Despedidas

•July 21, 2008 • 1 Comment

High School Buddies

During Mother’s day, Charlie sent a usual text message for his friends’ moms and since at that time, I was already preparing for my life in Singapore, I replied and told him that I’m about to leave the country to pursue a career abroad. It was only then that I knew that he’s already based in Iloilo for his work. He replied back and told me when he’s going to Manila and said that we will set one Saturday to meet our friends. After a week, a text message came for a night out with our high school friends which I immediately looked forward to. I seldom meet up with them after College for some strange reasons I can’t figure out. Then after 2 years, I showed up then saw Patrick, Madison, Charlie, Clint, and Espi.  We just had dinner at Kalye Juan in Tomas Morato and had some buckets of beer then started reminiscing about our good old days in high school. We talked about all the crazy things we did and had a realization that we have evolved from being spoiled brats to becoming the mature individuals that we are right now. All of them expected that I’ll be the one to pursue a legal profession which obviously didn’t happen while it turned out that Ace just recently passed the bar with Patrick and Romer awaiting for their bar exams a few months from now. Right now, it certainly is so fun talking about the shallow and stupid things we all did when we were teens then talking about plans of settling down and saving up for the future. The night commenced by having a cup of coffee at a nearby Starbucks and exchange of embraces amongst friends who have known and stood for each other for a long time. It was just fun going back to those good old days.

SFC/Junio Family Surprise Despedida Party

The next Saturday, JB texted me in the morning and asked if we can go to the gym so he can destress. Since I haven’t transferred my membership to Yna yet, I said yes but with slight hesitation since I was tired the previous day doing tons of transition work. But after jogging at the treadmill, I felt the intensity of the adrenaline rush and had an instant motivation to work out some more and so we left the gym a bit late. JB kept on asking about the rate if ever he and his friends would rent the rooftop. When it was time to go home, he said he needs to go meet Ate Dothy at her place to get some stuff for the CLP. So when we were about to enter our village, he asked asked if he can go to our place first since he felt he needed to use the washroom. When we went to our place, I was shocked to see some SFC brothers in our house then JB said he wanted to see the rooftop. So when I showed him where it was, that’s when I saw almost the whole chapter and my relatives already having a party. It was a night of singing, food, picture taking in every corner, and great laughter. No dramas, just plain fun that made me not forget about my very 1st SFC chapter.  I really can’t forget Third & Trian’s performance when they rendered songs the same way they did when they were still kids. To me, I just loved how they sang You First Believed during that night. I also didn’t know how to bid goodbye to my relatives then since I was too busy with my preparations for my departure but there they were, invited by my siblings for that particular night.  I guess I can count this occasion as one of those events when I felt so happy (ironic as it is when I was about to leave). It was really surprising and it did matter so much to me knowing that I was about to leave the country  and the most special people in your life did something special to you. I really don’t know how to thank all of them who made me feel happy that night. Click here for more pics.

Third and Trian’s Performance

Tito Bot’s Phonepatch, hehe

I hate to admit it but I was holding my tears seeing Third and Trian sing Hoku’s hit when this shot was taken

My relatives who surprised me

With the SFC sisters from my chapter (except for 2, hehe)

With SFC brothers from my chapter

The Kidnapper and the victim hehe

With my younger siblings

And with my siblings who make me young, hahaha

Cheriboys Despedida

The night after, I went out with the Cheriboys. We went to Eastwood for dinner then moved to Metrowalk for some drinks. It has been a very long time since we had a night out. Unfortunately, Ryan was not able to make it as he was watching over Tito Tony who was confined at the hospital and when we offered to go to the hospital first, we just found out that visiting hours are already over so the Cheriboys were not complete during that night. It was just fine since it’s more important for Ryan to be with his dad anyway and I know we will definitely be complete in one of my visits to the Philippines. One good thing is that we were all able to catch up on each other.

