A Retelling of Life

Posts tagged “Philippines

Discovering Swim Bike Mom a.k.a. Margaret Atwood

Before summer officially ended, hubby and I went to Boracay on a quick beach vacation.  Hubby biked all the way from Iloilo City to Boracay via Antique while I rode in a van with the wife of one of his bike buddies.  Yup, hubby is crazy about biking and so are about 7 or so of his other friends,  crazy enough to wake up at 2:00 in the morning to ride all the way to Caticlan.

Hard core stuff, I know.  I must imagine it must give you a different high to travel all 250 kms or so and know that you did it solely with your bike powered your two human legs.  I am proud of him.  I often wonder if I too can do it, if  I too can push myself to the limit, given my desire for shortcuts.

Yes, I was an athlete in high school.  I did track, 100 m dash, 200 m dash, 400 m dash, long jump and high jump…but marathons weren’t something I particularly excelled at or enjoyed.  Even in life, I have trouble preparing for life like a marathon..everyday is a short distance race for me.  My mantra is to take each day as it comes.  I have a vague view of the near future and I’m okay with that.  I entrust everything to the Lord, and I go where the wind blows.  So far, this has worked out for me.  Lawyering, marriage, motherhood, they were all just vague ideas that eventually came to fruition when the time was right.  But, I digress!

This post is not about life but about running marathons and completing triathlons.  Hubby has been slowly convincing me to embrace the triathlete life.  He’s struggling with his swimming but he’s slowly getting there.  As for me, I have to work on all three..biking especially since it really has been more pain than fun for me so far. 🙂  Hubby’s convincing didn’t really make an impression on me until I chanced upon a blog mentioning Meredith Atwood of swimbikemom  (http://www.swimbikemom.com/) fame.   She is an inspiration to mothers and women everywhere.  Indeed,  there just might be a triathlete inside us all.

I’m hoping that this time next year, I’ll be able to share tips to would be triathletes.  That’s quite a tall order but time will tell if I’ll actually be able to do it.

On that note, I thank the Lord for sports.  Where else an we get a free dose of happy hormones. =)

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!

The Week that Was

My whirlwind week started with a trip to Manila last October 16, 2011.  Taking my Mickey Mouse trolley on its first outing since I bought it on our “not so honeymoon” trip to Singapore, I flew to Manila to work on my papers for a possible new assignment.  I came back home on the 19th to prepare for our regional convention on the 20th and the 21st of October.  It was wonderful to do an emcee stint again.  It was exhilirating to host an organization that was so dynamic, where intermission acts and ice breakers came together on the day of convention,where  the city mayor just happened to send two separate representatives with 2 different speeches, where there was not just one but two Masskara opening numbers!   It was short of miraculous how together the convention seemed despite the “spur of the moment” planning.

I guess that’s what makes Bacolod a great host–the love for Bacolod inherent in every Bacolodnon.  Come crunch time, everybody just embraces the spirit of things and individual concerns are forgotten.  It was beautiful to see everyone working in harmony, making sure that all needs were met and going out of their way to make sure that the delegates would enjoy themselves. It is this love for our city that makes us, want them, the “tourists”, to see what we love about Bacolod too.  I got quite “high” from the experience.

On the afternoon of the 21st, I rushed to the pier to catch the latest trip to Iloilo in time for my Corporations in Distress class at 8:00 am on the 22nd.    During the next two days, I got to know FRIA or the Financial Rehabilitation and Insolvency Act of 2010.  An afternoon group activity got me into debate mode.   Six years–that’s how long it’s been since I’ve last debated before an audience.  I loved the rush of adrenalin running through my veins, the flurry of ideas passing through my mind.  At that moment, I said a silent prayer to the Lord, thanking him for leading hubby to enrol me in the program.

On Monday, (24) I rushed to Bacolod to work on the urgent tasks on my desks before rushing to catch the last ferry trip to Iloilo.  I had a 5:50 flight toManila to catch on the 25th and this, I did not want to miss.  Waking up to a hubby-prepared breakfast was a wonderful start to an early day of non-stop activity.  I flew ahead of hubby who had to get a later flight as he had a morning meeting to attend to.  With Dee, I explored the streets of Divisoria, taking in the sights, sounds and smells of various wares and merchandise and trying my best to control my Christmas spirit (!).

