Gallery

A Glimpse of Our Haven

Three days from now I’ll be a 1-month old wife. Hurrahhh!!! It still feels like it was only yesterday when we were just planning our garden wedding (click on this link for our wedding SDE).

As I’ve shared in my recent posts, our courtship, dating, and wedding preparations all happened in just one year. BUT, even if I was 95% sure that my boyfriend then (now husband) is the one for me, there were times before we wed that I needed to question my decision of saying “yes” to him. The questioning was more of an act of securing wisdom rather than doubting.

Entering married life needs a firm decision of changing our lives, not just our surname and status. That’s why I had to question my emotions back then. Was it so high that I’m so giddy to be married? Or, was it so low that it made me needy for a marriage? Thankfully, my emotions then were balanced that I was able to squeeze wisdom in it.

December 2017 when Julius (my husband) and I came out in the public as a couple. When January 2018 came, I needed to ask him, “What’s your vision for your future?” His response didn’t sound and feel right for me. I was troubled and disappointed to the point that I considered a breakup. Why? Because I don’t think I can be with a man who doesn’t have a clear vision in life. I told Julius that I cannot marry him if he still don’t know where he wants to go. I love him but I don’t want to be lost with him. If he is uncertain of his future, then my future and our children’s future will be at risk.

A man who doesn’t have a vision for his life is worst than a blind man.

That’s why we, women, should never be with a man who will only tell us “let’s just go with the flow.” Clearly that man (probably a boy) don’t have a vision. Either you’ll get yourself drown with him or you’ll get tired floating to the unknown.

Thankfully, Julius responded in faith and actions. His responses were assurance that I will not face the unknown tomorrow blindly with him. Thus, the wedding was pursued.

During our wedding preparations, Julius found an amazing vision for his future (which is the same as mine). While searching for a wedding venue, the very first one we visited was Our Haven Events Place in Indang, Cavite. The owners of the place are very much accomodating and kind. They have a lovely home turned into a bed & breakfast and now an event place with a swimming pool, outdoor area for team building activities, a tree house, an amphitheater, and more bed & breakfast rooms to accomodate more guests. If I’m not mistaken it’s more than a 2-hectare area surrounded by trees and pineapples.

It was such a haven in the middle of the woods. We really wanted to get married there but because our wedding fall on a Monday and it is a bit far from the Metro, we opted for a nearer venue. Still, Julius and I decided to have our prenup photoshoot there.

My friends who were with us when we visited the place for our prenup photoshoot said that driving there gave them “the feels” in one part of the movie Crazy Rich Asians. I can’t agree with them because I haven’t watched it yet. But, they too loved the place. It is good for intimate or large garden weddings and will surely suit all themes. Aside from events, Our Haven is perfect for staycations, picnics, teambuildings, and glamping! This is why I highly recommend the place. Check out their social media pages below to see more of its beauty.

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/OurHavenIndang/

Instagram – https://instagram.com/ourhaven.indang?utm_source=ig_profile_share&igshid=75m9al1p5z9i

Our Haven Events Place is so captivating that it becomes an instrument for Julius to have a glimpse of our family’s future. He now envisions to have a home with a beautiful garden and a backyard farm as lovely (may be not as big) as the one in Our Haven’s, where the two of us can retire and welcome family, friends, missionaries, and guests. We can work together now to build that retirement home (or business) in God’s perfect time (and provisions).

My then boyfriend’s vision is aligned with mine. If it wasn’t, then I wouldn’t marry him. Why? Because two different people with different visions will definitely go to different directions.

Our shared vision from God is an assurance that the two of us can be one.

All photos are from Ram Marcelo Photography, our official wedding photographer.

Gallery

Homebound

Julius and I met October 8, 2017 and we got married October 8, 2018. JUST ONE YEAR of friendship and love, then we wed.

Some people, specially those who are not of the same faith, ask me about why do I marry Julius given that I only knew him for a year.

Some even asked, “Are you pregnant?” Of course, I am not and I will not marry just because I’m one (my mom will kill me).

Others consider that our wedding is just a “head-over-heels” decision. But, everyone close to us gave us their blessings, even God blessed us so much to pull off a beautiful wedding.

Some are worried for me that I might end up marrying someone I barely know.

