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Four Years of Marriage (and what I’ve learned so far)

I will not be a hypocrite.

Many knew that our union was a fast one. We met on August 2013 and got married at September 2014. t was a fast affair. But not one that we regret. Yes, as most of you already knows, I was already pregnant with Cloud when we got married in September 2014. It is not something that I am proud of. But I do not hide nor cover that up either. It’s the truth. But the most important truth is this – we got married not because I got knocked up, but because we knew that we are ready and we wanted to do it. We did not got married because society dictates that we do so. We did not got married because our families wanted us. We got married because we are ready. And most importantly, we wanted to seek God’s guidance and provision as we took on another step in life – marriage and parenting.

In a few weeks, we will be celebrating our fourth year as a couple. The journey was not without its bumps and flaws. There had been fights – huge ones and petty ones. There were exchanges of words – some quite hurtful that we both took time out for healing. But most importantly, it has been a life changing and lesson filled four years.

Some of those lessons I have learned, I will share in this post.

  1. Make God the center of EVERYTHING. 

As cliche as it may seem, this is very, very true. We tried to do this marriage our way – and ended up hurting each other. Then we came to the Lord in complete surrender. Every plan, every decision, we seek God’s wisdom and guidance. We made Joshua 24:15 our family verse – “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

We ensure that we always pray as a family. And God’s plan is indeed always better than ours. He started using people in the form of colleagues, friends and family members to help answer our requests and petitions to Him. I started attending worship service again and included Cloud in the kid’s ministry. Slowly, God is transforming our marriage.

Most importantly, I surrendered to Him all my doubts, fears and negative thoughts towards my partner. I keep in my heart God’s reminder about what Godly love is. It is not selfish, it does not keep a record of wrongs and does not rejoice over evil. We both strive to learn how to address our issues without raising our voice or making a scene with our fights.

A marriage centered on following God’s example is a marriage bound to succeed. It is a marriage comprised of two sinful individual with a God who forgives all sins.

2. COMMUNICATION is vital.

On the first few months of our marriage, I was struggling. I found it hard to tell my husband what I really feel about certain things. Instead, I would just sulk and throw a tantrum. Very childish and immature. Very wrong for a woman of God.

And it’s true. Men are not mind readers. No one is. For us to be understood, we have to say what we want to say and mean it. Be direct and straight to the point. I have a husband who hates “paliko likong usapan”. He would rather have it straight out than trying to make him figure out what I want to say.

Also, talking and communicating are not synonymous. I’ve realized that I talk. Like a lot. But most of the time, I do not communicate with my husband. I was so busy talking and when I’m not talking, I’m not really listening to what he is saying but rather, my mind is again busy crafting responses for his argument. Very wrong.

Communication should be two way. Speak to understand. Listen to understand and not just to respond.

3. WINNING AN ARGUMENT is secondary. The primary is KEEPING THE LOVE.

In the recent months, I’ve realized that I don’t really have to win every argument. What’s the point of winning when you’ve hurt each other with words? What is more important is that I was understood. He may not agree with me but at the very least, he understood my point and where I am coming from.

4. And the most important thing, CHOOSE LOVE.

The decision to love my husband is a decision that I made daily. It’s true. Keeping the marriage vows of “through thick and thin” is easier said than done. There are days when it’s extra hard to do so. But it is this extra hard days when I lean closer to the Lord for that extra dose of love and guidance. Because it’s easy to say “I love you” when the finances are okay, the kid is healthy and bills are paid. But it gets tougher when the kid is sick and he’s on travel, or you’re unwell and he has to be away. Or those days when you needed love affirmation but he’s also busy and can’t just get it.

Love. Choose it. Make a conscious decision to keep that love alive in your heart. And when it seems that the glow has died out, remember your marriage vows.

 

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Trilogy Hike for Thirty Second Birthday

Jay (my ever so handsome husband) turned thirty two last February 27. To celebrate it, we decided to do something we both love – hiking! We had our first hike as a couple last January 2018 in Rodriguez, Rizal. We climbed Mount Haponan Banoi and Mount Pamitinan. These are the famed part of the Rodriguez Rizal Trilogy (Version 1). The third mountain is Mount Binicayan but we were not able to complete the trilogy as we were too tired already.

