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Church Booked: San Roque Chapel – Subic Bay

There’s no other thing to book before everything else but the church. The sacred union will take place there. The magical place where you will receive the sacrament of matrimony. So before we book anything else, we made sure that the church is already booked and secured.

We got engaged on October 7, 2018. After letting that sink in for  a month and after scouting for the perfect church for our big day, we finally found “The One” and booked it on November 3, 2018. Luckily, they are already accepting bookings for 2020 weddings.

We booked the very simple San Roque Chapel in Subic.

We didn’t originally plan to have our wedding in Subic. Since the fiance is from Pampanga and I am from Bataan, we knew that it’s gonna be in either one of those provinces.

So, how did we end up in Subic?

Here are our considerations before booking a ceremony venue.

  1. It has to be air conditioned.
  2. That’s all. HAHA!

My tolerance for heat isn’t very high. Plus, who wants to walk down the aisle sweating, right?

So, I started googling air conditioned churches in Bataan and Pampanga. The options aren’t too many.

I wrote the list of churches in my notebook and googled them one by one.

  1. Arzobispado De Pampanga in San Fernando, Pampanga. – This is where the fiance’s sister got married last September. The church is good and there is a function hall at the back where the reception can take place. We will save so much time and money. But, the fiance doesn’t want to get married in the same church where her sister got married so we crossed it out.

    (c) Bride Worthy

  2. St. John Paul II Parish in Lakeshore – Mexico, Pampanga. – I like the minimalist altar of this Parish. It looks very simple and neat. However, we crossed it out as well as Lakeshore is not very accessible especially to guests who don’t have a car.

    (c) Bride Worthy

    (c) Lakeshore

  3. St. Peter of Verona Parish in Hermosa, Bataan. – It has a look of a classic and traditional church. But, it didn’t give me the “this is it” feeling.

    (c) www.bataan.gov.ph

  4. Sanctuario De San Jose in Las Casas De Filipinas Acuzr in Bagac, Bataan. – When I started planning, I once told myself that my dream wedding would be in Las Casas. I immediately inquired. Their packages are pricey. Their packages are:
    – 1,000,000 Php for 300 guests
    – 600,000 Php for 200 guests
    – 485,000 Php for 150 guests
    – 425,000 Php for 100 guests
    – 300,000 Php for 50 guests
    – 1,888 Php for every extra guest

    Though the inclusions are many and will cover most of the services needed, we still find it too pricey. Also, it is very far and we didn’t want to cause too much hassle to our guests. Also, the chapel inside Las Casas is just a replica. It doesn’t look good in pictures and videos. So, goodbye, it’s not my dream location after all.

    (c) e-philippines.com.ph

    (c) www.senyorita.net

  5. Chapel of Jesus and Mary at Cana in Holy Land, Subic. – This also caught my attention. The church is very classy. Holy Land is a place in Subic where people go for pilgrimage. There are picture worthy spots inside the Holy Land. There is also a tent inside where they hold wedding receptions. So, we really considered this church. I even asked a friend Pam to inquire for me. So she called them and was able to talk to one of the staff who promised to send her the fees but did not. So, I just asked my brother to have an ocular visit and to inquire personally. I cannot do it myself because I am working abroad. Later on, we found out that the visit should be scheduled. We were able to schedule our visit but did not push through after realizing that Holy Land is not accessible to guests without a car. Another thing is, the reception venue is a tent and we are a bit hesitant to hold our reception in a tent.

    (c) Bride Worthy

    (c) Bride Worthy

  6. San Roque Chapel in Subic Bay. This church, from the very first sight, gave me that “this is it” feeling. I fell in love with the all white facade of the chapel. I love the minimalist style of the chapel and there is a huge space outside with lots of trees. The trees provide a lot of shade and fresh air. Even its altar is very simple. The only think that bothers me is that the aisle space is a bit narrow and short and it is not allowed to close the church door during the whole ceremony which means there will be no dramatic door opening for the entrance of the bride. Maybe a curtain entrance will do the trick. But, overall, it’s good. I showed it to the fiance and he instantly fell in love with San Roque Chapel as well. So, there’s nothing left for us to do but to book it. Thanks to my family who is a family of Methodists for being so understanding and for supporting my decision to marry in a Catholic Church.

