Family and Relationships · Married life

Life as of 08.16.2016

A lot has changed since the last time I paused and sat down to actually write and share the happenings of my life thru this blog.

Well, I got married.

wedding
Mr. & Mrs. Mercado ❤ 05.14.16

Had a delayed”honeymoon” in a marriage seminar sponsored by the hubby’s company, and actually enjoyed it

Indulge the geek in me by visiting the National Museum

And yeah, I’ve finally gotten the courage (and reason) to cut my hair short

Lately, I’ve been thinking so much of how fast life is changing, as well as how drastic life is also changing us. Change may really be the only permanent thing in this fast-paced world, and the reality of our lives lies in the fact that all these- including us- are passing. We are fragile creatures given only 70 years or so as a lifespan. Pessimistic or not, the catch is we’re bound- and obliged- to find our purpose and make the most of this 70 or so years.

These days I am so engrossed with these thoughts but ironically, what I actually do is just stare and watch as days go wasted. Ewan ko, nasa adjustment period pa din siguro talaga ako sa bagong stage ng aking buhay. May hinahanap akong di ko matagpuan, may hinihintay akong di malaman. Whatever it is, I just pray that everything may just be unfolded in God’s perfect timing. Di nagmamadali, walang pag-aalala.

Family and Relationships

Finally!

I am engaged!

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After 24 years of being a simpleng dalaga, I am now, officially and formally, engaged to become Mrs. Aljhon Mercado. :3 ❤

The proposal was both epic and simple. Parang kami lang. Hahahaha! There was the man I love playing a song I didn’t know he likes, surrounded by his beloved choir as well as my friends and siblings in Christ. It was becoming darker but the night still smiled as he got down on one knee and brought out a white Converse Chuck Taylor and asked if I could marry him. Good thing I wore my “Love is the Answer” shirt so I didn’t have to elaborate my answer as I was busy fighting back tears. Fr. Lando, our friend priest whom we want to officiate our marriage ceremony, honked his car horns and capped off the celebration.

I am engaged! Praise God! ^_^

He finally asked the question, and I excitedly said Yes!

To God be all the Glory!

Family and Relationships · Reviews

#enjoyPH: Tagaytay

Allow me to start this blog post through my previous post’s opening line: Happy 4th birthday to us, my love! 😀

4 weeks na ang lumipas, pero parang may hang over pa din ako. Hahaha dejk. 🙂 I just feel pleased for almost everything I’ve planned went smoothly okay. Thank you, God. We’ve had a wonderful two-day getaway: nakapagkwentuhan ng matagal, nakafocus sa pag-aalaga sa isa’t isa, nakasakay sa pinakamataas na ferris wheel sa ‘Pinas, at nakalimot panandalian sa FAPE at trabaho. Ayos!

Every year, as a way of celebrating our Anniversary, Aljhon and I go to places we’ve never visited before. At dahil matipid din sya kami, we challenge ourselves to go on treats and trips that are low on budget. And for this year, since 4th year na naman na, napilit naenggayo kong magTagaytay si Aljhon. Yehey! 😀 We originally planned on going to Baguio, because he still hasn’t been there, but we ended up on Tagaytay to use the discounted voucher availed by my sister (na hindi nagamit sa kanilang sariling anniversary). We’ve enjoyed the not-so-sunny weather, the coldness unique to Tagaytay, as well as the scenic view of Taal Volcano and its lake.

1ST Stop: SKY RANCH

Sky Ranch

Considered this as a gift from my sister. Di nila nagamit yung ticket nung nagpunta din silang Tagaytay kaya kami na lang ang gumamit. We enjoyed lalo ang Viking and Sky Eye. Sa dalawang rides pa lang na ito, sulit na agad ang ticket mo. Mejo hassle lang dahil may kasabay kaming school na nagffield trip, but all in all, worth it ang pagpunta dito. Park is open Mondays to Sundays, 8am -10pm ata. Mas mahal ang entrance fee during the weekends, at pwede ka namang hindi magrides when you get inside. To go there, you can ride a jeepney from Olivarez Terminal, php12. If you’re coming from Manila and onboard a bus, just let the conductor know that you’re headed to Sky Ranch and they will drop you off at Petron, kung saan pwede na kayo magjeep to the park, php8.

2ND Stop: PICNIC GROVE

Picnic Grove

We had a very good time having our late lunch here because of the wonderful view of Taal from the picnic area. Gutom na kami pero mas naenjoy namin ang aming baon dahil sa lamig at magandang view. The park also has an eco-trail as well as a zip line, but it is not really well-maintained so the P50-entrance may not really be worth it. We rode a jeepney from Olivarez Terminal to Picnic Grove, php12. Avoid riding a tricycle because they will charge you unfairly of php80.

