Grace Upon Grace Book

I took a short hiatus from this blog mainly to focus on finishing my book, Grace Upon Grace (A widow’s journey).  And I did finish it! In fact, I launched it last November 18, 2018. 


It took me six long years to finish my book. Much love, sacrifice, and yes tears were put into the writing of this. I went through a long period of self- doubt and eventually discernment in order to be sure that every word, sentence, and paragraph clearly convey the message God wants you to know through my story. 

Indeed, there is really no escaping God when He wants us to do something. I have put off writing this book many times but it continued to haunt me in my dreams and even my every waking minute, and so when I turned forty last year, I decided to fully commit to the goal of publishing this book. What I struggled to finish in six years, I made sure to finish in six month and it is just amazing how God led me to Margie Quimpo-Espino, former Business features editor of Inquirer, who readily agreed to edit the book even on short notice; To Eloise Valencia-Lozada, professional photographer, who eagerly volunteered to shoot the cover; To Boom and Matt Domingo, co-owner of Casa Domingo, who graciously offered their beautiful home as the backdrop of our cover photos, and to Ms. Beng Robles of Inkwell, my publisher who did an amazing job turning my manuscript into a paperback. 

Clearly,  the essence and purpose of my long, difficult, and grace-filled journey is to write this book–to help the hurting find healing, to help the lost navigate their way in the darkness, to help the grieving find joy in sadness, to help the hopeless discover their dreams again, and to help the fearful and uninspired to find the courage to do what they have always wanted to do for themselves and others. So yes, this book is not only for the widows.  It is for everyone who is looking for an inspiration or even an affirmation that yes, despite the struggles that we face, life as we know it, is still good, for the very reason that, God’s grace is sufficient, limitless, and overflowing. His grace will meet all our needs. 

If you are interested to get a printed copy, send me a message at or download the kindle version of the book in Just click this LINK.

Special thanks  to  Mr. Ryan Chan of B Hotel, for graciously opening B Hotel’s door for me and for making my dream of launching my book in a big venue come true.

Anytime Fitness: My Healthier Place

Anytime Fitness is Paving the Way to a Healthier Place. Anytime Fitness is the leading global neighborhood gym, providing convenient and unconstrained 24-hour access to members, 365 days a year. With currently more than 4,000 gyms open worldwide across a span of 30 countries—and over 70 operational branches just within the Philippines, Anytime Fitness has enjoyed extraordinary growth since it was first founded in 2002 alongside its dedication to its members’ fitness both in and out of the trademark purple gym.

The brand’s constant support for healthy lifestyles outside the gym is what spurs this latest campaign: “My Healthier Place,” a series of pop-up classes and competitions happening throughout the month of August 2018. There will be three major events happening in popular locations across the country: one in Metro Manila, Cagayan de Oro, and Iloilo specifically. Each event has been paired with their own selection of special classes and demos hosted by certified Anytime Fitness instructors and special partner brands.

More than a decade after its founding, Anytime Fitness has stayed loyal to its core principle that the healthy lifestyle should be as accessible and unhindered as it can possibly be. Now, the brand aims to bring the healthy lifestyle even closer to everyday life—because even if Anytime Fitness has their gyms available 24/7, the average gym-goer only spends about 30 minutes to an hour inside. In fact, 30 minutes of exercise is all that’s necessary to maintain the regular adult’s health. But in bringing fun exercise trends closer to the everyday Filipino, Anytime Fitness allows both the gym buffs and the average human to spend more time thinking about taking care of their health.


“My Healthier Place” is not just for the gym buffs or fitness gurus. It’s a much-needed reminder that everyone’s gym—no matter how convenient, well-equipped, accommodating, or purple—is still just the starting point. Whether your everyday routine involves walking to the office, doing a quick home workout, or having a yoga session during that beach vacation, the real gym-goers are accountable to their body’s fitness anytime, anywhere. So why not join Anytime Fitness as they explore and celebrate the different healthier places of members both in or outside the gym?
The Anytime Fitness “My Healthier Place” campaign culminates on August 25, from 8:00AM to 8:00PM, at Bonifacio High Street Amphitheater with the crowning of their various contest winners. As a bonus, Anytime Fitness will also be hosting free fitness classes! To top it all off, awesome prizes will be awarded by sponsors throughout the day of games and activities.

Serving as a timely reminder that fitness takes many different shapes and sizes, “The Search for the Next Digital Ambassador,” which has been running since July 30, will also conclude the ceremonies at BGC. The online contest was open to everyone willing to participate, and the candidate with the most likes on their Facebook post and highest score awarded from a panel of Anytime Fitness judges will be crowned the Next Digital Ambassador 2018. Finally, there is also the much-awaited tournament: The Battle of the Purple Warriors, where five qualifying teams made up of Anytime Fitness’ best and most loyal members and coaches will battle it out in an exciting series of obstacles—from the standard push ups and sit ups to more challenging attempts like deadlifting weights. This is a battle that will surely have contestants breaking a sweat, while juggling elements like time and finesse. Only the best of the best will be given the honor of being crowned the new Battle of the Purple Warrior Champions.

