2017: A Year of Losses and Gains

B3A3A4A5-1F90-4F2E-8912-D5840B6DD6DEBACKGROUND: “In the solitude of my room, as the noise of fireworks and ‘torotots’ (NY horns) enveloped me, I was ready to plunge into the silence within….” This was how I intended to start my annual, analytical post for each year last night but I was just too tired and weak. You see, I have a sore throat with cough and colds, the outcome of sleep deprivation, voice straining and too much holiday sweets. Starting the year this way sucks as hell especially when I didn’t  taste the delicious bounty of our New year’s eve dinner. Anyway, this couldn’t stop me from looking back to how 2017 went for me. Let me briefly share with you my experience, dear reader.

From the title, I guess you’re assuming it was a year flooded with tears and regrets. Sadly, it was! You see, I’ve suffered a terrible spiritual decline throughout the past year. One that contributed to many preventable pitfalls, one that was itself very preventable. With my busy schedule, I failed to spend quality time with God unlike before but I afforded time for worldly/sinful plesasures and vain amusements. The very things I told myself I could never do I did (twas a huge slap to my prideful ego; just typing this out is hard for me) but I’ve learned to let go as I always need to. And it was all made possible by God’s grace- so amazing and wonderful!

Though I failed the Lord from time to time this 2017, He always picked me up and lavished His love on me. This was reflected in the many undeserved blessings I received this year. It would take time to enumerate them all but the ones I’m really grateful for include forgiveness, protection, sustenance, family and friends. Let me not forget the lessons and insights that I acquired the hard way, some of which I willingly shared here in previous write ups.

But 2017 was not all about defeats and bruises. I found myself able to fully forgive a friend who wronged me and now we’re in the same group of wedding singers. I discovered a lot about myself and also realised what was needed to be done in order for me to become better (no doubt that always includes divine intervention!). I’m still in the process of recovery at the moment but the only way now is up, forward. To add, I also opened up myself to a few people, formed friendships and closed unhealthy ones. Or decided to close such.

With what I went through, from the ups and downs,  the achievements and failures, everything in between, I was never the same. I accepted that fact. I may have become better but I felt that my decline was more superior. But I couldn’t accept to stay like this for long , for another year. Hence, I surrendered my 2017 to the One Who never let go, the One Who always stood by me, the One who unlike me never changes! And boy, does it feel so good!

What was your 2017 like? If you have a similar story to mine, then lay it at the cross, surrender it to Jesus. Do this that we may enter into 2018 in newness of life!

Happy New Year!

P.S. Here’s a beautiful, moving song to complement my post. Be blessed!



2016: A Year of Lessons/Realizations


PHOTO taken by my good friend and brother in Christ, Jared Kaiser

Fresh from a wonderful Sabbath of serving God and fellowship with my family plus friends, I am so stoked to have this post as my last for the year 2016. I was so blessed with the messages I heard from the Divine Service (it was so timely!) up to the AY Program. And it is my utmost desire to faithfully apply these in my life as the new year begins. (So help me God!)

2016 has been a very challenging year for me. In a lot of ways: physically, mentally (more of like academically), socially/emotionally and of course, as evidenced in recent write-ups, spiritually. I have to say I’ve grown for the good but it would be a lie not to admit that I’ve also grown for the worse. But despite all the happenings I went through this year, God has ever remained faithful and gracious to me. May that be reflected in the things I’m about to share.

Instead of writing about my highlights, let me share the lessons (hence, the title) or the realizations I’ve had from out of the different experiences I was in or circumstances I dealt with:

