The Proposal: It’s A Yes For Me

Remember when we were kids? There was a point in our childhood when we used to transform blankets into wedding dresses and dream of being a bride. We used to watch fairy tales and confidently tell ourselves “Someday, I’m going to meet my Prince Charming and marry him.”. Then, when we entered our teenage years, we started to practice writing our names with our apple of the eye’s last name; we fantasized about creating a family with them; we played FLAMES with our crush’s name and get so frustrated whenever we get “Angry”as a result. We used to do it over and over again as if doing it a hundred times over can change the result.

Back in grade school, I remember my teacher finding my love letter to my childhood crush. The note says “I love you, Mar__.” I was so embarassed. What do I know about love at seven years old? We used to think that love will come easy. That all we have to do is to leave a pair of shoe and let our prince find his way to us so we can start our happily ever after. As I grow older, life taught me that love isn’t the easiest thing to find. I am a late bloomer. I still played with Barbie Dolls when I was in high school. When I went to college, I still cried when my mom left me in my dormitory. But, when I started working abroad, though it was hard at first, I started to realize that I am a strong and independent woman. And being one made me believe that I don’t need a man to depend on. I can do things my own. Or atleast that’s what I tell myself.

I remember writing this blog post sometime in 2015, Cheeseburger.

Last night, I craved for a cheeseburger. I thought how nice it would be to have you around to buy me one. How easy and nice life would be if I have you as a constant run to person. A comfort zone. A secret hiding place. But instead, I found myself walking along the dark pavements of the street going to the nearest restaurant. I got myself a cheeseburger. After eating it, my craving isn’t satisfied. Then I realized, it wasn’t cheeseburger that I was craving for. I was craving for you.

No matter how independent we think we are, there will come a point in our life when we wish for someone. When my friends started getting married and having kids, I started to develop  an unknown fear of the future. It might be because the society tells me so. I never had a boyfriend. I am not getting any younger. I didn’t even have a love interest. Some days I don’t mind being single, but some days, I have an intense longing. I have spent my single life going out with friends, shopping, doing what makes me happy and not being sorry for it. But as years went by, I slowly outgrew these things. My closet is full of clothes, bags, and shoes but that special area in my heart feels empty. It’s not that only a romantic love can fill that void in our hearts but I know it can make a difference. Our hearts have always been full the moment we let God in. And I believe that even God dreams of sharing our hearts with an angel on earth that He has prepared for us. Because God wants to see us happy. Because God uses people as an instrument of His unconditional love for us. But because I am a woman, I can’t court guys I like, I can only pray for them to like me back. And if they don’t, then they are not God’s best for me. All I can do is wait. Wait with joy. Wait with God. My season of waiting is not a walk in the park. I’ve had heartbreaks but I also realized my worth. I am God’s princess after all. I have found peace in waiting. Trusting God’s better plan. I let go and let God.

A lot of people tell me that maybe I have high standards. I just laugh whenever they tell me that. What do they know about my standards? I wrote my negotiables and non-negotiables. My standards are not high. My standards are just right.

I always tell myself and others that I want to marry at the age of 32. That if I will have to marry someone. I want to marry someone who loves his family especially his mom. I want to marry someone who’s intellectual and speaks really well. My aunts sometimes joke that I should find a news caster for a boyfriend.

Then, I met Arjay.

He was introduced to us as one of the newest Singles for Christ (SFC) member. He moved to Qatar from Manila and was integrated. When I heard him speak in front for the very first time, he speaks really well, I remember giving that “look” to my friend, Diana. A look that says “pwede!”. New crush mode activated. Then later on, I found out that Diana has a crush on him too. So I just gave way. Years passed, we forgot about him, made new crushes, and moved on with life…as a single person. A single and strong and independent woman. Arjay went on with his life, too. He pursued other girls. He didn’t have an eye for me. His heart got broken too. He embraced the pain, he moved on until he was healed.

Then, a brother told me (Hi, Bro. Tristan!); “I think you will have a GG (God’s Gift – a term use in SFC referring to a boyfriend or girlfriend) this year.”. The thought iself gave me butterflies. But, I don’t have anyone in mind. I don’t even know if I am ready for it. So I didn’t have expectations. Soon after, I moved to a new house. It was in the same compound where Arjay stays. A sister even joked and said “Uuuyyy, lumalapit sa pag-ibig.” I didn’t entertain that thought because first, Arjay is not my crush anymore; I even said that I find him boring. Second, we weren’t even close, he’s just an acquaintance.  Lastly, I wasn’t focused on finding someone at that time. I was in my YOLO stage. I was busy enjoying my life.