Anytime Fitness is eager to host these upcoming days of fitness fun and activities. In keeping aligned with our mission of making exercise as accessible as possible, everyone is invited! All of our special fitness classes, headed by some of our best certified AF instructors, happening in these locations will be available to non-members as well as members. Your first time? Experience some of the hottest fitness trends like Yoga, Zumba, Pound, Circuit, Metapower, and more. Membership is not necessary here. (But we can talk membership after.) The Anytime Fitness My Healthier Place Campaign is co-presented by Havaianas, with our official hydratio partner Gatorade, supported by New Balance, Arena, Pro Touch, McCormick, La Espanola, ProSource, Sabrina’s Kitchen, Treetop, Regilaif, Nestle, Precor, Finix,, and Samsung. Media partners include, InqPOP, CNN Philippines, TV5, Espn Sports and Manila Bulletin.

You can still join us at culminating events at Bonifacio Highstreet, BGC, Taguig City, by pre-registering on with your details to save a slot and score some free Anytime Fitness merchandise! Step out of the gym for Anytime Fitness’ “My Healthier Place” and let’s make fitness part of live, anytime, anywhere.

Anytime Fitness SM CDO Downtown Premier on August 4
Classes: Metapower, Yoga, Zumba
Anytime Fitness Greenfield District, Iloilo on August 11
Classes: Circuit, Yoga, Zumba
Culminating event: Bonifacio High Street Amphitheater, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig on August 25
Classes: Yoga, Belly Dancing, Pound

Love Letters to God (Lenten Devotion 2018)