  1. No matter how hard you try to be good or kind to others, there will always be people who will use you, take advantage of your or hurt you for hurting’s sake. But then again, we live in an imperfect world; we can’t please everyone. So I guess I end up reminding myself that it is God Who I need to please or to focus on. And worse, maybe they thought that by dong such, you will go dark. But you will prove them wrong because you choose to let the good in you remain and improve for the better. Ouch! It seems like the first one is salt on a wound but definitely it’s the one that has the most impact on me. As you may have read in a post in the past, I’ve been through one ‘valley’ which tested my faith in God and my will to survive. But the Lord saw me through. So with love and forgiveness in my heart, I will move on to 2017 with this lesson inculcated in my heart.
  2. I’m a garbage collector, a good one. During the general cleaning of my room, I got to see how many stuff I have kept through the years that needed to be disposed. It made me ponder that I probably collected a lot of garbage, not only  literally but also in my life’s room; maybe people, habits, emotions or other things which I definitely need to let go. So with enthusiasm and for a good purpose, here’s to cleaning up my life! (Plastic also serve as part of my collection but hopefully they’re not the people I know!)
  3. You can never survive anything life throws at you without God. Well, I believe I’m not the only one who understands this fully. From the book of Job (which was our topic for the Sabbath School lesson this quarter) to experiencing many tough times, I came to value how a relationship with God really helps during such and what faith in Him entails. Yes, being comforted by your family and friends is a blessing. But to know that the God of the Universe knows your pain and cares enough for You; to add, that He is always in control no matter what happens, is certainly far better. So here’s to enriching my spiritual walk even more as I enter 2017!!!

There are surely a lot of lessons/realizations for this year but these three are the ones worth sharing and heart tugging as well! I just could not overemphasize how deeply thankful I am for God’s love manifested in His guidance, sustenance, protection, and of course His forgiveness! Your grace is truly amazing, dear Lord!

With a grateful heart, a focused mind and a confident spirit, I move forward to 2017! Happy New Year!

2015: A Year of Transition

(Fresh from my daily alone time with God, I am certainly in the mood to write this post! I guess being able to have my exercise this morning helped me to be all pumped out for the first day of 2016! How I wish I can keep up with this and make it a routine for a healthier life this New Year.)

Wow!!! (Breathes deeply…) I cannot believe it guys! It’s already 2016 and another year has just gone by. Let me briefly share with you how my 2015 went because it was surely filled with many big achievements, fun moments and abundant blessings!

I dubbed this year as a “Year of Transition” because it found me entering a state of independence. Last January, I left for Manila and lived there for almost 3 months. While surviving the unwanted and harsh realities in the capital (being away from my family for the first time was tougher), I had my review there for the Med Tech board exams which took place last March. By God’s grace, I passed the examinations and was only few points away from the Top 10! Talk about shattered dreams! It was hard to swallow and even now, if it crosses my mind, I somehow get bothered and all. But God taught me an unforgettable lesson which I will ever remember. And of course, how could I not be happy? I passed and became a Registered Medical Technologist! May I seek to focus on the future and not on what could have been! ‘Let it go, let it go, can’t hold me back anymore!’  There you go, that’s helpful!

Besides becoming a professional this year, it was also transitional for me because I entered West Visayas State University- College of Medicine last July. Med school was a big leap because I stayed miles away from my family and for the first time also, I was living in a dorm. And academically speaking, the study load was far different from my pre med course. But one thing was and has been certain, always: God sustained me, in all aspects especially financially, throughout my stay at Roxas Hall. I will forever be grateful for the opportunity to study in a premiere school so that I could achieve my childhood dream!

These two were the highlights of the past year but I couldn’t afford not to mention the people that made it memorable and meaningful. I have been richly blessed with many new found friendships. My med school barkada, Team AAAACHU (our group name is a combination of the first letter of our family names) has added joy and laughter to my plate making med school a delightful ride. How much more my SGD Group, Mangtwo2waz! Med school has taken brand new meaning when I joined the chorale group of the college, the Med Symphony. Our tiring practices for our Christmas caroling were profoundly rewarded with delicious meals, generous donations and heartwarming compliments! This goes the same way for my SDA family at West, the 136 Wishers, a group of talented and friendly people whose presence I will always be thankful for. And I will certainly not forget my family especially my father. Tatay was the one who accompanied me to Manila and Iloilo (What big sacrifice!); he was undoubtedly influential in my successes. Nanay, on the other hand, has supported me a lot through her motherly prayers and genuine comfort. My two loving sisters have been instrumental in making my life easier and happier. Indeed, it is our relationships that spice our life. What could be our memories without family or friends? Thank You Lord for these precious souls, such vivid reminders of how loving You are!