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Me and the hubby at the summit of Mount Pamitinan.

But the husband really wanted to do a trilogy hike. I wasn’t so sure if I can do it so I simply kept quiet, not making any promises to him.

Joining us in this hike are some of our closest friends at work – Hazel and Karen Grace. They were both first time hikers. And both extremely excited to experience the joy of mountain hiking.

Mount Parawagan, Lagyo and Susong Dalaga are located in Wawa, Rodriguez, Rizal and is the newly opened trail in the Pamitinan Landscape. These mountains form the Version 2 of  the Trilogy Hike (version 1 being Mount Pamitinan, Haponan Banoi and Binicayan).

Upon arrival in Wawa, we registered at the DENR Office and paid necessary fees. We registered for twin hike, targeting to finish Mount Parawagan and Lagyo.

Parking Fee – Php 30.00

Environmental Fee – Php 50.00/person

After registration, we proceeded to the Barangay Hall to sign at the monitoring form and meet our guide. We chose our guide from the previous hike, Kuya Noriel. I already texted him few days before the hike to make sure that he’s available. Getting a tour guide is mandatory, and I totally agree that you should get one. First, for safety reasons. Second and most important, for totally amazing photographs!

Before the start of the trek, we offered a short prayer then started the almost thirty minutes walk on a cemented road that would lead us to the Junction between Mount Parawagan and Mount Lagyo.

Upon arrival at the Junction, Jay asked Kuya Noriel if it’s possible that we can do a trilogy hike. Kuya Noriel responded that we could, given that Parawagan is a relatively easy climb and Susong Dalaga and Lagyo are just adjacent.

From the Junction, the upward trek to the summit of Mount Parawagan started. We were unable to take any photo, as we were enjoying the talks and chit chat while trekking up. Plus the beauty of the moon while dawn is breaking is way too beautiful that our cameras cannot bring justice to it.

An hour and a half later, we reached the summit of Parawagan and it was simply stunning. The sky was transitioning from darkness to the first light of dawn and the moon was still way up high.

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Couple shot at the summit of Mount Parawagan

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My two amazingly strong girlfriends

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The Amazing Four at the Summit of Mount Parawagan

After around fifteen minutes in basking at the wondrous scenery unfolding before our eyes and taking deep, relaxing breathes because of the uphill climb, we started our descent.

Even the descent view is relaxing and comforting. It truly eased the stress that we acquired the past few weeks.

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My husband took this photo while we were descending Mount Parawagan. Simply stunning.

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We had a quick snack of boiled egg, banana and “suman” at a sari sari store at the Junction before we started our ascent to Mount Lagyo. Contrary to Parawagan which is mostly steady uphill smooth land climb, Lagyo is peppered with plenty of rock formations and tall grass which makes it exhausting and challenging, especially for my girlfriends who were first time hikers. Good thing Kuya Noriel provided us with walking aides (wooden sticks, cheren!)

 

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Photographs above were taken in one of the rest areas in Lagyo. We had to take a break to give way to descending trekkers, and for photo opportunity of course! Some of the rocks in Lagyo are comparable to those in Pamitinan and Haponan Banoi. Sharp curves and hard corals.

After the pictorial session, we continue our ascend. After almost an hour, we reached the summit of Mount Lagyo and was welcomed by its majestic rock formation.

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Couple shot at the summit of Mount Lagyo. Because the couple who climbs together, gets pagod together.

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The Amazing Four on the second mountain we conquered in one day.

We started our descend and was getting excited for the last part of the trek. But the excitement was paired with exhaustion due to the extreme heat of the sun and our muscles shouting for relief from the torture we are giving it. And we were totally surprised by the challenged that the descent presented us.

 

But, we survived! 🙂 the second mountain, that is! After the rocky descent from Lagyo, we started traversing to Mount Susong Dalaga. And yes, it is aptly the named as the mountain looks like twin maiden peaks. But the traverse was challenging due to the scorching heat and the tall cogon grass. Plus, as we were unprepared to do a trilogy, we were starting to feel tired. As Karen Grace aptly blurted out, “Pagod na pagod na ako!”

But since there’s no other way to go but up, upwards we go.

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Up, up, up until we reach the top.

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Keep going..