After we had our fill of Divi, I returned to our hotel to await hubby’s arrival from the airport.  It would be our first time to witness an international act perform..the BEP–no less.  We would be celebrating our 1 year anniversary in 2 months’ time and new priorities would have to be put in place.  This would be our last frivolous purchase for the next five years and hubby and I knew that we had to make it count.

Despite my aching legs (worn out from my Divi excursion), hubby and I along with some FFPs (“friends from the province”) danced the night away to the pulsating rhythm of the BEP.  My heart soared with pride when they showed Apl de Ap’s infomercial advocating the education of children.  I cried with Fergie when she spoke of missing “the brothers she never had”..I love the BEP because more than the beat, their music is positive and full of meaning.  They have made “helping others” cool..something that is quite a feat in the  often “selfish and egocentric” music industry.

As they said goodbye as the BEP for the last time, fireworks lit up the sky to signal the end to a wonderful celebration of the 10 years of BEP.

Government Banks and the Third World

I sit here waiting, silently fuming at our government and its inability to provide an efficient way to pay the salaries of its employees. Welcome to the Third world, where ur pay is paid thru checks… 🙂 happy morning

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.

3: Journeying On

It’s been 3 months since we began our greatest adventure yet.  It still feels surreal.  We both feel like we’ve been married forever.  (in a good way)  You know, the kind where you’ve found someone you wouldn’t mind being trapped in a foxhole forever with (not that I’m wishing for that to happen!).  I am reminded of why we started this blog…our desire to give back..to let people know that a budget beach wedding is an achievable goal.


We chose Boracay or rather, my Mom chose Boracay.  On a whim, she broached the idea of a December Boracay wedding   and the idea just took over our hearts and minds. When she changed her mind later (following a discussion with dad and after realizing that most of her friends wouldn’t be able to attend), we wouldn’t budge.

First off, we moved our wedding date to December instead of November of this year (2011).  The move was caused by the following factors:  1) hubby’s sister and entire family were visiting for the holidays from the Netherlands; 2) we couldn’t afford a Bacolod wedding (we’d have to invite a lot of people plus December was wedding high season and we didn’t feel like having to compete for venues given the 2 month time frame).  The Boracay idea had everything going for it: 1) we had a legitimate reason to keep our wedding small and intimate; 2) a quick call to the Holy Rosary Church in Boracay revealed that we still had a date; 3) hubby and I have always been spontaneous adventurers and loved the idea of a spontaneous wedding, 4) who could say no to having the white pristine waters of Boracay as the wedding backdrop plus 5) a beach wedding was just so romantic;

We started on a 30k budget and went on to spend at least 6x the original amount.  Still, it was a steal compared to a typical Boracay wedding.  This is how we did it:

1. Holy Rosary Church and Fr. Placer – Contact Number (036)2883219 -The first thing I did was call the Church, after all, we couldn’t get married if we didn’t have a church and a priest who would marry us. Google came to rescue, and I obtained the number in the net, called and found myself speaking with Fr. Placer who graciously said “yes, I’ll marry you” and gave us a date too – December 28, 2010.  The use of the church inclusive of priest stipend and choir cost 10,000 php.  (I hear that that is the going rate 🙂

2. Venue for the beach reception: Boracay Plaza Resort, Station 1 – 09189089808 – Now that we had a Church, we needed a venue for a wedding reception.  We called them all..but the rates were just too stiff.  After making several inquiries and realizing the mammoth rates that would be charged (we had decided on 50 to 70 guests and the usual rates were for 30 guests, any additions would be costly), we were getting desperate.  Earlier, we had decided that if we couldn’t get a similar rate to Bacolod, we’d just let our Boracay wedding go.

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Fortunately,we got to talk to Ms. Vicky of Boracay Plaza Resort, (who just happened to be the sister of hubby’s college schoolmate) . We’d stayed at Boracay Plaza on one of our summer trips and felt that it’d would be perfect to have our  reception there.  The thing was, Boracay Plaza didn’t cater for weddings.  That’s when Ms. Vicky suggested that we get a caterer from Caticlan and introduced us to Ms. Christy of Quency’s, our caterer…

Quency’s, 09209517729 –  Ms. Christy of Quency’s is a success story of sorts…She is an inspiration to people like me as she transformed herself from someone who knew little about cooking to being the premiere caterer of Caticlan and Boracay,catering for the likes of ex-pres PGMA and ex-VP Noli De castro.  She even has a cafe at the D’Mall in Boracay where you may feast on her sumptuous cakes.

The shells are edible!

To be continued…

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.