A Retelling of Life


The Layout to Love

Six months after our wedding and a few days before our relatives arrived for my sister’s wedding, our wedding scrapbook arrived.  This is what a DIY Boracay wedding looks like.

beach wedding, Raymund and Valerie

The Little Things That Make a Wedding

Knowing we had only two months to plan, hubby and I made the most of every waking hour.  We employed the help of family and friends.  It was amazing how things fell into place.  We only made one visit to Boracay to meet with our suppliers and yet we pulled it off. It really was because our Lord guided us every step of the way.

What a blessing Nonoy (our make up artist) was to us.  Before him I had had at least 3 trials with 3 different make up artists.  Luckily, hubby and I bumped into his Tita who was also a wedding organizer.  She referred us to Nonoy and that was it.  A match made in beauty heaven. 🙂

Sibling Love

As early as 6:30 am, hubby and I were already up preparing for our 2:00 pm wedding.  Make up session began at 7:00 am.  My sisters Kaye and Mimin joined me on my last night as a singleton.  We were all exhausted from all the travelling we had to do.  Suffice it to say that we just slept the night through.

The Holy Rosary Chapel, Boracay Island, Philippines

Since we were staying at the Boracay Plaza Resort, which was located right in front of the church, I opted to walk to my wedding.  With my brother holding an umbrella to shield me from the warm rays of the sun and my younger sister holding my train, it was a fitting start to a beautiful new life.

The Groom – My hubby, a loving, kind and adventurous man who takes good care of me. =)

The entourage – Our hearts swelled at the sight of relatives, family and friends who came all the way to Boracay from the Philippines and all over the world despite the short notice.

A Walk to Love

Mixed emotions..that’s what I felt.  I was certain that the man standing, waiting for me at the altar was the one but still, it was a little sad kissing my mom and dad and leaving them, to walk toward him.

“When the one man loves the one woman and the one woman loves the one man, the very angels desert heaven and come and sit in that house and sing for joy.”  ~  Indeed, it was a joyful affair.  I’ve always loved weddings and I’m proud to say that I loved mine the most. (haha, love your own.)

Love is beautiful and weddings, well, they are the most definitive form of celebrating love.

A wedding is not just joining of two souls.  It too is the joining of families, the union of two houses.  I am now not only a Parreno but also an Alova.  🙂

We hadn’t thought of how we would get from the Church to the venue.  We figured we could easily walk to the reception.  After all, it was just across the Church! However, Ms. Vicky of Boracay Plaza Resort lent us her car and driver for the occasion.  We were pleasantly surprised to find a wedding car waiting to take us to the venue.

Boracay Plaza Resort

Our 90 or so guests were treated to cocktails and some light snacks while we went off to the beach in search of the perfect shots.  We prepared a hosts of things for them to do, a jigsaw puzzle, a DIY photo and video booth.  However, the concept of Do It Yourself in the Philippines hasn’t quite caught on.  While we had put signs asking them to record a message for us, no one actually did.  Still, it was a pleasant exercise in understanding the pysche of the Filipino wedding goer.

Our host and my maid of honor Kaye, kept the mood light and breezy.  Also, since only close relatives and friends were there, they  knew each other and were excited at the opportunity to reconnect.  Besides, Boracay is a paradise, guests pretty much entertained themselves.

It was a beautiful night filled with lots of singing and dancing.  Laughter filled the air as we celebrated love, the love between a husband and wife, the love among family, relatives and friends.

Boracay beach wedding

The Greatest Adventure of Our Lives

  And this is the story of our love. 🙂

This my friends, is the start of our greatest adventure yet.  Hope you enjoyed viewing the pictures.


Maturing in the Spirit

Recently, an incident involved me calling out a person for interference in something said person was not responsible for.  I was surprised at the vehemence with which I spoke.  Afterward, I felt a little guilty.  I asked myself if it was the right thing to do.  I seldom speak in anger or in whatever strong emotion and am often described as a mild-mannered, soft-spoken person.  That person didn’t feel like me.

Then again, I prayed for the gift of wisdom in discourse and eventually because I called out that person, said person left, and the matter was resolved.  Maybe, these are the changes I need in my life.  I pray Lord for your continued guidance.  I pray for wisdom and discernment.  Thank you Lord for a wonderful family, a fulfilling career and a new religious community and of course our coming new baby.  We offer all that we do to you. Amen.