BUT, Julius was never a stranger to me. When I met him on the night of my birthday last year, I didn’t have that butterflies in the stomach kind of feeling. I didn’t went “gaga” or crazy, madly, deeply in love. “Kilig” was (still is) there but I was rational that my life, in all aspects, was not even altered by his coming (I got to balance my acads and work amazingly well with him). I’m not anxious about how I would look like in front of him or worry about what he’ll think of me. I was calm and at peace and not crazy and emotional.

As days passed by in our friendship, I knew I’m already home. Home, for me, is where I can find peace, where I can rest on, where I can feel secured all the time, where I look forward to at the end of every day, where I can be vulnerable with, where I can be my truest self (far from the prying and judging eyes of this world). A home is where I am safe and loved unconditionally.

When I met Julius, he does not make me feel like a teenage girl with raging hormones and is giddy whenever she’s with her “crush”, rather Julius made me feel like a school girl running home, excited to tell her parents how her day went by.

Yes, Julius was never a stranger. He will always be a family to me, and with him is where I will always belong.

Marrying him is running fast, homebound.

I looked high and low, and didn’t find him. And then the night watchmen found me as they patrolled the darkened city. “Have you seen my dear lost love?” I asked. No sooner had I left them than I found him, found my dear lost love. I threw my arms around him and held him tight, wouldn’t let him go until I had him home again, safe at home beside the fire.

– Song of Solomon‬ ‭3:1-4, MSG

Our wedding photos courtesy of Ram Marcelo Photography

Gallery

A Call for Help

Infinity War Spoiler Alert!

One of the scenes I liked in the Avengers: Infinity War movie is when Mr. Tony Stark looked up the number of Steve Rogers on his phone to call him for help. We, Avengers fans, know that Iron Man and Captain America were not really in speaking terms as they parted with unsettled issues in their last encounter. Based on the face of Tony Stark, he was having a hard time if he would really call Steve and so it wasn’t him who called (but the intent was already there).

Another favorite scene is when Tony Stark told Spidey that he didn’t like being with him in his mission to rescue Dr. Strange (because he thinks it’s dangerous for the boy). But, he let the boy help him still by including him in his plans and giving him tasks.

Tony Stark, a fictional superhero who is known to be super wealthy, famous, powerful, and intelligent, but knows when and how to call for help, even if he had a hard time doing so.

Asking for help is not easy for many of us because of our pride. When we are so full of ourselves, when we think we can do all things, and/or when we think we are always better than others, calling for help is not part of our actions.

Why would we ask for help when we think that we are better than others? Why would we ask for help when we think we are the strongest? Why would we ask for help when we think we can solve our problems by ourselves alone?

Our pride deceives us of who we really are. Pride makes us believe that we are the best, the greatest, the strongest, and awesomest, if there is such a word.

For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.

– Galatians 6:3, ESV

Let me share with you one of the things I loved the most about a real life “tagaligtas” (savior).

Given his profession, his body built, the trainings and challenges he overcame, the life struggles he surpassed, and the workforce he belonged to, a man like my Cardo have all the reasons to think he is strong, great, and/or awesome. But, he is not. He did not even want to talk about him being a member of a special force. Instead, Cardo is more comfortable telling me about his weaknesses.

The #CardoWhoSavesMyDay can admit that he also needs Saving. He knows he needs help at times. He is honest that he has weak points. He knows when he needs rebukes and openly accepts corrections. Moreso, he would humbly asks for prayers because he knows that God is the greatest in his life. That’s my Cardo!

I couldn’t boast that I’m marrying someone who is the strongest and the best. But, I can delight on the fact that a man like my Cardo is teachable and humble. I can see a better future with this man, knowing that he isn’t proud and that he can co-labor with a woman like me, his future helpmeet.

I think Ms. Potts felt the same way with Tony. She is not intimidated with who Tony is or what he is capable of, because with her, the well-known poweful Iron Man becomes vulnerable.

Images are grabbed from Google.

Gallery

Pray for a Man who Prays

I’m writing this as I’m about to sleep after being prayed over by my fiancé on the phone. My heart is so full, that I just can’t contain how blessed I am to have someone praying for me and with me.

Exactly a month ago, my fiancé went back to his original mission assignment. Ever since the day he left, there is no morning that he missed waking me up with words of encouragement; there is no day that he missed saying “I prayed for you, Mahal”; and there is no night that he did not pray for me over the phone.