3RD Stop: KENI PO

Keni Po

We’re already tired from all the walking, so it was really sweet and sulit to have chosen Keni Po as our accommodation for the night. The price was right (P1500 for one night-twin sharing room), the staff were cool and kind, the room was clean and comfortable, and its site is just one-ride (jeep/trike) away from Olivarez terminal, php8/php10. Kahit mejo matagal sila magreply, madali naman silang kausap at maayos yung reservation process. Just advise them and reserve 2-3 weeks before your trip, and deposit the amount right away para walang problema. The inn doesn’t give a complimentary breakfast but sulit ang food na pwedeng iorder sa kanila. I think pwede ka ding magdala ng sariling pagkain.

4TH Stop: CALERUEGA

Caleruega

To make our Anniversary trip more meaningful, I brought Aljhon to one of the most special places for me when I was just a student. Caleruega Retreat House is not just a silent venue for prayer and reflection, but as well as an ideal location to go on nature tripping. Kahit mejo maulan, naenjoy pa din namin ang maputik na trail going to the Tent Chapel sa tuktok ng burol, nakapagpicture sa magandang landscape ng retreat center, at nakapagdasal sa napakagandang Transfiguration Church. Nakakatuwa lang talaga isipin na every four years, nakakabalik ako sa lugar na ito, nakakapagdasal at nakakapagthank You sa Lord sa madaming achievements gayundin sa mga panibagong blessings na ibibigay niya pa sa akin. At nakakahumble lang isipin na God is so good to me, I’ve realized that all throughout these years, He has been there with and for me, cheering for me sa lahat ng challenges, as well as celebrating with me sa lahat ng accomplishments. And now, as I-and Aljhon, too- look forward to another chapter in our life, we pray that God will continue to be faithful to His promises in our relationship. Four years has already passed, all because God is in the center of our love. Kumbaga nga sa college, may diploma na kami! Pero alam naming mas madami pa kaming dapat matutunan at maexperience. And whatever happens, we’ll still hold on to God and believe in His great plans for us. ❤

And btw, you can board a bus, php28, with a sign board of Nasugbu to get to Caleruega. Tell the bus conductor to drop you off at Evercrest, and from there, ride a tricyle (php50 one way). Additional tip: kunin niyo na yung ino-offer na mobile number ng trike driver dahil walang nakatambay na trike sa mismong Caleruega pabalik ng Evercrest.

And just because I am being totally happy and generous, here are more tips for a worthwhile trip:

  1. Plan and organize. Research for the best and most plausible itinerary that will suit your time and resources. Spend time to look not just for the places to visit, but for the best food and inns. While it may be fun to be adventurous and risk yourself with a suprise itinerary, it may well be better to also get to know first the place before the trip itself.
  2. Be patient and wait for public transportation (PUJ) instead of riding a tricycle worth a million (joke, P80 pesos lang daw). Yes, it may help the local tourism, but c’mon. Follow up tip: Don’t look so much like of a tourist. Malamang ay mas mahal ang isisingil sayo pag mas mukha kang turista.
  3. Avail of discounted tickets online. It will definitely cost lesser, and will allow you to have more budget on food and even pasalubong. Mas masaya din pag bigay siya ng kamag-anak. Promise. :p
  4. Take photos, but stay away from social media. Focus on making memories instead of updating statuses. It may not be totally practical, but keep phones and gadgets away.

Tagaytay is such a great place to visit, especially if you only have a weekend to spare for a vacation. It’s very near Manila, and still has the greenery and seclusion you may need for a time-out. But then again, anywhere with the one you love can be a great place. As cliche as it may sound, pero totoo naman eh. In love na ako, sige, but I just feel happy not just because of this much-needed break but because I am with Aljhon. At napakalaking bonus pa na sine-celebrate namin ang aming 4th birthday. And that makes this trip more special, we graduated from the four-year boyfriend/girlriend stage, at may diploma na kami! Hahah! On this trip, we had finally resolve to take this relationship to the next level, but I don’t want to pre-empt anything that’s why I’ ll be ending this post. 😉 Hahah! Have a great weekend ahead. Enjoy life! Enjoy PH! ^___^

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Family and Relationships · Musings

4 things from the 4 years

Yey! Happy 4th birthday to us, my love! ^__^

<img class=”wp-image-1220 size-large” src=”https://sidewalkmusingsandgeniuses.files.wordpress.com/2015/10/photogrid_1443510413969.jpg?w=660″ alt=”Fourth Anniversary Fourth Anniversary ❤

Parang dati lang talaga, di pa tayo nagpapansinan! Hahah. I am truly grateful to God that it’s with you I got to celebrate this kind of life’s blessing! And while I am still no expert on love, I just wish to share a testimony on how we’ve reached the fourth year milestone in our relationship. I greatly believe that love is a verb; a daily decision to steer your every action to purposeful dedication to the person you wish to stay with in a steady relationship. Hindi naman puro pasweet sa love, hindi puro kilig, pero hindi rin naman totoong walang forever. I learned that love is a choice to be made every day, a resolve inspired by God and guided by your goals for the future. And before this gets either way too serious or cliché, here’s my 4 lessons from our four years together.