Cheripic without Ryan 😦

Last Day at Work

What I know is that this day was so filled with food, hugs, gifts, laughter, and a lot of picture taking! Indeed, I felt so relieved knowing that I am about to move on to something new in my career but I certainly know that I’ll terribly miss my team and friends.  It was also this day when Archie, my buddy from Sykes was able to hang out with me before I went to Eastwood (since he was on vacation from law school that day and my other buddies were at work). They not only gave me stuff that I will remember them for but great memories of genuine friendship that you would rarely see in a working environment we were at.

With my closest friends

With SFCs at IBM

With Archie

With Yna

With Yna’s team

With my best buddies

The people whom I processed my US Visa with

Ex-Sykes colleagues, and now, Ex-IBM collegues hehe

Going over some presents

With my team

Family Outing

Day before I left for Singapore, I had an awesome day with my family at Club Manila East. I just thought that I have to be with my loved ones whom I will miss the most. So even if I barely got some sleep after my last day at IBM, I need to have my senses awake as this will be my last one whole day with my family for the quarter. We had sumptuous lunch at the resort and enjoyed the pool the whole day. The fun wouldn’t be complete without Mishka showing her cute antics especially her dancing and giggling at the pool. I absolutely love the sight of her stomping feet whenever the artificial waves would hit her face, she is just so funny! We then felt how complete we were when we visited Papa’s grave and asked him to pray for my safe departure to the Philippines. The venue was so strategic as Club Manila East is only 10 minutes away from where Papa is laid to rest. It was so fun and a great memory for me to keep before leaving. Click here for more pictures.

So cute…

Family pic the day before I left

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Hillsong United Live in Manila 2008!

•June 3, 2008 • Leave a Comment

What a great way to spend my remaining days here in the Philippines by watching my favorite Christian rockband, Hillsong United! It was a very empowering night of worship seeing people from different Christian denominations (that includes a Catholic like myself watching an evangelical band) being in a concert all praising Jesus. It was really fun and was touched that the big dome was filled with mostly young people struggling to know Christ.

At the start…

While waiting for the band

First Song: The Time Has Come

Joel Houston Preaching

OMG!

After the Concert

 

Another Chapter

•May 11, 2008 • 1 Comment

Three weeks ago, Raine (a friend of mine who recently left IBM and now working in Singapore) asked for my resume as they are in need of people who have recruiting and HRIS background. The next day, she called me up and said that her boss wanted to interview me during the week so I thought that it’s going to be a phone interview since they are based in Singapore. To my surprise, she said that I have to fly to Singapore for the interview and that the airfare and accommodation will be shouldered by their company. Being the traveler that I am, I said yes since I haven’t done anything or gone somewhere yet since the start of summer and everything’s for free anyway. I just thought there was nothing to lose if I go. As things were happening so fast, I consulted my family right away about the job opportunity as windows for migration are already opening. I also asked friends who are working in Singapore and surveyed on how much they normally spend for their needs on a monthly basis as cost of living is more expensive there as compared to what it is here in the Philippines. So I texted some close friends for prayers but I barely got any sleep as I was still thinking about the possibilities. When I got to the office that night, the first thing I saw in my email was my eticket to Singapore and the first person I saw was Robbie whom I discussed the events with. When Jeremy (my boss) arrived at the office, I talked to him right away and filed for a leave and had the resolve to tell him honestly that I’ll be having a job interview in Singapore. He gave me his permission and wished me luck. I even felt guilty because he asked me to go home right away since there was nothing much to do so I can pack up.

I still couldn’t get to sleep when I got home so I decided to pack up. I was able to get a decent sleep and able to wake up at the right time for my last-minute preparations for my flight. I traveled alone and had a flight at past 4 PM then arrived at Singapore 20 minutes before 8 PM. I noticed how clean the city is on my way to the hotel. From there, I was able to meet Matt, Raine’s friend and a former colleague of hers at Lufthansa. I have the same background as his and like me, he is also a candidate for the post I was being considered for.  The meeting was very casual and we were both glad to have known that we both attended the same program in CSB.