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Just keep going!

After another thirty minutes of challenging ascent, we finally reached the top of Mount Susong Dalaga, and in effect, completing our first ever trilogy hike as a couple, accompanied by the most supporting friends!

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Remember that I love you all the time. And I wouldn’t mind climbing dozen more mountains with you.

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My first trilogy hike won’t be this fun if not for the people I journeyed it with.

If you thought the ordeal is over because the summit was already reached, hold your horses, because the descent was equally challenging and daunting. We have to descent with only tall cogon grass and our walking stick to aide us. Hah! Eaazzzzzyyyyy!

Upon reaching the flat lands, we decided to take the “habal habal” back to the Barangay Hall because our tiny feet cannot walk any farther.

Upon arrival at the Barangay Hall, we submitted our names to the Tour Guide Assocation representative for the preparation of certificate. While waiting for it, we decide to shower at one of the stalls that offer shower. It costs Php 25.00.

Afterwards, we claimed our certificate, expressed our thanks to Kuya Noriel and headed off to the city, to eat unlimited Samgyupsal!

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Proud trilogy hikers with our very able guide, Kuya Noriel.

Here is the summary of expenses for our Trilogy Hike:

Environmental Fee – Php 50.00 per person

Parking Fee – Php 30.00 per vehicle

Tour Guide Fee – Php 2400.00 (Php 800.00 per mountain)

Certificate – Php 40.00 per person

Shower Room Fee – Php 25.00 per person

Habal habal Fee – Php 150.00

Plenty of Reasons Why I love You

The Book of Matthew wonderfully stated,where your heart is, there your treasures will be. 

You and I had been married for nine wonderful months already. We are almost old but we are everything but old when it comes to relationship and parenting. This week, I am reflecting on how God is moving in our life as a couple and as parents to our Babaching.

As I look back on our time together as sweetheart and later as parents, I can’t help but feel in awe, blessed and thankful for God’s work in our life.

You are far from perfect as a husband as a father. But, I am learning to love every bit of you, including our differences. For I know that it’s part of the man I love.

To my ex-boyfriend, best friend and constant critic, number one fan and supporter, the man who sees the beautiful in me despite the fact that I just went through twelve hours of labor and delivery, even if my hair is a mess from Babaching’s constant pulling, to the man who believes that I can do things that I don’t even think I could, here are some of the reasons why I thank God for bringing me to you:

1. You push me to be better everyday. There are plenty of times when I said I’ve reached my maximum. That I’ve reached the end. But you will only smile and say “Hindi pa. More pa love. Kaya mo yan.”

2. You don’t hesitate to point out I’m wrong when I am. For this, I am overly grateful. There are times when I am so adamant for things to happen according to my standard. And if my standards fail, I ended up feeling frustrated. In which, you would say “Hindi kasi nakikinig. Next time, listen. You are not always right, you know. ”

3. You have a generous and giving heart. You may accept this fact or not. But you are. The way you share your blessings to me, to our family and to the people we know is a testament to that. You wouldn’t hesitate giving a helping hand when you know it is necessary.

4. You are honest. That sometimes it hurt. But that makes me love you and respect you more. When my “mothering” Babaching seems over-acting, you would not hesitate pointing it out.

5. You taught me to let go. You helped me realized that I should not always be in control. That there are things/people/circumstances better left alone and unsaid.

This list could go on and on, love. But my main point is that I love you. Every night, as we pray, I never fail to thank God for bringing me to you, for giving me an amazing partner and I will continue to praise Him because of you.

My wallet is almost empty, my bank account is almost zero but my heart is full of love from you and for you.

Love Your Marriage

Meet the most loving husband one can have.

Meet the most loving husband one can have.

“For the pillars of the temple stand apart, and the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow”

Nine months since the day I got married. For the short time that we are together, Jay had opened my eyes to a lot of things. Ours is not a perfect marriage nor ideal. But it is a happy, blessed union of two different individuals sharing the same dreams, values and aspirations in life. 

There had been instances when our temper and emotion got the upper hand. Several times, I felt like I was on the edge of just packing my bags, grab our baby and go. And I know, even if he didn’t say it, that there were times when Jay was at his end of the rope too.

