Up Life

My life right now revolves around my terminally-ill dad. Whenever I need a break, I walk around the hospital.  

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I buy food from nearby establishments, such as Bonchon.  

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I knit.  

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And I talk to friends, such as Bianca (kinder and grade school classmate) and her boyfriend JP.  

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They gave my dad this prayer card from Padre Pio Chapel in Libis.  

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I am grateful for friends, food, and yarn that keep me going during this tough time. With a dash of faith and a lot of prayer, I know that I got this.  

Going Up

Yesterday, I found this staircase at the hospital with natural light. I couldn’t resist taking a selfie in the sunny stairwell. 

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I knitted as I cared for my terminally-ill father. 

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Then, I joined my US and Canada-based relatives as they toured the village where we all grew up. I stayed here until I was twelve years old. 

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We ended the day with dinner with Tarlac-based relatives and more Filipino food! 

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I drove them in the rain, and I’m happy that we reached their hotel safely. 

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I enjoyed my relatives’ company, and their visit reminded me that there’s nowhere to go but up. In tough times, there’s family I can count on, and faith to strengthen me.  

Healing and Hugs

Yesterday, I went to the St. Camillus Provincialate to attend their monthly healing mass. It was my first time to experience mass there, and my helper Racquel joined me to pray for my dad. 

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The sacrament of Anointing of the Sick followed shortly after the mass. I prayed for my dad and my best friend Luti. 

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We had breakfast at Kopi Roti, where I got to introduce Racquel to a Singaporean brekkie of soft boiled eggs, kaya toast, and kopi. 

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We also had dirty ice cream for dessert.  

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I spent time with my dad in the hospital, then I proceeded to Barkin’ Blends to cuddle with the dogs there, like my favorite dog Ella. 

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Church, dogs, and food keep me going. Here’s to better days ahead! 

Faith and Family

I am thankful for family during this difficult time. My cousin Van sent us pastries, and I’ve been having delicious bread for brekkie. 

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I am thankful for our helpful Racquel who had helped me through thick and thin. 

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I am thankful for street food, such as these potato chip skewers. 

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I am thankful for knit and crochet. 

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I was able to give my makes to my relatives from the US. 

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I am thankful for a friend I met online whose ministry is to share wooden holding crosses to the sick and their families. 

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I am grateful for the gift of life. I am thankful for time with my terminally-ill father. I am happy that I can still share memories with my family. 

We are all in this together.  

Visita Iglesia 2019

My helper Racquel and I commemorated Holy Week by practicing Visita Iglesia. Our first stop was the chapel at St. Luke’s Medical Center QC, where my terminally-ill father was confined.  

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Our second stop was the Blessed Ivan Merz Center and Reliquarium. For our third stop, we went to the Padre Pio Chapel at Libis.  

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It was my first time to experience the Stations of the Cross (while carrying an actual cross!) at Padre Pio. 

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Our fourth stop was Claret Church, which is near my alma mater, Holy Family School.  

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Our fifth drop was the UP Parish Church. 

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No visit to UP Diliman is complete without street food. 

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We had squid balls and kwek-kwek (deep fried breaded quail eggs).

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We also had sweet corn with cheese and butter and bananacue (not pictured).

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Our sixth stop was the Our Lady of Consolation Parish, where my late friend Diane is buried. 

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Our seventh and final stop was the San Lorenzo Ruiz Parish in our barangay.  

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It was a time for prayer, silence, reflection, and thanksgiving. I will continue to reinforce my faith not just during Lent, but the whole year through. May this just be the beginning of a bulletproof belief in God. 

Reliquarium

I visited the Blessed Ivan Merz Center and Reliquarium at Marikina City on Good Friday. I was accompanied by our loyal helper Racquel who was also praying for my dad’s recovery from terminal illness. 

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The Reliquarium is located at 79 Narra St., Marikina Heights, Marikina City. They will be closed for renovations starting Easter Monday, so we made sure that we could visit the oratory during Holy Week. 

