More to Come

It’ll be countless!

The challenges that you face, they’ll keep coming. The struggles that you want to overcome will double as you go. Those problems given to you won’t stop to try and bring you down.

Because in this life, there’s a lot to experience. In this journey, there’s a lot to learn. So if it comes to the point where it seems impossible and unbearable, I want you to remember this:

His love is endless. His care is limitless.

We won’t always know the right things to say. We won’t always do the right moves to take. We won’t be able to choose all the right decisions to pick. But we have such a great God to carry our heavy burden. A mighty Lord who is forgiving and willing to guide those who seek Him.

So expect that there’s more to come your way but never forget that God is there to lead you to the right way!

First Time Flying

The white plane above continued to make its way through the clouds. I watched as it slowly disappeared from my line of sight, wondering when will I be able to ride one. But don’t get me wrong. It won’t be my first time flying when that day comes. My first experience happened along the highway. It was indeed an unexpected flight from the tricycle seat towards the middle of the road. My back still remembers the pain from that moment. And my whole body can’t forget the feeling of being suspended in the air. It was terrific!


It all started with a typical Monday morning routine. Waking up, eating breakfast and making your way to the school. There was nothing out of the ordinary even when I boarded
one of green tricycles waiting in line for students going to school. It takes roughly 15 minutes to get to the destination but this particular Monday didn’t want me to attend class.


The sun was slowly rising up as I watched from the back ride, uncomfortably sitting behind the driver. I was carrying a lot of stuff. Mostly donations for victims of the Taal eruption. However, being fully loaded with bags didn’t stop me from daydreaming like usual. I remember admiring the blue tint of my surrounding, reflected from the sky above. The relatively fast pace of the vehicle as it drove the first few miles of the trip. I didn’t think it was
dangerous at all because there were little to no other cars anyway. And of course, I was painfully wrong about this.


It literally felt as if someone abruptly pushed the forward button on a remote. One moment I was casually checking out the vast green plains on the other side of the road. Then I heard this strange sound as if someone had decided to scratch metal against another metal. It was nails on a chalkboard. Absolutely irritating. It did stop and next thing I knew, I
saw the world spin as I suddenly flew a couple of meters away from my seat. Life truly flashed before my eyes.


Shortly after landing on my face, reality struck as I felt the pain from each of my limbs. Especially my back. Embarrassing as it may be, the first thing that came out of my mouth was a loud and long groan. Right there, in the middle of the road. What absolutely horrified me were the agonizing shouts from the other passengers. This forced me to get up
on my feet.

“Kuya, tulong po.”, I weakly asked the motorcycle driver who by miracle, stopped just a few inches from me.


Being the Red Cross officer that I am, I accessed the situation and proceeded to help the others to the side of the road. Barefooted I did this for both my shoes also flew across the lane, so did all the stuff I had in my hand.


So much for my first flight. I never expected to take off from a tricycle but it happened. Fortunately , none of us were severely injured. A few stitches for the others and a
couple of days leave from school. The driver who rammed our vehicle toward a parked truck was taken care of by the authorities. And as for me, I now have this uneasy feeling everytime I ride tricycles. But I still am looking forward to flying in the future, hopefully in an airplane

Hidden Tears of the Silver Cloud

I see you.

The other day, I saw you passing by like nothing’s wrong. Like a cloud, just drifting in the sky on a sunny day. I see that you’re trying your best as you sail through life. You inspire me.

I saw you once more yesterday. You looked as if you’re carrying something heavy. You seemed more gray than usual, I think. You’re worrying me.

Today, you look strange. Gone was the white and fluffy cloud that I met the first time. You have the color of a silver cloud ready to pour on a rainy day. But why do you keep on carrying that heavy feeling? Why not let it out?

Don’t worry about me. I can bear the downpour, your downpour. Show those hidden tears of yours. Let yourself see the rainbow after that struggle. Pain eases when you share it with people who can feel your hurting.

I hear you. I feel you.

XP

There are people in our lives that can leave a lasting impact on us. Be it a close relative or even a stranger. There will always be someone that will indirectly teach us a thing or two about life.

I was raised by my single mother and her twin sister. Back then, I thought nothing about our lifestyle or social status. I thought it was normal to only eat rice with either sugar, salt, coffee, milk or milo as the viand. It wasn’t even a big deal to me if we had to skip a meal because we had no food. What I didn’t know was how hearthbreaking it was for my mother to not be able to provide food on the table all the time.