I’m not a prayerful woman. In fact, if there’s a ministry in church that I can’t join in that would be the intercessory. I’m not into lengthy prayers. I did not set a specific time for prayers, neither carry with me a list of prayers and petitions. But, I do make sure that I get to have a quiet time to pray and talk to God intently everyday.

Things changed when I started dating out my fiancé. With his line of work, as a Police Officer, I have become prayerful. I need to be his prayer warrior. But more than that, he is leading me closer to God, and I believe it’s enough reason to pray even more.

I’m also not a patient woman. I would easily lose my temper and snap over petty things. One time we were caught in a very stressful situation. I started ranting, complaining, and saying things negatively at my fiancé. Instead of firing back, he held my hand and started praying. I don’t know how to respond to that. Our situation turned upside down. I can’t help but thank him for pointing my focus back to God and not on our circumstances.

I like my fiancé’s cheesy lines, but I love his prayers more. Kilig will fade, but faith and love remains.

When things get tough, a man’s muscles will not guarantee his strength to carry on. But, a man’s faith is an assurance that he will not be shaken.

If you would ask me if I have a “prayerful” characteristic in my husband-to-be checklist, the answer is “no”. Shame on me. But, I’m thankful that God gave me the things I didn’t ask for in a man.

Ladies and Gents, don’t be like me; pray for someone who prays.

Prayer is the way we communicate to God. Isn’t it amazing to have someone who talks to God concerning you?

Gallery

The Wedding Proposal (Part 1) : When Love Casts Out Fear

It was a typical Saturday wherein I have to teach for 9 hours straight. I woke up with Cardo’s morning call since he has been my alarm clock for the past 4 months and my constant encourager/reminder of “Para Sa Bayan” because I don’t have the will to go to work on that day. There was really nothing unusual for that’s our day to day morning habit.

The night before I told him that he can sit in my class if he’s not on duty, which he excitedly agreed. I was waiting for him to bring me my lunch (he does that every Saturday) and then have him in my class, but then he told me that he can’t leave the barracks yet.

I was about to have my lunch break when an official from Cardo’s company together with two of his closest buddies in complete uniform came in to the faculty room. Seeing their serious faces and hearing a made-up story from them made my heart beat fast.

If it was not his officer, I would have taken things lightly. But, I know who they were and how precious their time, so I really sense the urgency. I was thinking why would this officer bother pick me up when he could have send someone else? It must be something urgent.

Although their faces are very familiar and they are like friends to me, they were so formal like they were really on a mission. I was asking them what really happened but they said we will just discuss later. They did not even smile at me or joke around me like they used to everyday.

My mom was there with me and she was calm but does not seem to be happy with them picking me up, so they reassured her until she relented.

At those times, I’m really scared but I couldn’t cry. All I ever wanted was to see my Cardo as soon as possible to know if he’s doing fine.

They escorted me out of the faculty room to the university gym. It was already a scene because we came from the 3rd floor and passed 4 Colleges already. There were so many people staring at us, but I maintained my composure. I was trying to smile at his buddies to look for their reassurance but to no avail.

Upon reaching the parking lot, they said we should just wait for the police mobile. (I am now sure that I was really anxious that time because I did not even bother to ask what vehicle brought them to the campus.) After almost 5 minutes, the three of them moved far from me then I heard the loudest cheer behind. I turned around and suddenly everyone and everything surrounding me was a blur. My eyes were fixed at the sight of my lover in his complete uniform with a bouquet of roses in his hands.

I was the happiest, not because I was already thinking that he might “officially” propose but because my fear has subside already. Cardo was there smiling at me, and I know he will save me from the badnews that his comrades have told me. Indeed, #CardoSavesTheDay.

My fear eventually fades as my lover came near me. There is really no fear in love.

After handing me the flowers, Cardo went on his knees, opened a red box with a diamond ring, and asked, “Will you marry me?

He was shaking as he puts the ring on my finger. I know in spite of his shy, he was the happiest man alive at that time. He was flashing his smile that I love the most, and it was enough to calm me and reassure me that everything was fine with him. The badnews was just part of the surprise.

After saying “Yes” to him, all I can ever say was, “Papa, tinakot nila ako” then continue crying on his chest while all the people around us are still cheering.