Well, I wish I could tell you more but my tummy’s rumbling! Haha… In summary, 2015 has been a challenging rollercoaster ride for me and my family. I learned a lot of things and I am hoping that these lessons would serve me good this year. I failed, I stumbled, I messed up. But God, in His great faithfulness and loving goodness still forgave, forgot and fixed me. Despite all the setbacks and shortcomings, I couldn’t be more grateful for He is in control and He loves me unconditionally!

Letting go of the past, living for the present and looking forward to a brighter and better future this 2016, I bid you as I end this post: Happy New Year!


2014: A Year of Blessings


This is me with a grateful smile for all God’s bountiful blessings this 2014… 🙂

Whew… Alas, I have arrived at the last day of 2014 and were it not for God’s grace, I would not be here. As I look back to the previous year, I can’t help but thank God for all the blessings He has given me and my family. May it be through trials or gifts, closed doors or opportunities. This year has been a blast and I consider it one of the best years for me since it is packed with highlights, which I will share with you, dear reader. Each, I consider a blessing.

I was still an intern when the year started and it found me saying goodbye to Riverside Medical Center after 2 months of duty there. I enjoyed my stay at the laboratory full of friendly staff and awesome machines. One defining moment during my time there was our Christmas party where my fellow UNO-R interns and I won 4th place for our group performance which was a spoof of Showtime’s SIne Mo ‘To. I got to perform Wrecking Ball with Zidluck and it was both embarrassing and fun at the same time I continued my duties at Adventist Medical Center- Bacolod where my internship experience was more fun and memorable. The atmosphere in the lab was so light; it was like you belonged to a family. From overcoming my ‘shaking’ problem during venipuncture to meeting the ‘girl’ of my dreams there, the internship was one of the most challenging and memorable experiences in my life. I was glad that I was able to touch lives and be a witness for Jesus.

The second blessing was my graduation which took place on March 22, 2014. After 4 years in a Catholic university which was tough, I finally left UNO-R and unexpectedly, with flying colors. I thought I would never be an honor graduate due to my cross-enrollment for a subject which fell on a Sabbath. But God rewarded my faithfulness and so I graduated cum laude. Oh, I remember that moment of joyful surprise when I learned of this news! It was such a special blessing and I will always be grateful to God for it.

Third, the opportunity to serve God as a literature evangelist during summer was a worthwhile effort and I learned a lot from the ministry. The spiritual benefits outweigh the monetary ones.

Fourth, unemployment is an unusual blessing. After my in-house review, my life kinda took a sudden turn when I had to be the “atsoy” of the house. I was left at home most of the time, doing the chores and reviewing for the baord exams and NMAT. I really wanted to help my parents financially and so I applied at a hospital for the position of phlebotomist. But it was clear that God’s will for me was not to work yet. It was hard at first to accept this harsh truth but good enough, I was able to move on. In God’s time, I shall be employed and work for His glory.

Fifth, my dream of  having a piano concert was fulfilled on the eve of my 21st birthday, October 24. It was a truly meaningful event because it was my ‘debut’ and it was a concert for a cause (all the proceeds went to the Jail Ministry of our church). Entitled “Through Life’s Ebony and Ivory”, I played pieces arranged by Greg Howlett which were songs that impacted my life. Giving back my talent to God was wonderful. I will always cherish this moment in my heart.

Sixth, my NMAT experience last Novem Despite my lack of sleep the night before, God sustained me and so I survived the whole test. And just 2 weeks before, I got my results and all praises to the One who provided me with strength and wisdom on that fateful day!

Last but not the least, the blessings of family and friends have made all the ones mentioned above more special and beautiful. Without these peeps supporting me and comforting me, what would I be? I remember our foodtrips and ‘lagaw’ at SM. Our time bonding with each other, may it be at church or simply at home. And of course, the recent Christmas fellowship that we had was superb! Indeed, time with family is something to look forward to.

So these are all my blessings this 2014! They all come in different forms, some expected, few otherwise but one thing remains true: God is the Source of all them. And in heartfelt gratitude, all I can say is To God be the glory!! 🙂


P.S. Happy New Year guys! Have a blissful 2o15!