A Jesse Tree

E is turning four in two months and he’s one creative and imaginative kid.  Yesterday, I overheard him and his Daddy arguing over who the guy in green (in his superhero book) was.  E insisted, “That’s Green Lantern because he’s wearing green” while his dad insisted, “No, that’s Mr. Octopus.”  I’m glad that he’s so sure of himself and a little bit cocky some of the time.  Like telling me that an Octopus has four tentacles then clarifying that he was talking about Mr. Octopus and not a real one.

Earlier, he was pretending he was a master builder building things out of his Lego (and he hasn’t even seen movie yet),” oh Dad, you have to build something to cross a river full of punching frogs, or Dad, I used my tool to raise the water up so you can’t cross.”  We can’t keep up with all the names he has given these machines he has been making.  In my heart, I say a quick thank you to our Lord for giving me a hubby who makes time to play with our little-big boy.

Our son is a sponge and is so receptive that I have to be careful with what I say.  He calls our new P a bad man  (My, oh my, I wonder where he heard that.)  and has now taken to saving up money for KinderJoy for our trip visit Tita Mimin.  It is a joy learning with E and growing as parents with hubby.

Which brings me to my title “Jesse Tree”.  I commit to doing this this Christmas.  It is a beautiful way of commemorating the birth of our Lord and I can’t wait to begin.  So this is me, motherhood has cured me of my restlessness or rather allowed me to redirect it.  That’s why whenever I feel the lure of procrastination, I look for stuff to do with E and I’m motivated again.







It is back again.  Maybe I am just too excited for tomorrow’s trip.  Maybe I am just overwhelmed by all the changes/happenings in my life, M’s wedding, Manang A’s arrival, a temporary LDR relationship with H, N and H’s 70th birthdays or maybe it is just as simple as E not adjusting to preschool so well.  Now that I’ve written it here, I think it is the simplest answer, I am restless because E is unhappy.  How the mighty have fallen.  I always told myself I wouldn’t be that kind of mom but I am becoming one….his happiness really is my own too.

I have to reassure him that his Dad will be back and soon enough.  Just 45 more days and he will be back home with us.  I guess this is the main stressor that has had him become a clingier version of himself.  I pray for patience Lord.  I know I haven’t been patient with him as I should have.  Thank you for this reminder of my weakness.  Bless me Lord, give me the grace to be a better parent.  Amen.

Iloilo Mass Schedules

Since hubby’s schedule is erratic, we often find ourselves “catching mass” like you do with movie schedules.  It’s been a year since we moved to Iloilo, I feel it’s about time we knew the mass schedules in the city .  Thus, I went around Iloilo to get the schedules and promised myself I would post it here.  (A websearch I did on Iloilo mass schedules returned negative results and this post should correct that lack of information)  Thank you for today, Lord.


Thank You Father

Yesterday marked my 10th year as a member of the Bar.  Yesterday marked also, the renewal of my faith.

Yesterday, I realized that it had been 10 years since I was a regular church goer. You see, from the time I reviewed for the bar until the  bar results of 2005 came out in March of 2016, I was a daily mass goer.  I heard mass at Greenbelt chapel every day without fail.  I always felt refreshed after starting my day with the Lord.

But work for the law firm became very demanding.  Eventually, I went back home to Bacolod and then I got married and had a kid.  Mass was relegated to Wednesdays, First Fridays , holidays of obligation and Sundays.

Then Mommy was diagnosed with the big C and I saw her faith move mountains.  Instead of us comforting her, she comforted us.  She found strength in our Lord’s faithfulness, never wavering in her belief that His plans were for the best.  I saw her go through it all ,  chemo, radio-therapy, operations, PET scans and labs, and what I saw filled me with admiration.  This, I thought to myself is what grace is..accepting and surrendering everything to the Lord and letting Him do His work though you.

My mom is still as busy as ever, you wouldn’t know by looking at her what she has gone through.  She is still the light of our home, reminding us always to look upon the Lord for all our hopes and needs.