Now that we are somehow living much better than before, she tries to spoil us a lot. Which I do not like at all. When I asked her why she buys impulsively, my heart ached. She wanted to give us the things the she wasn’t able to get in her childhood. You see, my mom and her sister had to raise themselves. They’ve sold stolen vegetables in the market. They did a lot of sideline jobs just to feed themselves. And they had to stop their college education when me and my cousin were born.

Unlike what they experienced from their mother, my mom and aunt didn’t abandon us. They did their best to work and take care of us which is extremely difficult on their part. They wanted to make sure that we got the best out of life. And I told her that we did. She didn’t have to spoil us so much because we’re more used to living a simple life. But I do know where she’s coming from. So added to our conversation how she can instead, help those who are in need. Just like what we did back when we had nothing but our will to help.

It’s inspiring to see how God gave them strength all those years. And someday, I want to be the one who can help them finish college and make them quit their current jobs.

My mother’s story might be the reason as to why I have such high regards for young working people. They’re the ones constantly being hammered by life’s reality at a young age. And I’ve made it my duty to motivate and encourage them to move forward. If you’re currently in the same tough situation, don’t give up. Success will always be within reach for those who don’t stop pursuing it.

Thou Shall Not Commit

“I didn’t sign up for this!”, I told myself as I cried myself to sleep that night. 

Maybe it was the cool touch of the evening breeze or the comforting embrace of my bed. Perhaps it was both. But deep inside I know that my prayer was the reason I escaped those troubling thoughts. It was on that night back in December, when God made me realize the value of commitment. 

I’m a trier. There are so many things in this world that I want to experience. So many places to visit. Food to eat. People to meet. So many opportunities but so little time. Still, I want to do everything! But ever since the pandemic started, things got complicated. 

I wanted to do everything. 

Leadership was one of the skills that I wanted to improve by joining the student council. Being able to work with passionate youth inside and outside the campus, helping every student and inspiring people. That was the vision. But the pandemic came and suddenly, those goals seemed so hard to achieve. The responsibility remains however, the fire is wavering. It’s difficult to meet the expectations when your moves are limited. It’s difficult to keep your hopes up when things don’t go according to the plan. I never signed up for this challenge but 2020 decided to test how much of a leader I truly am. And it disappoints me to realize that I’m struggling to keep things balanced. 

I wanted to do everything. 

Luckily for me, I got the chance to get to know God more despite the pandemic. At first, I wasn’t fazed by the statement “you can’t serve two masters at once”. I’ve always seen myself as a multitasker. I overestimated. Just as you thought things will get better, the opposite happens. Despite knowing that I had to let go of some commitments, it took me a while to overcome false positivity. 

That night, my emotions got the best of me. I felt the chains of responsibility. All I saw was darkness and defeat. Overwhelming, is what it was. Doubt barged in with anxiety and fear. I wanted to scream my heart out but didn’t want my family to worry. I wanted to lash out but didn’t want to hurt anyone. So I prayed. Silently, I prayed to God to take it all away. And He did. He calmed me down and took away the pain. But He left me with the greatest lesson

Thou shall not commit without considering the possible trials along the way. Thou shall not commit while expecting for an easy sailing journey. Thou shall not commit without taking accountability. 

Of course, there is no escaping on my current duties right now. But that lesson is one that I will never forget when it comes to decisions. One that I’ll never forget when making commitments. 

The Motion Picture of Us

As I close my eyes, I see myself walking excitedly toward the mall entrance. It must have been the first week of July back in 2017. Because I remember how refreshing it felt to
get inside the air conditioned building. Leaving the humid weather outside of Gateway Plaza. Now, I see stores after stores. Back to school sales here and there. But I don’t think I’m looking for something to buy. I might be looking for someone to find. A tall gentleman with a dark complexion and impressive jawline. A very close friend of mine.


It’s coming back to me again. The sweet words, playful glances and the way he holds my hand. Butterflies! We were schoolmates. Both infatuated by high school love that started and ended up as friendship. Which to me, is not such a bad thing at all. We both cherish the moments we spent together. Like that late night when we stayed up composing a poem. I cringe whenever I see our grammatical errors in the original copy. However, it makes me
smile whenever I remember how proud we were about it. And since we’re already down the memory lane, I look back at the best experience that I had with him. The same memory that made me remember him in the first place. The movie date.