40 Day Lenten Devotion 2018
Day 1: Dear Lord, help me fix my steady gaze on you this lent. May I develop a heart that longs only for you and a spirit that delights in pleasing you.
Day 2: Dear Lord, may we remain firm and committed in loving and honoring you this season of lent. May our choices be guided by your holy spirit, and our actions be blessed by your grace. Amen.
Day #3: Dear Lord, thank you for always anticipating my needs, for lining up solutions to my problems even before I bring them to you, and for being one step ahead of me all the time. May I always be aware and sesitive to your gentle insistent proddings so I won’t easily give in to anxiety, worry, and despair. As I affixed my steady gaze on you this lent Lord, may peace that you alone can give rein in my heart. Amen.
Day #4: Dear God, “what if your blessings come through raindrops. What if Your healing comes through tears. What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near. What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise?!”—-Then I welcome each and every heartache and all the sleepness nights. I won’t detest the struggle or give up the fight, if this is what it takes to have you and know that you are by my side, I welcome them Oh Lord, for I know these are your mercies in disguise.
Day #5: Dear Lord, may your loving grace sustain me this week as I try to accomplish all that you set my heart to do. When life tries to pull me away from you, may I hear your loving command to follow you more clearly.
Day #6: Dear Lord, may I always remember that it is you I seek and long to please. When the pressure of succeeding at something becomes too much, may I always remember that as long as I do everything for your honor and glory, all my efforts, lovingly made, will be enough to make you proud and happy.
Day #7: Dear Lord, may I never forget to offer to you each and every discomfort and difficulty I face each day. May I not succumb easily to discouragement and despair when they come. Instead, may I recognize them for what they are—my ticket to heaven and my only way to you.
Day #8: Dear Lord, thank you for getting me through the toughest days and for providing me with the strength I need when I feel like I have nothing left. You are indeed the source of all grace. I praise and honor you always.
Day #9: Dear Lord, today I choose to focus on the good that my cross brings. I choose to be grateful for the graces that come from it. I choose to believe that as long as I embrace it close to my heart, I will be blessed always and in every way that matters.
Day #10: Dear Lord, show me the way of love that I may always do even the hardest things with great joy. Show me the way of love so I may always respond to people, even to the difficult ones, with kindness . Show me the way of love that I may always see you in others.
Day #11: Dear God, this week I trust that you already have a ready answer to all my prayers, right solutions to all my problems, perfect plan to all my undertakings, and even contingecies just in case I mess up and fail to recognize your gentle insistent proddings. I trust that you will connect and lead me to the right people who will help me bring to fruition all that you have set my heart to do. I shall draw heavily on your resources, on your grace Lord, and trust that everything in my life this week and in the days to come will work in accordance with your own mighty will. Amen.
Day 12: Dear Lord, how swiftly you respond to my prayers, how sensitive you are to my needs. Many times, I do not have to ask, you just simply give. I am blessed and grateful to have you as my Father. In return, I promise to be as attentive, devoted, and commited to you.
Day #13: Dear Lord, teach me true humility so I may learn to do my work in quiet joy and be motivated only by a deep desire to please you and give you glory. Teach me true humility so that it is your affirmation and not some wordly recognition I will seek. Teach me humility that I may learn to follow the path of Christ, and remember that success or victory is a grace that can only come from heartfelt and humble service.
Day #14: Dear Lord, may my heart and mind remained siLENT and focused on you alone this blessed season of lent.
Day #15: Dear God, bless me with a kind heart that is slow to anger and is not quick to judge. A kind heart that can forgive and understand even those who appear too difficult to love.
Day #16: Dear God, in the face of difficulty and uncertainty, I choose to give thanks and praise to thee, and promise to trust where I cannot understand.
Day #17: Dear Lord, many times we’ve found ourselves in places we never thought we will be. I used to question things but then over the years, I have learned to just simply trust that wherever we may find ourselves in, it is your will and your plan we are living. We are exactly where you will manifest to us fully your blessings. Thank you for this trip, Lord and for the people who are with us in this blessed journey.
Day #18: Dear Lord, we take different paths to get to you. Some journeys are easy while others are not. What’s truly amazing is this, however different our journeys are, you have blessed each and every one of them so that in the end, we may all enjoy a life of full blessings and grace.
Day #19: Dear God, sometimes we get lucky and meet friends who’ll make us feel like we just had the best conversation with you after being around them. It is because when they speak of the faith, their words ring with sincerity, wisdom, and truth. They also live out the faith with so much passion, they radiate joy. I just want to say thank you Lord for blessing my life with this kind of friends. Friends who help me grow in faith, and make me appreciate and love you more.
Day #20: Dear Lord, when I find it hard to forgive and understand others, may I always remember how easily You forgive my own shortcomings and how generously you show compassion and mercy towards me everyday.
Day #21. Dear Lord, how swiftly you answer my prayers and how attentive you are to my needs. I am truly blessed to be loved by you. As I commit to a life that is pleasing to you, may I always live up to your expectations. You have my heart forever, Lord and I promise to serve you in any loving way I can, now till forever. Amen.
Day #22: Dear Lord, may my heart be moved only by compassion and a burning desire to love others at whatever cost and my spirit be strong and ready to brave and withstand even the fiercest of storms. May my eyes remain joyful and my smile bright despite knowing sorrow and grief, and may my lips speak nothing but faith and loving grace, even in the face of defeat.
Day #23: Dear Lord, may my heart and soul long for you alone, and my mind be filled with only thoughts of you. With every strength, may I learn to translate my faith and love for you in actions, blessing, inspiring, and enriching the lives of many so your name will be glorified. Amen.
Day #24: Dear Lord, may I always humbly seek your mercy so I will receive your grace. By your example of charity, patience, and understanding, and through your transforming love, may I learn to show compassion and mercy even to those who are difficult to forgive and love.
Day #25: Dear Lord, I will start the week with a grateful heart. I thank you in advance for my prayers that shall be perfectly answered this week. For the unexpected opportunities that shall fall on my lap, for the little yet significant miracles that I shall witness, and for the big and small victories that I shall achieve in the coming days. A week may seem short to experience all these but I know that with you, anything and everything is possible.
Day #26: Dear Lord, I take your word that you will restore whatever is broken and heal whatever afflictions we may have. I believe in your wonders and miracles, Lord and I have complete trust in your saving word and healing love.
Day #27: Dear Lord, I am grateful that you’ve met every occassion of sorrow in my life with grace until there’s nothing left for me to feel but joy in your presence. I fear not the future for I know you have gone there before me and that whatever happens, it shall be according to your plan and in my favor.
Day #28: Dear Lord, teach me how to be as gracious and merciful as you, slow to anger, patient, understanding, and kind. May all that I do be born out of compassion and love. Amen.
Day #29: Dear Lord, when I want to do little else but pull my hair out or throw my hands up in the air in frustration, I am glad there’s always heaven to look up to and you to call on. Thank you for taking care of my worries today and tomorrow, Lord.
Day #30: Dear Lord, that was some work week. I am thankful for every occassion I found myself stressed, mentally drained, bone tired, and emotionally weak this week, for they reminded me that indeed, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.🙏🏻😌❤️
Day #31: Dear Lord, I will stay where you’ve put me and allow you to direct my days. I will continue to trust and believe I am here because this is where I will be abundantly blessed, and that this place will connect me to greater opportunities ahead.
Day #32: Dear Lord, instead of making me weak, may my cross gives me strength and inspires me all the more to press forward and rise in faith this week. May it continue to open a lot of opportunities for me to live and receive your grace.
Day #33: I grew up near this old brickstone church in Las Pinas that houses the Bamboo Organ. That is where I was baptized and confirmed, and where as a teenager, I promised our Patron Saint, Tatang Jose, that if I ever find a man as decent as him to marry, I will personally drag him there and present to him. Truth be told, five years after leaving my hometown, I stood before St. Joseph’s altar swapping “I dos” with my own version of St. Joseph, Nan, my obedient, steadfast, and loving husband. The one I asked and prayed for from him and the one he faithfully gave to me.
Dear St. Joseph, I ask that someday, may you bless Bianca and all the young ladies with husbands who will protect, love, and care for the family the same way you have loved, protected, and cared for Mama Mary and Baby Jesus. Bless them with husbands who, like you, would seek, listen, and follow the Lord’s will with all their hearts too.
Day #34: Dear Lord, I love how you direct my steps and line up solutions to my problems even before I ask for them. I love how well orchestrated your answers to my prayers are, and how they always leave me dumbfounded in awe. Indeed, everything is ready in your plan, I just have to learn to trust.
Day #35: Dear Lord, no matter how uncertain things may seem, I shall continue to live with this expectancy that something good is coming my way, and that you are ready to amaze.
Day #36: Dear Lord, you said out of difficulties grow miracles. I’ll take your word for it. I won’t complain nor be anxious. I will just simply wait patiently for my miracle.
Day #37: Dear Lord, may I always remember to put love in everything I do for love is love, there is nothing attached to it other than, service.
Day #38: Dear Lord, it comforts me to know that you are a constant in my life and that your presence will always remain. I look forward to a future with You.
Day #39: Dear Lord, if there is one thing I learned from Jesus’ sufferings it is that, despite the circumstances, despite the pain, hardship, and sorrow, still do love, still do all things with love.
Day #40: Dear Lord, I underestimated your ability to deliver again. I once more gave in to that fearful, cautious voice inside my head that says, you are dreaming too big, you are aiming too high, you are not managing your expectations. I turned a blind ear to that gentle yet persistent whisper in my heart that says, trust, surrender completely, He will make it happen. Lord, thank you for letting me know today that you are aware of my petitions and that you’re always on it. Sorry for letting my fears and doubts get the best of us again.
Day #41: Dear Lord, sometimes your reasons are lost to me but I firmly believe that you know what best is for us and so, I choose to trust where I cannot understand.
Day #42: Dear Lord, today is mine but tomorrow is clearly yours. There’s nothing I can do but trust and believe that what lies ahead has already been blessed and planned beautifully by you.
Day #43: Dear Lord, I hope that when the time comes, I will be given the chance to spend my last night, my last supper with my loved ones. I pray that like Jesus, I may be able to share a hearty meal with them, and be given the chance to show them through my loving service just how much they mean to me. In my hour of death, may I be in the loving company of my family.
Day #44:”O all you that pass by the way, look and see, was there ever a sorrow to compare with my sorrow.” (Lamentation 1:12)—Dear Mama Mary, I never really knew how painful it was for you to see Jesus suffer on the cross until I stood beside the recovery bed of my own suffering child after her surgery and during the few times I’ve witnessed her battle illnesses. My sorrow even then was nothing compared to your sorrow. As I watched my child cry in pain, my heart broke into a thousand pieces. I can only imagine what it must have felt like for you seeing your own child suffer and die on the cross to save us. As I venerate the cross today Mama Mary, I venerate you as well for giving birth and raising our reedemer, our savior, Jesus Christ. You are the perfect example of deep courage, humility, and trust. May I learn to be the perfect handmaid of the Lord like you. May I learn to carry grief and sorrow gracefully, and may I learn to submit myself and surrender my child graciously to the will of God like you.
Day #45: Dear Lord, like Mary Magdalene and Mary, the mother of James and Salome in the gospel today, may I always be amazed by your power to bring back to life whatever it is that is dying in us; flickering hope, failing health, diminishing dreams, and broken relationship. If there is one thing that your son, Jesus Christ’s resurrection taught me it is that with You, anything and everything is possible, the miraculous is almost always at arms reach, just simply waiting to happen anytime, and these awe-inspiring wonders that oftentimes leave me breathless, as long as we remain in faith with you, they shall never, ever cease.

Expo Kid 2018: The Best Place to Look for Kids' Summer Activities!

Mark your calendars for Expo Kid, happening on March 3 to 4, from 11 AM – 9 PM, at the Bonifacio High Street Activity Center!
Mommy Mundo, the country’s most active resource for moms in the Philippines, has teamed up with Manila for Kids, a leading online resource for fun activities in and around the Metro. Together, they are bringing top summer activity providers around the metro that parents can choose from for their kids to have the best summer ever!
Now in its 10th year, Mommy Mundo curates a space to bring together some of the most exciting summer activity providers under one roof. This year, we celebrate the champions – kids who have discovered their passions and talents, worked hard on developing these, and have accomplished admirable feats. To showcase their talent and recognize them for their hard work will hopefully inspire their fellow kids to strive for new heights during summer and beyond.

Expect a curated lineup of art, music, sports, and multi-activity programs that will help you choose the best activities to suit your child’s interests. There will also be live onstage talks and demos. Get a chance to experience some of these fun summer activities first-hand!
If you’re looking to keep your kids engaged and interested this summer, Expo Kid is the place to be! Let’s all look forward to making this summer our child’s best summer yet!

For those who will be making it to Expo Kid 2018, we will be giving away super special Pasta Gift Packs from La Filipina, and apple juice samples from Motts! So make sure to come early if you want to go home with this!
*Supplies are limited!

Cheers to a New Year and to a New You with Proactiv 3-Step System

Most people believe that a new year should be enough motivation to show off a new and much better you to the world. For some, new year can be quite a challenge when it comes to improving their overall well-being for its onset is usually beset with problems due to unhealthy practices like binge eating and partying during the holidays. But then for many, it is also the perfect time to start on a clean plate! Get a fresh new look! Maintain a cleaner and fresher face with less acne breakouts and blemishes, and adapt positive vibes! Achievable? You might ask. Yes of course, with no less than the award-winning Proactiv System 3-step solution.
Proactiv is the world’s leading acne treatment brand not only in the US and but the world over. Its tried and tested 3-step skin treatment is the most effective anti-acne remedy in the market today. It is smart and works fast. No other brand has ever matched its efficacy. It is unpararelled and undeniable reputation as the most effective solution in the market today makes it the no. 1 choice among today’s generation of busy and hardworking individuals. Its simple and easy 3 way step system adds to its appeal.
Achieving glowing and blemish-free skin for the new year is as simple as 1-2-3 for Proactiv. You just have to start with the Proactiv Renewing Cleanser, then Revitalize with the Proactiv Revitalizing Toner and finally, Repair with the Proactiv Repairing Treatment, add in healthy diet and good lifestyle to that and voila! You are on your way to a healthy, and beautiful you this 2018.
The Proactiv Solution is available at Php 2,495 for the 30-day kit and Php 3,995 for the 60-day kit at any Watsons and SM Department stores nationwide.

Happy New Year!

Wherever you may find yourself this new year, may love, compassion, and kindness motivate and move you. Be a goal digger, opportunity seeker, and dream keeper this 2018. Grab every difficult task that comes your way, even the ones that you would rather not do, takes the most effort, causes the most pain, and is the greatest struggle, for they hold the miraculous secret to strength and unleash the beauty of God’s amazing grace.
If you ever find yourself in deep darkness because God is working in strange and mysterious ways, do not be afraid. Instead, rise up in faith and in love, never doubting Him, for His plan for you, even if they are presented differently at the start, is as always, great. As you move forward to this year, embracing the days, the months, and the seasons, may this thought always remain with you: No matter what happens, life is good, God is good, He loves you. ❤️😍

Wear Your Most Beautiful You

The holidays are finally here and like me, you are probably spending it the way you want it to be—fun, fun, and loads of fun with friends or family! Wolfing down favorite holiday treats like puto bumbong, bibingka, tsokolate, lechon to name a few (like you never grow an inch) and getting into the swing of things—endless get-togethers and reunions with friends and relatives that often last till the wee hours of the morning. But wait, breakouts don’t have holidays (gasp!).
Just this morning, I woke with big zits all over my face and it got me thinking. All these holiday food and late night bondings are definitely doing my tummy and heart good BUT my skin isn’t liking them one bit!
Good thing there’s one product we can trust to take care of our skin, particularly when it comes to preventing unsightly acne this holiday season, Proactiv Solution. It really does wonders to the skin. It not only protects from irritating acne but also prevent blemishes from forming, giving you an instant holiday glow.

It is very easy to use too, all it takes are three simple steps: Renew, with the Proactiv Renewing Cleanser; Revitalize, with the Proactiv Revitalizing Toner, and finally Repair, with the Proactiv Repairing Treatment. Use this daily and achieve the most beautiful and radiant skin that’s acne-free during the holiday season and even beyond.
Just grab the Proactiv Solution 30-day kit which you can buy at Php 2,495 or the 60-day kit for Php 3,995 at any Watsons and SM Department Store nationwide and wear your beautiful you this fun, fun season. Happy holidays you guys!