As for me, I am awed by the Lord’s wisdom.  With my new appointment, he gave me something I did not think I needed, sometime I did not even know I wanted.  Indeed,  His plans are far better than our own.  I remember our family doing a BLD Family Encounter and this verse from a song struck me even then, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

On the occasion of my 10th year as a lawyer, I renew my commitment to serve thee Lord.  I love you Lord. Thank you very much.




A Reckoning

I did my best but at I don’t think it was enough.  This is the real deal now.  I cannot anymore get off as easily as I did.  I thank you Lord for this challenge.  All life is about changing, learning, improving.  If I refused to change then I would just be subsisting and not really living.  I refuse to become a white elephant.  With Your grace and wisdom dear Lord, I know I will be better.  Guide me and bless me as I start this path.  Help me that my indecision and procrastination will not get in the way.

I love you dear Father.  Thank you for a good life.  Amen.


I chanced upon a blog article on the top ten celebrity weddings and thought about mine.  Two months in the making and yet, we pulled it off.  Again, I feel overwhelmed with gratitude for the Lord’s faithfulness to me and my family.  Four years and nine months since we tied the knot, two houses and a little boy later, I can say that life is good.  Sure, not everything has been a bed of roses, but we have survived the storms the came.  With God’s help, I can say that we will weather the coming storms with aplomb.

Thank you Lord. 🙂

Dear Baby

Dear Baby,

Oh how excited we are to see you.  It is early days yet but I want to assure you that you will grow up in a home full of love and affection.  I pray that the Lord will help you grow strong and healthy while you live in my tummy, these next eight or seven months.

Your big brother is such a loving little boy.  I am certain that you will have lots of fun together.  He knows how to make the sign of the cross now and starting tonight, we are including you in our night prayers.  We love you very much little one and we thank God for blessing us with you.  Take care always.  Hugs and kisses.

Your mommy.


This month marks the 2nd year anniversary of cancer’s entry into our immediate family.  My mom has been declared cancer free since, but the fear remains.  I have in the recent months developed a fear for lab tests.  I am scared that the big C will touch more lives in our family.  It is a black thought that I constantly and intentionally keep at bay.

My dad is undergoing an MRI now.  Again, we wait with bated breath for the results.  I think positive, surrender all my fears to my friend above, our great healer.  I pray for healing.

My dearest Lord, please bless our family with good health.  Bless us that we may live long and prosper. I surrender our lives, our future, to You. Amen.

New Beginnings

My heart is beating fast. Thoughts flash through my mind faster than my thought processes can break down.  Yes, I am giddy and excited again.  Apparently, all it took is to rouse me from my lethargic stupor was change.  (Although, I guess the cup of coffee I just drank helped too.)

Change…Oh, what a leap we have made.  I am away from home again after six years, away from the comforts of a loving family and supportive friends, away from my favorite haunts, my secret places and loves.  Although this time, I am just a ferry ride away, this change breathes permanence.  We are making our home here.  Our house, the one that witnessed our growing pains, has been leased to a young couple who like us, are also growing roots in a new city.

It takes some adjustment to be renting a home as we have been constrained to do here.  It has brought on mixed emotions as I feel both excited at making this new rented place a home while nursing my disappointment that it is not ours.  It feels odd making friends with neighbors in our compound who like us are mere transients.  Nonetheless, it is a wonder to see how our little two years and seven month old little boy is progressing, now that he has both his parents raising him.  He is a well-adjusted, witty charmer that never fails to bring a smile to our faces with his antics.

The games that he invents himself, like playing SM (where we pretend that we are the customers while he is SM, selling anything and everything) is reflective of how creative toddlers can be.  Last night, he woke up and asked for water and seeing a golf ball (part of a kiddie golf set) on the floor, he picked it up and told me, “Mama, here is one ball but where are the other balls?”.  He can recite “Going on a Bear Hunt” and a host of other stories from memory.  One time I heard him “reading” Elmer and the Teddy Bear.  I am so proud of how much he loves books.   One of his nanas (who has trouble reading without glasses)told me about how she read him a story and because she had no glasses, made up her own text along the way.”  E protested knowing that that was not how the story goes.

I am not very consistent about documenting our life as family.  Thus, I am making the most of this moment today while my mind is so full of thoughts that I just have to write to get it all out.

I thank you Lord for my existence, for the family I was born into and married into.  Most of all, I thank you for the family hubby and I have made through your grace.  Thank you. Amen.

%d bloggers like this: