A Retelling of Life


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.



There’s a Vafalu For You And For Me

Indeed, life is full of surprises.  When I decided to move back to my hometown in late 2009, I didn’t have any future plans.  All I knew was that Makati life  no longer appealed to me.  I wanted to come home, to build a real life.  I had had enough of the rat race, of  chasing after deadlines, of  living on fast forward.

Of course, as in anything in life, the reality of  living back home did not meet the fantasies I had of Bacolod life.  The adjustment was tough in the beginning.  My bf (now hubby) still lived an hour’s ferry ride away, and I no longer had my RBG family to hang out with.  Eventually, things fell into place.  I rediscovered old friendships and nurtured new ones.

On December 28, 2010, hubby and I embarked on our greatest adventure yet.  A year later, we have now teamed up with good friends, Luisa and Fay to begin our adventure with Vafalu Design.  What was once just a dream is now a reality.  Welcome Vafalu.

St. Scholastica's Academy-St. Scho shirts-cute tees

Little Miss Scholastican-St. Scholastica's Academy-Bacolod

st. scho shirts-kolasa tees-kolasa t-shirts-kolasa shirts for sale-little miss scholastican

Special thanks to Nichola Mapa and Mimin Parreno for this fun shoot.  It’s early days yet.  During this “soft” season in Vafalu’s life, we’ve decided to focus on Kolasa shirts for the upcoming St. Scholastica’s Academy Alumni Homecoming slated on February 11, 2012.  Cheers to more creative years with Vafalu.


Hubby’s first triathlon,  Vafalu Design’s first outing, Vafalu’s first model pictorial….Indeed, it was a weekend of firsts.

On an crisp Saturday morning, we traipsed to the San Francisco Lake Resort in Alangilan with our wares (the cutest tees in the world! Haha.).  Hubby had decided to join the triathlon despite a 3 week bout with the flu.   I was a little concerned but knew that he would be undeterred.  After all, he was a non-swimmer who would dare swim 300 m across an ice cold lake because he felt he was ready for a triathlon.  I knew his mind was made up and even envied him the determination to see things through.

I had bought a mountain bike 6 months ago and up to this day I have not gotten beyond Ledesco Village in Iloilo.  That’s pretty pathetic progress.   Six months after telling hubby: “let’s do a triathlon”, I still haven’t made the necessary changes.  Instead of over-analyzing the list of to dos I had yet to accomplish, I decide to focus on what I’m good at.  I bring people ideas and then I’m a very good supporter, cheerleader, and encourager…


My Hubby, the Triathlete

So last Saturday, I appointed myself cheerleader and cheered loudly whenever I got glimpses of hubby passing through in his bike and later during the run.

Joy of joys, not only did hubby finish the race (as I knew he would), he placed third too.   That and the tale of his being given a handicap is another story. =D  Suffice it to say that it was another hectic but colorful weekend.

“Thank you Lord for a husband who’s willing to try new things, for a family who supports my harebrained ideas, for friends who love to dream with me.”

A Sagada Tale – Day 1

For my birthday, hubby and I and a couple of friends went to Sagada.   A few weeks before our trip, I found out that trusty old Autobus was no longer operational.  Luckily, we were able to make reservations with Cable Tours to get to Bontoc.  From Bontoc, we would have to take a jeepney to Sagada.

How we found the bus terminal is a story worthy of another post.  Apparently, the terminal was moved from ” near Trinity University” to “a vacant lot which can reached by turning left from the corner where Shakey’s is.”  In any case, I don’t think we would have found it if Annie, Donna and Jovy hadn’t stumbled into it and told us the magic directional word “Shakeys”.

After paying a fee of 650php, we were bound for Bontoc.  We left Cubao at 8:30 pm and at around 7 am, found ourselves in Banaue, in the land of the famed Banaue Rice Terraces.  After much pleading, Mr. Driver agreed to stop by Banaue to allow us to take pictures of the awe-inspiring Banaue Rice Terraces.

On a windy morning, we excitedly took shots of the rice terraces, hoping to capture it  in all its majesty.  A testament to the ingenuity and industry of Filipinos, the rice terraces remind us of the strength of the human spirit.  It is an inspiration to our generation, a reminder to all Filipinos that long before the invaders came, we had our own inventions, our own tools, our own way of life.   We have it in us to be great..we just have to find our way as a nation.

We stopped by Bontoc for some hot coffee, the perfect companion to a foggy day.  Again, I reflect on how blessed our country is.  We have endless choices of  places to visit, from awe-inspiring mountains, to rich forests to splendid beaches — all in the Philippines.

Luckily, Mr. Bus Driver decides to take us all the way to Sagada with an additional fee of 100php.  Our weary backs and butts welcome the thought of not having to take the one hour jeepney ride from Bontoc to Sagada.  Finally, after 12 hours, we find ourselves in Sagada.

We register at the tourist center and pay a minimal fee of 10php.  We then check in at Rock Inn, Sagada.

Now, this was a room with a view.

So this is why our inn is named “Rock Inn.”

We make tour arrangements with SAGGAs.  Jeff and Kuya Jeff are excited to show us around.

The adventure is about to begin…

To be continued…

Thank You Lu!