The next day was our interview and we had Philip, a British guy, for an interviewer. Matt was the first to be interviewed and told me that it was so simple and that he thought he had more questions for Philip than it was the other way around. When it was my turn, Matt was right as I thought that the interview was candid and was a simple discussion with a few inquiries about my background and my capabilities. Of course there were a few challenges about some points in the interview but in the end, we both agreed on something and told me that he will present a job offer to Matt and myself right away! So it was presented and upon thinking about all major points to consider, I thought that the offer was really promising for myself and for my family, most importantly. The next day, I handed over the signed job offer and started processing my requirements. I was also able to meet Paul and Lee, my closest friends in College who are already based in Singapore.

When I came back to the office, Jeremy was not shocked that I filed my resignation and I really felt fortunate that he was so happy for me and so supportive. The thing is, I never anticipated this opportunity coming nor was thinking about it but it came when I was thinking about so many things like some financial concerns, desire to do something better in my career, working on daytime, having more time to serve in SFC, and all others (relationship??? :P). But this just came when I least expected it. Though another tradeoff is that I’ll be living away from my family, Singapore is just 3 hours away from the Philippines so visiting home will be easy and the fact that airfare isn’t too expensive. Ate Jeng and I agreed that it was just an answer to what we just recently discussed. All these can only be attributed to the One who has never abandoned me.

As I only have a few weeks here in the Philippines, I am making a great deal of effort to catch up with my friends and spend more quality time with my family. I am also busy turning over my work to the person replacing me and I will soon start looking for a house where I can stay. I just can’t believe that all of these are happening. Though I am absolutely excited about this new chapter in my life, I can’t deny the fact that I’ll miss a lot of people here. But I know things will turn out right…

At my hotel room

At the merlion

Durian Republic, hehe

With future team mates

With Lee

F1!!!

Lenten Message for My Loved Ones

•March 16, 2008 • 3 Comments

Hello,

This may be the first time that you have gotten through my blog since I sent you a link via messenger, personal mail, or a message at Friendster. 

But please remember that I thought about you as I compose this and I may not have the time of reaching out to you all that’s why I thought of taking advantage of technology to send my Lenten message to all the people who are special to me. It is certainly not within my control if you think that I’m sincere or not but my goal for letting you read this is to express my love for you in a season that teaches us how to love unconditionally through the cross He bore.

Just felt that I can’t be at peace with God if I won’t express my intent to send a simple message of peace and telling how much I appreciate you. As such, this season may just be an opportune time to have these said.

In my contemplation, there were times when I may have neglected my ideals and you may have thought of me to have veered away from the Christian principles I am trying very hard to remain firm with. I may have caused you deep pain in a way I could not imagine and have miscalculated my actions out of my human weakness but I hope that you understand that I, am just a struggling sinner that needs guidance from above and from loved ones like you. I am not proud to have done those things and will try very hard to find strength to rectify them. If you think that you are one of the casualties of my wrongdoings, I want you to know how sorry I am for whatever pain I have inflicted upon you. If you also think that this needs talking over, let me know and I will be glad to listen as I need you in my pursuit to become better.

If you think that you have done me wrong in any way, that doesn’t matter to me anymore as moving on is something I have a knack for given my experiences.

Also, I want to thank you for sharing times with me. For being with me with whatever situation I was in, your presence enabled me to feel so blessed to have met you. Thanks for all the help you have given and for being special to me in whatever way you have been. Knowing a person like you is a manifestation of His deep love for me and I am thankful for it. If I haven’t seen you in a while, please remember that you have not been forgotten and will do my best to make it up for the lost times. You know the ways to keep in touch and that distance nor time will not change whatever things we’ve shared. All those times are worth cherishing. If right now, I’m always with you, just hang on and I still look forward to more of these!

Again, this is the only Lenten message that I can think of. You are always in my prayers and please remember that I am just around (or a text, email, YM, or IM away) when you need me to. May the Lord continue blessing you and may His resurrection give you more hope each day!

