amnesia and fears

Today, I saw "My Amnesia Girl" starring John Lloyd Cruz and Toni Gonzaga for the second time with two of my close guy friends. Again, it did not fail to make me laugh to the core of my belly. The punch lines were still hilarious and Toni and John Lloyd's chemistry on screen is a good experiment from Star Cinema. They clicked and it's tickling. 

However, apart from laughing and having a great time, I was more reflective of how the lessons of the movies now. One thing I noticed with Apollo (Cruz) and Irene (Gonzaga), was that their conflicts, both inner and relational, came about because they were overwhelmed by their fears and acted out of them. Apollo was afraid he'll lose himself if he marries Irene, that is why he just decided to abandon her on the altar, while Irene was afraid she might lose Apollo for the second time and end up hurt again so she decided to pretend having an amnesia which later made Apollo feel betrayed. 

I do not what to kill the fun, but on a more serious angle I realized that, yes, it is really destructive to act from our fears. We are not ourselves when we let them take hold of us. We make mistakes, serious oftentimes, when we let these fears rule us. Worse, fears make us forget who we are, what we can do and where we are supposed to head to.

In tonight's meeting, TFM Builder, Daddy Obet Cabrillas asked us to reflect on "What could we possibly get hold of or who would be if we do not have any fear." I kept that in my heart and I heard an answer. Perhaps, I'll ponder on it. :)

Perhaps in 2011, I should decide to live with lesser fears. :)


top ten blessings for 2010 ++

Although 2010 isn't officially over, I took the liberty to enumerate the blessings I received this year and pick those ten that blew my mind away. 

1) Finishing Law School

After five long years of reading Supreme Court jurisprudence, books and annotations, memorizing provisions of law, enduring classroom recitations with cruel professors and having cups (or even tumblers) of coffee, I have finally reached the end of this journey of learning. I finally graduated from law school. My law school story was not a smooth one. Somewhere in the middle, I had to stop, take a break and continue three semesters later in a different school. Law school was where my best and worst was let out. It was also where my dreams where sifted. It was one of the toughest paths I took, but surely it was fun. Getting up the stage and receiving my awards was tops. It was truly a crowning moment!

 Receiving my Leadership Award from Mr. Cayco

 With co-awardee, Carlisle and our parents

My Batch! 

2) Coron 

Paradise. Good times.

Coron was perfect to cap law school and start the review for the Bar. Together with my friends from law school, we wasted four days on the beach doing nothing but rest and make good memories. Beer. Good food. White sand. Waves. Warm sun. Laughter. And lots of pictures. Truly a piece of heaven. 

3) Bar Review

Almost half of my 2010 was devoted to reviewing for the Bar Examinations. I spent my days (and nights sometimes) re-reading my old text books, devouring review materials, seriously squeezing in my brain every bit of material information that I think I can use during the exam. Almost six months to prepare for the eight bar subjects. It was a season of perseverance, self-discipline and grace. It was hair-splitting, sometimes boring because day in and out I was doing the same things over and over. It has surely pushed me to my limits. Thank God for friends and study buddies for keeping me sane. :)

4) Bar Examinations

These are the four Sundays of my life that I will never forget. The longest September I ever had. Awesome. Outstanding. Mind-boggling. Nerve wracking. Emotional roller-coaster. The beginning of the fulfillment my dreams. :) 

5) LOJ Campus Missions

This year I was blessed by God with seven men--Carlo, John Ben, Migs, JYo, Chao, Raser and JC. These men possessed hearts which are devoted to Jesus and His ministry.

One week after the Bar Examinations, I received individual text messages from these men telling me that they have chosen me to be the Admin Head of the LOJ Campus Missions. I was floored! It was an honor to serve God through this ministry of touching the lives of the young people in campuses. Truly humbling. Working with the brothers was challenging considering that I have to relate with seven different personalities (plus our director, Daddy Obet). My blessing though is that I was able to be establish friendships with them before I took on the job. :) This is my first time to say this: These seven men changed my life, brought me healing and filled me with so much love. Thank God for the seven of you, guys. I love you all from the deepest of my heart. :)

 UST College of Commerce Retreat, Tagaytay

 Visiting Migs at the Hospital

Missionaries Meeting, Lighthouse

6) Birthday Surprises

I love surprises and this year....I got three. :)

7) Carlisle

This year, I renewed my friendship with Carlisle. Our friendship was greatly tested last year, that almost made me give up on it. But the Lord was faithful to give us the chance to restore, rekindle and renew it. The Bar season pulled us closer and she was my hope giver then. :) 

8) Unibersidad ng Pilipinas (UP)

I would have been an Iskolar had my mom not refused the idea. Although for years now, I have grown a certain affinity to this University. I had friends who allowed me to make good memories in its campus. This year UP has become a big part of my life--my study buddy and I would sometimes visit and attempt to study here; isaw trips; Rodick's detox moments; UP Campus Feast; tambays with friends. UP = Good times. :)

