Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Benefits of Spiritual Retreats

I recently joined the FFI team in Manila to minister to some “big names” of the showbiz world…. yes, I said people from showbiz. Ministry time was astounding! The Holy Spirit’s ministry moved mightily and touched each one of them.

Being part of the ministry team of Ancient Paths Seminar (Family Foundations, Inc.) can be very physically draining. On the one hand, being a facilitator enables my spirit to be so connected with the Lord. For me, these are face-to-face encounters with Jesus as He leads and directs.

After the seminar, I was physically bushed and so I thought of visiting family in Baguio, my husband's birthplace and home town. Every end of summer, I usually take a spiritual retreat. Hence, my sudden decision to take a trip up and spend it there.

I stayed a few days with my step dad-in-law, Heiner, then a couple of days with Tita Pynky (check out PNKY Collection: http://www.pnkyhome.com/). My time with them were just precious. I was not only fed physically, as always, but there's something about Baguio when it comes to spiritual retreats: encounters with Him were the most profound and deep.

My trips to the market and other interesring places, my spiritual walks alone were meaningful moments. I can just bask at His wondrous creation through nature and be free of any concerns about life.

Each day, I was awakened by the sweet aroma of freshly brewed coffee, the sweet smell of pine, the melodious chirps of the birds, and the awesome views that remind me of Psalm 23 ("He leads me in green pastures and beside still waters). Most of the time, i took pictures of just about anything that captured my fancy. There's nothing like Baguio at this time of year.

Spiritual retreats provide me an opportunity to find deeper meaning to life. It can be wonderfully uplifting and gives me greater fulfillment. Taking time out alone with my God and leaving behind the problems of this busy materialistic world gives me a chance to think more deeply about what is going on in my spiritual walk and with my inner life and hearing more of God's instructions to equip me for the journey ahead.

I had a super great time with God. Having a retreat in Baguio is probably one of the most memorable ones. The weather, the people, the food, and everything about it is just wonderful.

But really, at the end of the day, it’s not about Baguio. It’s all about Jesus. I thank God that He refreshed my spirit. I’m now ready to face new challenges and give out more of myself
as I am new again and filled to overflowing!!!

Mt. Kanlaon

My husband and I took our end-yearly trip with his bike. We prefer the rugged type rather than drive in one of those comfortable SUV's. With our backpacks, thick jackets, and helmets on, we geared up with couple of shirts, a bottle of water each, a spare tire and an air pump. This time we headed towards San Carlos all the way to the top of Mount Kanlaon via Don Salvador Benedicto.

Along the mountain highway, as we climbed up a spur of Salvador Benedicto, the cool breeze and the scent of pine trees, it is not unusual for a young eagle soaring over the clear skies. I’ve thrice seen the raptor while crossing the mountain roads back and forth Bacolod and San Carlos. It could be a Philippine eagle. I gather it is the only bird of prey with blue-gray—as opposed to yellow, orange or brown—eyes, known to live in just four of the country’s 7,100 islands, only about 500 pairs of the eagles exist today (source: National Wildlife Federation).

The route gives the traveller a view of a mini "Chocolate Hills" which can be seen along the Negros Translink Highway in Barangay Prosperidad. Hills differ from sizes & stretches up to Barangay Nataban. It is about 18 kilometers from the city proper & would consume 30 minutes travel time approximately. Fourty-five minutes before reaching San Carlos, you will find Alinsyawan Falls in Aglolood, Panlampas. The local government has built a place by the highway to view the waterfalls. It is frequented by nature lovers and local tourists. Passing through San Carlos, we thought of going straight to Kanlaon where we found a small inn to eat some fresh mountain-cooked lunch. After that, we went to view the awesome Mt. Kanlaon. It was breathtaking!

Mt. Kanlaon remains to be the highest peak in Central Philippines. Rising up to a summit elevation of a staggering 8,088 feet or about 2,465 meters, it is one of the most active volcanoes in the country and is part of the Negros Volcanic Belt. Also called the Cuernos de Negros or Horns of Negros, Mt Kanlaon is surrounded by several craters and volcanic peaks. It is also the host of many waterfalls such as the two waterfalls of Sudlon and the Quipot Falls.

We traversed through river crossings, bumpy and rocky roads, passed through beautiful sceneries of rice paddy plantation near Barangay Lumapao. We were probably on the highest peak of our trip. On the way down, we had a flat tire thrice. So with our handy air pump (that doesnt really work) and spare tire, we manually changed tires with some team work magic. When we were back down the intersection of Prosperidad that divides the road between Cadiz, San Carlos and Kanlaon, we found a Vulcanizing. Funny, they spelt the word, "Bol ka nay sing". It was a pity that I missed to take a snapshot of what I thought the cutest, and funniest signage I have ever seen!

I may have an inflammed butt from the long trip but it was quite an adventure. Worth remembering for a lifetime.

Tuesday, January 28, 2003

How about .... New Zealand?

January 28, 2003

Is there a life for us in New Zealand, Lord? Please make it clear to us. Amen.

Monday, January 27, 2003

A basket of groceries!

Jan 27, 2003

- CJ finally is in school from a month of confinement here in the house of typhoid fever
- Gina and Gerro helped out with medications and gave Php.
- Manang Lidj and Manong Ernie also gave Php for CJ's medications
- Gina gave groceries
- Mama gave proceeds of VOS from our farm
- Opportunities for New Zealand
- Gift for kids and chocolates from Tita Myrna
- Chocolates ---- lots from Tita Cindy
- antique long chair from Tita Cindy
- Php from Tita Berting
- Great wonderful time with Sune and Balma