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We were overwhelmed with their relic collection, and it was truly worth the drive from Quezon City. 

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At the end of our visit, we were handed Certificates of Pilgrimage and healing drinking water.  

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I got goosebumps at the Reliquarium as it was truly holy. It enabled me to have a personal encounter with the great saints and blessed men and women of the Church. I will definitely be back. 

Stitching Errands

Yesterday, I ran some errands with my helper. But first, I had my photo taken at the SM North Towers Art Walk. This mural was painted by Drew Europeo. 

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I got to crochet and treat my helper out to lunch at a Greek restaurant, where we had healthy brown rice and quinoa bowls. 

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We were in luck as there was an exhibit of relics at the Podium, with reliquaries on loan from The Reliquarium in Marikina.  

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Then, we shared a big bucket of popcorn and watched Eerie, a Filipino horror film directed by Mikhail Red. It was a beautifully goth film. I highly recommend it, and yes, I survived it even if I’m not typically into the horror genre. 

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Life is better if we treat our helpers like family and share meaningful experiences with them. I may blur her photo on social media for privacy reasons, but I treat her like my own blood.  

Here’s to celebrating more small wins and stitching goals! 

Palm Sunday

It’s a different kind of Holy Week for me this year as my dad battles a terminal illness. We may not be able to celebrate it out of town as a family, but I’m grateful that we still have each other. 

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I celebrated Palm Sunday with mass at the Pink Sisters Convent. The priest asked us to what we can change in ourselves in order to be more like Christ. I resolve to have a favor mindset moving forward in order to expect blessings and welcome more opportunities into my life. 

May this be a season not just of gratitude, but also of new beginnings. 

NKTI Lenten Pilgrimage 2019

I joined the NKTI (National Kidney and Transplant Institute) Lenten Pilgrimage last April 13, 2019 to three churches in Pampanga. I was lucky to have a free day to explore these churches and spiritually nourish myself in time for Holy Week. 

I started my day with some crochet in the tour bus.  

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Our first stop was the Lahar Church dedicated to Our Lady of Lourdes at Cabetican, Bacolor, Pampanga. The church was submerged in lahar during the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in the early 90’s. 

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I got to eat street food like scramble and buko sherbet before our mass and recollection. 

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Our second stop was St. James the Apostle Church at Betis, Guagua, Pampanga. 

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We were able to stopover for food and drinks at Guagua’s town plaza. I was to find a Rizal monument there!

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Our last stop was the St. Augustine Parish, an adobe church with historical significance at Lubao, Pampanga. 

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Before going home, I had my usual toasted naked longganisa at Breakfast Bin.  

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I am grateful for the opportunity to pray, tour, and worship with the men and women of NKTI at Pampanga. I am inspired to remain steadfast in faith as I carry on with life, and it is my hope that I can share this faith with others through this blog, and social media. 

May you have a blessed Holy Week ahead! 

Film to Faith

Yesterday, I watched Jino to Mari, a Filipino indie film directed by Joselito Altarejos. It tackled poverty as a social context and the extreme choices that have to be made in order to make ends meet. Angela Cortez delivered the performance of a lifetime in this film, as she played a young mother who had to shoot a pornography film for her family. It was a heartbreaking movie that reminded me to count my blessings and appreciate the opportunities that I have. 

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The movie saddened me (which was good, since that was what the director hopefully intends), so I ate the bulgogi beef rice bowl at 8Bowls Asian Kitchen. It was delicious and great value for Php99!

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Later, I went to St. Clare to give thanks, pray for my intentions, and offer eggs. 

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I enjoy watching indie films because they give me a glimpse of reality that commercial films don’t usually portray. Coupled with affordable but delicious food and a dash of prayer, I know that I can pursue the opportunities that are within my reach to escape the undesirable circumstances in my own life. All I have to do is act on my goals, and keep on pursuing the things that inspire me to dream.