25 Day Advent Reflection

Sharing with you the 25-Day Advent reflection I did to prepare myself for Baby Jesus this Christmas.
Day #1: And then, it is December. May we hear and receive the same good news given to Mary: Hope is born within us through Christ.
Day #2: See Christ more clearly, love Him more dearly, and follow Him more nearly.
Day #3: Lets live with intention in this season of waiting. Lets honor the story–the silent night, the angels, the miracle child, the simple birth–with each choice that we make. Lets us be drawn closer and closer to the heart, the beating heart of the story, and not to the glitters, gifts, and parties at every turn, so that what matters most will become clear to us this season.
Day #4: There’s beauty in waiting because that’s when faith, hope, love, and trust blossom. That’s what the Lord wants us to learn to appreciate when He takes His time in answering our prayers.
Day #5: Life is a constant advent season: we are continually waiting to become, to complete, to heal, and to fulfill. May this season of hope be a time transformation, healing, and fullfilment for us.
Day #6: Hope is what gets us through desperate days. If we can just inspire hope in others with our simple words and actions, imagine the many joyful and grateful hearts celebrating the gift of Jesus this Christmas.
Day #7: Are you waiting with expectant faith for the Lord to bless you with that one thing you have been longing to have? Wait in hope, for in absolute quietness, in the most unexpected place, and unexpected ways it shall be given to you. Much like how the Lord gifted the world with the greatest blessing ever known.
Day #8: Today, we celebrate the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of Mama Mary in the womb of her mother. She was born without original sin so she could fullfill her divine purpose of being Jesus’ mother. Until recently, I used to think that my purpose in life was to be a wife then a mother. But then, the events these past five years have made it clear to me what I am exactly here for. Not quite the wife but definitely a mother to my child. Since the Lord has entrusted Bianca in my care, it is my job to see to it see to it that she grows into the kind of person the Lord wants her to become. That’s my God-given mission and that’s what gives my life purpose.
To be chosen as mothers of our children is not an easy task. In fact, it is quite a tall order because in the process of raising our children heartbreak/ heartache is a given. My prayer for us mothers then is for us to be blessed with the same quiet confidence, courage, and grace like Mama Mary so we can fully embrace and carry out our mission of raising God-fearing, God-loving, and God-pleasing children.
Day #9: Advent is the season to give our faith a workout, to exercise our hope and love muscles. Some years make that difficult than the others so I am glad that advent comes every year to give us another chance to practice a hopeful and loving way of being into this world.
Everytime we sing songs from christmas past, put up decorations excitedly, tell inspiring christmas stories, surprise a needy, give lots and lots to charity, and use our special gift to inspire smiles in this season of advent, we honor the sacred story of hope and love that is the Nativity. Everytime we remember that God loves us and how we should extend this love to others in this season of advent, the joy and peace that the Baby Jesus in the manger brought into this world are born within us. So let’s try advent and live advent once again.
Day #10: Wherever you are and whatever you will be doing this week, dare to look for Jesus right there in the midst of it. Dare to find him in all things and you’ll be surprised at how often he’ll shows up.
Day #11: This season I’m letting go of the perfect holiday in my head. I won’t rush to every party, shop every gift, or plan the best christmas trips. Instead, I am choosing love, rest, and grace, affixing my steady gaze not on the glittering lights and extravagant sights but on that bright shining star that would lead me to the true reason for this season.
Day #12: More than our homes, lets fill our hearts with joy and expectation this advent season, for the best CHRISTmas trimming that we can ever display is a smile of great anticipation and gratitude for the gift of Christ, our Savior.
Day #13: In the middle of meditation in the advent recollection today, Fr. Penacoba jokingly exclaimed, “I am glad to see all of you resting there like a sleeping St. Joseph!” Rest is almost impossible these days. We are either chasing work deadlines, running errands, or beating the traffic and the christmas rush. But then, what if even just for this advent, we deliberately slow down or pause, and fiercely fight for our prayer time and quiet time with the Lord? What if even just for this advent, we find our way to a recollection, retreat, or mass, and try to be all there. What if even just for this advent, we choose love, rest, and grace? What a beautiful and meaningful christmas it will be for us.
Day #14: Embrace slow, savor stillness, and seek quiet. Prepare your heart for Him.
Day #15: Today, I got my christmas surprise early and it has reduced me to tears.
After being out of school for a good number of days for medical reasons, functioning literally with just 1 healthy lung for weeks, and dealing with a mountain of missed assessments when she finally returned back to school, she still managed to snag this.
Ginapang. Pinaghirapan. With single-minded focus, she painstakingly completed her missed assessments alongside the current ones, on one occassion even taking both midterms and finals on the same day; determinedly approached her teachers to request for coaching and one on one; laboriously poured over youtube tutorials and other internet resources to understand lessons she did not get to learn first hand; and even carefully planned her work schedule at home so she can finish her homework and meet my non-negotiable 10:30 pm bedtime. All this while recovering and healing from what to her was her most traumatic medical experience ever.
She is not the smartest girl but she has always been mentally tough, emotionally resilient, driven, and persistent. She has always been extremely motivated by this immense desire to rise above every challenging situation that comes her way. Life has never been easy for this girl but by God’s amazing grace, she always pull through, beautifully.
I am proud of you Bianca Angela for having the guts and the grit to go after your goal this year despite the odds. If there’s one person who truly deserve to be in this list, it is you. If in the future you begin to doubt your ability to achieve your goal or get past a difficult situation, you have this to remind you that you can and you will.