I must’ve been out of my mind telling my mother that I’ll be meeting my friends that day. But she never found out about it. No one but the two of us would reminisce that day. We met on the top floor where the movie theater was located. I can’t recall the clothes we wore but I do remember his face when he saw me walking toward him. After a brief moment of planning, we decided to watch Spiderman: The Homecoming. I might still have the movie ticket from that time. I wanted to hold on to it for a little while before we went our separate ways. It’s funny how I couldn’t remember how the movie ended. Was I too nervous to be
sitting beside him while munching on popcorn that time? After all, it was my first time to go out on a date. A secret date.


It’s always nice to end things on the right foot. But it is quite troublesome for me whenever I see any Spiderman-related stuff. That special memory immediately plays inside
my head like a motion picture. My young mind back then always thought that it would be the end of everything if I had to separate the special bond that we had. Obviously, I was wrong.
It wasn’t the end but the beginning of a much stronger friendship between me and Franc.

The Joy In Online Learning

With a wide yawn, sleepy eyes and a half-awake spirit, I gently opened my laptop screen and entered my password to start another journey to the online world. The morning
light woke me up a few minutes ago and forced me to drag myself to my current position. A laptop in front, water at the right side and a quick breakfast on the left. Looking at my
reflection on the screen reminds me that I certainly am not a morning person. Oh well! It’s not like I’m attending a beauty pageant anyway, it’s my first online class subject that I should be worried about. While scanning through my ever so active inbox for our classroom link, I
wondered if I had finished all my pending tasks online. “Did I even study in advance for today’s lesson?”, I thought. But a single question threw everything that I had been thinking
about when I entered our first class for Tuesday: Do I still even enjoy learning?


Seeing the same faces I had seen yesterday, the same look that I also have every morning, the question is almost immediately answered. Ma’am Xaris’ camera is the first one I look for to check if it’s on. I always want to see if she has the same “woke up like this” moment like the rest of the class but that doesn’t seem to be the case right now. Because her camera is off. I then look at Aaron’s to appreciate his long hair. Then I looked at Rafa to check if she had already taken a bath. Seeing that her hair is dry brings me relief. I’m not the only one who hasn’t taken a shower on this cold morning. I secretly checked my buzzing phone and saw that Kyla was silently having a small chit-chat in our groupchat.


“Natutulog ka Rian?” she typed.
“Oo nga, parang tulog siya kasi nakapikit.” Francis added before I could reply to Kyla.
“Nakayuko lang ako kasi chineck ko message niyo hmp!” I replied before immediately turning off my cellphone to focus on the class.


The best thing about the first online classes is that even our teachers are as absentminded as everyone else most of the time. I enjoy seeing this similarity but I do wonder if they got
enough sleep from last night. Because I know that I didn’t! Another moment that I thoroughly enjoy is looking at the epic faces of my classmates who, unfortunately, had their internet
signal interrupted. I know for a fact that Francis would’ve already taken a screenshot the second he realizes the situation. I had been one of his unlucky victims. But then who can I
blame when I have such an animated facial expression worthy of becoming a meme. I wonder if my cousin, Charlie, who is also an online learner, suffers from stolen shots online.


Moving on, I remember that one time when my little sister, Rueca, threw a tantrum downstairs because she wanted to play with me and Charlie. The moment she came into view of my camera, I saw the faces of my classmates suddenly light up. Even the teacher had noticed the cute stranger and awed with the class. I knew at that moment how refreshing it might have felt to look at such an innocent face. Not a single trace of stress
compared to our worn-out faces. But that’s life isn’t it? You slowly grow up and have things to think about. Not necessarily stress about, like what I usually do though.


Thinking about these moments that I enjoy makes distance learning bearable. It fuels me to move forward to the next online class. It motivates me to learn. And with a wide yawn,
sleepy eyes and a half-awake spirit, I gently closed my laptop screen and entered my bedroom to end the journey I had experienced once more in the online world.

Helping Hand from the Past

Don’t you miss the afternoon naps? Those care-free moments of our childhood? Because I do. I miss how wonderful the world looked to my 5-year old self. I miss having nothing to lose.

I also like to look back at the moments when I was 15. When I was foolish enough to think that I knew what life and love was all about. When my world revolved around school and myself. Selfish, I know.

But I’m thankful for those younger years. If I hadn’t once been a child, I wouldn’t have the appreciation for fun. I won’t be so curious to know the wonders of life. I won’t be so teachable. And if I hadn’t gone through my ripe teenage years, life would be boring. I might never know how to take risks. I might not be able to extract the lesson from the mistakes I’ve made. And I might never have taken the time to explore until I found the Lord. Or until He found me.

