Saturday, March 27, 2010

A Summer Surprise from God

God has a wonderful way of answering our prayers.  I firmly believe in that because I can't get enough of experiencing God's awesome and mighty ways of surprising me with blessings beyond my wildest expectations.

Early this year, I was already preparing for another trip to Sablayan, Mindoro.   I thought I'd pack my bags come holy week and join my bubbly church friends to DJ Beach Besort and Pandan Island, where we spent seven full days last year enjoying crystal-clear blue waters and white sand beaches.  That part of Occidental Mindoro was quite raw and undiscovered, but it was very beautiful, and I wanted to relive my very good experiences in that part of our country.

However, our graduation was set for April 5, a Monday, and I couldn't definitely be absent from this affair, being the Chair of the Program Committee.  I couldn't take an earlier vacation leave either, because even as of this writing, our plans for the big day aren't yet final.  So I kissed all hopes of going out-of-town this year and resigned myself to the fact that I'll be waiting for another year to sunbathe and snorkel in Southern Luzon, or anywhere outside of Manila, as all of my friends are pushing through with their beach outings minus me.

But God had other plans.

One night I went home very tired and very stressed out. I was ready to plunk down on my bed and forego my dinner, when mom popped the question:  "Would you like to go with me to Boracay for the holy week?  Three days, two nights".  
Would I like?  But of course!  Who wouldn't refuse such an offer?

I forgot all about office bickerings, politics, and all the stresses that came with them, and sat down on my pc to scout for the available flights that would make our dream vacation true.  Cebu Pacific and PAL were already fully-booked, while others charged way too expensive for our budget.  Thankfully, we found early morning bookings with Zest Airways.  For about Php 3000++, we had our round-trip airfare deals sealed.  Yey!

So we got the airfare covered.  But what about the accomodations?  Well, this is one where I was totally floored by the goodness of God.  Wonder of wonders, we are going to stay at Fairways and Bluewater, a triple A resort in Newcoast, Boracay, just a stone's throw from Puka Beach and D'Mall at Station 1.  Fairways and Bluewater boasts of being the only resort with an exclusive cove and closely guarded, privately secured, perimetered white beach front.  It has a par 72, 18-hole golf course, an athletic field / beach soccer, and volleyball areas.  The resort owners proudly claim to have the largest fresh water swimming pool, and if that is not enough, it also has a horseback riding field and trails ---- talk about bringing Tagaytay to Aklan!  The place also has a chapel, a natural cave, an open-air amphitheatre and park, a spa (!), all terrain vehicle field (ATV), and a zipline!  Click here and here to read more about zipline, and why backpackers and tourists are raving about it. 

God just keeps raising the bar when it comes to surprising me.  Did you know that for all the first-class, triple A facilities I mentioned that we'd be enjoying in Bora, we paid a mere Php 4, 410 per night for the hotel?  We were given 40% discount on accomodation, and where on earth can you find a deal like that when it's supposed to be peak season? God is truly good and great!  I'm really just amazed at how He orchestrated everything for me to enjoy all these perks.

In six days, I'll finally be seeing the famed Bora sunset and feel the white powdery sand on my feet.  I am just so thankful to God for this pleasant, unexpected summer surprise.  It's far better what I have ever planned and conceived, and truly, when it comes to Him, I can only imagine!

Take me to paradise:  Did you know that in the native language of the Aklanon tribes, the word "bora" means cotton, in honor of the soft, powdery sands of the island?
I'd be glad to walk these shorelines!
It'll be nice to pray, meditate and read the Bible in a beautiful place like this!
I'd like to go island-hopping and have my picture taken in this place.
How's that for a view?
This magnificent sunset reminds me of God's pleasant surprise for me this summer.

All images were taken from here.

Japanese for A Day

with my close friend/classmate Edward of Torres HS

experiencing authentic Japanese tea ceremony

healthy green tea from Japan

making onigiri or rice cakes

Remember my previous post?  I believe I'm turning Japanese!  Hehehe.  

It's been ten months since I first went back to the classroom set-up and taught Japanese language and culture.  Yes, I know.  What is an English major like me doing in a Japanese language and culture class?  It all started in 2007 when The Japan Foundation Manila decided to conduct a Nihongo Caravan in our school.  It's a variety show combining Japanese language and culture meant to generate interest in all things Japanese with the aim of encouraging students to take Japanese as an elective for the incoming school year.

So when classes opened in 2008, I offered Japanese language and culture as a club in our school.  However, the program was a bit disappointing since attendance waned.  Students were constantly busy with their academic pursuits, and since a club isn't a graded activity, naturally the attendance wasn't given much priority by the students.

I was discouraged.  But then God had other plans.  Last summer, my school sent me to JFM for a fresh round of training.  This time, we decided to offer Japanese language and culture as an elective.  It was graded, and so none of my students would absent themselves from the class, lest they miss out on some of the best things happening in this side of Pasig.  

How time flies!  One moment I recall walking into the classroom and introducing myself in Japanese, and now, we just ended our own version of the Nihongo Caravan in our school (which by the way, I'm still having last song syndrome hahahaha).  Teaching this year had been so wonderful for me.  It was fun, and I always looked forward to Thursdays and Fridays to see my Japanese counterpart, Ms. Mayu Suzuki, my Filipina co-teacher, Ms. Lyn, and my class (naks!), I-Pythagoras.  There's just too many things to talk about and to explore on, and it's always exciting to share cultures and understanding between different languages and races.

Over-all, I had pretty good memories with Pythagoras.  And now that the School Year is about to end, I kinda miss my Thursday-Friday routine.  I wish I could repeat June again, and relive some of the most precious times I spent with the class, Ms. Mayu and Ms. Lyn.  

I'll let the pictures and videos re-tell my memorable moments with my CJH class this 2009-2010.

getting certified by none other than the top honcho of JFM, Mr. Ben Suzuki

chance pic of my Japanese quiz bee team and some models for Japanese street fashion

posing with the class and Ms. Mai Nakamoto, one of the Japanese senseis

learning to write in Katakana

Japanese-related art

read their names (hehehe, in Katakana!)

I call these girls the Cherry blosson ladies hehehe

a pose before the show

happy feet in Japanese sandals

the cute obi fashioned the Japanese way

Ms. Mai Nakamoto with Francis (in crazy hairdo), Eloi and Ali

Japanese exhibit

some Japanese stuff on display

my boys resting awhile

Yeba!  Curtain call!  We made it!

And here's their final dance number for the show, the Yosakoi Sooran or fishermen's dance.


Thursday, March 4, 2010

What I Am Really Looking Forward To...

White sand...
Blue water...
Clear sky...
Lush greeneries...



Boracay, here I come.  Oooohhh, bring me some!