Day #16: It was still dark when I left the house this morning, rushing to make it to BCBP’s simbang gabi and breakfast in Alabang Country Club. In my haste, I didn’t get a chance to give the car a quick once over.
When my morning activities were done, I was itching to go home because I knew that Bianca was waiting for me and her friends I am bringing along for a sleep over in our house. Trisha, Bianca’s friend was already with me when Phoebe arrived. When her car pulled over at the driveway, I quickly ran to her mom to request for us to be dropped off in the parking lot. Normally I do not mind walking the short distance but for some reason this morning, I wasn’t up for it.
When we reached my car and were about to exchange goodbyes, the driver of the car beside me quickly lowered down his window to say, “Maam, iniintay ko po kayo kasi flat yung gulong nyo sa likod.” Unfortunately, I do not know how to change tires and doesn’t even have the tools for it. Good thing, Phoebe’s driver readily changed it for me. Good thing that at the last minute, they decided to bring him along. Good that the car beside me decided to park next to me or else I wouldn’t have noticed the flat rear tire. Good thing it happened when I was already parked safely and not when I was speeding along Daang Hari.
Clearly, this is God’s pattern. He always plans everything so well. He always rescues. He always saves. He always shows up at exactly the right time.
Day #17: Jesus wasn’t born into a perfect family. Before he came into this world, his parents had to deal with a lot of issues. Mary’s surprise pregnancy, Joseph’s initial fear and reluctance to assume the responsibility, and maybe their financial readiness too. But I guess in the end, what made them decide to work things out are two things: faith and love. They believe that building a family together is what the Lord wants from them and they love each other enough to rise above their personal issues. Although it wasn’t the most ideal situation, they made the best out of it by working hard to build a good life. May these two things guide us too as we face the many challenges of raising and keeping our families together.
Day #18: Amidst the whirlwind of christmas parties, get-togethers, reunions, special events, and shopping, my fervent prayer is this: Lord, unrush me.
Day #19: May prayer tonight: Lord, may I find the time, space, and energy in this busy season to prepare my heart for the coming of Jesus.
Day #20: Where did Baby Jesus go? I feared that the world had forgotten him.
I have always had this dream of making Christmas special for my students and so this year with the help of my colleagues in the level, I dared myself to achieve it, through service learning. Today, our Grade 2 students surprised the dedicated Outsourced Staff of our school from the auxilliary, security, and canteen department with gifts that they wish to receive this Christmas. Gifts as simple as pang noche buena, bagong helmet para mapalitan na yung sira, disenteng T-shirt, wall fan, laruang pambata, gift certificate sa isang restaurant para makakain sa masarap ang pamilya, nebulizer para sa 3 month old baby na kailangan pang ibyahe at dalin sa ospital kapag hinihika, at madaming pang “kahit ano po basta bukal sa pusong” hiling ngayong pasko.
To make Christmas special for my students. That was the dream, that was the plan and today, we achieved it. It became special because for a change, there was a reversal of roles. The ates and kuyas who provide them help, care, and protection in school everyday were the ones at the receiving end. They were the ones smiling from ear to ear, squealing in delight, tearing up in joy, not quite believing that the simple yet deepest desires of their hearts this Christmas were granted by the Grade 2 students. Special because for a change, it puts Christmas in a different light. My student, Neena, sums up the exprience beautifully when she said, “We did not get any gift from them. (Instead) We gave them gifts, (yet) it also feels soooo good. My partner keeps on thanking me and I (just) keep on smiling and smiling (at him) because I am thinking, I might have given him the best Christmas.”
Where did Baby Jesus go? My students have not forgotten him. In fact today, these kids just gave him the best tribute.
Day #21: Bianca woke up excited this morning because she’s going to spend time with her bestfriend, Cathy, today. They rarely see each other since Cathy goes to another school now and lives far from our place. They miss each other so much that each time they part ways, they would start counting the days till their next sleep over. They would both wait in joy and in quiet anticipation for that day to come, and when it finally does, I imagine, it must probably feels like Christmas for both of them. Are you waiting for Christmas the same way too? Four days to go before this much anticipated occassion, are your hearts ready for Baby Jesus?
Day #22: My fervent advent prayer: May the lost and missing find their way home. May their angels bring them safely home.
Day #23: Advent is a season of waiting and waiting is one thing we are never really good at. We often wonder, why do we have to wait long before we get the answer to our prayers? I guess sometimes God forces us to wait to remind us that it is His story, His plans, and His promises. He forces us to wait so it is clear to us that He is in control. He forces us to wait so we may learn to fully trust that He will deliver and save, as He promised.
Day #24: Tonight, I raise a glass of warm chocolate milk in holiday cheer and wish you and yours a very merry christmas. If you are lucky enough to be blissfully celebrating this special occassion with your whole family right now, I pray that the Lord will continue to bless and keep you together. If, on the otherhand, you are miles away from them, longing, or still grieving over their loss, or even lacking in want or in need, I pray that you find completeness, joy, and peace in Jesus. May He be enough for you this CHRISTmas and may you allow His loving presence to fill your heart with so much joy such that there will be no room in it for anything other than endless gratitude and love. Have a bliss/blessFULL CHRISTmas everyone.
Day #25: The birth of Jesus Christ, next to His crucifixion, was the most momentous event in the history of the world. It became the focal point of all history. Everything before Christ looked forward to His birth, and everything since then looks back at Him. It was such a crucial event that now all the world numbers years according to it. B.C. means “before Christ”, and A.D. means “anno domini,” “in the year of our Lord.” (John MacArthur Jr.)—His birth, which we know now as CHRISTmas, changed the world. Happy birthday, Jesus.