But we always end up praying. Praying and remembering our vows to stay together through thick and thin, in the promise that God has given us. That His love for us will endure our human weaknesses. 

I have learned that for marriage to work, you simply don’t just love your family, your husband, your children. You should also love your marriage. You always remember your vows and why you decided to get married. Loving your marriage includes putting enough time for you and your partner to grow together and individually, giving quality time to your children and remembering that no matter how rich you are, your greatest wealth is having your partner and your children.

Our small and happy family

Loving your marriage means that you will not allow yourself to sin, to indulge in callings of the flesh and allure of gambling.

Loving your marriage means honouring your vows, remembering it and living it.

Changing Paradigms

I look at the twinkling Christmas lights while I was stuck in the heavy traffic of the Metro. As a little girl, I used to be so amazed by the splendor of those lights. More than once, I wished of living in a house full of twinkling lights and giant Christmas trees, laden with gifts and sweets.

Twenty plus years later, here I am. Still amazed by the splendor of the lights but no longer wishing to live in a house filled of twinkling lights and christmas trees and gifts and sweets. All I wanted is to be at home, with my folks and my dear sister. Typhoon Haiyan had hit our town, and few days before Christmas, electricity is yet to be restored. In lieu of twinkling Christmas lights and all the grandeur of this Season, our home is lit by one electric bulb, powered by a generator. No tall Christmas trees or gifts, either, as most of our finances went into the immediate restoration of our house.

But I don’t care. I don’t need those fancy stuff, all I need is to see and feel that my family is safe and well. No amount of grandness can compensate for them. Perhaps, with ageing comes the shedding of a girl’s rose-colored perspective of life into something more realistic. A little bit harsh and tough but still wonderful.

Skirts, Stilettos and Prejudice

I love wearing dresses, skirts, shorts and blouses. Sometimes it’s frilly, or lace or flower.

I hate dealing with people who think that they can judge my character because of my clothes. Honestly, wearing my lace dress doesn’t give anyone the right to assume that I am helpless. And oh, just because my skirt’s hemline is above my knees doesn’t give anyone the right to assume that I want to be raped. Or that I am flirting. Or that I want to be “hit” on. 

I am a free individual. Beyond my capacity to wear dresses and skirts, I also have a brain that I use 90% of the time and serves me better than the rest of my body. Not that I am complaining with my body parts. It’s the fact that people sometimes got stuck on the body parts and failed to recognize my other, much better part – my skills and my intelligence.

I hate the fact that when I go to work, people would more often praise my clothes than my output. It sucks that even these government employees, expected to perform everything with gender sensitivity has the unfortunate skill of saying the most gender insensitive statement.

Honestly, if I have to endure one more sexist comment on my skirt, I’ll be putting these stilettos into good use. Carpe diem!  

 

Too Young to Go

Three years ago, I lost a friend.

His death -like all death- was painful. In some ways, it was unexpected. He was just in his twenties. Fresh out of college and more than ready to face the world. He is a big guy, and I always like the fact that when we hang out, I can hide behind his back and our other friends can’t guess where I am. He was a jolly man and he was a happy crazy friend. Everybody in our batch loved him, there’s no denying that.

We had a somehow special bond since he’s my big sister’s boyfriend. I’ve watched them begun as friends then somewhere along that time, fall in love with each other. From a distance, I witnessed how their love grew and how they held hands to survive the rocky parts of their relationship. I respected him – as a person, as a friend, as a part of the family. 

And then one day, I woke up with text messages from almost all my friends and the multitude of Facebook status asking to pray for him. Since I’m already here in the city, I have very vague idea of what happened. I tried calling my big sister but she failed to answer the phone.

And then the confirmation happened. I received one text from big sister. “He’s gone.” And I felt raw pain hit me on my chest. Questions of why, how and the denial came. But the Facebook posts wishing him eternal rest and happiness is like salt being rubbed on fresh wound.

He was too young to go. He was full of life. He’s like Jack Frost, always fun, happy and bubbly. When we lost him, we didn’t just lost a friend – we lost a brother, a part of us. 

It took me three years before I can write about his death. At times, I wonder why did God took him so early. I bet I’ll never know the answer. 

But in his demise, he taught me one more valuable lesson – learning to live again after a part of you is lost.