Cheers,

JM

At Home with Christ (SFC ILC 08)

•February 17, 2008 • 4 Comments

This conference gave me an assurance of a future full of hope with Christ. Right now, I still feel so high, empowered, inspired, and filled with God’s love within me and can’t fully express my joy from such an awesome encounter with Him! For the past few days, I have worried a lot about so many things which made me uncomfortable as worrying is something I’m not used to doing.

 The theme for this year’s International Leaders’ Conference is “At Home with Christ”, and as it suggests, I felt really home knowing that I rekindled my connection with the community that introduced me to a life with Jesus. Having a weekend that enabled me to bond with my brothers and sisters in this community has given me so much relief and made me set aside whatever anxieties I had before coming into the conference. It was also a great experience to have enjoyed the company of our new members attending their very first conference in Singles For Christ. I actually saw myself in them when I had my 1st conference and to see their excitement to be in an event like this. Since this is an international conference, I was also happy to have seen and talked to the brothers and sisters from SFC USA whom I met in Chicago last year during the Pro-Life Conference (Trista of SFC Chicago, Dunn of SFC Texas, and Ron from SFC Maryland).

The 1st-ever talk show in an SFC conference was very effective – the hosts were so hilarious (Brother Shok was so blessed with a great sense of humor)  yet it grabbed everybody’s attention so God’s messages were clearly delivered. More than the fun activities, I think the talk on healing was one of the best talks during the conference yet I must say, all the talks were all worth remembering. It’s just that the talk on healing addressed my needs before coming into the conference. I was indeed, moved by the stories of the sharers, most especially that one brother who talked about his family’s past and how the Lord is overturning situations for him which is so similar to what is happening to us right now. Needless to say, there were also sharers who gave testimonies on how they got out of their dark past and difficulties through a God who truly saves, these are just awakening stories for struggling sinners like most of us. The bishop who delivered the homily during the Sunday mass was also successful in explaining how we can all find home in the Church where Christ always dwells.

It just feels so good to be reconnected with God feeling the cold breeze of the wind as I raise my hands and close my eyes when we sang songs of praise and worship. I am now leaving my worries behind as I found home in Jesus who will constantly make everything possible for me. After the conference, I knew that God clarified what my missions and purposes are and what He intends to do for me. I think I am so overwhelmed and found new courage even as I go back to the life outside the community where there are more challenges ahead through the increased conviction that God gave me. Jesus is such a rockstar!

My ID

Before the 1st talk

Start of the Fellowship Night

2nd Day, Morning Ritual after prayer

After the healing talk and praisefest

Cheripic without JB and PA

With SFC USA

A community in worship

Slide for life!

Chapter Pic!

Christmas 2007

•January 20, 2008 • Leave a Comment

I remember writing 2 years ago, that I noticed that there’s always something different on how we celebrate Christmas eves and how it gets better each year. Christmas of 2007 has proven this right again. If you’ve read the link I provided in the first sentence, you’ll understand why it so matters to me going out on vacation with the family for the first time in 6 years (as we haven’t done this after all the the tough times we went through) plus the fact that we have a new baby in the family. After the Christmas Eve mass, all I felt was nothing but how blessed I am and how hope is turning into reality. 2007 has been a year of of hope for me. I have witnessed how wonderful things can happen with the wink of an eye, with God overturning events through His promises. I am just overwhelmed by the fact that I am now picking up the pieces and everything is gradually going to the right places, happening in His perfect time.

Trip to Hong Kong!