Complete your beauty regimen with Proactiv

Women’s beauty regimen are often deemed complicated by many with all the elements that come with it. We go through all the trouble of cleansing, exfoliating, and moisturizing because we want to ensure that our beauty comes out in all its majestic glory. But really, when you think about it, it all boils down to having a healthy attitude and lifestyle. A well-balanced diet, positive disposition, sound fitness plan, and ample sleep and resting time make a big difference. 
Having the right product in your beauty regimen counts a lot too. For us with acne prone skin, that is Proactiv Solution. Here are some healthy and practical tips from our well loved brand Proactiv Solution that might help you achieve that radiant and beautiful skin:
Make sure to have clean hands before washing or touching any part of your face. Remove any trace of makeup and dampen skin with lukewarm water. Some use hot water to clean their faces thinking it might help kill bacteria. If anything, this will just increase the blood flow in your head making your face turn red. Also, hot water won’t open your pores, and neither would cold water close them. Pores appearance depends on the amount of oil, dirt, and dead skin that have accumulated in them.
Keep exfoliating. Exfoliation helps remove dead skin cells. Proactiv Solution’s exfoliating beads aid in shedding those dead cells and prepare your skin for any medication that will be applied. 
Never scrub. Exfoliation is different from scrubbing. While exfoliation gently removal dead skin cells, scrubbing is its violent counterpart. It won’t rid you of acne but instead create small skin tear that will make you more prone to infection and inflammation. 
Use a mild cleanser. Cleansers with strong alcohol content remove the skin’s natural oil and moisture making it drier which results all the more to an increase in oil production.
Avoid pricking your pimples. Spot treatment on areas marked with acne won’t work either. Instead of pricking, pick a proper treatment that would work for you. Proactiv Solution is your best bet. When consistently applied, Proactiv Solution works without fail. 
Good thing it is here to stay to help solve Filipinos’ perennial skin problems such as acne. Proactiv Solution uses a 3-Step system that can help you achieve that clear, healthy, and glowing skin. Complete your daily beauty regimen with Proactiv Solution and in no time, you will have that beautifully radiant skin you have always wanted. 
The three step Proactiv Solution kit is available in all Watson or SM Department Store nationwide. Price is at Php 2,495 for the 30-day kit and Php 3,995 for the 60-day kit. 

Essential Oils: The three wisemen were clearly on to something…

A friend told me the other day, “Oh in the end you will fall for that din pala. Sa dami ng tinanggihan mong alternative treatment sa cancer, dyan din pala bagsak mo.” My dear, my stand regarding cancer treatment is still the same. I continue to trust and follow whatever treatment and medication Bianca’s doctor deem best for her. I haven’t abandoned Science, for this same Science has kept Bianca’s health stable all these years. What attracted me to essential oils is the fact that it never asserted itself as something that can replace Bianca’s current treatment and management for her Thyroid cancer. If anything, it only promises to make her, and my family, feel good which in essence is what makes any Science based cancer treatment effective as well.

Eversince we’ve used essential oils, we’ve managed to significantly reduce Bianca’s dependency on chemical drugs for minor health issues such as cough, colds, asthma, allergic rhinitis, migraine, pain, and dysmennhorea. It has also helped boost her immune system and manage her energy and stress levels. She’s been through a lot of medical procedures and huge amount of chemical drugs have gone through her system. When you come accross something safe, aromatic, and topical but gives the same relief as chemical drugs based on experience and research data, won’t you embrace it as well? 
Again, we have not traded Science for “chance.” I still have complete confidence that it will heal my child, but then, I also believe that these essential oils whose benefits and use can be traced back to as early as 4500 BC can also improve the general well-being of my child. The three wisemen had a good enough reason for gifting Baby Jesus the essential oils, Frankincense and Myrr. They were clearly on to something when they did that. I guess I’ll take my cue from them, they aren’t called wise men for nothing. Anything spritual, you have me. 🙏😌