As I go through my third and last day of mid-year prayer and fasting today, I couldn’t help but recollect the first 6 months of my 2015. I can say that one of the highlights of the 1st quarter of my year was when Travelife Magazine allowed me to experience an adventure in North Luzon.
My travel to the northern part of our country wasn’t just about an escapade and some fun and thrills here and there, it was actually a collection of realizations and lessons that I kept in my heart even when the trip was over.
Through the silence and noise, familiar and fresh encounters, triumphs and failed attempts, it was all – a time of contemplation.
Here are the things that Northern Philippines taught me about life:
(And since it’s my prayer and fasting week, allow me to inject some Bible verses that spoke to me in each experience that I had. Hey, Bible reading is cool! It makes you wise and gain more insight.)
THE MOST DESIRABLE THINGS COME AT THE PERFECT TIME
I remember when I was in my early 20’s, I badly wanted to try karting with my brothers. But they never let me join their races. Boo hoo! I would just watch them and tell myself, “Someday, somehow, somewhere…I’m gonna ride that, baby!” And true enough, after years of waiting and almost forgetting about it, I was able to finally try it at Kart City in Tarlac. It was an awesome experience. It was worth the wait.
In life, we often experience a period of waiting. It might be for something as trivial as my dream to try karting or as great and significant as having a baby. Whatever we wish for in life, there is a perfect time of every thing. And when we learn to wait and be patient, the things that we long for becomes even more desirable when it happens in it’s own perfect time.
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven. ~ Ecclesiastes 3:1 ESV
WE ALL HAVE TALENTS TO SHARE AND TREASURES TO GIVE
Coke Bolipata didn’t just share his talent in playing the violin, he also gave his own treasure when he opened Casa San Miguel to the children of Zambales who came from very humble backgrounds. Who would have thought that these kids can pursue, play (in excellence) and hone their love and talents for music and the arts?
I believe that all of us were built with something special inside of us, a treasure that shouldn’t be kept but to be shared. Imagine if there would be more Coke Bolipata in our country, there would be more people who will get a chance to discover, refine and share their own gifts as well.
Another treasure that we found – the Aetas from Matam-ih Restaurant in Pampanga.
As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace. ~ 1 Peter 4:10
GET DIRTY AND WILD BUT CHOOSE YOUR ADVENTURES RIGHT
Choosing your adventures is like choosing the right battles for you to fight. Sometimes life will offer you a feat that is really meant for you to go through in a given season. Sometimes, it’s just you who keeps holding on to something that’s not meant for you.
I learned that divine wisdom will really tell you when to go and when to stop, when to pause and when to resume, when to begin and when to surrender.
Fail! Well, not totally because I was glad that at least I tried it. I experienced my first wakeboard ride (and fall) not totally prepared. I wasn’t wearing the right “outfit” down there (he he) and the water last February was a bit cold for me. My lips turned to dark purple! So that was a signal for me to stop and take a shower. Yes, I surrender! It wasn’t for me during that time. But it doesn’t mean that I’m not willing to try it again given the perfect circumstance and outfit. 😉
I hope my roomie didn’t regret in letting me drive our dune buggy! :p I actually enjoyed the rocky and dusty road that we traveled at Tarlac Recreational Park. I was fast and a little curious so I drove with more speed and enthusiasm. (I’m deeply sorry for the dune buggy in front of us!)
Sometimes, it’s not just about picking the perfect adventures for you but having them with the right people too. Glad to have screamed, squealed and held on tight with these fellas! That was one exhilarating ride!
When I saw it, I considered it well;
I looked on it and received instruction. ~Proverbs 24:32 NKJV
IT’S OKAY TO GET “EMO” BUT DON’T GET TOO ABSORBED THAT YOU MISS THE HIKE TO THE TOP
From time to time, life will throw lemons, apples and rambutan to our faces. Sometimes it will even unexpectedly and unkindly push and swing us in different directions. But what you do after getting emotional is what really matters.
We all have a great potential in us and God has prepared a vast skyline for us to navigate and soar over. May our roller coaster emotions, fears and reluctance never keep us from journeying to the top! There’s a majestic view on that mountain! Don’t miss it, start hiking.
It wasn’t an easy trek going up to see the Capones Lighthouse. It was already late in the afternoon, which made the waves strong and crazier. From our boat, we were required to take a short walk or swim going to one of the parts of the Capones Island. It was the quicker way but it was rougher. There were lots of huge rocks and worn out slippers, which were signs of a challenging trek to the Lighthouse. (This made me decide to leave my camera in the boat to protect it, hu hu.)
Glad that we were able to make it to the top (together) or else I would’ve missed this fantastic view! I wasn’t able to bring my camera to capture this island so I’m hoping to visit Capones again in the future.
He makes me as surefooted as a deer, enabling me to stand on mountain heights. ~ Psalm 18:33
IN TROUBLES, DO NOT PANIC
“DO NOT PANIC!” That’s what my mother used to remind me all the time when I was a little girl. She was brought up with a father who served in the military so she was one of those “lista” daughters who always had the presence of mind.
In life, troubles are inevitable. Sometimes unexpected things and uncertainties will make us scared. It even makes us lose our peace and eventually there it is…the panic mode button! You press it and voila peace is suddenly gone! Since most of us are professionals in this area, it’s easier for us to panic than to calm down.
One of the things that made me laugh and shiver at the same time was when one of the coaches at Crystal Beach’s Surf School told us during our briefing (with his missing front teeth), “PANIC CAN KILL YOU!”
The way he said it was funny but it also frightened me! I was already thinking about the worst things that could happen once we’re in the water… I was thinking about the “what ifs”: What if I accidentally hit my head with the board? What if I get drowned? What if I get smashed down with my surfboard, another surfer’s surfboard or the waves? What if there’s suddenly a lost shark that will attack us?
My heart started to beat faster than a Mesarati ride. Then my what if switched…“What if…What if I won’t at least try this today?” I started to calm down as I breathe deeper and longer than I usually do.
Suddenly, the instructors told us to get into the water… “Water, what?!? We haven’t practiced yet…” So with quiet shivers, I followed my coach and reminded myself that it’s going to be fine and fun.
Don’t panic. I’m with you. There’s no need to fear for I’m your God. I’ll give you strength. I’ll help you. I’ll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you. ~ Isaiah 41, The Message
My first try was a major failure as I used my knees. It also caused me to have some souvenir cuts on my knee, which I got from the pebbles that my pants caught earlier. But I DECIDED to do it again and to do it right. I fell a lot of times but in those times I rode the board again and again and again. Until my coach told me that I was up for my last ride. I didn’t want it to end just yet.
At the end of my first surfing experience, my coach told me that I have a good sense of balance. (Binobola niya ba ako? Ha ha). But of course, that made me happy that yes I finally did it!
Don’t let fear keep you from experiencing the wonderful things in life! Be confident and secure knowing that you can trust someone bigger than you, up there! And he’s for you and your enjoyment.
These are the things that I realized through my travel to the northern part of the Philippines. I’m sure that going to the north will leave you contemplating (just like me) and will even ignite your passion to travel more in this side of our country. Go forward!
Do you know?
Thanks to the following for taking care of me: NPVB, MNTC, NLEX, Victory Liner, Blue Cross Insurance, Headware, The Department of Tourism Region 3, Toursim Office of Zambales…