•December 20, 2007 • Leave a Comment

This is the reward I gave myself after missing all the Philippine holidays. As my work requires me to follow US holidays, it just means that I take less day offs than the usual. We had this trip during Thanksgiving (Americans usually celebrate this during the 3rd Thursday and Friday of November) and so some friends of mine at the office thought that this is an opportunity not worth missing. The trip was actually cheap since we were able to avail of low airfare rates from PAL and we decided to stay at a hostel – imagine this, each of us paid only Php 2,800 for accomodation for 4 days and 3 nights! Of course the Wang Fat Hostel will not give us 5 star amenities but we thought that it’s the most practical way to choose since we will be out going places the entire day for this trip. What mattered though was that the room and bathroom were clean, the bed was comfortable, it was airconditioned, and there’s wi-fi access. It is located at the heart of Causeway Bay (which resembles the Times Square) and an ideal place to stay for backpacking. In fact, most of the people staying there are foreigners who are up for some adventure. The trip was really fun and needless to say, I was the only thorn among the 8 roses on this 4-day trip (hehehe).  I was with Jo, Myra, Cathy, Vyke, Ela, Laura, Jonice, and Jelay.  I was with Jo and Cathy during my Knowledge Transfer training in Chicago while Myra used to be a frequent lunchmate, while it was my first time to have actually been out with the rest as I would just usually say “hi” to them in the office. Corollary to being the only guy in this trip, it was inevitable that I bear the responsibility of carrying the heaviest luggage and most of the shopping bags and being the last person to take a shower. It was cold when we went there and I was able to wear some of my winter clothes again with the excemption of thermal clothes as it’s absolutely not as cold as Chicago.  So let me now share my Hong Kong adventures by showing some pictures…

Day 1

Before leaving the Manila Centennial Airport

L-R Cathy, me, Jo, Jelay (behind Jo), Ela, Myra (behind Ela), and Vyke

L-R Vyke, Laura, Jo, Cathy, Jonice, and me

Just arrived at the Hong Kong International Airport!

About to board the train going to Causeway Bay

At the hostel entrance

At night time, we decided to go to the Victoria Peak or the Peak Tram.

On the way, some locals were doing some Tai-Chi exercises in one of the nearby parks

Here’s an awesome view of Hong Kong’s harbors and skyscrapers from the Peak

First complete group pic on the way back to the hostel

Day 2

We first had breakfast at Mc Donald’s before going to the Hong Kong Disneyland to have some energy before going around the park.

First pic of the day

Just felt that I have to take a pic of this cup as it says “love ko ‘to”

The train we’re boarding on the way to Hong Kong Disneyland

You could feel that you’re already in Disneyland even inside the train (notice the handle)

Welcome to Disneyland!

Relaxing after a long walk from the train station

Mickey surfing

Mickey’s behind me

Group pic

Outside the castle

My Hong Kong love affairs…

With Sleeping Beauty

With Belle, but I’m definitely not the beast (hehe)!

With  Cinderella

The trip at the lagoon

Feeling like Tarzan

We took this train inside the park to bring us to the venue of the parade

Below are pictures of the Disney Christmas parade. To get better shots, I literally climbed a post but my hands didn’t hurt since I was enjoying what I was doing. Most performers there are Filipinos and a friend of mine from Footworks (CSB’s dance troupe) was actually there.

After a busy trip to Disney theme park, we then went to Mongkok at the night market where I was able to buy my early Christmas presents for my family.

Day 3

Even though we were so tired, we managed to wake up really early since it’s the day we’re supposed to go to Ocean Park. It’s an adventure of experiencing breath-taking rides and exploring marine life.

As a morning ritual, here’s the 1st pic of the day

First time to board a 2-storey bus on the way to Ocean Park

Kung Fu Fighter Wannabe

Arrival at Ocean Park

Yup, I survived the ride at the Mine Train

Still relaxed after the scary ride

Before watching the dolphin and sealion show

And I am convinced that God blesses all creatures

This was my 2nd time to take a cable car (the 1st one was in Tagaytay Highlands) and I was surprised to find out that the one in Ocean Park was scary.

And it was my first time to see actual pandas. Though they seem gentle, they’re not as cute as I thought since they’re indeed, gigantic…

We went straight to the harbor for the avenue of stars and to watch the Symphony of Lights

At Jet Li’s memorabilias

Day 4

This was our last day in Hong Kong and had to wake up immediately for an early flight.

Last breakfast in Hong Kong

Last shot at Causeway Bay