    (c) www.eckaywashere.com

    (c) www.keywordbasket.com

Since we are abroad, I just asked my family to personally visit the church and to ask for the fees/ donations.

Here’s the breakdown of fees/ donations:

  1. Church:
    – 12,500 Php for local parishoners and 15,000 Php for non-parisioners. This fee is mainly for the ceremony venue and air conditioning. The styling, choir, and other requirements are not included.
  2. Officiant – 3,200 Php

Total: 18,200 Php (for non-parisioners like us.)

They will require you to pay the 50% of the Church fee and the Officiant service fee.

Fortunately, I was able to go home to the Philippines last month (January 2019). The first thing on my To-Do List is to visit San Roque Chapel. It is heartwarming to see it for the first time.

I took a moment of silence and meditated for a while. I stood inside. Alone. Closed my eyes. Took the moment in. Opened my eyes and walked down the aisle. I teared up a bit. It gave me goosebumps and it kinda made me realize what is really happening. I AM REALLY GETTING MARRIED. IN THAT VERY CHURCH AFTER A YEAR. I knew it right at that very moment that we booked the perfect church for our union. Praise God!

Booking the church took as a big step forward into planning. Booking it is like making a promise to God. A promise that noone can ever seal our relationship but Him. We would love to start our happily ever after in His presence. After all, He is the one who wrote our love story. He is the one who lead us to each other. He is the one who sustained us in difficult times. We are forever grateful. In that very church, we will make a promise to love each other because He loved us first.

Much love,

 

Kenosis

Kenosis – ‘self-emptying’ of one’s own will and becoming entirely receptive to God’s divine will.

“Do you think I could be depressed and not know it?” I told my best friend.

“Maybe you’re just unhappy; not depressed. If you feel depressed, it’s okay to ask for help. I think it’s about time you address it.” She said.

I have been observing myself for a while now and I find it really, really strange whenever I, all of a sudden, burst into tears for no reason at all and it happens quite a lot lately. I admit, I am an overly dramatic person and crying out of the blue has always been my thing. I have been through this for so many times before and I got through this more than I could ever remember.

I spent a week trying to figure out what’s going on in my life. I think it is safe to say that my life is steady right now. No major problems at home or at work. I guess it is just my inner struggle that is causing me to feel this way. A struggle that I have been dealing with for so long and still haven’t found the specific reason why I am feeling what I am feeling. Maybe because I have never wanted something so much so I end up wanting so many things to happen in my life. Wanting everything all at once can be quite frustrating. We can’t have the best of everything. We can only have the best of what’s best for us and God will definitely give it to us.

One Thursday, at two in the afternoon after work, I decided to head straight to church to have a quiet moment with God while waiting for the 6:00 PM mass. Beating the extreme heat of the sun, I walked myself inside the main church. Life didn’t fail me. I went inside the church. No one else was there; just me. A quiet time with God is what I needed; a quiet time with God is what I got. I went directly in front, face to face with Jesus. I sat for a while to set the mood. I silently uttered the words “Lord, please allow me to have a quiet time with you, protect me from any distractions.” And He did. I had a solemn moment with God. I knelt down in front of Him and the moment my knees touched the ground, tears started running down my face. I just let it flow freely. My tears spoke for myself because I ran out of words. I cried and cried and cried until I had no more tears to cry. Then, I sat down again. Calmed myself and told God “Help me understand what’s going on because I am really struggling.” I just remained inside the church for a few minutes more staring blankly at nothing when I snapped back to reality and I was able to stand up and walk myself out of the parish to the adoration chapel.