Months from now, I will be walking again behind these men (this time in an aisle) for they will be part of the wedding entourage as my Cardo waits in the altar (no longer hiding in the parking lot).

The one thing that the Lord told me before Cardo’s proposal is, “Be still, and know that I am God.” The Lord knows that I might fear being left behind as Cardo will be reassigned soon, so His assurance came to my rescue. How can I not be so sure of what will happen when God already secured me of His presence in our lives? Truly, when God gives, He adds no trouble in it.

By the way, 2 weeks before the actual proposal, God already showed me in a dream that Cardo proposed to me inside our home.

One week after the dream, Cardo talked to my mother and asked for my hands in marriage. So, I already knew that the proposal is on its way. However, I never expect that it will come in such a surprise.

When I allowed God to write my love story, I am sure that it will be the best one. True enough, our story is the best one I can ever share!

Gallery

Of Dating a Sinner and Imperfect Man (why you should not ask for “Sana Lahat”)

My #CardoSavesTheDay posts on my social media accounts have brought in a lot of comments and reactions. The two most common responses I receive are: “Lodi talaga kita, Sir Cardo!” (You are my idol, Sir Cardo!), and “Sana Lahat…” (I wish all are the same”). I do appreciate these comments.

I liked that others get to admire him for what he does to me and for our relationship, but I would like to tell everyone that the Cardo I post on social media is not all that Cardo is. What I share publicly about my Cardo are only the good things.

“Problem comes when a person thinks a boyfriend or girlfriend walks on water and has no faults.” – Dan Chun

FullSizeRender(7)

The reasons why anyone should not say my Cardo (or any man) is “the ideal” are because:

1. Cardo is not perfect (no man is). He has flaws! There ARE things about him or things he do that I don’t like and somehow irritates me, which I don’t get to post on Facebook. These are the things that are so-not-Instagrammable about him. Being with Cardo for the past four months every single day (we live and work near each other) gives me the advantage to see him closely and know more about him. As the days go by, I can see how far he is from being perfect.

But, if you ask me, why I’m still staying with him? It’s because I can live with his imperfections. His flaws are not threats to my life and to our future family. In short, I can live with those flaws for the rest of my life.

Day by day, I look at his imperfections and instead of getting annoyed, I pray that God will allow me to see the beauty in his flaws, his quirks, and for who he really is versus who I want him to be. This is why I can post about his strengths and leverage on it rather than dwell on his weakness.

His love for God, controlled temper, patience, generosity, goals in life, and him being quick to admit his faults and ask for forgiveness, and many more builds up his character. The way he treats others, my family and his own, his superiors and those under him, is what wins me over. A good character is better than an imagined perfect man.

2. Cardo is a sinner. He has fallen short, he is falling short, and he will fall short from the glory of God. There are things he did in the past that he has shared with me which were not easy to embrace. In the four months that we are together, I see how he struggles with sin. And, I know, in the coming days, months, and even years, Cardo will still wrestle with sin.

Why am I staying with him? Because seeing him struggle with sin is a sign that he has not given in. He is fighting a good fight of faith! Cardo is not holy if left to his own strengths. But, I’m grateful that everyday he chose to be in Christ, for only Christ can set him apart.

Yes, Cardo is a sinner, but I don’t dwell much on how many times he sins or records his faults and shortcomings. Instead, I delight on the transforming and forgiving presence of Jesus that is in my Cardo. Every day, I get to tell him, “Mahal, I see Jesus Christ in you.”

Yes, Cardo is far from being a perfect saint, but he is a work in progress. I can look forward to the coming years with him because I know that God has better plans and future for him.

So, I disregard the idea of “Sana Lahat gaya ni Popoy ni Basha or Cardo ni Mona” because no man is perfect. Time will come that Cardo will fail me. Julius (Cardo’s real name) is not Jesus. Jesus is the only one who is perfect and worth imitating.

Julius is not Jesus. Jesus is the only one who is perfect and worth imitating.

Coming from a broken family and complicated relationships, I know that every day is not always rainbows and butterflies. There is no such thing as perfection in this world. I’m not a perfect woman too. I’ve learned to embrace imperfections, knowing that all things that God created is good and nothing is to be rejected but everything is to be received with thanksgiving. Cardo is God’s gift to me that’s why I always thank God for him with his flaws and all.

