A Retelling of Life


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.”

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

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.”

Too Much On My Plate?

The entire day, I’ve been glued to my PC, storing DIY templates, bookmarking websites on US constitutional Law and surveying the records on my desk.  I have accomplished a little of something, so all is not lost. 🙂

I’m that type of person.  When fixing my room, I spend a few minutes on cleaning and hours rereading magazines, books and letters that I’m supposed to put in order.    Or I begin one task and then, before finishing, move to another.  To sum it up, my problem has always been finishing projects.  Not all projects in particular, but projects with no deadlines.

I had no problem with school or the bar or even lawyering because there were time periods I had to meet.  Now, I am in control of my time.  Time is a luxury I enjoy and it is something I haven’t been able to control–yet.


I am trying to change that though.  I am married now.  Although, we still are in a long distance relationship, we are a legal “us”.  That means that we have to make plans, set deadlines for our goals.  It means going beyond our adventures and making day to day decisions.  It means getting the “fun” us to also do some “serious” time.  I know that it’s early days yet and there’ll be more adjustments to make in the future.  Like hubby is sick with fever now.  I want to visit him but can’t because I have work here.  😦

I am confident though that the Lord is looking out for us.  Stay tuned, life will only get better. 🙂





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.

Another Wedding in the Family

Four days ago, my younger sister walked down a church aisle lined with purple hydrangeas, an angelic vision in white lace.  It was a culmination of 7 months of  planning, 7 months that took my sister and her groom on a whirlwind round of photo and video ops in different locations around the island of Negros.

20 pairs of sponsors in varying shades of silver and gray heralded the start of the bridal march.  It took my breath away seeing her looking so happy and beautiful, a radiant bride excited to begin a new life with her dashing groom.  It was a fitting beginning to a love story that began in an inauspicious setting, at a doctor’s clinic, no less.

It was a beautiful wedding between two beautiful souls.  I may not have the words to aptly describe how beautiful the entire wedding was but believe me, it felt like a fairy tale…a wedding fit for a princess.  Then again, that is who Kaye is..our darling princess. 🙂   Sweet, amiable, loving and kind, she is a Disney princess, cast in the same mold as Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella.  Everyone takes to her as she is able to put everyone at ease, she is magical…she’s the closest a human can get to being magical anyway.

That said, my advice to all would be brides is this:  “a wedding should always be a reflection of who the bride is.”  In my sister’s case, it was fit for a princess.  🙂 Her talent and creativity and eye for exceptional beauty shone through every detail of her wedding.  In my case, it was as laidback and carefree as I am.  We both got the wedding of our dreams and that my friends, is what every bride should aspire for. 🙂



Distance between Iloilo and Bacolod City

It’s a sunny Tuesday morning in the City of Smiles.  I am thinking of hubby, who is in Iloilo working at a hospital.  I realize that I don’t even know how far Bacolod is from Iloilo.  I know that it is an hour ferry ride away but what about  in terms of distance?  I google it and find these answers.  According to http://www.trueknowledge.com, the distance is 43.82 kilometres.  Flightpedia.org states that the flying distance from Iloilo to Bacolod is 43 kilometers (equals to 26 miles or 23 nautical miles.) Travelmath.com is a website that gives driving directions.  It doesn’t seem to realize that Iloilo and Bacolod and islands though, I laugh when I see it draw a straight line linking the two cities, it seems you will just have to drive through the seas and Buenavista, Guimaras.  That will have to wait til the day flying cars are invented though.

Driving Lessons

I woke up early today, excited to begin my road to independence. You see, I had decided that after nine years of holding a driver’s license, it was now time to actually drive. I had braved the long lines at the LTO to renew my dormant license, I had bought a car with my rent’s financial help, only one thing got in the way, I had to learn the skills. At 7:10 am, the instructor was nowhere to be found. I had a bad feeling about it, the fact that he was late smacked of unprofessionalism but I needed him as I have a desperate need to drive. I no longer like being dependent on people to drive me around. I hate having to wait to be picked up. I want life to happen at my own pace and that means being able to do as I please.

Suffice it to say that I didn’t quite enjoy my morning drive. I wasn’t ready to go on 3rd and 4th gear but my instructor made me. It made me feel uncomfortable as I wasn’t ready yet. I thought it was just me. There was something about him that I didn’t like but I just shrugged it off.
On the way back, he helped me park the car at home. We used the same path my boyfriend and I used just a few days ago. This time though, it wasn’t a worry free ride. I could see him expressing his exasperation at my less than stellar performance in shifting gears. Whereas I encountered no difficulty before, this time the car’s engine gave up on me several times. Still, I thought maybe the problem was with me and decided to give him the benefit of the doubt.
At the office, I compared notes with a co-worker who had just completed her driving lessons with their other branch located in the downtown area of Bacolod. She had signed up for 10 hour lessons and had just completed her 9th hour today. She expressed disbelief that the instructor had urged me go on 3rd and 4th gear on my 1st lesson. I’m changing instructors tomorrow. I’m not giving up yet. Please bless me with a good instructor tomorrow dear Lord. Help me get to “independence” day ASAP.