The adoration chapel has always been a comfort zone to me. When I need some peace and quiet, it never fails to take me to a place where problems do not exist because in that place, I feel so much closer to God. Fortunately, on that day, when I went inside the adoration chapel, no one was there. The silence is deafening. The silence is beautiful. The silence allowed me to hear myself more and to hear what God is telling me. “God, talk to me please.” I looked to my right and found a bible sitting pretty on the shelf. I opened it to the book of Psalms. And Voila!

Psalm 6:6: “I am weary with my groaning; all night I soak my pillow with tears, I drench my couch with my weeping.”  – Yes, God. This is me every night.

Then, this.

Psalm 6:9: “The Lord has heard my cry for mercy; the Lord accepts my prayer.”

Psalm 18:6: “In my distress, I call upon the Lord, and cried out to my God; He heard my voice from His temple, and my cry came before Him; even to His ears.”

And, finally.

Psalm 62:6: “He is my rock and salvation; I shall not be moved.”Yes, at that very moment, a big chunk of negativity has been lifted from my shoulders. I don’t need any help. The best help will come from God.

I, for the nth time in my life, surrendered every burden and struggle I have to God. Prayed that I will be filled with less of me and more of Him and that everything will happen exactly the way He planned it.

As the people started coming inside the adoration chapel, I looked at them and I wonder what they are praying for. I just had an answered prayer and I prayed that they will too.

Psalm 30:5

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I wasn’t in my best mood for a week. I miss my family. I miss my friends. I miss home. I miss my normal happy self. This whole ‘Me-Time’ thing is getting the best out of me. I never felt so lonely. I spent a couple of sleepless nights thinking about senseless thoughts and asking stupid questions to myself. But, there have also been nights when I overslept because sometimes sleep is the best antidote for trying times. In short, I just plainly exist.

During this time, I know it’s the best time to pray more but I find it hard to pray. I know we should pray the hardest when it is hardest to pray but I just can’t put myself in the mood for prayer (Sorry).  In the morning when I wake up, I just thank God for a brand new day and for the gift of life. That’s it. Very dry. When I get home, I throw my bag in the bed, remove the shoes from my feet, curl up under my blanket and get lost in my own little world. It was hard. Until one day, I said I don’t want to be like that anymore. If I want happiness, I should create it. I rushed to a nearby department store and got myself a colorful bed cover, put them on my bed and did my usual routine (throw bag, remove shoes, curl up under my blanket. Repeat daily.) For a time I was happy but it was a superficial kind of happiness. Eventually, my happy bed cover lost its magic. Worse, i became lonelier than I ever was before. I struggled until one day, I opened my “Daily Bread” and read I pray that meditations would draw us into His presence. Fellowship with Christ is the secret of happiness now and forever.” God also assured me with His words: “I have promised you my presence everywhere you go; I will never, never leave you…”

 For the first time in my life, I celebrated the mass alone and everything’s just perfect. That solitary moment with God is priceless. God really spoke to me in many ways. He spoke to me through songs. During the mass, Don Moen’s ‘I Will Sing’ played. “Lord, you seem so faraway and though I haven’t lost my faith I must confess right now that it’s hard for me to pray. But, as you give the grace with all that’s in my heart, I will sing, I will praise, even in my darkest hour.” I knelt before God, I let my heart talk and as tears rolled down my face, God hugged me so tightly I can’t even let go. When everyone left the church, I sat there alone. That moment of silence I know God hears my heart without me talking. The place was so solemn I can feel God everywhere. The chairs around me might be empty but I never felt alone. Then I realized, it was God who carried me all throughout the lonely week. It was God who made an effort to listen to my heart when I forget to pray. It was God who never left me when no one was there when I cried. It was God who lead me to Him. Then, things made sense the lonely week emptied me so I may receive more of God.

It was God all along.

That night, I came home, threw my bag in the bed, removed my shoes, curl up under my blanket and thanked God for finding me in my brokenness.

“Weeping may endure for the night but joy comes in the morning.” Psalm 30: 5