  1. LOVE

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Very self-explanatory. I wouldn’t have stayed with Aljhon all throughout this time if he doesn’t still attract me. Whenever I caught myself smiling because he smiles, that’s when I know that I’m still in love with him, and I still feel blessed to have him as my partner. This also involves the kilig I feel every time he looks at me, or the way I feel jealous whenever some girls would try to get too close with him or when we didn’t have enough time together. Love, as equaled to enduring attraction, open communication, giving gifts, having dates, and just spending quality time, is a must to every relationship. Love must be tendered and protected, for it to grow and flourish.

2. FRIENDSHIP

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I now know that good friends make great lovers, though it may doesn’t fully apply to all kinds of people.  Friendship, with the right balance of similar interests, hobbies, and preferences, is a key ingredient to a lasting relationship. When we were just starting, Aljhon and I made sure that we got to know more of each other through constant conversation and even tampuhan. By choice, we made spending time with each other a priority, and seek to enjoy every moment. We joined groups and events together, did new things together, and tried new places together. We built tradition inside our relationship, and stayed loyal to them. We trusted each other for our secrets, our innermost thoughts, and even the darker side of us. And we also fight. We fight for the little things, and the big ones. We debated and discussed, and then prayed together for a resolution. But we also do not forget the people outside our little circle. We spent time with each other’s families, and maintained friendship with them as well. And by friendship, we made sure that his friends and family become mine, and mine his. We tried to go to each other’s gala with friends, and tried harder to let each one go kung hindi maaaring magplus 1 sa galaan. And that bond makes us stronger and more comfortable not just as a couple but as a happy individual.

3. TRUST

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This may be one of the basic foundations of any relationship, and in our case, or my case, this refers to the faith I have in him and in our relationship. Even from the start, he knew that I am a no-fool kind of girl friend. Ayoko higit sa lahat ang komplikasyon (i.e. EX), kaya pinaalam ko na sa kanyang kaya ko gawin ang lahat para maging mapayapa ang aming relasyon, basta kaya niya ring maging matino para sa akin. I trusted him, first with my yes, then my heart, and now, my future. I trust him every single moment I say “I love You” to him, as well as every time we have a fight. I have faith that he truly loves me, and all my efforts to be loyal and mabait at ideal na girlfriend, are all worth it. I am confident that even though we could hurt each other with words, indifference, inattention, or coldness, we will still make up and love each other again. I have faith in our relationship, and in the dreams that we are building together. Most importantly, I have full trust and confidence in God that He’s the scriptwriter and director of our love story, that He also has faith in our relationship. How can I dare doubt that?

4. COMMITMENT

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While love makes the relationship sweet and meaningful, friendship makes it fun and alive, trust makes it grounded and secured, commitment wraps it all up. For me, commitment is the most vital aspect of a relationship, for it connects and gives sense to everything. Four years ago, when I finally decided to give up my NBSB status, I have been praying for only one thing: that God always guides my heart to commit myself to Aljhon and the relationship that we’ll be starting. I am not a big fan of trial-and-error or learning-from-mistakes process, and my love life definitely tops the list of the things that I didn’t want to have regrets with in my life. And so, everyday as I pray, I learn to commit to Aljhon and in our love. I commit to love him and be loyal to him at all times. I commit to understand him and forgive his shortcomings and mistakes. I commit myself to be a better person, that I may always deserve the love he is also offering. I commit myself to our shared values- honesty, respect, faithfulness, and even thriftiness. I commit to make him happy and secured, I commit to make him always my priority. I commit myself to Aljhon because I love him, and I know that loving and serving him is also a calling gifted only by God to me.

<img class=”wp-image-1226 size-large” src=”https://sidewalkmusingsandgeniuses.files.wordpress.com/2015/10/20150929_210158.jpg?w=614″ alt=”Solido since 09.29.11 Solido since 09.29.11 ❤

Love. Friendship. Trust. Commitment.