Fast forward to that time in February 2017 when he invited me to join him, his family, and some of our friends who are in their house having tea. I was fighting jetlag at that time so I thought it wouldn’t hurt to join them. So I did. We had a great time. We made Valentine’s Day plans, he told me to come with them if I don’t have other plans. He started to constantly message me. Constant good mornings and good nights and anything in between. I told myself and my friends, I wasn’t ready for it. I had a butterfly riot in my stomach. My friends told me to just enjoy it and not to overthink things. But, I just can’t. He confessed that he likes me and wants to pursue me if I will allow him to. With all my strength, I gave him the go signal. Love is something new to me. We stumbled and failed many times so I decided to tell him to stop. He complied. We never saw each other for months, we never talked, not even a word. I won’t elaborate but those times were hard. Until God made a way for us to reconcile. God brought us back to each other.

Our relationship is not an ideal one. Sure, we fight a lot.  We both have our shortcomings. We don’t always see eye to eye. We hurt each other unknowingly. But, as time passes by, we have learned how to deal with our differences, we learned how to understand each other, we learned how to compromise. Our love grows stronger. It is strong enough to endure every misunderstanding, to accept all our differences, and to surpass every challenge. We chose not to give up even if life tells us that it is the easiest thing to do. We made a promise not to give up on each other. We’ve been through a lot and we always remind ourselves that giving up is not an option. It will never be an option. Our relationship got better in time. Thank You, Lord. It has been God who is working for us and with us all along.

We used to talk about getting married. I used to daydream about the day that I will marry him. We weren’t even engaged but I asked him if it’s okay if I will start to write down wedding ideas. He said it’s fine. I bought a notebook and I started writing down wedding plans. But, I laugh whenever I do so. It’s funny, I wasn’t even engaged. So, I stopped. He had fake proposals. There was this one time while watching “A Walk To Remember”. When Landon proposed to Jaime, he re-enacted the scene and asked me to marry him. He said just because we didn’t have a ring doesn’t mean we’re not engaged. The ring is just a fad. I was so confused. Then, when we went to the Philippines for a vacation together. We were sitting under the stars when he started talking about how our wedding will be. I told him, “but, we weren’t even engaged yet.” and he started giving me lectures on how the ring is just a craze and not really a tradition. That people can get married even without a grand proposal. I just threw tantrums at him. A lot of people expected and assumed that he will propose in the Philippines. I never expected him to propose though there were moments and places that look perfect for a proposal. But I know him, he will not do what others are expecting him to do. In short, I came back to Doha without a ring on my finger. And I am totally okay with it, I know what we are and I am certain about our future together.

I told him about my dream proposal. I said I want it to be well documented and I want him to sing “Marry Your Daughter” to my dad. “Not gonna happen.”; he said. Whatever. Haha!

October is my birth month. My birthday is on October 6 and our anniversary is on the 8th. He told me to enjoy my birthday with friends and we’ll just have my birthday dinner on the 7th; just like last year. I said okay. Days before, he constantly reminds me about it. I asked him what should I wear. He didn’t tell me where we’re having dinner. He wants to keep it as a surprise. I told him I don’t want to be underdressed or overdressed. So, he took me to the mall and bought me a dress. He said that’s the appropriate dress to wear.

He encountered a lot of challenges along the way, he lost his car key so he ended up getting an uber to pick me up. I still have no idea where we’re going. I made a lot of guesses. We were heading to West Bay area. I saw a glimpse of Sheraton Hotel. Then I remember his promise to take me there someday. I was right. It was the fulfillment of his promise. We reached the Nusr-et Restaurant. I was greeted with a happy birthday song, a bouquet of red roses, and a whole lot of smoke for a dramatic effect. When we finished dinner, we headed out. He told me beforehand that he prepared an outdoor activity. The activity requires a blindfold. He blindfolded me. He told me to just trust him.