The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why

Mark Twain

Without these phases, it’ll be difficult to know the latter part of Twain’s quote. It’ll be hard to accept that we lack the knowledge about our purpose. If it weren’t for the past, we won’t ever know what improvements to make within ourselves as we face the present and the future. But I do want to clarify that God might meet us at different age stamps. I’m grateful to have met Him as a youth but it is no less than another person who met the Lord at the age of 30. What’s important is that when you meet Him, you accept His gracious offer to guide you along your life’s journey.

Saying: Thank you God! Please equip me and send me according to Your great plan!

Letting Go

We have different views on the concept of letting go. Some find it painful while others see it as freedom.

I fall on both categories.

Back when I was younger, I’ve always been the type who will have a crush on someone for a couple of years or not have a crush at all. There is no in between. And it remained at that stage. A mere infatuation if you will. It wasn’t until 10th grade that I had the courage to confess and enter a mutual understanding with a guy. I remember how lucky I felt, thinking that I had found “Mr. Right” like how my generation would call him. Ignorance sure is bliss.

We acted like lovers without the proper label or commitment. Holding hands, longing stares and sweet words. We never did anything over the line but still, that secret love story continued for almost three years! It would have lasted for much longer if I didn’t realize how wrong it was. Perhaps it was sometime last December when it hit me. When God started to show me signs. It was then that I realized that I had been pretending when I had fallen out of love already. I no longer see a future with him and yet, I kept him, thinking that it’s just a phase. But when 2021 started, God started to move.

My ministry mentors were talking about their love lives that Sunday and I was the only mentee hanging around with them. I was listening. And then I started asking. At first, I tried to make it look like I was asking for a friend but I told them the truth about my situation anyway.

Hanapin mo muna sarili mo kay Lord. Magsumiksik ka sa Kanya. At your age, dapat alam mo na priorities mo.

One of my mentors

I cried. Not just for myself but for the guy as well. I was wondering how he would feel if I told him that we had to end what we had. But at that point, I was still torn between being in denial and letting go. That’s when I responded to God’s sign by pouring out my heart during the service. Then I soon did what I had to do. It sucks that we had to end things over a video call because of the pandemic. However, he was extremely understanding and calm at that moment. But I know that behind the façade, he was hurting. There even was a moment of hesitation in my head but I brushed it off. It’s better to get it over with early than pretend and multiply the pain if I waited until we met in person. I was determined to set things right.

It must have took me one and a half month to fully move on. During those days, I reassessed my priorities. I wanted to put God on top of my list so I did! I also thought about the future. If one day, God decides to introduce the right one, I pray that he loves Jesus more than he will love me. A God-centered man, doesn’t that sounds nice? And there’s the possibility that I’m meant to stay single and just focus on serving God and His people. Whichever is according to His will, that’s a win-win for me!

Letting go truly is painful but there’s freedom in it when God teaches you how to handle it. This is another lesson that I learned as I grow deeper in the Lord.

One Summer Getaway

Adventures have always been a part of my life. They provide the thrill and the fun that I seek as a young person. Perhaps being exposed to a lot of travelling makes you long for the wondrous places across the globe. I’m positive that my mother successfully shared her passion with me by bringing me to unexpected destinations.


One particular vacation that I can’t forget is our Bolinao getaway. I still remember the relaxing turquoise ripples as I carefully made my way through the Enchanted Cave, half of
my body submerged in cold spring water. I do miss the calmness that I felt being underground. The cave lived up to its name. It was as enchanting as how I imagined the
lakes and rivers in the fantasy books that I had at home. It makes you forget about the busy world above.

The clear waters of the Enchanted Cave


The moment we reached the end of the cave tunnel, it only took a few steps for us to see the magnificent Bolinao Falls. It took me a few minutes to accept that such a place
exists. The water fooled me into thinking that it’s a newly-cleaned swimming pool. It was extremely clear that I could see my feet as if I had my eyes underwater wearing goggles. Once again, I miss the cooling embrace of the water. But how can I forget the raging falls that muffled the shout of my mother, telling me not to get near the rocks below the cascade. I
was already on top of one rock when my mother had no choice but to snap a picture of me.

Picture of me trying to balance myself on top of that rock


Going through that memory makes me want to go back. It may just be an ordinary vacation to some but I can’t say the same. Every moment spoke to me. From the wild waterfall that represented my outgoing demeanor to the serene cave which reminded me of the beauty of peace. I found myself wanting to be one with nature. And I still feel the same despite the long quarantine.

I’m continually hoping for another fantastic experience like that one summer getaway.

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