9) Light Of Jesus Family

Need I say more? :) 

I had a convo with Niki Yokingko and I have expressed how blessed I am to have been blessed with people who walk with you through life like family; people who pray for you; people who desire Jesus as much as you do; people who wish the best for you; and people who just simply make a little heaven down here with. :)

10) My sister, Margareth, a.k.a Bebe

She is my favorite sister, because she is my only sister I got. :) This year our relationship leveled up and got deeper than ever. She's the first person I tell how my review day was. She took care of my during the Bar even if she was younger than me. Alabyu bebe. :)

....and just to end the year

God gave me a bonus. I got work as Christmas gift. :) I'm starting in January! :)


frisbee and catching grace

At the start of this year, I attempted to learn how to play ultimate (frisbee). I may not be the athletic type, but it interested me a lot that I had to play every Monday with my friend's team in Ortigas.

First lesson:  Skills on catching and throwing the disc. It was a bit technical, like when catching the disc one must position his hands, arms, and legs in a particular way. Watching the disc fly towards you can be very intimidating at first. It can also be frustrating. On the first few tries you'll miss it. The disc will fall on your toes, or fly pass you. When you finally catch it, sometimes it will hurt. Eventually, you'll get the hang of it. You'll learn how to estimate the distance between you and your teammate; the speed of the disc; and to which direction the disc will probably go to.

At this point of my faith journey, I realized that catching frisbee is also like catching grace. One must be poised for it. God throws grace towards us--material, physical, emotional, spirtual--name it. Oftentimes it comes unexpected. Precisely why, one must be equipped to catch it without miss, lest it falls on the ground or somebody else catches it.

I had a chitchat with a friend's mom and she reminded me that I am exactly in a position where grace is at my disposal. I may not feel it, but I would like to believe she is correct. It is overwhelming but I hope I've practiced my stance well so I won't miss my grace. :)

Weeks after my skills lesson, my friend was throwing me some sharp curves... and I am able to catch the disc with poise. I can still hear him say, "Niiice. Gumaling ka na ha. (Nice. You're doing great now.)" I wish I can hear that from Papa God too. :)


Eat, Pray, Tacsiyapo! in no particular order with Carlisle and Bee

After our bar exams, I joined Carlisle, her mom and her lola in visiting the Shrine of Our Lady of Manaoag in Pangasinan. Since Bee is in La Union, we asked her to join us also. So, she drove from LU to Manaoag. It was a very long drive, most of the time I was asleep but the stops are surely fun.

We left Manila around 8am. It was a little late because Carlisle's lola still had to come from Batangas. Thanks to SCTEx, we arrived Manaoag at past 11 am. We lit candles for the intentions we are praying for and attended the 12noon mass.

 Manaoag Shrine from afar


Bee saying her prayers before lighting the candles

 Outside the Church while waiting for the 11am Mass to finish

It was Fr. Jerry Orbos who said the 11am Mass

In front of the Church
L-R Carlisle's lola, Tita Evelyn (Carlisle's Mom),
Carlisle and Me

After the Mass, we decided to eat in Matutina's in Bonuan, Dagupan (a nearby town). It is very famous for it's delicious and fresh seafoods. Tummies are all crumbling by 1:30pm. We arrived at Matutina's at around 2pm.  And here are the main stars of our lunch:

We also had Boneless Bangus, Sinigang na Baboy, 
Inihaw na talong with Bagoong and BBQ. Yum!

And of course, before we leave... :)

After stuffing ourselves to the hilt, we went back to Manaoag for Lola to kiss the image of Our Lady and to buy some pasalubongs for her friends. It was already almost 5pm. On our way back to Manila, Tita Evelyn wanted to drop by Isdaan, a restaurant alongside the National Highway of Tarlac. The ambience of the place was superb. Guests are lodged in separate kubos where they will eat. These kubos are placed on a barge floating on a man made fish pond of carpas. :)

Ponds are 9ft. deep

Carlisle and I enjoyed ourselves because of the statues of well-known people around the park and three security guards. :) We later found out that the material used for these statues are lahar ashes.

Ninoy Aquino, Cory Aquino and Cardinal Sin and Erap

The three Stooges este guards.

Of course, I wouldn't miss a chance of a photo op with one of my favorite superheroes:

Iron Man! Tony Stark, I ♥ you. :)

We ate dinner. Tita ordered Adobong Pusit, Bulalo, Green Mango Salad and Spareribs (which is not in the photo). Nom, nom, nom. :)

You can also find in the place the infamous Tacsiyapo. I have always thought of going here after the Bar and I am really happy I did, more happy it is unintentional though. :) According to them, Tacsiyapo is a word used in their local dialect to express disgust or frustration. The attraction though, provides of a wall where you can throw various things against like plates, glasses, vases or TV if you please. The goal is to release "anger". Talk about healthy anger management. Haha. But a little pricey though. :) Each medium sized plate costs Php 18. The cheapest is a mug at Php 15. :)

Guess which part I targeted

Above are stuffs sold at respective amounts 
to be thrown against the wall. 
Carlisle released her first plate. :)

I threw 3 medium sized plates and it felt nice. :) Video to be posted next time. :)


Stella Maris

A week after the Bar month, I paid the Blessed Mother a visit in her shrine in Manaoag, Pangasinan with Carlisle, Bee, Michael, Tita Evelyn (Carlisle's Mom) and Carlisle's lola.