The activity goes like this:

While blinfolded, he asked me to rate my happiness at that point in my life. 10 being the highest and each number is equivalent to 10 steps. I told him 5, because my life is a balance of happiness and sadness. He told me to take 50 steps. After 50 steps, he asked me if I want to be happier. “Of course.”; I said. Then it was followed by a question, “What are you willing to do to be happier? Are you willing to take a risk and move forward?”. I thought about it and said yes. He asked me how many steps am I willing to take to be happier? At first, I said 20 more steps then decided to take 50 more so I can reach a hundred which is the perfect happiness. After 100 steps, we didn’t reach the venue so he quickly think of something to say just so I can take few more steps forward. He said, “Do you know that even if you already reached the perfect happines, you can still be happier?” Then he told me to take 10 more steps forward. Then he told me to sit down. I still had no idea where we are at that moment. I felt the couch. He sat beside me. He asked me about my realization regarding our activity. My realization was “In life, we can’t be stuck. If we want to be happier, we have to move forward. We have to take risks. We have to walk towards happiness and sometimes though we are already happy, we can still be happier.” Then he removed my blindfold. I was in awe of the place. It was beautiful. It was perfect. It was in a canopy by the beach with dim lights and with rose petals everywhere. It was a romantic spot.

In front of us is a projected video presentation. He played it. It was a slideshow of our photos. Too much memories flashing right before my very eyes. It truly moved me to tears looking back on our memories. Each photo tells a story. A flashback of our good and bad times. We’ve been through a lot and there we are sitting hand in hand as we watch the video presentation. I got really emotional. Right after the slideshow were videos of family and friends giving their vote. Shouting words like “It’s a YES for me!”, “Please say YES!”. My mind went blank. I didn’t get it at first. I was thinking that maybe it was for our anniversary. Then came our parents’ messages with “Marry Your Daughter” as a background song. I was ugly crying the whole time. Then, he asked me to stand up which I gladly did. He bent his knee, reached for my hand, he started to speak and cry his heart out. I couldn’t absorb everything. All I can remember is him saying “You have no idea how happy you make me. This is the very reason why despite all the pain that we went through, God brought us back to each other. Will you be Mrs. Diego? Will you marry me?”

I uglycried some more and cried again until he took the ring from his pocket and put it on my finger right after I responded with. “Yes. I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with you.” Everything was followed with a lot of ugly crying.

Then 3 of my friends who documented everything popped out of nowhere and congratulated us. Thank you, Josh, Deej, and Diana.

Everything felt so surreal. We spent the night talking about how he managed to pull it off. I honor him for giving me that magical proposal. It is truly the most magical moment of my life. I don’t know what I did to deserve it but it is an affirmation that God sent me a man who will go out of his way to make me feel loved and special. To make me feel that he loves me with the love of the Lord. And, I love him just the same. We have come so far and we still have a long way to go.

 “Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” – Lao Tzu

As we gather all our strength and courage, please journey with us as we take the blessed sacrament of marriage.

The future isn’t a scary unknown anymore. The future is so much brighter. The future will soon make up for my past. My childhood roleplay will soon become a reality. If God wills it, then it is what’s best for us. I never thought that my heart can contain a love like this. Thank You, Lord!

The proposal video will be uploaded soon. Also, the wedding series section is up on my blog for my wedding planning journey. <3

Spreading the love,

PHOTO CREDITS: Josh, Diana, Deej <3

South Korea 2017: Seoul Searching Day Two

Annyeong!

So here’s our Korean Adventure Day Two. I must say our second day is the most tiring but it is also the richest in culture.

We started our day with the usual free breakfast from our hotel. We had cereals, fried egg and toasted bread. We can only hope that it will sustain our energy until half of the day. With our black boots on, we headed out to the streets of the shopping district – Myeongdong!

         

Myeongdong was full of shoppers and tourists when we arrived. So that morning, we took a little time to explore it before we headed to our first tourist destination. It’s nice to see the streets clear with people. A perfect time to take blog worthy photos.

   

On our way to the Gyeongbokgung Palace, we saw a group of people wearing Korea’s traditional dress, Hanbok. We were so fascinated that we even followed them anywhere just to take stolen photos of them. We were clueless that by the time we enter into the palace, there will be hundreds of people who are wearing the same. We can even rent our own Hanbok and wear it ourselves. There are plenty of Hanbok Rental stores to choose from. We entered one near the palace so that we will not have a hard time returning it. You can rent the Hanbok and wear it anywhere you want for 6 hours. We chose not to go far from the shop so we will not have to come back again to return it. We just need a few pictures wearing them. But, you can never have enough photos wearing their traditional dress.

There are a lot of designs and sizes to choose from. Mix and matching took us a while before we finally settled. I chose a blue one and my friend, Jillian, chose a pink one for herself. We could pass as a Korean for a day. Prior to this trip, we already planned our photoshoot.  Here are some shots.

There was this one shot that we tried our best to achieve but failed miserably because, first, no one will take our photo. We had to ask other people to take our photo. As expected, they cannot get it right and it would be too much to ask them to take our photo again and again. Second, there are just so many tourists at that time. There are photobombers everywhere. So we just settled for this…

Next time, it would be nice to travel in group so taking a perfect photo won’t be a problem. Just like this group of friends…

When we’ve had enough taking photos of ourselves wearing Hanbok. We just stood by and waited for the changing of guards. It’s nice to witness such activity in the palace.

Half of the day is almost over. We had a mini break in a park inside the Palace – my favorite place. We did some people watching while eating dewberry cookies which Jillian brought from the Philippines to save us from hunger in the middle of sightseeing. I could stay here all day. I just love how quiet and peaceful it is there.

                                                                                 

The colorful and intricate details of the Palace’s ceiling.

Once we had enough of the palace, we just took few more photos and then we headed to our next destination. The Bukchon Hanok Village. We had a hard time locating the village. We were already exhausted and very hungry. We didn’t even have the energy to explore the place. We just took some photos and we went to find a place to eat. Our feet brought us to the nearest restaurant. We had some kimbap and chicken for lunch.

Here are some of the photos that we managed to take in the village before we lost the hunger game.

                                                                                                  

On our way to our next destination, we grabbed a Koreak bread that tasted really good. I just don’t know what it’s called. One thing is for sure, it’s perfect for the cold weather and it is yummy. We wished we bought more. Here’s Jill modeling the bread.

Our last stop for our second day, the Cheonggyecheon Stream. We originally planned to visit it on our fourth day but since it’s near the Gwanghwamun Square where we went to search for the outdoor ice skating rink which turned out to be a big parking lot and since it’s not snowing at that time, no ice skating rink was found; so we just decided to walk going to the Cheonggyecheon Stream.

Cheonggyecheon Stream is a 10.9-kilometre-long, modern public recreation space in downtown Seoul, South Korea. (c) wikepedia

It is open for 24 hours for those who wanted to relax while listening to the sound of flowing waters. It was filled with people but thank goodness we found a good spot. It’s just so good to sit down, talk, and relax there after a very tiring day.

 

  

It’s time to go back to our hotel and have a restful sleep. As usual, we grabbed a snack on our way back to the hotel. We grabbed a Korean Carp Bread with red bean inside. As expected, it was good.

And for our finale, of course, just like the usual, the streets of Myeongdong! We had Myeongdong’s street food for dinner! hahaha! Myeongdong is totally different at night. It’s so lively and packed with people and colorful lights.

That concludes the second day of our Korean adventure. I can’t wait to tell you about our experience in Nami Island and Petite France on our third day.

I hope you enjoyed reading and will visit my blog again. Have a blessed day! <3

Lonely Nights

I have experienced a lot of lonely nights in my life. Every lonely night hurts but to a different extent. It is not new to me anymore. I have always thought that I am wired for it.

It was Good Friday. The day Jesus Christ died for our salvation. I went to church for the stations and veneration of the cross. The experience was overwhelming. It is good to be reminded of Christ’s passion just to save us and to show His love for us.

I was seated with a woman who had her hair covered with a scarf, with pale skin, and dark circles around her eyes. It seemed to me that she is a cancer patient. The veneration of the cross was a series of standing up and kneeling down. In the middle of it, she got tired and her deep sighs told me she was in pain. I heard the lady beside her told her to just sit down or just stand up so she will not get tired of moving. That’s what she did. After the communion, as we were silently praying. I can hear her cry silently. She might probably be praying for healing. My heart grew heavy. I can feel her pain and helplessness. “Lord, I am offering prayers for the woman beside me. Please grant her healing, Oh Lord.” I mentioned in my prayer. Oh, the joy of praying for others.

We all have a different cross to carry this season of Lent. It’s just up to us whether we look at it as a burden or to carry them joyfully.

I had another lonely night last night. I was scrubbing the bathroom floor while crying. There was a deafening silence in the room. This might sound too dramatic but I felt like I was abandoned by everyone. I can feel the physical pain in my heart. It was too painful; I had to rub it gently so it would calm down. I tried to divert that pain into tiredness. After doing all the cleaning, I went to the bathroom to freshen up. I stared at myself in the mirror. I looked like a mess. I cried for a few minutes. Washed my face and went back to my room to rest. I was home alone. It was too lonely, I was deafened by the complete silence. It was too quiet I can hear my thoughts.

I consoled myself. I fried an egg for dinner. I usually fall on self pity in times like that but that night I couldn’t be more thankful that I have that sunny side up on my plate. “I feel lonely.” I told my egg. The egg made no response. I just decided to eat it. I may be lonely but atleast I am not hungry.

I switched the lights off my room. I originally planned to reflect for the night but my thoughts are too loud. So I just held on my wooden cross instead. Like I always do whenever I feel down. Hugged it so tight until I fell asleep. I woke up in the middle of the night with a heavy heart. The kind wherein you can’t pinpoint which part is hurting. All you know is that a part of it is broken. Shedded a few tears. I wish I can say that it’s just because of the bed bugs’ bite but it wasn’t. It was something else. Something deeper.

I stared into darkness. Evaluated my life. I started to miss home. I just want a hug from my mother. But, no one’s left to hug. I hugged my pillow instead and tried to fall back to sleep. Unsuccessful. But, I am thankful. It gave me the chance to finally reflect. The silence is not deafening anymore; it’s actually comforting. The night is too quiet. I feel like the only person awake and I feel like I have God all to myself. I cried out to God. And though Jesus Christ is dead during that time, I was still able to feel His love. Because hey, He died for my sins.

They say the most beautiful of loves requires the heaviest of sacrifices.

Some has to carry a cross of sickness, just like the woman I sat beside with in church, some has financial difficulties, some has broken relationships, some has problems at work, some has inner struggles they never talk about. The lonely nights are the cross that I have to carry during this season of lent. I have had a lot of it. I was tempted to put my cross down but God’s love sustained me.

We all have to go through our own passion. We all have to die to ourselves just to let others live. We all have to stay in the wilderness (for me, the lonely nights is my own kind of wilderness) so we can experience the joy that comes in the morning. God’s love will pull us through.

I can’t wait for my own Easter.

Thank you, Lord, for the loneliest of nights. It is such a privilege to be hugged by You. I love you. <3

The Comeback

“Thank you for flying with Qatar Airways. Local Time is 11:20 in the evening…”

The pilot said his final announcement in a very monotonous voice. No sign of excitement for making it alive after a nine hours direct flight from the Philippines to Qatar. This best describes my feelings at that very moment. My cousin who traveled with me brought my carry on luggage down and I dragged it out of the plane.

Arrivals  —   Transfers

<———             ———->

That sign welcomed us at the airport. It means my cousin and I had to part ways. My final destination is Doha while my cousin still have to wait for his flight bound to Oman. We stood under the sign and said our goodbyes then we turned our backs and went our separate ways. That’s it. The last person who makes me feel closer to home was out of my sight. Reality set in. I had to walk out of the airport alone. I am really back. Qatar and I have this love-hate relationship ever since. It has cradled me for the past nine years but it broke my heart countless times. But, I am here and I am back whether I like it or not. I stopped by a rest room to put on a red lipstick. I feel stronger when my lips are red. It hides whatever anxiety I am dealing with. The airport corridors were clear with people. My co-passengers are probably waiting for their luggages while I am walking alone on my way to the immigration. I appreciate that tiny moment of solitude. It helped me sink in the fact that I have to spend another year before I get to go home to my family again. I was staring blankly while walking until I reached the conveyor no. 3. I watched the luggages and boxes go round and round. I have been staring at the conveyor for a very long time and I didn’t get a sight of my boxes yet. I waited a little longer before I approached an airport officer to ask if the check-in baggages for flight QR 931 is in conveyor no. 3. Then he said, it’s in conveyor no. 8. I laughed at myself and started walking towards the right conveyor. My boxes were there enjoying their time circling around. I was the last one to get my baggages. I felt like I own the place. I took them out of the conveyor. I saw what my cousin wrote on my box before I left home. She wrote: #YourMomNeedsYou. Right there and then, I was reminded of my purpose. I am so ready to work harder and endure lonely days and nights again.

Okay, so I can no longer prolong my time. I pushed my cart out of the airport. In a big crowd, my eyes went looking for a familiar face. There he was, with shining eyes and a bouquet of flowers in his hand, greeted me with a big smile and wrapped me around his arms; the most comforting embrace. I told myself, “I am home.”. Being back doesn’t feel that bad anymore. The end of missing someone. And I am so proud on how we managed to endure two months of being away from each other. Thank You, Lord, for the grace.

The Bouquet

A bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken was waiting for me when we got home. This made my comeback even more real. Haha!  I came home to a messy (this is an understatement) house. I didn’t even know where I can sleep. I couldn’t stand seeing the house like that. It’s not very comforting especially when you are so tired. I put on new sheets and rested on the bed. I was so tired but I couldn’t get myself to sleep even though I was wide awake for the entire 9 hour flight. I got up and tried to declutter the house a bit. I tried to unpack some of my stuff. It was already six in the morning when I felt the need to go back to bed. I think I was able to sleep for two hours before I woke up chilling. I felt cold. Yes, I was right. I woke up with a high fever. Maybe I was just tired but I was sick for three days. Thank you for a very sweet welcome, Doha!

Well, being sick extended my vacation for three days. I never got the chance to enjoy it though because I was in bed feeling cold and sickly. I couldn’t even eat properly and catch up with people. After three days, I resumed to work. It’s not my favorite thing in the world. But, it is something that I will have to eventually face no matter how long I prolong it.

I have been here for two weeks now. I couldn’t believe it. A lot has happened over the past two weeks. I am back to dealing with lots of issues and anxieties. I have to face the same struggles at work. I have to keep moving forward no matter how much I miss home. I have to overcome challenges and inner battles. Did I mention that I have made Sesame Street’s “Elmo’s Song” viral in the office? I told them that that’s our happy song and when things get a little harder to bear in the office, just sing it and they will be happy. I can only hope that it’s effective because for me it is. (La la la la, Elmo’s world! La la  la la, Elmo’s world!). I have also tried singing that while stuck in traffic with windows down just in case someone on the road is having a bad day. I just love being a wounded healer.

My Life Verse on my desk

Until I came across the THE POWER OF NOW in the internet. It says, in our current situation, if we can do something about it, we have to do it now; if we can’t do anything about it, we have to let it go. I am still trying to figure out what to do. Sometimes life is just so confusing. I am still trying to sense where God is leading me. For now, I will just rest on God’s promise of a future full of hope. If I survived two weeks, I think I can survive more.

Will you pray the serenity prayer with me?

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
enjoying one moment at a time;
accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
forever in the next.
Amen.

In Christ,

 

South Korea 2017: Seoul Searching Day One

Friend: Let’s go to Korea.

Me: Okay.

The next thing I know, we were already booking our ticket and preparing our requirements to apply for a Korean visa.

This is my most impulsive trip so far. I had no idea my friend was serious about it. I just went along. But, one morning of January, I was on my annual leave; we found ourselves traveling to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport to catch our flight to Incheon International Airport in South Korea.  Hours later, we already set foot in the land of KDramas and KPops.

I was never a fan of Korean Dramas. But, this trip excited me to the bones. I even planned my OOTDs months before the trip. Right even before my visa gets approved. When you have been staying in the Middle East for quite some time, traveling to a cold country is like a break from life. Yes, there is a winter season in this country but it doesn’t stay long and my annual leave usually falls on the winter season. I was so excited to see snow for the first time. We heard, it’s snowing in Korea on January.

Just like any tourist, after checking out from the airport and buying our T-Money card- the official card that you to pay for public transportation and other convenience store purchases – the first thing we did is to check into our hotel – K-Grand Hostel located in the shopping district of Myeongdong. The airport is quite far from the city so we had to take a long bus ride to our hotel. Our hotel is not that hard to find. It was a small hostel in the heart of the city. But, it has a home-y feeling. Not to mention that the receptionist is a K-Drama worthy handsome man. There’s a kitchen where we can prepare our breakfast before we head outside. Traveling abroad means less time sleeping and resting. You’ll be out most of the time. You’ll only go back to the hotel when it’s time to sleep so staying in a small and cheaper hotel is not a problem. K-Grand gives value to our money without compromising our comfort.

   

  

We didn’t even think about rest. Once we get into our hotel room, we immediately put on our thermal clothes,  layered it with our winter clothes, and went out to explore the place right before the sun set.

Our first stop, the Ewha Mural Village. My friend has this thing for grafitti walls and there’s a mural of angel wings that she saw in the internet and our goal was to find it. You have to climb your way up to explore the village. You have no idea how tiring it was to go there right after a long flight without food in our tummy. We were hungry but our eyes were full. The view from up is amazing. You can see the whole city from where we were. Lights and buildings everywhere. We were even trying to guess which one is Lee Min Ho’s house. Being up there is just so calming. There really is so much to see in this world.

Here are some of the photos from Ewha Mural Village.

   

         

This is not the angel wing mural that we are looking for but yes, this will do.

After walking around, we knew it was time to eat. We walked some more to check on the restaurants and cafes around. To our surprise, majority of the food establishments near the area are coffee shops. No matter how cute their interiors are, we were really planning to eat a heavy dinner. But, our energy only lasted until the nearest CU convenience store where we made our first purchase. You wouldn’t believe what we had for dinner on our first day in Korea. We had cup noodles! Well, it was just right for the cold breeze. Not very satisfying though.

If there is one thing I remember about Korea, it would be that the whole surrounding smells like pancake which makes us crave for it. There was this cute waffle/pancake stall near the convenience store so we decided to grab one along the way. The owner of the stall was kind enough to let us use their toilet. He even went an extra mile and prepared us free signature tea to make us feel warm. He told us how much he loves the Philippines and that he goes there as a part of their church mission. This leaves a lasting impression on us on how nice the Koreans are.

   

After dinner, we went straight to Dongdaemun History and Culture Park where the 25,000 LED roses are located. This one is on my Korean Bucket List and it is just so glad to checked it off the list on our first day. The place was so romantic. I pictured out a romantic date in my head. Walking hand in hand and just talking while walking along the shining roses. No wonder Korean Dramas are full of kilig moments because of places like this.

             

                                                                       

We ended our first day with a little stroll along Myeongdong Shopping District. It was a tiring day so we decided to call it a night to regenerate more energy for the next day.

I am leaving you with some random shots during our first day in Seoul. Stand by for photos of our amazing and rich in Korean culture second day. Anyeong!

Glad to share,

LOVE

Most days go by like any other day. But there are days – like Valentine’s Day- when people focus so much on looking happy. They focus so much on hearts, flowers, teddy bears, chocolates, cards and other surprises and sweet nothings just because it is heart’s day. The day when people expect the whole town to be painted in red. When everybody is pressured to look happiest showing off the bouquet of flowers which they received from their significant others on every social media account they have. When most single people feel a little pinch in their hearts whenever they look at their flowerless selves in the mirror and whenever they see happy couples anywhere.When supermarkets run out of chocolates and flowers to sell just because people think that is what that day is all about.

My friends and I went out to eat right after the mass; Restaurants are packed with people. It is good to see representations of love everywhere. Romantic love, love for family and in our case, love for friends. I remember a friend praying before we eat telling that God’s love is enough for us even if we are *chokes a little* single. Then I had a flashback of previous Valentine’s Days. I never really experienced anything romantic on any Valentine’s Day of my life. I never woke up with a bouquet of roses on my table; I never had a surprise Valentine date; I never received a box full of my favorite chocolates or got serenaded with heartwarming songs. I never got excited for Valentine’s Day but I never got sad either. Why would I be sad? Why would I feel sorry for myself? Every Valentine’s Day of my life, I am always surrounded with love from people who love me more than a lover can. Yes, I won’t be a hypocrite and deny the fact that sometimes I wonder how it feels like to experience stuff that other people experience on that day. Sometimes I daydream about waking up with little surprises from someone who loves me; I daydream about cuddling in bed watching RomComs or just keeping the TV open but not really caring about it because cuddling is enough. But, just because this isn’t happening doesn’t mean that my days are meaningless. I mean, I am okay with how I spend my Valentine’s Day. I still feel loved anyway. In fact, this year’s Valentines has been awesome because I have awesome people in my life that even if a hand drawn flower on a post it note and sweet candies are all I got, they are enough to paint a smile in my heart.

In our community, we call our significant others “GG” which stands for God’s Gift and I strongly believe that it is called God’s Gift for a reason. From its literal meaning; a gift from God. Back in 2006, I remember writing a blog post about solitude and how not having a boyfriend doesn’t affect me. Ten years later, here I am now, writing this and staying true to my words. As much as I would love to have one at this point in time, I can still enjoy my solitude. I still have no problem doing things for myself, on my own. I have no problem not receiving goodmorning/goodnight messages with all the romantic emoji’s. I have no problem not having someone to tell me i love you in the most random time of the day because I know that no matter what’s going on, I am loved. I still don’t think that it’s sad to celebrate Valentine’s Day with friends. It doesn’t make me less of a person just because of my relationship status. There are lonely days but it is not a lonely life. Love is not something we can wish from our fairy godmother and will be ours once she waves her magic wand. People nowadays focus so much on this. It bothers me how some people made romantic love as something that could make their existence complete. Don’t get me wrong, I also believe that love is a wonderful thing and everybody has the right to experience it; the butterflies in the stomach, the sleepless kilig nights and the natural glow of being in love. The joy of finding The One. The joy of receiving God’s gift. The gift that we prayed for.

But, what if despite our best effort and relentless prayer, we might not receive that precious gift? let alone end up with the man/woman of our dreams? Would that be okay? For this I pray; I pray that we can all let go of the part of us that forces romance to happen. I wish we can have fun like we used to in our favorite places without overthinking that maybe The One is just around the corner.I pray that we can silence the part of us that tells us that (romantic) love is all we need. I pray that we can learn to love ourselves instead of being too hard on ourselves because we don’t have that special someone until now. I pray that we can overcome pressure from people that tell us that we’re too old so we have to settle. I wish we can prove to everyone that being single is way better than being in a miserable relationship and I wish that by doing that, we fall in love slowly, deeply, passionately and gently with ourselves. I pray that we can ignore the little voices in our head that tell us that we are not enough or that something is wrong with us. I pray that we will be okay while waiting for God to deliver His gift. I pray that we will find joy, hope and patience in waiting because, I assure you, it will be worth it.

Love has become so underrated these days. Love slowly becomes a status symbol. I still believe that love is not measured by the butterflies in our stomach or the number  of roses we get on special days. Our relationship status on Facebook does not define us. Love is already planted in our hearts. We just have to let it bloom on its most perfect time; in God’s time. Love is not generic. Love comes in all forms. Let’s undo the times that we thought that love is everything. Let’s be the best version of ourselves while waiting for God’s best. Let God prune you and prepare you to be the right person someone deserves. And in the process of waiting, please know that you are also worth the wait.

perfectlove

BELATED HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY! <3

Dear Future Prince

If you are going to fall in love with me, you should clearly know what you’re putting yourself into.

Falling in love with me means falling in love with my fears, doubts, insecurities, and sudden mood swings. You are falling in love with my immaturity and sometimes nonsense and pointless thoughts.

If you are going to fall in love with me, you are falling in love with my imperfections. You should expect the unexpected food cravings that would only stop when I finally get what I want. Sometimes I would either eat your share or let you eat my left overs. You should know that I always put my fries in my burger or I dip them into my ice cream.

If you are going to fall in love with me, you are falling in love with my love for rice because it always completes my meal.

I could also be too loud sometimes and I really joke a lot. I don’t know if you like that.

I also have lots of friends who might steal our time. Sometimes, you might feel bad about it and you might question your place in my life. I am a girl who gives so much importance to friendship. Do not try to change that. But, don’t worry, I know how to compromise. I need you to know deep inside your heart that no matter how many friends I have, you will always be different; you’ll always be special.

Also, please know that I am not the easiest person to love. I have my flaws and doubts when it comes to love. Sometimes I give my all but sometimes I hold back. You should be ready for my occasional loneliness and for my constant need for love and assurance…and hugs.

You should be ready for more surprising little facts about me. You might not like all of them. Lastly, if you are going to fall in love with me, you are also falling in love with my strong love for God. You are falling in love with my strong desire for us to serve Him together. You should be ready for Friday nights and date nights spent in church. Because you can’t have me if you don’t have God.

I hope that despite all these, you will still love me anyway. Because if you are falling in love with me, you are falling in love with a love that can send you off your feet. The kind of love you never knew existed. You are falling in love with my desire to love you the best way I know and the best way I could.

You are falling in love with my comforting hugs.

You are falling in love with the glow in my eyes whenever I see you. I will look at you like you are brighter than the stars in the sky.

I will write about you a lot.

You are falling in love with consistent goodmornings, goodnights, and anything in between.

You are falling in love with my thoughtfulness and understanding.

I wouldn’t expect and demand too much from you. I will respect your personal space because I know that sometimes, you gotta do what you gotta do and I am expecting you to respect mine, too. There will be times that I just want to spend time with myself because I believe that it is essential for growth. I will let you achieve your dreams and anything that you desire trusting that we know the value of time.

If you are going to fall in love with me, you are falling in love with my sometimes crazy family. But, of course, I will fall in love with yours too.

But, the best thing about falling in love with me is that you are falling in love with someone who is falling in love with you too despite her fears and doubts. Someone who will crash her walls for you and most of all, someone who will open her heart to be loved by you despite her thinking that it is impossible.

You will be my first and definitely my last.

I loved you even before I met you.

Now tell me, can I be your princess?

Let’s make love last longer than we can ever imagine.

Praying for you,