Hubby and I are celebrating our first year anniversary in a little over a month!  I think it’s high time I finish sharing tips about planning a wedding before I move onto other things.  Starting today until our anniversary, I’m sharing the little things I loved about our wedding.

A Thank You Card From the Heart

This little cartoon was created by my illustrator/artist friend Luisa Gonzales. 🙂  As I’ve said in a previous post, a wedding is a reflection of the couple.

Hubby and I have always loved going on adventures and well, the beach ranks quite high on our fave places to go.  In fact, the beach has often been a backdrop to our love story.   Thanks to Lu, we have this cartoon that captures  just how much hubby and I love the beach.

A Walk in the Clouds – A Sagada Tale

Just a few hours ago, I received confirmation that the career shift I’m after may be happening sooner that I expected.  I’m overwhelmed by our Lord’s timing.  On that very same week (my birthday week), hubby and I have planned a birthday trip to Sagada.    It’s been 3 years since my last visit and to say that I’m excited is an understatement.  Of all the places I’ve visited in the Philippines, Sagada remains to be my favorite.

I want to stand in awe of the terraces again, I want to plunge into the cold rivers of Bomod-ok falls, I want to be unnerved by the sight of the hanging coffins, I want to just sit still while atop Kiltepan peak.  Sagada is a study of contrasts.  You are at once,in a place of frenetic activity and yet enveloped by a feeling of stillness..of peace. It’s a place forgotten by time.

Everything seems to be set.  After my career thing, we’ll be taking the bus to Sagada.  Another adventure awaits us and this time, I promise to document the experience.

At Kiltepan Peak

We survived Sagada!

Finding a Nest

Hubby and I have visited at least 9 sites since we started this hunt for our home base.  Times have changed but a man’s need for land remains.  Everytime we visit a site, our imagination goes on overdrive.  We imagine ourselves  building a home with our children, enjoying their childhood with them, helping them out with their homework, preparing them for school and then for real life. Of course, ultimately, hubby and I will find ourselves with just each other again.

Indeed, this is our first real step as a married couple.  We pray for guidance as we make this decision.  We have our eyes set on a lakefront community subdivision….However, we need the Lord’s hand in this, as this is one serious matter.

Dearest Lord,

We lift up to you the desires of our heart.  Help us discern what will be best for our future.  We lift up our entire life to you dear Father.  Lead Raymund and me in this journey of ours. Amen.

Love,  Raymund and Val

Bantayan: Welcome to an Idyllic Existence

It’s one windy morning in the Island of Negros.  An image of the beach flits through my mind.  However much I wish, I cannot do anything about the weather.  I decide to revisit Bantayan in pictures and take comfort in the solace it offers world-weary travellers.

The Bantayan Municipal Hall –

The port of Bantayan – This is what the Spaniards saw when they first visited the island.

Sts. Peter and Paul Parish Church –  Located at the heart of the town, just across the town plaza, the church, like most Filipino churches of this time is made of coral stones put together by a mixture of tree sap and limestone.

Finished in 1863, the church is the seat of the first and, therefore, oldest parish in Visayas and Mindanao which was founded on June 11, 1580 since the Convento de la Asuncion de Nuestra Senora was at the time, under the direct supervision of the Diocese of Manila.

The town plaza is a testament to the municipality’s commitment to eco-tourism.  Everything is green in Bantayan.  Proper waste disposal is observed, even the markets are clean.

See how the dried fish sellers have organized their wares… =)

The Omagieca Mangrove Park

Kota Park Madridejos Walkway

After a long day of walking around the beach, we spent a chillaxing in town.

Another Bridal Shower

I’m a sucker for celebrations.  Bridal showers, weddings, baby showers, birthdays are wonderful reasons to celebrate and I celebrate them with gusto.  Last night, I was at a high school friend’s bridal shower.  We had way too much fun chatting that the “naughty games” were forgotten.

In the spirit of giving back, I’m sharing pictures of my own bridal shower and that of my sister’s.  Since hubby and I would be getting married in Boracay, my MOH/bestfriend/sister #1 came up with a luau theme for my party.

Aloha, Mrs. Alova

We all dressed for the occasion and thanks to Sister #2 had a great time with the games.

My “Goodbye to Singlehood” cake with real shells. =)

My friends and family came home with these sweet little things. 😉

In the interest of privacy, I’m withholding some of the pictures.  I will not go into details but the surprise featuring hubby was a great hit that night.  ;D

The Burlesque Party

Six months later, my sister also had her bridal shower.  This time, we went all out and did a Burlesque theme.

Indeed, life is short.  I have decided to say yes to all celebrations.  I had a slight fever last night but I still managed to attend my friend’s wedding shower.   I’m no longer saying no to moments.  Life must be celebrated..that is the only way to live.


A Honeymoon with the Lord

Hubby and I just graduated from our Marriage Encounter Weekend. I’m tired and happily exhausted from all the eating, writing, laughing, dancing and crying we did. (I will not go so far as to spoil the surprise by revealing the details of the M.E.) In the words of hubby, it was “a blast, although of an emotional and spiritual nature”.

I was awed by the different faces of love at the M.E. Indeed, love transcends distance, age, race and even religion. Hubby and I have been changed forever. It is our hope that we will be able to live out what we learned during the M.E. We hope that with the Lord as our partner, we can make our marriage even BETTER. =)

1 Corinthians 13:13 says “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”