I have always been a devotee of the Blessed Mother.  Ever since I was young, I would always pray to her and ask for protection and help. When I took my Bar Examinations, it is to her that I offered my sacrifices. It is to her that I usually ask for intercession to God especially during the times of frustration and doubt. I would run and cry to her whenever everything I do seems futile...and through all those months the Virgin did not fail me. 

I used to ask a priest friend what does it mean to have a devotion. We never really discussed it fully, yet it dawned to me that devotion leads one to faith, which later leads the person to imitate the virtues of the devoted and eventually grow in them. (I was surprised that the Lumen Gentium says the the same thing. Maybe it's the Wisdom from the Lady.)

On background is the front of the 
Shrine of Our Lady in Manaoag

The week after the Dominican Community in Sto. Domingo in Quezon City celebrated the Feast of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary of La Naval. I have been joining the Grand Procession ever since I was in high school. So for years now, this has been a tradition and a personal devotion to offer decades of Rosary and follow our Lady as she visit the streets. 

This year, I failed to join the procession but I still made it a point to pay her a visit on that day. As usual, I thanked the Blessed Virgin for  all the favors she bestowed on me and renewed my commitment to her and God. I invited a few other friends to come, and I was blessed to know they too were blessed by the experience. 

Our Lady of the La Naval sitting on her throne

Blessed Mother, Thank you for taking me in as your daughter. Thank you for continuously caring for me as your own. I praise God for Jesus' generosity to give you to us as our Mother. May we be worthy to be called your children. Place me always under the mantle of your maternal protection and bestow upon me the grace to be like you. I seek to also cooperate with God in the completion of his Will. Guide me always, remain to be the Star which leads me to the Heaven my heart longs for. Amen. 

One Fine Isaw Day

Our Iskolar ng Bayan Katie hollered to the Ward 7 girls to accompany her in University of the Philippines (UP) to enroll for Advanced Pre-Bar Review...and to eat ISAW from the famous Mang Larry's Isawan. (Isaw is a Filipino street food made of grilled pork or chicken intestines.) Only Bee and I are available. So, at around 11am Kate and Bee picked me up from Espana and off we went.

Katie decided to go to Trinoma first to have her photo taken and to pick up some Smencils for her online shop. Since, we're already hungry we decided to ate lunch. Here are some of the photos. :)

 That's Bee. As usual, she's hungry...again. :)
My favorite lunch combo from World Chicken. 
(Grilled Chicken with Ranch BBQ Sauce, 
Pomodoro Spaghetti and Potato Salad for sidings)

At around 2pm we drove off to UP. I love going to UP because of the ambiance and a little nostalgia. It feels like you're being transported out of Manila in minutes. :)

I dint get a picture of the Oblation because that was when
 Katie asked both Bee and I to look at the back for a picture. 
Hahaha! Goodluck sa bangga!

Kate successfully registered herself with the UP Law Center. We also met an old guy, who apparently was a former Dean and he started joking with us. A few sarcastic humor from him, then we said goodbye. Bee was so excited to go to Chocolate Kiss in Bahay ng Alumni for dessert. 

We ordered Devil's Food Cake and Chocolate Suite. :)

My vote was for the Kahlua Chocolate Cake (one with brown icing) and Katie and Bee's is the Devil's Food Cake. I must admit though that it was also good. I am just a coffee junkie. After stuffing ourselves with sugar, Tanya, Bee's friend, came and decided to join us for Isaw! This is really it! :)

It was 3.30pm when we arrived at Mang Larry's Isawan Stall. They are still setting up then but orders are being taken already. We ordered *toot* sticks of Isaw na Baboy, *toot* sticks of Isaw na Manok, *toot* sticks of Tenga ng Baboy, and *toot* packs of chicharon. This is really obscene. :p Here are the pieces of evidence. 

Ate: "Pangalan?"
Katie: "Bee po/"
Ate: "Ve, as in Vektori"

Cooking hot...

Take your pick! :)


..and there was none. Hihi.

After having our load of Isaw, we went  to the shopping center for some Sago't Gulaman and Fishball. It was on Tanya. Yahoo! :)

Katie on her Sago't Gulaman

Pishbol, bow!

I would have wanted to have Palitaw and Balot. But I am so stuffed it was too difficult to move. Haha. :) 

Bye, UP. Til next time. :)