If you are a single person reading this and you hope to date a man/woman someday, be ready to date an imperfect sinner, because Mister/Miss Perfect is surely not existing.

If you are currently dating someone already, watch out for the red flags in the character of the one you are dating. Can you live with his character for the rest of your life? Do you think he/she will lead you and your future family to God? He may look like Popoy ni Basha but does not deserve any chance on you. 🙂

Gallery

Of Asking What’s Wrong to Finding What’s Right

I’ve been wondering for so many years what’s wrong with me why I’m not in a serious romantic relationship when most girls and women my age are getting engaged, married, and having babies.

I asked myself countless of times, “Pangit ba ako? or Super taba ko na ba?” I’ve been trying to comfort myself with the words, “Matalino naman ako, mabait, at malambing. Masaya din naman ako kasama.” How come I’m not committed yet?

At times I get so used to the idea that being single is fun. I can actually date any guy who would ask me out. I have no commitments. I own my time. I do not have anyone to think of or care about aside from my strong, independent, and stubborn self. But, this train of thoughts do not soothe the longing to be in a relationship and the desire of having someone to have and to hold.

I became a hopeful romantic…

Everywhere I go, I welcome the idea of finding my one true love. I thought of meeting him in a bus or plane ride. Every mountain I hike becomes an easy climb with the thought that maybe he is already there at the peak. Every island is a paradise with the thought that maybe he is also there wandering and looking for me.

I waited, prayed, gave up, stumbled, prayed, and waited again. For years, I was thinking of what I have done wrong, or what’s wrong with me, or if I was looking at the wrong places. In this cycle, God made me see that there is nothing wrong with me, it’s just that it wasn’t the right time yet.

For 8 years, from 2009 to 2016, I have included “to be pursued by a man and be in a relationship” in my faith goals. Every prayer and fasting, I asked God for someone to love and to be loved in return.

Until 2017 came, I intentionally not include being in a relationship in my faith goals, not because I gave up on it or I lose my faith already, but because God impressed on me that getting married and having a family of my own is His plan and promise for my life. So, I don’t have to beg Him for it rather I should trust in His timing.

Lo and behold, when I least expect it, when I thought that the year is ending again and I’m still not in a relationship, and just when I gave up searching for love, love found me.

God moves mysteriously.

God has brought him to me at the right place and the best time possible. He is God’s gift to me, delivered just outside our home on my 28th birthday (literally).

Looking back on why our paths haven’t crossed before…

I started hiking way back 2012 with Mt. Pulag in Benguet as my first mountain while he was busy toiling their land on the other side of the mountain province. That was the closest chance I could get to meet him, if left to my own will and strength. I visited several islands and dive seas, while he was somewhere in the other part of the ocean, training as a diver. I ride commercial bus and planes, while he ride military/police service transportation. He has never been on an island for leisure but he was training in the forests. Most of my time were spent traveling here and there while he spent most of his inside their barracks. There is little to no chance of meeting each other if we will look at it in our own situations and differences.

But, God has His own ways of bringing us together.

Who would have thought that in this archipelagic nation of 7,641 islands, the two of us will share a seat under a beautiful night sky? I still can’t fathom how a man from the mountains of Ifugao (him) and a woman from a penal colony in Davao (me) found our ways to each other. I haven’t computed how many islands have separated us before or how many miles there is, but there’s one thing I know and that is – the world is too small in God’s great and gracious hands.

I’m grateful that as God took our hands, He leads him to me and I to him, so we can have and hold each other’s hands.

[10-27-17 Our first picture together taken after our first jogging around Sunken Garden. This is truly an answered prayer, for I have long been asking God to send someone who will run with me at night.]

God is indeed the One behind every best love story written. I can’t write our own story yet for we are only in the first chapters, but I am sure and is at peace that God has prepared the best plot for us two.

Both of us weren’t totally faithful in our individual seasons of waiting, but God is faithful to lead us to each other, just as He planned it.

I hope that as you read this, most especially if you are a single person, you will be more faithful to God and His perfect plans for your life. Remember that His promises come in His own ways and in His appointed time. He will make all things beautiful in His time.

Trust God in the waiting, in the weeping, in the wandering, and even in your past wrongdoings. Know that He alone can turn the wrongs to rights. He works wonders and writes the best love stories. Allow Him to author yours. 😍