I may not be a world-famous expert on love and relationship, but I know that these four made, and continue to make, our relationship as wonderful and steady as it is now. We don’t have a perfect relationship, but I could say that we are mature in dealing with our issues and emotions.We honor each other as well as these four values. We strive to make these always present, because we are intent on staying together forever. Finally, I know that God is in the center of it all. I know that He’s behind our love, friendship, trust, and commitment. And just by knowing that, I know, forever does exist.

Family and Relationships · Reviews

A quarterlife bucketlist

I am no travel blogger, but I just would like to share how I spent the previous long weekend escaping to the country’s summer capital:

More than the not-so-expensive gala, I am grateful to be able to spend another day with the ex-workmates I also come to consider as family. I may have transferred workplaces, but I still cherish the friendship we have made. And I am just hopeful that we can always stay this way. 🙂

And on this travel, I have yet again crossed off items in my bucketlist: go back to Baguio and shower, and climb a tree. Hahah! Yes, I consider taking a bath when I return to one of the country’s coldest places a must. And since I am already on point of sharing experiences, let me share my four-year-old bucketlist,

  1. Go to Enchanted Kingdom with my love.
  2. And have a movie date with him.
  3. Take up MA in Guidance and Counseling.
  4. Then pass the Board Exams.
  5. Be a Guidance Counselor.
  6. Visit Batanes. Fight the urge to stay there for a lifetime.
  7. Ride an airplane alone.
  8. Plant a tree.
  9. Return to Baguio City and take a bath.
  10. Own a laptop. And a DSLR camera.
  11. Climb a tree.
  12. Put up a business.
  13. Celebrate my birthday by teaching street children how to read.
  14. Hike a mountain at least once every year.
  15. Swim in Pagudpud beach.
  16. And visit Vigan.
  17. And Sagada.
  18. And Palawan.
  19. Fight my fear of heights by diving.
  20. Go on a solo backpacking adventure. Nang hindi nawawala.
  21. Have abs.
  22. Have an updated blog.
  23. Have a book signed by John Green.
  24. Compile my books to build my own library.
  25. See my name printed on a book. Or a magazine. Or kahit sa pamphlet lang.
  26. Get married with my love. 🙂
  27. On a small church.
  28. And I’ll homeschool our children. HAHAHAHAH
  29. Cut my hair very short. (Yung tipong magtatanong ang mga tao kung heartbroken ba ako.)
  30. Be a foster parent.

Simple lang ako kaya simple lang talaga mga pangarap ko. At dahil sa sadyang tamad din ako, konti pa lang ang mga nagagawa ko. I believe in deadlines, but I think not on this kind of list. Carpe diem, but there’s still a lot of time. Basta makatravel. Basta masaya lang. At basta kasama ang mga mahal sa buhay. ❤ ^_^

Christian life · Family and Relationships · Musings

The story of the blurred Selfie

My weekends are usually eventful, but the previous one could be considered as one of the best.

We woke up early for the 5AM mass, were not late, but since the microphones were still off, we hadn’t sung the entrance song. After two masses in The Shrine, we hurried to our small chapel, and filled the even smaller choir loft with happy praises and laughters.

Then came the epic breakfast with the epic selfies of our epic faces.

selfieAljhon came to show his love for me by seaming my boyish sandals, then accompanied me to Cubao to fetch my lovesick future brother-in-law, in formal slacks and button-down shirt, nervously preparing for his proposal to Ate Joan. After choosing the right flowers and doughnuts, and teasing Aljhon in buying me roses and me being turned down, we went home to surprise my sister with a commitment ring and Ephraim’s promise to be the best boyfriend she can ever have. I had been tearful as well as they hug and Ate Joan say yes. Finally the day we have been praying for came, and all I could wish for is for them to have a sweet and mature relationship.

Then the late afternoon lolled in as we headed for the last mass of the day. Praise God for the good songs, and though it had been my fourth mass on that day, I still received a very powerful affirmation:

The central point and very essence of Jesus’ miracle of multiplication of loaves is God’s never-ending abundance and blessings.

My Sunday ended in Aljhon’s embraces and in another selfie escapade- this time with Mama and Papa in the background.

familyAfter 21 attempts, this is still the best shot we got. One blurred photo, seven familiar faces, two additional members of the family, an eye, a sister with mouth hanging open, and a happiness so epic I couldn’t find enough words to express it.

And I finally understood what the affirmation from the mass means. God has loved me so much to give me my wonderful family, a boyfriend willing to serve me in ways unpredictable, a ministry I could learn from and grow in, and friends to keep me company. God has loved me so much that he is multiplying these love everyday, to bless me and for me to bless others with this same love. God has loved me so much for He is forever generous, caring, and gracious.

Thank you my Lord for blurred pictures, epic weekends and even better relationships. You never fail to amaze me with your ways.